Mom and the Green Death

So what happens when my Mom visits the house for a weekend of Atlanta tourism and free computer repair … we sit down to make fun of old Doctor Who episodes. Yes, the post-dinner activity for this weekend turned out to be MSTARDIS3K.

Anybody who sees my Mom with me has no problem seeing the family resemblance. It’s not just the hair and face, it’s also in the voice and sense of humor. This is the woman who influenced my sense of humor and introduced me to science fiction. I spent a lot of time in the den watching Doctor Who and Star Trek reruns, and I know she added a lot to my now broken and poorly armed Star Wars action figure collection.

Any weekend with a geek and their parent incolves computer repair (shocking, I know). As her aging Acer laptop got upgraded, cleaned and scanned I put some old Doctor Who episodes on the TV. We both got sucked into “The Green Death” for all of thew wrong reasons. Doctor Who would become iconic and ground breaking, but the era of the Third Doctor was filled with a lot of sci-fi camp.

In one six part story, which we had to watch just to see our time commitment to the end, there’s at least three different plot devices. We categorized them by color to keep track of them … “green” for the oil company’s maggot-mutating waste products, “blue” for the magic crystal that is introduced in Act One and forgotten about until Act Four, “brown” for the ever-present hippie commune’s magic fungus. There’s also bombs, a singing computer, green screen effects that make Dragon*ConTV look like Lucasfilm, angry coal workers, an unlikely marriage and environmental overtones that even Al Gore would find excessive.

As a basis for comparison, I showed my Mom the first episode of the “new Who”, where Christopher Eccleston saves London from evil dummies in under an hour. It ties our Third and Ninth Doctors together nicely, since they were a common enemy. It also shows how much TV has changed over the years … better special effects, slicker editing and much better story pacing.

Seriously, the story pacing in old Doctor Who is painful. They are obviously trying to stretch a story over several episodes … so they fill it in with a lot of driving, running, and extra plot threads that take more driving, running and explosions to resolve.

Yes, Mom and I love our common sci-fi heritage … but it’s changed a lot over time.

Speaking of heritage, Mom left me with a box of items from my past. There’s some forgotten Star Wars items, a few old t-shirts and lots of pictures to go through. That’s a project for another day. Maybe I can sort through it while watching “The Time Warrior”

3 comments

  1. Mark Gray says:

    There is so much new stuff being made, I don’t often look back at what I read or watched when I was younger. When I do, I am glad that I enjoyed it when I did, it has gotten harder to overlook the cheese.

  2. Jeff says:

    “The Green Death” is a classic! I watched that one over again not too long ago.

    I didn’t realize how much slack I had given this one watching it as a kid… or maybe I just didn’t realize how much better it could get.

    It’s bad in a good way, though. I still have a lot of fun watching the old episodes, even if I now realize a lot more of the deficiencies.

  3. Joyous says:

    I really envy you your geek upbringing. 🙂 My mom still thinks sci-fi is for kids.

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