Monday, 18 February 2019

Time is Relative - Season 10: Part three

Morning. How are you? No, I don't care really. Shut up and listen to me.

I'm watching all of Doctor Who, in order, from the start. It's very rewarding, except sometimes, when it makes you doubt all your life choices.

But on the whole, it's lots of fun. And the good news for you is, you never need to watch it yourself. Just read my comprehensive guide to the stories and you'll get - at the very least - the general gist. And there's pictures!

Two stories today, both from Season 10.

Planet of the Daleks

In this story, Doctor Who meets the Daleks again. This is starting to happen quite a lot, and neither party is really excited by it anymore. The look on Doctor Who's face pretty much says, "Here we go - another evening of going through the usual motions, as if it still means anything to either of us."

The Dalek gets through it by imagining Doctor Who as he was when he was younger. Which is to say, as a silver haired older guy who cackles all the time.

Jo, meanwhile, has been captured by invisible guys. They wrap her up in this super comfortable looking blanket, and then just stand around admiring how lovely her hair is, and maybe drawing pictures of her sleeping and pretending she is their girlfriend.

There's some of the invisible guys. Except you can't tell they're invisible, because they're wearing those lovely fluffy blankets. I think they work for the Daleks, carrying their stuff around.

I suppose there could be loads more invisible guys, just wandering around naked, and not doing anything for the Daleks at all, and just laughing at the guys in the cloaks.

Hang on. That means that the guys watching Jo were also naked. That feels less cute now.

Doctor Who's evening with the Daleks is going badly. Neither of them can think of anything new to say to each other.

Also the Daleks are planning to explode a bomb that will kill everyone on the planet, which Doctor Who has told them time and again is something which gets on his nerves and he really wishes they would stop doing it.

The Daleks are notorious for nodding, but not really listening.

These Daleks look awesome, though, don't they? They are very well lit, and have amazing shadows. They are excited by this, but also a little sad, because shadows are a constant reminder to them that they can't make shadow puppets.

Or do anything hand-related.

Or feel love.

It turns out there are millions of Daleks, all playing underground on the Planet of the Daleks. Soon it will be time to go out and do a big invasion of the whole galaxy. They are pleased about this. It is boring in the cave, and they have sung all the songs they know.

This Dalek is a startling yellow and has a torch for an eye. All the other Daleks are crowding round him, pretending to talk about the mission, but really trying to find ways to ask him where he got all his cool accessories.

The reason he looks so amazing is because he is the King Dalek, and he has come to see how the invasion plans are going. This is terrible news for the rest of the Daleks, because they have just been zooming up and down in the jungle, shooting at trees and pestering the invisible guys. That's not the mission, and they know it.

Doctor Who and Jo team up with these guys, who are Thals. They have come to fight the Daleks too, and are delighted to find that Doctor Who - the legendary destroyer of Daleks - is here to help.

Doctor Who is mortified. His technique of doing nothing at all, but then taking the credit for it later, has finally caught up with him. Now everyone expects him to have an actual plan.

Also, it has to be said, Doctor Who is way overdressed for this adventure. Now that everyone else is dressed for serious space action, it throws into sharp relief that he is dressed as if he's meeting Oscar Wilde for an evening of opium and crumpets.

King Dalek chases Doctor Who and through the jungle for a bit. The other Daleks lag behind, saying things like,  "We've tried this, it doesn't work," and, "Watch out for stinging nettles."

King Daleks doesn't care, though. He may be made of metal and have no soul, but the prospect of an exciting jungle full of invisible naked natives is too much to resist. This will be the beginning of a new exciting phase in his life, where he remembers that the job isn't everything.

Except it isn't, because a volcano made of ice explodes and buries him and all his friends in freezing sludge forever.

Eventually the Thals blow up the Daleks and Doctor Who runs away. It is clearly dawning on Jo that this is standard practice, and now she thinks about it, Doctor Who has almost never actually done anything to hasten the end of the story.

Doctor Who is trying to distract Jo by going, "Look - on the scanner - loads of Daleks being eaten by an ice volcano!" But it's no good. Jo knows that they never get to actually see anything expensive.

The Green Death

It's the last story of the season, and Jo is feeling wistful. 

Three years of accompanying Doctor Who on his 'never stop drinking' tour-of-the-universe have finally taken their toll, and she's thinking of sneaking off to do something better.

Or maybe she's just thinking, "I need to either get a haircut or bite the bullet and join a Scottish pop-rock group."

This is lovely, isn't it? They still know to have fun, Doctor Who and Jo. It's the first time he seems to have genuinely got on with one of his companions. Usually when they leave, it's because he's sick of them and kicks them out. Or sometimes they die. A couple of times he seemed to forget they existed, and left the story without them.

I wonder what they're laughing about? All the deaths they've witnessed? And, in some cases, inadvertently caused?  

Doctor Who decides to go have his own private adventure in the middle of this story. He goes to a planet made of blue, and steals some of their stuff, including some jewels.

It's never really explained why. I think, by now, he just kind of assumes that everything is his, and that he is the king of everywhere he goes.

Jo, meanwhile, has gone to Wales, to investigate the Green Death, which is what the story is called. She is staying in this house and reading about Green Death, to find out why it happens.

That little guy on the right knows why. It is because he is a giant maggot, and he bites people, and then they catch Green Death. He likes the look of Jo, and he's going to bite her next.

So Jo will soon know the answer, which is good, but she will be too busy going, "Aaarrggg, I've caught Green Death!" to put the information to much use.

It soon becomes apparent that the Green Death is being caused by an Evil Corporation spewing slime into a pit, and making the maggots big and everything.

Doctor Who goes to their building and starts kicking people in the face. He may well have killed the guy on the left. It's a small price to pay, though, for fighting Evil Capitalism.

I like that the guard on the top left is politely waiting his turn to attack Doctor Who. Or maybe he's going to see how the other guard gets on, and then switch allegiance if the answer is 'Doctor Who punches his head off."

Hurray! It's the Brigadier and Sergeant Benton. They've come to Wales too, for their annual adventure running around shooting aliens.

Benton is clearly annoying the Brigadier already. "And do you remember when I shot at the Autons? They died, didn't they? And do you remember when I attacked The Master? He was scared of me, wasn't he? And do you remember when I confronted Omega? He's gone now, isn't he?"

Raaar! The giant maggots are pretty great. They would make excellent pets. Apart from giving everyone Green Death. You'd be constantly apologising, and offering to pay for dry cleaning and funeral expenses.

Jo, meanwhile, has decided to spend this adventure finding a boyfriend. Her criteria: "A bit like Doctor Who, but without the drinking, gluttony, inexplicable mood swings and patronising attitude."

She should have also specified something about dress sense and hair. But I guess you can't have everything. This guy is pretty good, and very likeable, and he only occasionally laughs at Jo for being stupid.

The prospect of change has driven Doctor Who to unusual behaviours. Here we see him dressing as a cleaning woman, ostensibly so he can infiltrate the Evil Company.

Then his mate Mike Yates walks in, having infiltrated the company perfectly well while dressed completely normally.

It's fine, Doctor Who. Dress how you want. Your life choices are your own business. You don't need to make excuses to us.

This is the guy in charge of the Evil Company. And that's his Evil Computer, crackling away in the corner.

They're both a lot of fun to spend time with, and say lots of super evil things, like, "Pour more toxic slime into Wales!" and "Cause more Green Death!" and "Eliminate the intruders! Even the ones dressed as women for no reason!"

Doctor Who blows up the computer and gets changed back into what, for him, counts as 'normal clothes'.

He is horrified to discover that, while he's been fighting guys in car parks and shouting at computers, Jo has started having a romance. Weirdly, he seems to be discussing this with guy he's hardly met, rather than asking Jo what's going on.

He's probably saying, "I'd be careful if I were you. She gets captured a lot, and her dress sense is terrible, and she doesn't laugh at really funny jokes until, oh, wait, here comes The Master and apparently suddenly everything he says is the most hilarious thing ever. Also, when you've got a hangover, all she does is laugh and turn up her music."

The boyfriend isn't listening. He's just shouting, "Let's go and make out behind this old guy!"

Jo is off, to live with the other guy. Doctor Who gives her one of the massive diamonds he stole from the blue planet. Jo just accepts this, as if it's a normal gift. It's a colossal jewel, Jo! He's obviously nicked it! And what are you going to do with it? Put it on a ring?

Actually, look at her rings. That's almost definitely what she's going to do.

Devastated by the loss of his favourite companion yet, Doctor Who turns immediately to alcohol. He will be sad without Jo, but also he will soon forget what her face looked like and probably her name. And then where he lives.

It's OK. Sergeant Benton or the Brigadier will drive him home. Doctor Who still has people who love him. He drinks, and he's rude, and he occasionally saves the earth. That's just who he is.

That's the end of that season. Hope you have enjoyed it.

Go back in time to see Season 10: Part two

Or go forward, to see Season 11.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Time is Relative: Season 10 - Part Two

Greetings, fellow humans.

It's time for more photos from old Doctor Who, accompanied by vague recollections of what's meant to be happening.

Admit it. You find it sexy.

Carnival of Monsters

This story is great. It's very colourful and has some crazy old ideas going on.

For example. We meet this lady, who I think is called Shirna. Her job is to go to planets and do a special dance. Then, when people look at her and say, "What's going on with the dance and the trousers and frankly all your fashion choices?" she says, "Please play with my computer. It has tiny people inside. Five pounds please."


These are the guys who live on the planet.  They are wondering if they want to play with Shirna's computer, and see the tiny people inside it. I don't think they will.  They are super grey, which suggests that they are awful people who hate colour, fun and weird stuff happening. They are not going to enjoy this story.

Meanwhile, Doctor Who and Jo have arrived on a boat. For a while, you think, "Well, they have landed in the wrong story. This is not the same at all."

Soon, a massive hand with badly manicured nails steals the TARDIS. Doctor Who and Jo react by looking on with mild interest, as if they're watching some mid-price fireworks.

The giant hand turns out to belong to these guys. The TARDIS was inside their computer, you see. Everyone is amazed, though it's not clear why. They've got a magic computer that shrinks things and keeps them inside it for you to look at - surely this happens a lot?

The guy with the ridiculous hat is called Vorg. He's either Shirna's boss, or lover, or both. It's never made clear. They certainly share the same terrible dress sense, and I'm assuming no-one else would have them on this basis, so let's assume lovers.

Doctor Who and Jo run around inside the computer for a bit. They are still tiny, you see. It's a very beautiful computer, and lots of fun to run about in. They are thinking, "Maybe we could live here. No-one would ever be able to find us to make us do work, and the wallpaper is great!"

However, soon Doctor Who and Jo run into this guy. He's a Drashig. And he's delighted to be a Drashig. "Raaar!" he goes. He lives inside the computer as well, and clearly loves it.

Later, he is joined by some of his mates. They appear to have been drinking for quite some time, and are having a smashing afternoon. Well the two on the left are, anyway.

The one on the right does not understand what is happening, but wants to be involved. He's just randomly shouting, "Yeah!" and "I think that too!" and trying to join in the singing.

The Drashigs escape into the computer, and completely take over the story. They go rampaging all over the place. This one has broken into the bit of the computer where the boat lives. This guy is attacking him with a machine gun! Get off my boat, you giant monster!

This is the greatest story ever.

The grey guys realise that the story is completely out of their control. The one on the left is shouting, "Why is the place suddenly full of computers with tiny people and monsters inside, and vagrants in awful clothes dancing about on the outside?"

The one in the middle doesn't know, and just wants to cry, and actually maybe is crying.

The story ends when a Drashig jumps out of the computer, and goes all big,  and eats some of the grey guys. He is delighted, and starts shouting into the camera. "Tune in next week for more fun adventures with the Drashigs!"

I don't know what's happened to Doctor Who. He can't have gone - there's his TARDIS. Oh well. I'm sure he'll turn up eventually and claim complete victory over everyone and demand some cheese.

Frontier in Space

This week, Doctor Who has taken Jo to the future, to meet these green alien guys. They are called Draconians, and they sure know how to dress. Look at those shoulder pads! They must be constantly taking each others' eyes out.

Doctor Who goes "Hello, I am in charge, please take me to your Emperor and bring me a platter of cold meats." The Draconians were going to kill him for being a spy, but he is super confident, so they just do as he says.

Meanwhile this Draconian guy has gone to see the President of Earth, who is a woman, because it is the future and that's allowed now.

He is saying, "Shall we have a war with each other, with spaceships and lasers?" She is saying, "No, let's stay in."

The man looking out of the window is thinking, "Boring. If I was in charge, we would have a war with spaceships and lasers every day. It would be ace."

Soon, Ogrons attack! You may or may not remember the Ogrons from the story where the Daleks have conquered the Earth in the future, but insist on going back into the past to extra-conquer it, because they are jerks.

These Ogrons are having an amazing time. They are charging about in a car park, doing villain stuff. The one on the left looks like he's going to murder everyone he meets today, starting right now, and starting with us.

The other one is less bothered about murder. He's thinking, "Here we go again, with the murder." But he knows it will make his friend happy, and that's something, at least.

Everyone is convinced that Doctor Who is a spy, so they put him in this machine. It is meant to be reading his mind, so everyone will find out what kind of spy he is.

Instead it rather looks like he is being played really loud experimental rock while, at the same time, going through an argument he had with the Master in his head, and thinking of clever retorts he should have said.

Speaking of The Master, here he is! He wants to know if Jo wants to come and play with him in his spaceship. She is not convinced. The Master is wearing an extra stupid anorak thing, and also he keeps trying to murder everyone. But on the other hand, it is something to do.

One of the best things about The Master is that, no matter the adventure, he always makes room for some me-time. Here we see him reading a book about aliens invading Earth. He's probably thinking, "Yeah, it's alright for you - you haven't got Doctor Who ruining it all by blowing things up and calling you Stupid Beardy Loser Face."

At some point, the Draconians capture Doctor Who and The Master. That guy on the right is the Emperor, I think. He's asking them to explain the plot. He's right to do so - this story is quite nuanced and it's not entirely clear who the bad guys are. Also, I've almost definitely got some of the events in the wrong order.

Doctor Who and The Master then spend quite some time saying things like, "The Master started it," and "It was Doctor Who's idea," and "Why aren't the Ogrons in trouble as well? They were using guns and everything."

The Master runs off, and so Doctor Who teams up with the Draconians and the Earth guys to go find him.

The Draconian is looking at the Earth guy's hat, and Doctor Who's wizard cape, and thinking, "These people are very embarrassing. I am never going to tell anyone I went on this stupid mission. In fact, I hope we die."

To everyone's delight, the Daleks turn up. They appear at the top of this cliff, shouting, "IT IS US! AMAZING SURPRISE! DANCE WITH EXCITEMENT!"

The one on the right looks a little less confident, though. He's just thinking, "We are very close to the edge of this cliff, and I don't have a very clear sense of where I am, spatially, what with seeing through this eyestalk thing."

There is then a lot of running around, which results in Doctor Who getting hurt and The Master disappearing. The Daleks run off, so they can get to their next story early. It is all about them, and they are super excited.

Find out what happens in the following episode - Planet of the Daleks - coming soon!

If you enjoyed this, why not go back in time to Season 10 - Part One

Or forward, to Season 10 - Part Three

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

The Day After Groundhog Day

It was Groundhog Day recently and so I was thinking about Groundhog Day the movie because I love Groundhog Day the movie. It's clever and funny and it's about all sorts of subtle and beautiful things and it's got great performances and oh, I like Groundhog Day.

I was inspired to write a poem about the day after Groundhog Day. Which is not, but should be, referred to as 'Groundhog Boxing Day'.

Anyway. Here's the poem. Please don't read anything into it about my current state of mind. I'm fine.

The Day After Groundhog Day

We flirted with romance for a period of days
That didn’t seem to pass in the regular way
More like one day, repeated, like that film with Bill Murray
Where the passage of time was in no particular hurry

Where I didn’t much care and I didn’t much worry
About the jokes that I made and the things that might follow
I just bought you a beer and we enjoyed the blizzard
That would come every day to wipe out tomorrow

You were, I suppose, a safe hiding place
Slowly going through motions
Knowing dawn would erase
My cheap fumblings at romance
Knowing nothing of meaning would really accrue
Knowing no consequence to the reckless and cavalier things I would do

Freedom to play
With your feelings, your time
With that one endless day
When no hint of a crime
would land at my restless feet
‘Cause my footprints were gone
And fresh snow, like before, would cover the wandering tracks on these streets

But one morning we woke and the flirting was done
And the music was different and all the snow gone
The linear nature of time was restored
I was free. I had won
We embraced
I was instantly bored

They say the chemicals that dance in your brain will reward
Not the moment you finally grasp your desire
But the moment that sparks just a fraction before
We’re drawn to the flame, but not to the fire

And the day after Groundhog Day comes without warning
Are we happy or sad that we made our way through
The infinite tangle of days
To this morning? Where finally things will progress,
Where the folding of time won’t clear up our mess

And we can either rejoice that we found our way home
Or look back, with longing,
To those infinite days in the snow