February 25, 2005

BLUE!

As you may have noticed, or not, the banner has changed…  regenerated, if you will.  This will be happening periodically…  why?  Why not!  We here at Blog Enterprises (a subsidiary of DWIN International) want to keep things fresh…and as a certain doctor once said:

“Change, my dear. And not a moment too soon.” 

doctorwhoblogbanner green feb 2005small.jpg

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February 24, 2005

Bloggers Empire

Big Finish have had great success with their Dalek Empire spin-off series, and are hopeful of duplicating that success in 2005 with a Cybermen spin-off series (though it will not be called “Cybermen Empire”).  I would like the speculate as to what other group of monsters/aliens/enemies from the original series would also be ideal for another spin-off series, following in the Dalek Empire vein. Here are my choices, in order of suitability for audio.

1. Zarbi Empire As the Zarbi can only make annoying, loud beeping noises they are well suited to an avant-garde, expressionist audio series. I would suggest a 6 part series, with the following titles: Resurrection of the Zarbi, Zarbi War, Death to the Zarbi!, Zarbilee, The Genocidal Zarbi, and finally, Time of the Zarbi.

2. The Functionaries Empire.  Again, as they can not talk, one would think that a story about their uprising against President Zarb would make an ideal audio series.  One could bring in David Warner and Derek Jacobi in to do one’s best grunting.

3. Peladonian Champion Empire.  As every champion of the Ruler of Peladon is apparently unable to speak, an audio series about them is crying out to be made.  We could hear them play bubble hockey using the adapted remains of Arcturus’ life support machine in order to determine who is the true champion. Mark Gatiss and Simon Pegg could play the mute grunters who are vying for the top.

4. Sensorite Empire  It’s down on the list since they can actually speak, making them less suitable for audio.  A two story series would do, the first entitled Return of the City Administrator and the second, featuring a guest appearance of Carole Ann Ford as Susan, called Flip Flap.

5. Rezzie Empire Once again, they can actually talk so they are well-down on the list.  Little did the Doctor know that when he left Paradise Towers that the Rezzies would take control and become the real Power in the Tower (the name of the first release in the series).

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February 23, 2005

the empire of glass

omnicosmology.jpgSpeaking of Doctor Who-themed music… You’ve all been waiting for a band that takes its song titles from Doctor Who books and audios, right? I know you have. The Empire of Glass is that band, with titles like Zamper, Father Time, Interference (book 1 & 2), The Holy Terror, The English Way, and some that are a bit more obscure. Their influences include “Dr Who: Snakedance” and “molecular science”. So there you go.

The music itself is mostly ambient chillage with spoken lyrics. It’s nice enough, but nothing very special - although I’ve only heard the first album. But who cares about that, they have a song called An Unearthly Child!

And while I’m on the subject, Blectum from Blechdom’s Robophobic has some samples from Robots of Death.

Mix it Up

There’s no end to what fans do to celebrate their fandom. Some write, some draw, some make videos.  There are websites, poems, paintings, and sculptures out there being created by fans.  I’ve just recently happened upon a website that deals solely with remixes of the Doctor Who theme.  I’ve always enjoyed hearing new variations on the Doctor Who theme.  I guess the Mark Ayres “Variations” release back in the 1990s was my first introduction to DW remixes. In fact I don’t think I knew what a remix was back then!  Since then I’ve heard rock/pop covers (KLF), string quartet compositions (Foreplay), and dance club dubs (Orbital) of the theme…and there are more out there, it’s amazing.  Some are good, some are terrible.  I guess if I was musically gifted, I too would set out to rework the theme, and play with it.  Why not?  It’s a bloody cool track.  Check out the following links for a quick audio fix: 

music copy.jpgMetalhead?
Hip Hop
Odd but I like it
Clubland

“The website was created to pay tribute to Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire’s influential and timeless theme, with amateur (non-commissioned and non-profit;) remixes, electronic or acoustic, faithful or pisstakes, of the theme.” http://whomix.trilete.net/ 

And I say right on. 

I wonder how they will rework the New Theme… or are have they already hit the mark?

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February 22, 2005

The Gallifrey (One) Chronicles

In summary: Great con. Great fans. Not much news. Lousy dealers room.

gallifrey-g16logo.jpgThe Sixteen Swashbucklers of Gallifrey One, the sixteenth iteration of what is North American fandom’s most significant and largest convention happened last weekend. Those Doctor Who Bloggers who were there intended to make postings from the con floor (or more appropriately the floor of our hotel room, where we retired after a long night’s drinking) but we never did. Partially this was because we never got around to it. Mostly it was because—although the con itself was excellent—there wasn’t much to say in terms of newsworthy stuff.

Two new series writers were there, Rob Shearman and Paul Cornell, but they couldn’t really say very much. Although representatives from BBC3’s Doctor Who Confidential, BBC Radio 2’s Project Who and even the CBC were there to shoot footage of the con and interview attendees and guests alike, the makers of the new series did not evidentally deign to send any promotional material along to show the assembled masses. This meant that while everyone had the new series on their lips, there wasn’t really much in the way of new information to discuss. Which was a shame as everyone else, it seems, were ready to court North American fandom in its finery…except the people who had the most good will to gain from it.

While many fans have a wait and see attitude toward the new series (especially American fans because they don’t know where and when it will air and if they’ll see it at all anytime soon) you can’t help but sense that there is a lot of enthusiasm out there for Who right now. Sales of Enlightenment at the DWIN table were brisk, and the conversations in the panels and in the bar had an excitement this blogger hasn’t seen in a while (compare this to, say, 2003, when the only big news was Shada on BBCi and you can see a marked difference).

The only other disappointment was the Dealer Room. The Gallifrey One Dealer Room is usually among the best anywhere, but this year, while the same purveyors of goods were present, there wasn’t anything new to sell. It was bizarre: no new books (fiction and non-fiction, I wanted to pick up Andrew Cartmel’s Script Doctor and was denied), no new audios (no sign of the BF February 2005 release and I’m still bitter that I couldn’t pick up the MP3 version of William Russell reading Doctor Who and the Daleks) and, more criminally, no new DWMs. It’s ridiculous to me that more care wasn’t taken to ensure a whole box of DWM 352 and 353 weren’t brought. They would have been sold instantly.

None of these deficiencies are the fault of the con itself, though. As ever, Shaun Lyon and his army of organizers put on a first-rate convention, with some great guests and some fantastic programming. Gallifrey remains to be one of the best opportunties for a real international fan community to come together. And next year’s con, with the new series actually transmitted will be even better, we are sure.

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February 21, 2005

Get a Doctor!

Get a Doctor!.jpg As the series approaches it’s amazing how an image here and there (leaking out from the ether) can really excite a fan.  All of the images I’ve seen so far have been great, but they’ve all been of the a similar (muted & posed) tone. This new one however gives us our first look at the darker side of the New Doctor Who…and a bit of the range this series, and this Doctor might (will?) have. 

I’ve cropped down this image so as to delete any spoilers.  This image of the Doctor however says way more than I would dare describe here and now…without going into context of story, spoilers and emotional raison d’Ítre.  At least now we *know* there will be an emotional range to this character, and that this fine actor will in fact be pulling all the stops. 

It’s also a nice glimpse of the future… and things to come.

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February 20, 2005

DVD Octoberfest?

There is talk that the DVD release for the new series will be out by October, according to a report in DVD Times. The site is a UK site, so there’s no actual suggestion of releases for the other regions such as Region 1.  However, the release is likely to be in a box-set, and there is a now a precedent for Region 1 seeing releases of Doctor Who DVD Box Sets’s at the same time as Region 2, with last November’s simultaneous release of the Lost in Time Collection, so its possible that we may see it in North America at the same time that the UK does.

What will be interesting to see is whether the release will be available with the option of either purchasing individual stories or the entire set, as both the Key to Time and Lost in Time releases provide.  That will probably depend on how many discs the new series set is released on. It seems likely that they would fit 2 of the new 45-minute episodes on at least one disc, with extras, but with the odd two-part story during the 13 episode season, there will have to be some discs with either just one 45 minute episode or some containing three episodes.

Above all I hope that the advent of the new series increases the output of the original series DVD releases, which, while largely excellent, come out too slowly with just 6 to 8 releases per year.  I’d like to see that increase to at least ten per year, with an emphasis on getting the Hartnell and Troughton stories that need to be VIDFired and Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee stories that have not been commercially released on VHS in episodic format (ie. The Time Warrior, Death to the Daleks, Day of the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen and The Deadly Assassin)

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February 19, 2005

Russell Plays the Game

An original cast member of Doctor Who makes his return this month as Ian Chesterton himself, William Russell, guest stars alongside Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton in The Game, the latest 5th Doctor Audio released later this month by Big Finish.

Only Russell is not playing Ian, because another Russell, Big Finish producer Gary, doesn’t believe in bringing old companions back to meet the Doctor (unless its someone who lives on Gallifrey). Gary Russell is of the view that the Doctor meeting up with an old friend is too implausible, which suggests that he is painfully unaware that all four of his audio Doctors are able to pilot the TARDIS to where and whenever they’d like, making any such meeting perfectly plausible if he so wished.  Personally I don’t find the idea that the Doctor would drop in on an old friend to see how they are doing to be that odd - actually, the idea that once he had control of the TARDIS, that he wouldn’t ever go back at least once to see old friends of his, is what I find to be a bit odd.

Nevertheless, while the fans are denied a chance to hear the Doctor and Ian team up 42 years after they first met, cheers to Big Finish for bringing back William Russell at a time when Doctor Who is beginning once again.  Hearing William Russell act alongside Peter Davison will no doubt be a joy, and perhaps it is fitting that William Russell finally gets to equal what his co-star Jacqueline Hill got to do 25 years ago - return to Doctor Who in a different role to act alongside a different Doctor. 

And after 42 years after his first appearance in Doctor Who, it seems not a moment too soon!

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February 18, 2005

Wildthyme on top

As part of Big Finish’s New Worlds range of books, they are publishing an Iris Wildthyme short story collection. It is edited by Paul Magrs and features stories by Kate Orman, Lance Parkin, and Stuart Sheargold among others.

Too bad it will be a mail order-only hardcover.

In the meantime there are four Iris Wildthyme short stories available on Iris’s own site. They are well worth reading, particularly In the Sixties. “I wanted the party to go on till I got time to catch up and join it.”

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Hey look it’s another comparison!

These ninth Doctor book covers look quite surprising at first, since we’ve had no other covers like them. Lots of fans hate them. I’m not sure why, because no way are they the worst covers we’ve had.

books.jpg

To put these covers in perspective, look at one next to a Buffy book. They look quite similar. And that’s good because they are aimed at the audience that reads TV tie-in novels that look like this.

Lets hope they will be distributed properly in North America, and put on the shelves right next to the Buffy and Stargate books. Purely for marketing purposes - they will of course be much better than those other books.

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