November 9, 2009

Doctoring Fan Films

This is a post that I have some bias in - not only do I enjoy Doctor Who (which is well documented), but I also have discussed my love of fan films in another online forum. So, in this time before the David Tennant/Matt Smith switchover, I am enjoying a couple of really strong, fan-made efforts that - in terms of episode format, scripting, tone, and even acting - very closely resemble BBC-made Who. So much so that both of these films can help ease the discomfort as we head into The Waters of Mars.

One group of fans is attempting to do an entire series of episodes, and "Fire and Ice" - the initial episode of Doctor Who 2009 - really demonstrates a well-thought-out approach, and is a remarkable effort. Much like many fan efforts, there are multiple fan references (both to UNIT and Ice Warriors), but even these help build out an episode really creepy in many ways. It's a unique take on the whole Doctor-meets-companion phenomenon. The acting is relatively strong (especially Kenneth Raymond Moore as a very unique Doctor), the special effects are good (and not just in a "for-a-fan-film" way) only quibble is that the file I downloaded had a slightly off-kilter sound track. But even that distraction doesn't take away from a pretty strong initial episode.

Ultimately, would I download the next episode (titled "Guardian of the Solar System)? Yes, I would. Very highly. And without spoiling - the ending packs a real emotional gut punch.

However, I really like Doctor Who: Victimsight a lot more - so much so that I thought it would easily fit as a Tennant special. (Graham Seeksma patterns his Doctor after Tennant's, but there's a little bit more punch in the performance). Partnering with a local policewoman, the Doctor finds himself (falsely) accused of murder, and ends up with a very unique punishment. Much like "Fire and Ice", it's a well-written episode, with some strong direction, an intriguing premise, and a classic series reference that, admittedly, I didn't see coming.

(As a public service, I'm embedding the entire video at the bottom of this post, although the link above will take you the main page).

This is an interesting time for Who fans, but both of these films provide a great outlet. For those who enjoy Tennant-era Who, Victimsight is a fan film that could easily fit as a 10th Doctor special. For those interested in another, slightly more alternative take in the Doctor, "Fire and Ice" serves as a great alternative take for Doctor Who's next series.

Both are definitely worth your time.

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