24 January, 2011

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 17 "The Evil of the Daleks"

Victorian Evil
The Doctor and Jamie are still at Gatewick Airport, having just said goodbye to Ben and Polly when they realize the Tardis is being stolen. After asking around, they find out the Tardis has been collected by a local antique dealer, Edward Waterfield. They schedule an appointment to see him but arrive early to scout about. The antiques they find are genuine, but brand new. Jamie says this suggests time travel.

As the Doctor and Jamie scout about they discover a dead body. As the Doctor examines the body it appears the man died in a gruesome fashion, with a horrified face. Further investigation reveals a secret room. The door suddenly opens and the pair walk in with Waterfield watching from a distance. The Doctor investigates a strange device but Jamie sets a trap and they are knocked out with gas. Waterfield steps in and activates the strange device. All three disappear.

The Doctor wakes up to discover he's been transported back in time to the year 1866 and in the house of Theodore Maxtible. Both Maxtible and Waterfield are experimenting with time travel via mirrors and static electricity. The word 'static' immediately peaks the Doctors interest. Maxtible admits they have allies who are working with them but Waterfield calls them monsters and is hesitant.

The Daleks are revealed to be the partners (as if you couldn't tell from the episodes title). They have kidnapped Waterfield's daughter and entice Maxtible with the power of transmutation to keep them working. The Daleks force the Doctor to send Jamie off to rescue Victoria so he can extract the human factor and inject it into the Daleks to help them defeat the humans.

The experiment has limited effect as the 'human factor' essentially turns the Daleks into children who want to play. All Daleks are called back to Skaro and the humans are brought along for further experiments. The Doctor meets the Emperor Dalek who actually wants to install the Dalek factor into humans. The Doctor makes the Emperor believe he has been turned into a Dalek but has instead given the human factor to more Daleks. A civil war is started and the Emperor, along with the Dalek base are seemingly destroyed. Waterfield sacrifices himself to save the Doctor, so the Doctor promises he'll take care of his daughter.

WHO: Victoria Waterfield
REASON FOR JOINING: After her father dies, the Doctor promises to keep Victoria safe.

NEXT: A Unit of Fear

17 January, 2011

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 16 "The Faceless Ones"

Chameleon Boys
The Tardis crew land at Gatewick airport in the year 1966. Upon exiting the Tardis they see an airplane heading for them as they have landed on the runway. Security immediately chase them and they get split up. But some of the airport staff are not what they seem. They have been taken over by an alien race of Chameleons. The Chameleons are horribly scarred and are 'stealing' human identities.

While the Doctor catches up with Jamie, Polly has her own adventure when she witnesses a murder. She meets up with the Doctor briefly and lets him know what's going on, but is shortly captured by the aliens. Ben also meets up with the Doctor till he is captured. For the most part, it's the last we see of Ben and Polly till the story ends and they say goodbye.

The Doctor and Jamie soon discover Chameleon Tours is a cover for the aliens who have been kidnapping youths. Jamie befriends Samantha Briggs, who is looking for her brother. He recently took a tour with Chameleon Tours and is now missing. Jamie and Samantha become fast friends. It's obvious Samantha (played by Pauline Collins) was being groomed to be the next companion but the actress turned the offer down.

Trying to resolve the case is difficult when no one will believe the Doctor, especially the Commandant of the airport. Finally, Detective Inspector Crossland shows up and listens to the Doctor. Crossland is looking for his colleague, who just happens to have been the man murdered. At Crossland's urging, the Commandant finally listens to the Doctor.

The Doctor smuggles his way onto the alien satellite orbiting the Earth, where the 50,000 young people from all over the world are being stored. He turns the aliens against each other as well as threatening them into giving up. The Doctor promises to grant them safe passage home, with a few tips to cure their condition if they return all the captured people. The aliens agree and Ben and Polly are reunited with the Doctor. When they find out it's the exact day they left, they opt to stay behind.

WHO: Ben Jackson

DEPARTURE LOCATION: Earth, circa 1966

REASON FOR DEPARTURE: Decides to stay behind when he learns it's the exact same day he and Polly left, though he tells the Doctor he'll stay with him if the Doctor needs him to.

WHO: Polly

DEPARTURE LOCATION: Earth, circa 1966

REASON FOR DEPARTURE: Decides to stay on Earth with Ben.

NEXT: Victorian Evil

14 January, 2011

V.... It's Something Else (Part 2)

Last week I debated whether V was going to be a continuation of the original series or not. Too be honest, I really didn't believe it. There would be too many thing requiring an explanation. Firstly, why did no one remember the V's being on Earth? And what about the skin? In the original it was a mere prosthesis, in this new series it's actually grown over the lizard skin. It seems any similarities to the original series ended with Jane Badler playing a character named Diana. It's likely nothing else will match up.

Still, it's fun to imagine this as sort of an alternate universe V. In the original universe Diana tries to take control of Earth but is thwarted time and again by the resistance till she is finally captured. What becomes of her after, is unclear. But in this 'alternate universe', it seems Diana came to Earth merely to observe and study the humans. Instead of being captured by the resistance she is corrupted with human emotion so is captured and imprisoned by her own daughter. It seems treachery is a trait they share.

So what's in store for the rest of the series? Does V have staying power, and will it likely move forward? There was a definite plus with the original mini-series in that there was a limited amount of time to tell the story. So the action was fast paced. V and V - The Final Battle were outstanding in their story telling. Suddenly, V became a standard series in 1984 and it lost most of it's drama, intrigue and charm. This new series still feels like it's setting things up and that can be a problem for viewers who don't want 'filler' episodes, they want story. Being a series is limiting V to it's full potential. You almost wonder if it wouldn't have been better to be released as a film.

For the time being, I'm enjoying the story. And that's a big deal, normally I'm not a fan of re-imaginings. I'm willing to give this run a fair chance. Alternate universe or no, you can be sure of one thing, Diana is not one to be trifled with. She still has the venom to strike; whether it'll be toward the resistance or her own daughter is yet to be determined. My thought? Anna better watch her back.

10 January, 2011

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 15 "The Highlanders"

There Can Be Only One - Or Three
The Tardis lands in the year 1746 in a Culloden Moor, during the battle of Culloden. To make it simple, it's a battle between the 'Red Coats' and the 'Highlanders'. As you'll recall, when Doctor Who began, it was mainly for children and a goal was to teach about History and Science. Much of that changed when the Daleks were introduced. The futuristic stories quickly became more popular than the historical ones. As a result, 'The Highlanders' was the last story written with a pure historical setting.

The problem with reviewing the episode 'The Highlanders' is it's one of the many stories destroyed by the BBC from their library to make room for newer shows. Despite the purge, many episodes have survived, or at least parts of the episodes. This is one case where nothing remains but a few minutes. What does remain are scenes cut by foreign countries who disliked the fighting scenes; it was a 'childrens' show after all.

This time it's Ben who decides he wants to explore. Before long they run into a small group of Higlanders on the run from the army. Two of the group are named Jamie and Kirsty. Polly befriend Kirsty and the two go for water. Meanwhile, the Doctor, Ben and Jamie are captured by the army. Wishing to quickly end the matter, the Sergeant orders all men to be hung.

The Doctor and group are saved from the nooses, only to discover they are to be sold as slaves. The Doctor manages to escape, impersonating a German 'Doctor Wer'. With the help of Kirsty and Polly, the Doctor is able to free the prisoners being illegally sold into slavery with a little help from a reluctant Lieutenant Ffinch. With all his friends gone, and no where else to go, Jamie is invited aboard the Tardis.

WHO: Jamie McCrimmon
REASON FOR JOINING: Polly invites him to join the Tardis crew. The Doctor concurs.

NEXT: Chameleon Boys

07 January, 2011

V - A reboot.... or something else? (Part 1)

It was an epic mini-series in the early 80's. Jane Badler played conniving yet beautiful visitor Diana. She was determined, ruthless and cunning to make sure she got what she wanted, and she wanted Earth. Nothing stood in her way, not even her own people. Certainly she was the sexy villain we loved to hate.

Last year however, we were introduced to 'V' once more. This time it was a reboot rather than a continuation. The leading lady is now played by Morena Baccarin, this time named Anna. Like Diana, Anna is beautiful but deadly. You wouldn't want to get under her skin.

Anna seems to have her own agenda, and many secrets. For being a complete new series, Anna is certainly a lot like Diana. Add to this, it is discovered the Visitors have been on Earth longer than originally thought. Is it possible they've been on Earth for 20 years or more? And who is Anna's mother?

As we have now learned, Anna's mother is living aboard the ship. And the biggest shock of all? Her mother is named Diana and played by Jane Badler. SAY WHAT? Maybe this isn't a reboot after all, maybe it is a continuation. Now THAT would grab my interest.

This leaves a lot of questions. If it is a continuation why does no one remember the first visit from the lizards? Is Jane Badler just a tease? Will we find out what is really going on or will they draw this out? What do you think is going on?

03 January, 2011

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 14 "The Power of The Daleks"

The Power of Regeneration
The Doctor has survived (sort of) his first encounter with the Cybermen. Instead of using the term regeneration, the Doctor calls his change a 'renewal'. Ben is sceptical, but Polly takes him at his word. However, no rest for the weary as the next adventure takes the Tardis crew to the planet Vulcan, an Earth colony. It isn't long before they run into trouble and a dead body.

The dead person is an examiner from Earth, sent to investigate a dead alien space-craft which has been found on the planet. The Doctor assumes the role of the Examiner to do his own investigation. Sneaking onto the space-craft, the Doctor's hunch is right and he discovers several inanimate Daleks. What makes matters worse is one of the Daleks is missing!

Lesterson is the chief scientist in charge of the space-craft and has been testing one of the Daleks. He believes the Daleks can be used as servants. Things seem to be going according to plan as Lesterson only gives the Dalek partial power and has taken away the Dalek gun. To further convince him, the Dalek assures him he's his servant. The Doctor sees through this and explains to Ben & Polly the Dalek is really the one in charge.

The Doctor continues to warn Lesterson about the Daleks, but his warning falls on deaf ears. Lesterson refuses to believe the Daleks are anything other than what they claim, servants. But the Daleks are no fools, while one of the Daleks continues to claim its servitude the rest of the Daleks have been busy reproducing. Also, they now have enough power stored up to move about freely.

Finally, Lesterson over-hears the Daleks conspiring and finds the assembly line of Daleks. Realizing he has been wrong the entire time, Lesterson goes crazy. He believes fighting the Daleks is futile and they will now be the dominate life form, taking over for homo-sapiens. He also foolishly belies the Daleks won't kill him because he "gave them life".

The Daleks agree he did give them life, then promptly kill him. But the Doctor has used the distraction to use the colonies power to overload the Daleks and blow them up. The Daleks are destroyed, but at the cost of the colonies power supply. The Doctor decides to make a quick exit before he's given the bill for his damages.

NEXT: There Can Be Only One - Or Three