“You Are Not Alone” DVD Commentary Pt. 1

(Crossposted from my LiveJournal)

I can’t believe it’s been five years since I began this odyssey of a fan fiction. I was so young. I was still in high school, I was a junior, and I was playing Paulette Bonafonte in our production of Legally Blonde: The Musical​ at the time. But “You Are Not Alone” has been the project nearest and dearest to my heart, and I’m glad I decided to write it, and I’m glad so many others have enjoyed it too.

Sam Tyler became a concept after I watched the first episode of Life On Mars, the UK version, starring John Simm. His name, as a lot of people pointed out, was a possible anagram for “masterly”, and since Rose Tyler was the first companion on Doctor Who, a seed of an idea was planted in my mind: what if the Master appeared earlier on? What if instead of running for Prime Minister, he was a shop clerk? What if instead of being found as a little old man at the end of the universe, he was found as a charming young man just perfect for the Doctor to adopt and fall in love with?

And “You Are Not Alone” was born.

I knew I wanted Sam to start out just like Rose: uncomplicated, unassuming, but immediately heroic and likable. Eventually, he would grow more and more similar to his true identity, revealing deeper layers of brilliance as the story went on and Sam was exposed to more of the Doctor’s life. But in this first story, Sam is nearly identical to Rose Tyler. A lot of people complained about this, but most were patient, and rewarded with Sam’s character arc.

So YANA is not a crossover with Life On Mars, I would like to say off the bat, but I did borrow characters and names from the show when starting the story. Sam Tyler, obviously, and his girlfriend, Annie Cartwright. Plus the name of the shop Rose worked in was changed from “Heinrik’s” to “Hunt’s”, for Gene Hunt, Sam’s boss.

The beginning of “Rose” is so memorable. Mannequins, especially the faceless ones like the ones in that department store, are so creepy. Russell T. Davies is the king of writing one-offs, if you ask me.

So we begin with Sam getting locked inside the basement. The Autons are stalking after him. And then-!

“Run!”

Enter the Doctor, the dashing hero!

I love the Ninth Doctor so much. I weep that there was only one season of Christopher Eccleston, but I do respect his stance on the treatment of crew members and I applaud him for standing up. I can’t help but wish that he would return for a multi-Doctor episode. Can’t you just see how f**king amazing his Doctor would have fit in with Ten and Eleven in “The Day of the Doctor” special?!

So the Doctor rescues Sam and they make their escape. Nine is so damn handsome, to be honest. Everyone always drools over David Tennant and Matt Smith, but everyone looks over Christopher Eccleston. It’s really not fair.

The Doctor tells Sam to get out, and he does, and the shop blows up. Sam goes home and goes to bed. I added in a sidenote about Sam being “allergic” to aspirin because aspirin is toxic to Time Lords–foreshadowing, heh heh! Then Sam falls asleep and has a romantic dream about the Doctor and the Master’s young selves, Theta Sigma and Koschei.

A lot of people commented at this, asking if I somehow knew the Doctor’s real name. I and a few other seasoned Whovians kindly explained to them that Theta Sigma had been the Doctor’s nickname at the Time Lord Academy.

I also got several comments saying this was the best Doctor/Master fan fic they’d ever read…apart from this other one. Guys, don’t ever tell a writer something like that, it’s a big hit to the ego to hear that you’re the second best. Just say the story is good and leave it at that.

The next chapter we’re introduced to Mickey, I mean Annie. I actually really love Annie and I wish I could’ve given her a bigger role in the story. But, since this is about the Doctor and the Master, her part is small. If anyone hates Annie, I think it’s undeserved. It’s not her fault I underwrote her. She does become somewhat of a hero in the end. Anyway, Annie has been worrying about Sam all night, since Sam is a dingus who forgot about their date. Her worry isn’t unfounded. She cares about Sam, after all.

The Doctor then appears, and here we have one of the funniest scenes in DW, with the Doctor rifling through items in Sam’s living room, reading a book at high speed, commenting on a celebrity couple in a magazine (that the man is gay and the woman’s an alien), scattering playing cards all over the room, and commenting on his satellite dish ears in the mirror. Then there’s some sexy falling on top of each other when one of the Auton’s arms attacks them both, and Sam has another flashback. This will become common as he spends more time with the Doctor. Sam really is thick for not figuring out that he’s really the Master. But then again, he doesn’t learn of fob watches until later, so maybe it’s not so absurd after all.

I have to comment on the Drums™ here. I really hated this plot point when I watched DW the first time, especially when I got into Classic Who. There’s no evidence of the Drums™ haranguing previous Masters, so why is this suddenly an issue now? The Classic Masters did evil shit because they enjoyed it. This whole “poor Master, he was just tortured his whole life” concept is woobie-ifying and undignified for an antagonist of the Master’s caliber. Sure, Anthony Ainley and Eric Roberts’ Masters were pretty insane, but that was more a product of being trapped in non-Time Lord bodies, their life forces being strained beyond their limit. Roger Delgado’s Master certainly wasn’t a victim of the Drums™.  This retcon is really annoying. I had to work out early on how I would justify this dumb McGuffin in my version of the story.

Oh yes. I planned much of the story out when I first began writing it. After I realized people really were interested and I was garnering a lot of readers, I knew I would have to give them a well thought-out epic, with plenty of foreshadowing and connections throughtout. I didn’t expect a lot of people would like my story because at the time, I believed I was an oddity for seeing erotic subtext between the Doctor and the Master. Turns out, there were plenty of people like me out there.

The Doctor leaves again, Sam decides to investigate him in depth, Annie is abducted and copied as a rubber girl, attacks Sam and the Doctor, and Sam comes inside the TARDIS for the first time. It’s a magical moment. Sam gets upset about the supposed death of his girlfriend and the Doctor’s callous reaction to it. Again, even though Sam really does fling her aside for a life of traveling with the Doctor, he honestly does care for her. He’s just preoccupied. They’re much better as friends than as partners.

The Doctor and Sam trace the Autons back to an underground boiler room, where the Nestene Consciousness is camped out. I thought it was incredibly poignant that the first villains the Doctor and Sam face together are the Autons, since the Master used the Autons to invade England in his introductory story. How poetic that the Master would unwittingly help the Doctor defeat them in their first adventure together as traveling companions rather than friendly foes. Sam discovers he can hear the Nestene Consciousness on a psychic level, giving us more hints that he is not all that he seems. The audience already knows who Sam really is, but the real attraction is watching Sam’s slow discovery. Another flashback shows us the Master and the Doctor in their first (televised) battle of wits, again, showing us the irony of the Doctor and the Master now facing the Autons together.

The Doctor gets in trouble and is incapacitated by the Autons, but Sam officially takes up his role as the Doctor’s right hand man, rather than just some guy along for the ride, and leaps in action, saving the Doctor. The Nestene Consciousness is accidentally dissolved and the Autons fall back into inanimation. The day is saved.

Sam and the Doctor make their goodbyes, but then, the Doctor has second thoughts and returns, offering to take Sam on as his companion. Sam eagerly agrees and runs into the TARDIS, ready for adventure. One last flashback shows us that Koschei was seemingly abandoned by Theta in their youth, which spawned the beginnings of the Master’s hatred for the Doctor. His anger stemmed from heartbreak, and his grief spiraled into mania over the hundred years that Theta was missing. But more of that later on.

And that’s the first adventure. The Master is in the TARDIS, and the seeds of a romance are planted.

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In Defense Of Martha Jones

Martha

As a dedicated Whovian, I’ve given certain topics a lot (probably too much) of contemplation. I’ve recently rewatched series 3, and it made me think about why Martha Jones is such a disliked/discounted/underrated companion.

My mission statement: Martha Jones is a great companion, at least in my opinion. Martha was the only RTD era companion to defeat the Big Bad without supernatural alterations to her physiology, like Rose’s absorbing the power of the Time Vortex or Donna becoming imbued with Time Lord-y-ness (?). She’s also the first (and only, if you don’t count Mickey) companion of color on Doctor Who ever. She’s quick witted, brave, kind, and everything you could want from a companion.

So why is Martha Jones one of Doctor Who‘s least popular companions?

It depends a lot on point of view, but, if you ask me, the solution lies in two words: Rose Tyler.

Rose was most people’s first companion, and much like the way one never forgets their first Doctor, you never forget your first companion. Not too mention, much of the way we view the companion depends on how the Doctor himself views them. As we all know, the Doctor worshipped the ground Rose walked on. He loved her. Yes, I do believe he was in love with her. So, most of us couldn’t help but fall in love with Rose as well. And her exit from the show (the first one, I mean) was heartwrenching to say the least. I’m a diehard Doctor/Master shipper, but if you don’t get at least a little glassy eyed watching “Doomsday”, you must be made of stone.

Then came Martha. *Jan Brady voice* Martha, Martha, Martha!

I always say, it’s hard to be the first replacement. I imagine it must’ve been a challenge for Patrick Troughton to take over from William Hartnell back in the day. Bill Murray definitely struggled when replacing Chevy Chase in the cast of SNL in the ’70s. Rose had been around for two seasons, and was beloved by much of the fandom. So Freema Agyeman had a large gap to fill (despite Billie Piper’s actual physical diminutiveness). The fact that Russell T. Davies wrote her as having a crush on the Doctor didn’t help. Most people felt loyal to the idea of the Doctor and Rose together romantically, and didn’t like the idea of someone coming between that.

And then there was the Doctor himself. The way he dismissed Martha’s usefulness as his partner affected the way the viewer saw her. The Doctor would bring Rose up at every turn, as if Martha just wasn’t enough. Even the Master himself makes a remark about the Doctor’s other companions (i.e., Rose) being of a higher caliber, being able to take on the power of the Time Vortex. I mean, really??? As if Martha didn’t have enough opinions against her being good enough! Was that remark absolutely necessary?!

As a matter of fact…it was.

That’s what so important about Martha’s character arc, in my opinion. The fact that there was this stigma to her character, of being second best, and her disproving that. (One could even say it’s symbolic of society’s oppression of black people, but I don’t feel I’m qualified to discuss civil rights.) The Doctor, eventually, begins to see Martha’s worth. I think he officially realizes he’s treated her badly at the end of “The Family Of Blood”, after witnessing how she fares on her own, in an unfriendly, racist setting, and having to take care of him to boot. But too little, too late. Because all they have after that is “Blink” and then the Master trilogy. But even then, Martha overcomes the obstacles set in her path like a pro, beating the Master at his own game. When she’s departing the TARDIS, she flips the Master’s words on their head. “I spent a lot of thinking I was second best. But you know what? I am good.” Not even “as good as Rose”. Just “good”. She doesn’t need to prove that she’s up to par with her predecessor (a white woman). Martha is great, all on her own. This is a character who has grown in her time with the Doctor, and that is the mark of a high caliber companion.

Will Martha Jones ever be recognized as the great character she is? Probably not. But I ask you, go back and watch series 3. Try to forget all you know and love about Rose Tyler for a second. Really watch Martha. You’ll see a lot more in her than you originally did, I bet.

To Martha Jones, the Woman Who Walked The Earth. A star. ~TRL

Why I Love “The Time Monster”

In a word: the ’70s. No wait, that’s two words. Oh, whatever.

  • The Third Doctor’s fabulous, flamboyantly scarlet smoking jacket suit. I mean, any given Third Doctor outfit is awesome, but this one takes the f**king cake.
  • The whole serial beginning with the Doctor having a dream about lying in a chaise lounge while the Master stands over him, roaring, “Welcome…welcome to your new Master!” Time Lords apparently have a strange idea of pr0n.
  • The idea of the Doctor telling the Brig he better go on red alert because he’s just had a dream about the Master, while the Brig just sits there thinking, “TMI, dude. TMI.”
  • Momentary Jo and Captain Yates flirting. Eeeeeeeee!
  • TOMTIT…really?
  • Super Bessie!
  • The Master talking on the phone with Benton while imitating the Brigadier. It’s pretty damn priceless.
  • The whole exchange between Benton and the Master about “the oldest trick in the book” probably made Roger Delgado my favorite person of the month.
  • The Doctor offhandedly mentioning how he and the Master used to play tricks on each other and ruin each other’s experiments at the Academy. D’awww, much Theta Sigma/Koschei love.
  • Time-ramming and TARDISes inside of each other. Well at least the Doctor and the Master’s TARDISes are having sex, even if they aren’t. The Doctor even says that his TARDIS is “temperamental when she’s aroused”. Oh, come on! Is no one proofreading these scripts?!
  • UNIT in slow motion.
  • Jo Grant is simply on fire in this episode, with her knee high yellow boots. And she’s got rather a nice coccyx too. 🙂
  • The Master being a smug bastard about having Time Locked the Doctor’s TARDIS. I’m telling you, Roger Delgado is the f**king best in this episode!
  • The Doctor and the Master’s whole scene with the speakers and the telepathic circuits (Bonus points for Jon Pertwee speaking backwards!). Flirting: you’re doing it right.
  • All the pseudo-scientific jargon kind of gets me hot and bothered. (And the readers are like, TMI, Red Lady.)
  • Sergeant Benton is the cutest baby ever!!!!!!
  • “You can’t turn me off, can you?” Oh, Doctor, you flirty son of a bitch.
  • “All or nothing, literally! What a glorious alternative!” Master, bb, ILUSM right now.
  • Jo: “That’s the most cruel, most wicked thing I ever heard!”
    Master: “Thank you, my dear.” No, seriously, stop it. Stop being so awesome!
  • Whoa, are the Master and this Galleia chick flirting? Excuse me while I go write a jealous Three fic.
  • Okay, no, I take it back. Dalios metaphorically bitch slapping the Master’s ego with his inability to be hypnotized makes him my favorite person of the month.
  • The Master’s face when he realizes his arch nemesis/true love is alive. This brings new meaning to the phrase, “OH S**T!” And winning sass from Jo as well. This all makes for a highly amused Whovian.
  • As usual, a nice bit of Venusian akido from Three. And then that badass mother**ker bullfights the Minotaur!
  • The Master is just rubbing it in the Doctor’s face that he’s with this hot Atlantian queen now. It’s the ultimate moment of “this could be us but you playin’.”
  • “How about time ram?” Yes, please, boys. Do time ram.
  • JO GRANT, YOU BAMF.
  • And in the last moment, the Master gets on his knees, cries like a lil’ bitch, and begs for the Doctor to forgive him for hitting on the Atlantian lady with the big boobies save him from Kronos. The Doctor’s never going to let you live that one down, Master.
  • UNEXPECTED NAKED BENTON!!!!!

By the way, I just want to apologize for all the Doctor/Master stuff. Sorry…not sorry. At all. Heeheeheeheeheeheehee. 😉

DW Review: “Spearhead From Space”

Hello, nerdy ones! If you weren’t aware, there were eight other Doctors before Christopher Eccleston. We call this era “Classic Who”. Try to keep up, my dears.

Ah, the Third Doctor. A personal favorite of mine. Happy Whuesday, my loves. Today, we’ll be discussing Jon Pertwee’s first serial as the Doctor, Spearhead From Space.

Now, this serial is important  for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it was the Third Doctor’s first story, the first appearance of Liz Shaw as a companion, the return of the Brigadier and UNIT (not mention, introducing them as main fixtures on the show), the beginning of the Doctor’s exile, the first story featuring the Nestene Autons, and it was the first story broadcast in technicolor. Yeah. That’s pretty cool, right? You don’t care. Okay.

Like most “Doctor’s first adventure” stories, the Doctor is suffering from regeneration sickness (understandable, considering the Time Lords had just executed him and banished him and his new face to Earth with a broken TARDIS) and pretty much useless until the middle of the next to last episode. But boy, does he try hard to escape that hospital! That’s why I really like Three: he’s so action-y. He doesn’t like sitting still or being patient, which is why it must suck for him, being stuck on Earth.

So during the course of the serial, the Doctor falls flat on his face, gets shot, sasses Brig, takes a shower (dat ass), dresses in iconic, flamboyant velvet suits (complete with red silk lined cape), STEALS A FREAKING HOT ROD, engages in what could arguably be called tentacle porn (Don’t ask. Just don’t.), and is just basically the ’70s Doctor we know and love. Spearhead is definitely not the pinnacle of classic Who, but it’s so damn campy, you just gotta LOL.

Thanks for reading, and come back next week for another Whuesday post!

DW Review: “Dragonfire”

Hello, nerdy ones! If you weren’t aware, there were eight other Doctors before Christopher Eccleston. We call this era “Classic Who”. Try to keep up, my dears.

Happy Whuesday, sports fans! It’s time for another Classic Who review. This week we’ll be talking about the Seventh Doctor serial, Dragonfire.

Dragonfire is the fourth and last story in season 24 of Doctor Who, Sylvester McCoy’s first season as the Doctor. It marked the departure of companion Mel Bush and advent of new companion Ace. It also saw the return of Sabalom Glitz from Six’s era.

Dragonfire has a great plot. The main villain of the story, Kane, is really creepy and unlike most DWho bad guys, is actually scary. And of course, we get to see Ace for the first time! From setting off Nitro-9 to defying Kane, to just dumping ice cream over rude people’s heads, she is the absolute best! We haven’t seen a female companion this rough-and-tumble since Leela from Four’s era.

As always, Seven has a great ending line:

“There are three rules! One: I’m in charge. Two: I’m not ‘the Professor’, I’m the Doctor! And the third…well, I’ll think up the third by the time we get back to Perivale.”

Can I just say right now that the Seventh Doctor is the bomb? I mean, he’s not some tall, handsome, Adonis-type fella like some Doctors (cough, cough, Fivey, cough), but he doesn’t have to be. This Doctor is clever, and he’s sneaky. He’s the Doctor you want for your favorite uncle. Which is why the way they killed him off in the TV movie was bullsh*t! Ugh, don’t even get me started on all that. But anyway, I think Seven was awesome. Go, Sylvester McCoy!

Well, that’s all I gotta say. See you next Whuesday! 😀

Everyone’s Least Favorite Doctor

Happy Whuesday! So, I’ve watched a couple of the Sixth Doctor’s serials, and except for the outfit (Jesus Christ, that coat though), I don’t get why people hate on him so much. I mean, yeah, he’s kind of an asshole (especially compared to his sweet, polite predecessor), but hell, Nine was sassy and rude sometimes, and he still rocked as the Doctor!

Okay, I’ll be honest, I only watched some Six episodes for research for my fan fiction…so basically, all I watched were the two Master serials, The Mark Of The Rani, and Trial Of A Time Lord. But from what I saw, Six honestly wasn’t a terrible Doctor. I mean, I wouldn’t want to travel with his Doctor per se, but I wouldn’t necessarily dislike having to watch his episodes. I don’t see why Colin Baker was fired…

*checks Wiki*

“Too violent”?! Bitch, are you kidding me?! How can you call the Sixth Doctor violent? Well, okay, yeah, there was that time he almost choked Peri to death. But it’s not like the Doctor’s never been violent! Three was a ducking ninja James Bond mother ducker; Four was just insane; and Five, sweet, gentle, innocent little Fivey, just let the Master die in Planet Of Fire, and almost killed Davros in Resurrection Of The Daleks (before he pussied out)! Since when has Doctor Who not had some element of violence? Dafuq?!

Stupid freaking BBC…Oh, well. We have to give kudos to Colin Baker for being a good sport and not holding it against them personally. I mean, he always seems willing to come back for special occasions like the 50th anniversary. Unlike some actors who think they’re too good for all that…

Anyway, that’s my rant for today. Come back in seven days for next week’s Whuesday. See ya later!

DW Review: “Survival”

Hello, nerdy ones! If you weren’t aware, there were eight other Doctors before Christopher Eccleston. We call this era “Classic Who”. Try to keep up, my dears.

I guess I’m working backward, because “Survival” is the absolute last TV serial of Classic Who. However, it was a good story to end on. Nothing absolutely spectacular, but it does end with a great quote from Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor:

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning. Where the sea is asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere, there’s danger. Somewhere, there’s injustice. And somewhere else, the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace! We’ve got work to do.

In my opinion, this quote appreciates the basis of Doctor Who without all the grandiosity of some of the NuWho’s monologues.

Not only did we get to see Ace in her wild, rambunctious, Ace-yness, but we also saw the return of one of my favorite characters, the Master. Anthony Ainley is my personal favorite incarnation of the character (Sorry, Delgado!), and I swear, this episode was written specifically for the purpose of bringing him back for one last bow. It’s the perfect context for him, too. Ainley’s Master was always so…predatory. Making him into basically an overgrown cheetah (or panther, maybe?) was the perfect move. Although, seeing him and the Doctor in a literal fight was quite unnerving, considering that the most physical activity they’d ever engaged in previously was swordplay.

As usual, the special effects were terrible, but hey, it was the ’80s, after all. The story line is interesting, and as I said, the ending shades into a fair farewell for the 26 year old series. It was Ace’s last story, and really, the last story for the Seventh Doctor as well, considering that all he did in the TV movie was stupidly walk out of his TARDIS and get shot. It was a good sign off.

Come back next week for another Whuesday review!