Well here we are then. The last summing up of an arbitrary period of days and weeks within what might loosely be described as a month in a year in arrears.
So let’s kick off in traditional style then: how was your Christmas?
PORTENTS OF DOOM PORTENTS OF DOOM PORTENTS OF DOOM OOEEEOOOOOO…WEEE-OOOO…
It may have come to your attention over the past week that the last special Christmas story of the Russell T Ennant era began. Part two is tonight/tomorrow/once enough ‘seeds’ go up on Bit Torrent or whatever the young people do on their iPods these days, but in case you did miss it (and I did, hence the stalling), here are a couple of other Xmas-related Doctor Who things of the past month you may have also missed:
1. The BBC Christmas ident. Possibly the greatest moment of Time Lord Victorious. Witness the bending of time to a single man’s will as several reindeer tow the TARDIS across the sky and make a corporate logo.
2. Death in Blackpool. Yes, you heard me – Death. In. Blackpool. This is how Big Finish resolves the Lucie Miller as companion story arc and wishes its susbcribers (“Subscribers Get More… with Big Finish” – ‘more’ being followed by ‘depressed’, one assumes) a happy festive season. At least it’s summer here.
3. Hive of Horror. This is more like it! The anti-Big Finish if you will as Mad Tom, Mike Yates (ret’d) and novelty curmudgeonette Mrs Wibbsey round out Paul Magrs’ Hornets Nest story with a cracking Christmas feast in darkest Sussex. Okay, so you may wish to hear the previous installments of the story first – yes, even if very little happens in them all the while. But at least you won’t be able to say you’ve heard the likes of it before (muttermutterPlagueoftheDaleksmuttermutter).
2009 - A MIXED BAG
But looking back on a lean year Who-wise there was still a fair bit to please the average punters. An improving DWM (the December issue is a wee cracker, making up for the moment for the inevitable price hike), no outrageous story leaks from der press to spoil Christmas, some new stories for Old Tom Baker and some old stories for Old Colin Baker. Of course those were a bit of a mixed blessing, offering new sounds and familiar ones, but you could understand some slavering de-vo-tees being a little nonplussed with the results. Tom returning as a finer amalgam of the fictional Doc and the fictional Tom (the Little Britain/Tui beer ads one), Colin in stories from the 80s that sound and plod like… stories from the 80s. A lesson there in being careful what you wish for. Nostalgia’s a fickle beast, but on the whole we’re better for having these stories around than not, right?
DEAR LORD – ABORT! ABORT!
Speaking of the latter Baker years, silly us – we thought 2007 had the best curmudgeonly DWM back pages interview of them all with the triumphant party poop of a distinctly un-Joyboyish Clive Swift’s putdown, but NO! 2009 saw a pretender to the throne when from out of the bushes came Nabil Shaban with some terrific moments in locomotive catastrophe. Utterly bonkers, and a little bit scary (he’s been banned from YouTube!) Confessions of “loony leftism”, pot-shots at Bush and Blair, the Beeb (they’re all in on it you see) and to crown it off “And they’ve never invited me back!”. Move over Swifty, there’s a new show in town!
BUT WHAT WILL WE TELL THE CHILDREN?
Yeah it is a worry, what with there not having been much on the telly of the new series and precious little of the old, whether we’re doing enough to educate the ‘new’ fans of the show that it didn’t begin in 2005 and that the series’ long and noble history isn’t anything to do with the granddaughter of Wilfred Mott. Thankfully there are a few tools of the trade out on the tubes to help us in that quest. First, and a cracking read it is, an article in The Independent by Matthew Sweet. THE Matthew Sweet, you ask? Writer of the rather splendid Magic Mousetrap for Big Finish? I like to think so. It’s not just the existence of the new series that Sweet covers, but the phenomenon of new fandom claiming the show as their own, arguably in ignorance of what groundwork was actually laid down in the last years of the old show, plus of course the not inconsiderable contribution that the show has provided the BBC in terms of viewers and ratings. For all the nudging and asides over the last five years it’s something to ponder; in the not too distant future wise heads will note that just as a long break gave Doctor Who a new energy, direction and audience, so too did the Time Lord save Auntie.
ON THE OTHER HAND
If your charges over the break are lacking in attention spans and in need of a good belt of past to present series education as part of good parenting/guardianship, then look no further than Babelcolour’s Guide to the series. Stupendous! And with Farmergeddon having produced pretty much fanny allen on YouTube in recent years (but look out for his handywork inthe extas for The Twin Dilemma), we may have an heir apparent.
This is it. The final end. I’ve redecorated, and it feels different this time – where there’s life the moment has been prepared for. And with that, this is the last posting for Zeus Blog. Four pretty good years – that’s longer than most New Zealand fanzines managed apart from a few venerable notables, and longer than the original Zeus Plug four times over. It’s been fun, but it’s been work too, at times, and there’s so much more I’d like to do outside of this blog and I can’t wait to get started.
A huge thanks to those who stuck with the blog, encouraged me and it, and posted regularly, especially to Foo, Dave, Jono and Jamas, who provided content as well as backup, and to Alden for the space to host this rather idiosyncratic corner of the Web, and the know-how to stop it falling over, or prey to the spam wolves.
That just leaves me to say “A Happy New Year to all of you at home and on holiday!” Enjoy 2010 and all ports beyond. Enjoy fandom, and share it wherever you are.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, somewhere the tea’s getting cold…