Number 6 (newnumber6) wrote,
Number 6

Prisoners of Gravity and the Sixth Doctor's Run

Bah... somehow deleted most of my post with an accidental keypress and couldn't undo!
Let's start off with another batch of found Prisoners of Gravity uploads

Racism (Feb 18th, 1993)
How racism is handled in SF and comics.
Part One: Louise Simonson (on covert, unintentional racism and tackling it in Superman), Will Eisner (on changing his brother's name so it doesn't seem Jewish, and his views on the roots of racism, and stereotypical racial 'looks' in comics), John Byrne (on a complaint he got about stereotyping when portraying a particular ethnic type... Canadians), Gilbert Hernandez (on subverting stereotypes and whether he's a spokesman), Denys Cowan (on comics as a White Male Club, and trying to change it)
Part Two: Milestone comics, cartoonist Dan Pirarro (general views on racism), Andre Norton (on including minority protagonists in her fantasy fiction, and the problems she's had trying to publish it, and the reactions she's got from the people she's tries to portray), Samuel R. Delany (on being one of the first black writers in SF, and including black characters as an aesthetic choice vs a political one), Karen Haber (on The Mutant Season, showing mutant characters as both victims and perpetrators of racism, and about SF dealing with issues like racism in the metaphor vs tackling the issue head on)
Part Three: Spider Robinson (on racism in the publishing industy, and a story of his own inadventant prejudice), William F. Wu (on the widespread geographical experience in Chinese Americans, and difference between Chinese characters in his works vs a white writer), Owl Goingback (on trying to dispel Native American stereotypes in SF), Jewelle Gomez (on The Gilda Stories gaining acceptance in academic communities, and it not being the standards she's aiming for)

Profiles: Feb 25th, 1993
Profiles on three creators: Jeff Smith of Bone, Fantasy authot Guy Gavriel Kay, and SF author Elizabeth Vonarburg. No detailed summary, just a few bits here and there.
Part One: Guy Gavriel Kay. Lessons he learned from finishing Tolkien's The Silmarillion.
Part Two: Jeff Smith, creator of Bone (includes interview with Neil Gaiman on discovering Bone) (also the introduction to the Vonarburg bit)
Part Three: Elizabeth Vonarburg

I'll just do two this time, but there's "Cyberbooks", "Immortality", and "First Contact" on tap still.

And I finally finished the Sixth Doctor's, Colin Baker's, run on Doctor Who. My thoughts below, as usual, broken up into sections:

The Doctor: Not all that appealing to me. Sure, he's abraisive and egotistical, but I've dealt with that in other Doctors. It was more the way... he seemed a bit too over the top and it all felt a little phony. It was like he was an actor in a Doctor Who PARODY, who never let you forget he was an ACTOR in a Doctor Who parody. Even when he had quieter moments, it just seemed a little too theatrical.

And of course, the personality wasn't all that interesting itself, not even in a fun way.
In terms of Doctors I'd like to travel with, Six is at the very bottom. For Doctors I enjoy watching, he just barely edges out Three and avoids the bottom spot.

The Companions: Only two, and one just started. So, Peri...

One of my big problems with companions is when they fall into a particular mold: 'contemporary girl from Earth'. They tend to be extremely unmemorable when this is the role they're given, and Mel's not really an exception. She doesn't do anything particularly interestingm she doesn't have a particularly interesting backstory, she's just a warm body to hang out with the Doctor. The only things that I'll remember about her is 1) the horrible attempt at an American Accent, and 2) That she wore a lot of revealing outfits, and often displayed more cleavage than I expect from Doctor Who. Now, since I'm male, I don't mind that in and of itself, but you really need more to base a character on.

Mel's just started so it's hard to form an opinion on. She's slightly annoying, but on the edge where it could be an endearing sort of annoyingness. Her look's also a bit... off (both facially and in dress), too, but again, on that edge between appealingly quirky and not appealing at all.

So, all in all, the Sixth Doctor's companions are a bit of a dud. Worst set ever, not counting 8 (who only had them for the space of a movie... I don't count spinoff media). 9 at least had Jack.

The Stories: Not as good as Five's run, but not horrible. The main reason I put Six above Three in terms of watchability is because the stories weren't as boringly dull as Three's often were. I wasn't especially engaged, but I never wanted to skip them entirely either. They also did introduce a number of appealing recurring characters, the Rani makes an interesting villain, for example.

Trial of a Timelord was a good idea, but I don't think they executed it very well.

My main complaint in the stories of this run were sloppy continuity (characters recognizing the Doctor, despite his regeneration, and plot points in the same story relying on him both being recognized despite the change, and not recognized because of it... also characters supposed to be dead reappearing without any attempt at explanation), and science (a line where a planet was moved "a few light years away" in one description, and "halfway across the galaxy" in another). The older the episodes are, the more I forgive in these areas, but we're well into the late 80s, they should know better.

What's next? Well, Seven, of course. I've only seen his first episode, but I like him more already so far. Once I'm done him, I'll have seen all the canonical Doctor's runs (either watching or reading transcripts of every episode). I've already finished a mini-milestone in that I've seen every on-screen regeneration, in context. I'll probably finish my old school watching by the time the Eleventh Doctor's run starts.

Moving on, before I go, Stargate Universe, minor spoilery comment on the mid-season finale, boiling down to I CALLED IT Specifically, I knew somebody important was going to be 'left behind as the Destiny moves on', most likely either at the Mid-season point, or at the season finale. The who and the why I didn't know, of course. Anyway, I imagine since he was left on a world with an alien ship, it'll be resolved very quickly and in that way... and a bit too bad, cause I would have liked it if he got out by figuring out where the Destiny was likely going to stop next and gating there (or doing that a series of times until he was right).

Oh, and, for anyone wondering, as expected, I did not wind up going to the Xmas party for my work. *shrug*
Tags: canadiana, comics, doctor who, nostalgia, stargate, tv
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