A change of pace, fellow Whovians.

I’m notoriously dreadful at remembering to post on this blog. I’ll be watching Doctor Who or reading about it or just thinking about it and get a brilliant idea for something to write…and then I forget.

I started this blog with the intention of getting through the old classic series of Who and writing about it, and I still plan on doing that. However, I’m going to add a new layer to what I write about on here– that is, I’m going to write about anything Who-related that I think might be interesting or thought-provoking. 

So while you will still (eventually) see posts and recaps on Classic Who, you’ll also start seeing new ideas, conversation starters, and reactions to anything about the Whovian Fandom. Hopefully the new release of restrictions will allow me to write more!

Happy Who-ving!

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The Firemaker (Spoiler alert: It’s NOT a caveman.)

Gotta be honest, I am SO glad to be done with this whole “Unearthly Child” series of episodes. It’s interesting to see groundwork laid, but I’m getting impatient because the next 4-part episode is called…THE DALEKS! WOOT! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ve still got a bit of ground to cover until we’re there. Ready…go!

First thing I’d like to do is point out that, in our opening shot here, Ian looks a LOT like young Kenneth Branagh. This is exciting to me, of course, because Kenneth Branagh is one of my all-time favorite actors/directors/godsthatwalktheearth. Just look at this and tell me you can’t see Ian performing in Much Ado About Nothing:

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You beautiful men, you.

Regardless of his resemblance to King Henry V, they all get captured by the cavemen once again and are taken back to the rest of the tribe of cavepeople.  This plot point of them trying to escape, getting away a little bit, then being captured once more is getting a bit tiresome.

Anyway, once they are back amongst the cave-dwellers, Kal totally tries to blame Za for the death of Mama Cavelady. The Doctor, in a stroke of…adequacy…brings out the knives of both Kal and Za and compares them. He points out that Za could not have killed Mama Cavelady, because there is no blood on his knife. Kal’s knife, however, has a lot of blood on it. 

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The Doctor then encourages all of the tribe to throw rocks at Kal and drive him out.  This seems a bit extreme, but I am honestly more surprised that the Doctor didn’t just suggest they kill him directly.

Once Kal has been driven out, the Doctor and Company are put right back into the cave of skulls. Again.  They are all seriously bummed out that they can never, ya know, escape.

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Outside of the caves, we see our favorite romantic duo chatting about what has happened and what shall happen in regards to fire, their captives, the forest, blah blah blah.  This conversation takes far too long, and is weirdly eloquent considering most of their other dialect has been grunting and pointing.  Ultimately, Hur asks Za if he plans on letting the Doctor and Company go free, and Za says that he will either force them to make fire or kill them. So, I guess that’s a no.

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Za then goes into the cave and discovers that Ian has made FIRE. He is just admiring this when Kal breaks into the cave and a massive fight ensues.  None of the particularly graphic stuff happens on camera, which surprises absolutely no one, but the gist of it is that Za bashes Kal’s skull in with a big rock-club-thing.

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Maybe I’m caveman racist, but I can’t tell which one is which.

So once Kal is dead, Ian gives Za a torch to go show his tribe the fire.  Upon seeing the flames, Za is declared the official leader.  The Doctor and Company think that they will be set free now, since they have helped Za twice at this point, but NOPE. Back into the cave they are sent.

Ian then comes up with a plan to escape. He sees morbid freaking Susan lighting one of the skulls on fire (I can only presume she does this when she’s bored). He concocts the idea that this might just scare the cavemen enough to at least distract them while they try to escape…again.

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So this plan totally works.  They escape and run back to the TARDIS, this time being pursued by a mob of cavemen who ACTUALLY have torches (although no pitchforks).  The gang makes it into the TARDIS and takes off, but the Doctor is commenting on how it isn’t functioning properly. They land in some weird forest thing (again with the forest?!) and the Doctor has no idea where they are.

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This is totally not a miniature clay model.

Before going out and exploring, because THAT is a good idea, the Doctor asks Susan to do a radiation reading. Remember that plot from before? It’s back! Susan looks down and gives the all-clear, but as they leave the TARDIS the meter goes up.

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This is where we (finally) end the first episode of Doctor Who.

Cheers!

 

The Forest of Fear (Except…not.)

Alright, kids. Reel in your excitement, because we are back on track dissecting the third part of this “Unearthly Child” series.  This installment is not-so-aptly named The Forest of Fear. Personally, I found absolutely nothing fearful about this forest, and we in fact spent very little time in the forest, but that being said…Barbara found everything upsetting in this segment.  I gotta say, I am getting really sick of the women in this show screaming, because boy does it happen a lot.

Anyway. This is how we open:

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The Doctor and everyone are all lying tied up and trapped in the previously mentioned ‘Cave of Skulls’.  This is the first time I notice a redeeming personality trait for this particular Doctor– as they are struggling to get free, the Doctor blames himself for getting them into this mess.  However, he quickly rescinds on that self-reflective thinking and starts being a total buzz-kill. He sits and complains about how nothing they’re doing is working, it’s hopeless, what’s the point…serious Debbie Downer. 

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They finally (understandably) get sick of it, and Brad/Ian explodes:

“Don’t just lie there criticizing us– do something!”

They all proceed to loosen their bindings as the scene cuts away to the cave with all our lovely sleeping cave people.  Mama Cavelady is sneaking about, grabbing Za’s knife as he slumbers, and creeping out to talk to the Doctor and Company.  She says she will help them escape as long as they promise not to teach anyone how to make fire, because she believes fire will only cause trouble.

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Za, self-declared leader of the cavemen, soon discovers that Mama Cavelady helped them escape, and kicks the crap out of her, leaving her unconscious in the cave of skulls.  Za and Hur (…Remember? The girlfriend?) go after Doctor and Company, who have now escaped into the Forest of Moderate Anxiety.

Here is where we get back to my aforementioned shit-losing that Barbara graces us with.  Everything about this forest is a big, tall glass of NOPE to our teacher companion.  Here is Barbara being comforted by Ian immediately upon entering the forest:

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As they are making their less-than-merry way through the Forest of Reasonable Frustration, they run across a dead boar. Or hog. Or pig. Or alien.  For whatever reason, this causes Barbara to positively lose her shit once again and scream worse than a lobster in a boiler.  Here is Barbara reacting to the dead pig:

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Za and Hur catch up to where Doctor and Company are hiding in the Forest of Mehhhh, undoubtably because they could follow the sound of Barbara freaking out…but trouble occurs! Za is attacked by a beast that we do not see on screen (because let’s be real, this is some low-budget business).  This is Barbara reacting to Za getting mauled by a beast:

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So they convince Hur to let them help Za, because he’s pretty bloodied up but somehow totally alive and not at all losing any body parts.  By “they”, I mean Ian and Barbara (once she’s calmed her sky-high bid-niz), and to a small extent Susan.  The Doctor takes a very un-modern-Doctor-like stance and proclaims they should just leave him because they had just barely escaped those “savages”.

Savages.

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Dang, Doctor.

Barbara collects her cool enough to retort to him.

“You treat everybody and everything like they are less important!”

Meanwhile, in CaveLand, the rival-leader Kal is confronting the battered Mama Cavelady, and decides to kill her because…because. Yeah.

Flashback to the Forest of Whatevsies: The companions are making a stretcher to carry Za, and the Doctor is pouting and disapproving of, ya know, helping. 

Susan declares “He’s always like this when he doesn’t get his own way.” Which I think is pretty crummy.

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Quick! Back to CaveLand! Kal is convincing the other cavepeople that it was ZA who killed the Mama Cavelady! WHAT! They basically grab torches and pitchforks and go after Za (and consequently the Doctor and Company).  There is an exceeding amount of grunting to be heard, and I’m pretty sure that the Geico Cavemen are supremely offended.

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Over with the Doctor and Company they have finally left the Forest of Blah and they see the TARDIS. But OHHH NOOO!!! Somehow (but really, how?!) the other cavemen have beaten them to it and are ready to ambush them!

ROLL CREDITS, YO.

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Cave of Skulls and One Bad Geico Commercial

Our last episode (An Unearthly Child) left us, as you may recall, with the image of the TARDIS and a shadow approaching it.

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Remember? Good.

I simply couldn’t stand the suspense, so I went ahead and watched the following 3 episodes to get me some answers.  I had instant gratification when the first image of the 2nd episode of this little clump, The Cave of Skulls, is that same TARDIS/shadow deal and the immediate zoom out to see that the shadow is cast by…a caveman!

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A very concerned caveman.

Cut to a scene in…a cave! With cavemen! They are speaking in incredibly fluent English, with the exception for a fair bit of grunting and interchanging the odd pronoun (is it really that hard to say “I” instead of “me”??). We discover that there is a serious problem– Za, the supposed leader of the tribe, cannot make fire.  Whoever has fire is the leader, and Za’s dad had the fire.  But then apparently someone killed his dad for this power…and then they lost the fire…and now we can’t figure out how to make more.  Za’s mom is vehemently opposed to making more fire, and wants to sabotage it.

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Meanwhile we meet a cavewoman who is totally into Za and wants him to make fire, because otherwise her father will give her away to Kal, the next strongest caveman. Blah blah blah feminism blah.

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She is so into him.

Meanwhile in the TARDIS, our favorite teachers wake up, because either the Doctor knocked them out or they are just tired.  They hear the Doctor and Susan talking, doing a standard systems check, and note that the “year-o-meter” must be reading wrong, because it says the year “0”.  Hmmm. The Doctor asks Susan what the Radiation Detector reads, and she says it’s fine.

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Can you spot the plot? Let’s log that away for later.

Also, there seems to be an enormous amount of trouble with the scanners and systems in the TARDIS.  This is something that’s all too familiar to modern Whovians, because the Doctor can never seem to fly the TARDIS properly, something which the teachers comment on.  At this point, Barbara is starting to actually believe all of this time-and-space-travel business, while Brad remains a skeptic.

Here is our first title-dropper of the series:



Brad/Ian: “Give me some proof, Doctor Foreman!”

Doctor: “Ehh? Doctor Who?”

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“Doctor Who?”

They then realize that Doctor Foreman isn’t his name, nor is Foreman either of their surnames at all, but rather the name they chose for the sake of it being on the outside of the junkyard they had previously parked the TARDIS at on Earth.

Brad then mentions something to the Doctor that time isn’t a wheel that you can get on and off at any point you wish, to which the Doctor chuckles and says he will never understand how time works.

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Timey-wimey…

They decide to venture out of the TARDIS because that could not possibly deliver any undesired consequences, and the following observation by the Doctor just made me futuristically nostalgic:

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“It’s still a police box! Why hasn’t it changed? Dear, dear…how very disturbing…”

Things then take a turn for the worse, because leaving the TARDIS is never a good idea.  The Doctor gets kidnapped by a the caveman who was watching them (he turns out to be Kal, the rival of Za…the names are so creative I almost can’t take it), and Susan absolutely loses her shit.  I’m talking “I just got skewered with a hot poker” kind of screaming. I’m talking Black Friday at a Walmart kind of shit-losing.

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The scene cuts back to the cave (thank the Time Lords, I couldn’t listen to her scream anymore) where the tribe is convinced that the Doctor can make fire for them. The Doctor is useless and says he can’t, meanwhile his friends find him (that was fast!), and all three of them get thrown into the “Cave of Skulls”.  The episode ends with them observing that all the skulls in this cave have been split open at the top. Fantastic.

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An Unearthly Child and WTF Doctor?!

Alright, team. It’s been a while since my first post, and the main reason for that is my ginger rage. Apparently it’s always smart to save the blogs you post before your computer runs out of battery and erases your life’s work*, so I’ve been stubbornly putting off this rewrite.

(*contains slight exaggeration)

My procrastination has not entirely been in vain, however.  I have finally learned how to use the internet and was able to find quite a few of the episodes of Doctor Who unavailable on Netflix.  In this bundle was the very first episode, the unaired pilot called An Unearthly Child. So our journey shall really start at the very beginning… (Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it…) …A very good place to start (dammit).

An Unearthly Child

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We open to a title sequence that looks like some sort of sand-in-a-lava-lamp-but-timey-wimey deal, with our favorite theme song playing in the background. We see a junkyard and a mysterious Police Box (I assume it’s blue…but hey, it’s still black and white at this point). We’re then left to wonder what that all meant as we completely change tactics and are now inside a school.

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We meet two teachers by the names of Barbara and Ian, who for the sake of simplicity, I prefer to call Barbara and Brad.  He looks like a Brad, and alliteration is just better.

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Definitely a Brad.

So, Barbara and Brad are concerned about one of their pupils– a girl of fifteen named Susan Foreman.  Susan is, as they put it, a complete and utter mystery.

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The mystery is how anyone could take her for being 15.

She shows a genius IQ, has knowledge of science and history beyond her years, and yet completely fails in the most mundane of areas, such as knowing how many shillings there are in a pound.

It’s 20. 20 shillings in a pound. Now forget that information because it’s useless as Britain has moved on to decimalization.

She also seems to be profoundly fascinated by modern music, and listens to it with a scholar’s ear as opposed to that of a passive fan.  Furthermore, the address listed as her residence, as Barbara has discovered, leads only to a– wait for it– junkyard! No one could possibly live in a junkyard, could they?

So, they do what any reasonable educator would do in this situation– they decide to stalk her a little bit.  They follow her “home” to the junkyard, see her go into the gates, but not come back out.  They go in after her, but cannot seem to find her.  All they can find is, well, junk.  They also notice a Police Box (which I still assume is blue) and are perplexed as to why it would be in a junkyard. Then an old man approaches, looking like a regular old grumpy cat and coughing in a complete non-committal fashion, and they see him unlock the Police Box with a key.  SPOILER ALERT: This man is The Doctor (as played by William Hartnell).

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From inside the box they can hear that same modern music that Susan loves, and hear what they think is her voice. Brad is brave enough to approach the old man.  He asks about the Police Box and says they are looking for their student, Susan Foreman.

Now, rather than employing pretty much any other tactic in the world to convince them that 1. Susan isn’t there and that 2. this Police Box shouldn’t be of any interest to them, the Doctor goes immediately to hostile denial and belligerence. They assess his attitude and the entire scenario, and conclude that this old pervert has totally kidnapped Susan and trapped her inside the Police Box.  Honestly, it’s a pretty fair assumption.

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Oh look, a whole new dick in a box.

Susan hears what is going on outside, and opens the door to check it out.  Turns out that the old man/Doctor is her grandfather, because as she opens the door, she says “Grandfather?”  I’m great at this.

Ian/Brad and Barbara rush inside, and discover that– GASP— it’s bigger on the inside.

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And so it begins.

Susan is really quite miffed at the pair of them for following her and being so nosy, because it is apparently yet inexplicably dangerous for anyone to know about this Police Box or about them at all.  The Doctor, as it turns out, is a total prick and actually calls Susan a “stupid child” and blames her for those teachers coming here, because now their secret is discovered. And naturally, since all of this information is top secret and perilous to human ears, they immediately thereafter pronounce that they are not of this time or of this world.  Susan was born in the 49th century, and the two of them were exiled from their planet and time for reasons hitherto unknown.

Another fun fact, one of the blurts of information we gather is that Susan made up the name TARDIS, which as we all know stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space.  She then says that her grandfather will never let them go, and things get a little bit too much like a SAW movie for my taste.

The Doctor gets on a professional creep face and laughs maniacally, as the teachers run around trying to escape.  As if they weren’t already having a bad day, he kidnaps them. Because that is what you do.

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“I’m going to watch you while you sleep, oh, god yes.”

The episode ends with a noise sequence that, as far as I can tell, was intended to do little other than cause you anxiety.  They are whisked away elsewhere, whether to another time or place is yet to be seen.  This is the final image before credits role:

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I love this production quality.

Now, here are some observations I would like to make.  As far as we know, the idea of making The Doctor a part of the species known as Time Lord, along with the concept of regeneration, was not yet developed.  The series started as a children’s educational show, which I find just a little bit creepy considering how fond this first Doctor is of kidnapping.  And this is my main point: The Doctor is a total jerk.  He is so far from the superhero we now admire him as, and the Time War has not even happened yet.  He has yet to make the biggest sacrifice of his life, and yet he seems to be on the same level of brutality that the 9th, 10th, and 11th Doctors get to when they are at their worst–but this is just his default setting.

So here is a theory on the personality of the Doctor which I have gathered from just this very first episode: It is in the nature of The Doctor to be a bit of a brute, and he is constantly fighting that innate state of being.  He chose the name The Doctor, because he flies around in his blue box (or black-and-white box) helping people, trying to make things better. But this is not who he is when he is left on his own.  His companions make him better, and he has to work to rid himself of that war-like personality.

Granted, I might be considerably more angry than usual had I recently been exiled from my own time and planet with no one but my over-dramatic know-it-all granddaughter for company.

We will see.

And The Doctor said, Let There Be Fans.

Welcome, one and all, to the documentation of my journey through Doctor Who.  I don’t want to waste time with preamble, so I’ll jump right in with the exposition.

By the standards of Doctor Who fans, or Whovians as we are fondly (I hope) known, I am a newbie. A Newvian, one might say.  I spent years hearing about this Doctor Who nonsense and people telling me how much I would love it if I just gave it a chance, but I’m irritatingly stubborn and don’t like being told what I will like. Therefore, I ignored it. Naturally.

See, I am what many will call a nerd. Or a geek. Or a dork. Or a ginger. At least one of these accusations must be true, so let me present the evidence before you.

Exhibit A: This is the photo of me that appeared in my high school yearbook my senior year.

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Exhibit B: This is what I wore at my high school graduation ceremony.

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Exhibit C: This is what happened when I suddenly had attention from the opposite sex.

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Exhibit D: This really is my hair.

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You decide which of these accusations are true.

My love, nay– my obsession— for Harry Potter is considered unhealthy. Ask anyone. (Please don’t ask anyone). When I become a fan, I get hardcore.  Let’s list the somewhat “nerdy” things that I am a fan of:

Harry Potter, Merlin, Supernatural, Firefly (and Serenity), Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek (the new movies, sorry guys.), Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Game of Thrones (Yes, I know A Song of Ice & Fire is a wonderful series), The Hunger Games, Star Wars, Torchwood, Shakespeare (He gets his own category, deal.), Jane Austen (so does she), Once Upon a Time, Sherlock, Les Miserables, The Tudors, The Avengers (all-inclusive), Percy Jackson, and of course…Doctor Who.

PLEASE NOTE:

There will be NO discussion of Twilight in this blog.  If you think I enjoy Twilight, you’re wrong. I will continue to go about my life pretending with painstaking effort that Twilight does not exist. Because…feminism. And literary merit. Yeah.

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I think I made my point.

Anyway, it shouldn’t have taken as much effort as it did to get me to finally cave in and watch Doctor Who, but I had been led astray by fandoms before (please reference ‘Twilight’) so I was dragging my feet. Therefore, it was autumn of 2011 when I finally sat down with a few Whovian friends and watched my first episode, (‘Rose’, the first episode of the renewal in 2005), of Doctor Who.

And there was no going back.

I flew through the ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston like wildfire and onto the tenth Doctor, David Tennant in a fury.

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Wishful thinking.

I could not be stopped.  I fell in love with David Tennant, straight-up ugly cried when Rose was abandoned in the parallel world, cursed that she actually came back because the other way was so much poetic (but dammit, that is so cute). I defended Donna and perfected a Catherine Tate impression…

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…and when David Tennant left, I mourned his departure, swore off all possibility of ever loving another Doctor, and reluctantly started the episode The Eleventh Hour with our new Doctor Matt Smith.

And I promptly fell in love.  How fickle, my heart.

Pretty soon my other housemates were hooked and we spent our days viewing episode after episode as day turned into night and back into day. You know, typical college life. Before I knew it, Netflix no longer had updated episodes and I had to, Time Lords forbid, wait for the seventh season to air.  Wait I did, and I am now completely up to date with my beloved Doctor Who, while most eagerly awaiting the 50th Anniversary Special (SQUEEE!).

In the autumn of 2012, I was lucky enough to study abroad at the University of Winchester in England, where all my hopes and dreams were indeed realized. I am trying my darnedest to get back to Great Britain, because when you find your bliss you stay there.  The point of this little anecdote is that, whilst I was abroad, I made a point to travel to Cardiff, Wales.

Cardiff, Wales is an important location for Whovians because it is the home to a major rift in time and space and to the headquarters for Torchwood.

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My photographing skills are astounding, truly.

Furthermore, Cardiff Bay has somewhat recently acquired The Doctor Who Experience, which is too fantastic to explain in words, but it is the reason I have photos such at this:

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Believe it or not, that is a face of joy.

And photos like this:

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This is a face of…what were we talking about?

And this:

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They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

And most definitely this:

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Let me tell you how I really feel, Abzorbaloff.

In addition to my adventures at the Doctor Who Experience (which you should absolutely check out if you’re in the United Kingdom), I have a veritable collection of Doctor Who merchandise. Sonic screwdriver, the Master’s ring, a TARDIS mug, a key to the TARDIS, The Journal of Impossible Things, TARDIS coasters, and an Angel t-shirt are all included in the works.

Moral of the story: I am now, without a doubt, a Whovian– dare I say a hardcore Whovian. But being a Whovian isn’t enough. I want to be a Truvian.
A Truvian is a fan of Doctor Who that goes back– all the way back– to the original classic series starting in 1963.  Up until now, this territory has been uncharted by myself or any of my friends.  A few have tried, but gave up immediately.  With the help of my housemate (Alex) and the support of many others, I am daring to make the journey.

The Journey Through Classic Who.

I will be documenting my thoughts, ideas, and summarizing the events of the Classic Doctor Who episodes that are available on Netflix.  I hope you can brave this journey with me.

Allons-y!