Friday, May 31, 2013

Sixth Doctor Colin Baker

For the month of June I am going to review the 4 stories that make up season 23, known collectively as "The Trial of A Timelord."

1. "The Mysterious Planet"
2. "Mindwarp"
3. Terror of the Vervoids
4. The Ultimate Foe

If I can go in the future and see what they are I may add some other things.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Classic Who Review: Earthshock

In case you haven't seen this one, I feel obliged to say that part 4 of this review contains a MAJOR SPOILER. "Earthshock", story 121, was the 7th story of season 19. It saw the Cybermen return after 7 seasons. The companions were Adric, Nyssa and Tegan. I loved this team and love the Cybermen. This is definitely a standout story with an ending unlike any before or since.


It begins on a future Earth, at the entrance to a survey sight. Professor Kyle, all that's left of the team of paleontologists and geologists has sent for help. The rescue team is puzzled that no life signs are on the scanner. Their uniforms are pretty good for 1980 BBC budget. The leader, Scott, takes Kyle with his team to try and find the others. There is a flare on the scanner. In the caves we see 2 shadowy figures. In the TARDIS, The Doctor is with Adric in his room. Adric feels The Doctor doesn't have the time for him and feels like he's considered a joke. He wants to go home. Adric is from E-space, where the TARDIS went after falling through a CVE (charged vacuum enboitment) They argue about the possibility of calculating the negative coordinates to even do it. Adric claims to have the mathematical skills and begins work.

In the tunnels, Kyle discusses the sabotage her team had experienced. Above ground the scanner flares again. Thy experience interference with their communicators. One soldier inexplicably stumbles, which somehow hurts her shoulder. Kyle hears noises she heard before the attacks. They show the 2 shadowy figures again. The TARDIS materializes in a nearby tunnel. It is Earth 2526. The Doctor steps out to cool off, Tegan follows. Adric agrees with Nyssa things got out of hand and to just plot the course home and take it from there. Above ground they see new lifeforms on the scanner, one with 2 hearts. Scott says to set weapons to stun. Nyssa joins The Doctor and Tegan and discuss the dinosaur bones they see. Adric can see them from the console room as he works. Scott gets the coordinates to the life signs, which Kyle says is near where the attacks happened.

The wounded party stops for a break and Snyder sets out from above after them.The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan talk about the mystery of the dinosaurs dying out and how he always meant to slip back and find out what happened. The shadowy figures are near the wounded. The scanner flares. Screams. 3 dots on the scanner disappear. Snyder's name tag can be seen amidst a puddle of steaming melted person. With the main group Kyle keeps stumbling. The scanner flares. The group find Snyder and the shadowy figures appear. All in black with smooth featureless heads. The 2 figures are not on scanner. Screams and 2 more dots disappear.

The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan find the main group near a rockfall. They plead with them to believe they just arrived and were not the attackers. Scott doesn't trust them. Adric looks out and sees no Doctor. The team are looking for bodies in the rockfall and find a hatch. The 2 figures are running towards them. Scott, still not trusting The Doctor, tells him to open the hatch. The 2 figures show up and attack with flashes on their palms. The team have lousy looking lasers. The Doctor says they're androids and their willingness to kill The Doctor should be prove his innocence. Kyle recognizes the figures flash sound from the attacks. With red vision we see a view of the team from the androids point of view. The view appears on the screen of a console, which has 3 Cybermen standing around it, calling out to destroy them all.


I love the control panel the Cybermen stand around, something they've used on the new show. More fighting in the caves. They concentrate fire power on one and it damages it. The androids retreat to save power, but stay close to protect the hatch. Adric leaves the TARDIS and finds the others, but hides just in time. They attack the hatch to create confusion in the androids. Adric gets one with a huge rock and the other gets destroyed by lasers. The android was a transmitter so they know someone knows they're there. The Cybermen activate the bomb within the hatch just as The Doctor opens it. Everybody runs to the TARDIS. Scott is visibly amazed. The Doctor temporarily jams the bomb, He and Adric go back to it and try to disarm it. The Cybermen increase power, but The Doctor succeeds just in time. The Cybeleader knows their technology is too advanced for Earthlings and vows to destroy whoever helped them.

The Cybermen review the video from the cave and see the TARDIS. They look at clips from the 1st, 2nd and 4th Doctors. Meanwhile The Doctor wants to go where the signal came from. Kyle and Scott insist on going along with the team. The Doctor thanks Adric for his help and relents about taking him home, if he can calculate it. Adric says he has. They both apologize and Adric doesn't really want to go home, he was just making a point.

The TARDIS destination is a freighter. On deck there are 2 officers. The woman is relaxed but the man, Ringway, is a nervous wreck. They discuss being on time with their delivery and bonuses. The TARDIS materializes in the hold. There are many, many silos as cargo. The Doctor and Adric go out. The Captain arrives on board, their security clearance is cleared and they are on time. They had extra security because of an interstellar conference happening on Earth. Now that they have clearance they will wait to report the 3 missing crew members. The freighter jumps to warp drive. One security camera is down so Ringway goes. Two security guards are looking around the shadows. The Cyberleader says The Doctor will be the perfect scapegoat for the 3 missing crew members. Adric is spooked. On deck they see him and The Doctor on screen. There are screams, they sound the alarm. Now The Doctor and Adric run, and stumble upon 2 bodies, killed in a familiar way to The Doctor. Ringway finds them by the bodies and says on this ship they execute murderers.


Ringway apprehends the two. The Doctor offers to show him the TARDIS to prove he's no stowaway, but Ringway doesn't care if they're stowaways or pirates. He takes them to the bridge where The Doctor pleads with the captain. there is an alarm and a power surge. Nyssa says there's a strong magnetic field. The Cybermen in the silos begin to wake up, wrestling free from their drycleaning bags. The Doctor tells the captain about the bomb on Earth controlled from the ship, but she won't stop and risk her bonus. The Doctor says they want to go to Earth and she is giving them safe passage. Alarms are going off and they're arming men. Tegan, Scott and his team go out of the TARDIS and spy the Cybermen as they march through the hold. The Doctor sees on screen who it is. The ship's men shoot and die.

Ringway turns out to work for the Cybermen, and The Doctor bets he wasn't paid in gold because they're allergic. It plugs up they're chest units and suffocates them. Adric fingers his mathematical badge. Ringway sees it and takes it. When he's distracted, the captain knocks out Ringway. The Doctor picks up Adric's badge. They close the shield doors. The captain says there are 15,000 silos on board. Meanwhile Tegan, Scott and the team are skulking about the cargo hold. The Cybermen get a thermal lance to burn through the shield door. The Doctor uses the antimatter power on board to stabilize the shield just as the Cyberman breaks though, freezing him in place. Scott and Tegan attack 2 Cybermen and get a gun. One gets away. The Cyberleader calls for reinforcements to be activated. They blow the shield door and enter the bridge. "So we meet again, Doctor", says the Cyberleader. They kill Ringway for deceiving him, which I think was actually The Doctor's fault. If it wasn't for him they wouldn't have thought Ringway deceived them. The Cybermen are bent on destroying the Earth while The Doctor watches. In the hold, Tegan and Scott take cover as all the Cybermen begin to wake up.


The Cybermen mess with the navigation. They lock it, making the ship a bomb. The interstellar conference is a cyber pact against the Cybermen. Tegan is hiding but gets nabbed by a Cyberman. Scott gets to the TARDIS, but a Cyberman gets in with him. Three of them shoot it and it dies, but another tries to get in as they try to block the door. The Cyberarm sticking in shoots the console. They grab the gun and kill the Cyberman, but Kyle is also dead. Tegan is taken to the bridge. The Cyberleader shows he's in control by pretending he's going to kill Tegan, causing The Doctor to interfere, showing his weakness in emotion. Scott goes back out to the ship. On deck the Cybermen are leaving the humans behind with 2 Cybermen to observe, but taking The Doctor and Tegan only, refusing to take Adric. Adric tells them to go. He shakes The Doctor's hand and says goodbye. He calls out to Tegan "see you soon". The Cyberleader goes of to the TARDIS. Adric ponders knocking the ship off a degree or two to miss the Earth, but the guards are there.

As The Doctor enters the TARDIS with the Cyberleader plus one, Scott was defeating the guards on the bridge. Adric says solving the 3 logic codes on the Cyberman device will disarm it. Cybermen are walking towards the bridge, though. Tegan is upset about having to watch Earth destroyed and tries to mess with the controls, throwing everything wonky. The Doctor scolds her. Scott shoots a Cyberman. Adric cracks a logic code. In the TARDIS they see the ship begin to disappear, jumping time warps, going back in time. The Cyberleader demands The Doctor follow. The Doctor says the ship is still locked on Earth, so the Cyberleader is still pleased. A damaged Cyberman gets close to the bridge as Adric cracks the 2nd logic code, bringing the ship out of warp drive.

The captain is evacuating, Scott has to drag Adric to the elevator? But he slipped out at the last second, convinced he can crack that 3rd code. The TARDIS group see the escape pod leave. The Doctor says they've traveled back 65 million years and they realize it's the ship that collides with Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs, so the Cybermen lose. Scott calls The Doctor and tells him Adric is still on board. In his hand The Doctor looks at Adric's badge. The Cyberleader aims at The Doctor, but Tegan jumps him from behind. When he turns, The Doctor scrapes the star badge over the Cyberleaders ventilator, causing gasping and wheezing until The Doctor shoots him with his own gun. Nyssa kills the other.  The console is damaged, and they can't get to the ship.

Adric is trying to figure it out, feeling he's forgotten something. Then, "Of course, that's it" and he starts pressing buttons, but he's kind of hesitant because Matthew Waterhouse knew it was about to explode from the gunshot of that damaged Cyberman that finally got to the bridge. He looks out the screen and says "Now I'll never know if I was right". In the TARDIS they see the ship start to glow. Nyssa calls out Adric's name. We see Adric standing on deck holding close the cord of rope that belonged to his dead brother. The ship explodes. Tegan doesn't want to believe it and Adric's 3 friends stand in stunned silence in the TARDIS. When the credits run there is no music. The only time this has happened to my knowledge, and against a black background they showed the crumbled star badge that saved Adric's friends.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Some Who Classic Basics

In case any of you aren't that familar with the classic episodes of Doctor Who, I'll give it  basic run down before I do my first review. The original show was in serial form. Each episode was approximately 25 minutes, but would use a number of episodes to tell one story. On average 4 episodes equal one complete story, with a high of 12 and a low of 1. Basically you would get 3 "to be continued"s before you saw the whole story. After they were edited together for American release, they averaged 90 minutes in length.

The Key to Time
Sometime you would get story arcs, something which is used much more these days. Sometimes it was just over 2 or 3 episodes, but sometimes a story arc would cover a full season, or 4 to 6 stories. I'm paticularly thinking of arcs like the Black Guardian trilogy, E-space, the New Beginnings Master arc when the 4th Doctor regenerated, and for full seasons, The Key to Time and The Trial of a Time Lord (which I'm reviewing for June).
The Trial of a Timelord

Tom Baker is who I cite as my first Doctor, and he is. But truth be told, Peter Davison's 5th Doctor is the first one I got to know. He traveled with multiple companions almost to the very end. He was The Doctor for the 20th anniversary special, "The Five Doctors." He battled The Master several times, like 4 not counting the special. He also fought the legendary Timelord, Omega, previously seen in the 10th anniversary special, "The Three Doctors" and who lived in the antimatter universe. The Doctor was also reestablished as Lord President of Gallifrey. He started with 3 companions, said goodbye to 3, saw one return and leave again, one died, and ended by regenerating with a relatively new companion. He battled the Mara twice, Davros and the Daleks, the Sea Devils and Silurians, the Cybermen and the Black Guardian. He saw the Brigadier again, was executed on Gallifrey, and found out what happened to the dinosaurs.

Now I will do my first Who classic episode, which are called 'story' to encompass the number of episodes. Earthshock is story 121, and is the 6th story of season 19, Peter Davison's first season. It is 4 episodes which I will call 'parts' in the review. I love the Cybermen, so it's no surprise this is one of my favorites. The review will be up this weekend.

Monday, May 20, 2013

What's Happening Here

Hello and welcome. This is the portion of my blogging I am devoting to the classic series of Doctor Who, or Doctors 1-8. Their pics are in the left sidebar, and soon you will be able to click on them for more information on that Doctor as I begin to post. There will be other things added that will hopefully be enjoyable. Try the New Who page for my main Doctor Who blog.

So this is the 50th anniversary year, so each month beginning in January, I have focused on the Doctor that corresponds with that month. First Doctor in January, second in February and so on. If I had started this in January I would begin with William Hartnell, but I will have to circle back around after November because May is the 5th month, or Peter Davison. Tom Baker and Peter Davison are my first Doctors so the episodes hold a special place in my heart. BBC America has been showing a classic episode and background for the Doctor of the month, and this month they will show "Earthshock", so it will be my first classic review. It sees the Cybermen return, gives an explanation for the dinosaurs dying out, not 1, not 2, but 3 companions, and a shocking end for the time. Look for it and more soon, but after I review the series 7 finale.