Thursday, July 8, 2010

Countdown Sequence to Regeneration

I've been here close to ten years.

I've followed a conflicted existence in virtual life, being a fantasy creature while avoiding role play groups like the plague (refer to Trek Sim personae in I, Holodoc; I've paid my dues).  But Voyager landed and it was time to explore culture and just get immersed into what the world had to offer. Any world.

Anyway, after having mastered everything from donning armor to play a game of acronyms, battling the VP of the Sellbots, curing drama queens, and the bunny hop, it was time for a tune up.

Having many theories about time of my own, you'd think I'd have warmed up to Dr. Who long ago.  I knew of it during the Tom Baker era.  I think most people here in the USA did.  Back in the late 70s it was on WOR Saturday mornings. I know because I saw the vortex thingie and end credits before watching local wrestling ("...and Ivan Putski: the Polish Hammer!").  Well, the 3 Stooges weren't airing during that era here.  Standing in line for a convention with round fans in long scarves speaking in painfully fake British accents was another put off early on; I just wanted to get some commissioned pieces from comic artists.

When I finally moved out and acquired an old High School friend for a roomate, I endured watching Tom Baker Dr Who's with her.  She had to watch them.  Still not sure if it was because she liked them or she was taking notes for her video production class.  Gawd awful effects on video for an insufferable half hour.  And those lame daleks! They made Tobor the Great look like ILM. ugh! ugh! ugh!  Eventually she watched the one in a sweater... whatsisname? Peter Davison?  It wasn't much better. As I recall the episode aesthetics seemed more sterile from the previous era, but it was still a cheap production and annoying.

By the late 80s I was selling esoteric stuff at Creation Cons with a friend.  We would trade off who we'd see while the other minded the table.  The big deal at one was another doctor starting up. Some Sylvester guy.  He made an appearance at the con.  Seemed like a nice enough fellow, but I couldn't compare him to Tom Baker; this one looked more like someone on a fishing trip than an eccentric time traveler.

When she moved on, so did my proximity to anything Dr Who.  I had by then quit professional comics and stopped going to conventions, and even for the latter I hadn't attended as a spectator for years.

I ran into a Christmas special last year.  I didn't care for the actor playing the doctor.  I thought he had limited skills for an actor.  The other guy who thought he was the doctor was better.  I thought: "Whoah - they're doing these on film now," but featuring a race of crush kill destroy robots.

Oh bruh ther

They had to go and ruin it with an eyeroller foe.

Twitter was all a-twitter about the end of that doctor earlier this year.  Oh yeah? I thought if the next one was any good it might be worth watching.  Boston Legal was long gone, Warehouse 13 was done for the season and left viewers with an amazing cliffhanger, and I couldn't get into 24 or Stargate Universe.  I was open to something.

I watched the end. Gad what a STOOOOOOOOPID story with everyone on Earth turning into an excessively hyperactive lunatic and Timothy Dalton - who killed his career's momentum when he accepted a role in the Rocketeer - spitting out melodrama.  The doctor was like Wile E Coyote: jumping out of a space ship, smashing through a glass ceiling and slamming onto marble.  He got up after that.  Ohkayy...

The whole regeneration thing was new to me.  Regeneration means different things to someone who trained with Starfleet.  All I knew was that it was an essential process for Borg physiology and something my friend Sevhen did.  I hadn't realized through all those years and doctors there was this vehicle to include their distinct changes as part of the plot.

For those reading who aren't familiar with how this works: Dr. Who is about an alien who travels time and space with haphazard regard; he follows no set Temporal Prime Directive.  He's lived over 900 years by regenerating when he either reaches the end of his physical lifespan or is seriously wounded.  Either can trigger the process where his body undergoes a transformation.  The results are random; he can return as any age.  With a new body of course comes new chemistry, and with it new senses and a new mindset - with a lifetime of memories intact.

Traditionally the body of the departing actor lap-dissolved to the new one at the end of a season, leaving fans hanging to see a full story with the new person a long while later.  Fans lost their tenth doctor with a fireworks show that destroyed his place.  The shock of a new face they had to speculate over for almost a year.  For me it would be another hour before the opening episode aired here.

I skipped some documentary about the first ten doctors.  I didn't want a burden going into this.  They had already cleansed the legacy's palate for me.  I went fishing at Blaksleeworld I think for that hour.

Eleventh Hour, the new doctor's first episode, was amazing. Just amazing. Clearly there was a new writing team at work.  And the mold was broken; this had to have been as far from Dr Who it could get in my mind, and I was sold.  I could easily have gone to see something like this in the theatre.

At first it seemed to have America's failings, with jumps in the plot and unaccountable changes.  I learned later that about 25% of the episode was cut for commercials.  I eventually saw the episode uncut. Even more amazing.

This actor Matt Smith: don't let his youthful looks fool you. He traversed the gamut this season and proved himself.  There are many elements to the series' premise which appeals to me, and the "companion" the doctor's chosen is so different from anyone he had tagging along with him in the past. Amy Pond seems like real stuff for a change (dynamic, neurotic...).  The few times the writing dipped (daleks automatically earn an eyeroll from me), it has still been better than most of what's out there.  And then there are those little details in each episode which lend themselves to the main story arc of the year.  This is tight.  Like Back to the Future Trilogy tight. Everything is important.

I've had the advantage of seeing the rest of the year.  The USA is still 3 episodes away.  Then comes major deprivation for everybody until next spring.  Fortunately there's the return of Warehouse 13 this week to cushion the shock.  I'm glad I finished one before moving on to the other, particularly since they're scheduled opposite eachother on Tuesday nights.

For the most part I still snub the legacy and have a hard time associating with it.  In a YouTube video taken last spring, they showed diehard fans in their scarves. They looked like they could have been the same people from  decades back, and they were very serious.  SCARY!!!  I've seen filler episodes with David Tennant (#10) and saw one episode with doctor #9 whom I found quite good, but the plots from those years were all hard to rise above, even with exceptional performances (and as nice as a guy Tennant seems to be, I truly wasn't impressed with his doctor).  That's ironic coming from someone who has come to side with the series.  With season 5 it's become a long lost twin, the yin to my yang, the doctor to my doctor.  I can't fly a tardis to save anyone's life, but that's okay.  I have temporal mechanics on my side.

The energy the series left me with though has brought me to a place I haven't been to in a very long time.  I will be making an announcement about this at my party tomorrow night (Friday the 9th at 2pm SLT. Look for the pink events star over Hydrangea, then get your coordinates from the police box by my diner).

For this party, I'll be hosting the music myself.  This is a personal, almost spiritual day.

Whether you're a fan of the show or not, a party is a party.  The announcement will be related to Dr Who, but not require anyone to be a fan to appreciate or enjoy what is to come.  You won't be disappointed.

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