Timestamp #130: The Five Doctors

Doctor Who: The Five Doctors
(Twentieth Anniversary Special, 1983)

 

“I am being diminished, whittled away piece by piece. A man is the sum of his memories you know, a Time Lord even more so…”

After a heart-touching introduction by the First Doctor, we find the Fifth Doctor – To save on confusion, I’m going to call them by number right out of the gate – putting the finishing touches on a brand new control console, and I actually kind of like it. The team is relaxing at the Eye of Orion, taking some time away from the rush of their recent adventures. The tranquil atmosphere has something to do with a bombardment of positive ions, and the Doctor agrees with Tegan that they can vacation for a little while.

Elsewhere, a black-gloved hand fiddles with controls and activates a scanner. On the screen is none other than the First Doctor (though not quite the genuine article due to an obvious need for recasting). A black Phantom Zone-like two-dimensional triangle swoops down and scoops up the Time Lord, an act that causes the Fifth Doctor considerable pain. The First Doctor is reduced to an Eaglemoss figurine and placed on a crystalline display.

Next up, we’re taken to UNIT HQ where Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is talking to his replacement, Colonel Crighton, when the Second Doctor arrives. The Time Lord has arrived to attend the Brig’s farewell speech and is unhappy with the renovations at UNIT HQ. He and the Brigadier take a walk, reminiscing over the Yeti, the Cybermen, Omega, and the Terrible Zodin (okay, not so much that one) before they too are swept into the Phantom Zone and turned into toys.

On to the Third Doctor, who is trying to outrace the spinning triangle in Bessie. He fails.

Tegan and Turlough escort the Fifth Doctor to the TARDIS, where he tells them that he must find his older selves to stop whatever is chewing at his soul. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Sarah Jane and K9 puzzle over the danger that the robotic dog detects. Sarah Jane ignores his concerns and heads to the bus for her daily schedule. She’s later consumed by the mysterious triangle.

The Fourth Doctor and Romana are punting down the river at Cambridge, just like they did in Shada. It’s a clever re-use of footage, really. Anyway, they are also taken, which causes the Fifth Doctor to collapse, but not before he sets the coordinates. The Fifth Doctor fades in and out before the TARDIS lands, and the mysterious figure adds models of Tegan, Turlough, and the Fifth Doctor to the display.

On Gallifrey, the Inner Council has convened, comprised of a newly-regenerated President Borusa, High Chancellor Flavia, and the Castellan. Shockingly, they admit the Master for a conference. The Inner Council offer a pardon for his long list of crimes and a whole new regeneration cycle in exchange for one act: He is to rescue the Doctor.

Surprise!

The First Doctor wanders an angular cave of mirrors, joined in a surprise appearance by Susan. (There were cheers from this Whovian. I’ve missed her.) The pair run as a Dalek (we haven’t seen them in a while!) rounds a corner and opens fire. The place is known as the Death Zone, an arena-like place on Gallifrey where beings from across the universe were sent to battle for amusement before the time of Rassilon. The Council sent two representatives who did not return. They attempted to send the Doctor, but all of his incarnations have vanished from the timeline. All of them (except the Fourth because Tom Baker had reasons) have been deposited in the Death Zone. Inside the Zone, the First Doctor and Susan trick the Dalek into a mirrored dead end. It fires and the reflected beam destroys the creature, revealing the mutant within the armored casing. Through a hole in the wall, they see the tower of the Death Zone and decide to investigate.

Elsewhere, the Second Doctor and the Brigadier tangle with Cybermen and the Third Doctor reunites with Sarah Jane as he rescues her from a terrible fall. As the First Doctor and Susan wander, they find the Fifth Doctor’s TARDIS and meet Tegan, Turlough, and the Fifth Doctor. The First Doctor spearheads introductions all around and then tasks Tegan with fetching refreshments. She objects, but the Fifth Doctor asks her to humor the oldest of the Doctors. After all, he used to get a bit tetchy. Meanwhile, the Master is sent into the Zone with the Seal of the High Council (to prove his credentials) and a transmat recall device. He is soon found by the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane, but the reunion is broken up by laser fire. The Master runs one direction while the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane go another, but without the aid of Bessie who took a direct hit to the engine.

The Fifth Doctor sets the TARDIS coordinates for the Dark Tower, a place that supposedly holds the tomb of Rassilon and is the current destination for all of the Doctors and companions. The Fifth Doctor, Susan, and Tegan set out on foot to disable the force field around it so the First Doctor and Turlough can move the TARDIS to its doorstep. Meanwhile, the Second Doctor and the Brigadier go in through the cave system beneath the tower, the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane encounter Cybermen, and the Fifth Doctor’s team encounters the Master. The last event is watched by a squad of Cybermen, who rush the Time Lords and stun the Master. The Fifth Doctor sends Susan (who twists her ankle) and Tegan back to the TARDIS before using the transmat recall to return to the capitol. The First Doctor decides to take up the Fifth Doctor’s task, and Tegan joins him. Amusingly, the First Doctor still has a great deal of resentment at being addressed as “Doc.”

The Fifth Doctor confers with the Inner Council about who has control of the time scoop and the Cybermen. He uncovers a homing beacon inside the recall device, surmising that someone led the Cybermen to the Master to attack the Doctors. Borusa has the Castellan, who originally gave the device to the Master, arrested and his office and quarters searched. Meanwhile, the Master makes an arrangement with the Cybermen, who then converge on the TARDIS.

The Third Doctor and Sarah Jane encounter a Raston Warrior Robot, a perfect killing machine, halting their progress until it passes. Luckily, the Cybermen approach and engage the Raston, providing a diversion for our heroes to escape (with the Raston’s supplies). In the caves, the Second Doctor and the Brig find a Yeti, which they evade before finding a door to the Dark Tower. It is unlocked, so a trap must lie beyond.

In the Citadel, a chest containing Black Scrolls of Rassilon, forbidden knowledge from the Dark Times, is found in the Castellan’s quarters. The Castellan is taken away for interrogation but is shot dead (without regeneration) en route. The Fifth Doctor is forbidden by Borusa from returning to the Death Zone. Flavia is tasked with taking care of the Fifth Doctor, and they discuss the possibility that the Castellan was not the traitor.

At this point, all three entrances to the Dark Tower are in use. The Third Doctor and Sarah Jane zipline across to the upper entrance, the Second Doctor and the Brigadier are in the basement, and the First Doctor and Tegan use a biometric entry coder to open the front door. The Master follows through the main entrance with the Cybermen. Interestingly, the First Doctor does not recognize his former classmate. The Master tricks the Cybermen into a death trap, but the CyberLeader survives until the Master tricks and kills him with a Cyberman blaster. The Master passes the trap, followed by the First Doctor and Tegan who survive by using π. Stay in school, kids… math can save your life.

The Third Doctor and Sarah Jane descend toward the Tomb of Rassilon, but the closer they get, the more psychic energy pushes back on Sarah Jane. The Third Doctor scouts ahead and finds former companions Mike Yates and Liz Shaw. Similarly, the Second Doctor encounters Zoe Heriot and Jaimie McCrimmon, but in both cases, the former companions are only specters designed to impede progress toward the heart of the tower. Once the Doctors understand that the companions are mere illusions, they disappear with chilling screams. The First Doctor is unaffected since, at his age, he has nothing left to fear.

The First, Second, and Third Doctors, along with their current traveling companions, finally arrive at the tomb. After a series of reunions, the Doctors decipher the Old High Gallifreyan language of mathematical symbols to discover that whoever wears Rassilon’s ring shall achieve immortality. The First Doctor is troubled by the last line in the text: “To lose is to win and he who wins shall lose.” The Master arrives shortly afterward and threatens the Doctors, but he is sucker-punched by the Brigadier and tied up by Tegan and Sarah Jane.

The Fifth Doctor goes to confer with Borusa, but the president is nowhere to be found. The Doctor discovers that the Harp of Rassilon is a musical key. The key unlocks a chamber where the figurines (including one of the Master) are being overseen by Borusa, the true mastermind of this scheme. The president is not satisfied with leading Gallifrey for all of his lifetimes, but instead want to be immortal and President Eternal. He plans to use the Doctors to clear the path and traps, leaving the way open for him to claim the prize. When the Fifth Doctor refuses to help, Borusa uses the power of the Coronet of Rassilon to compel his cooperation.

Politicians, right?

The Third Doctor reverses the polarity of the neutron flow on the control console, and with the forcefields down around the Tomb of Rassilon, the TARDIS engages autopilot and moves to the tomb with Susan and Turlough. The movement is just in time as the Cybermen detonate a bomb to destroy the TARDIS, but they miss. Soon, the Fifth Doctor and Borusa arrive via transmat to claim the prize. The first three Doctors combine their psionic powers to break the telepathic hold, and as the Fifth Doctor is freed, the voice of Rassilon issues a challenge to Borusa. The First Doctor convinces Rassilon to surrender the ring to Borusa, and the president’s desire is granted: The faces that line the plinth come to life, for they are those who have previously sought immortality, and Borusa becomes one of them.

Rassilon offers immortality to the Doctors, but they decline in exchange for the chance to go back to their respective timestreams. The Fourth Doctor is restored to Shada, and the Master is restored with the promise that his sins will find their punishment in due time. As the Doctors says their farewells, the First Doctor (smugly) explains that he convinced Rassilon to give Borusa the ring because he finally understood the riddle: It was a trap set by Rassilon to weed out the more selfish of their people because they were a danger to civilization. Each set of Doctors and companions boards the TARDIS in order and the TARDIS splits through a form of temporal fission to return them their proper homes.

Chancellor Flavia arrives and tells the Doctor that he is due back to the Citadel. Since Borusa has been disqualified, the High Council has decided that the Doctor shall resume his duties as Lord President. He orders Flavia back to the Citadel, telling her that she has full authority until he arrives in his TARDIS. After ushering Tegan and Turlough aboard, he sets a course and dematerializes, stunning his companions by announcing his intention to not take office.

“You mean you’re deliberately choosing to go on the run from your own people, in a rackety old TARDIS?”

“Why not? After all, that’s how it all started.”

 

All in all, this was a wonderful story to celebrate a significant milestone. I was curious, so I looked at scripted entertainment television across the United States and United Kingdom and came up with a short list of shows to reach twenty years by 1983: Coronation Street, Guiding Light, As the World Turns, General Hospital, The Wonderful World of Disney, Romper Room, Search for Tomorrow, Captain Kangaroo, and The Edge of Night. There were also a couple of semi-scripted children’s shows like Blue Peter and The Sooty Show, but the fact remains that, in a world dominated by soap opera longevity, Doctor Who was the only science-fiction drama reach that mark.

Yeah, they deserved this party.

I was very pleased to see so many of the companions back in action, even if their cameos were short. While I would have loved to see Liz, Zoe, and Jamie get into the mix, the saying holds true that too many cooks spoil the broth. It was clever, however, to subvert nostalgia with the canonical circumstances of The War Games. I appreciate that level of attention to detail.

I did miss having Tom Baker in the mix, which would have drawn The Five Doctors down to four if it hadn’t been for Richard Hurndall. From what I gather in fan circles, his involvement as the First Doctor is sometimes disparaged, but I thought he did a fantastic job. Mixing his performance with the archival footage at the beginning (effectively bringing us two First Doctors) was a nice touch and a beautiful tribute to the beginnings of this franchise.

Finally, that wonderful musical mix over the end credits to tie the eras together: C’est fantastique.

 

Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”

 

 

UP NEXT – Twentieth Series Summary

 

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

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Timestamp #129: The King’s Demons

Doctor Who: The King’s Demons
(2 episodes, s20e21-e22, 1983)

 

It’s half a nod to the black and white era with a pseudo-historical story.

In medieval Europe, King John of England feels that his reception at Lord Ranulf Fitzwilliam’s castle is insufficient, leading to the challenge of a duel between the king’s champion and the lord’s own son. At daybreak, the competition begins with a joust, but it is interrupted by the TARDIS as it arrives in the middle of the arena.

Turlough is frustrated since Earth is not his home, but the Doctor and his companions leave the TARDIS to assess the situation. They are welcomed as demons by the king, and the Doctor places the year as 1215, sometime around the signing of the Magna Carta. The travelers are seated with the king and the challenge continues. The champion nearly kills the lord’s son, but the Doctor convinces King John to spare the boy’s life, an act that earns Sir Ranulf’s respect. The travelers are given quarters, but the lord’s son takes Turlough captive and interrogates him.

In the room, the Doctor does the calculations and realizes that King John should not be at this place at this time: He’s supposed to be in London, taking the Crusader’s Oath. In the meantime, the king takes Sir Ranulf’s family hostage, prompting the lord to seek help from the Doctor. Lord Ranulf also mentions that his cousin, Sir Geoffrey de Lacy, is in London doing exactly what the king should be. The Doctor’s suspicions grow, fueled by Sir Geoffrey’s arrival and confirmation of the king’s presence in London.

The king’s guards arrest Sir Geoffrey and he is brought before the assembled court during a royal banquet. The Doctor challenges the king’s champion, resulting in a sword duel between the two which the Doctor wins. Shortly afterward, the knight drops his disguise, revealing that he is the Master. Dun-dun-dun…

I guess he survived Xeriphas.

The Master threatens the Doctor with his tissue compression eliminator, but the Doctor disarms his nemesis. The Master leaves his fate in the Doctor’s hands, but when the Doctor spares him, the king places the Master in the iron maiden that was meant for Sir Geoffrey. In a clever twist, the torture device was really the Master’s TARDIS. Additionally, the Master has control over the king (real or not).

The Master rematerializes in the jail cell containing Sir Ranulf’s family, and he convinces them to join forces against the Doctor. In the chambers above, the king knights the Doctor as his new champion. Sir Doctor arrests Sir Geoffrey as a ruse to get access to the dungeons. There, he barely misses the Master’s group but is able to free Turlough and sabotage the Master’s TARDIS.

The Doctor sends Sir Geoffrey to London, but the Master assassinates him en route. The Master turns the castle guards against the Doctor, but Tegan is able to get into the TARDIS and pilot it away as the Doctor escapes on foot. The Doctor stumbles across the king, who is really a shape-shifting machine named Kamelion, a tool used by a previous invader of Xeriphas and key to the Master’s escape. The android is controlled through psychokinesis, which the Time Lords have in spades.

The Master’s plan is to besmirch King John’s reputation with the android, spark an uprising driven by the public’s lack of confidence in the king’s leadership, and prevent the Magna Carta from establishing modern parliamentary democracy. It’s a smaller scheme than the Master normally works, but effective in uprooting a cornerstone of modern human society.

So, anyway, the Time Lords have a battle of wills over Kamelion which the Doctor wins. Kamelion turns into Tegan and, as the real Tegan materializes the TARDIS in the same chamber, the Doctor, Kamelion-Tegan, and Turlough rush aboard. The Master is thwarted, so he rushes to his own TARDIS, but since the Doctor sabotaged it, the time capsule’s destination is randomized.

As the Doctor programs his own TARDIS console, he invites Kamelion to join them, much to Tegan’s chagrin. When given the choice between accepting Kamelion or going home, Tegan chooses to remain on board. Next stop: The Eye of Orion… and a large celebration in the Doctor Who mythos.

Honestly, they could have sacrificed an episode from Terminus and given it to this one to boost the story. It would have helped both of them.

 

Programming note: I will be including The Five Doctors as part of Twentieth Series, which has thematically attempting to take a tour of the franchise’s greatest hits. I recognize that is it fits between the Twentieth and Twenty-First years, but I think the idea and purpose behind it fit better with this series than with the next. Tune in next week.

 

Rating: 2/5 – “Mm? What’s that, my boy?”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Five Doctors

 

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #128: Enlightenment

Doctor Who: Enlightenment
The Black Guardian Trilogy, Part III

(4 episodes, s20e17-e20, 1983)

 

Mawdryn high and Terminus low, finish strong by Enlightenment‘s glow?

In true K9 style, Turlough is playing chess with Tegan while she helps the Doctor diagnose the TARDIS. For whatever reason, the time capsule is losing power, bathing the console room in spoo-OO-ooky orange emergency lighting… which I actually kind of liked. Through a series of echoing voices, the Doctor decides to ramp up the power and invite an old friend onboard. The White Guardian appears and transmits a broken message of danger before the Black Guardian disrupts the channel. Turlough reduced the power to prevent the TARDIS from exploding, which prompts a sharp rebuke from the Doctor before he follows a set of coordinates and lands in a darkened ship’s hold.

The Doctor and Turlough explore the hold, leaving Tegan behind just in case the White Guardian can break through. Sure enough, the White Guardian returns and delivers a message, but the power requirements blow the console. There is also a strange face on the scanner screen, prompting Tegan to leave the TARDIS and look for the owner. It turns out that the man is creepy. Quite creepy. Tegan is soon apprehended as a stowaway, but the strange creepy officer takes her to her friends. Did I mention that he’s creepy?

The Doctor and Turlough find the ship’s crew in the bunkroom and the travelers decide to try blending in. Based on the newspaper, they appear to be on Earth onboard an Edwardian-era ship, and the crew mistakes the Doctor for the new ship’s cook. They also don’t remember coming aboard, but they do reveal that the ship is entered in some kind of race. The jovial discussion is interrupted by another officer who takes the Doctor away but leaves Turlough with the crew.

The Doctor and Tegan converge on the captain’s mess where Tegan briefs the exasperated Time Lord on the message. The ship’s commander, Captain Striker, arrives soon afterward and offers them dinner. He also introduces Tegan’s (creepy) escort as Marriner, the ship’s (creepy) first mate. The wind picks up, the ship rocks, and dinner is concluded as the crew (and Turlough) race topside for the grog ration. The Doctor intercepts Turlough and they meet up with Tegan and the officers in the ship’s wheelhouse.

Tegan spots what she thinks are wetsuits and the Doctor consults the nautical charts. They soon discover that the Edwardian yacht is really a spaceship and that they are one of a small fleet of sailing ships from various times. Tegan gets ill and is escorted to temporary quarters that are a mixture of her room on the TARDIS and her rooms in Brisbane, leading her to believe that the crew can read her mind. Marriner offers her a drink to mitigate her queasiness, and she falls asleep until Turlough joins her soon after. Wait… did Creepy McCreeperton just drug her?

The chart is one of the Sol system and each planet is a marker buoy on the race course. The captain explains that his people are Eternals, as compared to Ephemerals like the Doctor and his companions, and that they live in the trackless wastes of eternity. The ship rounds Venus, cutting their course tightly around the gravity well, but a trireme captained by an ancient Greek named Critas tries to follow and explodes.

The Doctor investigates what he think is sabotage, but Striker explains that each Eternal selects their ship, sources living beings from a suitable time period, and uses their minds for thoughts and ideas since the Eternals are unable to think on their own anymore. The process gives them existence and entertainment, and the prize at the end of the race is absolute enlightenment. (Ding – there’s the title!)

The travelers decide to rendezvous at Tegan’s quarters, though Turlough is waylaid by a bad experience with the Black Guardian. The Doctor and Tegan have a discussion that inadvertently tips the Eternals off about the TARDIS. As the duo sees to Turlough, the Eternals make the TARDIS disappear, trapping our heroes (and Turlough) on the ship. They eventually suit up and head topside, where Turlough is plagued by the taunting voice of the Black Guardian which prompts him to jump overboard.

As the second episode drew to a close, I wondered if the Doctor could let Turlough go. Probably not. Captain Striker refuses to change course, but the Buccaneer rescues Turlough. The captain is a pirate named Wrack, and she toys with the boy while offering a gift of a sword for competitor Captain Davey. Captain Wrack also invites the collective captains to dinner. Turlough convinces Wrack that he wants to be on the winning side, and he knows that she is the superior captain.

Tegan dresses for the party (looking positively smashing) but the delegation’s departure is delayed due to an asteroid storm. Meanwhile, Wrack does something odd in a vacuum-sealed room and Davey’s ship mysteriously explodes. It does not bode well to challenge the Buccaneer. The Doctor, Tegan, and Marriner head over to the party, and the Time Lord takes the opportunity to survey the attending guests and exchange his celery stalk. As the crowd mingles, Turlough investigates the vacuum chamber and discovers an eye-shaped grid that leads into the deep dark of space. One of the crew locks him in and releases the vacuum shield, but the Doctor saves him just in time. The Doctor examines the eye and decides that it probably focuses Wrack’s power through the red jewel above the grid, just like the red-jeweled ring that Captain Critas was wearing before his demise. The two travelers are soon apprehended by Wrack’s crew.

While they try to avoid the sharp edge of steel, Captain Wrack takes Tegan to her cabin and freezes the human in time. She then modifies Tegan’s tiara with a bright red jewel. It seems that the Edwardian ship is next on her hit list.

Tegan is released and subjected to the awkwardness of Marriner while Wrack interrogates the Doctor. The Doctor, Tegan, and Marriner are sent back to their ship as Wrack tests Turlough’s loyalty. She nearly sentences him to a long walk off a short plank, but he saves himself through a simple statement: “I serve him as I wish to serve you.” They are united through their relationship to the Black Guardian.

The Buccaneer draws even with the Edwardian ship and Wrack moves in for the kill, channeling the power of the Black Guardian. The Doctor and Tegan discover the jewel in the tiara and smash it, but the fragments only multiply the power. The Doctor throws the fragments overboard and they explode. The ship is saved, much to Marriner’s amazement, but the victory is short-lived as the winds die down and the Wrack pulls ahead. The Doctor demands that the TARDIS is returned, and he uses it to board the Buccaneer and confront Wrack.

Tegan witnesses two bodies fall overboard from the Buccaneer, and as the ship crosses the finish line near a large crystalline structure, the crew disappears and Striker and Marriner go across to pay their respects to the victor. The Enlighteners, the inhabitants of the crystal structure, are actually the White and Black Guardians, and they present the prize to the victors: The Doctor and Turlough. The bodies that fell overboard were Wrack and her first mate.

The Doctor refuses enlightenment, demanding instead that the Eternals be returned home to their endless void. The White Guardian offers a slice of enlightenment to Turlough. The Black Guardian reminds the boy of his contract, and Turlough refuses the crystal to save the Doctor, an act that disperses the Black Guardian in a ball of fire. Tegan doesn’t believe in Turlough’s change of heart, but the Doctor sees the lesson clearly: Enlightenment wasn’t the crystal, but rather the choice.

The White Guardian warns the Doctor that the Black Guardian has been crossed (Key to Time) twice now, and the powers of darkness do not dissipate with time. A third encounter will come, and it will not be easy. With the crisis averted, Turlough asks the Doctor to take him home – his real home – and the Doctor agrees.

Okay, so this helps to redeem Turlough a little bit, but I still don’t like him. It’s not his role as a wolf in sheep’s wool, but rather his character overall. He’s just so bland. Otherwise, it was nice to see a story in the Black Guardian trilogy that actually uses the Black Guardian to further his goals. It wasn’t a spectacular story, but it was better than Terminus.

 

Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The King’s Demons

 

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #127: Terminus

Doctor Who: Terminus
The Black Guardian Trilogy, Part II

(4 episodes, s20e13-e16, 1983)

 

The trilogy gets stuck in the mud.

Picking up right where we left off, Turlough is wandering the corridors of the TARDIS, sabotaging the time capsule at the Black Guardian’s guidance. A skeptical Tegan stumbles across him and resists his charms while escorting him to his quarters. Coincidentally, they once were Adric’s.

Two production notes: First, in close-up, Tegan’s makeup is a bit excessive. Second, this is the first story to call the round things “roundels.”

Tegan leaves, carrying the caduceus necklace from her first encounter with the Mara, and vents to Nyssa. Meanwhile, Turlough continues his nefarious task, removing the space-time element from the main console and inducing a fracturing of the TARDIS. The effects of the temporal fracturing are quite well done. Nyssa is trapped in her quarters, and as a skull forms on the door, she has no choice but to go through. As the door closes, the Doctor jams it open and follows Nyssa through to the new spacecraft beyond. The Doctor explains that this is a failsafe in case the TARDIS becomes unstable. Moments later, Tegan follows, and later (under orders from the Black Guardian) so does Turlough. The door closes behind him.

The Doctor finds Nyssa as two space pirates explosively board the ship and head to the bridge. Their breach point is sealed by what looks like Great Stuff foam, and the pirates discover that this is the wrong ship. They take the Doctor and Nyssa hostage as the pirate ship rockets away, but the Doctor convinces them to work together as the ship automatically begins docking procedures at Terminus Inc.

As Turlough and Tegan search the ship, they encounter a robot (from which they run) and a locked room with an occupant who cries for help. The door opens a crack and robed arms reach out for Tegan. Turlough saves her and they rush for the doorway to the TARDIS, but it phases in and out of reality. As the ship begins to dock, the doors open and the robed figures swarm. One of the pirates panics, proclaiming that the ship is a plague ship, and the occupants have something called Lazar’s disease.

Turlough and Tegan take shelter under the deck plates, but the force of the marching passengers jams their exit in place. They search for another way out as the Doctor and Nyssa accompany the pirates to the bridge. The Doctor searches for a solution as Nyssa stumbles, obviously infected, and finds the pirate Olvir hiding behind a chair. Nyssa coaxes him out, and he explains what he knows of Terminus and Lazar’s disease. The station supposedly offers a cure, and the Doctor discovers that the station is at the center of the known universe.

Tegan and Turlough come across an armored figure who orders the robot to sterilize the ship. They sneak away and continue the search for a way out as another guard searches for the source of rising readings of some sort. Meanwhile, the ship begins sterilization by pumping noxious gas through the crawlspaces occupied by Tegan and Turlough. The Doctor’s party search for the TARDIS, and Nyssa and Olvir encounter the robot. After Olvir inadvertantly touches her and Nyssa inexplicably takes off her skirt, the robot takes Nyssa to the armored guards. The armored guards want their hydromel – which is in our world is another name for tasty, tasty mead, but in this story is an antifreeze-colored vaccine – and take Nyssa to the rest of the infected on Terminus. The lead guard, Eirak, sends a wolf-creature called the Garm to search for the errant guard as the Doctor and Kari (the other pirate) search for Olvir and Nyssa, eventually ending up the station as well.

Tegan and Turlough keep hanging out in the crawlspaces, safely out of reach of the plot. It seems that Fifth Doctor-era writers had a hard time writing for an ensemble. The travelers eventually escape, but their contribution to the story is still minimal.

The Doctor and Kari explore Terminus, finding a guard named Valgard who knocks down Kari and attacks the Doctor. Kari retrieves her gun and shoots the guard, leaving him stunned as the pair escape into a forbidden zone… the same one where the errant guard went before. Deep in the bowels of the station, Nyssa has achieved clothing once again but loses hope as the guards ignore her and leave her with the infected, presumably to starve to death. She is soon taken for treatment.

Eirak discovers that part of the hydromel shipment is merely colored water and receives a report from Valgard about his encounter with the Doctor and Kari. Valgard challenges Eirak’s leadership, which Eirak offers in exchange for the stowaways. Meanwhile, Olvir steals a set of armor and sets up a decoy to deflect attention from his presence.

The Doctor and Kari come across Bor, the errant guard. He is burned by radiation, and the Doctor offers to carry some scrap metal as they continue to the station’s engines. The engines are damaged and are leaking radiation, and Bor is trying to build a shield with the scrap. If the engine were to explode, it would somehow affect the entire universe. Supposedly, it already has some time prior, introducing a Doctor Who explanation for the Big Bang. The discussion is interrupted by Valgard and the Garm. The former attacks the Doctor but is stunned as the latter returns Bor to the safe zone, which is where a bound Nyssa is looking worse for wear. Fortunately, Olvir is there to rescue her. Unfortunately, his attempt is stymied by the Garm, which is immune to the pirate’s blaster. The Garm takes Nyssa into the radiation zone, and Olvir follows. He battles Valgard as the Garm takes care of Nyssa.

Turlough takes his leave of the Tegan and requests help from the Black Guardian. After a hint, he dives back into the crawlspace, still offering nothing to the story but getting a terrible shock for his efforts. Seriously, dude, the panel said “NO TOUCH.”

The Doctor and Kari find the station’s control room and reason out exactly how Terminus created the Big Bang: The station is a time ship, and the pilot dumped the fuel from the malfunctioning engine. The resulting explosion propelled the ship forward in time, killing the pilot but jumpstarting the universe. A second explosion would destroy the universe, and the computer has already started the procedure. Thanks, Turlough.

Tegan and Turlough notice that TARDIS door is becoming more solid, so they keep poking at the bypass switch. When the computer announces the ship’s movement, Tegan runs to the control room as Turlough finishes his work and reboards the TARDIS. In the engine compartment, a wounded Valgard reveals that he was once a pirate like Olvir, trained by the same commander. Olvir refuses sympathy and leaves in search of Nyssa, and once the younger pirate is gone, Valgard retrieves a gun and pursues.

The Doctor and Kari try to stop the procedure, but lack the strength to move the proper control switch. They seek out the Garm, who is escorting Olvir to Nyssa. Nyssa awakens in a barren chamber, fully cured but once again in nothing but her skivvies. Why exactly is she spending this adventure in her delicates? Anyway, she figures out that the radiation could cure all of the infected if properly applied.

The Doctor summons the Garm, who then saves the day by stopping the fuel dump. The Doctor disconnects the computer from the control console, then fulfills the Garm’s wish for freedom by smashing the creature’s control box. The Doctor and Kari race to finish the engine shutdown procedure but are interrupted by Valgard. The guard is ambushed by Nyssa and Olvir, and Nyssa bargains for his help by offering a refined process to supply hydromel. That would free the guards from the Terminus Corporation’s control forever.

I recommend yeast, honey, and good clean water.

Eirak returns, prompting to Valgard to remind the leader of their deal. While the guards chat, the Doctor puts plans in motion to wrap up the adventure, but there is one more wrinkle that he did not anticipate: Nyssa wants to remain behind and spearhead the Lazar recovery. After tearful goodbyes, the Doctor and Tegan return to the TARDIS.

Meanwhile, Turlough has been tortured by the Black Guardian for his insolence. He has marching orders: Kill the Doctor!

And that leads me to the overwhelming problem with this story. It’s supposed to be the next story in a three-part revenge tale, but we don’t really make any headway at all with the Black Guardian’s plans. Turlough, the corporeal arm of the Black Guardian’s will, spends pretty much the entire story in a crawlspace with Tegan. While this (hopefully) sets up Tegan as the foil for Turlough’s plans in the conclusion, at no point does he make an attempt on the Doctor’s life except for the opening gambit.

Which, when you think about it, neuters the Black Guardian. Either he’s incompetent as an omniscient being because he didn’t know about the TARDIS failsafe, or he’s faking it and not really that all-knowing to begin with.

Setting aside the trilogy, I also have issues with the story. Terminus, the name being an obvious clue, is supposed a for-profit hospital for victims of the Lazar plague from which no one ever returns. If that’s the case, how are they still operating? Word has obviously spread that the Lazar victims, whom the Terminus Corporation demonizes, don’t come back, so why keep funneling money to them? Where are the regulators? Where do they keep the bodies? I’m missing something here, and that impacts my enjoyment of the story.

Finally, Nyssa. She has been one of my favorite companions in the franchise so far because she’s smart, capable, and independent. Her farewell suits her character because she’s sacrificing herself to help countless others. She’s doing the right thing, and she learned that lesson from the Doctor. The sad part of the tale is that this story does everything it can to objectify her. I can understand that she starts the story without a blouse because she’s working in her quarters, and I further understand when she has to leave half-dressed because it’s an emergency. I can even understand the logical leap of leaving a clue for the Doctor. It’s a huge leap, but sure, whatever.

What I don’t understand is why she needed to spend the rest of the story in her shift rather than getting a new costume from the wardrobe department, even if it was the equivalent of surgical scrubs. Logically, do the rest of the cured people end up in the blank room in their underwear or naked? Again, we don’t know, so based on the evidence, I see an attempt to symbolically strip down Nyssa to her most vulnerable state, but it backfired for me.

I’m really going to miss Nyssa. Her departure leaves the Doctor with two companions that I don’t particularly like, and while I like the idea of a Trojan Horse companion whose goal is to kill the Doctor, the execution has been lacking so far. I feel that there are tough times ahead.

Between watching the serial and finalizing this write-up, I spent a lot of time trying to land on a score. Nyssa is a big bright spot for this story, but there’s just so much to overcome between the mediocre and the infuriating. Sadly, it ends up at the lower of my two options.

 

Rating: 2/5 – “Mm? What’s that, my boy?”

 

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Enlightenment

 

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #126: Mawdryn Undead

Doctor Who: Mawdryn Undead
The Black Guardian Trilogy, Part I

(4 episodes, s20e09-e12, 1983)

 

The Key to Time comes home to roost.

A schoolboy named Turlough steals (and totals) the Brigadier’s car, offering quite the introduction to a new companion. He has an out of body experience after the crash, though both he and his classmate Ibbotson will be fine. The Brig, on the other hand, is incensed. After all, it was a rare 1929 Humber 16/50 Open Tourer (Imperial Model).

The out of body experience is courtesy of the Black Guardian, who seeks revenge against the Doctor after their last encounter. As Turlough recovers at the school, he discovers a crystal that links him to the Black Guardian, and we learn that he is not native to Earth. Under the Guardian’s influence, he leaves the infirmary (with a reluctant Ibbotson) and boards a transmat capsule.

Speaking of, our heroes are moving through time and space. Tegan is recovering from her experience with the Mara, Nyssa has a new wardrobe, and the TARDIS gets knocked off course. They nearly collide with a nearby spacecraft before materializing inside it, and the travelers find that the ship is abandoned. In fact, Tegan makes a Mary Celeste quip, continuing a Doctor Who tradition. The crew sought refuge on Earth as the ship swung through an elliptical flight path, which it does every six years. As the travelers attempt to leave – the TARDIS is trapped there by the plot – Turlough arrives on the ship and sneaks into the TARDIS. Everyone eventually converges on the phone box, and the Doctor takes Turlough back to Earth to disable the trap, leaving Tegan and Nyssa behind. As the Doctor works on releasing the transmat beam, Turlough nearly kills him with a rock, but the plot is foiled as the transmat device inadvertently explodes. Turlough is knocked back and the TARDIS materializes and vanishes.

Turlough and the Doctor are intercepted by the Brigadier, who doesn’t recognize the Doctor at all. The Doctor chalks up the memory lapse to his regeneration, but the Brigadier’s memory is still a blank. Meanwhile, Nyssa and Tegan explore the area and find a transmat capsule. Inside, they find a severely burned version of the Doctor who asks to be taken to the TARDIS.

The Doctor accompanies the Brigadier to the officer’s quarters. They discuss prior adventures, all of which seems to jog the Brigadier’s memory as he flashes back to the Second Doctor and a Cyberman, the Third Doctor’s awakening and regeneration, his brief encounter with the First Doctor, the Yeti,  an Axon, a Dalek, and his first and last encounters with the Fourth Doctor. Sadly, he’s also suffering from a nervous breakdown. As they share tea, the Doctor mentions Tegan and the Brigadier remembers a Tegan from several years ago. Turns out, they are the same person.

Putting the pieces together, we find that Nyssa, Tegan, and the TARDIS are in 1977, but the Doctor is trapped in 1983. Tegan elicits the help of the 1977 Brigadier while the burned Doctor supposedly regenerates into a new form called Mawdryn (cloaked in the Fourth Doctor’s maroon overcoat) and orders Nyssa to take the TARDIS to the abandoned starship. When the 1977 Brigadier arrives, they group finds a scream-worthy Mawdryn with his brain exposed. Mawdryn continues the ruse of a failed regeneration and eventually convinces the companions to return to the starship.

In 1983, the Doctor realizes that the events of 1977 may be the reason for the Brigadier’s breakdown. After finding the Guardian’s crystal, the Doctor also determines that they must intercept Turlough before the boy determines how to operate the transmat capsule. Together, they fix the homing beam, but it soon self-destructs. Luckily, the Brigadier has a homing device that was a gift from Tegan, and the Doctor uses it to take all of them to the starship via the transmat capsule. There’s a minor caveat: If Brig-83 and Brig-77 were to meet each other, the results would be catastrophic. As Tegan would say, ZAP!

The Doctor and Brig-83 find a room with stolen regeneration technology, and the Doctor presumes that Mawdryn (whom he refers to as the “creature”) wanted to regenerate, which poses a whole bushel of questions about using Time Lord technology to regenerate non-Gallifreyans. Meanwhile, Turlough works his way to the TARDIS and discovers a room of beings in the same state as Mawdryn.

Through a confusing series of events, Brig-83 encounters Mawdryn and hooks him up to the regeneration machine, Brig-77 encounters the rest of Mawdryn’s people, the Doctor reunites with Tegan and Nyssa, and Turlough returns to the TARDIS. The Doctor and Nyssa meet up with Brig-83 and get the story from Mawdryn, discovering that they are mutants who tried to use regeneration technology but instead ended up immortal and in continuous agony. Tegan arrives just before the rest of Mawdryn’s people, and the mutants beg for the secret to end their pain. Unfortunately, if the Doctor gives them that energy, he will expend all of his remaining regenerations and will die. The Doctor refuses, and the mutants scheme.

The Black Guardian realizes that the Brigadier’s presences may jeopardize his plans, so he orders Turlough to detain one of them. Soon enough, Brig-77 is locked away and Turlough returns to the TARDIS. The Doctor orders Turlough to take Brig-77 to the transmat capsule as Brig-83 returns to Earth on the TARDIS. The Doctor is forced to return to the starship, however, as the mutants have infected Nyssa and Tegan with their malady, which is exacerbated by time travel. The Doctor attempts to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow to escape the warp ellipse that confines the starship, but the attempt turns them into (rather adorable) children. The Doctor reverses it again and returns to the starship just as Brig-77 tries to leave (unsuccessfully) via transmat.

The Doctor has no choice but to sacrifice himself to end the loop. Everyone converges on the regeneration laboratory and Brig-83 begins the procedure. It is interrupted by Brig-77 who, by touching Brig-83, releases a large temporal energy wave. Nyssa and Tegan are cured, the Doctor is saved, and Mawdryn’s people are freed of their undead existence. The travelers return to the TARDIS and both Brigadiers are returned to their proper times, although Brig-77 won’t remember anything until he encounters the Doctor in 1983. The abandoned starship self-destructs, ending the loop for good.

And then there’s Turlough, who has stowed away on the TARDIS. He asks to join the Doctor’s crew, and the trilogy continues.

I admired how heroic the Doctor was. It added a certain degree of power to the story that we haven’t seen in some time. I also loved how the companions were able to carry a substantial part of the story. It was also nice to see the Brigadier again, despite the obvious internal continuity issues (First, Tegan didn’t give him the tracker. Second, there’s really no reason why he shouldn’t have been able to rationalize this adventure with everything he knows about the Doctor.) and the entire UNIT dating controversy. I know that I’ve been hard on him in the past, but he’s softened on the Doctor over time.

Overall, this was an entertaining and well-written story that handled split time periods quite nicely.

 

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Terminus

 

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #125: Snakedance

Doctor Who: Snakedance
(4 episodes, s20e05-e08, 1983)

 

Someone felt a need to revisit Kinda?

The adventure opens with a mysterious man and his necklace as they sit on a barren planet. Creepy and kooky, but not particularly ooky.

On board the TARDIS, Nysssa tries on a new outfit while the Doctor puzzles over some strange readings. Tegan had set the coordinates for the next destination, inadvertently choosing Manussa, and now she’s having strange snake-related dreams. On the target planet, ruling family members Tanha and Lon debate the merits of celebrating the eradication of the Mara, the snake creature that the Doctor believes still possesses part of Tegan’s mind. The Doctor hypnotizes Tegan to explore this possibility and discovers that it is true. He recalibrates the machine so Tegan is protected from all outside sounds and the group sets out to find the snake cave in Tegan’s dream.

Tanha and Lon have already entered the cave as part of the ritual celebration with a researcher named Ambril. They are examining wall paintings that detail a legend of the Mara’s return. When the travelers arrive, Tegan’s fear prevents her from entering, so Nyssa waits while the Doctor explores within. A salesman scares Tegan with snake toys, causing her to run into the crowd and disappear. The Doctor finds the ruling family and convinces them to meet Tegan, but with her disappearance, they dismiss him.

Nyssa and the Doctor return to the TARDIS, expecting Tegan will try to find her way back, but Tegan has collapsed and was rescued by a local fortune teller who removes the hypnosis device. As a result, the Mara exerts control over Tegan.

The Doctor and Nyssa go back out to search for Tegan, and when Nyssa finds her, Tegan is erratic and runs away, hiding in a hall of mirrors where she confronts the Mara succumbs further to its control. The Doctor returns to Ambril and accurately matches current events to the legend of the return, which is detailed to him by Ambril’s assistant Chela. The Doctor reunites with Nyssa and explores the snake cave, while the Mara sends the operator of the mirror chamber to retrieve Lon. When he arrives at the booth, the Mara takes control of him.

The Doctor and Nyssa return to the TARDIS to analyze a blue crystal, which they presume may be the Great Crystal linked to the Mara. They discover that it is the key to the Mara’s full return. Meanwhile, Mara-Tegan and Mara-Lon have taken the carnival worker to the cave and opened the inner door, exposing the remnants of the ancient civilization within. Coming to the same conclusions, the Mara and the Doctor discover that Ambril knows where the crystal is located. The Doctor tries to retrieve it, but he is arrested. The Mara, on the other hand, entrances the carnival worker and sends Lon to fetch the crystal. Lon persuades Ambril, who has just shared the diary of his predecessor Dojjen with Chela, to return to the cave to see the chamber interior. The Mara convinces Ambril to return the Great Crystal to the cave during the ceremony.

Nyssa sneaks into the palace dungeon and tries to free the Doctor. As Chela shares the diary with the Doctor, Nyssa searches for the key to the cell. Nyssa is caught by Tanha and the Doctor discovers that Dojjen left his post to study the forbidden teachings of the Snakedancers.  Nyssa is reunited with the Doctor inside his cell, and they spend their time researching the crystal and the diary. The ancient Manussans were able to create the crystals, which transformed their negative emotions and thoughts into the Mara. They later forgot that they had created it, and the only memory of the Mara’s origins was maintained by the Snakedancers.

When Lon and Ambril announce their intention to bring the Great Crystal to the ceremony, Chela frees the Doctor and Nyssa. They are soon cornered by the palace guards, where Lon orders their immediate execution. Tanha intercedes, allowing the Doctor to tell his side of the story, and the Time Lord presumes that Lon has been marked by the Mara. Ambril offers to show them the Great Crystal, and while everyone is distracted, the Doctor, Nyssa, and Chela escape.

The Doctor uses his crystal to summon Dojjen, the mysterious man from the beginning of the serial. Together, they enact the Snakedance ritual, which requires a snakebite on their wrists so they can communicate telepathically. Dojjen counsels the Doctor to find his “still point” and destroy the Mara forever. As they commune, the community around them commences the celebration ritual.

As the celebration continues, Lon plays his customary part before breaking character and announcing the return of the Mara. The Doctor and company burst into the chamber as Lon places the Great Crystal and reveals the Mara, which feeds on the assembled crowd’s fear and grows stronger. The Doctor focuses his will through his “still point” and battles the Mara. The Mara tries to break the Doctor’s concentration by channeling a panicked Tegan, but Dojjen reinforces the Doctor’s center. The Doctor pulls the Great Crystal from the wall and the Mara’s influence is broken, causing the snake to fall to the ground and die.

Tegan is embarrassed and horrified at her actions, but the Doctor comforts her. He reassures her that the Mara is gone for good.

The good news is that the writers didn’t put Nyssa in a coma again. Additionally, she seems to have been well-briefed on Kinda‘s details before this adventure. The Doctor continues his fatherly development, and Nyssa got a chance to shine as she unwrapped the mystery. As Tegan, Janet Fielding sold the possession aspect quite nicely, leaving no part of the set unchewed.

But the story was only average. At least we’re free of the Mara now, right? Right?

Please?

 

Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

 

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Mawdryn Undead

 

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Dragon Con 2017

 

Dragon Con 2017
Atlanta, GA – September 1-4, 2017

 

Logo_no_background

 

Dragon Con!

It’s an annual tradition for me, and this year will be my ninth time attending. This will also be my second year as an attending professional. If you plan to be there, these are the places where you will be able to find me over Labor Day weekend.

The convention app is now available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. It’s also available online.

NOTE: All Dragon Con schedules are tentative until the convention ends on Monday. Even then, things are a bit suspect. As things change before the convention, I’ll update this post.

 

Wednesday (it’s the new Thursday)

I will be around starting Wednesday, pretty much wandering the hotels, picking up my Hard Rock Dragon Con gear, and catching up with some friends.

 

Thursday (it’s the new Friday)

2:30p-6:30p: Dragon Con Newbies Walking and Rolling Tours/Q&A
Main Programming
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A601-A602
Want to know the best way to get from one con hotel to another? Need to learn where the food court is? If so, come on one of our walking tours and find out. Small group tours will be going out every 10-15 minutes.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

 

Friday

10:00a: Dragon Con Newbies Q&A
Main Programming
Location TBD
First Dragon Con? Confused or overwhelmed? Savvy con attendees will share tips & tricks.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

1:00p: Marvel Cinematic Universe
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301-M303
We’ve seen some new heroes brought forward with Dr. Strange, and Spiderman coming back into the fold. Trailers for Black Panther and Thor have teased us with more. How do you think the MCU is holding up almost 10 years?
Panelists include: Page Branson, Kitty Chandler

2:30p: Wolverine on Film
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M302-M303
From second-choice casting to a role that has created an indelible mark on movie heroes. Hugh Jackman’s take on Wolverine has been an amazing run. We’ll look back at the whole run of 8 movies & cameos.
Panelists include: Will Nix, Jeff Burns, Bill McIntire

5:30p: Earth Station Who Presents 50 Years of the Cybermen!
BritTrack
Hilton Atlanta, Galleria 5
Our friends at Earth Station Who are back to discuss the return of the Cybermen, and half a century of their menacing adventures!
Panelists include: Michael Gordon, Mike Faber, Sue Kisenwether, Robert Lloyd

7:00p: The Good Place: The Current Hereafter
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301
The afterlife never looked like this before! Comedies are tough and comedies about life after death are even tougher! This one pulled some surprises with some excellent writing and performances.
Panelists include:  Ryan Guthrie, Gary Mitchel, Henry Hanks

(Note: I am listed in the app for “Classic Sci-Fi Legends: West, Landau, Paxton & More” at this same time. I’m in the market for a clone.)

11:30p: Star Wars Holiday Special: May the 4 Wookiees Be With You
American Science Fiction Classics/Star Wars
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
We could not let the 40th anniversary of Star Wars pass & let our pals at Star Wars Track have all the fun. Check out the glorious madness of Chewie’s Wookiee family, Bea Arthur & Princess Leia singing, & Boba Fett’s debut!
(I’ll be in the audience for this one.)

 

Saturday

8:30a: Classic Sci-Fi Court: Defending Batman & Robin, Superman IV & More
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105

Bring your grievances before the Classic Sci-Fi Court, & we will defend movies or TV that unsavory elements have brought criticism upon. Batman & Robin…Superman 4…Highlander 2, perhaps?
Panelists include: Michael Bailey, Kevin Eldridge, Debbie Viguié, Geena Phillips
(I’m not on the panel for this one.)

10:00a: Roll-a-Panel: 1982 and 1992
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105

Dragon Con does not last a full year (yet), so Classic Track does not have time to tribute all the movies from the best year of movies ever. Roll-a-Panel is an audience-participation revolution in convention panel technology–20 panels in one hour!
Panelists include: Pretty much all of the American Science Fiction Classics Track regulars

4:00p: Remembering Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker
Star Wars Track
Hyatt, Centennial Ballroom I

Our world is dimmer now, but our icons left such a legacy for us. Join other fans as we remember our Princess & our favorite Droid and the impact they had on Star Wars & the world.
Panelists include: Bryan Young, Sarah Dempster, Sue Kisenwether, Christy Morris

8:30p: The Flash: Flashpoint and Godhood Conundrums
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301-M303
As Flash brings in one of the classic storylines from the comics, we see how the show handled it & how one more speedster reaches for godhood at the expense of Team Flash.
Panelists include: Jim Griffin, Beth Verant, Cammien Ray, Yvonne McDowell

11:59p: The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show
Main Programming
Hyatt Regency, International South
Miss Lady Flex, Phantom Troublemaker, Rad Ranger, and Popeye the Sailor Moon return to Dragon Con! Come and bear wetness to the love child of Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right, Jeopardy, Pictionary, Match Game, Twenty Dollar Potato Spin, Anata No Zubon O Shutoku, and any and every game show you’ve ever heard of, but DIRTY. YOU are the contestants in the wildest, sexiest, nastiest game show around! Laugh, cry, be slightly uncomfortable in the presence of hundreds of strangers! Big prizes! Big fun! There’s nothing else like The Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show!
18+ only – IDs will be checked at the door
Limited capacity, line forms one hour prior to showtime

Following DDCCGGSS: Saturday Night Classic Track Irregulars Party!
American Science Fiction Classics

 

Sunday

7:00p: DC Universe
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301-M303
Has the DC Cinematic Universe finally broken its curse? Many question the trend from Superman and BvS, but then we get Wonder Woman, and yet gloomy talk about Justice League. More hints are teased out and Joss Whedon gets his shot at this hero team.
Panelists include: Jeff Burns, Wayland Smith

11:30p: Spaceballs – Thirty Years of Combing the Desert
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
Revel in the glorious silliness of 1987’s ludicrous-speed Sci-Fi sendup. We are not just doing this panel for the money.
Panelists include: Mike Faber, John Hudgens, Chace Ambrose, Elizabeth Jones, Tegan Hendrickson
(I’ll be in the audience for this one.)

 

Monday

10:00a: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 20 Years of Saving the World (A Lot)
American Science Fiction Classics
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M103-M105
From Welcome to the Hellmouth to Chosen, from Beer Bad to The Body, celebrate the classic show about the heroes that monsters have nightmares about.
Panelists include: Melinda Mock, Michael Williams, Sue Kisenwether, KC Ryan-Pierce, Wayne Hutchinson

11:30a: Wonder Woman: Life beyond Themiscyra
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M301-M303
A look back at the film: what they took from the comic history & where they could go from here. A moment of silence might be offered for Steve Trevor’s sacrifice.
Panelists include: Will Nix, Yvonne McDowell, Beth Verant

(Note: I am listed in the app for “Classic Sci-Fi Roll-a-Panel: 1977 & 1997” at this same time. I’m still in the market for a clone.)