Friday, September 12, 2008

Side Project Updates 1

classic who: the time monster / the three doctors

In the wake of the most recent season-ender for New Doctor Who and the fact that there will be no more Who until Christmas, my roomates and I have been watching our ways through the Classic Doctor Who. At this point, we're half-way through Doctor 3, John Pertwee, and into the last season of silly companion Jo Grant, so that's where I'll start our discussion.

The Time Monster is remarkably fast-paced; the old habit of having nothing happen for the first three segments of a six-segment story seems to have fallen by the wayside and been replaced with Story right off the bat. The Master is stealing ancient god-powers from Atlantis and using them to conduct time experiments in the 60s, which of course brings UNIT into the equation and gets the Doctor and Jo involved.

Overall, it's pretty neat. The monster of the title is Chronos, the Titan that apparently gave Atlantis all it's power, and manifests as a blinding-white bird-winged monster which is far cooler when all you get is an impression of it so you can't see how low the budget was, and who has a habit of knocking people out of time on the Master's command. Jo gets a little volition of her own, as well as the ability to retain information and figure things out, and it's nice to see Jo being something other than a flake who twists her ankle and gets in trouble-- I mean, she's supposed to be an agent of UNIT, right? Atlantis is apparently full of the worst actors they could find, and everyone is far too in love with hair-crimping and an aesthetic that looks like an early version of Abydos from SG1, but the Minotaur (played by original Vader sans James Earl Jones voice for extra geek points) was neat, and the sets were almost definitely borrowed from some other show because they were huge and detailed.

The Three Doctors is just silly, but in a fun way, like all the Doctor-meets-himself storylines. Doctor Three is sent by the Time Lords to fix a power-draining black hole after a weird anti-matter blob starts stealing things from Earth, and as they have their hands full with the drain, the only help they can send him comes in the form of his previous selves. Lots of bickering about who's better and how to handle the situation ensues. It's worth it to see the Doctor using his sometimes-forgotten-about telepathy and the way the Brigadier just can't handle having two Doctors around while Benton accepts it easily.

When we finally get everyone through the blackhole to an anti-universe, we get Omega (pronounced more like OO-meh-gah), who is downright funny in his overacting and his woe-is-me emo-ness, and his blobby-bubbly-crab thing henchmen. All in a gravel quarry, in high Who fashion. There is much running about, much sciencing of the fiction, everyone is separated up and then brought back together, and the Doctor(s) stops the villain with a trick, not a weapon, though it amounts to the same.

Cute, and fun, and again Jo gets some better writing, but definitely more silly then good, and a prime example of how you have to watch Classic Who for the rediculousness sometimes, like watching old movies that might wind up on MST3K.

comics: the collected ninth doctor stories

I recently got my hands on a copy of these stories, and they were charming. The art was a little weird sometimes, but you could always see the Christopher Eccleston-ness of the Doctor, and Rose always looked distinctively Rose-like. They defeated villains, they ran about, they inspired people, they saved the world and they saved individuals, they bantered and they cared about each other and it was a perfect collection to remind me why I liked the first season of Nu Who so much. The Ninth Doctor was war-scarred and darker then the previous eight (except maybe six; I've only seen a little of him, so I can't judge just yet), but he was also silly and mouthy and really in love with the Universe, and he really really cared about Rose, and all of that comes through perfectly.

up next:

Later tonight after Atlantis airs, we'll have the weekly round-up, and then we'll see what happens as we wait for Roundup 2!

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