30 May, 2011

Doctor Who Preview - S06E07 - A Good Man Goes To War

Make sure you've seen Episode 6 "The Almost People" before watching these trailers.

24 May, 2011

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 33 "The Third Doctor In Review"

Notes: Jon Pertwee's tenure of Doctor Who was certainly a change from previous seasons. As promised the episode before, the Time Lords have marooned the Doctor on Earth. Fortunately, the Doctor runs into the Brigadier from UNIT who essentially hires the Doctor as a scientific advisor. Unlike his previous incarnation, this Doctor is a dandy and generally more hands on. What he couldn't solve by reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, he'd resolve with his training in Venusian Aki-Do. Though Jon sometimes would claim he left because he was refused a raise, he mostly left because things were changing too much. Barry Letts was leaving as Producer, Terrence Dicks was leaving as Script Editor, Katy Manning had moved on, Nicholas Courtney was being used less and Roger Delgado died. On top of all that, he felt he was getting typecast in the role. Towards the end of his regeneration, The Doctor had more freedom and was spending less time on Earth as a result of helping Gallifrey in the Omega incident. The Time Lords lifted his exile and it seemed Doctor Who had moved into a new era once again.
Name: The Doctor 1970-1974
Actor: Jon Pertwee
July 7, 1919 - May 20, 1996
Occupation: Time Traveller
First Seen: Earth 1970
First Episode: Spearheads From Space (Season 7)
Last Seen: Earth 1974
Last Episode: Planet of Spiders (Season 11)
Special Appearance: The Five Doctors (1983), Dimensions In Time (1993)

Notes: When the Brigadier first meets the third Doctor, he obviously doesn't recognize him. However, he knows he's an alien and the Doctor is very persuading, he ultimately accepts the truth. Even though he at times found the Doctor infuriating he ultimately came to regard the Doctor as a friend and respected his advice. The Brigadiers natural instinct was to blow up whatever was menacing UNIT, but he allowed the Doctor to try his approach many times, attempting a more peaceful solution. Nicolas Courtney was also the only actor in the original series to have been with the Doctor his entire regeneration.
Name: Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart 1970-1974
Actor: Nicholas Courtney
December 16, 1929 - February 22nd, 2011
Occupation: Brigadier of UNIT
First Seen: Earth 1970
First Episode: Spearheads From Space (Season 7)
Last Seen: Continues to work with the 4th Doctor.

Notes: Before the Brigadier discovered the Doctor was exiled to Earth, Liz was hired to act as his scientific advisor. She initially scoffed at the idea of life on other planets, but the Nestene soon changed her mind. She became a valuable assistant to the Doctor, but that was a problem for her. Instead of being the top scientist for UNIT she became an assistant whose primary focus was to hand the Doctor test tubes and tell him how brilliant he was. It didn't take long for her to realize this and when she did, she left UNIT and went back to Cambridge. In reality, the producers realized she was probably too smart for her own good and they wanted someone with less intelligence, to ask the Doctor what people at home were likely wondering. "What's that Doctor?" The irony is, Caroline John was pregnant and was likely to leave the series anyway.
Name: Elizabeth Shaw 1970
Actor: Caroline John
1940 -
Occupation: Scientist
First Seen: Earth 1970
First Episode: Spearheads From Space (Season 7)
Last Seen: Earth, 1970
Last Episode: Inferno (Season 7)
Special Appearance: The Five Doctors (1983)

Notes: With Liz going back to Cambridge, the Brigadier decides to hire a new assistant for the Doctor. So he hires Jo Grant, who's Uncle pulled a few strings for her, and informs her she'll likely be passing the Doctor test tubes and telling him how brilliant he is. Jo and the Doctor don't get off on the right foot and his initial reaction is to let her go, but finds the actual task of doing so not very easy. He ultimately accepts her, despite her usual clumsiness. They become so close in fact, when she finally decides to leave UNIT to get married and travel the Amazon the Doctor is heartsbroken. Katy Manning is severely myopic so that actually aided her when she needed Jo to act clumsy. There are many times in filming you can actually spot her straining to see better.
Name: Jo Grant 1971 - 1973
Actor: Katy Manning
October 14, 1949 -
Occupation: Assistant to Scientific Advisor
First Seen: Earth, 1971
First Episode: Terror of the Autons (Season 8)
Last Seen: Earth, 1973
Last Episode: Green Death (Season 10)
Special Appearance: Death of the Doctor (Sarah Jane Adventures), 2010

Notes: Sarah is a journalist who'll stop at nothing to get a story. To infiltrate UNIT she poses as her Aunt Lavinia, a well known virologist. The Doctor immediately realizes she's an imposter but doesn't turn her in. Despite this, Sarah is unimpressed with the Doctor and when scientists go missing she convinces herself the Doctor is responsible. While searching for one of the scientists she stumbles into the Tardis and when the Doctor tracks down the missing scientists to an earlier century she is brought along (unknown to the Doctor). Eventually, she learns the Doctor is who he says he is and comes to trust him. With Jo gone, the Doctor welcomes Sarah to accompany him on several trips in the Tardis. She continues to do so even after he regenerates. As much as the Doctor came to like Jo, his affection for Sarah grows even more. In total, Sarah has met seven different regenerations of the Doctor. The character of Sarah Jane became such a hit, a spin-off series was attempted in 1981 and again in 2007 (this time successful). Elisabeth Sladen continued in the series until she passed away earlier this year.
Name: Sarah Jane Smith 1974 -
Actor: Elisabeth Sladen
February 1st, 1948 - April 19, 2011
Occupation: Journalist
First Seen: Earth, 1974
First Episode: Time Warrior (Season 11)
Last Seen: Continues to travel with the 4th Doctor

Notes: Unit is first on the scene after the Doctor has regenerated and stumbled out of his Tardis. They bring the Doctor to a local hospital and inform the Brigadier his 'blue box' has been found. During his third regeneration, the Doctor befriends many of the UNIT officers besides the Brigadier. Captain Mike Yates is friendly and dedicated to his cause, but later in his career he's somewhat brainwashed into cooperating with "Operation Golden Age". This projects goal was to revert the Earth to an earlier, simpler time. This included bringing dinosaurs forward through time. The result was Yates having to resign from Unit. Sergeant Benton is also a dedicated officer but loves to joke around, sometimes forgetting he's within the Brigadiers view who disapproves of the whimsical attitude from his officers. UNIT still has dealings with the Doctor from time to time, even long after the Brigadier retires.
Name: Unit - Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart,
Captain Mike Yates,
Sergeant John Benton
Actor: (Yates) Richard Franklin,
(Franklin) January 15th, 1936 -
(Benton) John Levene
(Levene) December 24th, 1941 -
Occupation: Military Personnel
First Seen: Earth, 1970
First Episode: Spearheads From Space (Season 7)
Last Seen: Unit continues to work with the 4th Doctor.
Special Appearance: Yates appears in The Five Doctors (1983)

Next: The Giant Robot

17 May, 2011

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 32 "Planet of Spiders"

There's Something On Your Back
Mike Yates is a disgraced UNIT officer, but when he senses trouble in a meditation center he has joined he calls in his friend Sarah Jane Smith. He hopes if there truly is something sinister going on, she'll be able to contact UNIT and the Doctor. Mike assumes the Brigadier is less likely to believe him since he pulled a gun on him last time they met. (See 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs').

Meanwhile, Jo Grant has written the Doctor and has sent back the blue Metebelis crystal he gave her as a wedding present. Still traveling the Amazon with her husband Cliff, the natives believe the crystal to be bad luck. Indeed, the sentient giant spiders of Metebelis have been looking for the crystal and will stop at nothing to get it back since the Doctor 'stole it'. (See 'the Green Death').

When the Doctor and Sarah are drawn to Metebelis 3, they meet the Spider Queen who is desperately seeking the blue crystal to give to the 'Great One'. Interestingly, the voice of the Spider Queen is Kismet Delgado, wife of Roger Delgado (the Master). The Great One wishes to increase her mind even more than it is. On Metebelis, the Spiders are the dominant species, though the Doctor finds help in the humans who wish to overthrow the Spiders rule.

After escaping, the Doctor and Sarah search for the blue crystal to keep it safe from the Great One. Their search leads them to Abbott K'Anpo Rimpoche, of the meditation center. But K'Anpo senses something on Sarah's back and helps the Doctor see she picked up a spider while on Metebelis. The spider is controlling her and new viewers of Doctor Who might remember 'Something On Your Back' of Donna, which this reminds us of. (See 'Turn Left' of the new Doctor Who series).

K'Anpo turns out to be another Timelord from Gallifrey who ran away to seek a quieter life on Earth. The Doctor receives the blue crystal once more and K'Anpo forces him to realize what he must do with it, return it to the Great One, something the Doctor actually fears. As the Doctor escapes, K'Anpo is killed by men who also have Spiders on their backs, but he is able to regenerate. Turns out K'Anpo was the same hermit who advised the Doctor back on Gallifrey. (See 'The Time Monster')

Crystal in hand, the Doctor returns to the Great One to give her the crystal she craves. She wishes to use it to energize a giant crystal web, to increase her mind and intelligence to infinity. But the Great One doesn't realize the power she has created and her mind quickly burns away. Despite the deadly energies in the chamber of the Great One, the Doctor manages to make it back to the Tardis and UNIT headquarters. But his body is beyond repair and he regenerates in front of Sarah and the Brigadier.

WHO: The Doctor

DEPARTURE LOCATION: Earth, circa 1974

REASON FOR DEPARTURE: His body is damaged beyond repair in the chamber of the Great One.

NEXT: The Third Doctor In Review.

09 May, 2011

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 31 "The Time Warrior"

It's the middle ages and Earth has a visitor from a Star Warrior named Linx. Linx is actually a Sontaran warrior with a crippled ship. He requires immediate aide from the locals, but finds they are too primitive and their supplies are limited. Irongron is one such local who trades Linx housing and help in exchange for weaponry. However, their trust in each other is leery at best.

Since Earth does not have the proper technology to help Linx repair his ship, he is forced to look to the 20th century for advanced help. He is able to steal equipment and scientists and bring them back in time to help him. When the Doctor is brought in to investigate the missing scientists he discovers what Linx is up to and uses the Tardis to travel back in time to investigate.

The Doctor steps out of the Tardis and walks away but soon Sarah Jane Smith also walks out. She is a journalist who walked into the Tardis looking for one of the missing scientists. As she steps out, she is surprised the Tardis has moved but is unaware she has also travelled back in time. She immediately runs into Irongron and mistakes him and his castle for a film set or medieval themed park.

Irongron admires the 'fire' she has but soon tires of her incessant prattle. He finds it difficult to get information from her when he tries to discover who she is, so Linx uses a device to 'open her mind' and learns she is from the future and has travelled back with aid of the Doctor. Linx discovers the Doctor is a Time Lord but refuses the Doctors help to repair his ship as long as Linx leaves and destroys the weapons he has supplied to Irongron.

The Doctor is able to overpower Linx and free the mesmerized scientists and send them home but soon Irongron comes and sets Linx free. But Linx and Irongron have a disagreement and Linx kills Irongron. His ship repaired, Linx prepares to take off but is killed by Hal a friendly local archer who shoots him in the 'probic vent' - a Sontarans only weakness. As the Doctor and Sarah escape, his ship explodes destroying the castle and all the advanced weapons.

WHO: Sarah Jane Smith

PLANET OF ORIGIN: Earth, circa 1974

REASON FOR JOINING: She's a journalist looking for a story. The Doctor has many to provide her with.

Next: There's Something On Your Back

03 May, 2011

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 30 "The Green Death"

For the Doctors next trip, he plans to take Jo Grant to Metebelis Three, a beautiful 'blue planet'. But when the Brigadier requests the Doctor and Jo for assistance on a new project, Jo opts to follow the Brigadier despite the Doctors reminder he has a time machine and can be back before they even left. When Jo is insistent, the Doctor rushes off in a huff by himself to search for a famed blue sapphire, but discovers a less than hospitable planet.

Meanwhile, the Brigadier and Jo are off to visit Global Chemicals. The Brigadier has been charged with keeping peace and security, but Jo would rather visit Professor Jones who is speaking out against Global Chemicals and all the pollutants it produces for the Earth. Jo Grant falls immediately in love with him and his principals. In turn, Jones is smitten with Jo, despite her clumsy tendencies.

Things turn from bad to worse when miners start turning green and dying. Professor Jones believes it's the waste effects from Global Chemicals. For safety reasons, the mine is closed and an attempt is made to halt production at the factory but Stevens, the director, refuses to do so. Employees who side against him mysteriously become zombie-like loyalists or kill themselves.

After some investigative work on UNIT's behalf and the Doctors own infiltrations, its soon discovered Stevens is not the true director. He is actually a pawn for a sentient computer known as B.O.S.S. (Biomorphic Organisational Systems Supervisor). Boss's initial primary function was to maintain profits for Global Chemicals, but now seeks to enslave 'inefficient' mankind.

BOSS isn't the only problem. Another result of the Global Chemicals toxic waste are large maggots capable of infecting humans with the 'Green Death'. Problems intensify when it's discovered they can cocoon themselves and turn into flying dragonfly-like creatures, capable of spitting the venom. The day is solved when it turns out a special fungus grown by Professor Jones is deadly to the maggots.

BOSS is also destroyed when the Doctor is able to free the mind of Stevens from the computer, who sacrifices himself in order to destroy BOSS. Crises averted, the Doctor wishes to wisk Jo off on another adventure but is shocked to learn she has decided to leave with Professor Jones and get married. Somewhat heart-broken, the Doctor gives her the blue crystal he acquired on Metebelis 3 as an early wedding present. As Professor Jones' friends and the UNIT officers celebrate Jo's engagement, the Doctor slips off quietly.

WHO: Jo Grant

DEPARTURE LOCATION: Earth, circa 1973

REASON FOR DEPARTURE: Falls in love with Professor Jones, and decides to travel the Amazon with him.

NEXT: Time for Sara Jane Smith