To See Or Not To See, That Is The Question
So, as you may have heard, first the scripts from the first five episodes, and then a work print of the actual first episode of Doctor Who leaked last week. And those fans with access to the internet (also known as “all fans”) all felt like Pandora, wondering whether or not they should take just a peek…
Now for a moment, let’s play conspiracy theory. Back when Titanic was in the planning stages, it was largely predicted it’d be a colossal failure that would make Heaven’s Gate seem like a boutique release. But then Harry Knowles got an anonymous tip (from what was certain from Cameron’s office) that there was to be a preview screening in the Twin Cities.He immediately sent out the word, and made sure the screen was packed with his readers. And lo and behonl, the reviews came back glowing, and just like that the buzz did a reversal. Contrariwise, we’ve been hearing stories that all the rumors concerning the Batman V. Superman movie have all been from a fake script, written by Kevin Smith, and deliberately leaked to throw people off the scent.
In short, people know how to manipulate the fans to get them ginned up about whatever they like. So what are the odds that this work print, missing (sorry, allegedly missing) most of the effects, in black and white, and with no new credits, was leaked out there do give the dedicated fans a look at Peter Capaldi’s portrayal of The Doctor, but in a rudimentary form that it’ll only whet their whistles to see the final version on August 23rd? Not likely…but not quite impossible.
The fans who sought out the print are doing a good job of keeping quiet, as the BBC has requested. And those who have asked to hear more don’t really want to know what happens in the story. The real question that everyone wants an answer to is, “Is it good?” More specifically, “Is HE good?” Because the various interviews Moffat has given, talking about how the show needs “an edge” and needed a change, had a lot of fans worried that the show might change so radically that it wouldn’t be fun anymore. They feared an older Doctor might remove some of the energy of the show. They don’t want to have anything spoiled, they just want to know “Is he good?”
So…is he good?
Let me tell you a story.
In 2005, word got out that the first episode of the new Doctor Who had been leaked to the internet. Indeed, some thought it may have been done deliberately to generate buzz. So I…may have sought it out, and might have tracked it down, and watched it.
It was a new guy in the role, someone quite different from the last one, but that’s no surprise, as each one is different. It was an actor with a solid resume, having played a number of quite edgy roles. “How will he be on a children’s show?” asked many people.
Well, suffice to say, he was brilliant.
His first line was only one word, three letters, but it set the tone perfectly. He was still fresh from his regeneration, and had a good scene discussing the oddness of his facial features. Things were a bit slow to build after the initial excitement, during which a knowledgeable character talked to the companion to be about the oddness and aloof nature of The Doctor, and how he was so far removed from humanity, we could never truly understand him. The baddie of the episode was a returning one from some years back, one that was only made clear who it was quite a way into the episode. You had to really know the show well to guess it, but once it was verified, oh wow did you squee. I mean, I screamed out loud from the surprise once the penny dropped.
The new Doctor got a great scene where he got to talk about his life, and his past, and it really drove home both how good an actor the guy was, and how well the writers understood the character. People were afraid that the character would change too much, but it was clear that this was the same man inside.
And oh god was he witty. Whether he was figuring out clues, or having the companion have to point things out to him, or just when he was complaining about how stupid Earthlings were, he had you laughing, even in the middle of scary moments. His accent was a bit rough to get used to – there were some moments you had to rewind and double check what the last line was. But the accent was the actor’s own, and he made it suit The Doctor perfectly, even as he joked about it.
And I spent a couple weeks trying to assure people, while never wanting to admit that I’d (if I had, of course) downloaded the episode, that the new Doctor, and the show in general, was going to be Just Fine.
And people asked “Is he good?”
And I said “Oh, yes…he’s good”.
I hope that answers your question.