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Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:58 am
by Garrett Gilchrist

And DoctorWhoOnTwitch has now reached the 80s -- a drop in quality in many ways, but just as loveable in others.

Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:21 am
by SirQuacky
80's Doctor Who, don't get me started! Utterly fascinating to talk about, re-edit, and hypothesize extra stories or needed character building for. But not as much fun to watch.

There's a few choice serials from that ere I still like watching on their own. (Oddly enough the entire Trial Of A Time Lord serial/season/four-parter is one of them, a true example of a "mixed bag" if I've ever seen one.)

On a funny note, due to JNT's thing with making every serial lead into the next one, not only do most of those seasons run like an impossible few days have passed, but it's lead to a surprising amount of fanfiction on the theme of "The Fifth Doctor and Co. Do Mundane Things" where they just go shopping or something of the like set inbetween the aired serials.

Though, I once tried to mark down all the points where serials don't end with a direct lead into the next, it doesn't happen as often as one might think, it's surprisingly sporadic. I guess it's just more noticeable in the JNT/Saward era.

Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:40 am
by SirQuacky
Oh, on the topic of what's canon, it took me a long time to figure some kind of list that divides the series up into it's clearly distinct production teams, and while not literally accurate to who is credited in the 60's seasons, represents more of who was in charge during those days as far as the DVD documentaries describe. Plus for fun, a subtitle for each where I try to sum up the overall viewing theme of those eras.

An Educational Science Fiction Children’s Drama Serial
An Unearthly Child - The Dalek Invasion Of Earth

A Semi-Educational Science Fiction Children’s Drama/Comedy Serial
The Rescue - The Chase

The Tragedy Of The Ancient Spaceman’s Moralistic Failures & Friends
The Time Meddler - The Gunfighters

The Mechanical Evils Of Outer Space Meet A Doctor Named “Who”
The Savages - The Macra Terror

The Adventures Of A Cosmic Hobo & His Scottish Pal “Jamie”
The Faceless Ones - The Mind Robber

The Doctor’s Interference Goes Too Far, The Time Lords Intervene
The Invasion - Spearhead In Space

UNIT, HAVOC, Buddhism & The Suavest Of All Evil
Doctor Who And The Silurians - Robot

Gothic Horror Stories For The Science Fiction Fan
The Ark In Space - Horror Of Fang Rock

Marketable Fairy Tales, Catchphrases & The Quest To Control Tom Baker
The Invisible Enemy - The Power Of Kroll

Douglas Adams presents “The Tom Baker Show” starring TOM BAKER, Lalla Ward, and some other people
The Armageddon Factor - Shada

The Phoenix Dies Slowly, Drowning In Synthesizers
The Leisure Hive - Castrovalva

Cocaine Decisions, Internal Backstabbing, Saward's Bloodlust, Neon Fashion, Overtly Suggestive Melodrama & Crazy Fans Meddle
Four To Doomsday - The Trial Of A Time Lord

A Gnome With A Cane Fights Semi-Spiritual Nonsense While Hinting That He’s Probably A Deity Himself (feat. EXPLOSIONS)
Time And The Rani - Survival

An American Embarrassment In London

The Doctor Does “Dating”

The Marriage Of Fan-fiction & Fan-service

I realize my 80's subtitles sound a little abrasive, but I do like those seasons, it's just all a mixed bag of potential that's sometimes used, other times squandered to me. I could get truly harsh if I split up the RTD and Moffat eras into the series they contain and give each one of those a subtitle. Except for the Eccleston series, that was grand throughout and a great re-introduction to the show.

Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:45 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Very good! You didn't mention Saward's blood thirst!

Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:37 pm
by SirQuacky
Oo! Yes, Saward's Bloodlust, that was super prevalent, putting that in! I can't believe I didn't mention that; Thanks, thanks, thanks!

His cravings are a major part of the "melodrama" that festers in a lot of 80's Who: In the documentary for Attack Of The Cybermen, when he's describing his intentions with showcasing those unlikable half-conversion slaves for a majority of the programme only to have them killed off abruptly and senselessly (along with Lytton and nearly everyone else in the story) after so much running time devoted to them; it definitely reads as a writer extremely jaded with the show he's working on, and willing to go full boar into dark territory with no resolve for giving the viewing audience something uplifting to latch onto. Pure bait for the Mary Whitehouses of the world.

Not to mention it's another Sixth Doctor serial where you could mostly cut him out and very little is changed. Saward openly didn't care for the direction of "Ol' Sixie" and his handiwork was definitely to make him an essentially useless/interchangeable character in the serials of the 1985 season. That's why I simultaneously sigh in frustration and laugh whenever I hear someone say "Revelation Of The Daleks is the best Sixth Doctor story", The Doctor is written to be so unnecessary to that serial he's stuck to the wastes of a cold 16mm location shoot and literally doesn't even enter the studio-bound plot or interact with any of the main characters until well into the second episode!

Maybe that's why I prefer the Trial serial/season, for all it's faults, at least the Sixth Doctor is actually an integral part to that story! x3

Also YES YES YES, Tennant, Kylie, and The Muppets, it's occurrences like that that make life a little sweeter!

Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:21 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Also, the later JNT stories you can put "written by literal children."

I don't know if there is a good Sixth Doctor story on television.

Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:26 pm
by SirQuacky
TLDR: Season 21 + onwards ramble

Oo, also, since I brought up the Sixth Doctor, and be warned this is a long one: I have to say something about his infamous premiere story, but it requires build-up. When I was doing my in-broadcast-order marathon that took a year and a half, I was surprised to learn that Season 21 feels SO different when watched with the flow as intended, rather than cherry-picked as usually done. It's such a complicated season, I'll summarize:

After the fan-service of The Five Doctors (which I consider a part of Season 20 due to it's production) ending with a line that gives you the notion the series is rejuvenated for another season, we get the surprisingly dull Warriors Of The Deep that is soaked in so much 1980's makeup it can barely breathe, it even ends with a bleak "everyone dies" moment that foreshadows the tension Saward's bringing. The only highlights are Tegan's new outfit, the tinny snare-heavy soundtrack, a ridiculously silly karate chop death that is guaranteed a laugh, and Peter Davison's very short haircut that only shows up for the serial. A skippable story that due to hair thing actually makes for better continuity between The Five Doctors and The Awakening if left out!

Then the short 'n sweet "The Awakening" which is serviceable but leaves little impact. There's some fun banter, and notably a ton of people enter the TARDIS in it, but it has a coldness to it, something about it's pacing doesn't feel right.

Then "Frontios" where Davison is pretty much playing the Fourth Doctor for most of it. A story that relies upon it's villains to the extent that how bad they look actually does hamper the enjoyment a little bit. If one can push past that, it's decent if also gloomy.

"Resurrection Of The Daleks" has some of the most needless and uncomfortable deaths in the series, almost entirely relegated to the first episode. It's unsettling, but does help the motivation for Tegan's bittersweet departure. For her, and some of the audience, it indeed "Stopped being fun." That would almost be clever if the story wasn't written to be that dark long before it was decided Tegan's departure would take place in it, which it was. At least it's pacing is okay.

But as you can see, the whole season so far is just one bleak episode after another, increasing in bleakness as it goes.

"Planet Of Fire" has good scenes, unfortunately it juggles four completely different plotlines around (due to necessity) that would make any editor pass out, and the final result jumps around to such an extent every scene I have to take a second to audibly remind myself which plot is happening at any scene cut. It also has some seriously stationary location footage compared to the dynamic moving shots in the serials this one is sandwiched between; according to the director on the commentary, this was due to only being allowed to use a rudimentary rig and physically holding the camera for any kind of panning they wanted to do. The whole serial needs some serious re-pacing, but the DVD's bonus special edition with the newly-shot footage in it did not help any.

- Also, a quick note about Turlough, on a character basis, you really could jump from Enlightenment to Planet Of Fire with him. His answer to The Doctor on his desire to go home that ends that serial (and the entire Black Guardian Trilogy) is completely dropped and never mentioned again until Planet Of Fire. As a character he's simply frozen in all the serials between those as there's no way for him to grow until he goes home and faces his past.

Then the famous "The Caves Of Androzani" which on it's own is a thrilling dark adventure that just has one hooked until the very end. but in context of the season is surprisingly jarring due to it's unique filming style, and constant sense of foreboding in the incidental music. After serial upon serial of the Fifth Doctor failing more and more, in varying ways, this is the dreaded conclusion. No matter how much Tegan was a pain to him, the moment she leaves due to his actions the Fifth Doctor is pretty much dead inside, another failure. So in his last heroic serial he does everything possible to keep his newcomer Peri alive (who in a new-for-Who moment had a disturbingly depressing backstory hinted at in Planet Of Fire) because by simply landing on the planet of Androzani and stepping outside, he's effectively failed to keep her or himself alive by contracting that slow disease. In minutes of landing, it's a failure to end all failures.

After making one final tiny mistake of spilling one of the vials, he commits an act of self-sacrifice, dying from the disease, and triggers an unstable, unhealthy regeneration that unlocks an-as-of-yet silenced side of his nature.

And it all ends on "The Twin Dilemma", which much like Planet Of Fire juggles around too many plotlines, and was also written by an utter kook who didn't even finish writing the thing! If we put aside the embarrassing costume for the villain and his ridiculous scheme, the focus of the story is about The Doctor getting mixed in the usual-for-Season 21 affairs of some skirmish between humanoids and an alien with no movable mouth, it doesn't seem out of place when watched in context, in fact I found myself rather liking the Jacondan bird-men makeup, it seemed pretty competent after all the makeup blunders in the season. The twin's actors are unfortunately embarrassingly poor, and that's JNT's fault: after having several failed auditions from the few male twins that took part, in an act considered desperation by the production team two female twins who auditioned were chosen to be good for the part, but at JNT's insistence that the characters HAD to be played by boys for the story to work, they got the duo seen in the episode at last minute.
Because the scenario is so alike the basic template of the rest of Season 21 the only difference to be made here is The Doctor himself, who after seeing the calm and just Fifth Doctor fail again and again in this kind of scenario we get the manic Sixth.
The post-regenerating Sixth Doctor is written like an egotistical schizophrenic who also happens to be bipolar, the same quirky behaviour that is a mainstay of every other regeneration story, but this time given a sinister turn. Peri does seem too lenient on his actions at times, but given her hinted at past mentioned before in Planet Of Fire, her reactions throughout the story almost make a sick sort of sense, the whole thing is intentionally excessive and I'm blaming Saward.

Having to watch the Fifth so much before this makes me notice moreso the calmer more lucid moments the Sixth Doctor has in this serial, Colin on the commentary is apt to point each of these moments out. He describes this idea that Sixie would be an inverted Fourth, instead of smiles on the outside hiding a dark demanding personality on the inside, he would be a boorish bully on the outside, hiding a somewhat peaceful contemplative personality on the inside, that would slowly show over several seasons. Glimpses of which are seen in the Trial season.

The serial (and season) ends on a bittersweet note dialogue-wise, but as Colin rightly points out: everyone remembers the line "I'm The Doctor, whether you like it or not." with the looming music cue, but never remembers the next couple shots where his sinister look turns all sweet smiles as Peri gives him a trustworthy smirk; trying to show some hope and trust for the future.

I hate to say it, but some of the great moments on the Sixth Doctor's TV episodes are sadly subtle and brief, you have to go looking for them, versus being inundated with them like the golden age of Tom. Colin did as much as was allowed with what he was given, adding in touches, his series of cat badges (which little felt cats were also sewed into the inner lining of his coat to count each serial he was in), changing his tie to three different styles for continuity reasons during the Trial season, his propensity to use a Thesaurus to beef up Sixie's vocab in each serial (ideally to give children a new word to learn in each episode). Little things, but they're there.
Shame Saward gave up helping the show during the season that followed, and just decided to make it all about his propensity for bleak outcomes.

Of the seven year plan Colin was eager to be part of, we only got his first and half of his third on TV, if you count the cancelled Season 23 as the missing second Peri season between 22 and Trial, and Trial's shortened length being the equivalent to half a Season 22 style season.
When watched in order Time And The Rani feels like a soft reboot, it becomes a completely different show in tone and message, it's somewhat disappointing.

Now, I wouldn't trade Sylvester or Colin for anybody else, but DAMN were they screwed over on their time on TV.

Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:32 pm
by SirQuacky
In television terms, I'll be a steadfast defender of the Trial serial/season even with all it's flaws. It's one of those cases where it's the best of a sour bunch, that while also sour in places, it isn't as much. Colin and Sylvester are too likable as people for me to dismiss their original time as The Doctor, and while it IS a cherry picking, filled with many moments of the phrase "If only they did ___, it would've been so much better.", it's all that was ever made back then, and the only canon stuff of them as The Doctor shot in their prime. I have to bend the rules of leniency, even if for a little while.

Also, I'll always have to give The Two Doctors some props, it's the very serial I picked up at the library years ago that introduced me, and got me hooked to the show.
I originally found a copy of The Three Doctors while getting Blackadder III for the first time, not quite getting it, but liking Troughton, and later I found The Two Doctors, The Seeds Of Death, The Mind Robber, a few Cadfael DVDs, some random Monty Python DVDs, even series 3 of A Bit Of Fry & Laurie! My local library introduced me to a swath of British programmes in the mid-00's, and I know for a fact if I hadn't liked my second Who serial, The Two Doctors, I never would have become the die-hard Who-obsesso I am. The whole vegetarian angle doesn't appeal to me now as an avid meat-eater, but I wasn't raised to eat meat so it was touching back then. Plus, seeing the humorous Troughton, a charmingly aged Jamie, the pretty Peri, and Colin's blonde-curls cat-loving rainbow-coated Sixth Doctor, the kooky Shockeye, the literally blood lusting Chessene, the charmingly sinister Sontaran duo, and the sweet duo of Oscar and Anita was just the combination of characters to get the little dark-blonde curled cat-loving boy I was to pay attention for three 45 minute installments.

Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:01 pm
by SirQuacky
As for Seventh Doctor TV stories, "The Greatest Show In The Galaxy" and "The Curse Of Fenric" are probably the closest things to serials I'd put on a rewatch list
"Battlefield" and "Ghost Light" are confusing fluff, though Battlefield has the always appreciated Nick Courtney, so it gets a higher grade. "Survival" doesn't really feel like Doctor Who, it feels a bit off to have a studio heavy series end on a solely location shot story, and it wastes Anthony Ainley's last appearance, though the location look it has does feel reminiscent of the location look brought to form in Eccleston's series.
"Remembrance Of The Daleks" is woefully overrated but does have it's good moments, it's just a very retconny "too little, too late" kind of mess. It's like the change that happened after the tiresome "Death To The Daleks", the Daleks have once again become stale and need some kind of renovation to make them interesting again, but a new big gun and stair hovering is not that.
"Dragonfire" and "Paradise Towers" are nonsense cheese, but have moments to enjoy. "Time And The Rani" also has moments I enjoy, but is completely seperate from anything resembling competent Doctor Who. "The Happiness Patrol" is insane and unsubtle as fuck, but almost becomes enjoyable for that very reason. And then there's "Silver Nemesis" and "Delta And The Bannermen", one is a waste of an hour and a half of your life, and the other is so not Doctor Who that I despise it beyond reasonable measure.

There are a number of new series episodes I would gladly claim are worse and less Doctor Who than "Delta And The Bannermen", but in the context of the original classic series, it is THE worst.

Re: Through Time & Space: The Doctor Who Thread

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:23 pm
by SirQuacky
To be little more positive, I'll just add a small list of ten serials that as far as I'm concerned DEFINE a "competent Doctor Who":
The Masque Of Mandragora, Terror Of The Zygons, The Ark In Space, The Time Warrior, Carnival Of Monsters, The War Games, The Enemy Of The World, The Faceless Ones, The Time Meddler, Marco Polo

(Marco Polo explanation: As a conclusion to the original four serial arc it's perfect, if I could cheat my own list, I'd list An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, The Edge Of Destruction, & Marco Polo all as one single story that shows the original team overcoming their differences and backstabbing and learning work together, those first 20 episodes ARE Doctor Who whether anyone wants to admit it, it's a travesty it's lost.)