Archive for the ‘Doctor Who’ Category

Aliens are Watching Doctor Who and They Like It!

Monday, August 6th, 2012

aliens doctor who.png

About 50 years ago about 90 stations around the world had the capacity to transmit TV signals with enough power to reach Interstellar Space.  In many ways the only evidence of our presence as a civilization in this galaxy is all the television broadcasts these stations put out.  One of these stations was the BBC which transmitted with a signal of about 100,000 watts right in the middle of  the 41-68 MHz band.  So merrily, unwittingly, the human civilization on Earth broadcast its presence and culture to the larger Galaxy for more than 67 years.

To put this in perspective, and only counting with the TV signals, a 67 light-year radius  sphere of galactic space has knowledge of us and of our capacity for technology.  Within this 67 light-year sphere are contained at least 3000 stars and stellar systems.  Of these 3000 , at least 160 of them are G class stars very similar to our own sun.   So why does this matter?

Because, according to reports,  like a scene out of Carl Sagan’s Contact we are getting signals from space and they are our own!   Somewhere in deep interstellar space about 25 light-years away there is source of radio waves right smack in the 41-68 MHz band.   And this unknown object tentatively called the “Reflective Anomaly”  is beaming our own TV from 1963 right back at us.  This is great for us nerds because it means we can get back some of our lost classics like early William Hartnell Doctor Who episodes which the BBC in its wisdom erased to make way for masterpiece theatre or something like it on the very expensive early magnetic tapes.

Radio Astronomers are collecting and digitally enhancing these signals into usable recordings of  all the lost shows from that era.  The main article says that the “anomaly” is some sort of unexplained reflective material 25 ly away but to this observer that just sounds like they have no clue how this is possible.  They are refusing to consider the obvious.

Aliens!  The civilization who is doing this is situated just far enough away that they are about to experience the summer of love and eventually Men’s first landing on a non terrestrial object, the 1969, Apollo 11 Moonlanding.  They are beaming back our own signals because they have seen Doctor Who and they like it!  They are telling us that we might be friends,   that is until the catch a whiff of seventies and TV Gems like Monty Python’s Flying Circus and they decide we are all crazy.

I for one hope that our friends from across the void are just that. I mean an entity who likes the first Doctor can’t be all bad.  Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself :

Who knows , it might just be a bit of iron ore left over from an ancient supernova which is aligned just right to bounce some of the stuff we earthlings put out into space.  But it’s kinda cool to picture some strange being witnessing our history and our collective culture in a planet far, far, away.

Update:  Alas, this particular story is a hoax, which I believe is appropriated for these heady days, but the idea is intriguing.    How long till we  see a signal from some civilization and will we enjoy their crappy TV. Perhaps we will never know.


The Slightly Underwhelming Doctor Who Series 7 Trailer

Monday, March 26th, 2012

It’s really hard to judge the first new footage from the upcoming season of Doctor Who. We get a suitably intimidating villain, an interesting locale and of course all the usual smiling faces we’ve come to know and love.

But something feels… missing.

We don’t really get enough of the premise of the episode to have that mean much to us. There are no hints as to how the Doctor reunites with the Ponds, which should be the most interesting mythological beat in the first 10 minutes of episode one. And as intimidating as our cyborg gunslinger seems to be he’s just… well… a robotic Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen.

Which isn’t bad. It’s just not uniquely grabbing in the grand pantheon of Whovian foes.

What do you guys think? Are you more or less pumped for having seen it?

Doctor’s New Companion, Pond’s Exit Revealed

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

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Dissecting the Stephen Moffat Doctor Who press conference today.

How many episodes?

We will get six this year including a blockbuster Christmas special (MUCH more on that in a bit) and then eight more to round out this season in 2013.

When are Amy and Rory off the TARDIS for good?

Episode five. Which means we have five episodes for them to reconnect with the Doctor whom they’ve just realized is still alive. I sincerely hope that this season comes with a bit of reinvestment for the Ponds. The possible pregnancy / Amy’s going crazy angle last season felt tacked on. In fact, Amy’s storyline has felt a bit stalled since the end of her first season. She got on the TARDIS to put off getting married to Rory, she then rediscovered her love for him, bada bing bang boom we’re dun-zo.

If it’s simply, “Hey! The Doctor is back!” I’ll be a little bummed.

Will one of them die?

Moffat says not everyone will survive the fifth episode. But… c’mon, you wouldn’t send Amy off a widow, would you? Or kill off a beloved companion? Stuck in an alternate time stream is bad enough.

Anywho… their final nemesis will be the Weeping Angels.

Who is the new companion?

Jenna-Louise Coleman. Her biggest credits to date came from the ITV soap opera Emmerdale. Let’s go to a clip…

She also played one half of the silent double date put together for Steve Rogers by his pal Bucky at the World’s Fair in Captain America.

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We will soon see her in the upcoming Titanic miniseries penned by the folks behind Downton Abbey.

Why is she the new companion?

Moffat says she won him over in an audition with Matt Smith where the motor-mouthed rambler played catch up with JLC’s energy.

Also, as The Internet has already noticed. She’s pretty. Reading between the lines of Moffat’s answers, they seem to be positioning her as an Amy Pond-level spitfire with Rose Tyler looks.

Raise you hand if you think that’s a bad idea? I thought not.

She does look tiny. Next to the stretchy Smith she might look even smaller.

How does she meet the Doctor?

No firm details beyond that she’s not a “conventional” character. So I guess we can rule out the Doctor arriving in modern day London and solving a crisis surrounding a smoking hot chick in her early 20s before inviting her on his space ship to enjoy platonic adventures?

What we do know is that it will take place during the Christmas special. This creates the highest stakes incarnation of that particular episode since David Tennant had his “Hello, World” turn in The Christmas Invasion, which began season two.

Once Rory and Amy are gone, have we seen the last of River Song?

Quoth Moffat: “No, not necessarily.”

It can’t all be good news, sweetie.

Why You Should Be Excited by Rumors of The Doctor’s New Companion

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
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First, for a moment, let’s assume the rumors are true and Sophia Myles will return to the Doctor Who franchise as a companion in the post-Amy Pond era.

Many keen eyes will remember Myles as Madame de Pompadour in the superlative season two episode The Girl in the Fireplace, written by current Who boss Steven Moffat. To date, this is my favorite stand alone episodes for a couple of reasons.

The Doctor got to solve an awesome problem. Self-contained time travel whilst interacting with a real world historical figures whilst trying to decipher an escalating problem whilst not getting killed by murderous robots. Compelling plot, check.

The Doctor sacrifices himself. If all you do is travel time and space getting in the middle of all sorts of issues, you’re going to have one or two times when the Doctor resigns himself to death. This happens.

But most important to us now.

The Doctor falls in love. For someone as care free and empathetic as Tennant’s Doctor is this relationship set a crucial touchstone in the character. Of course this dude falls in love with random awesome chicks! Madam de Pompadour is portrayed as the most badass lady to ever live. Of course they fall in love with each other!

Netflix.jpgThere is real, crackling chemistry in these scenes. Unsurprisingly, the actors began a two-year relationship afterward.

So assuming Sophia is back, we have three ways to look at it.

The actress is playing a companion completely unconnected to her former role. Unlikely considering DW’s gleeful habit of splashing around in it’s own history.

The Madam de Pompadour we’ve met returns to the Doctor’s side for adventures. Possible, but I would suspect less likely than my third hypothesis.

Sophia returns as a new character that is somehow connected to the Pompadour we met. Think along the lines of some genetic linage of insanely awesome women. Almost as if she’s a gender double for the Doctor himself. Pompadour is portrayed as The Doctor’s equal in Fireplace, why wouldn’t this new character?

Remember the scene in Fireplace when the Doctor is reading her memories only to realize that she is using the connection to read his? That’s pretty much all you need to retcon a new race of super ladies that happen to look a smoking hot as Sophia.

No matter what, I am pumped. Something I haven’t said about DW in a while.

During the great changing of the guard between Moffat and his predecessor Russell T. Davies if I were to have made a list of Moffat characters that I would like to see revisited in more depth both The Angels and Pompadour would occupy the top. Certainly far ahead of some characters who’ve gotten nothing but screen time in the intervening two seasons. Sweetie.

Besides, a sex super nova character coupled with the current, asexual incarnation of the Doctor? Geronimo.

Yes, I Built A Cardboard TARDIS

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

The following is written by Andrew Mayne, it is republished with permission from his blog at

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I grew up in the Pacific Northwest on the edge of a forest. After school meant going home, climbing the fence and trekking through pine trees to battle Stormtroopers, hunt yetis and looking for our own version of Blackbeard’s treasure; a legendary mother-load of Playboy magazines hidden away by some high school kids in a buried foot locker.

One day after defeating the Empire and avoiding being narrowly killed by an AT-AT walker that some would swear looked like an oak tree, I sat down in front of our small kitchen television and turned the dial accidentally to channel 2 instead of 3 (the channel for our cable box). The dreaded channel 2! Oh, no! Public television!

Afraid that I might be forced to learn something against my will, I ran across the linoleum to turn the TV dial. As I gripped the chrome plastic knob, a strange sound filled the air and I froze. It was an otherworldly noise. Machine-like, but not like any machine I’d ever heard. It had purpose like a siren. It told you something important was about to happen. And it did.

andrew mayne doctor who.jpgStill holding the knob, I watched a blue box materialize and a man with curly hair and a scarf emerge. Well that was curious… Some minutes later when I watched him step back into the box and found out IT’S BIGGER ON THE INSIDE!!!, my life was changed forever.

Sonic screwdrivers, electronic pets, non-threatening female companions and most of all, the idea to go ANYWHERE and to ANY TIME became my obsession. I turned robot kits into my own version of K-9. I stuck flashlights to socket wrenches and tried to make my own Time Lord tools. I also developed an interest in physics and devoured everything my school library had on relativity and black holes.

For Halloween I’d borrow my dad’s old camel hair coat, wrap a scarf around my neck and go door to door as a homeless person (their interpretation, not mine) in search of Jelly Babies (as elusive as the Playboy-filled foot locker). My parents thought it was a phase. My brother thought I wasn’t getting enough oxygen at night because I had the habit of sleeping under my covers. Which I did. Because I was a perpetually scared child.

I was afraid of the world (well, just the people) and preferred to spend my time in my own thoughts either out in the woods or immersed in some fantasy. A nervous tic that made my chin quiver, triggered by cold air, caffeine or the female of the species, didn’t help either.

Doctor Who was the ultimate escapist dream for a kid who constantly wanted to be somewhere else. My interest in science and physics was because I wanted to figure out how to build my own TARDIS. A task I spent several years dedicated to and ultimately only produced a sad 1/3 scale model made out of cardboard for a book report.

But the dream didn’t stop. What I learned about science and the paradoxes of time travel and energy requirements to teleport matter gave me a good idea of what was and wasn’t possible. Not wanting to take ‘no’ for an answer, this lead to my interest in how I could at least fake it.

Where some people turn to mind altering drugs to alter reality, I picked up magic books. A few short years after watching the Doctor appear out of thin air, I was doing that on my school stage through magic illusions of my own design. A year later the scared kid who risked brain damage to hide from the world, was performing a full-scale magic show in the middle of a circus ring, causing non-threatening female companions (I called them ‘assistants’ by then) to vanish and reappear, defy gravity and break those laws of physics that had tried to hold me back.

The public shyness retreated and my magic tricks lead to a career performing in resorts, showrooms and cruise ships around the world. Most of all, it let me share my imagination with a theatre full of people. I wasn’t the solitary kid anymore walking down the street defeating an army of Daleks that mysteriously always materialized on garbage day. I had a room full of companions to take with me.

One thing lead to another and I found myself looking for other ways to share the world inside my head. It’s been said in magic that the real illusion takes place in people’s minds. A trick is just a series of inferences that the spectator pieces together to create the deception. Girl steps into cabinet + Swords goes through cabinet = magic (or homicide). This idea that I didn’t need any props or even a stage to create magic stayed with me for quite some time until one day waiting in an airport, I found myself trying to create this kind of illusion in a word processor. And that’s how I became a writer.

If you read my stories, particularly my Chronological Man adventures, it’ll be obvious to you now how the boy who turned to the wrong channel has been influenced by Doctor Who, science, magic tricks and the fun of being able pull your friends along on amazing adventures.

Smith, the protagonist of my Chronological Man stories is my mash-up of everything I loved about Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, Tony Stark, plus the idea of how to tell a time traveller story while following the strict rules of physics. They’re not for everyone. But there’s a simple test…

If I ask you step inside my cardboard TARDIS and the answer is ‘yes’, I’m pretty sure you and I are going to have a lot of fun on our adventures…

I now have an (infrequent) mailing list for those folks who want to step inside and follow what I’m up to with my books and don’t need an explanation about AT-AT’s that look like oak trees or why it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a wool scarf in 90º weather:

Step inside here…

The Chronological Man Adventures are available as ebooks for just 99¢ on Amazon and the Nook (iBooks coming soon.)

Amazon Kindle:
Smith’s first adventure begins here: The Monster in the Mist
His latest is here: The Martian Emperor

B&N Nook:
Smith’s first adventure begins here: The Monster in the Mist
His latest is here: The Martian Emperor

The first book is going to be a free podcast in a couple weeks. You can sign up for my mailing list for details on when it’s available. Sign up here

Can’t wait? The 4.5 hour audiobook of The Monster in the Mist is here for only 99¢

My website is here:

The Doctor Celebrates Life Day [Doctor Who Dissection]

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Chatting trees, mother knows best and things get dusty for the Doctor. The Christmas Day episode of Doctor Who written by current series mastermind Stephen Moffat gave us something we got frightfully little of this season: a competent episode.

God bless us, every one.

Further dissection on “The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe” AFTER THE JUMP. (more…)

Helen Mirren as Doctor Who HELL YES [FACT]

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

So some mouth-breather on this site decided to pour cold water on the idea of Helen Mirren playing Doctor Who. We’ll forget that this person up until recently called the Doctor “Dr. Who” and stick to the facts.

“It’s a gimmick”
Yes? And the problem is? If anything, this series needs, besides, actual better writing, is some fresh ideas and a new approach. Writing for Mirren could provide just that.

“It’s an unnecessary complication for an already too complicated premise”
What’s complicated about a Time Lord changing into a woman? This is nowhere near as big of a complication as time travel. Partly because it’s, you know, real. People switching genders is so old hat, it hardly counts as science fiction.

“It’s a young role”
Let’s get past the ageist and sexist comment and look at exhibit A .

A Case Against Helen Mirren as Doctor Who [Opinion]

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Helen Mirren says she wants to play Doctor.

Not a “sidekick” but a proper Doctor, what with a screwdriver and everything. Everyone thinks this is a great idea. So what’s the harm at letting such an accomplished actress spend a regeneration zipping across time and space as the first Timelady in this venerable franchise?

Well, the following for starters:

It’s a gimmick An aged science fiction franchise will never be the permanent home for Helen. Although a one season run as the last child of Gallifrey isn’t the worst thing in the world, the greatest heights reached by the current incarnation of the series has come on the backs of two actors for whom the Doctor was the biggest stage they’ve reached. Both Matt Smith and David Tennant saw the massive opportunity of a beloved character became the Doctor.

This will simply be the next in a line of great roles for Mirren.

skitched-20111222-193820.jpgIt’s an unnecessary complication for an already too complicated premise There is already so much baked into the concept of DW. Each episode deals with time loops and collapsing realities and the rules of a ever shifting timeline that either can or cannot be changed depending on the whims of the writer’s room. So we really need to add a massive gender identity complication for our central character who doubles and the expert in every situation no matter how muddled?

It’s a young role Can Helen, who turns 67 in 2012, shout “run!”, clasp the hand of a companion and hightail it out of danger whilst Dalek laser fire peppers the wall behind her? Yes. Would it be as visually dynamic as an actor a third of her age? No. DW as we know it today is an action series relying on a spry hero.

Hollywood folks like to classify young actors by asking if they “can hold the gun.” Meaning, if they were cast in a action movie would they be believable as the good cop who’s in too deep and has to shoot 14 drug dealers to escape an abandoned marina?

Although Hellen has played an action role as recently as last year’s Red, I simply don’t think it would hold up over the length of a season.

Let me wrap this up by saying that Mirren’s quote was an off handed comment and likely nothing more than a tempest in a teapot. However, with Matt Smith creeping up on Tennant’s episode number whispers about a new Doctor are only going to increase and we are going to find ourselves thinking about who “can hold the sonic screwdriver” more and more.

The Daleks Are Better The Less They Talk [Opinion]

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

skitched-20111122-203831.jpgMonsters are monstrous. That’s the point of them.

Their inhumanity is defined by how little of ourselves we see in them. For example despite his Gallifreyan origin, The Doctor is chock full of human quirks. He’s prideful, arrogant, caring, has an accent (after all, lots of places have a North) and many times a liar. All elements that we recognize as human. All elements that make as love and trust The Doctor.

But his greatest enemy, The Dalek has a sliding scale of humanity. Sometimes they are fixated terrors determined to wipe out any and everything in front of them. But sometimes they are just a lost alien race, a pitiable hoard of lost barbarians long separated from their tribe. Often time, the latter is accomplished by having our tin can cretins talk more. Which is a mistake.

The Daleks suck the more they talk. I will prove it now!


Many of the worst cop out endings for Doctor plots involve the one piece of information revealed when all is lost that totally changes the power dynamic. Great plot resolutions come from action and action is a necessity when your obstacle will only reply “EXTERMINATE!!!” to any pleadings.

It also reinforces the superior race element to the Dalek personality. They believe they are the most advanced race in the galaxy. Why would they engage in dialogue to pond scum like humans?


They look like pimply tin cans, the roll as fast as Will Smith’s suggested Summertime cruising and look rather harmless.

Which is what makes them awesome.

They are the greatest killing machine known to any species in any time. This is best exemplified in the 2005 Dalek reintroduction entitled Dalek where the Doctor and Rose find a lone Skaro warrior trapped in the basement of an American billionaire. One tortured creature murders dozens and dismantles a man’s empire like a lost child. A slow rolling tower of chaos.

Quite simply, no words are needed.

They Look Stupid Talking To Each Other

When they sit there blinking at each other with their barely differential voices (a la The Daleks In Manhattan) plotting against each other or their enemies it just looks a bit too much like a really boring animatronic exhibition.

Can We Stop Pretending This Season Of Doctor Who Was Good? [Opinion]

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

A good friend of mine, frustrated by the current, sixth, season of the rebooted Doctor Who summed up relatively positive fan reaction to the current series thusly: “nobody wants to say anything bad about it because they are afraid it will be taken away from them.”

So it is with full knowledge that I love the Doctor and hope his TARDIS adventures continue on ad infinitum that I make the following statement. The recently completed sixth season of the rebooted series is easily the worst since the 2005 relaunch. A moribund plot, confusing big bads, stalled motivations and one particularly overused side character served to ruin an initially compelling Doctor-Companion tandem and left a humming mythology in neutral.

Full breakdown, including spoilers (sweetie), AFTER THE JUMP. (more…)