Nu-Views

Nu-View #7: A Grace-ful Perspective

May
02

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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Nu-View #6: An Auspicious Introduction

Dec
14

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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Nu-View #5: Color Me Surprised

Aug
24

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.

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

Jul
27

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).

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Nu-View #3: Foray Into Five

Jul
06

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.

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