Doctor Who: Season 7 Preview (UPDATE)

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It’s that time of year again! August is in full swing, and we’re only two weeks one week weeks away from the next episode of Doctor Who. Though technically no official release date has been set, the popular bet at the moment is on a September 1 opening, and I agree. The BBC has been airing a series of specials titled “The (insert word) of Doctor Who” since August 4. They began with “The Science…” and will end with “The Destinations…” on August 25. It seems unlikely that the BBC would choose to air the start of Season 7 on the 25th as well, but hey, it’s the BBC. Stranger things have happened.

Either way, in a few weeks viewers will get their first glimpse at the results of the extended hiatus. If you haven’t followed Doctor Who much in the past, the season normally starts in March/April and finishes up in the late summer. This year the entire show was delayed in order to better overlap with the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who occurring in 2013. A variety of the plans for that celebration have been hinted at, and I’ll cover those in another article.

Another purpose of the hiatus was to increase the scale of the Season 7 episodes. The word “epic” keeps popping up around the various BBC descriptions, and the latest released trailer seems to support that description. It’s been around for a little while, but if you haven’t seen it yet, then have a look:

It’s going to be a rip-roaring-stetson-wearing-anachronistic time all right. What you just saw here were clips of the five episodes leading up to the Christmas Special. There’s not a huge amount of material to examine, but a few things in particular piqued my interest.

 

Right around 00:30 The Doctor comes out with roughly this line: “Today I honor the victims [something], the Masters, the Daleks; all the people who died because of my mercy.” Couldn’t quite catch a small bit in the middle, but you get the idea. There’s been an overarching theme since the reboot in 2005 of “What happens when The Doctor is wrong?” Eccleston’s Doctor technically kicked this theme off with the appropriately titled “Dalek” episode in Season 1, but it wasn’t really returned to until the “Waters of Mars” special with Tennant (feel free to disagree). That theme has had an even greater presence since the handoff to Matt Smith (e.g. “The God Complex” in Season 6). The context of the above line and Amy’s immediate rebuke seem to strongly imply that this theme will be expanded on even further in the coming episodes. Ditto for The Doctor’s exchange with Rory around 1:13. An increasingly fallible, and perhaps marginally psychotic, Doctor could make for an extremely compelling storyline as we lead into the 50th anniversary.

Yes, I’m reading into a small amount of content tremendously. Yes, I still hope I’m right because I find the thought fascinating.

 

Switching tracks entirely, I have been increasingly happy with the overall style and quality of the series since 2005. This isn’t to say that it looked bad before, but you have to admit that the visuals have improved. I love the look of all the clips shown in the trailer, and with good reason. According to the BBC, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship “required one of the largest sets to date.” Who knew dinosaurs would require such large sets, eh? Thankfully this largess (puns…) extended to the CGI, as the shown creatures actually look surprisingly decent. Why do I say surprisingly? Go back and watch the Agatha Christie episode with Tennant.

Moving forward, Moffat has said this about A Town Called Mercy: “We knew from the start we’d need some serious locations shooting for this one, and given the most iconic American setting imaginable, there was only one place to go – Spain.” Goofy joke aside, it appears that all the stops have been pulled for the filming of these newest episodes.

Much more could be said about the trailer, but who wants to read a frame-by-frame analysis? So I’ll skip the apparent human working for the Daleks, the triceratops riding, the space-faring Argus Filch (sort of), and the-lady-I’ll-call-Cleopatra. My gut is saying that it’s going to be a good season. Oh, my gut is also saying that I’m going to absolutely hate the last episode thanks to this:

 

If something dangerous is made cuter, then it is automatically deadlier. With that bit of wisdom, I end my first post here and say “Hello!” to the readers of this site.

 

UPDATE

According to Doctor Who Spoilers, the release date has indeed been confirmed for September 1. Do note that the provided BBC link on that page is for a 5 Live radio interview with Moffat where he doesn’t actually mention anything about the premiere. I’m assuming that there’s another source link, and I’ll add it here once I track it down.

 

Eric Carey