Wednesday, 28 December 2016

All Of Time And Star Wars

Legends Of Tomorrow to do “what if George Lucas never made Star Wars?

I had this idea a while back, with the change point being in his drag-racing days, when a crash encouraged him to go to study film instead.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

The Return Of Doctor Mysterio

The Return Of Doctor Mysterio was one way to have party balance in a Doctor Who group...

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Travelers

Travelers is a new time travel series, for Netflix from one of the producers of Stargate SG-1, about psionic time travellers coming from the future to save the present. Looks like just the present from the trailer, will they move elsewhen as well?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Pearl Harbor

The Pearl Harbor attack which brought the USA into the Second World War was seventy-five years ago today. It has its share of time-travel stories already...

Timeless coming to UK TV

Timeless will show on E4, starting Wednesday the 14th. I hear rather mixed things about the levels of paradoxical mucking around going on...

Thursday, 1 December 2016

World AIDS Day

Not the kind of day I generally mark here, but an important one.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Class reading

More adaptations of novels by Class creator Patrick Ness, with Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland looking to star in Chaos Walking.

Monday, 28 November 2016

The Size Of The Miniatures

Thanks to vanvlak on Lead Adventure, a size comparison of the Warlord Games aliens with some humanoids from other companies.

Perry, Silence, Infinity, Judoon, Foundry, Zygon, GW

They look a fair size to me. I would like to see how the Doctors and companions match up too...

Monday, 14 November 2016

Sir Frederick Banting

A Google Doodle for the 125th birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, discoverer of insulin, and so it’s also World Diabetes Day.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Dalek miniatures for Time Vortex

The plastic Daleks for Time Vortex, the Miniatures Game, previewed here.

Hm. Well, they look like nice Time War era Daleks. And snap together is handier than needing glue, and the eyestalk attached to the base should be stronger than one attached to the head. But compared to the 80s Citadel four-part versions who had separate heads (and a choice of plunger or claw) making a multi-part figure with no posing options seems like a step back, and the separate eyestalk means moving the head around would involve cutting all three parts.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

BBC TV is 80 years old

The first day of BBC television was November 2nd 1936.

It took over a year for something SF-y to be made, but there were a few things before Quatermass hit in 1953. Stranger From Space, Number Three, Time Slip, The Lost Planet...

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Regeneration

To quote Cameron McEwan at BBC Worldwide on Twitter:

50 years ago today, Doctor Who fandom was truly launched with fans moaning, “The new guy isn’t as good as the one before!”

It’s the idea that let this show run for half a century, especially when Patrick Troughton didn’t just play a rejuvenated version of William Hartnell’s Doctor but the role changed to suit him.

It’s very obviously an idea brought into the fiction from practical concerns, but it has come to matter to the story, especially with other Time Lords changing as well - and usually being better at it than the Doctor, as they can stay similar across regenerations more easily in smaller roles. I’ve run with that in RPGs, where recasting isn’t necessary - Kai in The Door In Time is really good at regenerating under stress, for example.

And I’ve used regeneration as a plot hook a few times. Its power can ignite dying stars, save (and change) other lives, burn, and more, and it allows a skilled user to become someone else even if they don’t need to heal...

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Gunfight At The O.K. Corral

The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was 135 years ago today. It was also not actually at the O.K. Corral, starting a grand tradition of reporting it inaccurately, as seen early in Doctor Who...

Monday, 24 October 2016

Antoni van Leeuwenhoek

Happy... 384th birthday to Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, father of microbiology.

Yes, I know Doctor Who did Fantastic Voyage a couple years ago with Into The Dalek, but hey.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Class is now in session

For Tonight We Might Die is an interesting title choice for the first episode...

The Coach With The Dragon Tattoo to follow.

To avoid spoilers, reviews once they’re on the unsmart TV in a few days.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Anniversary Of The Cybermen

Fifty years today! Their golden anniversary!

What? Oh.

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, the Cybermen are great creepy identity-destroying body horror monsters - for kids! Daleks reign supreme but it’s the Cybermen that give me the chills. Notice how Asylum Of The Daleks has them converting people...

As the Daleks are the opposite of the Doctor’s tolerance and reluctance to use violence, the Cybermen are the opposite of his individualism and warmth.

Want to bring them into a game? Always a good excuse to use a different design!

The totally-impractical-on-TV Flood Cybermen perhaps...

And maybe to mess with expectations, bring in Kroton!

An adventure hook from Peter Capaldi

The Doctor finds himself in... Doctor Who.

Paul Cornell did something similar in the last IDW comic special, from the outside looking in.

So did Eerie Indiana, and I stole it for The Watch House before Supernatural did. ;)

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Time Clash

Doctor Who: Time Clash!

Nearly named after one of the most poorly reviewed Doctor Who stories ever, Time Clash is a new card game from Cubicle 7 about the Doctor and enemy teams trying to move their plans forward and thwart the other side.

The Trans-Siberian Railway

A lovely and slightly mad animated Google Doodle celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Trans-Siberian Railway and a reminder that it was completed while Russia was busy falling apart while fighting the Great War, making it all the more remarkable.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Totally Not Doctor Who Miniatures

Before Warlord Games produced official Doctor Who miniatures a number of mostly British companies produced various Totally Not Doctor Who miniatures, of various Doctors, companions, enemies and a few monsters. These have mostly gone away in the last couple months, which is a shame as modern-day civilian type miniatures were useful beyond their intended Whovian purposes.

(And they were mostly 28mm scale while the new Warlord figures are 33mm. Which is also a shame, as there are a lot more 28mm lines around including Warlord’s own historical ranges, which would have made it easy to have the TARDIS land in various eras...)

Monday, 5 September 2016

Class Badge

Class now has a logo, as revealed on the covers of three tie-in novels. And is that The Crack?

Friday, 2 September 2016

The Great Fire of London

Today is the 350th anniversary of the start of the Great Fire of London, which as we all know was caused by Terileptils, the favourite monsters of Doctor Who fans who think the sonic screwdriver is a bit much.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Paternoster Investigations

Paternoster Investigations, the second era book for the Doctor Who RPG is now available in PDF and pre-order for the book, covering the Victorian era. (This also makes it the second book in a row with Neve McIntosh in lizard makeup on the cover, after The Silurian Age!) Episode guides, character sheets for the Paternoster gang, Jago and Litefoot and more, advice, a ready-to-run adventure - and probably a joke about corsets in there somewhere too.

Class Photo

That pun is not getting old.

A first photo from Class, now that filming has wrapped, showing April, the mysterious Miss Quill, and a laser gun.

As you can see from the RT article, wild mass guessing about what this photo means in terms of the show’s plot, mood and style is already underway. More to come between now and October...

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Win a page of original John Ridgway DWM art

Just send an artistic response to this by Wednesday. Apparently hardly anyone has, so you would be in with a shot!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A different Doctor Who miniatures game?

Announced in October, now apparently in pre-orders, Time Of The Daleks from Gale Force Nine (makers of D&D boardgames, Star Trek Ascendancy and Firefly: The Game) “contains highly detailed miniatures representing the Daleks and six of the regenerations of the Doctor and a host of additional miniatures”...

No images of figures or other components yet, or indications of scale.

Which six? I would guess the four modern ones and two more... Eight and War?

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Rio 2016

Any Doctor Who adventure ideas came from the 2016 Olympic opening ceremony?

Rio, and Brazil in general, have their share of history that could inspire adventures. From the spotlighted figures in the ceremony, I must admit that I had never heard of Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont before and he sounds like the type of character the Doctor might recruit when needing to fly somewhere in the early 20th century. Or to encourage the creation of the wristwatch!

And respect to Tunisia for wearing Tenth Doctor blue suits with red ties...


Twelfth Doctor and companions miniatures


Like the Clara. Is Strax really that big? Hmm.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Updates on the Doctor Who Miniatures Game

First look at the complete set of Tenth Doctor And Companions in pre-orders, adding Rose and Donna to Martha and Wilf, and the box for Twelve, Clara and the Paternoster Gang. £19.99 per box (£4 per figure, ouch!) for metal.

Confirmation of plastic Dalek, Cybermen and UNIT soldier sets on the way.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Time travel films getting TV remakes

Time After Time and Frequency are both coming to small screens. Both were perfectly self-contained movies, and Time After Time in particular feels like it could be a stretch as one person (H.G. Wells) pursues another person (Jack the Ripper) across time, while Frequency could easily become a gimmick for a procedural show, with a mystery about the time-radio and maybe some mysterious origin stuff too.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Nettie Stevens

A Google Doodle for the 155th birthday of Nettie Stevens, pioneering geneticist who found the X and Y chromosomes. “Before Stevens’ work, scientists thought that the mother or the environment determined if a child was born male or female.” Which allowed Henry VIII to get away with dumping wives for giving him daughters, for example.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Our lives may depend on a Dalek!

Bacteria on the Dalek at Broadcasting House could be vital to future medicines.

If that doesn’t give you an adventure hook about capturing a Dalek for science...

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

A Google Doodle for the 180th birthday of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first Englishwoman to qualify as a physician and surgeon in Britain, co-founder of the London School of Medicine, mayor of Aldeburgh.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Rok Of The Reds

And on the subject of Doctor Who comics, the legendary John Wagner and Alan Grant are back, writing an alien invasion threatening a lower-rung British football club in Rok Of The Reds for BHP.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Tutankhamun's Dagger From The Stars

Tutankhamun was buried with a dagger forged from meteor iron, according to a new scientific analysis. Okay, not really alien tech, but...

Lotte Reiniger

A grand Google Doodle today for the... 117th birthday of Lotte Reiniger, pioneer of silhouette animation going back to the silent film era and on for over sixty years.

The silent era was the Gold Rush of filmmaking with all kinds of people trying all kinds of ideas - she did her first animation when Paul Wegener found he could not rats to play their part in The Pied Piper Of Hamelin, and was able to make her first feature film because a friend had bought a lot of film stock during the Weimar hyperinflation panic.

There has to be a story there... perhaps presented as a shadow play...

Monday, 30 May 2016

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Russell T Davies adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream contained quite a few other familiar names from modern Who, like Murray Gold providing the music and Millennium Effects at work as well.

Don’t be looking for a definitive reading of the text here. The Hollow Crown this is not.


Theseus is presented as juuuuust a bit Fascist in style (although the jacket also suggests Mountie) which earns him one of the biggest rewrites. Others include rather less suicide talk from Hermia and Helena, which is nice. The mix of modern, WWII and medieval in Athens could provide inspiration for something Whovian - the guards are a bit Dredd but also a bit Robomen...


The Fairies led by Maxine Peake and Nonso Anonzie have gone full Changeling: The Dreaming. Bottom is still recognisably Matt Lucas, but you can’t have everything. ;)


Bernard Cribbins!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

DWM 500

Issue 500 of Doctor Who Magazine (including the original Weekly title in the numbering, with a cover referring back to it) is on shelves now, running to 116 pages with interviews with Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi and Tom Baker, sealed in a card envelope with a magazine about its history running to another 116 pages, a great big poster, an Iron Legion art card, and a set of stickers featuring DWM logos, the TARDIS, the Vworp! Vworp! sound effect, monsters, and, er, the long discontinued sweets advertising character from the back page of issue 1, and Paul Cornell.

The comic strip is a celebration of the run (and quite right too!) with art from Dave Gibbons onwards and naturally centred on the long-suffering town of Stockbridge and poor old Maxwell Edison, among many many others.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Suzanne Lenglen

Suzanne Lenglen, whose 117th birthday (of course) is marked today by a Google Doodle, changed women’s tennis with her skill and her statements on its rules and attitudes, and the place of women in sport and society as well.

The Independent says that in 1914, at age 15, “she won the World Hard Court Championships, making her the youngest winner of any major tennis championship – a title which she still holds.”

She was an early female sports star, her style pushed the flapper look into the mainstream and she encouraged women to follow her example in active pursuits.

An adventure could feature her expertise - aliens seeking to challenge humanity’s champions, perhaps, or needing to find someone who can strike a target just so to deactivate a killer space automaton threatening Paris - or her effect on society, with someone wanting to change it.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

The Traveller and Sophie versus the mutants

Stumbled across this quite by accident - paper horror miniatures featuring totally not the War Doctor and Ace battling an outbreak of mutant zombies.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Timeless

Timeless looks like it could be pretty interesting - essentially a modern-day Time Police show so it gets the Stargate small cast thrown into SF adventures every week, in a prototype time machine that works most of the time...

“The future is not on your side!”

The trailer presumably comes from the pilot. The show could be heavily serialised, or more “year of the week” in style. We’ll see.

Fingers crossed for dinosaurs, if not Daleks.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

And introducing...

Pearl Mackie as Bill. Who judging by her first two-minute adventure will be funny.

And fan art from Stephen Byrne, which was Ms. Mackie’s first retweet post announcement, which I will take as a good sign.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Prince

His name was Prince, and he was funky. And a superhero.

It would be pretty easy to construct a time and space odyssey from his fantasy and SF lyrics and notes.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Victoria Wood

Victoria Wood was funny, smart, odd and lovely. She also gave us Jim Broadbent as the Doctor (poking fun at the technobabble rather than the effects) and for that alone she would be worth celebrating.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Warlord Games miniatures previews

10, Martha, Wilf, Judoon and captain and the previously-previewed Zygon, physical and painted. Apparently at a scale where 10 is 33mm. So they may not be compatible with, er, anything. Which seems like a shame.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

More Titan Doctor Who comics

Today sees issue one of the Ninth Doctor ongoing series, and news of a Torchwood series as well with John Barrowman and his sister Carol writing it.

Need an adventure idea? There should be at least one on the stands every week, I reckon, and generally good ones too.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Soviet Moon Bases In Children's Books

Soviet Moon Bases from 1950s and 60s ideas, some from children’s books. Some with helicopters. Somehow this bothers me more than people walking around without spacesuits.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Class cast

Registration for Class is now well underway.

“I’ve always wondered if there could be a British Buffy,” Steven Moffat comments, filling those of us who remember Demons with an icy dread.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

The Easter Rising, 1916

I do not feel qualified to discuss this, so I will just note that this is the 100th anniversary of a major turning point in Irish history.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Caroline Herschel

Caroline Herschel, astronomer and comet hunter, receives an animated Google Doodle spreading the word on her 266th birthday.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Rakhee Thakrar in the TARDIS?

I would be cool with this rumour, having cast here in one of my DWAITAS games.

Meanwhile, Peter Capaldi has been speaking about the show wandering the BBC One schedule. I concur. Down with this sort of thing.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Aliens on e4

A new British genre series, The Aliens is... well, it’s District 9 with humanoids, really. A customs and immigration officer on the wall keeping refugee aliens out of human civilisation. As metaphors go its pretty familiar, and the alien ghetto has a similar run-down look. The aliens being humanoid gives it a less them-and-us initial setup, and being a series it individualises more aliens.

Clara Rockmore

Another lovely interactive Google Doodle for the, er, 105th birthday of Clara Rockmore, inventor of the Theremin. An example of her work shows how it is supposed to sound before it became the instrument of choice for alien invasions in the 1950s. It remains a reminder of the unseen effect we can have on the world.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Happy World Book Day! (Not to be confused with World Book Night, which it usually is.)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

A Wrinkle In Time In Cinemas Some Time Soon?

It looks like A Wrinkle In Time is on its way to cinemas, adapted by Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee and Selma director Ava DuVernay, although she may make another SF movie in the meantime if Lupita Nyong’o is available to star in it.

I’ve mentioned A Wrinkle In Time here before due to it being a story from the early 1960s involving time travel, alien threats and mysterious people called Mrs. Whatsit, Which and Who.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Blackstar: The Series

UNBOUND is a drama miniseries on Instagram, based on David Bowie’s Blackstar.
“In the Fall of 2015, David Bowie gave us unique pre-release access to the music from ★ (pronounced ‘Blackstar’), his 28th studio album, allowing us to create our own visual interpretations of his songs, with no limits or preconditions on his part.
Completed in December 2015, UNBOUND: A★InstaMiniSeries takes the audience on a journey of evocative images inspired by the moods suggested in the album’s music, lyrics and artwork.”
Judging by the introductory clip it appears to have people appearing from thin air in a dark library, a sinister silhouetted figure and a Labyrinth style crystal ball. Something fantastical, perhaps?

I doubt it will involve a mysterious stranger opposing the apocalypse cult ruling a failed space colony like my interpretation of the Blackstar video... be cool if it did though...

Friday, 12 February 2016

Future Retro Space Tourism Posters

For NASA and JPL, artists created posters for sites like Mars and Venus for a golden age of space travel that hasn’t happened yet. (Thanks to ShortscaleDave on Lead Adventure.)

Ceres - Queen Of The Asteroid Belt!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The BBC made the first SF TV show

R.U.R. aired on this day in 1938, a adaptation of the play that introduced the word Robot, making it apparently the first piece of SF ever televised. Inevitably there are no recordings, and that photo might not be from it...

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

A great SF author... who does not exist.

Edson McCann won a new SF writing award despite (a) submitting after deadline and (b) actually being Fredrik Pohl and Lester Del Rey, already well-established and, oh, friend of the judge and sometimes published by the contest sponsors. Not the most dramatic case of needing a nom de plume, but the backstory of a nuclear physicist writing in secret about the sinister power of corporate interests would be...

All Souls

All Souls, or possibly A Discovery Of Witches, is a new series from Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, based on an urban fantasy novel series and to be adapted by Ashley Pharoah of Life On Mars.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Happy New Year Of The Monkey

It’s New Year in the Chinese Zodiac, and year of the Monkey. The monkey is a major feature in Chinese mythology, not least the anti-hero of Journey To The West, which to a certain generation in the UK was the basis for MONKEY and a long-term influence on us.

Like the Horse and unlike the Sheep last year, the role of monkeys in Chinese culture can suggest a variety of adventure hooks - monkeys who can speak or take human form, creatures that look like moneys to deceive.

The Periodic Table

Here in the UK a Google Doodle celebrates Dmitri Mendeleev’s 182nd birthday (making him six years younger than Jules Verne) and the Periodic Table, the great ongoing work of organising and instruction of chemistry.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Do you wanna come with me?

The main Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer is so good that it can make just about anything feel grand and emotive and epic. Need an example? Masters Of The Universe.

So... for something already emotive and a wee bit epic... like the return of Doctor Who in 2005...

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Australia Day

The Google Doodle for Australia Day makes a showing for its indigenous people. As noted before, Doctor Who has never visited Australia (not counting a scene shot in the UK in 1966) so would one story fit a turning point in national history? Or should we look at Australian SF?

You have been watching...

An oddly not-animated Google Doodle indicates that today marks the 90th anniversary of the first demonstration of television. A rare luxury before the war, it became more common in the UK in time for the Coronation, as seen in The Idiot’s Lantern.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Friday, 22 January 2016

2016 off, 2017 Moffat, 2018 Chibnall

So, there is news.

“Feels odd to be talking about leaving when I’m just starting work on the scripts for season 10, but the fact is my timey-wimey is running out. While Chris is doing his last run of Broadchurch, I’ll be finishing up on the best job in the universe and keeping the TARDIS warm for him. It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk him into this, but I am beyond delighted that one of the true stars of British Television drama will be taking the Time Lord even further into the future. At the start of season 11, Chris Chibnall will become the new showrunner of Doctor Who. And I will be thrown in a skip.”
Steven Moffat, announcing his departure.

Also, S10 will be in spring 2017, not this autumn.

In the meantime, Class is on the way...

Wilbur Scoville

A Google Doodle game for the 151st birthday of Wilbur Scoville, who measured the heat of peppers.

So, er, plot? Something about alien gourmands seeking the spiciest food in the galaxy?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Synchronicity

A new time travel film that takes an idea from Back To The Future Part II and runs with it.

Time: the series

Yes, really, just Time.

An action-adventure drama in which “an unlikely trio traveling through time to battle unknown criminals in order to protect history as we know it.”

Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Eric Kripke (the first five years of Supernatural) are producing.

Not to be confused with the time travel comedy pilot from Phil Lord and Chris Miller which was called In Time but has apparently lost that title.

Which is also not to be confused with the film In Time.

Don’t get confused.

Are you confused?

Friday, 15 January 2016

Robert Banks Stewart

Robert Banks Stewart, creator of the Zygons and Krynoids - as well as Shoestring and Bergerac and the adaptation of The Darling Buds Of May - has died. My condolences to his family, friends and fans.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Blackstar

As I noted when it came out, sort of joking but not really, the title song and video for David Bowie’s Blackstar is a great piece of nightmarish SF that would make a fantastic episode of Doctor Who. So...

David Bowie

As noted in TWH, David Bowie was a man of many faces and roles. His connections to SF and fantasy, in his music and acting and beyond, naturally included some direct and indirect links to the Doctor and his world. Among other things, including some near-miss appearances on the show, he inspired a companion for the Doctor in the comics, who changed his appearance as much as the Doctor himself.

When I started a Doctor Who play-by-post game, I called the first adventure...


And had we gotten as far as featuring the Master, that adventure would have been called The Man Who Sold The World.

Also on RPGnet, Kammerice came up with 36 adventure hooks from Bowie titles.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Happy 45th anniversaries to the Master and Jo Grant!

They both made their first appearances in Terror Of The Autons on January 2nd, 1971.

And I had to change this entry title from “anniversary” to “anniversaries” because it looked like they were married!

Which would have been a slightly odd plot hook at the time, but far from the oddest...