...with a look at “The Time Meddler,” a William Hartnell DOCTOR WHO story which transmitted July 3-24, 1965. This is the first adventure for new companion Steven Taylor, and our first encounter with...well...I’ll mark that as a SPOILER below.
Here’s a new trailer for DOCTOR WHO: THE ETERNITY CLOCK, the new multi-platform title which unites the Doctor and River Song for an adventure. A press release from Epic Games helps bring context to the project, which unveils on PCs, PS3s, and PlayStationVita in March.
Here’s the new trailer...
PlayStationVita, hunh? I saw a demo unit in the store the other day and quite liked it. Display wise, its depth of color and fullness and clarity of graphics were extremely impressive. Alas, I’m rather “old school” regarding how I play games, If I don’t have a controller in my hand, and if I’m not sitting on a chair or slouching on a couch staring at a TV while I’m playing, I generally lose interest very quickly.
THE ETERNITY CLOCK hits in March - I believe as downloadable content for the PS3. Not sure how how release will be handled for the Vita and PC, but more as we know more.
A NEW WHOTININNIES PODCAST IS NOW ONLINE!!
** Glen stresses out Ken regarding how much Glen stresses out Ken...
** Ken and Glen argue about the lyrics to MISTER ED's theme song...
** Ken performs the theme songs to ALICE and GROWING PAINS as a Russian Elmer Fudd...
(all of the above goes on for approximately 30 minutes before we get to the substance of the podcast)...
** A look at a presumed-lost script for the original STAR TREK series - recently found (it was authored by Norman Spinrad)...[more details HERE] NOTE: in the podcast I erronesouly referr to a character as Thomas Bayne. His name in the script is actually Theodore Bayne.
** A discussion of James Cawley's STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES / PHASE II, and how wonderful it is to see that fan generated production skillfully addressing homosexual relationships...
** A discussion of the real STAR TREK: PHASE II, a new "five year mission" television series that was deep into development before The Powers That Be decided TREK should go into theaters (hence STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE)...
** A little bit about DOCTOR WHO...
** Ken exalts BLACK MIRROR, and Glen agress based on what he's seen thus far...
The new WHOTININNIES can be found HERE. Earlier installments are HERE.
SEASON/SERIES 7 INFOBITS!!
Seasonm/Series The first publicity photo from Season/Series 7 has been issued. Click to EMBIGGEN!
That loudspeaker behind the TARDIS...it must MEAN something!
Concurrently, we’ve recently learned of new casting for S7 - specifically that David Bradley, Rupert Graves and Mark Williams will all appear on S7.
We’ve recently seen Graves as Inspector Lestrade on The Moff’s SHERLOCK series.
Viewers may recognize Bradley from his appearances in multiple HARRY POTTER films, GAME OF THRONES, and HOT FUZZ.
Interestingly, Bradley was also in THE FRISCO KID back in 1979, a movie many people have never heard of. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen that film, but I recall enjoying it quite a bit. In short, it’s about a rabbi (Gene Wilder) who’s trying to make his way through then Old West on a journey to San Francisco and the bank robber (Harrison Ford) who ends up traveling with him. Their journey isn’t easy.
...is a POTTER film vet as well, having played Arthur Weasley (Ron’s dad) in 7 of those pictures. In1988, he also played Olaf Petersen in RED DWARF.
“THE TIME MEDDLER”
"Those Vikings sure know how to tie a knot..." Steven Taylor, “The Time Meddler” Episode 4 - ‘Checkmate’
Scripted by Dennis Spooner (“The Romans
”), “The Time Meddler” cuts in on the Doctor (William Hartnell) and Vicki (Maureen O'Brien) weighing the departure of former companions Ian and Barbara, who left the show at the conclusion of “The Chase
” (the previous story chronologically). In a touching moment of uncharacteristic awareness and plaintiff defeat, the Doctor asks Vicki if she wants to leave the TARDIS behind as well. She declines, saying she has nowhere to go.
Their conversation is cut short by unexpected noises from within the ship, which they quickly discover to be the clattering about of ragged and exhausted Steven Taylor (Peter Purves) - the stranded astronaut they met back on planet Mechanus in "The Chase.”
The story cuts to Northumbria, 1066, where tatty but well spoken settlers are intrigued by the strange, large box that was recently "washed ashore by the tide." This is, of course, the TARDIS - whose occupants are already out and about, exploring the region. Our heroic travelers uncover evidence of an alarmingly anachronistic mystery: the monk chants from the local monastery seem to skip and drag like a recording, and one of the locals is spotted wearing a shiny wristwatch. How are these things here, and to what end? And, most critically, what is that contemporary mortar launcher hidden along the coastline, aimed towards the sea?
“The Time Meddler” acts as a quick and skillful re-introduction to the immediate WHO verse, with the Doctor and Vicki bringing an incredulous Steven up to speed on the wonders and peculiarities of TARDIS. There’s a fun and interesting conceit at play here: “The Time Meddler” very much inDoctornates Steven - thus serving as a refresher for previous viewers and a launching point for incoming audiences. But the story is also very much a trial by fire. “The Time Meddler” is about why the rules of time travel should NOT be broken, tenets which are difficult for Steven to grasp when he hasn’t even learned them to begin with.
With adults Ian and Barbara now off the playing field, Vicki is now allowed to spread her wings a bit - becoming more maternal of (and protective towards) the Doctor, admonishing Steven about the intricacies of time travel while also reprimanding his conduct, and generally assuming a more authoritative role. This evolution is very important to note as it dramatically effects the complexion of the show as a whole...as does the Steven’s arrival.
Not unexpectedly, there’s an entirely new dynamic at play here as the trio quickly settles in for their first adventure together. Despite Steven not being entirely intuitive about the time travel process, he’s no idiot, and quickly grasps the truth that people are people in whatever time they inhabit: good folks are good, and scum bags must pay. There’s a nice energy to this new, interpersonal dynamic. A briskness. A smartness to its conception. Presumably cuing off this fresh vitality, Hartnell feels newly invigorated in his role, more commanding on on-game throughout. As does everyone here. There’s a natural “these people are cool” web woven between this particular Doctor/Companion trifecta. I hope it continues into future episodes.
Unfortunately, "The Time Meddler" does succumb to the dreaded mid-story slump ailing many early DWs. The essential "juice" of its third installment, for example, could've been distilled into approximately six minutes of screen time (the episode is 24:13 long). Despite this stumble, “Meddler” is launched by what is, perhaps the best opening episode of any story to this point in the show. It’s dark, atmospheric, provocative, slow-burn, forboding. A mini-masterwork by helmer Douglas Camfield (“The Crusade
A sample of one of this story’s dramatically lit/composed shots. The moonlit clouds in the background are actually billowing past quickly, a la the finale of DRAGONSLAYER 17 years later.
It’s difficult to fully assess “The Time Meddler” without touching on its final, revelatory moments, Therefore, we’ll be skirting...
SPOILERS FOR THE CONCLUSION OF "THE TIME MEDDLER"!!!
...from this point forward. Can one truly “spoil” a forty-something year old episode which has been written about extensively for decades? I don’t know. But consider yourself forewarned, just in case you’re spoiler atopic.
The chief “gag” of “The TIme Meddler” hinges on a character generically refereed to as the Monk (which appears to be his 1066-appropriate disguise, not his actual calling). The Monk is portrayed with used-car-salesman slickness by Peter Butterworth. For our purposes, we’ll call him the Meddler, because that what he’s doing...meddling with time...hence the story’s title. In short, the Meddler’s from Gallifrey - the Doctor’s homeworld - and represents the first Gallifreyan we’ve met on the show other than the Doctor and his granddaughter Susan. He’s attempting to re-write the natural development of time for ostensibly altruistic reasons, although the fact that he’s re-shaping history in accordance with his own prescript makes his rationale...questionable.
Vikings -vs- neutron grenades - who would win?
In the end, Doctor maroons the Meddler in 1066, unable to access his dimensionally compromised TARDIS (should that be MARDIS? Monk and Relative Dimensions in Space?) This seems to be an unnecessarily dangerous risk considering the man's propensity for altering timelines - he could still influence history quickly and tremendously from 1066 alone, and this concern doesn’t even account for the Meddler presumably living the same long lifespan enjoyed by other Gallifreyans. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Doctor to, for example, maroon the Meddler INSIDE of “the Monk’s” time/space device...perhaps condemning him to travel the Vortex forever, unable to rematerialize any time or anywhere? This way, the Monk would’ve had no ability to influence any persons or events.
The conclusion presented in the story neither supports or fully addresses the gravity of the Meddler’s stated threat to human development. It feels a tad slipshod and scattered in its rationale. Above all, it’s an unnecessary sleight-of-hand when any number of alternatives would’ve fully realized the story’s conclusion - with no more budget than was already being spent.
A daring and compelling piece memorable for its simple but surprisingly effective atmospherics, “The Time Meddler” emerges as a great deal of fun, and, on the whole, its provocative core concept is both intriguing and well realized. Whether or not the story’s ending “works” is certainly open to debate - which, in itself, makes this story worthy of careful consideration. There’s a lot here to chew on, even if every ingredient isn’t exactly perfect.
“The Time Meddler” is available HERE
in the U.S. and HERE
in the U.K.
IN THE COMING WEEKS
"Galaxy 4" (Hartnell, Story #18 - audio & recon)
"The Robots of Death" (T. Baker, Story #90)
"The Tomb of the Cybermen" (Troughton, Story #37)
"The Three Doctors" (Pertwee, Story #65)
[SEASON / SERIES SIX DOCBACKS]
"The Impossible Astronaut"
"Day of the Moon"
"The Curse of the Black Spot"
"The Doctor's Wife"
"The Rebel Flesh"
"The Almost People"
"A Good Man Goes To War"
"Let's Kill Hitler"
"The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" (2011 Christmas Special)
[RETRO-WHO DOCBACKS - MOST RECENT DOCBACK IS HIGHLIGHTED]
"An Unearthly Child" (Story #1)
"The Daleks" (Story #2)
"The Edge of Destruction" (Story #3)
"Marco Polo" (Story #4)
"The Keys of Marinus" (Story #5)
"The Aztecs" (Story #6)
"The Sensorites" (Story #7)
"The Sensorites" (Story #7 - full DVD release)
"The Reign of Terror" (Story #8)
"Planet of Giants" (Story #9)
"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (Story #10)
"The Rescue" (Story #11)
"The Romans" (Story #12)
"The Web Planet" (Story #13) / SHERLOCK - "A Scandal in Belgravia" (Story #4)
"The Crusade" (Story #14)
"The Space Museum" (Story #15)
"The Chase" (Story #16)
"The Gunfighters" (Story #25)
"The Colony in Space" (Story #58)
"Day of the Daleks" (Story #60) + Preview of the DotD Special Edition
"Invasion of the Dinosaurs" (Story #71) and SHERLOCK: "The Reichenbach Fall" (Story #6)
"The Android Invasion" (Story #83) and SHERLOCK: "The Hounds of Baskerville" (Story #5)
"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Story #91)
"The Sun Makers" (Story #95)
"The Awakening" (Story #131)
"Frontios" (Story #132)
"The Caves of Androzani" (Story #136)
"Time and the Rani" (Story #144)
"Paradise Towers" (Story #145) + New WHOvian Documentary / Newsbits
DOCTOR WHO: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SERIES
Merrick's Personal Journey With The Doctor (How Merrick Got Hooked On DOCTOR WHO)
DOCTOR WHO Title Sequences & DW At Comic-Con 2011
"The Crash of the Elysium" (Manchester version - interactive DOCTOR WHO adventure)
Why Eccleston Left, Here Comes Caroline Skinner, And Season/Series Six Part 1 on Blu-Ray And DVD
New Trailer For Season/Series Six Part 2
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) matters of SPOILAGE should be handled with thoughtful consideration and sensitivity. Posts containing SPOILERS should clearly state that a SPOILER exists in its topic/headline and should never state the spoiler itself . "** SPOILER ** Regarding Rory" is OK, for example. "** SPOILER ** Battle of Zarathustra" is fine as well. " **SPOILER** Why did everyone die?" Is NOT good.
And, above all...
3) 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. One word posts intended to bump-up any Docback's figures on AICN's "Top Talkbacks" sidebar will be considered actionable Spam - they not only complicate efforts to access Docback from mobile devices, but impede readers' abilities to follow or engage in flowing conversation.
In short, it's easy. Be excellent to each other. Now party on...