Doctor Who Blog

The 2012 Timelash Awards - Part Three

Continuing our month long award ceremony for the best and worst in Who in 2011, today’s award goes to something most North American (and international) viewers really could do without…

The winner of the Most Useless Thing in Doctor Who, Ever award goes to the “saga cell” introduction to the series which now airs on versions of Doctor Who broadcast outside of Britain (as seen on Space, BBC America and elsewhere…)

On the plus side, it’s written by Steven Moffat. And I think the line “he’s from everywhere” is pretty awesome.

But let’s recap the myriad of ways this sucks:

1) Many, many North Americans have watched Doctor Who over the past 40 years and have done so without a pedantic visual aid

2) Viewers are not that stupid

3) Tying it to Amy Pond is a dreadful idea, as though the show is all about the Doctor and Amy—which it wasn’t even during the time it was broadcast. At best it’s a synopsis of Series Five

4) The Australians have been watching for even longer than North Americans—hell, they probably know the program better than the Brits—and they’re stuck with watching it!

5) And probably the thing that most offends me: It’s placed at the wrong point in the pre-credits sequence. If they used at the very top of the program, before the cold-open, like they did on Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures and non-Who shows like Battlestar Galactica it would be at simply annoying. But it commits the cardinal sin of trying to be opening narration to the greatest bit of theme music and opening credits in the history of television. This is WRONG.



Is it just in front of the latest season DVDs?  I don’t get it.  I don’t find the trailer all that offensive.  It’s a bit “yeah so what” for me as a fan… but I can see it’s purpose if played as a promo for the show or DVD to casual, semi or potential viewers.  How exactly is it used?  The clip doesn’t illuminate it for me…  and I don’t have the dvds.

Posted by Rod  on  01/11  at  04:43 PM

This intro is just after the cold open and before the opening credits on internationally broadcast Doctor Who: so it appeared on Space, on BBC America, on Australian TV, etc etc.

It thankfully isn’t on the DVD, which use the original BBC broadcast version.

Posted by Graeme  on  01/11  at  04:47 PM

Really?  WTF?  That sounds… horrid.  I wonder if there’s a youtube of it out there as a whole….  I’m morbidly curious now. 

WHY DO THAT????  Now your post makes sense to me…  it could make sense before the cold opener.  Annoying.  But semi-standard that it wouldn’t be out of place.  But before title sequence but after the prelude?  Really?

Posted by Rod  on  01/11  at  04:51 PM

we in New Zealand are also inflicted with it. It makes no sense. Dr who is not Amy Pond. And now she is departing the scene will they give the intro to the new companion or can the Dr speak for himself! ( not his style perhaps)

Posted by jeannie  on  01/11  at  05:34 PM

I gotta say, the Amy Pond intro doesn’t bother me that much.  It is kinda pointless, but I can ignore it.  Don’t know why they wasted money on it.

I find the Time-Life Howard Da Silva teasers far more annoying, because at least the one serial where I saw them used, they actually gave episode spoilers.

Posted by Kari  on  01/12  at  01:13 PM

According to comments by Moffat the trailers have been credited with increasing the ratings on BBC America, so they’re probably here to stay (though I note they didn’t do one for A Christmas Carol). I agree they should put this at the very start of the episode rather than breaking the flow from the opening teaser to the opening credits. But then we’re used to the CBC throwing a commercial break in between the final scene and closing credits anyway.

The fact they didn’t include the intro - even as a bonus feature - on the DVDs tells me one thing. That the assumption being made is that serious fans will be more interested in obtaining the “pristine” DVD/Blu-rays later rather than caring about what they actually see on broadcast. I’ve seen the same attitude expressed when shows get cut for time and the “full versions” released later, or whenever a show airs with a particularly intrusive “bug” (logo), like most US network shows that reserve the bottom right corner for not only the network logo but often some text promoting an upcoming show.

It could be argued that many viewers are too busy multitasking to notice or care about things like an opening sequence that shouldn’t be there. Those of us who are able/willing to actually focus on one thing at a time are a dying breed…

The only saving grace, as Graeme notes, is that Moffat wrote it and Karen narrated it. So at least if they had to do it, THEY did it, rather than another Da Silva scenario occurring. Or, worse, the network creating a completely new opening sequence (which has happened in the past as fans of Danger Man (aka Secret Agent) can tell you).

Posted by Alex  on  01/13  at  06:41 AM

We’ve only got the next season to put up with the saga cell (although I didn’t see it during The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe) as it is. As Jeannie has already noted, with Karen Gillan leaving, surely they will have to either a) change it to reflect the new companion(s) or b) remove it completely? Someone new to the series after Karen’s departure are going to think “I don’t recognise the voice narrating (the saga cell) and who is the redhead with the doctor?” Considering that we don’t know when Amy and Rory are leaving during the next series, are we going to have the saga cell but with completely different characters still there? It’s not going to make sense with different companion(s) because they all meet the doctor differently and not everyone ‘runs’ away with him. One would persume that Steven Moffat’s already working on the new companion(s) and their backstories, but not everyone would necessarily have a story that they would be able to put into an introduction straight away without possibly giving us spoilers as to what’s coming up. And whatever he has thought out so far could potentially change - the fourth series started off with a potential companion called Penny before Catherine Tate was approached to reprise her role of Donna.

Posted by Rachel  on  01/13  at  09:04 AM

one of my favorite series of all time!

Posted by Dan Fox  on  01/10  at  01:23 AM

out staring post

Posted by Rehmat jan  on  02/15  at  07:24 AM

The on-line world revolution has provided a higher boost for selling a trucks online without getting any heavy investments. The automotive portals over the internet offer to list your used trucks available on the market without levying any operation costs.

Posted by used trucks for sale  on  03/28  at  02:15 AM

Post a comment




Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below:

Recent Stories

Issue 172

After the anniversary : Enlightenment reviews the anniversary celebrations! Plus…

  • Michael Wisher and Philip Hinchcliffe interviewed
  • The recovered Troughton episodes
  • News and reviews

Download this issue

Issue 171

Their Secrets Revealed : The final reviews for Season 2013! Plus, in this last print issue of Enlightenment before the all-digital era begins…

  • Re-evaluating recovered episodes—you know, hypothetically…
  • The Gazetteer of Doom
  • News and reviews

Myth Makers Presents: Golden Years

Gold represents something long-lasting, something untarnished and unaffected by the passage of time. Myth Makers Presents: Golden Years celebrates the timeless elements of Doctor Who that have appealed to the show’s followers for half a century. Celebrating 50 years of Doctor Who with DWIN’s fiction anthology, Myth Makers!

An important message for DWIN members

Enlightenment will be switching to a digital only publication and membership fees will be ending. Find out more about this important change

New Doctor to be Announced LIVE on SPACE this Sunday!

Who will be the next Doctor? Find out LIVE on SPACE this Sunday at 2pm Eastern, 11am Pacific.

Is something broken?

©Doctor Who Information Network (DWIN) 2009