Saturday, February 13, 2010

Doctor Who - The Same Generation. Nearly.

DOCTOR WHO: THE SEASON FNARG TRAILER

Shapes of things before my eyes

Just teach me to despise
Will time make man more wise...?

Seriously, that song synchs up perfectly with the footage, with one verse apiece. I particularly like the line about "disgracing my kind" over the Doctor popping a cap in the ass of a cameraman.

Why am I critiquing a bleeding trailer, you ask? Well, it's my blog, I can do what I damn well please. Get your own blog, gibrony, if you want to whine about it. With my ability and inclination to review the actual episodes when they come out uncertain, might as well do it now.

Anyone - and I mean anyone - could tell from this trailer that there is a new production team in charge of the show. Compare with the previous season trailers - Christopher Eccleston homaging Peter Cushing in Dr. Who & The Daleks; Rose Tyler's talking head monologue; a hallucinogenic headfuck with the Doctor transforming into a sex zombie Rose Tyler and then running out of the TARDIS in full flight; the Doctor and Martha speed-dating; and Donna Noble telling campfire stories about Daleks, Ood and Sontarans; and the Doctor piss-farting about with some reindeer on Christmas morning.

And now this.

Notice the obvious differences? There's no new material filmed just for the trailer, which says a lot by itself. RTD and friends put great effort into making mini-action-films the proper actors and everything. Moffat has yet to give a damn to publicity, making it quite clear he's keeping as strong as an embargo on the season until it screens. Is this a good thing? Your call. Ultimately RTD is dancing on tables trying to get attention while Moffat loiters in a corner smoking a cigarette and looking cool. You can only judge the different memthods if one works and one doesn't. And maybe we'll get more special trailers as the year rolls on.

Nevertheless, there is an air "why fucking bother interesting you, you KNOW you're going to watch" to it. Look at the trailer objectively, imagine you'd never seen Doctor Who before. Now try and guess what this trailer is for. Miss the beginning with the TARDIS and suddenly it's hard work, with even the Daleks being here and gone with a flash. The logo or brand isn't exactly handy. If you liked the trailer, you wouldn't know even the name of the show - unless you'd assume it was some kind of anthology series entitled The End is Just the Beginning.

We're just assumed to understand who Matt Smith is and what he's doing running around like a power ranger on bad acid, and make sense of a blur of gargoyles, redheads and explosions.

OK, we DO, but that's not the point.

The trailer itself is composed of countless action scene clips, with the only dialogue coming from the one character we kind of know - the Eleventh Doctor - and he gets three phrases (one of which is a repeat of the last thing we saw him say, and also a cliche that Eccleston and Tennant were banned from saying). There's no offer of wit, danger or exposition, or monologues from Amy. Hell, we don't hear her say a word. I have no idea what she sounds like. That is something of a problem in trying to visualize the character, unlike with the last three ladies who got their own monologues to have us understand who the hell she was. Now, either Moffat couldn't be arsed to add one to the trailer or else the character of Amy has very little to say. I hope it's the former and Moff was too damn busy, but what about the Doctor? We see him punch a guy unconscious, attack a seemingly helpless Dalek with a giant spanner (on both occasions Amy stands around in the background not doing a damn thing to halt the Doctor's homocidal urges), snogging his companion and... firing a gun. The latter is really very disturbing considering the previous regime considered the Doctor holding a gun AT ALL to be a Very Epic And Morally Repugnant Thing.

None of this suggests that the new Doctor is going to be a reasonable, friendly or likable person.

Of course, it would be easy to come up with a trailer to - say - Season 14 and also have the Doctor shown as a deranged sword-fighting, man-drowning, cross-bow-firing, giant-rat shooting psychopath accompanied by a useless girl who just looks confused. But why would you want to? Surely you'd want something a bit kinder to the source material?

Instead we get a blur of dialogue-free explosions, monsters and violence lacking only the Nerf Herder theme and Sarah Michelle Gellar to qualify as the opening credits to a new series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Deeply ironic considering how often RTD's work was mindlessly compared to Buffy on the grounds it featured a teenage girl with long blonde hair rather than its content, which managed to avoid Joss Whedon almost entirely. I say almost because I've seen Boomtown and preferred seeing the Slayer and her useless low-self-esteem pals deal with moral quandries with an evil reptillian mayor running a nowhere town built over a dimensional gateway.

One problem with this format of trailer is that Buffy had twenty-two self-contained episodes to pick and choose clips from per year. This trailer had access to six. And it's not exactly difficult to lump the given clips together - the First Episode where the Doctor's dressed as Ten and Amy's dressed as a WPC; the One With the Daleks; the One with River Song and the Weeping Angels; the One with the Vampires; and Everything Else. Without dialogue to bridge the gaps (for example, the Doctor in Tooth and Claw shouting "Bullets won't stop it!" played over a Cyberman activating gives you a completely unique impression of the oncoming show), the end result is a lot less than it could be. Look at the trailer for The End of Time part two, and its a more secretive, evocative and spoiler-free glob of info than the "SHIT! ALIEN MONSTERS!" epileptic disco we're given.

I mean, Murray Gold doesn't even do the music for the trailer. Even though he's doing the music for the show itself. Instead we get some stock opera music entitled "Destiny of Mankind" as the captions rather lamely ask us to watch this show on the grounds it's not remotely similar to the show we've been watching for five years. This is the beginning of what exactly?

Don't get me wrong. I like this trailer. I just think it's rubbish as anything other than fodder to keep the fans going for another few months. Technically, adding Matt Smith to the end of David Tennant's Thanks for the Memories montage did the exact same thing as this trailer, far cheaper and less worrying...

THE ONLY CLUE AS TO WHAT WE'RE ACTUALLY WATCHING...

VAMPIRES IN EXOTIC OVERSEAS HISTORICAL LOCATION. LAST SEEN IN ANGEL: THE GIRL IN QUESTION, WHERE ANGEL AND SPIKE FIGHT A FAMOUS IMMORTAL BEING WITH A FETISH FOR YOUNG BLONDES WHO EVERYONE ELSE THINKS IS FANTASTIC... HANG ON, I THINK WE JUST HAD A CROSSOVER!!!

THE SONIC SCREWDRIVER IS DRIVEN TO SUICIDE. IN THE VERY FIRST EPISODE. BAD SIGN, NO?

EVENTUALLY THE BITTERNESS OF BEING PASSED OVER IN FAVOR FOR ROSE TYLER GOT TOO MUCH FOR ALISON CHENEY...

...YEP, STILL A FIGHTING HAND.

CREEPING THROUGH A GRAVEYARD AT NIGHT IS SCARY. CREEPING THROUGH A GRAVEYARD AT NIGHT WITH HEAVILY-ARMED MILITARY COMMANDOS ISN'T.

DRUSILLA AND HER GROUPIES BUSHWACK ROKO AND CASANOVA, BUT WHAT'S REALLY FUNNY IS THE GUY IN THE HAT THAT WALKS PAST IN THE BACKGROUND. "SOME VAMPIRE BRIDES EATING A BLACK GUY? WHO CARES? NONE OF MY BUSINESS..."

...NOT THE MOST SUBTLE OF NIGHTMARE FUEL, IS IT? IN FACT, IF THEY TURNED THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN, THEY'D HAVE A GENTLEMAN... OR A DOMMERVOY...

"EVERY YEAR! EVERY FUCKING YEAR!! WE SHOULDA TOLD THE NATION ESTATE TO PISS OFF AND BROUGHT BACK THE TRODS INSTEAD! NO WAY ARE YOU GONNA BE IN THE SEASON FINALE, YOU DUSTBIN BASTARD!!!"

(The Doctor and Amy heavy-petting against the TARDIS.)
AMY: Oh Doctor...
DOCTOR: Oh, Donna...
AMY: (breaking kiss) What the hell did you say? Who's this Donna then?
DOCTOR: Ahm... er...

"OI, DON'T WALK AWAY FROM ME, BITCH!"

FOR THE LAST TIME: THEY PREFER THE TERM "EARTH REPTILE", OK?!

WILLOW AND XANDER FLEE THROUGH THE SEWERS UNDERNEATH SUNNYDALE CHASED BY CHAOS DEMONS... OH, SORRY. AMY AND RORY FLEE THROUGH THE TUNNELS UNDERNEATH CARDIFF CHASED BY SILURIANS. MY BAD!

THE THREE MEMBERS OF THE 'IDIOT'S LANTERN APPRECIATION SOCIETY' ON THEIR STAFF OUTING TO MAGPIE ELECTRICALS.

ONLY ONE THING CAN CAUSE THAT FACIAL EXPRESSION... BARROWMAN!!!

I PERSONALLY LOOK FORWARD TO THE RETURN OF THE ABSORBALOFF, THE TIME BEETLE AND THE MIGHTY JAGRAFRESS AS 'ONE-OFF VILLAINS IN DOCTOR-LITE EPISODES RICIDULOUSLY BEING BROUGHT BACK'. AND THOSE MARINES ARE FIGHTING STATUES WITH BULLETS?

YOU KNOW, IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS, WE WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE HER KNICKERS. THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF THESE CAMERA ANGLES, DAMMIT!

...IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE U.R.S.T.? GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK!

FIG (1): SOME NEW MAN SAUNTERING OFF

YES, SHE'S BEAUTIFUL... BUT DOES SHE DO ANYTHING EXCEPT LOOK GOBSMACKED?

OH, LIGHTEN UP! WE'VE HAD ENOUGH ANGST ALREADY THIS YEAR...

ERIC SAWARD APPLAUDS

"DAVID TENNANT IS DEAD, LITTLE GIRL, AND I'M HERE TO STAY... HEY! THOSE BETTER BE TEARS OF JOY I'M SEEING RIGHT NOW!"

A NEW SERIES OF OW COMING SOON TO BBC1!

2.5/5

20 comments:

matt311 said...

You really have a hate-on for the new season, don't you? For cripes' sake, I thought it was exciting...

Youth of Australia said...

"Hate-on"?

I think the trailer is rubbish.

Does that count as a hate-on?

Yeah, so it's exciting. So's nearly being hit by a train. The fact remains we're just being offered a handful of images without any context and - judged on that alone - it's not exactly inspiring.

And what does YOUR opinion have to do with it? You like the trailer, you think Moffat's the Ood's Bollocks, so what? This is MY review of a trailer, kowtowing to no other standpoint than my own.

If you're so bothered, critique the trailer yourself. If you can find anything beyond running, monsters, explosions and a naked arrogance that everyone knows what the show is, then you're better at subtext than I am.

Yeah, there is of course going to be more to the episodes than the thirty seconds we've seen. But the PR department don't think we need to see any of that, that we will be satisfied with nothing but an action montage. Forgive me for not being in that demographic.

Hate-on? Give me strength.

Unsavering mindless worship of Moffat is not to be found on this blog; try another. When he does something I like, I will big it up - and have done in the past. Until then he gets the same shotgun-up-the-arse treatment as everyone else, including myself.

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

I found it funny, and refreshing that you cam down so hard on the trailer and, really, you made some good points that I hadn't thought about because I really don't give much thought to trailers full-stop. I sort of watched it, shrugged and was like "S'alright".

And that is the thing, isn't it? It amounts to "There will be more Doctor Who and it will be different", two things absolutely everyone the trailer was directed at absolutely had to have known already. The only substantial pieces I could take away from it (Doctor with guns, River Song, Angels, Daleks, River Song with guns... although I was like "wtf that barely even looks like River Song") were things I wasn't keen on seeing.

So... the trailer probably was a bit of a failure if I had stopped to think about it. I'm not judging until I see Matt Smith's first ep, whereupon I shall judge like a motherfucker.

Youth of Australia said...

Yeah. I suppose I've watched too much Gruen Transfer, and was concentrating on "what does this trailer tell you about the people who made it?" - hell, it doesn't even use the theme music.

Either they are VERY confident or they simply don't give a damn.

But I thought the captions would raise a smile if nothing else...

For the record, I'm looking forward to The Eleventh Hour (especially as it has been granted an extra 15 minutes of screentime, so it really WILL be an "hour"), and eagerly await the Matt Smith Doctor. It can't be worse than The Perfection Society as debuts go...

matt311 said...

River Song with guns... although I was like "wtf that barely even looks like River Song"

Actually, the woman with the guns wasn't River Song; however, the woman in military dress in the background of the ominous zoom-in to worried Eleven's face was.

Ewen, everyone has their opinions; guess I was too hard on yours. I'm sorry, mate.

Youth of Australia said...

Actually, the woman with the guns wasn't River Song; however, the woman in military dress in the background of the ominous zoom-in to worried Eleven's face was.
I think Jared was referring to the bit circa 22 seconds in between Amy looking startled and the little boy in the stripy jumper where a door opens to show RS in sunglasses holding a pistol and generally looking evil.

Ewen, everyone has their opinions; guess I was too hard on yours. I'm sorry, mate.
Sure.

But if you can come up with another interpretation of the trailer and its construction, then I'd be glad to read it.

matt311 said...

But if you can come up with another interpretation of the trailer and its construction, then I'd be glad to read it.

Um... as an American-style teaser to the upcoming series? That's pretty much the construction of every teaser trailer in America, right there...

Youth of Australia said...

But this trailer isn't American. It's meant for UK audiences. Which is significant, surely?

matt311 said...

But this trailer isn't American. It's meant for UK audiences. Which is significant, surely?

I... suppose.

Like how you suggested that Eleven may well be Six in more of a party-time mood; maybe we'll get a pompous Doctor who does more than a season and a half, eh? ;-)

Cameron Mason said...

Could I just respectfully point out that the 2010 Series trailer did not screen after EOT 2, but instead is only available (legally) from the BBC's official website.

This therefore would lead to the conclusion that the trailer is aimed at fans.

Adding in this piece of context allows the trailer to be assessed in terms of how it shows the forthcoming series to be a mix of the old (Weeping Angels, Daleks, River Song) and the new (Doctor, Amy, TARDIS appearance, etc).

On those terms it probably scores a 3.5 - 4/5, depending on your opinion of River Song and how much of a look in Amy gets.

I would imagine that a trailer produced for the TV viewing public would be a bit more 'audience friendly' in terms of selling the concept of the series and its new leads.

Cameron

Youth of Australia said...

Could I just respectfully point out that the 2010 Series trailer did not screen after EOT 2, but instead is only available (legally) from the BBC's official website. This therefore would lead to the conclusion that the trailer is aimed at fans.

*headbutts desk*

So this is a slightly better take on that website trailer after Parting of the Ways (a season clipshow interspersed with the regeneration and "continued at Christmas" captions).

*headbutts desk yet again*

I would imagine that a trailer produced for the TV viewing public would be a bit more 'audience friendly' in terms of selling the concept of the series and its new leads.
Well, that was my belief too - except I thought this WAS the TV viewing ad, since I saw it come on right after TEOT (on my copy anyway).

All right. Disclaimer.

There is nothing wrong with this trailer since it isn't even TRYING to appeal to the mass audience and my critique of it is somewhere between pointless and outright unjustified. It was - as I noted in the post - fan fodder. Fair enough.

Moffat is still a genius.

(Well, he hasn't done anything to disprove that with this trailer.)

...

THE CAPTIONS ARE STILL FUNNY, DAMN IT!

Cameron Mason said...


Well, that was my belief too - except I thought this WAS the TV viewing ad, since I saw it come on right after TEOT (on my copy anyway).


Ah...

Now in that context your review makes perfect sense.


THE CAPTIONS ARE STILL FUNNY, DAMN IT!


Of course they are, although the BARROWMAN! one becomes slightly disturbing depending on if JB is in front of Amy or behind her...

Cameron

Youth of Australia said...

He can't be both?

Think about it.

...

Stop thinking about it. Seriously.

You'll go blind.

Cameron Mason said...


Stop thinking about it. Seriously.

You'll go blind.


Too late...

MY VISION IS IMPAIRED! I CANNOT SEE!!!!!!!!

200CC OF BRAIN BLEACH AND A DOSE OF RETCON, STAT!!!!!!

Cameron

Youth of Australia said...

*sobs*

He may never play the piano again...

matt311 said...

Let's hope he's got Gallifreyan eyeballs, eh?

*hums The Doctor's Theme mysteriously...*

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Your comments made me think of 'The Houdini', a probably-mythical sexual act where one has sex with their partner from behind and somehow manages to 'switch places' seamlessly with a third party the partner is unaware of, before proceeding to dress themselves and walk into the partner's still-mid-coitus line of sight, waving happily.

I doubt such a thing could ever be possible, but if anyone could do it it would be Captain Jack, and would explain the apparent brain meltdown of Amy in that shot...

Youth of Australia said...

In an interesting segue, I've managed to finally upload screencaps to my Gauda Prime Conspiracy review and one of which seems eerily appropriate to this topic of Houdinism...

Bernie Fishnotes said...

The trailer wasn't shown directly after EoT2, but after the Confidential episode that goes with it.

So the number of fans watching would have been proportionately greater than for the episode.

Youth of Australia said...

Yeah, that's been established by now, thanks Bernie...