Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode114It’s a sangria-fueled classic-Who-episode of Verity! Join Deb, Erika, and Katrina as we cover a pure historical, “The Aztecs”. As usual, we don’t all fall in line with received fan wisdom, but for a change, the majority of us do.

Are you a fan of “The Aztecs”? Or are you bored by the lack of sci-fi elements? Let us know in the comments!


Also covered:

Bonus links:
Lazy Doctor Who covers “The Aztecs”
Doctor Who: The Writers’ Room

Download or listen now (runtime 1:12:29) 

Comments on: "114 – Aztec Savvy" (9)

  1. […] a sangria-fueled classic-Who-episode of Verity! Join Deb, Erika, and Katrina as we cover a pure historical, “The Aztecs”. As usual, we don’t all fall in line with received fan wisdom, but for a change, the majority of […]

  2. My wife felt the same about Holtzmann 😊
    Anyhow, despite my love of costume dramas in general, historical fiction and the Aztecs as a interesting culture, I’ve airways found this story particularly boring. It seemed too contrived and try-hard. Not enough meat to sustain this many episodes. Basically 80% padding.

    I do have issues with calling the Doctor a commitmentphobe. Even at this point he’s committed to his relationship with Susan. Later we can also see how committed he is to his relationships with the TARDIS, Earth, Humans, his companions, and even Gallifrey which is certainly the most love/hate of them all. But if your only talking about romantic relationships, how often did he run from River?

  3. Cresta said:

    It’s so lovely to hear someone feels similar about The Keys of Marinus and The Sensorites as me! Thanks, Erika.

    I think The Aztecs is lovely. I love the fight scenes, I love the fact it’s so Shakespearean, Hartnell and Hill are in peak form, their relationship at the most wonderful. Plus, even though Susan is barely in it, I love her whenever she turns up.

    Buuuut…I adore the Keys of Marinus. It felt like a really good D&D campaign: fighting, getting out of traps, exploring, diplomacy–all the stuff I want in my D&D. I loved the side characters, Thighs McGee and his Love Interest (I really did love them…I’m just bad at names). And my God, the performance by the wife of the dead man when it was Law and Order: Marinus was excellent. She totally fooled me with her grief, and then when she went all cold and manipulative, it was some great acting.

    And then, yes. The Sensorities. I genuinely have no idea why people hate The Sensorites. I guess I’m going to find out when ya’ll talk about it, but I love it. I think the design for the Sensorites is really eerie and really compelling. I love the main conflict between the Sensorites and the humans. I love all the humans, especially the sensitive scientist whose lost his goddamn mind (and all his hair color) to the Sensorities. I LOVE the politics in it: the different social stratification, the humans trying to be colonialist bastards, and then the ensuing diplomacy (honestly, I find the politics in this serial more in line with my political sympathies than the stuff in The Zygon Inv/asion/ersion. And Susan’s pyschic power (which was, unfortunately, transient), was also lovely.

    I love the Keys of Marinus. It’s probably my favorite Hartnell serial…and it might even be in my Top 10 of all Classic Who serials. And I adore The Sensorities.

    But to be watching the Hartnell era in order, and to hear that The Aztecs is one of the best Doctor Who serials ever, and a high-point of the era, and likely to hear that The Sensorites is, in received fan-wisdom terrible, and Marinus is forgettable, at best. And when I actually watch them? I found The Aztecs to be a really great serial. But I found The Sensorites and Marinus to be…my classics.

  4. Amazing. Thanks to The Aztecs, dropbears are canon!

  5. The scene where the Doctor tells Barbara to not rewrite even one line of history is frequently brought up as a highlight and rightly so. It really inclines one to be curious as to why exactly the Doctor is hesitant to meddle with some parts of history more so than others (rebel Time Lord shenanigans aside). In fact, it really just seems to be Earth’s history he’s hesitant to meddle with.

    I recall that there’s a part in 1999’s Interference: Book One where the Eighth Doctor is in a prison cell with a man named Badar. At one point, the Doctor tells him about the TARDIS and the Time Lords and Badar eventually questions him something along the lines of why he’s more hesitant to change Earth’s history than the history of other planets.

    Questions are brought up, such as in the case he can topple dictators on other worlds, then why can’t he bring down Earth’s brutal governments, regardless as to whether or not there are deadly alien forces behind them? Is it really because there are even deadlier forces waiting outside time and space which could swarm to the point of causing the Universe’s destruction after going through with that, or is that just a lie the Doctor has been telling himself the entire time and even convinced himself to believe in even before he met Ian and Barbara? Is it because he’s too scared to attempt?

    The Doctor then says something along the lines of him not wanting to get involved in local politics, but by choosing a side and fighting for it on other planets in other time periods, then isn’t he taking a political stance? What makes Earth so untouchable to him?

    I have to admit, this definitely makes his relationship with Earth and its inhabitants all the more interesting, as if he has some special connection with Earth beyond it being his favorite planet. Hmm…

    Well, in any case, thanks for the podcast.

  6. Even at this point in the series, the Doctor has blatantly interfered with the “history” of Skaro and Marinus – it’s a time machine, everything is “history”. I don’t think there’s any good diegetic explanation for this: it would have to take the form of “Earth must go un-interfered-with, while I’m free to meddle on other planets, for REASONS”, but then what about stopping the Cybermen blowing up Earth? It’s so blatantly a narrative convention, that Historicals have sacrosanct background but Adventures can do what they like, that I think one ends up having to accept it as such.

    The real challenge for Barbara – and I do feel that this story is mostly about her and the Doctor – would have been the other societal changes. I mean, it’s not as if the conquistadors were all peace and happiness and fluffy bunnies until they found out about the human sacrifice; it was just a convenient excuse for carrying on doing what they were doing anyway. I could see a time-looping story with Barbara making more and more changes, only to see the Aztecs getting wiped out each time, until she realised that they needed both immunity to disease and a really effective army…

    Assuming Ian is meant to be roughly as old as William Russell (born 1924), he’d have been old enough to enlist during the war, and it’s not implausible he might have been trained by Sykes and Fairbairn. Sure, he’s forgotten most of it åfter twenty years of teaching school science, but it was a really good course. 🙂 Given the breadth of skills he shows during his run, I’d put him in SOE; quite a lot of those chaps never talked about what they did.

  7. Neil Ottenstein said:

    Listened to the proto-interview on RFS. Nice to hear those plans

  8. As always, I enjoyed the discussion. However, did I really hear Erika say she was uncomfortable that it was a form of imperialism for the Doctor to congratulate Barbara for convincing one Aztec that human sacrifice was bad? It’s one thing to recognize that standards were different in older cultures – “hey, human sacrifice was a thing, we don’t like it, but it was their thing” – and another to complain that one shouldn’t believe in the superiority of cultures that don’t practice human sacrifices. We shouldn’t be ashamed to say that some cultural values are, in fact, morally superior to others.

    I’ll concede that Barbara’s efforts to use her status as a “goddess” to stop the practice were more than a little Sisyphean. 🙂

  9. Andrew said:

    When the Doctor says that you can’t rewrite history in this story, it always felt to me as if he were saying so not just because of special Time Lord knowledge, but because he had tried to do so himself and it had worked out poorly. Fertile ground for fanfic or Big Finish? (Or an original novel would be nice if they picked the right person…)

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