Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nilbog Watches The Second Doctor

Two is finished

It has taken me awhile, but I watched the following stories from Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor:
1. The Power of the Daleks
2. Tomb of the Cybermen
3. The Enemy of the World
4. The Mind Robber
5. The War Games

Much of what I said regarding the overall atmosphere and quality carry over from the First Doctor episodes. The biggest exception: Troughton himself. Two is very much the essence of what we know today as The Doctor: Impish, easily distracted, excited by new things, but never without a way out for himself and those he cares about. And he won't abide innocent lives being put at stake. One had some of this, but I always felt more of a scheming edge to him (actually, I think Eleven was a perfect mixture of One and Two's sensibilities, but I digress). I simply had a lot more overall fun with Two, and he'll likely end up in my top five when all is said and done.

Troughton also has a lot of range, as "Enemy of the World" showed - where The Doctor gets in trouble for being a dead-ringer for the arc's villain. Two and Salamander are so distinctly different fully-realized it was sometimes hard to remember Troughton played them both.

Another kind of nice thing was that the Jaime character I met in "Tenth Planet" stayed with the crew until the Time Lords screwed everything up in "War Games," which gave me another anchor to the stories. He was a decent companion, though I never bought him being from Ancient Scotland - his hair was far too Beatle-y.

"Tomb of the Cybermen" already showed the massive de-evolution of the Cybermen as characters from their original incarnation. I miss the sing-song-y voices. And "Power of the Daleks" made me want to watch Eleven's "Victory of the Daleks" again because look, they're trying the same trick again. And I was aghast when the Sonic Screwdriver appeared in "War Games" and I realized I had missed its debut - perhaps when asking for recommendations I should have added "Important First Appearances", but it's too late now. Oh well.

Highlights Include:
1. As I've said, Two as a whole is one of my favorite Doctors so far. I just have a ball whenever he's on.
2. Also as I've said, watching Troughton switch between Two and Salamander in "Enemy of the World."
3. "Mind Robber" was a fantastical high concept done absolutely right. My only complaint is when everyone kept talking about a "Master", I kept thinking it was going to be THE Master, but that's my own fault (apparently, he's coming very soon).
4. The incredibly slow build "War Games" has, where everything you knew went completely haywire from episode to episode. Also, I think it's funny that The Warlord looks a lot like Steve Jobs.

Now it's time to start with Three, whose son is actually playing Alfred in "Gotham", which I am growing quite fond of.

Speaking of new episodes...

Bonus: Nilbog Watches The Twelfth Doctor (Spoilers Ahead)

Since Clone Wars ended, I realized I don't have the dedicated time or energy to review episodes of shows as they air, or else Gotham, Rebels, and Who would all have ongoing reviews.

That being said, now that Series 8 is over, I want to give a few thoughts.

Overall it seems a bit darker, but I think it only seems that way because Eleven's madcap antics aren't around to balance it out anymore. Whereas Ten and Eleven were absentminded professors (and Nine was an absentminded professor going through an emo phase - Nine's my favorite, but it's true), Twelve is full-on mad scientist. That's not a bad thing, and I'm quite fond of Twelve, but it changes the dynamic a bit.

Actually it was really Clara who came into her own this season, and I tend to think SHE would make an excellent Doctor. I also really liked Danny Pink which is why the finale was so hard to watch (that and Osgood WHYYYYYY?!).

I didn't call Missy as The Master until about ten minutes before the reveal, and I really should have seen it coming sooner. I really dug the performance and I don't believe for a second she's really dead. I mean, I've been through "The Master finally died" twice before, and will probably see it several more times as I delve further into Classic Who. The Master has Joker Immunity by this point.

Highlights include:
1. A Dinosaur in the Thames. Poor Rex.
2. "These are attack eyebrows!"
3. Robin Hood
4. The reveal that once The Doctor and River had a fight so he spent some time sulking with Otters.
5. The Doctor humming "Another Brick in The Wall pt. 2" when seeing Clara being strict with her students.
6. "Mummy on the Orient Express", especially the cigarette case full of Jelly Babies and the 20's-era rendition of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now"
7. "I'm Missy. It's short for 'Mistress'. Well, I couldn't keep calling myself 'The Master', now could I?"
8. The stinger in the finale. That I refuse to spoil, but I can't WAIT until Christmas.


  1. Good selection of episodes there (I loathe Tomb, but apart from the racism it's a lot of ropey fun, and has a couple great set-pieces with the Cybermen). Yeah, Troughton's pretty brilliant- probably the best actor to take on the role, which is really saying something. He's so mercurial and unique in the role, it's so great to watch.

    The screwdriver apparently debuted in "Fury From the Deep" which is unfortunately a missing episode. I hear it's quite good, though.

    Re: Osgood, that scene was the first time in a long while I've been seriously properly angry at Doctor Who. HATED it right to the core, and found it so horribly brutal and Sawardian in all the worst ways. I loved literally everything else about the episode (possibly best Cybermen episode since The Invasion, and Gomez is by far the best Master we've had since Delgado), but that was a serious mark against it. Excellent series, though- I mean, geez, there was maybe only one episode I seriously disliked, and I was in the minority on it. Capaldi and Coleman were spectacular, and holy hell the highlights were something else ("Listen", "Kill the Moon", "Dark Water", etc...this was a flipping brilliant season).

    Remind me again- what Third Doctor serials are you watching?

    1. I don't have the list in front of me, but I think it's Spearhead, Autons, Daemons, Three Doctors, Carnival of Monsters, then whatever his last one is.

      And as much as I hated what happened there, I at least have to grudgingly admit it made narrative sense (unlike, say, the last five minutes of Angels in Manhattan which completely ignores the fact that we've proven Tardis beats Angels). Moffat does like to troll us though, doesn't he?

      You mention Listen, which I had honestly forgotten about because while there was good stuff in it, I feel it didn't properly explain some things. But now I'm thinking...does Orson, like, no longer exist, or did he always have a different story? Or is the Christmas special going to rectify things?

    2. Lessee, trying to think if that covers all the bases for Three and all his important stuff...Autons and Demons are great "UNIT family" stories- when people think of the Third Doctor's era there's a host of signifiers that come with it, and they play out in spades in those stories. Three Doctors and Carnival are *fantastic*, hope you enjoy those.

      If you're looking for other 'first/last appearances episodes', there's a couple other serials, but they're all pretty long- "Doctor Who and the Silurians" introduces the Silurians (duh) in probably their best story, but it's also 7 parts long. "Frontier in Space" is the last story to feature Delgado's Master, and "Green Death" is the last to feature Jo Grant, the companion who spent the most time with Pertwee (it also sets up "Planet of the Spiders", which might be important). Both are 6 parts, though.

      OOH- you know what you *should* add to the list if you want first appearances- "Time Monster". Can't believe I didn't think of it- first appearance by the Sontarans and by Sarah Jane Smith. Also first time Gallifrey is named, I think. I'm not as huge on the episode myself, but it's very well liked and is by Robert Holmes, who's brilliant. Yeah, if you have a space for another episode, that's the one to do, probably.

    3. WAIT WAIT ABORT it's Time WARRIOR, not Time Monster.

      This is actually a very hilarious mixup for me, because Time Monster is one of the Pertwee era's biggest turkeys, and is downright laughable in places (one of several guilty pleasure episodes for me- it's so dumb and madcap throughout I just can't help but enjoy it).

    4. I'll check it out, since Sarah Jane seems an important first to watch.

    5. Also I just watched The Master feed someone to an inflatable chair. We've past the point of no return on silly.

    6. Heheheh- I love that death. Actually coincidentally was just watching that episode with my mother a couple days ago, specifically called her in from the kitchen so she wouldn't miss the 'best Doctor Who death in history'.

      Of course, we laugh at it, but apparently that whole episode *terrified* kids, and they actually got a firm (and rather dumb) smackdown on the violence in the episode (this becomes a recurring problem for Robert Holmes, as you'll see in a couple years).

    7. Very interesting. Technology marches on, eh? Though I get what you mean - the execution is rediculous, but the concept is downright chilling.

    8. IIRC it was less the chair and more the killer flowers, troll doll, auton policeman, etc. that permeate the episode. Thing's got a lot of creepy imagery.

      (though I do think it's worth mentioning that the effects work on the show is still more visual spectacle than representational. We're right in the transition point of that, especially with the dawn of CSO (which Barry Letts loved and uses constantly in his episodes, mostly to their detriment), but especially when you get to Three Doctors it's much more concerned with "throw something interesting on the screen" and less "what would this look like in real life".

    9. I'm blasting through this one so I cam A) share my observations, and B) get to Four before the hype ruins every chance of giving him a fair observation.

  2. All thought this series was ok, the finale was pretty good though I think the Master's defeat in series 3 was better executed than Missy's defeat in 8. The premire episode, Deep Breath for series 8 I had some problems with, the first half of that episode was pretty slow moving and too many talking scenes, the second half really picked up though. At times Peter Capaldi could be hard to understand with his accent, even with repeated viewings. However most of the episodes were pretty good for this series.

    1. Oh, that reminds me of another highlight from that episode! The entire dynamic between Clara and Strax was brilliant!

      While not my favorite, I found no real fault with the premiere. It set things up nicely, and I happen to like talking scenes best.