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 Taking a Dive into Classic Who

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Rust
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:02 am

rdks wrote:
Rust wrote:
...the Chief Embalmer (Who I've seen somewhere before).
That would be the brilliant Clive Swift... and known to New Who fans as Mr. Copper from Voyage of the Damned.

That's where I remember him from!
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:35 am

Did you ever get around to watching An Unearthly Child?
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Rust
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:57 am

Heh, not yet. Nor have I gotten around to watching The Armageddon Factor. Things just kinda rolled and I kept putting it off. I was thinking about sitting down later today and watching some Who, while I make my first batch of Holiday Cookies (Ritz Crackers with Peanut Butter dunked in melted Chocolate Almond Bark and Ritz Crackers dunked in melted Chocolate Almond Bark with Mint added).
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:33 pm

Ya, that happens. I've got DVDs I bought years ago that I still haven't gotten around to watching.

I'm still interested in your thoughts whenever you do get around to watching it. Your reviews are very well done and an enjoyable read.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:24 pm

So, in celebration of Doctor Who's Birthday, I decided to (finally) crack open and watch An Unearthly Child.


What threw me first off was the fact the first episode seemed to repeat, till I bothered to look on the box and realize that what I'd seen initially was the unedited Pilot. More on that later.


Overall, I think what struck me most of all about An Unearthly Child was how...familiar...the whole thing was. Most Pilot Episodes are generally not held in high regard to the later adventures and generally don't follow the later established formula. With Doctor Who...this first adventure really is no different from the hundreds of other adventures the Doctor and his companions have found themselves in. Honestly, I was a little shocked. Rose, when compared to the rest of the first Season of "NuWho" is an extraordinarily dull episode (One of my least favorite of the revived series, with only Love and Monsters ranking below it) filled with extrapolation and explanation. An Unearthly Child feeds it to you in bits and pieces - from the little flashbacks of Susan's rather sporadic knowledge base, to the Doctor's mumblings before setting off for the first time in the TARDIS, the "Exiles" line and being unable to return to their own race, the malfunction of the Chameleon Circuit, and finally the reveal that the Doctor really can't fly the TARDIS...it's all done organically without being forced within the confines of the story.

As an aside, I got a kick out of the observation that the Doctor kept a Notebook that detailed what every machine in the TARDIS did. It just brought back MST3K: The Movie: "Well, look at that. Breech Hull - All Die. Even had it underlined."

Now, what did I think of the much lamented Caveman story that filled Parts 2-4 of this adventure? It seems a somewhat general consensus that the Caveman story stinks. So imagine my surprise when I honestly loved every minute of it. Like I said, it felt like any other numerous adventures. Indeed, I'll even go so far as to say it's in some ways much better then many other adventures, because they devote so much time to the Cavemen Characters.

Za and Kal were fully realized entities, along with Za's Woman (I can't recall if she was given a name or not) and the Old Mother. Yeah, they were stereotypical Cavemen portrayals complete with halting speech, but the underlying story actually made those performances work. The Old Mother was practically a prophet when she mentioned Fire would consume and destroy Man.

I honestly got a real big kick out of it all. The classic adventure tale with the Doctor right in the thick of it.

Speaking of the Doctor, William Hartnell continues to serve as the anchor for all other performances of the character. An irritable Old Man, to be sure, but still moments of that trademark puckish Humor and a master of improvisation and getting right in the thick of things.

Indeed, I had a flash of David Tennant's performance when the gang brought Za back and Kal was going on about how Za and the Old Mother let them loose. Hartnell started talking in the Caveman's halting speech and generally became one of them for that scene, all the while quietly mocking them with obvious observations (Taunting Kal on the quality of Za's knife to produce the true murder weapon). I swear, when Hartnell's on the Ball, his Doctor is a wonder to behold. Probably one of my favorite scenes in the whole series that I've seen thus far. "This Knife shows what it has done."

But I also liked that the Doctor wasn't a complete whirlwind force of nature like Tennant and other Doctors. Ian played about as much importance in the story as the Doctor. Susan and Barbara were generally reduced to scream queens (God, Susan's scream...it grates on the nerves after awhile) they still had moments of individual brilliance. Well, Susan gets a pass due to her figuring out how to escape. Barbara was basically just a Scream Queen. (Yes Dear, it's a dead warthog. Are you trying to bring every carnivore on the continent towards you?)

And the ability to glimpse the unedited pilot was nothing to sneeze at either. I liked it because it fleshed out Ian, Barbara, and especially Susan a lot more (Especially her frustration at being confined to A, B, and C on a math problem). I did not, however, care for Hartnell's characterization of the Doctor in this one. The Doctor was a purely malevolent force in this. There was no trace of a previous Doctor, only hints at the Master, Valeyard, and Dream Lord. Basically, I was relieved that the for-air episode featured a far more familiar, if still cranky old man, character. The Pilot Doctor was a sinister SOB and I didn't care for him at all.

Though to give Hartnell his due, he played a mean SOB extremely well.


Overall, An Unearthly Child is a extremely fun ride that withstands the test of Time and does the Franchise Proud forty seven years later. How many shows can you say that the pilot's just as good as the modern fiction? And no, that's not degradation of quality going forward either. I've watched programs of this time period. To say Doctor Who torpedoes those programs is not an understatement. The Writing for this time period is absolutely phenomenal.

And that opening score is still hauntingly beautiful. Trying to imagine it to the eyes of a 1963 television viewer...that score basically announced "Here's something you've never seen before." and it never let you go from there.
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The Castellan
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:23 am

I preferred the un-aired pilot more. I liked the sinister Doctor, and a bit more alien Susan. Plus her outfit in the Tardis was pretty fearsome, alien and a bit sensual. I liked that version of Susan more than the 60's teenager with a few odd quirks in the aired pilot.

And Totter's Lane was rather sinister itself.
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Ronpur
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:52 am

And the first entrance to the TARDIS was amazing on the pilot. Straight thru the doors from the outside.
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Rust
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:13 pm

Agreed. I don't think they've ever managed to top that initial burst into the TARDIS.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:31 am

i'm watching war games now for the 1st time. i'm on the 4th episode and so far its really good. i'm liking patrick troughton's version of the doctor. i can see the influence he has on matt smith's doctor.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:35 am

War Games is an amazing epic story. But, don't try to watch it all at once. It does get a bit long, and was meant to be watched one episode a week.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:29 pm

Rust wrote:
Agreed. I don't think they've ever managed to top that initial burst into the TARDIS.

And the first episode of Dalek has one of the best cliffhangers of all time. It's amazing what they pulled off in the first few episodes of Doctor Who. You will have a whole new appreciation for Barbara's scream.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:32 am

Ronpur wrote:
War Games is an amazing epic story. But, don't try to watch it all at once. It does get a bit long, and was meant to be watched one episode a week.
i took your advice and i just finished watching the 10th part yesterday. the time lords can be real a-holes sometimes. all in all it was really good, hating seeing the 2nd doctor go, but loved his bickering over what his next self would look like.."he's to fat, he's to skinny....".
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:54 am

Wow, talk about procrastination on my part. I still have yet to watch The Daleks, Edge of Extinction, or The Armageddon Factor. My area might be in for some bad weather over the next few days. Depending on what happens and how soon it occurs, I may have a bit of time on my hands. I'll at least see to finally wrapping up The Key to Time. I've had that story the longest, after all.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:08 pm

So, today I finally sat down and watched The Armageddon Factor.

This story was really good, but it would have done just as well as a stand alone story more then the summation of a season long epic. The sets and costumes were extremely well done, and there was remarkably little Ham in the performances. All in all, it was a good production all around.

Cept the Marshal's uniform. Especially with the opposing planet being Zeos, and the enemies being Zeons...I kept expecting a Gundam to pop up. Not the kind of visual homage you expect out of Doctor Who, but heck if that Black and Red outfit with the Golden Eagle motif doesn't look just as good in live action as in animation.

The main villain of the piece - Shadow - was interesting, and I like how they kept him mostly in shadow to maintain the illusion on a skull face. Admittedly on an HD Television, it makes it look like he's wearing a Pig Mask, but I suspect in the original broadcast on a Standard Definition Television, it wouldn't be noticeable. The Nylon Body Stocking was a nice touch, I thought. It gave the illusion of cobwebs and rot while being a rather simple effect.

Indeed, throughout this story I kept seeing similarities to a NuWho story...namely The Big Bang. From the Self Repeating Time Loop, to Shadow and the Black Guardian's ultimate motivations (Seriously, shades of the Time War there when Shadow said the desired goal was to pit the two strongest powers in the universe against each other and revel in the destruction). It got to the point I seriously wonder now if Shadow or perhaps the Black Guardian aren't behind "Silence Will Fall". Probably not, but it's fun to speculate.

Speaking of the Black Guardian - very hastily thrown into the story, in my opinion. For the big malevolent force looming over this season, he shows up for the last five minutes. Though the twist with him was well done, I thought. That did catch me by surprise.

Still, the resolution left me wanting a bit. Effectively it made the last season of adventures meaningless and how quick did it take for that Randomizer to be lost and forgotten in the Lore? Of course, that again made me think to Matt Smith's "It's time for me to stop running" line for Season Six, but I'm just daydreaming.

Drax was a treat, but again...he felt tacked on. Yeah, it gave the Shadow reason to know the Doctor and Time Lords, but it still struck me as doofy that he happened to keep one prisoner for five years.


Overall, I enjoyed it. A fine tale to the ending of a fine season. Still, I'd say The Armageddon Factor ranks second for the season overall. The Ribos Operation still comes in first for me. It's a claustrophobic tale with its enclosed sets, but the lighting is consistent (There were times in Factor when I struggled to see what was going on) and ultimately the characters are more three dimensional.

Seriously, for a six part story, the extras in The Armageddon Factor don't get much in the way of characterization and some, like the Marshal, changes his motivations mid-episode some times.


EDIT: The one thing that really bothered me though...what happened to the Zeons? They went missing, and nobody thought to inquire about their fate. Were they Shadow's henchmen? Killed? What?
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:01 am

So, on a whim I picked up Destiny of the Daleks, despite having been warned off of it.

What can I say? Gaining access to Davros' return seems kinda essential to my collection.


I've only watched the first three episodes, but ultimately the story's not terrible. It's not mind blowing awesome, but it's far from boring. Honestly, what most impresses me about this story are the memorable instances:

- Romana's regeneration scene. Compared to our modern understanding of Regeneration, it's absolutely silly and makes no sense what-so-ever, but I can't deny the humor in that sequence. Especially when she comes out as a Viking Princess with a...rather startling chest piece. I sometimes forget British programs got away with showing stuff that would never make it past the censor board here in the US. Granted now a days, nobody would bat an eye, but for the time period...that was surprising.

Also: Yay Continuity! The crack about Princess Astra makes me glad I finally watched The Armageddon Factor. And despite it flying in the face of what we know Regeneration to be, it strikes me as an interesting look into the mind of effectively an adolescent Time Lord/Lady. If they're so vain as to force regenerations on themselves to achieve a better look...Oh, also the regeneration that had wings. Looks like the Doctor has a right to be worried all his extremities are present.


- The initial scene of the Daleks. Them bursting through the wall screaming...that was a way to end an episode. I thought that was very well done.

- Also, Davros' resurrection sequence at the end of Episode 2. For some reason, seeing his eye piece just blink back to life sent shivers down my spine. Probably because it wasn't done "dramatically" like it would be today with a long, slow power up. The swiftness, the snap "On" of it, just did it right for me.


I'm looking forward to finishing the tale, but it's getting late and I wasn't focusing well on the epsiode, so I stopped on Episode 3.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:19 am

Rust wrote:


- Romana's regeneration scene. Compared to our modern understanding of Regeneration, it's absolutely silly and makes no sense what-so-ever,

Also: Yay Continuity! The crack about Princess Astra makes me glad I finally watched The Armageddon Factor. And despite it flying in the face of what we know Regeneration to be, it strikes me as an interesting look into the mind of effectively an adolescent Time Lord/Lady. .

I liked how they explained it in the FASA RPG... just like the Master had a special talent for hypnotism, some Time Lords are born with the innate ability to control their regenerations and subsequent appearance.


As for the adventure itself, I agree... it's not bad, but it's not great either.

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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:53 am

Wrapped up Destiny of the Daleks.

Davros ordering the Daleks to suicide was rather chilling really. I can honestly say I didn't see that coming. Not a bad ending.

Also: Romana SMASH! She kicks hard, appearently.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:38 am

Just watched that one again recently myself. I still don't think the story's as bad as some think. I also really like the look of the Movellans. Very elegant.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:50 am

SeaDevil wrote:
Just watched that one again recently myself. I still don't think the story's as bad as some think. I also really like the look of the Movellans. Very elegant.

This story holds a special place for me. It was the first time I saw Daleks in action!
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:29 pm

Destiny marks the beginning of a trend lasting for decade following:

All Daleks stories becomes "The Davros Show" rather than a Dalek story, for they just become the 'race of robots' as said in the story. Rolling Eyes

I personally feel Davros should have stayed dead.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:37 pm

The Castellan wrote:
Destiny marks the beginning of a trend lasting for decade following:

All Daleks stories becomes "The Davros Show" rather than a Dalek story, for they just become the 'race of robots' as said in the story. Rolling Eyes

I personally feel Davros should have stayed dead.

Ditto.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:39 pm

Well...yeah...I have to agree...
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:42 pm

I love Destiny of the Daleks! I don't know why exactly...maybe it's seeing Lalla Ward as Romana II for the first time, maybe its her female version of the Doctor's costume. It isn't the Movellans, I can tell you that!

In fact, "Oh look...Rocks" has become an injoke between me and one of my friends.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:21 pm

Well, since I'm on Vacation, I'm gonna need something to occupy my time.

The Dalek War and The Enemy Within are both incoming, as well as finally getting my hands on Series 5. Were it not for that, I probably would have gotten Remembrance of the Daleks as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Taking a Dive into Classic Who   Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:40 pm

You're gonna love the Dalek War set. Frontier in Space in particular is one of my very favorites.
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