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20 June 2010 @ 02:36 pm
Familiar Times and Places  
Today I watched my first actual episode with the Seventh Doctor, played by Sylvester McCoy. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't like him much, since his brief stint in the horrible Eighth Doctor movie (which I still haven't managed to force myself to finish), and really the only reason I wanted to desperately watch this episode is because of the trip back to 1963 where it all began.

That's right. "Remembrance of the Daleks" takes the Doctor and his charming but oddly dressed Companion Ace back to 1963 to visit that old junkyard and school that were the main sets for the very first episode. You know, the stuff of legend? Sadly, there wasn't a lot of time spent there back in the day, just the entirety of that very first part of "The Unearthly Child", but it still kinda gave me a few chills to see it.

My first reaction to this story? "Who is that girl in the appalling clothing and why is this adorkable Doctor traveling with her?!" It's really an inner battle as to whether I like Ace. For some reason, I love her voice and the way she speaks, but it absolutely does not match the horrible way she dresses, in all that black and with her TIGHTIGHT braid that makes it seem like she has no hair and is absolutely huge. And, really, she walks around everywhere carrying the giant boom box? I understand it was the 1980's, but REALLY?! I'm beginning to get why so many people are against John Nathan-Turner.

I also gave a sigh of relief that the episode looks like late 1980's British television. There's just something about the quality and look of the film, the way things are shot... It was comforting to see it be so familiar, because I grew up watching episodes of the British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, which lasted from 1990-1995 and has that same sort of look in the early years.

There is a remarkable military presence in this episode, and the Doctor uses some bombs that look like those now-fashionable aluminum water bottles. The whole thing struck me as very odd, so incredibly different from the Doctor of the 70's, but that's what so many people have complained about, isn't it?

THE DALEKS. They're also what made me watch this episode before any other featuring the Seventh Doctor. This is the very last appearance of the Daleks before the series went off-air, not to be seen again until 2005. AND AND AND DAVROS! Of course, the first time you see him, he's "in disguise", but anyone who knows Doctor Who knows it's Davros. What other villain has that insane voice and a Dalek rolly-chair?

I have to say the grey Daleks look incredibly shabby. Like the creature people just forgot to put the second coat of paint on them. But the gold and ivory ones make up for it in spades; they are soooo very pretty. And stairs! Thanks to some nice light blurring under their bases, the Daleks are able to conquer stairs! The world may rejoice for 2.5 seconds, and then return to wondering how the hell the First Doctor managed to drop something as important-sounding as the Hand of Omega when he was there in 1963, so important and powerful that the Daleks tracked him there to it? Really? REALLY?

I did have a giggle when the Doctor was arguing with Ground Captain Gilmore and called him Brigadier. Nice little shout-out to a character who made appearances throughout the entire series.

A Few Questions Answered (even though no one asked them)

How are you watching all these Classic Who episodes? Netflix. If you're in the US, there is no better investment of $10/month for entertainment purposes. They have possibly every Classic Who DVD currently available, and a number of them are also available for Instant Watch, which is absolute heaven if you have a Wii/Xbox 360/PS3/Blu-ray player that is part of their system. (You can also watch them on your computer, but on the TV is so much more fun.) If you're not in the US... my apologies!

Where the hell are the tags? I have no idea. I love using tags and apparently managed to pick a layout that doesn't like to show them on entries. But they are there, I swear! You can see my list of tags and navigate to entries from there, if you like.

Which Who resource book are you reading right now? Timeless Adventures: How Doctor Who Conquered TV by Brian J. Robb. It was just released in May, and is currently running about $13 on Amazon. The book goes through the entire existence of the show and chronicles the way it reflects social climate of that era. It's extremely comprehensive and is giving an American a lot of insight into the foreign British arena that is rather hard to grasp from this side of the pond. I'll give a more in-depth review when I've finish the book, but for now I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the social and historical context of Doctor Who.

A Question of My Own

Why the hell does Ace call Seven "Professor"? In this episode, she does refer to him as Doctor at one point, so wtf? And what episode does this happen in, because I need to see it now before my brain explodes.