Category Archives: Tales From /lost+found

Artifacts from an alternative universe where Doctor Who was successfully revived on US TV in 1996

Tales from /lost+found 104: The Twin Planet

1×09 December 20, 1996
THE TWIN PLANET (Serial 7, Episode 1)

Setting: Kennedy Space Center, Florida, 2003
Regular Cast: Hugh Laurie (The Doctor), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Lizzie Thompson)
Guest Starring: Ed Begley, Jr. (Director Slate), Don S. Davis (General Cutler), Peter Cullen (voice of the Cyb Leader)

Plot: The Doctor brings Lizzie to the Kennedy Space Center, several years in the future, to watch the first VentureStar launch. He gets the date and place slightly wrong, and materializes a day late and in the middle of the launch pad. They are apprehended by security and brought to the director, but their interrogation is interrupted when the orbiting spaceplane reports detecting a large body approaching Earth. The space center detects nothing, but when the Doctor points out a glitch in their video feed, Lizzie is able to reprogram their computers to reveal that a new planet has appeared in orbit near Earth. The Doctor points out that the planet’s arrival must have been intelligently controlled since it exploited advanced knowledge of Earth’s technology to hide in the “blind spots” of NASA’s space telescopes. Director Slate admits that conspiracy theorists have been making wild claims about sighting a phantom planet for months, but he believes it to be some kind of technological hoax, especially when space telescopes show the planet’s continents as a mirror-image of Earth’s. The spaceplane Constitution is pulled out of orbit by the gravitational effect and NASA loses contact due to a global telecommunications blackout. While they scramble to prepare the second spaceplane for a rescue mission, the Constitution reappears without explanation and lands on its own. Ignoring the Doctor’s warnings, NASA officials approach the craft and are killed by armored cyborgs which emerge. They identify themselves as Cybs, short for “Cybermen”, and quickly take over mission control. Their planet, Mondas, had once been like Earth, but had been pushed out of orbit during the Time War, forcing the once-human inhabitants to adapt using their technology. The military attempts to liberate the space center, but their technology fails. The Cybs explain that, to save their dying planet, they are siphoning off Earth’s electromagnetic and geothermal energy and Earth will soon become a dead planet. The Cybs round up NASA experts, including Director Slate, to be taken to Mondas and converted into Cybs themselves. The Doctor demonstrates his advanced intelligence and is also selected, but he prompts Lizzie to pretend to be a secretary so that the Cybs ignore her, claiming that she “Doesn’t even appreciate the gravity of the situation.” More Cybs arrive across the world via Verne gun and begin transporting more selected humans to Florida. The Doctor and Slate are forced aboard the spaceplane Constellation and taken to Mondas.

Tales From /lost+found 103: Ghost in the Machine

1×02 November 1, 1996
Ghost in the Machine (Serial 2, Episode 2)

Setting: Seattle, WA, Present
Regular Cast: Hugh Laurie (The Doctor), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Lizzie Thompson)
Guest Starring: Allan Royal (Professor Talman), Eric Balfour (Bryce), Jeffrey Combs (Vardan Commander)

Plot: To the surprise of Professor Talman, the Doctor manages to reassert control of himself after infecting Lizzie. His Time Lord mind can contain the Vardans temporarily. Assuming Lizzie will soon be under Vardan control, Talman retreats from the server room. The Doctor determines that the Vardans have spread far enough that Lizzie’s virus would need to destroy Earth’s entire technological base to eradicate them, and even this would not stop the Vardans who have transferred into human minds. Already, the number of infected humans is growing across campus. Lizzie offers to remain behind because of the Vardan in her mind. Remembering how the Vardan-controlled robot had reacted to the ultrasonic test chamber, the Doctor reasons that Vardans can be rendered dormant with certain frequencies, and programs his sonic screwdriver to act as a Vardan-repellant to buy Lizzie time. The Doctor and Lizzie avoid the infected and make their way back to the lab, hoping to refine the virus so that it can destroy Vardans but leave the internet intact. They find Talman already there, in the process of connecting the Chair to the internet so that the rest of the Vardans can transfer into human bodies. Lizzie pushes him into the chair and the Doctor uses the virus disk on it, causing the virus to be uploaded to Talman’s mind, which frees him of the Vardans but also erases his memory, leaving him in a child-like state. Lizzie hacks into the campus PA-system allowing the Doctor to broadcast an ultrasonic pulse that puts all the Vardans on campus into hibernation. They are found by Bryce, who has also been taken over by a Vardan. His cochlear implants protected him from the hibernation signal. Threatening to reactivate Lizzie’s Vardan, he forces the Doctor back to the lab and into the Chair.  Bryce and Lizzie watch on the screen while the Doctor, in his own mindscape, faces off against the Vardan Commander in his true form. The Doctor brags that his mind is too powerful for a single Vardan to control. The commander responds by using the Chair’s internet link to summon all the Vardans from the internet to colonize the Doctor’s mind and steal his Time Lord knowledge. The Doctor uses his mental defenses to confine the Vardans to the parts of his mind containing his encyclopedic knowledge of the universe, leaving his personality and free will unoccupied. While arguing with the commander, he makes a strange reference to his coat pocket, which Lizzie understands as a message to her. In the Doctor’s coat pocket, she finds a note explaining that she is not really infected; the Doctor tricked the Vardans by infecting the mental copy of herself created when they had used the Chair together earlier. Since Bryce now holds no power over her, she punches him. The Doctor had manipulated the Vardans into concentrating their entire invasion force into several specific areas of his brain, and on his signal, Lizzie uses the virus on the Chair to erase those regions, wiping out the Vardans. The commander promises to start again with the remaining Vardans in the Mindscape, but the Doctor explains that the mindscape itself is part of the Chair, rather than part of his mind. Lizzie pulls the memory circuits out of the chair, trapping the remaining Vardans in inert silicon. The Doctor modifies Bryce’s implant to make it vulnerable to the hibernation pulse, and declares that, without any conscious Vardans to send the reactivation signal, the infected humans can live out their lives as harmless carriers of the inert Vardans. The Doctor has sacrificed most of his knowledge of the universe to defeat the Vardans, but he doesn’t mind, as he’d gotten bored with knowing everything already and looks forward to learning it anew. Lizzie finds that she intuitively knows where his TARDIS is and what it is, because of her experiences in the Doctor’s mindscape, so he offers to take her with him. Lizzie asks the Doctor his name, and he evades the question, but his reaction hints that he may have forgotten it himself.

Tales From /lost+found 102: A Time to Reap

Of course, I missed this one when it aired originally. I was otherwise occupied that night…

4×11 December 3, 1999
A TIME TO REAP (Serial 48)

Setting: Seattle, WA, UNIT-time
Regular Cast: Hugh Laurie (The Doctor), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Lizzie Thompson)
Guest Starring: Denis Forest (Malcolm), Jonathan Frakes (Agent Blackwood), Paula Devicq (Agent Sarah Hatcher), Peter Mark Richman (Craig Toynbee)

Plot: While leaving his office for the night, a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is cornered by a Morthrai agent and interrogated about a recent article on the reclusive scientist Craig Toynbee. The reporter is turned by the Morthrai when he won’t reveal the location of the professor’s lab. At UNIT, Agent Blackwood thinks recent thefts of high-tech equipment might be related to the Morthrai, but the Doctor isn’t interested. The Doctor reads the article about Toynbee and becomes concerned when he learns that a human scientist is experimenting in time travel. Agent Blackwood suggests that the Doctor could help him complete his experiments safely and agrees to set up a meeting, hopeful that the Doctor will finally share Time Lord technology. Toynbee is initially suspicious of the Doctor, but opens up with the Doctor displays his profound knowledge of time. Studying the professor’s work, he confides to Lizzie that while Toynbee is advanced for his time, he is not close to making any key breakthrough. Losing interest, he returns to UNIT, thus failing to discover that Toynbee has been approached by the Morthrai, who have presented themselves as friendly aliens hoping to guide humanity toward “enlightenment”. Blackwood thinks that the Doctor’s interest in Toynbee was just about hoping to find a way off Earth, and tries to convince the Doctor to reveal some of his Time Lord secrets. As soon as Blackwood leaves, a time distortion occurs causing the argument to repeat. Only the Doctor, Lizzie, and Agent Hatcher are aware of the distortion because they have traveled in time. To Blackwood’s befuddlement, the Doctor quickly agrees to investigate Toynbee further. To his horror, Toynbee has solved one of the key equations necessary to manipulate time. Because Toynbee did not perceive the time distortion himself, he does not believe the Doctor’s warnings about the dangers of his work. Agent Hatcher is convinced by the Doctor’s concerns, but UNIT has no authority to intervene. On her own initiative, Lizzie sneaks back into Toynbee’s lab and sees him meeting with Malcolm. She is captured, but escapes thanks to another time distortion. Back at UNIT, the Doctor appeals to Blackwood, who is more interested in the continuing high-tech thefts. When the Doctor hears that the thefts have included a large number of beryllium clocks and ultra-high-precision mirrors, he deduces that the thieves are doing time manipulation experiments, which is enough to convince Agent Blackwood that the Morthrai are involved in Toynbee’s work. This is confirmed by Lizzie when she makes it back to UNIT. Agent Blackwood authorizes a team to secure Toynbee and his work. They fight their way to the laboratory to find Toynbee has completed his time machine under duress, having realized the Mothrai deception when Lizzie seemed to vanish earlier. Agent Hatcher is killed, but the Doctor uses the Toynbee Engine to create another distortion to undo her death, but Toynbee reveals that he rigged the engine to explode. But this turns out to be exactly what the Morthrai planned: they mean to send the engine back one hundred years, where the explosion will decimate the west coast, slowing human technological progress. The Doctor tries to deactivate the engine, causing more distortions, which leaves everyone but the Doctor, Lizzie, and Agent Hatcher frozen in time. The Doctor can prevent the explosion by redirecting the energy, but resolving the time distortions will restore time to the point where Hatcher died. She starts the redirection herself, sacrificing her life. The engine sends out a wave of time energy, and when it fades, the Doctor and Lizzie find themselves in the wilderness. The Doctor explains to a horrified Lizzie that redirecting the overload has sent them back in time two thousand years.

Tales From /lost+found 101: He Jests at Scars that Never Felt a Wound

4×20 March 3, 2000

Setting: Washington, DC, 210X (UNIT-era +100)
Regular Cast: Hugh Laurie (The Doctor), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Lizzie Thompson)
Guest Starring: Denis Forest (Malcolm), Jonathan Frakes (Agent Blackwood), Armin Shimerman (Steve Whitman), John Lithgow (President Arnold Tannen)

Story: The broken, wheelchair-bound man Lizzie discovers is a version of the Doctor who led humanity to victory over the Morthrai in the year 2000. He gave humanity Time Lord technology after his version of Lizzie was killed by the Morthrai, and was subsequently mutilated and imprisoned when he tried to stop them from abusing the technology to become a totalitarian police state.  Whitman claims that if the people saw what the regime had done to its greatest hero, they would rise up and overthrow Tannen’s regime. President Tannen tells the younger Doctor that he wants to reform the Alliance to make humanity “great again”, and claims that his “law and order” image is a necessary deception because the citizens are so accustomed to populist strongmen that they wouldn’t trust a genuine reformer. The Doctor says he agrees, but secretly realizes that the stress of micro-managing the entire world has left Tannen unbalanced. Tannen promises to release the Doctor and Lizzie in return for performing at the Centennial celebration – by executing Malcolm. Such a show would cement Tannen’s power, giving him the leverage to enact his reforms. In Cell 2, Lizzie tries to help the older Doctor escape, but he refuses to believe she is anything but a figment of his imagination. Whitman motivates him instead by threatening to kill Lizzie. The younger Doctor is horrified by the prospect of killing Malcolm and refuses, but Tannen also threatens to have Lizzie killed. At the Centennial broadcast, the Doctor is introduced with much fanfare and presented with an energy weapon of Time Lord design, while Lizzie is held under guard by Whitman, out of view of the cameras. Malcolm is brought out in chains, and Tannen orders the Doctor to kill him, but he shoots Malcolm’s chains instead. When Whitman turns to aim at Malcolm instead of Lizzie, she surprises him with a kick and disarms him. Tannen again orders the Doctor to kill Malcolm, but the Doctor hands the gun back to him, telling him to do it himself. Tannen has ordered the deaths of many, but finds he can’t do it himself. The Doctor challenges him on his “reforms”, but Tannen can only speak in meaningless platitudes about “huge changes”: all his ideas have come from Whitman. Tannen is a vapid narcissist whose “reformer” posturing is merely a messiah complex, while Whitman is a scheming sociopath who engineered Tannen’s rise so he could seize power. Whitman’s henchmen overpower Lizzie and bring out the old Doctor. With Tannen exposed as a puppet, Whitman simply shoots him once he has his gun back, and declares himself the new President of Earth. He can’t kill the Doctor on live television, but he can cement his power by performing the execution of Malcolm. As he shoots, though, the old Doctor throws himself forward out of his chair, taking the shot. Whitman desperately orders his guards to kill everyone, but finds they no longer respect his authority. Malcolm, who has been watching in silence the entire time, dispassionately takes Tannen’s fallen weapon, kills Whitman, and then himself. The Doctor asks his dying counterpart why he “didn’t” (regenerate), and he tells him to “save Lizzie instead,” and gives him his TARDIS key as he dies. Touching the two identical TARDIS keys together creates a “temporal short circuit” which summons the TARDIS, now regenerated from the geode he had buried in Syria. The TARDIS reacts violently when Lizzie enters it, and the Doctor has to disable the safety features to make it dematerialize. They arrive one hundred years earlier at UNIT, where Agent Blackwood informs them that the main Morthrai fleet has been detected in orbit.

Tales from /lost+found 98: Same as the old boss…

So this concludes my ridiculous attempt to churn out an entire fake season in real time. After this week, I’m going to switch gears a bit to reduce the amount of work I have to do to keep making this happen once a week. Will I try this again in the fall? I don’t know. This whole project has been a lot of work without a lot of payoff. But who knows. If the Chibnall era ends up being a disappointment, maybe I’ll step things up a bit.

Robert Carlyle as Doctor Who

Click to Embiggen

Tales from /lost+found 96: Tangent

See also the rather fantastic LiarTownUSA.

When Gillian Anderson announced that she would be leaving Doctor Who, the obvious speculation was that, combined with a certain recent miniseries event on FOX in the US, this clearly meant that The X-Files was being revived on a permanent basis. The truth of the matter, as it turns out, was something at once stranger and more obvious…

Gillian Anderson as James Bond

Click to Embiggen

(Yes, that is the actual name of a real Flemming story. Mainly I went with it because I am unconfident in my ability to spell or pronounce Risico)