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Name Origin: Falmouth, Massachusetts

Falmouth_MA_highlight_largeFalmouth is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts and is the south-westernmost town on Cape Cod. It is to the east of Buzzards Bay and to the north of Nantucket Sound with the Elizabeth Islands extending from it to the southwest. The original Indian name for the area was Suckanessett but it was first settled by a group of Quaker sympathizers in 1660. The settlement was incorporated as the town of Falmouth in 1686.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Two: The Survivors

It’s time you faced up to your responsibilities. You got us here. Now I’m going to make sure that you get us back. – Ian

I can see already that one of the challenges facing “classic” Doctor Who will be the pacing of the serials. The adventure with the cave-people completed in a brisk three-episodes, but The Daleks will be seven when it is done. While the first episode did a great job setting the status quo of the series, the second episode tries to include the key exposition to get us hooked on this serial– and it mostly succeeds– but we realize in the end that we have not made it very far.

After a brief cameo at the end of the last episode, the Daleks are introduced here properly. They are not quite the Daleks that we know from the later series, but the introduction is done well enough. They are a deadly foe, but perhaps one that is somewhat more devious than their blunt-instrument counterparts later. On to the recap.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part One: The Dead Planet

“We’d better keep an eye on him. He seems to have a knack of getting himself into trouble.” – Ian

The Daleks: the Doctor’s most famous set of foes debuted in the second-ever serial of the series: 1963’s “The Daleks”. Far from a “Christmas special” (the first episode aired on December 21), the moody and tense first episode established a world far removed from the campier caveman serial that had just ended. They were no longer on Earth, and the possibilities of the series were endless.

Much has been written about the Daleks becoming the signature enemy of the series and the “Dalekmania” that spread throughout the UK as the series progressed. But what Terry Nation brought in this first episode at least was just as valuable: he set a tone and a status quo for the series, established “scientific facts” (to steal a term from MST3K) about how the passengers ate and slept on board the TARDIS, and generally laid the groundwork for the whole series in a tense, but not scary, 22 minutes. The final scene with Barbara being menaced by an unseen beast (with a plunger attachment) is rightfully one of the most famous of the show.

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Name Origin: Dennis, Massachusetts

800px-Dennis_MA_highlight_largeDennis is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Prior to the arrival of the English, the area was known by its Indian name of Nobscusset. The first European settlers, John Crow, Thomas Howes, and William Lumpkin, arrived in 1639 when the area was part of  Yarmouth. In 1721, a church was built and the area was organized as the East Parish of Yarmouth. In 1793, the local villagers broke away from Yarmouth and incorporated separately as the town of “Dennis”.

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Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child, Part Four: The Firemaker

“Are you saying you don’t know how to work this thing.” – Barbara

And so the first serial of Doctor Who ends with a whimper rather than a bang. This episode felt extraneous, the careful build-up of tension over the previous episodes was tossed aside quickly. Much of the intelligence of the script and characters are gone here, although the Doctor’s speech to the tribesmen stands out as the first time in the series that the Doctor talked himself out of a mess.

More after the recap.

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Name Origin: Chatham, Massachusetts

Chatham_MA_highlight_largeChatham is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area was inhabited by several hundred members of a tribe known as the Monomoyicks. The first European to visit the area was the Frenchman Samuel de Champlain in 1605, but after difficulty with the natives he ultimately departed and founded Quebec City in 1608. He gave the region its first European name, “Port Fortune”.

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Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child, Part Three: The Forest of Fear

“Fear makes companions of all of us.” – The Doctor

This second caveman-focused episode is an improvement over the first, in large part because the first had to spend so much time setting up the conflict and the story. This episode flows quickly, establishes a clear villain, and is overall fun to watch. We also get some running!

More after the recap.

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Name Origin: Brewster, Massachusetts

Brewster_MA_highlight_largeBrewster is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. The original Indian name for the area was Sawkattuckett (later Anglicized as Sawtucket) and the current town was settled in 1656 as the north parish of Harwich. The town split off from Harwich in 1811 and was renamed Brewster, in honor of the Pilgrim elder and Mayflower-passenger William Brewster (1567 – 1644).

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Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child, Part Two: The Cave of Skulls

“If we knew his name, we might have a clue to all this.” – Ian

After a fantastic first episode, the second has a reputation for being terrible. It is not, but it is also not the classic that the first was. The script is poor and the acting is worse.  That said, the premise is decent and the episode is mature fiction: there is no clear antagonist and the relationships between the characters are complex, as are what drives the plot forward. But even so, the script isn’t as tight as the first episode, the direction and costuming not as well done. The guest stars here are simply unable to build the gravitas they need while covered in fake dirt and furs. It is worth watching, but just.

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Geek Stuff by Joe Pranevich