Confession #57: I'm Sad About Convention "Business"

Apr
23

Earlier this week I learned that not only Karen Gillan but also Matt Smith would be across town at the end of next week for a convention. My first reaction was surprise. The second was glee. The third—which has continued ever since—was dejection.

Why such a gamut? To start, I never expected such big stars to visit my adopted home town. Living in the American Midwest, I've become inured to the disadvantages of "flyover country." No one would ever have a (major studio) film opening in Chicago—the only city "important" enough to have a chance at shaking off its flyover status—let alone here in the Twin Cities. Minneapolis is not the place to go for "sightings" of film or television stars at restaurants or social hotspots du jour.

So hearing that Minneapolis Comic Con (the Wizard World run convention) had wrangled both recent Who stars (among an impressive list of others) came as a bit of a shock. That's when I started dancing in my chair. "Woo hoo!" I thought. "I could meet Matt and Karen!" The mere idea that they'd be within a half-hour drive made me giddy. While I am not one of those folks who thinks their characters were the best thing since sliced bread, I liked them both well enough, and respect Matt and Karen as actors.

The relevant weekend is fast approaching, though. I wasn't sure I'd have time, and cash is certainly in short supply lately. How much would it be just to get in the door? I knew I wouldn't go all three days, but a single day might be do-able. Those tickets range from $35-45 (currently ~£21-27). That's a little more than I'd like to spend, but I could almost justify it, to see Matt and Karen. Once I was in, though, I'd want access—after all, that's what I've come to expect at Gally. Even if I couldn't afford to get photos, I reasoned, I'd at least want autographs.

This is the point at which my little dream world began to crumble.

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Confession #56: I Want to Steer the TARDIS

Apr
16

It's a classic question asked of Doctor Who actors for decades: If you had a TARDIS, when and where would you go? I've never put much thought into it myself, for some reason, but a reader posed a variation on the question to me this week, and I thought it was worth pondering—though in this case, I'm not thinking about where I would go, given the chance, but rather where I'd like to see the Doctor and his Companions go.

The questions of time and place are intimately intertwined—it might be interesting to pop in on Vienna in the late 18th or early 19th C., for instance, but less so in, say, 1944—but I'm going to try to separate them to a degree. So first, when would I like them explore?

Over the past fifty years, we've seen the Doctor go everywhen—from the Big Bang to the end of the universe. He's been to Earth's distant past (e.g., in "The Cave of Skulls" or at the end of City of Death) and its distant future (The End of the World). He's visited contemporary Companions' near-past (Father's Day), their near-future (Fear Her), and of course their present (most of the Third Doctor's era, for a start). Then there are the off-Earth stories, whose timescales range all over the board: past or future, archaic or futuristic.

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Confession #55: I Want Another Companion Back

Apr
09

This week I put out a call for topic ideas, and one friend suggested I talk about a Companion I'd like to see return, either in the main show or in their own spin-off. "Brilliant!" I said. Interesting, I thought. How will I decide? What criteria should I use?

Going about it systematically, I should look at whose stories might be considered unfinished, or could be easily picked up again. Maybe Dodo Chaplet, Liz Shaw, Harry Sullivan, Tegan Jovanka, Grace Holloway, or even Peri Brown, whose fate is ambiguous. The actors' deaths or unwillingness to engage in the community eliminates several of those, but leaves some interesting options.

Maybe I should think in terms of who might be off doing their own Doctor-esque work these days, like Sarah Jane Smith did (or does—she's not "officially" dead (yet) in the Whoniverse!). I can envision several Companions doing their own thing, especially recent ones: Martha Jones, Rose Tyler (alt universe spin-off could work...), Ace, Nyssa (very much not Earth-based, though, which would be tricky), Jo Grant, or Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright (who, according to alt media, eventually married each other).

Then there are the possibilities provided by those left behind, on Gallifrey or elsewhere. What would stories that saw the return of Leela, Romana II, or Jenny entail? Each of these scenarios offers intriguing prospects, and everyone has their own opinions about what would work best. For me, though, there was really never any question who I'd pick; it had to be Ace.

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Confession #54: I Want More Rogue Time Lords

Apr
02

With the news of Kate O'Mara's passing this past Sunday, a little dream of mine died. Her character the Rani was one of my all-time favorite Who villains, and I'd really wanted to meet her and get her autograph. She'd been scheduled as a guest at Gally this year, but had to cancel at the last minute.

I saw many other fans also expressing their dismay at her death, most for similar reasons. We admired the character she played, her own personality, and the strength she projected in her very carriage. And I believe many of us hoped, deep down, she'd eventually return to the show.

As my own way of coping with the loss, I returned to speculation about how the Rani could be shoehorned back into the modern narrative. I've suggested before that certain baddies might return with enough plot twists, but I'm pleased with the greater feasibility of my latest scheme.

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Nu-View #17: The End of Our Beginning

Mar
26

Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways (Series One, Eps. 12-13; 2005)
Viewed 20 Mar 2014

Doctor/Companion: Nine, Rose Tyler
Stars: Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper
Preceding Story: Boom Town (Nine, Rose)
Succeeding Story: The Christmas Invasion (Ten, Rose)

    The Doctor plops himself down into a big, red comfy chair in the Diary Room, looks straight at the camera, and declares in disbelief, "You have got to be kidding!" Oh, Doctor... How could you predict my reaction to this past weekend so perfectly?

    As the Ladies sit down together to watch the final two episodes of Nine's all-too-short tenure, I'm finally happy and relaxed. I've spent a frantic week preparing to put our house back on the market, and it's finally wrapped up; the listing will go live the next day. The only downer is knowing we're saying goodbye (again) to the Doctor who started my love affair with this whole crazy show.

    We're all ready for a good time. As the TARDIS crew each settle into the games in which they've been inserted, the quips fly around the room. Trin-E and Zu-Zana use the defabricator on Jack, who then assures them, "Ladies, your viewing figures just went up."

    jA's eyes sparkle. "I'd like to be watching that channel!"

    Over with the Anne Droid, Rose's competitor Rodrick (played by Paterson Joseph, an actor whose name has popped up now and again in "who could be the next Doctor" lists) explains the most basic rules of the Game Station to her. "It's play—or die."

    "Sounds like it's play and die," corrects jE.

    When the tension rises, though, we fall mostly silent. I can't help but admire RTD's skill with a slow burn. He knows how to reveal each plot point, little by little until the audience comes to the obvious conclusion just as we're meant to. The story is lent even more gravitas by Eccleston's masterful performance. He is powerful here, a man visibly damaged by his recent history.

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