Doctor Who: The Invasion (Half, the First)

KNITTING!  Yes.  I’ve been rocking and rolling right along.  I’m now halfway done with the first hugenormous red stripe.  It still feels like there’s a long way to go, but I do feel like I’m making progress, so that’s something.

As for the good Doctor and his adventures, this week brought me the first four episodes of The Invasion, a story I’d never seen before.  The first and fourth episodes are animated (as the footage is sadly long lost), and I’ve gotta say, I really enjoyed the animation.  It’s black and white and sort of flash-animation-looking (although I don’t know if that’s really what it is).  I was afraid it might detract from my enjoyment of the episodes, but on the contrary, it was actually pretty fun.

I’m only halfway in, but I’m enjoying the story thus far.  For as much as I love Troughton, I’ve seen rather few of his stories.  Admittedly, many of them no longer exist, but I haven’t even seen many of those that do.  I really must rectify that.  I’m glad I’m getting a chance to do so now.  As you may have guessed, I chose to watch this particular story ’cause I wanted to watch it with Radio Free Skaro commentary.  That’s also why I stopped after the first four episodes.  The boys won’t be getting to the second half of the story until next week, and I didn’t want to have one of my two precious Netflix disc spots taken up by disc 2 for a whole week while I waited.

For some reason, I’m kinda pooped right now, so I don’t have the energy to go into glorious detail about why I liked these episodes or what delights await you, should you check out the commentary.  Ok, just one: “chocolate fondue fountain.”  That’s all you get.  Now I have to find some food before gaming.  Hmm.  Knitting while watching Doctor Who, then re-watching Doctor Who with commentary (and more knitting), then blogging about it, then going to play D&D?  Do I win some sort of nerd award for that?  I think I should.

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Doctor Who: Snakedance (with & w/o Commentary)

I can’t remember the first time I watched Snakedance.  Although I suppose I could say that about any classic Who story.  I started watching in 1982, so most of my introduction to the Doctor came during that murkily-remembered period of early-elementary school.  Snakedance always stood out for me though.  Despite having re-watched Davison’s entire run a couple times in high school, many of his stories have simply eroded from my memory.  Snakedance seems to have stuck.  The ubiquitous snakes, the garish costumes, the brightly-lit marketplace scenes contrasting with the dim cave interiors, the Doctor being trapped in a cage from which he couldn’t escape, the creepy half-naked old guy who (infuriatingly) didn’t speak out loud…  All those things cooperated to keep Snakedance at the forefront of my mind.  Or at least, not in the back with so many of the others.

In re-watching it, I discovered that I still enjoyed all the things I remembered so fondly.  In addition, I noticed that the acting was pretty superb compared to some of the other stories of that era.  Colette O’Neil, who played Tanha, was almost note-perfect as the semi-exasperated but doting mother of Federator-to-be Lon (played by Martin Clunes).  Clunes too, was nearly spot-on as the whiny, sarcastic, overindulged heir.  It would have been so easy for either of them to slide into caricatures of their roles, but they walked that line admirably.  John Carson (as the archaeologist Ambril) tended to teeter a bit more than the other two, but still turned in a solid performance.

I haven’t seen Kinda in many years, and I know lots of folks see it as the superior of the two Mara stories, but I always remember liking Snakedance better.  I should probably check out Kinda again one of these days to see if that still holds true.  For now, I’m just pleased to have re-experienced Snakedance.

I also re-re-watched it with commentary provided by (you guessed it) those Radio Free Skaro rapscallions.  Exceedingly good times, that.  In addition to all the fun, I was reassured on one count.  I hadn’t seen any Davison episodes in nigh-on two decades, and I really hadn’t remembered him being so energetic.  My first viewing this weekend had me thinking the same thing Chris mentioned in the commentary, that Davison was “channeling his future son-in-law” (David Tennant).  I was rather relieved when the boys pointed out that this story was an outlier in terms of Davison’s energy-level.  I’d been doubting my precious mental picture of the fifth Doctor, but apparently my fears were unwarranted.  Character-wise, I suppose it did make sense for him to be so worked up.  He felt it was his own fault that Tegan was still suffering the effects of the Mara’s possession, thus he was extra-motivated to get to the bottom of things and save his irksome/beloved companion.

In addition to assuaging my fears about one of my favorite Doctors, the fellows also entertained me with the following “off-topicery” and “on-topic BS-ing”:

  • Seagulls!
  • Singing!  (Even more than in the last couple episodes—this time ‘round including a rendition of the theme to The Polka Dot Door, which pretty much made my day.)
  • Warren brilliantly describing Chris’ ability to create a “do-it-yourself dirty joke table.”
  • Chris setting up scads of dirty jokes.
  • Steven disappearing for a bit.
  • A Thompson Twin named Miranda.
  • Chris saying “It’s not misogyny, it’s just general sadism.”
  • Discussion of 70s porn guitar.
  • And possibly my favorite moment of all: Chris’ intense reaction to a guard in a really cool helmet.  It was sudden, explosive, totally genuine, and highly amusing.

And lest you think I was slacking in the knitting department, I got oodles done.  Oodles.  I’m now only about 60 rows away from being a quarter of the way finished.  Hrm.  Now that I type that out, it doesn’t seem like so much.  It felt like a lot though.  And at least I’m trucking along!

Knitting-with-commentary pro tip: Start the DVD a wee bit after you start the commentary.  When the commentary is slightly ahead of the action, you’ll be warned when something important happens on screen, and you can look up from your knitting in time to see it.  (Note that this doesn’t apply to “real” knitters who don’t have to look at their knitting most of the time like I do.  So I guess that makes this an “amateur tip” rather than a pro tip.)

Doctor Who: More Sea Devils (w/More RFS Commentary, but No Nap)

I am seriously thinking of making myself a dress or shawl or something made out of that sweet Sea Devil mesh fabric (or something similar–assuming I could find anything).  And yes, before your imaginations run away with you, I’d line it with something if I went the dress route.  Get your minds out of the gutter.  (They’re crowding mine.)  Anyway, I’m not talking costume here–just a fashion homage, if you will.

Ok, first off: knitting.  I’m exactly one row away from finishing the orange stripe.  I’ll definitely post a picture next time.*

I have to apologise for my second consecutive sleepy post.  I got 11 hours of sleep last night, and that apparently wasn’t enough.  I was afraid I’d fall asleep while watching, but I shouldn’t have worried.  The lively commentary (plus theremin and slide-whistle) kept me right in it.  Now, however, I’m thinking about napping.  And that would be foolish ’cause it’ll be bedtime soon.  Incidentally, no, I don’t have mono or anything.  I slept so long to make up for my up-until-5am-Friday-night.  That was the fault of a great Sunspot show and the second episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day.  (I should know better than to think I can “just watch 10 minutes and then go to sleep.”)

So.  I watched episodes 4, 5, and 6 of The Sea Devils with commentary provided by the fellas from Radio Free Skaro.  Here is a measure of how much I liked it: I recently knocked my Netflix subscription from three discs down to two, and I’ve been missing that third disc.  Even so, I hung on to The Sea Devils disc for over a week so that I’d still have it when the second half of the commentary came out.  That’s how much I enjoy their commentary!

So this time I

  • Learned more about the episode itself and Doctor Who in general.
  • Heard some more crazy iphone-provided “bonus” sound effects, compliments of Steven.
  • Laughed my way through more bawdy digressions.
  • Agreed with Sea Devil fashion critiques.
  • Grinned every time they said what a great year 1977 was.  (It really was; that’s the year I was born.  Star Wars came out just before I did.)

I wouldn’t exactly call The Sea Devils a “romp,” but that moniker could easily be applied to the accompanying RFS commentary.  Well done boys; well done indeed.

I suppose I also ought to mention that this week I listened to the TARDIS Tavern episode covering The Sea Devils.  (That’s episode 12 if you want to go looking for it.)  This was purely coincidental.  I’ve been working my way backward through their catalog, and just happened to light on their Sea Devils episode in between RFS commentary episodes.  How fortuitous!  That was all kinds of fun as well.  I can’t recommend those guys enough either.  My favorite line was when Steve said “If you’re a sandwich, this is not a good story for you.”  I laughed out loud.

I’m too tired to go into detail (and this is getting a bit long), but I was also going to talk a bit about how I’ve been toying with the idea of going to the Gallifrey One convention next February, and how no fewer than seven people have tried to talk me into it this weekend.  My financial-stability-related resolve is crumbling.  I suppose I would have rather a long time to save up for it…  Maybe when I’m wider awake, I’ll have to do some monetary math.

*Disclaimer: I might not actually post a picture next time if I happen to be too tired or lazy to do so.

Doctor Who: Sea Devils Redux (Episodes 1-3 w/RFS Commentary)

Ok.  I took some melatonin a while ago, so I’m going to have to make this brief.  I can barely keep my eyes open.  But before I started nearing somnambulance, I decided tonight was going to be all about pampering myself.  I cooked dinner: a burger using pasture-raised beef from a local farm, topped with lettuce and a fried egg (both also from the same farm) on gluten-free bread with onions and a dollop of mayo.  Decadence!  Then I was still hungry, so I made myself supper #2: sauteed day lilies (yes, really!) with onions and ground beef.  I’d never cooked day lillies before.  They’re delish!  After that I decided it was time for dessert and some quality entertainment.  I made some homemade organic sweet-cinnamon-crunch popcorn and settled in to re-watch the first three episodes of The Sea Devils–this time with commentary by the “Three Who Rule” from Radio Free Skaro.

I’d never listened to commentary with anything before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’m thrilled to report that I loved it!  I can’t express how much fun it was to kick back, pig out, and let the good times roll with the boys from RFS.  It made my little apartment seem a bit less lonely to have three jocular voices prattling in my ear while watching some good old classic Who.

My favorite part was when Warren and Steven downloaded a theremin app for their iphones.  Warren’s delight and Steven’s pure glee at their ability to “play along” with the soundtrack actually made that aspect of the show bearable this time around.  It made me giggle more than once.

The other thing I loved about it was how every scene seemed to devolve into ribald jokes.  Absolutely up my alley, that.  I felt I was in good company the whole way through.

Oh yeah, and they offered interesting and informative insight into the episodes, characters, actors, blah blah blah.  Tonight, I’m really more interested in the fun, but it was a quality commentary from a scholastic viewpoint as well.  If you’ve never listened to the Radio Free Skaro podcast, I highly recommend you do so, and not just for the entertaining commentaries.  I could wax poetic about how great the podcast is, but I’m too tired.

Ok.  I really am about to nod off.  Just enough time left to mention that I knitted through episode 2 and am 10 rows away from being done with that big…orange….zzzzzzzzz…