strange_complex: (Eight morning)
Bit of a random one, this - it's an Eighth Doctor audio which I spotted being broadcast on BBC7 a couple of weeks ago, and made the effort to listen to since it clearly involved a hefty element of Classical receptions.

The story is not actually set in the Classical past. Rather, it is an example of what [livejournal.com profile] swisstone dubs 'appropriation' - that is, a story about a fictional society which has consciously modelled itself on a real past culture.

Spoilery plot summary )

It's a short and fairly simple story, whose basic plot elements are recognisable from multiple other SF stories (Doctor Who and otherwise). Arguably, the Classical aspect isn't doing anything very much more here than it is in Underworld or The Horns of Nimon - that is, lending a veneer of intrigue and sophistication to what would otherwise be a fairly unremarkable story. But I think it would unfair to go quite that far.

For one thing, the use of a Greek setting serves the useful purpose of helping the audience to grasp the relationship between the original colonists and their clones. The plot requires a) that the difference between the original colonists and their clones (or descendants) is clear and b) that we understand that the original colonists have succeeded in establishing control over everyone else on the planet by means of cynical deception. The Greek mythological setting achieves both of these things - casting the original colonists as gods does make their elevated status clear, and offer a plausible explanation for why nobody is questioning or challenging them.

The specific choice of ancient Greek culture to help convey all this makes sense, since it serves dual purpose as a society which did accord great reverence to a multiplicity of gods, but is also associated with great scientific thinking, so that it doesn't seem too weird to find mind-transfer technology incorporated into it. It also adds a valuable extra layer to the relationship between 'Zeus' and 'Hera', the most powerful of the original colonists. They are amusingly snippy with one another, and Zeus has a keen eye for the pretty girls. But for all that, they have been together for centuries, through a succession of cloned bodies. I felt that the Classical veneer really helped to flesh out that idea out by reference to the similar relationship between their mythological namesakes.

So, as an example of Classical receptions it worked for me. Along the way, it constituted my first introduction to Lucie Miller, whom I hadn't met before. She seemed quite good fun - a modern, no-nonsense woman rather along the lines of Donna Noble, who is very ready to question and challenge what other people are doing. Paul McGann seems as good as ever as the Eighth Doctor - and I've used the opportunity to make a new icon in his honour. I look forward to another opportunity to use it once I get my hands on his upcoming story, An Earthly Child - especially having seen The Dalek Invasion of Earth so recently.

Click here to view this entry with minimal formatting.

strange_complex: (Room with a View kiss)
I finally finished painting the back bedroom just in time for [livejournal.com profile] redkitty23 and Vincent's visit last weekend, and I must say it looks very splendid now. It is the only room in the house that's actually in a colour-scheme I have chosen, although I will gradually be moving more of them in the same direction as time goes on. The previous owners were clearly a lot keener on blues and greens than I am, whereas I think that creams, biscuits and mushrooms are more the way to go for a house like this (a view forged mainly via extensive watching of Poirot and Jeeves and Wooster). So that is what I have done, and I find it much more warm and inviting now.

Anyway, while finishing the job, I notched up one more Eighth Doctor audio. I'd heard the last two episodes of this one previously on Radio 7 and been impressed, so it was nice to come back and fill in the rest.

Eighth Doctor: The Stones of Venice )

strange_complex: (Tom Baker)
I've been doing some more painting: this time, the gloss in the back bedroom. It seems to take forever - at least if you don't want to splurge unwanted gloss all over the walls that you have only just finished painting the week before. So I have been working my way through the pick of the last week's worth of Radio 4 comedies, and also the following Who audios:

Radio Play: Regenerations (2001) )

Fourth Doctor: Genesis of the Daleks (1979) )

Fourth Doctor: Exploration Earth: The Time Machine (1976) )

Fourth Doctor: Doctor Who and the Pescatons (1976) )

strange_complex: (F&L Geek pride)
I am nearing the end of the latest chapter of my (stupid) teaching portfolio, which is Good News. Soon, I shall be on to the final phase of putting the whole thing together and submitting it, and then you will not need to hear me complaining about it any more. Don't let your guard down just yet, though, as I'm sure that final phase will warrant griping of its own.

Anyway, I'd done enough by the end of Friday to head off with a clear conscience and the knowledge that I would not need to think about it again until Monday, and catch the train to charming Hebden Bridge; there to meet [livejournal.com profile] snapesbabe, [livejournal.com profile] matgb, [livejournal.com profile] burlesque_bunny and her fella, and attend a performance of Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf )

Saturday then saw me spending a tiring, but very satisfying, day painting the back bedroom in my house. And I took it as an opportunity for further Whovianism, in the form of some Eight audios. Something like painting, of course, presents the ideal opportunity to listen to stories like that, because the painting itself doesn't make any noise at all (unlike vacuuming, for instance), but it does successfully occupy those parts of your brain and body that might get bored just sitting still listening to a story, while leaving those parts that would definitely get bored just painting to enter entirely into the world of the drama.

Eighth Doctor audio: Storm Warning )

Eighth Doctor audio: Sword of Orion )

strange_complex: (TARDIS)
BBC webcast version here; info about the original interrupted production here; Wikipedia page here.

This doesn't fit under my 'books read 2007' tag or my 'films watched 2007' tag, but I'm going to blog it anyway so that I can remember what I thought of it. The CD was a much-appreciated birthday present from [livejournal.com profile] hollyione, and I listened to it on the canal on my mp3 player.

As far as I remember, this is my first experience with a Doctor Who audio CD, though I've seen a couple of web-casts before. It's therefore also my first experience of Paul McGann's Doctor other than the movie, and you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't hate him in the movie, actually - it was rather things like Eric Roberts' ridiculous Master that grated there. But it wasn't really enough to judge his performance on properly. Here, in the context of an audio drama, he gets a decent, regular Doctor Who script to work with - and he does it very well. He reminded me of a sort of cross between Five and Six, with Five's youthful derring-do and Six's slight smugness. Which doesn't sound entirely complimentary, actually, but I do mean it to be. What I'm trying to say is that he sounded like a proper Doctor, and I think I 'get' the people who are avid fans of his Eight now.

Of course the prime attraction of this particular story for me was the fact that it was written by Douglas Adams. Obviously, anyone who's read Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency will recognise the character of Professor Chronotis, and there are a few other characteristically Adamsish elements, like conversations with over-logical ship's computers and someone being presented with a cup of liquid which is 'almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea' from a vending machine.

On the whole, though, someone looking for more in the vein of Hitch-Hikers or Gently will be disappointed - Adams clearly wasn't trying to produce anything particularly innovative here, but merely to earn a living by writing a fit-for-purpose script. The best character, Chronotis, he quite rightly took and reused elsewhere, and indeed did better things with him in the process. As for the rest, it's a fairly standard Who script, with a kidnapped assistant (sorry, Romana - even though you're a Timelord, your sex apparently still condemns you to be feak and weeble), a megalomaniacal villain, some thuggish minions, a psychic battle and some cute shenanigans from K-9.

That said, it's pretty good Who, and I very much enjoyed curling up with it in my berth in the evenings. I'm certainly open to more audio plays, more of the Eighth Doctor, and more of Adams' Who scripts as a result.

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