Saturday, February 26, 2011

Clear and Present Damon: Doctor Who-a Celebration:Part 3- the 80's

Above; The Sixth Doctor and Per in "Revelation Of the Daleks"
At the start of the decade, Tom Baker was still the Doctor. But he was not the same Doctor as he was when he first regenerated. Bakers storylines grew increasingly darker and more melancholy, as the series was taken over by producer John Nathan-Turner who would govern the series throughout the 80's. After parting ways with Time Lady and companion Romana, The Fourth Doctor was joined by Adric, a genius mathematician, and an arguably unlikable companion. Baker was aging in the role, and in 1981 left the series. The Fourth Doctor gave his life to save a planet from the newly regenerated, (well actually he stole the body), Master played by Anthony Ainley. In a regeneration aided by the ghostlike Watcher, the Doctor became a younger man, the Fifth Doctor.

With a younger more polished look, a Cricket outfit, and a lucky stick of celery, The Fifth Doctor, played by Peter Davison was joined by Adric and two other companions he had met before his regeneration. The princess from the planet Traken, Nyssa, and Australian air stewardess Tegan Jovanka. In the episode "Earthshock", the Doctor and his friends come face to face with old enemies the Cybermen. In order to stop them, Adric stays behind to pilot the Cybermens ship into a prehistoric earth, wiping out the dinosaurs and killing him in the process. It was the first time that a companion was ever killed off on the show and it was a controversial descision despite Adric ranked low on many lists of favorite companions.

The Fifth Doctor traveled with Nyssa and Tegan and met his old friend Brigadier Lethbridge- Stewart in "Mawdryn Undead". In the same storyline he was also joined by another male companion Vislor Turlough. Towards the end of Peter Davisons run as the Doctor, his core companions had all left and he was joined in his final two storylines with American student Peripugillium Brown (or Peri for short). The Fifth Doctors final story "The Caves of Androzani" is arguably the best episode ever boasting its best regeneration scene as the Fifth Doctor gave his life to save Peri from being poisoned by giving her the cure and sacrificing himself who had been poisoned as well.

The Sixth Doctor could not have been more polar opposites with his previous incarnations. The producers wanted to introduce a Doctor that would not be immediatley likable and it shows. Colin Bakers Doctor can be big headed, annoying, and showed a relative distaste for Peri in his debut season. He also wore a blinding multicolored coat. His premeire episode "The Twin Dillemma" is considered the worst episode in the shows history, with the newly regenerated Doctor fighting Giant Slugs. The series was nearly canceled after C. Bakers first season, but came back after a long hiatus with the 14 part series "Trial of a Time Lord".

The Doctor is put on Trial back on Gallifrey for interferance in outside worlds and genocide. The trial is overseen by the mysterious Valeyard, and Peri is seemingly killed in the process. At the end, it takes the Doctors arch-nemesis the Master to prove the Doctors innocence. The Valeyard is actually a dark side of the Doctor, somewhere between his 12th and final inacrnations. The Doctor is cleared of all charges and Peri is not dead after all, but married Warrior king Ycranos instead. The Sixth Doctor continues traveling with red haired companion Mel Bush.

Colin Baker was let go from the role and opted not to shoot a regeneration scene. This meant Sylvesyer McCoy, his successor would have to wear his costume and a blonde curly wig to shoot his regeneration for him. McCoy's first story "Time and the Rani" is a disapointment, and his whole first season has him rolling his R's and making metaphors ("Tide and time melt the snowman"). His companion Mel is also a bad match for McCoys Doctor, and she leaves the show by his first seasons end. McCoy's next companion, Ace, is more of a match for his Doctor and the show took a darker turn in the next two seasons.

The Seventh Doctor and Ace had some was one of the best partnerships of a companion and Doctor perhaps sinsce the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry Sullivan. McCoys stories took a darker attitude as the question of who the Doctor was became more prevelant. These darker storylines made up for McCoy's campy first season. Unfortunately ratings were dismal as ever. The show was put up against popular soap opera's and McCoy's final season was one of the lowest viewing figure's in years. "Battlefield" where MCoy's Doctor met the Brigadier again is still the lowest watched Doctor Who story ever. BBC one decided to cancel the show in 1989. After the Seventh Doctor and Ace defeated their enemy the Master in the shows final episode "Survival", a final line of dialouge was added that wrapped up the calssice series.

"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke nad citie's made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere theres injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on Ace, we've got work to do." -The Seventh Doctor

And with that, the original run of Doctor Who was over. It would be a while before we ever saw him again.

In Memory of Nicholas Courtney, the actor best known for playing Brigadier Aleister Gordon Lethbridge Stewart. 1929-2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

That Religious Guy: Smokey Francisco (SF)

..... Last weekend, my friends and I took a trip up to San Francisco to celebrate Claire and Sarinna’s birthdays. Apparently, Sarinna, who was born and raised in California, had never been to SF, preposterous right? It’s like if an Englishman says he’s never been to London, which oddly enough, was the comparison which was given to me by an actual British person. But I digress as usual.
..... So we were basically tourists from the Central Valley exhibiting typical out-of-towner behaviors. We’d walk a couple of steps and take a picture. Oh a building! Take a picture. Oh a bicyclist!! Take a picture. Oh our reflection in a store window! Take a picture!!! It was a day of constant walking as well; we made our way to such staples as Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 3, Musee Mecanique (Gosh I know I don’t have the accent aigus… It’s just a pain to place them!), and Blondie’s Pizza (which should be called Blondie’s Greasy Pizza…).
..... Throughout our journey, however, we were practically engulfed in second hand smoke! For all the relative advancements of San Francisco, that’s one attribute that makes me proud of living in the Port City. I mean I found myself actually saying, “Geeze, I could go for some Stockton air right now.” I made a point to cough hysterically whenever we passed by individuals with death sticks in hand. After all, they can huff and puff all they want, but they don’t have a right to blow MY lungs away.
..... One of the weirdest things I saw in Smokey Francisco (See what I did there? haha), besides the freaky laughing lady game in the Musee Mecanique, was a strange incident illustrating the relative casualness of smoking in the big city: an old man was busily puffing away at a street corner when all of a sudden, a random lady walks up to him and grabs his lighter, lights her cigarette, and walks away. The man didn’t even bat an eyelash. 
..... When I was being my regular Jeremy self and complaining to the gang about all the smoke, I caught the attention of two SF women, who promptly rolled their eyes at me. Hmm, I guess smoking is such a sacred institution over there that any jeering can get you branded as a health heretic.
..... Stockton may be the Most Miserable City in the U.S. according to Forbesmagazine, but at least a breath of our air won’t kill you. Just stay away from Wilson Way though (That’s some local humor for you!). The moral of the story? Wear a gas mask when you go to SF. And make sure to see the silver lining in wherever you live, even if it’s Stockton, CA.
- Jeremy Dela Cruz

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Clear and Present Damon: Doctor Who: A Celebration- Part 2- the 70's

Above, the Fourth Doctor and Davros in "Genesis of the Daleks"

As "Doctor Who" began televising in color starting in 1970, it also had a brand new cast of characters with actor Jon Pertwee at the helm as the Doctor. As a part of the storyline from Patrick Troughtons final story the Doctor had been exiled to earth by his own people, the Time Lords. While being exiled on Earth, he served for the secret government organiztion U.N.I.T as scientific advisor. The Doctor had previously encountered U.N.I.T's leader Brigadier Aleister Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, while in his previous incarnation. By the end of Pertwee's first season, his exile was removed and the Doctor was free to take the TARDIS outside of earth again. However, Pertwee's incarnation of the Doctor would still remain close with U.N.I.T.

The Third Doctor continued to travel with such youthful companions as Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith. His Doctor would also be portrayed as a Doctor not afraid to fight for what is right as well as using his brains to get out of a situation. It was also during Pertwee's era that the Doctors arch-nemesis The Master first made his appearance on the show. Portrayed by actor Roger Delgado, The Master is a evil Time Lord and the Doctors counterpart. Delgado remains one of the most populat actors to play the role of the Master, which he did until his tragic death in a car accident in 1973.

1973 was also the year that Jon Pertwee left the series. He would be followed by Tom Baker, perhaps the most popular and well known Doctor of the series original run. Unlike Pertwee's stories, Baker's Doctor did not continually stay on earth and work for U.N.I.T. With companion Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan, a real medical doctor, the Fourth incarnation was more of an explorer of the universe wearing a long scarf that would make his character one of the most recognizable Doctors. Baker's era also saw less of popular monsters from the shows past. Baker had only two Dalek stories and one Cybermen episode. In "Genesis of the Daleks", perhaps the best Fourth Doctor story, we are introduced to Davros, (see in picture above) the evil genius who created the Daleks. Davros would go on to become another recurring villian the Doctor would face in many Dalek storylines.
After parting ways with Sarah and Harry, The Doctor returned to his home planet of Gallifrey in the story "The Deadly Assassin". When the Doctor is framed for the assassination of the Time Lord president, he seeks to find the truth. This leads him to his old enemy the Master, played by Peter Pratt, taking over for the deceased Delgado. This Master is seen as a skeletal dying figure that has used up all of his lives (please note: a Time Lord can only regenerate 13 times before dying for good). The Doctor manages to foil his plot, and continues on his travels.

In the later years of the decade, the Fourth Doctor traveled with the robotic dog K-9, and fellow Time Lord, (or should I say Time Lady) Romana. Romana would be the only other person from the Doctors home planet of Gallifrey to travel with him. The first being Susan Foreman, his grandaughter fom the shows first years.

Tom Baker would play the Doctor as a new decade arrived. But the waters would not stay calm for "Doctor Who". For the 80's would prove to be the most turbulent decade in the shows long history.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Clear and Present Damon: Doctor Who: a Celebration:Part 1 ; the 1960's

Who would have thought that a low budget show about a 900 year old alien would last so long and touch the lives of so many Sci-fi fans across the globe.

For 47 years now, "Doctor Who" is the longest running Sci-fi show in history. Portayed by eleven actors, all British, The Doctor is a 900 year old alien from the planet Galifrey. The Doctor ran away from his planet, in his time travelling TARDIS, which stands for time and relative dimensions in space. First landing in England of the 1960's, the TARDIS disguised itself as a police box and it has remained one ever since. The Doctor is likely to take with him companions that he shares his adventures through time and space. Because of it's long history, this fast history lesson on the show will be split into volumes according to decades. This examines the first decade. The black-and-white filmed years in the 1960's.

The Classic series lasted from 1963 to 1989 and the lead role was played by seven actors. William Hartnell played an elder grandfatherly Doctor for the first four years of the shows history. In fact in the storyline, the Doctor was a grandfather. His granddaughter Susan tried to blend in as a regular teenager. Unfortunatley this failed and curious teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright stumbled upon the TARDIS while following Susan home from school. The Doctor was portrayed with a grumpy attitude in the first season and at first did not like having the two teachers travelling with him, but he eventually grew to be very fond of them. In the first black an white adventures the Doctor encountered many popular monsters and villains, including his greatest enemies, The Daleks from the palnet Skaro. It was fighting the Daleks when at the end of the serial "The Dalek invasion of earth" that the Doctor parted ways with Susan. Several episodes later Ian and Barbara also left, leaving Hartnell as the only cast member from the original first season.
After travelling with various companions, it was in 1966 because of ill health Hartnell decided to leave the show. The writers found an original idea. That the lead character, being a time lord, could regenerate into a new body if mortally wounded. In the debut story of the Cybermen called "The Tenth Planet", the regeneration was put to the test as the First Doctor regenerated into the Second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton.

Troughtons Doctor was more of a "Cosmic Hobo" called that because of his tattered costume. Troughton played the Doctor for three years until he too left the show in 1969. His regeneration involved him meeting with his own people the Time Lords as they exiled him to Earth and forbade him from travelling at the end of the ten part serial "The War Games". The Troughton era would be the last era of the sjow to shot in black-and-white film. "Doctor Who" would switch to color film as it's most populer decade approached.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fanatical Faith: Behind the scenes[=

Usually I like to keep my stories a secret until they're fully processed. In fact, it's usually hard for me to explain what my story is about until it's finished. However, this time, I feel like my story is coming together quickly so I'm going to share my process with you.

I'm writing 2 stories for the Stagg Line's next issue. First, I'm going to write for our front page. I'll be doing a mini story on the student reaction to the Radical Reality assembly along with how some freshman coped with going to the heart wrenching assembly AND Point Break.

The 2nd story I will be doing is an opinion story on the argument for gender seperation at two of our local elementary schools. So let me tell you how each of these is going:

For my news story, I started by talking to lots of freshman, and I still have quite a few to go. So far, I've been hearing that it was sad, and that a few people actually left with a lot to think about. I was glad to hear that it was inspirational.

I know it was for me, at least. I walked out of the gym almost in tears and wanting to turn my life around, even though I really had nothing to change. I'd never let myself get involved in the world of drugs and alcohol. Yes, the speakers were really that powerful.

Anyway. I plan on going to talk to some sports fans and getting their reactions. So, if you're into sports (especially you Dallas Braden fans) , you should let me know. I'm interested to hear what you guys have to say.

Let's not forget about my other story, though. Ugggh! Gender seperation in schools... Can the district get any more ridiculous? How do they expect students to be okay with this? Scratch that... How can they expect parents to be okay with this?

The district wants to make Nightingale elementary an all-boy's school and make Monroe elementary an all-girls school. This is to improve test scores. Do you think it would improve anything at all?

I think that they should definitely do something about the low test scores, but i don't think seperating males and females would help at all. In fact, it would probably be more of a distraction because it'd be so wierd.

Well, I don't want to give away my stories, so I'm going to shut up before I do. Don't forget to read the next issue of the Stagg Line Newspaper! It'll be out on March 04 2011. Read all about it[=