Archive for August, 2009

The Oranges of Zeus Plug

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

orangesPart Two: The Pitch

In our continuing look back on the life of our yearling predecessor, here’s Jono’s emailed pitch (dated 20 February 2006) to fan creators outlining what form Zeus Plug would likely take. For the most part the contents stayed the same, although there were some added – Jumping the Quark being a notable one, and of course Fast Return was yet to be born. On the other hand ‘Scenes We Love’ became ‘Classic!’ and ‘For And Against’ didn’t eventuate (I think I just didn’t want to talk about Jackie Tyler then. Love her now though) In all we stuck to our guns, but of course once the Blog was born – well, watch those principals vanish! Oh, and the self-addressed envelope thing as I recall came from the lack of Rotorua chapter for Dave, but there may have been a Palmerston North fan interested as well. hey, we weren’t monsters, you know!


ZEUS PLUG, an NZ Doctor Who micro-zine, is due to be launched at the end of March. Pete and I have been developing this over the last six months, and would like to give you an idea of how this new ‘zine will have its own place in the NZ Who fanzine market.

Zeus Plug is not TSV, and it’s not RTP. To make a somewhat lame analogy, TSV is the solid meat and three veg, RTP is the crazy vegan platter, and Zeus Plug is the play lunch your Mum made you – fun, irreverent, clever, easily digestible and ultimately disposable. ZP is not meant to be a collector’s item – the last thing that we expect is that people will hold on to our issues for very long. In fact, the aim will be for them to be a solid 15 minute read. Nothing more.

I’m going to be editing this puppy overall, with Pete looking after the visual layout of each issue, and involved editorially.

Story files
Review sections (although we might do the odd new TV story)
New / Missing Adventures
Big Finish
Fan fiction
Articles that are actually lists
Interviews, including with NZ fans

Zeus Plug will be made up from a core group of regular contributors, rather than from unsolicited material. There are two fanzines already for people to have their work published, so there’s no need for another. There is no minimum commitment to contribute, but on various occasions there will opportunities for involvement in a number of regular features, which include:

1) I’VE NEVER SEEN… Picking a DW story you have never seen, giving your impressions before, during and after.

2) SCENES WE LOVE – That moment you adore from a Doctor Who story – anything from a line of dialogue, to an FX shot or an entire scene. What and why!

3) FOR AND AGAINST – A one sentence statement (eg: Jackie Tyler is essential to the new series) is the subject of a mini-debate – one person stating why they agreed, the other person opposite.

There will also be regular spaces for opinion pieces, but we must stress the importance of conciseness in all articles – there is limited space, so opinions should be well thought out, and to the point.

We suggest 500 words maximum. If you can’t contain your argument in that many words, you’re probably saying too much.

No 100 page epics – instead, Zeus Plus will be the equivalent 8 A5 pages long – hence the easily digestable tag. In a nutshell, it’s 2 A3 pages of content, folded into a handy pocket sized A6!

Zeus Plug will be published monthly on the last day of each month, with deadline being the 15th of that month. The first issue will be out on March 31 .

Zeus Plug will be available free of charge to anyone who sends a stamped self-addressed envelope to the ZP address. It will also be sent to any current NZ chapters for distribution at meetings.

Hope that gives you an insight into what we’re doing. If you want to know any more, or would like to put your hand up to be involved, please email me.




The Oranges of Zeus Plug

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009


Being a retrospective of Zeus Blog’s precursor, the 2006 pubzine Zeus Plug.

Part One: An Immaculate Conception

Zeus Plug was born the hotel bar at the City Life hotel, with the first proper ideas being thrown around at the Vulcan cafe on Vulcan lane on a Saturday morning in December 2005. Jono and I had discussed the possibility of working together on something zine-like since the days of Telos, and it happened that by then, perhaps a year after interviewing him about Telos for RTP!, and with the new series reviving interest in fan activities, we realised that the time was right. But we weren’t going to settle for the traditional route. Perhaps because we’re both rampant egotists, we declared that our creation would be unique, and unprecedented. It wouldn’t be a fanzine as others would know it, but a sort of social experiment, albeit one set within a very small community – the lesser-known New Zealand Doctor Who fan. Who drank in pubs.

I’d seen pubzines before – Concrete Elephant, a mainstay of the Fitzroy Tavern was one that came to mind, and I recalled the excitement when it  arrived at the gathering I’d attended – copies were small, free and low in number and they went very quickly. I’m no economist, but I could see the lesson of supply and demand working very well. And neither Jono and I were in it for the money. As it turned out, it was a good thing we weren’t, or ZP would never have existed.

Over a cooked breakfast and too many hot caffeinated beverages we drew up a manifesto that was scintillating in its simplicity: no  reviews, no lists, just opinion. We decided that having been fanzine readers for long enough the one thing we really wanted out of any fan publication was something worth reading, and that’s usually an opinion. Reviews can have opinions, but are sometimes tied down through wanting to please everyone, whether it’s the distributor of said merchandise who offers the zine free copies, or (in post-original series days) the creator – a fan themselves and therefore only a few degrees of separation from the reviewer. If we could deliver short, sharp bursts of opinion and argument packaged in a neat portable product that any unassuming fan could stuff in their pocket or read on the bus, then we’d be breaking the A5 mould that so many zines before us had shrugged themselves into.

We got bolder – make it a fan experience by refusing to send issues out to people, instead making ZP something you had to make the effort to go somewhere to collect and therefore meet other fans and (uh-oh!) interact with them. Tied to a neutral venue like, say, a pub, and you [should] avoid any suggestion that the zine was a ‘chapter’ thing. We wanted to be guerrilla. It didn’t always work – Christchurch doesn’t really do pub meetings, so it became associated with their chapter meetings (although RTP! is essentially a chapter zine anyway, so little lost there), and early on the ‘c’ word was linked to Auckland pub meets and ZP. We made an effort to stamp that fire out quickly. The last thing we wanted people to do was to take the issues home and place them in an airtight folder in between Zeta Minor and Zoë Herriot.  If there ever was a publication that wasn’t aimed at a completist, this was it. You should pick it up, read and then use it as a beer coaster for the rest of the evening. Never happened though… We were just too damned desirable!

Most of all we wanted to change zines. We thought they’d become stale and predictable, relying on the same names and tropes and formula. We actually used some of those same names, and a formula of sorts was noted by RTP! in its review of the early issues early on, but our response to that was swift. We, I believe, also didn’t hang around long enough to really get predictable and stale, quietly leaving the party just before the zine’s debut as a TSV supplement. There was the general sense between Jono and I that neither would be around for the long haul. And that was fine by us.


Better Late Than Never

Friday, August 14th, 2009


At a point just over halfway through Torchwood Children of Earth my wife turned to me and said “where’s the Doctor in all this?” I didn’t know she cared. And yet in a way it’s this lack of the Time Lord that drives 2009′s miniseries, for although he and his interest in Earth’s survival is mentioned in only one episode, CoE is a production over which his shadow (as interpreted by Russell T Davies) is cast long. Glib, cloying, weepy – you could call the Tenth Doctor a lot of things, but by and large he is a hero, and a figure who has generous accommodation on the winning side. Not so his human counterparts in Torchwood, and therein lies the interest in this story. (more…)

Tweets from The Streets

Thursday, August 6th, 2009


Bizarre news of the day from the Twittering of Mike Skinner AKA The Streets.

A repeat appearance of sorts from Mr Skinner, having already appeared in musical form in Father’s Day.


The Family Jewels, part two

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

crystalballcapitolWe are, I think, in an envious position at this point in time for being a fan base granted the indulgence of looking wistfully into the future not only for Torchwood but also (if you insist) Sarah Jane Smith and Kidz or whatever it’s called and even K-9 and Kidz too for those that might be interested in that sort of thing. These spin-offs aside however, the main attraction in Who fandom’s stargazing must be the core series itself. 2010 has the be the most anticipated year for Doctor Who since 2005, a phrase which looks as absurd as it reads, but you get my drift. Next year we will have the most complete turnaround in personnel in six years, including a new TARDIS crew, Executive Producer, Producer and possibly composer to boot. It’s the end of the Gold-en Era, you might say. The show has already been primed for HDTV, but to address any concerns we have a new TARDIS prop and, we’re told, new insides as well. Less extrinsically the show may have a new ‘feel’ being the beginning of the post-RTD, Moffat Age. What that could mean varies widely – my impression of what we’re likely to see in the new series will differ from yours, his, hers, theirs and so on. The concensus is that we’re in safe hands, but it won’t be business as usual. The Moff has revealed little (and good on him), and despite the odd spoiler photo we’ve not much to go on. So what would you like to see in year one of the Matt Smith tenure (besides a strong case for there being a year two and so forth, obviously)? And what do you expect to see?

Here are some quotes to start the ball rolling:

[On returning friends and monsters]

“We’re not in the business of being nostalgic, we’re making nostalgia for the future, new monsters, new friends.”

[On who the show is aimed at]

Doctor Who is at its best when it’s brand new and you’ve always got to remember that there’s a new bunch of eight-year-olds watching every year and it has to be original – it has to belong to them.”

[and once more with feeling:]

“…fundamentally, the absolute paradigm of Doctor Who stories is — right from the TARDIS — is that everything you see is brand new. I always think there should be more new stuff than old stuff in Doctor Who. “

It’s the usual deal – likes, wants, expectations on your behalf. But has fandom’s collective and varied anticipation ever been so imperilled?

Fast Return – July 2009

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009


We’re back like spoiler pictures, baby! What better way to ring in the changes than a new set of clothes, TARDIS and screwy-driver? We can talk about all that later of course, and we will, but in the mean-time…  

TORCHWOOD WRITER FALLS ON SPORK Crikey hell – who could have seen the ratings success that Children of Earth would prove to be? Absolutely zomgazing, full credit to the boys, and lots of viewer and fan reaction mainly due to the big shocker in the story (well, that there’s actually a story was a shock itself of course), the mancandy-ectomy that was Ianto’s death. Goodbye, Cardiff’s Teaboy. We can laugh about this of course, and how some of us have, but others did not take the development so well. Co-writer James Moran’s blog The Pen is Mightier Than the Spork was the victim of a barrage of complaints from ‘Janto’ fans who had just, well, had enough of all this sort of thing and in the modern way took Moran to task for the group action and pretty much demanding the Doctor’s timey-wimey intervention to undercut much of the drama of the whole thing undo the crime. Well, fair enough – if we can drag Earth around the cosmos on the end of a TARDIS grinning into the camera like loons surely resurrecting a dead Torchwood member is no trouble? I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that? 

THE NAME’S POND… Of course it is. We’ve had a River and a Lake after all. What’s next perhaps, a cameo by Billy Ocean?

NEW CLOTHES, NAME, DEUS EX SCREWDRIVER, OLD CHUM It’s all too much, too soon! We can’t possibly deconstruct so much visual input in one sitting! Luckily we know some people who can, and as usual, it’s best to step away from the immediate Who fan community for real clarity. Take it away, intolerant potty-mouthed Americans of Aint-It-Cool-News forums:


 Such a missed opportunity. by Hint_of_Smegma Jul 20th, 2009 12:20:56 PM When they rebooted Dr Who, with Eccleston, they could have made the show genuinely something special – serious and well written with touches of humour. They picked the wrong showrunner though, and it was too kiddified to be taken seriously. I know, I know – it was always aimed at the kids somewhat in the good old days – but at least then it assumed the kids were bright enough to understand interesting science fiction ideas and it had more than it’s fair share of darkness. They could have capitalised on that and aimed at the more grown up market than the kids – instead, we get this day glo, manicly acted dose of confection for the ADD afflicted youngsters of today’s British council estates. Great. In terms of acting, we went from Eccleston – who is a great actor – to Tennant – who is a parody of an actor – to this non-entity. The words ‘diminishing returns’ come to mind. And don’t get me started on the writing.


Er, which bit wasn’t about the writing again?


Jesus, that guy’s haircut makes me want to punch him in the face by hamster factor Jul 20th, 2009 01:25:40 PM Sorry, that’s the automatic reaction I have ever time I see a pic of this dude. I hope he’s a kick ass 11th doctor – but that emo hair is going to take some getting used to.


I have no comment on this, but it did make me laugh.


Twilight Emo Doctor by fiesterJul 20th, 2009 01:28:55 PM Is he a vampire now? On the plus side the new companion is a babe. Love the busty ginger.


Oooh yeah! That Donna Noble – whew!

David Tennant CAN NOT ACT by _Palmer_EldritchJul 20th, 2009 01:30:58 PM His pseudo-comic routines ruined several episodes of the show, and when he tried to be emotional he was downright annoying. So while I wanted to vomit all over Tennants face, I just want to punch this new doc real hard. Ergo: improvement.


You wanted to do what? We’ll be hearing more about bodily functions soon, folks!


Tennant will be too busy filming the DR. WHO movie to play Bilbo by SpyGuyJul 20th, 2009 01:46:55 PM Details this Saturday at the DOCTOR WHO panel at Comic-Con, no doubt.

Hmm, yeah. Doubting confirmed doubly then – no movie, no Bilbo.  

Bottom Line by kwisatzhaderachJul 20th, 2009 01:48:38 PM Moffat is the most talented writer on Who since Robert Holmes. Nothing to worry about, RTD and his farting aliens and shitty Master and all his big camp excess is gone. The future starts here.


I told you! These Americans and their famous toilet obsession!


During his 12th regeneration Dr. Who will turn evil. by FarealJul 20th, 2009 02:09:46 PM Any real Dr. Who fan knows that in a previous episode, Dr. Who faced an evil version of himself. I can’t wait…


Yeah… about that Valeyard thing…


  11th Doctor? 12th Doctor? by HagakureJul 20th, 2009 02:13:49 PM Strictly speaking (in terms regeneration cycles) couldn’t we say David Tennant was the 10th AND 11th Doctor? He did, in fact, go through a regeneration again at the end of last season but then channeled it into that chopped off hand. But still, it is fun to point out semantics.


Oh no it isn’t.

God, that man is one creepy looking poofter. by thedarklinglordJul 20th, 2009 02:15:49 PM Sorry, but nobody is going to be able to adequately fill the role after Tennant, least of all that pedophile-looking goober. The series is now dead to me.


my problem with this is… by ObscuraJul 20th, 2009 03:31:53 PM lack of continuity. changing both the doctor and the companion together is gonna be a big shift. it may break the show, throwing out almost every character anyone recognizes is a dangerous move.

Agreed. Down with this new Jon Pertwee/Caroline John regime!

Looks like a couple who can by kabong Jul 20th, 2009 03:36:28 PM RELATIONSHIP

Yep, thats what I’m worried about too, Mister kabong

Will the racist bastards let the 12th Doctor be Black? by FarealJul 20th, 2009 07:58:05 PM The 7th or 8th Doctor should have been Black, but I guess the racist bastards in charge of the Dr. Who show just couldn’t let a “brother” take over. I guess we will have to wait for England to elect a Black prime minister before we will see a Black Dr. Who. We all ready know there will never be a Black King or Queen. Racism is alive and well in the United Kingdom!!!


How does this show change? It’s an old dude in a box! by lockesbrokenlegJul 20th, 2009 10:08:47 PM

I genuinely think that has to be the most brilliant summation of the show I’ve ever read!

Tennant is a gurning tit. by brock landers babyJul 20th, 2009 11:48:17 PM

Okay, maybe this too.

Doctor Poof by smackfuJul 21st, 2009 04:27:54 AM

It only took me three seconds to write that! (including a spell check)”

i’m going to give this mr. smith a try. by mr. smithJul 22nd, 2009 02:56:05 AM i was heartbroken when eccelston left, then tennant came along and became my second favorite doctor. that’sthe genius of doctor who, i’ve come to enjoy many actors for their fleshing out of a great character.

Many’ meaning… two then, right?

You can’t make this stuff up. Fortunately you can cut and paste it:

lockesbrokenleg by dioxholsterJul 20th, 2009 05:49:28 PM British people are like carnival people.

You’re awesome. Moving right along…

It’s still a mouthful of initials though. Change! More change, I say!

And pretty cool it is also. Well, in these early days all new forums look good because they’re less busy and easier to browse and we haven’t yet succumbed to the weird ‘Wrinkly’ ‘Squee myself in public’ subforum phenomenon. Yet. Paul’s rating well, as noted of course. And elsewhere, an old TSV article gets more recognition than it probably deserves (exept for Alden’s parts in it which are, like the new message board, quite fab).

At last! After years of wondering what tuneless ditty Vicki was attempting to whistle in The Chase, that answer can now be found. And all without the aid of VidFire – yay!

And it’s music to our ears to hear that Mad Tom Baker the Mad is returning to the world of audio in a set of new stories! Hooray! After infamously rejecting Big Finish’s offer of a script by Paul Magrs he’s now to work on a series of stories for the Beeb written by… er, Paul Magrs. Oh well. Oh, and Tegan’s back on audio soon too (for BF) again, so for seasons 17 on we’re sorted for all available companions and Doctors now being on audio! We didn’t miss anybody out, did we?


Oh dear.