Classic Rewatch: The Claws of Axos

The Claws of Axos

The most interesting fictional adversaries have more in common than they do in conflict: Holmes and Moriarty. Gandalf and Saruman. Kenobi and Vader. Burger King and Ronald McDonald. What may make their ‘familiar contempt’ even more intriguing, perhaps, are the instances where they must put aside their differences and work towards a common goal — typically their own survival. We present, as a grab-your-popcorn-and-just-enjoy examples, the Doctor and the Master trying to jointly outwit an alien force that is quickly outgrowing and outmaneuvering them both, no thanks to the inherent greed/stupidity of a few humans in power.

(Also, electro-pasta-beasts, ’embiggened’ frogs, and mumbling country bumpkins clumsily riding bikes into freezing ponds. This is Classic Who at some of its finest, people — the agony and the ecstasy in a single story.)

This week, we relish the 1971 classic, “The Claws of Axos”. Pertwee and Delgado are at their finest, the costumes and effects at their most questionable, and the story is aces. Pull up a bowl of psycho spaghetti, and dig in.

BONUS: We play a round of “UNIT Must Have a Star Labs Division”, an alt-universe character improvisation game. (Coming soon to a convention near you!)

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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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When Dark Eyes are Smiling

GPR Post HeaderIt’s no secret to anyone who has listened to GPR for any length of time that we are tremendous fans of the audio productions that emerge from the Big Finish studios. They bring the classic era to life over and over again in artistic and magical ways, expanding upon the Whovian universe and allowing established televised characters (Doctors and Companions alike) to flourish and grow beyond their time on screen. But where we feel they truly stand out (and this may just be because in our opinions, more time with Paul McGann as the Doctor is an immeasurable gift) is with their Eighth Doctor audio dramas. The dramatic power, warmth, heart and wit behind these stories are astounding — and the productions are something to which any Whovian should invest the time in listening.

This week, we talk at length about the newest expansions to the Eighth Doctor Adventures, the award-winning Dark Eyes series. When the Doctor meets a medical assistance volunteer from World War I who is unknowingly at the center of a plot that could unravel time itself, involving every threat from Daleks, to Sontarans, to the Time Lord Celestial Intervention Agency, to the Master himself, you need four intricate and intertwined series to truly do it justice. (And we needed nearly two hours to discuss it.) So enjoy this super-sized edition of Gallifrey Public Radio…after listening to Dark Eyes, of course…

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Our Series 8 Recap

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For three months, we have journeyed with Peter Capaldi on his first series as the Doctor, and it has been every bit of the wild ride we had hoped for. Together, we battled clockwork droids, Daleks, and Cybermen. Side by side, we faced down new villainous threats like the Skovox, Blitzer and the hastily (poorly?) named “Boneless”. With his guidance, we found the hidden truths behind misunderstood monsters like the Teller and the Mummy. Spurred on by his relentless pursuit of adventure and curiosity, we explored complex human struggles like the stuff of childhood nightmares, and the horrifying world of dating. And now, it is time to take a look back at our journey and see just how far we’ve come.

This week, we take a comprehensive view at Doctor Who‘s Series 8, and look at the work that Steven Moffat and his team of writers, editors and producers put into telling a cohesive story — and whether or not they honored all the promises that they spent the entire summer of 2014 dangling in front of our faces like so many carrots. Join us as we travel once more into darkness, and address the tough questions about our favo(u)rite program.

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Death in Heaven

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With Missy’s identity revealed and the fate of Danny’s soul still in question, Whovians were primed and ready for Steven Moffat’s final offering for Series 8. But did he deliver? With the aforementioned nemesis in full madcap form, the triumphant reappearance of Kate Stewart and U.N.I.T., and a new twist on the a Cybermen invasion all vying for the viewer’s attention, there is likely more to discuss than we can possibly cover — But honestly, has that ever stopped us from trying before?

“Death in Heaven” is the finale that the eighth series of Doctor Who both deserved and arguably delivered. Hitting us with epic showdowns both verbal and physical, and painful goodbyes both unexpected and unacceptable, we take one more deep breath, and plunge headlong into the thrilling conclusion of Capaldi’s inaugural series.

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