The Underwater Menace – Story #032

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Jael’s Judgment:

One question, how are these fish people efficiently swimming? From what I can tell, aside from plastic gills, they do not have any huge physical alterations. Being a former competitive swimmer myself, I can tell you that while human beings can find ways to move fairly quickly through the water, without a different body structure and fins, they just don’t seem very efficient as a food gathering device.

Tony just showed me what these fish people look like. Terrifying if you ask me.

Near the end of the adventure, after they all make it back to the TARDIS, Jamie admits that he feels safe in the TARDIS. Oh, to be somewhere safe, where no menace can touch you. Hopefully we all know what a comforting feeling that is.

  • Story Grade: B

 

Tony’s Take:

Eight months after viewing and I can honestly say that I did NOT forget a thing remember a thing.

*checks wikipedia for notes, reads Jael’s commentary, digs for own notes, eliminates distractions by stopping Coupling from playing in the background*

Alright, I’m back.

Right, The Underwater Menace.  Jamie’s first time traveling with the Doctor… and the story is 50% missing.  The good news is that the missing episodes will be animated, but the bad news is that they were not animated in time for this blog – don;t be surprised to see revisions/double reviews in the future, as more stories are found, animated, or released.

In this story the old tale of Atlantis is played with for the first of three times in the history of the ever-expanding Doctor Who.  The most frightening thing is the idea of converting people into “fish-people”.  There is something much more scary about this compared to the idea of being converted into a cyberman.  At least with a cyberman you are essentially dead and completely different; when converted to a fish-person you are still rather human, but now have to deal with the still very real issues of living in the sea.  Giving up everything you once new on the surface and being thrown into a crazy water-world seems terrifying.

Polly still seems rather useless, but what can you expect in a story where she is not the only companion AND a female character written in the 60s.  Stick ing with the companions, I hope you like Jamie, because he’ll be sticking around for quite some time.

  • Story Grade: C
  • Not exactly a historical, not exactly pure fiction, this is a Who-take on an old tale – Atlantis.  Please, do not let science create fish people!

 

Thank you to the costume designer who created the fish person costume.  Though this is not a story on DVD yet, the still photos and partial clips make this ballet outfit look flat-out ridiculously terrifying.

See what I mean?

UW Menace

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The Tenth Planet – Story #029

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Jael’s Judgment:

Since this was the last adventure that we go on with first Doctor, it was sad to have so little of him in the story.

As far as the rest of the characters go Ben is alright. He seems resilient and energetic enough despite the melancholy we witnessed upon our first encounter with him. Polly on the other hand… I am not a fan of Polly. She offers to help in a stressful and dire situation, and all she can come up with to be useful is to make coffee. I mean, I guess coffee would help some people. It just doesn’t seem all that effective. I don’t even know how to make coffee. I would be a useless woman in the 60s. (I like that I can say “would be” since we are talking time travel and I am not restricted to “would have been.”) I miss Barbara. She wasn’t a great feminist, but she seemed more sensible and a bit tougher.

I have been having trouble relating to the TARDIS crew lately. This may be because of its high turnover rate recently. What didn’t change from the last adventure seems to be the accents. Just as I was wondering if the actor playing Cutler also played a pirate in the previous adventure, Tony speaks up asking why they are talking like pirates in the future.

The last appearance of William Hartnell brought with it the first appearance of the Cybermen. I did not realize that they came from a twin planet of earth. I guess I didn’t really know that much about them. I often forget how old this particular foe is, especially when their appearance has changed so much throughout the years. Unfortunately we do not get this first visual of the Cybermen since this is an audio only story. What I can tell you, is that they sound a little like K9.

Best, yet most bittersweet moment of this adventure? We witness the first regeneration! (Oddly enough, I do not remember anyone actually using the word regeneration.) Although this was audio only, we watched some of the footage of the regeneration. I think it was pretty good effects for back then. And even though the special effects have changed over the years, I think the subsequent regenerations have kept in pretty good tradition with this first.

  • Story Grade: C

 

Tony’s Take:

Why, oh why, does the lone episode that is missing have to be the one containing the regeneration?!  Come on BBC!  If I could go back in time to save one lone episode, I am 90% certain it’d be episode 4 of The Tenth Planet.  The good news is that the BBC and restoration team recently announced that this story would finally see a release on DVD with the last part being animated!

Since it hasn’t come out on DVD yet, this first brush with the Cybermen was all in audio form.  Audio-only stories always lack the complete feeling for me, and rightfully so, as this is a television show, not audio-drama.  Even though it was locked in to this confining medium, the story was not all bad.  Coming off a dud like The Smugglers in the story prior, this one actually got me engaged.  Maybe it’s because of such a classic “monster” like the Cybermen, maybe it’s because the story is not a historical, or maybe *gasp* it was a decent story(!).

As there are 3 episodes still remaining and there are backup telesnaps of some of the scenes, we know what the first incarnation of the Cybermen look like…

Cyberman Greendale Human Being

Exactly like a robotic version of the Greendale Human Being!!  (check out the TV show Community if you haven’t already)

By the way, the name “The Tenth Planet” is now very much out of date, since Pluto was demoted and we have 8 planets in our solar system.  Even though those in charge decided to kick Pluto out of our planet-party, I still recognize you, Pluto!  As much as scientists of today would say that this story title is wrong, I will secretly think it is right.

I have tried to tell myself not to get too long-winded, unless I have great things to say or if I can make it a great read.  As i don’t have much more, without just describing the story itself, I’ll cut myself off now.  Before I dismiss you so you can look at the generic closing of the post, heed this advice: Watch this story when it comes out on DVD!  This is historical stuff!  The end of a period (Hartnell-era) is just the epoch of a much longer era – The Great Age of Doctor Who.

(Now, don’t get me wrong, Doctor Who started at An Unearthly Child, but without this regeneration, it could have easily ended when Hartnell collapsed.)

  • Story Grade: B+
  • The costumes are fantastically terrible, a truly defining characteristic of Classic Who.  I cannot wait to revisit this story when it’s finally on video.

 

Thank you, William Hartnell.  Your time as The Doctor made for a foundation that was so strongly built that the legacy is still carried on 50 years later.  Sure, there were some duds in there, but it’s a 1960s sci-fi show in it’s infancy.  The Doctor has changed drastically over the years, but even so, there is always a small piece of Hartnell’s Doctor that lives on (maybe it’s the quirkiness, the scolding, the crankiness, or just the need to explore).

The War Machines – Story #027

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Jael’s Judgment:

Wow, what a different intro!

It’s always odd to realize that a new companion doesn’t know who the Daleks are. Especially since I know who they are. And I haven’t been on all that many adventures.  But if you ever see a little blue box fly up there in the sky, you shout for me. Oh you just shout.

They actually called him Doctor Who. I don’t like that at all. Just sounds wrong. 😦

The Royal Scientific Club, is that really a thing? And battle bots!

“When you’ve seen the ages I’ve seen, you won’t use the term quite so freely.” -Doctor in reference to Ages. No wonder the Doctor seems so exhausted, come his 9th & 10th regenerations.

  • Story Grade: B

Tony’s Take:

Ever wonder what a boxy Dalek would look like?  Wait no longer!  If you watch this story, the last full story of the First Doctor that we’ll likely ever have, you get to see these great robots in action.  The WOTAN and the War Machines are not as menacing as the Daleks, but the story holds up surprisingly well.  This is another classic sci-fi plot, human vs. robot/computer/machine.  Artificial intelligence, as we know, can be a great thing, but hopefully we also know the point at which we should stop relying on machines.

Point of note: Be on the look-out to see the actor inside of a war machine.  You’ll be able to see him clearly in the black rectangular “mouth” for a longer than desirable length (a couple long seconds).

I am sad that we will be saying goodbye to William Hartnell soon.  Sure he was crabby, old, and didn’t do a lot of acting in the last year or so, but he was the original.

  • Story Grade: B-
  • Not too bad for the first man versus machine story in Doctor Who.  The War Machines are kind of cool, in a “total rip-off of a Dalek” way.

Thank you, William Hartnell.  I mentioned that this is the last full story of his to survive in full; he will be missed.  Thank you, prop department.  you created yet another great 1960s version of an evil robot on wheels, possibly inspiring the battle-bots of today.

battlebots and war machines

The Savages – Story #026

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Jael’s Judgment:

I agree with Dodo, it is funny that the Doctor has no idea of time.

I like that the idea of life force in this adventure includes artistic abilities. Someone very unexpected once told me that creating art is good for your soul. I agree that it an essential part of being a full human being. Art can come out in so many ways, so I wouldn’t want anyone to assume I am limiting it to only painting or some other sort if physical art. But I think that it is important to be able to have that beautiful, immeasurable section of time when you are so lost in what you are doing that everything else melts away. And then to be able to share that very private part of oneself with others. It is important for your well-being.

Steven is leaving. I cannot say I’ll miss him too much, but I did not really see it coming. There’s not much time to get attached to companions over the last several stories. I wonder how much longer Dodo will be with us…

  • Story Grade: A-

 

Tony’s Take:

Ah yes, a story written by Michael Ian Black Ian Stuart Black, sorry.  This is the very common struggle in societies of old and many stories in sci-fi future; the struggle between two “races” of people, where one group believes the others are savages or lesser-beings.

Up until this point, Doctor Who was not really “in your face” with it’s message, but this story definitely hammers the point home.  In later years there will be a phase where every story is a lesson or reflects ideals (whether it’s political leanings or a reflection on current culture), so this story was a bit ahead of its time.

Jael and I live close to a Native American community (the teepee lights at night from the casino serve as a good beacon to get guests within spitting distance of our house), so this story is a brutal reminder of our nation’s dealing with the native people.  Let’s just say that I am glad that the working title of The White Savages was scrapped.  Doctor Who has enough racist, sexist, and other -ist moments in its long history, I’m glad they caught this before adding yet another to the list.

Now back to Michael Ian Black.  I understand that his comedy routine and some of his movies/TV shows might not be certain people’s cups of tea, but there is one thing that I would recommend to ANYONE…  You’re Not Doing It Right.  This book is amazingly funny, and shockingly close to real life.  I am not a book reader, but I LOVED this book.  I urge you, give this book a chance.

  • Story Grade: B-
  • Great message, wouldn’t mind actually seeing if it were ever discovered.  not a classic, but stronger than average.

 

Thank you, Michael Ian Black.  Though this isn’t the forum for such mentions, your book contains more than comedy, though it made me actually laugh out loud many times.  As far as DW thanks, I mentioned this before, but thank you to either Ian Stuart Black or the show-runner, changing the name of the story was only the right thing to do.

The Gunfighters – Story #025

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And now for a new feature on our blog:

GUEST REVIEW!!

We have selected one story from each Doctor that we would like a guest-reviewer to watch (either with us or at their own leisure), and we will include their take on our blog.  Whether they are an experienced Whovian or a complete stranger to the show, we have no qualifications other than the interest by the guest reviewer(s).

So without much more delay, as this post will probably be longer than average, I present, the world premiere of…

Guest Rev-who:

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Name:  Tony’s parents (Far left and far right – my aunt and uncle are in the middle – picture taken in the mid-90s, in a very Gunfighters-y theme)

Blog-link:  None

Can we follow them on twitter?  Nope, but every once in a while I mention them or show them on my stream (@TonyV433).

  • How do you know kroWeW?
    • “We are the creators of one half of kroWeW.”
  • When did you first experience the glory of Doctor Who?
    • “Today, February the 8th, 2013.”
  • How many stories or Doctors have you watched?
    • “None.  Next question.”
  • What is your favorite memory of Doctor Who?
    • Mom:  “We’re making memories right now.”
    • Dad:  “I have no memories.”
  • If you were a companion, where and when would be the one place you’d go?
    • Mom:  “St. Kilian (MN) church in 1965 with my grandma.”
    • Dad:  “I’d want to see King Tut being put in his tomb.  Nope!  I’d want to see the Pyramids being built.”
  • Have you already viewed the story you will be guest-reviewing?
    • “Nope!”

Now this is the point in the review that I tell you that we were staying with my parents and celebrating my dad’s birthday.  As they have teased us about Doctor Who and thought that we were weird for liking such a strange and old show, they were not exactly totally psyched to watch the story.  I asked my dad on the phone, before we went over, if he would like to participate on this blog, and told him they’d just have to give us their opinion about a “movie-length feature”.  I did not tell them that it was going to be Doctor Who until about 2 hours before we started the show.

In the meantime, we celebrated my dad’s birthday by going out to eat:

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This is the photo from the brewhouse/grill that we went in New Richmond, WI.  The place was called Brady’s Brewhouse.  (This is part of my instagram feed, shameless plug.)  After we ate, we went back and made homemade ice cream and got our review on.  So let’s hear their actual opinions…

  • Last, but most importantly, what is your review for this story?
    • “The music was unforgettable,” they said with heavy sarcasm.  “The casting was spot on!” my mom said, again with very heavy sarcasm.  “The accents were over the top and varied between comical and cringe-worthy.”
    • “Steven’s outfit was a bit YMCA,” says my dad, referencing the song by the Village People.
    • “The colors are very reminiscent of the times.”  This is a rip at the age of the story, which I quickly point out is actually younger than my dad who was celebrating his 50th (my mom is a year older than my dad, on top of it all).
    • My dad noted that he “really like the ending.”  He fell asleep for most of episode two… but don’t take this as an insult, he falls asleep at even his favorite movies.
    • My mom made some good, yet contradictory points, “There was a bit too much death and violence, though understandable for the story’s setting.  this is a kid’s show?  Wait, there was no blood, though.  the bartender should have bled out!”  Good points mom, it’s funny how they get away with violence when the graphic nature is the one piece that is censored (blood, guts, and swearing).
    • “The Doctor drank milk!  That was pretty cool,” says my dad.  Not sure if this was just an honest answer or because he is a Wisconsonite.  Either way, my mom also chimed in and agreed, probably because it teaches kids to not only drink milk, but also not to drink alcohol at a bar.  Again, she is full of contradictions, as she does not drink milk.
  • Story Grade:
    • Dad: D+  –  “It was no Gilligan’s Island!”  (thought it would have been a “sleep plus” if you asked me)
    • Mom: C  – “Could have been worse.”  (she sang the recycled song for the rest of the weekend, and may still be humming it now)

 

Jael’s Judgment:

Western meets sci-fi, and with a catchy serenade! “…in the Last Chance Saloon.”

This story mixes all of the classic elements from my childhood. So although this viewing was not with my family, (I have watched it with my father on a previous occasion) it was fitting that we watched this serial with family. In fact I do not have too much more to say. I will let Tony take the rest of this one since our guest viewers were his parents.

(I like listening to the varying American accents. One of the men is completely unsuccessful.)

  • Story Grade: B+

 

Tony’s Take:

Television shows are known to have catchy theme songs to play during their credits.  But what happens if they used a song as a them throughout the story?  Well, The Gunfighters answers this.  As I learned for an episode of Radio Free Skaro way back when, Tristram Cary penned the tune, which is very odd considering the legacy he built for himself.  Tristram was better known for his pioneering is the 1960s synthesizer movement, so for him to write this Western-inspired song and not some experimental oddity, makes this normal (albeit redundant) song the true oddity on his resume.

And now for the meat of my review, and I’ll keep it short.  I INTRODUCED MY PARENTS TO DOCTOR WHO!  What a strange feeling it was.  I was showing them a legendary show, made in the 1960s.  They were born in the 60s!  In England this would be completely backwards, but here in America, the new Who-surge makes this more of a reality than an oddity.  It was strange to see them watch this and hear them laugh and talk about it.  I think that they either took it as serious or missed the absurdity altogether.  My mom really did sing that song for the rest of the weekend, though.

It’s also strange because it seemed as if my mom took to the show more than my dad; my dad is the one who likes more of the sci-fi/nerd stuff.  My dad likes Lord of the Rings (one of the few books he actually read), he enjoys all of the Marvel movies, and like Monty Python.  My mom on the other hand dislikes British accents (odd), and would rather watch a “chick flick” than any type of “nerd movie”.

I was very excited to have my parents be the first guest-reviewers, but I just wish that we gave them a more accessible story.  Oh well, if we show them another, odds tell me that it will be a better story.

  • Story Grade: B-
  • Sure, there is no reason or tricky plot to this story, but it’s just an enjoyable romp.  The song is hilarious for it’s repetitive nature.  Think Classic Who meets Community (NBC show) – It’s like a writer/director just wanted to make a Western and built Doctor Who around it.

 

Thank you, Tristram Cary!  I need not say more.

P.S.  Jael just said, as I nearly hit “Publish” that “this is where the idea for Firefly came from!”

The Celestial Toymaker – Story #024

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Jael’s Judgment:

It is unfortunate that all we have is audio for the story where Joey the clown doesn’t speak. I also dislike being unable to see the game the Doctor is playing as I do not really understand it. As much as I enjoy listening to a good story, I will be happy to again begin enjoying the visual aspects of Doctor Who.

There are many parts of this story that make me cringe. The voice of Clara the clown for example makes me want to crush something. Yet, as frustrating or annoying as parts were, I find myself liking this story when all is said and done.

I do not mean “liking” as in all fun and happiness. Although the title of this story might, in a way, imply that. The Celestial Toy Maker. Toys, games; most people probably think of joy when they hear these words. But in all reality, games are not always fun. Sometimes they are only amusing for those in control. In this case the Toy Maker is bored, a dangerous thing for a person with power. And certainly the games in which the TARDIS crew was forced to partake were not fun for them. This is demonstrated as Steven & Dodo are only amused one at a time as the other us made fun of. It is never fun to lose control of your own life.

Among a few other more theological ideas, I feel as though this story highlights how horrible we all have the ability to be. How to ensure we are doing what is right, instead of what suits our fancy at any particular moment? There are moments where, despite the best efforts of most humans to shield ourselves from being affected by others, we all hold in our hands control over one another. I suppose we must try our best to put ourselves in the shoes of one another, to try to do what is right for each other. Unfortunately I think I am a pessimist and do not expect many to do this for each other. After all, it can be difficult and it is so easy to be lazy.

  • Story Grade: B

 

Tony’s Take:

This is one of the very few moments where I will say that I wish that I had never seen an episode of this story.  The idea and the story telling is actually quite good, however, this is the 1960s and the on screen output is not up to the same standard.  I was able to understand the game that the Doctor’s hand was playing, but the rest of the pictures in my head were far better than that lone episode that survived.  The weird part, I was imagining this story in black and white in my head, which would be very fun to see for one story in present day.

I still am amazed how well this simple story was written, it’s heavily reliant on multiple games being played by the companions and there is no weaving or heavy cliffhangers, but just a bit of good fun.  Since this story was shot on set, it was hard for the one episode to show the very dark set-up that was in my mind, but much like Warren on Radio Free Skaro says about reading the book before watching the episodes, sometimes the old shows just don’t do it justice.

  • Story Grade: B+
  • Surprisingly strong story, but probably just because my mind portrayed very cool images for the games played.  This is an audio adventure I can actually get behind!

 

Thank you, BBC, for losing 3 of the four episodes.  Thank you, brain, you thought of a very dark and interesting image for this story – maybe I should be a director!

The Time Meddler – Story #017

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Jael’s Judgment:

The adventures have started to meld into one huge, knotted up ribbon. I just had trouble remembering what story I am even supposed to be writing on. The only piece that my brain was clinging to was beards. I know that many people in the story had beards. Then, after blurting out “cranes!”making fake horns with my hands, and quite a bit of assistance from the hubs, I finally got Vikings. You would think that Scandinavian heritage and living in a state with a professional football team (even while despising football) would have made that an easier catch for me.

Anyway, so there were Vikings! One of which was named Sven. (So original.) Sven did not have a beard, instead he had a fantastic curly-que moustache.

The monk did not have a beard either. Just a monk-ish hair cut. And a little spoiler, though I am sure you will quickly recognize this, he is not a monk. In fact, big spoiler, he is from Gallifrey! It is nice to meet someone besides Susan and the Doctor from their home planet. It was also neat to see another time/space machine. It got me wondering when everyone started calling the ships TARDIS’. Susan should have gotten rights on that nickname.

Last note: I enjoyed the monks’ chanting.

  • Story Grade: B-

 

Tony’s Take:

We meet our first Time Lord that does not travel in the police-box TARDIS!  Even though they are not named Time Lords yet, we all know what The Monk and The Doctor really are, they are Time Lords from the planet Gallifrey; they both more than likely know The Master and other Time Lords we meet along the way.  Wait, why are all the men “The (Cool Mysterious Name)” and the lone woman we know of so far is just called “Susan”?!  How fair is that?!  (Right, ladies?!)  I could go back into all the -isms that Doctor Who unfortunately gets dragged through, but I’ll save that for a person with better skills with the pen than I.

Not only does my wife miss Barbara and Ian, but Vicki and The Doctor miss them… and I do too!  Steven snuck onto the TARDIS, and even after shaving his face, I still am not too keen on him.  I agree with The Doctor, “do not call (him) Doc!”  Even if it were a forgivable crime to call him Doc, Steven is boneheaded outside of the TARDIS as well; case in point, his stupid attack on a native to the Northumbria area.  Enough time on Steven already, I’ll write about him if he becomes somewhat interesting, but this is not his story.

So back to The Monk; if this were filmed today, The Monk may be an evil hipster, fooling all of the village and profiting by using a vinyl record in an anachronistic manner.  Sadly, it was not meant to be, he was just using the most readily accessible form of music media in the 1960s.  Dang, how The Doctor could be challenged today by a sly hipster Time Lord.  To quote River Song, “The mind races!”  (Sorry, couldn’t find a good video of the quote, but Lana Del Rey released one of my 10 favorite albums of 2012 and provides a great soundtrack for The Doctor and River Song.)

Wow, really got sidetracked, my bad.  Now on to a huge annoying flaw that is mentioned again and again; it’s either Steven’s dumbness shining, or a terrible mistake by the writers.  IT IS NOT THE TENTH CENTURY IF THE YEAR IS 1066!!!!  Enough said.

Let’s wrap it up now, shall we?  The Monk’s TARDIS is a newer model and the chameleon circuit still works, but The Doctor takes out the dimension circuit to render it virtually useless so that The Monk is trapped in ELEVENTH CENTURY England.

  • Story Grade: B-
  • Like that we saw another Time Lord, a very nice way to test the waters for the eventual Master character.

 

Thank you to The Monk for choosing to bring vinyl, is it this episode that hipsters grabbed a hold of and brought back vinyl?  I can neither confirm nor deny such a great observation.  Also, thank you to the writers for making Steven so unlikable in this episode, you really hammered home the point that we miss Ian and Barbara.

The Chase – Story #016

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Jael’s Judgment:

The TARDIS travelers are now the Daleks’ “greatest enemies.” That seems to be a pretty sudden start to their extremely long relationship with the Doctor. That 2nd story we tagged along for may have eventually led to the time war. We will see how it plays out, but the Doctor may only have himself to blame for now being alone in the universe.

This story was full of both audible and implied music. We start out right away with the Doctor singing as he and Barbara relax on the sand. The Beatles are shown in the British version of the story. The Daleks repetition of the words TARDIS and annihilate even sound sing-songish. Vicki’s lilting and creepy nervous laughter when the secret door opens.  What I imagine as an eerie wind singing in the background as Vicki & Ian struggle over the sand dunes.  The sea and mystery in my opinion are always musical. Here the Mary Celeste or Marie Céleste involves both! Haunting and fear in the “haunted house” also brings haunting notes to mind. Finally the actual hip background music that serenades the group as they run to the TARDIS.

I am sure that there are many more musical qualities, if not actual then at least subjective moments, that o did not mention. What I did not find musical, or not pleasing at any rate, were the fake American accents from New York and Alabama. Painful.

I cannot say I am all that sad to see Ian go. He has been quite bossy over the past few stories. And despite being a Science teacher, a profession I might think would be up for adventure, he seems very irritable and crabby. Traveling through space and time is not his cup of tea. That is aside from his sword fighting skills, which have really excelled.

Now Barbara I will miss immensely I mean, just this story we found out she loves sailing ships? I love sailing ships! Courtesy of my father, I have one that looks just like the model they used to start out the scene with the Mary Celeste.

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Ian sure blew up the Dalek’s ship quickly after landing. Now they can never go back. 😦 And I am sorry, but that cannot be the Dalek’s only ship…

  • Story Grade: B

 

Tony’s Take:

I would like to focus the majority of my blog post on the one scene that cannot be viewed in North America on a legally purchased copy native to the area…

THE BEATLES!!!

Yes, the best classical artists to ever grace the planet Earth, at least according to Vicki.  Yes Ian, “Styles change, styles change.”

Recently I began a quest, much like the idea behind this blog, to listen to EVERY one of my CDs.  Having well over a thousand albums on hand, this task is a large one, but I shall not digress further into madness.  I am currently reviewing through Blur, so that means that I have already reviewed the entirety of The Beatles box set.  As a younger person, I was never really impressed by The Beatles, I wanted to find that voice for MY generation, not my parents’ or even grandparents’ generation.  I wrote them off due to them deing from the 60s and because I thought they were mainly that pop band that existed until 1967.  Finally, within the last 5 years or so, I was able to really look at the creativity of older bands and analyze their contribution to current artists that I liked, and I found something shocking… they were better than all of my current day musical icons.

Whoa!  Hold off on the musical review, tony, fall back in line.  Let’s get back to The Beatles AND Doctor Who.  I’ll cite the Wikipedia page for the following bit of info on this magical moment that combined two of Britains most decorated masters of their medium…

  • As you may have already found out through this blog, many episodes of Doctor Who have been lost or “wiped”, as was common back in the 1960s; film isn’t cheap!  What is fascinating about this episode, though, is that this is one of the lucky Who stories to survive, while the episdoe of “Top of the Pops” that the Beatles clip was taken from was actually wiped.  So this makes the clip in Doctor Who the only surviving clip of The Beatles “performing” on “Top of the Pops”!  So you could almost say that The Doctor saved The Beatles, that his Time and Space Visualizer really worked!
  • The sour note of all of this “saving of The Beatles” is that the idea for them to actually appear on Doctor Who was scrapped by their manager, Brian Epstein.  The Beatles were to appear in the episode playing themselves, but in heavy “aging make-up”.  It may have been the only way to see The Beatles together in the (theoretical) 21st century.  As hard as it is to complain of a Beatles performance on Doctor Who, I feel a bit let down knowing the grand idea that never came to fruition.

Now please take a minute to look at the notes I wrote.  I tried to stay away from adding notes, but as I wanted to cover The Beatles, I had to revert to a few of my favorites.  Enjoy the funny links!

Favorite notes:

This must be the story where the Daleks really like to yell and repeat (TARDIS, annihilate, and exterminate are all screamed in the first half of the story).
Mohawked spandex men.  Their water was taken, apparently they are fish-like things.
The Doctor just kind of shoved the fish dude into the octopus while Barbara actually tried to help.  Kind of like George in Seinfeld (pushes women, children, and the elderly).
NEW YORK!  Complete with terrible accents.  And bad Alabama accents.
Uh oh, Daleks meet the Alabaman.  I get a real Randy Quaid vibe from him.  The New Yorker giving the tour is kind of Kramer-ish.  Hey, this story would be great if I could cast those people!!
At least they made a fun story with the real Mary Celeste ship.  Using a historical mystery and infusing it with Doctor Who… THAT’S how it’s done!
“Daleks don’t like stairs!” -Ian playing the role of captain obvious.  (I kind of miss those Daleks.)
Frankenstein is going APE on the Daleks.  Vicki was left behind, though.  No one notices that Vicki is not there?  Finally, Barbara is the one to notice.  Is this just underlying sexism at it’s best (well, actually worst)?
Mechanoids vs. Daleks: Battle Bots!!  Lots if fire and destruction.
Yay!  They made it home!  This slideshow of crazy pictures was weird, but oddly fun.  The Doctor looked in on them with the Time and Space Visualizer, and he is saddened for losing them.  At least he has Susan 2.0, I mean Vicki.
  • Story Grade: C+
  • I really like the variation in this long story.  Visiting multiple places to keep the pace up was a very nice touch for what could have been an overly long adventure.  I mentioned it in my notes, but the involvement and explanation of the Mary Celeste using Doctor Who was a nice touch; you don’t have to set the whole story there, but just use actual mysteries to intertwine Doctor Who “reality”, THAT’S how you go historical in my book.

 

Thank you to the British people for believing those RIDICULOUS American accents.  Who knew that Doctor Who was really just the launching pad for Seinfeld ab out 25 years later?!  Thank you to the group of writers and the show-runner for choosing to set this story in multiple locations, like I said, it helped the pace a lot.

The Crusade – Story #014

DW14

Jael’s Judgment:

I like to think of Barbara’s hair as a separate character. It is just so big. And longer in this episode. I’m wondering if she has extensions in again.

Anyway, on to the rest of the story. It was nice to have a few of the episodes on film even though the rest were audio only. It gave me an idea of what to imagine as we listened. Overall the story wasn’t bad. They really do minimize the element of danger that I imagine was quite present in actual earth history. But I guess that’s what you get when watching a show meant to have children in the audience.

Thus far Barbara is my favorite companion. Though Sir Ian continues to display his amazing skills with a sword. Man those science teachers in the 60s must really have had a varied skill set…

On a side note; while speaking with the Oh So Handsome Husband here, it just dawned on me how many companions I am going to have to say goodbye to. I get pretty emotionally attached to some if these characters. This could get rough.

  • Story Grade: B-

 

Tony’s Take:

I have nearly nothing to add to Jael’s review.  The combo death blow of audio-only AND historic-based story make this a snoozer for me.  OK, I’ll go back, it was actually half audio-only and half-video, as two of the four episodes remain in video form, but the video did very little for me, which is why this story gets a below average grade.

Like Jael, I am shocked at how decent a science teacher from 1960s London is with a sword.  Ian is so good with a sword that he even gets knighted!  The other bit of weirdness is the Vicki/Victor bit; she is forced to go along pretending to be a prepubescent boy, since women were treated harshly back in those times, especially when battles were being fought.  I had to laugh at the one line that Victor’s “voice has not broken yet.”  I think that this is a very British and very theatrical way of talking about puberty.  Maybe it was said this way in order to keep it above the heads of the children watching this story?

Lastly, a point is established that The Doctor does not like violence as he tries to persuade the king not to fight and take arms.  He knows this part of history, and that his request is futile, but at least he establishes himself as a man who tries to solve problems without violence.  With that being said, The Doctor is not a completely moral man, as he does his fair share of lying and stealing in this story, but it’s for the greater-good, right?

The wrap-up of the story seems a bit forced and rushed, which is odd since 4 episodes is more than enough to explain this story.

Favorite notes:

Bird noises.  No dialogue, maybe the audio CD with narration would have been a better choice than the DVD of Lost Episodes.  (Oh, harp sounds, trumpets, and drums, too.)  then the end of the episode, just like that.
And now Pat Sajak in The Wheel of Fortune!…  Where are the copyright lawyers when you need them?  The BBC should lay claims to that name.
Vicki is being suited up as a boy (though The Doctor tells one man that she is actually a girl).  The man that he told was confused by a girl dressing like a boy… sounds like people still today.
Classic “no, the other boot” trick.

  • Story Grade: D+
  • Broken record, I dislike historical stories.  Do not try to force Doctor Who into history, play with the unknown throughout history, weave The Doctor into the past, do not force him into a round hole with a TARDIS-sized peg.

 

I would like to thank my lovely wife for doing this project with me.  We are only 6% of the way through our quest, but it’s fun.

The Rescue – Story #011

DW11-12

Jael’s Judgment:

This was a short one. My review will also be short.

They sure replaced Susan quickly, and with almost exactly the same character. I like Vicki’s hair. I spent a good portion of these episodes trying to determine if Vicki’s dress was just far too short (Hey something else short!) or if she was wearing leggings. That’s about all I have for this one. I had higher hopes when I saw some previews with bug creatures. Secret doors were the best part of this story.

  • Story Grade: C+

 

Tony’s Take:

Ah, time to breath, these two-part stories are wonderful.  Sure, the plots are usually even more simple than usual, but it’s fun and the it does not allow the story enough time to feel like an eternity.

I just read Jael’s review, and it took me about 1 minute.  I agree, Susan’s departure was rather rushed and her replacement was nearly Susan 2.0; the looks, the screams, and the age all seem to point to Susan.  The new companion, Vicki, is introduced as an Earthing from the future that landed on a planet and is awaiting her rescue (henceforth the name of the story).

For being a two-episode story, the plot actually seemed well-structured and still packed with twists and turns.  I think I like this episode because of the condensed time while having the same amount of plot and story as a 4-episode arc.

Parents: Do not worry, Vicki is actually wearing pants.  The black and white nature combined with the awkward clothing choice make this wardrobe choice an unfortunate choice.  On the plus side, Vicki’s collar looks like Kermit the Frog’s, so children should be able to identify with this character.

Here are my notes:

The Doctor was SLEEPING! That’s rarely addressed, very weird to hear.
Planet Dido, they play the best adult contemporary hits. I wonder if Dido will ever collaborate with Planet Eminem, forming a multi-planet alliance called Stan.
Frilly lizard/bug dude!
The Doctor does not seem to be showing many signs of missing Barbara (if any).
Vicki’s collar looks a lot like Kermit the Frog’s.
VICKI IS FINE! SHE’S PERFECTLY ALRIGHT!
Ian nearly gets poked with “razor-sharp” swords from a wall. A silly looking growling lizard thing in a pit is waiting for him to fall.
The man staying with Vicki seems to be pleasant (SARCASM).
And Barbara shoots the weird monster thing with a cheap flare gun. Vicki is mad, because Barbara killed him without knowing that he was not going to harm them.
The rescue ship is on the way! (But we know better, right?)
The Doctor knows better, geez Vicki!
By the way, it looks as though Vicki is pantless and wearing a super short dress. Nope, she has leggings on.
Hmmm, the man vanished when The Doctor came in. Escape doors, taped voices, and spying on the sounds in the main room. This guy is up to no good.
Yep, the dude was no good and killed the entire people on the planet.
The Doctor gets in a fight and is saved by two white princes.
The white dudes scare the man away and he falls to his death. Vicki gets picked up by The Doctor, a substitute for Susan.
  • Story Grade: B
  • There are some very iconic shots and moments in this story, unfortunately they come early and late, while the middle part drags quite long.

 

Again, thank you writing team, especially in conjunction with the scheduling programmer.  As I gushed about above, the two-episode set-up is a definite positive in my eyes.