Doctor Who (Modern) is the 265th episode of Screen Junkies comedy series Honest Trailers. It was written by Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell, Joe Starr, Lon Harris and Riley Silverman. It was narrated by Jon Bailey as Epic Voice Guy. It parodies the modern era of the BBC sci-fi TV series Doctor Who, which has run since 2005. The video is 10 minutes 4 seconds long, making it the second longest episode of Honest Trailers ever. It has been viewed over 2.6 million times.
The Honest Trailer was published on October 9, 2018, to coincide with the TV premiere of Doctor Who season 11, starring Jodie Whittaker. It was released on the same day as another video that parodied the classic era of Doctor Who (Classic). Screen Junkies made both of these videos to honor a $10,000 donation to their Movie Fights Live Extravaganza benefiting the charity Women in Film.
"Run down your nearest hallway, pull a plan out of your arse and start spouting techno-babble like the universe depends on it." ~ Honest Trailers - Doctor Who (Modern)
From fancy PBS [BBC] comes a show that takes place anywhere in the universe, at any time in the past, present or future, where anything can happen, and none of the continuity matters (Eleven: Never, ever tell me the rules!)
Get ready for a continuation of the original series that picks up after 16 years off the air because all the British nerds who grew up with Classic Who finally got old enough to call the shots at the BBC. Now they're taking the stodgy old formula and stretching it to an hour of quirky comedy! (Sycorax: [roaring] I demand to know who you are! Ten [roaring] I don't know!), with improved (?) special effects, and enough soap opera pulp to choke a telenovela (Nine: I think you need a doctor. [Nine and Rose Tyler smooch]). ¡¿Porqué Doctor Quién?! ¡¿Porqué?!
Meet the Doctor: he's not an actual doctor but an alien who named himself that a vow (Eleven: The name I chose is the Doctor. It's like a promise you make.), even though the word "doctor" was created to describe him? (River Song: The word for healer and wise man we get that word from you, you know?). Yeah that's not the first paradox you're gonna have to swallow (Montage of characters saying "paradox.")
To fans he's a two-hearted Time Lord who hijacked a faulty TARDIS from the planet Gallifrey... who's sometimes kind of a dick (Nine: Funny little human brains! How do you get around in those things?). To the casual viewer he's a funny man with the time machine who takes ladies on adventures... who's also kind of a dick (Twelve: It's okay, I understand: you're an idiot.). Watch him travel through time equipped with a sonic screwdriver and psychic paper: two devices with the power to speed up the plot (Twelve: [pointing the sonic at a corpse] He's dead.), and the TARDIS: a time machine with the power to break when the plot needs to slow down. Maybe they'd break less he didn't keep exploding inside of it! It's just a thought.
Watch this Spatial Justice Warrior travel all around the known universe, from the streets of London, to working-class British mining towns, to the quaintest little English villages ([cute old people in a village] Amy: They're just old people. Eleven: No, they're very old people.[aliens come out of the old people's mouths]) but when the budget allows, he'll fly off to the far reaches of the CGI universe where everything is still extremely British (Eleven: Starship UK: it's Britain, but metal). I guess the sun never sets on the British Empire, err suns... all the suns (British soldiers on Mars: God save the Queen!). By his side, as always, is his trusty companion - usually a cute girl, because ratings! - who after a few seasons of adventure usually has her life ruined (Martha: And they were tortured and imprisoned: my mum, my dad, my sister...[Donna screams as Ten removes her memories])... if she's lucky (Bill and Clara, both dead). She'll follow along to keep the Doctor grounded, give him someone to talk to and act as his mostly platonic - but not always - love interest. They're basically dating without the sex. Except for Nardole. That one was purely physical (Nardole: I'm not just sexy.).
Experience a franchise that's been running for so long they built 13 re-castings of the main character into the lore, then hit that limit and pulled even more out of a crack. As each actor brings a new spin to the alien who's seen the stars but looks like he's never seen the Sun. Whether it's Eccleston, the only Doctor of the modern era to regenerate due to creative differences with the BBC; David Tennant, the unquestioned master of staring sadly into the middle distance (montage of Ten silently trembling with emotion); Matt Smith, who combined the face of a handsome 12-year-old with the wavy arms of an inflatable tube man; Peter Capaldi, who re-imagined the Doctor as your uncle who never got married and moved to Vegas in his 40s (Twelve: I was being all down with the kids there, did you notice?), or Jodie Whittaker, the first female Doctor, which no matter how she performs is one of the least outrageous things this ridiculous show has ever done (Rory's Dad: I'm riding a dinosaur on a spaceship!).
But an all powerful hero demands all powerful villains to go up against, and the Doctor has... [aliens fart and laugh] some. Because in plenty of episodes it's a lame monster of the week (Eleven: Invasion of the very small cubes!) or something invisible to save on the effects budget, or something we've seen a million times before, but an alien! Whoo! (Amy: They're not vampires; they're aliens! Amy: What is it? A minotaur or an alien? Eleven: Both. Donna: Are you saying bees are aliens? Ten: Not all of them.) Still, some evil-doers are among the best in sci-fi like: the Cybermen, emotionless robots who can only be defeated by feelings; the Master, a renegade Time Lord that considered themselves' the Doctor arch nemesis, but they're in the middle of this list, so you do the math (Missy: Thanks for trying.); the Weeping Angels, killer stone statues who get less threatening with every appearance until they're about as scary as Ghostbusters 2; the Doctor's greatest rival - Christmas [montage of multiple Christmas Special alien invasions]; and the Doctor's other greatest rival - the Daleks (Dalek: Exterminate!), fleshy blobs stuffed into cramped metal homes who spend their entire lives shouting commands at people they hate. (Dalek: Do not interrupt!) So, internet commenters? (Dalek: Hear me talk now!)
Follow along with the series-spanning arcs that will delight fans and confuse newcomers like the seasons where the world keeps ending... but just kidding! He can reverse the planets rotation like Superman; the seasons where the Doctor falls in love with his companion only to lose her for all eternity... just kidding! He'll make a copy of himself and they'll live happily ever after; the seasons where the Doctor copes with the inevitability of his own death (Twelve: I'm dying!)... JK Rowling! He'll live as long as the show needs him to (Twelve: Well, I suppose one more lifetime won't kill anyone.); or the seasons where he's haunted by the knowledge that he's triggered the genocide of his own people (Ten: Look up genocide. You'll see little picture me there.)... or maybe he's just kidding and he actually saved everyone but doesn't remember it? (Ten: You're not actually suggesting that we change our own personal history?). Sure, that'll work. Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey whatever.
So run down your nearest hallway, pull a plan ahead of your arse (Eleven: But I've got a plan! Eleven: I have got a plan. Twelve: Yeah of course I have a plan!) and start spouting techno-babble like the universe depends on it (Captain Jack: Wave of Van Cassadine energy. Donna: Macro transmission of a K-filter wavelength. Idris: Sticks it into a living receptacle and then it feeds off the remaining artron energy.), because you're about to get some of the greatest standalone episodes in sci-fi history - with a bunch of momentum killing serialization crammed in to service the die-hards. But after all is said and done, let's still try to be more like the Doctor: never cruel or cowardly (Twelve: Never be cruel, never be cowardly.). Just enjoy the ride and let Who do Who. (Judoon: [a rhinoceros-like space cop] Sco bo tro no flo jo ko fo to to! Ten: No bo ho sho ko ro to so! Bo-ko-do-zo-go-bo-fo-po-jo!) Geez, you make it hard to love you sometimes.
- [Christopher Eccleston] The Leptover;
- [Billie Piper as Rose Tyler] Bad Wolf, Bad Wolf, What you Gonna Do?;
- [Michelle Gomez as Missy] Scary Poppins;
- [John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness] Show me your Boe Face;
- [David Tennant staring into the middle distance in the rain] The Appearance of the Repeated Meme;
- [Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones] Saaaave... Martha;
- [Catherine Tate as Donna Noble] Just the Temp;
- [Matt Smith] Harry and Ron at the Same Time;
- [Peter Capaldi] 12th Angry Man;
- [Karen Gillan as Amy Pond] I Want a Girl With a Jort Skirt and a Long Jacket;
- [Alex Kingston as River Song] The Misses Frizzle;
- [Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald] Just Kinda There-a;
- [Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts] We Bill-y Knew Ye;
- [John Simm as the Master] Master of None;
- [Captain Jack, Harriet Jones, Martha Jones, Sarah-Jane] Spin Doctors;
- [The TARDIS] The Great Glass Doctorvator;
- That Time Rose was on Weakest Link (Robot host: You are the weakest link [shoots laser at contestant]);
- Oh my God, They Killed Rory, You Bastards! ([Rory gets shot] Amy: Stop it, you'll die Rory: Yeah, twice. Eleven: Sorry, Rory but you just died. Rory: The gravestone here is one with the same name as me.);
- That Thing Tennant's Voice Does (montage of Tennant's voice rising intonation);
- Every British Actor - Harry Potter Division;
- Every British Actor - Game of Thrones Division;
- Every British Actor Game of Thrones and Harry Potter Division;
- Every Other British Actor; Every British Historical Figure [Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth I, Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria, Agatha Christie, William Shakespeare];
- Extremely Long Vigils [Twelve: I will guard this body for a thousand years. Amy: 36 years, three months, four days of solitary confinement. Rory: 2000 years I've waited, you did it again. Ohila: Four and a half billion years];
- and Doctor Who (montage of characters saying "Doctor Who?").
Days of Our Lives of Future Past
Phew! That was a lot of Who to get through. It wasn't so bad. Now let's see what that Classic series is all about. (Queen Spider: The Great One is all knowing! Spider Council: All praise to the Great One!) Argh! New timeline! New timeline!
- Screen Junkies made this Honest Trailer to honor a $10,000 donation made to their Movie Fights Live Extravaganza benefiting the charity Women in Film, which ran from April - May 2018. As part of the fundraiser, Screen Junkies offered various rewards for different donations amount. The highest level of reward was the ability to pick the subject matter for an Honest Trailer, which was limited to one $10,000 donor. Screen Junkies announced they would make an Honest Trailer for literally anything the donor chose, without any conditions or qualifications. Fans of Screen Junkies had been asking for a Doctor Who Honest Trailer for several years, but the writers had previously rejected the idea due to the excessive time commitment of such an undertaking. The donor made the $10k donation on the first day of the fundraiser, requesting an Honest Trailer for the entire Doctor Who TV series, 1963 - present. Screen Junkies chose to divide the project into two videos, one for the modern era and a separate Honest Trailer for the classic era of Doctor Who. After the donation was made, various Screen Junkies employees admitted they didn't think anyone would actually make a $10k donation. They also revealed they doubted whether they would get to $10,000 in total donations.
- This Honest Trailer took 6 months to create, which is the most time invested in any Honest Trailer ever. The writers divided up the seasons between themselves: writer/producer Joe Starr watched the Eccleston and Tennant seasons, head writer/producer Spencer Gilbert watched the Smith and Capaldi seasons, and writer Lon Harris watched parts of the Capaldi era. They were guided by Doctor Who expert and comedy writer Riley Silverman.
- In the Honest Trailers Commentary, Spencer and Lon both revealed that despite their initial misgivings, they'll probably continue watching the series.
- At 10 minutes and 4 seconds long, this video was the longest episode of Honest Trailers ever at the time of publication. In 2019, the Game of Thrones Vol. 3 Honest Trailer exceeded it by 3 seconds!
- Screen Junkies have also produced Honest Trailers for several other TV series including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, the classic era of Doctor Who and many more (see list of Honest Trailers).
Honest Trailers - Doctor Who (Modern) has an 97.9% approval rating from YouTube viewers. Many reviews highlighted the Honest Trailer for respecting fans of the show and succinct illustrating the show's appeal. Egotastic declared the Honest Trailer was "hilarious" and "there's plenty here for you to chuckle at like the digs at the show's—at times—lackluster special effects." The New York Times recommended the video to anyone intimidated by the show. Slate commented that the Honest Trailer displays "the kind of begrudging affection for the show that longtime fans can appreciate, gently poking fun at its unrelenting Britishness and 'series-spanning arcs that will delight fans and confuse newcomers.' In between the jokes, however, the Honest Trailer also acts as a kind of primer to the series as a whole for novices." The Radio Times wrote that the Honest Trailer "points out all the brilliantly bizarre details that make us love the show." In the same article, the also noted that the video made them laugh, but still respected fans of the show.
Screen Rant wrote that "the Honest Trailers team point out the winning recipe of lighthearted comedy and fantastical adventure." The site also observed that this Honest Trailer "highlights the larger-than-life, apocalypse-dodging, tortured hero themes, as well as the long line line up of famous guest stars. ... The trailers also help frame why the series has gotten away with repeating similar plot lines and classic villains, such as the Daleks, Cybermen and The Master over and over. Like Star Trek, the creators focus on finding new ways to tell incredible tales that resonate with legacy fans, whiling drawing in new ones. The point is to be able to start watching at any point, and still be engaged right away."
Neatorama appreciated the Honest Trailer because they "never really understood what it [Doctor Who] was about until Screen Junkies dropped this Honest Trailer." The site also noted that the Honest Trailer demonstrated exactly why the show has had such longevity: "The show will never die, because it is set in a world that can be altered in any way for any reason, like changing the genre of the story from science fiction to comedy to romance, or to expand or contract to adjust to a changing production budget."
Production credits EditVoiceover Narration by Jon Bailey
Title Design: Robert Holtby
Edited by Kevin Williamsen and TJ Nordaker
Assistant Editor: Emin Bassavand
- Classic & Modern Doctor Who TV Shows Get Honest Trailers - ScreenRant article
- Get A Double Dose of 'Doctor Who' With This Hilarious Pair of Honest Trailers (VIDEO) - Egotastic article
- Honest Trailers for Doctor Who - Neatorama article
- Want to Understand the Entire Doctor Who Franchise? Watch These Supersized Honest Trailers. - Slate article
- This Doctor Who Honest Trailer points out all the brilliantly bizarre details that make us love the show - Radio Times article
- Doctor Who is lampooned without mercy by Honest Trailers: "Both timeless and completely out of date" - Digital Spy article
- The Doctor Who Honest Trailer Is Here to Poke Fun at Our Favorite Time Lord - The Mary Sue article
- Drake, Bad Bunny and More: Your Thursday Pop Culture Cheat Sheet - New York Times article