I apologize for posting late tonight, but I was at a wedding yesterday, and it started kind of late for a wedding, so the party also broke up late. No hangover, since I don’t drink (or could if I wanted to), but I was rather tired. Enough excuses: to the reviewin’.

It’s been too long since I delved into the world of fan films, so let’s correct that. We also return to the world of Doctor Who, but this time without the Doctor. It’s seldom to see a fan spin-off in the vein of Torchwood, the Sarah Jane Adventures, or the upcoming Australian version of K-9, but one fan series has done just that, and the results aren’t too shabby by fan film rules.

profwhat

Currently using the name Console Room Productions, the “ProfessorWhat” account on YouTube is the home to same named series, Professor What, a series set in the Doctor Who Universe, or “Whoniverse”, but not actually starring the Doctor. In fact of the episodes currently posted (the final three-story arc, and the first four stories from the pre-YouTube days, when they distributed the series via VHS tapes), the Doctor is seldom mentioned, even as an aside, if at all. Instead the Professor is own Time Lord, and from what I can tell of the early episodes, isn’t a “renegade” like the Doctor (although he does have a half-brother called the Overlord who is otherwise reminiscent of the Master). I get the impression that he is an investigator for the Time Lords. However, like the Doctor, he does occasionally pick up traveling companions from other places.

Tonight I bring you the first episode of a three-story arc. Because of the limits of YouTube, where you can only put up 10 minutes of a video without making some kind of business deal (see Marvel or MGM), It’s split up into three parts. {UPDATE: it’s since been uploaded in two parts} However, since this will take a while to bring up the page, I’ll post the trailer and text links for slower connections, and embed the episodes after the jump, along with my thoughts.

I won’t be embedding the blooper reel here, so you’ll have to check that out on your own.

 

The Professor and Simone take a trip to planet Lensflaria.

The Professor and Simone take a trip to planet Lensflaria.

Before I get into the story and the actors, I want to discuss the Professor’s TARDIS, because it is what separates Doctor Who from other sci-fi shows, although others have attempted to make their own take. (For example, an episode of Star Trek prequel Enterprise.) Like the Doctor’s, the Professor’s TARDIS seems to be stuck in one form, probably for the same reason. (A fan series has an even smaller budget than a TV series.) I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, however. I liken it to a magician cabinet, which seems appropriate, but there is a blinking light on the top when it dematerializes. Also, the prop doesn’t seem to be a full box, if you watched the blooper reel, just two sides and a top that give the impression of a four-walled box. I suppose that makes it easier to set up, and they hide it pretty well.

profwhat-console

“Coral? That would look terrible!”

The inner control room has undergone a few changes since the early episodes posted. I kind of like the current one, although there seems to be a lack of inner doors. That’s not a big deal, since at least one version of the Rani’s TARDIS in the series, and a TARDIS knock-off called SIDRAT from the Second Doctor’s final adventure (not counting cross-over tales that play havoc with continuity) were missing them as well. Other versions of this console also uses the rings rather than the column, also in keeping with the Rani’s TARDIS, suggesting (besides the budget) that it’s a similar model (with only four control stations rather than six, perhaps designed for a smaller crew than the usual TARDISes of the other Time Lords we‘ve seen in the classic series), closer to hers than the Doctor’s. I also like the cabinet of gadgets he has, although I wouldn’t mind seeing just where the door to the further interior of the ship (much like most other TARDISes have) and the monitor screen is located.

What's Peter Davidson have that I don't?

What’s Peter Davidson have that I don’t?

Based on postings elsewhere, I think this is the fifth actor to play the Professor, and of the ones I’ve seen, William C. Gelinas may well be my favorite. Like Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor, Will’s Professor is a bit more action-oriented, willing to beat up the cultists, and has an affinity for gadgets. However, this Professor doesn’t have a magic cure-all like the Sonic Screwdriver (used even more so in the current series, to the point that I start thinking maybe the classic series producers had a point in writing it out). While his cane can be used to fire tracking devices, the Professor has to use a number of different gadgets, like his portable scanning device. That helps set him apart from the Doctor. I also like the outfit they gave him. He’s also not the dandy/007 type that Doctor 3 was. He kind of draws people into his adventures, much like the Doctors, but is actually willing to turn to local authorities at the urging of his current companion. And he isn’t as in tune with Earth history, not knowing that a trip aboard the Titanic may not be a good idea.

profwhat-ladies

I hear the next class is a real killer.

Speaking of the companion, Simone will take that position throughout the next few episodes. Allyson Hurlburt is really cute…sorry, single male impulse there. Her character seems a decent match with the Professor. She’s not that close minded (she actually accepts the whole “bigger on the inside” aspect of the TARDIS much faster than most other people, and is more amazed to be in an actual “spaceship”), but still thinks like a human first. Her first impulse is to call the police when her friend is kidnapped, and even throughout the time she’s with the Professor, until the cop they call (great bit about the phone) turns out to be one of the cultists. My only issue here is at the end. Sure I’m just a computer chair quarterback here, but maybe if she decided to travel with the Professor because she needed a distraction over Natalie’s demise would have made more sense.

profwhat-baddies

Male bonding isn’t what it used to be.

The villain of the piece isn’t the first time the Whoniverse has seen a malevolent force that replicates through people. Ryan McVeigh pulls off a good spin as the cult leader, and possibly the vessel for the Vamporex. I also like episode writer Randy J. LeBlanc’s “Mayor”, the rather nervous cultist. They play off each other rather well, and the Mayor’s change of heart at the end (at the cost of his life) is believable. One wonders how he got involved with the cult in the first place, or how the leader made contact with the Vamporex. That last one I would have liked to have seen in the episode somehow, even as a bit of narrative dialog. “When I first came upon the crystal, and felt the power inside, I first came to you, Mayor, and you were convinced of the power the Vamporex would bring us. Do you dare have doubts now?” Again, computer chair quarterback. I do like the designs of the robes, the Vamporex-related props, and the symbol design that marks a member. The writer really comes up with a good story and motivation for the Vamporex is in keeping with father material (Doctor Who, in case you’ve forgotten 🙂 ). It’s nice to see fan films avoid the “usual foes” and give the Professor something new, although I wouldn’t mind seeing how he handles a classic threat, like the Cybermen or Sontarans.

As I said, this was the first in a threestory arc, and I would encourage you, especially if you’re a Whovian, to check out the other two. Then go back and watch the early episodes to see how far they’ve come with the series. If they ever do make an official “Time War” story on the series, I hope to see the Professor among the Time Lords.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

2 responses »

  1. randy J leblanc says:

    it is curious to find articles like this on my series that i have been making for 20 years now.. never really know if anyone actually watches my stuff. I have basically written every script, acted in each one, made all the sets .. .well basically do 90% of the show and all the editing and production points. This was a very very very very amazing review article and thanks so much for looking into the show that pays tribute to my favorite show of all time…. there is a fanfilm series of a fanfilm series ..someone is going to make a tribute 9th prof story series based on my show..and my show will soon have a new prof after Will (6ths prof) … please write me back if you can or even get this.

    thanks again
    Randy LeBlanc

    Like

    • I’m just as surprised when old articles get read, much less by the people I’m discussing. As I always say, thank you for creating something worth praising. I’ll be looking forward to more old episode postings as well as brand new ones.

      The current Professor seen in the video is also my favorite.

      Like

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