I’m always excited to hear that a classic Who episode is arriving on DVD. When the Doctor happens to be William Hartnell, I’m even happier. So few of his and Patrick Troughton’s episodes survived The Great Archive Wipe that any remaining episodes from Doctor Who‘s early years are always welcome. “The Reign of Terror” was one of the episodes that suffered from archive erasure back in the 1970’s, but various audio recordings survived, and the BBC took the audio and animated the missing episodes so that the serial is once more complete! How awesome is that? It’s a technique I hope they employ to replace the other missing episodes because very few things are better than watching an old black-and-white Who episode…especially the purely historical ones like “The Reign of Terror”. In my opinion, Doctor Who was at the top of its game in this story; the writing was outstanding, and the Doctor himself was in top form. When Ian and Barbara learn they have inadvertantly arrived in the middle of the French Revolution, they are keen to get back to the TARDIS immediately, but Susan cautions them that they probably won’t be leaving anytime soon because the French Revolution is the Doctor’s favorite period in Earth’s history. It was certainly easy to believe that, judging by the way the Doctor clearly enjoyed dressing up as a government official and ordering people around. He was in his element and loved every minute of it.
Something I found interesting to note, though, was the developing friendship between the Doctor and Barbara. Ever since the beginning, the Doctor had been protective of Susan and grudgingly tolerant of Ian (I think if he could have gotten away with stranding Ian on a deserted island, he would have), but he was more accepting of Barbara, perhaps because Barbara had been more open-minded about who and what the Doctor claimed to be. Barbara was never afraid of challenging the Doctor when she thought the situation required it, but they eventually developed a friendship of sorts. In fact, the Doctor seemed to regard Barbara as a sort of confidant, telling her things that he couldn’t trust with Susan or Ian.
Long story short: “The Reign of Terror” is a triumph of classic Who. Now go watch it.
Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of news stories about how Pope Francis really seeks to connect with Catholics all over the world. He enjoys interacting with them and goes to great lengths to impress upon the world that he really just prefers the simpler things in life. The world appears to have embraced him for this for reasons I’m not entirely sure I understand. But one thing has become clear to me–Pope Francis is very like a hobbit. Think about it: hobbits prefer the simpler things in life, don’t like to make a big fuss, and are more comfortable out of the spotlight than they are in it. If that doesn’t describe Pope Francis, I don’t know what does.
But I think it is a good thing that we have a hobbit for a Pope. The world always seems to get caught up in how big and grandiose something can be, and people forget about the simpler, humbler things in life, dismissing them as important. But they’re not. Quite often it is the simple, humble things that form the foundation of everyday life; if they were not there, our world would not have its basis. A lot of people tend to forget this, but thanks to Pope Francis, they are starting to remember again.
If you are, then I highly recommend AoL’s Winamp. It comes in a free version and a paid version, but even the free version is a quality product. The sound quality is heads and shoulders above others like Windows Media Player, and it also offers an extensive online radio service. If there’s a particular genre you’re looking for, chances are Winamp has it listed in its directory. It even cataloged an online Gregorian Chant station! About the only downside I can mention is that the free version of Winamp has some trouble playing MP4 video files. If you want to know more about Winamp in general, then I definitely recommend checking out their official website.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last week or so, you probably heard of the mystery priest who appeared at a crash site to pray with the girl who was trapped in the wrecked car. Because no one knew who he was or saw him arrive or leave, a lot of speculation was swirling on the interwebs that the priest was an angel or perhaps a saint who anointed Katie and prayed with her. It turns out he was a flesh-and-blood man who happened to be in the right place at the right time. Fr. Patrick Dowling, originally from Ireland, was driving from one Mass to another when the accident happened; he waited until he could get close to the accident scene and minister to Katie.
Now it might seem like a bit of a letdown that the priest was a living man when there were all sorts of theories about his being an angel or a saint whom God permitted to visit the world, but the story itself is still important. The story of the mystery priest got people thinking and talking about God again, and that is never a bad thing.
This is what it felt like leading up to the big announcement.
The wait is finally over, and we now know that distinguished British actor Peter Capaldi will take over from Matt Smith as the Doctor in the 2013 Doctor Who Christmas special. Now reactions about this have been mixed; some people are complaining that at 55 he’s too old to play the Doctor (what a change from when Matt Smith joined the show and people complained he was too young to play the Doctor!), but the majority of Whovians seem pleased that he has been cast. I am one of them. My very first Doctor was William Hartnell (who was the same age as Peter Capaldi when he first portrayed the Time Lord), and I cut my teeth on the classic series before I began watching the modern series. Long story short, I’m used to seeing older actors play the Doctor, and I remember thinking David Tennant and Matt Smith seemed awfully young for the part. Granted, they both grew on me, but part of me wished we could have another William Hartnell-like Doctor–heck, I would have settled for a Colin Baker-like Doctor (minus the coat, of course)! And now it seems that by casting an older actor, Doctor Who is returning even more fully to its roots, which is nice to see for its 50th anniversary year.