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Posts Tagged ‘eeeek’

Aughhhh!

August 26th, 2008 No comments

I’m now on Facebook. Jesus, this thing is terrifying!

Categories: Weird Tags: ,

Doctor Not-Who And The Not-Silurians

July 14th, 2008 No comments

This weekend, while waiting for Vic to return home, I caught up on some recently-purchased Doctor Who DVDs from a boxed-set of linked stories given the umbrella title “Beneath the Surface.”

First up was “Doctor Who and the Silurians,” the only story in the 45-year history of the series to utilize the “Doctor Who and the…” naming convention for its title. It’s one in the continuing adventures of a bloke whose name is absolutely NOT “Doctor Who,” so just get that right out of your head. Never mind those twenty years’ worth of end credits to the contrary. Or the episode titled “The Death of Doctor Who.” Or the one in which the evil computer WOTAN demanded Doctor Who’s presence. Or that the Doctor gave his antique car the license plate WHO 1. Just forget all that. It’s just “The Doctor,” so there.

Similarly, the Silurians are not really Silurians at all, even though that’s what the Doctor dubs them on the basis of some exceedingly flimsy evidence: a globe of the Earth in which the continents appear as they allegedly did in the Silurian period of prehistory. In a later episode, he suggests that whomever named them Silurians should have more properly called them Eocenes instead, never mind that he himself was that person. And never mind that the first time he meets one face to face, he says “Hello, are you a Silurian?” and the creature nods. But perhaps, like the Doctor, they’re used to people calling them the wrong thing.

These Silurians are not at all related to the New York society of the same name even though one is a group of veteran print journalists and the other is a race of ancient, underground reptiles who intend to retake the Earth they once dominated. Though I can see where one might make that mistake.

Anyhow, “The Doctor and the Eocenes” is an excellent four-part story in seven parts. And yes, it takes four full episodes to get to the same point in the plot that a later four-parter would have reached at its first cliffhanger. (Reduce that to 12 minutes for modern day Who.)

This is one of the episodes in which the Doctor’s companion is Dr. Liz Shaw. She’s smart, sexy, and a more legitimate example of a “liberated woman” than those later companions who went out of their way to identify themselves as such. And that’s despite a wardrobe of ridiculously short skirts that surely would have undermined her credibility at the lab even as they increased her ability to attract research grants. Liz appears to have a doctorate in “Science,” as she’s equally adept at medical biology and running a nuclear reactor.

Word to the wise: do NOT watch the special features of this DVD, as they interview a former actress named Caroline John who claims to be the woman who played the very leggy Liz Shaw, even though this Caroline John is clearly just a crone people hired to scare kids away from bowls of candy. I made the mistake, and afterward I COULD NOT HELP superimposing one over the other. It totally ruined the miniskirt thing.

The story, by the way, should more properly be called “Doctor Who and the Belligerent Sons-of-Bitches,” as most of the characters (at least, those whose hemlines are below the knee) are arrogant jerks who will not listen to anything anyone says even in the face of multiple eyewitnesses, mountains of evidence and people dropping dead like giant maggots that got into Professor Jones’ fungus powder. The only one who does listen is the nameless Silurian leader, who is pretty much the Doctor with scales, and he’s promptly shot dead by the overzealous, spastic “Young Silurian.”

On the other hand, it’s okay because most of the assholes die, except for the Doctor’s associate Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who, soon after blowing the Silurian species into bite-sized chunks, becomes one of the most beloved characters of the franchise. (And, no joke, has recently been seen shooting a scene for season two of spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. Yes, the show specifically for kids.) Granted that the Brig really does put off mass murder until after the Silurians invade the nuclear reactor complex twice, and attempt to kill the entire human race (again, twice) first by pandemic and later by destroying the Earth’s protective belt of (er…) radiation. So, honestly, when the Doctor starts talking about waking up the hibernating Silurians AGAIN to talk reason into them–only one a time, mind you, so there’s nothing that could go wrong–the Brig is pretty well justified is nuking the works.

Next up was “The Sea Devils,” which isn’t so much a sequel of “…And The Silurians” as it is a remake. This time, the prehistoric reptiles emerge from the bottom of the ocean instead of a cave complex, but otherwise it’s pretty much once again the Doctor unsuccessfully attempting to broker peace between humans and monsters, neither of which are having any of it.

This time the rush to war is led by an especially odious bureaucrat named Walker, who blandly munches on a plate of food even while he’s provoking all-out conflict. He really might be one of the worst villains in the entire series, not because of the intent or scope of his crimes, but because he just doesn’t give a shit.

Clocking in at a mere six parts, “The Sea Devils” moves more quickly than its predecessor, and the production works in jetskis, a hovercraft, location filming at an abandoned sea fort and even a reasonably convincing battle between British naval troops and attacking reptiles. It also has the benefit of Roger Delgado as the Doctor’s nemesis, the Master, whose basic plot function here is to stir up the black ants and the red ants and watch the carnage.

I’m too lazy to go back and research whether these two stories were the first instances of Doctor Who overtly moralizing the pettiness and waste of war, but certainly they’re among the most notable. By the time the Silurians and Sea Devils made a reappearance in “Warriors of the Deep” 12 years later, it’s pretty much a given that it’s all going to be a tragic tale of misunderstandings leading to massive death on both sides. “There should’ve been another way,” the Fifth Doctor famously states. But as long as mankind clings to its hatred of people in dodgy lizard suits, there never will be.

Crisis on Infinite Whos

June 22nd, 2008 No comments

The fourth series of the revitalized Doctor Who has been arguably the best yet. With the sole exception of one stinker (“The Doctor’s Daughter”), this has been a truly enjoyable run of stories. And while one expects brilliance from writer Steven Moffat’s annual entry (this time he brought us a sentient library and darkness that eats people alive), this year he was topped by show runner Russell T. Davies, who demonstrated why he just received a knighthood by knocking out back-to-back homers.

Spoilers!

First was “Midnight,” in which Doctor Who did The Twilight Zone by stranding the Doctor in a truly helpless situation: aboard a passenger bus on an alien world whose solar radiation is instantly lethal. With windows sealed for protection, the vacationers had no idea what was outside when the vehicle broke down and something began hammering on the outside, desperate to get in. It was a truly terrifying piece of psychological horror as the once-friendly passengers gradually turned into a frightened, murderous mob. The best thing was that it offered few explanations and no easy answers. We knew little more about the malicious alien presence by episode’s end than we did at the start. Prior to “Midnight,” the last time Doctor Who had me wanting to assume the traditional viewing position “behind the sofa” was sometime back in the mid-’70s.

More spoilers!

That was followed by this weekend’s entry, “Turn Left,” in which current companion Donna Noble (who is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine) tasted an alternate reality in which she literally chose a different path and never met the Doctor. In turn, the Doctor was killed, kicking off a horrible It’s a Wonderful Life-style chain of events in which the last two seasons of the show played out with disastrous consequences, including the destruction of London, the deaths of several of the Doctor’s friends, and ultimately (for reasons we don’t yet understand) the end of not only the entire universe but all parallel realities.

Massive, massive spoilers!

All of that leads us to next week’s episode, the first of a two-parter in which Russell T. Davies begins to hand off the reins of the show to a new executive producer, the aforementioned Steven Moffat. And it’s obvious that Davies plans a real blowout.

Two years ago, Davies pulled off what seemed the ultimate fanwank by bringing together armies of the Doctor’s two most implacable foes, the Daleks and the Cybermen, for their first-ever meeting, then making them fight. But that’s nothing compared to what’s in store this time.

Former companions Rose and Martha are coming back, along with the soldiers of U.N.I.T. and the casts of spin-off series Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Even Harriet freakin’ Jones (M.P., Flydale North) is returning. Throw in the rhinoceros-like Judoon aliens (another favorite of mine), a staggering fleet of Dalek ships, and the first appearance of the Daleks’ creator Davros since 1988!

I don’t know how it’ll all wind up, but suffice to say that I. CANNOT. WAIT.

See for yourself!

Disturbing Things I Found In My Cereal Box

June 9th, 2008 No comments

Number one in a one-part series:

Categories: Weird Tags: ,

He’s A Demon On Wheels

April 18th, 2008 No comments

“The Most Dangerous Race” also included a scene which never failed to freak my shit when I was small. The night that Trixie received word that Speed had fallen into Yawning Chasm Pass, she had a nightmare which had her running in slow motion across a reddish landscape. She then saw Speed standing next to the Mach 5, his back to her.

Now, I hate scenes in which someone slowly turns to reveal that they are some sort of monster, which was exactly what happened here. “Speed” turned out to be a blue, fanged demon who cackled, “Heehhaa! I am not Speed Racer, Speed Racer no longer exists!” Then he grabbed Trixie with his flaming arms.

Gah. It repeatedly freaked me as a second-grader. Truth to tell, it’s still pretty…well, gah.

However, because terror loves company, I’ll share with you the following nightmare fuel before wishing you a good weekend.

Sleep well.

Categories: Speed Racer Tags: ,