carmen_lj: (freema; freematastic yo)
So if Ian McKellen is voicing the Snowmen in this year's Christmas Special MAYBE he and Derek Jacobi could be at next year's Gally and just be on stage the whole time talking to each other. JUST AN IDEA.

I've changed my mind about what episode I want back most in the archives: it's currently The Abominable Snowmen, episode six. Cause it was the MOST MAGICAL END EVER to a Doctor Who story. The Yeti in the Himalayas have turned out to be robots controlled by the Great Intelligence - a standard Doctor Who plot thing where something mythical turns out to be ALIENS DID IT - but right at the very end the intrepid explorer dude who's come to the Himalayas to search for Yetis has found only DEATH AND ALIENS and had his belief in the Yeti CRUELLY DESTROYED. Except then he spots one, a real one. THERE IS MAGIC IN THE WORLD AFTER ALL.

I have been to the Americas and returned safely. I DID NOT get attacked by any Giant Weeping Angels, Statue of Liberty shaped or otherwise, in New York. DISAPPOINTING. I did get a bit of a headache in Times Square. DEATH BY NEON LIGHT, DUDES.
carmen_lj: (tardis: hexagons are love)
There is a reason some DVDs are left in their cling-film plastic stuff. A VERY GOOD REASON. I couldn't sleep and I tried the "watch some boring stuff" method of dozing off which managed to COMPLETELY FAIL. I got about half an hour into Death to the Daleks before I had to turn it off for fear I would DIE OF BOREDOM. Man, it's cack. Really, supremely cack. (And yet still not the worst story of season 11 - one of its few redeeming features is it's only four episodes of near-fatal tedium.)

The first five minutes are really good though. The first five minutes are worth watching, and then just turn it off and make up your own adventure. VIRTUALLY ANYTHING YOU MAKE UP WILL BE BOTH BETTER AND MORE INTERESTING.

Those first five minutes though, practically modern in their pacing. Doctor and companion in the TARDIS, planning a nice holiday to some planet and other. BAD STUFF HAPPENS. The TARDIS is forced to land and all the lights go out. All the power's drained out of the TARDIS, even the torches don't work. They manage to get a few flickering seconds of the outside world on the scanner and see nought but fog. An oil lamp is found. That works, hurrah! To get out of the TARDIS they have to manually wind a thing on the door.

Outside it's dark, creepy and foggy. The Doctor wants to explore; Sarah wants to put warmer clothing on. "You won't wander off, will you?" she says and Sladen is magnifique there - she wants to be brave but she's bloody scared and we can hear it. Back to the TARDIS she goes, and winds shut the door. But since Our Heroes popped out SOMETHING has got IN. As the doors shut it lurches up to attack Sarah and she whacks it, and manages to escape outside again. Again, she's brave, but there's a desperation to her actions that makes her fear stark and compelling. *I'm* scared for her.

Outside, the Doctor's gone. Sarah's alone and trapped on a strange alien world with no-one and nowhere to turn.

And then it all goes cack. Team!Exposition turns up and exposits their way through tedious plodding exposition because this is Terry Nation writing and it would be UTTERLY REMISS OF HIM if he didn't make his regular attempt to KILL VIEWERS WITH PLODDINGNESS. There is a FORBIDDEN CITY. It has SACRIFICE and TRAPS and THOSE MONKEY SWINGS YOU USED TO GET IN PLAYGROUNDS BEFORE HEALTH AND SAFETY BANNED THEM.

Then Team!Dalek turn up. With their own comedy music. At the cliffhanger. Because it would be against the spirit of Doctor Who not to have the Daleks turn up at the first cliffhanger when they're mentioned in the title. I like the hatred radiating off Pertwee though. He really doesn't like them. And I like the future Earth history, with the big space empire that seems like something humans would really make and not pseudo-utopian actually military dictatorship a la the Federation or outright dystopia like Blake's 7. It's a bit crap, the Earth empire, but they get along all right. And there's a Scottish dude. I think. He's called Galloway anyway, which is somewhere in Scotland.

But it's a rotten story. And it didn't help me sleep. I therefore award it A BROKEN STAR cause those first five minutes were really properly creepy and cool.
carmen_lj: (four; don't forget me)
Face of Evil is one of those stories that hardly ever gets talked about, I think because it's good, but it's not *brilliant* and it tends to get dwarfed by the Fandom Favourites in the rest of the season (Robots of Death - hurrah; Talons - ffs, fandom). And it came out on DVD a couple of weeks ago and I haven't seen it in like forever cause of my Massive Hinchcliffe Hate, but I stuck it on today, and what struck me most is how bloody good Louise Jameson is.

I'm not much of a fan of Leela (STOP JUDGING ME). She's like the Donna of classic Who for me: a well-written, very well-acted character with a crappy ending that just happens to be the sort of character that doesn't really appeal. I like them both, but I don't get all fannishly excited about them. But Jameson totally carries this story. Every single scene with her, she's fantastic. Her performance feels so naturalistic, lacking any of the awkwardness that tends to crop up now and again with practically all the companion actors (sometimes it's not their fault, and they have the most appalling lines, but watching this, I bet Jameson would handle anything even Pip and Jane could throw at her.) She's easily the best of them since Hill and Russell. (And meanwhile Baker doesn't seem to be so much acting as Being Pissed Off That They've Gone With This Awful Leela Character.)

tFoE's a great intro to Leela as well. She doesn't have one of those amazing first scenes like Romana or Liz Shaw (it's pretty good though - she's getting chucked out of her tribe for blasphemy) but it quickly establishes her strength of character, her compassion, her independence and self-belief, all within the first episode. She also rescues the Doctor, and kills three people without remorse, which he gets rather angry about. Four doesn't get angry very often, but when he does, it's a scary thing.

And the story cheers me by giving a somewhat nuanced approach to the Doctor's views on violence (something that fandom has been making me arg about recently, for since the Doctor said that one time that he "never would" he is therefore a pacifist). Here, he is threatened with crossbows, and tries to talk his way out of trouble. It doesn't work so he pretends a jelly baby is a gun. Obviously, it's not, but since he can't talk his way out, he is resorting to a violent threat (it's what Delgado!Master does too: threats are only resorted to if charm (and hypnotism) fail). Later, when Leela kills men while rescuing him, he's furious, because he considers the deaths to be "unneccessary" but later he builds a gun for members of the tribe so they can defend themselves against the energy creatures attacking them. He also proves himself to be a damn good shot with a crossbow, having learned from William Tell, apparently. The whole story is a nice illustration of his attitude that violence is a tool: it must never be the first resort, or used excessively, but when in mortal danger, it's acceptable to defend yourself or defend others, using deadly force if you must.

Also Face of Evil has one of those rare classic Who cliffhangers that properly scared the crap out of me when I first saw it - the computer shouting "who am I?" in increasingly frenetic tones - and therefore has the honour of getting my vote for Story With Scariest Evil Computer.
carmen_lj: (two; panic reaction)
Cause I was watching Tomb of the Cybermen: one of the most annoying phrases in Doctor Who fandom is "sixties screamer", which should be banned for being an lazy way to dismiss the main female character and erase all the nifty stuff she did (and they all did nifty stuff).

And Victoria is kind of amazing in Tomb. She doesn't get nearly enough credit for it. Deborah Watling's performance is ridiculously charming, managing to make her vulnerable and innocent without being at all cloying. There's her wonderfully played uncertainty about her smashing new dress. And then she gets to be curious and unafraid in exploring the Tomb; politely snarky at the human bad guys who she's totally unimpressed by; wonderfully snarky at the American rocketship crew (every one of those scenes makes me flail slightly in delight); turns out to be a crack shot with a pistol as she takes out a Cybermat; knows her own limitations and goes and gets help from the rocketship crew to open the Tomb again since this technology's at least 500 years ahead of her; cheerfully starts smashing a Cyberman to save the Doctor; distracts the bad guys (successfully) with a well-timed scream and is decent enough to be the one who brings up the bad guys' safety when they might get attacked too. And then has that beautiful scene with the Doctor talking about her family and his.

Jamie gets a whole lot of excellent moments with the Doctor, and the story would be weaker without their banter, but does sod all himself. (In fact, Jamie falls asleep/gets knocked out/doesn't do very much really QUITE A LOT during his run, and yet fandom/the media has failed to dismiss him with a derogatory name.)

Anyway, mostly it is lovely to see Jamie and the Doctor being space-married, but companion-wise, Victoria is by far the more developed and interesting character here. And now I really want to watch The Abominable Snowmen, except that got burnt, boo.

106 to go!

Dec. 11th, 2011 05:10 pm
carmen_lj: (two; the gang's all back together)
Two classic episodes of Doctor Who have been found! Missing for over forty years, dudes, now back in the archives! MY JOY IS VAST. And it really doesn't *properly* matter to me what they are since it's SIXTIES WHO I HAVE NEVER SEEN and never thought I'd have a chance to see, and now they've been found again and it's BRILLIANT, but leaving that aside, obv the very best thing to find is any of Marco Polo, which they're not, BUT NEVER MIND.

The finds:

- Galaxy Four, episode 3: Excellent. Now people of the modern age can enjoy an episode of arguably the worst Doctor Who story ever made. Hurrah! It's Hartnell, Steven and Vicki, and I really am looking forward to seeing it, but on a wish list of finds, I confess this would be terribly near the bottom. Y'know how sometimes classic Who is headdeskingly sexist and sometimes heartwarmingly progressive? Galaxy 4 is very, very much not the latter.

- Underwater Menace, episode 2: THIS IS MARVELLOUS. Not only do I love and adore Underwater Menace OUT OF ALL PROPORTION TO ITS QUALITY but A TROUGHTON EP! And now the earliest existing Troughton ep! And more Ben and Polly! MOAR ZAROFF! Properly, genuinely thrilled about this. MAYBE IT WILL MEAN FISH PEOPLE ACTION FIGURES.

So, yes, well done, searchers of archives and ancient tapes and things, well done, and much thanks. All kinds of fannish giddy now.

ETA: Article in the Radio Times talking about how they were found.

ETA2: The Beeb have put up two galleries of images from the recovered eps!

ETA3: Clips are up at the offical website, don't know if they're region-locked, so also on YouTube here and here.

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