The past few weeks have brought us two prequels to this adventure. More than setting up plot points, they establish a few core characters are up to before we find ‘em in The Snowmen...
BBC/BBCA required some outlets (AICN included) to sign a release regarding certain elements of The Snowmen which can not be discussed in advance of this episode. At first this seemed distrustful and annoying, and I didn’t totally grasp the networks’ thinking. Now that I’ve seen The Snowmen, I’d still say they’re being a tad over-protective when all is said and done...although I do ‘get’ where they’re coming from a wee bit more. There’s definitely stuff which can be considered ‘surprises’ here...although not necessarily the “plot point” surprises many may be expecting.
In my Friday preview post about The Snowmen, I mentioned that I felt this episode was something of a ‘game changer.’ Some Docbackers posited that this statement was meant to imply some dramatic, sweeping change was going to take place...like “the Doctor is a Ganger!” or somesuch. This is not the case...that’s not how The Snowmen works at all. My ‘game changer’ comment was, simply, an allusion to factors which are already in front of us and have been for some time: The Snowmen definitely represents Steven Moffat’s very familiar brand of WHO, but revamped. My saying this isn’t a spoiler...it’s actually been quite evident via the episode’s pre-publicity throughout recent months...but many viewers have yet to connect some rather obvious dots.
So, The Snowmen is a ‘game changer’ because it is, simply, something of a reboot...or at the very least...a ‘series refresh.’ How so?
** The Doctor’s interaction with Jenna-Louise-Coleman’s character is very different than we’ve seen in previous Doctor/companion dynamics...and I would imagine their interaction may ultimately prove a divisive point for fans. No matter what does or does not happen between them in the long run, their relationship here is very clearly propelling the show into some fresh and (potentially) uncharted territory...love it or hate it.
** The new companion! What Jenna-Louise Coleman’s character means to the Doctor will also impact future proceedings profoundly.
This certainty is set up pointedly in The Snowmen. And what impacts the Doctor...impacts the show.
** The new TARDIS interior. It looks larger in this episode than it did in the publicity stills which revealed the set to us last week. Not nearly has mammoth as the TARDIS innards we’ve seen since Russell T. Davies’ 2005 reboot began...nor does it look as small as the few official images we’ve seen thus far have suggested. A change in a setting so signature to the show brings a substantive shift in several key regards (style, atmosphere, etc.) - no matter how cosmetic it may appear at face value.
** New title sequence. Far more charged and energized than we’ve seen for some time, with definite nods to “classic” WHO. Murray Gold’s new arrangement of Ron Granier's iconic theme drives harder than his past iterations, but...like the visuals around it and the TARDIS’ new control interior...most definitely recall WHOs of previous eras. I’m betting this new title sequence will eventually be seen as nicely portending the vibe of Moffat-era WHO from this juncture forward. Charged. Dissonant. Dizzying.
So, yeah. The matter of how all of this will impact upcoming WHO...and our perception of the show as a whole...is quite a bit to chew on, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what y’all have to say about all of this in the Docback below. But I want to be very clear here: I’m in no way suggesting DOCTOR WHO has suddenly become unrecongizable. You won’t have any problem finding Moffy trademarks laced throughout The Snowmen, and the show is most definitely firing on many of the same cylinders to which we've become accustomed over the last few years (there’s a fumbling Strax gag which is priceless). It does, however, feel like DW has been given a wash and a waxing and a tune-up. How smoothly it runs after that? Remains to be seen.
It’s impossible to conclude this piece without discussing Jenna-Louise Coleman, who arrives as a series regular beginning with this episode. Devastatingly attractive in her role here (almost impossibly so), she immediately and consistently commands the screen...even when she’s not doing anything worthy of particular of note. These qualities will most assuredly affect the future of Moffat-era WHO in very profound ways. Smith’s going to be forced to consistently bring his “A game” to proceedings - as JLC (and her character) are clearly challenging both the actor and his Doctor right out of the gates.
While DOCTOR WHO has always been about change, my very strong hunch is that the addition of Jenna-Louise Coleman, and her inevitable impact on Smith the actor and his Doctor as a character, may ultimately be remembered as one NuWHO’s most profound and intriguing developments. Seeing where the show goes...and doesn’t go...from here should be fascinating and discussion worthy at the very least. Which is often the case when something old suddenly becomes new again...
---- > SPOILER NOTE <----
This Docback will be considered a SPOILER FREE ZONE until the The Snowmen trasmits in the UK tomorrow afternoon.
After its UK transmit, all bets are off and SPOILERS will be allowed to (and are likely to) flow freely.
Remember...UKvians are seeing The Snowmen a number of hours before North America and elsewhere. So, if you wish to remain unsoiled regarding Snowmen details, please proceed carefully here after...say...late morning US time tomorrow (Tuesday, December 25).
PLEASE SEE SPOILER / SUBJECT LINE GUIDELINES POSTED BELOW!!
[Season / Series Seven Docbacks - MOST RECENT DOCBACK IS HIGHLIGHTED]
[SEASON / SERIES SIX DOCBACKS]
"The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" (2011 Christmas Special)
[RETRO-WHO DOCBACKS ]
"An Unearthly Child" (Story #1)
"The Daleks" (Story #2)
"The Edge of Destruction" (Story #3)
"Marco Polo" (Story #4)
"The Keys of Marinus" (Story #5)
"The Aztecs" (Story #6)
"The Sensorites" (Story #7)
"The Sensorites" (Story #7 - full DVD release)
"The Reign of Terror" (Story #8)
"Planet of Giants" (Story #9)
"Planet of Giants" (Story #9, full DVD release)
"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (Story #10)
"The Rescue" (Story #11)
"The Romans" (Story #12)
"The Crusade" (Story #14)
"The Space Museum" (Story #15)
"The Chase" (Story #16)
"The Time Meddler" (Story #17)
"Galaxy 4" (Story #18)
"Mission to the Unkonwn" (Story #19)
"The Myth Makers" (Story #20)
"The Gunfighters" (Story #25)
"The Tomb of the Cybermen" (Story #37)
"The Mind Robber" (Story #45)
"The Krotons" (Story #47)
"The Seeds of Death" (Story #48)
"Spearhead from Space" (Story #51)
"The Abassadors of Death" (Story #53)
"The Claws of Axos" (Story #57)
"The Colony in Space" (Story #58)
"The Daemons" (Story #59)
"Day of the Daleks" (Story #60) + Preview of the DotD Special Edition
"The Three Doctors" (Story #65)
"Carnival of Monsters" (Story #66)
"Death to the Daleks" (Story #72)
"The Claws of Axos" (Story #77)
"The Robots of Death" (Story #90)
"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Story #91)
"The Sun Makers" (Story #95)
"The City of Death" (Story #105)
"Nightmare of Eden" (Story #107)
"Kinda" (Story #118)
"Snakedance" (Story #125)
"The Five Doctors" (Story #129)
"The Awakening" (Story #131)
"Frontios" (Story #132)
"Resurrection of the Daleks" (Story #134)
"The Caves of Androzani" (Story #136)
"Vengeance on Varos" (Story #138)
"Time and the Rani" (Story #144)
"Paradise Towers" (Story #145) + New WHOvian Documentary / Newsbits
"Dragonfire" (Story #147)
"The Happiness Patrol" (Story #149)
"The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" (Story #151)
"Doctor Who: The Movie" (aka TVM) - McGann)
Merrick's Personal Journey With The Doctor (How Merrick Got Hooked On DOCTOR WHO)
"The Crash of the Elysium" (Manchester version - interactive DOCTOR WHO adventure)
2) matters of SPOILAGE should be handled with thoughtful consideration and sensitivity. Posts containing SPOILERS should clearly state that a SPOILER exists in its topic/headline and should never state the spoiler itself . "** SPOILER ** Regarding Rory" is OK, for example. "** SPOILER ** Battle of Zarathustra" is fine as well. " **SPOILER** Why did everyone die?" Is NOT good.
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