Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My odds on Missing Adventures

As some might have gathered from previous blogposts, the thought of missing episodes has been preying on my mind of late. Now, in the Space Year 1998 Ian "Blubberguts" Levine made a clear statement that the missing episode count would forever rank around the 110 mark.

Less than six months later, the first episode of The Crusade turned up. Yes, even God Himself was pissed off, and to pour salt into the wound, we've had another three episodes turn up in decade or so to follow.

Now, the count rests at 106... or, to be completely accurate 105 missing episodes and one episode that will never, ever be found. The Feast of Steven was shown only once, then quietly taken out the back of BBC Broadcasting House, shot execution-style through the back of the head, hacked to pieces, then fed to phirana, the phirana feces was then cremated, fused into glass, broken again and then fired into the heart of the sun in a projectile of liquid metal.

It ain't coming back.

The 90 episode hoax was credible precisely because it DIDN'T claim to have that episode. At all.

So, the topic of animating the episodes comes up. After all, The Invasion, The Reign of Terror, The Tenth Planet, The Ice Warriors and The Moonbase have all suffered this treatment and are out on DVD. Of all those reconstructed episodes, I think only TP4 is still wanted back in the archive after we can now watch the damn thing properly - and, arguably, better than the original.

But what next for the animation project to reconstruct?

Now, on first glance this seems a good bet. We have telesnaps for 6/7 episodes, the audio, the scripts, and enough on-set photos for this to actually be done in COLOUR! True, the remaining episode would be harder to put together, but not impossible if the other six have been done. Also, sprites for the first TARDIS crew are in existence from The Reign of Terror.

Alas, this is a seven episode story. And you'll notice that the recons so far have aimed for two episodes or less. Plus, it is incredibly talky - maybe not a bad thing from a dramatic point of view, but when it comes to animating and lip synch... let's just say The Stolen Earth is a piece of pinch to animate compared to Midnight. Also, the fact is Marco Polo doesn't have the pulling power with the public eye no matter what the drooling fanboys at Kaldor City think.

Two episodes in existence, two episodes to animate, with telesnaps and photos? A shoe-in, and I'm surprise it's not been confirmed already. Even so, the Doctor doing sod all in King Richard's court while Ian and Vicki wear stupid hats isn't going to appeal to many punters, unless they're Olden Days fans.

Well, this is an intriguing one. We have one and a half episodes which give us all we need to see in terms of sets and characters, not to mention this story's sudden notoriety and its new thumbnail review as "looking way more awesome than it sounds". Given how arty the animators are, and such a clear idea of what the episodes are for, I'd say this is the best bet for animation if it weren't for Ian Levine's fanmade recon, which has pushed the demand for more Rill/Drahvin XXX action down to zero. Thanks a bunch, Ian.

No telesnaps, hardly any photos, but the recent comic book adaptation(s) show this isn't impossible to do. Daleks are piss-easy to animate, as will most of the freaky aliens. Though unless someone's going to do the whole of the Masterplan, it's doubtful we'd get it. On the other hand, there's the movie version of youtube with a Chris Hale lookalike as Marc Cory, which is as faithful as can be.

Tragically, this is likely to be one of the last they'll tackle as we have 9/10ths of fuck all in terms of video or picture material about this story. No telesnaps, hardly any photos (though we do have snapshots of Vicki acting like a dirty slut even by NuWho's standards) not to mention a cliffhanger ending. Maybe they'll base their animation on the Loose Canon recon? It's not that bad, but...

Well. On the obvious negatives, this is asking for ten episodes to animate. On the plus side, Daleks! And the existing episodes provide the visuals you'd need for roughly eight of those episodes, plus we have Douglas Camfield's scripts with all the fiddly details (like Mavic Chen being exterminated in longshot) so the odds of reconstructing a decent version of the story is quite possible. But this will be a MASSIVE thing, even if they turn to the comic book adaptions for help.

A story that makes The Mythmakers look over-photographed and analyzed. Ironically, only Dodo's entry scene stands a chance of being anything like what was on TV, but the LC recon shows you can pretty much visualize it as Blackadder II only unfunny as sin and tedious as shit. When the dramatic impetus of episode one is Steven arguing with a bartender about loose change, who'd give a shit enough to animate it?

Hrmmm. While there's only one episode and no telesnaps, there's more than enough picture (colour ones too) stuff to do it justice. Though there are two questions: a) why bother? and b) should we censor the line about "niggers" for modern sensibilities or stick true to Doctor Who as a historical document, good and bad? But seriously. Why bother?

Low priority, requiring four episodes with no monsters. On the plus side, it is a very interesting story with all the telesnaps you could ask for.

Low priority, requiring four episodes with no monsters. On the plus side, it is a very interesting story with all the telesnaps you could ask for. I know I said this earlier, but it's true of this story as well. Plus - the sprites for the TARDIS crew are around.

If you're going to animate the death of the First Doctor, why not the dawn of the Second? Six episodes to animate is a lot, but this is a story even Steven Moffat has publically asked for. Plus, Daleks, telesnaps, Ben and Polly sprites, all the scripts and photos... the only real impediment is Troughton's improv, but I dare say Anneke Wills can remember the important bits. The best bet of the "totally missing" bunch.

A story tragically held in low regard by the mouthbreathers who mistake boredom for maturity (see fans of The Massacre), this story is no better than The Smugglers or The Savages in chances of being animated. This is a tragedy.

I think so. With only two episodes to do, with the telesnaps and the existing episodes showing this story is more fun that a barrel full of rage-virus-infected monkeys, I'd say this is a dead cert. I could do a "nuzzing in ze vorld can shtop me narw" gag but I won't.

Like so many stories of this era, we've got all the ingredients except an existing episode. OTOH, the Macra would provide the animators with awesome fun and, having done The Moonbase, they have most of the ingredients. Certainly worth keeping an eye out for this one.

Meh. True, 1/3rd of the story exists, we have telesnaps and footage but... really? So much of it occurs standing silently in rooms not doing much, I can't see it appealing to either the public or the private.

True, six episodes, but Daleks, telesnaps, an existing episode and the civil war on Skaro exists as footage on its own. Another one I expect to be done.

Nope, I don't see this one happening for a while. One episode and telesnaps versus long bits of nothing and very little Yeti action.

Even less chance, especially as we don't even have telesnaps of episode 4. It's a visually boring story anyway, being 90% talking heads and the rest stock footage. Is anyone clamoring for this one? Also, rumors are they've found the whole lot anyway.

Actually, I'd say this one is a good bet. Episode one exists and shows us all the sets, all bar two of the main characters, the limited variety of sets will save animation, plus Yetis and fungus will be easily animated. If they can turn this into a stage play, animating it can't be too hard. Add to that UNIT, nostalgia, the Great Intelligence, I think there's enough public demand to get this done.

A low priority, especially as all the scary bits exist.

A pity there are so little Cybermen in this one, because it could easily tip the scales. Four episodes needed, but we have telesnaps and there's a kickass CGI trailer. Might happen, especially as this story categorically was NOT part of the 90 found.

Lowest of the low. I doubt they'd release it even if they found all the episodes. It probably wouldn't be too difficult to animate, even though we have no telesnaps or even photos for most of it, but I doubt anyone has enough love for this one. The cast certainly didn't.

Well, that's MY two cents.


Persona Herein said...

"The Faceless Ones" and "The Enemy of the World" are both stories that depended on their visuals to an extent more than most; the whole point of the former was "look at this shiny futuristic airport, isn't it fascinating" whereas no matter how good the animation is, evil! Patrick Troughton is simply not going to be comparable to the visceral impact of "gosh, the Doctor really is the same bloke who plays all those villains on ITV crime dramas". "The Abominable Snowmen" looks ridiculously like Wales for obvious reasons, so a version that's actually set in Tibet would be nice. And I'd love to see "The Underwater Menace" finished just for kicks.

Youth of Australia said...

I suppose - though most of the airport scenery porn is in the first three episodes (two of which exist), and we do have part three of EOTW to show us what Salamander is like.

As for the snowless Tibet, all the snow it actually contained in the glass pyramid in the mountain cave which cracks open at the end of episode five and engulfs the mountain in a moment of truly horrific Freudian symbolism.

Persona Herein said...

By the way, your best argument against the "Doctor Who and Race" book is that there are a ridiculous number of white Australians who wrote it. They're not the minority populations that might conceivably be offended by their portrayal on the show, they're not from the country that's making the show, they're therefore out of the cultural loop both ways, and it just sounds ridiculous being mad on other people's behalf. Solidarity is one thing, but that's just silly.

Matthew Blanchette said...

I know I'm several days late to this party, but this fellow likes both "The Massacre" AND "The Highlanders", and I wouldn't really consider him a "mouthbreather":

Youth of Australia said...

Yes, but if you read his initial analysis of The Massacre, you will see he is uncertain of how to judge the story and by the time he reviews The Celestial Toymaker he's decided that the entire John Wiles era is a racist, biggoted abomination.

He also rates Colony in Space over Inferno for crying out loud.

The fact is, while he at least has actually bothered to sit down and study the story before championing it, there are hundreds more who say they like it without any personal opinion whatever. It is a highly-regarded story, ergo, it must be highly regarded.

The fact is, The Massacre is crap and I'll prove it.

Matthew Blanchette said...

I'd love for you to respond to him, then. ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

You know I'm a shy and retiring character, MB. But his praise for the story - unlike the "ooh, that's new" drones - is the emotional arc of Steven and the Doctor which he concedes

a) cannot be properly evaluated on audio
b) utterly ruined by Dodo's arrival
c) John Wiles is a miserable hateful bastard we're better off without

a view which I do not disagree with. The fact is that, let's be honest here, you can slam on the TARDIS argument scene at the end of Dalek Masterplan for even greater immediacy and emotional turmoil. The previous three and a bit episodes have little to do with it, just as you could have Sarah's departure scene stapled onto any story post-Zygons.

So, suffice it to say, I am compiling 101 reasons the Massacre is rubbish, but my incandescent rage means I've spluttered out after 79 reasons and I STILL haven't got the TARDIS scene yet...