So we have just had the Doctor Who Season 13 teaser trailer drop at San Diego Comic-Con@Home. A short thing, I may not be able to give you the traditional Ten Thoughts, but would Five Thoughts do you for now?
1. Return To The Catapult
The Doctor does not use guns; that's a fairly central Doctor Who rule. To the extent that she may be the only lead character in a space/sci-fi show who does not. Whenever the Doctor has used a gun in the past, it is an indication that something has gone very, very wrong. But she has, in the past, used a catapult (or a slingshot, Americans). And in the trailer to Season 13, just shown at San Diego Comic-Con@Home, that does appear to be what she is using. And it may suggest who she is using it against. Ostensibly a child's toy these days, it has been a weapon of war and, at massive size, a weapon of mass destruction. Most memorably in Doctor Who, it was used by Ace when she travelled alongside the Seventh Doctor. And most memorably in that, she used it to kill Cybermen by catapulting golden coins into their chest in Doctor Who: Silver Nemesis, gold being an early Cyberman weakness.
But it's the use against the Cybermen that most remember. Cybermen featured prominently in season twelve, is there any chance this may be an indication of their return, along with all their Cyber-prophecies in season 13? Or am I really reaching here?
2. Someone Likes Comics
Jacob Anderson is the new Doctor Who companion, Vinder, alongside Shaz and Dan. Keeping the TARDIS fam numbers at a steady four. And he does have a bit of an eighties Doctor Who rebellion red-shirts vibe about him, does he not?
Looking at Anderson's bookshelf, I see Watchmen, Sandman, and Y The Last Man, some obvious takes there…
…but is that Barry Windsor Smith's just-released Monster hardcover from Fantagraphics as well? Someone really likes comics…
3. Oh Look, A Proper Alien Planet
For a sci-fi show set across all of time and space, Doctor Who does spend a lot of time on a) contemporary Earth, especially London and Cardiff, b) on space stations that look eerily similar to each other c) alien planets that look like quarries.
These scenes suggest that maybe, just maybe, we may be getting more alien planets in Season 13, with fully-realised alien worlds and fully non-humanoid aliens as well. I seem to recall that their absence was once a Chris Chibnall criticism of "Classic Who" when young. So it could happen.
4. As The Actress Said To John Bishop
But judging by the clothes, another London-based Victorian/Edwardian historical as well. And John Bishop's Dan is being set up as the fall guy. Comedy basic.
Like, always falling and falling and falling.
5. She's Hiding Something
The trailer starts with the Doctor stepping out of the mist. The other thing we have learned about Season 13 is that it is one long story. The last time we had that was the eighties The Trial Of A Time Lord, and that was awful – with a few golden moments such as Brian Blessed and the Valeyard. Previous to that, the only thing that came close was the twelve-part The Dalek Masterplan that took up half a season because that's what they did back in the sixties. Of course, Steve Moffat wrote his entire Doctor Who like it was one story. And possibly as if Doctor Who was one long fifty-year-plus long story. But Season 13 suggests a greater emphasis on week-to-week storytelling. A strength? Or a weakness? Your mileage may vary. But it might give the opportunity for Big Questions to be Answered.
The last season exploded Doctor Who canon, returning her to the mysterious character that the Doctor began with back in 1963. Before we knew about Gallifrey, Time Lords, regeneration, sonic screwdrivers, or the like. And now we have been left in the dark again. Doctor – Who? Not a Time Lord, but from another dimension. The one who gifted regeneration to Gallifrey, but where does it come from? And what other lives did the Doctor live? And what did they all get up to? Doctor… Who? She is stepping out of the mist for a reason… Season 13 will air later this year on BBC One and BBC America. You can watch the whole panel, plus the trailer, right here. Maybe you'll have your own thoughts!
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