Doctor Who Serial 080 – Terror of the Zygons

A bit of housekeeping. I’m not liking how these are turning out so much. Instead of writing them after I’ve finished watching the serial, I’m going to write a bit after each part, but keep it in one blog post per serial. I do want to put screencaps back in, but how I’m watching has changed, and it’s not very good for that. I used to pop the DVD into my computer, watch in VLC and used the command key combination to take a screencap. Now I’ve digitized my DVDs and store them in Plex, so I’m watching through Plex Media Player on my computer or the app on my Apple TV. So there’s no quick and easy way to grab a screencap.

Now that that’s out of the way… Let’s begin lucky season 13. The Zygons are here! They were in the 50th Anniversary episode, which is what made me start this project, so this might be a romp. This is their debut in Doctor Who.

Part One

Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart calls the Doctor back to the UK. Oil rigs in Scotland are being destroyed with no survivors. The Doctor downplays Brig’s concerns, but agrees to investigate.

Harry finds a man on the beach who warns him, but is shot at by a sniper. Harry gets grazed by a bullet. Is this why Harry leaves? Does he get spooked by being shot at and decides not to continue travelling with the Doctor?

Oooh! Creepy nurse lady is taking care of Harry. She’s super-creepy. Since I know Zygons are shape-shifters, I’m going to guess that she’s a Zygon! The cliffhanger was great, a Zygon is attacking Sarah. What I love most about it is that the Zygon looks absolutely horrible.

Part Two

What of the Zygons? Terror? Terror indeed. Terror of the terrible makeup. Terror of the makeup artists who can’t even be bothered to glue the latex mask to the actor’s face. Terror of boredom? Terror indeed.

Part Three

That dinosaur is quality SFX. Doctor Who is shelling out the big bucks! That was sarcasm. I called it! The nurse was a Zygon! Her morph from nurse to Zygon was perhaps even better than the dinosaur, which we’ve now found out is Nessy, the Lochness Monster.

So, let me get this straight. The Zygon have been living in Lochness for hundreds of years. They occasionally send the cybernetic Nessy out for a stroll. Now with some oil drilling, they’re getting upset, so they’re using Nessy to attack the platforms and kill all the oil staff? That’s… ridiculous.

Sarah found a secret door in the Duke of Forgill’s library. I’m guessing it’s going to lead to the Zygon base. I’m right! I’m brilliant! “The girl1 must be found and destroyed.” Oh, she found Harry Sullivan. Wasn’t sure it was really him, but he called her an “old girl,” so it must be him.2 The Zygon’s captured The Doctor! The Brig is firing artillery at their underwater ship. The Zygons are taking off… doesn’t the Duke care, they’re going to flood his house!

Wait. Them leaving is the cliffhanger? That’s not a steep cliff.

Part Four

Oh, I guess the cliffhanger is that The Doctor is on the ship. Okay, this is the first time I’m thinking that Harry is an idiot. Sarah is clueing things together, and he just brushes it off and convinces her to leave their investigation. Why do all Doctor Who aliens whisper everything and talk very slowly?

Oh, so the Zygons are refugees and wish to terraform Earth to resemble Zygonia or whatever they call their planet.

Oh no! The Doctor is dead! I bet he’s not dead. Yup, he was just playing dead, oh silly Doctor.

So the Doctor frees the Human captives, and blows up the ship, but doesn’t care about them being refugees?

  1. She’s a woman. []
  2. Facepalm []

Doctor Who Serial 079 – Revenge of the Cybermen

Why is the Doctor so mean to Harry? Shouting out that Harry Sullivan is an idiot, while funny, was cruel. I honestly didn’t think anything Harry did was worth of that outcry. Harry was only trying to help, even if he got into some more danger than expected.

Any way, “Revenge of the Cybermen” wasn’t great. It really shouldn’t have ended the season. The plot was messy and disjointed.

1 Tom Baker season down, 6 to go.

Doctor Who Serial 078 – Genesis of the Daleks

This might be the best Doctor Who serial yet.

The Doctor is sent to Skaro by the Time Lords. His mission is to stop the development of the Daleks. The Thals and the Kaleds have been warring for thousands of years. The Kaleds are led by their chief scientist, Davros. Seeing that the Kaleds were changing into mutants needed a mobility device. He plans to use this mobility device to be a weapon of mass-destruction, and with genetic modification, remove all emotions from the Kaleds except hate. They will be the ultimate killing machine… THE DALEKS!

The episode was rivotting. It was fun. It was everything television should be, and that Doctor Who so rarely is. This is why I’m doing this!

MySpace

A friend of mine pointed me to a podcast that was doing an episode about MySpace pages. She wanted me to submit to them about my MySpace. They never contacted me, so I thought I’d post it here.

I was never a fan of MySpace, and I refused to have a MySpace page for the longest time. I enjoy good design and MySpace was the opposite of that.

That all changed one day when I was out record shopping and found a 7″ record from Canada’s 1979 federal election.

To give you some context, Pierre Trudeau had been prime minister since 1968. Joe Clark was the leader of the now-defunct Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition (basically, the largest party in Parliament who is not forming government).

Clark would go on to win the 1979 election, and only a few months later lose the confidence of the House of Commons, thus causing a snap election, which Pierre Trudeau and the Liberals would go on to win.

During the 1979 election, the PCs had a campaign song called “Let’s Get Canada Working Again” which was printed on 7″ vinyl for some odd reason.

Link on Google Drive

I found this record in my local record shop and as a huge history nerd was excited. I took it home, listened to it, laughed at how bad it was and decided now was my time to enter MySpace.

I created a MySpace account for a new band. I called them… Joe Clark and the Progressive Conservatives. Sure, not the most exciting band name, but it worked. It asked for names of the band members, so I put in all of Clark’s cabinet ministers. I’m sure we can all imagine that Flora MacDonald was obviously shredding on guitar.

I uploaded the songs.

I didn’t tell anyone I knew that I had created this account. But I decided I needed to have my top 8 friends. So who did I choose? Well obviously bands I knew and loved. It had to be Canadian bands. I think I put in Neil Young, Sloan, Leonard Cohen, and some indie bands like The Meligrove Band. I never knew if anyone actually found the page.

Fast forward to 2018, The Meligrove Band were about to release their best record onto vinyl for the first time. They decided to do a reunion/farewell show that they had never done. Toronto’s free weekly, Now Magazine, did a piece on them. 

Link to Now Magazine piece

Once we got added by a band called Joe Clark and the Progressive Conservatives. I went to their profile and it was just the music player full of the actual jingles from Joe Clark’s winning 1979 election campaign. I figured it was a young prankster from either the CBC archives or a fictional Tory youth group. Either way, those songs were awful.

I guess someone did find the page.

Doctor Who Serial 077 – The Sontaran Experiment

I kinda wish all of classic Doctor Who was only two episode stories. It would be slightly more tedious as I would’ve had to write considerably more entries in this blog series that I currently have. But also, Doctor Who had a LOT of filler.

“The Sontaran Experiment” didn’t have a lot of filler, the story was decent and it was nice seeing Sarah have such a big role. She knew who The Sontarans were, as she had encountered them in her first story.

The cast beam down to Earth to scout out the situations out there. In case the Earth is a nightmare of radiation and lava and acid rain, The Doctor makes sure to bring a hat, Sarah puts on a plastic raincoat and Harry puts on some wellies. You know, sensible precautions.

They find some astronauts who crash landed on Earth responding to an emergency broadcast. They are being picked off one by one. Turns out a Sontaran is on Earth as a scout before an invasion fleet. He’s doing experiments on the astronauts.

Eventually The Doctor goes mano-a-mano with the Sontaran and wins. The heroes beam back up to the Ark in Space!

Doctor Who Serial 076 – The Ark in Space

This was another fun romp! I quite enjoyed it. The Doctor his in true form, he’s already got his Jelly Babies ready to roll. Sarah is being a spunky feminist. Harry is condescending, but he’s okay.

They find an ark in space… a sleeper ship… the SS Botany Bay. They wake up some of the crew, and fortunately none of them are Khan Noonien Singh. Instead they’re weirdly British and bureaucratic. I guess that’s par for the course on The Adventures of Time Travelling Colonial Imperialist.

Turns out while they’ve been frozen, some bugs from Andromeda were taking over the sleeper ship and feeding on freeze-dried human.

Turns out these bugs were actually dislocated by the colonial humans and are just looking for a new home.

The strangest part of this episode is that The Doctor is just okay with letting these bugs die.

Doctor Who Serial 075 – Robot

Welcome friends, to the Tom Baker-era! It seems to be a bit of a drastic change between Baker the first and Pertwee the only. Baker has so much humour in nearly everything he does. He brings a lightness to the show that has been sorely missing since the days of Patrick Troughton. I miss the clown that is Troughton, but we get a lot of silliness from Baker.

In “Robot,” The Doctor is recovering from his regeneration at UNIT. A new friend, Harry, is The Doctor’s doctor and making sure he’s okay after his regeneration. Soon we discover that there’s a ridiculous robot that is developed by a company and stealing weapons, but it has a prime directive not to hurt human. Yet, it is.

Turns out the humans in control of the robot are telling it to hurt humans and are getting ready to seize control of government away from the masses and towards them. As they are scientists and scientists know better than the rest of humanity how to properly govern.

Can I interject and say that scientists are probably right? Ford, Trump, Scheer probably shouldn’t be setting policy, let’s get some climate scientists setting policy. That’s just my two cents.

Doctor Who’s writers on the other hand, don’t seem to see it my way, and think that the power should either be with the masses or a lady whose dad had supreme power before her.

There’s a big firefight between UNIT and the Robot. UNIT is outgunned and none of the model tanks that are brought in seem to do anything. Maybe the production shouldn’t have used a six inch tank, and instead used a real one.

In the end, The Doctor uses some anti-metal solution to win. The Robot goes away. Hooray! Humans are victorious over dumb computers.

Doctor Who Serial 074 – Planet of the Spiders

Welcome to the final episodes of season 11 and the final episode of the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who. “Planet of the Spiders” is not only terrible, it is the ultimate Jon Pertwee era episode. You have a car chase, you have Venusian judo, you have a boat chase, you have terrible spider puppets, you have terrible effects, you have monarchists and you have racism.

Yup, let’s get that part out of the way. There’s the most racist yellow-face I’ve seen. This Brit putting on a Chinese accent wearing terrible prosthetics to make him look Chinese not only insults in this manner, they turn the occult into faux-ancient ways.

Basically this meditation cult is trying to summon an alien spider who takes control of a dude who just wants power. Mike Yates is infiltrating the group and thinks something is wonky, so he lets Sarah know.

Sarah, who’s only met Yates once before… when he tried to kill her and The Doctor, for some odd reason trusts him. She does her own investigations and The Doctor’s investigations meet up together.

They end up on Metabalis where there are two Earth species living. Humans and evolved spiders. The spiders hold the Humans in slavery. The Doctor and Sarah help the Humans rise up against the spiders and fail.

They’re all fighting for a crystal that’s on Earth.

The Doctor must face his greatest fear and take the crystal back to the Great One. He does, his body is destroyed, and he returns to UNIT collapses and becomes…

TOM BAKER!

Doctor Who Serial 073 – The Monster of Peladon

Welcome back to Peladon, with your favourite guest star Giant Swaying Screeching Eyeball! Last time, Peladon was petitioning for admission to the Federation, this time they’re well established members of the Federation. The king’s daughter is now sitting on the throne.

The miners on Peladon are being haunted by their god who is killing them. Scaring them into abandoning their plans to further mine. The Doctor shows up and is assumed to be the cause of all this.

The Doctor must figure out the mystery of this monster, when political intrigue gets in the way.

Is it good? Meh, it’s alright. Not terrible, but not great. It’s annoying, but I can live with that. Once again Doctor Who is victim of its own classism, sexism and adoration of monarchy.

Doctor Who Serial 072 – Death To The Daleks

Another episode I’m not fond of. The Doctor finds himself on a planet where the Daleks and a human expedition must team up to strip the natural resources from a planet without the forethought to ask the native inhabitants, the Exxilons.

Obviously the Exxilons don’t like this.

The show is ridiculous, and The Doctor has work his way through a maze and prove his intelligence, with the Daleks close behind. It’s kinda like that episode of Stargate SG-1 where Merlin has some puzzles that Humans must solve to be able to gain access to his knowledge and they’re basic logic puzzles, like the one where you have to put the runes in order, but it’s just basic numerals with their mirror image connected to it.. Well, take that and dumb it down a few hundred times. The Doctor has to do a maze that is included on a kids’ menu at Pizza Hut.

The Daleks are rarely good. Hopefully they soon add Davros to give them a voice.