Why I Love (and Am) Nyssa

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I love Nyssa. I’ve always loved Nyssa. Lots of people don’t, and that makes me sad. It doesn’t usually make me sad when people don’t like companions (or even Doctors) I love. Why does this? Because Nyssa is me. More than any other companion ever, Nyssa reflects who I was as a young girl. There were plenty of other companions I wanted to be (Sarah Jane, Romana, even Leela), but Nyssa genuinely reflected me. It’s taken a couple of decades, but I’ve finally come to realize that that was a pretty great thing.

Note that, at the time, I didn’t see myself as Nyssa. I just liked her because I liked her. I think as little kids we don’t think too much about why we like things. They’re just neat. Leave it to the stodgy adults to dissect stuff until it barely means anything.*

So anyway, I thought Nyssa was neato. I still do. Now I’ve thought about why. In breaking it down, I can now clearly see that the things I did and do appreciate about her are facets and reflections of myself—perhaps more at that age than at present, but there’s still a lot of her in me.

Nyssa is smart. There’s no question about it. Nyssa knows her stuff. She can communicate with the Doctor—much of the time on his own level. In some ways she’s a spiritual successor to Zoe. She doesn’t quite have Zoe’s panache or bravado or spunk, but she’s got the brains for sure. Adric’s a bit of a genius too (as he never lets us forget), but Nyssa’s genius extends beyond the realm of numbers. She’s able to *do* things with her intelligence. Which brings me to the next in the list of her outstanding qualities. Continue reading

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The TARDIS as Maternal Mastermind?

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I’ve just been re-listening to Verity! Episode 2, and something just occurred to me.  (If you haven’t heard it yet, you probably should.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.)

Pretty good, wasn’t it?  (…she says with no false modesty…)  Anyway, on to my revelation!

Tansy points out that in “The Eleventh Hour,” it’s not so much the Doctor’s fault that Amy grows up a bit damaged, but that it’s really the fault of the TARDIS—its explosion causes the crack in Amelia’s wall, and the fact that the Doctor is 12+ years late to pick her up could be chalked up to the TARDIS as well.  Upon first hearing that, I thought it was an amusing theory.

Now that I’ve heard it again, something much more far-reaching has occurred to me.  What if that’s all true, and the TARDIS did it on purpose?  We still haven’t really learned why the TARDIS explodes, and we don’t know for sure if the Doctor mis-set the controls for his “5-minute” jaunts, but what if it really is the TARDIS, and those things are deliberate? Continue reading

Doctor Who: Pertwee (More Like Pertweak) Part 2

Ok!  Time for more Pertwee (inspired by my TARDIS Tavern appearance).  In yesterday’s post I pointed out that I’m not fond of Pertwee’s Doctor.  Here’s part of why:

Many of my problems with Pertwee’s Doctor exist in other Doctors as well, but the fact that there are so many all together in one incarnation adds up to (or subtracts down to) a very low level of appreciation for Doctor #3.  The first of these is that he’s so mercurial (and yes, like I said, that’s not something unique to Pertwee).  Travelling with the third Doctor seems reminiscent of being in a dysfunctional relationship.  In The Curse of Peladon, one minute he’s yelling at Jo and calling her an idiot.  Not a minute later, he softens drastically and allows that she’s also been very brave.  His mood swings must be exhausting to deal with.  I understand that it’s gotta be difficult for the Doctor to have to deal with mere humans all the time, but about-faces like that smack of “I’m sorry baby; I didn’t mean it; you know I love you!”  Yuck.  At times it’s almost like he has multiple personality disorder or something.  He’ll be yelling and brash and jerky, then in the next scene he’s all meek and loath to hurt anyone’s feelings.  In Terror of the Autons he rails to the Brigadier about how terrible Jo is and how she’ll have to go, but in the next scene he can’t bring himself to fire her, and relents to having her assistance, however useless it may be.

When it comes down to it, he just doesn’t have a very pleasant personality.  Curt insults trip off his tongue more often than praise, and not just for Jo; the UNIT boys bear some of the brunt as well.  Plus, he’s often snarky.  When Mike Yates asks if Jo is hypnotized in Terror of the Autons, the Doctor snaps at him “Of course, why else do you think she tried to blow us all to pieces?”  Then the Doctor condescendingly mocks Yates by repeating him and pointing out how wrong he is about hypnotism.  In that same story, when the Doctor dresses down Brownrose the bureaucrat, instead of inspiring that “In-your-face!” feeling that I love to get when a fool is put in his place, this just smacks of dipping down to Brownrose’s self-important level.  “Tubby” indeed.  *rolleyes*  The third Doctor comes off as a pompous blowhard a lot of the time.  The only thing that mitigates it for me is the fact that he’s got something to back it up.  He does know more than everyone else around him.  That fact can only soften it so much though.

I suppose one could defend him for having somewhat frayed nerves when it comes to dealing with humans.  The third Doctor is primarily confined to Earth, so he has to deal with Earthlings on a day-to-day basis for a good stretch of time.  I guess that must wear on him.  But he’s a Time Lord.  The few years he has to spend on Earth are a drop in the bucket for one as long-lived as he.  Though I could argue with myself further here (I often do) by pointing out that the Doctor lives quite the vagabond lifestyle, and any curtailing of his freedom, no matter how brief, is bound to make him rather cross and sour in general.  Even if you buy that, it’s pretty darn rude for him to take out his frustrations on the humans around him rather than the Time Lords who stuck him on Earth.  He ought to learn some more effective coping mechanisms.  That might help him minimize the hissy fits.

Yes, that’s right, the third Doctor throws tantrums—whether it be tearing up reports or kicking the TARDIS and declaring that he likes being childish.  Come to think of it, those types of outbursts pair rather oddly with his general suave demeanor.  Perhaps we’re meant to find these different sides of our protagonist interesting and complex, but to me it just seems jarring, confusing, and even a little unsettling.  This is certainly not “my Doctor.”

Removing this dichotomy of character wouldn’t save the third Doctor for me.  Even if he expressed the suave side of his nature and nothing else, I still wouldn’t enjoy it.  I shall expand on that tomorrow.

Doctor Who: Pertwee (More Like Pertweak) Part 1

So it’s come to this.  I sorta promised myself I’d do four Pertwee-related blog posts after my thrilling appearance* on TARDIS Tavern a while back—one for each story we reviewed, and one on Pertwee’s Doctor in general.  We have now reached the general-Pertwee blog.  So I’ve got to try to distill my feelings on the third Doctor into some sort of comprehensible form without alienating anyone.  Actually, screw that last part.  If you’re not comfortable with someone holding a different opinion from you, then I guess I’ll just have to be okay with alienating you.  For the record, I think it’s great that so many people love Pertwee and his Doctor.  Doctor Who bringing joy to people is what it’s all about as far as I’m concerned.  So please don’t take this post as a condemnation if you happen to be in that camp.  I’m just camped firmly elsewhere—in a more brightly-colored and ramshackle tent.

[Editor’s note (which is also a writer’s note ‘cause there ain’t no one here but me): After spewing out all my Pertwee opinions, I realized it would make for one truly epic post, so I’ve decided to split it up.  Today’s is a brief overview of my feelings.  Over the next couple days, I’ll post some more specific observations.]

Ok.  So.  The third Doctor.  Here we go.  *deep breath*

The third Doctor is the suave Doctor, the action hero, the James Bond of the Doctor Who pantheon, and thus, he’s my least favorite of all.  I often find that when discussing him, the fan with whom I’m speaking disagrees very little.  The character traits which make Pertwee’s Doctor so beloved of some others are the very traits that turn me off.  He’s so very smooth and sophisticated.  He’s adept at hand-to-hand combat.  He wears a freaking cape.  None of these are things that excite me.  On the contrary, they make me at best, roll my eyes and sigh, and at worst, become very annoyed and want to turn off the TV.

I will allow that he does these things well.  Pertwee takes each of these characteristics and plays them just right.  I have no complaints about his ability to pull off what he’s trying to do.  I just don’t like the direction in which the Doctor is taken during this era.  That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy some of the camaraderie of having UNIT as a somewhat “familial” backdrop for the stories.  It’s an interesting way to keep costs down, and I think it works on the whole.  I just think I’d enjoy it more if it was a slightly different Doctor that was slotted into those same surroundings.  Note that I don’t suggest any of the other existing Doctors.  None of them would really work well here.  Though for me, Pertwee doesn’t either.

And I will explain why in more detail over the next couple days.  Stay tuned.  Or if you’re a big Pertwee fan, maybe don’t. ; )

*Why does that look like it’s meant to be sarcastic?  It’s most certainly not.  “Visiting” TARDIS Tavern was one of the most thrilling things I’ve done in some time.


Doctor Who: The Time Meddler (Parts 3 & 4), or “So Much Monk-ey Business”

Ahh, Saturday afternoon!  My favorite time of the week.  When I (usually) get to kick around the house, relax, and get a few things done–like some knitting and Doctor Who for example!  I finished up The Time Meddler and started the first really big orange stripe on the scarf.  Add that to the laundry I’m doing, and I’ve got myself a fairly productive day.  Yay me!

Parts 3 and 4 of this episode were good fun.  I’ve quite enjoyed this one overall.  Someone recently pointed out that I’m rather nice about Doctor Who, and I can’t argue with their assessment.  In general I’m pretty much a find-the-good-in-everything kinda gal.  It did make me want to point out that these aren’t really “reviews” exactly.  I’m not aiming to do any critical analysis.  Rather, I’m just spouting off about whatever happens to catch my attention.  Since I’m usually focusing on the positive, that tends to be the good stuff.  And truth be told, I miss quite a lot because when I’m knitting, my attention is divided.  I’m by no means a very accomplished knitter.  I’m not one of those folks who can knock out several dozen rows without looking down at my hands.

Anyway, I continued to enjoy The Time Meddler.  It takes place in Britain just before Harald Hardrada invaded and fought with Harold Godwinson (which was just before Harold Godwinson had to head off to fight the Battle of Hastings with William of Normandy).  I’ve always been fascinated with that era of British history, so that probably colored my view of this story a bit.  Another thing that made this fun was that it was kind of hilarious to see the Doctor dressed up in a monk’s robes.

Easily the most excitement of the whole episode was the cliffhanger between parts 3 and 4, where we discover that the meddling monk has a TARDIS!  We knew he had to be a time traveler, but it didn’t even occur to me that he might be a Time Lord, much less one with a fancy “Mark IV” TARDIS–whatever that means.  The Doctor didn’t answer when Vicki asked what mark the Doctor’s TARDIS is, and I think we’re supposed to assume it’s an earlier version.  However, the Doctor’s is a “type 40,” which is far higher than 4.  Maybe “type” and “mark” are separate categories.

The one thing that bothered me the most about this episode was that the monk kept a checklist for his master plan.  Seriously?  I was more ok with it when I realized he kept it in his TARDIS, but still, sheesh.  Oh well, perhaps I shouldn’t judge.  He’s probably severely OCD and needs the satisfaction of ticking off completed tasks.

As for the knitting, like I mentioned, I’ve just started in on the first large orange stripe.  I’ll probably post another picture when I get that done.  It’s coming along smoothly.  And I’ve gotten to it much more often lately.  I think I have several Doctor Who-themed podcasts to thank for that.  They keep the good Doctor on my mind!