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Author Topic: Old Doctor Who  (Read 20085 times)

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Detonator

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2008, 10:30:08 PM »

We'll see.  I hate to censor myself, but I'm also looking for work at places that might frown on my politics.

You could always try to sneak it through by creating a  :wat: - esque persona, and hope they don't grasp satire well.
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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2008, 04:18:51 PM »

T THAD, OR REALLY ANYONE ELSE WHO CARES.

Okay, so you might have brought this up at some point on the old boards or in the thread about the new Doctor Who, but as I've never done much more than skim them (as with most threads not entirely jiving with my interests) I wouldn't be aware.  Except hey, I finally got around to starting into Series 27 or Season 1 or DW05 or whatever the fuck the reboot is commonly called and .. I have basically no knowledge about Doctor Who aside from what I've picked up here or there.  I knew about the last of the Time Lords thing, I know he's got an antagonist called The Master, and I know a smidge about Daleks and that's about it.  Is there anything I can or should watch that would help prime me a little more for the new stuff?  Or just interesting older episodes that are relevant to a newbie more focused on the new stuff?  I'm being extremely entertained as is, but I like to know the roots of the shit I get into.
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2008, 04:35:24 PM »

Old Pyoko Thread and current thread have lengthier reviews, but in general:

Genesis of the Daleks may be the best place to start.  It's got the Fourth Doctor, Daleks, Davros, and Sarah Jane, and is probably the definitive Dalek story and a damn fine Terry Nation arc.

The other Dalek serial I'd recommend is their first appearance, the First Doctor serial appropriately named The Daleks.

The best Master arc I've seen goes through three serials, Keeper of Traken, Logopolis, and Castrovalva, which also feature the Fourth Doctor's regeneration into the Fifth.

As stated on page 1, Vengeance on Varos is the only Sixth Doctor serial I've seen and is pretty good, and as for the Seventh Doctor, Ghost Light and Curse of Fenric are pretty decent, but that stuff's not really important to the current series.

Similarly, City of Death doesn't have any importance to continuity, but is my all-time favorite serial (it's co-written by Douglas Adams) and is highly recommended.

As far as stuff that's not out on DVD but might be worth torrenting: my favorite Second Doctor serial is The War Games, though it's a little long, and it might be a good idea to watch The Deadly Assassin before Keeper of Traken.

Anyway.  The current series is specially designed to stand on its own with no prior knowledge, but those are some good picks if you want background.

If canon's what's important to you, there's a pretty good list at Amazon called Doctor Who: The Essential Canon -- but it's focused more on "important" stories than ones that are actually enjoyable to watch; I've tried to lean more toward the latter here.  Still, I've produced a Baker-heavy list (aren't they all?) and not given any Pertwee recommendations -- I quite like Pertwee, the problem is that none of the Pertwee serials I've seen are especially great.  Maybe The Three Doctors.
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Niku

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2008, 05:21:19 PM »

Rad.  I'm not using my Netflix for much right now anyway, so I'll start looking into some of those probably after I finish off this season (seeing as how I don't want to burn out going through all four as quickly as possible).  Thanks!
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2008, 05:23:20 PM »

Yeah, all the DVD's are available on Netflix, and most of the Baker ones and a few non-Baker ones are available for streaming.  In my experience they stream fine and don't look any worse than the DVD's.

Which will be useful over the next two weeks while Stewart and Colbert are on vacation.  (The Mac version of Netflix's streaming service was released in beta just in time!)
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Thad

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Re: Doctor Who
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2008, 11:00:25 AM »

I was leaning toward re-merging the two threads, but now that this one's surpassed one page and has more people than me talking in it, I'm leaning toward keeping them separated.  We'll see what happens.

Anyway:

I discovered at the comic shop yesterday that there's a 288-page collection of Sixth Doctor comics by Grant Morrison and John Ridgway called The World Shapers.  A Google search turns up a spoilery summary and review; it sounds pretty good and I'll have my eye on it for the next time the shop has a sale.

Grant Morrison's Doctor Who #2 contains the World Shapers arc -- all of it.  So the other 264 pages must be something else.  I assume another 24 pages were probably the bits we saw in issue #1 (or at least the Sixth Doctor portion), but what about the rest?  The ad on the last page, and the above-linked review, suggest that these 48 pages are all the Doctor Who that Morrison actually wrote, so it's possible that the rest of the World Shapers trade is written by other people who aren't prestigious enough to get their names on the cover.

Google isn't much help, so I think I may have to thumb through it in the store on Wednesday.

Anyway.  It's a very cool story, and all the more impressive for being told in 24 pages; I recommend picking it up.

The main difference from the version in the TPB is that it's shrunk down to regular comic size and colored.  Probably the biggest negative is that you can tell; the lines often seem to run together and the art suffers for being resized.  (Again, I'm not an artist and my lingo's probably not up to snuff; maybe Guild or somebody can help me out here.)  So that might be an argument for checking out the trade, which collects the stories in their original magazine size (and their original black-and-white).

This may be something specific to Ridgeway's art, as I thought the Doctor Who Classics series (which was mostly drawn by Gibbons) looked really good.  Or it may be due to the fact that the art here was originally B&W; the shading Ridgeway employs doesn't look like what you'd expect in a color comic.  (Again, someone with some art chops can help me out here.)

Anyway, a very good book; better than issue #1 and highly recommended.  This shows Morrison before he found his niche (Animal Man #5, "The Coyote Gospel", is the first "modern", or, more accurately, postmodern, Morrison story), but he's clearly a very talented writer even this early in the game.  It's a good time-travel story with fan service that's enjoyable while still managing to serve the story, and it does a great job of using the medium to show things that the TV show's budget wouldn't allow.  The atmosphere is excellent (and the art even shows little details like Peri's wet hair after they come in out of the storm), and again, Morrison manages to tell an action-packed, intelligent, and emotional story all in the span of 24 pages.

The interview I linked the other day has Morrison saying he's got a great deal of affection for the Sixth Doctor and wishes the writing during his tenure hadn't been so lousy.  The only Sixth Doctor serial I've seen is Vengeance on Varos, which is generally believed to be his best and which I quite enjoyed, but which wasn't really a Doctor story at all -- take out the Doctor and Peri and the story still works without them.  The World Shapers is better because it feels more like a Doctor Who story.  (This, coincidentally, was Morrison's reasoning for why he preferred Human Nature/The Family of Blood to Blink.)

Anyhow.  Great comic; go buy it.

Also: I watched The Pirate Planet like a month ago; sooner or later I'll slap my thoughts up.  Basically, it wasn't as funny as I expected but it was very smart and is worth watching.
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2008, 03:12:27 PM »

Following that last bit up:

The Pirate Planet is not what you expect either from the title or for the writer (Douglas Adams).  The pirates are not of the traditional variety (though the leader has robot parts), are never referred to as pirates, and it is unclear until halfway through or more WHY the serial is called "The Pirate Planet".

But all that's part of a series of mysteries in the serial that are quite cleverly revealed.  Some are obvious, others (why do gems fall from the sky right before the stars change?) are not.

Adams crafts a story with far fewer laughs than you would expect, but it's quite clever and plays out at a good pace, and features an interesting cast of characters (particularly the villains).  As usual, he wears his environmentalist cred on his sleeve, but uses it in a way that makes the story interesting.

For $16, it's on the "worth owning" list.

That said, I have zero interest in watching the rest of the Key to Time Series.  I've already watched 200 minutes of a collection quest; I don't really see following the remaining 450.  Frankly, as much as I love Baker I think I'll take a break from him, maybe watch some more Pertwee or Davison.
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2008, 02:09:39 PM »

Today's the show's 45th anniversary; the BBC site has some just-released archival material to commemorate it.
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Sharkey

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2008, 12:30:10 AM »

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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2008, 11:39:50 AM »

What are YOU doing in Canada?

(...didn't we used to have an "It's a trap!" emote?)

...Anyway.  Just watched the inappropriately-named Resurrection of the Daleks.  Not bad, but a whole lot like Earthshock: a Davison serial with one of the Big Two enemy races, a lot of running around on a spaceship (and Rula Lenska's character is pretty much identical to the Captain in Earthshock), and ending with [spoiler]someone sacrificing himself to destroy the ship and a companion leaving.  Of course, that last similarity actually works pretty well -- while Adric isn't mentioned, it's easy to assume Stien's death reminds Teagan too much of his and that's part of why she's so shaken up at the end.[/spoiler]

The premise -- that the Daleks are totally helpless by themselves and forced to reluctantly rescue Davros in order to get out of a jam -- is almost as thin here as it was in Destiny of the Daleks, but at least the "we need a genetic engineer" explanation fits better than the rather nonsensical "we are slaves to logic and don't know how to improvise in a war" explanation used in the latter.  Plus, Davros as much as says these Daleks aren't very advanced models and he's going to work on making them better; of course that's the bastard about time travel stories.  In the Dalek timeline, this has to take place well before their first few appearances.

The climax is the Doctor's confrontation with Davros, which echoes the Fourth Doctor's "Have I the right?" scene in Genesis of the Daleks, and which still makes for decent drama here even though you just want him to pull the effing trigger already.  It's not the ethical dilemma it was in Genesis (is it okay to kill the first batch of Daleks before they do any harm?) or, years later, The Parting of the Ways (is it worth taking out the entire Earth to kill the Daleks?); it's just the Doctor and Davros, with no innocent lives in the balance.  And the Doctor's already killed several Daleks by this point.

This is the first I've seen of Turlough, and I can immediately understand why people like him: the companions are a pretty fucking bland and indistinguishable bunch, and he stands out by being more complex than most of them.  He's intelligent but also arrogant and self-serving; that's a lot more compelling than just the girlfriend du jour.

Of all the DVD's I've watched, this one had the most noticeable issues with the transfer.  There are a couple of places where the picture ripples noticeably.  It's not a big deal but distracting enough to make note of; seems like they could have put more effort into fixing that.

Anyway.  Not a bad Dalek serial; better than the previous one but not as good as Genesis.  (Of course, Genesis is probably the best one, so that's sort of a meaningless comparison.)  Decent; I'd put this one in the "rent, don't buy" pile.
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2008, 02:10:46 PM »

I quite like Pertwee, the problem is that none of the Pertwee serials I've seen are especially great.

I just watched The Green Death and it's pretty good.  By-the-numbers story, with too much wandering around in caves and futuristic businesses, but the Third Doctor and the Brigadier are in top form, and the villains are pretty awesome too.

The environmentalist bent to the story is obvious but still takes a backseat to rubber monsters and an evil computer.  It DOES do a decently fair job of setting out the green-versus-labor dilemma and pit the down-to-Earth miners against eccentric hippie scientists, with the Brigadier somewhere in the middle, ever the pragmatist.  It also strikes a chord in that the evil polluting corporation is so powerful that it has the full support of the PM, and in one scene the villain threatens to have the Doctor (I think it was the Doctor) arrested under the Emergency Powers Act.

There are some problems with the transfer in places -- I streamed it, so I'm going to chalk all the artifacting up to that, but there are bits where there's flickering light at the bottom of the picture and a couple of places where it looks like the master tape was crinkled.  Nothing deal-breaking.

Anyway, probably the best Pertwee serial I've seen (yet -- Inferno's supposed to be a classic and that's next on my list); must-rent and worth buying.
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2008, 01:51:59 PM »

Doctor Who Classics Series 2 #1 is out, and contains the line, "Good Lord! >Choke<"

Not a bad read, still overpriced, and while I love the Fourth Doctor and Dave Gibbons I'd really like to see some variety.  The two issues of Morrison doing the Sixth and Seventh Doctor were a great change of pace, and there have to be some decent comics out there featuring the Fifth or the Eighth Doctor, too (and maybe the first three; I don't know how far back the Who comics go).
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #32 on: December 28, 2008, 11:31:55 AM »

Inferno, it turns out, is another great Pertwee serial that is available through Netflix (disc only, no streaming).

Essentially, it's like Mirror, Mirror, except instead of Spock with a goatee, it has Brig with an eyepatch.

It's a little long (could be one episode shorter -- he spends the entirety of the first episode in the parallel universe trying to explain to everyone that he's from a parallel universe), but really it runs at a great pace overall and has a whole lot more action than most Who from that period.

The parallel universe is used to good effect, emphasizing characters who are much different (the Brigade Leader is a coward hiding behind his gun and his rank) as well as characters who are more or less the same (the pompous Professor Stahlman, who would doom the world rather than take a blow to his ego, and the dashing Greg Sutton, who defies him), with companion Liz Shaw somewhere in-between.

The best device, IMO, is that in episode 4 or 5 the Doctor outright tells the parallel cast that they're screwed and past the point of no return and there's nothing he can do for their world, but that he can still save his own, leaving several episodes for the parallel cast to come to grips with their certain impending doom and react accordingly.

The "there are some things man wasn't meant to tamper with" premise is stale, but works well for an apocalyptic "Earth ends in fire" story -- the ending of the penultimate episode, with a wave of lava coming toward the cast, while cheesily green-screened, is a striking image.

The finale is another episode that could safely be chopped in half, but it mirrors the events of the parallel world, with slight changes, satisfyingly.  The ending is vintage Third Doctor, with the Doctor and the Brigadier butting heads and then one of them forced to eat crow.

The transfer has all the usual flaws I've now come to associate with Pertwee-era serials, an often-grainy picture and occasional wavy lines.  I watched one episode (3 or 4) on an SDTV and it was a lot less noticeable.

There's also a second disc with extras on it; I assume they're neat but I'm not going to bother.

All in all, classic Who; worth renting, worth buying.  (It DOES help to have a cursory background knowledge of the Third Doctor's setup, that he's been exiled by the other Time Lords and trapped in 1970 London, and that at this point he's trying to fix his TARDIS so he can travel again.)
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #33 on: January 06, 2009, 08:01:45 PM »

You know, I thought Revelation of the Daleks was pretty good -- good enough that it makes me want to check out more Sixth Doctor episodes, which I hear is an emotion most people rarely feel.

Probably the most interesting thing about it is that at this point the show had abandoned all pretense of being a kids' show -- while it doesn't have as high a bodycount as the previous Dalek arc, it's probably more violent, dark, and disturbing all around, with the most memorable scene being a woman searching for her father in a Ubik-like cryo-preservation center and finding his mutated head inside a Dalek armor.  (Yeah, we've got Davros mutating humans into Daleks here -- a precursor to The Parting of the Ways.)  That and every shot of Nicola Bryant's stockings or cleavage tend to prove the show was trying desperately to keep a now-teenage audience rather than acquire new viewers -- there's some parallel to be drawn between this and my "How the comic industry is fucking itself" musings in that other thread.

It veers off-course in places, with the first ep's cliffhanger resembling a game of Xanatos Roulette (even with cameras all over the place tracking the Doctor's every move, it's hard to figure how Davros knew Peri would see the Dalek and follow it to the Doctor's fake memorial), and the Doctor's broken pocketwatch feels a lot like an unfired Chekhov's Gun -- maybe it's covered in Trial of a Time Lord (I have very little interest in finding out; if Douglas Adams and Tom Baker couldn't get me to watch a season-long arc, I really don't see doing it for one that everybody seems to hate), or maybe it's just a way of destroying a deus ex machina like they did with the Sonic Screwdriver during the Davison era.

The biggest problem with the serial was the same as in the only other Sixth Doctor serial I've seen to date, Vengeance on Varos: the Doctor and Peri don't really DO anything, and the story would transpire pretty much the same without them.  Peri's got a good emotional moment in the first ep that is largely ruined by her "Where the fuck is she supposed to be from?" accent; she sounds more like a real person in the second half but overacts to the point of obnoxiousness.  #6 has a few good lines and makes me want to see more of him, but again, he doesn't really do anything.

Far and away my favorite part is the utterly nonsensical and downright surreal appearance of comedian Alexei Sayle as the DJ (everyone, including the supposedly-American Peri, pronounces his name that way, with the accent on the "J").  He has fuck-all to do with the story, and shows up a few times in the first ep to speckle the fourth wall and impersonate Elvis; in the second ep, he kills several Daleks with a beam of PURE ROCK'N'ROLL.  It's a very clear example of a celebrity guest star awkwardly shoehorned into a script, yet as far as I'm concerned, the result is completely awesome.

Other thoughts: the Daleks do not actually seem like a race that would have courts and trials.  (This plays into the opening of the 1996 TV movie, which piles on the additional questions of what the Master was doing there, why the Time Lords apparently sanctioned the Daleks' brand of justice, and why the Daleks let the Doctor show up on Skaro to collect the remains.)

Anyway!  Best Dalek story I've seen in a long time, better than Resurrection, Destiny, or either of their very bad appearances in the past two years.  I'd say it's worth a rental, but it's not that damn much more to buy it -- nobody loves the Sixth Doctor.
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2009, 02:46:33 PM »

You know, I thought Revelation of the Daleks was pretty good -- good enough that it makes me want to check out more Sixth Doctor episodes, which I hear is an emotion most people rarely feel.

Aaaaand Mark of the Rani has cured me of it.

The setting is interesting, and it's got the Master, and the Rani is a character with potential, but...it's pretty much terrible.  At this point I want to punch Peri in the mouth every time she opens it (though this actually makes me kind of want to check out Trial of a Time Lord just to see her die).

The fact that this is regarded as one of the better Sixth Doctor serials goes a long way toward explaining why everyone hates the Sixth Doctor.  Not worth buying, not worth renting, not even worth watching while drunk.
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Brentai

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2009, 02:17:47 PM »

Nothing.  Just wanted to see this thread's icon up near Galactica's.
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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2009, 04:54:53 PM »

Unfilmed Sixth Doctor eps to be adapted for radio.  Given my previous comments on the Sixth Doctor, of course I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but by all accounts he's actually been quite good in his radio run.

And maybe Bryant's had time to brush up on her accent in the past twenty-five years or so.
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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2009, 05:54:08 PM »

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Thad

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Re: Old Doctor Who
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2009, 09:32:51 AM »

...that would be a great damn sequence to appropriate for the show, actually, rangers finding Dalek remains in a pond.
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Re: New Doctor Who
« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2009, 08:39:05 AM »

Forgot to mention it, but I caught a Pyramids of Mars showing they were doing at a local theater a few weeks back. The crowd was mostly giggling stoners, which is understandable considering how cheesy this show tended to be, but only a handful of neckbeards, and the rest just cool cats enjoying some Who. Something about this fandom attracts some of the best, casual nerds this side of Firefly.

The episode was a good choice for a Baker story, him and Smith at their best. Dragged a bit when anyone got lost in the woods, naturally, but the last two parts were great fun. Liked seeing another pre-Time Lord menacing force in the galaxy, the Doctor legitimately outclassed and in danger.
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