Attack of the Mediocre


Review of Attack of the Cybermen (#138)
DVD Release Date: 07 Jul 09 (Out of Print)
Original Air Date: 05 - 12 Jan 1985
Doctor/Companion: Six, Peri Brown
Stars: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant
Preceding Story: The Twin Dilemma (Six, Peri)
Succeeding Story: Vengeance on Varos (Six, Peri)

After I posted my last review, which was for the Peter Davison audio adventure Spare Parts, one of my regular readers pointed out that I haven't reviewed all of the televised adventures, and suggested I consider doing more. Given that my focus has generally been on the more-readily-agreed-to-be-canonical TV run, I thought that was a great idea—especially since it also makes it easier to come up with something to post about.

So I went and made a list of the DVD reviews I've already done, and the stories covered on in Nu-Views and Retro-Views, and proceeded to make a convoluted spreadsheet. I decided I should begin with ones I've never touched on at all, and try to even out the proportionality of reviews to available serials across all the pre-Hiatus/Classic Doctors.

Colin Baker turned out to be most slighted in this sense, in that only two of his eleven serials (counting the Trial of a Time Lord as four serials) have been reviewed, and one of those was a Nu-View. That means 82% of C. Baker's run is untouched (T. Baker is at 62%, Davison 60%, McCoy 50%, Troughton 50% (of existing serials), Hartnell 47% (existing), and Pertwee 33%). I seemed obvious, then to start with Ol' Sixie. But which serial?

It didn't take long for me to pick one, and several to come after. Having just witnessed the ultimate beginning of the Cybermen last month, and realizing that three more Doctors also had unreviewed Cybermen stories, I settled on a theme. First up, then, is Six's encounter in Attack of the Cybermen.

One of the advantages of reviewing less familiar stories (I'd only seen this one a couple times before) is that I can still be a "new" fan to a certain degree. Because I didn't grow up watching Doctor Who, I still come to it from the perspective of one who believes post-Hiatus/NuWho is just as much "proper Doctor Who" as the pre-Hiatus/Classic stuff. And since I couldn't remember off the top of my head what the story was about—even when looking at the DVD cover art—I didn't have many pre-conceptions, despite it not being entirely new to me.


Confession #99: I'm as Fangirly as Anyone Else


In midst of the announcements of the upcoming regime change in Doctor Who land, one major detail was left unresolved: the status of Peter Capaldi's position as the lead. This week we learned that Capaldi has been asked to stay on, but hasn't yet made a decision about whether or not to accept that invitation.

My reaction to this revelation was a combination of elation that the door hadn't been closed entirely on the possibility of seeing Capaldi under a different showrunner and extreme wariness; I know how uncertain my desired outcome is. I recognize that there are plenty of folks on the other side of that fence, but that fact baffles me. I have never for a moment wished anything less than a T.Baker-esque tenure for Capaldi's Doctor, so when I run across folks who think he's the Worst Doctor Evar, I just can't relate at all. As I reflected on that chasm of differing opinion, I realized that I am, in fact, a Capaldi Fangirl.

I almost hesitate to apply the label "fangirl" to myself, simply because of the vitriol that seems to come with it. For some people, being a fangirl is the worst possible thing another fan can be, a close cousin to the "fake geek girl."

I find it interesting to note that there is a strongly gendered component to this particular struggle. It's almost unheard of for someone to disparage another as a "fanboy" when it comes to expressing love for a thing (though it's not uncommon when discussing certain anti-social behaviors), nor do you hear accusations that someone is a "fake geek guy."


Genesis of the Cybermen


Review of Spare Parts (#34)
Big Finish Release Date: Jul 2002
Doctor/Companion: Five and Nyssa
Stars: Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton
Preceding Story: Neverland (Eight, Charley)
Succeeding Story: ...Ish (Six, Peri)

Years ago when I first became aware of Big Finish and had conversations about which releases were "best," Spare Parts came up again and again. It's thus been on my "to listen" list for ages, though for one reason or another didn't make it into the rotation until now.

Having now heard it, I completely understand why Spare Parts was recommended so highly. It has its pros and cons, as any of the audio adventures do, but what makes it so appealing is the way it adds to the larger tapestry of the Whoniverse—it's the story of how the people of Mondas became the Cybermen, well before the Doctor first encountered those iconic antagonists in his First incarnation in The Tenth Planet.

Any good Cybermen story needs some body horror, and we get it here, though it's not immediate; after all, we need to get to know characters besides the Doctor and Nyssa so that we can be properly appalled when horrible things happen to them. This slow burn adds to the tension as the TARDIS crew struggles with the implications of their actions on the future they know and what they believe, hope, or wish could be changed.


Giveaway Winners!


Thanks to everyone who entered The Neowhovian Experience giveaway! Prize-winners are listed here below, and I will be in contact with them to arrange delivery of their prizes.

For the rest of you, 2011 and 2012 editions of The Neowhovian Experience are available for purchase online now at Amazon (2011 here; 2012 here) in paperback. All remaining editions (2013, 2014, and 2015) will be going up soon in paperback; we will also release ebook versions of the remaining editions (2012-2015).

As the cover art for 2015 is still pending and my layout designer is still finishing up page proofs, I don't have an exact date for when each of the new editions will go on sale, but rest assured I will keep you posted as the situation develops.


Now for our winners!

Grand Prize: Complete The Set (up to all five editions)
Don Pettyjohn
Single Edition: First Choice (choice of all five editions)
Kara S
Single Edition: Second Choice (choice of remaining four)
John Shriver
Single Edition: Third Choice (choice of remaining three)
Derek Kompare
Single Edition: Fourth Choice (choice of remaining two)
Laura D
Single Edition:  Fifth Choice (final remaining edition)
Random Comments

Each of the winners will have their choice of paper or electronic editions. I will sign each copy, and will personalize if the winner so chooses. Ebook editions will get signature via Authorgraph. Don and Kara, please email me to get the ball rolling, and I will be contacting the rest of you via social media when it is time to make your choices and arrange delivery.

Congratulations to all, and thanks for reading!

Gallifrey One - Station 27: Day Three


It's interesting how unique a character each of the three days of Gally has, and how consistent those characters are from year to year. For me, at least, Friday is fairly giddy, with a "pinch me; I can't believe how much awesome there is, and it's only just starting!" vibe. Saturday is the super busy con-in-full-swing day that never seems to slow down. Then there's Sunday, which always suffers a vague pall of sadness somewhere in that mental space between denial and acceptance as everyone tries to squeeze all possible awesomeness out of the last of our time together.

As the day marches inexorably toward Closing Ceremonies, the harsh reality of another ending becomes ever more undeniable and friends cling together or seek each other out, having somehow missed each other the rest of the weekend. So as I sit in the unusually empty lobby on Monday morning, I look back on Day Three with a combination of melancholy and gratitude for more great experiences.

My Sunday on the con floor started in the audience of an interview panel with Sir John Hurt. There were several memorable moments, including his answer to an audience question about whether he'd ever, shall we say, taken anything home from the set that he wasn't strictly supposed to take. He said that after the first Harry Potter movie (in which he played Olivander the wand maker from Diagon Alley), he brought home four wands for his two sons and a couple of nephews. Then he told us that people sometimes bring their wands in boxes to him to be signed and "I remember making every one of them."

If that comment didn't break a crossover fandom, the line readings that the moderator asked him to do broke those of us who love Hurt as the War Doctor. He read a piece of Tom Baker's famous speech from Genesis of the Daleks (the "could you then kill that child" part), the bit at the end of Planet of the Daleks when Pertwee's Doctor warns Taron and the other Thals not to glorify war (complete with audience participant as Taron; "you just acted with Sir John Hurt!"), and Capaldi's epic speech from The Zygon Inversion. To end the panel, though, there was only one possible choice—and let me tell you, Sir John Hurt delivering Hartnell's "I will come back" speech to Susan was nothing short of electric. I still don't know how I managed to keep from weeping openly.


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