Nu-View #9: Less Ant-i Than Ant-icipated


The Web Planet (Story #13, 1965)
Viewed 05, 19 Jun 2012

Doctor/Companion: One, Ian, Barbara, Vicki
Stars: William Hartnell, William Russel, Jacqueline Hill, Maureen O'Brien
Preceding Story: The Romans (One, Ian, Barbara, Vicki)
Succeeding Story: The Crusade (One, Ian, Barbara, Vicki)

    The reactions of the uninitiated never cease to surprise me - and it's not that long ago since I was one of them! When jA declared after The Curse of Fenric that it was the weirdest thing she'd seen, I considered the gauntlet thrown down.

    I'd foolishly forgotten/not checked to see that Web Planet was six episodes long, so we ended up having to split it into two sessions. jA, jO and I were present for both, but jE missed the first time, and L missed the second. Once we got into it, though, the responses were, shall we say, rather varied.

    At first, it was fairly upbeat. The Zarbi were initially well-received ("I love 'em!" "I love how they make electronic noises."), and the exchange between Barbara and Vicki about the state of the art in medicine and schooling in their respective time zones intrigued all the Ladies. By Episode 2, though, things started to go a bit downhill.

    The Menoptera elicited giggles and a "what the hell?" as well as the observation that "those [wings] are made out of shower curtains." Vicki, though I think her personality went down pretty well, came across as "pretty helpless." Then there's the bit when a Zarbi runs into one of the cameras - "that was awesome!" I, for one, love how you can hear the Zarbi costumes creaking as they move (and just think about the poor saps who had to wear them - their backs must have been in absolute agony!).


    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.



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