Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Talk about Doctor Who when Tom played the Doctor (1974 - 1981).

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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby ThetaSigma on December 22nd, 2011, 7:23 pm

I like all of Tom's Dr Who companions, but Sarah Jane is the best! I am getting her biography for Christmas. :D
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on December 27th, 2011, 2:15 pm

The aborted Shada is a very difficult story to review. The reconstructed video that was done has all the bits that were filmed (mainly the location scenes with a few studio bits) and Tom reading bits of the story to fill in the missing sections. You get some idea of what the story would have been like. The location footage is lovely, almost as nice as that for City of Death, there's a great chase scence through Cambridge with the Doctor on a bike and the punting scenes are really picturesque. Sadly the reconstructed video has atrocious late-80's style tinny incidental music that really sounds out of place (if only Dudley SImpson could have done the music) and this really lets the story down. The main villain, Skagra, is good if a little camp (his outfit makes it very hard to take him seriously - floppy white hat, silver cape and carrying a carpet bag!) and some of the sets look very cheap. Towards the end we get less and less filmed material and more narration, but the script itself is a good one, full of Douglas Adams touches and humour and if the story had been completed I think Shada could have been a real classic.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby tch on December 27th, 2011, 6:09 pm

I keep hoping Big Finish will try and do an audio version of Shada, now that they have Tom.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on December 28th, 2011, 11:37 am

Into Tom's final season now! And wow, am I still watching the same programme? New music, new titles, new costume, far less humour, far more "hard science". All style and no substance? No, I don't think so. The Leisure Hive is certainly a very glossy and stylish looking story, with some of the most inventive direction seen on the show, but there's still a very good story there and it's amazing just how more modern this story feels - compare it to The Horns of Nimon and you'd think about 10 years seperated the two, not a mere 6 months. THe new title sequence and music hit you like a slap in the face, and while I still prefer the previous versions, I still really love the 80's music too. The opening shot where the camera pans along Brighton beach, going past umpteen empty deckchairs to the accompniment of haunting electronic music is one of the most visually arresting in the series, and the moment we see the Doctor slumped in a deckchair in his new burgundy colour-co-ordinated costume you can tell he's changed somehow. It's like a significant amount of time has elapsed between the previous season and this, he seems older and wearier, hardly moving in his deckchair and a lot of the zany energy and humour seems to have left him. While I love the madcap eccentriccity of Tom's Doctor, this new older, more sombre version is a welcome new development for his character and gives him added depths.
The music in THe Lesiure HIve is gorgeously lush and atmospheric, and complements the great visuals, such as the lovely model shots of the Hive seen through a swirling radioactive dust. THe costumes and sets are very eye-catching, and the make-up, particularly on the Doctor when he ages is superb. Tom's performance here is particularly noteworthy.
The foamasi are slightly disappointing monsters, appearing a little too bulky and inflexible but are still a vast improvement on what we got in season 17. The story does seem to end a little abruptly but overall The Leisure Hive was a wonderfully stylish way for Dr Who to enter the 80's and Tom's toned down performance and more serious approach to the role came just at the right time.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on December 30th, 2011, 1:02 pm

Meglos feels like the odd one out in season 18. It's got the surface sheen of this season, nice production values, the synthesized score, Tom's burgundy costume, but the plot and some of the characterization is very season 17 - more than a bit silly and ridiculous. The concept of a villainous cactus is like something DOuglas Adams might dream up, and the Gaztacs are mostly played for laughs. The earthling also really reminds me of Arthur Dent from Adams' Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.It's still a very entertaining story though. Tom gets to show off his acting skills and is really good as the doppleganger Doctor, appearing quite sinister at times. The cactus make up he has is superb and the image of the Doctor with cactus spines all over his face was a frightening and haunting one for me as a child. The conflict between the Savants and the Deon's is a bit of a tired theme in Dr Who, these types of cultures having been done many times before, but the story moves along at a good pace and as a child I found this story quite gripping. Not a bad story by any means, it's a good solid Dr Who story, saved by Tom's excellent dual performance, some good visuals and a brisk pace.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on January 1st, 2012, 3:51 pm

Full Circle is possibly the best example of what the new production team was trying to achieve in season 18. It's got a great script, with lots of imaginative, thought-provoking ideas, some genuine believable science fiction and the Doctor is portrayed as a knowledgable scientist, examining microbes under slides, discussing evolution and using his scientific knowledge to find a solution to problems. This story contains some memorable imagery, in particular the cliffhanger to part one with the marshmen rising up out of the murky swamp in slow motion is electrifying, looking really cinematic and had me scurrying behind the sofa as a kid. The look and design of the story is excellent, the starliner looking solid and believable as a spaceship, the location filming seeming quite alien at times, and the performances are good, everyone taking things seriously with no silly performances.
Tom is great in this story, his anger at the Deciders is one of his best moments in this season, and I often refer to this scene when people talk about his performance being lacklustre in this season. Matthew Waterhouse's Adric makes his first appearance here. Alot of people seem to hate him, but I've always thought he was okay with the limits of his character, and he worked far better with Tom than with Peter Davison.
I love the revelations that the plot delivers of the Starliner's inhabitants being descended from Marshmen and never having actually been to Terradon - -it's quite a chilling moment when this realisation dawns.
Full Circle is an excellent story, the type of story that Dr Who does really well and one of the best of Tom's later years.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on January 2nd, 2012, 9:14 pm

Doctor Who's homage to Hammer Horror now with the wonderfully atmospheric State Of Decay. The series' best stab at the vampire genre in my opinion, this story contains everything a tale like this should - an isolated village community, superstitious peasants, mysterious overlords living in a sinister castle/tower, bats, folklore, hypnotism, blood. Terrance Dicks weaves all these ingredients into a richly evocative and satisfying story that also introduces a new mythology into the series - the great vampires.
The story looks gorgeous, filmed in a suitably autumnal woodland with an excellent set for the lords' tower - all classical columns and rusted iron walls. The costumes are equally lavish, and this is probably the only story where Tom's burgundy costume fits in and he doesn't look out of place. I really like Romana's costume too.
It's great to see the Doctor and Romana sharing so much time together, usually they get split up, and the chemistry between them is wonderful, despite what might have been going on behind the cameras.
the Three Who Rule are excellent villains, very sinister, especially Aukon. The only disappointment is the Great Vampire - we only see a claw!
Other than that, State Of Decay is excellent. One question: what is The Wasting??
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Graceful Leonard on January 3rd, 2012, 12:10 am

Toothy / anyone

I wonder whether part of the problem at this point in the show was that it was still supposedly a children's programme, yet it was becoming quite sombre, slower-paced, and complex at times . . . certainly compared to Tom's earlier outings. I like the more grown up aspects, but I wonder whether it was falling between the cracks of not being kids' TV, but still having that tag, at least as far as the BBC were concerned.

What do you think?
"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened."
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby Toothy Grin on January 4th, 2012, 6:31 pm

It's true that from 1980/81 onwards Dr Who's stories did tend to get more complex but the show was attracting more adult viewers and had become something of a cult series that began to rely more on it's own mythology for stories. As a child myself, it wasn't the plots as such that I took notice of, just the action, the monsters and the overall style of the show - the scripts were there for the older viewers.
The next story on my Tom-a-Thon, Warriors Gate, is perhaps the perfect example of how the series had changed and matured. A very complex, imaginative and thought provoking script with superb imagery and a very surreal feel. It's a very atypical story, which is why a lot of fans don't like it. Personally, I find it's a story I have to be in the mood for - sometimes it bores me, I find it pretentious and confusing, othertimes I think, "hey, this is brilliant!" This viewing finds me ina less critical mood, although I still wouldn't rate it amongst my favourites, or even as one of the better stories of the season. The white background tends to make things look a little cheap, however the gateway sets are magnificent and generate a really spooky atmosphere. The visual effects are extremely good, from the mirrors that people walk through, to the coin frozen in mid air, characters running through the void leaving echoes of themselves, the close up of the spinning TARDIS in Biroc's eye and the effect of the ray gun bouncing off the mirror - the effects here really are inspired and light years ahead of what we were getting just a year earlier.
The whole story has a very odd atmosphere, the grim, doomladen tone clashes with some of the comedic moments, and Tom seems rather detached from precedings, as though he's thinking of being elsewhere (knowing he was leaving soon, this was probably the case). I find Romana's leaving scene very disappointing, as it's so sudden and rushed, and I would have thought she deserved something more memorable. We also say goodbye to K9 - sad but it really was the right time to get rid of him.
So Tom is now left with just Adric - don't worry Tom, you can foist him off onto Peter Davison soon!
Warriors Gate is possibly the only story I can never make my mind up about. It's unique and I suppose that can only be a positive thing.
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Re: Ever done a Tom-a-thon?

Postby tch on January 4th, 2012, 7:02 pm

I always thought the Tom/Adric combo was interesting. Shame we didn't get a couple more stories of them together.
I think alot of what hurt Adric, as a character, is that he shows up and then gets pushed aside because we are heading into the trilogy of stories that lead into the regeneration.

By the time that's taken care of, we are getting to know a brand new Doctor, a brand new Master and have added two girls to the crew and the writers seemed to have trouble dealing with a crowded Tardis.

I wonder how much of Adric's 'bad reputation' with fans is due to bad the timing of when he joined.
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