Wednesday, November 4, 2009

7th Doctor - Excelis Decays

Serial 7X1 - Excelsior Bouquets
First Entry in EC Unauthorized Guide O' Change And Delays


Serial 7X1 - Excelsior Bouquets -

The Doctor is totally stunned when he wakes up one morning to find the TARDIS console room has been completely redesigned to its Victorian Jules Verne look of Season 14. He is more shocked that it is now so huge that he needs mountaineering equipment to climb up onto the console dais. Dimly, the Time Lord remembers programming in this overhaul into the TARDIS computer, but what with his companions' collection of hardcore internet pornography using up all the hard drive, it didn't take. Now, the time machine has enough RAM to complete the maneuver, and the lone Doctor hasn't a chance in hell of hitting the CTRL+ALT+DEL keys since each button is bigger than him and kilometres apart. Feeling acute agoraphobia, the Doctor flees the TARDIS and finds himself in an unimpressive cityscape of concrete and smog, which the Doctor innately mistakes for New York on a good day.

The Doctor sets off to explore his surroundings, but the citizens ignore him - not even his ludicrous question marks can grab attention in this stale realm. The Doctor, bored, grabs the nearest passer-by and snaps that he is a VIP. To his surprise, the passer-by, Matthew, believes him completely and offers to lick his shoes. The Doctor doesn't like the look of Matthew's tongue and so apologizes and says he has to visit a friend right away... abroad. Matthew points out that no one is allowed to leave the city-state, and the Doctor snaps that New York used to be cool, man! Matthew is confused - this is the city of Gatecrash, on the planet Excelsior! The Doctor has visited here twice in the last two weeks, in different bodies, alternating between trying to woo the ruler and convince him that they can still be friends. The Doctor just hopes that Lord Raven doesn't hear that the Time Lord is back.

However, it is too late - Raven has already felt a disturbance in the force. However, as this has nothing to do with the Doctor he doesn't actually get into the story until a rampaging mob of his elite army (lead by Commander Peter Sellis and Sub-Commander Brunt) storm a students' party and find the Doctor and Matthew sharing a bong. The record player is smashed, the host of the party beaten up and the guests put in hospital - and the Doctor remarks that this Thatcheresque hellhole has nothing on the nightmares of Eric Blair. No one on the whole planet has heard of Eric Blair, or his pseudonym George Orwell, and so the allusion does the Doctor more harm than good. Indeed, Raven soon hears of a strange little man making classic literally allusions to another planet's culture give away his identity almost as easily as his question mark fetish.

The Doctor and Matthew are prevented from the usual escape-and-capture padding when they are both caught by ludicrously huge puppets made out of luncheon meats - meat puppets, or Muppets for short. These beings are animated by sexual frustration drained from living beings - one libido properly divided can bring thousands of Muppets to life. The extraction process is agonizing, and Raven - now calling himself Reg Winston for tax purposes - plans to carry out the hideous procedure on both Matthew and the Doctor.

The Doctor protests loudly, insisting that while Raven is understandably upset after the Sixth Doctor's toying with his emotions, while a few hours have passed on Excelsior, several centuries have happened to the Doctor. He's older, more mature, wiser - and Raven attacks him on this point, demanding to know why the Doctor hasn't got him a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates. The Doctor hastily explains he is not only older, more mature and wiser, but also suffers Alzheimer's. To make it convincing, he tells Raven this four times, asks him why the grandchildren don't visit any more, and tell him about the Alzheimer's yet again.

As a piece offering, the Doctor delves into his pocket and produces a daisiest daisy an old hermit once used as a herb for mind-altering cigarettes. However, as he removes it from his pocket, it releases a cloud of hallucinatory pollen that freaks out the Doctor for a good fifteen minutes, during which he swears he has just realized he is a dolphin made out raspberry jam. He then sees a handbag that speaks fluent Italian. Dazed and high, the Doctor offers to make amends with Raven and hastily builds a master control onto Excelsior's orbit defense grid: if Raven presses the button, every city on the planet will be destroyed by nuclear missiles. He can now blackmail himself to the top of the social ladder.

The Doctor doffs his hat and leaves for the TARDIS, reminding Raven the trick with the blackmail is not to actually press the control. Raven demands to know how they know the control will actually work, but the Doctor just tells the warlord to trust him, before spending the next few hours getting inside the police box and climbing the console. As he runs through the dematerialization sequence, the Doctor assures himself Raven won't be stupid to press the button just to find out if it works or not.

Seconds after the TARDIS leaves Gatecrash, Excelsior is reduced to a blasted, radioactive wasteland by a nuclear holocaust, wiping out Raven and the planet's population. Shaking his head at such awesome stupidity, the Doctor sets the controls to visit a proper villain...

...the BASTARD!

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who Drops Some Acid
Doctor Mysterio il Muppet Revenge
Doctor Who - Eric Blair Nightmare at 4000 Metres Above Sea Level (Canada Only)
'It's Pronounced "Bucket"' by Hyacinth Bouquet
Particularly Stupid Military Blunders by General G. Custer

Fluffs - Sylvester McCoy seemed decaying in this story

ASH cannot finish any sentence without bursting into evil, demonic laughter - even if the sentence is something as mundane as 'Good morning' or 'You're very tall' or 'It's a nice day, isn't it?' or 'So this is it, you're going to die!'

"You can't take the brunt of the ancient composers, can you Brunt, hmm? I should say so!"

"Is that you, Commissioner Gordon?" asks Sellis nervously at one point.

Goofs –
The Doctor and Raven/Reg Winston both claim their feud has lasted 1300 hundred years, despite the fact they first met each other two days ago. Guess time really does fly when you're having fun.

Fashion Victims –
Raven's uniform is very tight around his neck and he cannot speak in this adventure without prizing his collar free and panting for breath

Technobabble –
The Doctor believes that Excelsior has fallen prey to 'the Aldous Huxley factor'.

Links and References -
Obvious connections to 'Excelsior Yawns' and 'Excelsior Merchandising'.
A paranoid Raven accuses the Doctor of seeing Dustbins, Cybermen and Snotarans behind his back.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor seems to get very distracted at one point, and believes he is back on Earth created the gunpowder plot to kill Guy Fawkes. He manages to list three "trustworthy Catholic horses" before Sellis reminds him where they are. The horses' names include "Stevie the Wunda Horse", "Dribble" and "Eric Blair".

Groovy DVD Extras -
Fifteen minutes showing the Doctor climb down from the console to the floor and begin the epic journey towards the open doorway.

Dialogue Disasters -

Doctor: There is always a glutious maximus, Major Brunt, especially where you're concerned.

Raven: Legends often contain all the answers.
Matthew: What about answer sheets?
Raven: Well, them too. Ha-hah!

Doctor: The sun will never set on your empire because people won't trust you in the dark.
Raven: Yeah, that's what they said in that Sliders episode, Prince of Wails. It didn't work then and it won't work now! Bwa-hah-ha!

Fabian: I cannot act against him! He knows the Stanyslavki approach!
Raven: You are a tool, Fabian! Bwa-hah-ha-hah!

Grados: Your enthusiasm for the programme is admirable... But I'm still canceling it.

Doctor: I'm going out for a while, I may be some time.
Brunt: How long is 'some time'?
Doctor: Well, if I'm not back in five minutes...
Brunt: Yeah?
Doctor: Then it'll be longer than five minutes.

Doctor: Eric would have been proud.
Matthew: Who's Eric?
Doctor: Eric Blair.
Matthew: Eric Blair?
Doctor: Someone from Earth.
Matthew: What's Earth?
Doctor: Earth's a planet.
Matthew: What's a planet?
- this goes on for a while.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Raven: As soon as the Doctor arrives, chaos, uncertainty and rebellion spread like a virus.
Brunt: Really?
Raven:, I'm lying. No, I've got nothing to back that up. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hah-ha!!

Raven: This is the decaying of the age of Excelsior! The ethically challenged, the differently moralled... They are no longer weak, scrabbling in the dark, but a strong, proud, fierce people! They are... THE MUPPETS! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hah-ha-ha-ha-hah!

Doctor: Scientific Advisor, eh? Never trust them.
Sellis: I thought that YOU were a Scientific Advisor, Doctor?
Doctor: Your point being?

Doctor: Madness and genius are qualities which are often confused...
Raven: Yeah... You keep telling yourself that, Doctor. Now, go and gibber in the corner, there's a good boy.
Doctor: YAY!
Raven: Bwa-hah-ha-ha-ha-hah! HAH!

UnQuotable Quote -

Raven: Doctor? Doctor?!? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hah! HA-HA-HA-HAH!

Viewer Quotes -

"Who the hell is Eric Blair?"
- Adrian Mole (1984)

"Tony Head trades in his measured, thoughtful performance from for Standard Megalomaniac #17, A short plank of wood could give a better performance than Yee Jee Tso, who's clearly reading his lines fone-et-ik-all-ee and Sylvester McCoy seems to be stuck on "hysterical outrage" for his every line of dialogue. This will really leave a bad taste in your mouth about the entire Excelsior series, like vomit-flavored manure. But the Muppets look like sex on a stick, so that's all right, then."
- Nigel Verkoff (2003)

"This is a Bad Finish production. Damn it, I'm SO witty!"
- Purile Pun Magazine (2003)

"Grim, and commendably not afraid to deliver a downbeat ending. It's like The Final Cut. Only with more muppets."
- Dave Restal (2002)

"I admit it... I only got this for Anthony Stewart Head. His face, his eyes, his enchanting voice. I'm a discerning buyer, and the fact I got this and a recording of him reading a telephone directory is a matter of quality rather than 'individual taste', whatever that may mean. Yes, ASH rescues a drama in which very little happens. Apart from the TARDIS redesigning itself. And the apocalypse. And the Doctor deciding to visit the Bastard. But, apart from that sod all happened. If only we could now have ASH versus the Eighth Doctor!!"
- Anthony Stewart Head's agent (2001)

"Sylvester McCoy is the seventh Doctor."
- A stater of the freaking obvious (2006)

"What a ham actor. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hah-ah-ha-ha! HAH-ha-hah-haaa!"
- Anthony Ainley (2000)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Eric Blair? ERIC BLOODY BLAIR!?! My God, that's the name I found tattooed on my inner thigh after that last spin on the Necromocon! Coincidence? I think not. OH MY GOD! The nuclear missiles are coming! BOOM!!!"

Sylvester McCoy Speaks!
"Acting is a lot like tennis. You bat the ball, and your co-stars bounce it back. And you can get a stitch trying not to bump into the monsters. And the referee is a demented sociopath with delusions of grandeur and your opponent is ready to annihilate western civilization for fifteen love. And someone's nicked my racket. Acting's a lot like tennis - it goes back and forth and I still have no idea who's winning or why I should care. Yes, I had absolutely no idea what was happening in this story. Neither was the Doctor, I think, which is why we decided to visit the Bastard at the end. A touch of normality after that awkward business with the begonias."

Trivia -
Because this episode was running under length, three minutes from The Rocky Horror Picture Show were scattered liberally throughout the story. This explains the Doctor's baffling observation that he thought Raven was "the Candy man!" and why Brunt declares himself "a creature of the night".

Rumors & Facts -
Excelsior Bouquets starts well, but then so did life on Earth - it's not really an indication of further quality, is it? The idea of linking three stories to a guest star villain and spreading it across three Doctors is the one that Big Finish is known for - mainly because they did it far more successfully in their first story, The Tarrants of Time. But it's a characteristically ambitious move and a characteristically bad one.

Excelsior Bouquets is the final installment in Big Finish's Excelsior trilogy, and the only audio written to date by alleged Doctor Who novel author Craig Hinton. Since Hinton preferred to write for the Sixth Doctor, Gay Russell press-ganged him into writing a story for the Seventh, and concluding the trilogy. Hinton said this was the last job that he'd ever want to do, to which Russell replied that this must mean that Hinton was the man for the job. It is believed that this action inspired Hinton to change the character of Raven from from a shrewd political manipulator to demented, dysfunctional dictator, refusing to see common sense and demanded that clearly-more-sane-and-talented people bow down before his insane desires. He also wanted the Seventh Doctor, prior to his appearance in 1996 TV Movie Doctor Root & The Enema Within, to put his manipulations and machinations behind him, be at peace with his sexuality and act exactly like his Sixth Incarnation.

Gay Russell took offence at this transparent attempt to get around a problem by not changing the script at all – he had used the same tactic many times and was worried this might be some kind of karmic justice. He gave Hinton a list of requirements, one of which was to use the name 'Eric Blair' in every scene in order to boost potential for Big Finish's proposed spin-off series The Adventures of Blair in Time And Space! Hinton promptly split the script was into three episodes and sent to Big Finish. Big Finish sent it back, querying most of the plot and above all the decision to split 25 minutes of story into three episodes. Unfortunately, the scripts were left abandoned on a number 35 bus and were found, three weeks later, during a forensic analysis of a sewer outlet. The scripts, believed to be the murder weapon, were kept for court evidence for three months, before journalistic pressure made them the subject of a public inquiry, the results of which temporarily pointed to Sylvester McCoy being an axe murderess. However, sadly, the scripts were lost again – this time on a number 27 bus. Rob Shearman ultimately reclaimed them and buried them in soft peat for four months while he was chained to the Big Finish police box prop. This was only discovered during recording, when the production crew realized that their fire-lighters were recycled rehearsal scripts.

So disgusted were cast and crew with the very concept of it, that Hinton was fully supported in his abrupt decision to destroy the planet Excelsior and everything on it – firmly preventing Doctor Who from revisiting the setting and characters ever again. Which is why Gay Russell turned to the Bernice Summerfield division in order to pick up the pieces and resolve the so-called arc. Their attempted tag line 'A Trilogy In Four Parts' had Big Finish sued simultaneously by Douglas Adams and George Lucas.

It's a cruel world.

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