Remember how in August of last year the BBC released a series of webisodes, entitled “Pond Life“, in the week leading up to the premiere of season 7 of Doctor Who? Sure, you do. When you said you thought Rory and Amy’s divorce in “Asylum of the Daleks” felt ridiculously sudden and somebody told you, “Not if you watched the online prequels” you pretended you had seen them even though you somehow didn’t know about them.
Okay, I’m clearly talking about myself here and not a general “you.”
Well, anyway, the BBC is doing it again. This is the week right before season 7B or season 7.2, or whatever you want to call it, kicks off with “The Bells of Saint John” this upcoming Saturday. So, that means lots of fun new videos to whet our appetites. Llet’s take a moment to take stock of what’s come out so far:
Let’s start with the proper prequel, written by Steven Moffat and simply titled “A Prequel.” Want a glimpse into the Doctor’s current state of mind? This brilliant webisode is for you. It features a despondent Doctor simply sitting on a swing in a playground talking to a mysterious little girl. Silly thing for me when watching this is I assumed at first the Doctor was still sad about Amy and Rory. I, mean, he probably is, but, you know, “Busy life. Moving on.” I love this video, including the quintessential Steven Moffat-moment near the end.
So, we’ve done prequel. Hows ’bout a good ol flashback entitled “Demon’s Run 2 Days Later.” Remember how Strax the Sontaran returned in the recent Christmas special, “The Snowmen,” and was scene-stealingly hilarious (see: “Sir, emergency. I think I’ve been run over by a cab!”)? Of course, there was no good explanation for why he was back, though. We had last seen him in the season 6 episode “A Good Man Goes to War,” which ended with him dying. The Doctor briefly explains Strax’ return from the dead with a quick, “Another friend of mine brought him back” in response to a question from Jenna Louise-Coleman’s character.
Sure, why not. You’d assume this means Madame Vastra, the Silurian, is the “friend” to which The Doctor refers, thus explaining why Strax is now a butler to Vastra and her companion Jenny in 19th century London in “The Snowmen”. After all, they were there at the Battle of Demons Run and watched from afar as the Doctor comforted the dying Strax in “Good Man.” Well, score one for assumptions:
After “The Snowmen,” there were whispers in some corners that as billiant as Jenna Louise-Coleman was maybe the show should would have been better off breaking with tradition and running with Strax, Madame Vastra, and Jenny as the new companions. After all, a new, flirty female companion who is so mysterious? Sounds a lot like Amy Pond. I get that argument, and yet I am so enthused by what Coleman did in “The Snowmen” that I can’t wait to see more of her. She’s made me almost completely forget about Amy and Rory, which I did not expect.
I am, however, absolutely up for seeing more of Strax, Vastra, and Jenny, the most bizarre crime-fighting trio (a potato-head alien, a pre-historic lizard woman, and a 19th Century lesbian respectively) you could ever want. All three are confirmed to return in 2 of the 8 episodes comprising the second half of season 7, specifically “The Crimson Horror” (the 6th episode) and the as-yet-untitled season 7 finale (the 8th episode).
Want a further look at the new Tardis interior with possibly even a cool Fez thrown in? Well, that’s an oddly specific request, but it’s exactly what you get in “The Doctor Changes!”, which the BBC describes as a teaser to “The Bells of Saint John”:
Speaking of which, here is a new 30-second trailer for the season premiere, “The Bells of Saint John.” Raise your hand if you’re like me and every time you hear the name of the episode you can’t get “The Bells of Notre Dame” from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame out of your head? Good, I see two hands raised. Bad, that’s because I raised both of my hands.
Eagle-eyed viewers might have noted that in “The Doctor Changes” he enters the Tardis wearing a robe whereas in this new trailer we see him outside Clara’s door wearing a robe. I have no further observation to add other than that…and that I can’t wait for the new season to start on Saturday. Also, apologies to any UK-based readers of the present article who were thrown by my consistent usage of the word “season” instead of “series” since we call it “season 7” here and you “series 7” over there. Personally, I think calling it a series, as in a series of episodes, does sound kind of cooler than season.
Have a favorite moment from any of the above videos? Not fond of Strax? Still don’t get my “Bells of Notre Dame” joke? Let me know in the comments.