Episode 827 – “The Pilot”

At long last, it’s back! No, not the blog. I’ve actually had quite a few posts lately, thank you! Not one a day, but still! Sort of. Anyhow, no, the show itself is back, and spoilers ahoy!

I look way too much like Nardole.

This story introduces Bill, the Doctor’s new companion. She’s got a crush on another woman who works at the school the other woman attends. All things look good for the two as a couple, but soon there’s some weird alien stuff going on involving sentient oil slicks, Daleks, Movellans (!), and, of course, the Doctor and Nardole.

The story acts as something of a reboot to the series, giving us actual classroom lectures on the concept of a Time and Relative Dimension in Space machine, as well as a few other items. I rather like that. It doesn’t leave too much time for the story, but the story is rather simple anyhow, and that’s perfectly fine; we don’t always need some huge epic saga overscored by Murray Gold.

I must say the Movellans were an interesting inclusion. We don’t see more than a few seconds of them, but I rather liked seeing what we saw. I especially liked that they didn’t feel the need to update them to a more “modern” feel. Yes, the space-age disco bodysuits and dreads remain intact.

Overall I quite liked this story. It wasn’t perfect, but there was a minimum of annoying things, and it had a nice flow to it. Bill is a charming new addition to the cast, and though he was used a bit more sparingly than in the Christmas special, Nardole still worked out well. Plus there were some nice nods to the past, with the aforementioned Movellans and a brief pair of references to Susan.

If this is any indicator of how series 10 as a whole will go, I’m quite looking forward to it!

Directed by Lawrence Gough
Written by Steven Moffat
Produced by Peter Bennett
Executive producer(s) Steven Moffat
Brian Minchin
Incidental music composer Murray Gold
Series Series 10
Length 50 minutes
Originally broadcast 15 April 2017

My Thoughts on Story 030 – “Power of the Daleks”

The first of the Second Doctor serials has come and gone. It featured the return of the Daleks, which is always a mixed blessing. But it also featured Patrick Troughton settling into his role as the Doctor, and that’s wonderful.

No joke! It’s really good to have him here.

The story here was kind of meh. It wasn’t bad, but as with many of the early stories, it’s about two parts two long. Further, it’s another one that really suffers from being a reconstruction rather than a fully-existing story. Lastly, it gave us a background story about a struggle for power at a remote colony that I really didn’t care about.

The Dalek plan to pretend to be subservient to humans until their power systems were up and going, and they had their Dalek factory operational, was not a bad one, and the whole, “I…am…your…ser…vant!” bit was kind of cute.

Ben and Polly were their usual fine selves, but frankly, I was distracted in part by waiting for Jamie, who I know arrives in the next story. He remains one of the best companions the series has ever had, and once he joins, we’re going to really have something wonderful. Without him, it felt like I was just marking time.

Writer David Whitaker
Dennis Spooner(uncredited)
Director Christopher Barry
Script editor Gerry Davis
Producer Innes Lloyd
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Tristram Cary[1]
Production code EE
Series Season 4
Length 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing All 6 episodes
Date started 5 November 1966
Date ended 10 December 1966

Next time: “The Highlanders”

Episode 140 – “Power of the Daleks” – Part 06

Here we are, at the end of the first Troughton serial, and the last story to feature the Daleks until…well, until about six stories from now when they come back. Sigh.

The Power of the Daleks 6
Though to be fair, it’s the Cybermen who get overused in this era.

The Doctor tries to go and put a stop to the Daleks, and is told by them to leave or die. Likewise, the man who seized control of the colony also has plans to kill basically everyone. So, good, good. Sounds fun.

Our new governor seems to think he’s in charge, which I’m sure the Daleks find as amusing as they can. Meantime, the Doctor is now reunited with both Polly and Ben, which is good.

Vioence happens, and we get a very annoying fight scene to watch. First off, it’s still photos, which…yeah. Second, the tracking was clearly off on whatever VHS copy this was taken from, since the screen keeps messing up.

Now the Daleks are slaughtering everyone, as they do. Still photos, tracking, meh. At least the sound quality is decent, but I’ve very quickly lost track of what exactly is going on.

Soon the Daleks are destroyed, possibly forever, as they so often are. This time the Doctor defeats them with electrical stuff. The evil new governor is killed, and victory happens. Hooray and stuff. Then the Doctor and team fly away. Eh.

On the plus side, next time we get Jamie!

Episode 139 – “Power of the Daleks” – Part 05

Five of six! Only one more episode to go! Hooray! I’ve had enough of these pervy Daleks!

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Clearly they’re thinking about Katy Manning again.

So the Daleks have a production line going, cranking out more and more of them. Watching the short vid clip of their line is kind of neat! Then seeing a bunch of still photos of them talking about how wonderful they are is less neat.

Lesterson seems to be quite broken. Not much of a surprise there. He’s confronted by a Dalek and panics. The Daleks basically ignore him and continue on with their sinister scheming.

Meantime, the Doctor is still chilling, little bit of illing, while in a cell. He’s also making an annoying sound by dragging his finger along a glass, trying to use that to open the cell door. Quite a clever idea, in fact.

As for Lesterson, he tries to do the right thing, but no one will pay attention to him. Part of this is because one of the people he tells is trying to manipulate the Daleks for her own purposes. Shortly after this, the governor is deposed in a lovely little coup. Technically a bloodless one, since he’s killed by a Dalek, and that doesn’t seem to leave any blood.

The Doctor, having escaped, is reunited with Polly. They two then narrowly avoid being captured by the Daleks, who still haven’t realized that this is, in fact, the same “the Doctor” who has caused them many problems.

We then go to a little video clip of the Daleks cheering themselves on, and the hilarious part is that they’re standing in front of what are clearly cardboard cut-outs of Daleks. Well, then.

Episode 138 – “Power of the Daleks” – Part 04

There’s a Big Finish audio that has the Daleks zipping around pretending to be Shakespeare scholars. Yes, really. I couldn’t help but think of that when I saw this.

Alas, poor Blobby, I knew him well.

Lesterson continues to believe he’s in control of the Daleks, this despite basically all evidence to the contrary. One can assume he’s just too deeply invested in the concept to give up on it.

Meantime, Ben and the Doctor are working to try and find Polly. The Doctor has already began to slip into his “acting like a fool to encourage complacency in one’s enemies” thing, which works so well for him.

The Doctor and Ben wander around a bit, and to their surprise, come across four Daleks, when they were under the impression there were only three. This implies someone is making them. How? Well, when a mommy Dalek and a daddy Dalek love each other very much It’s probably best not to speculate.

The two go to confront Lesterson, who is a little surprised at the idea of there being more than three Daleks. He also seems to be becoming alarmed by the whole situation, so perhaps there’s hope for him yet.

Well, the reconstruction I’m watching of this seems to have kind of gone all to crap all of a sudden. Audio cutting out and images jumping around, but it’s still playing, so I’l deal with it.

Ben and the Doctor spy on the bad guys as they toy around with the Daleks, getting ready to do various evil and sinister things. They’re spotted, and Ben gets knocked out, while the Doctor gets captured. He’s lead to a cell where he quickly begins to plot his escape.

And in our final set of scenes, Lesterson, with the zeal of a convert, goes to see exactly what’s going on with the Daleks. He sneaks and peaks and finally finds…a Dalek manufacturing operation! Dun-dun-dun!

I mean, ok, they actually cut to the end credits theme, but still.

Episode 137 – “Power of the Daleks” – Part 03

And here we are, at the half-way point with the aptly named Part Three!

Part, episode, whatever. Six of one.

When last we saw our heroes, there was a Dalek babbling about being the next Jeeves, while the Doctor looked at it in mix of bafflement and horror. The people on Vulcan (oh, that’s the name of this planet. Make your own joke), want to continue researching the Daleks, even as the Doctor constantly warns them against doing so.

The Dalek is stupidly pretending to be a servant, so the Doctor orders it to immobilize itself. It does, but then quickly figures out a way around that, but pointing that if it’s immobilized, it can’t serve anyone. I’ve no doubt it wants…To Serve Man!

I must say this particular reconstruction is unusual for a few reasons. First off, it’s made of telesnaps, as near as I can tell. Second, it’s very physically shaky. The screen twitches and bounces a lot. It’s only really noticeable in this episode, but it is very annoying.

The scientists are spending time testing the Dalek to see how smart it is, as the Doctor mucks around, trying to destroy it. He almost succeeds, getting it to try to fire its gun at him. The science-types still seem unconvinced of it as a threat. Which…makes sense, it the Doctor attacked it, after all.

Polly gets kidnapped, Ben gets agitated, and we watch the Doctor playing his recorder. So that’s all stuff that’s happening. Meantime, one of the scientists, Lesterson, according to the subtitles, is continuing to interview the Dalek, who is starting to drop hints that it’s not terribly pleasant. Soon Lesterson leaves, and the Dalek starts messing around with stuff, as they do.

The Doctor makes his way to the capsule, argues with the Dalek briefly, and then sees two more. Then we get the first occurrence of that immortal line, “When I say run, run!” Excellent.

Episode 136 – “Power of the Daleks” – Part 02

Turns out that the story is actually called “The Power of the Daleks”, but…eh. I’m too lazy to go back and change things.

Almost as lazy as the writers are for using the Daleks for the fifth time in four seasons.

When last we saw Team TARDIS, they were checking out a bunch of Daleks they found. As they do, one skitters along the ground, minus his battlemech. The Doctor spends quite a bit of time trying to catch it, as Ben grouses about the “real Doctor” talking about Daleks at various points.

The Doctor quickly figures out that at least one perosn at the base they’re at was already aware of the Daleks and is planning to revive them for some sort of sinister purpose. We don’t know what yet, but one can assume that it wouldn’t be, say, having them act as servants and bring people coffee.

As I watch a couple of scientists messing about the with a Dalek, I’m reminded of a Ninth Doctor episode I’m looking forward to. That’s not a bad thing.

Drama continues with the base apparently dealing with some sort of rebels or something. I get a sinking feeling as I realize that, sadly, this means this will probably end up being one of those stories. You know the kind; way too many parts, and too much time focusing on supporting characters that I really don’t care about.

Soon there’s an inquiry, and the Dalek comes to life. It seems to somehow know the Doctor, and begins to trundle about saying, “I-am-your-servant!” It’s actually…mildly creepy! Hopefully this is a good sign.