Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
We were going to try and interview Tony Lee at Thought Bubble last November because of his work on IDW's Dr Who comic line, but sadly he couldn't attend. Not that I'd read any of his stuff at that point, but then I'd not seen any of Deborah Watling's performances on Dr Who and it didn't stop me from interviewing her at Whooverville. So, whilst visiting our favourite comic shop Page 45 in Nottingham, I decided to rectify matters regarding Mr Lee's oeuvre and pick up a few collections. Okay, its all tenth Doctor, not my favourite by any means, but sometimes you just have to give these things a go.
The first one I opted to read was the stand-alone story "The Forgotten". This was partly because someone appeared to have scarpered with Volume 1 of the ongoing stuff, but partly also because its a ten Doctors story. Sort of. Finding himself in a museum dedicated (quite ego-massagingly) to himself, with no memory of how he arrived and only Martha for company, the tenth Doctor finds himself under attack and missing his memories. This gives the author a neat framing device for a series of vignettes involving each of the previous Doctors.
Some of these work better than others, particularly as each tale is acting as a clue to what is happening, with the result that sometimes the story-telling feels hampered by its own clever conceit. The Hartnell story is very slight, although there are some lovely nods to "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Aztecs" and the Tom Baker story is just odd, even if it does reference "City of Death". I must admit, I have a bit of a soft spot for Davison's encounter with the Judoon and Eccleston's visit to World War I (even if he does look like some sort of deranged, grinning serial killer throughout).
In fact, there are numerous witty, rye and touching references to huge tranches of the show's continuity, old and new, all done in a way that would not alienate new fans and might even encourage them to look further into the show's history. Some old favourites in the monster department make guest appearances, as do some frankly quite-impossible-to-pull-off-on-TV-without-causing-unintentional-hilarity new ones. The artwork is mostly good (apart from the really disturbing Eccleston and a point where Tennant goes a bit Cowboy BeBop in the sideburns department) and the choice of companions is almost spot on. Going as it does for a "best of" feel almost everywhere else, you do have to wonder why Mel & Kamelion get an appearance and I would be very interested to hear what the decision making process was behind who made it in and who didn't.
Despite having worked out one or two of the twists (playing as it did into something myself and the Prof thought might make an excellent plot point should they ever want to shoe-horn Tennant back into the show), the denouement was actually very touching and thankfully not what I was dreading from the build up. I can't be any more specific than that without giving the whole game away, so you'll just have to go and read it for yourself if you want to find out what I'm jabbering on about.
Multiple Doctor stories are incredibly difficult to do well, especially if you're trying to deal with every regeneration to date in a limited page count. "The Forgotten" manages it to pull it off, with an interesting story, a sympathetic tenth Doctor and a script where Rose's name hasn't just been crossed out and Martha's written in over the top. Once read, never forgotten...
Last night, after we'd successfully bagged another podcast (tricky blighters, these podcasts, but that one went down without much of a fight), the Prof decided to do some fact checking about female Nu-WHo directors and discovered this little oddity, which we'd never even heard of. Probably because we haven't watched Jim'll Fix It type shows since we were knee high. Okay, some of us are still knee high, but you know what I mean...
It starts off cringe-makingly awful but stick with it, there's a really nice pay-off. The monster make-up isn't that bad, either and to be fair, the guy actually delivers a better performance than some of the genuine monsters from series 2-4. Definitely a space oddity...
Saturday, March 26, 2011
So, here's a bunch of previewy, trailery stuff to get you drooling. Thank you BBC. :-)
First: a two minute sixth season(series to you Brits)Prequel courtesy of the BBC. The new series starts in April with the two parter adventure 'The Impossible Astronaut' and 'Day of the Moon.'
That's actor Stuart Milligan as the President. And a super creepy...dude(NOT the president, silly, the other dude). Ugh! Eww. I really, REALLY don't like that "monster". I'm assuming that is President Nixon - just from the disturbingly ridiculous nose and over-Nixon-y acting. Sorry, one of my pet peeves: People doing Nixon, badly. Don't try so hard! It just makes you into a cartoon. Similar to that Churchill performance. Unless you are going for the comedy angle, in which case, good job. Oh well. As long as the Doctor and his retinue are all in attendance I won't mind.
Rory better be in this more than the Christmas special. MORE RORY! Please? sir? May we have some more Rory?
It reminds me of images I've seen from a third Doctor era episode that I vaguely remember seeing, 'Ambassadors of Death'. Well, I guess I'm going to have to see it again now. Specifically it reminds me of this old promo pic for 'Ambassadors':
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Yeah, we know, we're a bunch of lazy WHOers.
Real world circumstances got in the way recently, and the good old Prof swooped in again to take up the editing mantel (so blame HIM if it's shit).
This time we review (c/o The Wheel of Who) Pertwee classic, Terror of the Autons. Gin was spilt, Sen goes off on a bit of diversion, but mostly we stick (uncharacteristically) to the plot.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Would you dedicate an entire year to sitting and watching every single Doctor Who television episode ever made, including the lost ones? I don't think I would; but then, I'm not exactly the most hard-core of Dr Who fans. I don't mind watching the ones that still exist, but having run screaming in terror after five minutes of the Shada reconstruction, I suspect that the other recons are probably not for me. But thanks to the bravery of Messers Robert Shearman (all round thoroughly nice chap who we kidnapped, er, interviewed last year) and Toby Hadoke (apparently he has a Lepidoptera problem with his knitwear), technically I no longer have to. Because they've done it for me.
And my, that's quite a weight of paper you have there. Its pretty small print as well, so its more than worth the asking price, if for no other reason than to honour the memory of the rainforests that gave their lives in its production. And there are little running men on the tops of all the pages; the ones on the right hand side even form a flickbook! Further evidence, if it were needed, that there's proper geeks behind this enterprise. Mad Norwegian ones, in fact.
The book itself is laid out like a diary, day by day, from January 1st to May 7th 2009, covering Hartnell and Troughton's tenures. Each participant gives his views on both of the episodes watched on that particular date, and occasionally a few asides about Dr Who news, conventions they're attending and life in general; Toby even manages to get married in the middle of it (but technically not in this installment). Rob is a good writer and his sections are positive, bouncy and mostly forgiving; I'm not familiar with Toby's work at all, but his sections are also witty if a little less rosy, on the whole, than Rob's.
I have to admit, I haven't read all of this book, just the sections for the episodes I've actually seen. And seeing as this volume (the first of three) covers the 1960s, that means there's an awful lot of episodes that the BBC kindly tossed in a skip, set fire to or just plain wiped. I have seen Invasion, though; I love what Cosgrove Hall did with the animated missing two parts and would dearly love to see more lost episodes resurrected this way, as would Toby. Sadly, seeing how long ago Invasion came out and there's been nothing else like it since, I suspect that's very unlikely to happen.
I don't agree with all of the opinions in there, although there's a lot that I do. Rob is right about the mistep of Roy Castle in the first Cushing movie (yes, I know its not canon, but they review both films anyway) but wrong about the TV version of Dalek Invasion Earth being better than the film (its alright, he doesn't respect me anymore since he found out I don't like Inferno, so I can say that with relative impunity).
Even having read just a teeny weeny bit of this book, I'm looking forward to the next two installments and I'm intrigued to see how they're going to divvy up the remaining Doctors between them. Stylistically, there are a few proofreading errors, but this is a small press publication and these things happen; ultimately, its still highly readable and I can't wait to fill in the gaps for the episodes I can catch up on properly on DVD, just to see whether I agree with the boys' take on the proceedings or not.
(Should you wish to follow the adventures of another pair of brave souls as they attempt this same gargantuan feat, the lovely Sue and her almost as lovely husband Neil Perryman are wading their way through everything over at the Tachyon TV site. I've never met Sue, but she must be lovely to sit through that lot. If that's not love, I don't know what is).
Friday, March 4, 2011
Safe journey, Mr. Courtney.