Tuesday, 31 July 2012

How does this crossover work?

Siskoid just reviewed issue 3 of the Who/Trek crossover comic, in which Captain Kirk meets the fourth Doctor and they battle Troughton-era Cybermen. The Doctor being a time traveller means this is entirely reasonable in-universe, but it wouldn’t have worked like that on TV. At the time Star Trek was being made, it would be the second Doctor. (Would it be in colour?)

Likewise, the main crossover in the series is with the later Next Generation seasons, which would be the seventh Doctor and Ace? If Eleven, Amy and Rory were to meet a Starfleet crew in their home medium, and we don’t want to try a Trials And Tribble-ations “drop the characters into an old show” episode, it would have to be Kirk and Spock from the Abrams timeline...

(See also crossovers and canon when considering such matters.)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

A celebration of British TV was cut from the Olympic opening ceremony due to overruns, so we got the wheeze of the TARDIS during Bohemian Rhapsody rather than seeing what they’d show while playing the Doctor Who theme to four billion mostly confused people. Considering some of the things we did see, I imagine it would have been rather interesting.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


It's Amelia Earhart's 115th birthday. I've mentioned her nearly-companion status often enough, her role as a pioneering hero and her fate making her a perfect candidate.

Today I also learned that Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, has died.

Monday, 23 July 2012

A Series Of Skywatch Variant: The Big X-Parter

Okay, last one.

Since Skywatch is partially “what would I do in place of Torchwood” I decided to add a final entry discussing its later format as a series of miniseries, multi-part serials about world-changing developments in Children Of Earth and Miracle Day. (And a number of the spinoff audios and novels are about this big as well, such as the time-hopping comic story Rift War.)

They hark back to the Quatermass model co-opted at the start of the Third Doctor era - among other things, as DWM noted when discussing that development and pointing out that Monty Python’s Flying Circus had effectively managed to parody it a month before it started.

They set the team against a “what if?” SF or science-fantasy idea so large and/or strange that it will take five or even ten episodes to deal with it. And during that time the government will panic, the characters will go on the run, people we like will die, Captain Jack will have a relevant flashback, there will possibly be a filler episode and the world as we know it will be threatened by forces beyond our comprehension which the Doctor could probably send packing in five minutes...

I’ve looked at parallel Miracle Day ideas before, but more generally, what would sustain multiple sessions?

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The diversity of the setting

Eight wise monsters

And Doctor Who is the kind of setting where you could use all of them.

Alien invader? destroyer of worlds? Reptilian overlord? Sure.

Sentient virus? Robot uprising? Dark One? Absolutely.

(And the rogue robot advising people to follow their dreams, as it follows its dreams of taking over a planet, seems like the kind of mad detail that would suit such an adventure.)

Apocalyptic army of skeletons? It's been done.

Morrigan, Goddess of War and Death? Not much of a stretch, say she's from beyond the universe. She turned up in this week's 2000AD as patron goddess of the Iceni, in point of fact, so you can have Boudicca pop in as well.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Monday, 16 July 2012

A Series Of Skywatch 13: The Season Finale, Finale

We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Building from last week as well as the through line of the entire series, a series finale can go crazy big. (Although a surprisingly small and personal conclusion works too.)

Now is the time for brave and possibly foolhardy plans, dramatic moves, sudden but inevitable betrayal, equally sudden displays of heroics, snogging at the edge of the abyss, special guest monsters, ideas you have floating about spare...

Doctor Who And The Adventure On Your Bookshelf

Need an adventure? Grab one for just about any other RPG! I passed by this concept a while back, but Siskoid is more thorough in his examination.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Some news that may be of interest

Series seven starts August 25th.

(So I won't have to break into the Television Festival. Which is nice.)

In related news: John Barrowman intervewing Matt, Karen and Arthur... and they could all wear those clothes in-character.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

It's Gustav Klimt's 150th birthday.

His life was fairly quiet, it seems. Apart from the affairs. And the charges of his work being indecent.

... He'd be a great celebrity historical for Torchwood.

Well, there are always time-travelling art thieves to cross paths with, maybe recovering the pieces that were stolen or destroyed by the Nazis.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Vic-Toy-Ry Of The Daleks

After a long silence, Character Options have revealed a new figure as an exclusive for Comic Con. And in a change from years of not making the heroes of Celebrity Historicals, it's Winston Churchill!

Nice likeness of Ian McNeice in the role. And I never got round to getting an Ironside Dalek, so I don't mind him being boxed with one.

... But still, guys, where's our Rory figure?

Monday, 9 July 2012

A Series Of Skywatch 12: The Season Finale Begins

The Season Finale is upon us.

Building plots rear up, character connections reach crisis points, and the world (or the universe, or at least the city centre) is threatened. Can the team rise to the challenge?

Torchwood has them (indeed, the latter series are all build-up and finale) as does Primeval. Not The Sarah Jane Adventures, but it had its could-be-a-finale two-parters featuring the Trickster.

Much of the advice from the Doctor Who version (and its sequel) and the Buffy season equivalents apply here, as do general Big Two-Parter ideas, and a Secret Invasion wouldn’t feel inappropriate either.

So what about specifically Earthbound and low-key ones? Well, they can threaten everything, or just threaten everything the characters hold dear. And it would seem proper to really hit the idea of victory at a high price. Keep the tone about the level of the rest of the series, but if it’s been grim so far, may as well go that bit grimmer.

And tap existing connections of the more grounded show, too. Have friends and enemies turn up again - and enemies ready to help if the situation’s bad enough are often welcome. Call in the troops for the agency you’re sort of working for. Bring out some of that Illicit Alien Technology to go off like Chekhov’s Gun - ideally, the players should think of this themselves while spitballing possible solutions.

And the threat can be fairly quiet too. Keeping a lid on things might be part of the group’s brief, and equally, keeping the setting recognisably like modern Earth is important for a game set somewhere like modern Earth - unless you want to run a season set in a planet occupied by Daleks, they should clear off by the end of part two.

But it’s still enough to lead up to a big “oh no...” cliffhanger.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Eternity Clock Strikes Again

Following on from part one.

Oh so many many many puzzles.

Great moments in science. Possibly.

So, we may have found the Higgs Boson. Or not. We’re looking into it.

It’s always nice when there’s a definitive “Eureka!” moment, but as in all fields of endeavour this is rather rarer than a string of small “ah...” moments. So we get the story of Archimedes and the bath, Newton and the apple, Franklin and the kite. The kinds of moments that a scientifically-minded time traveller would want to go and see. How many of them are true?

Monday, 2 July 2012

A Series Of Skywatch. 11: Time Travel

Skywatch specifically doesn’t put the cast in a time machine, but the Whoniverse being what it is and genre telly being what it is, a time travel episode here and there is bound to happen. After all, Star Trek has plenty of them, including more than a quarter of the films.

(You can do all The Staples Of SF TV with illicit alien tech, as well, but let’s stick with the most Whovian oddity. I’ve left it this late so I’m not tempted to reel off the whole lot.)

Most genre shows do a one-off time travel episode at some point, including the Who spinoffs. Torchwood had these going in both directions due to the Rift on their doorstep, and a sinister time-aware cultist in town as well. The Sarah Jane Adventures had the Shopkeeper and the Captain, possibly a reference to Mr. Benn, sending the gang on vital-according-to-them missions through history. See also Blink, a mystery working backwards, where unintended time travel by the Doctor puts some normal modern people’s lives in great danger.

Like a Doctor Who story about time travel (rather than framed by it) a time travel episode of a normally-in-one-era show will generally focus on the mystery, strangeness and danger of time travel, play up paradoxes and predestination. Even restricting ourselves to Earth’s history, or the history of the place the group starts, there are plenty of ways to get in trouble.

And with no friendly time-travelling PC in the group, if the group don’t solve the mystery they could end up trapped in another century...

Since this will probably be your only time travel episode, give or take (I’d keep it down to one a series at most), make it a doozy.

These are normally historicals or these days pseudohistoricals (with or without a celebrity) so pick an era that really interests you and/or your players, find suitable visual aids (like stills of any of the cast in suitable period dramas), play up connections like ancestry and links like a ruined building restored to its former glory, bring up changing attitudes more than Doctor Who itself usually does, see how well they deal with living in history.

Let them fight Nazis, run from dinosaurs, nearly Grandfather Paradox themselves, meet and fall in love with people who died centuries ago, accidentally lead to the foundation of Skywatch...

Visits to the future in not-normally-time-travelling series tend to focus on near-future nightmares with roots in the present, a la Marvel’s Days Of Future Past. And then get back to the present just in time to fix it.

Show how amazing (and frightening, and dangerous) time travel could really be if you aren’t bouncing around the centuries every episode.