Sunday, June 30, 2013


If you're a regular viewer of the new Who, but haven't seen much of the old stuff, you might have noticed that the Doctor tends to be a bit... off his game after a regeneration.  He can be somewhat incapacitated or otherwise trying to find his footings.  Things are no different for the first episode of the Fifth Doctor.  The Doctor spends most of the first half of the story looking for his 'quiet room' on the TARDIS.  Okay, they call it a 'Zero Room' but it's basically a place where the Doctor can rest, recover and see how he's turned out this time.  Only the Master has set a trap and, to escape, the Doctor must jettison 25% of the mass of the TARDIS.  Since he can't pick and choose, the Zero Room is part of the TARDIS that drew the short straw and is gone.  Somewhere, somehow in here, we've lost Adric, who is a prisoner of the Master now, so Teagan and Nyssa manage to find a place in the TARDIS' databanks called "Castrovalva" that is not, contrary to popular belief, a vampire's reproductive organ.  It's a place where the Doctor can get the R&R he needs to be his old, er, new... his self again.

The girls build what looks like a coffin out of the door to the Zero Room and transport the Doctor to Castrovalva where he finally starts to act more like the Doctor again after an inexplicable brief stint of amnesia.  Once pieces start falling into place, the Doctor realizes Adric is missing and tries to leave, which ends up being harder than you'd think...

So we had a Doctor who was mostly trying to find his footing while the regeneration finished this story.  By the end, the iconic celery is attached to his lapel, he's got his 3 companions and we're off to the PROPER first adventure with our new Doctor!

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Wow!  If you ever thought that new Who had raised the stakes as far as the Doctor saving the Universe, you only need to look at "Logopolis" to see that he's been doing this far more often than I'm comfortable thinking about.  Logopolis is where math is made reality and reality is defined by matb.  It all starts innocently enough, with the Doctor needing to take some measurements of an actual police box and ends up with the Doctor's greatest adversary bringing about the death of the universe through entropy.  And then things get interesting.

While stopping off on Earth to take said measurements, the TARDIS picks up another stowaway - a plucky young lady named Teagan.  No, not that Teagan.  And no, not THAT Teagan.  This Teagan is a stewardess (no, still not THAT Teagan) who is just plucky as all getout.  The Doctor brings the measurements (and unbeknownst to him, the ever-plucky Teagan) to Logopolis, where we find Nyssa!  You know, Nyssa!  From that last episode?  Yeah, she's inexplicably here, looking for her missing father.  Who has been possessed by the Master, now played by the slick, constantly delighted Anthony Ainley.  Ainley would go on to play the Master for the remainder of the show's run before the role was recast in the 1996 Fox/BBC TV movie.  And he appears to be delighted about it.  Just everything, really.  Oh, there's a brief moment where he accidentally causes the death of the universe, and looks a bit put out by it, but literally minutes later, he's delighted.  There's also a brief moment where an obvious cardboard cutout is used to stand in for him in the background, and it is delighted.

A bit less than half of the serial takes place on Logopolis.  Most of it takes place on Earth including the ending, which brings about a regeneration unlike one I've seen.  The entire episode, the Doctor seems to be stalked by a full body cast that can somehow walk and talk.  After the Doctor plummets from an antenna dish (just watch the episode, it kinda makes sense.  Kinda.) he merges with the mysterious white figure and, through the finest in early 80s video toaster technology, sits up as the Fifth Doctor!  Farewell, Tom Baker.  You were MY doctor for damn near 15 years and, you know, we had a good run.

Now what's with this whippersnapper and his celery?  I don't know, but I'm fairly certain Teagan is going to be plucky about it!

The Keeper of Traken

The fact that it took me a couple of weeks to watch "The Keeper of Traken" should by no means be an indication of the quality of the episode.  As I mentioned, new Arrested Development, Denver Comic Con and life have all conspired to keep me from my duties.  I'm pleased to say that, after the mess that was "Warrior's Gate", "The Keeper of Traken" returns to much of what I love about Who.  We've got a civilization suffering from untold peace and harmony for generations thanks to the titular Keeper, who somehow bonds with some sort of advance technology called the Source to become an all-powerful but benevolent ruler.  Of course, since the Doctor shows up, you know their way of life is in serious peril.  To be fair, the Keeper bypasses the TARDIS security and appeals directly to the Doctor and Adric for help, but the evil lurking on Traken knows the Doctor and wants revenge.

We get a fairly wide but manageable cast of characters in this one, including companion-to-be Nyssa, her scientist father Tremas (spot the clue!) and her mother Kassia, which I thought was a kind of cinnamon.  And of course we have the aforementioned Evil, going by the name of Melkur.  Melkur appears to be neutralized early on in the serial but while he appears powerless, he's anything but.  The Doctor and Adric save the day, however, with a good mix of action and intelligence.  While the budgetary constraints show in a few sequences, the story is good enough that I didn't mind filling in some of the gaps with my imagination.  The biomechanical integration of the Keeper to the Source to run Traken made me think of one of the hardest of those old Infocom games, "Suspended".

And with "The Keeper of Traken" we come to the last serial that ends with Tom Baker as the Doctor.  I can't say enough good things about his take on the role, but I look forward to seeing what Peter Davison brings to the character.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I haven't given up on this blog already.  Between work, new Arrested Development, and Denver Comic Con, haven't had the time to finish watching "The Keeper of Traken".  I'm working on it tho!