April 9th, 2016

Musician Who

Historical Revisionism of the Daleks

Well, just when I'd been talking about how much better the Fifth Doctor audio plays are written than his television episodes, I ran afoul of Renaissance of the Daleks. Five (Peter Davison) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) are caught up in some kind of time travel trouble spanning Earth's history, snatching soldiers from various wars, not unlike War Games, the Second Doctor story. But in this case, each of the transported soldiers is annoying and badly written from the point of view of someone with a weak and politically motivated grasp of history. A virtuous knight from the Crusades named Mulberry (Nicholas Deal), a black Confederate soldier from the U.S. Civil war named Floyd (Richie Campbell), and a female U.S. soldier from the Vietnam war named Alice (Regina Reagan). The first two have the scent of conservative bias. Floyd even argues that the South didn't fight for slavery but for states' rights, the same bullshit line one normally hears from right wing creeps to-day. Yeah, they were fighting for states' rights--the states' rights to enslave human beings.

When Floyd worries the Daleks will destroy the Confederacy, the Doctor tells him, "It's worse than that." What do I hate more about this exchange? The implication that Floyd is so simple minded at this point he thinks the Daleks only threaten the Confederacy or the fact that the Doctor sounds worried at the possibility that the Confederacy will be stopped? It's a tough choice.

Renaissance of the Daleks was written by Christopher Bidmead, the showrunner from the Fifth Doctor's television era, which perhaps explains why it's so badly written. Though I don't remember his stories being quite this obnoxious.

After this I listened to two really good 2007 Sixth Doctor audio plays, I.D. and the very short Urgent Calls, both written by Eddie Robson. The audio plays continue to make me warm to Six (Colin Baker) almost against my will. I.D. has the existential crisis of someone's consciousness being put into two vessels, an idea not dissimilar to the later Eleventh Doctor television story "The Rebel Flesh"/"The Almost People". I.D. also has a nice bit of world building in its setup, creating a sense of vast space with the first friend the Doctor encounters taking him on a ride on a hover bike of some kind. The impression is further helped with mention of the Doctor using a pocket telescope. Urgent Calls is told almost entirely with phone conversations where a woman named Lauren (Kate Brown) continually manages to accidentally reach the Doctor when she makes wrong telephone calls. Not unlike Clara, I suppose. Once again I wonder why the writers of these audio plays aren't drafted for the television show instead of just their ideas.

Twitter Sonnet #859

Assorted salads sortie in the bowl.
Equations served for questions scorch the mind.
The horrid rabble blamed the third to roll.
At dice, the chancery remit in kind.
Computers came confounded by the clocks.
We didn't tip the lamp the candle fell.
A burning thread was drowned in waxy socks.
Ordained in fish the scales of fins will tell.
Perennial rose stratagems'll bloom.
Foundations pink and red recall the blood.
In cake, strawberries fell to frosting doom.
A doughnut ravished pings the glitchy HUD.
Rewound the feet can spool in shoes like springs.
The heels of Jack may yet return for rings.