Doctor Who: Breaking down the new trailer for Jodie Whittaker’s first season as the Thirteenth Doctor

doctor who jodie whittaker thirteenth doctor series 11 new trailer world cup screenshot

It’s been a little under a year since it was first announced that Jodie Whittaker would play the Thirteenth Doctor – it was, in fact, 16 July 2017 – and since then we’ve had relatively little news about the new series of Doctor Who.

Today, however, that changed, with a special trailer for Doctor Who series 11 airing at half-time during the World Cup Final.

The trailer gave us a brief look at the Doctor and her companions, promising new adventures to come – here’s a breakdown of everything you might have missed in the new trailer, and what it tells us about what to expect when Doctor Who returns.

So, obviously, I was very much excited about this trailer, because it’s Doctor Who and I love it, and I figured one thing I could probably do (since it was getting towards the end of the week and I hadn’t figured out the topic for my Yahoo column yet) is write about the trailer. I’ve done that sort of thing before, and it usually makes for a good article – take some screencaps, speculate a little about what each thing might mean, throw in a couple of jokes, sorted.

And then this trailer aired. A lovely, enigmatic, sort of mood driven piece… that is probably the most difficult-to-write-about trailer I’ve ever seen. Like, oh man.

Genuinely, I really had my work cut out for me with this one, and I think the fact I managed nearly 900 ish words – roughly 30 words for every second of content – is a testament to, if not necessarily skill, certainly something.

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Analysing The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 trailer and news

the handmaid's tale season 2 trailer elisabeth moss channel 4 hulu

The Handmaid’s Tale was one of the best new dramas of 2017; an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same name, it managed to be one of those rare few adaptations that in fact improved upon its source material.

It’s returning for a second season in 2018, which will be released on April 25th. Today, at the Television Critics Association press tour in California, showrunner Bruce Miller, executive producer Warren Littlefield and star Elisabeth Moss revealed some additional details about the upcoming second season.

In hindsight, I should have called this “analysing what we know about The Handmaid’s Tale season 2″. The current title is much too wordy.

Anyway, this is presented mostly for posterity now – subsequent news has mostly revealed that my theories, particularly about Marisa Tomei’s character, weren’t quite right.

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Breaking down the Doctor Who #TimeForHeroes Trailer

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Earlier today, the BBC released a short trailer for the new series of Doctor Who – set to return on April 15th, Doctor Who series 10 will star Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor, alongside Pearl Mackie as Bill and Matt Lucas as Nardole.

The new trailer teased the return of many classic villains, and the introduction of plenty of new ones – here’s what we saw.

I wrote an article breaking down the various elements of the new Doctor Who trailer – I spotted Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, and possibly Paul McGann!

(Paul McGann probably won’t be in the new series.)

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The sun sets on Broadchurch in new series 3 trailer

broadchurch david tennant olivia colman hd background wallpaper chris chibnall dorset cliff trailer season 1 revival new series trailer

Certainly, I hope that’s the case across this season; while there’s nothing wrong with further developing the story and introducing new characters, the strengths of Broadchurch always came from the characters and community it depicted. In some ways this was one of the problems with the second season – it lost sight of the best aspect of the first season in an attempt to replicate its plot, without realising that the plot had only ever been a vehicle to develop the characters in the first place.

Similarly, I hope that this third season can tackle the sensitive topic of sexual assault with the same grace that the first season did the death of a child; it’s a particularly complex topic, and one that needs to be handled with care. Thankfully, there’s reason to expect it will be, as Chris Chibnall has reportedly been consulting with both police and response organisations who deal with the matter to this end.

A quick post about the new Broadchurch trailer. I’ve never written about Broadchurch before! Expect that to change.

(Well, it just has. I mean, “expect me to write a lot about Broadchurch over the coming months”, obviously.)

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TV Trailer Thoughts | Sherlock Series 4

sherlock series 4 teaser the lying detective drugs benedict cumberbatch beard bbc steven moffat mark gatiss eurus holmes

In amongst all the other SDCC news, we got this trailer for the fourth season of Sherlock, which will be released… some point next year? They’ve had success in the January slot before, so that’s a possibility, but it could also be a little early yet. We’ll see, I suppose.

What stands out about this particular trailer the most is that it’s quite clearly moved away from the original detective style storytelling. Sherlock is now very much an adventure series, with Sherlock Holmes just as much an action hero as he is a deductive genius. I can’t say it’s a change I’m particularly averse to, admittedly; there’s something about that which does, I feel, fit the character. Particularly Moffat and Cumberbatch’s iteration, actually, who’s always been pitched as being addicted to the thrill of adventure, ever since A Study in Pink.

(In light of that, I admit I’m a little worried about the potential incorporation of Sherlock’s drug abuse in upcoming episodes; largely because it’s something they eschewed mentioning in the past, with Moffat and Gatiss having made a conscious choice to leave it out. To do so now seems… well, I’m just worried that there’s a risk it might end up feeling underdeveloped, particularly given that this is going to be a fairly busy season. Nonetheless, these are just tentative concerns, and I’m still interested to see where that’s taken.)

Other than that? Well, there’s the Moriarty return, of course. I’m of the view that Moriarty isn’t really back, but rather it’s a series of pretaped videos and other machinations that he left in place to extend his influence even after his death. I expect this won’t be the plot for the whole season, as Toby Jones’ villain will presumably take the centre position – at the minute, I’m just hoping they don’t let Moriarty overshadow Jones, in the same way he very nearly overshadowed Magnussen last year.

There’s also the three clue words for this season, which are customarily enigmatic: Thatcher, Smith, and Sherrinford. This Radio Times article gives a pretty good rundown of what each could mean, and reaches largely similar conclusions to the ones I did (including, incidentally, the Thatcher blogpost). Of the three, it’s “Sherrinford” I’m perhaps most interested in – although that’s probably because its meaning is also the most obvious, so I’ve got the best idea of what it might mean. The dynamic between Sherlock and Mycroft has been consistently quite interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it might continue to evolve in this new series.

Generally, though, I’m quite excited about this. Even though I didn’t quite enjoy the third season of Sherlock as much as its predecessors, there’s a lot about this season that I’m looking forward to. It’s nice to see Lindsay Duncan back, after she was underutilised last year. It’s great to see all the characters I like so much, like Molly, Mrs. Hudson, and Mary – as well as, obviously, John and Sherlock. Particularly exciting is the fact that Rachel Talalay, who is fantastic, will be directing the opening episode; I’m really looking forward to seeing her take on Sherlock.

Roll on… 2017, or whenever.

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TV Trailer Thoughts | Vixen Season 2

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Admittedly, I’m only doing this because I’m pretty sure everyone else has forgotten Vixen even exists. (Even Yahoo deleted my review of the first season! You can find another copy on my blog here, though.)

Still, I do think it’s worthwhile to talk about Vixen, if only because she’s the only WOC superhero that gets… if not her own television show, something that resembles one. And I mean, in a way, the existence of this show is the reason why we got Vixen on Arrow, and why we’re sort of getting Vixen on Legends of Tomorrow. So, as it goes, Vixen is kind of cool and all. (Besides, if there’s more buzz surrounding the actual show, that’s likely to have something of a knock-on effect, with the potential for more live action appearances in future.)

It’s nice, I guess, to see further tie-ins to the wider DC TV universe in this clip, with both Flash and Firestorm showing up to help take down Weather Wizard. I’m wary, though, of the possibility for Vixen to be overshadowed in her own programme; both Ray Palmer and Laurel Lance are going to be in subsequent episodes of Vixen, and while there is something nice about that, there remains a fairly limited amount of screentime for this show, and I wouldn’t want our TV show stars to take too much time away from a character who doesn’t really get a lot of time anyway.

This clip does also remind me of the limitations of Vixen too, of course; there’s the fact that it’s quite a short program (the above is, I imagine, about half an episode’s worth of content) but also that animation is a very… specific medium, which requires a different approach to television. It’s immediately clear with the voice acting, for example; Victor Garber is (perhaps literally) phoning his performance in, and I’m not overly impressed by Grant there either. Neither are bad actors, but voice acting is a very different skill from “normal” acting. The actual animation itself isn’t bad – a nice art style, with good representations of each character – but I’m still just a little worried about how well the show can handle emotional content, and whether or not it’ll overreach itself somewhat, in the same fashion as last year.

Still! Vixen was an entertaining enough way to spend half an hour last year, soI’ve little doubt they should be able to replicate that again this go around.

Related:

Vixen Series Review – Arrow’s Animated Adventure

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TV Trailer Thoughts | Legends of Tomorrow Season 2

legends of tomorrow season 2 dc arthur darvill caity lotz maisie richardson sellers dc arrow flash wentworth miller

This trailer leaves me with the least to say, I think, largely because it’s the one with the least new content – it’s predominantly recycled footage from last year, I suppose because Legends earlier in the filming process than the other two shows?

Anyway.

I don’t really know what to think, to be honest. For a while now I’ve had reservations about the shape of the second season of Legends, and I must admit that I’ve not really been reassured by this trailer. I kind of feel as though the best way to take advantage of the anthology format would be to really push the boat out and just go for it – I feel like the cast should have been shaken up a little more, and perhaps even the time travel aspects abandoned. Retain the “DC’s Legends of” title, and then just do whatever. DC’s Legends of the Dark, a magic and horror based series. DC’s Legends of the Universe, focusing on the intergalactic side of DC comics. Even DC’s Legends of the Multiverse, perhaps.

(I realise, obviously, that you’d need to have some continuity between series, and you can’t just completely change everything each time. My Legends of the Dark pitch does, after all, contain three characters from Legends of Tomorrow, and a further two that were already introduced on Arrow. That, in essence, is the sort of thing I had in mind.)

Even then, though, I’m not sure necessarily that repositioning the show to be about a group of time police is the best idea. I almost feel like it’s better if they have a specific, targeted aim – perhaps the defeat of Vandal Savage created a new problem (Thanagarian invasion!) that they have to deal with? I don’t know, it just feels that making these characters into, as I said, time police is perhaps changing them too far beyond their original conception, simply to ensure they still fit a premise which, honestly, they may well have outgrown.

Hmm. I’ve been quite doom and gloom about this whole thing, haven’t I? Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the first season of Legends, and I fully expect to enjoy this season too.  The above was just my immediate thoughts and initial reservations; I’ve no doubt I should be able to get past them reasonably quickly. Principally, Legends of Tomorrow is just a really fun show, and as long as they manage to keep that up, I’m willing to forgive them a lot.

On a related note, I’m a tad peeved there was no Supergirl trailer. That’s the one I was looking forward to most!

Related:

Legends of Tomorrow season 1 review

Supergirl season 1 review

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TV Trailer Thoughts | The Flash Season 3

the flash season 3 season 4 barry allen grant gustin wally west kid flash keiynan lonsdale savitar the thinker legends of tomorrow flashpoint

Cards on the table: I thought an adaptation of Flashpoint was a mistake.

Let’s just look back on my review of The Flash Season 2, because past-me articulated my stance far better than current-me would:

As for next year? I am tentatively worried. Flashpoint, to me, seems like a mistake. Primarily, there’s the fact that The Flash has been mining the Flashpoint story for a lot of imagery for a long time, taking different aspects and using them in the way that best suited the show at the time; Barry bringing Iris a video of Eddie, for example, or being electrocuted to regain his speed. That means that if they do try and use any of the more well known aspects of the Flashpoint story, then it’s going to come across as quite repetitive. (Then again, given how much of this series was just season one repackaged and repolished slightly, it’s possible that being repetitive isn’t a huge concern.)

More importantly, though, I feel like it’s moving backwards. Earlier, I mentioned how much I appreciated that The Flash was dedicated to developing each of the characters; one of the best episodes this year, The Runaway Dinosaur, was all about Barry getting past the death of his mother. It was a really poignant episode, and I think can be included as one of the best of the entire show, up there with the season one finale.

But then they threw that away just a few episodes later.

I stand by this, still; the new trailer didn’t do a lot to reassure me. (In fact, since writing that, I’ve actually grown more disinterested in the Flashpoint adaptation because I’ve read the original comic, and watched the animated movie, and found both to be quite underwhelming; they felt to me more of a string of “cool” moments and set pieces, rather than an attempt at emotional storytelling.)

Don’t get me wrong, there looks to be a lot of cool stuff here. I really enjoy alternate takes on characters I already know, and looking at parallel universe versions of them; the new timeline has the potential to be quite engaging. It looks to me at the minute as though Wally is going to be the Flash in this new dimension; while I’m not expecting him to retain these powers when the timeline is fixed, I think this is probably foreshadowing a point later on in the season when he will gain powers in the proper timeline. (I’m a little disappointed to see another speedster villain, though, and I dearly hope that this is confined solely to the flashpoint timeline; The Flash is quite heavily running the risk of getting too repetitive with speedster villains.)

Part of me is slightly concerned that what we’ve seen here is actually just an edited down version of the first episode; from the filming reports I’ve been following, it seems they’ve only recently started episode 2, which does suggest that all of this footage is simply from the premier episode. I hope that’s not the case; I kinda feel like the only thing that would bother me more than doing Flashpoint would be to rush it. It seems to me that this is something that should, at the very least, get two-parter, because 40 minutes really doesn’t feel like enough. (I’m particularly hoping to see a considerable number of scenes between Barry and his mother, because I feel that this was a crucial aspect that the original story was lacking.)

In the end, I’m still looking forward to this new season of The Flash a lot. After all, I do really love the show; while I felt that there were, perhaps, a few missteps with the second season, on the whole it remained quite fantastic. I know that it’s going to remain consistently entertaining, and to be quite honest, I’ll probably still quite enjoy the flashpoint episodes too.

It’s just that, right now, this trailer hasn’t quite convinced me, and I’m feeling just a little underwhelmed by it all.

Ah well.

Related:

The Flash Season 2 Review

What will a DC TV Flashpoint look like?

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TV Trailer Thoughts | Arrow Season 5

arrow season 5 oliver queen stephen amell mayor star city marc guggenheim beth schwartz

I have been very critical of Arrow over the past few months. (As have a lot of people, really.) In particular, I’ve called out the show for its poor treatment of female characters, and generally abysmal track record with fridging. I’ve given up on other shows for less, and I can’t say that I’m hugely confident about Arrow’s fifth season being able to improve on the precedent of sloppy characterisation and limited emotional beats that has been set across season four.

Nonetheless, I do intend to, at the very least, give it a chance. If nothing else, it should give me a degree of inspiration as to things I can write about.

So, in the flashbacks this year we’re going to be exploring Oliver’s bratva past; it’s something everyone had already clocked on to, but it’s nice to have that confirmed and see a little bit of footage from it. I’m interested to see where they take that; one of the best things about the flashbacks is when they’re tied into the present day arc. Not necessarily in terms of the actual plot, but rather thematically; when Oliver’s journey in the flashbacks directly parallels his development in the present, the writing on the show becomes ever more impressive. (This is one of the things that was sadly missing from the fourth season flashbacks, which did a lot of work to set up some interesting thematic stuff, and then… went nowhere with it. As with a lot of the interesting concepts set up by Arrow’s fourth season, really.)

In the present day, then, we’ve got Oliver training a new set of heroes. (Directly paralleling the bratva environment where you have to be entirely self-sufficient and can’t rely on others! See? So much interesting stuff you can do with that!) As it stands, I think this could be quite interesting; it’s a new role for Oliver to take, and there’s a lot of potential for that to be taken in some interesting directions. While I am quite fond of the dynamic shared between the original Arrow group, mixing it up a bit seems like a good way to keep things fresh. I’m a little wary, admittedly, of the possibility for this to be mishandled; one of the problems in Arrow season 4 was an over saturation of vigilante characters who weren’t made meaningfully distinct from one another. I do think it’s possible for Arrow to successfully have multiple vigilante characters; they just have to take care to pay attention to the characterisation of each.

I was a little disappointed not to see any clips from Oliver’s mayoral campaign, which is one of the few things I’m actually genuinely quite excited about for the new season of Arrow – I’m hoping that’s just because it doesn’t fit particularly well into a trailer, rather than because it won’t be focused on in the early episodes. Having Oliver as the Mayor would, I believe, push both the character and the show into new places, which is undeniably quite intriguing.

Another piece of news from Comic-Con that I found quite interesting, but I don’t think I can spin off into its own post, is the fact that Katie Cassidy will have a “universe regular” contract. If I’ve understood it correctly, that means she’ll have 23 appearances, spread out across Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. I’m in two minds about this: while I think it was a huge mistake to kill off the character, I don’t know that contrived excuses to bring back quasi-versions of the character through time travel, flashbacks and alternate Earth doppelgangers is necessarily going to work. I’d prefer, I think, if the show were simply to own its choices and move forward regardless, without looking back and trying to get a do-over.

That about concludes my Arrow related thoughts, in any case. Somewhat longer than expected, actually.

Related:

Arrow & the Disturbing Trend of Fridging Female Characters

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American Gods – First Trailer Released!

American Gods Logo News Trailer

The series is intended to last for several years; the first season, comprising of ten episodes, will cover the first third of the book, ending at the House on the Rock, with the second season being predominantly set at Lakeside. Neil Gaiman, who has taken an executive producer role on the series, stated that  “one of the first things that we’re doing is going we don’t have to make a TV series that only exists from Shadow’s point of view”; the story is going to be expanded, further developing each of the characters and their plotlines. Similarly, Bryan Fuller has said that “it feels like the book would be anywhere from three to four seasons”, noting that Starz has said they “want [American Gods] to last a while”. It seems that we have quite a lot to look forward to!

Also intriguing is Fuller’s comment that American Gods will focus on the “political climate and the sociological climate” of America, with commentary on the perspective of black people and of woman, as well as an episode invoking the gun control debate; the hope, Fuller says, is to use “those sort of hot-topic issues as a platform to have a conversation about faith and our role in the universe”.

I’ve written a little news roundup and reaction piece to the new trailer for American Gods, which was released at SDCC last night; I’ve also included some details which were released by Neil Gaiman and Bryan Fuller in some recent interviews.

Have to say, I’m very excited about this!

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