With the 50th anniversary coming up, the Doctor Who panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 was pretty intense. There was even a spiffy trailer! Sadly we weren’t lucky enough to be there — and according to showrunner Steven Moffat, we’ll never get any future Doctor Who exclusives if somebody puts the trailer online, because they won’t exist. Say what now?
Moffat no longer has his own personal Twitter account, as he (or rather, his wife) says it was a “distraction,” so he appealed to the fans through the official Doctor Who BBC America Twitter instead:
Just a reminder that if ONE recording of the trailer goes online there will be no more #SDCC exclusives. -Moffat
— Doctor Who on BBCA (@DoctorWho_BBCA) July 21, 2013
Other attendees confirmed this, tweeting that he said something similar at the panel itself:
Now, before those of you who are more forgiving of Moffat’s tactics interject, I get that many in-person trailer introductions at conventions usually start with an obligatory “please don’t film this, just sit back and enjoy it” sort of speech. I also get that Moffat might be facing pressure from the BBC to keep the show’s content a secret — especially since so much the show’s current incarnation under Moffat is completely dependent on wild twists and turns in narrative more so than anything else, and the network knows that this translates to decent ratings.
However, threatening Doctor Who fans across the Internet by saying that the show will never come back to Comic-Con is misguided at best and insulting at worst. For one thing, it immediately vilifies the fans present at SDCC — fans who, by the way, did a pretty good job of not spoiling the end of this past season when DVDs of Season 7 were mistakenly sent out early.
It also fails to take into account the current objective of convention culture, which is first and foremost to celebrate shared interest and create buzz for upcoming projects. Sure, those who show up in person are rewarded with the chance to see these trailers earlier in a large room full of excited fans, possibly just after being delightfully accosted by Tom Hiddleston in full Asgardian regalia. That excitement no longer exists in a bubble anymore, though; it extends outward to the rest of the Internet, where everyone is watching what happens in breathless anticipation. Many companies who release trailers at Comic-Con know this and drop the same trailer online immediately afterwards to ride that hype.
My biggest problem with this threat, though, is that it’s not actually Moffat’s job to combat piracy in the first place. His job is to run the show, which is a huge undertaking in and of itself. It’s his network’s job to file DCMA claims and get offending videos on YouTube taken down, and no doubt they’ve got an entire department devoted to it already. When Moffat butts into the process this aggressively, he sounds like the head of a high school art department complaining about poor attendance in the middle of an assembly. There’s a whole office for that, dude. Let them do their thing, and you do yours.
Honestly, I can’t bring myself to be worried. If Moffat wants to believe that he holds that kind of power over the Internet, then fine. Let them skip showing exclusives for the next few years. Comic-Con is such an overstimulating spectacle that one show really wouldn’t be missed.
- Speaking of Comic Con, we’re getting a World’s Finest
- Check out the totally legal-to-watch Legend of Korra trailer
- Mythbuster Adam Savage’s Cosplay this year was a TRAP!