Feb. 11th, 2016

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(Originally posted on tumblr earlier today, but reposting here)

So I was having one of those days where my depression hits bad, which these days means I’m really unfocussed and can’t pay attention to much for more than a few minutes. When I get like this I stick one of what I call my “comfort” shows on. I have a few of these, some are old children’s shows I grew up with like The Clangers and Bagpuss, others are informative and entertaining (a combination that I particularly enjoy) like Qi and Mythbusters.

More often than not though, I’ll pull a DVD off the two shelves full of Doctor Who DVDs. It’s maybe a 50-60% collection, I’m filling in the holes as I go along. Eight times out of ten it’ll be something from the period that starts with the giant robot and ends with the Nimon. All three of him. That’s the era I grew up watching but nostalgia’s far from the only reason I watch those, those six years just sort of encapsulate Doctor Who for me, that wit and irreverence win ut over ancient evil, mad scientists and aliens.

Last night it was the turn of Horror Of Fang Rock, a story I’ve not watched in a while, I tend to rotate through the era semi-randomly, although I’m alternating between Key To Time stories and others right now. I have this thing about lighthouses, my favourite horror movie has one (The Fog) and several of my favourite games open with you heading towards one (Bioshock, Bioshock:Infinite, Life Is strange) and this Doctor Who story is mostly set in one.

This was a lst minute replacement script, after the BBC told the procustion team they coudn’t do State Of Decay because the “serious” part of the BBC were doing a Dracula adaptation and didn’t want a Doctor Who vampire story distracting everyone. It doesn’t really show. This is a nice base under siege story with a nice location and a bit of a twist in that what’s after them is already in the base and disguised as one of them. Leela gets to wear a comfy sweater, slap a hysterical woman and teel an eejit to sit down and shut his face.

That’s something else about these six years of Who, the companions are all wonderful, even Harry Sullivan who gets demoted to comic relief is still lovable.

The only diffuculty with Fang Rock is that due to a Scottish comedy show called Chewin’ The Fat, which has a running gag of two lighthouse keepers, one of which keeps winding the other up with practical jokes, you keep expecting someone to mournfully say “Gonna no dae that?” while the other grins cheekily and replis “How?”

As usual, good guest cast and I like how the enemy is actually tied into past continuity, with it being a Rutan, the aforementioned race the Sontarans are battling.

By sheer coincidence, the second story that night also had Alan Rowe as a guest actor. I decided to watch the new version of The Moonbase with the animated episodes for the missing arts one and three. I’m very familiar with the old Target novelisation of the story (which was the only easily available way to revisit old stories until they started releasing them on video) which I’d read recently while in a hospital waiting room.

It’s another base-under-siege story, ion fact, probably the trope codifier for that sort of story. The Troughton era’s probably my second favourite classic Who run and again, a lot of it is an amazing Doctor and great companions. Jamie spends much of this story lying down unconscious and Polly comes up with a plan to take out the Cybermen. The whole thing holds up really well, there’s a couple of hilarious Cyberman lines, the Cybermen don’t have names like in the book and the moonbase, gravitron and other things look rather different than the illustrations in the book (no reference photos probably) but barring some descriptive changes and tweaked dialogue, it’s pretty much the same as the book I’ve been familiar with for over thirty years.

The animation fits in nicely, they had the telesnaps to work from and nothing looks out of place or too fancy for the time. I can actually understand what the Cybermen are saying in this release, which was a bit touch and go with the old videotapes. I also love this design of Cyberman, it’s a tie between these and the Invasion verisons for my favourite.

So in the end, my mind was settled and entertained. It’s always worth it to go and see the Doctor.


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September 2016

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