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Season 5

Who Gotta Get Outta This Place – “The Beast Below” & “The Ark”

But look… this Podcast is meant to be a light distraction from the troubles of life, so we’ll just gloss over the fact that they both start on the premise that, you know, Earth has exploded.  Let’s accentuate the positive here and focus on the survivors… who unnecessarily enslave and torture a kindly space creature that was trying to help them.  Whew.  Ok, let’s, um, focus on Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, still acting their socks off as they explore a floating UK in space with some bizarre Zoltars who serve… a function, apparently.  We also get the superb Sophie Okonedo as the bloody Queen (her words) resisting the urge to hit the Abdicate button (like all queens do).  It’s a high-concept light-hearted romp in space… if you ignore the plight of The Beast Below.

Of course, maybe more people escaped from Earth than we thought because Doctor Who has been tracking arks fleeing Earth left, right, and center – there must be one heck of a traffic jam in space with all these arks.  We go back to Doctor Who’s early days and William Hartnell‘s final season as the First Doctor as he and Steven and brand new companion Dodo arrive on a space Ark where they hand in a 2-stories-for-the-price-of-one Groupon.  The result is half a story about trying to cure the common cold (which the Doctor does quite easily, which must be a bit embarrassing for Merck), and then a second half about one-eyed Beatles impersonators who take over and enslave humanity because that’s what you do when you have one eye….  Will John and Porter be compelled to flee the Earth in disappointment (or excitement)?!  To find out, join them in climbing on board The Ark!

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Season 5

Who’s the New Guy? – “The Eleventh Hour” & “Doctor Who”

Isn’t that just the way?  You’re waiting and waiting for a new Doctor and then two come along at once.

Yes, the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, makes his debut alongside Karen Gillan as new companion Amy Pond, both spouting the dialog of new showrunner (and NNTMP darling) Steven Moffat.  It’s an extra long Who season premiere doing what Moffat does best – firing ideas and sharp dialog at you at a breakneck pace.  We’ve got cracks in walls, alien prisoners, alien prison guards, Kissograms, nurse fiances, Oscar winners, handsome hunks, and new culinary creations all vying for our attention but all paling in comparison to Matt Smith’s completely owning the role within about 15 minutes.  Was our enthusiasm for Who sagging just a touch?  Well thankfully Smith, Gillian, Moffat, and co. swoop in to revitalize us at… The Eleventh Hour!

But this isn’t the first… or even the second… Who “reboot” (that’s not a real reboot) on our agenda.  We go back to the heady days of 1996.  The Cold War was over, Bill Clinton was president (pre-scandal), John was studying for his AP Bio exam (not the whole year), and Doctor Who was returing to our screens on… Fox?!  Look, the 90s were a weird time, OK?  We were still trying to work out what the hell happened in the 80s.  Anyway, Doctor Who had miraculously risen from the dead as a Fox-BBC co-production which answered the question, “What do American audiences want?” with a resounding, “A confusing mess with Eric Roberts.”  Fortunately, they also cast Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, who – accompanied by his cardiologist – goes in search of an atomic clock for… reasons… and then something happens and then some other things and then the Master falls in a hole and oh yeah Sylvester McCoy was in it for a really long time and also apparently there was a bombed out hospital in San Francisco.  And that right there is a relatively simple summary of the cleverly titled Doctor Who The TV Movie.

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Season 4

Time, Lord, Is On Our Side – “The End of Time” & “The War Games”

Clear your calendars, Probers, because we have got 7 (SEVEN!) hours of Who to discuss… which turns out to only need about 20 more minute in the Podcast.

We kick off our epic look at epics with the epic conclusion of David Tennant’s epic run as the 10th Doctor (which itself is really just the two-part epic finale to his epic lap of honor).  Yes, he doesn’t want to go, and we can tell because he has been saying goodbye for about 6 episodes at this point.  But, as we say, there’s one more epic to get under our belts and it’s a doozy as John Simm returns as a resurrected Master who can really tuck into a turkey.  He’s got a diabolical plot to save the BBC on casting and actor salaries by becoming EVERYONE, which would in itself be a heck of a cliffhanger, but then – BAM! – out of nowhere we get James freakin’ Bond himself, Timothy Dalton, just bustin’ in all, “Hey, guess what?  Gallifrey’s back and I am Rassilon.  Bitches.”  And then we still get Wilf, Donna, Sylvia Noble, Sarah, Martha, Mickey, Jack, Alonzo, and soom Ood.  Oh yeah, and then Matt Smith shows up.  It’s a heck of a story and we could go into more detail if we hadn’t already reached… The End of Time!

A two-hour Doctor regeneration story?!  That has to be one heck of a grand finale!  Pshaw, say Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks from back in 1969.  Feast your eyes on 10 (TEN!) episodes of classic Who as Patrick Troughton ends his reign as Doctor #2.  It’s a gradual reveal (I mean, they had the time) as the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe find themselves caught up in World War I… and the US Civil War… and some vague Roman war thing….  We quickly learn never to trust people with glasses as we discover a fiendish alien plot to build the universe’s greatest fighting force.  A plot slightly marred by some really bitchy interoffice rivalry between the War Chief and the Security Chief.  And, as if that’s not enough… once again the Time Lords show up in the epic conclusion!  Only, this time, it’s the FIRST time they’ve ever shown up in Doctor Who.  Porter and John can barely contain the excitement as they take sides on The War Games!

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Season 4

Life on Mars – “The Waters of Mars” & “The Ambassadors of Death”

Yes, John and Porter are gallivanting off to Mars and crossing their fingers not to run unto Elon Musk – just because he seems like he’d be a bit awkward and there’s already enough trouble there without having to deal with uncomfortable social situations.  But, our internationally diverse (don’t worry – all still attractive) crew of Bowie Base would probably wish the worst they had to endure was a few uncomfortable silences instead of one-by-one being picked off by malevolent alien water.  Fortunately, the 10th Doctor is on hand to save them – only he can’t because he saw that episode where Barbara learned she can’t do that – only maybe he can because he’s the Time Lord Victorious – only no, never mind, because companion-of-the-month Adelaide is so hell-bent on winning an argument that she’ll kill herself to do it.  It’s a lot to talk about, so if you are feeling parched then slake your thirst on The Waters of Mars!

Turns out that Mars – like Australia – is full of things that are trying to kill you, as the Third Doctor, Liz, and the Brigadier discover in the sprawling epic that completes NNTMP’s run of the Seventh Season of classic Who.  In the classic British fashion of downplaying their own abilities, Doctor Who posits the existence of a British space program that appears to be a complete disaster in terms of driving astronauts insane and/or losing them in space.  This leads to a fiendishly clever plot (revealed almost entirely in Episode 7) in which Liz Shaw keeps failing to escape from a cellar while the galaxy’s worst emissaries keep accidentally killing anyone they touch.  Fortunately, there is a lot of fighting, shooting, and hijacking to keep us amused.  Porter and John set the best china, bone up on their protocol, and put out the little flags as they prepare to receive… The Ambassadors of Death!

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Season 4

Stand Clear of the Closing Doctor – “Planet of the Dead” & “Time-Flight”

It’s Easter and we’re on a London bus with a rich lady cat burglar and Lee Evans.  Tell me if you’ve heard this one before?  Well, you have if you’ve watched the next in our series of 10th Doctor specials forming David Tennant’s lap of honor.  The bus has, as is typical of mass transit, been delayed due to a wormhole that leaves it in a desert that looks a lot like Dubai but is in fact an alien planet!  Now it’s a race against time for the Doctor, Lady Christina, an Oscar winner, a wise and slightly psychic black woman, and some fly people as they work with UNIT and the great Malcolm to get back to Earth before a bunch giant flying manta rays can escape… the Planet of the Dead!

It’s then back to the 5th Doctor era, which then takes us back even further to prehistoric Earth in a classic Who episode that takes on the tough issues of the day and drives home the important message: “Hey!  We got a Concorde!”  After taking the requisite 30 seconds to mourn the death of Adric, the Doctor, Tegan, and Nyssa head to Heathrow where they get involved in the hunt for a missing Concorde. Will Porter and John resolve the mystery of the inexplicably (and slightly racist-ly) disguised Master?  Will they become embroiled in the intriguing mystery of the Xerpahin – namely, who the Hell are they and what is this story actually supposed to be about?  To find out, grab your carry-on and park yourself in the Group 2 line (if you are a frequent Prober), and don’t be late to catch your Time-Flight!

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Season 4

Another Day, Another Doctor – “The Next Doctor” & “Robot”

But it’s more than just robots as this pairing gives NNTMP the opportunity to break its silence on the VERY common phenomenon of powerful women wanting to rampage around cities via ginormous mechanical penis proxies.  We’re in favor.  So, we’re fully on board for some Victorian age shenanigans involving a (maybe) prostitute and some Cybermen and their Temple of Doom homage versus a companion-less David Tennant accompanied by a companionful David Morrisey.  There’s also Rositas and hot air balloons in the meta-titled head fake that is The Next Doctor.

We’re then back to the enormously popular Season 12 for the debut of the one, the only, the legend whose legacy shapes Doctor Who to this day:  Professor Kettlewell!  Also, Tom Baker shows up for his first paycheck.  Which is a bit ironic as he is basically in a Third Doctor story, joining the Brigadier, Benton, Sarah Jane Smith, and Bessie (along with newcomer Harry Sullivan) tussling with the sinister Think Tank and their power mad leader, Hilda Winters.  The UK has all the world’s nuclear codes for… reasons… and a disintegrator gun-wielding robot wants them hence the direct opposite of a meta-title, the straight-forward and to the point title, Robot.  Also, John and Porter then mansplain feminism.  You’re welcome, ladies.

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Season 4

A Davros by Any Other Name – “The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End” & “Genesis of the Daleks”

Yes.  Yesssss.  To broadcast our thoughts across the Internet to dozens of people.  To hold in our hand, a device that would contain such power.  To know that the tiny pressure of our fingers – enough to hit the “Post” button – would share… everything.  Yes.  We WOULD do it.  AND THROUGH THIS PODCAST WE HAVE THAT POWER!!!!

Look, if you don’t like ranting, then you probably should skip these episodes because they both feature the Ranty McRanterson of Doctor Who:  Davros.  Or probably Dr. Davros, right?  He must have a PhD.  Anyhoo, we kick off with 21st Century Who’s precursor to The Avengers as they gather everyone who has ever even thought about appearing in Who and shoehorn them into a rollicking romp featuring: SarahCaptain JackMarthaRoseTorchwoodHarriet JonesDalek CaanSylvia and Wilf.  Jackie and Mickey.  TWO David Tennants.  The afore-mentioned Davros.  Oh, and a fake-out regeneration.  Is it too much for our intrepid Podcasters to handle?  Find out as they contemplate The Stolen Earth before reaching Journeys End.

Having had a taste of Davros, we crave more (who wouldn’t – he’s so charming!) so we head back to the 4th Doctor era where we meet him for the very first time.  We find our mad scientist buddy beavering away in his lab creating the Daleks and only taking quick breaks to commit not one but two genocides.  He is only occasionally disturbed by the Doctor, Sarah, and Harry popping in to deliver some dialog and then ultimately even they just watch the riveting final episode on TV.  Now, John has seen this episode 30+ times so we might have a hint of his feelings toward it.  Will Porter share his fondness for the book of Genesis of the Daleks?

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Season 4

The Doctor is Out – “Turn Left” & “The Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150 AD”

Wondering how these two fit together?  Well shut up, that’s why.  YOU try pairing up a couple hundred pieces of television broadcast over 50 years with wildly varying themes and tones all from memory on a Sunday afternoon after three martinis!  Ahem.  And certainly our opening Doctor-lite, Donna-heavy episode stands out as a bit of an unusual take on Who, given how it kills off the Doctor in the opening ten minutes.  But then it’s a fun-filled romp as Russell T. Davies wipes out half the planet, systematically bumps off beloved Who supporting characters, and (just for fun!) heavily implies a UK-led Holocaust II.  It’s a real shift for our beloved show, and it leaves your intrepid Podcast team unsure which way to turn.  Oh, wait.  Left.  They should Turn Left.

So, having seen one world without the Doctor, we then take a look at a different alternative universe – this one where the Doctor is actually… Governor Tarkin!  Yes, we’re back in the swinging Sixties with some technicolor Daleks, a really jazzy incidental score, some more Bernard Cribbins (he transcends time, it appears), and an overall somehow less epic retread of a First Doctor classic.  But what else can you expect when you’ve journeyed to the year… 2150 ADPeter Cushing IS the Doctor in what is only the second (to date) Doctor Who (sort of) big screen adventure Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 AD.

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Season 4

Rainbow Troughton – “Midnight” & “The Curse of Peladon”

So, with apologies to everyone who came here thinking this was an episode speculating on Patrick Troughton’s sexuality, we instead watch David Troughton grow up – in reverse, of course, as we start with New Who’s sojourn into claustrophobia and mass hysteria (FUN!).  It’s one of RTD’s favorite stories, featuring minimal Donna and maximum space van, Merlin (before he was Merlin), some other randos, and an inexplicably self-sacrifice-happy stewardess journeying into the darkness found at the heart of men’s souls as the clock strikes… Midnight.

Our intrepid Podcasters then rocket back in ol’ DT’s personal timeline to enjoy really the intellectual equivalent of Midnight except that most of the main cast are wearing rubber suits – including one that is basically a giant-eyed wang in a cloak.  But stifle those snickers because this is Alpha Centauri, much beloved by fans, and he is accompanied by NNTMP’s first brush with another Who monster legend – the Martian Ice Warriors!  And, of course, when you’ve got a room full of exciting monsters with laser guns and whatnot, then you have all the ingredients for an exciting tale of action-packed… committee meetings.  Prepare yourselves for the Third Doctor and Jo’s first (yes – there’s a sequel!) encounter with the terrors of The Curse of Peladon.

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Season 4

Virtual Insanity – “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead” & “The Deadly Assassin”

And so enters Dr. Elizabeth Corday… erm (or should I say, ERm?)… Dr. River Song.  A character destined to return again and again to New Who (except of course that she dies here… or not really dies, sort of).  And if Porter and John weren’t confused enough by this single character, you’ve got Steven Moffat just really being annoyingly brilliant as he hurls enough clever ideas at you in the first ten minutes to sustain the entire career of lesser writers (looking at you Illiam-Way Akespeare-Shay).  You’ve got shadow piranhas, sentient computers, soul-echoing communicators, possible future Doctors, an entire virtual life for Donna, and… most bizarre of all… a place where information is stored on bound collections of paper stored on shelves.  Now, shut your pie hole, because our Podcasting duo needs Silence in the Library as we explore the Forest of the Dead.

We then rocket back to days of 4th Doctor yore to find our hero (sadly sans talking cabbage) visiting his legendary home planet of Gallifrey for an epic encounter with a burned out husk with ping pong ball eyes (which is how John used to describe himself on hookup Apps).  But there’s no time for hookups here as the Doctor’s non-pepperpot shaped arch-enemy has returned – the Master is his name and assassinatin’ is his game as he takes potshots at the Time Lord President in a confusing attempt to steal his fashion accessories.  Fortunately for our podcasters, this involves a 3rd episode left-turn into the surreal world of the Matrix thereby justifying this episode pairing.  Join Porter and John and an eerie laughing clown reflection as they contemplate the redundancy of the title The Deadly Assassin.