Editorial: Big Finish’s New Ninth Doctor Chronicles

ninth finishBig Finish is a great part of Doctor Who’s “expanded universe”. It helps “fill the void” between series, when no new Doctor Who is on. I like that they’re even publishing stories featuring the Tenth Doctor, River Song, and more.

Yet there is one series of stories that I’m not comfortable with Big Finish publishing.  They’ve recently started releasing new Ninth Doctor adventures. This is actually not the first time they’ve done stories featuring the Ninth Doctor.  When Doctor Who turned 50, one of the many things Big Finish released in celebration was an eleven-part miniseries called Destiny of the Doctors, with one story for each of the eleven Doctors. These stories were all narrated by the companions. Because they could not get Billie Piper or John Barrowman, their Ninth Doctor story Night of the Whisper was entirely narrated by Nicholas Briggs. Briggs actually did a passable impression of Eccleston for the narration. I don’t mind this because it was the 50th anniversary, and Destiny of the Doctors was a celebration of every era.

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Overview: The Jon Pertwee Era (1970-1974)

third doctor

1st 3rd logo

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The Jon Pertwee Era marked the transition from black and white to color.  It brought many changes to the show’s structure, as this was the final era in which episodes were still being wiped. As a result of Troughton’s final serial “The War Games”, the Time Lords had exiled the Doctor on earth, taking away the one thing he valued most–freedom. Now, the menaces would have to come to him.

“Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know. It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.”–Planet of the Daleks

About Jon Pertwee

Pertwee was born in Chelsea, England. Acting ran in his family–his father was an actor, and his cousin Bill was in the comedy Dad’s Army. His son Sean currently plays Alfred Pennyworth on Gotham.

Pertwee was an officer in the Royal Navy and was on the survivors of the HMS Hood after it sunk during WWII. After the war, he became a well-known comedy actor.

During his tenure as the Third Doctor, Pertwee felt as though the cast and crew were a surrogate family. He saw Barry Letts as a sort of surrogate father, and John Levene saw Pertwee as a surrogate father, as his relationship with his own father was estranged at best. He even had a close friendship with Roger Delgado, the first actor to portray the Master. In fact, it was his untilmely death that led to Pertwee’s departure.

After he left Doctor Who, Pertwee continued to find work. He was in Worzel Gummridge, and voiced for SuperTed. He also appeared in video games based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. He appeared as the Doctor in two stage plays and in a never-finished fan project (he died before it could be finished).

In a Nutshell

  • Catch Phrases: “Reverse the polarity”, “Oh good grief”
  • The Pertwee Era had shorter seasons than its predecessors. Season 7 had a total of 21 episodes; and seasons 8-11 had between 25-26. From season 8 on, no episodes were over 6 parts.
  • Two openings were used during this era, for the first time ever. A colorized howlaround was used for most of the era, while the final season introduced the famous “diamond logo”, which was used the longest in the show’s history.
  • First appearance of the Autons: “Spearhead From Space”
  • First appearance of the Silurians: “The Silurians”
  • First appearance of Roger Delgado as the Master: “Terror of the Autons”
  • First appearance of Omega, First multi-Doctor story: “The Three Doctors”
  • First appearance of he Sontarans: “The Time Warrior”
  • First mention of Gallifrey by name: “The Time Warrior”

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Short Trips Vol 1: Wings of A Butterfly

short trips 1Writer/Narrator: Colin Baker

Directors: Nicholas Briggs & Ken Bentley

Producers: Nicholas Briggs & Martin Montague

Doctor: Sixth

Running Time: 19 minutes

Summary: The Doctor is visiting Gallifrey, and runs into an old friend and mentor named Duothernos. He wants him to use the TARDIS to tracel to the planet Bixor and discover why a planet that had such a rich and thriving culture has suddenly eradicated itself.

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Editorial: What Doctor Who Means to Me

Doctor Who has been going on for over 50 years. We’ve had 12 Doctors, (13 if you count John Hurt), a successful revival, countless audio dramas from Big Finish, at least three spinoffs. I’m always surprised at how long this show has lasted. Even being cancelled didn’t stop it completely. Most shows don’t bounce back after a cancellation, and if they do get revived, it doesn’t last. So why has this show lasted? Why do people like me enjoy it so much?

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Short Trips Vol 1.: The Death-Dealer

short trips 1Writer: Damien Sawyer

Directors: Nicholas Briggs & Ken Bentley

Producers: Nicholas Briggs & Martin Montague

Doctor: Fourth

Companion: Leela

Narrator: Louise Jameson

Running Time: 15 minutes

Summary: Leela and the Doctor arrive on alien planet and find a strange merchant: a merchant who literally sells death and life.

Review: I didn’t care for this one. While the concept of actually selling life and death as a commodity was an interesting one, it was far too short. In fact, this is the shortest story in the entire collection.

Overall: 3/10

 

 

 

Twelfth: Sleep No More

sleep no moreWriter: Mark Gatiss

Director: Justin Molotnikov

Producer: Nikki Wilson

Companion: Clara Oswald

Series: 9, episode 9

Summary: This episode is told in “found-footage” style, similar to movies like Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project. A space station has been invaded by strange monsters made of “sleep dust”, the dust left in your eyes when you wake up. These monsters absorb crew members into themselves. The crewmembers don’t sleep, and instead use “Morpheus Pods” to renew themselves, subjecting themselves to a state similar to sleep.

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Editorial: Unlucky 13–My Problems With Jodie Whittaker

jodie whittakerWell, it happened. A couple weeks ago, the new Doctor was announced. And it’s Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to ever play the role. And what happened? Exactly what I predicted. This is why I didn’t want a 13th Doctor. This is why I said it would kill the show. Many fans are rage quitting, although some don’t care. And Radio Times is saying “If you don’t accept her, you’re not a real fan.” (Real smooth) Some fans like myself are claiming that Doctor Who is once again caving in to pressure from special interest people and giving in to the new gender politics. Some of my fellow Christian fans of Doctor Who have considered this the final betrayal and are giving up on the show entirely. I’m conflicted myself.  As I said, I didn’t want this. But I also said I’d watch to see if I’m proven wrong.

First, let’s refute some arguments. No, I don’t have a problem with a female lead. I currently watch Bones, Supergirl, and Jessica Jones.  And one of my favorite Star Trek spin-offs was Voyager.

I also don’t mind gender swaps when they work. The Doctor Strange movie had Tilda Swinton playing The Ancient One, who was originally male in the comics. That idea wouldn’t have worked in the movie, because he was stereotypically drawn to look like the typical Asian character–Fu Man Chu mustache, yellow skin, you know the look. That would’ve led to more problems, and Swinton was up to the challenge. Voltron: Legendary Defender changed Pidge into a girl named Katie Holt, who now uses Pidge as an alias. This was fine because the original Pidge was an androgynous effeminate boy, so I think making her a tomboy works better.

No, my problem is that I perceived the Doctor’s masculinity as part of his character. To all you women who love this idea, I want to ask you something. Let’s say they rebooted the Alien movies, and had Vin Diesel playing Ellen Ripley. That would be a bad idea because the whole point of those movies is that Ellen, a woman, is saving the day instead of a man. It’d reduce the movies to a generic sci-fi action flick and nullify its significance.

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Short Trips Vol 1: A True Gentleman

short trips 1Writer: Jamie Hailstone

Directors: Nicholas Briggs and Ken Bentley

Producers: Nicholas Briggs and Martin Montague

Running Time: 25 minutes

Doctor: Third

Narrator: Katy Manning (note: Even though Katy narrates, Jo Grant does not make an appearance. This is the only story so far that does not feature one of the Doctor’s usual companions.)

Summary: The Third Doctor’s landlord recounts a chance encounter with the Doctor when he fixed his bicycle tire, and he met an interplanetary ambassador.

Review: This was a story made for the Third Doctor. I can actually see this happening to him. I can certainly see him as a heavy tipper. And I love it when the title is actually said during a story.

Overall Review: 8/10