Saturday, October 3, 2009

6th Doctor - The Feast of Axos

Serial 7C/MF – The Farce of Exxon
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Gimme Strength!

Serial 7C/MF – The Farce of Exxon -

 In the nebulous, vaguely-defined cultural zeitgeist known only as "the UNIT era", mankind first came into contact with an advanced alien species from another world. A race known as... the Exxons.

 These sinister, unspeakable alien monstrosities infiltrated the systems of Earth with ridiculously over-subtle and satirical methods. They spilled gallons of an invaluable energy source – known by scientists as Super Atomic Fizzy-Time Starship Fuel – across Swindon and demanded government assistance to clean it up.

 But for all their vicious, ruthless and above all alcoholic powers, the Exxons were unprepared for the carnage that successive Labor Governments would unleash upon the Greater London Municipality. When the Exxons finally tried to seize control of Earth by interfering in Arthur Scargill’s miner strike, the civil administrative powers of mankind were unleashed with no mercy whatsoever.

 The Exxons and their quasi-organic bulk freighter (imaginatively named "the Exxon") were put in pending until the next annual committee meeting. Now, that doesn’t SOUND too bad – indeed, it’s positively glamorous considering most alien invasions were destroyed by Jon Pertwee in a white disco jumpsuit – but given fandom STILL cannot agree what year the UNIT stories occurred in, Exxons were left in stasis for decade after decade in Möbius Strip outside time and space itself.

 Left, trapped and alone in the darkness... for aeons... until finally the race of notorious alcoholics finally began to sober up. The lack of booze acted as a wild hallucinogenic, condemning them to a hellish stasis nightmare from which there was no escape.

 And with a lingering sequel hook like THAT, it was bound to get a story devoted to it eventually – and ironically it got TWO of them! While the readers of DWM marveled at the hardcore graphic hentai tentacle rape porn faced by the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond in 'Dr. Who & The Barely-Legal Japanese Schoolgirls Doing Naughty Things In Front of Webcams', subscribers to Big Finish got THIS instead. is cruel, is it not?

 Anyway, Earth is now in dire straights – and we’re not talking about that crap eighties rock band, no siree. Tropical storms tear apart the Gulf while Oklahoma has been reduced to desert, and space tourism has never been more popular. There is the slight downside that oil supplies have run dry, Malaysia has been caught in an endless war following a particularly heated game of "Guess Who?", the global lottery has been won fourteen times in a row by the same smelly tramp who uses the banknotes to soak up his spilt beer, Richard Branson and his army of clones terrorize the Eurozone...

 With all the wussy, namby-pamby eco-technology unable to meet the power demands, the Earth faces total socio-economic collapse and Ironic Industries – previously trading under such names as the British Rocket Group, Xenophobic Space Defense Incorporated and of course the Touchwood Institute, know precisely what is needed: a new, unlimited, clean and green energy source is required. And the paper trail has lead them to such an energy source – Super Atomic Fizzy-Time Starship Fuel!

 Thus, Britain will rule the post-carbon-tax world! MWAHAHAHAHA!

 The spaceship Windcheater launched from some creepy English village in the middle of nowhere and hurtles through the void to where the Exxon floats, looping endlessly through eight dimensions in a figure of four, its crew plaintively singing "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" for the rest of eternity.

 The TARDIS happens to be in the area, as the Doctor is looking for a suitable spatio-temporal hellhole where he can dump Thomas Brewster to suffer torment until the crack of doom. Brewster protests that he was just being a self-serving, immoral parasite just like the Doctor himself – but the Time Lord just shouts "WRONG ANSWER!" and snaps Brewster’s femur with a cricket bat.

 Landing inside the Exxon proves to be a mistake, however, as the Exxons recognize the TARDIS and are not happy with the Doctor for defeating their previous invasion of Earth. The Doctor protests he didn’t do anything to stop the Exxons because they were so bleeding tedious and he and the Bastard went clubbing with Jo Grant.

 The Exxons, being intelligent alien energy parasites, apologize for the misunderstanding and instead focusing on what they do best – manipulating gullible humans with promises of lots of Super Atomic Fizzy-Time Starship Fuel! Damn, I never get tired of typing that!

 Since the Exxons were so reasonable and have spared his life, the Doctor feels a moral obligation to help them ravage the Earth and reduce the human race to cinders. Evelyn notes this is a bit of a moral U-turn for the Doctor, but after putting up with Brewster for five episodes, no one can really argue with the Doctor’s lust for terracide.

 The Windcheater crew dock with the Exxon and demand that the aliens hand over the Super Atomic Fizzy-Time Starship Fuel and in return the Exxons may get drunk off cheap Central African ginger beer. The Exxons, desperate for lager, consider agreeing, but the Doctor insists they should hold out for a better deal – preferably involving absorb every atom of neat whiskey from the Earth below and drinking mankind’s wine cellars dry...

 Unfortunately, the Eurozone Space Agency shuttle Julia Gillard has turned up with exactly the same idea to exploit Exxon for the benefit of all mankind rather than just those snotty English types. The farce of the title begins as every starts racing around the Exxon, bumping into each other, missing each other, talking at cross-purposes, triggering thermonuclear explosions, engaging in perilous space-walks, and a very moving scene where Richard Branson taunts the Exxons with a bottle of champagne and they nuke half the planet Earth in anger.

 See? The Doctor SAID they were the good guys!

 Brewster, meanwhile, tries to steal all the Super Atomic Fizzy-Time Starship Fuel he can fit into his various bodily orifices – a sequence which is best left to the audio medium, I think we can all agree.

 Unfortunately, this disgusting display makes the already-queasy Exxons vomit everywhere until the Exxon itself gets all soggy, loses hull integrity and finally explodes with enough force to render the entire Milky Way galaxy to a small lump of porridge.

 The Doctor breaks the fourth wall to inform the audience that, since this entire story is lost in the gaps of British government paperwork in a cosmic file marked "Pending", the story does not have any real effect on continuity whatsoever.

 Thus, in this existential freedom, the Doctor and Evelyn beat Brewster half-to-death with handy lengths of bamboo until the story ends.

Book(s)/Other Related -
Dr. Who & The Barely-Legal Japanese Schoolgirls Doing Naughty Things In Front of Webcams (DWm issues # 425 – 428)
Doctor Who Gets Sticky
Doctor Mysterio El Wicko Manos!

Fluffs –
Doctor: Oh Exxon. I’m sorry. I’m so very, very sorry. But I appear to have been given a script for David Tennant. Look, the next line is "Jings, Martha!" for crying out loud...

Goofs -
This is not an adaptation of 'Dr. Who & The Barely-Legal Japanese Schoolgirls Doing Naughty Things In Front of Webcams'. Even though it probably wouldn’t even work on audio, still... sheesh.

More specifically, how can a time loop be measured vertically in "apples"? Who reformats the continuum in terms of neatly-stacked fresh fruit? Why do, of all the infinite impossibilities that occur inside the loop, they only resemble exactly what is happening so nobody gets confused about what they are witnessing? And how can the Exxons sober up if time is standing still? Can’t they make apple cider?

The Doctor explains his exile on Earth as being "mostly to do" with infringing copyright with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop soundtrack albums in the 1980s... which suggests a regular writer for Doctor Who in 2011 understands the finale of The Wank Games LESS than the drug-addled hippy beatnick crazies who wrote for Mighty Midget TV Comic 21 at the time! And THEY thought the Second Doctor regenerated after being gang-banged by the Children of the Corn, for fuck’s sake!

Technobabble -
None. The Exxons are so hung-over and bad-tempered they refuse to allow jargon in their presence. Who said Big Finish wasn’t bold and experimental any more? Oh, wait. It was me, wasn’t it? Awkward...

Links and References -
If you hated stories like "The Spill of Exxon" (Serial GGG) or "The Android Evasion" (Serial 4J)...

...then I’m not remotely surprised. Not *remotely*.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Exxons vow to make the Doctor pay for the time he defeated them in 21st Century Tokyo despite using a foolproof plan sourced liberally from an episode of Joss Whedon’s "Angel". This is a reference to the DWM comic strip 'Dr. Who & The Barely-Legal Japanese Schoolgirls Doing Naughty Things In Front of Webcams'.

Groovy DVD Extras -
A cbr. file of 'Dr. Who & The Barely-Legal Japanese Schoolgirls Doing Naughty Things In Front of Webcams' and the back-up comic strip "eXXXon Pond: Alien Tentacle Schoolgirl Naughtiness" where unspeakably... stimulating events occur in a hentai space brothel frequented by River Song, Captain Jack, Sabalom Glitz and Nigel Verkoff.

Dialogue Disasters -

Exxon Prime: We shall send our roots deep into the Earth below. We shall absorb its every atom of neat hootch. We shall drink it dry.
Doctor: Then we’re agreed?
Exxon Prime: Yes. And let the farce of Exxon begin!!
Doctor: Nice title drop.
Exxon Prime: Yes. I thought it worked.

Joanne: This is going to be as messy as an Exxon chainsaw massacre!
(Long pause)
David: I *so* fucking hate you right now.

Evelyn: These clothes are like something out of Barbarella! And look at Thomas there in his go-faster Flash Gordon stripes...
Brewster: Who’s Flash Gordon?
Evelyn: After your time, Buck Rogers.
Brewster: What the hell...? Are you having a stroke or something? SPEAK ENGLISH, GOD DAMMIT!

Exxon Prime: Warning. Warning. Exxon has been penetrated without prior lubrication. There is... pain... it feels so wrong... yet at the same time it feels so, so RIGHT!!

Craig: We are here on a mission.
Evelyn: Oh? And the mission is...? No answer? Well, Johnny, you don’t mind if we speculate among ourselves?
Craig: Just make sure you clean up afterwards.

Every time a door aboard the Exxon opens, a bodysnatching pod person can be heard screaming at Donald Sutherland. It gets REALLY annoying.

Doctor: A pity to see such a noble heritage privatized.
Branson: Don’t you mean "liquidated"?
Doctor: Pah! Semantics!

Evelyn: Those aliens smells like wet dogs. And feet. How odd. It’s like the rugby changing room after the boys beat Loughborough.
Doctor: What were YOU doing in the rugby changing room?
Evelyn: The lambada, while naked and covered in baby oil.
Doctor: ...ugh!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Prince Charles: England, with all thy faults, can just fuck off.

Evelyn: We’re walking through space like that David Bowie song!
Doctor: Do you know, I’m not actually what you’d call a fan...
Evelyn: Of space walking?
Doctor: No. Of David Bowie. Can’t stand the bastard.

Brewster: I wasn’t gonna shoot you, not really.
Evelyn: Then what was the gun for?
Brewster: Dramatic effect?
(Evelyn hits him.)
Brewster: Hey, you’re still alive, ain’t you?
Evelyn: No thanks to you, motherfucker!
Brewster: Oww!!

Doctor: This is selskaratch universal arbitrator, made by a race as far advanced from humans as you are from nematode worms... no. Wait. It’s a cheerful shade of yellow with an Ironic Industries logo stamped on. Sorry, everyone it’s not a universal arbitrator, just a reused prop.

Exxon: The Doctor does not trust you. We believe he is right not do to so. It is in your nature to betray him. You are deceitful, dangerous and sly, Thomas Brewster. We wish to open a can of whup ass on you.

A touching sequence showing how severe Evelyn’s senility has become:
Evelyn: I have a feeling that young man might yet surprise us.
Doctor: Yes, by achieving a truly spectacular disaster for us to clean up while he cowers in the corner insisting none of it’s his fault.
Evelyn: I think he means well. Surely that’s all that matters.
Doctor: Evelyn, are you deficient? He’s tried to destroy mankind more times than Michael Grade!
Evelyn: Everybody makes mistakes.
Doctor: Well now you’re being retarded, old woman.
Evelyn: All I’m saying is that maybe Thomas has never had the opportunity to be trustworthy. Trust is a two-way street. How can he prove he can be trusted, if you’re not prepared to give him a chance? And, for that matter, if you’re not prepared to trust him, why should he trust you? You’re both outsiders, forced to be self-sufficient, never fitting in anywhere – but both trying to do the right thing.
(The Doctor sighs sadly.)
Doctor: Oh, Evelyn... you need to be put in a home, don’t you?
Evelyn: What am I talking about again, Johnny?

Evelyn: Don’t tell me that in this century French has become the – well, lingua franca?
Craig: Know a lot of French, do you, Dr. Smythe?
Evelyn: Oh, you know – enough.
Evelyn: That’s easy... oh dear.

Doctor: You'll have to help me brace myself. Don’t be shy...
Exxon: I can sense your mind. It burns with perversity and cunning.
Doctor: [dreamily] I know. Hold me tighter!
Doctor: Not. Quite. THAT. Tight.

Viewer Quotes -

"This story is inferior to my own work, The Pudding of Exxon. The silent majority agree my story is the better one and is considered canon by potentially hundreds of people. Why the BBC continues to put restraining orders out on me, I cannot fathom."
  - Emperor Fishface the First (2015)

"The appeal of that shit Thomas Brewster continues to elude me."
  - the Dalai Llama (2011)

"The cliff-hanger to part three was the most moving hanger I’ve experienced in many years, not something I’ll forget in a hurry. It was like a revolving tie-rack. Wait, I’m thinking of coat-hangers. Not cliff-hangers. Sorry. I’m always making that mistake."
  - Neil Finn (2013)

"I can’t afford toothpaste at the moment, as I spent all the money on this story. The lack of Colgate is making my teeth fall out. Did I choose wrongly? Oh, if only I could do it all again."
  - Honest Ron Sparklypegs (2010)

"This was routine, boring, silly, and dull. NOTHING could be more boring than this. Just pathetically dull. Doctor Who has a premise that can go anywhere and do anything, but is saddled with returns ALL the time and doubles of the Doctor, and monsters that whisper and companions that are like Turlough? This story says nothing new, does nothing new and is so utterly boring. HOW I WISH I HAD WRITTEN THIS!!!"
  - Mark Gatiss (2011)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I can’t believe they didn’t bring back Pigbin Josh. Why hasn’t he got a Companion Chronicle to himself? Everyone knows he speaks the blessed and forbidden tongue of the Ancient and Unknowable Gods. Bit of a regional accent, admittedly, but you can’t hold that against him! When the Dark God Demnos rises to consume all flesh, he’s hardly going to complain about a few 'Oooh-arrs', is he? Snobs!

 If a weak, feeble-minded, half-witted drooling old scatterbrain like Evelyn can get a Companion Chronicle to herself, why the hell can’t Pigbin Josh, that’s what I want to know! The rejection of this cultural icon is repulsive to me and an embarrassment to Doctor Who itself that for no earthly reason this opportunity has been ignored!"

Colin Baker Speaks!
"I hate scripts where I have to say lines that mean absolutely nothing to me, so whenever I get a script full of sequel-wank I don’t understand, I get onto Wikipedia and find out about it. And it was there I discovered that Matt Smith comic strip entitled 'Dr. Who & The Barely-Legal Japanese Schoolgirls Doing Naughty Things In Front of Webcams' and when I realized this script had nothing to do with it, I wept for eleven hours straight. Disappointments of that magnitude are enough to make you a scientologist..."

Rumors & Facts –

 The Farce of Exxon is a benchmark in the history of Big Finish, the first release to make almost all listeners retreat to the safety of behind the sofa – admittedly, they were cowering in horrified embarrassment rather than thrilling terror.

 It all started when Alan Barnes decided he was bored and thus entertained himself by getting Mike Maddox, Barnes’ personal milk-fed pig-brained homunculus to write a simultaneous sequel to The Ambassadors of Sex, The Spill of Exxon, The Android Evasion which was wittily entitled "Fool’s Commissions".

 David Sax, meanwhile – proving no trace of his former Nick Briggs persona – put his foot down on this unreasonable garbage. This the concept of it being a sequel to Ambassadors of Sex was quickly abandoned, along with a bizarre plot twist that Thomas Brewster had been brainwashed to think he didn’t have an eye and was thus forced to wear an eye-patch for the whole story. In the finished story, though, the Doctor makes a personal effort to poke Brewster’s eyes out.

 Armed with a bunch of worn-dry clichés like a heroic space crew, evil businessmen, the secret spy, The Farce of Exxon is suitably barren of any kind of imagination as all creativity was drained by the thirty alien Exxons in their insatiable hunger.

 Big Finish spared no expense, no poverty, no nothing to get Bernard Holley into the cast. Thirty-eight years previously, Holley had played "Mean-Looking Exxon # 4" in The Spill of Exxon, which seemed as good a reason as any to get him to play every single character in this story, where they were Exxons, astronauts or Richard Branson. Holley, for his part, was touched to be invited, but he personally was more interested in reprising his far-more-impressive Doctor Who role of "Random Easily-Electrocuted Space Porn Archaeologist # 2" in Room of the Cyberman.

 After listening to The Farce of Exxon, I think we can all agree we lost out there – though I am slightly wary of Holley’s idea for a fifty-eight part miniseries based on the adventures of "Random Easily-Electrocuted Space Porn Archaeologist # 2". Still, if John Barrowman can get his own spin-off re-commissioned four times, who knows?

 Ultimately, The Farce of Exxon is a story which exists for no purpose at all, saying and adding nothing, and, more offensively, trashing established and well loved characters into the bargain. And, yes, while it may be the worst release from Big Finish in several years, it is truly a spiritual sequel to the godawful Pertwee story it continues.

No comments: