Monthly Archives: March 2017

Some Thoughts on “Doctor Who: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”

Despite what the title suggests, “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy” is not a documentary about Doctor Who. Rather, it’s a serial from 1988 starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace. The Doctor and Ace receive an invitation to visit the Psychic Circus, renowned for being the greatest traveling circus in the galaxy (although I didn’t notice anything particularly psychic about it) only to discover that it’s become a nightmarish entertainment arena where you can die if the audience does not like your performance. Getting out alive will be easier said than done, and it doesn’t help that there are other performers who are only interested in saving themselves instead of working together to ensure they can all go free.

There were several things I liked about this episode–for one thing, I thought Mags was a unique and intriguing character, and I would have liked to see her become a companion (note to self: check Big Finish audio dramas to see if the Doctor ever meets her again). I also really liked the twist about the creepy family beings the Gods of Ragnarok. However, here’s where we get into the things I didn’t like about the episode–the Gods of Ragnarok were really fascinating, but we didn’t see them until close to the end. I wanted to know more about them, how many times the Doctor has faced them before–on the whole, it felt like a waste of a good villain.

Unfortunately, “Greatest Show” was made in the era when the BBC was actively trying to kill Doctor Who, and some of the “Why won’t this show just die already!?” mentality was coming through. The biggest thing was tonal dissonances; it would be dark and creepy one minute, and the next, we’d have the Doctor making groan-inducing puns. I have no problems with Doctor Who, classic or new, combining horror and comedy, but the transition between the two was so jarring in this case that it almost made the episode seem as if it had a personality disorder.

That being said, “Greatest Show” still had its high points, and I would still recommend it for people to watch. However, this may be more of an experienced Whovian episode than someone who’s still new to it all–I wouldn’t want a newbie to watch it and then brush off Doctor Who as being dumb.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Final Countdown!

It’s March 15, and you know what that means–it’s officially one month until Doctor Who returns! And look at what we have to look forward to!

Ice Warriors! Mondasian Cybermen! A trip to Egypt! The Fourth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver! David Suchet!

Allons-y!

3 Comments

Filed under Reviews

The 1943 PotO Plot Twist That Almost Happened

As the title should make you realize, we’ve got another Phantom of the Opera post on our hands. Strap yourselves in.

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite Phantom adaptations is the 1943 movie with Claude Rains–despite its numerous departures from the book, it still manages to tell a good story (and Claude Rains gave a good performance to boot). But there was one change it almost made that would have drastically altered the story.

To be honest, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m going to talk about it again. When Universal was first working on this movie, they had the idea to make Erique the long-lost father of Christine. The backstory here was that Erique had abandoned his wife and daughter in order to pursue his dream career as a violinist at the Paris Opera House. Part of him, however, always felt guilty for abandoning his family, and when Christine came to the opera house as a singer, Erique recognized his daughter and sought to help her pursue her dream as a roundabout way of making up for abandoning her as a child. Of course, he had to do this secretly since he couldn’t just go up to her and say, “Hi, I’m the dad who abandoned you and your mother to go off and pursue my selfish desires; sorry about that.” The studio censors ultimately put the nix on that angle because they felt the Phantom’s growing obsession with Christine would start to make the relationship seem more incestuous than paternal.

Here’s the thing, though–if you watch the movie with the view that Erique is Christine’s father, there isn’t anything that really jumps out as incestuous. In fact, there are a few suggestions during the course of the movie that what the Phantom feels for Christine is not romantic at all. He denies to Christine’s tutor that he is secretly paying for her lessons because he is in love with her, and when he’s leading her to the underground lair, he’s speaking as if to soothe a frightened child. When people figured out that Erique was the Phantom, they all assumed that his interest in Christine was due to being obsessively in love with her, but imagine the shock and surprise that would have been on their faces had they learned the Phantom was terrorizing the opera house in order to make his daughter the star he knew she could be.

I think one of the biggest clues they were going to use for this reveal is that Erique knew the lullaby Christine had heard in her childhood. They way they eventually explained it in the movie was that Erique had come from the same area in France as Christine, and lots of people there probably knew that lullaby. I always thought this was a lame explanation, but the writers probably had to come up with something at the last minute after the “I am your father” storyline was retconned.

All in all, I think it was a shame they ultimately didn’t go this route–it definitely would have made for an interesting twist that you don’t see in other Phantom adaptations. And, frankly, they had already deviated so wildly from the book that it wouldn’t have made any difference.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Things of Randomness

Wolverine Tribute

This weekend saw the release of Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as Wolverine. I haven’t seen it yet, but I keep hearing great reviews for it. And I know I’m going to have mixed feelings about it–it’s another Wolverine movie! But it’s the last one with Hugh Jackman! How can this be a good thing?

Either way, I wanted to post this video as a tribute to the irascible mutant even if it’s not a particularly serious video. This was recorded in 2014 when Hugh Jackman visited a radio station to promote X-Men: Days of Future Past. This video was actually what made me decide to look into the X-Men movies, and I am so glad I did.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Things of Randomness