BBC has posted the "official full-length TV launch trailer" for "Doctor Who" Season 8 (embedded below), and it offers the biggest and best look yet at Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor. Let's break it down.
Beginning with a voiceover by a particularly ominous-sounding Dalek, the trailer shows glimpses of the TARDIS burning, followed by extreme close-ups of Clara and a Dalek's eye stalk. From there, we get a proper look at Capaldi's Doctor, eyes smoldering as he glances at the camera. The visuals then jump into quick cuts.
There's a cyborg man in Victorian garb; that's likely from the premiere episode "Deep Breath," which is said to include the Paternoster Gang (Vastra, Jenny, and Strax). Some kind of metal monster with glowing blue eyes is next, looking rather vicious. There's an alien with two huge eye stalks protruding forward. After a few explosions and a shot of Victorian London at night, we return to the TARDIS for a shot of the new Doctor calmly addressing Clara.
"I'm the Doctor," he says. "I've lived for over 2,000 years. I've made many mistakes. I think it's about time I did something about that." This has the feel of an episode one coda, a moment that sets the mission statement for the rest of the season. Also note that Capaldi is wearing his new "12th Doctor" garb for the first time, as seen in promotional photos. Add it up and you've got a scene from the end of the season premiere.
The Doctor and Clara, now standing at the TARDIS controls, prepare to depart.
"Where are we going?" asks Clara.
"Into darkness," replies the Doctor.
More quick cuts follow. There's a shot of Madame Vastra as she says, "Here we go again," followed by Clara falling down a very deep shaft. A huge T-Rex struts through London, the Houses of Parliament in the background. We see the briefest of glimpses of some kind of dogfight in space, as well as a medieval knight with a full face mask (a robot, maybe?) run toward the camera. The Doctor rides a horse through a city street wearing what looks like a night shirt, and then we see the cast in various action shots along with a group of Daleks visible.
"Clara, tell me," the Doctor says. "Am I a good man?"
The two of them sit side-by-side on a step in the TARDIS. Clara seems taken aback.
"I... don't know," she replies.
With that, the trailer ends.
Can you say "new direction"? With all of the hints at the new Doctor's dark intensity, the BBC is working hard to prepare us for a very different kind of hero than Matt Smith or David Tennant. Even stylistically speaking, the show seems to have a different kind of aesthetic than before. Pay close attention to how shots are framed, and the new color palette. Did you notice that the TARDIS control room is the same one Matt Smith used last season, but the soothing blue lighting has been replaced with a fiery orange hue?
Where does all this leave the Doctor's mandate to find his home world of Gallifrey, after it was lost in space and time in last year's "Day of the Doctor" 50th anniversary special? We'll have to wait and see.
"Doctor Who" returns on BBC America in the U.S. and BBC One in the U.K. on Saturday, August 23rd.