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More Who

The lovely Belgian Waffle complains that there is too much Doctor Who here, and looking over the past few weeks' entries, she has a point. (And I haven't even revealed the Speshul Prodjekt I'm currently working on.) So, while I don't intend to cut down especially on the dockeroo posts, I will start employing the cut tag a bit more judiciously. And don't worry, there's a big long post mainly about me and hardly at all about Doctor Who coming up, with lots of answers to interview questions.

No need for a cut-tag for the first of the two stories I'm looking at here though. "The Gunfighters" is just a silly story of time-travellers landing in Tombstone just before the gunfight at the OK Corral. Hartnell has some great lines; trying to pass off the Tardis crew as entertainers, he introduces himself as "your humble servant, Doctor, er, Caligari." "Doctor Who?" asks the bewildered local. "Yes, quite right!" comes the response. I still think Jacki Lane is good as Dodo as well, and of course so is Peter Purves as Stephen.

It really did take me until last night to get around to watching, for the first time, the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie. I think it looks fantastic. The inside of the Tardis, especially, but also the other scenes, hospital, party, city, the policeman riding his motorbike into the Tardis, the lot. The final scenes with the Master, the Doctor and the Eye of Harmony are impossible to look away from. I think it sounds good as well. The arrangement of the theme tune is the only one to take serious liberties with the original and get away with it. (Apart from the original 1963 version, the only good opening music for the TV series is the present one. Though the opening titles for the Tom Baker era are the best of the classic series.)

There is, of course huge violence to continuity which can only really be dealt with by assuming that the post-regeneration Doctor and body-transferring Master were deluded in their statements. There is really no way the Doctor can be half-human. We suspect that Gallifreyans and humans can mate (see Leela's departure, and the follow-up in Lungbarrow), but the Doctor has made so many remarks over the years about his own separateness and difference from humanity that I must assume he doesn't mean what his eighth incarnation says. Also the Eye of Harmony was on Gallifrey on the Tardis as far as I remember. (Though Wikipedia has some heroic retconning on this topic.)

But in general I come down in favour. I think McGann, Ashbrook and Roberts are great. I also liked the links to continuity both forward and back - McCoy's appearance for the first twenty minutes, McGann's fondling a scarf as he decides what to wear; but also of course (a point that was new to me) the Doctor looking through Grace's letterbox, a scene repeated by the Ninth Doctor and Rose in the very next episode (nine years later). Sure, the plot was just a bit threadbare, and the revival of the dead companions at the end a bit silly (if repeated for Captain Jack in The Parting of the Ways); and I can see why this did not lead to a revival of the series' fortunes. But it is far from embarrassing.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 18th, 2006 09:09 am (UTC)
I saw most of it again last Christmas, and revised my opinion of it somewhat. On a first viewing 10 years ago I'd pretty much written it off as total codswallop, but it's a good film in many ways. What I'm not sure it is is good Who; the transition to the US, the guns, the snoggage, all belong in a different show.

I think you're right that it was trying (and failing) to do what RTD has been successful in. Actually, I think it failed in much the same way as Torchwood seems to me to be failing; it was trying to pull in viewers of other sf shows, but in doing so it lost the quirkiness and alienated the old-school Who fans, while still not quite grabbing the new viewers.
Nov. 18th, 2006 03:47 pm (UTC)
Good analysis, I think, of both it and Torchwood.
Nov. 18th, 2006 01:55 pm (UTC)
I may have to rewatch it -- I've seen it twice and just thought it was awful both times.

I have a minor Speshul Projeckt that may be of interest to you in yours (or it may not). I'll try and get that posted shortly.
Nov. 18th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
I find it amusing now that there was a time when The Gunfighters was the bottom-of-the-barrel, worst-ever story. That was before JNT really got into his stride...

I don't get the criticism of Dodo either. The character and the performance always seem fine to me. As for the TV movie, it does look good (better, actually, than a lot of the current series), and the music was fine, but the story was twaddle on a bike, and aside from the enormous continuity errors there were some serious oddities (to use a generous word). The notion of the Daleks putting the Master on trial is ridiculous, as is the Doctor being able to go get his remains from them. And, as Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks once said, what on earth is a torture chamber doing in the Tardis?

I always liked the original howlaround titles best, myself, but the Tom Baker titles were excellent. Having said that, I think myself the version for Pertwee's final series were even better.
Nov. 19th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
Perhaps the torture chamber is American territory (a la Guantanamo) ;-)
Nov. 19th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
LOL. ;o)
Nov. 18th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)
I like the Whovie.
As for him not being half-human, well...

1) He's had human or part human children, so clearly they're interfertile.

2) The BBC have incorporated this INTO their continuity, so it's true.

With time travel, gods, magic, and all the other stuff that's in the Whoiverse, you can retcon ANYTHING.

Nov. 18th, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
Re: I like the Whovie.
He's had human or part human children, so clearly they're interfertile.

No proven genetic relationship between the Doctor and Susan!
Nov. 18th, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
Not complaining
Just saying, you know. I can skip Dr. Who - there's enough here for everyone!
Nov. 18th, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Not complaining
's OK, m'dear - I know you're not the only one who feels that way!
Nov. 19th, 2006 08:35 am (UTC)
"More Who"
I do hope, sincerely, that your 'speshul prodjekt' is a bit of sarcasm, although not very funny.
There is NEVER too much Whovianism when you're a Doctor Who Fan! So carry on "Doctoring"!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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