It’s hard to believe that we’re celebrating the tenth anniversary of the revived Doctor Who — despite the evidence of my DVD shelf (which has eight seasons plus one year of specials).
Part of me wasn’t ready to believe that the good Doctor was coming back until the first episode appeared on our screens all those years ago. All during that entire initial Christopher Eccleston season, I couldn’t convince myself that this wouldn’t be more than a one-season thing — a last hurrah and then we’d be done. And so I determined to enjoy the ride and not worry about how much, if any, more Doctor Who we’d get.
Now we’re heading into the ninth new series and working on the fourth Doctor of the modern era.
And while I can sometimes be a bit cantankerous about new Who and some of the fans who follow it, I’ve got to admit I like the potential surrounding each new episode and series to take me back to my early days of watching the show and enjoying every minute of it. I also am grateful that the new series has made a fan of my nephew and that we can share the adventures of our favorite Time Lord together. (His enthusiasm at showing me various Minecraft levels that look like the TARDIS is a lot of fun and makes me wonder — why didn’t we have this kind of cool stuff when I was his age?!?)
Yes, I may scoff at the sheer amount of Who collectible stuff out there today (do we really need a TARDIS spatula?!?) and the attitude of some segments of new Who fans (there are other Doctors besides David Tennant…though this argument reminds me of the long-ago Internet fans who felt that you were only a true Who fan if you liked only Tom Baker) but then again I never thought I’d get to see the 50th anniversary special shown on the big-screen to a packed theater of fellow fans. (Honestly, I thought it might be me and a couple of Who fan friends gathered together with pizza, watching a classic serial).
So, here’s to the first decade of the revived Doctor Who. Congratulations!
After reading and enjoying The Crawling Terror, I was cautiously optimistic to see what the next installment from the Peter Capaldi era of Doctor Who novels would offer. Unfortunately, I may have had my expectations set a bit too high because I came away from The Blood Cell feeling a bit disappointed by the whole experience.
I read tie-in novels for many reasons, but one of the biggest is the desire to spend more time with some of my favorite characters. James Goss attempts to distinguish his Capaldi era novel by offering up a narrative from the first-person perspective of the head of a prison that’s just received a new prisoner. The prisoner in question is, of course, the Doctor. Clara is also on hand, showing up at intervals to protest the Doctor’s imprisonment and to warn our narrator that the Doctor isn’t likely to stay in prison long.
I will admit I was a bit apprehensive about these first three Capaldi era novels because they were set to hit shelves relatively quickly after the first few episodes of the season aired. I wondered if they could capture his Doctor on the printed page or if we’d be treated to a more generic adventures and take on the Doctor with a bit of Scottish brogue and crankiness thrown in to make us believe that this was the new Doctor. The Crawling Terror did a nice job of making it feel like Mike Tucker had a good handle on Capaldi and had either seen footage of the new Doctor in action or been granted access to the scripts. Goss’ novel feels a bit more generic and was, ultimately, a lot more disappointing.
Part of it is the choice of a first-person narrator. This can work in Doctor Who novels, but it doesn’t quite feel all that effective here. Instead, it makes the Doctor and Clara feel like minor characters in their own novel for the first half. Things do pick up a bit in the second half, but by that point, I had lost much of my enthusiasm for this novel.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
We’re halfway to the weekend and that means it’s time for Way Back Wednesday hosted by A Well Read Woman. The purpose of this meme is to look back on those books that made a special impact on you and that you love to read.
This week’s entry comes from the Target line of Doctor Who novelizations. In the days before we could collect Doctor Who on VHS or DVD, there were the Target books, which adapted just about every broadcast Doctor Who story for the printed page. A majority of these were written by one-time script-editor Terrance Dicks (and I’ll probably get to at least one or two of those adaptations in a future installment), but there were other writers in the range. As the books caught up to the stories airing on our screens, there were times that the original script writer would adapt his or her work for the printed page, often adding in scenes that didn’t make the broadcast due to time or budgetary reason or giving deeper background to scenes or character development.
“Remembrance of the Daleks” falls into the category of a script adapted by the original writer and one that expanded on an already great story and made it even better.
Featuring the seventh (and my favorite) Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, “Remembrance of the Daleks” aired during the show’s twenty-fifth season and celebrated the anniversary of the long-running show. The Doctor and Ace are back in 1963, just days after the original TARDIS crew began their adventures together and find themselves helping a para-military group that is caught between two warring factions of Daleks. Both sides want the mysterious Hand of Omega, a Time Lord artifact that each side believes will give them the upper hand in their civil war and their drive to conquer the universe. Continue reading
This week, Barry and I discuss some of the Star Trek video games we’ve played over the years. And no, we haven’t played them all.
Take a trip down memory lane with us as we share our thoughts, memories and frustration with just a few of the games including the Vectrex game based on TMP, to the Promethian Prophecy, the Kobyashi Alternative and the infamous 25th Anniversary Game.
And don’t forget to let us know if we’ve missed your favorite!
IDW’s re-imagining of classic Star Trek installments in the rebooted timeline takes a break for a couple of issues with the ninth collection, “The Q Gambit.”
After debating with Picard about the reality of a “no-win” scenario, Q decides to put the one man who didn’t believe in the “no-win” scenario to the test. Q arrives on the Enterprise in the rebooted universe and after some spirited debate with Kirk, Spock and others sends the ship and crew forward in time to the Deep Space Nine era and a very different outcome to the Dominion War.
Seems that the Enterprise‘s vanishing threw the time line in an entirely different direction — one where the Federation fell and the Dominion had an easy time conquering the Alpha Quadrant.
On paper, this seems like it should be a fun, entertaining little “what if” story. But I found the story overstayed its welcome a bit as it worked a bit too hard to make sure we got a check-in with every character from DS9 and got to see them pair off with various members of the rebooted original series crew.
An interesting little twist comes late in the narrative, but by this point my interest had really waned.
I’ve enjoyed much of what IDW’s done in re-imaging some of the original episodes in the rebooted universe and their lead-up stories to both movies really offered some new and interesting shadings for the two films. “The Q Gambit” represents the first significant mis-step I’ve seen in this series. Hopefully the series will get back to the elements I enjoy in future installments and the next collection.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
On this week’s installment of the All Good Things: A Star Trek podcast, Barry and I discuss the whether or not Gene Roddenberry’s vision for the future still holds true today.
We also discuss the latest Trek related news and even have a bit of trivia for you.
You can listen at the link above or right here!
Doctor Who: Masters of Earth by Cavan Scott
One of the problems with an audio drama featuring the Daleks is they aren’t exactly the most exciting aliens to listen to for any length of time. Or heaven forbid you have two or even three Daleks carrying on a lengthy conversation that includes plot details or developments.
It’s not to say that I don’t like the Daleks. They’re my favorite Doctor Who adversary, but I think that in order to do them right in the audio dramas, you have to be a bit more creative than you would on TV.
Give props to Masters of Earth for at least trying to do something creative with the Daleks in the realm of Big Finish audio dramas. Arriving on Earth during the Dalek occupation, the sixth Doctor is ready to jump back into the TARDIS and leave to prevent himself or Peri contaminating his own personal time line. Seems he’s arrived a couple of years before his first incarnation will help overthrow the Daleks and liberate the planet.
But before you say “Exterminate,” the TARDIS sinks into a bog and the Doctor and Peri are caught up with the resistance on a cross-country trip that will include encounters with RoboMen, Varga plants and the Slyther. If you’re a fan of 60’s Who and in particular the Dalek stories from those early days, there are a lot of nice homages to that era.
But homages to an era do not a story make and it’s in the story that Masters of Earth really feels like it let me down. Because the Doctor can’t affect any change, there’s not a lot for he and Peri to do, besides avoid changing history and letting the Daleks know he’s on the scene. There are some interesting chases involving Daleks on gliders (an homage to the 60’s comics), but overall I can’t help but feel the story had more potential than was realized in what we got here. Continue reading