…with a Docback to get us prepped for the coming of DOCTOR WHO Season/Series 8. I’ll offer my wholly SPOILER FREE impressions - in very, very broad strokes - of four of the five Season/Series 8 scripts which leaked this week, and the awesome HornOrSilk is back with a look at the Last of the Colophon Big finish Audio.
SANJEEV BHASKAR TO APPEAR IN DOCTOR WHO S8
Per THIS release at BBC:
Popular comedian, actor, and broadcaster Sanjeev Bhaskar is to join the cast of Doctor Who when the series returns to BBC One on 23 August.
SINCE OUR LAST DOCBACK…
This hit over a major Holiday weekend in the US (the 4th of July). We posted about it already here on AICN, but in case it got overlooked in the madness of Independence Day, here’s a new tease for the upcoming Series/Season.
A NEW IMAGE FROM DEEP BREATH, THE OPENING EPISODE OF DOCTOR WHO S8.
This comes to us via Entertainment Weekly.
We’ve previously seen Capaldi’s officially announced costume for S8 - so it’s no spoiler that the garb he’s in above is not his actual ‘Doctor’s outfit.’ However, now that I see this shot, I kinda wish it was. The Tramp Doctor…The Hobo Doctor…
HORNORSILK REVIEWS THE LAST OF THE COLOPHON BIG FINISH AUDIO
Fourth Doctor Adventures 3.05 Last of the Colophon
Written By: Jonathan Morris
There is certainly something to this story which does connect with early Tom Baker adventures: it borrows elements from two classical monster tales, and bring them together with a sci-fi twist, the two stories being The Mummy and The Invisible Man. This is prime territory for Doctor Who, especially for pre-Williams Doctor Who. We have had mummies before, of course, and even invisible monsters, but the two work together because the Invisible Man, in a way, becomes his own mummy when he wraps himself up in the classic movie, and this, knowingly or nor, is extended here.
The Doctor and Leela land on the planet Colophos, looking for a holiday, when they find themselves interacting with the crew of the Oligarch. The crew initially who mistrust the Doctor and Leela and yet are willing to use them to help explore what should be a dead city giving transmissions indicating life. The city is on a dead planet, the relic of a civilization long gone. The Doctor and his new companions enter the city, and find the last living habitant within, Morax, who is apparently trapped by his robotic nurse, and severely hurt from what had destroyed the rest of the life on the planet a long time before. He is blind, bandaged, but brilliant – he was a scientist who discovered he cure for the plague which destroyed his people, saving himself, but he did not save the rest for reasons of his own making (which all are delineated within the tale).
There is an element of him being trapped in a tomb, with the nurse as the one who protects the tomb from disturbance, just as you find in a mummy story. And like many mummies, Morax is trapped inside, wanting revenge. Yet, unlike most versions of the mummy, he remains intelligent, indeed, his scientific skills are still with him and in use. They just cannot be used to escape his prison.
The Doctor does not trust Morax, and of course, he is right not to. He is a mad scientist, after all, and he is clearly trying to deceive the Doctor. In the end, Morax forces the Doctor and the crew of the Oligarch to try to free him. Morax keeps Leela with him to make sure the Doctor does as he says he would do. Leela, in this instance, shows her cunning nature, and though “primitive” she is bright. Morax proves to be a villain. Though blind, he is not limited by that blindness, and when unwrapped, turns out to be invisible, and he thinks he has an advantage over Leela as she begins to fight him. There is a battle of wits in which Leela is shown to have the skills to take on Morax, even if it ends up being a stalemate in their initial encounter.
How will the Doctor free Leela from Morax and make sure the crew of the Oligarch is kept safe? Can he do it, or will he fail?
The strength of the story is the strength of the story of the Invisible Man. The weakness is that the story is extremely limited in scope. This could easily have been a two-cd tale, with the second cd having Morax on another world, full of people, doing all kinds of evil mischief. As it is, though Leela and him have a nice little battle of wits, it would be more interesting to see his potential used on another world, to see the kind of menace he could be. The ending could have been similar, but there would be more of the Invisible Man, where he could be seen from what he has done more than where he is: food gone missing, equipment being used, people being harassed and the like.
This not only would have let this story come to its full potential, it could have added some more light, comic elements, the kind seen in the Invisible Man. As it is, this is a fine story, but not great, with Tom Baker, Louise Jameson and Gareth Thomas (playing Morax) all shining. The witty retorts between the Doctor and Morax and Leela with Morax are the highlights of the story. The crew of the Oligarch and Morax’s robotic nurse are not so exciting; if they had been worked out better, it would have added the extra-oomph this story is missing. Nonetheless, this works better as one cd than many of the Fourth Doctor adventures; while it feels limited, and so somewhat disappointing for this reason like many of this range, it is not as much as others, probably because of the banter.
All in all 7/10.
A FEW THOUGHTS ON THOSE LEAKED SCRIPTS
As you now doubt know by now, five scripts from the upcoming 13 episode Season/Series of DOCTOR WHO leaked this week. They are “post production” scripts - presumably used to generate subtitles, dub episodes into non-English languages, accommodate voice work, and whatnot. Which means: what’s in these script is pretty much what will make it to screen. The scripts were (inadvertently?) posted to a BBC WorldWide server here in the States - and nabbed by observant fans before they could be removed. Nabbed…and, of course…distributed across the Internets.
This occurrence will, undoubtedly, generate all manner of blowback for people like me as S8 approaches. I may or may not have more to say about this as the situation develops…
Now, about the scripts.
I did indeed read them - four of them, at least (running behind on the fifth). Here are a few, initial takeaway impressions. It’s not my intention to spoil anything here - not in any way. Just conveying a few off-the-cuff vibes of what’s in store for us when the show arrives August 23.
** The Doctor is not Malcolm Tucker. He is not as flamboyantly jerky or aggressive as Malcolm Tucker. He does, however, have a bitchy side, which often presents itself though what I call ‘double take’ lines: the kind f dialogue you might need to hear or see twice or three times in order to confirm he really ‘just said that.’ He bites in a manner akin to, say, a sly in-law who demeans so skillfully you often don’t notice you’re being knocked down when it’s happening. He is very much a Doctor.
1) Look for some overall DOCTOR WHO mythology to be significantly expanded. In two ways, off the top of my head. At first I was reticent for them to head in these directions, as doing so oh-so-gently ruffles our perception of WHOness as we’ve known it. Then, I started thinking about the dynamics at play for the last 50 years. For five decades, “Subject X and X2” (we’ll call them) have been presented vaguely and almost coyly - and I can easily see a production discussion to the effect of, “If we don’t address these matters eventually, Subject X and X2 will begin to feel unjustified - one note - or wear a little thinner than they need to. We might want to consider shoring up the fort, so to speak…” These are not MASSIVE changes to mythos, or anything. More like shaping what’s already there - providing some glue for existing pieces, in order to allow drama to play more fully.
2) As directed by Ben Wheatley (KILL LIST, A FIELD IN ENGLAND), “Deep Breath” (S8’s opening episode) could be a bit disturbing and deranged - in ways I can’t recall encountering in DOCTOR WHO before. In a way which transcends “monster of the week” goodness.
3) No “Jack the Ripper.”
4) In terms of “mattering” in the bigger picture: Episodes 1 (“Deep Breath”) and 2 (“Inside the Dalek”) are significant. Episode 3 (“The Robots of Sherwood”) is a bit of a throwaway at face value, although there are many wonderful and charming moves by scripter Mark Gatiss. However, there is about a minute long exchange which begins the process mentioned in Point #1. A bit out of the blue, but angled elegantly, effortlessly, and smartly. Episode 4 - “Listen” (by Moffat) is quite interesting: it seems a bit floppy in its early stages, but rallies for a deliciously SF and headfucking reveal, and then slam-dunks one of Point #1’s mythological enhancements in a very affecting way. Many metaphors and much symbolism in this one.
5) In general, the scripts seem to feel a touch more ‘adult’ than many might expect. In no way does this suggest the fun is stripped from DOCTOR WHO. In fact, I laughed out loud on a number of occasions - whether because of ‘zinger’ lines, or a particularly cool moment. I’m merely saying that - on paper at least - there’s a detectable shift in depth and thematics in these scripts. How this translates to screen is, clearly, still to be determined.
6) Does the show feel ‘renewed’ or ‘more fresh’? Yes - it’s there on paper. Again, direction and editing and scoring will ultimately determine how the written word is ultimately presented. We must remember, scripts alone aren’t the only part of the DOCTOR WHO “vibe” or engine.
AM I SORRY I READ THESE SCRIPTS? Not at all. In fact, and I said this directly to a BBC America operative a day or two ago, instead of feeling ‘spoiled’ I now feel more stoked for DOCTOR WHO Season/Series 8 than ever. Many other folks I know who’ve read the scripts have travelled the same arc. We aren’t lamenting what we’ve learned. Instead, now that we understand what we’re going to get, we’re more excited to see how it plays out than we ever were before. Which points to:
I’ve professed here before, and still strongly believe, that the ‘mystery’ built up around DOCTOR WHO and shows like it is often not in the best interest of the productions. There’s a very real danger in letting fans ‘imagine’ what might be - because many fans don’t understand the complexities of making movies or TV shows, and then bring unrealistic expectations and hopes to proceedings. Hopes and expectations which could never be matched due to production or narrative practicalities, and thus disappointment or malaise sets in. Also, a drought of information compels the acquisition of the information. Paradoxically, too much secrecy actually fuels the crises productions are trying to avoid by installing such secrecy.
The way to defeat this phenomenon? Greater openness. People are FAR less compelled to grab spy photos and leak inside knowledge if enough ‘sanctioned’ information is out there to satiate public curiosity. Being told time and time again to ‘wait and see’ is a bit coy and territorial and possessive, while fans…by the very nature of fandom itself…generally yearn to be more involved and included and ‘in the know.’
To be clear, I’m NOT, in any way, shape, or form condoning the distribution of these scripts. Nor am I attempting to ‘blame the victim.’ I’m merely stating that their spread was a predictable outcome and logical byproduct given how tightly DW’s hatches have been battened down. The potential negative impact of their leak might’ve been substantially lessened with greater transparency into the production all along.
I’m told the team behind Abrams’ STAR WARS EPISODE VII will bring forth such ‘transparency’ as that film progresses. My understanding is that BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE will also employ a similar tactic (specifically, releasing certain details or character designs/costume photos to pre-empt crappy video or photo leaks which could present the wrong initial impression). We’ll see how their approach works out - I’m betting that the more ‘official knowledge’ is bestowed, the less ‘spy photos’ and desperate, speculative reporting occurs.
DOCTOR WHO Season/Series 8 begins transmitting August 23.
DOCBACK CODE OF CONDUCT
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) 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.