Tuesday

The TARDIS Owner's Manual

One of the most indelible images from the BBC’s long-running science fiction series Doctor Who was the quirky time machine in which the Doctor and his companions traveled the cosmos, which he called the TARDIS. Its exterior was disguised as a battered blue Police Call Box, a familiar sight on London streetcorners when the show debuted in 1963. Its interior, on the other hand, was a sprawling, labyrinthine complex of futuristic design. Thanks to the wonders of “transdimensional engineering,” the ship was, in fact, larger on the inside than on the outside; one of the show’s many mind-bending concepts.

“Tardis,” actually the Latin word for “slow,” from whence we get the word “tardy,” was said to be an acronym for “Time And Relative Dimensions In Space.” The Doctor’s first traveling companion, the girl known only as Susan, claimed to have made up the name from this phrase, which would suggest that only the Doctor’s ship is called “TARDIS.” However, later writers used the term to apply to all Time Lord ships, which were officially referred to as “time capsules.” I prefer to maintain the original intent, and consider TARDIS the name of the Doctor’s ship, comparable to Enterprise, Nimitz, or Titanic.

A wealth of technical information was revealed about the ship during the 26 seasons the show was on the air, and I have gathered much of this information into what might be taken as excerpts from the TARDIS owner’s manual:


TYPE 40 TIME CAPSULE
TIME AND RELATIVE DIMENSIONS IN SPACE


The Type 40 is a self-contained research station designed for surveillance and information-gathering on alien civilisations throughout space-time. It is a transdimensionally-engineered hypercubic vehicle powered by artron energy surrounded by an all-but-indestructible shell and containing a vast complex to provide both comfort and support to the Time Lord researcher on an extended mission.

The exterior of the Type 40 consists of the three-dimensional shell topped by the Local Orientation Visualiser. The exterior can be disguised by the chameleon circuit, which is governed by the visual stabiliser unit. The transdimensional interface hatch is protected by a complex trimonic locking device, which also contains a key-operated pause-control feature, with which the operator can send the ship on to its preset coördinates without actually going inside.

The transdimensional interface hatch is linked to the main console room, but can be rerouted to the secondary control room if necessary. Additionally within the interior of the Type 40 are living quarters with food processing units, storage compartments large and small, workshops, sickbay, Zero room, indoor gardens and cloister room, swimming pool complex, holographic art gallery, and laboratory facilities, all connected by a series of corridors that provide easy access to the ship’s systems. The interior is governed by the ship’s architectural configuration system, and areas can be quickly located with the architectural configuration indicators.

The Type 40 operates through a symbiotic link with its Time Lord operator. The link is established with a component called the briode-nebuliser, which must be primed prior to operation. It is also patched into the molecular stabilisation system.

With the symbiotic link established, the Type 40’s telepathic circuits conform the patterns of the ship’s artron energy supplies with the artron energies present in the Time Lord brain. Thereby the operation of the Type 40 is influenced by the personality, imagination, and mood of its operator. A predisposition for a certain place and time on the part of the operator will cause the ship to favor that place and time in its own operational protocols. The symbiosis is made possible by the ship’s non-verbal artificial intelligence. The artron energy is used to power the ship’s hyperspace movements. The basic power supply for the ship’s systems is provided by the dynamorphic generator and moderated through the mercury fluid links.

The Type 40 contains a psionic beam communication system keyed into the ship’s telepathic circuits, regulated by the signal conversion unit. One feature of the system is that it constantly monitors and receives distress calls. The emergency transceiver allows for remote control operation from Gallifrey in the event of a crisis situation. The ship is also equipped with a “cloister bell” onboard warning system. Other safety features include: portable homing devices should the crew become separated from the ship; and in the event of a total power failure, the main door can be cranked open manually. Should the ship come under attack, the Hostile Action Displacement System can be activated, which will cause the ship to make slight adjustments in its spatial position to avoid the effects of alien weaponry. This puts a tremendous strain on the ship’s systems, however, and should only be used in the gravest emergencies. Should the Type 40 be in danger of destruction during transit, the interphasic failsafe will automatically seek out and lock onto the nearest spacecraft. The ship is also capable of generating a gravity tractor beam.

Transit is initiated by the relative dimension stabiliser (RDS), which produces the distinctive noise heard outside the ship as the exterior shifts into hyperspace. The RDS works in concert with the dematerialisation circuit. The relative continuum stabiliser (RCS) monitors the ship’s movement through time, oriented by the K-zero differential, as artron energy is fed into the trachoid time crystal. Be sure to avoid symbolic resonance in the crystal or rematerialisation will be effectively impossible! For smooth rematerialisations, be sure the multi-loop stabiliser (MLS) is engaged. The Type 40 utilises automated landing protocols to prevent rematerialisation problems.

Navigation is controlled primarily through the space-time coordinate programmer (SCP) and the time vector generator (TVG). Important components in the navigation system include the temporal drift compensators (TDC) and the lateral balance cones (LBC). The helmic regulator monitors the ship’s progress, and the synchronic feedback checking circuit should ensure a smooth journey. The Type 40 is also equipped with a movable astral map unit located in the main console room.


* * *


During his many adventures, the Doctor often needed to make modifications to the TARDIS, since he wasn’t actually using it for the purpose for which it was designed. Wandering around the universe helping people out of jams was the furthest thing from the Time Lords’ minds when they created their fleet of time capsules. But the Doctor is something of a renegade, and so the beleaguered TARDIS has had to adapt to a more rough-and-tumble existence. Some examples:

Soon after leaving Gallifrey, the Doctor assembled and installed a “time path detector” to monitor any other time machines following the same route, as he and Susan were fugitives from the authorities. Originally intended to allow them to stay one step ahead of the Time Lords, the device later came in quite handy when the evil Daleks pursued the Doctor in a time machine of their own invention.

During the Doctor’s long exile to Earth, the Time Lords had blocked from his mind the knowledge he needed to operate the TARDIS. Undaunted, the Doctor continued to experiment, attempting to escape his imprisonment. The ship was almost completely stripped down during this period, and we learned that even minor temporal effects require energy levels on the order of a nuclear power plant.

The Type 40 is equipped with a recall circuit which can pull the ship back to Gallifrey, although this component has been used only 3 times in all Time Lord history. The Time Lords found it necessary to use this method of last resort when they came under attack for the second time by Omega, one of the Time Lords’ “founding fathers,” as it were, who was trapped in an anti-matter universe. We can assume that more criminally-minded renegade Time Lords, such as the so-called Meddling Monk, the Master, and the Rani, found ways to disable this feature on their own time capsules.

The Doctor has had to jettison one-quarter of the TARDIS interior and also lost three-quarters of the remaining storage holds, the former in a desperate attempt to escape destruction and the latter purely by accident. It is clear that the Doctor has collected various odds and ends, clothing, and furniture throughout his travels, but we have no way of knowing what may have been lost during these mishaps.

Certainly additional information about the TARDIS has been offered in the various novelizations, audio programs, comic books, and TV and theatrical movies based on the show, all of which I consider non-canonical. Therefore, the above is based solely on the episodes of the original television series.


For an excellent resource on the TARDIS,visit Fluid Link.

Next: The Doctor’s Companions


Monday

Tony Television Strikes Back

The greatest shows on Earth are not under the Big Top, they’re right here on the Tony Television Network! Wednesday nights serve up something for everyone with just the right mix of comedy, action, and drama in four shows the like of which the world has never seen! Stars galore and simply unbeatable concepts spell a night of television paradise! Don’t miss a single minute!


8:00 – RED-HEADED STEPCHILD. A heart-warming laugh-riot in which Daryl Sabara stars as Benjy, a precocious troublemaker who must make a big adjustment when his widowed mom, played by Gillian Anderson, marries a Hollywood studio executive (Lee Tergesen) and he must move in with his “perfect” new siblings, Sean (Nick Carter) and Sarah (Carly Schroeder). In the pilot, Benjy inadvertently brings disaster to his new family’s high-society pool party. Featuring a special appearance by Danny Bonaduce as Benjy’s deceased dad.


8:30 – OBJECTION SUSTAINED. Jeff Altman stars as the world’s worst lawyer, Clyde Daihatsu, in this side-splitting comedy set in Hoboken. With Eamonn Walker as his long-suffering law partner Percy Blue and Jena Malone as Clyde’s on-again-off-again girlfriend Sissy Turkel. In the premiere episode, Clyde faces his greatest challenge when he is called to defend his Japanese half-sisters, played by former Pink Lady stars Keiko Kuwaki and Mitsuyo Tsukuda, from a sausage-smuggling racket.


9:00 – SUBPOENA! Follow the thrilling adventures of a corps of process servers as they tackle big city crime and corruption in this high-energy legal drama. Starring Seth Green as dauntless Mitch Madison and Clarence Williams III as Judge Jefferson J. Adams. Also featuring Jennifer Lien as Mitch’s partner Gretchen Kane, Jeff Phillips as her brother Carlson Kane, Lil’ Romeo as streetwise Capital-T, Esai Morales as computer-whiz Hector Escobar, Jamie Elman as soft-spoken Steve Raysor, Peter Berg as their boss Alan Westfield, and Tiffani Thiessen as rival process server Holly McClain. In the first installment, Mitch and his team must overcome formidable obstacles to serve papers to a corrupt Congressman (Ed Begley, Jr.) before time runs out.


10:00 – NOAA WEATHER RADIO. Kyle Secor leads a powerhouse cast in this gripping drama about the heroic meteorologists who keep our coastal cities safe. Set in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the show follows the trials and travails, both personal and professional, of Mark Billings (Secor); his co-workers sagacious Arnold Blaze (Graham Greene), hot-tempered Dan O’Leary (Colm Meany), and brainy Julietta Norris (Tracy Scoggins); his no-nonsense boss Jerry Berry (Charles Martin Smith); and his fortune-teller ex-wife Magdalena (Cyndi Lauper).



The Tony Television Network – Accept No Substitutes!!!


Previous: Tony Television Gets Real

Next: Tony Television Triumphs


Tuesday

A Brief History of the Master

Throughout the 26 seasons of Doctor Who shown on the BBC between 1963 and 1989, the Doctor faced many fearsome foes, but his most implacable nemesis was undoubtedly the Master. Introduced during the eighth season in 1971, the Master was another renegade time-traveler from the Doctor’s own race, but unlike the Doctor, he journeyed through time and space seeking personal power. The two Time Lords would cross swords repeatedly through the rest of the series’ run. Since the character was used in so many stories by so many different writers, he developed a rich and complex continuity, which I have here attempted to lay out in a simple, straightforward narrative. In doing so, the links between the Master’s various appearances become much clearer, and many of his behind-the-scenes activities stand revealed.

I do not consider any of the numerous Doctor Who novels to be canonical, nor do I accept any film or television versions not originally shown on the BBC or not made as part of the original series production schedule. Therefore, this history is based purely on the episodes of the original television series.

Any conflicting accounts of the history of the Master are therefore non-canonical and speculative.


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MASTER


The man who would one day call himself THE MASTER was born a Time Lord on the planet Gallifrey.1 From an early age, he proved himself to be extremely brilliant, a genius in mathematics.2 However, he was a restless and disaffected youth, with a vague feeling that some great destiny awaited him. Eventually, the young Master enrolled in the Pyrdon Academy of Time and met another young Time Lord, one who would eventually call himself the Doctor.3 The Master came to regard the Doctor as a good friend, as they shared many of their political views, particularly regarding the policies of the High Council of the Time Lords towards the affairs of other planets.4 The two friends also got to know a zealous neurochemistry student who would one day adopt the title of the Rani, although she wanted little to do with either of them.5 The Master and the Doctor enjoyed something of a friendly rivalry as regarded their studies, each trying to outdo the other while granting a grudging admiration for the other’s talent and intelligence. The Doctor, however, proved to be less than dedicated, and the Master’s degree in cosmic science was ultimately higher than the Doctor’s,6 who managed to scrape through with 51% on the second attempt.7

Following graduation from the Academy, the Doctor and the Master remained best friends, and both became active in Time Lord politics, attempting to change the system from the inside. For instance, the Doctor lobbied so hard for a complete ban on miniscopes, which he felt were an offense against the dignity of sentient life forms, that the High Council took action to have them all destroyed.8 The Master was perhaps less successful with his own agenda, and his disaffection grew. Then a crisis arose when the sitting Lord President of the High Council decided to use the dreaded weapon called the Hand of Omega to prevent any other civilization from developing time-travel technology, and thus pose a potential threat to the dominion of the Time Lords of Gallifrey. Both the Doctor and the Master were well aware of the terrible events that followed the discovery of the fabled Hand of Omega by the great criminal Salyavin, which occurred some time before they were born.9 Salyavin had been defeated and imprisoned by High Council President Morbius, but possession of the fearsome device corrupted him, and a great civil war ensued, at the end of which Morbius was executed.10 Determined not to allow such terrible events to occur again, the two friends decided to take decisive action.

The Master and the Doctor hatched a plan to steal the Hand of Omega and hide it away forever. They were successful in gaining possession of the device, but at the critical moment, the Master’s lifetime of dissatisfaction and malcontentment suddenly crystallized, for he realized that they could use the Hand of Omega to rule the universe. Then, surely, they could realize all the noble goals that Time Lord politics had prevented them from achieving.11 However, feeling his friend had betrayed him, the Doctor resolved to hide the weapon himself, and the two allies turned on each other. The Doctor stole an obsolete Type 40 time capsule and took the Hand of Omega away from Gallifrey,12 accompanied by a young girl who would eventually name herself Susan.13 The Master was apprehended and imprisoned by the Time Lords, who relentlessly pursued the Doctor through time and space. However, the Master soon made good his escape as well, vowing revenge on the Doctor and the Time Lords and intent on gaining the ultimate power that was nearly his. The Master also stole a time capsule, although in a bit more clandestine way than the Doctor had managed, and was even able to destroy all record of his existence from the Matrix, the Time Lords’ organic supercomputer.14 Renaming himself the Master, he then set off on a campaign of acquisition and conquest throughout time and space.

The Master’s activities and whereabouts for the next few centuries remain shrouded in mystery, but he used the time to develop his mental powers to such an extent that he could easily exert his will over weaker minds, and make even world leaders his puppets. He also developed or discovered technological means to accomplish similar ends, as well as his weapon of choice, the tissue-compression eliminator. The Master also cultivated a chameleon-like ability to blend into any society using forged credentials and his own natural charm. The Master considered himself a gentleman, whose ambition was wholly justified by his innate talent and vision of a cosmos united under his autocratic leadership, and he came to believe that any means necessary to accomplishing his goal were therefore acceptable. However, the Master evidently led a grueling existence, for he was forced to use up the remainder of his regenerations in a relatively short time.15 With each regeneration, he became more desperate to achieve his destiny, and more unscrupulous in his actions.

Eventually, the Master learned that his old adversary the Doctor had been tried by the Time Lord Tribunal and sentenced to exile on the planet Earth, a world the Doctor had developed a strong affinity for.16 The Master thus traveled to Earth and began an experiment under the guise of Professor Emil Keller. He installed a machine in Stangmoor prison that actually contained a living creature that fed off the mental energy of human beings.17 Some time later, the Master formed an alliance with the energy-based beings called the Nestenes, who were attempting a second invasion of the Earth, the first having been foiled by the Doctor. The Master thus infiltrated the Beacon Hill radio telescope facility as well as seeing to the production of a new generation of Autons. With the help of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT), the Doctor was able to foil the invasion as well as strand the Master on Earth by stealing the dematerialization circuit from his time capsule.18 Not to be outdone, the Master resumed his experiment with the Keller machine, using it as part of a complicated plot to cause a full-scale nuclear war, intending to set himself up as ruler of the devastated world. He struck a bargain with the Doctor, agreeing to hand over the nuclear warhead he had hijacked in return for his dematerialization circuit. Although the Doctor attempted to double-cross him, the Master retrieved his component and left Earth, but not before gloating over the Doctor’s exile.19 Unfortunately, the Master’s time capsule was captured by a giant space-borne parasite called Axos, which brought the Master back to Earth. Although they had made a deal, the Master was unwilling to trust Axos to release his ship to him, and so he tricked UNIT into giving him access to the Doctor’s ship, which the Doctor insists on calling the TARDIS. The Doctor offered to form an alliance with the Master so that they might both escape Earth before Axos destroyed it. However, this too was a trick, for once the TARDIS was operational, the Doctor used it to hurl Axos into an inescapable time-loop. The Master regained his own time ship and again managed to escape the Earth’s authorities.20

The Master then raided the Time Lords’ vast information files, in which he discovered a report on a doomsday weapon created by the inhabitants of the planet Uxarieus, which could cause stars to detonate from long distance. He traveled there only to have his plans ruined by the Doctor, who was acting at the behest of the Time Lord Tribunal.21 The Tribunal was aware of the Master’s activities, but they seemed to operate in secret, considering that the High Council would later claim total ignorance of the Master’s existence. He returned to Earth intending to gain control of the powerful forces of the Dæmons, alien scientists who had been manipulating humanity since prehistoric times.22 Despite a great deal of careful preparation, the Master’s plan was again foiled by the Doctor and UNIT, who even managed to capture the Master and put him in a specially prepared prison, where he spent many long and boring months. However, he had also learned from the Time Lords’ files of a race of aquatic sentient reptiles who were about to try to reclaim the Earth. He planned to ally himself with these “Sea Devils” against the human race, but they double-crossed him, forcing him to cooperate with the Doctor. However, it allowed the Master to escape back to his time ship.23

Another scheme brought him to Earth again, though, disguised as a Greek physicist who had invented a primitive transporter device. Its true purpose was to give the Master control of Kronos, one of the Chronovores that inhabit the time vortex. Despite the Doctor’s interference, the Master unleashed Kronos on ancient Atlantis, bringing about its destruction. The Doctor was finally able to free Kronos from the Master’s control, but the Master managed to escape yet again.24

Some time later, the Master formed an alliance with the Daleks, agreeing to help them invade the Milky Way galaxy in exchange for dominion over the planet Earth, although he actually intended to double-cross the Daleks and seize total power for himself. Employing some Ogron henchmen, the Master set about starting a war between the Earth and Draconian space empires. Unfortunately, his plans were once again upset by the Doctor, now free from his exile. His scheme collapsing, the Master wounded the Doctor with a ray gun and escaped in his time capsule.25

Not long after, the Master reached the end of his 12th and final regeneration. Unwilling to let his life come to an end without accomplishing his goals, he attempted to regenerate again, but the process decimated his body, leaving him looking like a warmed-over corpse. It was only his burning hatred of his own people that allowed him to survive in this pain-ravaged state. He also realized that his only hope for survival was to usurp the energies of the Eye of Harmony, a stabilized black hole created by Rassilon, which provided the Time Lords with all their power. But to do that, he must return to Gallifrey. He made a deal with an ambitious member of the High Council, Chancellor Goth, in which the Master would arrange for Goth to become President if Goth gave him passage through the transduction barrier that protected the planet. Goth had underestimated the Master’s mind-control powers, though, and became a puppet in a scheme of presidential assassination. Hoping to frame the Doctor for the crime, the Master sent him an urgent summons home. When the Matrix then generated a prediction of the impending assassination, the Master intercepted it and beamed it into the Doctor’s mind while he was en route to Gallifrey. The assassination was successful, and the Doctor was saved from execution only by a legal loophole, which gave him time to prove that Goth and the Master were behind the plot to kill the President. Goth was killed and the Master played dead as well, in order to be placed inside the Panopticon Vault, where the President’s body now lay in state. Reviving himself, the Master took from the President’s body the Sash of Rassilon and went to find the Great Key, a sort of ceremonial scepter. These relics, however, were actually powerful tools that allowed the user to use the Eye of Harmony. The Doctor managed to stop the Master before his tampering destroyed their entire stellar system, but not before he had unleashed earthquakes and destruction that left half the Capitol in ruins and caused untold damage and the loss of countless lives. Although he was apparently killed, the Sash of Rassilon enabled the Master to convert just enough power to continue in his current state of existence and escape in his time capsule.26 Now reminded of the Master and the danger he posed, the Time Lord authorities would keep a closer eye on him in the future, but they apparently had their own reasons for allowing renegades like the Master and the Doctor to roam the universe.27

Quite some time later, the Master formed a plan to usurp the awesome power of the Keeper of Traken. He arrived in the capitol city of the Empire of Traken, and his time ship disguised itself as a statue called the Melkur. From this base, the Master was able to exert his evil influence over a member of the ruling council, Kassia. The Doctor arrived, brought there by the dying Keeper, and he befriended Kassia’s husband, Consul Tremas. The Master’s plan was partially successful, and he briefly assumed the power of the keepership, which was enough to enable him to commandeer the body of Consul Tremas and refashion it to more closely resemble his old self.28 Escaping from Traken in his new body, the Master sprung a series of traps on the Doctor, who was now traveling with the orphaned daughter of Tremas, Nyssa. When the Doctor foiled the Master’s attempt to gain control of the reality-altering mathematics of the inhabitants of Logopolis, the Master caused the Doctor to plummet from atop the radio telescope at Earth’s Pharos Project, which forced the Doctor to regenerate.29 While he was recovering inside the TARDIS, the Master kidnapped his young friend Adric and replaced him with a duplicate created by the Logopolitan’s block transfer computation process, which Adric’s mathematical prowess made possible. It also created the incomprehensible city of Castrovalva as a further trap for the Doctor, but it was ultimately the Master who became trapped when the local space folded in on itself.30

Somehow, the Master escaped this fate, but eventually found himself stranded on prehistoric Earth, the dynamorphic generator aboard his time capsule exhausted. He discovered the gestalt form of a group of Xeraphin colonists, who merged to save themselves from radiation sickness. Planning to use their powers to repair his time ship, the Master first cannibalized his ship to create a time corridor that brought a couple of Concorde aircraft back from the future. Aboard the second Concorde was the Doctor, and the Master used components from his TARDIS as well. However, the Doctor was able to trick the Master, leaving him stranded on the distant planet of Xeriphas.31 On this world, the Master discovered a shape-changing android called Kamelion, which apparently enabled him to repair his time ship and resume his campaigns. The Master began using Kamelion’s abilities to undermine key civilizations in order to set himself up as ruler of the resulting chaos. However, the Doctor turned up once again, stole the android, and sent the Master’s time ship out of control.32

The Master was rescued by none other than the High Council of the Time Lords, who offered him a new life-cycle, a full set of 12 regenerations, if he would agree to rescue the Doctor from the Death Zone, a vast wilderness on Gallifrey used in the days of Rassilon as a sort of gladiatorial arena. The Master encountered several of the Doctor’s incarnations, but the Doctor seemed to have difficulty recognizing him in his Trakenite body. Regardless, none of the Doctors trusted him enough to let him help, so the Master went off on his own, forming a convenient alliance with some Cybermen until he was able to destroy them within the Tomb of Rassilon at the center of the Death Zone. Once inside the inner sanctum, the Master claimed the prize of immortality as his own, only to be knocked out by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Lord President Borusa, who was the mastermind of the entire operation, then claimed immortality, only to discover it was a trap set long ago by Rassilon himself, whose image appeared over his sarcophagus and teleported the Master back to his time ship. From there the Master made good his escape.33

While experimenting with his tissue-compression eliminator, the Master had an accident that left him miniaturized. He was able to construct a makeshift control room scaled down to his current size, which he used to reassert control over the android Kamelion, still stored aboard the Doctor’s TARDIS. With Kamelion’s help, the Master traveled to the planet Sarn, where the healing properties of numismaton gas restored him to his normal size, despite the interference of the Doctor and his friends. Something went wrong, however, and the Master appeared to be consumed by the numismaton flames, but in fact he lived to fight another day.34

Subsequently, the Master tracked down the Rani, an acquaintance from the Time Lord Academy who had also left Gallifrey to set herself up as ruler of the planet Miasimia Goria. Needing a special chemical found only in earthlings, the Rani had traveled to 19th century Earth, to a small mining village near Killingworth, England, and it was there that the Master found her. He decided that he could use her scheme to help him become ruler of the Earth, although the Rani proved unwilling to cooperate. The Doctor turned up also and sabotaged the Rani’s time ship, sending it out of control with she and the Master trapped on board with some rapidly growing dinosaurs. The Master’s own time capsule was apparently abandoned outside the mining village, disguised by its chameleon circuit.35

Somehow, the Master was able to return to Gallifrey and once again infiltrate the Matrix. While there, he uncovered shocking information as to the secret activities of the High Council of the Time Lords. Upon discovering that a race called the Andromedans were hacking data from the Matrix from a secret base on Earth, the High Council ordered that a device called the Magnetron be used to move the Earth to another part of the galaxy. Intent on gaining the stolen data for himself but unable to act independently, the Master hired an intergalactic highwayman named Sabalom Glitz to recover the files from the relocated Earth. Afraid that the meddlesome Doctor would uncover these and more of their secrets, the High Council rigged a trial that would finally put the Doctor out of the way. The Master decided there was more to be gained from exposing the High Council’s conspiracy than from letting the Doctor be executed, and he intervened. Once the scandal was revealed, insurrection broke out on Gallifrey and the High Council was deposed. However, both the Master and Glitz became trapped in the Matrix, awaiting justice from the new Time Lord government.36

The Master was exiled to the unnamed planet of the Cheetah People, and was stranded there when he next encountered the Doctor. The strange energies of the planet infected the bodies of its inhabitants, causing a feline mutation to slowly transform them into Cheetah People. While there, he discovered traces of a lost civilization that had bred a species of kitlings, small cat-like creatures that possessed the power of teleportation. Establishing a mind-link with these creatures, the Master used them to bring the Doctor to the doomed planet, certain that his clever adversary would find a means of escape for both of them. The Doctor did, indeed, and the Master found himself back on Earth, but the mutation continued to transform his body and affect his mind. As he succumbed to the transformation, the Master developed the power of teleportation as well, and used it to transport himself and the Doctor back to the disintegrating planet for their final battle. The Doctor refused to fight, however, and as the planet broke up, he was transported back to the TARDIS in a blinding flash.37 It is conceivable that the Master was likewise transported to his “home,” his time capsule, sitting derelict near Killingworth for a century. At which point, he undoubtedly made it operational again and dematerialized, the power of tooth and claw still growing within him.


___________________________________

1 8.1 “Terror of the Autons.”

2 14.3 “The Deadly Assassin.”

3 8.1 “Terror of the Autons.”

4 9.3 “The Sea Devils.”

5 24.1 “Time and the Rani.”

6 8.1 “Terror of the Autons.”

7 16.1 “The Ribos Operation.”

8 10.2 “Carnival of Monsters.”

9 17.6 “Shada.”

10 13.5 “The Brain of Morbius.”

11 8.4 “Colony in Space.”

12 25.1 “Remembrance of the Daleks.”

13 1.1 “An Unearthly Child.”

14 14.3 “The Deadly Assassin.”

15 ibid.

16 6.7 “The War Games.”

17 8.2 “The Mind of Evil.”

18 8.1 “Terror of the Autons.”

19 8.2 “The Mind of Evil.”

20 8.3 “The Claws of Axos.”

21 8.4 “Colony in Space.”

22 8.5 “The Dæmons.”

23 9.3 “The Sea Devils.”

24 9.5 “The Time Monster.”

25 10.3 “Frontier in Space.”

26 14.3 “The Deadly Assassin.”

27 20.7 “The Five Doctors.”

28 18.6 “The Keeper of Traken.”

29 18.7 “Logopolis.”

30 19.1 “Castrovalva.”

31 19.7 “Time-Flight.”

32 20.6 “The King’s Demons.”

33 20.7 “The Five Doctors.”

34 21.5 “Planet of Fire.”

35 22.3 “The Mark of the Rani.”

36 23.4 “The Ultimate Foe.”

37 26.4 “Survival.”


Next: The TARDIS Owner’s Manual


Monday

Considering Pym Particles

There has been a spate of books published recently examining the scientific underpinnings of various works of science-fiction, such as Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg’s The Science of Superheroes, a fad inspired by the 1996 book The Physics of Star Trek by Case Western Reserve University physics professor Lawrence M. Krauss. I’m sorry to say I have not read any of these books, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about such matters. I have of late been especially interested in the nature of the elusive Pym particle, which is commonly used in the Marvel Universe to cause people or objects to shrink or grow. However, in whatever form these Pym particles are administered, be it in a fluid or as a gas, they have a very specific set of effects on the object as it changes size. By examining these effects, I devised a startling new theory on the workings of Henry Pym’s greatest discovery.

I started with some basic premises, derived empirically:

First, when Ant-Man shrinks to the size of an ant, he still retains his “full-size” strength, meaning he can jump on a guy and knock him down. This was amply demonstrated in various issues of Tales to Astonish, recently reprinted in Essential Ant-Man. By the same token, he can also lift a pencil, even though it looks like a telephone pole compared to his tiny stature. On the other hand, he could ride upon a flying ant, which was obviously able to bear his weight.

Second, neither his teammates in the Avengers nor the villains they fought ever made fun of Ant-Man for having a squeaky little voice. They did occasionally have trouble hearing him, though, without electronic amplification. Pym’s partner the Wasp suffered from this problem as well, usually when she needed to warn someone of imminent danger. Similarly, no one ever commented on Giant-Man or Goliath having a super-deep voice, either.

Third, when, as Giant-Man, Pym would grow to a height of fifty feet (a feat later duplicated by Clint Barton), he was still able to stand up without shattering his leg bones and inflate his lungs to breathe. Similarly, he could walk around on rooftops and climb the exterior of buildings without causing expensive property damage. He was, however, apparently able to lift heavy objects such as an automobile.

This leads me to believe that the person who is exposed to Pym particles does not actually shrink or grow at all, in the sense that his or her body gains or loses mass. Instead, the Pym particles create a sort of space-warp that changes the body’s relationship to the surrounding world. Simply put, it’s less a matter of Ant-Man’s body being compressed, and more a matter of it suddenly being further away.

Imagine you and I are standing at opposite ends of a football field. From your perspective, I would appear to be very small. But of course, I would still have my normal strength and gravity would affect me the same as it does if I were standing right next to you. If I spoke to you, my voice would be harder to hear, but its pitch would be no different. Now, suppose I could essentially be over there and next to you at the same time. I would appear to have shrunk to a very small size, but actually I’d be the same size I always am. If I then jumped on your foot, you would feel my full 210 lbs. coming down on you in a very concentrated area. This is because my body is inside the space-warp and your foot is outside of it.

Now, let’s say I sit upon a flying ant, which doesn’t try to kill me because of my handy cybernetic helmet. Instead of crushing the ant, I draw it into the space-warp with me. Now the ant is essentially “giant-size” and able to bear my weight as though I were 6 feet tall and it was 12 feet long. However, the ant appears to be its normal size relative to the world around it.

On the other side of the coin, if I use the Pym particles to appear to grow to a height of 10, 25, or 50 feet, it is the reverse of the previous process. It’s more as though I were closer to you, rather than becoming more massive. My voice would not seem deeper, just louder. And if I walked across a pedestrian footbridge, it wouldn’t collapse any more than it would if I were normal-size, because I still weigh 210 lbs. Therefore, no matter how big I seem to get, I can always support the weight of my own body normally.

Lifting an automobile is analogous to flying on the ant. As I grasp the car, I draw it into the space-warp with me, and it then seems to me to have been miniaturized, even though it remains the same size relative to the rest of the world. The point is, I haven’t really “grown;” a more appropriate term might be “magnified.” Maybe it would be clearer to say that the space-warp has made the rest of the world farther away, from my perspective. Follow: We’re back on either side of the football field, except now we’re on opposite sides of the 50-yard line instead of being in the end zones. From your perspective, everything on my side of the field seems much smaller – me, the benches, the cooler of Gatorade. So, if you could be on your side and on my side at the same time, you would seem gigantic, relatively speaking. It’s an extension of the celebrated “I’m Crushing Your Head!” phenomenon.

Thus, the “shrinking” and “growing” is really just a sort of optical illusion. The space-warp has merely altered the relative distance between the objects within it and those without. That would satisfy the three premises listed above.

This theory is inspired by the concept of “transdimensional engineering” which allowed the TARDIS on Doctor Who to be larger on the inside than it is on the outside. As the Doctor once explained, the only way to put a large box inside a small box is to have the large box be further away so that it looks smaller, at which point it would seem to easily fit inside the small box, with room to spare. The trick is to have the large box be “over there” and “here” at the same time. That’s the essence of transdimensional engineering.

For the rather half-assed explanation of the workings of Pym Particles originally devised for the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, consult the online Marvel Directory.


Thursday

Tony Television Gets Real

Friday night has traditionally been called the “television graveyard” –- the night only losers stay home and watch the tube. At the Tony Television Network, we prefer to think of them as TV connoisseurs. That’s why we’ve developed these finely-crafted programs to appeal to the most discriminating of tastes. So pour a glass of wine, cut the cheese, and tune in to the Best TV Network Ever!!!


8:00 –- MYSTERIOUS HIDDEN SECRETS OF THE ARCANE. Malcolm McDowell and Jeri Ryan host this fascinating weekly odyssey into the world’s most baffling mysteries. From their ornate and spooky set, they weave a web of reports from their far-flung correspondents and investigators. In the first episode, we learn all about a group of dedicated UFO researchers called The Friends of Gray Barker; discover the shocking truth about the celebrated Patterson Bigfoot film; and see biographical profiles of the scary Satanist Anton LaVey and occult rocket scientist John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons. Plus, musical guest Lisa Loeb rocks the house.


9:00 –- THE PRISONERS. Two unwitting contestants wake up to find themselves stripped of their identities and trapped in a remote resort village in this “Reality TV” show based on the classic 1968 thriller The Prisoner. Nominated by friends and family, the hapless contestants must first discover what’s happened to them and then try to find a way to escape. The only people in “the Village” they can trust are each other, but each starts out unaware of the other’s presence! Can they find each other within a bedeviling maze of betrayal and deceit? Can they overcome the machinations of each week’s sadistic new “Number 2”? Thrill to their exploits in this high-stakes game of identity and perseverance! Next time, it could be you!


10:00 –- WORLD’S CRUELLEST PRACTICAL JOKES. Bad girls Rose McGowan and Lisa Boyle host this rip-roaring “cinema verité” show that really pushes the envelope. In the first episode we take our hidden cameras to a hospital emergency room for all manner of hilarious hijinks, and then top it off with our weekly “Talking Corpse” feature from the palatial Mortando Funeral Chapel. Get in on the wacky fun!


The only TV graveyard now will be for our competitors! Long live TTN !!!


Previous: Tony Television is Family Television

Next: Tony Television Strikes Back


Tuesday

A Brief History of Gallifrey

In the 26 seasons of Doctor Who, shown on the BBC between 1963 and 1989, a great deal was revealed about the Doctor’s mysterious home planet, Gallifrey, and the history of the Time Lords who inhabited it. However, that information trickled out in bits and pieces over hundreds of episodes, and I’ve never seen it all brought together in a simple, straightforward summary. I have here attempted to do so.

I watched all the available episodes and read transcripts (or at the very least detailed summaries) of the “lost” episodes, took notes whenever information on the Doctor’s background was provided, and then tried to piece it all together into a coherent narrative. In doing so, many previously hidden facts stand revealed.

I do not consider any of the numerous Doctor Who novels to be canonical, nor do I accept any film or television versions not originally shown on the BBC or not made as part of the original series production schedule. Therefore, this history is based purely on the episodes of the original television series.

Any conflicting accounts of the history of Gallifrey and the Time Lords are therefore non-canonical and speculative.


A BRIEF HISTORY OF GALLIFREY

The early inhabitants of the planet Gallifrey possessed formidable mystical powers, which they used to reach out into the depths of space in search of other life forms. They were successful in making contact with a number of non-corporeal entities, such as the Fendahl -- a gestalt creature consisting of twelve aspects around a focal point. The malevolence of the Fendahl was so frightening that it was forever remembered in Gallifreyan mythology. [1] The early Gallifreyan mystics were also able to contact another group of mystics on a nearby planet, the Sisterhood of Karn, which possessed an Elixir of Life that made them immortal. The Sisterhood jealously guarded the secret of their elixir, and not even the other inhabitants of Karn knew of it -- only the mystics of Gallifrey. [2]

Eventually, the Gallifreyans developed primitive space travel technology, and they began to explore their own solar system and those orbiting nearby stars. In time, they managed to reach the planet Karn, and while promising diplomatic relations with the Karn government, the Gallifreyan expeditionary force was actually looking for the Sisterhood and their Elixir of Life. Fearing exposure, the Sisterhood agreed to share the elixir with the Gallifreyans in exchange for their silence. However, the Elixir of Life did not grant immortality to the Gallifreyans, but instead triggered a mutagenic change in their body chemistry resulting in a twelve-regeneration life-cycle, thus granting every Gallifreyan thirteen lives. They would thenceforth use the elixir only in times of acute regenerative crisis. Possessed of such long life-spans, the Gallifreyans were able to develop their science and technology exponentially, and they soon advanced beyond any other civilization known to them. Only the secret of time travel continued to elude them. However, with this advancement came a high level of arrogance, and the Gallifreyans began to misuse their great power disgracefully. They set up an impenetrable force field around part of the wilderness of Gallifrey and constructed an ominous Dark Tower at its center, which was full of fiendish traps. They called this region the Death Zone, and collected sentient beings from across the universe via the Time Scoop, a long-range teleportation device, to fight and die in the Gallifreyan version of a gladiatorial arena. [3] Into this world was born the greatest single figure in the history of Gallifrey, Rassilon.

Rassilon was a young scientist when Gallifrey found itself at war with a race of space-borne Giant Vampires, each of which could suck the life out of an entire planet. [4] Believing themselves to be the only civilization advanced enough to destroy these monsters, the Gallifreyans launched an all-out space war, but found even their technology was not enough to destroy the Vampires. The war took a terrible toll on Gallifrey, and they began to fear all was lost, until Rassilon, working with a brilliant engineer named Omega and others, developed a living metal they called vallidium, which was in fact possessed of a crude sentience and geared toward one single goal, destruction. [5] Out of vallidium was constructed a fleet of dagger-shaped ships called Nemesis that sought out the Giant Vampires and impaled them through the heart, killing them. Only the Vampire King escaped, disappearing into another universe through a charged vacuum emboitment (CVE). The war was won, but sickened by the carnage, the Gallifreyans renounced violence forever. [6]

Hailed as heroes, Rassilon and Omega and their colleagues sought new peaceful applications for vallidium. They found its unique properties allowed them to construct the most powerful and sophisticated remote stellar manipulator the universe had ever seen. [7] They believed that, coupled with new developments in transdimensional engineering, [8] this technology could finally grant them mastery over time travel. They undertook a project to accomplish this, and Omega himself was selected to take the remote stellar manipulator to an uninhabited star and detonate it, creating a supernova. However, Rassilon knew Omega well, and recognized that the stellar engineer had an inclination to megalomania, and he feared Omega would use this new science to set himself up as a god. Therefore, he arranged it so that, whether he succeeded or failed, Omega would never return from his mission. The detonation was a success and the supernova was created, but Omega was thought killed, though he was actually thrown into the anti-matter universe. [9] The Gallifreyans used the energy generated by the supernova to power their first time travel experiments, which were successful. Rassilon then took the space fleet out to the supernova, recovered the remote stellar manipulator, and used it to convert the supernova into a black hole. To avoid Omega’s fate, Rassilon protected himself with what would come to be known as the Sash of Rassilon, a technological masterpiece that prevents the wearer from being sucked into another dimension. They then contained the nucleus of the black hole within a transdimensionally-engineered obelisk, which they brought back to Gallifrey. Rassilon was able to stabilize all the elements of the nucleus and set it in an eternally dynamic equation against the mass of the planet. He placed this obelisk within what would come to be called the Eye of Harmony, around which was built the enormous complex known as the Panopticon. [10] The doors to the Eye of Harmony were sealed with the Scepter of Rassilon, and its vast powers could be accessed only through the object called the Great Key.

With the power now available through the Eye of Harmony, Rassilon oversaw the construction of a fleet of transdimensionally-engineered time capsules, with which they could travel throughout time and space and conduct detailed surveillance of the various cultures they encountered. One of the first uses made of the technology, however, was to find the home planet of the legendary Fendahl and destroy it, creating an asteroid belt between two planets that would eventually be named Mars and Jupiter. [11] Rassilon and his associates were troubled by this act, and decided to take over the government and completely reorder Gallifreyan society. Rassilon declared that a new era had begun on Gallifrey and they had become Time Lords.

Rassilon and his associates drew up a new constitution that laid down the Five Great Principles, [12] and united the various domed city-states under a single government, which had two branches: a governing body called the High Council of the Time Lords, and an independent law-enforcement body called the Time Lord Tribunal. The city-states now became colleges or chapters, each one represented on the High Council. The oldest and most prominent of these, and the one from which Rassilon and his inner circle came, was Pyrdonia, traditionally represented by the colors scarlet and orange. The two other most important chapters were Arcalia, represented by green, and Patraxis, represented by heliotrope. [13] There were four lesser chapters, but each one had its own Academy of Time, at which young Gallifreyans would study in order to join the ranks of the Time Lords, the upper crust of the Gallifreyan social hierarchy. Rassilon himself sat at the pinnacle of that hierarchy as Lord President of the High Council. Under him was a Chancellor, then Cardinals representing each chapter as well as various Councillors. The seat of government was within the Panopticon building, near the Eye of Harmony, which sat at the center of the Capitol, flanked by the Archive and Communication Towers. The peace and order of the Capitol was maintained by the Chancellery Guard, an elite squad under the command of the Castellan. [14] The Capitol was itself located within a vast enclosed area called the Citadel, [15] roughly the size of a small continent, ringed by mountains on the southern hemisphere of Gallifrey. [16]


Under Rassilon’s guidance, the Time Lords began their explorations, and early on they encountered a planet called Minyos. The Time Lords decided to use their advanced technology to help the people of Minyos, who regarded them as gods. They provided them with medical and scientific aid, better communications and weapons, but the Minyons were not ready for such advancements, and a terrible war broke out that destroyed the entire planet. Realizing their mistake, the Time Lords adopted a strict policy of non-interference, pledging to do no more than observe and gather knowledge. [17] This was a very controversial decision, however, and it was debated and argued for a long time. Rassilon conceded that those opposed to the policy had a good point, that the Time Lords had a moral duty to protect less advanced civilizations. He also felt it was important to monitor other cultures that might themselves develop time travel technology. Therefore, he created a covert operations bureau under control of the Tribunal called the Celestial Intervention Agency. [18] The C.I.A. even came eventually to operate without time capsules, using instead Time Rings to move single individuals around the cosmos. [19] Rassilon also realized that, as word of the Time Lords spread throughout the universe, Gallifrey might be vulnerable to alien attack. Therefore he created a quantum force field called the Transduction Barrier [20] to surround and protect the entire planet, making the night sky a burnt orange from that time onward. [21] Even their own time capsules could not come and go while the Transduction Barrier was raised, which also made the unauthorized use of a time capsule nearly impossible.

The Time Lords began to amass so much information that data storage became a problem. Therefore Rassilon and his scientists created a vast organic virtual-reality supercomputer called the Matrix. All the knowledge, information, and wisdom of every Time Lord could then be stored within the Matrix for posterity. And when a Time Lord reached the end of his final regeneration, his mind could be scanned into a part of the Matrix called the Amplified Panatropic Computation Net, so that none of his experience would be lost. They then made bio-data extracts of every living Time Lord, color-coded by their chapter, to be kept on file within the Matrix as well. [22] It was decided that the sitting President of the High Council would have direct access to the Matrix through a cybernetic coronet, in order to help him rule more effectively. [23] However, absolute power began to affect Rassilon’s judgment as the centuries passed, and he began researching the only discovery that could outstrip the realization of time travel: the power to have one’s thoughts transform reality itself. An early test proved successful, the Coronet of Rassilon allowing him to control the minds of others. To cover up the nature of his research, Rassilon made a public display of creating his own tomb out of the long-abandoned Dark Tower within the Death Zone, all the while hoping to achieve immortality. Paranoid that others might seek immortality as well, Rassilon laid a complex trap to lure in and dispose of any who would seek to live forever themselves. [24] He also had a trusted associate create a De-Mat Gun, a dematerialization ray, powered by the Great Key itself. [25] His inner circle became concerned that Rassilon would want such a powerful weapon built, and they began to quietly investigate Rassilon’s research. They were dismayed when they discovered the nature of his experiments, and how far along he was in achieving his goal. They alerted the rest of the High Council, who deposed the now insane Rassilon and shut him up in his tomb in perpetual suspended animation. However, the High Council believed his inner circle knew too much, and they turned on them as well. However, Rassilon’s inner circle managed to escape, vanishing without a trace. To prevent future Presidents from gaining absolute power, it was decided that the Great Key would be hidden, the secret of its whereabouts charged to each successive Chancellor of the High Council. [26]


The truth of Rassilon’s fate was hidden as well, becoming the stuff of rumor. Officially, he was a hero to his people, and many of his personal items became revered artifacts, [27] such as the Sash, the Scepter, the Great Key, and his book The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey, which was stored in the Panopticon Archives. [28] The remote stellar manipulator was named the Hand of Omega, though it was eventually lost and nearly forgotten. His final research was collected and locked away, and would come to be known as the Black Scrolls of Rassilon. [29] Eons then passed as the Time Lords went about observing the cosmos. But the systems laid down by Rassilon allowed a creeping corruption that deepened over time, and the deceit and clandestine outrages committed by the High Council worsened, as is often the result of social engineering. Eventually, the High Council came under the leadership of Lord President Morbius.

During this time, another Time Lord named Salyavin found that he possessed the unique ability to project his mind into other minds. Not content with the mundane existence on Gallifrey, he decided to seek personal power, and developed a reputation for style, flair, and panache. [30] He finally unearthed the legendary Hand of Omega, intent on using it as a devastating weapon, similar to the doomsday device of the planet Uxarieus. [31] Salyavin was ultimately defeated and imprisoned on the planet Shada. However, possession of the Hand of Omega soon corrupted Morbius as well. He became a ruthless tyrant with a band of fanatical followers. He also formed a personal army of unscrupulous mercenaries and laid waste to several planets. Believing that the Sisterhood of Karn could grant him immortality, Morbius attacked and devastated the planet, wiping out the entire civilization. The Sisterhood survived, however, due to the last-minute intervention of the other Time Lords, who finally defeated Morbius and had him executed, placing his body in a dispersal chamber to be atomized. [32] These events led a group of Time Lords to reject their own society completely, and they ventured out into the untamed wilderness of outer Gallifrey to live a simple, tribal existence, calling themselves the Shobogans. [33]


Some time later, a young Time Lord would arrive on the scene who would one day call himself the Doctor. He belonged to the Pyrdonian chapter, and as such attended the Pyrdon Academy of Time, [34] after spending some of his youth in the mountains outside the Citadel. [35] At the Academy he met a disaffected mathematical genius who would eventually call himself the Master, [36] an overzealous neurochemistry student who would one day be exiled to the planet Miasimia Goria where she would adopt the title of the Rani, [37] a jovial technical whiz named Drax, [38] and a fatuous brownnoser named Roncible. [39] He would be taught idealism by Azmael [40] and pragmatism by Borusa. [41] After graduation, he remained active in Time Lord politics, feeling they had a moral duty to use their power to be a force for good in the cosmos, rather than passive observers. He made friends with an up-and-coming Time Lord named Hedin, [42] and a communications expert named Damon. [43] He also became very close to a young female who would eventually call herself Susan. [44]

When the Doctor was 236 years old, [45] a crisis arose as the sitting Lord President of the High Council decided to use the Hand of Omega to prevent any other civilization from developing time-travel technology, and thus pose a potential threat to the dominion of the Time Lords of Gallifrey. The Doctor and the Master, still best friends, decided the time had come to take decisive action. They hatched a plan to steal the Hand of Omega and hide it away forever. They were successful in gaining possession of the device, but at the crucial moment, the Master betrayed the Doctor, wanting to use the weapon for his own ends. The two allies turned on each other, and the Master was captured by the Chancellery Guard. The Doctor, however, managed to steal an obsolete Type 40 time capsule from a repair bay, and he and Susan took the Hand of Omega away from Gallifrey. The Time Lords pursued them, able to track the Hand of Omega on their scanners, and the Doctor and Susan led a fugitive existence for some time. Finally, on some unknown planet, the Doctor discovered a large metal box that, when he placed the Hand of Omega within it, shielded the device from the Time Lords’ scans. They next materialized on Earth in the year 1963 and resolved to stay a few months and catch their breath. [46] The Doctor made arrangements to have the box buried in a nearby churchyard, but when his time capsule was discovered by two human schoolteachers, they left Earth, and his arrangements had to be completed by his future self, some 700 years older. [47] The Hand of Omega was then returned to Gallifrey, and the Time Lords called off their manhunt.

The Doctor was eventually forced to contact the Time Lords, however, and the Time Lord Tribunal arrested him, tried him, and sentenced him to exile on the planet Earth. [48] The Tribunal periodically enlisted the Doctor’s help in certain matters, both before and after his exile was remanded. The Tribunal granted him his freedom after he saved Gallifrey from Omega, seeking revenge from the anti-matter universe. [49] Also, the High Council found it useful to allow the Doctor to intervene in unjust situations on an unofficial basis, to keep opposition to the non-interference policy to a minimum. The Doctor and the Master both returned to Gallifrey on opposite sides of a plot to assassinate the Lord President of the High Council. The Master was driven off, but not before his tampering with the Eye of Harmony left half the Capitol in ruins, with countless lives lost. [50] The Doctor later returned to Gallifrey to defeat an invasion attempt by the Sontarans. [51] Omega made a second attempt to leave the anti-matter universe, forcing the High Council to bring the Doctor back to Gallifrey, where he discovered his old friend Hedin was acting on Omega’s behalf, believing the Time Lords owed him more than to leave him trapped in a state of semi-existence. [52] Still later, Borusa proved to have gone insane as well, and like others before him, sought the secret of immortality. He reactivated the Death Zone by patching it in to the Eye of Harmony, causing a tremendous power drain, and then used the Time Scoop to collect the first five of the Doctor’s incarnations to unravel the secrets of the Tomb of Rassilon for him. Borusa fell into Rassilon’s trap, however, and his life-force was absorbed into the tomb itself. [53]


The Doctor’s presence on Gallifrey becoming more frequent, the High Council feared his investigative nature would lead him to uncover more of their corruption, which had reached new heights under the presidency of Borusa. They therefore rigged another trial, hoping to put the Doctor out of the way once and for all, and to act as prosecutor, they enlisted an entity calling himself the Valeyard, [54] who was finally revealed to be some strange amalgam of the Doctor’s own darker thoughts, drawn from near the end of his life. Acting from his own motives, the Master revealed the nature of this conspiracy, at which point insurrection broke out on Gallifrey and the High Council was summarily deposed. [55] This scandal almost certainly led to a revision of the constitution and the formation of a new, more accountable government for the Time Lords.


_________________________________

[1] 15.3 “Image of the Fendahl”
[2]
13.5 “The Brain of Morbius”
[3]
20.7 “The Five Doctors”
[4]
18.4 “State of Decay”
[5]
25.3 “Silver Nemesis”
[6]
18.4 “State of Decay”
[7]
25.1 “Remembrance of the Daleks”
[8]
14.5 “The Robots of Death”
[9]
10.1 “The Three Doctors”
[10]
14.3 “The Deadly Assassin”
[11]
15.3 “Image of the Fendahl”
[12]
17.6 “Shada”
[13]
14.3 “The Deadly Assassin”
[14]
ibid
[15]
15.6 “The Invasion of Time”
[16]
18.4 “State of Decay”
[17]
15.5 “Underworld”
[18]
14.3 “The Deadly Assassin”
[19]
12.4 “Genesis of the Daleks”
[20]
15.6 “The Invasion of Time”
[21]
1.7 “The Sensorites”
[22]
14.3 “The Deadly Assassin”
[23]
15.6 “The Invasion of Time”
[24]
20.7 “The Five Doctors”
[25]
15.6 “The Invasion of Time”
[26]
ibid
[27]
14.3 “The Deadly Assassin”
[28]
17.6 “Shada”
[29]
20.7 “The Five Doctors”
[30]
17.6 “Shada”
[31]
8.3 “Colony in Space”
[32]
13.5 “The Brain of Morbius”
[33]
15.6 “The Invasion of Time”
[34]
14.3 “The Deadly Assassin”
[35]
9.5 “The Time Monster”
[36]
9.3 “The Sea Devils”
[37]
24.1 “Time and the Rani”
[38]
16.6 “The Armageddon Factor”
[39]
14.3 “The Deadly Assassin”
[40]
21.7 “The Twin Dilemma”
[41]
14.3 “The Deadly Assassin”
[42]
20.1 “Arc of Infinity”
[43]
ibid
[44]
1.1 “An Unearthly Child”
[45]
16.2 “The Pirate Planet”
[46]
1.1 “An Unearthly Child”
[47]
25.1 “Remembrance of the Daleks”
[48]
6.7 “The War Games”
[49]
10.1 “The Three Doctors”
[50]
14.3 “The Deadly Assassin”
[51]
15.6 “The Invasion of Time”
[52]
20.1 “Arc of Infinity”
[53]
20.7 “The Five Doctors”
[54]
23.1 “The Mysterious Planet”
[55] 23.4 “The Ultimate Foe”




Next: A Brief History of the Master



Jump to: Gallifrey at War



Friday

Tony Television is Family Television

As we all know, Sunday night is family TV time, and nowhere more so than at the Tony Television Network! That’s why we’ve put together three family-friendly shows, which are still so daring and inventive that the competition will hang their heads in shame!



8:00 – OUR WHOLESOME FRONTIER. Tom Wopat and Stephanie Zimbalist star in this heartwarming period drama about the trials and travails of a pioneer family who leave Baltimore and resettle in Angel’s Wing, Utah. Joining parents Jonah and Abigail are their three children, Timothy (Matthew Lawrence), Constance (Angela Featherstone), and Mary (Scarlett Pomers), as well as crusty old Grandpa (R. Lee Ermey). Upon arriving in their new home, they learn valuable life lessons from reformed drunkard Reverend O’Hooley (Reed Diamond), crafty Prospector Bill (John Collum) and cranky Mrs. Applebottom (Sharon Gless).


9:00 – SENIOR SLEUTH. Hal Linden returns to TV as retired psychology professor Randall Peterson, who turns to solving murders to alleviate the boredom of retirement. Florence Henderson stars as his wife, Florence, and Antonio Sabato, Jr. as his “right-hand man” Lance Parsons. William Katt also appears as Santa Gloria District Attorney Timothy Justice.


10:00 – TEX ARCANA: COWBOY SORCERER. Lee Horsley stars as a mystical gunslinger who uses the forces of magic to bring law and order to the Old West. He is joined by a transplanted New York banker played by Paul Provenza and a mysterious talking horse. In the pilot, they prevent an unscrupulous cattle baron (John Beck) from tearing down a small community church.


You want a positive and uplifting end to the week? Watch the Tony Television Network!!!


Previous: More Tony Television

Next: Tony Television Gets Real





Wednesday

From the Bookshelf

I recently got to several graphic novels and comics trade paperbacks that have been waiting on my shelf, some for years. It’s not uncommon in my family to buy books and never get around to reading them. Buying books and reading books are separate endeavors controlled by distinct parts of the brain. For what it’s worth, here are my reactions and opinions.

Anyway, the first thing I read was Essential Super-Villain Team-Up, which demonstrates Marvel’s penchant for scraping the bottom of the artistic barrel in the mid-1970s. The book collects the entire run of SVTU as well as a number of ancillary titles and crossover issues to produce a sprawling narrative focusing on Doctor Doom and the Sub-Mariner. The main series was a mess from start to finish, with four or five writers on board during its brief run, and artists such as Happy Herbie Trimpe (in the twilight of his career – at least the first wave of it, before his bizarre comeback in the early 90s), Mike Sekowsky (very much an acquired taste – many swear by his DC work, but the stuff he did for Marvel is rancid!), George Evans (a golden-ager known for his “air aces” type work for EC), and even Jim Shooter did breakdowns for an issue facing the Dreaded Deadline Doom, which were inked by a third-rate scribbler named Sal Trapani. Things settled down toward the end under the undistinguished pens of Bob Hall & Don Perlin.

On the brighter side, the book kicks off reprinting Doctor Doom’s solo series in Astonishing Tales, the first few of which were penciled and inked by the legendary Wally Wood. Even though many observers said that old Wallace was “burned out” by this time, it’s still a treat for those who appreciate the classics. And the last issue of that run featured some gorgeous work by Gene Colan & Tom Palmer (one of Marvel’s all-time greatest teams).

SVTU met a bizarre end, in that, after 14 issues they wrapped up the Doctor Doom storyline, announced it was the last issue, and suspended publication. Then, a year later, they published # 15, which reprinted a “Doc Doom vs. Red Skull” story arc from Astonishing Tales. A year after that, they published # 16, an all-new story by Peter B. Gillis and Carmine Infantino featuring the Red Skull and the Hate Monger, as an Israeli secret agent tries to escape the slave pens on the villains’ island fortress. He ultimately fails and is dragged back to captivity while the bad guys gloat. No super-heroes appear, but they seem to be setting up some kind of storyline. Unfortunately, another year would pass before the release of #17, which again teamed up the Red Skull and the Hate Monger for a sequel to the previous story. The Israeli agent dies at the end, a victim of the Skull’s diabolical experiments, but his girlfriend (a minor character last issue), has escaped and leads a squad of anonymous SHIELD agents back to destroy the island. Nick Fury does not appear, neither does “Dum Dum” Dugan. Heck, even Jasper Sitwell is nowhere to be seen. The main thrust of the story, though, is actually the relationship between the Red Skull and the Hate Monger, who is, of course, really Adolf Hitler. Totally bizarre stuff. I was thinking, why are they even publishing this? I’d love to see the original issues to know if there’s an editorial or anything explaining what they’re trying to do with this oddly amoral storyline.

As soon as I finished that, I devoured Essential Silver Surfer, which reprints the classic Stan Lee / John Buscema series in its entirety. It’s Stan at his most faux-Shakespearean, and Buscema gives some of his most exaggerated poses ever to the Surfer’s many agonized soliloquies. It’s a really strange series, and not much even seems to happen in the stories. There’s no supporting cast, they’re all stand-alone stories, and even the guest-stars are kept to a bare minimum. Although Big John was clearly inspired during the early issues (the introduction of Mephisto is a feast for the eyes), by the end he was clearly phoning in his breakdowns for people like Dan Adkins or Chic Stone to finish up. The last issue marks a 180-degree turn as Jack Kirby plays guest-penciller and pits the Surfer against the Inhumans (naturally), and ends with the Surfer declaring total war on the human race. Well, the title was cancelled and the storyline was summarily dropped. I think it was eventually explained away. The Surfer turned up next in the early issues of Defenders.

Next, I decided the time had come to finally read Kyle Baker’s The Cowboy Wally Show, which had been gathering dust next to my copy of Why I Hate Saturn for many, many years. It was amusing, not so much a story as a collection of interrelated comedy skits, like something one might expect to see on SCTV. During an interview, the no-talent celebrity Cowboy Wally recounts the rise and fall of his media empire. Baker’s sketchy cartoon line-drawings are fun, though there’s quite a bit of sliding between the realistic/cartoonish poles that could be annoying if you’re not into it. The jokes are generally funny, and he even works in a spoof of a French Foreign Legion movie as well as a production of Hamlet staged by four guys in a prison cell. Not as accomplished as his later work, but an amusing diversion.

Tired of the Black & White scene, I moved down to Death: The Time of Your Life, by Neil Gaiman and Chris Bachalo & Mark Buckingham. A somewhat disappointing sequel to The High Cost of Living, which I thought was great. Bachalo shifts to a much cartoonier style here that I didn’t feel suited Gaiman’s story of two lesbian lovers being driven apart by one’s devotion to her budding career as a pop singer. It wasn’t helped by the fact that Bachalo was replaced halfway through by Buckingham, who tried to imitate him for the rest of the story. The earlier work is far superior, and frankly, I wouldn’t waste money on this one. Luckily I bought it many years ago, so it doesn’t matter anymore.

I had an afternoon totally free for some reason, so I took the opportunity to read Selina’s Big Score, a tale of Catwoman by Darwyn Cooke, which I bought last spring. It was great, and I would highly recommend it, because it owes less to Batman comics and more to “heist” films like Ocean’s Eleven or whatever. Selina doesn’t really appear in costume, no one displays super powers. In fact, you don’t need to know anything about the Batman mythos to enjoy it, but it’s a fun, colorful yarn about a couple of crooks trying to rob a train full of mob money. If they had filmed this instead of that Halle Berry garbage, they’d have had a hit film, I’ll wager. It’s drawn in the cartoony style of the Bruce Timm school – much like the various animated shows of late, though somewhat rougher and sketchier. I thought it worked, though, and I probably wouldn’t have bought it if it was in the typical “representational” style. It’s a bold, thick-brush approach to the art that makes for an engaging quick read – time that would be less well-spent watching most recent movies. Far and away the best of the bunch I’ve discussed here.

Lastly, I finished Essential Daredevil volume 2, featuring more of the Stan Lee / Gene Colan run on the book. Gene’s art really blossoms during these issues, and he starts getting into more and more crazy panel lay-outs. Unfortunately, his style is often hampered by journeyman inkers like John Tartaglione and Vince Colletta. George Klein (of Avengers fame) is a relief by the time he shows up late in the book. It’s a shame that he died around that time, because he was quite a good inker. As I’ve said before, nobody captured the essence of Colan’s work like Tom Palmer. Stan’s work is unusually uneven here, especially as he tries to convince us that Stilt-Man and Leap-Frog are formidable villains. He puts a merciful end to the whole “Mike Murdock” farce, which went on way too long, and struggles unsuccessfully to pit DD against any really fearsome world-beater. (The best he can do is the derivative Jester.) However, perseverance pays off in the second-to-last issue (#47), which is an offbeat tale of Daredevil helping clear the name of a cop who was blinded during his tour of duty in Vietnam. It shows our hero doing as much in the courtroom as Matt Murdock as he does in his red tights, and the story of the luckless Willie Lincoln is strangely compelling. Stan gives full voice to his social conscience, and for a change the theme takes precedence over the plot. A really nice change-of-pace, and an underrated classic of Stan Lee at his best, with strong visuals by Colan & Klein.