Tag Archives: Doctor Who

DOCTOR WHO SERIAL 058 – Colony In Space

Synopsis: In the 25th century, an Earth colony is facing dire times. Their food won’t grow, they’re being attacked by lizards, and worries of Earth miners plague their thoughts.

Jo Grant

Oh hi! It’s been a while. Sorry.

Apparently I misunderstood some of the events of  “Claws of Axos”  and The Doctor cannot leave Earth. The Time Lords, however, feel they need to use The Doctor as their pawn, so they allow him to visit an Earth colony facing crisis. After watching the first episode the bit that stands out most is the line, “There was no animal life, just birds and insects.” Aren’t birds and insects animal life? Then later the same person talks to the native aliens. Yeah, there’s these people, but they don’t count as animals, do they? I still don’t like Jo.

Primitives steal the TARDIS

This story shows the worst side of Doctor Who‘s Britishness. They discuss the “Primitives” in a way that shows their ignorance, and their colonial attitudes. It’s obvious the writers display a thought of British colonization is the the past and the future, that the reality of the sun setting on the British Empire is just a minor setback.  As someone from one of those colonies, the damage of British superiority is very obvious in many ways. We could discuss the Harper government’s dismissals of the plague of missing Aboriginal women, the reverse course on Aboriginal issues after apologizing for tragic history of residential schools. Yet here we see a group dubbed “the Primitives” who are obviously intelligent. They communicate with a species from another planet without any help, and yet the British colonists talk down to them as if they’re three years old. Even The Doctor is condescending to the “Primitives” who performs magic to distract a guard and escape. Only problem is… MAGIC DOESN’T WORK IF THEY CAN READ YOUR MIND.

The Master shows up in part four. Not surprising as he’s quite popular lately. The trial is somehow reminding me of the trial of Louis Riel. Now there’s a good subject to be the basis of a Doctor Who episode.

THERE’S A MUD WRESTLING SCENE IN EPISODE SIX! Sorry.

Doctor Who Serial 057 – The Claws of Axos

Synopsis: Some bad guys show up, they want to destroy Earth, The Doctor must save the day. The baddies teamed up with The Master, but The Master learns he must work with The Doctor.

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I did not like this episode. So much so that between watching episode 3 and 4 there was a month and a half gap. So honestly I don’t remember much of the episode.

It seems to be a repeat of much of the season. Baddie arrives, they’re allied with The Master. They try to take over the world, they turn on The Master, The Master teams up with The Doctor, and together they make things go.

There was one major development in the episode, and that is The Doctor can now leave Earth, but he will always return.

Doctor Who Serial 056 – The Mind of Evil

Synopsis: The Doctor and Jo visit a prison where they’re using a machine to remove all evil from prisoners and storing it in a jar. Meanwhile, UNIT is guarding the first world peace conference. People start dying in both places.

vlcsnap-2014-04-13-17h38m03s78Where do I start with how ridiculous this story is? The concept that there’s a World Peace conference is extremely unlikely. If world peace were to ever happen, it would be with individual discussions and alliances, not a general Earth-wide conference.

Why would you store the evil?!?! Why? How can you store evil? How can you project evil as The Master does, via Chin-Lee?

Why is the prison in constant riot mode? How are people constantly sneaking guns and weapons into the prison?

After Jo is captured in a prison riot, why does she stay after quelling said riot only to get captured again?

Why does The Master save The Doctor’s life?

Why all the karate chops?

Who scored this?

Why have both season 8 stories so far had The Master resigning to the fact that he had to work with The Doctor?

Doctor Who Serial 055 – Terror of the Autons

Synopsis: The Master arrives on Earth stealing the Nestine Consciousness and planting himself in a plastics factory.

vlcsnap-2014-04-11-18h42m52s59This is the first time we meet The Master, an old childhood friend of The Doctor’s, who has turned evil.

It’s also the first time we encounter Time Lords other than The Doctor since War Games. There’s both The Master, and another Time Lord pops in to warn The Doctor wearing a bowler hat and suit. Not the most Time Lordy outfit.

We don’t know much of The Master’s intentions, but he is intent on causing disruptions in the lives of humans and The Doctor.

We are also introduced to Jo Grant. Liz is suddenly gone without explanation, and instead we are introduced to a young woman eager to be The Doctor’s new assistant. Jo Grant is a funny looking woman wearing a mullet a la Linda McCartney. She’s an idiot. She’s boring. And most importantly, based on this one story, she’s a horrible companion compared to Liz.

Liz was intelligent, and challenged The Doctor. Liz was skeptical and humorous.

Jo is stupid.

vlcsnap-2014-04-11-18h43m54s169In this story, The Doctor once against must face the Autons. A race of plastic people that are the precursor for the Nestine’s invasion of Earth. The Master is helping them out.

This leads to one of the worst endings in Doctor Who history. Our buddy The Master is excited that the plan is working, and the Nestine are about to arrive. The Doctor tells him that they won’t distinguish between The Master and the humans. The Master looks alarmed and suddenly helps The Doctor.

Of course, their solution is to “reverse the polarity.”

It’s an awkward ending.

The Master escapes, but can’t get far, as The Doctor had stolen his dematerialization circuit, which unfortunately does not work in The Doctor’s TARDIS.

The ending feels like it needs The Master to shout out, “I’ll get you next time Gadget, next time!”

Doctor Who Serial 054 – Inferno

Synopsis: The Doctor is consulting on a massive drilling project allowing him to syphon off energy to use on his TARDIS console. People start dying.

vlcsnap-2014-04-06-08h47m45s83So apparently The Doctor is keeping the TARDIS console in a garage, and using a sonic screwdriver as a garage door opener. Meanwhile, once again we have a science project happening where the lead is an arrogant asshole who won’t listen to reason or take responsible safety precautions. While Sir Keith, the funder is trying to bring in consultants to ensure safety and responsibility. Showing its British class-structure.

The Doctor flies the TARDIS console into a parallel universe, where an evil Brigade Leader Lethbridge-Stewart is leading a scientific team for the Republican Security Force. It must be evil if Queen Lizzy is deposed.

The Doctor is captured by Lethbridge-Stewart, and ends up fighting for his freedom, while also observing the parallel universe’s drilling having the same problems that he will have on Earth Prime.

vlcsnap-2014-04-06-15h23m49s181This is the first seven-parter that doesn’t feel like it drags… too much. It seems to work. This was the end of season 7. Instead of the usual 40-odd episodes, the seasons now have only 20-odd episodes. It’s a lot less Doctor Who, but it’s a lot more manageable. Troughton and Hartnell never had it so easy.

This theme of scientists who are too caught up on their own grandeur to see what they’re doing is played out. For some odd reason this, and a distaste of computers are a recurring theme in Doctor Who and sci-fi in general. It’s riduculous beyond belief.

Jon Pertwee attempts to become an action star in his role as The Doctor. He does a lot of martial arts, car chases, and just a lot of jumping around. It’s an interesting take on The Doctor, something that 50 years later is still unique to Pertwee.

Doctor Who Serial 053 – The Ambassadors of Death

Synopsis: A space mission is sent to rescue a ship that hasn’t been responding. Something goes wrong and Earth loses contact with the space probe. Aliens send down some ambassadors while some secret agencies are working in secret.

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UNIT is advising the Space Command, while The Doctor and Liz Shaw are watching on TV. It’s weird to see The Doctor observing a big event on television. It’s not his thing. It makes me think The Doctor must be in misery due to his exile, but they don’t portray that.

Instead The Doctor is just tinkering away in his TARDIS trying to override the lockouts that the Time Lords put on his TARDIS. He wants to escape, but can’t.

Once again, the story drags because it is broken up into seven parts. There’s a lot of mystery, but it often doesn’t leave a lot of intrigue. It’s just mystery without interest. The story itself is interesting, and intriguing. We eventually learn of an old astronaut (now a General in the military) who takes over Space Command. When he was on Mars, he met these creatures, and is afraid they plan to invade Earth, he wants to make a stand before they do. Unfortunately UNIT and The Doctor are getting in the way.

vlcsnap-2014-04-05-21h00m28s173How The Doctor is getting in the way is by trying to make peaceful contact with the alien creatures, and figure out the mystery of the missing astronauts. He even volunteers to go up in another rocket and try to make contact with the missing crew (and the aliens).

The Doctor is right of course, and the title is completely inaccurate, all the death is being caused by the rogue General.

One of the interesting things that we see in this story is that the production team tried something different for the first time. They broke up the opening titles, so we had the beginning, a bit of a teaser (about a minute) and then they put up the story name, episode number, and writer’s credit. But they just broke up the theme, rather than redesigning the sound for it. It felt awkward and didn’t work.

We also learn in the story that there’s a radio telescope in Algonquin… and there really is.

This was a really enjoyable episode, that just dragged a bit too long.

Doctor Who Serial 052 – Doctor Who and the Silurians

Synopsis: UNIT is called to a nuclear power station which is losing power. They find Silurians are waking up, a biped lizard people from Earth’s past.

This is a very interesting episode, mostly because The Doctor is convinced the Silurian people and the Humans can coexist on Earth together. UNIT however is reacting militarily, and some scientists from the power station just don’t believe they exist.

The problem is that the story is seven episodes long. It takes forever for anything interesting to happen, and by forever, I mean three episodes. The first three episodes plod along without creating any interest for the viewer. This is why it has been two weeks since the last Doctor Who entry on this site. I haven’t had any interest in watching this story.

Once you finally get into the story, things move along quickly and excitingly. The story raises some interesting questions, and turns the idea of aliens=monsters on its head.

The format is almost identical to the Matt Smith episodes “The Hungary Earth”/”Cold Blood” but writer Chris Chibnall was better able to condense the story into two episodes.

Doctor Who Serial 051 – Spearhead From Space

Synopsis: The Doctor, having just regenerated, finds himself on exiled on Earth helping UNIT. Strange objects have fallen from the sky, as a forerunner for the Nestines to conquer Earth.

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Hello Jon Pertwee.

Though most of episode one has The Doctor unconscious, we quickly get a good idea of who The Doctor is now. He’s tricky, he’s clever, and he loves a bit of action.

We get reintroduced to UNIT who are investigating falling meteorite, they also find the unconscious Doctor along with the TARDIS. This gets Brigadier General Lethbridge-Stewart excited, thinking The Doctor has returned. He finds out about this while interviewing a young woman named Liz Shaw, so he brings her with.

Sadly, the man in the hospital bed does not look like The Doctor, but he recognizes Lethbridge-Stewart.

We learn The Doctor has two hearts for the first time.

The Doctor gets kidnapped by some strangers, but quickly breaks free, and tries to get to the TARDIS, only to be shot by the UNIT guards.

They take The Doctor back to the hospital where the physician says, “He’s more unconscious than anyone I’ve ever seen!” Which is the most amazing line of dialogue, ever.

In an excellent scene, The Doctor hides from the hospitals doctors in the staff room then steals clothing from them. This scene will be riffed upon in “The Eleventh Hour.”

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The production quality is vastly different than the previous seasons. They reduced the number of episodes from forty-something to a more manageable twenty-something. This serial, is a bit unique in that it was completely filmed on location on film. Usually Doctor Who has a few scenes filmed on location on 16mm, and the rest is video taped in studio. This makes for a very drastic change in Doctor Who.

The mystery of the fallen spheres takes a back seat to reintroducing The Doctor, Lethbridge-Stewart, and introducing Liz Shaw.

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Creepy dude is creepy.

Episode four seems to finally get into the plot, where the plastics company is making models for Madame Tussaud’s, oddly though of top civil servants, not of famous people.

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Perhaps what make Jon Pertwee so great of a Doctor is the elasticity of his face. He’s able to bring a great level of comedy to Doctor Who.

The comparisons to “Rose” are really easy. Both Spearhead From Space and “Rose” are the start of a new era of Doctor Who. Both feature the same baddies and have shop window dummies go on a killing spree. In both stories we have to learn to love a new Doctor. I think in some ways “Rose” is better, and in other Spearhead From Space is better.

I don’t know if there’s a lot of comparison between Christopher Eccelston’s version of The Doctor and Jon Pertwee’s. Eccelston plays a damaged man who is looking for a bit of fun. Pertwee is trying to remember who he is, and hoping to run away.

In the end, these are two great Doctor Who stories.

Doctor Who Serial 050 – The War Games

Synopsis: The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe arrive in a world divided into wars with Roman, Greek, Crimean War, First World War, Peninsular War, American Civil War, Mexican Civil War, English Civil War, Thirty-Years War, Boer War, and Russo-Japanese War all represented. The Doctor has to figure out how all these time periods can exist together.

The War Games is the final Doctor Who serial starring Patrick Troughton, Wendy Padbury, and Frazer Hines. It is the final story of the sixth season. It is the final story in black and white. It is the final story of the 1960s.

It is ten parts.

As soon as the TARDIS lands, they walk up a hill and find themselves in the middle of a barrage in World War I.  They quickly get captured by Germans. Just as quickly they get rescued by some British soldiers who take over the hijacked ambulance on foot.

Jamie, who is from Earth’s past asks what they are fighting for in this war. The Doctor replies, “I think it was the war to end all wars.” I think the real answer is “absolutely nothing. Death and destruction with no reason or rhyme.”

The Doctor and his companions are sent to General Smythe who has to be the creepiest dude, ever. He starts talking into his mirror and reporting from the “1917 zone” requesting another 5000 specimens.

The Doctor is tried for espionage and sentenced to death. In the most cliché cliffhanger, in an era of cliché cliffhangers, we see The Doctor about to be executed when suddenly the Germans ambush the British.

Then a TARDIS appears in General Smythe’s office. What can be happening?!?!?!

Meanwhile, Jamie is imprisoned for abandoning the Highlander regiment, where he encounters a red coat who thinks it’s 1745. Something wonky is going on.

They all escape and find themselves under fire from General Smythe’s troops. The enter some fog at the border of the map and find themselves facing a troop of Roman soldiers charging at them as they panic to get the ambulance started again. End of episode two.

They then reverse back into World War I… really? That’s the resolution? And now The Doctor is providing everyone with exposition.

“Perhaps I can pick this lock.” The Doctor should be using his sonic screwdriver.

They get captured again, this time by the Germans. Whomp whomp.

The Doctor just used the sonic screwdriver as a… wait for it… screwdriver.

The Germans have an equivalent to Smythe, he’s as melodramatic, except he wears a monocle… he’s a hipster!

We quickly meet the War Chief and see the operations outside of the war zones. The War Chief is intrigued by these renegades who claim to be time travellers. They send the troops after them, while The Doctor and crew cross another border into the American Civil War.

That definitely sounds like a TARDIS replenishing the troops. “So many of them, that thing must be bigger on the inside just like the TARDIS.” Oh shit it just disappeared with The Doctor and Zoe inside, leaving Jamie and Lady Jennifer in the 1860s.

I love how uncomfortable The Doctor is at the thought of meeting his own people. It’s been six years, and we’ve had nary a word about them1.

OH MY GOD I WANT THOSE SPECS!

Oh snap! There’s a resistance! They know what’s going on, and they’re going to stop it! Not only that, he’s a tough talking straight shooter! Oh yeah!

Oh, so much exposition! How to give exposition? Put your heroes into an evil-university setting.

Yes! The War Chief and The Doctor recognize each other!

They mentioned the Time Lords for the first time ever in Doctor Who. The Time Lords being The Doctor’s species.

This story is quite long at ten parts, and it is a lot of being captured and escaping. Over and over and over again.

They hide in one of the TARDISes so the War Lord makes the inside smaller than the outside, crushing The Doctor… perhaps the best of the cliffhangers.

I don’t think that it works to have a superior baddy who is not seen but heard of here. The War Lord would make a decent baddy, but The War Chief is this supposed threat, that I don’t feel.

Is that Steve Jobs?

Zoe and Jamie lead the rebellion, to great success.

The Doctor and the rebels are able to retake the base! WOO! Except he can’t get all the innocent humans home.

The Doctor does the one thing he’s most reluctant to do, he calls the Time Lords for help.

The ninth episode ends with The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe making a break for the TARDIS in the hopes of leaving before the Time Lords arrive.

As the tenth episode opens, they obvious succeed… wait no, that’s not right. They fail.

We finally get our first view of Gallifrey2 as The Doctor faces his trial.

The Time Lords return Jamie and Zoe to their own times, it’s a sad farewell to two of the best companions.

The Time Lords decide to exile The Doctor on Earth in the 20th century.

“Your appearance has changed before, it can change again.”

Part of their punishment is to regenerate The Doctor once again. We don’t get to see The Doctor finish his regeneration as the credits role.

Goodbye Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, and Wendy Padbury.

  1. With the exception of his granddaughter, and the meddling Monk. []
  2. Though not named. []

Doctor Who Serial 046 – The Invasion

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Synopsis: The Doctor and company land on Earth, it has been some time since they met Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, he is now promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, and in command of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, also known as UNIT. An electronics manufacturer is appears to be responsible for some missing people, The Doctor and his companions go looking for answers, and it turns out UNIT is investigating the same thing.

The CEO of the electronics company is a creepy and slimey man who is talking to some unknown forced on the other side of the moon. He is plotting to take over the world, so are the alien force, but the CEO feels he can keep them at bay after he’s used the alien forces for is own good.

At the end of the fourth episode we learn who the aliens are…

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Yup, it’s the Cybermen. Dum, dum, dum!

The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe are of course worried. They’ve encountered the Cybermen and know the true danger they possess. They meet a young photographer who quickly bonds with Zoe. Zoe and Isobel decide to go after the Cybermen with Isobel’s camera to prove the existence of these creatures, and gain evidence to get full support from UNIT in Geneva. Of course the girls get into trouble. They are girls, after all.

They briefly use Zoe’s vast intelligence in the episode, but to undo any notion of feminism in the show, a UNIT officer asks, “Can we keep her? She’s much prettier than a computer.” The G4 Cube hadn’t been invented yet.

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My biggest complaint would be that The Doctor and Jamie don’t know what a canoe is… this is not a canoe.

Overall, it’s a really fun story, it drags at points, as any 8-part story would, but it’s damn enjoyable. Also, The Doctor dodges Cyberman weapon fire in a most comedic fashion.

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