"Where Are We Going This Time": The Golden Age of Science Fiction

What should happen with the season summary updates?

  • Continue as is (might delay other updates)

    Votes: 6 75.0%
  • Release them later, as supplementary material

    Votes: 2 25.0%
  • Cut out the OTL bits, only say what you've changed (might only be a temporary solution)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Stop them completely

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    8
  • Poll closed .

Timelordtoe

Monthly Donor
Microsoft broken up?

Surprised Bill Gates didn't move the HQ out of the USA to prevent this.

Also this is a HUGE move and opens up an entire aviary of butterflies, as you are probably aware.

Still I guess Microsoft Gaming Inc might buy up Interplay, Black Isle, Atari and similar smaller studios and give us some seriously decent games.
Microsoft was actually pretty close to being broken up around this time IOTL. As I said, it'll get its own update, where a couple of other things will be tackled too. Put simply, the Netscape lawsuit goes badly for Microsoft, and their different sections get split up. I'll go into why Gates doesn't move the HQ, but suffice it to say, it's mainly arrogance that he's certain he's going to win the suit. He'll still be rich, but very few people are going to be willing to work with him after this.

The Doctor Who updates will be coming out soon. First one may be tonight, and the season's about half-written right now. We've got a lot better at preparing these in advance.
 
Chapter XVIII: "I Can't Keep Track of All Your Sworn Enemies!"

Timelordtoe

Monthly Donor
Chapter XVIII: "I Can't Keep Track of All Your Sworn Enemies!"

"I think that our second season was our high point, though that's not to say that our others weren't good. But every story seemed to be good in that season. I think we were on top form as well, looking back. I had a lot of fun then, though Ryan certainly made the third season a lot of fun. But the second season was where it was at. The world seemed to be looking up and we finally got to see Lucie's origins. After 1997, well, the whole mood in the US changed."​
- Nicole de Boer on why Season 31 is her favourite season of Doctor Who.


Season 30 of Doctor Who was, by every measure, a success. Gaiman’s style reinvigorated the franchise, and the new main cast seemed to have a chemistry not seen since the late 1980s. As a result, the announcement that Dante Basco would be joining the cast as a third companion midway through the season would leave many fans surprised. Nonetheless, early interviews seemed to suggest that he would fit in well.

In the run-up to its release, Gaiman announced that Season 31 would see the return of some iconic monsters from the classic series, but gave no indication as to which. He also announced that the season would see the mystery of Lucie solved.

The season would be notable in that the Master did not feature whatsoever, the first such occasion since Season 17 of the Classic Series back in 1979. That said, a new “Gallifreyan Gallery of Rogues” would be established, with many new characters like the Corsair and Iris Wildthyme making their debut appearances. The Monk and the Minister of Chance would also return, now played by Willie Rushton and Catherine Zeta-Jones respectively. This marked the first on-screen example of a Time Lord changing gender between regenerations, a fact that would lead many fans to wonder if the next Doctor would be female.

A notable inclusion in the new Gallery of Rogues was the Veteran, played by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Many were surprised to see such a well-known actor appear on the show, though Schwarzenegger’s career had taken something of a downturn as of late. With Doctor Who’s prominence in pop-culture, it was his hope that appearing on the show could reinvigorate his career.


The "Gallifreyan Gallery of Rogues". From left to right: The Veteran (Arnold Schwarzenegger), The Minister (Catherine Zeta Jones), The Monk (Willie Rushton), Iris Wildthyme (Rue McClanahan), The Libertine (Leslie Jordan), and The Corsair (Claudia Black).​

The production of the series would hit some minor stumbling blocks, however, as the planned story The Royal Disease, set during the Russian Revolution, was forced to be cut amidst the increasing civil unrest in Russia. The stories that replaced it, Crossing Wires and Where Time Runs Thin, were written on short notice, and Eek! A Spouse! was brought forward in the season. Despite this, production did continue on relatively unhindered. Doctor Who would continue to tackle heavier subjects in this season, especially with The Memory Hole, which dealt with memory loss and issues facing intersex people.

The release of the season would be notable for multiple reasons, and the opening story, The Happiness Patrol was the cause of most of these. The story, written by Graeme Curry and Neil Gaiman, was clearly a thinly-veiled criticism of the outgoing Thatcher government in the UK. While it caused some uproar in the Conservative benches, the newly inaugurated Prime Minister, Tony Benn, upon hearing these remarks, would joke “I’ve never been a fan, but I think I’ll give it a second chance now.” Benn later cited Season 31 as having “made a fan of [him].”


Another memorable moment would come at the end of The Backbone of Night, a story that saw the Doctor meet Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. The final five minutes of the second part of the story would be cut off by a nation-wide activation of the new Emergency Alert System. Ultimately, the activation proved to be the result of a signal intrusion at one of the Primary Entry Point stations.

The intrusion was notable in that it was the first, and to date only, to abuse the EAS. The intruders broadcast a message beginning with the nationwide broadcast SAME header, which resulted in the WJR/Detroit station forwarding the message on to the other PEP stations, meaning the message was transmitted across the entire nation. The actual message of the intruders was never seen, as the EAS system’s activation overrode their broadcast, and normal broadcasting was not resumed until the end of the intrusion.

The perpetrators were never found, and the timing of the incident (coinciding with Doctor Who) led many to believe that they may have been inspired by the 1987 Max Headroom incident, which saw the interruption of a re-run of Horror of Fang Rock. This “Ten Minutes of Silence” intrusion had many lasting effects. It was the basis for the 2014 story Lost in Silence in Tom Scott’s FastForward, as well as many other TV stories related to the EAS.

The incident, combined with the nationwide activation of the EAS in March 1998, would result in the security of the network being greatly increased. No further intrusions would take place, and by the time that the system would be activated nationwide again in 2000, it had undergone many improvements.


Opinion was divided on the ostensible finale, Just War (with Bellwether treated as a coda). The uncompromising depiction of the Nazi occupation of Guernsey and the lead villain being an intelligent, capable man who elected to be evil because he enjoyed it caused many a discussion about the nature of evil. Lucie’s torture scenes also provoked a many complaints.

The Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) also received a bevy of complaints for almost every story in the season. These ranged from the “blatantly anti-government” message of The Happiness Patrol, to the “death fetishism” of The Offer, unfounded accusations that The House Always Wins promoted "child gambling", and especially the apparently “sexually perverted” relationship between the Libertine and Malcolm in The Memory Hole and The League of Extraordinary Time Lords. The latter point was somewhat intentional, with Malcolm being presented as being effectively the Libertine’s servant in every regard. Surprisingly few complaints were lodged about the risqué Iris Wildthyme, though both her character and Eek! A Spouse! proved incredibly divisive to both fans and critics. Writer Paul Magrs and producer Neil Gaiman loved it, and another, longer script featuring Iris was immediately picked up for the following season.


Season 31 also brought around the renewal of the cast’s contracts. Unusually, Paul McGann announced that he would stay beyond his third season, the first Doctor since Tom Baker to stay for that long. Alex Rice and Nicole de Boer both decided to not renew their contracts.

As planning for Season 32 was underway, several issues presented themselves. Firstly, the budget was becoming increasingly thin. The lawsuit between the BBC and Avery Brooks had finally been settled out of court, with the BBC agreeing to produce a series of specials constituting a “third season” for Brooks, to be released in 1998. These would be set between The Dark Dimension and Season 28.

In addition, with the show’s increased popularity, an animated series had been commissioned, with Universal Animation Studios being hired to create the show. At the time, budgets for these two spin-offs had not been separated from the central Doctor Who budget, so cuts needed to be made somewhere. Eventually, Gaiman agreed to make Season 33 shorter. Planning for this season began almost immediately, as the shortened length meant that Gaiman could do something he’d wanted to try for a while, recapturing the essence of the Trial of a Time Lord arc, and making the entire season one long overarching story.


A still from the Doctor Who: The Animated Series story Batter Up!

With the first season of Doctor Who: The Animated Series set to start in late 1997, and a brand-new set of Avery Brooks stories in 1998, it looked like the next year was going to be a good one for Whovians everywhere. Rumor had it that both Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox were going to resume their iconic roles for the series. In the end, of course, the truth was far more complex, but the Sixth Doctor and Marty McFly still had plenty of life in them yet.
 
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Interesting they got a cartoon spin off- is it consider canon or do most dismiss it?

Like the Rogues lineup- Arnie is an interesting addition.

Glad McGann is staying though, should be interesting what effect this has on his career.
 

Timelordtoe

Monthly Donor
Interesting they got a cartoon spin off- is it consider canon or do most dismiss it?

Like the Rogues lineup- Arnie is an interesting addition.

Glad McGann is staying though, should be interesting what effect this has on his career.
I don't want to give too much away about the animated series, especially as that's really @The Chimera Virus's baby. I'd call it a level of "grey canonicity", like the Big Finish stuff. The BBC treats it as basically canon unless the main show contradicts it. The animated show is really aiming for the family audience, as Gaiman's Doctor Who begins to shift to a more YA tone. Right now, Doctor Who has a fairly similar feel to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Rogues are one of my favourite aspects of this era of Who. A few big names, a few smaller names. It's certainly a big year for Claudia Black. A couple of other Time Lords do make appearances in the season, but those six are the ones that either get more than one appearance, or will likely appear again at some point. I certainly have plenty of ideas for the Corsair.

I've run the numbers on McGann, and I think he (by the time he departs) will be the Doctor with the most screen-time, even with his truncated fourth season. OTL's Eighth Doctor is my joint favourite (with 12), and I guess I felt a need to give him more screen-time here. In-timeline, he's one of the more "culturally dominant" Doctors. As in, if someone dresses up as a Doctor for a convention, 4, 7 and 10 are the Doctors they're most likely to go as. McGann is a pretty big name now, with Doctor Who, Sharpe and Goldeneye under his belt. When he leaves, he'll have his pick of roles, in all likelihood.
 

Timelordtoe

Monthly Donor
I'm delighted by all of the rogue Time Lords, and cannot wait to learn more about them.
They're a lot of fun, and all quite different. I don't think it's a spoiler to give this little description, so from left to right:

The Veteran: Assassin/Bounty Hunter
The Minister: The Doctor if they believed that the ends justified the means (yes, this is an Unbound reference)
The Monk: Pure chaos, but in the name of the greater good
Iris Wildthyme: Just straight up horny.
The Libertine: Hedonist
The Corsair: Pirate (in the pop-culture sense. She does stuff because it's fun)

The Monk and the Minister are the only ones to have made an appearance yet, though they've both got new bodies, so they're different. They, along with Iris Wildthyme and the Corsair, are characters from OTL, though only the Monk has made a direct appearance in the show. The Veteran and the Libertine are original creations of @The Chimera Virus, though.

@The Chimera Virus is running point on the stories involving the Veteran, the Monk, Iris, and the Libertine for this season. The Corsair will be introduced in a story by @tornadobusdriver, though I'm bringing them back in one of mine. The Minister is the one I'm working with the most.
 
Chapter XIX: "Rogues Are We"

Timelordtoe

Monthly Donor
Part III, Chapter XIX: "Rogues Are We"

"Season 31 did have a few changes. For starters, they finally let me bring in David Arnold to do the theme. He wasn't up for scoring the season, so we did it all in-house. But we could start to bring in big names. We'd established our place in popular culture, and I made sure we used it. Astute viewers will take notice of a good few actors in this season that became more well known later on. I'm quite proud of the season, as a whole."​
- Niel Gaiman on Season 31 of Doctor Who.

Season 31 would continue many of the themes from the previous one. Gaiman continued to take Doctor Who in a new direction, what he described as “Gothic aesthetic with modern sensibilities”. Many observers noted the similarities between Doctor Who and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, especially as they shared a considerable audience. Much as had been the case with Star Trek during the Seventh Doctor’s time, actors began to cross over between these two series.

The news that Dante Basco would be joining the cast was met with trepidation by many fans at first, but interviews in the lead-up to the release of the season showed that he fit in well. Basco’s character proved popular when he was introduced later on in the season.


Season 31 of Doctor Who began airing on Sunday, May 18th 1997. It was the tenth of the revival series.


List of Episodes of Season 31 of Doctor Who:
  1. The Happiness Patrol (Part 1)
  2. The Happiness Patrol (Part 2)
  3. The Last Type 40 (Part 1)
  4. The Last Type 40 (Part 2)
  5. The Offer
  6. The Memory Hole (Part 1)
  7. The Memory Hole (Part 2)
  8. The League of Extraordinary Time Lords (Part 1)
  9. The League of Extraordinary Time Lords (Part 2)
  10. The League of Extraordinary Time Lords (Part 3)
  11. The House Always Wins (Part 1)
  12. The House Always Wins (Part 2)
  13. The Man With All the Toys (Part 1)
  14. The Man With All the Toys (Part 2)
  15. The Backbone of Night (Part 1)​
  16. The Backbone of Night (Part 2)​
  17. Sins of the Fathers (Part 1)
  18. Sins of the Fathers (Part 2)
  19. Eek! A Spouse!
  20. Crossing Wires (Part 1)​
  21. Crossing Wires (Part 2)​
  22. Where Time Runs Thin​
  23. Just War (Part 1)
  24. Just War (Part 2)
  25. Just War (Part 3)
  26. Bellwether
Bold text indicates a story by @The Chimera Virus, underlined text indicates a story by @tornadobusdriver. Yes, I'm only writing three stories this season.

Cast of Season 31 of Doctor Who:
  • The Tenth Doctor – Paul McGann​
  • Lucie Miller – Nicole de Boer​
  • Kahn-Tineta – Alex Rice​
  • Malcolm Aguirre– Dante Basco​

Apart from a couple of divisive stories, the season was incredibly well reviewed. Of the shows of the revival series, it remains the one with the highest score on review aggregator Metacritic. McGann and de Boer’s performances were praised, as was Alex Rice’s, with many considering it a great improvement over her performance the previous season.

The “Rogues” were also the source of much praise, as while some were concerned by the increasing “Time Lord” focus of the show, the diverse personalities of the group helped to keep the show “fresh” in the minds of many critics.


Doctor Who had not only continued on from the last season’s success, but had improved on it. With a bumper year for the franchise coming up, many fans awaited the next release excitedly.
 
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Nice Doctor Who season there. Sounds like they have found a winning formula again.

Q- does Star Trek still go through the uniform change for Generations/DS9 per otl?
 
I half-expect some of the members of the Married...With Children cast to appear on Doctor Who at some point (Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, Amanda Bearse (1), David Faustino, Ted McGinley); Applegate would make a good companion, IMO, and it might just be the thing to break her away from her typecasting as Kelly Bundy...

Another interesting fact about Married...With Children: in a 1990 episode entitled "Dance Show" they had a gay married couple as one-shot characters (one of the same-sex couple was dancing with Peggy (Katey Sagal) and the other thought he was cheating on him with Peggy and confronted Al about it). For a show in 1990, that was a pretty bold move, IMO (then again, Married...With Children was a pretty subversive show for its time (and it was titled Not The Cosbys at one point (2)); there's a reason it was Fox's first big sitcom hit...

(1) BTW, Bearse is a lesbian IRL; she came out during Married...With Children.
(2) And, considering what we know about Bill Cosby now, well, who's laughing now???
 
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Timelordtoe

Monthly Donor
I've just realised a problem regarding the casting of Willie Rushton as the Monk by 1997, as he died in 96.
We've butterflied his death for a little bit. This does mean that he doesn't inadvertantly predict his own death ten years prior. I've done it with another couple of actors in the timeline, for instance Patrick Troughton living a bit longer.
 
"The Beginning of the End of History" - Politics in the Golden Age of Science Fiction

Timelordtoe

Monthly Donor
Howdy,

So, I finally got around to making the political timeline I was talking about. If any of you want to read it, here's a link: [BEHOLD, A LINK]

If that's not your cup of tea, then fine. I'm going to avoid too much of a crossover between the timelines, except when it's really necessary. Still, I hope to see some of you over there! First update is out, and it covers how the Tiananmen Square protests end differently.

Timelordtoe
 
Howdy,

So, I finally got around to making the political timeline I was talking about. If any of you want to read it, here's a link: [BEHOLD, A LINK]

If that's not your cup of tea, then fine. I'm going to avoid too much of a crossover between the timelines, except when it's really necessary. Still, I hope to see some of you over there! First update is out, and it covers how the Tiananmen Square protests end differently.

Timelordtoe
Looks intriguing.
 
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