Posts Tagged ‘doctor who’

Tie-in Fiction Friday: Only Human (Doctor Who)

Doing a little better than a year and a half between posts, eh?

For Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary back in 2013, they put out a collection of books, one for each Doctor, that were special 50th anniversary re-releases. It was all very shiny but expensive, so I decided I would buy one book, though at this point I don’t remember my selection criteria. Did I buy this one because it was the one for Nine, who was my favorite Doctor at the time? (I now am also fond of Twelve. And Two.) Did I like the plot write-up the best? I’m not sure.

Anyway, I ended up with Only Human, written by Gareth Roberts, and initially published in 2005. The shiny 2013 re-release cover looks like this, in case you’re interested:

Only Human Cover

The basic premise is that the Doctor and Co. (in this case, Rose and Captain Jack, ♥) pick up a time distortion and trace to a Neanderthal being about 28,000 years out of place (in this case, modern day England, 2005). The distortion is caused by a primitive and dangerous time machine called a rip engine, which makes it so people who use it can’t go back to their original time. So the Doctor and Rose bop back in time to see if they can’t find this rip engine back 28,000 years ago while Jack is left to teach the Neanderthal how to adapt to modern life (not like Jack is terribly familiar with 2005 either, great planning).

The story is mostly Rose and the Doctor doing their thing back in the day, interspersed with diary entries from Das (the Neanderthal) and Jack. Das’s entries are hilarious and easily one of my favorite parts. While I would not call this high writing in any form, the interactions between Das/modern life, Rose/past humans, etc., are all very well done and also funny. The characters are also mostly spot on though a little thin in places.

This was a quick, fun read–only 253 pages. It reads like a Nine-era episode and has about the same depth as one. If you are familiar with Doctor Who/the Ninth Doctor, I’d recommend it. I’m not actually sure that someone who wasn’t relatively familiar with the show would have any idea what was going on. But maybe I’m not giving people enough credit. Aside from the characters and the TARDIS, there’s not a lot of mythology included.

Read Only Human, Squiders? Read any other Doctor Who books that you really enjoyed?

The Cycle of Serial Formatting

So, having run out of new Doctor Who episodes (until the last season arrives from the library), the not-so-small, mobile one and I decided we’d watch a few episodes of the original series, starting with the first doctor.

What I did not know is that each “episode” of classic Who is actually a series of episodes, usually somewhere between 4 and 6. While each episode within an “episode” contributes directly to the same story, the “episodes” themselves seem to be more or less episodic, without a specific order that they need to be watched in.

It’s a weird television format, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it elsewhere. Other same-era scifi shows don’t follow it (such as the original series of Star Trek or Lost in Space) and I can’t say that I’ve seen it in anything since then either. Shows tend to either be mostly or fully episodic, or all episodes in a season/series contribute to the same ongoing plot.

Now, books on the other hand…

Books used to be written in serial form all the time. Dickens did it. Dumas did it. It was cheaper and easier to distribute. But eventually we moved on to “books,” as it were, where a single story comes in a single, large chunk (or, in the case of series, a couple large chunks).

But it seems like now, books are moving back into a serial form. E-publishing makes it easy to put up and change your work whenever you like. I’ve seen people serialize a story, putting up each section individually, and then combine the work into a single novel when done. Some people do this for each book in the series, which kind of brings us back to the classic Who format: a series of serials.

How do you feel about reading/writing serials, Squiders? Have you done any yourself? Read any excellent ones?

Any thoughts on the first doctor?

Have a happy weekend, Squiders.

More Doctor Who Musings

I know how it isn’t fun to read about someone else obsessing about something, and so I apologize about posting about Doctor Who again. But things are bothering me, and maybe the Internet at large can help me clear up some points.

I’m mid-way through season three (so, Ten and Martha), for clarity’s sake.

First of all, let me just say that I find the show a little jarring, the way people come and go. I understand why this is necessary–no one is going to want or be able to play the same character for the length of time the show has been on, but it’s very weird to get used to or to like a character just to have them disappear after a season or two. I mean, I finally got to like Nine, and then he regenerated. And then, when Rose goes, we lose not only her, but Jackie and Mickey too.

(That being said, I heart Martha. She’s my favorite.)

Okay, points for clarification:

1. Nine says he’s over 900 years old. Now, admittedly, I am completely unfamiliar with Doctor Who before Eight (I mean, I can identify some of the earlier doctors, but I have no idea about the focus of the show or anything) but it seems like none of his regenerations last particularly long. I mean, Nine only seems to have lasted a year. And I admittedly have no ideas how Time Lords count years, but it seems like there hasn’t been enough time represented, or even alluded to.

2. For there being a finite number of Daleks left, they are seemingly everywhere.

3. Let’s talk about “Blink.” I can see it looming a few episodes ahead of where I am. People have hyped up the weeping angels to me every since the episode was originally on. So I’m a little anxious about actually watching it. If it’s not as scary as I’ve been told, I’ll be a little disappointed, and if it is, I may never sleep again.

4. Also, last week I had a bad dream about Daleks and weeping angels, and I think it’s quite unfair to start worrying about them before I’ve ever seen the episode.

5. Also, it seems a bit ostentatious to call your species the Time Lords. But, then, of course, they’re all the Doctor, the Master, etc., so what do I know.

Right, bit rambly, and I apologize for that. Anyway, I shall move on to other subjects for Thursday. But feel free to discuss these and other points in the comments. (Seriously, though, Daleks.)

The Conundrum of Doctor Who

It’s been my intention for years to watch Doctor Who, ever since the new iteration started and all my friends and the Internet in general got sucked in. It seemed like it would be right up my alley, since I like Star Trek and Merlin and shows of that ilk. Ones where they’re not afraid to occasionally be silly. Ones where the characters care about each other despite their differences.

I should probably note that I had seen Doctor Who before the new series started–I watched the 1996 made for TV movie with Eight (Paul McGann). Admittedly, I think I was 13 at the time, but I remember liking it and being somewhat disappointed that it hadn’t done well enough to be picked up for a TV series.

And, of course, because I am a denizen of the Internet, despite not having watched the show, I am generally aware of what’s happening. (Sometimes I even know what’s happening more than my friends who are caught up with the show, which just amuses me.) So I went in knowing about sonic screwdrivers and daleks and weeping angels and regeneration (and also things associated with the 50th anniversary special which I shall not say in case people do not know and care about spoilers).

About a month ago I finally decided to dive in with the beginning of Nine and…well, I didn’t like it. There were conversations I thought were funny, and I thought the characters were fine, but overall it wasn’t doing much for me, and I was really annoyed about it, because I’d been so excited to watch the show, and I’d heard such good things, and it just wasn’t doing anything for me.

But I stuck through with it, and near the end of the first season there’s an episode where they’re in 1941 England, and they hook up with Captain Jack, and there’s random Merlin actors and that was the first time where I could see what people were talking about. It was a two-part episode, and both the strength of the story and the interplay between the characters were fantastic. And, for the most part, the rest of the season (a standalone episode and another two-parter) kept that up.

And then, of course, I get to the end of the season and Nine regenerates into Ten, and now I feel all off-kilter again. I got to really like Nine, and I feel like I don’t know what to make of Ten yet (I’m…four? episodes into the season). And I feel like the quality of the episodes has gone back downhill, more like the beginning of season/series one than the end.

(Also, we ditched Captain Jack at the end of season one and I really liked him and how he interacted with the other characters. I mean, I know he comes back and there’s Torchwood, but I would have watched him and Nine and Rose forever.)

Part of me wonders if I should just give up here. If I find it so hard to adjust every time they switch out a character, is it worth it to keep watching a show where characters switch every year or two? I mean, aside from the Doctor regenerating, companions come and go. And maybe it just hasn’t hit its stride yet and if I keep going the show will become good enough that that will stop bothering me as much as it does at the moment.

And I’m still a little annoyed that I don’t like it more than I do.

What about you, Squiders? Are you a die-hard Whovian, or can you not get into the show? Who’s your favorite Doctor?

Science Fiction and Television

Science fiction and television don’t seem to be getting along very well lately.  For every long running series like Doctor Who, there’s a half-dozen series killed before their time, ala Firefly.

It’s somewhat understandable.  Scifi series cost more to make than a sitcom or yet another reality TV show.  They may not appeal to people who have a limited view of what science fiction is or how it relates to them.  And people may not have time for another show, and they may be confused if they miss a few episodes.

Even knowing the seemingly inevitable fate of scifi shows, I tend to watch them anyway.  This is probably a mistake.  Last year, ABC had an amazing series on called FlashForward.  I adored it, liked it from the very first episode (and I normally take a few episodes to acclimate myself to a show), loved the way it made you wonder whether or not you could change the future once you knew what it was going to be.

It was, of course, cancelled after its first season.  It ended on a cliffhanger and I will never know what happened.

The last scifi series I picked up, Warehouse 13, is now on its third season, but it is on SyFy and that is, arguably, the safest place for a scifi series to be.

When was the last time a network scifi series made it to any great length?  I think it might actually be something like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine back in the early 2000s.  People ask me why I don’t watch TV and the answer, for me, at least, is that there’s nothing worth watching.  I don’t mind the odd sitcom or something like the Simpsons, but I rarely find anything that pulls me in and gives me a reason to come back week after week.

My husband and I have recently started watching a new science fiction show on TNT called Falling Skies.  It took a few episodes to get into, but it’s got me hooked now.  Hopefully it will get renewed; there’s some hope, since it’s not on a broadcast network.  There’s another new series starting on FOX in September called Terra Nova – people from the future (having destroyed the planet) go back in time and, from what I gathered from the previews, get eaten by dinosaurs.  Which, really, I like dinosaurs and I like science fiction so this show interests me (do we not care about disruptions to the timeline?) but FOX has a notoriously bad reputation for cancelling shows early on, so I don’t know if it’s worth my time.

What scifi shows have you in their grasp right now, Squiders?  Have you been watching Falling Skies?  Looking forward to Terra Nova?  (There’s also a fantasy/detective show coming out called Grimm that I somewhat have my eye on.)  Why do you think scifi can’t get a decent hold on non-cable television?