Yesterday was the premiere of Doctor Who‘s Series 7 opener, “Asylum of the Daleks.” What? You didn’t see it? Yeah, neither did we. The episode premiered at a special BFI screening and was attended only by British press and other notables, like former companion Perpugilliam Brown (Nicola Bryant) who crossed time streams with Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill). Multi-companion episode for the 50th? I’m in.
Since last night was the official premiere of “Asylum of the Daleks” the very first reviews are appearing online. Doctor Who TV have an early review if you’re interested, and while it doesn’t contain, “any large plot twists,” as writer Benjamin Tavener puts it, it’s not recommended for “spoilerphobes.” The overall consensus? It’s EX-CEL-LENT.
In addition to premiering the episode the Beeb has also released a bunch of new photos, revealed the titles for the two remaining unknown episodes, as well as synopses for the first three episodes – provided here courtesy of DWTV. First, the pictures,
The newly revealed titles are: Episode 4 “The Power of Three” and Episode 5 “The Angels Take Manhattan.“ Obviously, Episode 5 is what they were filming in NYC, so expect gratuitous shots of the gang in Central Park and running through the streets of the Big Apple. And the synopses for the first three episodes,
Episode 1: Asylum Of The Daleks – Kidnapped by his oldest foe, the Doctor is forced on an impossible mission – to a place even the Daleks are too terrified to enter… the Asylum. A planetary prison confining the most terrifying and insane of their kind, the Doctor and the Ponds must find an escape route. But with Amy and Rory’s relationship in meltdown, and an army of mad Daleks closing in, it is up to the Doctor to save their lives, as well as the Pond’s marriage.
Episode 2: Dinosaurs On A Spaceship – An unmanned spaceship hurtles towards certain destruction – unless the Doctor can save it, and its impossible cargo… of dinosaurs! By his side a ragtag gang of adventurers; a big game hunter, an Egyptian Queen and a surprised member of the Pond family. But little does the Doctor know there is someone else on board who will stop at nothing to keep hold of his precious, prehistoric cargo.
Episode 3: A Town Called Mercy – The Doctor gets a Stetson (and a gun!), and finds himself the reluctant Sheriff of a Western town under siege by a relentless cyborg, who goes by the name of the Gunslinger. But who is he and what does he want? The answer seems to lie with the mysterious, Kahler-Jex, an alien doctor (yes another one!) whose initial appearance is hiding a dark secret.
Who isn’t excited for “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”? I don’t believe you. It’s about DINOSAURS on a SPACESHIP. I can only imagine it’ll be fantastic, and likely a good comedic follow-up to what will surely be an intense season opener.
There’s been talk of a new opening title sequence this season and it appears it won’t only be for the season, but every episode is getting an altered opening! Bleeding Cool is reporting the “Asylum” opening title features, “the same font, it’s black with silver studs, looking all Dalek-y.” And since the tittle sequence is “regenerating “every episode expect “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” to have the logo covered in scales and so on. What do you think? Neat addition or silly change?
Lastly, BBC has reprinted a few interivews from the BFI screening with Steven Moffat, Matt Smith, Gillan, and Darvill. DWTV has the complete texts, but here’s a few choice quotes I’ved pulled out,
So it is back with a bang and with Daleks from every decade. Why did you decide to kick-off the new series with a Dalek filled episode?
[Moffat] We’ve been off the air for longer than usual, so it was an easy decision to come back with Doctor Who at its most iconic and that means Daleks. Lots and lots of scary Daleks.
There have been many monsters to face the Doctor over the years, but only one that can sum up the whole series just by being there.
Also, it’s my first go at writing for them. I LOVE the Daleks, and I’ve held off till now. But I had what I thought was a good idea, and couldn’t resist any longer!!
What are you going to miss most about the characters and Karen and Arthur?
[Moffat] Amy and Rory have been with the Doctor since I took over show, they’re part of the landscape for me. It was just traumatic to consider a future without them. Amy is everything I admired (and sometimes feared) about strong, clever, reckless women, and Rory is the man I’d like to be – so strong he never has to show it.
Karen and Arthur have become friends, and I still can’t get my head round the fact that I’ll never find them on the set again. Brilliant performers and warm and lovely people – the best of the best.
With Asylum Of The Daleks featuring Daleks from all of the decades, does Matt have any favourites?
[Smith] Absolutely! The blue and white ones from the 1960s, I think they are from the Troughton era… they are just kind of groovy, smaller but fantastic. And the lovely Barnaby (Edwards) who operates them. The day we filmed with all of those Daleks there was such an excitable atmosphere on set from cast and crew alike. It was a brilliant few days at work!
The second episode sees viewers taken on an incredible prehistoric adventure with the unusually titled Dinosaurs On A Spaceship, so what did Matt think when he first heard those four words?
[Smith] Steven, you are a genius! It’s Doctor Who in a nutshell. I have always wanted to do a dinosaur episode, he continues, so I was very pleased to get the chance. And the Director Saul (Metzstein) has done a fantastic job, with David Bradley playing a cracking villain. I think it is such a fun episode with a wonderfully crafted script by Chris Chibnall.
While the majority of the filming was done in the home of Doctor Who, Cardiff, the cast and crew found themselves in the perfect spaghetti western location of Almeria, Spain, giving Toby Whithouse’s episode 3, A Town Called Mercy, a truly authentic western feel.
[Gillan] So much fun, claims Karen, using a location that had actually been the set for other westerns made everything feel so much, well, realer. In the episode Amy Pond gets her hand on a gun, something Karen agrees that she really shouldn’t be let anywhere near. Definitely, Amy Pond should be nowhere near a gun, exclaims Karen. I remember for a previous episode I had to fire a gun with blanks, followed quickly by Rory shouting ARGHHH as though I had hit him. I completely forgot this when action was called, so when I fired and he shouted I really thought I had shot him! It was awful! In this episode when she gets hold of a gun you can see the fear on the faces of the other characters, but they weren’t acting, I genuinely think all of the actors including Matt and Arthur were in fear for their lives!
So what does Arthur think about his exit?
[Darvill] Just brilliant, he exclaims, I was really happy to go out in an episode with the Weeping Angels. They are a relatively new monster, but Steven immediately made them a classic. I think they are one of the scariest villains within Doctor Who and episode 5 is very creepy, he hints.
Whew! This is a lot of Who news, I know. And I’m only expecting more in the coming days as we near closer and closer to the BBC/BBC America premiere of Series 7. The official air date is still, baffling-ly, unannounced but most Whovians are estimating either August 25th or September 1st. Until we get that official word, what are you most excited for in Series 7?