Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Return of Docteur Qui

Bonsoir messieurs dames!  Some of you might remember my slightly-silly-and-utterly-pointless exercise in imagination about an alternate French Doctor (yes, this was five years ago, for the 50th Anniversary - how Time flies...)...

Well, here is a follow-up feature (for the 55th Anniversary?), with twelve blurbs for episodes-that-might-have-been – each of them inspired by an actual DW episode… I know, utterly pointless but it was really fun to imagine...

First Docteur: The Time Interloper
1815, a few days before the historic battle of Waterloo… As the armies of Wellington and Napoleon prepare for their final clash, a mysterious time meddler is manipulating events to ensure the victory of the French emperor over his enemies… unless le Docteur manages to save history-as-it-should-be!

Second Docteur: The Chouans
A purely historical episode, set during the French Revolution, among the royalist rebels of Western France known as the Chouans. A tale of civil war, divided loyalties and double-crossing, introducing a new travel companion for the Second Docteur – a young, adventurous Breton lad named Jacques.

Third Docteur: Avernus
As he tries to avert a disaster at a secret scientific base located in volcanic Auvergne, le Docteur finds himself transported to an alternate continuum, where the Vichy government never fell and 1970s France is still ruled by a fascist elite – including a one-eyed (!) version of a certain Brigadier…

Fourth Docteur: The Claws of Al-Ghul
Paris, la Belle Epoque…  A mysterious Arab master of mesmerism, women vanishing from the streets of Paris, rumours of monsters lurking in the sewers, a sinister society of Arabian assassins, an unseen foe from the future… Enter le Docteur!  Featuring professor Piedléger and Henri-Georges Gégaud.

Fifth Docteur: The Queen’s Serpent
Le Docteur takes his companion to 12th century France, at the court of Aliénor d’Aquitaine, a hotbed of culture and intrigue. Posing as travelling troubadours, they soon become embroiled in the affairs of the serpent-fairy Mélusine de Lusignan – in reality a shapeshifting living weapon from another planet.

Sixth Docteur: Tribunal of the Time Lords
A controversial four-story epic using an intense court drama as its framing device. Revolution has come to Gallifrée, the planet of the Time Lords – and le Docteur must now stand trial before the newfangled Comité de Salut Spatio-temporel, with the mysterious Veilleur as his prosecutor…

Seventh Docteur: Battleground
The TARDI brings le Docteur near an archaeological site in the Pyrénées, where the tomb of the legendary Frankish warrior-woman Bradamante has just been discovered. Soon, warriors from another dimension led by a ruthless Sorcerer King invade our reality, in search of the heroin’s mythic sword…

Eighth Docteur: Docteur Qui, le Téléfilm
The only appearance of the Eighth Docteur (who looked a lot like François-René de Chateaubriand), this stand-alone TV movie pits the newly regenerated Seigneur du Temps against his arch-enemy, the egomaniacal, power-obsessed trans-temporal renegade known as l’Empereur. Set in Paris, of course.

Ninth Docteur: Lost Souls / Le Docteur Bows
A two-parter set during WW2. In Nazi-occupied Paris, le Docteur and his new companion Fleur investigate the mysterious appearances of people from France’s past history, caused by an inexplicable space-time rift. Featuring the dashing and flamboyant gendarme temporel Capitaine Jacques Aramis.

Tenth Docteur: Blood and Snow
Russia, 1812. Le Docteur finally gets to meet emperor Napoléon Bonaparte face to face – but an already delicate situation becomes even more complicated when the imperial encampment is attacked by Skoptsy fanatics allied to what seems to be a huge, unstoppable and bloodthirsty were-bear…

Eleventh Docteur: Erik and le Docteur
Paris, 1904. Le Docteur meets misunderstood musical genius Erik Satie. Together with the Time Lord’s companions Amélie and Rémi, they investigate strange ghostly goings-on and a mysterious, haunting phantom music, which can only be heard by the eccentric composer…

Twelfth Docteur: Phantoms in Space
In a luxury space station recreating the décor and unique experience of the Opéra de Paris during the Belle Epoque, le Docteur and his new companion Belle must stop a series of mysterious and ghastly murders perpetrated by the ghostly entity known as the Lady in Black – la Dame en Noir

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Season 12, Episode 12

Episode 12: The Three Choices of Penelope
It’s R&R time for Penelope and Dorian!  The Time Lady takes her new companion to the supremely peaceful and serene world of Atala, among her Ganymedian friends - where she is greeted by dear old friends, some unexpected social developments and the inescapable consequences of her own past choices – as well as the regrets of a previous companion...

An episode of pure roleplaying – with no dice rolls, no Story point expenditures but some very important conversations and decisions, along with the appropriate foreshadowing of the season finale… 

This episode also saw the reunion of Penelope and one of her former companions, the Redhead Ganymedian Jeska (think of a blue-skinned, red-haired Leela), who briefly travelled with the Time Lady at the beginning of season 7, before Penelope’s fateful Constantinople regeneration (in episode 7.05) and her subsequent struggle against Fenric.

Lady Penelope’s Odyssey will return in a month or so, with the final three episodes of our twelfth season. Allons-y!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Season 12, Episode 11

Episode 11: City of Dreams
Hollywood, 1928: talking pictures vs. silent movies, all-night parties, prohibition and all that jazz! But not everything is fine and dandy in the Tinsel Town, as Lady Penelope is about to find out, following the mysterious suicide of a desperate actress. Behind the walls of the Dream Factory, bright light cast long shadows and dreams can easily turn into nightmares.

This episode featured the return of Lady Penelope’s arch-enemies, the Porphyrs of Carcosa, dreadful psychic vampires she had already encountered and battled in quite a few episodes and in all her incarnations so far, so our Sixth Penelope HAD to run into them at some point… In a way, Porphyrs and Lloigor are to Penelope what Daleks and Cybermen are to the Doctor – but while the Doctor’s ever-returning nemeses are clearly robotic / mechanical in their nature, Penelope’s own arch-enemies are firmly rooted in the psychic territory.

As suggested by its title, it could also be considered the final and third part of a very loose “Porphyrs looking for a city to devour” trilogy, composed of City of Chimeras (episode 1.4), City of Sighs (episode 9.1) and City of Dreams (episode 12.11).

After these last showdowns, the peril of Carcosa was supposed to be banished forever into nothingness – but some Porphyrs did manage to escape the final cataclysm and in order to survive, they had to adapt and change… so the creatures Penelope encountered this time were actually “Porphyr hybrids”, humans possessed and remolded (read: psychically as well as physically warped) by some of the (normally ethereal) Porphyr survivors.

Visually, I had based the classic Porphyrs on the Pau’an species from the Star Wars universe – but I naturally wanted something different for this new variation. The four “hybrids” featured on this episode looked like the creepy Gentlemen from the Buffy episode “Hush” – I had considered using the Strangers from “Dark City” but the overall look of the Buffyverse Gentlemen seemed more consistent with the story I had in mind.

Basically, this mysterious “Circle of Four” wanted to turn Hollywood into the New Carcosa, a vampiric city of dreams, decadence and nightmares, using specially-produced films to feed on the emotions of an ever-growing audience…