Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Impossible Planet & Satan Pit 8 December 2008

It had been a few weeks off for Doctor Who Theater. Having been on the road and incredibly busy we even missed the 45th anniversary of Doctor Who while in Europe. But, we delayed the 45th celebration until tonight.

It was a good crowd, with David Register, Tom Dionesotes, Sam Natale, Alli Hamlin and her sister Ariel. Ariel turns out to be quite a Doctor Who fan so I got to show her a lot of my loot, including lots of autographed photos.

We picked this two-parter because people were unfamiliar with Rose (imagine that) and wanted to see something spooky with, as Sam Natale indicated, "lots of cool monsters." I guess this episode does all of that.

Great fun. Next week I will be in Malaysia and I will try to have the theater anyway. We shall see.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Remembrance of the Daleks - 17 November 2008

Jasmine Breaks, who spoke the immortal line, "You were born to serve the Daleks"

We went back but not too far this week. The Doctor #7 and Ace adventure takes us back to where it all started in 1963 - Coal Hill School and 76 Totter's Lane. The Doctor has left something there and is going back for it.

The Hand of Omega.

Jacob Klein and I were joined by David Register for a good time. The characterization of the Doctor by Sylvester McCoy is one of my favorites, as he is both silly and zany while at the same time being dark and mysterious. Ace meets a handsome guy, but looks can be deceiving. Both Jacob and David got to see an earlier version of Davros as well. And how can you go wrong with a cosmically charged aluminium baseball bat as a weapon?

Hooray for Jasmine Breaks, who not only uttered the line above, but also while playing hopscotch, said eerily, "5-6-7-8, it's the Doctor at the gate."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dragonfire 10 November 2008

Dragonfire team: Ace, the Doctor, Sabalom Glitz and Mel

It was time to dip back into DW history a bit. Jacob was curious about other Doctors, and so we decided to have a look at Sylvester McCoy, Doctor #7. Of course, with Sylvester comes one of the most dynamic figures in that era, Sophie Aldred in the role of Ace.

Ace was a street kind from Thatcher-era UK who was doing an explosive experiment and was carried away by a time storm. She ended up in the other end of the universe in a place called Iceworld. Ace is there as a waitress (she was working in a fast food restaurant back on Earth) but longs to get away and see the universe.

Ace, Mel and the Doctor meet the sinister Kane, a super-cold being that can live only a low temperatures and is being held prisoner on Iceworld. Sabalom Glitz, a returning figure from the days of Doctor #6 is also there. There is a treasure, a dragon, a mystery and a secret plot. Of course. The planet also seems to be preoccupied by questions of metaphysical philosophy. What a strange combination of elements!

It was good. I love this episode, except for the occasional failed physical humor, but it all fits together well.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Enemy Within 3 November 2008

Back home from South Amrica and I am ready fo Doctor Who Theater! This week we decided to change up the mood and watch a very important episode -- the one where Fox actually makes Doctor Who, where it occurs on American television, where Paul McGann becomes the Doctor, where it is the most videotaped program of the year, but it still fails to spark a new series contract. Paul McGann did a great job, but Fox wasn't buying. Instead they went with Sliders, a program that went nowhere.

It came at a great time for Doctor Who Theater back in the mid-1990s when it aired. People were very excited, and with the theme playing and the TARDIS whirling down the time vortex toward me in the opening, it was one of he happiest moments for me in that decade. It was warm weather, and when a clock chimed nine in the show the main church clock across the street from me chimed nine at the same moment -- really uncanny. I remember Cleopatra screaming and people gasping when it played.

Jacob and I took it a bit differently this time, but it was way fun nevertheless. It has some of the best lines from Doctor Who history as well as some of the worst ("Great, I finally find the right guy and he's from another planet"). We get our first real Doctor Who kiss, paving the way for future kisses that will not upset us quite as much. Paul McGann's Doctor became a mainstay in a huge number of books published after this program aired. In those books he grew and developed and became one of my true favorites.

This episode kept the DW love alive until it could burst back into existence in 2004. That is what is important about it. We celebrated that, for sure.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sontaran Strategem - Poison Sky 27 October 2008

It was a nice group this evening. I think they were feeling a little sympathetic as it was the night before my birthday, but I was glad to have extra visitors to Doctor Who Theater this evening. We had David Register, Nicole Colston, Jacob Klein, Sam Natale, Alli Hamlin and Tom Dionesotes. They enjoyed and commented a lot, so that got us all in the spirit.

We watched the two-parter from the 2008 season, and it was good fun and good viewing. My AVI file broke down at the climax, but I found another copy, with them crying out to see what took place. I like that. They want to know the result even though it is obvious that the Doctor will win.

It was great to be home, and Doctor Who Theater at home is even better than Doctor Who Theater on the road in South America.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Time Monster October 20 2008

I am here in Santiago, Chile and it is Monday night. But, I have brought Doctor Who Theater on the road. I brought one of my favorite classic episodes with John Pertwee as Doctor #3 and Roger Delgado as the Master. Roger is great in this episode.

While a bit long it is a really great story. I love it when the direction of the story changes completely in the middle when the action changes from England to ancient Atlantis. I think Atlantis is destroyed several times in several different ways in the Doctor Who universe.

I was by myself in the hotel room but I still talked back to the picture and made traditional comments, especially when the Master's TARDIS was clearly made of styrofoam or some other light material.

Doctor Who Theater cannot be stopped as it goes global.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dalek 13 October 2008

Having finished watching the most recent season last week, we decided to pick something that neither Jacob nor his friend Andy had seen, and that took us back to the first series of the latest installments, complete with Rose and Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor.

It is a really good episode, and discloses things about the Doctor that do not really get resolved until the end of the last season -- like his violent urges and the way Rose tries to calm him down and stop him from using that big gun. It is true, he is a better Doctor today because of what Rose has taught him.

This night was a difficult one, because as many of you know I also love two other thin gs that begin with the letter D, those are debate and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers faced a tough national league championship game at the same time as Doctor Who Theater, but in a defining choice I went for the Doctor.

Next week I will be in Chile on Monday night and I will just watch something on my own in my hotel room, probably. Or with friends. Doctor Who is always better with friends.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Turn Left, Stolen Earth, Journey's End 6 October 2008

Davros is back, and watch out, he has a reality bomb!

We had worked our way through the library two-parter and had seen Midnight, so it really was time to see TURN LEFT, the awesome counterfactual what might have been story about if Donna and the Doctor had not met, if she had turned right instead of left one day while driving.

Jacob Klein, Nicole Colston and Sam Young had dropped in to see it. TURN LEFT had a big effect on them and after It was over they just sat there. The dvd player in my Mac Mini just went ahead after a few minutes and started to play STOLEN EARTH. I paused it and asked if people were really into it, and they said yes. So, forward we went.

The two-parter that ends the most recent season is one of the most amazing Doctor Who stories ever, and I remember how difficult it was to wait a week for the conclusion, not knowing which companion would die, whether the Doctor would regenerate and a whole lot more.

The Doctor takes a real hammering in this story, especially from Davros, who accuses him of turning his friends into weapons and being the greatest destroyer ever. Rose is back and that is great, and the whole crew gets together -- Torchwood posse, Sarah Jane's crew and everyone else except Rose's father. They all have a part to play.

What happens to Donna is sad, but at least I like it when the Doctor tell's Donna's mother that she should treat her with some respect.

I am now compiling Sarah Jane Adventures from this new season, so perhaps we will watch that next time. But, for sure, this was a real fun Doctor Who Theater and the end of an awesome season.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead 29 September 2008

This is a solid two-parter, and just when you think you have it figured out there is a new twist added to the story. I look forward to meeting River Song in some future adventure, and I really liked her character. Maybe she will bust out of her wonderful rest home as well.

It was a nice group. As usual, Jacob Klein was there, and Julia Benjamin, another regular, dropped in, with two friends each named Jesse. I showed the 25th anniversary backgrounder (Who is Doctor Who? 14 minutes) first. Then we watched both parts with only a brief smoke break (for those who do) in between. Jesse #2 really seemed to dig it, and remarked about how "trippy" the show was. Yea, we know.

More converts, another great story, and another week of Doctor Who Theater.

Next week we will probably watch Turn Left, or perhaps the latest Sarah Jane Adventures.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Midnight Reunion on 22 September 2008

It was really cool when Sherry and Jeffrey came to Doctor Who Theater this week. I had not seen them in quite a while and it was good to catch up. They seem happy and active. Jeffrey has been going to Scrabble tournaments and walking away with money in places like Atlanta. He now knows all of the two and three-letter words by heart and is moving on to four.

Jacob was surprised to learn that Jeffrey has been coming to Doctor Who Theater since 1994, and that Sherry and Jeffrey first met at Doctor Who Theater and are now happily married. Who says there isn't enough love in DW?

We watched Midnight as it is a stand-alone and is pretty creepy. Low budget and all, but very well done. It seems clear that the people are the monsters, but the voice antics is about as creepy as I have seen DW get. Excellent concept carried out well with a minimum of special effects.

This night was also important because it was the end of the television era for me. I stopped watching broadcast or cable television about eight years ago and have been very happy. I watch DVDs and when I really need to see something I throw my computer screen onto my big television. I have taken to running screensavers on my television as an added bit of viewing candy for my living room. But, after long a trusty service, my television has died. I decided that it will be my last television. For my needs I will simply use a large LCD computer screen attached to my Mac mini. No more televisions. I like it already and the picture is better. Now I will shop for a bigger screen to use in a few weeks.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Two Weeks Lost in the Timestream

I have been out of town for two weeks so Doctor Who Theater has been in hiatus.

Thanks to everyone who did not forget and kept asking, like Jeffrey, Sherry and Jacob. We will be back in full force next Monday night.

Take some time out this week. All of the excitement, none of the danger.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Partners in Crime & Fires of Pompeii - 25 August 2008

During the calm before the school year starts, Jacob Klein and I watched the first two "Donna" episodes of the latest season. Partners in crime has an insane plotline with devious alien weight loss plans. Donna tracks down the Doctor and finally finds him, although it is not clear how excited he is about it. I love the return of Wilfred, Donna's grandpa, to the show after a brief appearance in Voyage of the Damned. The Fires of Pompeii episode seemed kind of run-of-the-mill until the ending, where it has some real power. Donna teaches the Doctor (and me) a powerful lesson, that you don't have to save everyone, but that you should try to save someone. The exact nature of the aliens could have been better expressed, but it was a fun episode. I loved the sisterhood and the prophet of Pompeii who, when the Doctor makes fun of him for not being correct in his knowledge, surprises the Doctor by telling him he knows he is from Gallifrey. How did he know that?

Bojana returned from a visit with her students now here in the USA during Fires and was all smiles.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Voyage of the Damned - 18 August 2008

We had a good viewing last night. It was a small house (the dull period when summer is over and before the students come back) but Bojana Skrt and Jacob Klein came over and we had a fine time. Jacob had not seen much from the beginning of this season and Bojana had only seen the latest Christmas episode once, so Voyage of the Damned it was.

While some of the sets looked a bit stiff (the bridge of the ship, for example) the peformances were quite good. One of my favorite lines is between the Doctor and Astrid Perth (Kylie Minogue). She says, "You look pretty good for 903." The Doctor responds, "Well, you should see me in the morning." She smiles and says, "OK."

Some out of town visitors in future weeks should expand the audience. But, it is always fun.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sarah Jane & Torchwood - 11 August 2008

This Monday we watched a Sarah Jane adventure. I was visited by Pam Peck from Oregon, Jacob Klein and Julia Benjamin from Vermont, and of course Bojana Skrt who is here for the end of the summer.

We wanted to watch a Sarah Jane Adventure because Pam was interested in finding out more so she could share them with her son, Ben, who is 10. We watched "Warriors of Kudlak" and had a lot of fun with it. The Sarah Jane stories, while designed more for children, really interest me because of the themes and the way it includes all age ranges in the action. Sarah Jane got some nice backtalking in to the baddies after she had bested them at a few points in the show.

People got so into it they wanted another, and so we watched the first episode of the second season of Torchwood, called "Kiss,Kiss,Bang,Bang." Torchwood (an anagram of Doctor Who) is very different but also fun even if it is more violent and a lot darker.

Probably back to the Doctor next week.

Doctor Who Theater - A Long Tradition

I started hosting Doctor Who Theater on Monday nights back in 1989. The new episodes that had been produced were just ending and I wanted to keep viewing and enjoying Doctor Who. People were invited and we picked an episode from my (fairly) vast collection and watched it.

It became a real tradition and has gone through some changes at the same time. We used to draw episodes out of a hat, we went through a streak where we watched every episode over a period of years, we strung them together into "themes," and a lot more. We have had as many as 25 and as few as 1 person show up. When I am out of town there may not be a screening but often I appoint a guest host.

Now that there are fabulous new episodes (four seasons worth and two spin-off shows) there is a lot of new stuff to watch.

The viewing group has been dubbed "The High Council" and we have a lot of fun. Because of the nature of Doctor Who there is a lot of room for talking back to the screen, either about bad effects, flubbed lines, clever lines and a number of specific things we look for, such as "hiding in plain sight" or "HIPS" and the ever-popular refrain, "I hate it when that happens."

This new blog will keep track of which episodes we watch. Now, we simply meet, have a discussion and then watch an episode. Or more. We also enjoy viewing episodes of Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures from time to time.

So, follow along! Lots of sessions scheduled for this fall!

As we say, all the excitement and none of the danger. Take some time out this week.