Doctor Who: Looking Back at 47 Days #12 – Opening Title Sequences

A few years ago, I did a series of 47 daily posts which all looked at different questions related to the revival series of Doctor Who, focusing on stuff I like about the show. I worked out a series of questions in advance and then picked one randomly for each day. I’ve decided to revisit the series to see how my opinions may or may not have changed, and to bring two of my daughters into the discussion, since they are both big fans and have recently finished watching the revival series.

Why 47?  It’s my favorite number.

Why Doctor Who?  It’s my favorite show.

Why the modern day Doctor Who only?  Simply because I remember it better.

Why are we looking back at this now? Because we’re on a 47 day countdown to November 23, the birthday of the show.

Check out Day #11 here.

When I first did this, it was September 2016, which means we were in between the Christmas episodes The Husbands of River Song and The Return of Dr. Mysterio, and were yet to debut Peter Capaldi’s last season on the show. Jodie Whittaker was even further away. How has the passage of time, evolution of opinions, and three further seasons of the program impacted my opinions?

Today is Day #12, and our theme is…

Favorite Opening Title Sequence

One of the interesting things about Doctor Who is the regularity with which it changes up its opening title sequence. Aside from some minor tweaks and adjustments, there have been five completely different title sequences that were regularly used over the twelve seasons (so far) of the revived series:

• 9th / 10th Doctor jazzed up “time tunnel” concept from Season 1-4
• 11th Doctor’s storm clouds / fiery inferno tunnel from Season 5-7 (part 1)
• 11th Doctor’s cosmic starfield and space clouds from Season 7 (part 2)
• 12th Doctor’s gears & clocks from Season 8-10
• 13th Doctor pulsating cloud from Season 11-12

Which was my favorite? Well, not just mine, but actually both of my daughters as well:

The 12th Doctor’s Opening Titles in Season 8-10

This is a different choice for me than last time, when I selected the second 11th Doctor title sequence from the second half of Season 7.

In both cases, the thing that really gets me is the fact that they incorporate the Doctor’s face in the credits. Back in the old days, this was a regular part of the show–from midway through Season 4 – all of Season 26, we always had the Doctor looking at us from the time vortex, or from space, or whatever. Then, when the show came back in 2005, that was suddenly no longer part of the show’s titles, not until 2013.

But as much as I like the way Matt Smith’s face emerges from the clouds, I have to admit that they do it better with the 12th Doctor in 2014. There’s just something about Peter Capaldi’s intense eyes floating from the stars that makes me excited for the episode that is to come.

The sequence also makes use of imagery that we’ve never seen before in the opening credits of the show–gears and clocks that provide a fresh way of looking at the show’s concept of journeying through space and time.

There are a couple of tweaks I’d probably make to it if I had been in charge, but all in all it’s a fresh and memorable way to open up what are largely a good run of episodes.

Apparently, the whole thing was based off of original work by a motion graphics creator named Billy Hanshaw, who made a concept video and shared it on Youtube, getting Steven Moffat’s attention. You can see the original work here–it’s interesting to watch.

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