Classic Rewatch: The Sontaran Experiment

The Sontaran Experiment

Sometimes, when you’ve got a tale to tell, you don’t need to embellish it with a lot of extraneous characters and tangential moments. The beginning, middle, and end just fall into place, straightforward and true. (And you don’t even have to mention that in the crafting of the story, people were getting seriously injured, and it was probably best that you didn’t drag things for any longer, else something really nasty might come about.)

This week, Taylor Nelson from The PODcastica joins us for a surprisingly brief rewatch of Season 12’s two-part story, ‘The Sontaran Experiment’. Neither he nor Jay had viewed it before, and were rather thrown to find that it was the first two-episode story of Doctor Who ever aired. Nonetheless, we all agreed it was a tight, perfectly enjoyable extension to the “Ark In Space” predecessor…perhaps…the Ark Arc? (We’ll show ourselves out.) The TARDIS is missed, Harry is a bit of a clod (again), Sarah Jane stands strong against Styre, and Tom Baker is endearing and amiable, despite an on-set injury that would/should have really impeded his performance. Let’s face it…he’s just that good.

EXTRA: A little “Five Rounds, Rapid” with Taylor!

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The Doctor-Companion Symbiosis: Live from (Re)Generation Who 4

When a relationship is forged that is truly greater as a whole than the sum of its parts, the bond can be nearly unbreakable. Not that this bond is not tested — time can be a cruel and unforgiving adversary. But with an (as of the recording) unknown set of relations between our incoming Thirteenth Doctor and no fewer than three “recurring characters”, it leads us to think long and hard about how the pair, or trio, or squad, of characters all benefit from one another’s company.

Joined by a panel of exceptional Whovian intellects, we discuss the give-and-take relationships between the Doctor and their traveling companions, both historically, and with an eye to the series to come. Among our guests are producer Joy Piedmont of Reality Bomb, professor and editor Heather McHale, and writer Nev Fountain of Big Finish. Thanks again to Onizumi Events and their exceptional staff at (Re)Generation Who for helping make this panel, and the entire convention weekend, such a success.

(Oh, and we apologize for the poor quality of Keir’s audio in the pre- and post-panel conversation. He’s clearly on the ropes at this point, and we don’t know if we’re going to keep him around. Unprofessional!)

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Classic Rewatch: Ark In Space

Ark In Space

That favourite t-shirt, which looks a but threadbare, but is the softest thing in your bureau. That hokey song that has been around forever, and makes all your friends roll their eyes, but you still sing it at the top of your lungs in the shower. The comfort food that has all the nutritional value of a bathmat, but brings a smile to your face just preparing it. We all have those things that mean the world to us, though others may look upon them with quizzical eyes, wondering exactly what the appeal is.

Let’s just get this out in the open, then — it’s green bubble wrap. WE KNOW. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s used in a brilliant way, in a story that we adore, performed by actors who are making it 100% endearing and wonderful. (So stick that in your fist, and pop it.)

Joined by Rachel from Hockey Feels and other podcasts, we enter the ‘Space Station That Steve Jobs Built’, and deal with some unusual pest control in “Ark In Space”. We look in particular at the growing relationship between Fourth and Sarah Jane, note the growing contempt for Harry Sullivan (nice shoes, mate), revel in the set and costume design, and yes — we commend the design team for doing something exceptional and rather convincing with items from your local home improvement market.

EXTRA: We subject Rachel to the obligatory ‘Five Rounds, Rapid’!

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The Impossible Pacifist (Live)

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama recently wrote:

Whether we will be able to achieve world peace or not, we have no choice but to work towards that goal. If our minds are dominated by anger, we will lose the best part of human intelligence – wisdom, the ability to decide between right and wrong. Anger is one of the most serious problems facing the world today.

In the aftermath of Series 10, as we look back upon the arc of the Twelfth Doctor from “Deep Breath” curmudgeon and callousness to the pleas with the Master/Missy for kindness in “The Doctor Falls”, it reminds us that in the pursuit of a peaceful world (or Universe), there are times when even the most altruistic individual feels the pressures of maintaining pacifism in the face of compounding unrest and anger.

It got us wondering: Science fiction has historically proven that truly pacifist characters will either meet an unfortunate end, or have to set aside their ideology in dire moments in order to achieve their altruistic ends. With the War Doctor and other examples of our own beloved Time Lord following suit, is it even viable to have a truly non-confrontational character in the genre?

With continued thanks to the staff of (Re)Generation Who 4, we share our panel discussion on the idea of the Doctor as a pacifist character, how suitably the title fits, and whether there are striations in the representation or fulfillment of that descriptor across the decades of the program. Graciously joined by Charles Martin, Kathleen Schowalter, Don Klees, and Heather McHale, we also draw upon some terrific audience contribution to the conversation about science fiction, altruism, and morality.

EXTRA: How difficult could the question “Which Hogwarts house would the Doctor be sorted into” really be? Well…

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Classic Rewatch: Robot

Robot

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines madness as ‘behavior or thinking that is very foolish or dangerous’, whereas the term eccentricity is ‘deviation from an established pattern or norm; especially odd or whimsical behavior’. With that in mind, we choose to revise the offhand way we have previously referred to one of the most iconic actors ever to portray The Doctor. With sincerest apologies to Tom Baker, we simply didn’t think that calling his Fourth Doctor merely ‘eccentric’ did him justice…but his behavior is whimsical to say the least, deviates from all patterns we could possibly expect, but is by no means foolish in his actions. He knows precisely what he’s doing, and if you’re ever so fortunate, he might even explain…some small part of it.

This week, Graeme Burke of Reality Bomb joins us as we sit back, kick our boots up onto the highest piece of furniture in the room, and enjoy the arrival of the Fourth Doctor in “Robot”. The Letts and Dicks era draws to a close, and they exeunt with a rollicking, well-paced, superbly cast (if slightly heavy-handed with the baddies) story that transitions us from the action-ready, take-charge days of Pertwee, into the unpredictable, what-in-the-world-is-he-grinning-at world of Baker. We salute Benton on his arguably finest story, watch Lis Sladen shine all the brighter in the presence of a new colleague, and wonder how much effort it took Terry Dicks to drop so much of an earlier Avengers episode into a Doctor Who script, given that “cut and paste” wasn’t available in 1974. Need a quick villain? Toss in a few fascist scientists bent on a new world order. Hey presto!

EXTRA: We reserve the right to play a little “Five Rounds Rapid” with our guest!

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