I attended my first convention when I was 15 years old (I won’t tell you how long ago that was). It was a sci-fi convention in New York City – guests included cast members from classic Star Trek, Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, authors like Isaac Asimov, and more. I’ve attended quite a few since then – Creation Cons, I-Cons, you name it. I admit, many things have changed over the years, but some things remain the same.
A sense of joy, enthusiasm, community, and creativity pervades these events like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Luckily, this remains the same. For shy, quiet nerds like myself, there’s a sense of belonging and opportunity to express yourself (costumes are optional, but a marvel to behold – sadly, I don’t have that level of creativity or dedication). It becomes a party with strangers you feel you already know – a celebration of fandom – weird and wonderful. One where you are welcomed with open arms.
At many conventions, fans have an opportunity to meet and mingle with the stars of their favorite films and TV shows. I remember meeting George Takei (Sulu – Star Trek) as a teen, hearing his booming laugh from across the room, and the late James Doohan (Scotty – Star Trek), whose smile lit up the auditorium as he regaled us with Star Trek stories, sporting various accents (which he learned by ear). I met Jimmy Doohan several times. He is sorely missed. These memories still make me smile.
There are some changes – the crowds are a good deal more diverse and more women and families attend these events now. It wasn’t coolwhen I was growing up to let my geek flag fly, especially being a girl and a Latina. Now it’s downright chic to be geek. I admit it, I wear it like a badge. I’ve been out of the “Geek Closet” for a long time and proud of it.
Attending as media, I feel an obligation to be a bit more restrained and behave (not that I aim to misbehave – wink to Firefly fans) and not geek out. I feel the need to step back into observation mode but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still get a bit star-struck after all these years– I’ll always be a fan first.
After a 6 month wait – thanks to Snowpocalypse January2016 – I finally got aglimpse of the irrepressible John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow), the fun-loving Stephen Amell (Arrow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows), the adorable David Mazouz (Gotham, The Darkness), and others from the DC Comics TV EU. It was certainly a treat.
With thousands in attendance (over the course of the weekend, or so I’d heard), the main floor was buzzing with activity – vendors tables, cosplayers, and actors running between panels and autograph tables, kindly greeting fans with smiles. I can only imagine how exhausted they were. There was so much to see and so many people to squeeze through, I was exhausted just being there, but I enjoyed myself and met some great folks.
I had a quick, but lovely chat with Sean Pertwee (Alfred on Gotham – IMHO the best and most badass Alfred to date). He recalled his experiences with conventions growing up, attending with his father, the late Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who/The 3rd Doctor). I met Jon at a con a few years before his death and he was larger than life. Sean saw fandom full throttle then and he’s a part of it now. Sean is incredibly gracious and kind to fans, as evidenced by his struggle to speak with a hoarse voice (his signature raspy voice even raspier), he kept going, signing autographs, taking pictures and attending panels with co-stars. Like his father before him, Sean Pertwee is beloved by fans and quite the mensch.
I also had the opportunity to meet and speak with actor Maximiliano Hernandez (The Last Ship, Hand of God, Winter Soldier, Sicario). I caught up with the busy film and television actor at HVFF and we chatted about his career and becoming part of the Marvel EU.
I also met some fellow writers and musicians and remembered why I started this journey in the first place. 15-year-old me would be proud.
If my muse cooperates, I hope to have more for you. Until we virtually meet again…
Hello friends and fellow Whovians. While I don’t like to post spoilerific reviews, there may be a few tidbits given away in this one. If you haven’t seen the Doctor Who Series 9 opening episode, Magician’s Apprentice, proceed at your own risk. – SylverWhisper
Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), The 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) and U.N.I.T.’s own Dr. Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) in a powerful scene from Genesis of the Daleks (1975)
“You see, if someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives… could you then kill that child?” – The 4th Doctor in Genesis of the Daleks
The 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) on Skaro
Painful Realizations… The Magician’s Apprentice starts off Series 9 with more of a bang than a whimper, from the word go, on a war-torn planet in the heat of battle. A little boy is running for his life from sounds of weapon fire. We don’t know who the little boy is (not yet) and we fear for his life, as does a ragged young soldier attempting to rescue him, only to succumb to deadly hand-mines (you read that correctly), land mines in the form of creepy hands reaching up from the ground to grab you and pull you under. When The Doctor arrives on the scene, he’s too late to save the soldier, but not the little boy, only to find out the boy’s true identity… and OUCH, what a realization that is…
Younger (angrier) Kate Lethbridge-Stewart in Downtime, portrayed by Beverley Cressman, Kate from the current series (Jemma Redgrave) in the middle, and Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (as portrayed by the late, great Nicholas Courtney).
The Family Business… Meanwhile, back at U.N.I.T. HQ (haven’t seen Torchwood make an appearance in a while), the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce is investigating the mystery of planes hovering in the sky, apparently “frozen in time”, as they desperately try to call The Doctor (their former “scientific advisor”) for help.
Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), as many of us know by now, has taken up her father’s mantle (I miss The Brigadier terribly and keep hoping former U.N.I.T members like Sergeant Benton, Jo Grant and Mike Yates will show up). It’s ironic, given their initially tumultuous relationship, as revealed in earlier classic episodes and spin-off media (Downtime), The Brig and his kid had a rocky road.
However, it’s great to have a Lethbridge-Stewart in command of U.N.I.T. again, but to see her team falter (when trying to locate the missing 12th Doctor) only to have Clara point them in the right direction, while it’s great to see Clara step up and take charge, seemed a bit off. I want my U.N.I.T. to be more on the ball. Or at the very least, to show a bit more fire when a civilian starts pushing them around! Get it together, U.N.I.T.! Where’s Brigadier Bambera(Angela Bruce) from the 7th Doctor story Battlefield? She wouldn’t take sh*t from anyone, not even Clara Oswald.
I would like to see more of that friction/friendship between the U.N.I.T team and The Doctor again – showing both sides of an argument. It was the backbone of The Doctor’s relationship with The Brigadier, someone he respected, even when they disagreed. However, there was no doubt The Brigadier was a fighter and a leader, and loyal to The Doctor ’til the end. I want to see a more bad-ass Kate. I want to see her on the battlefield, like her father – right in the thick of it – not just in a control center away from the action.
Terry Molloy as Davros and Peter Davison (my Doctor) as the 5th Doctor facing off in Resurrection of the Daleks (1984).
“I’m not here as your prisoner, Davros, but your executioner.”
– The 5th Doctor in Resurrection of the Daleks (1984)
The Moral Dilemma… For those who had a chance to see the Series 9 opener, the themes in Magician’s Apprenticemay seem familiar. They should, even for the non-classic era Whovian. The Doctor has struggled to make a final decision to take out The Daleks (and Davros) before they could become too powerful and wipe out whole worlds over several incarnations.
The question that keeps haunting The Doctor, especially since the 4th Doctor story Genesis of the Daleks (a clip from that story is featured in this episode) is – can/should time travel be used to re-write some of history’s most tragic wrongs and change the course of its bloodiest events. Can a time traveller prevent evil dictators from committing atrocities that would kill thousands, perhaps even millions, or down the line, billions upon billions of innocents?
However, aren’t those events meant to be “time-locked” (as we’ve heard often in Doctor Who – only to have the greatest of time-locked events changed – TheTime War itself) due to their scope? How will the outcome of those events shape the futureof others for generations to come? Perhaps for the better? Who has the right to make that call? Does The Doctor (aka The Lonely Angel, aka The Oncoming Storm) have that right?
Of course I’ve always wanted to see The Doctor go back in time to stop Hitler and the rise of Nazi Germany. Instead, we have Davros and the Daleks to take their place. The Doctor has had many opportunities to avert the Daleks’ creation by destroying their creator, yet he has always failed, often due to his own lack of action.
The Time Lords of Gallifrey (Timothy Dalton in the center as the Lord President of the High Council) from the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) finale The End of Time (2009-2010).
Then came the Time War… and the greatest regret for The Doctor. It cannot have escaped him that his earlier selves could have prevented The Time War and the eradication of countless worlds, including The Fall of Gallifrey (yes, I know it “falls no more” but bear with me here).
When you meddle in time, which version of events do you choose to influence? The moral dilemma keeps coming up: which timeline is worth preserving? Or meant to be preserved? We’ve seen it in come up in Doctor Who over and over again and we’ve seen this play out in other shows as well – Star Trek, Heroes, Continuum– after all, it’s the Butterfly Effect. Change a tiny event in the past and it can have dire consequences in the future.
The Time Lords had a strict “non-intervention” policy, but they’re not around to enforce it now. And let’s face it, the Gallifreyans did in fact interfere, using the CIA (Celestial Intervention Agency), when convenient, and then disavowed any knowledge of wrongdoing. So we don’t know how many events they actually shaped to their liking, but they had knowledge and oversight the average person would not possess.
The Doctor, as a Time Lord, has a sense of responsibility to keep timelines stable and in tact. But he’s been known to meddle, again, because he can see the fabric of space and time and which events are “time-locked”. If he wanted to, he could have gone back to save former companions Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), Katarina (Adrienne Hill) and other people he cared for, from dying, but wouldn’t dare contravene the The First Law of Time.
That Was Then. This is Now…
As The Doctor has grown older, he’s become more flexible when it comes to bending these laws. Perhaps, he’s grown more unstable himself. In his 9th incarnation, it was fair to say he was suffering from PTSD from the Time War and from the actions he remembered taking as The War Doctor (as we now know, he remembers incorrectly, as we learned from The 50th Anniversary Special with John Hurt). He has since, tried to redeem himself (in his 10th and 11th incarnations), but the pain and regret still linger…
Missy (Michelle Gomez)
Friends and Foes… When faced with another chance to rid the world of Davros, which road will The Doctor choose? Or did he already make that choice without realizing the consequences? The Doctor is not a murderer. He is most certainly not a child-killer, as he states in his speech in Genesis of the Daleks. But is willful neglect the same as murder? And was he, inadvertently, the architect of the very future he attempted to stop? And what happens once he realizes that abandoning that child on the battlefield of that war-torn planet, Skaro, left a fractured being that would go on to become one of his most despised enemies? Will he go back in time and finally make that one terrible choice? Will he kill an innocent child?
We know that’s not The Doctor’s style. Right? That’s The Master’s style, or in this case Missy’s (Michelle Gomez), whose relationship with The Doctor seems more grey than ever before. There is a precedent for this. The earlier Jon Pertwee incarnation and Roger Delgado’s Master had a friendly rivalry and a grudging respect for one another, that sadly, we never saw developed further once Roger Delgado passed away. Though Michelle Gomez is brilliant and gives us plenty of laughs and gasps, I miss Roger Delgado’s saner, charismatic version of The Master to this day. I imagine there’s a reason for Missy’s sudden attacks of nostalgia and sentimentality for The Doctor’s friendship in this incarnation (she keeps referring to their friendship in Magician’s Apprentice). Will she be the voice of reason this time around? Can she, of all people, save The Doctor from himself?
Time’s Champion? Or Time’s Bitch? When all’s said and done, the question we’re left with – are we all time’s bitch? Are events pre-determined? Are we all just pawns with our role to play? Even The Doctor? Are certain truths inevitable? Are The Daleks inevitable? Or can their course be altered? Should it be? Should that timeline be tampered with? Even to destroy possibly the greatest evil that has ever lived? And what repercussions will that have for the rest of the universe?
We’ll find out tonight when Part 2 – The Witch’s Familiar airs.
Fore more, check out the Series 9 Episode 2: The Witch’s Familiar trailer of Doctor Who below.
Doctor Who Series 9 airs on BBC America on Saturdays at 9 pm ET, while British fans can see it on Saturday evenings on BBC One.
Hey there, fellow Whovians, I know I’ve been a bit radio silent lately, and I apologize. Sometimes life gets in the way, but it would be remiss of me not to pop in to celebrate the return of our favorite Time Lord, The Doctor, to our screens today. And as always, I look forward to more of his inter-galactic hi-jinx.
Series 9 Cast of Doctor Who – Michelle Gomez, Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman
Once again, the TARDIS crew in the form of 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and companion Clara (Jenna Coleman), will be back to fight the good fight, and boy, did I miss them!
Series 9 of Doctor Who will see the return of Missy (aka The Master), played by Michelle Gomez,Rigsy, played by Joivan Wade (one of my favorite guest stars from Series 8), some classic era monsters like the Zygons and Daleks and another mysterious character in the form of Maisie Williams, best known for her role as Arya Stark on the HBO original series Game of Thrones.
GOODBYE IMPOSSIBLE GIRL?
At some point we will also see the departure of Jenna Coleman, finally confirmed earlier this week. Jenna will be leaving to star in the upcoming 8-part ITV series Victoria. Her exit had been rumored for some time, and it seems, has been in the works for some time as well.
Joivan Wade as Rigsy in Doctor Who
NOT JUST THE TIN DOG!
I wonder how the Impossible Girl will go out? And who will replace her? Personally, I’m hoping Rigsy (last seen in the episode Flatline) will become a permanent addition to the cast and I look forward to seeing Joivan Wade reprise his role as the young graffiti artist. He was likable, bright, compassionate and seemed to have a great rapport with Clara.
We need another male companion. Traditionally, male companions haven’t done too well on board the TARDIS (Captain Jack, played by John Barrowman, was an exception, but even he had to die and be spun off onto Torchwood – no room for him and The Doctor in the same TARDIS). I think we’re overdue. The earlier Doctors had Ian, Steven, Ben, Jamie, and the UNIT team (The Brigadier, Sgt. Benton, Captain Mike Yates, even Dr. Harry Sullivan).
Unlike the novels and audios, male companions on the TV series have suffered from abuse or disuse since the 1980s. We need a fresh young face, someone the Doctor can take under his wing, but can also teach him a few things, and I think Rigsy fits the bill nicely.
Fore more, check out the Series 9 Trailer of Doctor Who below.
Doctor Who Series 9returns tonight. American fans can watch the Doctor Who Season 9 premiere on BBC America at 9 pm ET, while British fans can see it at 7:40 pm on BBC One.
But that can’t be right, can it? I thought long and hard to myself, and truthfully, while I can recall female directors and producers (after all, the series was birthed by the late Verity Lambert and producer Julie Gardner was instrumental in helping Russell T. Davies bring back Doctor Whoin 2005), I can’t – off the top of my head – recall female writers for the series. This really gnawed at me.
Verity Lambert and Russell T. Davies
FROM FANDOM TO CALLING THE SHOTS
Often, I cite Paul Cornell as one of my top writers for the current series. Paul writes compelling science fiction and drama, as evidenced in The 10th Doctor story (originally written for 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoy) Human Nature and Father’s Day (for 9th Doctor Christopher Eccleston). Even upon repeated watchings, I am always moved to tears by these episodes.
Back in the day, it was Robert Holmes who wrote some of the best stories for the classic era, includingTheDeadly Assassinand Talons of Weng-Chiang (for 4th Doctor Tom Baker) andCaves of Androzani (for 5th Doctor Peter Davison). Surely, my favorite sci-fi show of all time had just as many female writers, right? Right? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
I owe Doctor Who for inspiring my love of science fiction and desire for self-expression. I was one of those fanfic and fanzine writers who felt compelled to expand on The Doctor’s universe. Yep, I was one of the ones people snickered at. We found refuge at conventions and dared not share our creations with the uninitiated. They wouldn’t understand… They just wouldn’t get it.
Times have changed, and some of those same con-geeks and nerds are among some of the most successful writers and producers in film and television today. FanboysPeter Jackson (Lord of the Rings),Russell T. Davies (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Queer as Folk),Mark Gatiss(Doctor Who, Sherlock) and of course, Steven Moffat (Coupling, Doctor Who, Sherlock), all started as fellow nerds and Whovians. But that’s a rather testosterone–laden list.
Buffy, BSG and Torchwood writer Jane Espenson
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE
What about the rest of us? Geek girls, fangirls, nerd girls – whatever label you choose. We’re out here, ready to produce the next Doctor Who, Star Trek or Star Wars, given the opportunity. And yet, my short list is, well, rather… short. This shouldn’t be so hard…
Maybe Buffy andBattlestar Galactica alum Jane Espenson (she also wrote for the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood starring Arrow’sJohn Barrowman) should have a go as head writer/show runner for Doctor Who? She’s written for just about every sci-fi/fantasy series in recent history (the ones I care about anyway), including Game of Thronesand Firefly.
“Outlander” author Diana Gabaldon with her two Jamies
Perhaps Outlander author, Diana Gabaldon, should try her hand at writing for our favorite Time Lord? Considering Outlander’s connection to Doctor Who it wouldn’t be a stretch. I wouldn’t mind a return to purely historical Doctor Who stories like The Aztecs,The Crusades and Marco Polo (from the William Hartnell/First Doctor era).
Fellow Whovians, which female writers would you like to see pen a Doctor Whoscript?
Series 8 continues… Stay tuned for tonight’s episode of Doctor Who – Flatline.
Airing Saturday, October 18th at 9pm on BBC America.
You must be logged in to post a comment.