|Posted by goldenplum on May 7, 2015 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
From Tea with Morbius
Jamie's background as a Jacobite had not really been explored prior to this audio. It was nice to see Jamie in a situation where he understood what was going on and was less of a fish out of water. Yet he soon gets into trouble and has his own Aztecs moment, attempting to change history. This is brought to us via Frazer Hines who is on top form. He not only reprises Jamie brilliantly, but gives an uncanny impression of Troughton. Frazer is assisted by Andrew Fettes, who plays too roles extremely well; the tortured and embittered James II/VII and the cynical civil servant-like Celestial Intervention Agent.
On the whole, I enjoyed this story and thought it was well done. It was great hear the Second Doctor dragging up again and disguising himself and Jamie as washer women. However, it does suffer from a problem with pacing and feels rather rushed. The interesting idea of a change in timelines is not really developed. More importantly, I felt Jamie was far too quick to accept that history could not be changed. There was no sense of conflict or discomfort in his betrayal of James II/VII.
According to this audio, Jamie lived a very happy and contented life Post-War Games (+ Season 6B).
|Posted by goldenplum on December 4, 2014 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
From TARDIS Eruditorum -
It's January 14, 1967. Tom Jones has yet to give up number one, though he will in a week when The Monkees take number one with "I'm a Believer." It is worth remarking on the nature of The Monkees as a band - an American band manufactured for popular success in an attempt to reverse-engineer the Beatles at the exact same time that the Beatles were busy exploding their own formula recording Sergeant Pepper. In fact, the top three singles when the second episode of The Underwater Menace aired are an instruction manual in 1967 - corporate pseudo-mods, Tom Jones, and The Who with "Happy Jack," complete with psychedelic cover. The Monkees retain number one for the duration of The Underwater Menace, with #2 and #3 switching to Cat Stevens in his first really big single and The Move, a Birmingham rock band, with "Night of Fear," a song that is very obviously about a bad acid trip.
Meanwhile, in news that does not sing, the US is found out for experimenting with germ warfare, the opening strains of the Summer of Love happen in San Francisco with the Human Be-In, which also introduces psychedelic culture to the masses (never mind that Doctor Who did it two months earlier. In a week or so we'll watch, astonished, as Doctor Who invents steampunk in 1967 and gets no credit for that either). The UK begins negotiating to enter the European Economic Community, pre-human fossils are discovered in Kenya... and we're so far two days into the four weeks this story ran. Thankfully things slow down, and over the rest of it the major news consists of the UK nationalizing 90% of the steel industry, the Apollo 1 disaster happens, and the US, USSR, and UK (who were apparently still expected to make it to space in 1967 - a fact that may be relevant in 1970 for our purposes) sign the Outer Space Treaty to demilitarize space.
If you have the sense that the 1960s are kicking into high gear very suddenly, you're not far off. So I am deeply amused to bring you The Underwater Menace, which, according to Doctor Who Magazine's definitive "Mighty 200" fan poll, is the worst story we've yet covered - one of the ten worst Doctor Who stories of all time, in fact. And so, even though its quality is by miles the least interesting thing about The Underwater Menace, I suppose we should start there.
The case for the prosecution is that the script makes no sense, the villain is ludicrous, and the whole thing is an effects-driven wreck of a story assembled under pressure. Wood and Miles take it to task for the fact that "it displays utter contempt for the audience. It's not so much that it isn't trying, it's that it doesn't think we care that it isn't trying." Shearman and Hadoke are kinder, both admitting that they love the story's barminess.
It's certainly the case that few of the usual reasons for writing off this story seem to hold up to scrutiny. Yes, the plot revolves around drilling a hole in the bottom of the ocean to drain it into the Earth's core and explode the planet. Need I remind you that one of the most acclaimed and "classic" Doctor Who stories of all time features hollowing out the Earth's core to drive the planet around as a spaceship? Yes, the madman wants to blow up the planet because he can. But how can we, as a fandom, praise the scene of Davros contemplating unleashing a deadly plague on the universe and then complain about Zaroff? (That would be in Genesis of the Daleks, not yet blogged, but on DVD if for some reason you've never seen it) They are, after all, the same scene.
So we're left with the fact that episode three ends with the mad scientist villain shouting "Nothing in ze world can stop me now!" Which actually comes very close to identifying the main problem with this story - episode three of it actually exists. As an orphan episode, for a long time its airings would have been at fan conventions. Nothing with so absurd a cliffhanger would have a chance of being anything other than a "so bad its good" experience in such a setting.
I'm tipping my hand here, but ultimately I side pretty strongly with Shearman and Hadoke here. To quote Shearman, "Is it entertaining? Just about, if you hold on tight, and don't resist where it takes you." Which is to say, I think anyone failing to have a good time watching The Underwater Menace has made a conscious choice not to enjoy it. It's a ridiculous story, but it's fun.
|Posted by goldenplum on October 20, 2014 at 8:45 AM||comments (0)|
From Here -
and its time for Jamie to show a little leg.
|Posted by goldenplum on February 24, 2014 at 5:20 AM||comments (0)|
The unnamed aliens in The War Games look human, but they definitely have an alien quality to them. David Bree, who plays the Security Chief, gives his character a distinctive slow protracted form of speech. It was also a great decision to cast the Time Lord War Chief as somebody who looks physically distinct to the other alien characters. While the War Chief is handsome, suave and charismatic, the other aliens are pudgy, bald and pasty-faced. They are stereotypical bureaucrats. The best of them is of course Philip Madoc as the War Lord. He is absolutely fantastic. Instead of playing the character with bluster, he is cool and quiet, exhibiting a constant menace. He even smiles when he threatens people. With his scruffy beard, his spectacles and palour, he looks every inch a psychotic. Echoing the Nuremburg Trials, he remains defiant before the Time Lords, refusing even to acknowledge their authority. His terrified cry of 'No! No! No!' as he fades out of existence is a nice end for him.
The other alien who really stands out, even more so than General Smyth, is the fake German officer, Von Weich. He seems to take great delight in putting on different accents, switching from being a German officer, to a Confederate and then to a 19th century British officer. Von Weich must have been so disappointed that there was no Second World War zone and therefore no opportunity to play a Waffen SS officer or a Soviet commissar! This makes a really interesting point about the theatricality of military authority. After all military authority is largely about dressing up and speaking in a certain tone of voice. Also highly effective is the scene where Von Weich and Smyth move about their model soldiers and talk about how they will kill off each others troops. War truly is a game to these people.