The Friday Docback: DOCTOR WHO Executive Producer Caroline Skinner Departing Show, Official 50th Anniversary Stamps Orderable, 'Axos' Figures, HornOrSilk Reviews 'Seasons of Fear' Big Finnish Audio, And More!!
...with a brief Docback this week, compromised in no small part by an unholy collision of SXSW, Spring Break, and a critical project deadline. Next week should be back to normal, and we’ll be one step closer to Season/Series 7’s return on March 30. Nonetheless, here are a few very cool and important tidbits from the WHOverse...
(UPDATED 16 MARCH 2013) - A NEW SEASON/SERIES 7 TRAILER & POSTERS!!
Like previous promos, this piece seems to play up the 'Who/What is Clara?' angle quite a bit...it's becoming quite evident that this conceit will be a major through-line in the remainder of S7, and possibly beyond.
I've developed a probably inane theory that the 'Who/What is Clara?' angle may well tie in to the current series' now-iconic "Doctor WHO?" question...perhaps she's a yet-to-happen version of him?...but this may be stretching matters way too far.
In keeping with the series' recent penchant for movie-style posters pimping its episodes, several new pieces of promo-art have been issued as well.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CAROLINE SKINNER DEPARTING DOCTOR WHO
Seems like she only recently arrived (although she has been with the show since 2011's The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe), but now she’s off to join BBC Drama Production in London.
Via THIS release from BBC...
Caroline Skinner says: "It has been an honour to have been a part of Doctor Who, and a privilege to have worked with Steven Moffat and Matt Smith on this extraordinary show. I have hugely enjoyed my time in BBC Wales and would like to thank Faith Penhale, and our wonderful production team for their unending commitment and brilliance. I will miss them all enormously, but I'm leaving Doctor Who in fine form, with the new series starting at Easter and the fantastic plans for the 50th Anniversary already underway. I am delighted to be now returning to BBC Drama Production in London as an executive producer, and the new opportunities and projects that will bring."
The aforementioned Faith Penhale will slide into Caro’s spot for the time being, with a new EP being sought for upcoming Season/Series of episodes.
THOSE AWESOME ROYAL MAIL DOCTOR WHO 50th ANNIVERSARY STAMPS CAN NOW BE ORDERED!!
We teased ‘em previously, but now they can officially be gotten HERE!
I liked that part where the Royal Mail’s site triggered the security on my Wells Fargo card, prompting said card to be frozen (had to call ‘em and unlock it). Nonetheless, I ultimately managed to get an order in, thanks to a good friend in London!
BTW: note THIS smaller set of stamps - many people don’t seem to be tracking that they exist, which makes ‘em a little more special (potentially?)
A huge THANK YOU to the many folks who wrote in offering to help me snag a set - your thoughts and kindness are very, very much appreciated. Sincerely.
CHECK OUT THIS CLAWS OF AXOS FIGURE SET
This comes to us via Articulation Times and look pretty nice.
BUT, what I wanna know is, where’s the spaghetti guy?!?!?
That’s a figure I really wanna see done well. Rather, as well as something...like that...could actually be done. One version has already been released in conjunction with a Master figure - but there's a LOT of room for improvement on that one...
HERE’S HE BFI’S TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN PANEL, AND IT’S COOL
BFI continued its series of “Classic WHO” episode-specific presentations recently, and have now brought the resulting panel/discussions on-line via the embed below. Very interesting stuff. By no means a substitute for being there, but highly recommended for the hige number of WHOvians who could not attend.
I love that they’re posting these panels...look for more in the very near future.
DOCBACKER HORNORSILK REVIEWS THE SEASONS OF FEAR BIG FINISH AUDIO!!
As always, HornOrSilk’s efforts are invaluable and appreciated beyond measure...
Big Finish 30 – Seasons of Fear
Written by Paul Cornell and Caroline Symcox
Since this is an older story, there will be spoilers in this review. If you have not listened to this audio and do not wish to be spoiled, I will put a warning as to when to stop reading this review. But it is difficult to review this story without dealing with the spoiler which make this audio so good.
And that is what this is: a very enjoyable Doctor Who story. It works as a great introduction to the Eighth Doctor. Even if one has not listened to any other audio of his, one should be able to follow along. There will be nuances which are lost, but they are not needed in order to enjoy this romp. Yet, it is helpful to know that the Doctor saved his companion, Charley, from certain death. She was supposed to die with the crash of the airship R101 and yet the Doctor saved her, causing problems with “the web of time.”
What makes this story special is that it takes the conceit behind Doctor Who, that the Doctor can go through time, seriously. We get a story which takes place in several eras. We get several smaller historically-based stories which merge together to one overall arc. We see, with the arc, that there is a major threat going on, with the possibility that the whole of time and space has been over-written by the Doctor’s unknown adversaries. They have become the new Lords of Time, at least in the way things look like they have gone. The stakes are so high that if the villains are victorious, it’s not just the Doctor, but his people, and the way the universe works, which will lose out.
So, what is it about? In this story, the Doctor takes his companion, Charley, to a rendezvous she was planning to have before she met the Doctor. It was to take place in Singapore, where she would meet up with her friend, Alex. It is somewhat a date she set up, and the Doctor decides to help her keep it. When she is off with Alex, the Doctor runs into one of Alex’s relatives, Sebastian Grayle, who comes at the Doctor gloating. Sebastian says that he has killed the Doctor and given the earth, and the whole of time and space, to his “masters,” making them the Lords of Time.
Who exactly is Sebastian Grayle? The Doctor, obviously, does not know. But as he investigates the situation, the clues point out to ancient Rome, and followers of Mithra. What does Grayle and his masters have to do with Mithra? What is their long-term strategy and plan? Can the Doctor change the sequence of events so he doesn’t really die?
This is a very, fast-paced romp. The Doctor and Charley are excellently portrayed here. And we see elements that we would see in the 2005 revival of Doctor Who happening here. The Doctor is shown, for example, having to avoid the advances of women. In this story, we see that the wife of Edward the Confessor had previously tried to ensnare the Doctor into marriage, and is upset at him for his rejection of her proposal. She is willing to make the Doctor suffer for this, and yet, unlike in the televised story with Queen Elizabeth, this backstory is taken seriously, and she is shown to be crafty and willing to use her anger with the Doctor for her own benefit.
The twist and turns in history, even if one of the twists is cliché, are enjoyable. It’s nice to see history used this way. It’s not pure history, but there is more history going on than we see in historically based alien invasions which we normally see in new Who. And, religion is taken seriously. We find a unique twist with the Mithra myth. It’s smart. It works.
There is, to be sure, an element of an over-arcing storyline found in this story. First, the Doctor is recounting the events to someone else (an unusual thing for a Big Finish audio). Secondly, the end of the story has a strange person appear, someone who is only later explained in the series. These two aspects of the story-arc do not detract from enjoyment from the story (and I think they do cause interest so that one listening to the adventure for the first time will want to know what happens next).
Now, this is not a perfect story, but it is quite fun, and I give it a 9/10. However, there is more.
------> SPOILER <------
Grayle’s masters are the Nimon. And Sebastian Grayle is front and center at a “time war” where his fight with the Doctor will allow him to give the Nimon authority over time and space if he succeeds. Now, looking back, we can see this as a minor “time war” in a series of wars which eventually end with the great Dalek/Time Lord War. It fits quite well in the history of “New Who” without trying to force its way in such a position. It bridges classic Who and New Who perfectly. At least, to me.
And what is remarkable is that the Nimon are made into a real threat with this story, turning what was an otherwise unremarkable Doctor Who villain into one which has great potential, even now, for the show. I would love to see the Nimon try to take control of the universe on this grand a scale again. And this is what really elevates the story. It is able to make a lesser villain into something quite interesting.
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