Doctor Who was new on Christmas Day in more ways than one. The titular Time Lord got a new world view, a new kick in the pants, a new companion, a new interior for his TARDIS — and a new title sequence.
Who’s the phantom face at 0:17, right after Jenna-Louise Coleman’s name and just before the show’s title logo? It’s definitely not the Doctor’s new companion … I also didn’t really think it was the Doctor at first, as it looked more than a little like Madame Vastra, but now after repeated viewings I’m fairly certain it is Matt Smith’s visage. This is appropriate as for much of the classic British sci-fi show’s tenure, the Doctor’s face (in various forms) featured prominently in many of the series’ famous title sequences. A nice nod to the show’s history going into its 50th anniversary celebration in 2013.
Some other thoughts: The “vortex” effect is a lot more dynamic than any since the show returned in 2005 after 16 years off the air. It’s less linear and vastly more epic, although near the end it more closely resembles recent opening sequences. There’s also a more “alien” tinge to the theme tune in places, and the intro starts and ends with the TARDIS — in fact, it segues from the title card to the episode itself by having the blue police box approach the screen and open its doors onto the week’s new adventure. I think it’s another nice anniversary touch to highlight that there really is no greater vehicle for time-space adventure than Doctor Who, on television or elsewhere.
I believe there are other phantoms in the visual vortex, but they flash by quickly and appear to be little more than blobs. What have you seen? I can’t help but wonder whether there are clues to future adventures, or perhaps keys to many of the show’s ongoing mysteries. Please share your finds or theories in the comments below!