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The Friday Docback...On A Saturday!? THE SONTARAN EXPERIMENT (DOCTOR WHO Story #77), And More!!



Hey folks...

This Docback is late.  

Spent the day yesterday in the ER - where my five year old son was treated for a head injury.  

A major wound which went straight down to his skull...a wound sustained on an ill-kept elementary school playground.  

All seems on the upswing now, but apologies for not getting this online yesterday.  

Back to business as usual...


-  Glen 






Merrick here...

With a quick look at The Sontaran Experiment, a two part Tom baker-era DOCTOR WHO adventure initially transmitted February/March 1975.  I’ve seen many clips from (and references to) this story during my journey through classic WHO...this felt like the right week to give it a shot.   


While I love the Sontatans as a whole...their often inefficient officiousness repeatedly cracks me Sontaran can equal my most favorite Sontaran of all...Strax...who we recently learned has “declared war on the moon...”  




Which reminds me...







The Snowmen, transmitting Christmas Day.  Yes, there will be a Docback for The Snowmen - launching the night before transmission (Christmas Eve)!!








The Sontaran Experiment 



“I can’t say I’m delighted...there’s no use pretending...” 

- The Doctor, The Sontaran Experiment - Episode Two 



10,000 years after the (supposed) extinction of intelligent life on Earth, all is not as it seems on the remnants of our quiet little world.  A truth which becomes dangerously evident when the Doctor (Tom Baker) and companions Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) find trouble and challenges they could not have anticipated...including belligerent and stranded human space travelers, and Sontaran Field Major Styre (Kevin Lindsay)...who patrols the region via a troubling hunter/enforcer robot.  



In The Sontaran Experiment, scripters Bob Baker and Dave Martin (The Claws of Axos - Pertwee, Story #57   and The Three Doctors  - Pertwee, Story #65) have brought us breezy and compact adventure shot predominantly on stark-but-effective locations.  


Told in only two parts (as opposed to the show’s customary 4 or 4+ episode serialized format), TSE still manages to zing a few uncomfortable conceits, a tendency most notable when it becomes an allegory to Nazi experiments on living persons during World War II.  


In one particularly unnerving movement, Sontaran Field Major Styre more or less forces two unwitting humans to (potentially) torture to death one of their companions by making them hold a “gravity bar” over his chest - while Styre increases its weight exponentially via remote control.  That’s pretty mean spirited in both concept and execution.   But, like much good science fiction, the gag does evoke certain truths about “real life” human history...and thus the moments “matters” in the grand scheme of things, despite its uneasy nature.  The Powers That Be should be commended for “going there” in regards to such subject matter, when it would’ve been easier (or even tempting?)  to tiptoe or sidestep around such disquieting plot mechanisms.  



T. Baker's Doctor as seen through Sontaran cameras.



The concluding moments of The Sontaran Experiment find the Doctor bringing down vengeful (and fatal) justice upon an intellectually outmatched Styre.  Viewers of contemporary WHO may recall a similar sleight-of-hand at the end of Season/Series 7’s Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.  I still find it a bit odd that the Doctor often sidesteps accountability for the deaths of others by more or less tricking victims into dispensing with themselves...or engineering events so that others do such deeds for him.  But the more I think about it, the more I’m sensing that this trait an invaluable component of his character.  


As I’ve said over and over again, I very much see DOCTOR WHO on the whole as being about the choices we make...or dont’ make...and the ramifications of both.  The Doctor’s refusal to simply grab a ray gun or blaster and take of of matters directly reveals a great deal about him, and might even be considered dodgy or questionable in terms of his own moral compass and accountability.  I strongly suspect we’ll be plunging deeper into this territory later in Season/Series 7, when it seems Matt Smith’s ever-darkening Doctor may be revealing some newer, truer(?) colors. 


At the end of the day, The Sontaran Experiment doesn’t do a great deal to expand the breadth of WHO mythology, but it’s fast enough and well-rounded enough in its essence to emerge as imminenetly discussion worthy.  TSE is an unremarkable-but-solid affair, which once again illustrates you just can't go wrong with Sontarans.  Of course, I haven't seen all DW epoisodes we'll see if that assertion ultimately sticks.  






Glen Oliver




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[Season / Series Seven Docbacks - MOST RECENT DOCBACK IS HIGHLIGHTED]


The Coming of Season/Series 7

Asylum of the Daleks 

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

A Town Called Mercy 

The Power of Three 

The Angels Take Manhattan 

Series 7, Part One on Blu!! 







"The Impossible Astronaut"

"Day of the Moon"

"The Curse of the Black Spot"

"The Doctor's Wife"

"The Rebel Flesh"

"The Almost People"

"A Good Man Goes To War"

"Let's Kill Hitler"

"Night Terrors"


"The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" (2011 Christmas Special)  






"An Unearthly Child" (Story #1)

"The Daleks" (Story #2)

"The Edge of Destruction" (Story #3)

"Marco Polo" (Story #4)

"The Keys of Marinus(Story #5)

"The Aztecs" (Story #6)

"The Sensorites" (Story #7)

"The Sensorites" (Story #7 - full DVD release) 

"The Reign of Terror" (Story #8)

"Planet of Giants" (Story #9) 

"Planet of Giants" (Story #9, full DVD release) 

"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (Story #10)

"The Rescue" (Story #11) 

"The Romans"  (Story #12) 

"The Web Planet" (Story #13) / SHERLOCK - "A Scandal in Belgravia" (Story #4)

"The Crusade" (Story #14) 

"The Space Museum" (Story #15) 

"The Chase" (Story #16) 

"The Time Meddler" (Story #17) 

"Galaxy 4" (Story #18) 

"Mission to the Unkonwn" (Story #19) 

"The Myth Makers" (Story #20) 

"The Gunfighters" (Story #25)

"The Tomb of the Cybermen" (Story #37)

"The Mind Robber" (Story #45)

"The Krotons" (Story #47)

"The Seeds of Death" (Story #48) 

"Spearhead from Space" (Story #51) 

"The Abassadors of Death" (Story #53)

"The Claws of Axos" (Story #57) 

"The Colony in Space" (Story #58) 

"The Daemons" (Story #59) 

"Day of the Daleks" (Story #60) + Preview of the DotD Special Edition

"The Three Doctors" (Story #65) 

"Carnival of Monsters" (Story #66) 

"Death to the Daleks" (Story #72) 

"Invasion of the Dinosaurs" (Story #71) and SHERLOCK: "The Reichenbach Fall" (Story #6) 

"The Android Invasion" (Story #83) and SHERLOCK: "The Hounds of Baskerville" (Story #5) 

"The Face of Evil" (Story #89) 

"The Robots of Death" (Story #90) 

"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Story #91)

"The Sun Makers(Story #95)

"The City of Death" (Story #105)

"Nightmare of Eden" (Story #107) 

"Kinda" (Story #118)

"Snakedance" (Story #125) 

"The Five Doctors" (Story #129) 

"The Awakening" (Story #131)

"Frontios" (Story #132)

"Resurrection of the Daleks" (Story #134) 

"The Caves of Androzani" (Story #136) 

"Vengeance on Varos" (Story #138) 

"Time and the Rani" (Story #144)

"Paradise Towers" (Story #145) + New WHOvian Documentary / Newsbits

"Dragonfire" (Story #147) 

"The Happiness Patrol" (Story #149) 

"The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" (Story #151) 

"Doctor Who: The Movie" (aka TVM) - McGann) 


Merrick's Personal Journey With The Doctor (How Merrick Got Hooked On DOCTOR WHO)

DOCTOR WHO Title Sequences & DW At Comic-Con 2011

"The Crash of the Elysium" (Manchester version - interactive DOCTOR WHO adventure)

Why Eccleston Left, Here Comes Caroline Skinner, And Season/Series Six Part 1 on Blu-Ray And DVD

New Trailer For Season/Series Six Part 2

The Companions of DOCTOR WHO + New Trailer & Artwork For Season/Series 7  

Impromptu Docback!! + Galaxy 4 'Airlock' Coming to DVD, Christmas Special 2012, And More!!

The Friday Docback Mulls The 50th...

Newslet Roundup: Children in Need 2012, Christmas Special 2012, The Angel's Kiss Auido Book, And More!! 





1) a Docback should be about completely open and free discourse regarding all things WHO with, obviously, some variation on subject matter from time to time - the real world intervenes, discussions of other shows are inevitable, etc.)... 

2) matters of SPOILAGE should be handled with thoughtful consideration and sensitivity.  Posts containing SPOILERS should clearly state that a SPOILER exists in its topic/headline and should never state the spoiler itself . "** SPOILER ** Regarding Rory" is OK, for example.  "** SPOILER ** Battle of Zarathustra" is fine as well.  " **SPOILER** Why did everyone die?"  Is NOT good.  
And, above all... 

3) converse, agree, disagree, and question as much as you want - but the freedom to do so is NOT a license to be rude, crass, disrespectful, or uncivilized in any way.  Not remaining courteous and civil, as well as TROLLING or undertaking sensational efforts to ignite controversy, will result in banning.  Lack of courtesy may receive one (1) warning before a ban is instigated.  Obvious Trolling or Spamming will result in summary banning with no warning.  One word posts intended to bump-up any Docback's figures on AICN's "Top Talkbacks" sidebar will be considered actionable Spam - they not only complicate efforts to access Docback from mobile devices, but impede readers' abilities to follow or engage in flowing conversation. 
In short, it's easy.  Be excellent to each other.  Now party on... 
Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 1, 2012, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Ouch! Sorry to hear about the accident

    by DoctorTom

    I wouldn't jump to suing, but I'd definitely have some talks with the school about picking up the cost of taking your son to the hospital.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 11:36 a.m. CST


    by Merrick

    >>>"I'd definitely have some talks with the school about picking up the cost of taking your son to the hospital." <<< I think that's more or less where we are at the moment. Although, the playground has fully exposed PVC and metal pipes sticking up...out of the ground...and jagged rocks...and parents are saying they've tried to get the school to "fix the playground"to no it feels like some broader pressure should be brought to bear (although not necessarily legally).

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Hope that...

    by ZaphodBeeblerox

    Your child is okay in the long term. Head wounds bleed like crazy because of all the blood vessels so close to the surface. Always enjoy the doc backs and all Who stuff, but that's all fantasy. Our families are our realities. Here's hoping he heals up quickly with minimal issues.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Bringing pressure

    by DoctorTom

    Merrick, one option when talking to the school if they don't seem to want to do anything is to mention that you might have OSHA look into this. I'm sure they don't want the Federal Government getting involved.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 11:44 a.m. CST


    by The Angriest Planet

    My sincere wishes for your kid to get well soon. And yes, make sure the school does answer for this in some capacity. And also...kudos for for being able to pull away from that stressful situation to sit down and type about the THE SONTAREN EXPERIMENT. It is doubtful that anyone will ever doubt your commitment to Doctor Who!

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Sontaran Experiment

    by DoctorTom

    I always liked this story, despite some of the plot holes in it. An entire invasion of a species held up just because they don't get a full report back from Styre? Sounds dodgy to me. Especially since some of the tests wouldn't matter that much in an invasion; Still, the story itself had its own charm. The Doctor getting the Sontaran to fight him one on one while Harry goes into the Sontaran ship was quite good. Sarah having to get through the pipes in The Ark in Space, Harry going into the Sontaran ship here, that's two stories in a row where the companion is responsible for doing something vital to save the day; they're not only window dressing for the Doctor to save. This was the story I first saw Sontarans in, and liked them from this story. That made Sontarans the first recurring monster that I knew of when I saw The Invasion of Time (this was well before VHS days, let alone DVDs). I will grant you that my favorite Sontaran, like Glen's is Strax. I wonder how Robert Holmes would take how his creations are being handled now. I suspect he'd be perfectly fine with it.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 11:53 a.m. CST

    With the emergency, no need to apologize

    by HornOrSilk

    Glad to hear he is on the mend

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Yow. Here's a good thought for lil' Merrick...

    by Bill C.

    ...and some hope that the school authorities involved aren't completely obtuse about all this. (doctortom is right, though: if other folks have talked to them about this to no avail, a united front AND the possibility of federal intervention might be the way to go.)

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Sontaran Experiment

    by HornOrSilk

    I think it actually progresses aspects of Who mythology -- because it really helps address and create aspects of future-history which forever after will be a part of the show (and might tie in with other stories, or cause problems with them, depending upon your interpretation of events). I do find it is a nice little story. It does what it set out to do..

  • It's in there. Heroes of Sontar I think is the perfect bridge between the Old Who and New Who take on the Sontarans. It helps explain more of their society, allowing us to understand what their cloning system is about, but also gives us hint as to the differences in the Sontarans (and why they are not identical), and does allow for their comic side in a way Old Who would otherwise not let on.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 12:07 p.m. CST

    And for the fun of it, Sontar Needs Women

    by HornOrSilk

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Safety first, no apology needed, hope your son is out of danger. . .

    by Kathryn Gail

    OSHA, yes, but I don't know about waiting on them to spearhead a response; maybe also go for a state or muni safety/health agency, local journalists/bloggers, even local realtors' or homeowners' associations with a vested interest in property values, whoever's around to help raise a ruckus and keep this from happening to anyone else. If it can harm a child, it can also harm a groundskeeper, teacher or law enforcement official so a lot of groups besides the school ought to be concerned. Education should come before a lot of things, but 'no surprise holes in the head' clearly trumps it so hopefully every taxpayer in your area will feel properly outraged. . .

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 12:23 p.m. CST

    The novelization of this story is quite good

    by DoctorTom

    Ian Marter (Harry) wrote the novelization. Since it was only a two parter he can write in a more open style, getting into descriptions better here, since he won't have to cut down on things to make the story fit into the page count. Ian Marter was definitely one of the better people they had writing novelizations. Not as prolific as Terrance Dicks, of course, but did a very good job on the books that he wrote.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Toby Haynes to direct Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

    by Kathryn Gail Don't know how many Strange/Norrell fans we've got here, but personally I've about had to put newspaper down I'm so excited.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Damn Moon!

    by Captain Howdy

    Always had a soft spot for the Sontarans, and love the way New Who has made them the ultimate expression of Little Man Syndrome. Also a great fan of the Strax clones - their humility really adds something to a usually brusque, aggressive race. I'd also like to add my best wishes, and hope your boy makes a swift recovery, Merrick.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 12:56 p.m. CST

    The 11 Doctors?

    by Captain Howdy

    Yesterday, the Blogtor Who site put up, (then quickly took down), a slew of rumours about the remainder of Series 7, the 50th Anniversary Special, and beyond. Bleeding Cool managed to make a grab for the information before it was pulled, and posted it themselves. The link below takes you to said rumours - and that's currently all they are - but there's a lot of intriguing/exciting possibilities. **POTENTIAL SPOILERS**

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Feel for you Merrick

    by veteran_of_mu

    My child ran nose-first into a piece of sheet metal on a school playground a few years ago. All fine now but it's one of those things you just want to go back in time and fix before it happened. Hope your boy feels better soon.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 2:11 p.m. CST

    11 Doctors

    by HornOrSilk

    Though would be nice, I somewhat doubt it. I also hope the "New Years Regeneration" isn't true. I would love Matt Smith to get 7 years of the Doctor, and to be the Tom Baker of New Who (companions, and also, production teams).

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Thought for Merrick/11 Doctors

    by Minque

    I am glad to hear that your son is doing better, Merrick. Children’s injuries can be very scary. You were missed yesterday. Very happy to see you back posting. With respect to suggestions to gain the school’s attention, I’m afraid OSHA will not get involved because that federal agency’s jurisdiction is limited to employment situations. If your child’s school is public, a letter to the Superintendent of Schools may get attention; if it is private, you could contact whatever state agency oversees them. In any event, a well-worded letter from an attorney does not mean you are actually going to sue, but it should trigger the school to notify its insurance carrier, which may have the desired results. @hornorsilk: I second everything you just said.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 2:26 p.m. CST

    Big Finish Doctor Who

    by HornOrSilk

    I mention them often. And sometimes I do lists of stories which are good intro BF stories. But I thought I would produce the list of my favorite BF audios -- those which I tend to listen to over and over again (in comparison to others). This is not to say these are all the good stories in the BF library, nor that everyone will agree with this list -- there are some good ones which are not here (and some dull ones which are obviously not here), but these are the ones I find myself the most likely to put on at night when I want to wind down and go to sleep. --- The Holy Terror Loups Garoux Project Twilight Seasons of Fear Neverland Spare Parts The Sandman Bang-Bang-a Boom Jubilee And the Pirates Davros Project Lazarus Arrangements for War The Harvest Caerdroia The Game Terror Firma Other Lives The Kingmaker The Bride of Peladon The Raincloud Man Company of Friends Project Destiny A Death in the Family Heroes of Sontar Protect and Survive The Zygon Who Fell to Earth Orbis Situation Vacant The Maltese Penguin Excelis Dawns Excelis Rising Sympathy for the Devil Masters of War Ringpullworld Solitaire So if you have not listened to BF before, these are to me the best, though a few are "odd" ones and a few are "continuity" bound.

  • ...especially in the first season (Series 12), with the Nerva Beacon story arc that begins w/ "The Ark in Space, and ends w/ "revenge of the Cybermen" (and of course includes "Genesis of the Daleks"... Recommend / urge / beseech you reconsider... Regards, OJ

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 3:02 p.m. CST


    by HornOrSilk

    Though you have not seen all the stories, you still might want to consider contacting BF and see if they will give you review copies of stories. Though I think it is only a slim chance, because of AIC's reach, I think there is a chance they might be willing to give you a review copy of the month's audio, allowing you to promote their work to people who might otherwise not know about it, and also, providing another avenue for the DocBacks to engage the Doctor. I really wish to see more BF discussion somewhere, and I think AIC would be a good place for it. Of course,if you don't want to (not enough time, etc) and if AIC would like me to do it, I would be willing... since I do get the monthly series (and several, but not all of the audios from other ranges).

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Best Episodes are "Blink" and "Midnight" and this is why...

    by TheDroidYouAreLookingFor

    This is why Doctor Who should always remain a TV series. Hope it stays that way. You couldn't tell a story like that have an audience "get it" enough to make enough money so that it could get sequels greenlit. Not really on topic, but just thought I'd say...

  • Didn't The Doctor mention, as he was fiddling with those gigantic bowling ball/world globe transport thingamajigs, that this was Earth after the solar flares, as in the solar flares that sent whole countries into gigantic spaceships in space as in The Beast Below. It made me wonder if there is a canonic timeline to Doctor Who after all.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Glad your son is okay! I remember my ill-kept playground...

    by tangcameo

    Back when it was all steel, used tires, and painted telephone poles. Anyone remember the rocket/lighthouse slides? Cone shaped metal structure with a ladder inside and a slide going around the outside. Mine had a window halfway up you could climb out of to get on the slide halfway down, or climb in from the slide and get on the ladder halfway up. Of course, one false move either inside or outside and the fall would snap your neck or the steel slide would crack your head open. Ah good times, good times.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 3:38 p.m. CST


    by HornOrSilk

    The solar flares probably was connected to this, but could be connected to other events as well. Yet, this is a central "point in time" for the Doctor Who universe, and New Who does reference it from time to time. As for chronological timelines, some exist on the net, like this one: Sometimes things end up being "guesswork" some chronologies will differ when those apsects are involved (ie, no clear statement of "when" a story takes place)

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 5:05 p.m. CST


    by Bad Wolff

    Yes, that was a direct call back to TSE. Who does have a canonical timeline, it's just very fungible. New Who has been better about it. After all, the 50th century and references to Time Agents have been pretty consistent.

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 6:37 p.m. CST

    sorry about your kid

    by Matthew

    not trying to be funny but reminds me of the campaign play ground

  • Dec. 1, 2012, 7:23 p.m. CST


    by HornOrSilk

  • The minisode. We have Madame Vastra being referred to as The Great Detective in Victorian times. Not Sherlock Holmes, so he apparently didn't exist as a person in the 19th century in Who-world. But, I wouldn't see a fictional Sherlock being referred to as The Great Detective if there's a real person (Madame Vastra) already going around with that name. Vastra seems to be filling up the Sherlock-sized hole in the 19th century. This is all post-Big Bang 2, with whatever else has changed in the world (especially based on other comments about things continually getting rewritten), so classic series reference to Sherlock Holmes (either as a person or as a fictional character) may not apply now. If there wasn't a Sherlock in the 19th century, though, it would open up the possibility for him to be around in the 21st century. We'll know if there's ever a crossover (most likely a Children in Need special if it happens).

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 12:16 a.m. CST

    Best wishes to your family

    by Dreamfasting

    Childhood needs to have a few bumps and cracks or we just weren't playing hard enough :) I hope he comes out of this all well and chipper.

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 12:46 a.m. CST

    Merrick, when time permits please email me about a mega-HAT ...

    by veteran_of_mu

    I've been cooking something up over the last couple of weeks about the theory and practice of Time Warfare ... wondering if it might fit into a larger context ...

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 7:24 a.m. CST

    DoctorTom, Re: Active companions

    by RenoNevada2000

    I think that there is an explanation for why we saw Sarah and Harry being more active than usual companions throughout that season. Ian Marter was hired on to be a companion at a time when they knew Pertwee was leaving, but Baker hadn't been hired yet. The thought was that they might go with an older actor to play the Doctor and so needed a younger male to handle more of the action stuff. (Think about the male companions through the first two Doctors' time.) It's possible that these scripts were first developed with that in mind as well.

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 8:15 a.m. CST

    What I like about the Sontaran Experiment .....

    by Dalius

    is that it's not just a great little story in its own right, but that it formed part of a flowing season-long story chain, the first time that Doctor who really tried this, and is probably my favourite Tom Baker season. Old-Who only tried this one more, less than successfully (imho) in Trial of a Timelord. Nu-Who has done this much more successfully. The Sontaran Experiment season proved it could be done. (The companion dynamics were also great, and Sarah-Jane's arrival at the beginning is adorably silly.)

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 10:14 a.m. CST

    @dalius - You forgot The Key to Time...

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 12:08 p.m. CST

    And there are stories which might have been whole seasons...

    by HornOrSilk

    Dalek Masterplan War Games

  • Having two step-grandsons, I definitely know the feeling, what's going on inside of you, when the bad news arrived. No, they haven't had any serious injuries, yet. But smetimes, when I and granny dearest play with them on an old schoolyard, there are some dangers for the young ones, you can not foresee every second. One is 2 1/2 year old, the other one's almost 5. So I surely get the picture, Glen. He's, for sure, in for a great christmas gift, isn't he? Wanna know a (now not so much anymore) secret? The almost 5 year old is called Luke, he has a kid brother named Lasse. But... the parents really try for a girl next year. And - You All hear it here first... and by now have guessed anyway... she'll be called Leia. No kiddin'! Yes, she'll never be a twin sister - per se. But I love the idea, that it might actually work out. Because, stepppy dearest was the one, who gave his father the idea, where the name Luke might have originated from... and it was NOT Lucky Luke. So, thumbs pressed. I want a step-granddaughter named Leia... Whoops, wrong universe, I guess... but that makes it 3 unvierses in total, doesn't it? Have a good day, fellow docbackers. And the best for your son, Glen!

  • The Ian and Barbara stuff that kicked off Hartnell's era, and the show for that matter, especially, feels very much like one long adventure, told across many smaller ones. Troughton dipped in and out of that a bit, but to my way of thinking, it really wasn't until the Pertwee era that each adventure started to become more along the lines of a series of isolated and largely self contained stories featuring a regular cast of characters, and even then there were plenty of call backs and continuations, with the likes of the DelGado Master season, or the arc of stories that cover Mike Yates fall from grace. Even when Tom Baker came along, you still had the Nova arc, the Key to Time, and the E-Space trilogy, and you could even argue the early Leela stories all felt quite connected and flowed into one another, although they were more traditionally segmented. Peter Davison had the Black Guardian trilogy, Colin Baker had Trial of a Time Lord. Even the McCoy had started to teeter around the periphery of making an arc based around Ace, and The Doctor's growing manipulations in regard to her. You could even say that the Davros stuff is one long arc told across multiple Doctor incarnations, as each tends to flow out of the last. I guess it all rather depends on your personal point of view, and just what you consider a chained together arc...

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Merrick, glad your son is going to be okay

    by Stegman84

    Nothing more to add, other than to wish you both well.

  • BTW: Kevin Lindsay is the benchmark by which all other Sontaran actors follow. His "Lynx" in the Pertwee Sontaran serial "The Time Warrior" is excellent as well

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 9:58 p.m. CST


    by DoctorTom

    to be fair, they had already fallen to being the butt of jokes (though not boob jokes) by the time they appeared in The Invasion of Time. Then again, the Time Lords did not fare much better.

  • Dec. 2, 2012, 11:53 p.m. CST


    by Mullah Omar

    I saw this not long after watching THE TIME WARRIOR and I was let down, because mentally I was comparing them the whole time. I think one of the most amazing discoveries was that the Sontaran makeup/costume actually looked *worse* in SE, even though it was shot later. It was a case of subtraction by addition, which is mind-boggling. I think Kevin Lindsay, who played the Sontarans in both episodes, was much more interesting in TTW than he was in SE. First of all he had a better costume, but second of all, it felt like he was smarter and had a more coherent agenda. I think SE is worth a look but it's certainly not a gateway episode, and I could recommend dozens of other old episodes to viewers before I'd think to mention SE. Mediocre at best, in my estimation.

  • ...I guess when you think about it, the Sontarans are superfluous aliens in the story (especially w/ the haminess of the Vardans), and pretty much could've been any other stock Who baddie...point taken!

  • Dec. 3, 2012, 9:01 a.m. CST

    not the worst start to a Monday

    by Kathryn Gail

    This morning I'm having fun watching hipstergeeks whispering that somehipstergeeksite reports that areallyobscureblogger heard from their secret inside contact that they know where to find Jenna-Louise audition comments, Moffat's first Dalek recollections and more to come in the near future. Yes it's all from a super-secret source you wouldn't know about unless you brazenly. . . just walk right into Obvious through the wide-open front gate: Hipstergeeks, I'm standing next to you in unironic clothing telling everyone I know you from middle school. . .

  • Dec. 3, 2012, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Maybe we'll get the Rutans back sometime

    by DoctorTom

    It seems strange that we're not getting the references to the Sontaran-Rutan War since the Sontarans came back in Season 4, unless you count the Gunpowder Plot game. Maybe they'll let Strax find a Rutan spy at some point...

  • Dec. 3, 2012, 6:17 p.m. CST

    doctortom -- I've thought the Rutans are probably there

    by HornOrSilk

    Just disguised as non-Rutans. Probably some UNIT soldiers are actually Rutans. And some Romans. Yes, there you have it.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 11:33 a.m. CST

    good point, Hornorsilk

    by DoctorTom

    We could have been seeing Rutans for quite some time - just about any character could have been a Rutan. If Madame Kovarian was actually a Rutan, it brings a new complexion to her comments about this interminable war. What might be interesting would be to see how Moffat would handle a war (or at least a cold war) between two shapeshifting species, say Rutans wanted to infiltrate the Zygons (maybe not the best choice since Zygons needed artifical help initially to pull this off, but I like Zygons). Would the shapeshifting species have a way of telling if it's their shapeshifters or somebody else's shapeshifters?

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 5:19 p.m. CST


    by HornOrSilk

    You know, after I wrote what I wrote above, I thought it would have been perfect if some of the Romans in S5 were Rutans and not all were Autons. Imagine the irony that the start of a war against the Doctor might have caused peace between the Rutans and Sontarans (or at least an alliance similar to what happened in WWII between the Soviet Union, the US and the UK). I do expect there would be ways they can tell each other - Rutans seem to be telepathically connected with each other, for example, so the one who isn't so connected would be the fake.

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 5:20 p.m. CST

    Now if Madame Kovarian is a Rutan

    by HornOrSilk

    That would add more depth to Commander Strax's character...

  • Dec. 4, 2012, 11:43 p.m. CST


    by Kathryn Gail

    Well there have been a lot of power fluctuations we've been left to make assumptions about, but we don't KNOW that they're not at least partly caused by Rutans, or even that the point is to dim the lights simply to impair vision. (I thought the Rutans glowed a bit now and again even when really concentrating on holding another form? And needed electrical power to keep it up? Or am I remembering this wrong. . . OH NO, I'll have to watch Horror of Fang Rock again, MY LIFE OF HARDSHIP. . . )

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 10:25 a.m. CST

    patrickstewartsaweverything - good point!

    by DoctorTom

    I hadn't thought about the power fluctuations in conjunction with the Rutans until you mentioned it. They probably aren't responsible for most of them, but they could always explain one or two being caused by them. If a Rutan took the form of a Silent, would he have the same abilities of posthypnotic suggestion and to suck in electricity and let it out?

  • No word on when we'll actually get the trailer, or what release it'll be attached to, let alone any extended details on the actual dvd release of the story. But we now know once and for all that it is coming next year. More Troughton on dvd! Yay! Makes me think that the whispers I heard a long while back that 2E have been animating un-announced releases on the QT (Ice Warriors, Tenth Planet, and at least one other) after being very happy with the early results on Reign of Terror, and that that is why the Reign of Terror release ended up so delayed to begin with. We'll see I guess. But here's hoping anyway. Be disappointing if the two missing Ice Warriors episodes weren't animated. Should have confirmation on that at least over the next couple of days, now that the cat is officially out of the bag. If it is animated though, then I think that pretty much confirms that we'll eventually see Hartnell's The Tenth Planet and The Crusade, and Troughton's The Moonbase and The Underwater Menace given the same treatment at some point, as all of those fit within the 'two animated episodes' budgetary limit. Hopefully the 50th will be very nice to us classic Who fans.

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST

    You know, I heard something a couple of months back...

    by Childs

    I didn't pay it any attention at the time, just sounded like the usual fan wish fulfillment bollocks, but there was a rumour going around that there was a push made to BBC Worldwide for a major Doctor Who Restoration Project (for want of a better term) of missing episodes, on the strength of the work done for the upcoming Reign of Terror release. Now I don't know if that is true (probably not), or even if so, who the players involved were, what the extent of such a project would actually cover, or what the response actually was to said proposal even if it there were talks, but wouldn't an announcement like that be amazing for the 50th Anniversary? Especially as we have audio for all of those missing stories, and telesnaps for a great many of them. It would also give a significant additional lifecycle of the dvd range, not to mention giving the BBC something of broadcast quality that they could then syndicate and on-sell with regards to the first two Doctors, in the same way they currently do with the other incarnations. Not counting the upcoming Ice Warriors (which we don't yet know for sure yet as to how the missing episodes will be handled), or the already animated Invasion and Reign of Terror, there are still twenty four stories that are either incomplete, or completely missing. Eleven Hartnell, and Thirteen Troughton. Five or six of those done a year, easiest and most complete ones first (as they build up an animation database of character models, backgrounds, etc, that could be re-used for budgetary savings on later releases), peppered with the current plan of a few upgraded SE re-releases a year to help sustain revenue between releases, and fill the schedule gaps, and it could be a hell of a thing, if it were to happen. And now that everything else has been done, or is currently being completed, you would then have a line that could, if supported, go for another four or five years in total. And you've gotta think that 2E (or whatever they are calling themselves now) have to have some plan up their sleeves, given that they got their license extended beyond the end of 2013 a while ago, despite the fact that, as far as we know, everything unreleased should be out by then. But no new content, just a few scattered SE releases, and the Who range is probably pretty dead in the water once the last unreleased story hits shiny disc, and you'd think everyone involved would have to know that. Look, I'm sure that probably isn't going to actually happen, I'm just spitballing here, and the best that we can possibly hope for is likely to be Ice Warriors, Tenth Planet, Crusade, Underwater Menace, and Moonbase, if we're very lucky, as they all conceivably fit within the budgetary parameters we have been given, but right now, before such fantasies are dashed forever by a cold hard dose of reality, it's a nice dream to have, especially with the 50th Anniversary wildcard still in play, and nothing extra surprising or special yet announced for the dvd range next year. Thinking about the upcoming Ice Warriors release, and how it just kind of appeared on the radar out of the blue, rather than being announced officially in any capacity before now, I guess I was just reminded of that rumour I heard those months back, and so my own personal, and no doubt completely incorrect, Half Assed Theory sprung to life. Based on everything we know and have been told thus far, it won't happen. Be nice though, wouldn't it?

  • Dec. 5, 2012, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Childs: Rumored releases within the next year or two

    by HornOrSilk

    1. The Moonbase with missing eps animated 2. The Underwater Menace with missing eps animated 3. The Tenth Planet with ep 4 animated 4. The Ice Warriors with missing eps animated.

  • Dec. 6, 2012, 1:35 p.m. CST

    I've listened to Love and War

    by DoctorTom

    Big Finish's adaptation of the first Doctor Who novel with Befnice Summerfield (has it already been 20 years? Wow.) It's quite good. Jac Rayner did a good job adapting Paul Cornell's novel (she has done well adapting novels to Benny audios - Big Finish's first release, Oh No It Isn't, is one of my favorite releases from BF. It would be even without Nick Courtney playing the role of Wolsey the cat.