The Doctor Who Movie (Drinking Game Commentary)

When you have the perfect storm of bad ideas: a large group of opinionated Whovians; a desire to watch the Eighth Doctor’s 1996 debut; a plethora of assorted drinks; a readily available set of drinking game rules; and it happening to be St. Patrick’s Day weekend…oh, you get the idea. Mistakes were made.

This week, joined by friends and GPR guests Julie, Tanu, and Raemani, we fill our glasses and provide a less-than-professional commentary to the 1996 Doctor Who “pilot” movie. The rules we tried — TRIED SO HARD — to abide by were as follows:

Suffice to say, the amount of alcohol consumed was countered ounce for ounce by equal volumes of snark. But all was not negative, far from it: Keir was so enthralled (typical), he forgot to cash in his “get out of drinking for 30 minutes” prize until the film only had 12 minutes left.

That’s love, people.

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Classic Rewatch: The Mind of Evil

The Mind of Evil

It doesn’t take much to rattle some people. For those poor souls, their fears and concerns weigh so heavily upon them, the slightest provocation send them reeling into fits of worry and despair. Others are made of sterner stuff — but as we’ve learned from so many stories, everyone has their limits. There have been a number of science fiction series who have toyed with the idea of criminal rehabilitation via some form of mental reconditioning (Star Trek, Fringe, The Twilight Zone, Babylon 5, just to name a few), but as in so many instances across the decades, Doctor Who was among the first to explore the concept.

This week, we consider the many important developments that occur within the Pertwee story, “The Mind of Evil”. UNIT is at the forefront, and we gain a fuller appreciation for Yates and Benton; the Doctor and the Master face off once again, with iconic performance from Delgado, and a deeper understanding of their know-thine-enemy relationship; and Jo Grant establishes herself as a valuable, adaptive, resourceful, and daresay indispensable companion to the Third Doctor. Suffice to say, we consider it encouraged, if not required Classic Who fare.

Bonus: We run down the stellar guest list for the upcoming RegenerationWho 3 convention in Baltimore, Maryland, and the number of discussion panels we’ll be hosting through the weekend. Hope you join us!

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Recasting On a Budget

You may choose to point a finger in any number of directions to pin blame for the “Wilderness Years” when Doctor Who left the air. The 1996 tele-film was in many ways an attempt to bring the program to a new American audience, but for whatever reasons one may choose to apply, it was not the overwhelming success we may have hoped. Do producers in the United States have a particular and unique gift for wanting to boost program concepts from other global markets, but not get them quite right due to improper budget, inaccurate audience targeting, or perhaps poor casting choices? That last one gives us pause — and we could apologize to our silver-ghost-snake-form Master for it, but we doubt he’d listen before torturing us to the brink of death.

This week, we have a laugh at ourselves as American viewers, and wonder what we would do if trying to cast iconic Doctor Who roles with American actors who, for whatever reason, were not “the” commodity in demand at the moment. From the Ninth Doctor, to Sarah Jane Smith, to Strax, we poke a bit of good natured fun at our favorite program — and ourselves in the process — and learn that sometimes, what sounds like even the most ridiculous casting choice imaginable might actually be really, really entertaining to watch. (In a parallel universe, that is.)

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Classic Rewatch: Terror of the Autons

Terror of the Autons

The deus ex machina trope has been explored and adapted more times in science fiction media that we could count. When Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes developed the Nestene Consciousness for “Spearhead from Space”, he paired the concept of a non-corporeal sentient being with the god-in-the-machine premise in the form of the Autons, and the Whovian world would never be the same. Not left to rest on his laurels, however, Holmes was by no means finished, and in the next appearance of the villainous beings, they are assisted by one of the greatest additions the programme has seen. Enter: the Master.

This week, we enjoy the action, adventure, and cat-and-mouse interplay between Doctor and Master in the Third Doctor story, “Terror of the Autons”. Liz Shaw has made an abrupt off-screen departure, the effervescent Josephine Grant emerges as the new companion, and the deadly plastic menace is back once again with the manipulative evil genius of the Master to help in their efforts to overthrow Earth from England outward (as its customary). We delve into the Doctor’s affinity for blowing up electronics, Jo’s prowess as a Level-30 lockpick, the boyish charm of Captain Yates, and the undeniable creepy-cool that is Roger Delgado.

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Battle of the Spin-Offs

It is a foregone conclusion, from a television programming and development standpoint, that a series so popular and successful as to run a span of over fifty years is sure to take a swing at tangential or “spin-off” series at one time or another. Doctor Who has had numerous such attempts, most notably the 2006 action-drama Torchwood, the 2007 series The Sarah Jane Adventures, and most recently, Class in 2016. Each had a target audience, a clear intent for what it provided its viewers, and a conscious decision as to how “connected” it would be to the DW series.

This week, the GPR squad each takes on the mantle of one of the Doctor Who spin-off series, and discusses its success as a standalone series, as well as its contributions and connections to the original programme.

Bonus Segment: We play a little round of “Title of My Life”…using Doctor Who story titles, we describe some aspects of our own lives, like ‘high school years’, and ‘first date’ experiences. (It’s…a little TMI.)

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