The Moonbase – Story #033

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Jael’s Judgement:

Again with the Cybermen. They look slightly different then our previous encounter. They sound like the smokers on the anti-smoking commercials that now need to speak through a machine at their throat. While they are creepy and scary, I find myself enjoying their condescending sarcasm. Similar to my enjoyment of the Daleks’ personalities.

“Only stupid earth brains like yours would be fooled.” -Cybermen

Since when is Ben a genius? On this adventure he speaks as if he has gone to school to be some sort of scientist. Then again, I guess next to Polly anyone would look like a genius.

Bad feminist moment of the story: Polly is told to go make coffee … again.

Good feminist moment of the story: After Ben tells Polly, “Not you, Polly, this is men’s work.” She doesn’t listen and follows Ben & Jamie anyway. Good for her.

  • Story Grade: B-

Tony’s Take:

While not the strongest story, at least the Cybermen are no longer Greendale’s mascot!  The design team either forgot how to replicate the old Cybermen, or there was a deliberate decision to actually make them look robotic.  I’d like to think that it was the latter and the realization that Doctor Who is catching on with the public – more money!

MoonbaseCybermen

Being relatively low on the intermediate level Doctor Who spectrum, I have an idea – probably not original – that the Cybermen were possibly influenced by the British coal-miners.  Their helmets look like a coal-mining helmet, and their protective suit is kind of similar to the complete jump suits that a miner would wear.

CoalMiner1

Miners Settle Strike

Am I just seeing things are is there a hint of Cybermen in these coal-men?

Going back to the story itself, I love when Doctor Who not only travels in the future (I’d choose a future adventure myself, if it were a randomly selected time), but when the story is also set in space… YAY!!  With all of these elements, I should have loved this story, especially with a classic baddie, but I didn’t.  Why?  The Cybermen’s role was rather weak, if they were compared to their future incarnations, they would be destroyed in 2 minutes and dismissed as impostors.

What this story feels like is a still relatively new show, growing daily and becoming a cult classic, but still not yet 100% confident in itself.  The first part of this story is that of a virus harming people in space/the moon, but then the show feels the need to tie the virus to a villain that they hope can become a rival – the Cybermen.  A virus in space, though similar to The Ark, could still have been a fun story to tell.  A chilling tale of the cold, emotionless murderers (or “upgraders/assimilaters”, if you are a stickler) on a moonbase would even be fine.  But trying to tie together the two plots seems a bit unfocused and takes away from the evilness of the silver foes.

With all of that seemingly negative talk, I will admit to two pieces of pure awesomeness:

  1. Jamie plays around on the moon and gets hurt… because he’s amazed at weightlessness.
  2. Seeing a classic enemy, like the Cybermen, marching on screen is never a bad thing, especially when used as a cliffhanger.
  • Story Grade: C
  • I’ll never tire of futuristic stories in space.  Even done sub-par (like this one), I still can’t help but be somewhat engaged.

Thank you, again, to the costume designers and whoever else was responsible for redesigning the men in silver.  While it was fun seeing the Cybermen as a weird race of sock-puppet and metal hoses, the newer “upgrades” are much more menacing, especially on the surface of the moon.

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The Ark – Story #023

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Jael’s Judgment:

“Everybody do the Dodo.”

These Streets lyrics keep popping into my head whenever the new companion, Dodo, is addressed by name. After a mini-whirlwind of change, we seem to have settled on some semi-permanent companions. Steven… he’s OK, but a little annoying. He does not seem to think things through. He is a bit brash. And his hair is not great. I guess I can overlook all of that. Dodo, well, also a bit rough around the edges. I can overlook that as well, because at least she is a confident woman. Plus she does participate in my favorite moment of this story:

Dodo (to the Monoid), “What do you mean? Are you up to something?”

Monoid (pauses, looks at Dodo, then over his shoulder hesitantly at a guardian, and back to Dodo), “Uhhh de no.”

Just an all around wonderful moment.

Another like for this story; the bottom of the Monoid’s costumes. Very muppety.

They never really seem to make the Doctor concerned about being recognized as a Time Lord versus a human. The Doctor even includes himself with humans, referring to the humans as “us.” I find this odd and am interested to see how this progresses as we continue on with the Doctor’s journeys.

  • Story Grade: B- (Specifically higher for the humor showing through in the Monoid character despite being entirely covered by their costume/hair.)

Tony’s Take:

Oh yes!  My programming of my wife is complete!!  Sure, I have taken Elliott Smith and Doctor Who from her, but she has in turn taken so much of my music and other media favorites.  Case in point?  THE STREETS!  Jael said that she HATED them when I first played them (or more specifically, him, Mike Skinner).  I absolutely love music, and I find three of The Streets’ albums to be top-notch LPs, from start to finish (Original Pirate Material, A Grand Don’t Come For Free, and Everything Is Borrowed).

Click the link in Jael’s write up for a link to a sampling of The Streets… and if this weren’t enough, how about Mike Skinner acting in “The Time of Angels”:

A Kiss From River

Maybe his involvement in Doctor Who helped his cause in my wife’s eyes, I don’t know, but I was beyond stoked when my two favorites (music and Who) joined forces not too long ago.

As for this story, it is very cool to see The Doctor and company visit a group of people in multiple points in their “time-stream”.  The Monoids, a one-eyed furry humanoid, are kind of cool, and it’s easy to see why they are in power when The Doctor visits years later in their story.  Having a history of racism and slavery in our country, this story is very easy to relate with.  While those who were slaves in America never switched the roles and had power over their oppressors, it’s easy to see why the monoids made this switch.

I’d strongly recommend this story, The Doctor gets to save the day, negotiate and preach peace, and make use with time in this actually time travel story.  Plus, the moment that Jael references above, the awkward monoid, is quite possibly the funniest unintentional moment in classic Who history.

  • Story Grade: B
  • A very fun story that utilizes time for one of the first times in the first Doctor’s run.  Add on top of that the ideas about racism and slavery and you have an enjoyable and deep plot.

Thank you, Doctor Who, for getting my wife to enjoy The Streets’ music with me.  Thanks also to the prop/design team, not only did you make up a great “monster” in the monoids, but the design of the Refusians is EPIC!  You can tell that a lot of money went into the design of Refusian costume.