Tagged: Martha Jones

Martha Thomases: Doctor Who and Something… Joyful!

Thomases Art 131129It was Saturday morning and I was at the Union Square Green Market buying dried black beans for soup. It was a beautiful clear cold day, the kind that makes me even more chatty with the people selling the goodies (and, yes, I consider black beans to be goodies. Sue me.). The lovely young woman who took my money commented about being outside all day.

“But there’s Doctor Who!” I said.

She looked at me with scorn.

“I have to watch,” I said defensively. “I need to be able to talk to my son.”

“You’re a good person,” she said. I interpreted this to mean that I was subjecting myself to something tiresome in order to be a good parent.

I came late to Doctor Who. I mean, I had heard of it but never felt any great need to see it. I thought it might be like Thomas, the Tank Engine, a perfectly fine BBC show for children that I also didn’t want to watch. A character with a colorful scarf did not seem compelling enough to me.

Years went by. My son and I bonded over various media, including the television ventures of Joss Whedon, Homicide: Life on the Street, and assorted, other, coolstuff .

So when he said I’d like Doctor Who, I listened. But first, I whined. “It’s been on forever,” I said. “I don’t have time to watch decades worth of a series.

“You only need the new stuff,” he said. “It’s all on Netflix. It’s easy.”

So I started. The first episode I saw didn’t thrill me. I mean, it was fine, but didn’t seem to be the kind of thing to inspire a cult. My son said, “Give it time. Lots of people don’t like Christopher Eccleston.”

But he wasn’t the problem. I thought he looked a bit like Jason Statham, and I amused myself by imagining what the program would be like if Jason were The Doctor. Fucking awesome is what it would be.

So I was enjoying Eccleston, but it was David Tennant who won my heart. That is a cute guy. And, as I was relaxing into the show more, it grew on me. I liked his relationships with the various companions, women who were his friends, nothing more and, more important, nothing less. I liked that they were not, for the most part, conventionally beautiful. Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler was dressed to look like she still had some baby fat, Freema Agyeman’s Martha Jones is (you should pardon the expression) black, and Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble was definitely pudgy and had rather coarse features (please note I think these some are beautiful, but my point is simply that they don’t meet Hollywood standards). They were, like most of us at first glance, ordinary. And, as we watched them interact with The Doctor, they revealed themselves to be, like most of us, extraordinary.

Matt Smith is no David Tennant, but he grew on me. I felt the writing for his character got dicey at times, with some of the gags forced, and his resemblance to Stan Laurel was, at times, distracting. But I loved the Ponds. Through them, I grew to like Smith.

I enjoyed “The Day of the Doctor.” It was fun. I suspect I missed a few Easter eggs, since my knowledge of the older versions of the show is limited to the newer episodes, which I know makes me much less cool. However, I have loved John Hurt since he was Caligula, so that was pretty much great.

Before I left with my black beans, I said to the woman, “The thing about Doctor Who is that, no matter how dangerous the situation, no matter how dire the circumstances, the characters are always happy to see each other. They always find something joyful.”

“Maybe,” she said, “I need to look at it again.”

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostreander

 

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special to be simulcast globally

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Initially reported by UK tabloid The Sun and quickly verified by the BBC, the 50th anniversary special episode of Doctor Who will be broadcast simultaneously across the world, touted as the largest simulcast of a drama ever.

The special has been sold to approximately 200 countries, so the amount of timing and cooperation required will be quite high.  Sources say the move was done to eliminate any chance of spoilers for people in countries who traditionally receive the episodes after the initial broadcast in the UK.

This would put the broadcast spread across four hours of the early afternoon (depending on time zone) in the United States, and in the early hours of the 24th of November on the far side of the world like Australia and New Zealand.

The special will be broadcast in both 2D and 3D.  Complete details have not been released on which version will be broadcast in which markets.  The special features the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper as The Doctor and Rose Tyler, as well as classic villains The Daleks and Zygons.  At San Diego Comic-Con, showrunner Steven Moffat claims he’s been “lying through his teeth” about what and who is in the episode, resulting in the resurgence of rumors of other unreported cameos, including Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, making only one on-screen appearance, in the Fox-produced TV movie.

When the 20th anniversary episode The Five Doctors was produced in 1983, it did not receive a similarly-coordinated release.  Indeed, American fans got to see the special BEFORE the UK.  The network of public television stations who were broadcasting the series got permission to show the special on November 23 exactly, which was a Wednesday.  The BBC didn’t show it in the UK till that Saturday, the traditional day of broadcast for the series in England.  By  a wonderful coincidence, November 23rd falls on Saturday this year, allowing the anniversary to take place on the day it originally aired with no schedule-juggling.

This plan is not only a huge PR coup for the BBC, it’s also a wonderful example of life imitating art.  In Last of the Time Lords, Martha Jones walked the Earth for nearly a year, spreading the tale of The Doctor, in preparation for everyone on the planet to think about him and chant his name at a precise day and moment, the resulting wave of psychic energy intended to give the Time Lord the power to undo the actions of The Master and save the day.  With the BBC setting up to do the very same thing, one can only wonder what the real-world wave of power might do.

Personally, I’m hoping it’ll provide the power to jump-start the working TARDIS that the BBC Radiophonics Workshop has secretly been working on for years.

A Doctor A Day – “Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel”

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode,The Snowmen.

Surpassed only by the Daleks, the Cybermen are the Doctor’s greatest foes.  So like the former, it was only a matter of time before we would see…

RISE OF THE CYBERMEN / THE AGE OF STEEL
by Tom MacRae
Directed by Graeme Harper

“If you want to know what’s going on…work in the kitchen.”

The TARDIS falls out of the time vortex and crashes…in London.  Well, no, not quite, it’s a parallel Earth, one where Zeppelins are an established mode of transportation, and Rose’s dad Pete is not only alive, but one of the most successful businessmen in England.  The Doctor cautions her that this Pete is not her father – there may be another Jackie or even a parallel Rose in this world.  He’s partly right – Pete and Jackie are married, and fighting, but there’s no Rose Tyler.  With the TARDIS recharging, the trio does a bit of investigating.  Pete Tyler has sold his company to John Lumic, owner of Cybus Industries, who make the earbuds that literally everyone wears, a replacement for the smartphone.  Intrigued at anyone with that much influence, The Doctor gives in to Rose’s wishes, and they plan to visit Pete.  Mickey, on the other hand, visits the home of his grandmother, who on their world, raised him but died five years ago, only to learn that here, she’s still alive.  The Mickey, or rather the Rickey of this universe, however, is a freedom fighter against Lumic’s Cybus corporation, which has become so a part of society it makes Apple look like Onkyo.  Lumic has a new process for preserving the human brain and “upgrading” human beings. when the UK President refuses to allow the procedure to be tested, Lumic takes the law into his own hands.  He lures a number of forgotten men into a truck and uses them to create his new humans – Cybermen.

A solid pair of episodes, bringing a classic foe back in a new way. These are not the Cybermen from our universe – they appeared on the planet Mondas, Earth’s twin that shot out of orbit eons ago.  This gives them a chance to re-introduce an old enemy without having to educate the new fans about their history.  Daleks are so endemic to British culture, there was no need to re-introduce them, they could just hit the ground running… or rolling.

As more and more Cybermen appearances have stacked up, there’s been some confusion as to whether we’re still seeing the Cybermen from “Pete’s World”, or the ones from ours. The “C” logo has disappeared from the chest, suggesting we may now be looking at native Cybermen. It’s hoped that Neil Gaiman’s upcoming episode, tentatively titles “Last of the Cybermen” will address this issue.

The episode was inspired by a Big Finish audio adventure, “Spare Parts” by Marc Platt.  While the final script was quite different from the original story, Davies made sure Platt was paid a fee and got a “Thanks to” credit in the episode.

Mickey’s departure is the first voluntary one for a Companion in the new series.  In the old days, willing departure for The Doctor’s friends was the rule – in the new series it’s the exception.  So far only Mickey and Martha Jones were the only ones to leave the TARDIS by their own choice, and in both cases they came back to help again.  Noel Clarke brought Mickey to new places in the episode, finally becoming his own man, both in how he handles himself, and being able to come to terms with his relationship with Rose.  Getting to play a dual role also showed off his breadth as an actor.  We got to see alternate Roses and Petes as well, but not both at the same time.

This story(and an upcoming one that addresses this world again) are a classic example of the TV Tropes about parallel universes, specifically that the alternate version of a main character doesn’t really count.  Rickey dies, but that’s okay, Mickey’s ready to take his place.  Even the Jackie of Pete’s World dies, which sucks for Pete, but since The Doctor has spent the whole episode reminding Rose (and the audience) that “She’s not your mother”, it’s no big deal, just good for a moment of pathos.  And they drive that home by making sure we see “our” Jackie at the end of the episode.  Pete’s the only one we really care about, because “Our” Pete’s already dead.  Besides, the other Jackie was a bitch.

They also do a good job of skewering a trope or two as well – note that when looking for the transmitter controls in the zeppelin bridge, Mickey says he doesn’t know what he’s looking for, and Jake annoyingly comments that maybe it’ll be in a big box with “transmitter control” in big red letters.  Later on, they find it… in a big box with “transmitter control” written on in big red letters.

Everything you wanted to know about the “Pond Life” prequel to new Doctor Who season 7

It’s all fun and games until someone loses a…well, anyway.

This week, as a run-up to the season premiere of Doctor Who, a mini web-series titled “Pond Life”, intended to share a look at the Ponds’ home life in between visits by The Doctor. It was four episodes of entertaining fun, right up until the moment Steven Moffat and writer Chris Chibnall seized our hearts, turned them sideways, and made a tasty broth from our tears.

Each episode summarizes a month between April and August, leading into the events of the first episode, Asylum of the Daleks. All five episodes of “Pond Life” are available on the BBC YouTube channel, mirrored on numerous websites, and is written into the sullen expressions of Who-fen everywhere. Take a look, then we’ll discuss:

In April we get the distinct impression that The Doctor has been keeping in touch quite closely with the Ponds via a series of phone messages. He relates a few of his solo adventures, including surfing the Fire Falls of Florial 9 to escape a cohort of his old enemies the Sontarans. He also met “Good little dancer, terrible spy” Mata Hari, and performed backing tracks for one of those hip-hop songs the kids seem to like.

May is in fact the only time The Doctor and The Ponds directly meet in all five episodes. He bursts into their bedroom, begging them to get dressed, only to realize he’s arrived earlier than he expected, and they’ve no idea what he’s talking about. As flashes of the events to come in the series flash across the screen, he assures them that all is well, the future is “really, really…fine”, and bids them return to sleep.

June and July is a bit of a two-part story – The Doctor has picked up a stray Ood who is still under his conditioning as a servant. Apparently wandering off the TARDIS during a stop at their apartment, and sits waiting in their bathroom for orders. The Doctor assures them the best thing to do is let him follow his conditioning, resulting in the Ponds getting a butler for a brief time.

The Doctor’s popped by to pick the Ood up and return him to Ood-Sphere in between July and the final chapter, assumed to be August, though the date is not specifically mentioned. It’s clearly a bit longer than that, as quite a bit has happened to Amy and Rory. Unaware to The Doctor, Amy and Rory have had a falling out, and we see Rory leaving their home carrying his belongings in a trash bag. And is you look at Amy’s lips, she’s NOT saying “Come back”.

So, quite a bit going on here, lots of fun, some tears and worry – in short, a solid Doctor Who episode.

THE MONSTER FILES

The Sontarans were introduced in the Jon Pertwee adventures The Time Warrior. A militaristic clone race, they’ve cut swaths across the galaxy, either via simple conquering raids, or as part of their protracted war with their enemy, the Rutans. They were the race behind the invasion of Gallifrey in The Invasion of Time, and almost converted the Earth’s atmosphere to suit them on The Sontaran Stratagem. Christopher Ryan, best known to Americans as Mike “The Cool person” from the punk Britcom classic The Young Ones has appeared twice as two different Sontaran leaders.

The Ood first appeared more recently, in the Tennant adventures The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit. They were portrayed as a servant race, seemingly low in intelligence, communicating via an implanted communication device. In their next appearance Planet of the Ood, it was revealed their situation was far more insidious. Ood are indeed sentient and intelligent, and are born with a second, exterior brain that they use to communicate telepathically to each other, selected people outside their race, and the physical Ood hive mind. This second brain is amputated as part of their “conditioning” process, which severs their link to the hive mind, and effectively lobotomizes them. The Doctor is horrified at the news, and helps to free them from their captivity. Their de facto leader, Ood Sigma, the first conditioned Ood to re-connect to the hive mind, returns to guide The Doctor through his final adventures before his regeneration. An Ood was found on The Junkyard at the End of the Universe in Neil Gaiman’s The Doctor’s Wife, but only because there wasn’t enough in the budget to created the alien Neil had written into the script.

The Ood bear more then a small resemblance to the Hartnell-era aliens The Sensorites, from an adventure of the same name. show runner Russell T. Davies noticed that, and as a tip of the hat, placed their homewold, Ood-Sphere in the same star system as Sense-Sphere, homeworld of the first race.

BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS – Trivia and production details

ANY LANDING YOU CAN WALK AWAY FROM IS A GOOD ONE – The Helmic Regulator is a recurring issue in the mini-adventure. The Helmic Regulator helps control the precision of the landing of a TARDIS. If not correctly calibrated, the landing point can vary in either space or time.

When Harry Sullivan (accidentally) touched the Helmic Regulator, the TARDIS landed on Nerva Beacon instead of the moon, back in The Ark In Space.

The Doctor made special mention of it again when showing Martha Jones how he prepared the TARDIS for takeoff in Smith and Jones. In the new design (desktop setting) of that console, it resembles a bicycle pump. He was also able to use it, in concert with the thermo-buffer and the zeiton crystals, to prevent a two-Doctor paradox from blowing a hole in the universe the size of Belgium in the mini-adventure Time Crash.

While the Helmic regulator still exists on the new design of the TARDIS, it’s not yet been pointed out specifically on the show.

Interesting fact – the TARDIS console on the set has a user’s manual. The controls on each panel are specifically named, and each has a specific function. Matt Smith was given the manual and had to learn it. He had to learn a precise series of actions to launch or pilot the capsule “properly”. He’s not just making it up.

Doctor Who premieres September 1st on the BBC and BBC America.

Doctor Who in Review: Season Four, Episode #13 – “Journey’s End”

Doctor Who in Review: Season Four, Episode #13 – “Journey’s End”

The hit BBC series Doctor Who is now in its fourth season on the Sci-Fi Channel, and since we’re all big fans here at ComicMix, we’ve decided to kick off an episode-by-episode analysis of the reinvigorated science-fiction classic.

Every week, I’ll do my best to go through the most recent episode with a fine-tooth comb (or whatever the “sonic screwdriver” equivalent might be) and call out the highlights, low points, continuity checks and storyline hints I can find to keep in mind for future episodes. I’ll post the review each Monday, so you have ample time to check out the episode once it airs each Friday at 9 PM EST on Sci-Fi Channel before I spoil anything.

Missed a week? Check out the “Doctor Who in Review” archive or check out any of the past editions of this column via the links at the end of this article.

Keep in mind, I’m going to assume readers have already watched the episode when I put fingers to keyboard and come up with the roundup of important plot points. In other words, SPOILER ALERT!

Let’s begin now, shall we?

Season Four, Episode #13: “Journey’s End”

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Doctor Who in Review: Season Four, Episode #4 – Sontarans Strike Back!

Doctor Who in Review: Season Four, Episode #4 – Sontarans Strike Back!

The hit BBC series Doctor Who is now in its fourth season on the Sci-Fi Channel, and since we’re all big fans here at ComicMix, we’ve decided to kick off an episode-by-episode analysis of the reinvigorated science-fiction classic.

Every week, we’ll have our best Who-philes go through the most recent episode with a fine-tooth comb (or whatever the “sonic screwdriver” equivalent might be) and call out all of the continuity checks, names dropped and storyline hints we can find to keep in mind for future episodes. We’ll post our analysis each Monday, so you have ample time to check out the episode once it airs each Friday at 9 PM EST on Sci-Fi Channel before reading our review.

Missed a week? Check out our “Doctor Who in Review” archive or check out any of the past editions of this column via the links at the end of this article.

Keep in mind, we’re going to assume readers have already watched the episode when we put fingers to keyboard and come up with our roundup of important plot points. In other words, SPOILER ALERT!

Let’s begin now, shall we?

Season Four, Episode #4: “The Sontaran Strategem”

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First Look: ‘Doctor Who’ Season Four

First Look: ‘Doctor Who’ Season Four

 

Wow. There are more spoilers, rumors and plot predictions than you can shake a stick at in this post over at io9.

However, if Doctor Who fans can resist the urge to scroll down through the full post (where the spoilers for Lost, Sarah Connor Chronicles and other series are collected), there’s also a great video preview of the sci-fi series’ much anticipated fourth season.

The video has been appearing in British movie theaters, and features (among other things) the return of Rose Tyler and Martha Jones, the creepy Ood from "The Impossible Planet" episode in Season Two, and a massive wasp. Good times are in store for the Doctor, it seems.

 

Torchwood Two Sports James Marsters, Freema Agyeman

Torchwood Two Sports James Marsters, Freema Agyeman

Torchwood, the more adult brother to Doctor Who, will be returning to the airwaves on Wednesday, January 16th for another 13 episode run.

To the BBC in the United Kingdom, of course. Its North American debuts will happen… later.

Buffy’s James Marsters (well, also Smallville’s James Marsters and Without A Trace’s James Marsters) is set to become the series’ main villain, a rogue Time Agent named Captain (!) John Hart. As promised, Freema Agyeman will drop by for several episodes mid-season in her role as The Doctor’s companion Martha Jones. After her Torchwood stint, Martha will be returning to Doctor Who to team up with several other companions, present and past. And Torchwood star John Barrowman is expected to be around for the finale to next season’s Doctor Who as well.

But first, Captain Jack must survive Captain John, as well as a slew of other menaces as they "visit" such times as World War I and the 51th Century.

 

IDW to do Doctor Who

IDW to do Doctor Who

IDW announced at their SDCC panel this morning that they’ll be doing a Doctor Who comic series, featuring the tenth doctor and Martha Jones. It’ll be written by Gary Russell (Doctor Who story editor for the BBC) with art by Nick Roche. Russell T. Davies will be keeping his eye on the series as well. The series will make its bow in December 2007, starting as a 6-issue limited series, with more to follow.

They’ll also be reprinting the Dave Gibbons Doctor Who stories from many years back, many in color for the first time.

The Doctor’s New Companion?

The Doctor’s New Companion?

And, again I state, there’s a spoiler or two here.

British media are reporting the new companion next season on Doctor Who will be played by Tom Ellis, who was the handsome Doctor Thomas Milligan on the season finale, The Last of the Time Lords. Ellis is perhaps best known for playing the handsome Doctor Oliver Cousins on the long-running (except by Doctor Who standards) soap opera and PBS money-sucker Eastenders.

The BBC has not confirmed these reports, several of which ran this morning on the BBC. Freema Agyema’s character of Martha Jones will be appearing on three episodes of the adult Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, and will be rejoining the Doctor Who cast mid-season. We don’t know if the new companion will stay around, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time (is that a pun?) there were two companions. Or even three.

We also don’t know if Ellis would be repeating his Doctor Milligan role; we recall that Martha Jones was revealed to be the identical cousin to the character Freema Agyeman played in the previous season.