Echoes of All Our Conversations #2

This blue volume features a quote and saying plus signature and greeting from Bruce Boxliner, AKA John Sheridan. Once again we have interviews with main actors, guest actors, writers, directors, the people over costumes and wardrobes, set designers, CGI creators . . . This time we get through the end of season two with hints of what is to come in season three. What I find most interesting is they will cover some of the same ground, i.e. what did you think of this particular episode, and JMS will give a different answer from the writer (if he didn’t write it) who gives a different answer from the director who gives a different answer from this actor who was prominently featured in that episode which is different from what the guest actor says . . . Included are a number of casual shots from the B5 photo archive.


Echoes of All Our Conversations #1

This is an amazing series so far. First up is Peter Jurasik aka. Londo Molari whose signature graces this purple (very appropriate since in purple he is stunning) volume. He also included a note for the fans. He chose two quotes, one of which goes on a bookmark and another on a post card. As an extra a CD is included with an interview that is not transcribed in the book. The source of this book is a number of interviews done by Joe Nazzaro with the cast and crew over B5’s entire run. Yep, out of several dozen interviews, only two are with JMS. The rest are with everyone else. This volume covers many of the interviews done during the production of “The Gathering” and season one and prep for season two. It is interesting to see how some of these accounts compare to each other. For instance, it appears Catlin Brown has different ideas about Na’Toth than Larry DiTillio. Another interesting thing is that there was a bit of a question whether to start the series with “Midnight on the Firing Line” or “Soul Hunter”. There are lots of tidbits like that. We learn things about the actors and the crews such as what else they have worked on. For instance, I did not know that Julia Nickson was in Rambo or in Sidekicks. This is a great volume for any B5 fan.

Doctor Who Series 5 Episodes #6-7

The first episode is “The Vampires of Venice”. Amy has feelings for the Doctor. The Doctor isn’t comfortable with that at all on several levels, starting with the fact that she is supposed to marry Rory the next day! So he goes to crash Rory’s stag party and drags the two lovebirds off to romantic ancient Venice to get Amy to fall in love with Rory again. Only one problem – there are vampires in Venice! At least they look and act like vampires. The leader, a lady, runs a boarding school for girls who never go back to their families again. She apparently has a son. The Doctor and crew runs into a distraught father trying to get to his daughter. Amy talks them into having her enter the school. This doesn’t work so well since the vampires are actually aliens and it is fairly obvious to them what is going on. The Doctor and Rory break in. The girl whose father is looking for her also helps Amy escape but doesn’t herself. She is thrown into the river and eaten. The Doctor later talks to the head lady. She says her world was destroyed and only she and her sons survived so she is making daughters for her sons. The Doctor would be sympathetic – if she had been more sympathetic of her victims. Our heroes retreat to her father’s place. They are attacked there. Her father sacrifices himself to save the others and destroy the vampires, er, aliens. But it is too late. The head lady has started a machine which will drown Venice. Amy and Rory are attacked by her son. Between the two of them they kill him and their love is rekindled. Meanwhile, the Doctor confronts the lady. He figures out a way to switch her machine. Objecting to this, the two fight. In the process her gizmo that makes her look human is broken in the human setting. The Doctor stops the rain. Defeated and unable to change back she leaps into the water and is eaten.

The second episode is “Amy’s Choice”. This is a complicated episode. In half of it, Amy and Rory are married in an idyllic town and are expecting their first child. The Doctor comes for a visit. Life seems perfect. In the other half, Amy, Rory, and the Doctor are in the Tardis. They are confronted by someone who calls himself the Dream Lord. He wants them to decide which of the two worlds is real. Oh, and life-threatening situations arise in each. If they die in the dream they will wake but if they die in the real world they will die. In the town, it turns out the elderly people have been possessed by aliens and are killing everyone else. In the Tardis, the Tardis looses power and is headed towards a cold star in which it will crash soon. They go back and forth between the two possible realities. At one point the Dream Lord isolates Amy and tells her she has to choose between the Doctor and Rory. Who does she really love?  In the world where the elderly people possessed by aliens, Rory is killed. This makes Amy realize that she doesn’t want to live in a world where Rory is dead so she chooses the crashing Tardis world. There she and the Doctor wake up with Rory and the power comes back on. The Doctor flies the Tardis into the star. It turns out both worlds were not real. The culprit of this adventure was some sort of psychotropic dust. And yes, the Doctor knows who the Dream Lord is – himself, or rather a dark version of himself. So our heroes go off again. Only the Dream Lord is still there inside the Doctor . . .

Asked and Answered Part 5

In this final volume of this series, we get season overviews with questions asked and answered about seasons two through five. They seem to get progressively shorter, but given JMS’s workload at the time, I don’t blame him. Also, the closer you get to the series’ finale the fewer questions there are to ask I suspect. We also get the lowdown on “In the Beginning”, “Thirdspace”, “River of Souls”, “A Call to Arms”, “Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight”, and “Lost Tales Voices in the Dark”. There are a particularly large number of questions asked and answered about “Sleeping in the Light”, which was not only the series finale but also JMS’s directorial debut. All in all very interesting.

Asked and Answered Part 4

In this volume JMS gives us some insight into what a writer’s life is like, or at least he tells us what his writer’s life is like. He talks in some detail about the pilot – pre-production, production, and post-production and everything in between from casting to the ratings. He then goes into the preparation for season one and talks about each episode of season one. All in all, another fascinating volume.

Doctor Who Series 5 Episodes #4-5

The first episode is “The Time of Angels”. The Doctor gets a message from River Song, who he met once with Donna in his last incarnation while she is quite familiar with the Doctor. The Doctor and Amy go to rescue her. It turns out River is with an expedition of clerics who are investigating a spaceship crash. River was on the ship, but did not cause the crash. It turns out there is a weeping angel on the ship. The first thing that goes wrong is the Angel manages to infect a video of itself and trap Amy. Fortunately, she manages to stop the Angel and get out of the trailer. The biggest problem the expedition has is the fact that the ship crashed on a site full of statues. The only way to reach the ship is through the maze of statues. They divide into groups. Amy is still affected from having looked at the video of the angel. River and the Doctor realize that the race who built the statues had two heads, but all the statues have only one. They are all weeping angels. Meanwhile, several of the party have been killed by angels and the angels use the voice of one of them to talk with the Doctor. Basically, they want off the planet. Something scares them. And a Time Lord would be just what they need. The Doctor of course refuses. The party is trapped, but by this time they are underneath the ship and the Doctor has a plan . . .

The second episode is “Flesh and Stone”. The group jumps on the Doctor’s orders and the Doctor shoots the gravity control, getting them onto the ship. The angels follow and the Doctor orders them into the oxygen factory, a large area forested by trees. About this point the Doctor realizes that Amy just isn’t still affected by the angel, the angel is possessing her and killing her. He gets her to close her eyes which stops the countdown. The Doctor, River, commander, and several men go on ahead. Several stay behind with Amy. The  Doctor has an interesting conversation about trust with Amy. His party heads towards the main control room. It is revealed that River is a prisoner for killing someone and her work here may grant her a pardon. Meanwhile, the solders with Amy see a strange light. As they investigate, they not only disappear, only Amy can remember. Amy is left alone. River and the Doctor are also the only other survivors as well in the end. Amy opens her eyes to the light long enough to see it is like the crack in her room. The Doctor tells Amy over the communicator to come to him, explaining that it erases people through time. Hence why the angels are scared of it. He and River have determined the date of the crack’s center-point, but the only way to close it is either for the Doctor to sacrifice himself or for the Angels to get in there. Amy, with eyes closed, makes it only part way. Fortunately, River is able to telaport Amy the rest of the way. The Doctor has them all attach themselves to various things firmly and he switches the ship’s gravity so all the angels fall into the crack. This also deals with the angel in Amy. River is retrieved by more clerics. She tells the Doctor she killed the best man she ever knew and says they will meet again when Pandorica opens. In the TARDIS Amy asks to go home since there is something the Doctor should know – the next day is her wedding with Rory. However, she is now in love with the Doctor. . .

Doctor Who Series 5 Episodes #1-3

The first episode is “The Eleventh Hour”. The newly regenerated Doctor is falling to Earth in a damaged TARDIS. He crash lands in the yard of a girl named Amelia who is worried about a crack in her wall. She is not really phased by the Doctor at all, even when he proves to be a picky eater. Who knew custard and fish sticks went together? She has no parents and lives with her aunt. He takes a look at the crack in the wall and they hear someone looking for Prisoner Zero. The Doctor opens the crack and they see a huge eye, the jailer, who asks about Prisoner Zero again. The Doctor closes the crack in the wall, but since the crack is really two points in time that were never supposed to meet, it still exists. The Doctor also feels like he is forgetting something, but is distracted by the TARDIS which is now clanging a warning bell. If the Doctor doesn’t go to space and fix it it will destroy itself. Amelia wants to come, but the Doctor says it is too dangerous but that he will be back in five minutes. Amelia packs her bag and waits. The Doctor returns a bit later than anticipated, knowing what he missed now, but gets hit by a cricket bat. He is confronted by a police woman. When the Doctor asks about Amelia she says Amelia doesn’t live there any more. The Doctor asks her how many rooms there are on the floor – five. But there are really six. One can only be seen out of the corner of the eye. The girl goes in the door against what the Doctor says. She finds his sonic screwdriver on a table in there. Yep, Prisoner Zero is in there and the policewoman flees the snakelike creature. What emerges after her is a man and his dog. A voice above from a spaceship tells Prisoner Zero to vacate the human residence or it will be destroyed. The doctor and the lady make it out of the house. It turns out the lady is not a policewoman – she is a kiss-a-gram. And she is Amy Pond – Amelia. The Doctor is twelve years late. The TARDIS is repairing and remodeling itself and won’t let the Doctor in. So the Doctor and Amy flee. The alien spaceship (or spaceships) is broadcasting on every channel. Prisoner Zero comes after the Doctor. He tries to get the alien’s attention with his sonic screwdriver, but it breaks before the aliens can find Prisoner Zero. Prisoner Zero escapes. The Doctor realizes the aliens plan to destroy Earth if they don’t get Prisoner Zero back in twenty minutes. He convinces Amy to believe in him that long.  Everyone sees the alien spaceship and is taking pictures of it – except for one young man who is a nurse. The Doctor asks him what he is taking pictures of and the guy, Rory, says he is taking pictures of people who are in the comma unit in the hospital but that he has seen walking around in broad daylight. Prisoner Zero can join the consciousness of those whose brains are not active and take their appearance and in this form registers as human. The Doctor tells Amy and Rory to get back to the hospital and get everyone out and he borrows a computer and plants a computer virus using Rory’s phone. He gets to the hospital just in time to save Rory and Amy who have been discovered by Prisoner Zero. At the command of the virus, everything in the world says zero. The path of the virus leads back to Rory’s phone, which has the images of all the forms Prisoner Zero can take. So Prisoner Zero takes young Amy’s form (with the Doctor) and Amy collapses. The Doctor tells Amy to picture Prisoner Zero the way she first saw it. Prisoner Zero copies this and is captured, but not before telling the Doctor that when Pandorica opens silence will fall. The Doctor then contacts the aliens to come talk with them and he basically gets after them for threatening a protected planet like Earth and scares them off by letting them know who he really is. The TARDIS key returns and the Doctor rushes off to go into it and go off. The Doctor returns – two years later now. He invites Amy with him this time. Amy agrees when she realizes he is lonely.

The second episode is “The Beast Below”. So the Doctor decides to take Amy several millenia into the future. The sun has grown too hot for Earth so the various nations constructed basically world ships to carry them away to a new home. The Doctor and Amy of course arrive on the British ship. However, not all is well there. People disappear. Secrets are kept, even from the queen (who the Doctor and Amy eventually meet – Queen Elizabeth X, or Queen Liz). There are no vibrations on a ship that is moving. Actually, in all fairness the people are allowed to know what is really going on, but most choose to forget. The rest are sent below. The Doctor and Amy encounter one girl whose friend was sent below. They investigate with her help and eventually the help of Queen Liz. In the end they are all taken below. The truth is the ship is being carried along by a star whale. They keep injuring the whale’s brain to get it to speed up or turn or whatever. The Doctor is about to make the whale a vegetable – better than being conscious of the pain and he can’t let everyone aboard die, but Amy stops him. She realizes based on the story of the star whale that it voluntarily came when it heard the cry of the children (it never harmed children, no matter its pain) and they don’t have to hurt it to get it to move. So the Doctor seems happy to have Amy with him. He gets a call from Winston Churchill. So it is to World War II England next. However, there is a crack on the worldship that matches the crack from Amy’s wall . . .

The third episode is “Victory of the Dalecks”. The Tardis really has issues with timing. The Doctor and Amy arrive three months late! Winston doesn’t mind. He wants to show off his latest weapon that will defeat the Nazis – ironsides. However, the Doctor recognizes them as Darleks. Only these Darleks seem quite passive. Winston of course just wants to win the war and doesn’t realize there are larger issues. Confusing everything is there is a professor who claims to have invented the ironsides and has detailed plans and everything. He also has plans for other things like getting up into space and forcefields to keep air in. One thing that concerns the Doctor is that Amy has no memory of the Darleks, even though they stole Earth and everyone saw it. The Doctor confronts the Darleks and this gives the Darleks what they want – proof from their greatest enemy of what they are. See, they have a ship hiding near by in space and it is capable of recreating the Darleks, but these injured Darleks are no longer considered pure. So the new Darleks are made, the old are destroyed. They shine light on London, exposing it to attack. Some RAF pilots go into space to attack. The Doctor, who is up there, manages to use the TARDIS to disable the shield. So the Darleks threaten to destroy Earth. The professor is really a robot and he has a bomb in him. So the Doctor is forced to stand down. He races back to Earth and he and Amy help the professor think human thoughts, especially of love, defusing the bomb. But the Darleks escape, much to the Doctor’s distress. Still, all ends well enough. The Doctor lets the professor live since he has human thoughts and emotions. And Churchill is left to endure the remainder of World War II. However, there is another crack like the one from Amy’s room . . .

Doctor Who 2009 Christmas/New Years Special: The End of Time (I & II)

So it turns out everyone on Earth is having nightmares they can’t remember – except for Wilfred. It is a nightmare of the Master’s laughter. He runs into a lady who talks a bit about the Doctor then disappears. The Doctor goes to visit the Ood who have summoned him. They too have been disturbed by these nightmares. More, they see a man and young lady the Doctor doesn’t recognize, Lucy (the Master’s human wife) and he sees that a ring survived the Master’s death. But according to the Ood there is more, something coming back – the end of time itself. At the prison where Lucy is she is brought before those humans who follow the Master and using some of the DNA from him left on her among other things they bring him back. However, Lucy is prepared for this and those who listened to her made a counter formula which destroys the prison. The man, Arrowsmith, and his daughter Abigail, are billionaires and see proof that the Master escaped. Meanwhile, Wilfred is worried and enlists his fellow senior citizens in hunting for the Doctor. The Doctor does arrive chasing after the Master whose body didn’t come back properly and is now literally burning itself up. The Master escapes just as Wilfred shows up. Wilfred is worried about the dreams. He is also worried about Donna who doesn’t remember the Doctor. He says Donna is engaged again.  The Doctor is very firm that she can’t remember him or her mind will overload. He also tells Wilfred about the prophecy of his death. He wonders how Wilfred keeps showing up. The Doctor goes off and finds the Master. They fight a bit and then they talk. The master constantly hears sounds in his head but the Doctor hears nothing until he links with the Master. No wonder the master is crazy. The Doctor tries to ask the Master for help but all the Master can think about is the noise. That is when they are found by Arrowsmith’s men and the Master is captured by then. The next day is Christmas. Wilfred sees the lady he saw at the beginning on the TV who tells him the only way to save the Doctor is for the Doctor to take up arms and also warns Wilfred not to tell the Doctor about her. Donna gave Wilfred a book by Arrowsmith for Christmas. Wilfred gets his gun. He hears the TARDIS and sneaks off to go help the Doctor. They go to the Arrowsmith estate. The Doctor hides the TARDIS. Inside, Arrowsmith shows the Master what he found from the ruins of Torchwood – an alien healing device that could give immortality. The Master agrees to get it to work. Unknown to anyone, two aliens who look like green cacti are there to salvage the machine. The Doctor discovers them and in asking about the machine realizes the Master plans to use it. The Doctor rushes upstairs but is too late – the Master gets to the machine and uses it not only to make his mind visible to everyone like it is in Wilfred’s nightmares, but to turn every human on the planet into himself. Wilfred is saved because the Doctor manages to get him into a sealed containment chamber that protects him. Far away, there are still Time Lords . . .

It is the last day of Gallifrey inside the Time Lock. The Lord President won’t accept this. He knows two children of Gallifrey survived – the Master and the Doctor. As a child he had planted a pattern in the Master’s mind so the Time Lock is not sealed. The President plans to use this mental link to get out. So now Wilfred and the Doctor are captured by the Master. Again the Doctor offers to try and help the Master be cured and he also asks the Master’s help to stop what is coming, but the Master thinks he is the prophecy. He also decides with everyone on the planet now having his mind, including the sound, they could follow it to its end. The cacti help the Doctor and Wilfred to escape to the basement and from there they escape to their salvage ship. The Doctor destroys the controls before the Master can track them and scrambles the telaport, cacti’s displeasure. Once the Master makes contact, the President sends to Earth a diamond, a five-point star only found on Gallifrey. Wilfred tries to convince the Doctor to take his gun, but the Doctor refuses. Then the Master contacts them telling the Doctor what he found. This drives the Doctor into action. He takes the gun. He activates the ship which he had already repaired. He sends the ship towards Earth, knowing that the Master will try to shoot it down. They make it over Arrowsmith’s mansion and the Doctor falls down to Earth, but it is too late. The Master has already used the diamond to make the link to Gallifrey physical. So Time Lords, including the President (who restores humanity), arrive – as does Gallifrey, and all the nightmare of the Time War on it. It turns out that the Time War drove the Time Lords collectively mad. They created horrible creatures. Finally, the President decided the only thing to do was for the Time Lords to ascend to a purely mental plain – in which process everything else would be destroyed. That is why the Doctor created the Time Lock. The Master is okay with this – until he learns that while the President used him he has no intention of taking the Master with him. By this time the Doctor has recovered enough to use Wilfred’s gun but he can’t decide whether to shoot the Master or the President. One of the Time Lords that hid her face shows it. It is the same woman Wilfred saw before. Seeing her saddens the Doctor but gives him resolve to choose a third path – he destroys the mechanism that brought the Time Lords back. The President is about to kill the Doctor for this, but the Master attacks the President for all that was done to him. Earth is saved and somehow the Doctor survives. That is when he hears four knocks from Wilfred who trapped himself in the sealed room to get someone else out. The power source, nuclear in power, is now unstable – and will go directly into the chamber. The Doctor is anguished by this but then realizes he is starting to act like the other Time Lords and chooses to let Wilfred out and to be hit by the radiation. He starts to regenerate, but still has some time so he takes Wilfred home and promises to see him again. He then goes visiting people. He saves Martha and Mickie from a Soltairan sniper. He saves Sarah Jane’s son from being hit by a car. He introduces Captain Jack to the young sailor who survived the fall of the spaceship Titanic. He visits the book signing of the gal who wrote the story of her great-grandmother’s diary. This great-grandmother was the human he fell in love with while he was human right before World War I. He visits on Donna’s wedding day to give a present, though only Wilfred and Donna’s mother see him. He then goes to see Rose at New Years the year she first met him. The Doctor makes it back to the Tardis encouraged by the Ood  and the song of the Universe. Then reluctantly he regenerates. That is probably the reason why the TARDIS is damaged. The old Doctor is gone, a new Doctor has now taken his place . . .

Doctor Who 2009 Autumn Special: The Waters of Mars

The Doctor arrives at the first human outpost on Mars. He meets the crew lead by Captain Adelaide Brook. Unfortunately, the Doctor remembers this is the day the base was destroyed by a nuclear blast. The thing is, this disaster was directly responsible for spurring humanity further into space exploration. It is a fixed point in time and cannot be altered. However, he finds himself staying when Captain Brook is unable to contact anyone in the biodome. It turns out that the two crew members there have been infected by a water virus, causing them to release tons of water. Turns out one of the water filters to the glacier was not set properly and an alien race left the virus there. The Doctor and Captain Brook observe one of the infected crew and learn that they want to get to water-rich Earth, which they can’t allow. They seal the rest of the base off. Too bad water gets in way too easily. Captain Brook prepares to abandon base and forces the Doctor to tell what he knows. He leaves to go back to the TARDIS, but it is too late. The virus is loose again, including infecting their pilot. He destroys their shuttle before he completely succumbs, stranding the virus and the remaining uninfected crew members. Hearing their cries, the Doctor returns. Captain Brook sets the base for self-destruction. The Doctor uses a robotic dog to bring the TARDIS. He saves three of the crew who were uninfected, including Captain Brooks. They arrive on Earth in front of Captain Brooks’ home. She is quite upset. What gives the Doctor the right to interfere in what was supposed to happen? The Doctor really gets very prideful at this point. She goes into her home then kills herself, thus ensuring the same overall results would still happen. The Doctor sees a vision of an Ood and realizes he went to far. He goes into the TARDIS and hears knocking. He leaves before it reaches four . . .

Doctor Who 2009 Easter Special: Planet of the Dead

A gal named Lady Christina pulls off a heist in the modern time. I think she does it just for the thrills. Who should she run into on the bus she gets on to while getting away than the Doctor? He is tracking a wormhole, which lo and behold they shortly go through. They find themselves on a desert world. The bus driver tries to go back through the wormhole, but he is killed. Seems the bus protected them going through. Of course now the bus is damaged. The bus driver’s skeleton is found by police who contact UNIT. The Doctor gets into contact with UNIT as well. There are a number of passengers besides the Doctor and Christina, including one lady who is psychic. Some of the passengers attempt to fix the bus while Christina and the Doctor go exploring and spot a coming storm. Actually the storm is caused by alien stingrays who crate wormholes to go from system to system and devour entire ecosystems. This is confirmed when the Doctor and Christina find some friendly aliens who were caused to crash land by the alien swarm. The Doctor fears the swarm’s next target will be Earth. When the leader of UNIT hears about this, the on site commander orders the wormhole shut, but the technician who the Doctor has primarily been talking with refuses. Christina meanwhile manages to retrieve a power source that will help get the bus running again, but in the process awakes some alien stingrays. The friendly aliens are killed and the Doctor and Christina barely make it back to the bus in time. He uses the crystal and a gold cup Christina stole to get the bus working again. The wormhole is shut as soon as the bus is through. A few stingrays get through, but nothing UNIT can’t handle. Christina wants to go with the Doctor but he refuses, having recently lost his companions. She is arrested but the Doctor covertly gives her a tiny hand with the sonic screwdriver to escape, much to the authorities’ distress. I think the Doctor likes her spirit^^; However, before he leaves the psychic lady tell him that his song is ending, that something is returning, and that he will knock four times.