Friday, 31 August 2012

On 31.8.12 by KieronMoore in ,    No comments
There's new Doctor Who tomorrow!

As you can guess, I'm excited and nothing would stop me watching it. For those less obsessive, the BBC have been more than a little enthusiastic with the publicity. Let's have a look at some of the ways that this new series is being promoted.

Over the past week, the official website has hosted the Chris Chibnall-scripted Pond Life, a series of short scenes supposedly following the everyday lives of Amy and Rory between adventures with the Doctor.

As it turned out, these vignettes started as a more farcical look at the Doctor's adventures, as he updates the Ponds on what he's been getting up to while attempting to visit them. The Doctor escapes Sontaran troops by surfing on fire, lays down some backing vocals (baseball caps are cool) and takes part in  one of Who's dirtiest ever visual gags. It's certainly expensive looking for a short piece of web content and there are a few nice comedy ideas - I love the Ood butler and the Ponds' interaction with him. Also, there are Romans on Rory's lunchbox, which is lovely. However, the first four Pond Life episodes are not comedy at its best (part three revolves around an Ood sitting on the toilet and isn't nearly as funny as that sounds) nor do they have much in the way of dramatic tension. They also feel rushed in that they're technically messy - editing errors such as Amy lifting a mug twice and the most obviously dubbed-in-post toast to the Doctor ever are rather distracting. 

The fifth part, however, changes tone entirely and suddenly shows us a marriage breaking apart and a Doctor who's briefly stopped fannying around with time to worry about the aforementioned marriage. It's a powerful scene that makes me want to watch Asylum of the Daleks, tomorrow's new episode, even more, and so is doing what it sets out to do.

Despite the fact that the disparate elements of Pond Life don't mesh together brilliantly and it's not as good as previous Who shorts - last year's Let's Kill Hitler prequel and the bonus scenes for the DVD were genuinely among Steven Moffat's best writing of 2011 - it is brilliant that we have this extra content. There was hardly any of this kind of stuff in the David Tennant years but now the BBC are clearly committed to expanding the world of Doctor Who. Whether Ood toilet humour is your taste or not, that's excellent.

The five episodes of series 7A have been advertised as big movie style blockbusters. While it's great that they have the budget to make this promise and it should certainly lead to some good visuals, I do hope the stories will retain the distinctly British character and interesting characterisation that the best Who has. Judging from initial reviews of Asylum of the Daleks, the first episode at least will. 

To back up this marketing claim, a series of "movie style posters" have been released. Movie style posters, that is, if big blockbuster Hollywood movies were rushed through Photoshop by Universal's work experience kid. They might as well patch in Matthew McConnaughey leaning on that Triceratops, it'd be more convincing than the Doctor's pose.

This Doctor Who Magazine cover, comparatively, is damn cool.

Anyway, the point is, new Doctor Who tomorrow!


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