Sunday, January 27, 2013

Docteur Qui?

Doctor Who is, of course, typically, quintessentially, unmistakably British… but as my own special anniversary tribute to this fantastic, extraordinary series and its associated universe, I thought it would be fun to re-imagine what things would have been if DW had been… well, French (which is not as outrageous as it might first seem – just ask Doctor Oméga). So, without further ado, welcome to the imaginary, completely alternate world of... Docteur Qui. Allons-y!

As a renegade Seigneur du Temps from Gallifrée, the Docteur (or is that Le Doctor?) would of course favor a more Gallic brand of eccentricity in his various incarnations – no, definitely NO beret or striped shirt but perhaps a top hat, a cane (or even a sword-cane) or an outrageous artiste cravat (in separate incarnations, preferably); somewhere along the regeneration road, he would have to wear a Napoleonic redingote. And of course, his fourth incarnation would probably look like this.

In French, Time And Relative Dimensions In Space would translate as Temps Et Dimensions Relatives Dans l’Espace, which would have given us TEDRDE – neither very inspiring nor very pronounceable. Our French Docteur is far more likely to travel around in a TARDI (Transport A Relativité Dimensionnelle Intégrée – don’t ask). And, of course, his TARDI would appear as one of those typically Parisian street columns.

Over the course of his eleven incarnations, le Docteur has made many enemies – including some sinister recurring foes such as his arch-nemesis l’Empereur (“I am the Emperor and you will obey me!”), the genocidal biomechanical Daleqs or the half-man, half-machine Cybernautes. His many travelling companions included all sorts of (mostly French) people, including his own granddaughter Suzanne, the charming Mademoiselle Rose from 19th century Montmartre, a young Celtic bard from pre-Christian Gaul and (of course) the mechanical dog K-bot.

During his temporal voyages, the Docteur has met quite a few French historical personages, including Louis XIV (The Alien in the Iron Mask), Jules Verne (Around the World in 80 Seconds), Napoléon Bonaparte (The Hundred Days), Marie Curie (Radium Times) and Guy de Maupassant (Mark of the Horla).

But alas for us French viewers, the ORTF was NOT the BBC...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Season 5, Episodes 1-3

Season 5: Heirs of Time
So, we’ve started the fifth season of Lady Penelope’s Odyssey. At the end of the previous season, Penelope, the Doctor and the three other surviving Time Lords (Drax, Susan and, yes, Mortimus) found themselves on the world once known as Logopolis, with a new Eye of Harmony at their disposal… and the Great Responsibility of acting as the new Guardians of Time. The dream once made by Penelope’s father, the renegade Time Lord Merlin, had become a reality – a dream known as Avalon.

As the title of this new season might imply, one of its main themes will be the construction of this new society and the challenges faced by its architects and their allies. Will Avalon become the new Gallifrey – or something else entirely?  And now that the Black and White Guardians have retired into eternal abstraction, what new menaces and old enemies will appear on the cosmic stage of this Brave New Universe?  And what will Penelope become? Will she keep on adventuring in time and space, act as the premier agent of Avalon, take on the mantle of her father or follow another path entirely?  The future is unwritten – for now.

Here are the blurbs of the three episodes we’ve played so far:

Episode 1: When in Rome…
Lady Penelope takes her new travelling companion Bernice Ashworth to the Glory that was Rome in 78 AD, under the reign of Emperor Vespasian – time for another Roman mystery, a tale of past and future, omens and oracles, destiny and history, featuring the two Plinys.

Episode 2: Heretics of Karn
Sacred Flame, Sacred Fire… we all know the litany. But things are no longer as they once were within the Sisterhood of Karn; as Lady Penelope unravels a web of secrets and lies, an ancient menace rises from the flames to challenge the power of the new Lords of Time.

Episode 3: Zeitgeist
Following the trying events on Karn, Penelope takes a vacation in one of her favorite times and places: Vienna in the 1900s… but when the artist Gustav Klimt meets a truly untimely and utterly sordid death, the Time Lady knows that only she can save the Spirit of the Age…