THE MUSEUM OF FORGOTTEN FUTURES



“Nothing dates an era faster than it's vision of the future”

- Clive James

A look at old British TV SF of my youth and before, when the Home Counties seemed particularly prone to alien invasion. (For now, something of a work in progress. Stay tuned.) Some introductory blurb here. If there's a general theme, it's that if the past is another country, that past's future is the most foreign place of all. The title comes from a Mark Stewart track.

'QUATERMASS'/ NIGEL KNEALE:



Quite possibly where it all began… the pioneering 1953 TV series, in which astronaut becomes vegetable with some far-from-hilarious consequences.

'THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT'
The 1955 movie version of the above. (Which okay isn't very TV-ish, so pendants may want to skip this one,)

'QUATERMASS II'
The 1955 sequel, in which not all is well in our green and pleasant land. In fact, its not really even green or pleasant any more.

'QUATERMASS AND THE PIT'
The original trilogy concludes in 1958 where Martians rear their ugly heads to give everyone nightmares, and Quatermass has a bad time on the Tube before the line's even open.

'QUATERMASS IV' (aka 'THE QUATERMASS CONCLUSION')
My personal favourite from these reviews, when the series returned in 1979 and caught up on all the social currents from the Fifties till then. It didn't make for cheery viewing…


Looking at the series' influences on its successors, chiefly (of course) 'Doctor Who' - where one mirrored the other and where they varied. As summed up in the difference between monsters and aliens.

'NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR'
Attention, citizens! Kneale and Cartier's follow-up to 'Quatermass Experiment' was an adaptation of Orwell's classic political dystopia. Written partly as a satire of Orwell's stint at the BBC, now dramatised on the BBC itself.

'DOCTOR WHO':


Reader, please note that this picture is a partial one! While I am sad and fannish enough to watch every episode of 'Who' I am not quite sad and fannish enough to review them all. Non-covered episodes are mentioned in passing just to show I’m not ignoring them. (I am in fact ignoring them.)

Looking over this list, I note my reviews are becoming longer the more that time wimes on. The first series of ’New Who’ (quite possibly my favourite) was served with an overview. I then proceeded through mini-reviews to full-blown obsessiveness. Some episodes I wrote about more than once, which is probably less a sign of something than a symptom. Bucking a trend, I then gave up almost entirely on series 8.

GENERAL:

THE 'DOCTOR WHO' CREDIT SEQUENCE – A CLASSIC OF IT'S TIME
Which of course it is. An over-view through the years…

NOT A PROPER REVIEW AT ALL OF 'AN ADVENTURE IN SPACE AND TIME'
A rumination on what precisely constitutes the show, poorly disguise as a review of Gatiss' Fiftieth anniversary docu-drama


THE FIRST DOCTOR:

AN UNEARTHLY CHILD
The fantastic first ever episode! With some mention of the following three-parter 'Tribe of Gum', despite my better judgement.

...aka ‘The Daleks’ or ‘The Dead Planet’. Some have even been known to insist on ’The Mutants’, even though this invites comparison to another episode which was actually called ’The Mutants’.

(I will do more of these at some point. Yes, one day I will come back. But for now we skip straight to…)


THE NINTH DOCTOR:

These are more a thematic overview than an episode-by-episode guide, looking at what the old series was all about, and when the new show did and didn’t need to do to change the record.

THE TENTH DOCTOR:

For no good reason, I seem to skip both series two and three.

From ‘Partners in Crime’ to the resistibly risible ‘Unicorn and the Wasp’.

Picking up from the somewhat better ‘Silence in the Library’ and taking us through to ‘Journey’s End’.

LATE BREAKING NEWS! DOCTOR WHO AND JESUS CHRIST IN SEPARATE PEOPLE SHOCK! (1)
LATE BREAKING NEWS! DOCTOR WHO AND JESUS CHRIST IN SEPARATE PEOPLE SHOCK! (2) 
'Last of the Time Lords', 'Midnight' and 'Turn Left' as contrasts in Davies' scripting style.

...aka ’The Next Doctor’, ‘Planet of the Dead’, 'Waters of Mars’ and ’The End of Time.’


THE ELEVENTH DOCTOR:

SERIES 5

LOOK WHO’S BACK! 
‘The Eleventh Hour’ and ‘The Beast Below’



A post-script to the above

‘Vampires of Venice’ seemed to pass best unreflected, so next up we have…




I was not commonly described as one of the fans of ‘The Lodger’, so next up we have…


On fables and fairy stories, and how well they get on with metafiction

On the love/hate reaction this series induced in some

The Christmas special ’A Christmas Carol’ was then skipped, even though it wasn’t actually bad.

SERIES 6:










‘Closing Time’ was then unceremonially skipped, taking us to…

‘THE WEDDING OF RIVER SONG’

Rumour has it there may have been some kind of Christmas special at this point. Me, I find it best not to entertain such notions...

Thoughts on the politics behind ‘Girl in the Fireplace’, ‘Empty Child’ and ‘Beast Below’, plus some other stuff

SERIES 7:

'ASYLUM OF THE DALEKS'

'DINOSAURS ON A SPACESHIP'/ 'A TOWN CALLED MERCY'

'THE POWER OF THREE'/ 'THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN'

...then we have a gap (caused, quite frankly, by lack of interest) until...

"I'LL EXPLAIN LATER": BELATED THOUGHTS ON THE MOST RECENT SERIES OF 'DOCTOR WHO'

'THE NAME OF THE DOCTOR' (PLUS SOME SPECULATION OVER HIS RANK AND SERIAL NUMBER'
)


'THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR'

THE TWELFTH DOCTOR:

SERIES 8:

KEEPING CALM AND CARRYING ON
A less than enthused reaction to the first two episodes. After the writing of which enthusiasm waned further.