Category Archives: Doctor Who

repost: review of “Doctor Who and the Pirates” from Big Finish

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Title: Doctor Who and the Pirates

Produced by: Big Finish

Series: Sixth Doctor and Dr. Evelyn Smythe

Summary: Evelyn arrives unexpectedly at the quarters of one of her former students, Sally, and proceeds, with the Doctor’s help, to tell a story of piratical adventure to the protesting Sally.  With each episode, this story takes another unexpected turn.

Unexpected Thing: Since it includes Gilbert and Sullivan music, I was under the impression that the story would be silly and lightweight.  I should have known better, given Big Finish’s other productions.  I can’t blow this for you, but just have some tissues nearby, ok?

Now, this my first Big Finish download, and I’m glad that I started here.  (Don’t worry if the sixth doc wasn’t your cup of tea on tv; he wasn’t mine, either.  He’s good here, and they make fun of his silly coat.)  I’ve been in love with Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas for many years, and the pastiches of their songs are what attacted me to this story in the first place; so, let’s begin with the music…

The compositions here are very, very strong.  Gilbert was a brilliant lyricist, and many writers since have been baffled by trying to update his lyrics.  The production team here did a lovely job within the second and third episodes, with the highlight being Colin Baker’s solo “I am the very model of a Gallafrayian Buccaneer.”  [That one’s getting separated and going with my Chameleon Circuit playlist. 🙂 ]Very clever work, chaps.  The overture (which is actually played at the end) combines the Who theme baseline with several themes and harmonies from a variety of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, including Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado.  It’s beautiful and worth the price of the download alone.

Another particular bit of loveliness, given my love for words, is the nature of the meta-narrative (these elements are strongest in the first episode, but resonate throughout).  Evelyn is telling the story, but she keeps getting confused and having to go back and change bits.  In addition, we soon learn that she also is hiding something.

If you don’t wish to know any more, go to the Big Finish site and download it now.  http://www.bigfinish.com/43-Doctor-Who-and-The-Pirates

**** Here there be spoilers****

Soon, the story spirls out of control, as Evelyn gets in too far before realising that she can’t escape the story without finishing it, including the parts she doesn’t want to remember.  Only after listening to the entire story does the subtitle (common in G & S works) carry its meaning and impact : The Lass That Lost a Sailor.

Speaking of Young Jem, Doctor Who as a program is rather known for its high body counts, especially of nameless soldiers, guards, and townsfolk.  Just look at Resurrection of the Daleks, for heaven’s sake!  After a while, as viewers, we come to regard these deaths of nameless guys as blasé.  In this story, though, the author writes a very powerful argument against our callous attitude towards the death of extras and minor characters.  The name games that Evelyn plays with the sailors first establish them as fairly interchangable, but this comes to an unexpected fruition in the deaths as the story continues.  Each murder builds in power, until Jem’s death becomes unbearable.  We don’t even hear/ see it, but Jem’s murder forms the crux of the story and lends it heart-breaking strength.  In fact, the tone change as we approach it provides such glaring contrast to earlier episodes that it reveals them to be Evelyn’s attempts to whistle in the dark.  It also gives us a glimpse, perhaps, why the Doctor gallavants with such jocularity around the universe, even though he carries with him the weight of constant death and evil.

Following up on the lessons we and Sally learn as we hear the story, the Doctor’s final scene alone with Sally provides a capstone to the adventure.  It could very easily have descended to preachiness, but it rather neatly side-steps this.  Instead, it just reinforces what we are all thinking, as we muse with Sally.

Overall– a strong story that unexpectedly stayed with me.  I’d definately recommend it for anyone who likes radio drama, G & S, or the Doctor.

repost: Review of “The Shadow in the North”

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With Doctor Who reappearing on the BBC last week and on BBCAmerica next Saturday [April 17th] with Matt Smith as the new Doctor, I thought it would be appropriate to repost this review.  The movie below now stars 2 DW alumni. 

title: The Shadow in the North

from: PBS Masterpiece Mystery / BBC

based on: “The Sally Lockhart Mysteries”

by Philip Pullman

length: 86 minutes

I was predisposed to enjoy this because I liked Billie Piper as Rose in “Doctor Who” and one of the supporting actors (playing Jim) is Matt Smith, who is to be Doctor # 11. This is a nice opportunity to have them both in the same production. They do, indeed, do nice enough work, though the script is quite weak for Smith’s character. I have also already seen the first film in this series: “The Ruby in the Smoke” That one was ok—reminded me rather of Dickens’s “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” having an strong set-up and a weak finish (yes, I am aware that Dickens never finished the manuscript, but other authors have), along with a very obvious villain. However, I liked Sally, Jim, and Fredrick enough to keep watching and to look forward to the next one. I actually looked up the novels, but my library didn’t have them.

As for “The Shadow in the North,” it gains points for having a less obvious plot and a more complex group of supporting characters (Alistair MacKinnon & Axel Bellmann, particularly) than its predecessor. Unfortunately, Sally and the other main characters suffer for it—they don’t, frankly, get much to do. Poor Fredrick is reduced to appearing in a variety of unconvincing disguises and then (spoiler music, la la la la la) being killed just as he was getting interesting. The plot moves from clear realism through to the super-natural, though I would have liked to have the final “ghost” scenes better supported. They seem to appear out of nowhere.

(ok, personal rant here, nothing to do personally with Pullman’s work, but I HATE when authors kill off the romantic partners of their strong female characters just as they were about to be happy together. Why?? Why fall back on the idea that happily married/ affianced characters can’t be interesting? Why not let them be together & then work in the relationship’s ups and downs into the story. Diane Mott Davidson has done a lovely job of that. So, why make your main character broken and fragile, especially when the main thrust of the story is not her romantic entanglement, but actually the mysteries or adventures? Edna Buchanan, Patricia Cornwall, Philip Pullman… take note and stop it, already!)

Right, back on track (pun intended)—the idea of the deadly train engine was unusual and chilling, and the final set piece with Sally, when you don’t know what she is planning, is well done.

Overall: worth the watch, but mostly for Piper’s and Smith’s fans. 

For more, see below:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/shadow/

A toast to Who fandom

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dwcast1.jpg image by palaeogothica

Today marks the 46th anniversary of Doctor Who’s premiere on British television, so I thought I’d chronicle for you my introduction into its fandom. 

Though I’ve watched Doctor Who on and off for many years, and I was completely excited when it came back on Sci-Fi Channel, I wasn’t involved in any fandom activities at all.  In fact, I didn’t know there WAS a Doctor Who fandom, really.  The only people I knew who liked it were my siblings and my mom.  My biggest exposure to other people liking the show was during pledge breaks on PBS during Sci-Fi Saturday Nights on WXEL back in the day.

The 4th Doctor was my Doctor.

Buying my ipod last autumn really marked my entry into a huge world that I never knew was there.  While I was discovering podcasts of radio shows I liked, I stumbled across The Whocast.  They were the entry drug.  The discovery that not only were there other people out there who knew about and liked Doctor Who, but there were A Lot of them, was pretty astonding.    After listening to the back catalog of Whocast, I found that I most enjoyed the episodes with Tony, so I then back-tracked to Staggering Stories, and then on their recommendations, over to Tin Dog Podcast and Radio Free Skaro.  I was introduced to Big Finish.  I was now well and truely hooked.  Now The Flashing Blade, The Minute Doctor Who podcast, the Two-Minute Timelord, and Bridging the Rift make the regular rounds on my itunes each week.  There are many, many more people all over the world who contribute their own unique talents and perspectives to the discussion– and how awesome is that!

The really great thing about learning about Doctor Who fandom is finding that it was composed of groups of intelligent, erudite, and entertaining people who use their mutual understanding of the show’s 46 years to frame discussions about literature, art, philosophy, morality, history,  politics, and more [If you ask them, they will deny this, but it is true]. 

Sooner or later, of course, I wanted to be a part of the discussion.  I sent in feedback and began writing my own episode reviews,  and that’s when I learned another important part of this fandom– it’s collaborative.   This isn’t some clique of uber-fans who set themselves high above the plebs– far from it.  They actively encourage more people to come to the party and to play on their playground, and they embrace new fans and old alike.  It’s this inclusive joy that makes being a fan fun. 

  I worked up the bravery last weekend to attend my first real fan-event– a Hurricane Who viewing party of “Waters of Mars” over in Orlando.  I had a fantastic time, and much like the fans I’d met on the podcasts, the people were intelligent, fun, and welcoming.  It was a wonderful experience.

So, today on Doctor Who’s anniversary, I raise a glass to the fans– Thanks for being fan-tastic!

 

 

By Grabthar’s Hat!

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 Ah, all good things (?) must come to an end, and so it is with Tom and Lalla’s visit to the “Leisure Hive.”   Here is part 4’s commentary.  Part 3 is skulking here.
 

When we last visited the Leisure Hive, the Earth businessman had just been unmasked as a reptile to gasps of horror!  (Stella Luna says, “Let me at him!  Migaow!”)

Drats! Foiled again! And I would have gotten away with it, too...

1. Interesting use of pyramid as viewscreen.

2.  I like the march theme playing behind Son-of-Mine’s rant here.

3. Why is he so terrified of the reptile?  I mean, I share the fear, but dude, get some dignity.

4. Ohh– an imposter!  I see.  Where’s Doctor McCoy when you need him? “Jim, this man is a Klingon!”

5. Ah- a nice twist on the enemy/ non-enemy.

6. You tell him, Chief Inspector!

7. And there goes your plot, regenerator boy!

8. “You don’t cross your bridges until they’re hatched.” 🙂

By Grabthar's Hammer, you will be avenged!

By Grabthar's Hammer, the Ambassador shall be avenged!

 

9. Way to threaten an ambassador of peace there, boyo.

10. Tom is looking mischeivious here.  What is he up to?

11.  By Grabthar’s Hammar, he will be avenged!

12. “We are the army.”  Oh dear.

13. Why is the dawn so crucial to the plan?

14. OK- when your self-appointed leader demands unquestioning obedience AND starts referring to himself in the plural, it’s a bad sign.

15. Reports of her death have been greatly exaggerated.

16. How can she so quickly find the Doctor on her scanner?

17.  Oh just reverse the polarity of the neutron flow and get on with it already!

18. Oh!  Poor Formazi!

19. Does he realize that the mask looks like the “Pyramids of Mars” guy?  Do they have the same hatter?

Pyramids of Mars snazzy hat

20.  Oh dear– their marching looks too much like the Rimmer puppets dancing to the Rimmer song to be taken seriously.

21.  Army of clones is a good idea, though.  Has he met the Sontarians?

22. We do have tons of dramatic eye acting in this episode.

23. Oh, cute little trick!  Lucky Son-of-Mine wore that helmet into the machine, wasn’t it.  Isn’t Tom much taller, though?

24. Useful plot device.  It’s what happens when a non-scientist tries to make clones.  They are always unstable.

25. Where did Romana find his clothes?  umm… never mind.

26. Finnegan, begin again.

27.  Now Son-of-Mine is just a hystrical child throwing a temper tantrum.

28.  Is the poor woman going to have a mustache?  I think they did a Star Trek episode like this.

29. Yes, bring him up properly this time!

30.  Ah– I’m glad to know the Ambassador/ Chief Inspector didn’t get blown up. 

31. Black Guardian: “a galactic hobo with ideas above his station”  Ha!  And no more randomizer.  A nice ending.

 

So, the destruction of the randomizer also brings us to the end of this series of random comments.

Did you enjoy them?  Would you like to see more?  Are they all rubbish?  Drop me a comment.

in which we finally meet the aliens.

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 We’re back with episode 3 of “Leisure Hive”– a classic Tom Baker Doctor Who story.  If you missed episode 2, find it here.

As we rejoin Tom & crew, he had just been turned ancient by the video-effects box.

 

This gives a new meaning to "Old Who."

This gives a new meaning to "Old Who."

 

Away we go, then…

1. A  nice review of previous episode, though repetitive music make it hard to build suspense.

2. Hey– he can’t complain.  He could be Gollum-Doctor.

3. No, duh.  He just came out of the box– of course he hasn’t seen himself!

4. Where does Harden get off giving orders?

5. Son-of-Mine seems inordinately please with himself.  Why?  What devious thing is he planning?

6. Yes, yes, yes.  Sand.  We know!  Being spied on.  We get it.

7. How would he know?  Romana’s the brains.

8. How does Son-Of-Mine intend on wearing that helmet?  It looks solid.

9.  Is Pangorn conspiring with the reptiles?

10. “Dignity.  Always Dignity.”  [See “Singing in the Rain”]

11. Um, as Harden has already proven himself useless, and this is your last hope– that’s a dumb decision, La Presidente.

12. No, No… we’re not part of a conspiricy.  Not at all.  Nothing to see here.  Move along

Move it along.  No alien conspiricies here. 

"Move it along. No alien conspiricies here."

.

13.  With the old make-up, Tom’s eyes are even more powerful.

14.  Cool-looking contract plastic/ paper.

15.  Ah, political plot thickens.

16. OOOh– so this is “The Doctor’s Daughter” all over again but done properly! 

17.  Where did the other “disfigured” mutants go?  They sound interesting.

18.  The Formaci sound like R2D2.  Why isn’t the Tardis translation circuit working?

And so another episode ends with the reveal of the alien– I’m glad that they saved it for so late in the game.

Hi,  here we are.  How are we for time?

Hi, here we are. How are we for time?

Next up, the final episode.  Huzzah!

Video effects of Doom!

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Right, well—to begin, I must say that I’m glad that I’ve already taken the notes on this episode because I just spent the better portion of the afternoon reading “Julie & Julia” by Julie Powell (review in a few days), and going back to snarky Doctor Who comments is quite the rugged transition for my brain.

 

So, here we go back to “Leisure Hive” episode two.   For episode one, click here.

 

I dub him Son-of-Mine.

I dub him "Son-of-Mine."

As we view the reprise, ol’ (oh, he really is here, poor fellow) Tom is once again torn asunder by video effects of DOOM.

  1. Wait—reprise made it look like Romana was dragging the scarf!  I thought it was the Doc.
  2. Why does Reptile try to kill Doctor?  What’s his motivation?
  3. Such a cheat—that resolution!
  4. Oh look, ANOTHER Earth shuttle.  This is beginning to feel like Star Cops.
  5. Umm, a strangely directed capture scene.
  6. Just a note—his sonic screwdriver looks almost exactly like the doohickey I used for melting wax when learning pysanka.
  7. Ah, well… yes… have dabbled just a bit in time travel.
  8. Romana is just showing off.
  9. I don’t like Tom’s red coat at all at all.
  10. La Presidente doesn’t seem to mourn her husband all that much.
  11. These reptiles do have a penchant for turning knobs and screwing with machinery.
  12. Ah, now we see how war + hive + death + children all tie together.
  13. Why does anyone trust this scientist?
  14. Also, why does beard-boy (who should be easily identifiable as evil b/c he is wearing a beard in Doctor Who) look so familiar to me?
  15. Oh yeah—of course they ‘ll want to just watch on the viewer.  The Doc will be fine with that.
  16. Aging make-up & acting nicely-done.
  17. WAIT—why did plans for not revealing the deception suddenly change?  Did I miss something?
  18. Claw/ doorway look strangely out of proportion to one another.
  19. Dude!  Green = Death!  Run Away!
  20. Good job showing only bits of the monster.
  21. Poor blind beggar!  Is his prescription really so strong that he can’t even see giant green lizard monsters without his glasses on?
  22. It would be awfully hard to strangle someone with that scarf.
  23. “Arrest the scarf, then.”  Ha!
  24. I like how Romana is a competent teacher here, instead of the silly school-girl she is often dressed as.  Bring back Mary Tamm, I say.
  25. Experiments are boring to watch, especially when done with colored plastic and kool-aid.
  26. Is Son-of-Mine only allowed to speak while standing?  Why does he keep bouncing up and down in his seat?
  27. He is also a bit too gleeful to have found “a test.”  I’m worried.
  28. Oh dear, are we going to melt the Doctor?
  29. Another nice job on the aging make-up; though he does look like a cross between Santa Claus and Rasputin.  An unnerving idea, that.

 

Rasputin + Santa Claus = ol Tom 

Rasputin + Santa Claus = ol' Tom

 

Well, that was a good one.  Lots of plot.  Sufficient corridor running.  Nice aging effects.

Coming soon… part 3… of DOOM!

Leisure Hive pt 1 commentary

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Hi, folks– I’m back with a new commentary for a classic Tom Baker episode.  Tony and Jo! over at the Flashing Blade podcast inspired me to watching it for the first time in order to give them some feedback for their 8th episode.  For the podcast, I condensed my thoughts considerably, but here I offer you my comments unadulterated.  Lucky you. 🙂

So… here we go!

  1. I don’t like Tom’s face in the opening credits.  He looks old, bloated, and bored.
  2. Good grief!  I get it already.  We are on a long, deserted patch of beach.  For goodness sake!
  3. Earphones make snores clearer.
  4. Now that’s just mean!  What’s she done to poor K-9?!
  5. Oh dear– telescope view does not bode well.
  6. Interesting transitions– not sure I like them.
  7. These are very interesting costumes and hair styles.
  8. The meeting does sound like ones that probably happened in BBC boardrooms around this time.
  9. Music does reinforce strange nature of planet.
  10. Interesting how in this season, no one hears the Tardis materialize.
  11. Um.. can one guy sell a whole planet?
  12. There’s an awful lot of exposition happening here along with extraordinarily long landscape pans.
  13. Cool video effects, if quite psychedelic.
  14. Heavy breathing- must be the bad guys.
  15. Interesting idea to cover how another culture dies.
  16. WE GET IT!!! Another ship is landing.  Is this a vital plot point??
  17. Nice to see that the Doctor has forgotten science and is interested in relearning it.
  18. A particularly vicious way to die.
  19. I thought the Doctor said that he doesn’t  do “meeting mothers.”
  20. Doctor does seem delighted to be a “mistake.”
  21. Now is where the psychic paper would have come in handy.
  22. Cute trick with the guard– reminiscent of Sun Maker’s trick.
  23. Very colorful control board– looks like the counter of a candy store.
  24. Red plastic guy = creepy
  25. Nice scarf/ mannequin distraction
  26. Oh no!  Not death by video effects!

 

And that’s that.  Until part two, everyone!

robots gone wild!

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V5, that is not the Doctor

"V4, that is not the Doctor"

We have finally reached the fourth and final part of the classic Tom Baker story Robots of DeathCheers and hurrahs resound.  For those of you lovely readers who have some catching up to do, click here for part 3 of these commentaries.

 

When we left our heroes, the ever-witty Doctor was being strangled by a homicidal robot, as a horrified Commander (sans extravagant hat)  stood by, being as useless as we have come to expect from him.

 

  1. Finally!  The Commander has made a command decision.
  2. I’d be a bit cranky if someone had just stuck a giant syringe in my skull, too.
  3. Good grief!  Toose is just useless.  And Mr. Boucher—rubbish dialogue.
  4. Is the Doc carrying ol’ Commander over the threshold?
  5. Ok, silly way to dispose of two murderous robots, but cute.
  6. I love SV7’s straight tone when he says, “Do not, V4, that is not the Doctor.”
  7. Um.. is she dead?  Because she is breathing quite visibly.
  8. Right, so the Commander could barely walk before, but now he can scuttle?  And way to reduce him to just a hanger-on peppering the Doctor (who is clearly now completely in command) with stupid questions.
  9. Ah—my favorite line from the entire story (which I used as the title of my episode 3 post b/c I couldn’t resist): “Please do not throw hands at me.”—I sooo want to use this in my classroom when everyone’s hands go up at once.
  10. Oh, good, useless girl will recover.  Oh joy.  Oh rapture.
  11. Yes, thank you Captain of Obvious Exposition.
  12. Her pj’s are still pretty snazzy.
  13. The image of the robot with the giant needle in his head is pretty disturbing, particularly given his body language.
  14. Oh—the two of these ladies crouching in corners together is some slash fiction writer’s dream come true.
  15. I notice and appreciate the continuity here—the robot who lost his hand in the door is still missing it.
  16. Clever, clever Leela—having intuition and all.  Good point that SV7 should have recognized her voice.
  17. Must have sucked to be one of the actors who had to play these *frozen* bots.
  18. Now that he’s out of immediate danger and back on his command deck, the Commander has reverted to his vacation home in Denial.  I’m enjoying that the Doc compares him to Marie Antoinette.
  19. Awfully convenient that they had a medical bed set up in the middle of the command deck.
  20. “I don’t understand!” whines Commander—let’s add that to your lengthy list, shall we.
  21. Ah—it was Pool who was controlling D84—clever.
  22. Another point in continuity’s favor are the makeup jobs on the Commander and Toose’s wounds—her neck is still red from being strangled.
  23. Now we get to the bottom of the not-cared about sub-plot.
  24. “And if we do come out, we will be destroyed anyway”—now that’s the first intelligent sentence you’ve uttered all day!
  25. Ummm… is anyone else creeped out by SV7’s resemblance to computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey?
  26. Ah—another bit of dramatic eye acting on Tom’s part
  27. Are they Zed Zed 9 Plural Zed Alpha bombs?
  28. Ha!  “Well, that’s your problem.  I can’t be every where at once.”
  29. Again with the door sound.
  30. Ah—something at which the Commander and Toose can be competent—what a nice change.
  31. Cue hordes of silly tinfoil robot boots.
  32. Once again, this episode’s heroes must have engaged their Somebody Else’s Problem Field as they hide in plain sight.  (yes, I know that was 2 Hitchhiker’s references in the space of 2 scenes, but they were just waiting to be made!)
  33. Commander—must you fall into EVERY sci-fi cliché?  When the Doctor says not to open the door—then don’t open the door.
  34. Ah, while other people were carrying the story, Dask has popped off and had a make-over.  I do think Trinny and Susanna have gotten this one a bit wrong, though.  I think he’s wearing the costume equivalent of a foil-wrap that we used at scout camp to bake chicken and rice over a campfire.
  35. I like the nice long draw back to wide-shot to reveal what we already suspected.
  36. Ummm… Dask, just a point here, but if they could hear you begging for entrance, can’t they also here you giving commands to your robot horde? 
  37. Aww, poor busted robot.
  38. Look, even in whatever century this is, they still use duct tape!
  39. Thanks for the needless definition of “robo-phobia.”  It’s moments like these that remind me that the BBC is under the mistaken impression (though, God only knows why) that Doctor Who is a kid’s show.
  40. “Right now he must be a happy little maniac.”  Ha!
  41. Once again, I am reminded that D84 is an early version of a K-9 character.
  42. Tom just said the key theme of Doctor Who: “I think you’re very important.”
  43. Robot against screen quite creepy.
  44. Every time he says, “My brothers,” I get a flashback to Mr. Mash from “Are You Being Served.”  I want to say, “Mr. Dask, get off the floor!  You know that you and the robots can’t be on the floor after 8 o’clock.”
  45. Meanwhile, back on the uselessly chaotic command deck.
  46. “We may not be so lucky a second time.”—it was awfully considerate of V5 to stand compressed against the door and blow up so nicely.
  47. Dude, you do realize that sooner or later they will realize that you’re human, too.
  48. Ah… a clever, clever trick, using a child’s party game against a maniac.
  49. How awful!  Poor D87!  He is a hero until the end!
  50. Um, when that robot sucker punches the Doctor and then shoves him against a wall, is he going to kill him or kiss him?  I think it could go either way from his body language.
  51. Ah, Dask, as with all meglo-maniacs, your need to torture your enemy will be your undoing.  Have you never watched this show?
  52. Even the music can’t take these two robot-hunting clowns seriously.  They’ve suddenly become Litefoot and Jago, minus the clever dialogue.
  53. Hello, Dask.  Just to let you know, I’ve been tortured by much crazier men than you, and Eddie Izzard wanted me to tell you that silver eye shadow is a death color.
  54. How does no one hear the incredibly loud helium canister?
  55. “Ah, I see.  You’re one of those boring maniacs who’s going to gloat.  Are you going to tell me your plan for running the universe?”  HA!  He is, too.
  56. Well, that at least makes a change.
  57. Finally, the Doctor has told him that he looks ridiculous in that outfit.
  58. I like how the voice change comes upon him so gradually that he doesn’t notice it—though in point of fact, that must be some mightily concentrated helium in order to displace an entire roomful of air.
  59. Ouch—poor Tom does look like his brain is being burned out.
  60. No, not losing his nerve, just overcome with the need to gloat.
  61. Oh—Go D84!!!!!  One final act of bravery!
  62. Those pyrotechnics are quite impressive and a bit gruesome, as we have come to recognize these robots as humanoid creatures.
  63. Ah—nick of time programming still apparently working quite well in this robot.
  64. Dude—there can be only one Master—and you don’t even make the short list.
  65. Gosh, Toose!  You’re racking up a strangle-count to rival young Kirk in the recent movie.  Just be grateful that you haven’t had to hang off any ledges lately.
  66. a useful tool- that giant needle.  I still feel sorry for it’s victims, though.
  67. “What squeak mouse?” 
  68. That control room looks like the throne room at the end of Hamlet.  Where’s Fortinbras when you need him?
  69. Oh—apparently he’s on the rescue ship.  Isn’t it a bit callous to leave the last two crew members trapped on a ship stuffed to the gills with dead people and robots? 
  70. Listen, just because Leela asked the question we were all wondering is no reason to get snippy there, Tom-boy.
  71. Oh, dear—I have discovered that I’ve been spelling Toos’s name wrong this whole time… well, I maintain that my spelling is better.  Otherwise, she’s “twos,” right?
  72. For that matter, they claim that my Pool is actually Poul.  Huh.  Well, this just goes to prove that I’m doing these as I’m watching.  We’ll claim spontaneity and move on, shall we.
  73. Speaking of random credits—they have periods in the names of the robots (I can see some copy-editor now: “Well, since they are, in fact, abbreviations, they should contain periods.”  “But there weren’t any on the costumes.”  “Not my fault.  I’m right, and I’m putting them in the credits properly.  So there.” Yes, indeed, methinks I smell a fellow English Major at work.)

 

And we are done!  Whoo—that was a long one. 

 

What did you think, folks?  Shall we have more of these?

“please do not throw hands at me”

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Where were we? Oh yes, Robots of Death, episode 3.

Just a note—have just seen a season 18 Baker episode. I must say that I like his image here much better than the bloated head shot in that title sequence.

Cue reprise…

1. Ah, they have disabled Strychnine just in time!

2. Dask is rather calm under the circumstances.

3. Did the Doctor just imply that Dask sabotaged the systems?

4. A rather wise saying that, “If you are bleeding, look for a man with scars.” However, I wouldn’t bandage a wound with a itchy silver scarves.

5. Ah, now we get to the middle of the subplot that I don’t care about.

6. “Did you do that?” Leela is quite a useful companion.

7. Oh, hooray! I’m growing quite fond of Strychnine after all.

8. I like that the Doctor trusts Leela enough to have her guard Pool while he goes off to chat with the dumb robot.

9. The visual contrasts between Pool and Leela is quite striking and interesting.

10. Once again, all of the keypads make exactly the same sound.

11. Um… what part of “Don’t let him out of your sight” did you not understand, Leela?

12. Poor ravaged robot!

13. Oh… cue creepy robots… blood on the hand reminiscent of Wang Chiang.

14. Now we can tell who the human is behind this thing.

15. I find it intriguing how they portray the reprogramming of the robot and how he really wants to reject these orders that are countermanding his core laws. Well done and chilling—especially when his eyes return to black, and you can’t tell that anything is wrong.

16. Oh dear—the curtain reveal of the Doctor in the background, along with the chimes, and his grinning like the Cheshire Cat. Disturbing. It quite gives you the feeling that if he wasn’t on the side of right, he could do considerable wrong with glee.

17. I like how the Doctor treats D84 as an equal, unlike everyone else in the story.

18. The side-view close up on D84 does rather spoil the mask’s still effect because you can see the actor’s chin moving up and down.

19. “Priority Red”—poor guy. Having his hands move in a desperate fashion reinforces his helplessness. His other muscle circuits must be disabled, as those straps don’t look adequate to holding him down.

20. What’s up with the KKK cloak there, Dask-boy? We already know it’s you from your video message earlier.

21. Umm… having a close up on those hands was a bad idea—it makes it obvious that they are simply yellow kitchen gloves sprayed silver (palm bumps and all).

22. Poor robot—although they made an oops with the red overlay (look carefully, and you’ll see that some of it shows on the detached mask.)

23. “Typical robot, no imagination.”

24. “Correct”—what a strange cadence on that word.

25. “I have failed.”—now, if he were a Dalek, he would have to repeat that about 500 times with increasing hysteria, then blow himself to smithereens.

26. Poor dejected D84. He wants to help. He’s really just an early version of K-9.

27. Me thinks that robot takes a suspiciously masculine stance in her doorway.

28. She sleeps in a seashell? What is she, a Disney princess?

29. I think it would be annoying to have to look at the world through robot vision and echoy robot hearing.

30. Does SV7 have orders to only kill her if she is sleeping?

31. Whiny girl… and did anyone else catch that subtext about bringing Leela to her bedroom? [are we entering Radio Free Skaro territory here?]

32. Meanwhile, back where Leela is stuck…

33. Oh dear… I didn’t realize how loud I had the volume on the TV until Leela screamed “Help! Can Anyone Hear Me?!” It’s after 1 am here. I do hope none of my neighbors heard it and thought I really needed help. Oops.

34. For all that D84 is used to staying quiet, he won’t shut up about “I heard a cry.”

35. Very creepy—the robot giving orders to kill everyone.

36. Way to get the door opened just to be threatened with death by robot.

37. Oh dear, the red-eye is a bit wonky as the robot walks through light and shadow.

38. For all of the robot’s “You cannot escape,” Leela could have run right out the door just then.

39. I like that Leela’s not afraid to defend herself with her knife (even though it proves useless). “Oh, that’s just showing off.”

40. Um.. robot-dude, who are you trying to convince by repeating “You cannot escape”? ‘Cuz she just did.

41. Again—all door pads make same noise no matter how you press them.

42. “Because modifying brains is not something you do standing around in corridors, you know.”

43. A useful gadget, indeed.

44. Oh, gold-girl’s pajamas look very comfortable and cute. I want a pair.

45. Why is she taking her hat with her?

46. Arm caught in door is creepy. Toose is useless—a solid contrast to what we just saw with Leela.

47. Well, ask a stupid question, get the obvious answer.

48. It is frightening to be told “The door is not a barrier,” though.

49. Oh—well played, Leela!

50. Poor broken Pool. He’s all the more pathetic for how sarcastic and competent he was before.

51. Are these robots programmed by the Stone Angels from “Blink”? They can’t seem to attack when someone is watching them.

52. I like the Doctor’s black humor here.

53. Finally, a cliff-hanger I can get behind!

54. Did you see how many robot actors were in the credits? Beats the hell out of the 3 Daleks they can usually manage.

And so ends another episode… next time, the final part of Robots of Death. Join me, won’t you?  For Part Four, click Here.