Series eight of BBC’s venerable sci-fi adventure Doctor Who is well on the way to our TV screens. We recently learned that the new episodes—the first two of which are directed by Kill List helmer Ben Wheatley—won’t start until August 23, but that’s not going to stop Whovians from getting excited in advance. While Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor did appear in the last Christmas special, we won’t get a proper introduction to the man, or the alien as the case may be, until the new chapters drop. To hype his introduction, as well as a tonal shift, BBC has released a short new teaser that should get you even more pumped up.
The thing that we have heard most about this new incarnation of the Time Lord is that he will be much darker and more somber, a definite departure from the human cartoon of the last version. When you tag in an actor like Capaldi to replace an actor like Matt Smith, that’s going to be an inevitable side effect, they’re so very, very different. But when you add a filmmaker like Wheatley to the mix, a man known for bleak, twisted genre mash ups, you’re making a real statement right off the blocks.
This video may be short, but it does a good job illustrating this new arrangement. With the flames, explosions, and the sinister voice of an unseen enemy telling the time jumping protagonist “I see into your soul,” that doesn’t exactly indicate happy warm and fuzzy times in store. As he’s being electrocuted, you even get a glimpse of the two hearts that beat inside of his chest. Capaldi’s interpretation of the beloved character promises to be more complex take on the character, full of all of the good you’re used to seeing, the “beauty” and “divinity” you expect, but also the darkness, the “hatred” the voice speaks of. In the wake of recent events, this should be an interesting jaunt.
The last teaser follows a similar trajectory as the latest offering. Ominous imagery sets the tone, but it is the words that do the heavy lifting. You see the Doctor wondering out loud, asking if he is in fact a good man or something else. Driving this point home, his latest companion, Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman), says that she doesn’t know anymore. These doubts, this uncertainty, look to be the basis for a more melancholy approach to the character. After Matt Smith and David Tennant back-to-back, it is going to be interesting to see how fans react to this change in atmosphere and direction.