Science is useful. Because Science!
You ever had one of those days where it felt kinda like a Twilight Zone episode? I had one recently.
I had taken a sandwich to work, planning to eat at my desk at lunch and get a few things done without being bothered. Of course, some things came up and I needed to run an errand. So, despite my plans to the contrary, it turns out that I’m leaving the office at lunch anyway. I eat and drive as I run my errands, and then, as I’m heading back to the office, I wind up stopped at a stop sign.
I saw her before I got to the intersection. So did the car in front of me. And the car in front of them. She finished talking to the car in front of me as I was approaching the intersection, and she walked out of the street back onto the sidewalk to the left.
I stopped at the stop sign, looked to the right, back to the left … and there she was at my window. Some sad story about wanting to get some money to buy food for her three kids — maybe it was four; more on that in a minute — in her car that’s over on 11th. She points the wrong way.
“I won’t give you any money, but I’ll get you some food. Be right back.”
So, I turn, realize that there’s a Burger King closer if I go the other way. So, I turn around and head towards the BK.
I forgot there’s also a McDonald’s right near the Burger King, and the McDonald’s is actually easier to get into and out of. So, I hit the drive-thru at the McDonald’s.
Couldn’t remember if it was three kids and four of them total, or if she said four kids. So, I order five McDoubles, five small fries, three bottles of milk, and two bottles of water.
I head back to the intersection where she was, and she’s nowhere to be found. So, I head towards 11th. She’s not there, and there’s no car with kids.
Okay, fine. I have five McDouble meals. Not a problem. Every time I stop for gas at the gas station across the street from the McDonald’s downtown (not the one I bought the burgers from), someone always approaches wanting money or a ride or something. So, I’ll just swing by there and find one of those people and give them some Mickey D’s. Only, for the first time in memory, there’s no bums hanging around.
Okay, there’s a few that hang around the downtown Burger King, so I head by there. None to be found.
Post Office. I often get accosted at the Post Office by someone claiming to be a veteran that served in some Army unit that never existed. So, I head to the Post Office. Nobody hanging around out front. There are even plenty of parking spaces. That never happens.
Ah. I know. The Synovus building. It’s over by the river, and there’s some homeless guy that sits on a bench overlooking the river walk and eats, sleeps, and does whatever else there, 24/7. So, off to the river. He’s not there.
It seems that all the homeless people took the day off. Here I am, stuck with five McDoubles, and now I’m starting to run late getting back to work.
The good news, I suppose, is that those people at work can eat. I mean, I’ve seen goats eat less.
I sorta wondered about all the homeless people. You see them all the time, but you never notice them. And now, here I am looking for them and I can’t find any. I’m still trying to figure out where they all went.
If you have any ideas, let me know. I’m curious as to what they’re up to.
But, I am gonna brag about our SEC. Our state execution chambers. You know. Where they take folks on death row when it’s time to execute their sentence. The one in Georgia works quite well.
I bring this up because Arizona took 117 minutes to put one Joseph Rudolph Wood to death yesterday. I’m not crying over the length of time it took for Wood to die for the murders of his ex-girlfriend and her father back in 1989. No, he’s had nearly 25 years on the state dime. If it took him a little long to pay the piper, that’s too bad. But I do have a problem with his execution. An hour and 57 minutes is just way too long. There’s overtime involved, for one thing. And at the most basic level, it’s inefficient.
And Arizona isn’t the only state running an inefficient death chamber. Back in January, it took Ohio 26 minutes to put down Dennis B. McGuire for raping, sodomizing, and killing a pregnant woman in 1989. The 25 years that Ohio kept him around more than makes up for the 26 minutes it took him to die. But, still, 26 minutes is not very efficient.
Then there’s Oklahoma and the trouble they had with Clayton Derrell Lockett back in April. They actually didn’t execute him, not really, but he died anyway. That’s the one where they stopped the execution when it didn’t go exactly as planned, but the convict had a heart attack on the gurney and died anyway. So it worked out. He died at the hands of the state for burying a girl alive back in 1999.
I have a solution for these states that have trouble executing convicted killers. Come to Georgia. We do it right.
Remember when everybody got their panties in a wad over the Oklahoma execution by heart attack? Well, about seven weeks later, Georgia marched Marcus A. Wellons to the little room at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Jackson, and put him to sleep for raping and strangling a 15-year-old girl back in 1989. Georgia simply strapped him down and ended his life. Quick, simple, efficient.
So, for the states that have trouble, contact the state of Georgia about contracting out the executions. Chain your convict up real good, give him some escorts, and y’all come on over. Drop the intended off at Jackson, then … go play tourist.
You can head over to Hampton if there’s a NASCAR race that weekend.
Or, if the Braves are in town, catch a game at The Ted (it’ll be gone soon).
There’s Six Flags just west of Atlanta.
Drive down to the Golden Isles and put your feet in the water on Jekyll or Saint Simons.
If there’s the chance of a last-minute delay, and you don’t mind paying the state for the prison overtime, you can spend a few days in a cabin up in the north Georgia mountains.
Go get yourself a real Vidalia onion.
Or, just sit on the banks of the Altamaha, relax, and catch some fish. Or, at the very least, drown some worms or crickets.
There’s lots to do. And, for you, as well as for your convict, there’ll be memories to last the rest of your life.
Remember Peggy Joseph? Sure you do.
Well, she’s using different words now.
The question is not who “will she vote for in 2016?”, it’s “who will she vote for in 2014?”
I didn’t mind making fun of her in 2008, or in the years since. But she seems to be wising up. So, maybe there’s hope — real hope — after all.
But, if I stop making fun of Peggy Joseph, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop making fun of Barack Obama and others who still drink his Kool-Aid. None of us should.
Do you have a funny story of someone who was Peggy Joseph then and is still that way? Share it. We could all use a good laugh.
That’s some comic book thing, by the way. But, a lot of comic book people seem to hang around the internetz, so you may already know what I’m talking about. You kids with your Archie comics and your hula hoops and your fax machines…
Anyway, Marvel comics has announced that Thor is a woman now.
“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”
I’m not sure how I feel about that. Partly, I don’t care, because I don’t read Marvel or any other comics. But, I do sorta care because it points out what’s wrong with entertainment today: people don’t have any ideas for story, so they use gimmicks.
I mean, there’s no reason to give boobies to Thor and make the Norse god really irritable on certain days. Well, unless you can’t come up with a good idea for a real story. Then, of course, making the god of thunder a chick keeps you from having to actually be creative. Plus, you get all the Hillary supporters on your side. After all, if Thor can be female, why not the president? They forget that Hillary would be less feminine than the current office-holder. And that’s not a slap directed at Hillary.
Anyway, what are the ramifications of Thor having boobies? No, really. What are they? You see, I really don’t read comics, so I have no idea what Thor the comic is all about. I did some research, but ran across things like alternate universes and the Negative Zone, and villains like Zarrko, Bloodaxe, Surfer, Thunderball and such.
Yeah. I’m not reading all that.
Anyway, Thor’s got boobies. Did I mention that? Will this really work? And, if so, what’s next? Batman and Robin as lesbians? Catwoman as a dude?
I’ve never been so anxious for a meteor to take us out than I am now.
As I watched all the episodes of the Classic Doctor Who show, I wrote my thoughts down. Then, when I was done, I mulled over going ahead and watching the newer stuff. That meant watching The Movie, and Paul McGann’s Doctor. So, I did. Had to buy it, sight unseen.
Eh. McGann himself was okay, but I didn’t like The Doctor being involved with a companion. Sure, there’s no question that The Doctor and Ramona had a thing going on, but that was off-screen. The show wasn’t about that, it was about Adventures In Time And Space. I loved that Sylvester McCoy opened the movie as The Doctor. He never explained how he had destroyed Skaros but then was able to travel to Skaros and get The Master’s body.
And, they should have had Anthony Ainley reprise the role of The Master for the opening. Or at least used his image from clips and paid him for that. Nothing wrong with Eric Roberts’ portrayal.
And, after watching The Movie, I watched the other episodes (the newer ones, from 2005 on) and specials. And Webisodes.
Yeah, it’s okay. But, there are things I didn’t like. And, me being me, I’m gonna tell you what I didn’t like. I’ll assume you have seen the newer episodes, and specials, and webisodes, up to and including Peter Capaldi’s Doctor asking Clara if she knew how to fly the TARDIS.
The Doctor and companions being more than simple companions? Don’t like it. Maybe that’s why I really like the dynamic with The Doctor and Donna. She is truly a friend of The Doctor. The relationship was more like The Doctor (2.0) and Jamie. That worked well. And The Doctor and Donna worked well.
Rose? Not a fan. Even her surprise appearances don’t thrill me. The Brigadier’s occasional returns were treats. Rose’s? Not so much. Rose should’ve ended up with Mickey. Not the early Mickey, but the later Mickey.
Martha? Good companion, but the whole “feelings” thing was what ruined that. Her ending up with Mickey was good, for both of them. I’d like to see them return.
Donna? Love her. She’s up there with Sarah Jane Smith and Jamie McCrimmon in the whole hierarchy of companions.
Amy and Rory? Yeah, they’re good. But the best thing to come out of their time with The Doctor was *SPOILERS* River Song.
River Song? Yeah. More River Song. Somehow. That relationship with The Doctor worked. That’s wasn’t a young, silly girl having a crush on the Time Lord (Rose, Martha, etc), it was a real relationship that stood the test of Time And Space.
Clara? She’s alright. Let’s see how they wrap all that up. But so far, they’ve done okay with here.
Ah, but the show isn’t called The Companions. It’s Doctor Who. And, The Doctor is the star, or stars, of the show.
Paul McGann, I though was just okay. Least favorite Doctor for some time. His later surprise appearance in The Night of the Doctor brought him up in my eyes a bit. I want to see more of that Doctor.
Christopher Eccleston was okay. About the time I got used to him, he bailed on he show. Shoulda stuck around for three years, at least.
David Tennant? Yeah, he was alright. Probably coulda played The Doctor for a lot longer. Overall, liked him. Not Peter Davison or Patrick Troughton liked him. But, he was fine.
Matt Smith? His biggest problem was the scripts. The whole “Oh, I know what to do because myself from the future suddenly appeared and told me what to do” got a little old. It’s called the TARDIS, not the Deus Ex Machina.
Oh, and John Hurt? Yeah. He was alright. Particularly when he was keeping Matt Smith’s and David Tennant’s Doctors in line, he reminded me of William Hartnell keeping Jon Pertwee’s and Patrick Troughton’s Doctors in line.
Oh, yeah. The villains. Some of the classic villains returned, and it was hit and miss.
The Autons? They did those right. Those were truly the Autons chasing Rose and The Doctor around when the new series launched. With better makeup and effects. That gave me hope for the new series.
The Sontarans? I like what they did with them. Nothing. They are true to form. Better makeup, just as with the Autons. The Sontarans are definitely the same villains as in the old show. And that’s a good thing.
The Cybermen? Nope. Well, not the ones from the alternate universe. They did have the ones from Mondas, the real ones, appear later. I think. They looked kinda like the original Cybermen. So, I’ll just tell myself those are the real Cybermen and be happy.
Daleks? Nope. Daleks can’t fly. That ruined everything. It was a shock when they could elevate up stairs when taking on The Doctor (7.0). Now, they can suddenly fly? Nope. That’s wrong.
The Master? He’s been okay. Season Eight featured too much of The Master. When they scaled it back, it was wonderful to see him appear. Roger Delgado was fantastic, as was Anthony Ainley. I would like to have seen more of Derek Jacobi as The Master, but John Simm was good in the role. I want to see more of The Master. Once a season. Maybe twice, to throw us off.
New villains? Well, the Weeping Angels were kinda neat. But those fart aliens? Americans, I suppose. None of the other ones stand out, all these weeks after finishing the new series.
But, overall? Yeah, the new series is okay. Maybe Peter Capaldi’s Doctor will be a return to the Classic series. More actual story and less generic blowing stuff up.
I’m looking forward to the 8th season of the new series when it returns in August. So, maybe I do like the new series after all.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
- He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
- He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
- He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
- He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
- He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
- He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
- He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
- He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
- He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
- He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
- He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
- He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
- He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
- For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
- For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
- For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
- For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
- For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
- For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
- For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
- For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
- For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
- He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
- He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
- He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
- He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
- He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Have any of you been to DragonCon?
You know. That thing in Atlanta every year with all the weird people running around.
No, not Freaknik. The other one.
No, not the SEC Championship. The other one.
No, not the World Series. That never happens. No, I’m talking about that science fiction fantasy weird sh*t happening that they do every year. Yeah. That one. Have you been?
I’ve been in Atlanta when it was going on. Didn’t realize it until I saw a bunch of Klingons walking down the street. I was at a Sons of the American Revolution thing, and somehow wound up near the Klingons. Didn’t have my musket with me, which was probably a good thing.
Anyway, I’ve never been. One of my sisters has been. Maybe two. Maybe all three, I don’t know. It’s not the kind of thing I’d want to bring up. Not normally, at least.
Anyway, I’ve know about the existence of DragonCon for some time, but have never been. Never wanted to go. But, I’m going this year.
I’m going for one reason, and one reason only. The Doctor will be there. If you have to ask “which one?” then you can’t go and see him. It doesn’t matter. But, it is one of the classic Doctors. I wouldn’t go just to see David Tennant, Matt Smith, Christopher Eccleston, Paul McGann, or Peter Capaldi. But, one of the classic Doctors? Yes. Only four of those first seven are still alive. And, though I’m a latecomer to the world of Doctor Who, I’m enough of a fan to want to go see one of the original Doctors at a sci-fi convention.
So, I’m going this year. First time. And, yeah, there are some other people that might be interesting. But, I’m going to see The Doctor. And I’m not sure what it’s going to be like. So, if any of you have been before, let me know what to expect.
I’m thinking a bunch of weird people running around all dressed up like some Nerd Nightmare. I suspect the Klingons will be drunk on their asses each night. Or, maybe just the chicks that go to the Klingon Keg parties. Yeah, that.
So, like I was saying, tell me what to expect. And, if you’ll be there, maybe we’ll run into each other. No, I won’t be dressed up like Princess Leia or anything.
Harvey might, though.
In December, I mentioned that I was thinking of watching all of the episodes of the classic Doctor Who series. I wrote:
…I’ve been hearing how great Doctor Who is. So, maybe I’ll watch that, I thought.
Just kidding. I had no desire to watch Doctor Who.
I remember Doctor Who from way back. Used to catch an occasional episode starring Tom Baker on PBS many years ago. I thought the whole thing was silly. Not Monty Python silly. Just silly.
But, I kept hearing about how great Doctor Who (the current version) was. So, I looked into it. And, I found out it wasn’t really a reboot, but a revival. They kept the original timeline in place, and began the 2005 series with the Ninth Doctor.
Mmmkay. Maybe this won’t be the JJ Adams-ing of Doctor Who. Maybe I would watch it.
Well, watch it I did. You see, I’m the kind of person that won’t pick something up in the middle. I want to go back to the beginning and get the full effect. So, I watched all the episodes.
That was hard to do. You see, many episodes from the first six seasons no longer exist. Since, with very rare exception, all the stories are multiple episodes (I’m calling those serials) there are some serials with one or more missing episodes. Additionally, ten of the first 49 serials are completely missing, with another 16 serials missing one or more episodes, but not all. In all, 97 episodes are missing from those first six seasons.
BBC animated eleven episodes, and used the still-existing soundtrack combined with stills and surviving video clips to reconstruct five others. Fans have still images, clips, and home movies to reconstruct the other 81 missing episodes. BBC has also done reconstructions of two entire serials as single episodes, but those are heavily edited.
So, with all that, plus with the episodes that exist on DVD, iTunes, or Amazon, I have now seen every episode of the classic Doctor Who.
I liked it.
William Hartnell is my favorite. He created the role. Or, the role was created for him. And, with him in the role, The Doctor was mysterious and definitely in charge. Plus, I’m the same age Hartnell was when the first episode was broadcast.
Patrick Troughton was a treat. He always livened up the screen. He reprised the role more times than any other actor who played The Doctor. Come to think of it, he might actually be my favorite.
Jon Pertwee was a joy. I didn’t remember him as The Doctor until I saw him as The Doctor. I don’t know, prior to this viewing, that I ever saw any of his episodes (and I suspect I did not) but I did recognize him as The Doctor. Somehow.
Tom Baker was everyone’s favorite. But not mine. Of course, he was the first actor I remember seeing in the role, but I didn’t always enjoy the show. That’s when the show got a little preachy.
Peter Davison, I liked. I didn’t remember much from his stint, but I did like many of his serials. He may be my second-favorite Doctor. Toss him, Troughton, and Hartnell into a hat (they all wore hats, get it?) and whichever name you pull out is my favorite.
Colin Baker was around the least of any of the actors that played The Doctor. He was in only 31 episodes over two full seasons, and one serial in another.
Sylvester McCoy was the one I knew the least, though he was in more episodes than Colin Baker. McCoy appeared in 42 episodes over three full (but short) seasons.
Each one, during his time, was The Doctor. The companions were ever-changing, and despite the seven actors (eight, actually) that played the first seven incarnations of The Doctor, the lead character was the constant.
Oh, about the companions. My favorite? Well, Sarah Jane Smith. But, I also likes the group of Susan, Barbara, and Ian. Jamie wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t dislike him at all, plus I can’t imagine The Doctor (2.0) without him. So, maybe Jamie is my second-favorite companion.
And Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, though he wasn’t actually a companion, was a regular on the show for some time. I liked him. A lot. Took some getting used to, but he’s definitely someone who was a joy to see return after his regular run ended. The others? Yeah, they were okay. I like the cute chicks the best. There were very few I didn’t like.
Who didn’t I like? Kamelion. K-9. I suppose I’m robotist. And, while a lot of people hated Mel, I didn’t. She was okay. Product of her times.
Was it a worthwhile experience? Yep. For me it was. I now understand the Doctor Who universe.
Should you watch them all? I don’t know. If you have Hulu Plus, you’ll find that as the largest online repository for streaming existing episodes. And, if you subscribe to Hulu Plus and want to check some out, like the early stuff, that’s a great place to do that. But, should you?
Well, if you have to ask, the answer is “no.” I’m not saying don’t watch them. What I’m saying is unless you want to watch them — really want to watch them — don’t.
But, if you do want to watch them, go ahead. You’ll enjoy it.
I’m glad I did this.
Addendum: Actually, I did more. I kept watching. And, even though this was The End, there is an Epilogue. Next week.
Last year, I decided to watch the classic Doctor Who series. And now I have.
I just finished Season 26, which was the last episode of the classic series before it was canceled.
The Doctor’s clothing changed. He still wore an outfit similar to that he wore the previous two seasons, but they were a darker color. The darker color matched the darker tone of the show. If it was part of an attempt to revitalize the show by bringing some of the initial mystery back to the character of The Doctor, it didn’t work. Ratings for the season were at an all-time low, even though the season’s serials increased in viewership from one to the next. Even so, the season averaged only 4.2 million viewers over the 14 weeks.
The season featured old friends, old villains, and new villains that were actually old villains. Or something.
The old friends part was easy, and a treat. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) made his final appearance in Doctor Who in a story, Battlefield (4 episodes), that touched on the legend of Arthur. There’s some silliness with crossing from universes or alternate realities — apparently Arthur and everyone from that existed, just not here on our Earth — and they all knew The Doctor as Merlin. Or something.
Anyway, the story is all convoluted, with Mordred being Arthur’s nephew, as some tellings of the Arthur story go, instead of his illegitimate son by his half-sister, as some other tellings of the Arthur story go.
The story features Jean Marsh as Morgaine, Mordred’s mother and Arthur’s half-sister. Only, Mordred’s mother was Morgause in some tellings, and Morgan le Fay (AKA Morgaine) in others. Kinda hard to keep straight. But, about Jean Marsh. She played The Doctor’s companion, Sara Kingdom, in Season Three’s The Daleks’ Master Plan, and the character Joanna in Season Two’s The Crusade. This was her first appearance on the show since William Hartnell left.
Jean Marsh is always good to see, but I was particularly happy to see Nicholas Courtney’s Brigadier. Even though I didn’t like the whole change to the storyline during most of Jon Pertwee’s stint as The Doctor, setting the series on Earth, I did like some of the characters, particularly Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Without the Earth-based shows, the character wouldn’t have developed like it did. So, there is that.
Ace’s character was developed in both Ghost Light (3 episodes) and The Curse of Fenric (4 episodes). The first serial involved the history of the place the young delinquent Dorothy (AKA Ace) has burned down, and the other set the stage for her mother’s troubled upbringing, with Ace as a catalyst for that.
The Master (Anthony Ainley) was in the final serial of the season (and the classic show), Survival (3 episodes). It ended with The Master again trapped in an impossible situation, and was intended to be the end of that character. Again.
It was known that the show might not be renewed for a 27th season, so after the first episode of Survival aired, the next day, 23 November 1989, the 26th anniversary of the initial broadcast of the first episode of the show, Sylvester McCoy recorded a voice-over that was added to the final scene.
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea’s asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice and somewhere else the tea’s getting cold. Come on, Ace; we’ve got work to do!
On 6 December 1989, the final episode aired. The show was canceled early the next year by BBC, and the show would fade into oblivion.
On 26 and 27 November, 1993, as part of an annual fundraiser called Children In Need, several actors from the series reprised their roles for a short two-part special. It was a cross-over of sorts with characters from EastEnders, another BBC show.
Neither the special, titled Dimensions in Time (2 episodes; 7 minutes, 5 minutes) was done partially as a 30th anniversary celebration of the show, which still had a following. There had been a move to make a 30th anniversary special featuring all of the living actors that had played The Doctor, but The Dark Dimension never got off the ground. However, since the actors’ involvement had been secured, they agreed to do a charity show, forgoing pay as long as it was never made commercially available. It’s not, although bootlegs are available.
Briefly, Dimensions in Time featured The Rani having created a temporal trap that had snared the first two incarnations of The Doctor (William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, both deceased), and was trying to capture the other five. Her attempts succeeded in having The Doctor change into his various incarnations, as well as his companions being replaced by others. For example, The Doctor (7.0) became The Doctor (6.0) while Ace became Mel. This kept up, and featured, in no particular order within the story, Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy. Tom Baker appeared early on, making an attempt to contact his other selves. Companions who appeared included Ace (Sophie Aldred), Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford), Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), Romana (Lalla Ward), Sarah Jane Smith – (Elisabeth Sladen), Nyssa – (Sarah Sutton), Leela – (Louise Jameson), Peri Brown – (Nicola Bryant), Melanie Bush – (Bonnie Langford), K9 (John Leeson/Matt Irvine), Liz Shaw (Caroline John), Mike Yates (Richard Franklin), and Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling).
While the show isn’t considered canon by either Doctor Who enthusiasts (or EastEnders fans, either), it was all in fun, and for charity. Which must count for something.
And so, to wrap it all up …
Eh, I’ll do that later.