Monday, December 24, 2007

Dr. Who and the Daleks

Ah, I can't wait for tomorrow. There's going to be a new Doctor Who on! Although I probably won't get to watch it tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I can watch the one bit of Doctor Who I haven't seen in some form, the feature films! Some of it is hard to watch since it was made and destroyed before I was born, but reconstructions exist. Those are all listed on the ultimate source of Doctor Who episode information on the web. For some reason the feature films are not. And now I know a little bit of why.

First you rewrite the characters so that the main fellow is, well, human. You can't be having alien characters be central. Who will the humans watching relate to? And give him an actual last name that people may stick after "Dr." to call him. I think he did once introduce himself as "Doctor Who" in the series. It was early on, they were still figuring it out. The first film was done only a couple years after the first of the series and was only using that as the fertile ground from which to spring.

Let both Susan and Barbara call him grandfather and Ian can be Barbara's boyfriend. Let him also be the source of mild slapstick entertainment, too. Then everyone can join up in this "TARDIS" thing the grandfather is showing off to Ian where a bumped lever (ah, more mild slapstick) can launch the merry band into adventure. Everything from here is quite familiar to viewers of the second story from the series, usually referred to as "The Daleks" and sometimes "The Mutants". Yeah, tin pots with plungers have been terrorizing the Doctor that long. Hey, it only took to the 8th Doctor for them to figure out bumps in the road like stairs.

Now, since this story was originally seven episodes in a time of half hour shows, there's a little bit to cut. Not that they did. Instead, they seemed to be ticking off each thing that happened in the original story off a list. Well, there was no alien romance this time, but that had been done fairly quietly and Barbara's already got a boyfriend this time. Meanwhile, the bits that didn't seem well motivated before seem to be positively mechanical in service of performing the story just as it was done before.

It is a wonderful story after all. Start off with the horrors that result from nuclear war, meet up with the side that has decided that one must never fight (although this isn't shown much) and convince them to throw away their values to help retrieve equipment. Then with their help, commit apparent genocide on the side still out to destroy everything. It's alright, they're bad. Well, they are!

Rewritten basic background and adds nothing original beyond that... That must be why it's not listed. My take: watch the episodes, it'll make a little more sense and they do still exist. Meanwhile, there's nothing for it but to watch the second film.

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