Wed, 21 January 2015
In this episode, Shana and Daniel discuss "The Moonbase," the value of a more hard-SF approach to Doctor Who, and the feminist implications of getting coffee. Also, organic solvents as the tools of revolution! First, though, a discussion of "Clara Who" in New Who Series 8.
Main Topic: The Moonbase. "The whole killer virus and Jamie and there's a gravitron...." A new microphone. "War-Doctoring" as a verb. Laughing at "international cast." Talking about "Clara Who," misogyny, and the difference between opinion and criticism. Shana is the first person in Doctor Who podcast history to call The Dominators "really good." Troughton as the lovable goofball. Comparing Troughton and Smith. Kit Peddler. Benoit. Historical context. The look of "The Moonbase." Not talking about the Daleks. Jamie and the Piper. "A little hiking-booty." What did Ben do in this episode? Love for the base commander. The birth of base under siege. "The Moonbase" as revenge story? Shana loves Polly. Sixties sexism in Polly's writing. An extended conversation of acetone and "nail varnish." Comparing Polly and Clara. Fashion and Polly. The token black guy. Sociopolitical Who. The moment where The Doctor becomes "The Doctor." Troughton's haircut. Daniel's favorite bit of the animation. Next week: "The Enemy of the World."
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Direct download: OiSp_Ep035_Hard_Science_Fiction_and_Soft_Feminism_The_Moonbase.mp3
Category:Second Doctor -- posted at: 10:00am EDT
Wed, 14 January 2015
In this episode, Shana and Daniel discuss "The War Machines," one of the last First Doctor adventures, and one that would have huge effects on the series for years to come. Does this story encourage technophobia? How does Doctor Who's popularity young people influence the way Hartnell interacts with Ben and Polly, and the Sixties subculture? How much of a raw deal did Dodo get? This episode is most certainly required.
Main Topic: The War Machines. Daniel invokes Christ. Would the War Machines ever take over for the Daleks? The running motif of cardboard boxes. Creature design. Hartnell's last great performance. Talkin' about Dodo. The GPO Tower. Blue Peter. Shana thinks Polly is super cute. A commercial moment. Can this episode by more 1966? Promiscuous Polly. Hartnell in the Inferno club. Talkin' about Ben. Technophobia. Educational Who. The young listen to the Doctor. Posh Polly. The later careers of lesser-known Doctor Who companions. Science fiction's general failure to predict the computer revolution. Television a much more effective propaganda tool than the GPO. If you ever need a device to crush cardboard boxes.... Shana has a meta moment. Shooting in London. Shana is excited to possibly get to watch The Web Planet. "Doctor Who is Required." How does WOTAN know about the Doctor? A fan theory. The Doctor stands against the War Machine. The Doctor's response to his companions. Excited to move on to Patrick Troughton. Next Week: The Moonbase. Wrapping Up. Coda: Shana sees The Web Planet costumes in another take.
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Direct download: OiSp_Ep034_Fab_First_Doctor_in_the_Swingin_Sixties.mp3
Category:First Doctor -- posted at: 10:00am EDT
Wed, 7 January 2015
An epic Doctor Who episode deserves an epic celebration of it. Yes, a celebration. Shana and Daniel have a long and lively conversation about the (arguably) longest single story in Doctor Who history: The Daleks' Master Plan, with Mission to the Unknown as prequel. Along the way, we see some excellent (and not-so-excellent) costume design, the gaining of (and loss of) some important companions, some very silly science, a pair of amazing performances from Kevin Stoney as Mavic Chen and of course William Hartnell as the Doctor, the welcome return of the Meddling Monk, and of course Daleks with fucking flamethrowers for arms. Our main topic of discussion: the culpability of the Doctor in the risks taken by his companions, a topic that the current era of the show tries (and fails) to address as well as it's done here.
Main Topic: Mission to the Unknown/The Daleks' Master Plan.
Segment One: To 34:35. General Thoughts. Getting Used to Reconstructions/Animations. Why Don't People Like Master Plan? The Monk Returns. A Batman/Joker dynamic. Recurring characters as plot devices. Describing "The Feast of Steven" and "Volcano." Doctor Who Christmas episodes. We Hope No Who Nerds Listen To This Podcast. The Daleks as Nazi/communist metaphors. Mission to the Unknown as Verity's last episode. A major period of transition. Proto-Brig! The Relationship between Bret Vyon and Sara Kingdom. Shana has completely forgotten Steven. "Steven sits on the floor in a daze." Looking at Mission to the Unknown: The Varga Plants. The hypothetical Terry Nation Dalek show. Fluffy Hartnell.
Intermission: Mavic Chen plays politics with some Daleks.
Segment Two: 34:35 to 53:10 Mavic Chen, the racism and the genius. Terry Nation doesn't know what a galaxy is. Officious Daleks. "Dalek Supreme and the Football Hooligans." The Doctor pits different enemies against one another. The Daleks as more than "tank aliens." What does Shana think of Katarina? Taking death seriously. Did Katarina sacrifice herself intentionally? Steven as moral center and audience avatar.
Intermission: Katrina's death, from the excellent audio version.
Segment Three: 53:10 to end. The Death of Bret Vyon, and Steven's great moment. The police state of Daleks' Master Plan. "Doctor Who is a kid's show." Daleks with fucking flamethrowers. Diluting the serious. Very attractive young Jon Pertwee. The legacy of Sara Kingdom. Before Terry Nation became a hack. Shana voluntarily watches a reconstruction. Hartnell's voice. Just, Hartnell's voice. A plug for the audiobook. What do we think of the Monk? A litany of man-thigh. The ancient Egyptians as pawns in this story. "My Doctor is a hero, not a clown." Ending the epic. Recounting episodes eleven and twelve. The mechanics of the Time Destructor. The Death of Sara Kingdom. "So much scarier than the Angels." What does war get us? Death. Jessica's gonna laugh. Hartnell allows each companion to be the best version of themselves. The moral culpability of the Doctor. The ethics of war. The agency of a follower. Doctor Who inspires amazing conversations. Big Ideas. A return to this kind of Dalek. Wrapping up.
Ending: The final words of the episode, as Steven and the Doctor reflect on the loss of their friends.
Amazon link to the audio play version of Mission to the Unknown/The Daleks' Master Plan. Highly recommended!
Further Reading (I.E. stuff Daniel found useful in understanding this story and talking about it):
Wood and Miles's About Time, Volume One. An excellent resource for the first three seasons of Classic Who.
Phil Sandifer writes a love letter to Verity Lambert and discusses some of the history behind Mission to the Unknown. And writes the best general-consumption "way to watch "The Daleks' Master Plan" Daniel has yet seen.
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Direct download: OiSp_Ep033_Missing_Episodes_and_Moral_Culpability_Mission_to_the_Unknown-The_Daleks_Master_Plan.mp3
Category:First Doctor -- posted at: 10:00am EDT