Ok everyone… just calm down. You knew this day would come. NNTMP is on a brief hiatus this week. Why, you scream in collective angst? Well, medical privacy laws prohibit me from disclosing much, but let’s just say that for some people apparently seeing to the health of their children is more important than watching and reviewing TV episodes that were broadcast decades ago and already have been reviewed and discussed ad nauseaum. But fear not, NNTMP will return next week, and – in gratitude for your patience and understanding – we will… do exactly the same show that we always do.
Also, don’t worry – we’ll message Paul directly. Keep on probin’, Probers.
John and Porter
Yes, it’s raining spaceships – hallelujah! – but the Doctor is there to pick up the pieces. First, Doctor #11 and Amy Pond rescue the gorgeous and glamorous River Song, who returns to the series after dying in a library but not really dying (and trust us, it only gets more complicated from here). Porter and John are running out of superlatives for the great Matt Smith by this point, which is ironic (sort of) as this is his first actual performance (in terms of recording order). Yes, this sort of electrifying trivia is only part of the excitement as the Doctor, his friends, and some gun-totin’ Church folk tangle with a whole heapin’ helpin’ of Weepin’ Angels. Check your watches, Probers, because it’s The Time of Angels (and Flesh and Stone).
It takes a little longer for the 4th Doctor and Romana to arrive at the scene of their spaceship crash (a number of generations, in fact), but per usual once they arrive they manage to up-end an entire civilization within hours. It’s a lesson in evolution on Alzarius, which makes sense because the story is written by then 18-year old Andrew Smith, a Doctor Who fan who had probably only just studied evolution when he mailed in his script to the Doctor Who production office. John is thrilled with some mildly homoerotic opening scenes, while Porter is delighted by the return of K-9 with whom he has been enamored since our very first, as yet unaired NNTMP Pilot episode. So excited that even as he was dragged into a swamp (long story), he had the wherewithal to shout, “Tell John, we’ve come Full Circle!”
But before we come to grips with sneaky Daleks, let’s take a moment to celebrate our 50th episode! Yes, many said we couldn’t do it. They said the world was too saturated in Podcasts. They said we lacked the requisite connections to turn NNTMP into nothing short of an international, dare we say, phenomenon. Well, they were right – but we did it anyway!
As if 50 eps wasn’t momentous enough, our stories this week pack in the momentousness. We begin with 11th Doctor Matt Smith’s historic first meeting with the Daleks – made even more historic by the inclusion of the historic Winston Churchill during the historic Blitz when the Nazis were trying to make the UK history. The Daleks, themselves moved by all the historicness, decide to roll out a super fab redesign that answers the question, “What if the Daleks were the same color as M&Ms?” The answer is that they would be deeply unpopular. But not unpopular enough to thwart The Victory of the Daleks!
We then return rocket back to perhaps the single most important story in Doctor Who history – which must be why it was immediately lost by the BBC. Anyhow… it’s the debut of Patrick Troughton as Doctor #2, confusing the hell out of the youth of Britain who were desperately trying to understand what had happened. Ol’ Pat is not immediately helpful to his friends Ben and Polly or to the audience, but fortunately the Daleks are around to comfort us by sinisterly manipulating the colonists, driving a scientist insane, and then just mass slaughtering everyone in sight. The Omnibot 2000 they are most certainly not. Join Porter and John as they get a charge out of The Power of the Daleks.
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!
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.
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!
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!