Robin Williams, RIP

I’ve been kind of stunned since learning of the death of Robin Williams. I’m older now, and have seen real people I know pass from my life. So, I’m not quite as shocked and upset as, say, the night John Lennon died and my 18-year-old self was crushed. However, not many human beings have dug such deep grooves into my brain. Every time I turn a corner in my mind over the last couple of days, there he is. Robin Williams took up so many roles that have had a lasting impression on me that I keep stumbling into one that I forgot about.

Sure, he was “Mork from Ork” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” and the genie from Aladdin. But then I remember he was Garp and, along with Glenn Close and John Lithgow, he brought to life the most quirky of books in the most quirky of fashions.

He was the Frog Prince on the first Faerie Tale Theater, Shelly Duvall’s lovely, quietly twisted series of children’s stories. That Eric Idle wrote, directed, and narrated the episode only added to its awesomenity.

He was Vladimir Ivanoff in Moscow On the Hudson. At a time when I was still having nuclear nightmares, he reminded us that Russians were human, too. It’s hard to fathom these days (though Putin isn’t helping), but that wasn’t always easy in Reagan’s ‘murrica. Yet, I will always remember the 4th of July scene in the diner where immigrants of varying stripes recite the Declaration of Independence.

Then came Comic Relief and his legendary riffing with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg, and as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam, he improvised his way into an Oscar nomination. He got another one as John Keating in Dead Poet’s Society.

He was the King of the Moon. He was John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

As the severely damaged Parry in The Fisher King (one of my favorite Terry Gilliam movies, if one can play favorites with such things), his fear of the Red Knight, and what that turned out to be, is still one of the most affecting plot twists I’ve ever seen.

He was Peter Pan and a demented anti-war toy maker. He was a weird hermit stuck in a board game. Then another left turn and he was breaking down barriers to understanding “others” all over again in The Birdcage.

I turn another corner, and there he is in Good Will Hunting. Then, he’s back to making kids laugh as Teddy Roosevelt.

But I think I liked him best when he was just let loose in things like Whose Line is it Anyway? and on interview shows like Inside the Actor’s Studio.

Here are two of my favorite lunatics just making me laugh (that there’s a TARDIS with a haggis inside is just bonus).

Posted in Life, the Universe and Everything | 3 Comments

Today’s story is brought to you by the letter “D” for “Doctor Who” and “dork”

Unlike the previous entries in the Tales of Woe series, this one isn’t so much woe to me as woe to thee, dear reader, because this is the day that I subject you to more Doctor Who-age!

Back in January, I posted my Doctor Who Series Highlights, which is a document I created to list all of the “important” Doctor Who episodes based on a spreadsheet that I maintain which ranks the episodes based on a weighted average of ratings from various sources. Well, today, someone on Facebook made the mistake of asking if he should begin his own Whovian journey by starting with the very first episode, “An Unearthly Child.” To which, I not only posted a definite “no” in the comments (giving him the fairly standard response of “watch the new series first”), but also vowed to lay bare all my fanboy geekery in one fell swoop. I promised (to myself more than anyone else) to post the entire list of episodes in ranked order from my spreadsheet.

Naturally, I couldn’t just take the existing spreadsheet and slap it up on the internets. No! I had to make sure it was updated. So, here it is, the 4th of July, and I have spent the last three hours plugging numbers into little boxes and updating all the rankings and the highlights document.

You’re welcome.

The original spreadsheet can be found HERE.

Episode Grade Doctor Airdate Writer Director
Blink A 10 (Tennant) Jun 9, 2007 Steven Moffat Hettie MacDonald
The Day of the Doctor A 11 (Smith) Nov 23, 2013 Steven Moffat Nick Hurran
The Girl in the Fireplace A 10 (Tennant) May 6, 2006 Steven Moffat Euros Lyn
Forest of the Dead A 10 (Tennant) Jun 7, 2008 Steven Moffat Euros Lyn
The Empty Child A 9 (Eccleston) May 21, 2005 Steven Moffat James Hawes
Silence in the Library A 10 (Tennant) May 31, 2008 Steven Moffat Euros Lyn
The Doctor Dances A 9 (Eccleston) May 28, 2005 Steven Moffat James Hawes
The Family of Blood A 10 (Tennant) Jun 2, 2007 Paul Cornell Charles Palmer
Genesis of the Daleks A 4 (T. Baker) Mar 8, 1975 Terry Nation David Maloney
Talons of Weng-Chiang A 4 (T. Baker) Feb 26, 1977 Robert Holmes & Robert Banks Stewart David Maloney
The Name of the Doctor A 11 (Smith) May 18, 2013 Steven Moffat Saul Metzstein
The Caves of Androzani A 5 (Davison) Mar 8, 1984 Robert Holmes Graeme Harper
Human Nature A 10 (Tennant) May 26, 2007 Paul Cornell Charles Palmer
City of Death A 4 (T. Baker) Sep 29, 1979 Douglas Adams, Graham Williams & David Fisher Michael Hayes
The Eleventh Hour A 11 (Smith) Apr 3, 2010 Steven Moffat Adam Smith
The Pandorica Opens A 11 (Smith) Jun 19, 2010 Steven Moffat Toby Haynes
The Doctor’s Wife A 11 (Smith) May 14, 2011 Neil Gaiman Richard Clark
The Parting of the Ways A 9 (Eccleston) Jun 18, 2005 Russell T. Davies Joe Ahearne
Doomsday A 10 (Tennant) Jul 8, 2006 Russell T. Davies Graeme Harper
The Impossible Astronaut A 11 (Smith) Apr 23, 2011 Steven Moffat Toby Haynes
The Big Bang A 11 (Smith) Jun 26, 2010 Steven Moffat Toby Haynes
Dalek A 9 (Eccleston) Apr 30, 2005 Robert Shearman Joe Ahearne
A Good Man Goes to War A 11 (Smith) Jun 4, 2011 Steven Moffat Peter Hoar
Pyramids of Mars A 4 (T. Baker) Oct 25, 1975 Robert Holmes & Lewis Greifer Paddy Russell
The Time of Angels A 11 (Smith) Apr 24, 2010 Steven Moffat Adam Smith
Vincent & The Doctor A 11 (Smith) Jun 5, 2010 Richard Curtis Johnny Campbell
The Impossible Planet A 10 (Tennant) Jun 3, 2006 Matt Jones James Strong
The Satan Pit A 10 (Tennant) Jun 10, 2006 Matt Jones James Strong
Day of the Moon A 11 (Smith) Apr 30, 2011 Steven Moffat Toby Haynes
Inferno A 3 (Pertwee) May 9, 1970 Don Houghton Douglas Camfield & Barry Letts
Utopia A 10 (Tennant) Jun 16, 2007 Russell T. Davies Graeme Harper
The Seeds of Doom A 4 (T. Baker) Jan 31, 1976 Robert Banks Stewart Douglas Camfield
Turn Left A 10 (Tennant) Jun 21, 2008 Russell T. Davies Graeme Harper
The Stolen Earth A 10 (Tennant) Jun 28, 2008 Russell T. Davies Graeme Harper
The Robots of Death A 4 (T. Baker) Jan 29, 1977 Chris Boucher Michael E. Briant
Asylum of the Daleks A 11 (Smith) Sep 1, 2012 Steven Moffat Nick Hurran
Midnight A 10 (Tennant) Jun 14, 2008 Russell T. Davies Alice Troughton
Bad Wolf A 9 (Eccleston) Jun 11, 2005 Russell T. Davies Joe Ahearne
The Deadly Assassin A 4 (T. Baker) Oct 30, 1976 Robert Holmes David Maloney
The Angels Take Manhattan A 11 (Smith) Sep 29, 2012 Steven Moffat Nick Hurran
The Waters of Mars A 10 (Tennant) Nov 15, 2009 Russell T. Davies & Phil Ford Graeme Harper
The Girl Who Waited A 11 (Smith) Sep 10, 2011 Tom MacRae Nick Hurran
The War Games A 2 (Troughton) Apr 19, 1969 Malcolm Hulke & Terrance Dicks David Maloney
School Reunion A 10 (Tennant) Apr 29, 2006 Toby Whithouse James Hawes
The Sound of Drums A 10 (Tennant) Jun 23, 2007 Russell T. Davies Colin Teague
Remembrance of the Daleks A 7 (McCoy) Oct 5, 1988 Ben Aaronovitch Andrew Morgan
Flesh and Stone A 11 (Smith) May 1, 2010 Steven Moffat Adam Smith
Journey’s End A 10 (Tennant) Jul 5, 2008 Russell T. Davies Graeme Harper
The Web of Fear A 2 (Troughton) Feb 3, 1968 Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln Douglas Camfield
Army of Ghosts B 10 (Tennant) Jul 1, 2006 Russell T. Davies Graeme Harper
Earthshock B 5 (Davison) Mar 8, 1982 Eric Saward Peter Grimwade
The Curse of Fenric B 7 (McCoy) Oct 25, 1989 Ian Briggs Nicholas Mallett
Horror of Fang Rock B 4 (T. Baker) Sep 3, 1977 Terrance Dicks Paddy Russell
The Tomb of the Cybermen B 2 (Troughton) Sep 2, 1967 Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis Morris Barry
The Daleks’ Master Plan B 1 (Hartnell) Nov 13, 1965 Terry Nation & Dennis Spooner Douglas Camfield
Terror of the Zygons B 4 (T. Baker) Aug 30, 1975 Robert Banks Stewart Douglas Camfield
The Wedding of River Song B 11 (Smith) Oct 1, 2011 Steven Moffat Jeremy Webb
The Ark in Space B 4 (T. Baker) Jan 25, 1975 Robert Holmes & John Lucarotti Rodney Bennett
Father’s Day B 9 (Eccleston) May 14, 2005 Paul Cornell Joe Ahearne
Logopolis B 4 (T. Baker) Feb 28, 1981 Christopher H. Bidmead Peter Grimwade
The Evil of the Daleks B 2 (Troughton) May 20, 1967 David Whitaker Derek Martinus
The Snowmen B 11 (Smith) Dec 25, 2012 Steven Moffat Saul Metzstein
Spearhead from Space B 3 (Pertwee) Jan 3, 1970 Robert Holmes Derek Martinus
The Daemons B 3 (Pertwee) May 22, 1971 Robert Sloman & Barry Letts Christopher Barry
The End of Time II B 10 (Tennant) Jan 1, 2010 Russell T. Davies Euros Lyn
Fury from the Deep B 2 (Troughton) Mar 16, 1968 Victor Pemberton Hugh David
The Green Death B 3 (Pertwee) May 19, 1973 Robert Sloman & Barry Letts Michael E. Briant
Amy’s Choice B 11 (Smith) May 15, 2010 Simon Nye Catherine Morshead
The Invasion B 2 (Troughton) Nov 2, 1968 Derrick Sherwin & Kit Pedler Douglas Camfield
The Silurians B 3 (Pertwee) Jan 31, 1970 Malcolm Hulke Timothy Combe
A Christmas Carol B 11 (Smith) Dec 25, 2010 Steven Moffat Toby Haynes
The Christmas Invasion B 10 (Tennant) Dec 25, 2005 Russell T. Davies James Hawes
The Five Doctors B 5 (Davison) Nov 23, 1983 Terrance Dicks Peter Moffatt
The Fires of Pompeii B 10 (Tennant) Apr 12, 2008 James Moran & Russell T. Davies Colin Teague
Power of the Daleks B 2 (Troughton) Nov 5, 1966 David Whitaker & Dennis Spooner Christopher Barry
Tooth and Claw B 10 (Tennant) Apr 22, 2006 Russell T. Davies Euros Lyn
The God Complex B 11 (Smith) Sep 17, 2011 Toby Whithouse Nick Hurran
The Time Warrior B 3 (Pertwee) Dec 15, 1973 Robert Holmes Alan Bromly
The Lodger B 11 (Smith) Jun 12, 2010 Gareth Roberts Catherine Morshead
The Stones of Blood B 4 (T. Baker) Oct 28, 1978 David Fisher Darrol Blake
State of Decay B 4 (T. Baker) Nov 22, 1980 Terrance Dicks Peter Moffatt
The Bells of St. John B 11 (Smith) Mar 30, 2013 Steven Moffat Colm McCarthy
Carnival of Monsters B 3 (Pertwee) Jan 27, 1973 Robert Holmes Barry Letts
Enlightenment B 5 (Davison) Mar 1, 1983 Barbara Clegg Fiona Cumming
Ghost Light B 7 (McCoy) Oct 4, 1989 Marc Platt Alan Wareing
The Brain of Morbius B 4 (T. Baker) Jan 3, 1976 Terrance Dicks & Robert Holmes Christopher Barry
The Unquiet Dead B 9 (Eccleston) Apr 9, 2005 Mark Gatiss Euros Lyn
The Abominable Snowmen B 2 (Troughton) Sep 30, 1967 Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln Gerald Blake
Smith and Jones B 10 (Tennant) Mar 31, 2007 Russell T. Davies Charles Palmer
Warriors’ Gate B 4 (T. Baker) Jan 3, 1981 Stephen Gallagher Paul Joyce & Graeme Harper
The Keeper of Traken B 4 (T. Baker) Jan 31, 1981 Johnny Byrne John Black
Terror of the Autons B 3 (Pertwee) Jan 2, 1971 Robert Holmes Barry Letts
The Sea Devils B 3 (Pertwee) Feb 26, 1972 Malcolm Hulke Michael E. Briant
Last of the Time Lords B 10 (Tennant) Jun 30, 2007 Russell T. Davies Colin Teague
The Daleks B 1 (Hartnell) Dec 21, 1963 Terry Nation Richard Martin & Christopher Barry
The Mind Robber B 2 (Troughton) Sep 14, 1968 Peter Ling & Derrick Sherwin David Maloney
Gridlock B 10 (Tennant) Apr 14, 2007 Russell T. Davies Richard Clark
Let’s Kill Hitler B 11 (Smith) Aug 27, 2011 Steven Moffat Richard Senior
The Ambassadors of Death B 3 (Pertwee) Mar 21, 1970 David Whitaker, Trevor Ray & Malcolme Hulke Michael Ferguson
Revelation of the Daleks B 6 (C. Baker) Mar 23, 1985 Eric Saward Graeme Harper
The Mind of Evil B 3 (Pertwee) Jan 30, 1971 Don Houghton Timothy Combe
Planet of the Ood B 10 (Tennant) Apr 19, 2008 Keith Temple Graeme Harper
Masque of Mandragora B 4 (T. Baker) Sep 4, 1976 Louis Marks Rodney Bennett
The Pirate Planet B 4 (T. Baker) Sep 30, 1978 Douglas Adams Pennant Roberts
Day of the Daleks B 3 (Pertwee) Jan 1, 1972 Louis Marks Paul Bernard
The Dalek Invasion of Earth B 1 (Hartnell) Nov 21, 1964 Terry Nation Richard Martin
The Ice Warriors B 2 (Troughton) Nov 11, 1967 Brian Hayles Derek Martinus
Castrovalva B 5 (Davison) Jan 4, 1982 Christopher H. Bidmead Fiona Cumming
The Age of Steel B 10 (Tennant) May 20, 2006 Tom MacRae Graeme Harper
Mawdryn Undead B 5 (Davison) Feb 1, 1983 Peter Grimwade Peter Moffatt
Frontier in Space B 3 (Pertwee) Feb 24, 1973 Malcolm Hulke Paul Bernard
Kinda B 5 (Davison) Feb 1, 1982 Christopher Bailey Peter Grimwade
Survival B 7 (McCoy) Nov 22, 1989 Rona Munro Alan Wareing
The Face of Evil B 4 (T. Baker) Jan 1, 1977 Chris Boucher Pennant Roberts
The End of the World B 9 (Eccleston) Apr 2, 2005 Russell T. Davies Euros Lyn
Black Orchid B 5 (Davison) Mar 1, 1982 Terence Dudley Ron Jones
Image of the Fendahl B 4 (T. Baker) Oct 29, 1977 Chris Boucher George Spenton-Foster
Hide B 11 (Smith) Apr 20, 2013 Neil Cross Jamie Payne
The Hand of Fear B 4 (T. Baker) Oct 2, 1976 Bob Baker & Dave Martin Lennie Mayne
The Three Doctors B 3 (Pertwee) Dec 30, 1972 Bob Baker & Dave Martin Lennie Mayne
The Aztecs B 1 (Hartnell) May 23, 1964 John Lucarotti John Crockett
Curse of Peladon B 3 (Pertwee) Jan 29, 1972 Brian Hayles Lennie Mayne
Marco Polo B 1 (Hartnell) Feb 22, 1964 John Lucarotti Waris Hussein
Rise of the Cybermen B 10 (Tennant) May 13, 2006 Tom MacRae Graeme Harper
The Visitation B 5 (Davison) Feb 15, 1982 Eric Saward Peter Moffatt
Closing Time B 11 (Smith) Sep 24, 2011 Gareth Roberts Steve Hughes
The Tenth Planet B 1 (Hartnell) Oct 8, 1966 Gerry Davis Derek Martinus
The Ribos Operation B 4 (T. Baker) Sep 2, 1978 Robert Holmes George Spenton-Foster
The Shakespeare Code B 10 (Tennant) Apr 7, 2007 Gareth Roberts Charles Palmer
Resurrection of the Daleks B 5 (Davison) Feb 8, 1984 Eric Saward Matthew Robinson
Frontios B 5 (Davison) Jan 26, 1984 Christopher H. Bidmead Ron Jones
The Crimson Horror B 11 (Smith) May 4, 2013 Mark Gatiss Saul Metzstein
The End of Time I B 10 (Tennant) Dec 25, 2009 Russell T. Davies Euros Lyn
The Time Meddler B 1 (Hartnell) Jul 3, 1965 Dennis Spooner Douglas Camfield
Full Circle B 4 (T. Baker) Oct 25, 1980 Andrew Smith Peter Grimwade
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship B 11 (Smith) Sep 8, 2012 Chris Chibnall Saul Metzstein
The Two Doctors B 6 (C. Baker) Feb 16, 1985 Robert Holmes Peter Moffatt
The Enemy of the World B 2 (Troughton) Dec 23, 1967 David Whitaker Barry Letts
The Massacre B 1 (Hartnell) Feb 5, 1966 John Lucarotti & Donald Tosh Paddy Russell
The Power of Three B 11 (Smith) Sep 22, 2012 Chris Boucher Douglas Mackinnon
Planet of the Spiders B 3 (Pertwee) May 4, 1974 Robert Sloman & Barry Letts Barry Letts
The Beast Below B 11 (Smith) Apr 10, 2010 Steven Moffat Andrew Gunn
The Androids of Tara B 4 (T. Baker) Nov 25, 1978 David Fisher Michael Hayes
Snakedance B 5 (Davison) Jan 18, 1983 Christopher Bailey Fiona Cumming
Nightmare in Silver B 11 (Smith) May 11, 2013 Neil Gaiman Stephen Woolfenden
The Greatest Show in the Galaxy B 7 (McCoy) Dec 14, 1988 Stephen Wyatt Alan Wareing
The Unicorn and the Wasp B 10 (Tennant) May 17, 2008 Gareth Roberts Graeme Harper
The Poison Sky B 10 (Tennant) May 3, 2008 Helen Raynor Douglas Mackinnon
Rose B 9 (Eccleston) Mar 26, 2005 Russell T. Davies Keith Boak
Planet of Evil B 4 (T. Baker) Sep 27, 1975 Louis Marks David Maloney
Vengeance on Varos B 6 (C. Baker) Jan 19, 1985 Philip Martin Ron Jones
The Sontaran Stratagem B 10 (Tennant) Apr 26, 2008 Helen Raynor Douglas Mackinnon
The Crusade B 1 (Hartnell) Mar 27, 1965 David Whitaker Douglas Camfield
The Seeds of Death B 2 (Troughton) Jan 25, 1969 Brian Hayles & Terrance Dicks Michael Ferguson
The Sun Makers B 4 (T. Baker) Nov 26, 1977 Robert Holmes Pennant Roberts
The Android Invasion B 4 (T. Baker) Nov 22, 1975 Terry Nation Barry Letts
The Sontaran Experiment B 4 (T. Baker) Feb 22, 1975 Bob Baker & Dave Martin Rodney Bennett
The Romans B 1 (Hartnell) Jan 16, 1965 Dennis Spooner Christopher Barry
Planet of Fire B 5 (Davison) Feb 23, 1984 Peter Grimwade Fiona Cumming
Partners in Crime B 10 (Tennant) Apr 5, 2008 Russell T. Davies James Strong
The Faceless Ones B 2 (Troughton) Apr 8, 1967 David Ellis & Malcolm Hulke Gerry Mill
A Town Called Mercy B 11 (Smith) Sep 15, 2012 Toby Whithouse Saul Metzstein
The Myth Makers C 1 (Hartnell) Oct 16, 1965 Donald Cotton Michael Leeston-Smith
Cold War C 11 (Smith) Apr 13, 2013 Mark Gatiss Douglas Mackinnon
The Almost People C 11 (Smith) May 28, 2011 Matthew Graham Julian Simpson
Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS C 11 (Smith) Apr 27, 2013 Stephen Thompson Mat King
Invasion of the Dinosaurs C 3 (Pertwee) Jan 12, 1974 Malcolm Hulke Paddy Russell
The Invasion of Time C 4 (T. Baker) Feb 4, 1978 Graham Williams & Anthony Read Gerald Blake
Planet of the Daleks C 3 (Pertwee) Apr 7, 1973 Terry Nation David Maloney
Destiny of the Daleks C 4 (T. Baker) Sep 1, 1979 Terry Nation Ken Grieve
The Doctor’s Daughter C 10 (Tennant) May 10, 2008 Stephen Greenhorn Alice Troughton
The Awakening C 5 (Davison) Jan 19, 1984 Eric Pringle Michael Owen Morris
New Earth C 10 (Tennant) Apr 15, 2006 Russell T. Davies James Hawes
Cold Blood C 11 (Smith) May 29, 2010 Chris Chibnall Ashley Way
Death to the Daleks C 3 (Pertwee) Feb 23, 1974 Terry Nation Michael E. Briant
The Celestial Toymaker C 1 (Hartnell) Apr 2, 1966 Brian Hayles & Donald Tosh Bill Sellars
The Time of the Doctor C 11 (Smith) Dec 25, 2013 Steven Moffat Jamie Payne
The Runaway Bride C 10 (Tennant) Dec 25, 2006 Russell T. Davies Euros Lyn
Voyage of the Damned C 10 (Tennant) Dec 25, 2007 Russell T. Davies James Strong
The Rebel Flesh C 11 (Smith) May 21, 2011 Matthew Graham Julian Simpson
Attack of the Cybermen C 6 (C. Baker) Jan 5, 1985 Paula Moore Matthew Robinson
Robot C 4 (T. Baker) Dec 28, 1974 Terrance Dicks Christopher Barry
Claws of Axos C 3 (Pertwee) Mar 13, 1971 Dave Martin Michael Ferguson
An Unearthly Child/10,000 BC C 1 (Hartnell) Nov 23, 1963 Anthony Coburn Waris Hussein
The Wheel in Space C 2 (Troughton) Apr 27, 1968 David Whitaker & Kit Pedler Tristan de Vere Cole
Planet of the Dead C 10 (Tennant) Apr 11, 2009 Russell T. Davies & Gareth Roberts James Strong
The Next Doctor C 10 (Tennant) Dec 25, 2008 Russell T. Davies Andy Goddard
Battlefield C 7 (McCoy) Sep 6, 1989 Ben Aaronovitch Michael Kerrigan
Vampires of Venice C 11 (Smith) May 8, 2010 Toby Whithouse Johnny Campbell
The Doctor, the Widow & the Wardrobe C 11 (Smith) Dec 25, 2011 Steven Moffat Farren Blackburn
42 C 10 (Tennant) May 19, 2007 Chris Chibnall Graeme Harper
The Hungry Earth C 11 (Smith) May 22, 2010 Chris Chibnall Ashley Way
The Moonbase C 2 (Troughton) Feb 11, 1967 Kit Pedler Morris Barry
The Long Game C 9 (Eccleston) May 7, 2005 Russell T. Davies Brian Grant
The Leisure Hive C 4 (T. Baker) Aug 30, 1980 David Fisher Lovett Bickford
The War Machines C 1 (Hartnell) Jun 25, 1966 Ian Stuart Black & Kit Pedler Michael Ferguson
Boom Town C 9 (Eccleston) Jun 4, 2005 Russell T. Davies Joe Ahearne
The Reign of Terror C 1 (Hartnell) Aug 8, 1964 Dennis Spooner Henric Hirsch & John Gorrie
The Armageddon Factor C 4 (T. Baker) Jan 20, 1979 Bob Baker & Dave Martin Michael Hayes
The Mark of the Rani C 6 (C. Baker) Feb 2, 1985 Pip & Jane Baker Sarah Hellings
The Rescue C 1 (Hartnell) Jan 2, 1965 David Whitaker Christopher Barry
Colony in Space C 3 (Pertwee) Apr 10, 1971 Malcolm Hulke Michael E. Briant
Mission to the Unknown C 1 (Hartnell) Oct 9, 1965 Terry Nation Derek Martinus
Terminus C 5 (Davison) Feb 15, 1983 Stephen Gallagher Mary Ridge
The Macra Terror C 2 (Troughton) Mar 11, 1967 Ian Stuart Black John Howard Davies
Revenge of the Cybermen C 4 (T. Baker) Apr 19, 1975 Gerry Davis Michael E. Briant
Night Terrors C 11 (Smith) Sep 3, 2011 Mark Gatiss Richard Clark
Aliens of London C 9 (Eccleston) Apr 16, 2005 Russell T. Davies Keith Boak
The Ultimate Foe C 6 (C. Baker) Nov 29, 1986 Robert Holmes & Pip & Jane Baker Chris Clough
The Ark C 1 (Hartnell) Mar 5, 1966 Paul Erickson & Lesley Scott Michael Imison
World War Three C 9 (Eccleston) Apr 23, 2005 Russell T. Davies Keith Boak
The Mysterious Planet C 6 (C. Baker) Sep 6, 1986 Robert Holmes Nicholas Mallett
The Highlanders C 2 (Troughton) Dec 17, 1966 Elwyn Jones & Gerry Davis Hugh David
Arc of Infinity C 5 (Davison) Jan 3, 1983 Johnny Byrne Ron Jones
Terror of the Vervoids C 6 (C. Baker) Nov 1, 1986 Pip & Jane Baker Chris Clough
The Keys of Marinus C 1 (Hartnell) Apr 11, 1964 Terry Nation John Gorrie
The Rings of Akhaten C 11 (Smith) Apr 6, 2013 Neil Cross Farren Blackburn
Nightmare of Eden C 4 (T. Baker) Nov 24, 1979 Bob Baker Alan Bromly
Four to Doomsday C 5 (Davison) Jan 18, 1982 Terence Dudley John Black
The Idiot’s Lantern C 10 (Tennant) May 27, 2006 Mark Gatiss Euros Lyn
The Mutants C 3 (Pertwee) Apr 8, 1972 Bob Baker & Dave Martin Christopher Barry
The Edge of Destruction C 1 (Hartnell) Feb 8, 1964 David Whitaker Richard Martin & Frank Cox
The Krotons C 2 (Troughton) Dec 28, 1968 Robert Holmes David Maloney
The Chase C 1 (Hartnell) May 22, 1965 Terry Nation Richard Martin & Douglas Camfield
Daleks in Manhattan C 10 (Tennant) Apr 21, 2007 Helen Raynor James Strong
The King’s Demons C 5 (Davison) Mar 15, 1983 Terence Dudley Tony Virgo
The Invisible Enemy C 4 (T. Baker) Oct 1, 1977 Bob Baker & Dave Martin Derrick Goodwin
Mindwarp C 6 (C. Baker) Oct 4, 1986 Philip Martin Ron Jones
The Curse of the Black Spot C 11 (Smith) May 7, 2011 Stephen Thompson Jeremy Webb
The Smugglers C 1 (Hartnell) Sep 10, 1966 Brian Hayles Julia Smith
Galaxy 4 C 1 (Hartnell) Sep 11, 1965 William Emms Derek Martinus & Mervyn Pinfield
The Creature from the Pit C 4 (T. Baker) Oct 27, 1979 David Fisher Christopher Barry
The Happiness Patrol C 7 (McCoy) Nov 2, 1988 Graeme Curry Chris Clough
The Savages C 1 (Hartnell) May 28, 1966 Ian Stuart Black Christopher Barry
Victory of the Daleks C 11 (Smith) Apr 17, 2010 Mark Gatiss Andrew Gunn
The Time Monster C 3 (Pertwee) May 20, 1972 Robert Sloman & Barry Letts Paul Bernard
Meglos C 4 (T. Baker) Sep 27, 1980 John Flanagan & Andrew McCulloch Terence Dudley
The Lazarus Experiment C 10 (Tennant) May 5, 2007 Stephen Greenhorn Richard Clark
Dragonfire C 7 (McCoy) Nov 23, 1987 Ian Briggs Chris Clough
The Space Museum C 1 (Hartnell) Apr 24, 1965 Glyn Jones Mervyn Pinfield
Planet of Giants C 1 (Hartnell) Oct 31, 1964 Louis Marks Mervyn Pinfield & Doug Camfield
Evolution of the Daleks C 10 (Tennant) Apr 28, 2007 Helen Raynor James Strong
The Power of Kroll C 4 (T. Baker) Dec 23, 1978 Robert Holmes Norman Stewart
The Monster of Peladon C 3 (Pertwee) Mar 23, 1974 Brian Hayles Lennie Mayne
Warriors of the Deep C 5 (Davison) Jan 5, 1984 Johnny Byrne Pennant Roberts
The Gunfighters C 1 (Hartnell) Apr 30, 1966 Donald Cotton Rex Tucker
The Sensorites D 1 (Hartnell) Jun 20, 1964 Peter R. Newman Mervyn Pinfield & Frank Cox
Doctor Who: The Movie D 8 (McGann) May 12, 1996 Matthew Jacobs Geoffrey Sax
Silver Nemesis D 7 (McCoy) Nov 23, 1988 Kevin Clarke Chris Clough
The Horns of Nimon D 4 (T. Baker) Dec 22, 1979 Anthony Read Kenny McBain
Love & Monsters D 10 (Tennant) Jun 17, 2006 Russell T. Davies Dan Zeff
Time-Flight D 5 (Davison) Mar 22, 1982 Peter Grimwade Ron Jones
The Dominators D 2 (Troughton) Aug 10, 1968 Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln Morris Barry
The Space Pirates D 2 (Troughton) Mar 8, 1969 Robert Holmes Michael Hart
The Web Planet D 1 (Hartnell) Feb 13, 1965 Bill Strutton Richard Martin
Paradise Towers D 7 (McCoy) Oct 8, 1987 Stephen Wyatt Nicholas Mallett
Fear Her D 10 (Tennant) Jun 24, 2006 Matthew Graham Euros Lyn
Underworld D 4 (T. Baker) Jan 7, 1978 Bob Baker & Dave Martin Norman Stewart
Delta and the Bannermen D 7 (McCoy) Nov 2, 1987 Malcolm Kohll Chris Clough
The Underwater Menace D 2 (Troughton) Jan 14, 1967 Geoffrey Orme Julia Smith
Time and the Rani F 7 (McCoy) Sep 7, 1987 Pip & Jane Baker Andrew Morgan
Timelash F 6 (C. Baker) Mar 9, 1985 Glen McCoy Pennant Roberts
The Twin Dilemma F 6 (C. Baker) Mar 22, 1984 Anthony Steven Peter Moffatt
Posted in Tales of Woe | Leave a comment

Today’s story is brought to you by the letter “C” for “calescent”, “creepy” and “Christmas”.

(The third in my 26 Tales of Woe series. See “A” is for “ass” and “B” is for “barf”.)

Today is the first day of Memorial Day weekend, and it is hot.

No, please, let me rephrase that, because I don’t think anyone outside of Arizona and/or the surface of the sun will quite understand.

You know when the blast furnace that is the outside air hits the cooler air from inside the house and forms an immediate thunder storm at your front door? Or when you step outside and every exposed bit of skin screams, “For pity’s sake, if you don’t turn this body around right now and head back inside where there’s air conditioning, we swear to whatever God you believe in that we will torture you with a pain the likes of which you haven’t felt since you turned us into that blistering mess back in high school!”?

Yeah, I wish it were that cool. And this is just Spring warming us up for the main event. Summer is still about a month away.

But I’m OK. I’ve paid my power bill, so I can pull down some of that sweet, sweet electricity to properly refrigerate my house. (One of the oddest things about moving down here from Maine is going from a cool indoors to a hot outdoors. It’s backwards as hell, and I’m still not used to it after 20 years.) Anyway, that’s not what this post is about.

We have an ice cream truck that roams the neighborhood most afternoons. Yes, you read that correctly. We have a dude in a white van filled with popsicles and drumsticks that trolls about the streets trying to lure in kids.*

But I digress . . .

The really bad part about this is that the van must be owned and operated by someone in our immediate neighborhood. I don’t know this for certain, because I have never actually talked to my neighbors (some of them speak Spanish!). But I suspect it is so, because most afternoons I will be sitting at my desk pretending to work when I am jumped by an eerie, wheezing groan that sounds like the spirits of the dead have finally had enough of this fricking Florida heat and are crying out to their maker for some relief . . . which slowly turns into “Turkey in the Straw.”

Today was the worst yet. Today, this demon van sprang to life and drove up to the stop sign outside my house is tauntingly playing “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful”!

Yes, the ice cream van is mocking me with a Christmas carol . . . reminding me of cool days and the promise that this heat too shall pass.

I wonder if I have the strength of will to go out there and give the driver a piece of my mind. And I wonder if he has any sno-cones . . .

*Note: I have nothing against ice cream vans, and I am not implying that ours (or any others) are out there stalking children.

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Today’s story is brought to you by the letter “B” for “barf”.

(The second in a, presumably, 26-part series that began with this post.)

As many of you know, I have been working from home for a little over a year. I no longer have an office with a nameplate over the door or a big desk upon which to scatter my dozens of toys. However, I also don’t have a twice-daily, long-ass drive filled with psychopathic maniacs who were given a license merely because they had $48 and the stamp of approval from a bored DMV worker.

I have my little desk along a wall in my bedroom. It’s got just enough room for my monitors and keyboard and some other little things like a cup of coffee, my Nook, a notepad and pen, and my sonic screwdriver and Harry Potter wand.

During the day, our four cats take turns hopping up on the bed and sleeping in the sunny spot under the window. It’s a rare day that I don’t sit back and contentedly take a sip of coffee whilst scratching the ears of a kitty to hear him or her purr. Others may have their problems with working from home, but I love it.

There are days like today, however, that would never happen in a “real” office.

As I said, my little desk doesn’t have room for much, and since my business phone service works just as well through software, I use a headset to communicate with the outside world. No handset required. I tried setting up a bluetooth headset, but it didn’t work. So, my headphones are wired to the PC. Most of the time, this is fine. I don’t have to move around during phone calls, so the tethered approach isn’t a bother.

Today, as I participated in a conference call with one of our software partners and a mutual client, I heard the slow building “urp urp” of a cat preparing to spew a steamy mass of hair and spittle. (Let me stop you here in case you don’t have experience with cats. Google “hairball” and skip the reference to the 80′s metal cover band.)

To my horror, there was Smudge, the slimy, brown spit already drizzling from her “omg I’m a gaggin” kitty face. Just having stripped the bed and washed the comforter and sheets and replaced them, I was in no mood for a repeat performance. Somehow, I managed to leap from my chair, grab her by a leg and drag her off the bed…but I fear at the expense of my headset and the listeners on the other end of the phone. I’m pretty sure what they heard was: “urp urp gack NOOO! Get off! crash!! rowr!”

To make matters worse, the door was closed. So, as I settled back in my chair and replaced the headset, I realized that this was only barfus interruptus. There was still a hairball that needed its freedom from my cat’s inner workings. So, yet another round of “urp urp gack AW CRAP! crash! open door, slam door” greeted my conversation mates.

I didn’t hear anything from either one of them. So, it might not have been as painfully embarrassing as I thought. Still…sorry about that guys!

Posted in Tales of Woe | 2 Comments

Today’s story is brought to you by the letter “A” for “ass”.

I went out to the mailbox this afternoon, humming a tune and eating a piece of cheddar cheese (as one does on a lovely day). After retrieving the handful of junk mail…and I only call it “junk” because each piece was a waste of time for so many people–the sender, the printer, the mail carrier, the garbage collector, me–not because each piece wasn’t perfectly designed and created from God’s own trees…I noticed that the garbage can from our bi-weekly donation to the landfill was standing, empty, waiting to be carried back to its little home to await another sack of crap.

As I approached, randomly flicking through the aforementioned marketing materials in the vain hope that just one of them might magically transform into something of use to humanity, I noticed a small bee or yellowjacket (dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor not an entomologist!) inspecting our empty trash receptacle, looking (I presume) for its now-missing contents.

Normally, I would have given the insect a wide berth, assuming that it would realize its tardiness and zip off to join its compatriots to catch up with the garbage truck, whereupon I could safely retrieve the can without provoking an incident. However, I was emboldened by the previously noted loveliness of the day and by my cheese. For it is a fact that no one comes to harm when eating cheddar (or so I had been told).

I approached the rubbermaid can carefully, shifting my burden of mail to my cheese hand and slowly picking up the lid from the ground. With a grunt and a ferocious kick, I tipped over the garbage can, thinking that my nemesis would flee from my shock and awe tactics. But no. The little black and yellow bastard simply descended deeper into the gaping maw of the bin.

Just as I had given up hope of dislodging him, the bee (yellowjacket, hornet, wasp, whatever) flew to the entrance of the capsized can, and I saw my chance. With all my might, I closed my eyes and swung the garbage can lid toward my enemy, creating a mighty wind with which to drive him off.

To my horror, when I opened my eyes, I saw the bee (let’s just fricking call him a bee, ok?) RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE, saying “You want a piece of me? I’ll cut you, old man!!!” And I did what anyone would have in that scenario…I fell right flat on my ass, mail and cheese and garbage can lid flying in every direction like a big, fat grenade of random crap had gone off on the sidewalk in front of my house.

And that, dear readers, is why I will never go outside again. I hate nature.

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And now for a Doctor that’s completely different…

In this Doctor Who-obsessed year, where it seems that every nerd* is making lists of their favorite Doctors, episodes, companions, monsters, and hair products, we think we need to give it up for a Doctor of a different sort–Doctor Demento! Yes, it’s time for another Doctor Demento Funny 25 with the year’s best in wacky comedy hits.

It being the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, a couple of entries in the list are Who-related (“Know Your Doctors” by Amanda Cohen and “Companion Application” by Devo Spice). “Companion Application” actually has a cameo by the 5th Doctor, Peter Davison.

Devo Spice seemed to be the hit of the countdown this year, appearing at #5 with his Doctor Who entry and at #13 with an updated version of “Ozzman” with the great Luke Ski (which first appeared in 2003 by Sudden Death with the great Luke Ski). He also appeared on Insane Ian’s “Run This Game” at #9 and teamed up with Worm Quartet on the #6 song, “Autocomplete.”

As with last year, Ookla the Mok–”Fandom’s Own Rock Band”–had the #1 song (“Mwahaha”), a tribute to all those mustache-twirling bad guys out there. This puts another entry in at the big tie at the bottom of the Top 100.

The #1 hit of all-time, “Fish Heads,” picked up 2 more points to extend their lead over “Dead Puppies.” And the #3 song, “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!,” got 4 points.

Jef Jaisun’s 1970′s hit, “Friendly Neighborhood Narco Agent” made it’s first appearance since 1978, earning it a point while remaining at #26 in the 100.

For the first time in a long time, there were quite a number of new entries into the 100.

“Weird Al” Yankovic’s parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”–”Eat It”–made it’s first appearance since 1984 and now has a combined point total moving it up to #51. His other entry into this year’s list, “Craigslist” which first appeared in 2009, entered the Top 100 at #82.

“When You Wish Upon A Death Star” by the great Luke Ski made its second appearance in a row, earning it enough points to come into the Top 100 at #79.

Finally, “We Were Never Ever Actually Together” by Eric Schwartz added points from this year’s #11 showing to last year’s 16th place entry to give it enough to enter the tie at the bottom of the Top 100.

Without further ado, here is this year’s list of the Funny 25 with song and artist links.

This show is available for online listening at drdemento.com.
playlist courtesy of DMDB.org

The Dr. Demento Show #13-52 – December 28, 2013

#25 Friendly Neighborhood Narco AgentJef Jaisun

#24 Fish HeadsBarnes & Barnes
#23 Get Clucky (Daft Punk chicken parody) – Jakazid
#22 They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!Napoleon XIV
#21 You Don’t Know JackTony Goldmark
#20 Dead Giveaway – Charles Ramsey, songified by Gregory Brothers
#19 Obamacare - Joe J. Thomas

#18 You Might BeInsane Ian
#17 Zombie GirlDino-Mike
#16 Baby Got BackJonathan Coulton
#15 Craigslist“Weird Al” Yankovic

#14 Know Your Doctors – Amanda Cohen
#13 Ozzman (2013)Devo Spice f/ the great Luke Ski
#12 The FoxYlvis
#11 We Were Never Ever Actually TogetherEric Schwartz
#10 It’s Time For Winter To End – Rob Magnuson
#9 Run This GameInsane Ian f/ The Stacey & Devo Spice

#8 Eat It (Studio 360)“Weird Al” Yankovic
#7 I’ll Lose WeightMax DeGroot
#6 AutocompleteDevo Spice f/ Worm Quartet
#5 Companion ApplicationDevo Spice
#4 YOLOThe Lonely Island f/ Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar
#3 When You Wish Upon A Death Starthe great Luke Ski
#2 After Ever AfterJon Cozart

#1 MwahahaOokla the Mok

*i.e., “me”

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Doctor Who Series Highlights

For years, one of my many geeky pursuits has been the acquisition of all of the available episodes of Doctor Who on DVD. Buying one or two per month, I knew it would take a while. So, to make sure that if I ever needed to quit, I’d at least have the best stories I could have gotten to that point, I decided to do what all geeks do–make a spreadsheet!

I wanted to rank every episode from best to worst using the accumulated votes of as many fans as possible. So, I went looking and found four sites that fit the bill:

  • The Global Episode Opinion Survey (GEOS), which is a survey of over 90 current and classic genre TV shows, including everything from Alias to Xena: Warrior Princess.
  • Doctor Who Dynamic Rankings, a site that has been surveying every Doctor Who episode, including spinoffs like Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures since 1995.
  • TV.com, an online community of TV watchers that includes pretty much every television show past or present.
  • The Internet Movie Database (IMDb), a site that, since 1990, has invited internet users to rate and rank every movie and television program ever made.

I averaged together the ratings users gave to each story on these sites and then assigned each one a letter grade, A thru F, based on how close its score came to the top rated story (which has been “Blink” from David Tennant’s 2nd series for a long, long time).

Once I had my spreadsheet, I wasn’t content with a simple list of episodes to use in my DVD buying. I also came up with a document that lists, chronologically, all the episodes where something significant occurs (Doctor regenerates, companion enters or leaves, etc.) and all the grade “A” and “B” episodes.

I used the season titles and episode descriptions from Shannon Patrick Sullivan’s brilliant A Brief History of Time (Travel).

With the end of the Matt Smith era and yet another eight months to go before we see anymore new Who, I thought it was a good time to make this opus available to my fellow Whovians. If you want a copy, I have place a PDF on my site for download: Doctor Who Series Highlights

If you’re especially over-the-top geeky, I might even share the spreadsheet with you.

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Top Eleven – William Hartnell

Counting down the 11 1 day to the 50th anniversary, here are my top 11 stories for each Doctor, continuing with 1 (William Hartnell).

This is the original. He’s grumpy and mysterious and not exactly nice, especially in the beginning. He’s cut off from his people and on the run with his granddaughter, Susan. When a pair of Susan’s teachers follow her home one night, the Doctor kidnaps them rather than have them alert the authorities. Thus, the adventures in space and time begin, and the teachers, Ian and Barbara, begin to turn the old alien into the hero we love today. (Again quite a few episodes are missing, so these are from the ones that remain.)

1. The Time MeddlerThe Time Meddler 2
That is the dematerializing control, and that, over yonder, is the horizontal hold. Up there is the scanner; those are the doors; that is a chair with a panda on it. Sheer poetry, dear boy! Now please stop bothering me.

The Doctor, Vicki, and new companion Steven arrive on the coast of England on the eve of the Viking and Norman invasions in 1066. They find a mysterious monk who turns out to be another Time Lord, meddling in the affairs of the local people and hoping to change the course of history.

2. The Dalek Invasion of Earthdwexp-daleks-westminster-gall5
During all the years I’ve been taking care of you, you in return have been taking care of me. You are still my grandchild and always will be. But now, you’re a woman too. I want you to belong somewhere, to have roots of your own. With David you will be able to find those roots and live normally like any woman should do. Believe me, my dear, your future lies with David and not with a silly old buffer like me. One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, Susan. Goodbye, my dear.

The TARDIS makes it back to London, but it is the 22nd century. Dead bodies are floating in the river, and humans are scattered and live like rats in sewer tunnels. The Daleks have invaded and enslaved humans as robo-men. The Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara must fight the invasion and save the Earth.

3. The Aztecsaztecs_1345
I made some cocoa and got engaged.

The TARDIS lands in Mexico during the time of the Aztecs, and Barbara is mistaken for a god. But can a god change history? Barbara, the history teacher, knows the savage brutality of Aztec human sacrifice and is determined to change it, just as the Doctor is determined that history must be preserved.

4. An Unearthly ChildAn Unearthly Child 2
Have you ever thought what it’s like to be wanderers in the Fourth Dimension? Have you? To be exiles? Susan and I are cut off from our own planet – without friends or protection. But one day we shall get back. Yes, one day…

The first episode of the first serial of Doctor Who is amazing. It sets up the entire story for the next 50 years. Everything is there right from the start: the bigger-on-the-inside TARDIS disguised as a police box, the fact that the TARDIS is alive, and the mysterious figure of the Doctor–the alien on the run from his people.

While on Earth in 1963, the Doctor and his granddaughter are hiding in I.M. Foreman’s junkyard at 76 Totter’s Lane. Susan has decided to attend the Coal Hill School, taking the name Susan Foreman. At school, two of her teachers–Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright–become suspicious of the girl who seems to be so far advanced in some areas and yet so ignorant in others. They follow her home to the junkyard and are swept up by the Doctor in the TARDIS before they can report what they’ve seen to the authorities.

In the 2nd episode, the TARDIS gets stuck as a police box (to the dismay of the Doctor), as they land in the year 10,000 BC. Unfortunately, the rest of the serial is pretty boring (thus, it’s not #1).

5. The Gunfightersdrwho_gunfighters1
He gave me a gun, he extracted my tooth. What more do you want?

The Doctor has a toothache. Fortunately, there’s a dentist in the town of Tombstone. His name is Doc Holliday. Too bad there’s a gang out to kill the doctor. If only they knew what he looked like. Maybe it’s this old man who calls himself “the Doctor”?

6. The Romansthe-romans-cover-photo
Alright? Of course I’m alright, my child. You know, I am so constantly outwitting the opposition, I tend to forget the delights and satisfaction of the gentle art of fisticuffs.

As the time travelers relax in an empty villa outside Rome, the Doctor gets bored and sets off with Vicki. On the road, he is mistaken for a great lyre player and commanded to perform before Emperor Nero. When Ian and Barbara go out looking for the pair, they are captured. Ian becomes a galley slave, and Barbara is sold to Nero’s slave buyer. Ian escapes, but winds up in the gladiator ring. When the Doctor accidentally sets fire to Nero’s plans for the rebuilding of Rome, he gives the mad emperor an idea.

7. The Daleksdaleks1
My dear child! Haven’t you realized what I’ve done? A few simple tools, a superior brain…

This is where the Doctor’s greatest enemies first appear. The TARDIS lands on Skaro, a planet devastated by war between the Kaleds and the Thals. The Kaleds have transformed themselves into killing machines called Daleks. Pretending that there is something wrong with the TARDIS so he can investigate, the Doctor leads his companions into the middle of the Dalek city.

8. The War MachinesWar_Machine
Are you seriously telling me, sir, that you have invented a machine that can think? Hmm, I wonder.

The Doctor and Dodo arrive in London in 1966 where Professor Brett has created a self-aware computer, WOTAN, which has been linked to other computers around the world. WOTAN determines that humans are inferior and must be eliminated. It forces the creation of War Machines, heavily-armed mobile computers to take over the world. Professor Brett’s secretary, Polly, and her friend Ben join the Doctor to help defeat the menace.

9. The Reign of Terrordoctor-who-the-reign-of-terror-dvd-review
Our lives are important — at least to us — and as we see, so we learn… Our destiny is in the stars, so let’s go and search for it.

The TARDIS lands outside Paris in 1794, a bloody year in the period after the French Revolution. They soon become tangled in the plans for prisoners to escape the guillotine and with an English spy.

10. The Keys of MarinusThe Keys of Marinus 2
I don’t believe that man was made to be controlled by machines. Machines can make laws, but they can not preserve justice. Only human beings can do that.

The TARDIS arrives on the planet Marinus on an island of glass surrounded by a sea of acid. The travellers are forced by the elderly Arbitan to retrieve four of the five operating keys to a machine called the Conscience of Marinus, of which he is the keeper. These have been hidden in different locations around the planet to prevent them falling into the hands of the evil Yartek and his Voord warriors, who plan to seize the machine and use its originally benevolent mind-influencing power for their own sinister purposes.

11. The Tenth Planetvlcsnap2013100810h05m25s119
This old body of mine is wearing a bit thin.

This is the final episode for William Hartnell and the one that introduces the concept of regeneration. It is discovered that the Earth once had a twin planet, Mondas, that drifted away to the edge of space. Its inhabitants grew weak, so their scientists created spare parts for their bodies. Limbs and organs were slowly replaced by metal and plastic. Emotions were removed. The Cybermen were born. The TARDIS lands at the Snowcap space tracking station in Antarctica. A routine space mission starts going wrong. When the base personnel’s suspicions are roused, the Doctor informs them that the space capsule is being affected by the gravitational pull of another planet–a tenth planet in the Solar system. Thus, Cybermen arrive, and they are intent on the destruction of the Earth and the conversion of all humans into Cybermen. The Doctor, Ben, and Polly fight to save the world, but when it is done, the Doctor collapses, and the TARDIS wheezes into life.

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Top Eleven – Patrick Troughton

Counting down the 11 2 days to the 50th anniversary, here are my top 11 stories for each Doctor, continuing with 2 (Patrick Troughton).

As experiments go, the idea of regeneration worked out pretty well thanks to Patrick Troughton. Not only did he take over a much-beloved character from the only name anyone would have associated with it, but he made the character completely his own. Troughton has been cited by almost every other actor to take on the role as their model for the Doctor. Unfortunately, a good chunk of his episodes are lost due to the policy of re-using tapes or simply destroying film after broadcast (no such thing as re-runs then). So, I’m only able to see and rank the eleven remaining stories.

1. The War Gamesdoctor_who_the_war_games_philip_madoc
The Time Lords are an immensely civilised race. We can control our own environment – we can live forever, barring accidents and we have the secret of space/time travel.

The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe land in the middle of a World War I battlefield and taken for German spies. Soon, however, they find that by passing through a strange fog, they are transported to the time of the Romans and also the American Civil War. A renegade Time Lord, the War Chief, is kidnapping soldiers and placing them, like chess pieces, in various zones to fight and die over and over. This prompts the Doctor to call upon his brother Time Lords for the first time since he ran away. This is the end of the 2nd Doctor’s run, where we say goodbye not only to Patrick Troughton and Jamie and Zoe but also to black-and-white, as Jon Pertwee’s series will begin in full color.

2. The Tomb of the Cybermentve9388-19670916-98
The Doctor: You look very nice in that dress, Victoria.
Victoria: Thank you. Don’t you think it’s a bit…
The Doctor: A bit short? Oh, I shouldn’t worry about that. Look at Jamie’s.

The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria arrive on the planet Telos to discover an archaeological team trying to blast open the doors to the lost tomb of the Cybermen. Need I say more?

3. The Invasion_41631822_invasion1_416bbc_5135
I hate computers and refuse to be bullied by them!

The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe investigate the disappearance of a scientist, and the trail leads to London and the headquarters of International Electromatics, run by Tobias Vaughn. It turns out that Vaughn plans to aid the invasion of the Cybermen in exchange for promised power. With the help of the newly formed United Nations Intelligence Task Force (UNIT) and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, the Doctor and friends must defeat an army of Cybermen and their incoming battle fleet.

4. The Web of Fearqq_02.jpg
[the TARDIS has landed, rather bumpily, in a London Underground railway tunnel]
Dr. Who: For the moment, we have eluded our captor. Look at the scanner, both of you.
Victoria: Well, where are we?
Dr. Who: I really don’t know, Victoria. Shall we go out and have a look.
Victoria: Now? Is it safe?
Dr. Who: [mischievously and airily] Oh, I shouldn’t think so for a moment! Jamie… I think we’re going to need torches.

The Great Intelligence returns, as Professor Travers (whom the Doctor met 30 years earlier in the Himalayas) has re-activated one of the Yeti robots, and now they are attacking through the London subway system. The Doctor and his companions join with the army and Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart to repel the invasion.

5. The Mind Robberdoctor_who_frazer_hines_and_wendy_padbury_in_publicity_shot_for_the_mind_robber
We’re nowhere. It’s as simple as that.

As the TARDIS is buried in lava, the Doctor attempts a desperate maneuver that takes them completely out of time and space. In an empty, white void, Jamie and Zoe are menaced by robots. As they try to flee back to the safety of the ship, it explodes, leaving Zoe clinging to the TARDIS console. When they revive, they find themselves in the Land of Fiction, presided over one who calls himself the Master (not that Master) who turns out to be a writer from 1926 and whose brain is being controlled by the Master Brain computer. The Master desperately wants to force the Doctor to take his place, and the crew encounter various fictional characters, including Rapunzel, Gulliver, and a uniorn.

6. The Ice WarriorsIce_Warriors
(The Doctor listens at a door.)
The Doctor: It sounds like electronic machinery. Like a computer. But there’s something wrong with its pitch.
Victoria: Oh, no. Now look, it might be dangerous. Now let’s leave it.
The Doctor: No.
Victoria: Doctor.
The Doctor: [Smiles mischievously] Let’s go in!

The TARDIS lands on Earth in the future as glaciers caused by mankind’s destruction of all plant life threaten to engulf the planet. Scientists excavating a nearby ice formation discover a creature in the ice, which turns out to be a Martian warrior. When he is thawed, they discover that he is part of a crashed ship, and he kidnaps Victoria in order to force the Doctor and the scientists to help him free his crew. Once that is done, the Ice Warriors determine to take over the planet for themselves.

7. The Seeds of Deathdoctor-7-final
Your leader will be angry if you kill me… I’m a genius!

The TARDIS lands in late 21st century museum filled with remnants of spaceflight. Since the invention of the T-mat, which offers instant travel between points on Earth and the Moon, people have lost interest in space travel. After the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe travel to the Moonbase, they discover that a squad of Ice Warriors has taken over and plan on using the T-mat network to launch an invasion of Earth by transporting deadly spores all around the planet, which will kill humans and block out the sun, producing a new ice age.

8. The Enemy of the Worlddw50revenemyoftheworld
People spend all their time making nice things and then other people come along and break them!

In 2018, a powerful man, known as Salamander, is being hailed as the “shopkeeper of the world” for his ability to relieve famine and predict natural disasters. It turns out that Salamander’s enemies keep disappearing, and there is a rebellion forming against him. When the TARDIS lands, the Doctor is captured by the rebels because he looks exactly like Salamander. They ask for his help to take down the would-be dictator.

9. The Moonbasedw50revthemoonbase4
There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought.

The TARDIS arrives on the Moon in the year 2070 where a small weather station is fighting off a plague. Jamie falls sick and is rendered unconscious, leaving the Doctor, Ben, and Polly to fight off what really is a toxin delivered by the Cybermen.

10. The Krotonsvlcsnap-2012-04-09-09h03m19s178
Great jumping gobstoppers!

The TARDIS lands on the planet of the Gonds, where centuries before a Kroton ship crash landed. The Krotons lay dormant in a crystalline slurry, but use their mental powers to dominate the Gonds. When needed, they take the two brightest Gond students as “companions” (unwittingly being drained of their mental energy to feed the Krotons). When the Doctor and Zoe take the student test, their mental powers are strong enough to re-animate the Krotons.

11. The DominatorsDoctor_Who_The_Dominators_Rago_and_Doctor
An unintelligent enemy is far less dangerous than an intelligent one, Jamie. Just act stupid. Do you think you can manage that?

When two rogue Dominators and their robotic servant Quarks land on the peaceful planet Dulkis, planning to drop a radioactive seed into the planet’s core to refuel their spaceship, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe must attempt to inspire the pacifist Dulcians to resist.

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Top Eleven – Jon Pertwee

Counting down the 11 3 days to the 50th anniversary, here are my top 11 stories for each Doctor, continuing with 3 (Jon Pertwee).

The serious Doctor with the fine hair and the Venusian akido ju-jitsu karate whatever. He liked gadgets and cars and was the James Bondiest of the Doctors.

1. Spearhead from SpaceFile created with CoreGraphics
Liz Shaw: What are you a doctor *of*, by the way?
Doctor Who: Practically everything, my dear.

The newly regenerated Doctor arrives on Earth to begin his exile. The TARDIS will not function, and he soon is involved with UNIT and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and his new assistant, Liz Shaw, in stopping an invasion by the Nestene and their army of plastic Autons.

2. The Green Deathprotectedimage (1)
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: I never thought I’d have to fire in anger at a dratted caterpillar.

Mysterious deaths at a Welsh mining village bring in the Doctor and Jo Grant along with UNIT to investigate. A group of environmentalists, led by Professor Clifford Jones, is determined to stop the Global Chemicals petroleum factory from putting the miners out of business when giant slugs begin crawling to the surface.

3. Carnival of Monstersdoctor-who-carnival-of-monsters-carnival-workers
Would you kindly stop referring to me as “the creature”, sir. Or I may well become exceedingly hostile!

The Doctor and Jo arrive on a cargo ship crossing the Indian Ocean. Soon a monster appears and things start repeating themselves. When a giant hand steals the TARDIS, it becomes apparent that they are stuck in a miniscope–an alien peepshow with different miniaturized environments which showman Vorg and his assistant Virna have brought to entertain the residents of Inter Minor.

4. The Silurianssilurians-41
My dear Miss Shaw, I never report myself anywhere, particularly not forthwith.

A nuclear research facilities tests have awoken the original inhabitants of Earth–the Silurians. The Doctor and Liz try to prevent a war between the humans and the Silurians, but the military on both sides have different plans.

5. Terror of the AutonsAutons_attack
You know Jo, I sometimes think that military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.

The Master arrives and signals the Nestene, awakening the plastic Autons, and begins to use them to take over the world. The Doctor and his new assistant, Jo Grant, must stop him.

6. InfernoThe_Brig_Inferno
The Doctor: But I don’t exist in your world!
Brigade Leader: Then you won’t feel the bullets when we shoot you.

An experimental drilling project is designed to penetrate the Earth’s crust and release a previously untapped source of energy. However, the drill head starts to leak an oily, green liquid that transforms those who touch it into vicious primeval creatures with a craving for heat. The Doctor is accidentally transported by the partially repaired TARDIS control console into a parallel universe where the drilling project is at a more advanced stage. There, he meets the evil twins of the Brigadier and Liz who attempt to stop him as he works to save both universes.

7. The Time Warriordoctor_sontoran_sarah_timewarrior_400_400x300
A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.

In the Middle Ages, a crashed Sontaran is trying to repair his spaceship by kidnaping scientists from the future and forcing them to help. The Doctor and UNIT investigate and journalist Sarah Jane Smith tags along.

8. The Sea DevilsChief_Sea_Devil
I reversed the polarity of the neutron flow.

The Doctor and Jo visit the Master in a high security prison on an island off the coast of England. While there, they learn of mysterious ship disappearances, and the Doctor cannot resist investigating.

9. The Three Doctors3Doctors
First Doctor: [As he appears on the TARDIS's television screen] Ah, there you are! I seem to be stuck up here. [He examines the Second and Third Doctors.] So you’re my replacements. [They smile at him.] Humph. A dandy and a clown. [They appear insulted.] Have you done anything?
Second Doctor: Uh, well we’ve assessed the situation-
First Doctor: Just as I thought! [Chuckles] Nothing.

The first multi-Doctor story came during the 10th season of the show, and it featured the return of both Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell. Hartnell was very sick and near the end of his life, but he was determined to participate. He was inserted into the story via TV monitor, as his Doctor was trapped. The story involves Omega, one of the greatest Time Lords and the engineer of their ability to travel in time. While using the Hand of Omega, a stellar manipulator that could make stars go supernova, he vanished into a resulting black hole and into an anti-matter universe. The pocket of normal matter in which he resides only exists via the force of his will, and he wants to force the Doctor to take his place.

10. The Mind of Evilscreen_shot_2013-06-21_at_10.04.39_am_large
People who talk about infallibility are usually on very shaky grounds.

The Doctor and Jo investigate a new machine that has been invented for humanely dealing with prisoners. Instead of execution, they have their evil tendencies sucked out and stored in the machine. The resulting man is quiet, compliant, and knows no evil. The Master decides to use the machine for his nefarious purposes, but the machine has a will of its own.

11. The Daemons297407
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Jenkins…chap with wings there, five rounds, rapid!

The Master, disguised as a rural vicar, summons a winged demon to terrorize the village.

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