Retro-View #2: Change-Up


The Romans (Story #12, 1965)
The War Games (Story #50, 1969)
Viewed 28 May 2012

Doctor/Companion:   One, Ian, Barbara, Vicki / Two, Jamie, Zoë
Stars:  William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Maureen O'Brien /
   Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury
Preceding Story:  The Rescue (One, Ian, Barbara, Vicki) /
   The Space Pirates (Two, Jamie, Zoë)
Succeeding Story:  The Web Planet (One, Ian, Barbara, Vicki) /
   Spearhead from Space (Three, Liz Shaw)
Notable Aspects:

  • Two's final story

So far, G and I seem to be averaging about 3 episodes a session. That could make things "interesting" in the long term. For now, though, it just means we finished The Romans and barely scratched the surface of The War Games (the story that got the most votes in the what-should-we-watch poll). We also tossed in the surviving footage of the first regeneration (and the resolution of the Episode 1 cliffhanger - G's not one for too much suspense) for good measure.

After a brief recap from last time, we jumped right back into the middle of The Romans. Right off the bat, we get Nero's first sight of Barbara. G's immediate reaction: "You old letch!" She proceeds to giggle at Nero's antics, chuckle at our heroes' repeated near misses, and chortle at the (very bad) stage fighting between a pair of gladiators. She's thoroughly enjoying herself, and I'm enjoying that. Then she proceeds to put her finger on one reason I like this story so much: "every cliché possible is in this thing!"

Another thing I find so refreshing about watching with G is that she seems to adore the things that put off some folks, like the '60s production values. When she notes that "their set must've been about 10x10" during Ian's gladiator fight, it's said with glee and amusement rather than a roll of the eyes. Her bursts of "this is great!" are not infrequent, and give me that warm, fuzzy we've-hooked-another-one! feeling.


Nu-View #8: Lucky Number Seven


The Curse of Fenric  (Story #158, 1989)
Viewed 15 May 2012

Doctor/Companion:   Seven, Ace
Stars:  Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred
Preceding StoryGhost Light (Seven, Ace)
Succeeding Story:  Survival (Seven, Ace)

The masses have small number of regular readers has spoken! The lucky winner of our who-do-the-Ladies-watch-next contest is Seven. Since we've already seen my favorite (Remembrance of the Daleks, Nu-View #6), I decided to go with another one that seems to be generally well-regarded by "the fans" (whatever that means).

Even more exciting than having let the readers decide our viewing material, we've got a new addition to the team! Please welcome the newest of the Ladies of WhoFest, L! L is a more recent acquaintance (now friend) of mine, and always acted a bit jealous when I'd talk about WhoFest. Finally, she asked, "how do I get in on this thing?" and here we are.

I've known for a while that L is a Whovian, because I could tell her things like the fact that Louise Jameson was a guest at Gally (though I did have to clarify with a "Leela") and she knew enough to be jealous. It turns out she, much like jE, grew up watching Who, though not religiously. So there's a lot she's already seen, and plenty she's missed. Sadly, jO was unable to join us again, but the rest of us had fun anyway.

After we'd made introductions all 'round, and L was settling in, jE took it upon herself to explain the format: "we make snarky comments while we watch." What's not to love? And L seemed to fit right in with the gang. As the story opened, jA noted that even the font used to subtitle the Russian was evocative of the '80s; jE wondered how, with the boats all of 2 feet apart, the soldiers didn't notice their "comrades getting eaten"; and L said she liked how they make them Russian by adding eyeliner. I just loved the way that Seven and Ace bluff their way onto the base: "About time, too!" huffs Seven, as the British soldiers finally get around to pointing guns at them to question their presence. It was very "Hounds of Baskerville"- or, y'know... vice versa.


Retro-View #1: Take It From the Top


An Unearthly Child (Story #1, 1963)
The Romans (Story #12, 1965)
Viewed 30 Apr 2012

Doctor/Companion:   One, Susan, Ian, Barbara / One, Ian, Barbara, Vicki
Stars:  William Hartnell, Carole Ann Ford, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill, Maureen O'Brien
Preceding Story:  None / The Rescue (One, Ian, Barbara, Vicki)
Succeeding Story:  The Daleks / The Web Planet (One, Susan, Ian, Barbara / Ian, Barbara, Vicki)
Notable Aspects:

  • First ever episode

I've got something a little different for you this time. I have a dear friend of a slightly different generation who remembers watching Doctor Who in its early days. She would have been within the target age range when it first graced the air waves in 1963, but - as an American - didn't really watch until college, and occasionally at that. From what she tells me, she watched off and on, but hasn't seen it in ages - probably since Four's tenure.

Some time over the past year, we got to talking about Who, and she said she was really interested in seeing what they'd done with it (meaning post-Hiatus). Since then, our plan has gradually morphed into a sort of variation on a theme, similar to and yet different from both my regular Nu-Views and The Experiment of Adventures with the Wife in Space. G is not a novice viewer, but neither is she someone who has followed the show religiously for decades. I'll be showing her a sample of each Doctor and sharing with her what I love about each of them, and she'll be telling me what she remembers and how it strikes her now.

So here we go!


Nu-View #7: A Grace-ful Perspective


Doctor Who: The Movie  (Story #160, 1996)
Viewed 24 Apr 2012

Doctor/Companion: Eight, Grace Holloway, Chang Lee
Stars: Paul McGann, Daphne Ashbrook, Yee Jee Tso
Preceding StorySurvival (Seven, Ace)
Succeeding Story: Rose (Nine, Rose)
Notable Aspects:

  • We've seen it before!
  • Only on-screen appearance of Eight
  • Broadcast mid-Hiatus; only new TV story in that 16 years

It's a new year for the Nu-Views! What a crazy few months this has been. Nearly a third of the way into the year and we finally managed to get the Ladies together again. Well, most of us; jO couldn't make it. But we're back in business, and hopefully there will be more frequent Nu-Views in the coming months.

With all my recent chatter about Gally (well... within the last couple of months; this it the first time we've been together since then!), I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when jE requested we watch The Movie again. After all, even though I'd seen it some eight times before (~ahem~), they'd only seen it the once, and that was at the beginning of our WhoFest get-togethers, something like a year and a half ago. So, after spending some time regaling them with tales of Gallifrey One (if you haven't read my posts yet, you can start here), we headed back to San Francisco, December 1999.

Vague memories began to emerge as the record skipped while the Doctor relaxed with his book and cuppa in the TARDIS. There were glimmers of recognition throughout, but much of it was like watching it for the first time again.

For me, the focus was mainly on performance. This time around I decided that what bugs me about Roberts' portrayal of the Master is how often and how rapidly it switches between truly menacing and comic-book-caricature. For example, when he first encounters Lee in the TARDIS and mentally dominates him into approaching and handing over the Doctor's things, the interchange goes like this.


Nu-View #6: An Auspicious Introduction


Remembrance of the Daleks  (Story #152, 1988)
Viewed 07 Dec 2011

Doctor/Companion:   Seven, Dorothy "Ace" McShane
Stars:  Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred
Preceding StoryDragonfire (Seven, Mel, Ace)
Succeeding Story:  The Happiness Patrol (Seven, Ace)
Notable Aspects:

Seven often gets a bad rap. I've never understood that, but perhaps it's because this is the first of his stories I ever saw. Not only does it have some interesting plot points (a few that never quite get explained), but it also includes a bit of fan service in the sense of bringing everything back to 76 Totter's Lane, where it all started (this was, after all, the beginning of the 25th series; there needed to be some nod to The History). Further, this regeneration comes across as genuinely fond of his young Companion, which is a nice change of pace after Six and Peri (though the Ladies didn't react as poorly to Six as I initially did).

All three Ladies were sitting down with Seven for the first time - a situation I don't believe we've had since The Movie (our first ever WhoFest viewing). You may recall from their introductions that though jA and jO came to Who as I did, through the post-Hiatus stories, jE grew up with it. However, she had such a negative reaction to Six that she stopped watching. That makes this story, and Seven in general, a more even field than ever before.

On the other hand, the extreme Eighties-ness created a divide that we don't often feel so acutely. The rest of us were ready either to sink into decrepitude or throw something at her when jA asked when this story aired and then casually mentioned that it was a mere year after she'd been born. And although I noticed it (having "come of age" in the '80s myself), I hadn't been particularly fazed by the incidental music that jA declared "so bad!" - while jE and jO hadn't even consciously registered it.



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