Monday, August 12, 2013

Catching Up

This Journal has been a little quiet of late for the usual variety of reasons, most of which can be summarized as: "Life happens." I submitted a story to the good folks assembling Tales of New Babbage, Vol. 3. At more than 6,000 words, it's the longest thing I've written in years. Let's hope they like it. I've been preparing for a trip at the end of the month, which also means not much will get posted in September, either. I've been wading through this month's reading for the Victorian Fantasy group, William Morris's The Water of the Wondrous Isles, an extremely long fantasy quest/romance, written in the style of much older Arthurian legends, so it's especially tough sledding. Back problems. General lethargy. As I said, life happens.

I've also been catching up on classic Doctor Who stories. Since my last post on the various episodes I had seen, I did a fair amount of infilling from the Fourth Doctor onward. I've now seen all of the Fourth Doctor's episodes with the exception of "Terror of the Zygons," which is currently unavailable on DVD or on iTunes but will be re-issued this fall. I've seen all of the Fifth and Sixth Doctors' stories, and I'm about halfway through the Seventh Doctor's tenure in the TARDIS. (For some reason, the BBC removed "Battlefield" from its catalogue, so I might have to suffer through a horrible-quality bootlegged version on YouTube.) Some good, some bad, and some ugly stories in the mix. I wasn't sold on Peter Davison's Doctor initially, but he grew on me. His Doctor exudes a quiet confidence whatever the situation, and Davison's acting elevates the story above the sometimes weak writing. I was a little afraid to get into the Colin Baker era after all the negative things I'd heard about his portrayal of the Doctor and the terrible episodes of the time, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying Baker's gruff, blustery take on the character. Yes, the costume was horrible to behold, the writers never let Peri's character develop, and some of the stories were, indeed, embarrassingly bad. (I'm looking at you, "Mark of the Rani," "The Twin Dilemma," and Peri's swan song, "Mindwarp.") But Baker was solid in the role, some of the stories were reasonable, and even the much-maligned "Trial of a Time Lord" business in Season 23 wasn't too terrible, though I could have done without the "trial" and stuck with traditional stories, and the resolution of Peri's story - married off to a barbarian warlord - was nauseating. The Sylvester McCoy era doesn't start on a promising note, with the terrible "Time and the Rani," followed by the girl gangs of "Paradise Towers" - lots of good stuff in there, but it looked cheesy - and the kitsch of "Delta and the Bannermen" (the soundtrack to that story, with its awful 1980s music constantly intruding, as though the DVD had suddenly switched to "BJ and the Bear," was the worst part), but McCoy is a terrific Doctor and the stories get much better.

I'll eventually fill in some of the stories I haven't yet seen from the earlier years - "Inferno" and "The Daemons" come to mind from the Pertwee era, and I'm sure there are others - but I'm pretty happy having almost 22 seasons of travels in time and space rattling around in my brain.

Then there's the decade-plus of audio adventures...

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