Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ode to a Smurf

Ladies and gentlemen we present for you now the lost songs of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pilates of Penance". These songs were censored at the time by Queen Victoria herself because of their intense political and revolutionary nature. We present them to you now, translated from the original html text...


THE BLOGGER
When I was a lad I adored McCoy
And bought many an overpriced Dapol toy
Though of course Tom Baker was the Time Lord true
And in scarf and hat, I dressed as Doctor Who


CHORUS
And in scarf and hat, he dressed as Doctor Who

THE BLOGGER
To see my mother recover from cancer of the breast
When it comes to Whovians I am the best


CHORUS
To see his mother recover from cancer of the breast
When it comes to Whovians he is the best


THE BLOGGER
When McCoy ran out, the repeats began
It would be many years till we saw Paul McGann
In the meantime were season eighteen to twenty-two
Shown at four in the morning, but still it was Doctor Who


CHORUS
Shown at four in the morning, but still it was Doctor Who

THE BLOGGER
I stayed up late to tape them, quite an excess
And of all other Whovians I am the best


CHORUS
He stayed up late to tape them, quite an excess
And of all other Whovians he is the best!

THE BLOGGER
When the books came out, I collected them all
Starting with Witchmark at Dalek-run book stall
I only got it for the cover, the words weren't much
Nonetheless I collected the New Adventures and such

Literary escapades, eight, missing and past less
Amongst true Whovians I was not the best


I read them all, even the ones that were crap
First Sabbath than Shalka and worse mindless pap
Exodus overrated, Adventuress a chore
About a bearded Doctor marrying a whore
Then came a news the TV show was back
Written by RTD and not some old hack


CHORUS
Written by RTD and not some old hack

THE BLOGGER
The 2005 season passed the test
And I remained a Whovian and the best


CHORUS
The 2005 season passed the test
And he remained a Whovian and the best


THE BLOGGER
The next year left something to desire
Throw The Idiot's Lantern into the fire
But with the arrival of the bride runaway
The entrance of Donna truly saved the day
Until four knocks came at the end of time
RTD's NuWho had both reason and rhyme


CHORUS
RTD's NuWho had both reason and rhyme

THE BLOGGER
Though Moffat as a replacement I confess
Filled with dread this Whovian more than the rest


CHORUS
Though Moffat as a replacement he confessed
Filled with dread this Whovian more than the rest


THE BLOGGER 
Thankfully proved wrong, Fnarg was great
But Fnarg-plus-one certainly did grate
With a story arc both boring and dull
A good thing Moffat decided to cull
The dreary Silence and River Song's mystery
And agree to celebrate the 50th anniversary

I had no complaints, in fact I cheer
To be Whovian when November comes here


CHORUS 
He had no complaints, in fact he cheered
To be Whovian when November came here


THE BLOGGER
When Smith went the way of those before
Replacing him with Capaldi left me unsure
A man better known for being Malcolm Tucker
Seemed wrong for the job, you stupid motherfucker


CHORUS
Seemed wrong for the job, you stupid motherfucker!

THE BLOGGER
The scripts that were leaked left me undecided
And upon this blog my doubts were confided
Though the finished episodes were above-par
From my definition of Doctor Who they were far


CHORUS
From his definition of Doctor Who they were far

THE BLOGGER
These troubles of mine I had to get off my chest
But I'm still a Whovian and probably the best


CHORUS
These troubles of his he had to get off his chest
But he's still a Whovian and probably the best


THE BLOGGER
For I've read the books, seen every episode too
That exists in the archives of Doctor Who
To Big Finish I listen, TV Comic I read
I know Doctor Who in both thought and deed
After fifty years, three fifths in my eye
I feel I can judge if the show did die


CHORUS
He feels he can judge if the show did die

THE BLOGGER
And die it did on the fields of Trenzalore
But who can blame it for coming back for more?


CHORUS
And die it did on the fields of Trenzalore
But who can blame it for coming back for more?


THE BLOGGER
It's not Doctor Who though it claims to be
In a series of dark dramatic intensity
With adult concerns and monsters in the night
Who are unstoppable, there's no point to fight
That this show is good is obvious to see
But it don't feel like Doctor Who to me


CHORUS
But it don't feel like Doctor Who to he

THE BLOGGER
With careful consideration and not one jest
For I am a Whovian above the rest


CHORUS
With careful consideration and not one jest
For he be a Whovian above the rest


THE BLOGGER 
I declare Deep Breath onwards NOT Doctor Who
But as it's replacement, it will certainly do
I'm surprised my opinion matter so much
To GenX proud of being out-of-touch
Unwanted on this blog and this made clear
Jokes about child abuse are not welcome here


CHORUS
Jokes about child abuse are not welcome here!

THE BLOGGER 
I've seen the show both old and new
Hence my claim that I know Doctor Who
Others disagree, good luck, fair enough
They have their own blogs on this to discuss
Unusually pointless my opinion may be
But this is my blog and dedicated to me


CHORUS
But this is his blog and dedicated to he!

THE BLOGGER
Do you really believe you will change my mind
By posting abuse which is far from kind?
All that remains to clarify this strife
RM, shouldn't you be busy fucking your wife?


CHORUS
RM, shouldn't you be busy fucking your wife?

THE BLOGGER
I've discussed this enough, it is time for a rest
As a Whovian I have proved myself the best. 


CHORUS
He's discussed this enough, it is time for a rest
As a Whovian he has proved himself the best.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"So, you escaped from [insert-location]!"

Well, it's Doctor Who Day - and, typically, the ABC are celebrating by showing the wrong episode - and how better to celebrate than with a tedious list of fanwankery and theories? Given Moffat's public announcement that when Missy returns there will be absolutely no explanation of how she survived in best Ainley fashion, we have to wonder - what else has that gloss covered over?

From the top...



THE INFINITY DOCTORS
Master: Richard E Grant/the Magister
Last Seen: blasted to an unknown point in time and space by Omega, wearing the Doctor's body
Next Seen: no idea, but it's presumably to explain how he went evil and hated the Doctor.
Explanation: n/a. Maybe he was an avatar of the Great Intelligence?

DIVIDED LOYALTIES
Master: Roger Delgado/Koschei
Last Seen: Wishing he was as cool as the War Chief
Next Seen: Presumably being as cool as the War Chief
Explanation: IT WAS A FUCKING STUPID DREAM, TOTALLY INACCURATE, AND ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE WILL BE TAKEN OUTSIDE AND KICKED TO DEATH! is the official canonical statement endorsed by Mr. Russell

 
FLASHBACK

Master: unknown/Magnus
Last Seen: pissed off the Doctor ruined his bid for glory and birds
Next Seen: as Edward Brayshaw calling himself the War Cheif.
Explanation: detabatable canonicity here, I suppose, given the dodgy premise of the Seventh Doctor recording this argument then playing it back to Benny (who doesn't remember anything when she actually meets the Master). But it goes to show...


THE MOTHER ROAD
Master: unknown (hints it's the Alex McQueen version)
Last Seen: trying to win the TARDIS off eBay to piss the Doctor off in the 21st Century
Next Seen: as someone more evil
Explanation: the First Doctor has no surprise someone called steam_r14 is trying to buy a police box when dr_who, but given it's just an excuse for him to take Ian and Barbara on a road trip through America, they might actually be friends at this point.







THE DARK PATH

Master: Roger Delgado/Koschei
Last Seen: gone totally evil and being sucked into a black hole, unable to escape because his TARDIS is in a time-loop that never lets him press the button to escape.
Next Seen: Terror of the Autons, I guess.
Explanation: apparently Koschei escapes but it takes his entire regenerative cycle (even though his face is the same - maybe he kept some severed limbs around). I say "apparently" as I've never actually read this written down, it's just something all the encyclopedias say. It's not in the book itself.



THE NAMELESS CITY
Master: unclear - Jamie doesn't recognize him, but this is Season 6b
Last Seen: being a git
Next Seen: in proper continuity
Explanation: so, the Master tries to get rid of the Second Doctor and Jamie by tricking them into using the Necromonicon to take them to Ryleh the city of Cthulu. It doesn't work. We don't care.


THE WAR GAMES

Master: Edward Brayshaw/The War Chief
Last Seen: screaming like a girl as he's used as target practice by the War Lord's gimps, and then tidily shoved to stage left a minute before the Time Lords arrive.
Next Seen: Timewyrm: Exodus.
Explanation: because, apparently the War Lord was so amazed that the War Chief had survived the execution, he managed to arrange the body to be taken onto a hitherto-unmentioned spaceship with an unseen crew to take it back to the alien planet - rather than the SIDRAT the War Lord himself was using to get there in the middle of an armed revolt, and entire during half-a-second he was out of camera view, and the Time Lords never actually spotted him. So the War Chief regenerated into a walking tholidomide spider with a white beard and vowed to stay alongside the aliens even after they were time-looped out of existence and the War Lord himself was erased from existence, but his identical son totally remembered the whole thing and decided the best approach was to EXACTLY THE SAME PLAN, WITHOUT VARIATION... actually, you know what, I just can't even summarize it. Let alone the fact the War Chief was a nice guy betrayed by Borusa's political crusade many, many centuries before Borusa even got involved in politics! GOD DAMN IT!!


You know what, I need to turn to Chris McKeon's fanfiction to try and even comprehend this...



VEILED MEMORIES
Master: Edmund Bailey/the old guy with the beard running Mdm Tussaud's from Spearhead in Space
Last Seen: burning alive in an exploding SIDRAT
Next Seen: leaving Earth in his TARDIS
Explanation: so, you see, after getting blown up in that nuclear explosion in Germany, the War Chief regenerated, was captured by the Time Lords, was imprisoned on Shada, escaped with a spare SIDRAT thanks to the CIA, followed the Doctor to Earth, hid in the waxworks as the curator, tried to con the Doctor into letting him steal the TARDIS, but the SIDRAT exploded and he regenerated again...

...seriously, isn't it so much easier to ignore Exodus? Isn't it?


RECONNAISANCE
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: plotting out the Barry Letts era
Next Seen: in the Barry Letts era
Explanation: none required, it's just one of those "Master in Season 7" stories we all love.



TERROR OF THE AUTONS

Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: driving off in a stolen coach (not his TARDIS)
Next Seen: one year later as a highly-established international scientist/ordinary telephone engineer
Explanation: um, apparently he set all the Keller Machine stuff up, it stalled, and he went back to the Autons for this story.



THE MIND OF EVIL

Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: driving off in a stolen van a few metres from a thermonuclear explosion
Next Seen: prank-calling the Doctor from the safety of his TARDIS.
Explanation: um, just that he escaped and he's being a real bitch about it.


DEADLY REUNION
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: driving off in a limo in front of the UNIT family
Next Seen: being slightly less smug
Explanation: who cares?


THE CLAWS OF AXOS
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: running into his TARDIS to escape the time-loop (see The Dark Path)
Next Seen: as an Adjudicator called Martin
Explanation: even the Brigadier is savvy enough to realize he escaped.


COLONY IN SPACE
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: escaping in his TARDIS.
Next Seen: as a vicar called Victor Magister
Explanation: um, kind of up there on screen, really.


THE DAEMONS
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: being booed by small children as he is arrested by UNIT
Next Seen: in jail
Explanation: the Doctor apparently convinced the authorities that executing a Time Lord would be really bad karma (that's assumed, all that's stated is the Doctor ensured that the Master got a cushy cell at the taxpayer's expense).


THE MAN IN THE ION MASK
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: in a cell
Next Seen: in a cell
Explanation: he doesn't get out of the damn cell, of course! Jeez, some people.


FREEDOM
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: being recaptured by UNIT
Next Seen: back in a cell
Explanation: continuity must be adhered to, but seriously. Even the Joker has a better escape rate, and he actually likes being in jail!


WHO KILLED KENNEDY?
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: um... er... he's never actually seen, tbh...
Next Seen: ...give me a second...
Explanation: The idea is that the Master, possibly in the future, zips back along the Doctor's timeline using the Glasshouse/C19/Torchwood/Forge to undermine UNIT and corrupt established history. So he may not actually be trying to escape prison, for once. But he does put a bullet through Dodo's brain, proving beyond all doubt that he is a magnificent shot.


FACE OF THE ENEMY
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: being recaptured by UNIT
Next Seen: back in a cell
Explanation: See the above. God dammit.


THE SWITCHING
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: back in his cell
Next Seen: in a different cell
Explanation: for crying out loud!


THE SEA DEVILS
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: stealing a hovercraft
Next Seen: killing hitchhikers, fleeing to Devil's End and escaping in his TARDIS.
Explanation: one of the less-annoying parts of The Eight Doctors, really.


DOORWAY INTO NOWHERE
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: accidentally being sealed in a monster-filled hell dimension with no way out
Next Seen: not being in a monster-filled hell dimension
Explanation: none. Presumably Torchwood let him out doing something stupid.


THE TIME THIEF
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: running away from his disco-time-machine before it explodes
Next Seen: doing something else
Explanation: who needs one? The Doctor is surprised when Jo even thinks the Master might have been killed in the short-circuit-disco-time-machine explosion.


LISTEN - THE STARS!
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: Sulking in his TARDIS after failing to get into UNIT HQ.
Next Seen: Getting into UNIT HQ.
Explanation: Well, I guess it proves that changing tactics can work. You notice that on TV, the Master only infiltrates UNIT HQ once but in all the spin-offs he practically lives there?


OUT OF THE GREEN MIST
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: frozen motionless by a god from outside reality and prisoner of UNIT
Next Seen: unfrozen and at liberty.
Explanation: none whatsoever, which is galling as ignoring both his paralysis and his incarceration is a bit odd. Presumably he unfroze and legged it, but still...


HIDDEN TALENT
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: escaping in his TARDIS from his lamest scheme ever
Next Seen: coming up with a better plan
Explanation: amazingly, this story has the Master running an American Idol style show where people sing 21st century pop songs BORING.


THE SEISMOLOGIST'S STORY
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: escaping a time loop in his TARDIS (he must seriously get sick of that)
Next Seen: still free
Explanation: any required?


THE DRAGON OF HYACINTH LODGE
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: trapped in his TARDIS with a swarm of flash-eating dragon spores
Next Seen: not eaten by flesh-eating dragons
Explanation: none, but presumably he just opened the TARDIS doors and flushed the spores out into space before they could eat him. It was pretty easy to do.


THE HARVEST OF TIME
Master: Roger Delgado (though all of them appear, even Missy)
Last Seen: no idea.
Next Seen: back on TV.
Explanation: never been arsed to read it.


THE TIME MONSTER
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: escaping in his TARDIS thanks to Kronos
Next Seen: avoiding the UNIT era
Explanation: one might imagine that the mightiest of all Chronovores ensured that the Master's freedom kept him away from Earth, but those damned spin-offs render the ending even MORE pointless than ever!


VERDIGRIS
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: eating a Chinese takeaway
Next Seen: avoiding the UNIT era and Iris Wildthyme
Explanation: there's a pantomime genie pretending to be the Master for some reason. This is one of the few Iris adventures I actually like, so further analysis is rather self-defeating.





FRONTIER IN SPACE

Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: shooting the Doctor (the original cut had him run away like a girly man)
Next Seen: off camera
Explanation: Well, I guess none is needed. Though Mad Larry pointed out, the finished episode has the Master gone and Jo holding his gun, hinting that she shot the bastard through his head. This would definitely fit in with many other Master deaths due to female companions.


THE SPEAR OF DESTINY
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: marooned in Ancient Britain with a broken TARDIS and some pissed-off Vikings
Next Seen: like nothing had ever happened
Explanation: well, if the Monk could do it, why not the Master?


THE ONE-SECOND HOUR
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: Um, not at all.
Next Seen: Again!
Explanation: he doesn't appear, but he gives some whacky drugs to an evil civil servant. Just for the hell of it. Either that or he didn't want UNIT's funding cut because he wasn't considered a proper threat.



THE GLEN OF THE SLEEPING

Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: being marched off by redcoats to be shot as a Highlander spy in 1746
Next Seen: alive
Explanation: the Doctor is confident the Master will sweet-talk his way out of things, but it's unclear how the Master escapes from Culloden given the story insists he has no TARDIS - though he does apparently have access to another time machine. But the Doctor also has access to it. I'll just say the Master escapes by mugging the Time Lords who drop Jamie off and nicking their TARDIS.



FOGBOUND
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: in a pierside stall that was smashed to pieces by a runaway train and flung into the sea
Next Seen: not in TV Comic, that's fer sure.
Explanation: given the Master saw the danger coming, literally, he possibly lunged out of the way and survived like the Doctor and Blind Joe. Or maybe he did another same-face regeneration. Who knows?


SMASH HIT
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: legging it when the Brigadier goes psychotic with punk music
Next Seen: giving reality itself a bit of a break
Explanation: it's a less embarrassing scheme than Hidden Talent.


CHARACTER ASSASSIN
Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: stealing gizmos from the Land of Fiction
Next Seen: outside the Land of Fiction, because he thought staying there would suck.
Explanation: none really needed.


THE DUKE OF DOMINOS

Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: escaping Earth in his TARDIS
Next Seen: elsewhere
Explanation: none, as this adventure is one the Doctor has absolutely no clue that the Master is involved but this suggests that the Delgado Master was still at large during the Fourth Doctor era, rather than perishing in the Third. Unless he's just crossing timelines for shits and giggles.



LAST OF THE GARDERENE

Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: trapped on the other side of a dimensional wormhole, on the verge of regeneration, before being engulfed in a massive firestorm and dismissed by the Doctor as proper dead
Next Seen: quite possibly burnt to a crisp and played by Peter Pratt, but who can be sure?
Explanation: It could be a prequel to The Deadly Assassin, but we all know how Gatiss has a distaste for any and all fanwank...



LEGACY OF THE DALEKS

Master: Roger Delgado
Last Seen: after thinking he's killed her granddad, Susan mind-rapes the Master, shoots him with the TCE, leaving him a burnt skeleton, then steals his TARDIS and leaves him to die on Terserus
Next Seen: hypnotizing Goth when he visits Terserus
Explanation: Well, it's all up there and on paper is quite a next and logical take. Until you read it and dear god it's awful. You know, Curse of Fatal Death achieves the same thing and funnier, too. Alas, it's the only official explanation on offer, even though Big Finish have completely decanonized it. Twice.



THE TIME THIEF

Master: unknown/Madrigor
Last Seen: falling over
Next Seen: possibly never
Explanation: a truly bizarre last-minute rewrite hastily has the Master changed into Madrigor, an exiled and charismatic Time Lord with an army of robots on an artificial planet. The Doctor and Sarah say hello, go back to the TARDIS, the Doctor takes off and this somehow defeats everyone. Literally, there is no explanation for what happened: The TARDIS lurched and bumped and outside everything spun in a myriad of colours, and then Madrigor and Lunargov III were no more and the TARDIS was once more earthbound. So, er, maybe we'll just move on, shall we?



THE DEADLY ASSASSIN

Master: Peter Pratt
Last Seen: falling down a bottomless chasm
Next Seen: transformed into a more fleshy zombie and leaving in the TARDIS laughing
Explanation: the Doctor hints that the Master absorbed enough energy to partially-regenerate, presumably triggered by the fall... but how the hell did the new Master find his way back up to his TARDIS? Why didn't he keep the Sash and Rod of Rassilon? And why does he go mwahahahah to make sure Spandrel and Engin know about his evil survival, but not the Doctor? Jeez...



THE OSEIDON ADVENTURE

Master: Geoffrey Beevers
Last Seen: trapped in his TARDIS with a deranged android copy of himself
Next Seen: sans deranged android copy of himself
Explanation: Alan Barnes wrote it.



THE EVIL ONE

Master: Geoffrey Beevers
Last Seen: running away in the TARDIS
Next Seen: no better off
Explanation: given the suicidal stupidity of some Masters, at least this one was smart enough to leg it when Leela prepared to open a can of whupass...



THE LIGHT AT THE END

Master: Geoffrey Beevers
Last Seen: about to be time-rammed by eight Doctors at once
Next Seen: alive
Explanation: well, the first Doctor found a way to reset history so the Master escaped. Had the other seven decided, they would have nuked the mother.



THE ARMAGEDDON FACTOR
Master: William Squire/The Shadow
Last Seen: being blown up on his cave-filled space station
Next Seen: falling out of reality
Explanation: the novelization explains the Shadow was one of the Doctor's oldest enemies forged into another dimensional wraith by the Black Guardian so they could wait the thousands of years necessary to capture the Sixth Segment. The writers originally had him as the Master, and he is a skull-faced hypnotist out to cause chaos. Lance Parkin was convinced, anyway.


THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN

Master: Geoffrey Beevers
Last Seen: being electrocuted as the Source eats him alive and Melkur explodes
Next Seen: well enough to steal Tremas body
Explanation: none, especially as it's established the Source is powerful enough to trap the Master for twenty years despite having two TARDISes to hand.



LOGOPOLIS

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: escaping the Pharos Project in his TARDIS
Next Seen: kidnapping Adric, who he's barely met, and wiring him up to a home-build BTC-generator web in his own black Zero Room in the space of time it takes to regenerate.
Explanation: even with a time machine, that is fast!



CASTROVALVA

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: deranged and being lynched by townsfolk before said town disintegrated
Next Seen: none the worse for wear - better actually
Explanation: presumably when Castrovalva broke up, the townsfolk did too and he was able to flee in his TARDIS which was ruined in the process. His nervous breakdown could have been down to the recursive occlusion or maybe pretending to be so bloody nice for five hundred years...



SMOKE & MIRRORS
Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: trying and failing to recreate his body out of the dimensional ruins of Castrovalva
Next Seen: having obviously succeeded
Explanation: actually, it does this for me. Thank you, Shitsu Tonka.


TIME FLIGHT

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: in an out-of-control TARDIS full of pissed-off Xeraphin
Next Seen: over it
Explanation: surprisingly, not even Craig Hinton explained that. It seems the godlike Xeraphin were quite happy to leave the Master alone and unsupervised on Xeraphas and even somehow got Kamelion to help him escape. Somehow.



NIGHT-FLIGHT TO NOWHERE

Master: supposed be Anthony Ainley but clearly Roger Delgado
Last Seen: in an out-of-control plane full of androids flying into a time rift in the Bermuda Triangle
Next Seen: sans plane and androids (bar, maybe, Kamelion)
Explanation: no idea how to fit this into continuity without overwriting Time-Flight but is anyone really campaigning serial 6C? Either way, the Doctor knows the Master is quite capable of escaping the Bermuda Triangle as it was part of his original evil scheme to start with.



THE CREATION OF CAMELOT

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: running away from a medieval castle once the Doctor exposes his villainy
Next Seen: doing the exact same damn thing, really
Explanation: it seems the Master's got obsessed with sweettalking his way into olde English kings as a personal advisor and then trying to corrupt history for no real reason. And if at first you don't succeed with King Arthur, do it with King John - and this time use a silver android that can't walk!



THE KING'S DEMONS

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: fleeing in a TCE-irradiated TARDIS
Next Seen: with a working TARDIS, unshrunk
Explanation: if we assume Planet of Fire is the Master's next story, where he's shrunk and needs remote controls to steer the TARDIS, there is no problem. It also backs up the theory at the time he let the Doctor steal Kamelion so there'd be a spy in his camp.



BIRTH OF A RENEGADE
Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: trapped in a collapsing, decompressing TARDIS about to be crushed/spaced/exploded
Next Seen: in something canonical
Explanation: in one of the many, many, MANY moments the author uses to tell us what utter shit Doctor Who is, it has both the Doctor and the Master assume he will survive this no matter how lethal it is, and no one gives a shit about the explanation. Worse, this is one of the more positive moments in the story.





THE FIVE DOCTORS

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: banished from the Death Zone by Rassilon
Next Seen: shrunk
Explanation: arguably Rassilon was keeping the Master alive for the Time War, but the next story shows that maybe Flavia and the Time Lords actually did punish him.



THE VELVET DARK
Master: Geoffrey Beevers
Last Seen: stripped of Tremas's corpse by the Time Lords and left to rot, finally left at the Doctor's mercy
Next Seen: he's got Tremas' body back
Explanation: presumably the Doctor was such a softie he found a way to restore the Master back to life, which might also be why he decided to let the bastard burn the next time they met.



PLANET OF FIRE

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: burning to nothing with the Doctor refusing to save him
Next Seen: fine and dandy
Explanation: "I'm indestructible, the whole universe knows that!" The easiest explanation is that he was at that moment time-scooped back to Gallifrey for The Five Doctors, which happens next in the Master's continuity. On the other hand...



A TOWN CALLED ETERNITY

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: being hog-tied to a velociraptor
Next Seen: teaming up with the Rani
Explanation: well, it turns out the Master was burned to a crisp in the previous story and he wears a rubber mask to look normal. During the course of the story, he bathes in the fountain of youth and is perfectly healed but this whole adventure is forgotten by the Doctor and Peri thanks to Viyrans.



THE CAVES OF ANDROZANI/CIRCULAR TIME: WINTER

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: laughing his ass off
Next Seen: as not a ghost
Explanation: the idea is the Master is actually psychically prank-calling the dying Doctor and trying to interfere with the regeneration process, but Kamelion's ghost defeats him at the last second (as he was the one who set up the relay allowing the Master to do this in the first place).



THE MARK OF THE RANI

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: about to be either eaten by a T-Rex or kicked in the bollocks until dead by the Rani
Next Seen: solo, uneaten, with his codpiece uncompromised.
Explanation: word of god (or at least Pip-and-Jane) says that the T-Rex grew too big, snapped its neck on the console room ceiling and then ditched the Rani and stole most of her TARDIS. Had Yellow Fever And How To Cure It gone ahead, though...



THE TIME-SAVERS

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: vanishing in a home-made time machine which is then destroyed
Next Seen: marooned on a planet at the end of the universe
Explanation: actually, it fits together quite well. What's bizarre is the backstory, where the Doctor stole the Master's TARDIS and deliberately stranded him in 1990s England. And then was surprised that he got up to mischief. And the Time Lords, learning of the chaos the Master causes, sends the Doctor to fix it but neglects to mention that the Master might be involved. Morons.



THE FELLOWSHIP OF QUAN

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: being clubed to death, Rodney-King-style, but a bunch of angry space cultists he betrayed
Next Seen: in completely different circumstances and without mention
Explanation: rather disappointing, given that the stories were in the same annual by the same author. We can only assumed that when the Doctor and Peri left, the Master stopped pretending and slaughtered each and every one of those stupid pricks. As to how he gets off the planet, well...



THE RADIO WAVES

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: trying to assassinate the Royal Family in the best spirit of Ben Elton
Next Seen: We'll never know.
Explanation: it seems the whole radio-controlled-public-assassins was just a trick to lure the Doctor and Peri into the Master's trap before he flung them out of reality, Sapphire-and-Steel-style, which curiously coincided with both the show and the annuals' cancellation.



THE ULTIMATE FOE

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: trapped with Sabalom Glitz in limbo as the Matrix exploded
Next Seen: stroking his pussy
Explanation: according to Mission: Impractical, when the Time Lords released them, the Master did a runner. Which is as good an explanation as ever, I guess. The novelization of Survival has him caught by the Cheetahs while they were hunting through an asteroid belt while he was trying to spark a war.



THE QUANTUM ARCHANGEL

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: being eaten by the Chronovores
Next Seen: pretending it never happened.
Explanation: Can't blame him.



SURVIVAL

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: absolutely insane on a planet that suddenly exploded
Next Seen: elsewhere and Cheetah-virus free
Explanation: the original script had him teleport back to Earth alongside the Doctor, the same twist was planned to open the very first New Adventure. The simplest explanation is that he teleported back to his own TARDIS in the asteroid belt he left it - but see First Frontier.



STOP THE PIGEON!

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: as a were-cheetah eating babies pretending to run a retirment home
Next Seen: no longer worried about the cheetah virus, it seems
Explanation: I assume it worked, eventually. Or something.



PRIME-TIME

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: taking over a TV station with some brainwashed hyenas.
Next Seen: I've totally lost count.
Explanation: presumably he decided he was better than a Michael Grade metaphor and went to do something else, like get a slightly better bunch of DNA-obsessed aliens to grow him a new body in the New Adventures range.


...sigh... PRISONERS OF TIME
Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: being defeated by Adam fucking Mitchell
Next Seen: in the Determinant, judging by his fashion

Explanation: I dunno. Presumably the writers had some kind of blackmail that they could get it published.


DESTINY OF THE DOCTOR

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: being sucked into his private hell dimension with lots of monsters
Next Seen: being let out because the Doctor's a real softy
Explanation: Actually, I dunno if that's how the game ends. My version corrupted, but those are the video clips that get played eventually, so...



DUST BREEDING

Master: Geoffrey Beevers
Last Seen: suffering a telekinetic bitchslap in an out of control TARDIS
Next Seen: somehow gets his Tremas body back...
Explanation: no idea. Absolutely no idea. Completely contradicts the next story, so we have to put it down to cracks in time or the Time War or Kroton rebooting the glory or...



FIRST FRONTIER

Master: Anthony Ainley
Last Seen: being shot by Ace
Next Seen: regenerating into Basil Rathbone with a beard
Explanation: well, the Master apparently teleported to 1950s America and was still infected with the Cheetah Virus. He tricked the Tzun into giving him nanites that, when Ace shot him, triggered his transformation into a brand new Time Lord with a full set of regenerations



HOUSEWARMING

Master: Basil Rathbone with a beard
Last Seen: punking Sarah, K9 and Mike Yates and reenacting the Princess Bride swordfights
Next Seen: trying to ruin Benny's wedding
Explanation: turns out that Tzun DNA was shite and his new body was falling apart, so he goes to Cheldon Boniface to find a cure because the dormouse of Rassilon or something is buried there



HAPPY ENDINGS

Master: one on from Basil Rathbone with a beard
Last Seen: as the priest at Benny's wedding having a real strop about the panto elements of the plot
Next Seen: as Gordon Tipple
Explanation: the Master created a blob monster to fix him but all it did was make the Brigadier even more awesome. Possibly Gordon Tipple is this incarnation in the first place. It's not like anyone's got a good look at him, is it...



MASTER

Master: Geoffrey Beevers
Last Seen: contemplating whether to turn evil or let his girlfriend die
Next Seen: in the TV Movie?
Explanation: well, a more direct ending was vetoed by lawyers. But given the whole thing is a story told by the Doctor about events that were reset more than once to someone who doesn't exist, the whole thing could be deemed uncanonical for all it matters. Notably, the Master's one scene has him ridicule the entire premise of the plot like Graham Chapman in Monty Python.



THE ENEMY WITHIN

Master: Gordon Tipple
Last Seen: chained up in a crash helmet and then blown up
Next Seen: as a glob of snot/cgi cobra
Explanation: well, I've seen plenty but officially there's not much explanation. The Eight Doctors says the Master swallowed a morphant and then let the Daleks capture him in order to try and take over the Doctor's body, while The Fallen says the morphant is a completely different thing from Skaro the Master had access to, while Mastermind has the Master captured by the Daleks not on Skaro but the Valley of the Kings in the 1000BC The novelization says it's all a complete fluke and the Master had no plan. As if!
 
Master: Eric Roberts
Last Seen: being swallowed by the Eye of Harmony
Next Seen: alive
Explanation: the TARDIS kept the Master's consciousness alive for some reason (accounts differ).



THE EIGHT DOCTORS
Master: Brayshaw/Delgado/Ainley/Tipple
Last Seen: fitting into continuity
Next Seen: leaving, for some reason, a boobytrap that gives the Doctor amnesia instead of killing him.
Explanation: none whatsoever. And given the kicking Terrance Dicks delivers to the TV Movie on the first page, this is really rather hypocritical.



THE FALLEN
Master: some black guy, the "Preacher" incarnation
Last Seen: as a crazy man with scary eyes
Next Seen: the power behind the throne of the reforged human race
Explanation: well, after being flushed out of the TARDIS, an ancient multiversal alien found him in the vortex and mistook him for a warrior to fight for the Glory (ie, the god that runs all the multiverse). The Master's soul was poured into a dead black guy, but he found himself able to travel to any time or place as long as the TARDIS was there, as it had been infected by his goo. A whole issue of DWM was dedicated to explaining it, which is about as far from Saward's script-edits as you can get...


THE GLORIOUS DEAD
Master: some black guy, the "Preacher" incarnation
Last Seen: being scrubbed out of reality by Kroton's multiversal reboot
Next Seen: take your pick
Explanation: the Master swears he will survive in some form in the new universe. The Doctor agrees.


THE FORGOTTEN
Master: Eric Roberts
Last Seen: as a spooky green glow freed from the Eye of Harmony
Next Seen: as Geoffrey Beevers
Explanation: see below.


MASTERMIND
Master: Geoffrey Beevers
Last Seen: fleeing with his TARDIS from the UNIT vault
Next Seen: not sure, to be honest.
Explanation: for some reason the ghost-like Master can take over any human host, but they quickly wither into a copy of his Melkur incarnation and not even the Master is sure why. He hops from body to body for a few centuries, only to be captured by UNIT, who have also collected his TARDIS. He steals it and sets off to do things, but it's not clear which, if any continuity is next.


THE ADVENTURESS OF HENRIETTA STREET
Master: "the Man in the Rosette"
Last Seen: being too good to be at the Doctor's wedding
Next Seen: in an "unexpected capacity"
Explanation: given the book is an unreliable secondary historical document, I dunno why I'm wasting my time on it, really. The book sucks.


SOMETIME NEVER...
Master: Derek Jacobi
Last Seen: on a screen in a room the Doctor never goes except this one time
Next Seen: in Scream of the Shalka
Explanation: apparently it's just a residue of the Master in the TARDIS telepathic circuits; the real one legged it a long time ago. And Shalka's not canon. So, yeah.



DOMINION
Master: Alex McQueen
Last Seen: travelling back to Terserus to retry to take over reality
Next Seen: as the Time Lords' bitch in the Time War
Explanation: stated outright by the Master he was resurrected to fight the Time War, he immediately skipped work and tried to screw things up. However, eventually things got bad enough for him to join them in the effort against the Daleks and the Eminence - mainly so he could score moral points off the Doctor.


DARK EYES: EYES OF THE MASTER
Master: Alex McQueen
Last Seen: kidnapping Molly to use as a weapon against the Eminence
Next Seen: using a kidnapped Molly as a weapon against the Eminence
Explanation: pretty straightforward, all told.




UTOPIA
Master: Derek Jacobi
Last Seen: running from the Cruciform, and Rassilon wasn't impressed
Next Seen: opening a fob watch at the end of the universe
Explanation: yadda yadda chameleon arch yadda reverted to a human child in the Silver Devastation yadda yadda nicknamed "professor" yadda Malcasairo yadda Chantho yadda Futurekind yadda perception filter yadda regenerates into Lord Flashheart yadda...


SPEECH DAY
Master: John Simm
Last Seen: killing a pal of Vivien Rook who's onto him
Next Seen: killing Vivien Rook who's onto him
Explanation: wow, NuWho really cares about this stuff! There's hardly any work to do!


THE SOUND OF DRUMS
Master: John Simm
Last Seen: ruling the Earth
Next Seen: still ruling the Earth
Explanation: wow, consistency!


THE STORY OF MARTHA
Master: John Simm
Last Seen: setting fire to Japan.
Next Seen: getting even worse.
Explanation: none required. Despite only appearing for two pages in the whole book, he easily justifies his role as the biggest bad in NuWho.


THE LAST OF THE TIME LORDS
Master: John Simm
Last Seen: bleeding to death from a gunshot wound, then being burned to ash
Next Seen: alive
Explanation: actually, a pretty decent one that - alas - should have got its own Doctor-lite episode than a single scene, which practically mugs the viewer. The Master invented a cult that would sacrifice itself to reincarnate his soul into a brand new Time Lord body in Harold Saxon's shape, because his political career required that face. They also kept Lucy alive and around because she bore his biometric imprint - or, as RTD explains, they shagged like bunnies on energy drinks and there was a veritable goldmine of DNA on her.


THE END OF TIME
Master: John Simm
Last Seen: dissolving into a skeleton as he slaughtered Rassilon, before being sucked into Gallifrey minutes before it was due to be destroyed inside the Time Lock
Next Seen: as that crazy bitch from Green Wing
Explanation: well, given that the Doctors saved Gallifrey that's the hardest bit solved. The Time Lords en masse were far from behind Rassilon's ultracidal tendencies, so defeating him would have earned the Master some kudos, especially as by saving the Tenth Doctor he ensured the Eleventh would exist and work out how to save Gallifrey. Given he was indebted to the Doctor's mother, it's not hard to guess they used their Time Lord magics to heal the Master (which was why he agreed to bring them back in the first place) and in the process required a new body. So, the only question is why did he turn into a woman? Well, given the lack of the drums, the unofficial end of their conflict, it's quite possible the Master wanted to become a woman as part of a fresh start. Let us also remember the sheer amount of times women, usually the Doctor's companions, have kicked his arse. Indeed, given how broken the Master's body was, it's possible a gender-swap was needed to fix it. Either way, the Mistress then escaped Gallifrey during the siege of Trenzalore while the rest of the Time Lords waited for the all clear. Phew.


DEATH IN HEAVEN
Master: Michelle Gomez
Last Seen: being vaporized by Cyber-Brigadier
Next Seen: still alive, as Moffat promises, and quite probably with the same face
Explanation: she's clearly anticipated something, given the way she moves specifically between those two graves. Plus, being shot by a Cyber weapon was a legitimate risk, and given she invented these Cybermen, it seems likely she has some back-door. In any case, the Nethersphere is still there - a Matrix segment which is designed to harvest dead minds, particularly Time Lord minds, and also has the ability to turn those dead minds into real living people again. In fact, this is the one time where you'd have to jump through hoops to leave her dead instead of the other way round...



And, last but not least...

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL
Master: Sam Kisgart
Last Seen: shouting at David Tennant on the shores of Hong Kong as WW3 breaks out around them
Next Seen: hasn't been
Explanation: the Master here was exiled on Earth after his TARDIS was lost with Axos, and then spent thirty years as a communist defector Ke Le (Keller) using mind parasites for the Chinese Army. When the parasites stopped working, he went to find another parasite only to be killed in a plane crash and regenerate from Roger Delgado to Mark Gatiss. When the Chinese blew up all the mind parasites, the Ke Le divisions of suicidal brainwashed soldiers went insane and plunged Earth into chaos. It's never stated, but given the Doctor plans to return to Earth, it could be he went back and sorted it out. And given the Master wasn't actually in the line of fire, he could easily have escaped.


SCREAM OF THE SHALKA
Master: Derek Jacobi
Last Seen: as a pouting android butler who has to put up with the REG Doctor
Next Seen: being switched off for being so bloody annoying in the only other Shalkaverse story
Explanation: top-secret behind-the-scenes material reveals that Gallifrey was destroyed, but the Doctor was able to upload the entire Time Lord race into the Matrix... except his wife, who proper died. Miserably, he uploaded the Master into an android body and kept him as a butler with a loose facemask who often drops into soup during dinner parties and, you know, they seriously thought this would be a good idea for a proper series of Doctor Who? Seriously?


THE CURSE OF FATAL DEATH
Master: Jonathan Pryce
Last Seen: getting to second base with Joanna Lumbley's female Doctor
Next Seen: probably getting a whole lot further
Explanation: a good shagging'd probably do him the world of good. I mean, all it needs is one of them to become a woman and all is forgiven...

Friday, November 21, 2014

So. CapaldiDoc, huh?


video
WARNING: the Kandyman himself does not appear. Shame.

So, the first series of The Time Lord has come to an end.

In their About Time books, Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood make a (surprisingly compelling) argument that Doctor Who died in 1969 with The War Games. With the complete change of cast, a new mythology and colour television, the show from Pertwee onwards was never truly the same again. Of course given Miles is now saying he not now nor has ever been a Doctor Who fan (it just helps contextualize his true calling as a cultural anthropologist) and Wood's ideal world had show end in 1966 with Hartnell and John Wiles leaving western civilization with an abstract concept of Doctor Whoishness (ala Pythonesque humor), maybe they aren't the most objective of viewpoints.

Nonetheless, I can see where they are coming from. Not once has the last twelve episodes given me the gut reaction I'm watching Doctor Who, no matter how many Daleks, Cybermen, UNIT troops or namechecks of the Pond Family tree it offers up. Doctor Who, in my opinion, has roughly been the same show from the first episode of The Rescue onwards. Seriously, that's the first episode of true Doctor Who with a main character who is a likeable, brave hero rather than bitchy comic relief or an unreliable troublemaker for Ian and Barbara. Anyone can scream abuse at a Dalek casing, but only true Doctors could do the scene where they get Vicki to come out of her shell and genuinely want to travel in a TARDIS.

Yes there have been bumps in this road, and for every such heartwarming moment we've had a Twin Dilemma or Scherzo or Waters of Mars where our hero betrays this fundamental core of the character as someone the audience likes, but they're not like anything under Capaldi. The Sixth Doctor, we were repeatedly told, was going to be awesome when he settled down. The Eighth Doctor and Charley ultimately became an even stronger bond, and not from the fifth base sex stuff. And Ten was, after all, suffering clinical depression and survivor guilt before he got over himself and saved Wilf.

But this new Doctor - do I even bother naming him since, canonically, even he has totally lost count of which one he is? For the first time we've had a regeneration story where the message is not "same man, new face" but that he will be nothing like the last guy. Or, to be exact, the last twelve guys. The entire narrative has Capaldi insisting that not only is he in no way, shape or form going to be like Matt Smith but that Smith to Troughton et all were phonies pandering to the human demographic.

So the new Doctor isn't just going to be different to all prior Doctors, but they have all been damned as cowardly liars who hid their true faces. The Rescue has been undone and now the Doctor's true self is the paranoid, racist idiot from Edge of Destruction who was so utterly useless he needed Barbara to stop him blowing them all up. More than once.

And yes, this Doctor is certainly not a professional adventurer and savior, is he? Every story hinges on him discovering his arrogant belief is entirely wrong and all he's done is endanger people you'd think he really should want to save. The Half-Face Man isn't some Moriarty manipulator; a good Dalek is possible; Robin Hood is real; there aren't monsters under the bed; Clara can fancy someone who isn't Matt Smith; Clara will see the funny side of repeatedly being abandoned to death; the Orient Express won't be a trap; Clara does not see the Doctor as a sociopathic monster; the trees are evil and the Earth is doomed; no Cybermen can override the emotional inhibitors; the Master is telling the truth; Clara and Danny are happily back together...

The constant avalanche of incredibly stupid mistakes is all the more exasperating because he keeps ignoring the theme of the season - as Maeve says "Trust more, fear less." This whole series has had monsters who are actually not evil - the Clockwork Men kill only for survival; Rusty wants to save humanity from the Daleks; the Teller just wants its wife safe; the spiders are just bacteria on an egg containing a benevolent star whale; the trees will save mankind; the Cybermen are helpless tools. Even Missy is on an admittedly-warped attempt to become a good person and win the Doctor's approval. The only outright monsters are the Boneless, and typically they are the same ones the Doctor spends all story trying to prove misunderstood and oblivious to the harm they cause.

It's a fascinating thing to regard Capaldi's Doctor to Malcolm Tucker. Much as we all laughed at the idea of a furious, cluster-f-bombing Time Lord, the truth is Tucker is more like the Doctor than the genuine article. His conviction never wavers, his understanding of human beings is perfect, and he is genuinely disgusted at the thought of "innocents" getting harmed in the battles he must fight. More interestingly, Tucker is both feared and admired; while his coworkers dread his appearance in their lives, they trust his judgment and follow his plans which more often than not are the only way to save the day. Indeed, anyone who has watched The Thick of It will know the show is far more frightening and disturbing when Malcolm ISN'T swearing.

Now, let us regard the Capaldi Doc. In universe, he is without doubt the least popular Doctor ever. Even John Hurt got more support from other characters. Clockwork Droids and Daleks claim moral superiority over the jerk, children and potential companions run a bleeding mile rather than spend time with him, no one likes what he has to say or how he has to say it. Danny Pink's brutal dismissal of the Doctor as an arrogant elitist soldier wins the argument every single time. Even when Clara gives the slightest sign of wanting to be a full-time companion, she describes it as a shameful addiction. Indeed, we see she's willing to consign children to death rather than risk them becoming like the Time Lord. For the first time ever, an outgoing Doctor cameos to ask everyone to stick with the manifestly-defective replacement.

While Capaldi's incredible charisma ensures the Doctor remains watchable, the show itself looks upon the character as more trouble than he's worth. Even without his unreliable, troublemaking antics, he is not a man who can save the day. In Deep Breath, he commits murder. Into the Dalek, his antics achieve nothing beyond the death of innocents. Kill the Moon has his (understandable) desire to prove a point culminate in ignoring his best friend where she flat out begs for his help. Earth makes him their ruler in Death in Heaven, and five minutes later all bar one of his followers have been brutally murdered.

Even the much lauded aspect of the new guy - his rudeness is just his desire to focus on helping people - is slightly exaggerated. Only in Time Heist is it really used and even in Mummy on the Orient Express, whereupon the situation literally calls for it, has Perkins and Clara disgusted by his pragmatism. No one is willing to understand this Doctor, and he himself is horrified at the effect he has on Clara, on Daleks, on fictional disguises he uses. There's a hint that this is all down to deep-rooted psychological trauma; not only is this new Doctor uncertain as to his link to Hartnell-Smith, after a thousand years on Trenzalore he is anti-soldier and also finds it hard not to percieve black-and-white conflicts where he is automatically superior. His constant attempts to make scenarios more complicated and subtext-full gives the impression of Alan-Stevens-style desperation to give more meaning to things. Can it be a coincidence the first time he really, properly smiles is the moment he realizes all this angsting about his morality has been a complete waste of time? In Day of the Doctor, Clara points out that good men do good things, they don't sit in their blackboard-filled TARDIS control rooms brooding about it.

Of course, Clara herself bears little resemblance to the final companion in Doctor Who. After falling into the generic girl role (unavoidable given all the anniversary celebrations) she is redefined as a proper human being but certainly not a good role model. She has a psychotic desire for total control in any and every relationship she has, constantly threatens physical violence to her friends (not joking either), drinks heavily, becomes a compulsive liar and finally becomes willing to murder helpless villains in cold blood. On top of that, the Master actually considers Clara very similar to herself (hence choosing her as a companion). Ironically, her attempts to humanize the alien Doctor have left her an emotional wreck and (according to hints on screen and internet gossip) a soon-to-be-disfunctional single mother.

It is, and I've probably ruminated about this before, quite similar to Coupling and Press Gang. These enjoyable romps by Steven Moffat suddenly change tact in their final series - the premise of a bunch of friends with mutal interests become a gang of miserable, disfunctional losers who hate that self same premise and can barely stand to look at each other. It's as if Moff suddenly has a bad day and goes "Bah, life is never like that! Happiness is immature!" and puts the characters through hell before axing the show.

It seemed he went through that with Season Fnarg+1, whereupon the whacky fun-loving Doctor becomes an immoral mass murdering monster who deserves to be shot dead and all his friends are hugely truamatized and broken individuals who are destroyed simply because they travelled in the TARDIS. The format of the show becomes a torture to dread, the jokes become dark one-liners to break uncomfortable silences, and everyone walks off leaving the hero alone.

Before I go further I must stress I like The Time Lord. It's certainly not a bad show, being quite well-written and certainly well-acted. But isn't it dark? Literally, almost every story seems obsessed with tombs and vaults at night patrolled by slow-moving monsters who take their time to kill you because as soon as you see them, you're dead meat (ie, the Teller, the Boneless, the Foretold, etc.). It's like The Time Lord has been inspired by the grim doubt and monster-maze format of The God Complex, but then turned all the lights off and removed all the visual gags. Where's the fun? Where's the adventure?

I'll tell you where, Mark bloody Gatiss, that's where.

Because this new show is a chore to watch. It's high-maintenance. You sit down to watch nice people slowly murdered by monsters while the Doctor makes mistakes and the increasingly-unhinged Clara yells at him for it. The season finale doesn't just have a Cyberman invasion, it reveals the afterlife is a trap and everyone you ever lost has been turned into a cyborg zombie and then been brutally blown up - and even if someone you love gets a chance to come back from the dead, they'll choose to alleviate their own guilt rather than make you happy. As said on screen, sometimes you only get bad choices - and this show has become a run of them. Why would anyone want to watch this show recreationally? Robots of Sherwood has fun performances, swords fights, consistent comedy... If you had a rough day at work, you'd put it on to lighten the air. The rest? Well, presumably you've overdosed on happy drugs and need a serious comedown because you can't find your boxset of Torchwood: Children of Earth.

Speaking of Torchwood, while it was clearly assembled to be a golem-like glob in the shape of Angel I can't help but feel that The Time Lord is closer in spirit. Relentlessly grim and nocturnal with an immortal central character who comically has no social skills, bridging the cusp of good and evil and uncertain which way he should go and left unsure if he's doing any good. What about his beautiful companion who goes off him, flirts with another guy and ends up revealed to be put at his side by a being of pure evil who, for a change, has manifested in this series as a woman and has a warped utopia-defies-the-means attitude? Even Danny and Clara's love affair feels like a brutally-realistic play on Fred and Wesley...

So, in conclusion, I see next-to-nothing of Doctor Who in this dark-both-tonally-and-in-lighting-quality series of moral ambiguity, senseless death and emotional torment. They could have renamed it Incredible Robert Baldick: The Next Generation, for all it mattered. It's got a police box, some monster props and a revamped UNIT era, but ironically it feels like someone got the franchise of Doctor Who rather than trying to continue the original show. Ironically, just what Tat Wood wanted, even down to the "grittiness" of Wiles' error. So, good for you, Tat.

So, sure I'll be watching the next episode. I'm confident enough to say I'm fan of the show, and certainly it's a better attempt to continue the series than that last series of Jonathon Creek. But it's certainly no longer a children's show adults adore, and it doesn't seem to be family entertainment any more. Maybe in a few years when Capaldi steps down and some woman gets the job, it will regain that element it has lost - the joy die viere where episodes could be enjoyed rather than endured, where new adventures weren't something to dread, and the Doctor was actually a character people should aspire to.

In conclusion, I can do no better than completely misquote Christopher H. Bidmead:

"It's a brilliant show - but it shouldn't be called Doctor Who."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Post-Dark Water Post

Well.

That shut me up. I mean, RTD did some impressive stuff with Utopia and The Stolen Earth in bringing back their respective OldSkool baddies - but, let's be honest, it might as well have revealed that Yana was Straxus and the Dalek Supreme was speaking to Yarvelling for all the plot would have changed. If anything, a lot of the joy was the baddies not being replaced by cut-price new versions (ie, the Foamasi replaced by Slitheen or the Forge by Torchwood).

Moffat impresses with Missy's identity in the opposite way - no one was rooting for it to be an old baddy. I considered no less than half a dozen possibilities of her true identity while simultaneously being willing to play the "someone new" card. In a way, I'm more shocked she turned out NOT to be River Song than the ultimate revelation.

And now, over to Sparacus.

8/10. That was a good episode, apart from the outrageous decision to have the Master regenerate into a woman. Other than that it was creepy, mysterious and well crafted. 

Yes, my poignant friends. Spara has not completely abandoned the concept of judging things outside his imagination. The episode concludes with Missy revealing that her name is short for "Mistress", adding that she used to be called "the Master".

(Though if it turns out to be a cop-out gag like the Valeyard in IDW's The Forgotten, Moffat might not live to see the Christmas special.)

This was the best aspect of the episode. Nuwho has played it safe for far too long. The classic series at its best always pushed the boundaries in terms of bad taste. More please. 

Just to clarify, he was referring to the concept of being cremated alive. Probably the closest NuWho has come to considering Miracle Day canon. 

Of course he wasn't speaking about the idea of the Master and the Doctor finally getting it on now their bodies are built to do just that. His intense wank fantasies have always relied on it being hot man-on-man action - and, for some reason, it always seems like a sick and wrong idea but when Charles Daniels does jokes about the exact same thing, it's heartwarming. Maybe because CD doesn't have either Time Lord ashamed of their past, while clear Spara thinks the idea of gay Time Lords is revolting and shameful and should require lots of Bowie-listening, red wine and lying on the couch wrist-slashing.

Now, the idea of Time Lords becoming Time Ladies has been around since 1981 where Tom Baker bluntly told the world that his replacement could be a woman and if you didn't like it you could fuck off like the whippet-shit you are. Anyone who's seen Season 17 and 18 will know that half the time Romana was the hero with the Doctor her sidekick, so the idea of a female lead was perfectly acceptable. Flatline, most recently, showed that having a woman with the sonic screwdriver does not affect the plot, and Catherine Tate's DoctorDonna while a tad two-dimensional was a better bet to carry the show on than REG for the whole of Scream of the Shalka.

Sidney Newman thought the idea was brilliant and wanted a female Doctor, and current godhead Moff Tarkin immediately had the Doctor turn into a woman in The Curse of Fatal Death (which also had the Master forced to wear fake breasts coz he's so damn camp). Then he allowed Neil Gaiman to reveal the Corsair was a Time Lord who, while clearly with a predilection for being a man, had regenerated into a woman more than once. Before bluntly having the Eighth Doctor offered the chance to turn into a woman by the Sisterhood of Karn - and they certainly didn't think it a laughing matter.

The very first scene from Moff as showruner had Matt Smith wonder if he'd regenerated into a girl!

The original Seventh Doctor (1985).

Certainly, it's an idea quite cheerfully embraced by the unbound - Barbara Benedetti's mini-eps were, notoriously, mistaken for a genuine BBC product and she was dubbed by DWM as one of the best fan Doctors, regardless of gender. DWM did a comic strip where a criminal pretended to be the Doctor - a female criminal, and even the sexist Ogron-like aliens in the story accepted the idea. BF's The Crimes of Thomas Brewster similarly had a woman pretending to be a regenerated Doctor (unsurprisingly doing a better and more endearing job than the whiney cunt of the title character). Even Exile - officially the least popular audio story, somehow even beating The Boy That Time Forgot - showed that the role is actor proof. After all, David Tennant is in the story but you'd definitely not end the play wanting HIM to be the Doctor any time soon, and Arabella Weir's Doctor was probably the best thing in it.

The original Eighth Doctor (1989).

So - there's no reason not to have a female Doctor, given it's been shown to be practical, part of the mythology and with precedent. As long as the actress can do it, there's nothing to stop Capaldi's replacement having ovaries.

And yet, despite a concept in the public eye for thirty-five-fucking-years, no one's been brave enough to go for it. Not one woman was considered for the role since 2005. RTD bluntly stated replacing Christopher Eccleston was going to be hard enough without "having to explain to children Dr Who's lost his willy", and Moffat has stated a woman in the role would - on a gut instinct - not convince him that he was looking at William Hartnell in a new body. Given the efforts to convince Clara and the audience Capaldi is the same man as the one on the other end of a telephone call, it's clearly something held to heart.

Personally, I've never liked the idea of the Doctor becoming a woman. Had a new series started with the Doctor always female, or just done a show about Romana, I'd be fine. But the idea of transforming the male character into a female brings up the plight of transsexuals - and it IS a plight, if you live convinced you're trapped in the wrong body and surgery is the only way to save your sanity.

So, having the Doctor become a woman can only mean

a) he is a man now trapped in a woman's body against his will

or

b) he has always been a woman trapped in a man's body against his will

This ties in with the most/the only interesting bit of Exile where it's stated that a Time Lord can only change gender if they commit suicide. Assuming this disregards "heroic sacrifice", in which case the Doctor should be flipping through genders like traffic lights, it's the suggestion that a Time Lord who wants to be a Time Lady so badly they cannot live with themselves any more, gets a chance to do that. And visa versa.

Which brings us back to the "so what?" territory. Yes, the Doctor could regenerate into a woman. By the same token, Romana could regenerate into a man. But, on the other hand, Clara Oswald could have a sex change. The human race has plenty of people who'd want to flip their gender, but also plenty who are quite comfortable with the genitalia fata has dealt them. The only other transgender Time Lord we know of, the Corsair, defined for his convention-breaking behavior, preferred being a man after giving womanhood a try. So just because it's now stated beyond all doubt the Thirteenth/Fourteenth/Whatever-After-Capaldi Doctor might possess XX chromosones is absolutely no reason to actually do it.

If the Doctor, after thirteen bodies, STILL hasn't got ginger hair, why should he get boobs?

Frankly, seeing the Master's transformation is less unsettling than Caroline's new haircut in 2 Broke Girls...

 Oh, how time changes people...


And now, over to Sparacus for his informed opinions.

Totally wrong in my opinion. It has seriously damaged one of Doctor Who's iconic characters and sets an awful precedent for what might happen to the Doctor in the future. Just plain wrong. The Master is male. The Doctor is male. End of. Turning the Doctor or Master into a woman makes no kind of sense as far as the basic continuity of the show is concerned. Why would the Master suddenly change gender after umpteen male incarnations?
It is bad because it doesn't fit with the history of the show. The Doctor has had 13 incarnations, all of them male. The Master's incarnations have all been male but suddenly we are now expected to believe that the Doctor can become female as the Master has. Its clearly been done for attention grabbing sake and is just plain wrong.

And when people react badly to his ranting...

Oh and I see the political correctness Stasi are out in force again.

Linking of the issue of the Master's gender with 'racism and sexism' is facile. I always believed that they were once lovers. That is not the problem. The problem is that no account has been taken of the basic continuity of the show. We have a logical, reasonable reason this is a bad idea. It conflicts with the continuity of the series so far.

And yes. The Corsair was mentioned innumerable times.

It is a fictional programme where the lead character has been male for 13 incarnations. Suddenly we are expected to beieve that each regeneration had a 50-50 chance of being female. Ridiculous. If they could change gender then they would have regenerated as a female before now.

I do not need to attend a class to work out that if a dice constantly rolls a six for 13 times then something other than chance is at play.

Though it's worth noting that the "other than chance" covers The War Games, Planet of the Spiders, Logopolis, The Night of the Doctor, The Parting of the Ways, Journey's End and The Time of the Doctor where it is stated outside forces shape the next Doctor. And Caves of Androzani if you believe fanon. So it's techically rolling a six four times...

Ok. Could you please tell me this. If I flip a coin, what are the odds on it being 'Heads' thirteen times in a row?

Yes, apparently it's 1 in 8192.

A clever dodging of the question. What are the odds of it being heads 13 times in a row? If you think its 50-50 you probably believe Santa Claus exists and there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Could you please give a straight answer rather than a politician's answer. You clearly lack the skills or knowledge to back up this suggestion?

As, genetically, being male or female is not 50/50 but 70/30 to being a girl, it's a waste of time discussing it anyway...

Evasion! What you are doing is avoiding stating the obvious ie that the chances of flipping a coin and getting heads 13 times in a row is thousands to one.

Actual reply: "1 in 2 to the power of thirteen. Obviously. How did you get to be a teacher without passing O level maths?"
 
Also the viewers know and identify with the Master as a male character. The Rani is a female Time Lord and could have been used for this role. Or openly reveal that the Master is gay.

At the moment it is canon. But a future writer could render it non-canon.

(Personally, I can't see how that could work - to retcon something you have to admit it happened in the first place, so at the very least this future writer would be saying the Master's in drag for this adventure...)

I don't see why transgender people will be insulted by my behavior.

And nor does he care.

No one has thought of how the fans will react.

There is clearly a political correctness agenda going on.

(At least we can take comfort that, with all these gay, straight, youth, feminist agendas around, the people of today are still very goal-oriented.)