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.


Nu-View #5: Color Me Surprised


The Mark of the Rani  (Story #140, 1985)
Viewed 09 Aug 2011

Doctor/Companion:   Six, Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown
Stars:  Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant
Preceding StoryVengeance on Varos (Six, Peri)
Succeeding Story:  The Two Doctors (Two, Six, Jaime, Peri)
Notable Aspects:

OK - I'll admit it: I was really surprised by the reactions to Six. While jE was already familiar with him (in fact, he was the reason she stopped watching, back in the day - and despite not feeling well, I'm pretty sure that's her real excuse for missing this time), neither of the other two had ever seen him before.  I carefully picked my favorite of his stories in order to cast him in the best possible light.  Who knew - it worked!

First impressions were mixed. The credits were declared more '70s than '80s (and Six's smile garnered such adjectives as "creepy" and "psychedelic"), but the music was "totally '80s!" Then came the requisite disgust with Six's coat-of-many-colors, which for this story was closely followed by "what is she wearing?!" in reference to Peri. Finally, there was the general snarking about the supposedly American Companion ("gotta work on that accent, lady"), which actually continued through the whole show ("you're so incapable!" "I don't like her at all..."). So far, I was in familiar territory.

Then things turned weird.


Nu-View #4: My Job Here's Not Done


Resurrection of the Daleks (Story #134, 1984)
Viewed 19 Jul 2011

Doctor/Companion:   Five, Tegan Jovanka, Vislor Turlough
Stars:  Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson
Preceding StoryFrontios (Five, Tegan, Turlough)
Succeeding Story:  Planet of Fire (Five, Turlough, Peri)
Notable Aspects:

  • departure of Tegan

Having felt that I'd not yet given the Ladies a good feel for Five, I decided to trot out some Daleks (the vote was in favor of them over the Cybermen). I'm not sure I still managed to get across a good feel for his character, as evidenced by some of the general reactions (see below), but at the very least, a good time was had by all.

First impressions were that this one seemed more '70s than '80s (aside from costuming). It was also rather Star Trek, what with the crashing around and the doctor in battle, ready to "take the fight to them!" Someone also opined that Turlough looked like a Romulan with a red wig (also apropos because he claims to be on the side of the "good guys," but we (the Ladies, anyway) never quite trust him...). However, it was really the Doctor and the Daleks that brought the most comments.

Our first sighting of the Daleks brought the comment that they seemed to be more tolerant than they are these days. I'm not sure that that still held true by the end of the story, but they had a lot to do. I mean seriously - a plot to assassinate the High Council of Time Lords? They got so busy with everything else, they couldn't even remember to come back to that after its toss-off mention, so obviously they had a lot on their proverbial plates. I wonder if that's why they can't handle a little eyestalk impairment ("for being such badass warriors, they get so panicked," observes jA).


Nu-View #3: Foray Into Five


The Visitation (Story #120, 1982)
Viewed 19 Apr 2011, 21 Jun 2011

Doctor/Companion:   Five, Adric, Nyssa, Tegan
Stars:  Peter Davison, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding
Preceding StoryKinda (Five, Adric, Tegan)
Succeeding Story:  Black Orchid (Five, Adric, Nyssa, Tegan)
Notable Aspects:

  • demise of the sonic screwdriver, which would not be seen again until The Movie in 1996

I found it difficult to decide at what point in his tenure to trot out Five for the Ladies' viewing. Eventually, I decided I wanted one that involved the classic trio of Adric, Nyssa and Tegan, and settled on The Visitation because it gave a good sense of the three of their personalities. I'd have used Castrovalva, but I wanted to save that as the denouement of the whole regeneration arc for another time.

Due to various scheduling conflicts, the Ladies had to watch this one in shifts. Each time we had at least one n00b and one veteran (here I include myself). Among other things, it was entertaining to hear the first impressions of appearances. One initiate commented that she wasn't sure about Five's outfit (to which jE immediately responded, "wait'll you see the next one!"). The other thought he reminded her of Chevy Chase. Everybody commented on the '80s-ness of the episode, from make-up to hair to costuming (jO thought Nyssa "would have looked so amazingly cool in 198[2]") to the TARDIS herself. There was also some consternation - coming from those accustomed to the modern "just swap 'em out" era - that the poor sonic screwdriver would disappear from the Doctor's toolbox for nearly a decade and a half after its destruction at the hands of the Tereleptils.


Nu-View #2: First Thoughts on Four


The Invisible Enemy (Story #93, 1977)
Viewed 23 Feb 2011

Doctor/Companion:   Four, Leela
Stars:  Tom Baker, Louise Jameson
Preceding StoryHorror of Fang Rock (Four, Leela)
Succeeding StoryImage of the Fendahl (Four, Leela)
Notable Aspects:

  • First appearance of K9

For some of the Ladies, this was their first experience with Four.  While jE watched him during his original run, and jA at least knew his look, jO got to be our complete n00b.  Initially, it was Leela (or "Barbarella," as jO liked to call her) who got most of the attention - with that "leather bikini" of hers, it's easy to see why she was jE's dad's favorite Companion.  But most of the Ladies agreed that she was a good, fearless Companion, taking it upon herself to take care of the poor, defenseless (as she saw him) Doctor.  I didn't have the heart to tell them right then about her somewhat ignominious departure on Gallifrey.

Obviously, K9 was worth a few comments, too.  From the first little cheer when he first came on screen to the "no - not K9!" when the Nucleus made contact, The Tin Dog was another hit.  I know some fans hate him, but I've always found him cheerful and amusing, especially after having seen some DVD extras in which other actors talk about how John Leeson would crawl around on all fours on set during rehearsals.  How can you not love someone who gets so thoroughly into the role?

As for the Doctor himself, the reception was generally warm.  jA reminded me of my own initial reactions when she noted that he's "got quite a voice."  I remember being quite familiar with only his image, and having taken quite a while to get accustomed to the voice that went with it.  With the limited exposure to earlier Doctors, though, jO found Four the best of them so far (perhaps because he's younger).  She found that though he comes across a bit more pompous, he's overall quite likable.  I think he had such a huge effect on everyone who grew up watching him that it's unsurprising to see elements of him in later Doctors - especially Ten, as jA pointed out.  For those thoroughly steeped in the RTD era, Four seems "more Doctor-ish."



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