Friday, April 29, 2016

Whovian Chatter: The Pertwee Years Seasons Nine and Ten

Ghost here, thanks for joining.

I'm going to be examining Doctor Who... every single episode.  I'm going to take you on a journey through the 50+ years worth of this show, showcasing the good and the bad along the way.  For each episode I'm going to give you a very brief rundown of the plot, how good/bad the story is, and anything interesting about the episode.  Basically I'll just talk about whatever comes to mind for each of them.  These will be a more in-depth overview of the series as a whole so you can see which stories or episodes (if any) you want to check out for yourself.  Today I'm going to be talking about

The Third Doctor
Jon Pertwee
Seasons Nine and Ten

Season Nine of Doctor Who ran from January 1, 1972 to June 24, 1972.  It contained 26 episodes across 5 stories.  Season nine is truly the middle point of the Pertwee Era in all ways imaginable. While the first two seasons of the Pertwee Era were almost entirely on earth, the last two seasons only had him on modern Earth if if felt like it as his exile was removed in season ten.  That leaves season nine which has one story completely modern Earth, two stories of Modern Earth with some time travel shenanigans, and two off-world stories.  The show was transitioning out of the Earth and UNIT stories and the transition was fairly rocky as most of these stories aren't really that great. 

Season Ten of Doctor Who ran from December 30, 1972 to June 23, 1973.  It contained 26 episodes across 5 stories.  Season Ten was another important year for the show.  Not only did it celebrate it's tenth anniversary with a wonderful special which included both William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, but it also ended the Doctor's exile.  He was now free to roam the stars as he once was.  This was a double edged sword.  While this allowed for more freedom to write unique stories, uniqueness wasn't exactly a strong suit of Pertwee's Era.  This also put a solid end to the UNIT family that Pertwee had been used to acting with.  Along with the leaving of his companion and an unfortunate death, it was a season of change that would eventually prove too much... but we'll get to that next time.

Season Nine

Story 60
Day of the Daleks

The first story of season nine is Day of the Daleks and it's four episodes long.  In the 22nd Century, the Daleks have not only taken over Earth once again but have done so by the use of crude time machines.  When a rebel travels back in time to kill a man named Styles who is organizing a peace conference,  the rebel inexplicably vanishes before Styles' eyes.  The Doctor and UNIT are sent in to investigate.  Eventually the Doctor learns that the Daleks are planning to conquer the galaxy in all points of time with the devices and a little help from their gorilla-like subordinate aliens, the Ogrons.  The rebels came back in time to stop the Daleks from invading by stopping the massacre that happened at the peace conference; they believe Styles organized the tragedy.  As it turns out, the rebels' attempts to stop Styles is exactly what is going to set their future into motion, so the Doctor must find a way to get past the Daleks and to the peace conference to stop the tragedy from ever occurring.

This one is...complicated.  There's a lot of plot points and happenings that I couldn't go into without dragging this review on forever.  It's a case of way too much information in a single story, and the story hurts because of it.  It's pretty bad.  Granted it's a lot better than much of the 80's bad episodes but I've watched this several times and can only pull about three things worth noting at all.  This is he first time in five years that we've seen the Daleks.  They were supposed to be wiped out in Troughton's Evil of the Daleks story as Terry Nation intended to make his own show about them.  Since that never happened they came back.  This one is also notable for two other things; the first being the unusual use of time travel and paradoxes.  While this would be more common later in classic who and very common in modern who it just wasn't explored that often back in this era.  Also this most famously shows a scene with the Doctor using a disintegration gun and destroying at least one Ogron... something the Tenth Doctor said he would never do.

Story 61
The Curse of Peladon

The next story is The Curse of Peladon and it's four episodes long.  The planet of Peladon is ruled by a young king who is on the verge of joining the Galactic Federation.  The Doctor and Jo start messing with the TARDIS and it lands them on Peladon.  Believing him to be the delegate from Earth, he meets with the other delegates, including some Ice Warriors from Mars, and they begin negotiations.  However the image of Agador, the Beast of Peladon keeps appearing and accidents constantly happen around the delegates which Jo blames on the Ice Warriors.  It turns out that Hepesh, the priest of Peladon has been controlling an animal which looks like the mythical beast and has been framing the Ice Warriors for his crimes.  Eventually the Doctor finds the beast and hypnotizes him as Hepesh and his forces hold the King hostage.  The Doctor brings the beast to the throne room who kills Hepesh.  The delegates agree to allow Peladon into the Federation as the Doctor and Jo sneak off when they see the real delegate form Earth arrive.

This one is actually really good.  It's the best story of the season.  I like when there's an ensemble of random aliens around especially when many of them look very alien rather than just humanoids with animal or random bits attached.  It's also nice to see some aliens which are usually characterized as villains be the heroes for once.  While that status changes back to villain the next time we see the Ice Warriors, it was nice to see them in a different light here.  Also King Peladon is played by David Troughton who is Patrick Troughton's son.  You'll see David again but not until late in the Tennant era.  If you like Star Trek Deep Space Nine then you might enjoy this as it holds some thematic similarities with that show.

Story 62
The Sea Devils

The next story is The Sea Devils and it's six episodes long.  The Master has been imprisoned indefinitely by UNIT on an island and has claimed to have been reformed.  The Doctor and Jo visit him briefly but are then told of an incident where boats are going missing from the nearby area.  They investigate and are attacked by water-bound Silurians which a man calls "Sea Devils."  It turns out that the Master has duped his prison guard and has built a device to control the Sea Devils so that he can make an army of them to take over Earth.  The Doctor uses a diving bell to investigate the Sea Devil base and attempts to negotiate peace with them but the military attacks which allows the Doctor to escape.  Eventually the Sea Devils attack the naval base on the Master's orders and take the Doctor with him to the Sea Devil base.  The Master forces the Doctor to build a machine to revive the Sea Devils all over the world but both the Master and the Doctor are imprisoned once it's complete.  The Doctor and Master escape as the Doctor explains that he sabotaged the machine.  The machine blows up the Sea Devil base but the Master gets away once again.

This is a fairly standard Pertwee episode.  It drags a bit in the middle but it's mostly decent.  There are two things to note about the actual content of the episode.  The Master in this story is seen either thinking children's television is real or messing with people's heads and making them think that's what they believe.  This showed up again in Tennant's era where the Master watches Teletubbies, so Russel T Davies must have believed he was being serious.  There's no real answer if this is correct.  The second noteworthy thing about this is that the Sea Devils don't actually call themselves that.  An addled factory worker calls them Sea Devils... yet somehow later on in Davison's era they start calling themselves Sea Devils.

Story 63
The Mutants

The next story is The Mutants and it's six episodes long.  The 30th century, Earth has started to decolonize the planet of Solos to give it back to the native inhabitants.  The military Marshal over the area doesn't want to do that and is taking steps to terraform the planet to be more hospitable for humans so that the colonizing will be reinstated.  His actions are causing the Solonians to die, but also some of them have started to mutate into a bug-like creature.  The Doctor and Jo are sent there by the Time Lords with a special message capsule that will only open for it's intended recipient though they don't know who that is.  Eventually the Doctor tracks down the Solonian intended for the package and together with help from a scientist the Doctor figures out the the Solonian year is two thousand years and the mutations are a natural way to cope with the harsh change of climate every five hundred years.  It's up to the Doctor to stop the Marshal's plan to terraform the planet and kill the mutating people.

This one is not very good either.  It's supposed to be a parable against racism but it's extremely mishandled in its execution.  It's weird to say that a story involving an alien race that changes from humans, to bugs, to ghost-like celestial rainbow beings due to their planet a 500 year summer cycle could be boring but it honestly is.  There are some pretty good performances in the military double act that join the Doctor but that's about it.

Story 64
The Time Monster

The last story of season nine is The Time Monster and it's six episodes long.  The Master has gone undercover at Cambridge to perform some time experiments on a trident shaped crystal in his possession and trying to use it to attract Kronos.  The Doctor investigates Cambridge after a tip that the Master may be back and sees evidence of the time experiments.  He theorizes that the Master's goal is to control Kronos in order to destroy all of time itself.  However, the Master is having trouble because the larger crystal to summon him is in the past on Atlantis.  The Master uses his time experiments to bring Krasis, the High Priest of Kronos back from history but using Krasis' Seal of Kronos isn't helping.  The Master needs the large crystal.  The Doctor and the Master then start trying to foil each other with time shenanigans resulting in historical figures coming to the present and Sergeant Benton being reverted to a baby.  Eventually the Master and the Doctor land in Atlantis.  After some political intrigue with the ruler of Atlantis, Krasis summons Kronos with the large crystal who destroys Atlantis.  Both the Doctor and the Master's TARDISes land within the time vortex and the Doctor manages to free Kronos who wishes to kill the Master.  The Doctor pleads for the Master to be spared and then returns to the present to fix everything that had gone wrong with time.

This is bad.  It doesn't sound bad from the plot I gave you but it's really bad and confusing.  I've honestly watched this one no less than three times and I still had to read the wikipedia page on it to even explain to you what happens in this.  I'm fairly certain two of the three times I fell asleep.  This one is weird in its existence at all because the second Doctor's The Underwater Menace already dealt with the destruction of Atlantis... so why are we seeing this again with a different reason for it's destruction?  This story is utterly insane.  While the portions where random time effects were happening was entertaining and fun, everything else about this was boring or confusing.  Give this one a skip.

Season Ten

Story 65
The Three Doctors

The first story of season ten is The Three Doctors and it's four episodes long.  When a small box lands suddenly in the English countryside, UNIT and the Doctor come to investigate.  The strange substance inside the box appears to be some sort of anti-matter and touching the mobile substance causes you to instantly be teleported into the heart of a black hole.  At the same time, the Time Lords on Gallifrey are experiencing a massive power drain.  The source of this drain is also that same black hole.  It's time to call upon the Doctor to help them but one Doctor may not be enough for this big of a problem.  They use their time scoop to pluck the Second Doctor out of his time stream and into the Third Doctor's time.  The pair do not get along whatsoever so the Time Lords attempt to scoop out the First Doctor as well.  Unfortunately they don't have enough power to fully pull him out so he can only be of use in guidance through the TARDIS console screen.  Eventually more beings of antimatter attack the UNIT base and both the TARDIS and the UNIT base are transported deep within the black hole.  Inside is a Time Lord known as Omega.  He is basically the founder of the Time Lord race and created the technology to make time travel possible.  His discovery, however, caused him to be sucked into the black hole in a world of anti-matter and has been getting more and more angry at the Time Lords over the last few centuries.  Both the Second and Third Doctor trick Omega into believing they are with him and send UNIT back to Earth.  Once everyone is in the clear, the Doctors cause an explosion that seemingly destroys the anti-matter world and returns them to Earth.  The First and Second Doctors return to their time streams and the Third Doctor's exile is pardoned entirely.

This is not only an extremely important story but it's also one of the best anniversary specials that the show has created.  This was the first time that we had seen the Doctor meet up with himself.  Troughton and Pertwee's Doctors didn't get along well at all which partly stemmed from the actors' completely different acting styles.  Pertwee was very "by the script" and proper whereas Trougton was constantly ad libbing.  It was great to see Troughton again bumbling around, playing the recorder and annoying everyone in authority including his older self.  However it was even more wonderful to see Hartnell back.  Originally Hartnell was supposed to play a more active role and agreed to do so when he was still having good days.  Sadly, he was pretty much having nothing but bad days so they had to reduce his role to sitting in some scaffolding in the studio and reading directly from cue cards.  Though this isn't the last time we'll see the First Doctor, it's the last time we'll see William Hartnell as he passed away not long after this.  One more very important thing about this episode was that it ended the Third Doctor's exile.  Now he would only be on Earth if he really wanted to.  While this opened up the way for more varied stories and locations, it was yet another nail in the coffin for the UNIT family.

Story 66
Carnival of Monsters

The next story is Carnival of Monsters and it's four episodes long.  The Doctor has decided to take Jo to Metebelis Three, but misses it entirely and lands on the SS Bernice, a ship that had suddenly vanished in the Indian Ocean.  They are captured as stowaways but observe some strange things as time appears to be repeating itself and there are certain alien structures on the ship that the crew don't notice.  The Doctor and Jo open one of these alien hatches and appear to be inside a machine.  They travel for a bit and end up in a sort of Marshland where they start to be hunted by fearsome creatures known as Drashigs.  The Doctor suddenly realizes that they have materialized inside a mini scope, a device outlawed by the Time Lords which takes people, creatures, and their environment and compresses them down to a minuscule state and placed on a time loop for the enjoyment of people looking into the mini scope.  Outside the miniscope, a traveling showman and his assistant have landed on the gray, dull planet of Minor and are being interrogated as spies by three tribunal members.  The showman not only notices that the drashigs have caught the scent of something and are escaping into the circuitry but that there is a strange blue box in the ship area that shouldn't be.  He removes the TARDIS and it grows back to normal size once outside the machine.  Two of the tribunal, unhappy with the way things are on the planet decide to allow the drashigs to escape the machine and run amuck.  Eventually both the Doctor and the Drashigs escape.  It's up to the Doctor to shut down the mini scope and stop the drashigs.

There are a few interesting things about this story.  First, one of the people on the ship was played by Ian Marter.  We'll see him be a companion to Tom Baker in a couple seasons time.  Secondly, this whole story can be viewed as a sort of parody of Doctor Who overall.  A strange showman and his beautiful assistant trying to show off strange and bizarre creates on a screen, but the bland and boring executives can't seem to grasp the concept.  Not to mention that the creatures in the story, the Drashigs, are an anagram of dishrag which is a stab at the poor quality of the effects at times.  It's a lot more interesting of a story when viewed that way.  Definitely worth a watch!

Story 67
Frontier in Space

The next story is Frontier in Space and it's six episodes long.  When the TARDIS lands on an earth cargo ship, Jo sees a ship approaching.  However, a strange sound begins ringing and the ship changes into a Draconian battle cruiser.  The ship's crew panic and send out a distress signal.  When they see the Doctor and Jo, however, they only see Draconians and lock them up as spies.  While in the holding cell, the Doctor recognizes the sound as a hypnotic device that causes you to see what you fear most.  The Draconian ship docks and a party begins to board the cargo ship, but the boarders are not Draconians but Ogrons.  The Ocrons stun the crew and the Doctor then tie up Jo and steal everything on the ship including the TARDIS.  A rescue ship arrives and the crew's memories are addled; they blame the Doctor and Jo for the sabotage.  The Doctor and Jo are taken to Earth where they are questioned by both the Earth's president and the Draconian ambassador as relations between the two people have been horrid.  Eventually the Doctor is sentenced to a penal colony on the moon for life and Jo is imprisoned on earth.  At the same time a commissioner from another planet has "proof" that the Doctor and Jo are from his planet and are serial criminals to be taken back there; it's the Master.  The Master gets Jo and takes custody of the Doctor from the moon as the Master's employers are interested in him.  The Master makes for the Ogron planet, but a Draconian ship catches them and takes them to see the Draconian Emperor.  Eventually the Doctor gets both Draconia and Earth to understand it is the Master and the Ogrons who are inciting a war between them.  Both worlds agree to work together and convene at the Ogron planet where the Daleks appear to exterminate the Doctor.  The Master pleads with them to allow him to keep the Doctor alive until the galaxy is destroyed.  They agree, but the Doctor is able to escape with Jo to the TARDIS.  Getting wounded in the escape, the Doctor uses the telepathic circuit inside the TARDIS to travel away from the Ogron planet as he collapses to the ground.

This story has a LOT going on and I do mean a lot.  I skipped over quite a bit of plot just to make it as short as possible.  The Draconians are one of the classic series most popular and iconic alien races that somehow only got one story about them.  They've been mentioned a couple of times in the new series but we've never been able to see them on screen since this story.  The Draconians are basically space samura; a race of beings totally obsessed with honor and are excellent at fighting.  I really hope they bring these guys back sometime soon.  This story also is fairly unique as it ends with a sort of cliffhanger where the Doctor isn't doing well.  It directly leads into the next story and you could see these two as kind of a big 12 part story in many aspects.  The last notable thing is that this story is the last appearance of Roger Delgado as the Master.  It wasn't supposed to be his last appearance but he passed away in a car accident.  We will see a regenerated Master in several seasons time but this is the last of the Roger Delgado Master.  It's a shame because he was such a good actor and a good Master; I wish his last episode would have been something more spectacular.

Story 68
Planet of the Daleks

The next story is Planet of the Daleks and it's six episodes long.  With the Doctor unconscious and healing, Jo spends her time aboard the moving TARDIS trying to care for him.  The TARDIS eventually lands on a jungle planet and Jo goes out exploring for the Doctor.  The Doctor wakes up to find that the oxygen supply is dangerously low due to the plants outside covering the TARDIS with a green goop that is hardening into a shell (however that works.)  As Jo discovers a space ship, a group of explorers discover the TARDIS and chip off the shell rescuing the Doctor.  The Doctor wakes and seems to be familiar with these people.  They explain that they are the Thals from Skaro and the Doctor explains he met their ancestors many ears ago with Ian, Barbara, and Susan.  Jo falls ill to a fungus she contracted from the plants of the Jungle but is looked after by an invisible local alien who has been fighting to stop the invaders of their planet.  The invader, of course, are the Daleks who happen to appear around the TARDIS and take the Doctor and one of the group.  Eventually the Doctor escapes as Jo and another Thal start planting bombs.  The bombs explode exposing the base to a sort of molten ice that freeze the Dalek forces in their tracks and won't be thawed for centuries.  The Doctor urges the Thals to explain to their people that war is a terrible thing so that they can return to their previously peaceful ways as he and Jo hop into the TARDIS.

Well this is a story that... exists.  Let's get right down to the core here; this is not a good story.  I've watched this story three or four times now and I just can't really find anything worth talking about here.  The only thing that is really unique about this story is the molten ice which is a sort of a negative lava sort of substance.  That was cool but every single other thing about this story is boring and completely forgettable.  Definitely give this one a pass unless you want to watch the entire series.

Story 69
The Green Death

The last story of season ten is The Green Death and it's six episodes long.  The Doctor has fixed his navigational settings and intends to take Jo to Metebelis Three, however Jo sees in the paper of a miner who had suddenly died and was glowing green.  Jo goes with UNIT to investigate the death and meet with an environmentalist whom she was enamored with; the environmentalist, Clifford Jones, was to be protesting a chemicals plant which could have something to do with the miner's death.  The Doctor decides to join them but only after visiting Metebelis Three.  Unfortunately for the Doctor, Metebelis Three isn't the paradise he believed and barely escapes with his life and a single blue crystal for all his trouble.  The Doctor then drives to Wales to join the brigadier and Jo.  Jo and the Doctor eventually go down the mine shaft where they find green slime that poisons anyone who touches it as well as gigantic maggots.  After crossing a lake of the toxic green sludge, the Doctor takes a maggot egg to examine and the pair head to Jones research facility.  There, Jo continues to fall for the environmentalist and work closely with him eventually finding a cure for the toxicity.  The Doctor heads to Global Chemicals and infiltrates the top layer of the establishment.  There he finds the BOSS, a megalomaniac computer who has been using mind control to take over the world.  As Jo and UNIT begin spreading the cure and killing the maggots, the Doctor releases the human head of Global Chemicals from his hypnosis with the blue crystal.  The man blows up the chemical plant so that no one else could be harmed by the BOSS.  As UNIT celebrate their victory, Jo and Glifford announce their engagement.  The Doctor gives his blessing, presents Jo with the crystal, and quietly leaves the party.

The Green Death is a fairly good story and has one massively important piece to it.  Jo will no longer be the Doctor's companion.  Now while we've seen companion departures before, Jo's departure had a lot more weight.  It was suggested in subtext within the show that Jo was quite possibly the first companion the the Doctor had actually fallen in love with.  It wasn't blatantly obvious as it would be with the likes of Rose later on in New Who but it was there.  The Doctor quietly sinking a glass of wine and driving off in silence is such a powerful and subtle scene.  This decision also changed things behind the scenes and would ultimately cause Jon to leave his role as the Doctor next season.  Since it is a six parter, you should know that I feel it's a tiny bit too long but there is legitimately only one bad thing about this whole story.  That would, of course, be the truly awful blue screen effects and the fly monster I completely skipped in the plot.  Everything else was great.

Conclusion

So ends Seasons Nine and Ten of Classic Doctor Who.  Season Nine is an incredibly mixed bag of weird, good, average, bad, and awful.  There's not a whole lot I can say about it as a whole because everything was just so vastly disjointed in quality and context.  Season Ten on the other hand was one of the more influential years in the show's history.  It hit it's first landmark season.  It set a standard for Doctors meeting each other that has only been done four times.  However, more important than those two things were the vast amounts of change that the show went through both intentional and accidental.  Jon Pertwee loved the sort of UNIT family feel of his earlier seasons.  He liked being surrounded by regulars and once the exile was lifted at the beginning of this season, UNIT's involvement would be lessened significantly.  He had a great working relationship with both Roger Delgado and Katy Manning, and he wouldn't get the chance to work with either of them on the show again.  All of these changes took a toll on the man and he decided that it was his time to go as well and he would after the next season.  Please join me again as we continue to examine all of Doctor Who.

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness
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You can click here if you wish to see my introduction to Doctor Who
If you want to check out all of my Doctor Who content please click here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ghost's Kitchen: Barry's Football Sliders

What's Cooking Today?
Barry's Football Sliders


Hello everyone and welcome to another segment of...

There are a few reasons I love to cook, but one of the more joyous reasons is being able to fix something that multiple people find enjoyable.  Being able to bring some small bit of happiness to others is a wonderful thing.  That's one reason I like parties and cooking meals for parties.  That is where today's recipe originated.

I was attending a party at a friend's house where everyone was doing a pot-luck.  At that point I hadn't really made food for multiple people so I asked the host, Barry, for a suggestion and he gave me his recipe for something called Football Sliders.  I was intrigued and decided to make them for the party and it was a general success.  Since that time I have made it for multiple other parties and a good 80% of them always get eaten and are enjoyed.  Today I would like to give you Barry's recipe in the hopes that you too can thrill party guests with this simple and flavorful treat.

Gather Your Ingredients
  • 1 lb Mild Sausage
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 1/4th tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Packages of 12 Count Sweet Hawaiian Rolls
  • 6 slices Cheddar Cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Measuring Cup and Spoons
  • Cutting Board and Knife (if not using pre-diced onion)
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Frying Pan
  • Cooking Spray
  • Turner

1. Open and Cut Rolls
This recipe will make 24 sliders total so you will want to turn the rolls into slider buns

2. Slice/Divide Cheese
You will want to divide the cheese slices into 1/4ths so that you have enough cheese for every slider.

3. Dice Onion
It will take slightly less than 1/2 of an onion to make 1/2 cup. 

4. Place all ingredients in mixing bowl
Put the sausage, beef, onion, Worcestershire, and garlic powder in the bowl

5. Mix till uniform
Using your hands is the easiest way to mix these ingredients together.   Mix the ingredients till they are of a mostly uniform look.

6. Make 24 small patties
With your hands make small patties out of the raw ingredients.  It is wise to make all 24 before cooking as you may make some too large and need to borrow portions from larger ones to make a full 24 patties.

7. Grease pan and cook burgers
Fit as many as possible to reduce overall time.  I use a 10 inch pan and was able to place 12 patties on.

8. Ensure patties are fully cooked (obviously)
You may want to cut into one of the larger ones to make sure they aren't raw inside.

9. Assemble Slider
Place meat, cheese, and mayo on roll bun.  Please Note: If you are planning on taking these to a party DO NOT assemble before taking.  Your guests may not want cheese or mayo (though it is suggested as the meat is quite strong) so allow them to construct their own slider.

10. Serve and enjoy!

Additional Tip!
If you are planning to take these to a party you may be inclined to stack the cheese slices on top of each other.  While this can be done, the cheese slices tend to stick together causing people to touch everyone else's cheese and we don't really want that.  There is a simple solution

Take the plastic wrapping from around the cheese slices and cut them in half

This allows you to place a dividing layer between each of the cheese slices as seen in the picture below so that the cheese won't stick together.


As a secondary tip you may want to add a bread and butter pickle for just a little boost of flavor.  I hope Barry's Football Sliders will delight your party guests as much as they have mine!  I am very thankful to Barry for giving me this recipe as it has been not only useful but absolutely delicious.

This is Ghost fading into the darkness.
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If you want to see my other food topics and recipes then simply click here!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Whovian Chatter: The Pertwee Years Seasons Seven and Eight

Ghost here, thanks for joining.

I'm going to be examining Doctor Who... every single episode.  I'm going to take you on a journey through the 50+ years worth of this show, showcasing the good and the bad along the way.  For each episode I'm going to give you a very brief rundown of the plot, how good/bad the story is, and anything interesting about the episode.  Basically I'll just talk about whatever comes to mind for each of them.  These will be a more in-depth overview of the series as a whole so you can see which stories or episodes (if any) you want to check out for yourself.  Today I'm going to be talking about

The Third Doctor
Jon Pertwee
Seasons Seven and Eight

Season Seven of Doctor Who ran from January 3, 1970 to June 20, 1970.  It contained 25 episodes across 4 stories.  When season seven came around, you would be completely forgiven for believing this to be another show entirely.  A new production team had taken over.  This was the first season that was in color, the Doctor regenerated off screen, and the show was completely retooled from the old flying around all of space and time.  Thanks to his exile to Earth at the end of season six, the show was now about the Doctor helping out the military UNIT with the alien problem of the story.  This, as well as the decision to make most of the stories seven episodes long was done to save money.  This had the unfortunate result of making these particular stories incredibly too long.... which is honestly true of the majority of his entire era.

Season Eight of Doctor Who ran from January 2, 1971 to June 19, 1971.  It contained 25 episodes cross 5 stories.  While working on the previous season, the production team had decided that the Doctor really needed a sort of Moriarty-type figure.  Another Time Lord just as cunning but with generally devious intentions.  As such, they created the character of The Master who I generally consider a regeneration of The War Chief from Troughton's last season though that's not strictly canon.  They made Roger Delgado's Master a main character in the series and as such he appears in every single story this season.  It kind of takes out the mystery of who the Doctor is going to face off against when you make your villain a main character.  They did do a few interesting things with him this season but he truly is around a bit too much this time.

From this point on I shall be talking about every story and episode of the show.  We have recordings of each and every story/episode from this point forward.  That being said, this doesn't spell the end for the missing episodes.  Many of Pertwee's episodes were also trashed all the way until his final season.  However, black and white copies of every episode existed and the Doctor Who team created a brand new type of technology to colorize the old film.  If you happen to see any episodes that look faded or blurry it's because it's been colorized.

Lastly, while there was plenty of dialog and things going on in the Hartnell and Troughton era, Pertwee's era brought in some serious changes to the content of the scripts.  There's generally a LOT more going on in a story than there was before and as such I will probably be talking slightly longer about each story to cover even the most basic parts of it.  Just a warning.

Season Seven

Story 51
Spearhead from Space

The first story is Spearhead from Space and it's four episodes long.  After recently regenerating, the Doctor falls out of his TARDIS and ends up in the hospital.  At the same time as his arrival several plastic meteorites have fallen to Earth.  It turns out that these meteorites are power units for a creature known as the Nestene Consceiousness; a sometimes disembodied consciousness that can take control of practically anything made of plastic, including humanoid shapes such as mannequins which are called Autons.  While Brigadier Lethbridge-Steweart of UNIT and his new scientific advisor, Liz Shaw, begin investigating about this man calling himself the Doctor, a local toy factory begins production on autons created to look like and replace govenment officials.  The Doctor eventually convinces the Brigadier that he is the same man who helped him defeat the yeti and cybermen and agrees to help UNIT in exchange for assistance repairing his TARDIS.  As the autons activate mannequins to go on a killing spree, the Doctor develops a device to cut off control of the Nestene Consciousness. With help from UNIT the Doctor and Liz stop the Nestene Consciousness and save the world.

This story is good... very good.  It has some of the usual humor you get to see as the Doctor figures out his new body and personality.  Also it was a great introduction to what could very well be a terrifying enemy since not only mannequins can be controlled, though you won't really see that till next season.  This is one of the best looking stories that the classic show has ever done.  There were production issues behind the scenes and as such they couldn't record it on the usual video tape; they had to use film on locations for the whole episode and it looks great!  This episode also introduced Liz Shaw as the Doctor's newest companion.  Though she never traveled in the TARDIS she definitely pulled her weight and was one of the smartest companions he's ever had.  Also seeing this episode and understanding the Autons has made the first episode of the new show less stupid.

Story 52
Doctor Who and the Silurians
or just "The Silurians"


The second story is Doctor Who and the Silurians and it's seven episodes long.  When a nuclear power research center begins experiencing strange power outages as well as mental breakdowns among the workers, UNIT, the Doctor, and Liz sweep in to investigate.  The Doctor, suspecting foul play, begins to investigate the caves beneath the center and is attacked by a dinosaur-looking creature.  The Doctor wounded the creature and it ran away to the surface.  After some events involving men working with the dinosaurs and others investigating, the Doctor finds himself inside the base of the Silurians.  The Silurans are reptile people from Earth's far past who went into hibernation when they saw the Moon approaching the Earth thinking it would crash down rather than enter orbit.  Their hibernation machine malfunctioned and wouldn't revive them till it absorbed radiation from the center above.  The Doctor intends to have the humans and silurians work out an agreement peacably, but the higher ups in the military have another plan, attacking the Silurians.  When the Doctor hears of this he goes to warn the Silurians which eventually leads them to take over the base and force the Doctor to turn the power into a weapon to destroy mankind.  The Doctor starts to overload the nuclear reactor forcing the Silurians back into hibernation.  The Doctor stops the overload and intends to re-awaken the Silurians to attempt peace again.  However, the Brigadier has been ordered to blow up the Silurian base and does so, killing them all.

Despite the title of the episode being absolutely stupid and generally just being shortened to "The Silurians," this is yet another good story.  It is, however, honestly too long.  It drags quite a bit in the middle due to its seven episode length as most stories that are six episodes or greater.   This story was basically redone by the new show in the 11th Doctor's episodes The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood.  However, the outcome in this episode is a little more realistic.  While ending an episode on such a down-trodden note as the mass murder of a group of creatures, I honestly liked that ending better.  It's closer to the reality of what would happen if this were real.  One bizarre thing in this series is that the music utilizes some very old Middle Ages types of wind instruments when the Silurians appear on screen and it has the unfortunate effect of making it sound like a kid is playing the kazoo.

Story 53
The Ambassadors of Death

The third story is The Ambassadors of Death and it's seven episodes long.  When a space probe with three astronauts receives a strange call, the Doctor, Liz, and UNIT go to investigate.  Eventually the space probe lands but the three astronauts are taken to a facility to treat their radiation poisoning.  Unfortunately the three astronauts are kidnapped and the staff caring for them are killed.  The Doctor investigates the scene and finds that the radiation inside the holding area is far too high for a human to handle and as such the astronaut suits must be filled with alien creatures.  The kidnappers use these alien creatures to begin killing people as the Doctor uses the space probe to return to the origin of the signal.  There he finds the three astronauts alive and well but under the mental delusion that they are in quarantine.  The leader of the alien race on board the ship explains to the Doctor that he had sent three ambassadors to discuss a treaty between their people and Earth.  The Doctor agrees to bring back the ambassadors and goes to Earth.  Eventually, Liz Shaw creates a translation device for the aliens and the Doctor stops the kidnappers plans, sending the ambassadors back to their ship in exchange for the astronauts.

While none of the stories in this season are bad this one's probably the most forgettable.  There is a lot more planning and scheming as to why these ambassadors were captured but it all just sort of blends together.  It's yet another super long one that didn't need to be this long.  However the imagery of evil space suits killing people was an excellent look and has been used twice in the new show for Silence in the Library and the Impossible Astronaut.  Again, this one is pretty good and has some great parts it's just sort of forgettable outside of the space suits.

Story 54
Inferno

The last story of season seven is Inferno and it's seven episodes long.  When a group of scientists with UNIT as their body guards start drilling a gigantic hole in the earth, the Doctor begins using the area's power to fix his TARDIS' console.  Due to the plant manager cutting the Doctor's power at an inopportune time, the TARDIS console transports him to an alternate Earth full of evil versions of everyone he knows.  They too are drilling to the Earth's core and are actually ahead of the regular Earth's progress.  The Doctor is captured and interrogated but eventually some green slime appears at the drill site and anyone touching it turns into a sort of blue werewolf who must survive in extreme heat.  As the drilling keeps going, more green goop appears and more people are transforming into werewolves.  Eventually the core of the Earth is breached and lava begins not only coming up the drill hole but also exploding all over the world to destroy the Earth.  As the TARDIS console in it's current state can only transport one person, the Doctor must convince these evil people who know he can't save them or their world, to allow him to return to his reality to save people that they don't care about.  A world burning to death actually becomes the Doctor's greatest fear (you'll see that coming up next season.) Eventually he succeeds in getting to the regular reality and stops the drilling just in time to save the planet.

This story is extremely good.  While it is just as long as the previous two episodes it honestly doesn't feel as long.  It's one of the few I don't mind being long.  Seeing everyone in their evil alternate form is just hilarious especially as the Brigadier has an eyepatch and Liz dresses like a Nazi.  The problem of the story is also a really good one and something I wish the show would do a little more often.  The fact that the Doctor literally can't save anybody and has to convince people to allow him to go save the people he can is an excellent dilemma to have.  The blue werewolves do look terrible, but the rest of the story makes up for that strange bit of kinda stupidity.  It's honestly one of Pertwee's best though it's not quite my favorite.  Check this one out!

Season Eight

Story 55
Terror of the Autons

The first story of season eight is Terror of the Autons and it's four episodes long.  When the last remaining Nestene power unit from Spearhead from Space is stolen and sabotage occurrs at a radio telescope facility, the Doctor, his new assistant Jo Grant, and UNIT are sent to investigate.  Upon his arrival, a Time Lord warns the Doctor that his old enemy the Master is on Earth and is planning to kill him.  The Master has taken over a nearby plastics factory via hypnosis and not only begins production of autons but also begins transmitting signals from the Nestene energy pod into space to summon another Nestene Consciousness.  After several attempts to stop the Master resulting in Jo being hypnotized, the Doctor being captured at a carnival, and a piece of the Master's TARDIS being stolen by the Doctor, the Master moves his plans forward.  He distributes plastic flowers to the public who begin killing people by asphyxiation.  Eventually, UNIT and the Doctor track down the Master and stop another the Nestene transmission.  Though the Master escapes he is trapped on Earth due to the Doctor's sabotage of his TARDIS.

Terror of the Autons is not only a good story but it's an incredibly important one.  To begin with it introduced the second of the four iconic companions in Jo Grant.  She was blonde, cheerful, and not overly abounding in intelligence; she's pretty much the perfect generic companion but her charisma made her stick in the public's mind.  This story also introduced the Master, a cunning and generally evil Time Lord who was the Moriatry to the Doctor's Sherlock.  It was a welcome addition and the Master would be sticking around not only for the next two seasons but would also make tons of other appearances in five different bodies even to today.  Lastly while having walking mannequins that are trying to kill you was effective, the Auton stuff in this story was more inventive and terrifying.  Killer plants, a deadly plastic arm chair, a murderous troll doll, and Autons being perfect duplicates of police officers were just a few of the reasons that the Autons were a great villain in Doctor Who.  It's a shame that we won't see them again until the first episode of New Who in 2005.

Story 56
The Mind of Evil

The next story is the Mind of Evil and it's six episodes long.  The Doctor and Jo attend a demonstration for a machine that removes the negative impulses in the brain of criminals turning them into childlike innocent minds.  However the Doctor becomes concerned when a number of deaths associated with operation the machine are reported.  Each person has been attacked and killed by their own worst fear.  Meanwhile UNIT is dealing with the security of a World Peace Conference.  One of the Chinese captains is behaving strangely and it's discovered she is under the hypnosis of the Master who plans on hijacking a missile and using the experimental machine to destroy anyone in his path with their own fear.  However, the Master begins to lose control of the machine as it lashes out and vanishes at will and leaves it behind, heading to fire the missile.  The Doctor negotiates with the Master to return his TARDIS part in exchange for the missile; the Master agrees.  In the end, the Doctor brings the mind machine with him and enables the missile self destruct taking out the evil machine with it.  In the chaos. the Master retreats with his TARDIS piece and is free to roam the galaxy.

While some people may be tired of this idea, I personally love the whole "your mind makes it real" sort of thing.  It was interesting to see that each person was being destroyed by the thing they fear most because their mind made the danger a reality.  It was also a good nod to continuity of season seven that the Doctor's worst fear was a world burning in fire  The Master's worst fear is also seen as a triumphant and glowing looking Doctor... something we wouldn't see until the David Tennant era.  It was also really nice to see UNIT, who's name is United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, actually doing something in the area of international intelligence.  It's a solid story.

Story 57
The Claws of Axos

The next story is the Claws of Axos and it's four episodes long.  A strange ship lands on Earth in desperate need for fuel.  UNIT, Jo, and the Doctor investigate and meet the inhabitants of the ship, the Axons, who offer a trade; fuel for axonite.  Axonite is a thinking particle that can replicate any matter or so they claim.  As it turns out, the ship and the people are all just parts of one single life form named Axos who intends to suck Earth dry of its nutrients and life before moving on to a new planet.  The Master, who has been captured by Axos and used his knowledge to secure his freedom, tracks down the Doctor's TARDIS in the hopes of fixing it and escaping as Axos has confiscated the Master's Tardis.  Axos becomes aware of the Doctor's time traveling and intends to use the Doctor's knowledge to extend it's feasting across all of time and space.  The Doctor realizing this, tricks Axos into linking up with the TARDIS as he and the Master work together to send Axos into an eternal time loop.  The Master flees in his own TARDIS that was released from Axos and the Doctor tries to escape Earth on his newly repaired TARDIS but lands on earth anyway as the Time Lords have placed a permanent program for the planet.

This one's... ok.  There's nothing bad about this story but there's nothing outstanding about it either.  The designs of the Axons were weird in a good way and I always enjoy when a hero teams up with a villain for a greater cause.  There's just nothing too outstanding about this one to really say.  One thing noteworthy is that this story was directly referenced in Season 3 of New Who, which is strange for one of the stories that isn't considered an absolute classic story.  If you like hero/villain team ups then you may enjoy this one. 

Story 58
Colony in Space

The next story is Colony in Space and it's six episodes long.  When the Time Lords discover that someone has stolen the plans to a doomsday weapon, they believe the Doctor is the only one who can help.  They temporarily reprieve his exile and send him and Jo to another world.  On this planet there has been a struggle between a group of colonist farmers whose crops have been failing lately and a group of ruthless miners who know the wealth beneath the planet's crust and are using scare tactics to get rid of the colonists.  Tensions rise between the groups and Earth sends a judge to mediate between them.  Unfortunately the man who arrives is the Master.  While the Doctor goes to investigate the city of the primatives who live on the world, the Master learns of the primative's history.  The primatives used to be an advanced society who build a powerful weapon but the weapon destroyed their society and has been irradiating the ground.  The Doctor must stop the Master form obtaining the weapon and help the colonists fend off against the miners.

Pertwee's Earth-bound stories are generally far better than his space stuff.  If this were in any other Doctor's tenure then it would probably be the most generic episode in their run.  However this is the 3rd Doctor's first foray into another world so it's interesting to see him without the UNIT family.  The truly bad thing about this episode is that it starts the quick decline of the Time Lords from being techno gods that could wipe away an entire group of people from history with little to no effort to being blundering imbeciles.  There is no reason that the Doctor is the ONLY man who can help them.  The power and intelligence we saw from the Time Lords in The War Games is long gone and they're only going to get worse.

Story 59
The Daemons

The last story of season eight is The Daemons and it's five episodes long.  When an archological dig at the "Devils Hump" gains national attention, the Doctor and Jo rush there to stop the dig.  At the same time, the Master has disguised himself as a local vicar and is, along with some followers, trying to summon a force of evil in the caverns below the church.  The Doctor is too late to stop the dig and the ground shakes as the Master successfully summons a being known as Azal.  UNIT attemps to follow but are trapped behind a forcevfield originating from the church. The Doctor and Jo investigate the dig site to find a spaceship.  The Doctor explains that it is from a race of aliens known as Daemons who have used Earth as a sort of testing ground and as such have slipped into Earth's mythology and are generally considered to be the Devil by most accounts.  The Master summons Azal a second time and asks for power to rule over Earth but Azal senses the presence of the Doctor and wants to see if Earth is even worthy to hand over to someone else.  Later, the Master captures Jo and summons Azal once more to sacrifice Jo to him.  The Doctor appears as UNIT finally gets through the force field and faces a gargoyle creature created by Azal.  The Doctor and the Master both plead with Azal to leave Earth and to give over his power respectively.  Azal decides that the Master is to get this power and attempts to kill the Doctor but Jo steps in front of him telling Azal to kill her instead.  The selfless act confuses Azal who goes into a rage and explodes taking the church with him.  As the Master attempts to escape, UNIT captures him and takes him away.

This is a really good story and Doctor Who's first foray into Satanism.  It's a fan favorite just because of how rarely Doctor Who goes into this particular area.  The special effects aren't anything fantastic, and the monster designs are fairly laughable but it's still a good story.  This is the story which started the "five rounds rapid" line that gets used off and on in relation to the show.  Also if the story sounds somewhat familiar to fans of the new show, that's because it was basically recycled for Season 2's episode "The Satan Pit" where the 10th Doctor meets a creature and states he influenced Earth's evil in mythology the same way Azal did.  If the Doctor trying to stop the Master from summoning the Devil and gaining his powers sounds like a fun ride to you then check it out!

Conclusion

That concludes seasons seven and eight of Doctor Who.  They were two incredibly important years full of many significant changes.  This ushered us in to black and white, added more meat to the storylines, added another iconic companion, and added the Master.  While neither of these seasons had any truly terrible stories several of them were far too long or just mediocre.  I honestly wish they had made Silurians and Ambassadors into five-part stories and given us a second four-part story for season seven.  Either of these seasons are really good jumping in points with Doctor Who.  Since absolutely nothing carried over from the previous seasons except for the TARDIS, you can easily jump in with Season 7 or Season 8 and not be missing anything if you can't quite stomach black and white.   Please join me again as we continue to examine all of Doctor Who.

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ghost in the Case: Extreme Ghostbusters

"I ain't 'fraid of no ghost!"

Ghost here!  Thanks for joining me today for yet another


If you were asked to provide a list of modern-day classic movies which will stand the test of time, I almost guarantee that Ghostbusters would end up on the list.  With it's rich ideas, clever writing, and hilarious comedy, I would be shocked if people decades down the road aren't still watching the film.  The subject matter is so great that the potential to expand upon its ideas is exponential.  In fact, this potential lead into numerous movies, TV episodes, and video games surrounding the adventures of the Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters has recently come into the spotlight once again due to the all-female remake of the series due to come out this year.  With two trailers under it's belt so far, the film has been receiving a fair amount of negative attention before it has even come out.  Though I have my own opinion on how I think the film will hold up to the franchise as a whole, I don't intend to talk about that today.  Instead, I'm going to be talking about another entry in the Ghostbusters franchise that doesn't receive any love whatsoever.... Extreme Ghostbusters.

When I say it doesn't receive any love, I truly mean this.  It's not that people hate it, it just gets completely ignored in the whole spectrum.  It is so ignored that it's never received a DVD release though every other entry in the franchise has.  Extreme Ghostbusters is a 1997 animated television series that ran as a sort of sequel to The Real Ghostbusters animated series.  Rather than following the adventures of Ray, Peter, Egon, and Winston as The Real Ghostbusters did, it follows the adventures of a brand new set of Ghostbusters with Egon sticking around as their mentor.  I used to watch this after I got home from school every week, but since middle school I haven't seen any mention of the show.  Several times over the last few years I've looked up the series in an attempt to watch it again and continuously found absolutely nothing.  However, in March of 2016, I was surfing through Hulu by looking up random search words, and this series appeared on my screen.  After doing a fanboy squeal, I marathon watched the show over the course of the next two days.
 
So, is this one-season series something that deserves to be as ignored as it has, or is it something that should come back into people's consciousness since the rest of the franchise has this year?  Let's take a closer look

The Plot

It has been ten years since ghosts stopped appearing in New York and the Ghostbusters went their separate ways.  While the others have left New York, Egon has chosen to live in the firehouse with Slimer in order to keep an eye on the ghost containment unit.  He has started to teach a class on paranormal research at the local college and four students have taken his class.  Eduardo is a kind-hearted but lazy joker who has only taken the class thinking it would be an easy A; to my knowledge he is still the only Latino Ghostbuster in the franchise.  Garrett is a courageous handicapped athlete who has taken the class to hear about the old Ghostbusters days.  Roland is a young black man who is a bit of a square but is very technically minded; he has taken this class to learn more about the Ghostbusters' equipment and as an optimistic skeptic.  Lastly, Kylie is a sarcastic semi-goth girl who really knows all about the paranormal and has truly taken the class out of interest in the topic.

When some subway workers accidentally awaken an ancient ghost, Egon attempts to handle the situation by himself but fails.  Realizing that he has just gotten a bit too old to deal with this kind of stuff he recruits his four students to help him take on the ghost.  Unfortunately, Kylie becomes possessed by the ghost and is spreading diseases across New York including Egon.  Eduardo, Garrett, and Roland grab some proton packs and go looking for the ghost, eventually freeing Kylie from it's clutches.  Egon then quickly trains the four students in proper ghost busting and as a team, they take down the malicious ghost.  When a ghost is captured, all the harm they caused reverts back to its original form and thus all the diseases have been cleansed.  The new group decides to stick with Egon and become the new Ghostbusters!

What happens from that point on is pretty much your "monster of the week" type series.  There is no story arch that takes place over the whole series.  There's no real personal stories that last longer than a single episode.  For all intents and purposes after the 2nd episode you could watch any episode in any order you want and you wouldn't be missing out on anything.  Since I don't really wish to talk about 40 whole episodes in this, I'm just going to focus on a few of the best.

Noteworthy Episodes

Episode 18: Ghost Apocalyptic Future
While Kylie is down in the basement with the ghost containment unit, she stumbles into a slip in the time continuum caused by a man fighting a ghost in the future.  The ghost appears briefly and splits in two; one in the present and one in the future.  Unfortunately for Kylie, she and the ghost fighter switch places and she finds herself in an apocalyptic future run by ghosts.  The fighter meets the remaining Ghostbusters and explains that the ghost he was fighting is the leader of the ghosts.  Apparently he is the ghost who brought about the ghost war in which the Ghostbusters fought and eventually died as heroes.  They attempt to trap the ghost but because he is one entity split in half he can only be trapped if he is whole.  Kylie is taken to the base for the resistance fighters and runs across her diary being preserved in a monument to the Ghostbusters.  In the present, the fighter recognized her diary and Garrett writes a message for her to dig up a proton pack in central park as they run there to bury it.  In the future she reads the message and grabs the buried proton pack.  Egon left instructions for her to run back to where the Ghostbusters headquarters is and attempt to trap the ghost in the same area as the present-day Ghostbusters.  In both the present and future, the ghost is being caught by the proton packs and fuses once more allowing Kylie back to the present and the fighter back to his time.

If you know anything about me, you'll know how much I love a good time travel story.  This one pretty much held up with my ideology on how time travel shenanigans should work.  This is the only episode that I remembered in it's entirety from my childhood.  It was good then and it's still good now.

Episode 23: Slimer's Sacrifice
Slimer has been getting in everyone's way and generally being useless as normal.  While this isn't exactly something new, Eduardo has been constantly pointing out slimer's uselessness lately making the friendly ghost sad.  When Fenris, the norse dog who is the harbinger of Ragnarök, appears in New York, the Ghostbusters find and trap him.  However, Fenris uses his ice breath on the trap as he was going down and it's short circuiting.  When they attach the trap to the ghost containment unit, it malfunctions opening the doorway to the Ghost world.  Fenris escapes and the rest of the ghosts are coming.  In an attempt to redeem himself, Slimer flies into the opening and shuts the containment unit from inside.  Eduardo decides to go into the unit to rescue him leaving the Ghostbusters to fight off Fenris who is slowly taking them down one by one and transforming them into beasts.  Inside the unit, a powerful Norse entity, Surtr, has been ruling the unit and uses Slimer as bait to escape the unit with the help of some previously captured ghosts from this series.  As a hypnotized slimer attacks Eduardo leaving him for dead, Roland opens the unit to save them but can't get it shut.  Thinking quickly Kylie shoots Fenris, tosses him into the unit and zaps the power supply closing the unit.

This one was neat because you don't often get to see the inside of the containment unit.  Yes they did do an episode of The Real Ghostbusters where you saw the inside of the unit as well (which is also referenced in this episode) but it's appearances are few and far between.  I really enjoyed seeing how the ghost world works while trapped in there though I hated seeing Siren, a gentle spirit who gave up her freedom for peace, being forced to do horrible things against her will. 

Episode 24: Grundelesque
When the Ghostbusters begin receiving calls about children being haunted, all evidence shows that the Grundel is back to his old tricks much to Kylie's horror.  The Grundel is a spirit who seeks out children with the capacity for bad and lures them to come play outside; he then turns the child into a copy of himself who then goes out and does the same.  The Grundel used to torment Kylie as a child and was most likely involved with her childhood best friend's disappearance.  The problem?  The Real Ghostbusters captured the Grundel ten years prior and he's still in the containment unit.  Against Egon's wishes, Kylie and Roland hook the unit up to a device allowing them to summon a ghost from the unit and speak to them.  Kylie asks about her friend but the Grundel isn't in a talking mood.  Eventually Kylie summons him once again and he admits that her friend was wrapped in a sort of cocoon till he was ready to become a Grundel and it is her friend who has been causing problems.  Unfortunately Roland's mischievous little brother unplugs the device allowing the Grundel to escape.  The Grundel decides to go after Roland's little brother but the Ghostbusters trap the Grundel once again causing his effects on her friend to finally disappear.

While this show does get personal with some of the characters learning things about themselves or how to react during the course of the episode, most of them don't get THIS personal.  There's a lot of pain associated with this ghost; a lot of baggage and fear is being faced by Kylie.  The manner in which the Grundel torments Kylie by bringing up these memories and acting nonchalant about his horrors is a really nice way to characterize the ghost.  It's a winning combination you shouldn't miss.

Episodes 39 and 40: Back in the Saddle Pt 1 and 2
It's Egon's 40th birthday and Janeen surprises him by getting the old team back together.  The old and new teams meet up but don't get along whatsoever.  When the old team decides to go out and bust some ghosts for nostalgia sake, the new team starts to feel unwanted.  This escalates when a ghost that the new team just defeated reappears and doubles for the old team to sweep in and do the job better.  The Extreme Ghostbusters decide to take some time away from the firehouse leaving the old team to bust all of the ghosts.  The Real Ghostbusters answer a call that the ghost has reappeared and doubled once again but four of this ghost proves to be too much for the old timers and the Extreme Ghostbusters sweep in to save them.  With the whole team working together to research and update their proton packs, they find out why the ghost is doubling and find a way to stop it.  All eight of them suit up to take out the ghost for good.  Things aren't as they seem as a massive spectral entity is seen on the horizon.  Some form of ghostly fog that destroys entire cities within seconds has appeared from the Bermuda Triangle and is heading up the East Coast devouring everything in their path.  The eight Ghostbusters team up one last time and using all their ingenuity finally trap the creature using a large, vehicle based containment unit.

Now if you are a fan of The Real Ghostbusters this may be awesome or may be a disappointment depending on your viewpoint.  For me, however, what a way to end the series!  It was great to see Ray, Peter, and Winston back busting some ghosts and interacting with the new team.  Seeing all of them working together and working off of each other was an absolute blast and as far as a series finale goes, it's a great way to book end both animated series.  It's just too bad that the order in which things were aired got screwed up... but I'll talk about that later.

Side Note: "Heart of Darkness" is also an extremely good episode that I'd rather not spoil.  Check it out!

What's Good About It?

Our main characters are a really great team who work well off each other.  I was surprised to see how relatable each character actually was all these years later.  Nobody was defined by their role in the team or their actions; each character is portrayed as an actual person and written intelligently for the most part.  You can truly see each of these people existing and probably know someone like them.  Now, let's be honest here.  If this cartoon were made today and you took one look at them, you would probably think they were created based on a diversity checklist to make sure they offended as few people as possible.  However, remember that this was made in 1997 when people didn't go full social justice frenzy.  Yes, this is a more diverse set of characters but it's either of no consequence or it enhances the character.  Roland and Eduardo being black and latino respectively is of little to no consequence to who they are.  You won't find any racial stereotypes here; they could have been any race or nationality and we would still have the same great characters.  Though, if I'm being completely honest, Roland is probably the weakest character and was designated to just being the tech or mechanic a lot.  He had his moments but there were just fewer for him than the others.  Kylie being the solo female member adds to the story by providing some tension between her and Eduardo who is obviously attracted to her though he denies it outright.  While she is a gothy sort of person, that's not her defining trait either; she's not constantly being dark and obsessive like your standard goth teenager or anything.  Garrett is actually a far better character by being in a wheelchair.  Your standard smart-mouthed jock isn't all that interesting and even the creators said they were having a difficult time making him interesting.  By making him a handicapped athlete, it opened up a whole new perspective for the character and many of his jokes, actions, and situations practically began writing themselves.  These characters are great and I enjoyed getting to spend 40 episodes with each of them.

This series has some pretty inventive ideas for episodes.  While many of these episode ideas have probably be done in other science fiction/horror TV shows and movies, it doesn't detract from them being good ideas.  "The True Face of a Monster" is about a golem protecting a synagogue from racial hatred but going out of control itself.  "Deadliners" is about a horror writer's characters coming to life (basically Hellraiser, and 2015's Goosebumps movie.)  "Home is Where the Horror is" is about a haunted house where the ghost is the house itself who has trapped the souls of its victims inside.  "Till Death Do Us Start" is about a wish-giving ghost who twists people's wishes and in this case gives a man an undead bride who haunts him relentlessly.  "Heart of Darkness" is... well I REALLY don't want to spoil that one.  There's a lot of really cool ideas floating around in this series and I'm sure some of those brief synopses may have interested you to look further into the show.  Out of 40 episodes only 3 of them aren't really that great in my opinion.  The rest are decent or really good.

Lastly, to go hand in hand with the inventive episode ideas, this show really pushed the envelope with how dark and creepy it could actually be for a cartoon at the time.  There was a lot of off-screen or slightly off-screen death happening in multiple episodes.  There's an episode where a demon is removing the bones out of people's bodies.  We have an episode where a ghost is sucking all the moisture out of people's bodies and leaving them barely alive.  We see Eduardo turn into a vampiric clown and eat Roland whole.  Some of the character designs are insanely creepy like the ghosts from Deadliners or when some people were turned into zombies.  If darkness is your thing then check it out!

What's Bad About It?

I know creating a hand-drawn cartoon takes a lot of time, effort, and skill.  I certainly don't have the talent or the patience to create something like this.  I also realize that the budget for a show like this is not the same as say... Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  However, there are just times in this show where the animation is really inconsistent or full of extremely fuzzy lines.  Just look at this.
I made this picture very large so you could easily see the problem.  Now the whole show isn't like this but in almost every single episode there are a few seconds here and there that look fairly poor like Garrett in the picture above.  It's very distracting especially when colors don't match from one frame to the next in the same shot. 

The only other real negative I can say about the show is it's "reset button" mentality.  The way that the show decided to ensure a completely happy ending was a weird one.  The second that the ghost in question was trapped by the Ghostbusters, everything that ghost had done goes back to the way it was before they showed up.  One ghost stole people's eyeballs out of their skull, but the second they trapped the ghost everyone's eyes flew right back to their owner.  Demon stealing bones from people?  Nah we'll bag the ghost and you'll get your bones back and be perfectly fine.  Ghost caused the Ecto 1 to smash into a building?  As soon as it's trapped the building and car get instantly repaired.  I understand why they did this as they want to have a happy ending for the children watching, but it just takes away from the tension far too often.

Nitpick Corner
It's time for another nitpick corner where I gripe about things that don't matter whatsoever!

The majority of the ghosts make T-rex sounds.  I'm not talking about growling and roaring like a dinosaur.  No, I'm talking it's the EXACT sound clip from the T-rex in Jurassic Park.  It's not even something similar to it... it's THAT exact sound clip.  While I don't mind them doing this for things like the skeleton dragon, or anything looking like a dinosaur; that's perfectly fine.  However, the Ogre you see pictured here also made that same Jurassic Park T-Rex sound for no reason whatsoever.  Not exactly that big of a deal but it was distracting.


I don't know how this happened, but the episodes were broadcast out of order.  If you look on the wikipedia page it shows them in the proper order with Back in the Saddle Pt 1 and 2 at the end where they belong as they are the series finale episodes.  However take a closer look at the air dates.
For some reason they aired the two part finale, then aired the previous two episodes after the finale.  So the show ends on a high note then just sort of continues on for two episodes.  This wouldn't be a bad thing except for the fact that Hulu (which is currently the only way to watch this series) presents them in the original air-date order.  So if you watch these you're going to have to remember to change your order of watching if you want to see them in the intended order.

Conclusion

Extreme Ghostbusters is a pretty great show.  It has some equal parts good and forgettable but ultimately leaves me with a mostly positive outlook on the series.  I honestly have no idea why people forget about this one overall.  Perhaps it was because of the marketing campaign at the time was not doing justice to the show.  Perhaps it was because many stations aired this show during the daytime when children were in school.  I honestly don't know why it has become the forgotten one of the series, but it really shouldn't be.  It's a worthy addition to the franchise with some great moments and characters.

If you like the Ghostbusters, like paranormal things, like science fiction comedy, and if you don't mind watching an animated show then I would highly suggest you try this one out.  It may not be your favorite but it's certainly better than it's given credit for.

Extreme Ghostbusters is available on Hulu.

This is Ghost, fading into the darkness.
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