It’s been just about a year since it was first announced that Jodie Whittaker would be the Thirteenth Doctor and about six months since we first saw her in the role, so it’s about time BBC released a trailer for the new series. Well, during the halftime of their World Cup coverage, they did just that. A new, specially shot trailer has debuted for the new series of Doctor Who. It’s… not the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen, unfortunately. Series 11 of Doctor Who will be the first series to star Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor and the first to be written by new showrunner Chris Chibnall. It will be comprised of 10 episodes and is expected to air later this year. This first trailer shows us very little of the series, instead offering specially shot footage exclusive to this trailer and featuring no clips from any actual episodes.
The trailer is mostly comprised of shots of the new companions (played by, in the order of their appearance in the trailer, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill, and Bradley Walsh) sitting in various locations, eating and watching/listening to coverage of the World Cup. They each experience some kind of time distortion, presumably caused by the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), and look dramatically at the camera before the trailer cuts to the next person. After each of them experience their time distortion, a title card appears that reads “The Universe is Calling” and then we get a short glimpse of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor before it cuts to the title screen and the trailer is over. None of the characters speak at all; all the dialogue comes from the World Cup coverage and none of the characters actually interact with each other.
It’s not that it’s a bad trailer; it’s just terribly unexciting. I understand we’re probably still another few months away from the airdate and they don’t wanna show us too much, but they could have showed us something that actually gave us a sense of how the series might go. This trailer isn’t the first time they’ve aired a specially shot trailer for Doctor Who, featuring little-to-no footage from the series it was advertising. They did it often during the RTD era, the first Matt Smith series had one, as well as the last Peter Capaldi series. Those, at least, featured the Doctor actually speaking and interacting with their companions. They often featured hints at what monsters might appear in that series. Most of all, they actually gave viewers a sense of the tone and direction the series would go, as well as offering a first look at the dynamic between the Doctor and their companion(s). They were a really good tease in that respect. This trailer offered none of that and, for me, was far less exciting than the images from the actual series that were released by Entertainment Weekly earlier this week. Those images were a perfect tease and showed us the Doctor with her companions and I would’ve liked something that did that as this teaser.
I don’t wanna sound like a total negative Nancy. It is a really well put together teaser. The visuals are beautiful and all our main actors look great. I am still very excited for the series, but this trailer didn’t really add to that excitement (aside from making me want to see actual footage from the series more than I already did). I just wish it had actually shown us something or featured the characters actually talking or something. I mean, all the dialogue was World Cup coverage, after all. That’s disappointing. I wish it was more about the actual series instead of just a general “hey Doctor Who still exists” kind of thing. I am curious as to whether this trailer will have the desired impact on its target audience. It’s clearly aimed at a more general audience than Doctor Who fans. Between the actual content of the trailer and when it was aired, I’d suspect its target audience is casual viewers and people who have never watched the show. I worry, though, that this trailer offers nothing to entice them to actually try watching the show. I showed it to my sister, someone who doesn’t have any strong opinion on the show either way, and asked her if that trailer made her want to watch the new series. She said it didn’t; she thought the visuals were nice but that it offered very little in the way of actual information that would make her want to watch the show. I suspect that might be the case for a number of people who haven’t really watched the show. It’s a nice tease, but it doesn’t really offer much to convince someone to watch the show, and shouldn’t that have been the point of this trailer? Shouldn’t it have shown new viewers what they might expect from this new series of Doctor Who? Maybe I’m expecting too much from a teaser trailer, but it seems that it didn’t have enough to land for hardcore Doctor Who fans or more casual ones. It didn’t offer much information nor did it really give a sense of the tone or direction of the series. I’m really hoping that they debut something more satisfying at their Comic Con panel on Thursday. This isn’t an awful start, but it’s not really the bang one would’ve preferred, either. It’s more of a whisper than a bang. Which kinda sucks. I’m still excited for the new series, but this trailer just didn’t do it for me. I do like it more the more I watch it, but it’s still pretty disappointing.