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Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


She is an incredible actor and I am thrilled she is going to be on the show, that's awesome.

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CobiWann
Oct 21, 2009

There are lost episodes of course. Stories that were commissioned but never made. Or made but misfiled, post broadcast. Sheer incompetence, of course.

CaptainYesterday posted:

Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, will appear in the upcoming series. Despite my avatar's text, I've never watched the show.



She's a great actor and I'm sure she'll appreciate being on a show where no one dies!

After The War
Apr 12, 2005

to all of my Architects
let me be traitor


CobiWann posted:

She's a great actor and I'm sure she'll appreciate being on a show where no one dies!

[FangRockTomBakerGrinningAfterEntireGuestCastDiesHorribly.gif]

surc
Aug 17, 2004

Tenuki Tanuki.


CobiWann posted:

She's a great actor and I'm sure she'll appreciate being on a show where no one dies!

...Unless they die over and over.

RunAndGun
Apr 30, 2011


Jerusalem posted:

My memory at the time was just in general being confused by it, like it just didn't make any particular sense to me why it would be there at all. The half-human stuff was far more annoying to me.

Luckily, you could say that's fixable because, as 11 explicitly taught us, The Doctor Lies.

Mortanis
Dec 28, 2005

It's your father's lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight.

College Slice

Does anyone know where I can get a copy of the TV Movie poster? My local game shop has had it up on their wall since 1996, and I've offered to buy it since I fell in love with McGann's Doctor, but they refuse to sell. I'd love to get a version but I can't seem to find one. Theirs is a massive one, but I'd settle for poster sized.

It's this one for reference:

Davros1
Jul 19, 2007

You've got to admit, you are kind of implausible

Mortanis posted:

Does anyone know where I can get a copy of the TV Movie poster? My local game shop has had it up on their wall since 1996, and I've offered to buy it since I fell in love with McGann's Doctor, but they refuse to sell. I'd love to get a version but I can't seem to find one. Theirs is a massive one, but I'd settle for poster sized.

It's this one for reference:



Not selling mine, but got it in 97, and it's McGann autographed!

Mortanis
Dec 28, 2005

It's your father's lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight.

College Slice

Davros1 posted:

Not selling mine, but got it in 97, and it's McGann autographed!

Well there's one for my eternal jealousy I guess.

Rhyno
Mar 22, 2003

sorry doesn't bring
me back to life, Hal.


Arthur Darvill has just joined the cast of the next DC/CW tv series as Rip Hunter!

http://www.comicbookresources.com/a...c-time-traveler

As we all know Rory is the greatest companion in the history of all Who so this is awesome news!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Those DC/CW shows are way more fun than they have any right to be, and Darvill is great, so this is good news, good for him.

Flight Bisque
Feb 23, 2008

There is, surprisingly, always hope.

The internet tells me that Alex Kingston and John Barrowman are already part of that universe.

Cannot loving wait for David Bradley as I dunno, Alan Scott or something.

Gaz-L
Jan 28, 2009


whatsabattle posted:

The internet tells me that Alex Kingston and John Barrowman are already part of that universe.

Cannot loving wait for David Bradley as I dunno, Alan Scott or something.

Kingston's most recent appearance was great. She got to listen to the heroine's (her character's daughter) "I will get VENGEANCE for my dead loved one!" speech and instead of going "They wouldn't want that!" got to basically say "FUCKIN' MURDER 'EM SWEETIE!"

Gordon Shumway
Jan 21, 2008

Do not attempt to adjust your set...



I'm late to the party, but

Any idea when we'll find out the rest?

CobiWann
Oct 21, 2009

There are lost episodes of course. Stories that were commissioned but never made. Or made but misfiled, post broadcast. Sheer incompetence, of course.



"You're listening to LIVE 34."

"LIVE 34 | News on the hour every hour ­ | LIVE 34 |­ Broadcasting to Colony 34 all day every day |­ LIVE 34 |­ Constantly updated every minute of every hour |­ LIVE 34 ­| Sport, weather, business, local news, interplanetary affairs |­ LIVE 34 |­ Live, independent, accurate, comprehensive |­ LIVE 34 ­ all news, all day, every day |­ LIVE 34."

"Reports are coming in of an explosion..."

"On the line now is the leader of the FDP..."

"The President is about to begin his address..."

"We can see bodies in the wreckage..."

Sylvester McCoy is the Doctor in LIVE 34

X X X X X

Cast
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor)
Sophie Aldred (Ace)
Philip Olivier (Hex)
Andrew Collins (Drew Shahan)
William Hoyland (Premier Jaeger)
Zehra Naqvi (Charlotte Singh)
Duncan Wiseby (Ryan Wareing)
Ann Bryson (Gina Grewal)
Joy Elias-Rilwan (Lula)

Written By: James Parsons and Andrew Stirling-Brown
Directed By: Gary Russell

Trailer - http://www.bigfinish.com/releases/popout/live-34-240

X X X X X

From Wikipedia…

quote:

Propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of a population toward some cause or position.

Propaganda can be found throughout history. It has been used to convince a population to convert to a new religion, to introduce proper hygiene and waste disposal techniques to urban populations, and to encourage citizens to report criminal activity and sign up for elections or a census. It has also been used to convince a nation that a race of people is inferior and the cause of all that country’s problems. It has been used to recruit soldiers to join the armed forces. It has been used to discourage an opposing force via radio broadcast. And if you’ve braved the 24-hour cable news in the past ten years, it’s been used to convince deep red AND deep blue voters that their side is completely right and the other side is out for nothing more than the complete and utter destruction of the American way of life via a mix of ruthless, calculated intelligence and complete and utter idiocy.

(This is why I get all my news from the BBC. Maybe there’s a bias there I’m not seeing due to my colonial upbringing, but it’s refreshing to see the news delivered in such an incredibly polite manner)

LIVE 34 is an experimental audio from Big Finish. Instead of experiencing the Doctor’s adventures first hand, listeners are instead treated to a news program that presents the exploits of the Doctor and his companions in a series of live reports and exclusive interviews, all under the watchful eyes of the colony’s regime. It’s a very unique narrative device that will deeply appeal to some listeners as it gives a “bad guy’s view” of the Doctor’s actions. Other listeners, though, might be turned off by the fact that they’re listening to two straight hours worth of news programming that glosses over the Doctor’s off-screen actions. All listened, though, should be disappointed by the “huge reveal” that comes completely out of left field, which may lead to mixed feelings about the story’s sudden conclusion.

LIVE 34, broadcasting 25 hours a day, reports all kinds of problems on Colony 34 via the smooth and reassuring tones of Drew Shanan. The threat of alien infiltration, an ongoing power crisis, and the recent bombings of various government sites has led to the curtailing of public gatherings, enforced curfews, and the continued postponement of a colony-wide election three years overdue. The Freedom and Democracy Party have repeatedly called for elections, this time with a new figure called the Resident Doctor as their candidate. But are the FDP behind a recent spite of bombings, carried out by a shadow figure called the Rebel Queen? The government insists so, and LIVE 34 is right there reporting the news as it happens, exactly as the government says it happens…

In the summer of 2003, Big Finish threw open their doors and held an open submission period, where any could send an audio script to the company for possible production and broadcast. Over 650 scripts were submitted during that period. In the end, what attracted Gary Russell to the script by James Parsons and Andrew Stirling-Brown (the pair also contributed a story, Purity, for the I, Davros range) for LIVE 34 wasn’t the standard tale of “the Doctor overthrows a corrupt regime,” but how the story was delivered. Four half-hour (roughly) news programs from Channel LIVE 34 covers the events of sixteen days with a mix of straight forward “news of the day” delivery and two in-depth reports by two separate reporters. The “news of the day” deliver contains live reports and recorded words as well, all containing the standards dialogue, clichés, and situations that go along with being the mouthpiece for a totalitarian government such as “with a heavy heart” and “they threaten our liberty” and “iron-clad evidence.” The script by Parsons and Stirling-Brown also goes a long way in establishing the setting without resorting to direct exposition, with phrases such as “since the colony was founded over a century ago” and “bombings in Second and Third City.” Using a news program at the only narrative source, however, does have its drawbacks, however, which I’ll go into a bit later on.

Sylvester McCoy can monologue and grandstand with the best of them, and when interviewed by talking head Drew Shanan during the first episode, the Seventh Doctor shows his strength at verbal wordplay, turning the conversation around with careful words and outright ignoring the most obscene factors. We get hints of his anger, some coy responses to past events, hints to future events, and even a little humor when he dryly grouses that “someone doesn’t know when to wait to start causing explosions.” But as the Doctor becomes the candidate for the Freedom and Democracy Party, standing in a fresh election against Premier Jaeger, he steps into the background for episodes two and three. This is a good thing, not only because it gives Ace and Hex more screentime for their episodes, but the Doctor isn’t mean to be the spokesperson/politician type. If anything, the Seventh Doctor is more of a “hatchet man” who does the things that need to be done behind the scenes…and since the listeners doesn’t get to see his behind the scenes exploits this time out, it’s hard to put McCoy’s performance in the proper context. The Doctor gets his moment at the end when he holds sway over a hostile Premier, his security forces, and an angry, cheering mob…but without knowing the full details about the events that led up to that moment, it all feels very deus ex machina. McCoy’s grand, but the Doctor that we see in LIVE 34 just doesn’t seem to match up with all that listeners know about him.

Long time Doctor Who fans won’t be surprised to find out that none other than Dorothy “Ace” McShane is the Rebel Queen (a name she didn’t pick for herself), the “rabbling rousing terrorist” responsible for a string of bombings across Colony 34. Aldred’s job in the second episode, as she submits to an interview with reporter Ryan Wareing deep in the slums just outside the walls of First City, is to provide the exposition as to how she came to Colony 34 (on a bit of R&R, she came across a political refugee, aided him in breaking his family out of a nearby camp, one thing led to another…). Aldred does a great job as being a bit older and a bit wiser as to how the world works, with admitting the bombings her group did that didn’t kill anyone, and how the government has been framing her by blowing up occupied buildings. But she’s still young enough to maintain that streak of anger against authority that viewers saw during her time on television, that sometimes she feels there’s no problem a little Nitro-9 won’t fix.

Hex is definitely the “new guy” in the TARDIS in LIVE 34, AND Philip Olivier mixes “bewildered” with “quickly grasps the situation” very nicely. It’s refreshing to see a companion who, after a few adventures under his belt, still holds onto the “what the HELL have I gotten myself into” mentality. Olivier has revitalized the Seven/Ace dynamic, but here he’s on his own in the third episode, working undercover as an EMT-type being followed by reporter Charlotte Singh for an “over the shoulder” report about emergency workers. We get a little bit of background on Hex’s parents, specifically his Dad, and how his Dad steered him towards medical work. Just two minutes or so of backstory has me more emotionally invested in Hex than over a half of dozen audios featuring C’rizz! Hex gets a phone call about a lady who hurt her leg in a minor spill, but it turns out that the torrential rains opened a sinkhole under her house…and Hex realizes the sinkhole is actually a mass grave full of skeletons, and that the Doctor called it in so the reporter could show it live on television. It’s definitely in the vein of the Doctor not revealing his plans to his companions, but props to Hex (and Olivier) for realizing the situation for what it was very quickly. Olivier also gets points for when he’s gently prodded by the Doctor to give part of the big exposition dump in front of a public square filled with people, and he hesitantly works his way through the speech. It shows the Seventh Doctor is still a “Professor” of sorts and that Hex hasn’t magically become an amazing, perfect companion after only a few TARDIS trips.

While living in mid-00’s America wasn’t a police state (and anyone who tells you otherwise needs to lighten up or be shown what happens in an actual police state), Premier Jaeger could have walked right out of the more shadowy portions of the Bush Administration with his talk of “utmost regret,” “iron clad enemies,” and “justice delivered swiftly.” William Hoyland is a veteran actor of British television, along with roles in the movies Gandhi and For Your Eyes Only, and he hits every single note that a “dictator in all but name” needs to hit. He doesn’t go full V for Vendetta and chew the scenery until the very end of the story, instead coming off as a leader who is trying, with the heaviest of hearts, to do the “right thing” for “the greater good” against “those who would strike a blow at our way of life,” which “measures taken with the utmost regret.” It’s incredibly chilling and gives listeners an insight into the slippery slope of a colony willing to trade liberty for security, with Hoyland’s Jaeger at the helm.

News announcer Drew Shanan delivers everything as a stereotypical newscaster would - straight forward, right off the teleprompter, with complete and utter sincerity, even to the point that a mention of his broadcast colleague mysteriously committing suicide (probably from shooting himself in the back of the head. Twice) is played off as nothing more than the normal course of events and barely warrants a mention at the end of another story. Andrew Collins was a great choice to play Shanan, as he’s a well-respected pop culture for the UK paper The Guardian and would go on to appear on over a dozen episodes of Doctor Who Confidential. This is Duncan Wisbey’s first role with Big Finish, as the doomed reporter Ryan Wareing who dares to broadcast a quasi-accurate sympathetic Rebel Queen, and he does a good job as an intrepid reporter looking for the story. The same goes for Hex’s reporter companion Charlotte Singh as played by Zehra Naqvi, who realizes the danger of their situation and manages to survive by calling for an end to the broadcast, only to step up at the end of the story when the real news begins to happen.

On one hand, for an audio that’s supposed to be a news broadcast, LIVE 34 succeeds admirably. Points to director Gary Russell and the post-production crew led by David Darlington for making LIVE 34 sound like an actual news broadcast, with theme music, quick cuts, static, archive footage sounding slightly seasoned with static. As a Doctor Who story, the narrative structure doesn’t quite work. In many ways, LIVE 34 is a counterpart to televised serial The Happiness Patrol. In that story, we follow the Seventh Doctor as he topples a dictatorship where citizen happiness is mandatory. In LIVE 34, we follow the dictatorship as the Doctor topples it from behind the scenes. This means, in the long run, this story simply has too many holes in the narrative. Ace fills in some of the gaps in the second episode, but there’s still so many big questions. How did the Doctor becoming a political nominee? How did he take control of the FDP? Why were the people in the mass grave Hex found shot? How did the Doctor convince the Central Committee to declare the election null and void…actually, how did he convince them to allow an election in the first place? LIVE 34 embraces the concept of “tell don’t show” as its main narrative device, and while it works very well on that note, there’s always this sense, just beyond the horizon of needing to know more. It’s not quite a case of “events happen to solely to move the plot along,” but considering LIVE 34 takes place over sixteen days in a little less than two real-time hours, I wish there would have been a little more exposition, or maybe “hidden recordings dropped off at our news agency’s doorstep,” to fill in those gaps.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the big reveal…that Premier Jaeger isn’t really Premier Jaeger! Rather, he’s someone who looked enough like him that a little plastic surgery allowed him to act in Jaeger’s stead when the original Premier came down with a disease that caused horrible facial scarring. Over time, the “double” took power and locked the “original” away, keeping him alive solely for biometrics and DNA samples. The other reveal, that the dead bodies of the poor are being burned for fuel to avert a power shortage, had its seeds planted throughout the story and comes as a shock, not a surprise, to the listener. The twin dilemma, though, comes out of right field with the barest of hints - a body bag delivered to the hospital while Hex is there that suggested to the Doctor that he should do a little snooping. This is where the flaws of LIVE 34 come through – a normal story would have followed the Doctor trying to recover the body bag and find out the truth of the matter, but instead the Doctor (and Hex, with his prodding) give a huge exposition-laden speech that explains the whole matter. While it makes sense in terms of a news broadcast, the listener feels cheated, like if the murderer in an Agatha Christie novel was introduced and revealed in the last five pages after never being mentioned once before in the story.

The sudden ending to the story, where the broadcast cuts off as Jaeger is attacked by the mob, is also a bit divisive. Some might feel as if it’s a cop-out, while others think that it’s appropriate for the news broadcast to suddenly cut out at the right moment. To me, it fits the Seventh Doctor. Arrive, topple an empire, leave, and let everyone else pick up the pieces. We've always seen the Doctor quietly slip away when the job is done. The regime is toppled, and it's up to the citizens to make sure it doesn't happen again, though Jaeger's fate makes me wonder if the Doctor might have to come back to Colony 34 at some point to fix an even bigger mess...

I applaud LIVE 34 for doing something different. Big Finish had stretched the audio format to its utmost before and will continue to do so in future releases. This story is definitely worth a listen for its novelty, but the news broadcasts cut out the most interesting parts of the story – the actual actions of the Doctor and his companions. Having those actions explained to us by a talking head makes the story feel at empty as this regime's words.

Synopsis – An interesting experiment, LIVE 34 captures the mood and tone of a corrupt regime's news outlet reporting on the outcomes of Seventh Doctor's actions against the government, but fails to deliver by failing to cover the actions themselves. 3/5

Next up - Millennia ago, the people of the planet Caludaar pledged never to set foot on their sister planet Endarra. But what secrets does the planet hold?

Paul McGann is the Doctor in...Scaredy Cat

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


CobiWann posted:

Synopsis – An interesting experiment, LIVE 34 captures the mood and tone of a corrupt regime's news outlet reporting on the outcomes of Seventh Doctor's actions against the government, but fails to deliver by failing to cover the actions themselves. 3/5

I do appreciate that they committed so fully to the gimmick, even if it doesn't quite come off. I thought it was a particularly nice touch removing the opening and closing theme too, it's just important to remember that everything we see and hear in the episode is mediated even moreso than normal - there's never any real sense that we're getting the FULL story. I also still can't decide if the overall sense that the colony's population itself was "sick" and that the Doctor merely treated the symptoms was deliberate, or if the ending and the fate of the antagonist was rather unsettlingly intended to be considered a "good" thing, or somehow "fixing" all the problems clearly present in the foundation of the colony itself.

Sad King Billy
Jan 27, 2006

Thats three of ours innit...to one of yours. You know mate I really think we ought to even up the average!

One minor but very noticeable thing that annoys me about the new series is the overreliance on disintegration when somebody gets zapped with a raygun.

In the original series we had people turned into twisted dolls, melted into goo and transformed into a smoking heap. I even remember one story where they tried an interesting vfx with a burning photo!

Call me ghoulish but I want to see more interesting deaths!

Davros1
Jul 19, 2007

You've got to admit, you are kind of implausible

Gordon Shumway posted:

I'm late to the party, but

Any idea when we'll find out the rest?

Friday was the announcement that their license was renewed until March 31, 2020. Saturday was the information and cover about the latest Eight Doctor series "Doom Coalition". Sunday was the announcement that they're doing more Virgin NA adaptations (All Consuming Fire, Nightshade, Theatre of War, Original Sin, plus one more), and Monday was info on the Fourth Doctor series 6 (The Doctor, the 2 Romana, and K9, set in season 18)

CobiWann
Oct 21, 2009

There are lost episodes of course. Stories that were commissioned but never made. Or made but misfiled, post broadcast. Sheer incompetence, of course.

Jerusalem posted:

I do appreciate that they committed so fully to the gimmick, even if it doesn't quite come off. I thought it was a particularly nice touch removing the opening and closing theme too, it's just important to remember that everything we see and hear in the episode is mediated even moreso than normal - there's never any real sense that we're getting the FULL story. I also still can't decide if the overall sense that the colony's population itself was "sick" and that the Doctor merely treated the symptoms was deliberate, or if the ending and the fate of the antagonist was rather unsettlingly intended to be considered a "good" thing, or somehow "fixing" all the problems clearly present in the foundation of the colony itself.

He's really more of a "I did the triple bypass, now it's up to you to get in shape" type of hero. There are a whole mess of other problems with the colony in this storu, but the Doctor, I'd like to think, has faith that the people will work it out on their own.

Counter-argument - The Long Game.

Fil5000
Jun 23, 2003

HOLD ON GUYS I'M POSTING ABOUT INTERNET ROBOTS


Davros1 posted:

Friday was the announcement that their license was renewed until March 31, 2020. Saturday was the information and cover about the latest Eight Doctor series "Doom Coalition". Sunday was the announcement that they're doing more Virgin NA adaptations (All Consuming Fire, Nightshade, Theatre of War, Original Sin, plus one more), and Monday was info on the Fourth Doctor series 6 (The Doctor, the 2 Romana, and K9, set in season 18)

Oh man, please tell me Gatiss is adapting Nightshade.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


I wish they'd do something like Christmas on a Rational Planet. Or maybe they could start having a go at the BBC EDA books.

Davros1
Jul 19, 2007

You've got to admit, you are kind of implausible

Fil5000 posted:

Oh man, please tell me Gatiss is adapting Nightshade.

No, it's a newcomer to BF, Kyle Szikora.

TL
Jan 16, 2006

Yeah, it is. Isn't it?

Bowties are cool.

CaptainYesterday posted:

Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, will appear in the upcoming series. Despite my avatar's text, I've never watched the show.



I just hope that she calls the villain of the episode "the worst poo poo in the universe".

NarkyBark
Dec 7, 2003

one funky chicken

I hope she's a master of Venusian Water Dancing.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


I just realized she's got prior experience hanging out with a man who knows more than he should and can change his face

RunAndGun
Apr 30, 2011


Rhyno posted:

Arthur Darvill has just joined the cast of the next DC/CW tv series as Rip Hunter!

http://www.comicbookresources.com/a...c-time-traveler

As we all know Rory is the greatest companion in the history of all Who so this is awesome news!

But will Rip Hunter ever get the chance to punch Hitler in the nose?

docbeard
Jul 18, 2011

High marks for compassion, low marks for survival skills





He's a time traveler so the chances are nonzero.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


Ironically, before the Time War, the Time Lords spent most of their time protecting Hitler from marauding time travellers causing chaos with history by trying to kill him.

Burkion
May 10, 2012

Changeman! And Not A Moment Too Soon!


The_Doctor posted:

Ironically, before the Time War, the Time Lords spent most of their time protecting Hitler from marauding time travellers causing chaos with history by trying to kill him.

Let's be entirely honest here.

Some of them were likely on his side too.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


The_Doctor posted:

Ironically, before the Time War, the Time Lords spent most of their time protecting Hitler from marauding time travellers causing chaos with history by trying to kill him.

I love in The Kingmaker where Richard III glumly explains that he's been plagued with time travelers all his life showing up to study him in various different ways, to the point where it's become mindnumbingly boring to him.

The Action Man
Oct 26, 2004

This is a good movie.

Jerusalem posted:

I love in The Kingmaker where Richard III glumly explains that he's been plagued with time travelers all his life showing up to study him in various different ways, to the point where it's become mindnumbingly boring to him.

This information means I NEED to listen to the Kingmaker.

Bicyclops
Aug 27, 2004

Hey, Karn, what do you say to console someone who just got Thought Erased? You give up? "Need a hand?"


The Action Man posted:

This information means I NEED to listen to the Kingmaker.

I highly recommend doing that.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


The third episode cliffhanger is loving amazing

DoctorWhat
Nov 18, 2011

Someone call the Chancellery Guard. Commander Maxil's out of uniform. AGAIN.

OH NO

jng2058
Jul 17, 2010

Power Gamer for Hire


Kingmaker was the audio that really surprised me with how versatile Big Finish was willing to get with their audios. When I heard the basic premise, I was not at all expecting the story I got.

That's a good thing!

Mind you, Big Finish can take that willingness to experiment too far, as in Minuet in Hell which is very much a bad thing.

Gaz-L
Jan 28, 2009



For god's sake, man, put your clothes on!

DoctorWhat
Nov 18, 2011

Someone call the Chancellery Guard. Commander Maxil's out of uniform. AGAIN.

So NOW people want me to put on the Coat.

The_Doctor
Mar 29, 2007

"The entire history of this incarnation is one of temporal orbits, retcons, paradoxes, parallel time lines, reiterations, and divergences. How anyone can make head or tail of all this chaos, I don't know."


DoctorWhat posted:

So NOW people want me to put on the Coat.

It is by far the lesser of the two evils.

Bicyclops
Aug 27, 2004

Hey, Karn, what do you say to console someone who just got Thought Erased? You give up? "Need a hand?"


jng2058 posted:

Kingmaker was the audio that really surprised me with how versatile Big Finish was willing to get with their audios. When I heard the basic premise, I was not at all expecting the story I got.

That's a good thing!

Mind you, Big Finish can take that willingness to experiment too far, as in Minuet in Hell which is very much a bad thing.

I like that they go all out, though. Brotherhood of the Daleks is completely all over the place and I really hated almost the entire last part, but the bizarre chances they took made it worth it for the first three parts. Right now, I'm in the middle of a Companion Chronicle being narrated by Sara Kingdom, because, hey, they can do whatever the hell they want! Forty Five ends with a Word Lord, a wisecracking bounty hunter from a plane of existence made entirely of language, who travels in a CORDIS. Half the time it's an embarrassing dud, and the other half the time, you're surprised into hearing a story you enjoy more than half of the TV serials.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


In 2013, about a week before the airing of the long-awaited 50th Anniversary Special, somebody posted words to the effect of,"Oh hey there's gonna be some kind of mini-episode made available online tonight." Since the start of the revival, there had been a long history of little special mini-episodes, some made for Children in Need charity specials, others done as Blu-Ray boxset extras filling in some of the gaps between episodes etc - it only made sense there would be a couple of teasers before Day of the Doctor aired to get people all ramped up with excitement. So the mini-episode was put up online, and we were treated to a scene of a crashing spaceship plummeting towards a planet while the sole remaining crewmember desperately tried to regain control, the unhelpful ship's computer mistaking her pleas for help with a request for medical aid. Complaining that she didn't need a doctor, the crewmember is surprised when a voice unexpectedly speaks up, in one of the great meta moments in the revival's history. "I'm a Doctor," says an all-too-familiar voice,"But probably not the one you were expecting."



For the first time in 17 years, Paul McGann appeared onscreen (and not in archive footage) as the 8th Doctor, in an episode aptly titled The Night of the Doctor. In a sub-10 minute running time, this mini-episode crams in more than anybody could have ever realistically hoped for, and though it is perhaps an overly-packed episode, bursting at the seams with content/character/emotion/continuity etc it carries itself easily on McGann's presence alone. There was no reason at all for Steven Moffat to make this episode, no reason to include McGann and give him the regeneration we never saw, no reason to explicitly address Big Finish continuity, no reason beyond the fact that Moffat WANTED to, and so he did, and we are all the richer for it.

Ever since the revival started, we were told that there was a Time War, a great battle between the two most powerful and advanced species in the universe - the Time Lords and the Daleks - and that it ended when the Doctor made the choice to destroy both sides. The 9th Doctor suffered enormous guilt for that action, but "he" was not the one who performed the act, who made the horrible choice to go against everything he stood for as a person, to accept that there was no better way, that death and destruction were the only solutions. It was made clear if never explicit that the 9th Doctor was the immediate incarnation AFTER the Doctor who did that deed, which left only one possible conclusion - it was the 8th Doctor who ultimately "failed", who surrendered to fatalism and gave up on the idea that there could possibly be another solution. The romantic, slightly befuddled but forever hopeful 8th Doctor would be the one who chose to "touch the wires", who decided that he not only "had the right' but would do the deed, he would crush the vial holding the virus and he would wipe out not only the Daleks but his own people, to the point that even the actions that lead to that point would be sealed away in a Time Lock, separated forever from the rest of the universe, no future but also no past. The 8th Doctor would be the one to remove them all from the board, to reject the idea that there was hope for a better way, that out of great evil some good must come. The 8th Doctor would be the one who cracked.

With the launch of the revival, Big Finish came to the same conclusion and reacted accordingly. Though they couldn't touch anything explicitly from the revival, the 8th Doctor had always allowed them a measure of freedom since he wasn't tied down to the classic continuity like the previous Doctors were. So seeing the writing on the wall, they began to adjust and adapt their stories to build the 8th Doctor towards a climax that they (at least for now) would never be able to produce: a darkening of the universe he lived in, the notion that things were getting more serious, the Daleks becoming threats to Gallifrey and the Time Lords, the Doctor himself growing a little more cynical, a little more weary of it all. It was a shame, but it seemed like they were tied down to the idea, after all, the 8th Doctor had to eventually be the one who broke down to set the scene for the 9th Doctor, even if it was a story that Big Finish would never be able to tell. But then something happened, something really rather magical, heartbreaking in an entirely different way and rather sadly inspiring - The Night of the Doctor happened.

The 8th Doctor appears on the crashing spaceship, alerted by the crewmember's (Cass) distress call. Though McGann had spent years performing the role in audio, it is still remarkable how he instantly reinhabits the role on the screen, the only difference between him here and in the 96 TV movie being that he moves with more confidence and resolution. This is an 8th Doctor completely comfortable in his own skin, and he easily takes charge, assessing the situation, assessing Cass, and then coming to a quick decision on how to act. Cass remained behind on the crashing ship to operate the teleporter, getting the rest of the crew off at the cost of her own life. But she's not suicidal, she did this because it was her duty and now she is trying her best to save herself, and in this extremely quick introduction between the two, the Doctor immediately decides she is companion material, welcoming her "onboard" and leading her towards the back of the ship, cheerfully explaining they're going there because the front will crash first, telling her to try and keep up with the logic

This is where they crash directly into the revival era though, as he leads the confused Cass to the back of the ship, unlocking a door along the way with his Sonic Screwdriver, and beams with pride as he presents her with the battered TARDIS, promising her it's bigger on the inside. Cass was confused and agitated before, but here she becomes outright hostile, and it's a heartbreaking moment. She immediately understands she is looking at a TARDIS, and to her that is a word that means horror and death and destruction, everything that the Doctor and his TARDIS are meant to reject and stand against. She backs away from him in fear, asking if he is a Time Lord, and when he attempts to explain in that same hurried "do try and keep up" way that he isn't like the others, this time she is having none of it. The charm and appeal of the classic era Doctors runs full on into the bleakness of the revival's Time War, as Cass locks the door between them and deadlocks it, more terrified of the Doctor and his TARDIS than she is of death. It is a horrible moment, a rejection of the Doctor that pierces him right through the hearts, especially when he makes a forced attempt at a joke by saying at least he's not a Dalek and she angrily retorts that there is no difference between the two.



And here, for me, is where the sadly inspirational bit comes into play. Because consider the situation the Doctor finds himself in - he's standing with his TARDIS directly behind him, he is free to leave at any time.... and he chooses not to go. As the ship plummets towards the planet below, he stands at the doorway facing Cass and begs her to reconsider, to open the door and come with him if only to survive THIS crash. She rejects him, she tells him she'd be happy for him to die with her, complains that the universe itself is barely hanging on as the Time Lords and Daleks tear it apart in their mindbending Time War... but still he doesn't go. The ship crashes and still the Doctor doesn't move, even though he was free to go at any time, and so the 8th Doctor dies the way he lived, never compromising his ideals, forever refusing to accept the inevitability of death and hatred and despair. He dies choosing to believe he can still get through to Cass, still hoping for something better, a solution that doesn't involve death. THIS is where the 8th Doctor dies, and he dies "whole", believing in something better even in the face of doom.



The planet, by something far more than coincidence, turns out to be Karn. A notorious magnet for crashing spaceships first seen in The Brain of Morbius, it is also home of the Sisterhood of Karn, a quasi-mystical order and "sister" race to the Time Lords, immortals who live in a self-imposed exile beyond even that of the old non-interfering Time Lords themselves. They have long been expecting the Doctor's return, and drag his corpse to a prepared room, where they use their "magic" to restore him to life, interrupting/delaying his own regeneration in order to game the outcome in their own favor. The 8th Doctor is startled awake and quickly discovers he has barely four minutes to live, reacting typically to this portent of doom with a complaint that he might get bored waiting that long. The Sisterhood have no time for his quips though, they have limited time to act and they are determined to force a choice on the 8th Doctor before "nature" takes its course and his regeneration occurs in its typically chaotic way. The Universe is being torn apart by the Time War, and Karn needs a champion of their own to save their own lives - immortality won't mean poo poo if there is no universe. There is obvious manipulation going on here, as they use Cass' corpse to hammer home the point to the Doctor that he has no choice if he wants to save innocent lives - watch the moment where they appeal to what Cass would have wanted and the Doctor tells them she would (and did) refuse any and all help from him. Head Sister Ohila's eyes narrow angrily, this is going off-script for what she wants, so she pushes past and puts words in Cass' mouth, appealing to what the Doctor would want to have heard from her, an exhortation for help, an acceptance of him as the person to provide that help. They offer the Doctor cups, each containing a formula that will control and direct his regeneration in a specific way, offering him a "choice" while doing everything in their power to make sure he makes the choice THEY want. And he does, the Doctor has already died being true to himself, only to be forced back into life briefly to have this "decision" pushed on him. So he accepts that there is no place for HIM anymore, he died clinging to the hope that defined his incarnation, and it is clear the universe doesn't want/need him around anymore. So he chooses the "Warrior" flask, as Ohila always wanted him to, and after banishing them says his goodbyes and drinks, regenerating into whom he now know as the War Doctor, who - as others have noted - immediately differentiates himself from his prior incarnation by picking up the gunbelt that Cass was wearing, in direct contrast to the 8th Doctor rejecting the (faux) gunbelt part of the costume he lifted from the hospital locker room back in the TV movie. The War Doctor - a younger looking John Hurt - declares,"Doctor no more," and moves on to the unseen adventures of the Time War, and his own eventual redemption.



So Moffat offers the viewers a chance to finally see the way the 8th Doctor died, but as he himself put it, Big Finish gives them a chance to see how he LIVED. While Big Finish has always been justifiably proud of the fact it was officially licensed to produce Doctor Who, and that therefore their stories should be considered in-continuity with the television show, there was always a sense that they were just some offshoot, a hold-out from the Wilderness Years, trundling along until the license that the BBC now cared far more about expired. But in this story, Moffat explicitly acknowledges the Big Finish universe as "canon", as the 8th Doctor in his final moments before drinking from the "poisoned" chalice bids a thankful farewell to the companions that have traveled with him through his unseen adventures.

The Doctor posted:

Charley, C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly, friends, companions I've known, I salute you.

Not even 7 minutes long, Night of the Doctor crams in more than anybody could expect, and offers a heartbreaking but inspiring ending to a Doctor who never really got his time in the sun, at least not on television. McGann himself describes his Doctor as having a battered heart, but the point is that he DOES have a heart (two in fact!), and in the end he did not let go of his belief in a better universe, his rejection of death and decay and destruction as the inevitable. This mini episode was a pleasant surprise for viewers, a reaching out to acknowledge the classic series AND the Big Finish audios and the massive parts both had to play in getting Doctor Who to 50 years. It gives us a farewell to McGann, removes the shadow/questions that had been hanging over his character since the revival and the reveal of the Time War, embraces Big Finish, provides nods to the classic series, and let us know where the War Doctor came from/got his start. That this was all put together on a rushed schedule with what little budget was left over is a remarkable feat, and the strengths of the story more than make up for the slightly shoddy special effects or the rushing through scenes to fit into the runtime they had. What a wonderful surprise it was, a story that nobody expected to ever see that came out of nowhere at exactly the right time and place for maximum exposure and eager reception from an audience eager to see whatever Doctor Who they could in the build up to the 50th Anniversary special.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at Apr 1, 2015 around 23:39

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Mortanis
Dec 28, 2005

It's your father's lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight.

College Slice

That was legitimately the only time I've lost my poo poo at Doctor Who. I've loved moments of the show, I've incessantly hounded friends that watch the show (but are "casuals") about all the deeper interconnectedness, I've smiled and rolled my eyes and even pumped fist a few times.

The Night of the Doctor was the first time I jumped out of my chair at seeing McGann and said "Holy poo poo, are you loving kidding me?" at my work office. I loved the 50th and many episodes besides, but that mini episode has a special place for me.

Eighth Doctor Best Doctor

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