Confession #117: I Don't Want Him to Go

Dec
13

With less than two weeks left of Peter Capaldi's official tenure as the Doctor, I'm shifting gears into full-scale denial mode. I know the cyclical process of getting used to the idea of a new Doctor, learning to love them, and mourning their impending departure is as natural as the whole "circle of life," but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I find my own reaction a bit odd, really. After all, I was as excited as anyone at the prospect of the Doctor's next regeneration presenting female when Jodie Whitaker's casting was announced. I'm still excited to see her in the role. But I think my apprehension about whether or not the writers will do her justice is adding to my already massive distress over losing an incarnation I love so dearly.

Change is hard, yo.

David Tennant's Doctor giving way to Matt Smith's was my first "real time" regeneration—the first I wasn't watching well after the fact, with an established Doctor waiting for me on the other side. Although I liked Eleven just fine (with the exception of his creepy obsession with his Companions' short skirts), he never resonated with me as deeply as certain other Regenerations. Thus, when it came time for him to relinquish the TARDIS key, I wasn't as distraught.

Categories: 

Setting the Standard

Nov
22

Review of The Five Doctors (#129)
DVD Release Date: 05 Aug 08
Original Air Date: 25 Nov 1983
Doctors/Companions: Five, One, Two, Three, Four (cameo), Tegan, Turlough, Susan, the Brigadier, Sarah Jane, Romana II (cameo)
Stars: Peter Davison, Richard Hurndall, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, (Tom Baker), Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, Carole Ann Ford, Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen, (Lalla Ward)
Preceding Story: The King's Demons (Five, Tegan, Turlough, Kamelion)
Succeeding Story: Warriors of the Deep (Five, Tegan, Turlough)

With tomorrow's anniversary of the show's beginnings, I felt now would be an appropriate time to look back at a different celebration of its history. Though this year we mark fifty-four years since the show's inception, 1983 was merely twenty, and the Powers That Beeb decided they couldn't let such a large, round number go unnoticed.

Here in the post-fiftieth-anniversary era, we think of that celebration as having pulled out all the stops, but really, it was The Five Doctors that set the standard. And while, like Moffat, JNT didn't get everyone he wanted to participate, he nonetheless pulled together a remarkable cast, including—in a way—all five incarnations of the Doctor who had appeared up to that point.

While First Doctor William Hartnell had (just barely) managed perform a part in the tenth anniversary story The Three Doctors, he was already eight years dead by the time this next milestone rolled around. Rather than exclude his Doctor entirely, though, JNT simply recast Richard Hurndall in the role, much like David Bradley has taken over the same in the modern era. But much like Eccleston for the fiftieth, Tom Baker could not be convinced to reprise his own Fourth Doctor (reportedly because he thought it was too soon).

Undeterred, JNT simply used footage from the unaired story Shada (new release pending in January '18—watch this space for a review), and trapped Four and Companion Romana II in the time vortex, preventing them from joining the others in the adventure proper, without excluding them outright.

Categories: 

Confession #116: I Dig the New TARDIS Team

Nov
08

In the past week or so, several (shall we say) less-than-awesome things have been making news in Whovian circles (e.g., Nicholas Pegg getting fired from DWM, the public revelation that someone well-known in the US con community is a sexual predator, and the death of Dudley Simpson). It made me glad I had some happier news to discuss here. Sometimes it pays to be late to the game...

I'm referring, of course, to the two-and-a-half-week-old news that there will once again be a crowded TARDIS when Thirteen begins her tenure at the controls. In a press release on the official website, the BBC announced that there would be three regular cast members accompanying the Doctor on her travels (as well as someone in a "returning [recurring] role").

Even putting aside the fact that I think a larger cast can make for more interesting character interactions, and thus better stories overall, I love the way that it recalls TARDIS crews of old. When we first met the Doctor fifty-odd years ago, he traveled with his granddaughter and two humans who eventually became friends; Susan, Ian, and Barbara remain one of my favorite TARDIS teams.

Similarly, I know a lot of folks who became fans during the Fifth Doctor's run. He, too, traveled with a posse (Nyssa, Tegan, and Adric). I can't help but think that reminding those fans of their favorite era by stuffing the TARDIS with a variety of friends for the Doctor might tempt them to give this new version of the show a try, even if they've been more reluctant of late.

Of course, as someone who has been wholeheartedly on board these past three seasons anyway, I'm probably not the right person to ask about how to bring back disgruntled older-era fans. Instead, I'm going to look ahead to the coming changes and celebrate them, because I think we've got some really exciting possibilities in the works.

Categories: 

No Need to Gild the Orchid

Oct
25

Review of Black Orchid (#120)
DVD Release Date: 05 Aug 08
Original Air Date: 01 - 02 Mar 1982
Doctor/Companion: Five, Tegan Jovanka, Nyssa, Adric
Stars: Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse
Preceding Story: The Visitation (Five, Tegan, Nyssa, Adric)
Succeeding Story: Earthshock (Five, Tegan, Nyssa, Adric)

It's time to throw a little love the Fifth Doctor's way, as he is currently the most under-represented (percentage-wise) in my reviews. And, since I was short on time, why not start with a nice, quick two-parter?

Besides its length, the other advantage of delving into Black Orchid is the fact that it is a "pure historical," one in which there are no science-fictional plot elements (aside from our heroes' presence outside their own time, and the brief use of the TARDIS to hop between locations). It is, in fact, the first pure historical since the Second Doctor's second outing in The Highlanders (more than fifteen years prior), and the last to be broadcast on TV to date.

However, some have suggested that new showrunner Chris Chibnall might bring back the pure historical (an idea I wholeheartedly support). Reviewing how such a story can work—and work well—is thus a fine exercise.

Our story begins when the TARDIS brings her crew back to Earth in June of 1925, where strange things are afoot at the Cranleigh family manor. As has often happened, the TARDIS crew walk in at just the right time for a case of mistaken identity to take hold, though this time there's a twist—not only is the Doctor taken to be the anticipated replacement cricketer, but Nyssa is the spitting image of Charles Cranleigh's fiancée Ann.

Categories: 

Confession #115: I'm Considering Cutting Corners

Oct
11

My daughters have continued to expand their Doctor Who horizons in the past few months (we're currently on a Seven-and-Ace kick), which has led them to a broader awareness of my own fannish activities. The last time I mentioned some breaking guest news from Gallifrey One, for example, one of them pouted, "I really want to go to Gally..."

It dawned on me last weekend that although getting them to Gally with me is unlikely to prove financially feasible any time soon (flying roughly 2000 miles isn't cheap for one, let alone three or four—never mind the cost of lodging, food, and souvenirs), we have a local Doctor Who con (CONsole Room) where they could dip their toes into the experience.

So I wandered over to the CONsole Room site to see what the con might have in store for my girls, should we decide to go. At this early stage (we're still seven months out), there isn't a lot of detail to be had. However, there is a headliner who's been announced, and having seen her myself at Gally, I can vouch for her being a great guest: Neve McIntosh (a.k.a. Madame Vastra). I bet the girls would love her.

Except they currently have no idea who Vastra is.

Now I'm in a bit of a pickle. I have been trying hard not to force any viewing on my kids, because I want them to want to watch my favorite show, rather than to feel pressured into it, thereby enjoying it less. I've presented some options throughout the Classic/pre-Hiatus run, and let them choose among those curated offerings. My reasoning is sometimes peculiar, but so far they haven't come away disliking anything, even the more esoteric and oft-disparaged serials.

Categories: 

Pages

Subscribe to Confessions of a Neowhovian RSS
Real Time Analytics