Tenth Doctor: Human Nature/Family of Blood (dual review)

human-nature

Writer: Paul Cornell

Director: Charles Palmer

Producer: Susie Liggat

Companion: Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman)

Summary: The Doctor has been pursued by The Family of Blood, alien beings who possess others.  To escape them, he uses the TARDIS’s Chameleon Arch on himself, turning him human. Before doing so, he gives Martha a watch that contains all his memories. They travel to a school in the year 1913. The Doctor has once again taken the name of John Smith and is posing as a schoolmaster, while Martha is posing as a maid. But now he’s not posing as a human, the Doctor actually is human, with no knowledge of his lives as a Time Lord. He believes that by doing this, he will be able to escape the Family, but he is mistaken. The Doctor has forbidden Martha to open the watch unless it’s absolutely necessary. But will the Doctor even want to return to his old life?

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Fourth Doctor: City of Death

city-of-death

The Doctor and Romana Enjoy Paris

Writer: David Agnew (pseudonym for David Fisher, Douglas Adams, and Graham Williams)

Director: Michael Hayes

Producer: Graham Williams

Season: 17, ep. 2    No. of Episodes: 4

Companion: Romana II (Lalla Ward)

Summary: The Doctor and Romana II are taking a holiday in France. As they sit down in a restaurant, an artist tries to sketch Romana but because she notices him, the artist becomes angry and throws it away. Romana picks it up and notices that it looks like her, but her face is obscured by a broken clock face. Both the Doctor and Romana sense a distortion in time, disorienting them both.  They decide to go to the Louvre, where they experience another disorientation while looking at the Mona Lisa. They examine the painting further, and discover it’s actually a copy and there is a device on the frame. They step outside to examine it and realize it’s too advanced to be of Earth origin. A detective named Duggan sees them and leads them into a restaurant, where two thieves confiscate the device.  Duggan thinks the thieves were employed by the Doctor, but he denies it. They decide to work together and learn that the thieves are in the employ of Count Scarlioni.

Count Scarlioni is actually an alien who has been making copies of the Mona Lisa. His ship crashed on Earth and he was unable to repair it. He sent copies of himself throughout history, one even posing as Leonardo Da Vinci himself. The Doctor, Duggan, and Romana must work together to thwart his plans to distort time.

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Tenth Doctor: 42

42

Writer: Chris Chibnall

Director: Graeme Harper

Producer: Phil Collinson

Series: 3, episode 7

Companion: Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman)

Summary: The Doctor and Martha follow a distress signal emanating from  a spaceship that his hurtling into the sun. The ship has only 42 minutes before impact, and an evil spirit threatens the crew.

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Second Doctor: Power of the Daleks

power

Note: I deleted my original review of the tele-snaps of the missing episode so that I could review the actual episode. The episode will be available to purchase in January 2017, unless you pre-ordered it online.

Writers: David Whitaker and Dennis Spooner (uncredited)

Director: Christopher Barry

Producer: Innes Lloyd

Season: 4, episode 3

No. of Episodes: 6, restored with animation

Companions: Ben Jackson (Michael Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills)

Summary: The Doctor has regenerated for the first time.  Ben and Polly are distraught and confused, and Ben tries to see if this really is still the person they’ve known.  Ben tries to fit the First Doctor’s ring on his finger, but when it falls off, the Second Doctor says “I’d like to see a butterfly fit into a chrysalis case after it spreads its wings.” The new Doctor, once he is finally able to focus and compose himself, begins fiddling with the TARDIS console. It lands on the planet Vulcan (no, not the one from Star Trek. This was written before that was in Star Trek, but it didn’t air until after Star Trek had first aired.  It’s one of those weird coincidences) Upon arrival, the Doctor discovers the body of the Examiner, who was sent by the government because of a new discovery. There is also a swamp composed of mercury outside.  They enter the colony’s base and meet the governor and a scientist named Lesterson, who has discovered a capsule that was in the swamp. When they open the capsule, they find Daleks inside. The Doctor wants them destroyed, but Lesterson refuses. He’s genuinely interested in the Daleks. The Daleks claim they are servants, and are even disarmed.

While this is going on, there is a rebel faction who wants to take over the colony.  The Daleks play along, but are secretly planning to revive themselves and kill everyone in the colony, even willing to turn both factions against each other if necessary.

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Twelfth Doctor: The Return of Doctor Mysterio

doctor-mysterio

Writer: Steven Moffat

Director: Ed Bazalette

Producer: Peter Bennett

Series: 10, Christmas Special

Companion: Nardole (Matt Lucas)

Summary: The Doctor has returned to his travels, having spent 24 years with River Song before bidding her adieu for the last time. They arrive in New York City, where the Doctor meets a little boy named Grant, who is reading comic books. The Doctor points out that Superman and Clark Kent are one and the same, and the little boy recounts Spider-man’s origin. (I love how the Doctor imagines what would really happen if you got bit by a radiated spider.) He then sees that Grant can levitate, but has to get back in the TARDIS. The boy tells him he would be called “Dr. Mysterio”. Nardole is basically clowning around, so he doesn’t pay much attention.

He travels several years later, where a press conference has mobbed around a scientist, including a reporter named Lucy. Suddenly, the conference is interrupted by a superhero clad in black called The Ghost. Curious, the Doctor follows, discovering that The Ghost is in reality the same boy he met earlier, now all grown up. He’s also babysitting for Lucy, who has no idea who he really is. It’s like meeting Superman. In fact The Ghost has flight, superhuman strength, and X-ray vision. However, as he recounts to the Doctor, unlike Superman he can’t turn off the X-ray vision. “Puberty was hell”, he laments.

We learn that the scientist has in fact, been kidnapped by aliens called the Harmony Shoal. They are actually brains in jars and seek to replace every human brain with their own. The Ghost eventually learns the truth, and he, the Doctor, and Nardole team up to defeat them. All the while, the Ghost must deal with his infatuation with Lucy, who he’s known since childhood.

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Destiny of the Doctor: Smoke and Mirrors (5th Doctor and Tegan)

smoke-and-mirrors

Writer: Steve Lyons

Director: John Ainsworth

Companions: Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding, narrator), Nyssa, and Adric

Running Time: 1 hour, 7 minutes

Summary: The Doctor receives a psionic message and takes his companions to a circus in the 1920’s. There, they meet Harry Houdini, who happens to be an old friend of the Doctor’s. But an old foe is waiting for them.

Review: This was a treat. The story had all the trappings of the best Fifth Doctor stories.  I liked that it seemed as though there were off-screen adventures with Houdini that we were unaware of, and with previous Doctors to boot! Janet’s impression of the Master was spot on.  I also liked that the story was also part of Big Finish’s attempts to “fix” unfavorable companions.  Adric was actually put in a situation that played to his strengths, and he didn’t come across nearly as smug as he would on TV. Tegan didn’t seem as crass or complaining in this one, even though this was before she was eventually fired from her job in “Time-Flight”. She actually seemed like she was having fun. If this was the version we saw on TV, I might’ve believed her more in “Resurrection of the Daleks” when she said she wanted to leave because “it wasn’t fun anymore.” This story, like many of the others in this series, is a true tribute to the Davison era.

Continuity: Tegan once again fails to reach Heathrow, which was her main concern early in Davison’s era.  The Doctor mentions that his sonic screwdriver was destroyed, which happened in “The Visitation.” The Eleventh Doctor actually uses River Song’s “spoilers” catch phrase.  The Master taunts both Nyssa and Tegan about destroying Traken and killing Tegan’s aunt. Houdini mentions that the Doctor and the Master were at the academy together. Apparently, Houdini has met both the Second and Third Doctors, as he makes allusions to them and even name-drops Jo Grant.

Eighth Doctor Audio: Time of the Daleks

timedaleks

Writer: Justin Richards

Director: Nicholas Briggs

Producers: Gary Russell & Jason Haigh-Ellery

Executive Producer: Jacqueline Rayner

Companion: Charley Pollard (India Fisher)

Summary: The Doctor is perplexed when he discovers that Charley doesn’t know who William Shakespeare is. He remembers that Orson Welles also didn’t know when they met him in Invaders From Mars. They travel to futuristic Britain and discover a leader who is obsessed with Shakespeare.  Then Daleks arrive, and to everyone’s shock, they’re quoting Shakespeare! Why are they suddenly interested in the Bard? And why does no one except the Doctor and the rogue time-traveler know who he is?

Review: This one was…different. Right out the gate, I was laughing as soon as the Daleks were quoting Shakespeare. This was a good way to wrap up the arc that had been started from the beginning, but I felt cheated a bit, as it didn’t do anything to wrap up the “Dalek Empire” prelude that it supposedly was linked to. It almost seemed as if my listening to the other parts of the prelude first wasn’t necessary. It was  a fun story, even if a bit confusing.

Overall Review: 8/10

Continuity: This story is a direct sequel to Invaders From Mars and Seasons of Fear.

 

Fifth Doctor Audio: The Mutant Phase

mutant-phase

Writer and Director: Nicholas Briggs

Producers: Gary Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellery

Executive Producer: Jacqueline Rayner

Companion: Nyssa (Sarah Sutton)

Running Time: 2 hours

Summary: The Doctor and Nyssa encounter the Daleks and discover they now occupy Earth in the 22nd Century. Then they travel to the 43rd century, where a rogue Thal has discovered a paradox that could threaten the fabric time. This frightens even the Daleks. It is the Mutant Phase, an infection that could mutate them even further.

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Tenth Doctor: The Lazarus Experiment

lazarus

Writer: Stephen Greenhorn

Director: Richard Clark

Producer: Phil Collinson

Companion: Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman)

Series: 3, episode 6

Summary: The Doctor takes Martha home, intending to end their journey together. However, he hears a message on her phone about her mother meeting Professor Lazarus. Lazarus is inviting everyone to witness an experiment that will “change humanity”. This intrigues the Doctor, so he comes along. Professor Lazarus is conducting an experiment funded by the mysterious Mr. Saxon that he believes will allow him to become young again. But at what cost? And why does Martha’s mother seem to know so much about the Doctor?

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Tenth Doctor: Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks (dual review)

daleks-in-manhattan

Writer: Helen Raynor

Director: James Strong

Producer: Phil Collinson

Companion: Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman)

Series: 3, eps 4 and 5

Summary: The Doctor and Martha travel to 1930’s Manhattan. They discover the Daleks have been mutating humans into “pig-men” for menial labor.  They want to turn the Empire State Building into a satellite to contact the other Daleks.  They are the cult of Skaro, and they are attempting to evolve by experimenting on themselves and humans–creating human Daleks!

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