Friday, November 29, 2013

Whoniversary: Fourth Doctor Rave by Michael A. Gordon

The Doctor Who franchise turned 50 years old last week and in many ways it has never been bigger and better than it is right now. Since I just turned 45 a couple of weeks ago, it gives me hope that my best years may still be ahead of me. The British series has become a world wide pop culture phenomenon and yet it is still a very personal interest of mine. To celebrate the milestone anniversary I decided to go back to where it all began for me, with the Fourth Doctor played by Tom Baker.
The Fourth Doctor by Award-Winning Artist Mark Maddox

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Whoniversary: Thanksgiving Special

I wasn’t going to post anything today since not only is it a holiday, but it’s one I am not particularly fond of. But then it occurred to me that it might be fun to come up with…
A LIST.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Whoniversary: Phantom Who – The Day of the Doctor

Image from SciFiPulse.net because I thought it was neat. I hope they don't mind.
***WARNING: Here there be SPOILERS!***
Although honestly, if you haven’t seen “The Day of the Doctor” yet you probably don’t care.
Okay, so I already did my intro yesterday about having seen the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor” three times now. First during the simulcast on Saturday thirty years to the day after I first saw Doctor Who, next with a huge crowd of Whovians at the TimeGate/Earth Station Who/Forgotten Doctor event, and finally on Monday evening on the big screen in glorious 12D!
No, wait – it was just 3D. Hardly worth mentioning, really.
But just wait until the 100th Anniversary special with all 57 Doctors!
If you don’t get those references, hang on – I’ll get there.

Whoniversary: Phantom Who – The 50th Webisodes

I feel a weird sort of pressure writing about the 50th Anniversary special. I already discussed it with the ESW crew at the TimeGate celebration, but I wasn’t entirely comfortable doing it then. I don’t like critiquing a Doctor Who story after a single viewing, but I had no choice in the matter. “The Day of the Doctor” ended at 4:10 and our panel was scheduled at 5:00. That barely left time for me to get from the house to the Holiday Inn, let alone fit in a second viewing. I almost didn’t even have time to stop by the hotel bar and grab a drink.
Oh, and that panel is now LIVE as Episode 55 of Earth Station Who!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who Davros & Imperial Dalek from “Remembrance of the Daleks” By Underground Toys

I have said before that the Daleks are not my favorite. I don’t dislike them; I just feel like I don’t get the full Dalek effect. The concept is scary and the execution is well done. They just don’t scare me like some other villains do. As I told somebody the other night, I’d rather be exterminated by a Dalek than turned into a Cyberman. Or kissed by a Zygon.
But I think Davros is great and I love “Remembrance of the Daleks”. As you can hear if you go and listen to Episode 47 of Earth Station Who.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Whoniversary: Needless Things Podcast Episode 14 – Fifty Years of Doctor Who

If you haven’t managed to pick up on it in the last two weeks, I am a huge Doctor Who fan. A Whovian, as it were.
I’ve only recently accepted that word as a self-descriptor. I first heard it on PBS back in the 80s when they were showing “Trial of A Time Lord” in the midst of one of their famous pledge drives. The host used it in a manner that I was too young to recognize as pandering and perhaps even slightly condescending and I am only recalling this just now as I write these words. He would say things like, “I know all of you Whovians out there are going to want one of these BBC licensed Doctor Who canvas tote bags!” in the same manner that he might have said, “I know all of you lepers out there are going to want some of these bandages!”

Whoniversary: Who waits 8 months for new Doctor Who?: One Man's Love Affair with Doctor Who Spin Off Media by The Oncoming Josh

You hear it all the time. The frustrated call of the fan boy/girl.

"I have to wait HOW LONG for new episodes of Doctor Who?"

"They're splitting the season? I'll have to wait for months for the story to finish!"

"Why isn't Doctor Who on ALL THE TIME???"


Well, actually, it is. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who Ace from “Remembrance of the Daleks” By Underground Toys

Ace is one of my favorite companions from Doctor Who and I’ve been looking forward to the day Character Options/Underground Toys would get around to making her. I’m actually a little surprised that it took as long as it did given that Sophie Aldred has always been a big supporter of the franchise.

Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who 3 ¾” Scale Dalek By Underground Toys

EXTERMINATE!”
What? What else am I supposed to use as a Dalek quote?
Lil’ Troublemaker has this stuffed Dalek that says three or four phrases, the most commonly uttered of which is, “You would make a good Dalek”, which is creepy at first but gets really old after the thousandth time.
But that’s neither here nor there.
Today, what is here is the new tiny Dalek from Underground Toys. I saved this one for last because it’s easily the best of the series and I wanted to go out on a high note given how disappointing some of the other releases were.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Whoniversary: Doctor Who USA 1985 by John Michals

Doctor Who in the 1980's. It seems like such a long time ago. How could it be? It was a dark time for Doctor Who - though it should've been a very bright time. Here in NYC we had at least three channels broadcasting Doctor Who. That is, if you could pick them up. They were all UHF stations, NJN, WLIW and WNYC, and you needed a very well placed antenna to grab their signals. Daily doses of Doctor Who and stories edited together as Saturday night features all of different eras. Add to that the Doctor Who Traveling Museum was visiting America, or "the States" as we are sometimes referred to. This should've been a crowning jewel for a show which had just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Instead it seemed like a desperate last gasp. The show was facing cancellation. The BBC cited low ratings despite the fact that Attack of the Cybermen drew in 9 million viewers. The BBC head of programming had axed the show but fan outcry had caused him to reverse his decision and call it a "hiatus". Many, many years later, it would be revealed that he had been sleeping with Colin Baker's ex-wife. Co-incidence perhaps?

Whoniversary: What I Want From the New Doctor by Beth V

My dad told me that he started watching Doctor Who when he was a kid. He got my mom into it, and (because I had no control over the TV when I was a kid) I was indoctrinated as well. Tom Baker became the Doctor the year I was born, so he's the Doctor I remember seeing first. And even after I got to know the earlier Doctors when my dad started buying old episodes on VHS he was still my favorite. You never forget your first Doctor. Although I may have been initially forced into Doctor Who by simply being in the room while it was on I grew to love it. And I’ve loved it ever since. With a brand new Doctor just around the corner I've been speculating about what the new season will bring. I always start out skeptical when they announce the casting of a new Doctor, but Peter Capaldi could be just the shot in the arm that Doctor Who needs. I got to thinking back to Doctors past, what it was I liked or disliked about them, and what I want to see from this next incarnation of the man in the blue box. 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who 3 ¾” Scale Weeping Angel By Underground Toys

“…”
Just like many Whovians, I am suffering from Angel fatigue.
I mean, the whole hunky, sultry vampire with a soul thing. And what’s up with that hair? Are you seriously telling me that a demonic creature of the night gets up every evening and spends half an hour with a can of mousse? The guy totally knows how to dress, though.
Haha! Just a little cross-franchise nerd humor there!

Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who 3 ¾” Scale Ice Warrior By Underground Toys

Harm one of us, and you harm us all. By the moons, this I swear!
Oh, how we all longed for the Ice Warriors’ return!
Pretty much every Whovian on the planet had been in agreement since the show’s return that the return of the Ice Warriors would be very cool. Like the Silurians and Sea Devils, the Ice Warriors were interesting creatures with a solid backstory. They had a whole society that had evolved and existed beyond the Doctor’s influence, and were introduced as part of a larger universe that just keeps going on regardless of the Time Lord’s presence. The sort of stuff that great fictional tapestries are woven of.
We wanted to see them return because of these things, as well as their stolid manner and hulking, menacing forms.
But mostly I think we just wanted to see how they would be updated.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Whoniversary: Bigger on the Inside by Michael A. Goodwin

You never forget your first Doctor. That’s the saying, anyway. There are many shirts and galleries of art that repeat the phrase, though I am unclear who said it first. Of course, it’s entirely true. You don’t forget your first Doctor. You can’t. You travel the universe, past and future, whirling and bouncing through time in his blue TARDIS box. You run with him. You laugh with him. You cry with him. You can’t ever quite tell what your Doctor will teach you, how wonderful or painful the lesson will be, or how much bigger that lesson will turn out to be on the inside than it first appeared.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Whoniversary: CONFESSIONS OF AN UNREPENTANT WINO* (Whovian-In-Name-Only) by Chad J. Shonk

I grew up a nerd and am still a nerd.

(I’m not going to use the G-word because these days it carries with it too many positive connotations. Man, really didn’t see that coming.)

The proof is pretty extensive if you look at my high school resume:

Eyeglasses. Bad at sports. Bad skin. Bad hair. Bad clothes. Socially awkward, especially around girls. A victim of bullying. Gifted program. Big reader (mostly of fantasy and science-fiction). Comic books. Dungeons & Dragons. Star Wars. Star Trek. Magic: The Gathering. Chess. PC games. Axis & Allies. Monty Python. MST3K. Bowling. Heavy metal. Weird Al. A group of similarly-nerdy friends.

The only counterpoints to my nerd-cred are that I didn’t get good grades and that I was terrible at science and math.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who 3 ¾” Scale Cyberman from Underground Toys

Upgrade in progress...”
As I mentioned in my introduction to Needless Things’ Whoniversary, the Cybermen scare me. In my opinion they are the Doctor’s most dangerous and terrifying adversaries, not just in appearance but in motivation.

Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who 3 ¾” Scale Clara from Underground Toys

Is there a word for total screaming genius that sounds modest and a tiny bit sexy?
I have to admit a little something to you here – I am not a big fan of Stephen Moffat’s Mary Sue character, Clara.
I liked her a lot in Asylum of the Daleks. But then the very nature of her character and her story arc regressed Clara to the point of being a helpless and uninteresting companion. And then several sub-par episodes later we find out that Moffat has insinuated his little doll into the entirety of Doctor Who history.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Whoniversary: My Doctor by Robert McIntyre

My love of Doctor Who started way back in the swinging sixties, although the swinging part passed me by as I was only 4 when the swinging was at its height in 1965. Swinging to me was hanging from a tree branch and swaying back and forth for as long as I could, they were the days you could play out all day long and just have a bottle of water and the jam sandwich to survive on. We were out every day for as long as we could except for one day, that day was Saturday the one day you would think that we wouldn’t have to worry about the time. However on a Saturday at around 5:30pm Doctor Who - the greatest TV show ever - was on and it was a programme you just could not miss. If you did you had nothing to talk about in the playground on Monday. There was no catch up TV, DVR’s or plus 1 channels - when it was gone it was gone forever, or so we thought in those days. Now I cannot remember precisely when I first started watching Doctor Who but I recently watched the William Hartnell episode The Time Robber. While watching it I realised that I had seen it before so 1965 - the year that episode was shown - would seem like a good starting point on when I started watching the show.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Whoniversary: Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who 3 ¾” Scale Doctor from Underground Toys

Time travel is damage. It's like a tear in the fabric of reality. That is the scar tissue of my journey through the universe. My path through time and space. From Gallifrey to Trenzalore.
One of the deciding factors in my purchase of these new, smaller Doctor Who figures was the Doctor’s purple coat. I love a purple coat. I very badly want the Abbyshot Clothiers replica of the Doctor’s purple coat, but it costs $430 and I can’t spend that on a purple coat. Especially not after just spending a bunch of money on a new couch and love seat set. Imagine that conversation:
Mrs. Troublemaker: We need new couches in the living room. The sofa falls apart a little bit more every day and is possibly actively trying to murder us. The futon is… well, it’s a fucking futon.
Me: Yeah, but I want this new Doctor Who coat.
Mrs. Troublemaker: I am going to stab you in the face.
Me: Hey, we should go look at sofas!

Whoniversary: Timey Wimey Toy Review Doctor Who Spin and Fly TARDIS from Underground Toys

"All of time and space; everywhere and anywhere. Every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?"
I was furious when Character Options/Underground Toys announced that they were switching scales for the modern Doctor Who line. While I was never a fan of the 5” scale they initially chose (because it means my Who collection is not compatible with anything), I now have a massive collection of Doctor Who toys in this scale.
What was even more baffling was the decision to continue the Classic line in the 5” scale. So now the Doctor Who line isn’t even compatible within itself.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Welcome to the Whoniversary- Needless Things' Celebration of 50 Years of Doctor Who

Time to write about Doctor Who.

I had been planning to solicit for Guest Posts about Doctor Who for quite some time. There are many reasons for me to do Guest Posts on Needless Things:
  1. It gives those who might not otherwise have an outlet for their stories a place to share; I don’t need credentials or anything. I like to post anything from anybody. From folks who have had movies made from scripts they’ve written to people who haven’t written anything since high school. I want this to be an outlet for anybody.
  2. I’m always interested to see the responses I get. Not just what is written, but who responds. I’m not gonna lie – it’s a bit of an ego stroke to know that people are writing something for this little site I started.
  3. It is very slightly less labor-intensive to edit and publish other people’s work than it is to write something myself. It gives me a sort of break. And after October, I really needed November to be less intense.
So I knew I would be posting a number of Doctor Who toy reviews and several works from different fans and Whovians. I haven’t reviewed all of the submissions yet, but I am already excited beyond words about what Needless Things has in store for you over the next two weeks. There are some thoughtful retrospectives, examinations of the franchise, an exciting piece about the world of Doctor Who beyond television, and one entry that quite literally moved me to tears. But obviously I would have to provide the introductory post myself. I mean, this is my site, after all.

That meant it was time to write about Doctor Who.

Again.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Best Cartoon Ever (of the Month) - BraveStarr by Kalan

As a lot of us in the cartoon world know, we lost a monolith in our community last month with the passing of Lou Scheimer. No one lives forever, but leaving behind a body of work as impressive as Scheimer's is something to be recognized. If I could accomplish even slightly what that man did, I would be on good terms with my own mortality. So many people my age and older (because I actually came in towards the “end” of his career) will always have a special place in our hearts for his creations. I just wanted to preface this month with a tremendous “thanks”, to Lou Scheimer and his family, for making my childhood cartoon watching as awesome as it was. That being said....



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Filmation Nepthu from Mattel – Tag Team Review

“After a lifetime of searching, the Sun Scarab is mine. And with it I, Nepthu, can rule Eternia! No - the whole universe!”

I don’t dislike Nepthu like I do Karatti, but I also didn’t really feel all that inclined to give him a full review. He’s basically a guy in a towel and a dick hat. But before I even really had time to think about reviewing this precursor to Mumm-Ra the Ever Living, Mr. Beau Brown sent me his review, unsolicited.
I was ecstatic.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Toy Collecting

After Dragon Con I was contacted by a newly-minted Phantomaniac about toy collecting. They wanted to know how to start and get some tips about maintaining a collection. I was happy to help. Partially because I’m a nice guy, partially because I was flattered that anybody would come to me for advice about anything, and mostly because I thought, “Holy shit – that’s a great idea for a post!”

So I cranked out a couple thousand words and warned this person that while they got first dibs and a slightly more personalized article, I would be posting this thing come November. It was just too perfect a pre-Christmas post to not use.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Karatti from Mattel by Mr. Beau Brown

Hey folks – I don’t normally give Beau’s stuff an intro because he’s a regular contributor now and doesn’t need it, but I wanted to mention that he actually submitted this several weeks ago. I just didn’t post it because I didn’t feel Karatti was Halloweeny enough. Heck, I wasn’t even going to review this sub-standard lump of crap at all. That’s why Beau is doing it. Here’s our conversation on the matter:
Phantom: I think I really hate Karatti. I don’t even want to review him.
Beau: I guess I could.
Phantom: DONE.
Beau: Oh… crap.
So here’s Beau, with a ton more enthusiasm than I could have ever worked up about this suck mutant from outer space.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Needless Things wants YOU for the Doctor Who Anniversary!

Calling all Whovians!

I am looking for Guest Posters for Needless Things to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who in November. If you have anything that you would like to say about this legendary science fiction program, Needless Things wants to post it! I don’t care who you are or what you do – if you are a Doctor Who fan, you have a voice! Never written before? DO IT NOW! Needless Things wants you!

Retrospectives? Yes. Episode reviews? Yes. Personal experiences? Yes. Fan Fiction? Sure! Why the heck not?

The five posts with the most hits as of November 24th will be featured on the Earth Station One Network in the week following the 50th Anniversary Special.

Submissions must be 1000 words or more. I will be happy to edit if requested. Regardless of requests I will edit if it is necessary. Please include pictures relevant to your subject matter. 
 
I would ask that everybody that participates share Needless Things anywhere and everywhere during the Whoniversary. Anybody that does not participate should feel free to do the same. As a matter of fact, everybody just go ahead and share Needless Things’ material all the time!

If you are interested in participating, message me via Facebook.

Submissions must be received by me no later than midnight on Friday, November 8th

Unless you have a TARDIS I can borrow. 
 
Happy Whoniversary to everybody!

-Phantom