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Dr. Who Comes to America

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Jetting towards the United States is England's longest-running science-fiction television series, Doctor Who. There are 72 episodes filled with monsters, intelligent aliens arid an array of fantastic special-effects.

The longest-running science-fiction series on TV in England is a kiddie-oriented production called Doctor Who. Like most popular media characters, this hero is well-known throughout the world. His program is syndicated in a number of countries, and there are books, toys and other merchandise in abundance. In addition, there have been two specially-made British motion pictures starring Peter Cushing as the intrepid Time Lord. The first of these is Dr. Who and the Daleks [1965), and the sequel is called Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. [1966). Needless to say, these theatrical releases are very juvenile, and both contain the same arch-enemies: the Daleks.

Our hero first appeared on BBC-TV about 13 years ago and has been going strong ever since. At that time, he appeared as an old man in his sixties [played by William Hartnell], and he was accompanied by a woman — Susan — who referred to him as her grandfather. While lacking traditional superpowers, he had two things going for him: he was a near-eternal Time Lord and he had a "Tardis." First of all, the Time Lords are a highly advanced extraterrestrial race that have the ability to travel through time and space. They can also regenerate their bodies whenever illness or old age endangers them. A Tardis, which stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space, looks like an obsolete British police call box, but it can bend time and space with little effort. On the outside, it appears as though only one person can fit into it, but it is much larger on the inside. This peculiarity is sometimes referred to as being "dimensionally transcendental." In any event, the bad thing about the Tardis is that it is occasionally erratic, in that it can deposit its passengers where they might not want to be.

Whenever the program is about to get a new actor to play the part of the title hero, the regenerative power of the Time Lords is called upon. This was first used during an episode with the ruthless Cybermen. Doctor Who stated that his body was beginning to wear out, then he went into a coma and was transformed into a younger man. The changeling [now Patrick Troughton] not only looked much different, but his personality was also altered. He was completely different, except for his brilliant mind and memories. Later on, during a fight against the War Lords, he found it necessary to ask his race for aid. It was at this time that viewers learned more about their hero.

It was the practice of Time Lords to observe the affairs of other worlds, but never to interfere in what they deemed Fate (much like Marvel Comics' Watcher). Naturally, Who disagreed with this attitude, and he was therefore a renegade to his people. He believed that it was essential for all good beings to fight against injustice, and in order to do so he stole the Tardis and eventually journeyed to 20th century Earth. When the War Lords were defeated, Who was placed on trial for treason. Although his defense was brilliant, the High Court found him guilty. However, his moving argument got him a light sentence: exile on our world for an indefinite period. As part of his punishment, they caused another change in his form [now played by Jon Pertwee], and his personality naturally altered, as well. Additionally, the trial caused the Time Lords to change their minds about helping others. From then on, they took an active part in the defense of the universe.

As a result, Who's superiors caused a severe problem when he was confronted by Omega, an evil Time Lord. In order for the hero to deal with this powerful opponent, his race lifted his previous selves from their respective time streams so that all three existed at the same time. Quite unexpectedly, the conflicting personalities began arguing; although this did not prevent them from overcoming their foe, it caused a great deal of aggravation and torment for all involved. This incident caused the Time Lords to release Who from exile, and he took to outer space once again.

During an eventual battle with a race of giant spiders, our hero was afflicted with a deadly alien radiation. He transformed himself into his youngest reincarnation [Tom Baker], and this is the one that still exists today. He continues to battle evil throughout the galaxy, but now he does it as a more congenial person.

Needless to say, Peter Cushing looks very different from the actors who were cast as Dr. Who on television. Nonetheless, he acquired Tardis for two theatrical adventures that achieved considerable success throughout the world. In Dr. Who and the Daleks, he landed on a distant planet and helped the blond, fair-skinned Thals to defeat their merciless enemies. This story, which was based on the very first Who adventure, explained how an atomic war had created the Daleks. Having formerly co-existed with the Thais, the Daleks built mobile metal casings to shield them from radiation. Through the centuries, they degenerated into a grotesque, mutated species that could not exist outside of the artificial housings. They rolled on wheels, were able to fire a lethal gas, and their metal arms were sufficient to handle their special machinery. Looking like robots, they grew to hate all normal lifeforms, and they vowed to wipe out all such life in the cosmos. Although Who defeated them on their homeworld, they turned up in many more places, during various time periods. Once, for example, they conquered most of our world. While this story was covered during the TV series, it was redone as Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. At the conclusion, our eternal hero succeeded in destroying all of his opponents, but there were still others throughout the universe that had to be dealt with.

Thanks to Time Life Television, certain people in the United States have been able to follow the adventures of the third Dr. Who. Not long ago, the company acquired the rights to release 13 serialized stories; this amounted to 72 weekly episodes, filled with monsters, intelligent aliens and an array of special effects. Since this is a syndicate series, it is not available in all parts of the country, so if you are interested in seeing it, but are in an area that is not airing the program, contact your local stations and ask that they put it on. It might prove to be most intriguing.

The rest of this article will deal with the adventures that are available on this side of the ocean. Predictably, I will be sure not to give away any endings, because that wouldn't be fair. According to reports, Time-Life is doing pretty well with this package, and there is a good chance that they will obtain more adventures. Watch for them.

Ambassadors of Death [seven chapters]. A rocket returns from Mars, but the astronauts are not aboard it. To solve this mystery, Who makes a solo flight into space, boards a huge alien ship, and learns of a plot to start an intergalactic war.

Claws of Axos [four chapters]. An extraterrestrial spaceship lands on Earth, and its crew of beautiful golden humanoids declare themselves to be friendly. However, Who learns that they are all organically grown parts of the craft itself, which is a living creature called Axos. Its nutrient has been exhausted, and it will remain on our world until its systems have been replenished by absorbing all living energy and leaving behind a dead sphere.

Colony in Space [six chapters]. While colonists and mineralogists feud for land rights on a bleak planet 500 years from now, "The Master" [an evil Time Lord] schemes to gain control of a doomsday machine that is hidden in the ruins of an ancient city. Who is determined to prevent him from using this weapon to blackmail the entire galaxy.

Curse of Peladon [four chapters]. Sometime in the future, the Galactic Federation is a union of all intelligent life in the immediate universe. They send a delegation to the remote and primitive planet of Peladon to consider admitting it into the organization. Someone attempts to sabotage this conference, and Who becomes involved in the intrigue when his Tardis makes an accidental landing near the scene and is mistaken for the delegate from Earth.

Daleks [four chapters]. Rebel humans return from the 22nd century, where they are slaves to the dreaded Daleks, in order to change history and avert the alien conquest. Who must combat his old enemies and also convince the rebels that they, themselves, are going to cause the catastrophe they have come back to prevent.

Demons [five chapters]. When an archeological team cuts through a prehistoric barrow to the tomb beyond, they unleash terrible forces. Consequently, The Master, together with a coven of witches, calls forth the demon Azal. Although the villain wants to be ruler of the world, Azal is thinking of destroying it, altogether. Who, in his attempts to overcome the demon and its redeemer, is nearly burned at the stake.

Inferno [seven chapters]. A drilling project releases a gas that turns humans into Primords, and at the same time it threatens to explode the planet. Who travels through the space-time continuum to a world parallel to ours, and just a few hours ahead of it, where Doomsday does indeed arrive.

Mind of Evil [six chapters]. A machine that "executes" criminals by extracting the evil particles from their brains is discovered to contain an alien parasite that feeds on crime. Behind this insidious plot to amass evil is Who's arch-enemy, The Master, who plans to provoke a global war in which he will emerge the only victor.

Mutants [six chapters]. Who and his assistant are transported hundreds of years into the future to Skybase One, a giant space station in orbit around the planet Solos, on which a mysterious plague of mutations is turning the inhabitants into strange monsters. The Time Lord discovers that the megalomaniac Marshal, who controls Solos, is oxygenizing the atmosphere; this will make the sphere suitable for Earthlings, but unfit for native Solonians. As the aliens rebel against Skybase, Who and an exiled scientist seek the cause and cure for the mutations.

Sea Devils [Six chapters]. The title creatures are a lizard-like race of intelligent beings that once ruled Earth. A colony of them is revived on the seabed near the island of The Master. When ships begin to vanish mysteriously, Who investigates and learns that his foe is developing a machine that will revive Sea Devil colonies all over the world. With their help, The Master hopes to take over the planet.

Silurians [seven chapters]. Energy generated by a nuclear reactor resurrects the Silurians: intelligent reptiles that evolved millions of years before mankind. In hibernation to avoid extinction, they now emerge to reclaim the globe that they regard as rightfully theirs.

Terror of Autons [four chapters]. The Master arrives on our world and allies himself with the Nestenes, who are aliens bent on invading Earth with an army of plastic Autons. Who must thwart them and other sinister plastic weapons devised by his most persistent foe.

Time Monster (six chapters). Who and a companion follow The Master through time to Atlantis. It is there that the villain plans to seize the Crystal of Kronos, which would give him power over time itself. Naturally, such a situation could very well bring about the end of the entire universe.


Here then, in our never-ending quest to please, is a complete guide to Doctor Who. Watch for it in your neighborhood real soon!


Captions:

A strange, demonlike alien confronts Dr Who

Dr. Who (Peter Cushing) plots strategy against the evil Daleks in this scene from "Dr. Who and the Daleks."

The newest reincarnation of Dr. Who faces capture at the hands of an alien.

A Dalek captures Dr. Who.

A Silurian scientist approaches in a suspense-filled scene from "Dr. Who and the Silurians." Jon Pertwee stars as Dr. Who.

An extraterrestrial robot-maker.

One of the many alien enemies of Dr. Who.

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to whovian@cuttingsarchive.org

  • APA 6th ed.: Rogers, Tom (Aug. 1978). Dr. Who Comes to America. Space Wars p. 50.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Rogers, Tom. "Dr. Who Comes to America." Space Wars [add city] Aug. 1978, 50. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Rogers, Tom. "Dr. Who Comes to America." Space Wars, edition, sec., Aug. 1978
  • Turabian: Rogers, Tom. "Dr. Who Comes to America." Space Wars, Aug. 1978, section, 50 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Dr. Who Comes to America | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr._Who_Comes_to_America | work=Space Wars | pages=50 | date=Aug. 1978 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 June 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Dr. Who Comes to America | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Dr._Who_Comes_to_America | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 June 2021}}</ref>