Monday, July 2, 2012

Doctor Who's USA Top 10

July 4 is fast approaching and included here is a celebration of Doctor Who episodes (and people) with an American slant. Happy Fourth of July to all you US-ers around the world, Blogtor lurves you all!

10. Captain Jack Harkness
Oh, hold on, he's not from Earth! Start again!

10. Dreamland
It's 1958 and The Tenth Doctor teams up with "Americans" Cassie Rice (played by English actress Georgia Moffett) and Jimmy Stalkingwolf (voiced by Canadian rocker, Tim Howar) in an adventure with genuine American icon, Area 51. Roswell, New Mexico is the setting for this cute little story that does actually feature some US residents - Stuart Milligan (who would go on to star as Nixon in another story on this list) and Clarke Peters (who's been in The Wire AND, erm, Holby City!).

9. The Chase
Perhaps not the most shining example of a quality scene from "classic" Who, but the 1964 Billy Hartnell six-parter did pop by the United States. The Doctor, Vicki, Ian and Barbara made a pit-stop at New York's Empire State Building in a time-hopping, galaxy-spawning chase with Daleks. Scariest of all, however, was the appearance of Mr. Peter Purves and that "accent"... *shudders* Fact fans may also note that Abraham Lincoln made an appearance on the Time-Space Visualiser, the nosey sods that the TARDIS crew are!
 
8. Daleks in Manhattan
More Dalek action as we get a "new" Who take on the same city and the very same building. New York's Central Park also provides much of the action but it's the Empire State Building that provides the backdrop for the Cult of Skaro and their, *coughs*, "plan". Extra special points are awarded for having some shots actually filmed in New York. (Though these points are instantly deducted for the story itself.)

7. The Stolen Earth
Hey Daleks, if you lurve America so much - why don't you just marry it??? And it's another bleedin' appearance of New York! It's a brief scene but exciting nonetheless as Skaro's finest drop down on the city, blasting everything in their way in the hunt of UNIT - where Martha Jones was posted. Thankfully, for her, she popped off to see her mommy, but do spare a thought for all those poor UNITers left to be exterminated... #sad

6. The End of Time
*looks round* Phew, no Daleks here. Instead we get the most powerful man in the world, currently, Barack Obama taking a press conference where he's about to save the world! Yay! But what's this? John Simm is now the President??? Of course, he was also everyone else in the US (and the world, almost) including the lurvely Trinity Wells who, sadly, was to make her last appearance in Doctor Who (to date). Miss you Trins!

Interestingly, and I use the word quite wrongly, this wasn't the first time The Master had a dalliance with an American Prez. In his guise as UK PM Harold Saxon he managed to get his "friends" the Toclafane to kill President Winters live on TV. The Master was always a slut for telly.

5. Peri
Speaking of beautiful companions, not really a moment for this entry but a person! And what a person! Perpugilliam Brown, to give Peri her Sunday name, met The Doctor and Turlough whilst holidaying in Lanzarote; using a bikini to distract viewers from the fact she was a botany student. Though she faced The Master, Cybermen and Daleks, it turned out that the Eighties were her greatest enemy - as her outfits will attest to. Is it worth mentioning that Nicola Bryant, the stunning actress that played the American Sweetheart, hails from Guildford, Surrey, Englandhamshire?
No. That would spoil the illusion.

4. Dalek
Aaargh! They're back! Well actually, just one. This 2005 classic is set in an underground Utah base that could pretty much have been any stadium anywhere in the world (which, of course, it was). But kudos to the production team for conjuring up some real Yanks in the cast: bad boy Henry van Statten was played by actual US~er, Corey Johnson; Joe Montana played a doomed commander (and would be later recast in Daleks In Manhattan); John Schwab's Bywater was the first to get the Dalek extermination blast whilst his compatriot Jana Carpenter played fellow hired goon to the slaughter, De Maggio. No American soil, but lots of Yank spirit!

Utah would raise its head again not long after in the show's history...

3. The Gunfighters
The First Doctor has toothache and where better to find a dentist than at the O.K. Corral! And check out the way Billy H wears his hat - like a true cowman! (Or is it cowperson these days?) This baffling yet charming foray in the US was made all the more inexplicable by the "song" that intruded at every corner. We'll ignore its historical "inaccuracies" (who cares about those?) and delight in the four~parts of pure Yankdom.

Those with a keen eye will have noticed that the "wild west", as Will Smith so beautifully sang about so many years ago, will be explored again in the upcoming series... (Though it was, in fact, Spain, where they filmed.)

2. The Paul McGann 1996 TV Movie
Ah! Ambulances, operating theatres, guns, motorcyle chases, gangs, fancy dress parties, unreliable boyfriends called Kevin and an atomic clock - San Francisco has it all baby! For one night only in the mid-nineties Doctor Who died and lived in Fog City. And they filled it with Americans too! To battle this out-and-out Yank-fest, the producers pulled it back a notch and filmed the special in Canada instead (thank you tax breaks).

Also countering the American invasion on Blighty's little show was The Doctor's tea drinking, politeness (he didn't used to be!) and the admission that he "probably" was British.

Mind you, wasn't the most crazy thing he admitted on that outing... 

1. The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon
Doctor Who doesn't get much more American~y than this delicious two~parter from 2011 (ah, so long ago). There's the Oval Office! (Er, filmed in the UK - Ed.) Ok, there's an American Diner! (Um, situated in Cardiff Bay - Ed.) Right, well there's New York street scenes (I don't know how to put this to you - Ed.) Next you'll be telling me that Canton Delaware III isn't America either! (Urm, akcheloi, both Sheppard Snr and Jnr hail from the UK - Ed.)

Hold on, when did Blogtor Who start having an editor? Anyway, chortles aside, the crew made full use of the beautiful American locales with some startlingly cinematic scenes; from the extraordinarily huge and faint~inducing dam in Day of the Moon to The Impossible Astronaut's gorgeous Utah plains. Furthering the Yank~o~meter, was the inclusion of US President, Nixon, his staff and the space race bolstering an already American~packed story.

It's by far the Yankiest of stories and, for that, Blogtor salutes you, Series 6 opener! One wonders if The Doctor and Co. will ever venture west again... (They do/will/have - Ed.)


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4 comments:

Will Alexander said...

No Canada top 10 for Canada day? Aww. Skip straight to the Americans... typical.

But, that said, I have no idea if there have been any references.

Chi The Cynic said...

What about "The Angels Take Manhattan"?

Cameron McEwan said...

Dear Chi,

As you may note, this Top 10 was written this time last year - before Angels aired.

Chi The Cynic said...

Ah! That'll learn me...