Well at time of writing there have been fifteen officially sanctioned episodes of 60's 'Who' to be 'done over' (select inference as desired) as animations. More, possibly, to follow...'The Invasion''Ah, no, we may not quite be out of the Land of Fiction just yet...'
Well this was first out the gates back in 2006 and I really quite surprised meself by warming to it more than expected. The animation seems quite stylized and clean cut to me untrained eye but movement and action sequences were very well done for my money. No, I'd go with a 12
. Also, following 'Mind Robber' allowed me to convince meself that the animated episodes are just a hangover/after effect from the Realm of Fiction.'Away with ye- no animated up kilt shots!'
'The Reign of Terror''Frankly sir, who needs animation with hats like ours?'
Some considerable wait until 2013 for our next animated episodes. These two have attracted some flak, summit to do with too busy about the faces/eyes, extraneous/extemporised detail? Really liked it meself, 11.5.'A sparkle in Cartoon Bill's eye'
'The Ice Warriors''Asia claiming better animation- they would!'
2013 again and this one really dropped the ball for me. Maybe more natural outlines and movement (possibly) but I dunno...Really doesn't work for me, I much prefer to go with the tele-snaps for these two episodes. He says mean-spiritedly, being entirely unable to animate me way out of a wet paper bag but, arse biscuits, 6
is as high as I can go here.'No, to the left a bit!'
'The Tenth Planet''Autistic plastic self-assembled flat pack'
Hot on the heels of 'Ice Warriors' the animated episode 4 was way better for my grotzits. Not quite the full monty with movement but heck, without yer Japanese animated film budget are they ever gonna' be? Still very, very good- 11.5.'Yes, just pop the episode 4 master on the rack, we'll pick it up later'
'The Moonbase''You go animated girl!'
As is this, same style and team (I believe). Cybermen kinda' made for animation, as with yer Daleks. Smoothly
functional me old Space Reverend. 11.5.'Y'know, they've actually captured Trout here,which is quite something'
'The Power of the Daleks''Animated Trout catches the future reviews on his iPad Mini'
And I went with a rather shame-faced 10
for this latest. It's in no way the actual look of the thing (albeit black'n'white animated Trout looks a tad gaunt and hollow eyed on occasion) it's time/budget constraints affecting the smoothness of the movement and some action sequences. Still pretty darn good, especially in colour.'Dalek action to die for and by, I'll give 'em that'
So yeah, the original 'Invasion' episodes come out top, closely followed by the 'Tenth Planet'/'Moonbase' vibe. If there are more.....
a) Throw fan sensitivities to the wind and do 'em all in colour I say! (Calm down Gantry, you'll make yerself dizzy again.)
b) Don't mix up existing episodes with animation- maybe compress existing material if it's an 'Evil', 'Masterplan' or 'Abominable' situation but don't majorly cut.
c) Completely missing bar clips, do the whole thing:You want me dosh for an animated 'Polo' or 'Fury' I want the whole thing, in colour. Sez he.
d) Maybe double up releases? A 'Polo'/'Evil' double pack? (S'never gonna' be financially feasible is it?) 'Massacre'/'Macra'?'Knickers but let's make like an insanely positive episode recovery gestalt fan mind- OHM!!!'
Yes, that 'For the first time in over 50 years' trail, apeing 'Enemy' and 'Web'. Naughty, naughty boys. Coming out of one of me periodic 'Who' news/gossip/forum abstinences this was the first thing to hit me and oh, the 20 odd seconds of 'Bloody hell! They've found it!' followed by rapid realization and truth be told, disappointment. Which gradually warmed up to an 'Oh, could be nice/interesting'. Which surely ain't the greatest recommendation but as for what came out in the mix...Episode 1
...Well the initial difficulty is the sense of dissonance. I've got a new animation and the original (spruced up) soundtrack. It's impossible to review this one as a whole for meself, it's gotta' be divorced: Animation, quality of and any further thoughts arising on the original story/remaining aspects of performance + painful awareness of what's lost. Plus full acknowledgement that the animation was done and delivered under no little time pressure I believe. But the truth of it, from the start, is that the animation is good but not great. Particularly in fluidity of movement, legs especially being an inadvertent source of hilarity on occasion. Ah well...As an establishing episode this is strong stuff, Troughton impishly unpredictable from the off. Although if the original was as obvious as the animation, it's clear Bragen's the Examiner's killer from the very start. Anneke Wills and Michael Craze are doing an odd variant of Good Cop/Bad Cop with 'Trusting Sidekick' and 'Suspicious Sidekick'. You can understand the character's frustration but Michael Craze, it strikes me, sounds increasingly strident/bull-headed over the course of this one. Anyways...9 for the animation, 13 for the original story as is so a dubious composite 11.'Do the Jerk- it's all in the legs'Episode 2
Well the animation's built up a head of steam with the Daleks in the cobwebbed capsule. There's various detail with fruit and door handles that it may be correctly or incorrectly filling in but it's not half bad whilst neither wildly brilliant. It's more the strength of the original story bleeding through, plus soundwork/score that really carry this. This colony is populated by pretty 'real' characters, from Bragen and Janley to Governor Hensell. THere's a real sense of building menace/unease with the Dalek being reactivated and gunning down Resno. No, I'd hold at a 9 for the animation, go to 13+ for the original and call it an uncertain 11.5 aggregate.'Recreated unbroadcast scene in which Ben tells the Doctor where he can stick his recorder'Episode 3
And so it continues, at a slow simmer- rebels plotting/Bragen plotting/Daleks plotting. But these middle two episodes are really key actually and I'd retract last months thoughts. There, me initial response was to fall out of love with the story a tad but nah...This remains really, really good stuff. That's for the original. Whitaker/Spooner are giving us characters real, wry, ruthless and flawed by turn. And an expertly timed plot, on simmer but heading towards the boil over. Great covert snarkiness from the Daleks- 'Daleks are b...different
from humans'. As for the animation, love the touches like keeping the lava lamps in the communication room and it's made for the Daleks; comparatively easy (says he!) to animate I suspect. Yeah, if there was ever a completely missing story going to get animated it was this one. 13+ for the original and, ooh, 9.5 for the animation this time out, call it a 12 overall.'Cartoon Lesterson wishes to distance himself from real world counterparts post episode 4 performance'
Daleks continue to connive and bullshit their way past Lesterson and the colony authorities. But yes, Robert James's Lesterson...He's a weird one and I don't want to dismiss out of hand. As with Troughton, without the original visuals it is so
difficult to judge his performance. But even on audio alone, Troughton is clearly operating on a different level to James. (May be utterly misremembering but believe I read somewhere that James was very dismissive of the genre/material when interviewed about 'Masque' back in the day.) He starts okay, it's only really after Lesterson cracks up next episode that he blatantly seems to spill over into kids' TV/'Doctor Who' acting. But as said, without the original visuals, judgement has to be stayed. But assuredly, there are some chinks in the armour of the supposedly unassailable 'classic'. It's the Daleks and animation that really shine here- love that (impossible to achieve in '66) massed 'We are the new Daleks!' cliffhanger beneath the capsule. 13++ for the original, 10 for the animation and 12 overall.'Cartoon Bragen admires cartoon Janley's cartoon arse. Or something.'
Ben conveniently removed from the mix this time out, following Polly last time. Anneke Wills ain't given a ton to do here but she's very good value. Strong on conveying the mounting sense of tension/claustrophobia. Peter Bathurst's Governor Hensell exits via Dalek this episode. He's light years away from his mannered 'Doctor Who'-isms of 'Axos', way more considered.(Come to thunk it, Bob'n'Dave's debut may just be the most 'Doctor Who' Doctor Who ever but that's 'Who' of another cut in another year so enough now Gantry.) There is some rather unfortunately inept 'fighting' from our animations in the lab this episode but the original could well be equally crap. Oh yes indeed. Overall this continues to build like a juggernaut of merciless metal doom. Troughton sniping and plotting impishly from the sidelines. Original: 13++, animation: 9, overall: 11.'They do very nice cobwebs, I'll give 'em that'Episode 6
And so it all finally boils over into utterly ruthless, metallic xenophobia...Anneke Wills very, very strong on conveying the horror and sense of waste/futility. ( No disservice to any other companions of the era but I could see her going the distance with Troughton and Hines actually, right up to 'War Games'. Wibble.) The animation's fair enough this time out- I'm almost feeling some empathy for Janley's lifeless cartoon corpse. But other factors are key: You're really missing Christopher Barry's direction. The massacre of colonists, rebels and bureaucracy sounds to be one of the most relentlessly grim, if effective, sequences in all 'Who'. Astonishingly good, near subliminal sound work too. Yes, it's Tristram Cary's re-used 'Dead Planet' score but crimminy it's effective. Troughton's re-booted, re-hatted Doctor remains impishly obtuse and at one remove right up until the end. 9.5 for the animation, 13++ for one of the best ever individual episodes of 'Who'. 13 aggregate innit?'And yep, dark'n'shadowy metallic evil menace is made for this kind of recreation'
So yeah, animation, overall...9.5.
Excellent with some classic bits, largely Dalek oriented. With time and budget (I imagine) pressure this is pretty damn good, one of the better animated missing 'Who' outings. The original story...ooh lor Cardinal...13++
, absolutely one of the all time greats. Possibly the extra + if it were to miraculously materialise. Maybe not quite an 'Androzani', 'City' or 'Blink' but the jury is ever out...As to further animations, I strongly suspect this'll be a one off* but yeah, maybe but that's another wibble again innit not?'Though heretic that I am, I preferred the colour version in animated form'
*Although there's apparently a survey doing the rounds from the Beeb on what those who bought 'Power' would like to see next- including feelings on that such as compacted/curtailed versions, mix up of animation with existing sequences/episodes...H'mm and furthermore, wibble.
|'No, you can have the TARDIS but I'm keeping the film reels. That's my final word.'
Having dipped a toe back into online 'Who' I saw that the 'missing episode forums cage has been rattled again' comment was doing the rounds. This time out seems to be with regard to the possibility (extremely
unlikely) that a couple more (un-identified) Hartnell's may have turned up. Which kind of dovetailed with a re-watch of 'Airlock' and some general thortlets...
...yeah, 'Airlock', episode 3 of 'Galaxy 4'. It's odd. Curiously uninvolving. Hartnell doesn't get to do much but declaim. Maureen O'Brien looks pretty unimpressed and to say Peter Purves is underwhelmed is an understatement. The Rills are interesting but we don't see enough of them. Stephanie Bidmead's Maaga is vaguely interesting but I'd emphasise the 'vaguely'. More bored bureaucrat than blood-thirsty harpy. The other Drahvins are a truly forgettable bunch, engaging in some of the limpest 'fights' (if I can grace them with the term) ever with Steven and Vicki respectively. The clone culture idea is
interesting but somehow undersold.
Truth be told, Derek Martinus, whose direction is often inspired seems very uninvolved here too. The sets and backdrop are okay but limp cliffhanger or what? We're supposed to be building towards an exploding planet here but nah...paper mache tension a toddler could push over and trample underfoot. Yes, it is interesting to have it back but the 6 odd minutes of episode 1 are better and more substantial for my grotzits. The Chumblies are cute but nah, sorry...5
average is as far as I could go. Not a return to be hailed from the rooftops and you're tempted to go along with that such as The Daily Mash's piss-take news article...
Yerse. Shame really, as I know many of us are forever tantalised by the possibility of further returns. But of those missing 97, I'd divide 'em thus personally, your mileage will assuredly vary. But the fact remains, with at least a third of them, we likely ain't missing much.Really Want To See:
'Marco Polo' 1-7/ 'Daleks' Masterplan' 1, 3, 4, 11 & 12/'The Massacre' 1-4/ 'The Tenth Planet' 4/ 'The Power of the Daleks' 1-6/ 'The Evil of the Daleks' 1, 3-7/'The Abominable Snowmen' 1, 3-6/ 'The Web of Fear' 3/ 'Fury from the Deep' 1-6
Yes, a lot of predictable monster-fests in there, debatable ones such as 'Tenth Planet' 4 and 'Evil' 4 but one is so
key, the other I'd gamble rescued by Martinus's direction. I may well be backing 'Polo' way too strongly but I love it meself.Could Be Interesting:
'Reign of Terror' 4-5/ 'The Crusade' 2, 4/ 'Mission to the Unknown'/ 'The Myth Makers' 1-4/ 'The Smugglers' 1-4/ 'The Highlanders' 1-4/ 'The Moonbase' 1,3/ 'The Macra Terror' 1-4/ 'The Faceless Ones' 6/ 'The Ice Warriors' 2-3/ 'The Invasion' 1, 4/'The Space Pirates' 5
Some of those historicals should likely be top rank wish list, it's just me knee-jerk fanboy 'gizza monster dad' encoding. The 'Faceless Ones' and 'Space Pirates' episodes stand out within said stories for meself and could be visually arresting I reckon. Others not quite so desperate for, having got the animated/tele-snap versions on DVD release, though that such as 'Crusade' 2 and 4 would be lovely to have, truth be told. Speaking of animations, finally got and got round to 'Power' and that's a thing in and of itself which I'll come back to next time...Interesting to have, admirable, admirable effort and intent but almost
made me fall a little out of love with the story! H'mm...Next time Reverend, next time...Really Not Fussed:
'Galaxy 4' 1,2, 4/ 'Daleks' Masterplan' 6-9/ 'The Celestial Toymaker' 1-3/ 'The Underwater Menace' 1, 4/ 'The Faceless Ones' 2, 4, 5/ 'The Wheel in Space' 1, 2, 4, 5/ 'The Space Pirates' 1, 3, 4, 6*
The most interesting/leading comment on the forums I'd again lay with Paul Vanezis who at one point observed '...in the UK anything goes when it comes to private collectors...
' With which I'd concur. The episodes that have turned up from that quite substantial 1975 Australian return (supposedly for destruction) is key here too. I'm 99.9% there are some
more out there, whether we ever get to see 'em/what condition they're in, another matter entirely...Vanezis also observed '9 or 10 more episodes out there' between the December '11 and October '13 returns, being well aware of 'Enemy' and 'Web' but unable to speak openly. No, I think something may be back, may have been for longer than realised and in the process of restoration. If I had to throw me (wrongly identified, granted Tat) stove pipe into the ring I'd go with some or all of 'The Massacre'...'I mean, this is hat action we've just got to see back...'
Time, as ever, will assuredly tell...On a general note, I increasingly suspect 'Faceless Ones' and 'Abominable Snowmen' (plus possibly 'The Myth Makers') could do an 'Enemy' and really astonish if ever unearthed. ('Web' 3 seems a likely contender for actually materialising too if inferences (hah!) are to be believed.)
*And poor old 'The Savages' proves so forgettable I even forget to list it. Plus I think I may have more than 97 episodes total but maths, schmaths, h'mm Chatterton?
Chapter XXIII 'The Daft Night Returns'*'CGI Bulgaria New York Skyline by Edward Time Hopper' (Or something)Bit Blurt:
10 Random Thortlets1)
Well, you're tempted to say there really ain't that much to notice here...2)
...but forging baldly onward...This is surely a contender for 'Most Anodyne 'Who' Ever', we're in a world of inoffensive.3)
Peter Capaldi does not wear or do fab-a-wacky funny well or naturally.4)
Matt Lucas is good here but could pan out either way over the longer haul.5)
Returning to our anodyne vibe, the new series trail is the most interesting thing on show here by a Star Monk's interstellar mile. Yerse...'Daft Knight'
They bodge the split screen phone call scene- how can
you bodge a scene like that? (I'm thinking Skinner's bubble bath moment in 'The X Files'- triumphant.)7)
Utterly underwhelming return from last Xmas's alien contingent.8)
Which Moffat even slyly/snarkily acknowledges with the '...multi-nucleated...infinitely adaptable...peripatetic nervous system' aside from the Doctor. Formless, faceless, forgettable...9)
This serves more as a commentary on the current (non) state of 'Who' than a story in its own right. A symptom of a bigger/deeper issue.10)
Grant/The Ghost (Justin Chatwin) and Lucy (Charity Wakefield) could've resolved this with zero input from the Doctor, outside the MacGuffin of the Doctor giving child Grant the gemstone.'So do I push you or are you jumping?'
Oh brother, be careful what I wish for innit? Following the kitchen sink fanwank overload'n'horror of the series 9 open and close I was relieved when Moffat returned to the home-turf of rom-com land in 'The Husbands of River Song'. But there's a difference between playing to your strengths and playing it utterly,listlessly, soullessly safe...'Splitting headache? Take Anodyne'
...For Mrs Gantry this was simply 'not British' or 'dark' enough. Younger sister, more casual fan, really enjoyed it. H'mm...Hand on heart, I enjoyed it too: Pleasantly daft, passed the time. But we've got another season of Moffat over-seen 'Who' plus (I suspect) a Capaldi outro Xmas special. And that worries the time trousers off me reverend, 'cos the Moffat 'Who' tank is abundantly obviously empty.'Caught in the back'
Justin Chatfield and Lucy Wakefield are actually very decent here. Matt Lucas raises a chuckle here and there and looks very promising but isn't exactly uber-utilised. The Doctor's snack moments are wry enough, the 'Invasion' kiss-back of Harmony Shoal's Tokyo branch being identical to the New York one but ooh lordy...We actually got down to an analysis of the English/American/Scottish pronunciation of 'sure' (likely uber-textual piss-taking from Mrs Gantry) and maybe I should have led off me thortlets with that...really says it all.'Over familiar (Scarlet) Feminism Moffatry'
An utterly vexed/perplexed, near-meaningless 8.5
. The most anodyne 'Who' ever, I think this is actually review proof, which is quite the achievement Mr Moffat, it's just sort of...there, really. I can't get animated in any sense, angsty, angry or amazed. Wowza's...There are hints of (Doctorly?) change afoot with Nardole's closing comments, a Twelve in 'River Recovery' mode and a happier, new future but, h'mm...just again emphasizes a change on the main writer/producer front remains long overdue for 'Who' in me humble, aware as I am that Moffat's as much a victim of circumstance/timing as anyone here...Bloody hell. Capaldi remains a superb Doctor for meself but the series ain't always playing to his strengths, as with all the new series Doctors truth be told...'Celestial Toy Breaker'
*Yes, I know I was burbling about a long abstinence and this one considered I may well question reneging but by Rassilon's Over-Convoluted Plot Device, I'm dyed in the wool; good, bad, alarmingly indifferent I'm with ya' 'Who'...**
**And 8.5 was churlish, I'm upping this to a straight 10
, funny and fun on a re-watch.
- A Xmas Turkey
- Crackertastic Plastic Novelty. That soon wears thin.
- The Comfy Slippers of Xmas Past.
- Worth Celebrating.
- Joyous Reverend, joyous. 'The Feast of Steven''...And that over yonder is the Fourth Wall. Which I shall now break with aplomb, eh?!'
Well, it seems to be de rigeuer to have a missing story/episode in a 'Who' list of any kind, so yes 'Feast of Steven'. Exactly how Xmasy this one is'll probably remain forever a mystery but I'd go as far as
for Bill's outrageous toast alone.'The Horns of Nimon''Turkey? I'm more in the mood for Ham.'
Panto, no way was this not deliberate- 'He's behiiiindd you!!!' 'The Unquiet Dead''We're all scrooged- utterly scrooged!'
Now, despite not actually being broadcast at Xmas this wins out over some other contenders for meself. The trappings are there, crucially it feels
Xmasy to me, the sentiment there with Dickens electing to return home to his family. Poignant close too. 'The Xmas Invasion''A Winter's (Sting) in the Tale'
H'mm...Kind of but not really vicar. Not sure that Xmas makes for a good 'Who' opening or closing Doctor outing. The dinner scene, yeah but as with many of the recent specials, fails to feel or look truly Xmasy. 'The Runaway Bride''Comedy of (T)Errors'
No, absolutely not. Lip service at best and blatantly obviously filmed in summer. 'Voyage of the Damned''Your Host, on 'Saturday Night at the Whovies' '
Outrageously yes. Over-stuffed to the gills, Xmas night disaster movie tropes all over the shop. It shouldn't work but it does. An unashamed 'The Next Doctor''Tonight I am (mainly) going to be televisions 'Doctor Who' '
And RTD does it again. Superficial skein of Xmasyness in the trappings but oh that sentimental two-hander of Tennant and Morrissey. Plus the Doctor actually stays for Xmas Dinner- marvellous! Victoriana always a sucker punch. 'The End of Time''If only Rassilon had had the Santa hat and beard...'
I mean, no, just...no way. Remarkably Xmasy in isolated instances, the sense of promises'n'resolutions unkept but really...
is as far as I can stretch it.'A Christmas Carol''Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we....Quite.'
And then Moffat aces it straight outta' the gate...Outrageous timey-wimeyness plus genuinely moving Xmas shlock- 'The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe''By the pricking of my thumbs, the clunking manifesto comes...'
Then manages to uber-cheese it, to a near gag-worthy extent come the close but still hits a comfortable 'The Snowmen'
Dickensian arcana, penny-dreadful capers.
Cruise control, whimsical Victoriana Xmasarama- 'The Time of the Doctor''Yes, it's got the tree and the trappings but it's not really putting the 'Special' into Christmas. Or vice versa.'
Indeed. An absolute balls up of an era-resolution and fails spectacularly at evoking anything
even remotely Xmasy, plastic or otherwise- 'Last Xmas''Come on Twelve, you can ace this Christmas thing...'
H'mm, actually not half bad in some of the little, human touches and a genuinely uplifting ending, sooo... 'The Husbands of River Song''...okay, maybe next time...'
Perfunctory Xmasy-ness. Mildly more so than 'Time of the Doctor' which ain't saying much-
And as for next/circa now.....'The Return of Doctor Mysterio''Yep, could be...'
But I'm guessing pretty average Xmas strokes in da' house, more a general re-introduction, attempted hard-sell leading into 2018 and Chibnall era 'Who'...
So that's a three way win for 'Voyage of the Damned', 'The Next Doctor' and 'A Christmas Carol', which, were I forced to call it...
1) 'The Next Doctor' (Sentimental)
2) 'A Christmas Carol' (Whimsical)
3) 'Voyage of the Damned' (Overdone)
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