Monday, June 27, 2016

Dr. Who Saturday

Last night I watched a Doctor Who episode, Revenge of the Cybermen.  I had seen it before, but had forgotten some of the story because it's a pretty convoluted episode so it's worth seeing more than once.  Actually many of the Doctor Who episodes are that way for various reasons.

It has Tom Baker playing the doctor in it along with Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen) as his companion and Lieutenant Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter).  It was one of those episodes that was recorded back-to-back with the previous episode, The Ark in Space, and  uses some of the same sets for both episodes.  However, with Revenge of the Cybermen they also use a pretty interesting cave-like setting that is supposed to be the inside of an asteroid called Voga.  (The scenes were actually filmed at a place in the UK known as Wookey Hole.  Gotta love that name.)
It concerns a plague or so the crew members think that has infected their space station called Nerva, and it has killed off nearly all their crew.  They are quarantined from most of the station.  The doctor and crew have materialized there awaiting the return of the TARDIS by the way of a wrist band gizmo. 

One of the crew members aboard the  station is a traitor, which you learn pretty early on, and he is seeking the gold inside the asteroid along with parts of an alien race that have mined Voga which he has teamed up with known as the Guardians.  Both have forged a secret alliance for their own gains.  The Cybermen want the asteroid destroyed as gold it contains mucks up their breathing apparatus and kills them.  So essentially the Cybermen want to destroy it. 

Eventually the crew members aboard the Nerva station find out the traitor, and find out that the doctor and crew are really the good guys, however, of course, the crew gets separated and part of the  story deals with that, part deal with thwarting the Cybermen, part of it is dealing with the Guardians, also part is trying to prevent them from blowing up Voga, and so on.  It was a fun episode.

Oh, and while on the subject of Doctor Who I found a Doctor Who Podcast Alliance, which collects podcast on the series for those interested in that.  Check it out here.  

Before the Doctor Who episode, however, our PBS station out of Dallas has started broadcasting the BBC series, Life On Mars.  A few years ago I caught the sequel series to this, Ashes to Ashes, partly because it had certain time travel tropes in it, and partly because the main actress playing one of the main leads was so attractive and the cast seemed to mesh so well together that it hooked me.  I was curious about the original series, but never got around to watching it.

Both take place around 1973, and in both iirc, the two leads get sent back to the past by way of a coma/concussion.  I know it sounds odd, but it works.  It is really a detective series with some speculative time travel things thrown into it, but it makes for a compelling series to watch.   The series deals with the main character feeling like a fish out of water, and wanting someone to get him a cell phone, and of course the people around him go "Huh?"  because it has not been invented yet, and neither has the more modern forensic sciences, or computers, and what-have-you.  Along with the character trying to adjust to this new world and wondering if it's a dream or he's gone crazy, you (as a viewer) also remember (if you were alive then) all the things that were hip or in vogue at that time during the 70s like record shops, the clothing, the culture, and the like.  Plus another interesting bonus is the soundtrack to the series as they play music from that era as well, which for me is a lot of fun.

At any rate, this double feature back to back showing of Life On Mars and Doctor Who with Tom Baker has a rather winning SF Saturday lineup.  Plus before all that Star Trek: TOS shows just before they start.  So if you're a couch potato on Saturdays like me, it's all good.

Today while trolling the web I ran into some little videos on YT called Bad Days.  They are similar to something like the animation on Robot Chicken, but maybe not quite as cutting edge.  The one below is about Doctor Who, but they have them on other pop culture like Planet of the Apes, super heroes,  TV shows, and the like.


At 6:09 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

Life on Mars (in either the UK or US incarnation) is one of the shows I missed – as did too many other viewers for the show to survive. It seems tailor-made for a Boomer audience. 1973 is still very real to me (and I recall the David Bowie song still getting occasional airtime), so I’d likely relate to it. One more for the binge-watch list.

My Dr Who viewing has been sporadic over the years, but I probably saw more with Tom Baker than anyone else. Sounds like a pleasant Saturday for you.

At 7:52 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I either wasn't aware of the American version of Life on Mars or it escaped my memory. I've never seen any of those episodes. I might have to look into them though I generally prefer the original when it comes to that sort of thing. However I do like the US incarnation of The Office. So you never know, a lot of times if you have a cast that works well together they can nail the zeitgeist of the original.

Tom Baker is the most popular of the original classic series, though I've seen a number of the Pertwee era and I like him a lot too. Some thought of him as the 007 Dr. Who, and I can see that to a degree with the gadgets and what have you. His era dealt less with outer space tropes and instead was generally more grounded on earth. But I'm a fan of Hartnell too and some of the others. I much prefer the classic era to the modern.


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