|Season:||"Trip Of A Lifetime"|
|Doctor:||Aron Toman Doctor|
|Companions:||Frobisher, Destina, Death, The Computer|
|Producer:||Crossover Adventure Productions|
|Release Date:||21 April 2005, 13 May 2005, 3 August 2005|
|Running Time:||61 minutes|
|No. Episodes:||3 episodes|
|Previous Story:||A Time Lord In Prince Henry's Court|
|Following Story:||West Wind|
"Nobody listens without the threat of innocent deaths. Perhaps when you realise their lives are hanging in the balance you might do what we want?"
The future. Humanity has long since slipped its moorings to its own planet and now travels around the solar system quite comfortably. Travelling to a distant constellation is as simple as riding a bus to work, or catching a plane. And as the Doctor will soon discover, can be just as dangerous.
The colony worlds of Xanetu and Zatrius are at war, and Earth will not tolerate an interplanetary war on its doorstep. Travelling to the constellation of Pegasus to organise peace is Liam McKinley (MP), possibly the last chance to settle things down between the warring worlds.
But there are those who don't want peace. Those who feel this war must begin, and Earth shouldn't interfere. Those that would do anything to prevent Earth getting involved. A lesson the passengers of flight #3932 will soon learn.
As when the passenger list contains a being in a cowl known mostly as Death, things can never end well...
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This is the first entirely original Crossover Adventure Production, with no dialogue sourced from any other TV series or movies. Inspired by the thriller hijacked-plane film genre, this is another in the adventures of the Nth Doctor, Frobisher and Destina.
The Doctor: Aron Toman
Frobisher: Corey Klemow
Destina: Jennifer Alyx
Death: Andy McQuade
Amadeus: Andy K. Kitching
Liam McKinley: John Bramley
Gavin: JJ Wilson
Captian Murdoch: Kenny James
Shirley McKinley: DB Cooper
Marion: Kara Dennison
Reporter: Owen Spratley
The Computer: Sapphira
Sound Design: Aron Toman
Original Theme: Ron Grainer
Arrangement: Richard Vandark
Cover Art: Aron Toman
Director/Producer: Aron Toman
First of all, let me make one thing clear - I don't like action stories. I find there's nothing more tedious going to a movie where some guy with too many muscles saves the day from some vaguely Middle-Eastern-sounding terrorist from blowing up the aeroplane and keeping America safe from bad guys everywhere. They bore me to tears, and unless those sort of action flicks have some interesting twist in them (such as "Lethal Weapon" and the warped sense of humour which gets me going), I simply don't have time for them. Give me something light, fluffy and preferably musical any day. But as a writer I'm always trying to push myself, and I was finding that everything I wrote was in great danger of becoming annoying and silly. With singing Daleks, there was a few too many of them. And when my ideas for the second adventure of season 3 to be a crossover with both "Charmed" and "Bewitched" went nowhere, I started thinking, what is it about these action thriller hijacked plane stories that can seem so frightening? And even though I generally dislike that genre, even I have to admit, when it's done properly it's frightening.
It made sense to go darker with this story anyway. A Time Lord In Prince Henry's Court was, in essence, a romantic fairy tale and character study with a sting in its tale. That sting gets a chance to show us the inverse side of the Doctor's adventures, when bad guys do bad things, and they're not singing in panto style as they do it. It would be nearly impossible to deal with the feelings both Destina and the Doctor are going through in a bright, exciting musical. This month anyway.
Speaking of music, while listening to this episode you might notice something - besides the theme and the "previously" sequence, there isn't any. No, we didn't forget to put it in there, it was done for a double reason. On one side, after A Cause for Carolling] and A Time Lord In Prince Henry's Court had such depressingly long delays in most part for waiting for musos to do their music thing (for understandable reasons, of course, but still depressing), refusing to use music for this adventure was a kind of defiance to that, a declaration that I don't need original music to complete an adventure. So there. :P On the other side, it was another attempt to break my limits. It was during Dimensions In Transference that I realised how very easy it was to recreate the mood and feeling of an old episode simply by reusing the music I used back in the old days. This idea got compounded when I did A Time Lord In Prince Henry's Court and managed to make it feel like I was listening to an adventure set in the same world as "Ever After" when I used the soundtrack to underscore most of the story. Music, I realised, has a terribly significant part of establishing the mood of a dramatic piece, and so for Fear Flight, I wanted to try and get rid of that crutch. It would be easy to underscore the whole adventure with a whole lot of dramatic chords and scary tones from whatever source I could nick them from. But I want to be frightening because the story is frightening, not because of the music.
So, episode 1 is complete, and the story of the Doctor, Destina, and of course the always wisecracking Frobisher is running along through darker territory. Of course, this is only episode 1 - we've got two more to go, and it'll get a lot worse as it goes on...
It was occurring to me as I put together this episode that my stories, especially Crossovers, very rarely seem to kill anyone. By the end of a story pretty much every character has come through the other end mostly unscathed. Sure, The Woodsboro Murders killed off a few people, but they were pre-murdered from the movie, and Judge Judy came to a sticky Christmas Squid end, although that was me being lazy and not wanting to find more lines for her to say. But besides that, any characters I create are very good at staying alive and well, which is why I suppose when people started dying in this story I found it quite disturbing. It's weird. As I did the post-production and got to the big dramatic moment when Murdoch bites the bullet (yes, I know, it's a deliberate rip off from "Air Force One". It was effective then too), I found myself wanting to not do it. I put off those scenes, even almost considered rewriting the script to fit them back into it (and it doesn't help that all these characters have been so well played), before I eventually relented and let them have it. Even Gavin, whose constant moaning and groaning through the episode was a pain post-production wise as I had to arrange each and every groan so that they sounded interesting without distracting from the dialogue, I didn't want to let go. I'm hoping that as listeners you feel the same way too.
I'll be honest here, I don't think that this is better than the first episode. Episode 1 had a bigger breadth of scenes to play in, from the TARDIS to the spaceport to the cockpit, etc. In contrast, here we have exactly two - the passenger lounge and the hold. It was deliberately written that way to give the story a claustrophobic feel (as all thriller stories need), but it means the scenes don't get much variety to them. Whether this ultimately works in the episode's favour or not I don't know, but my gut feeling is that it makes this episode feel less interesting. Hopefully I'm wrong and it's wonderful, if so, do tell me!
The twist at the end of this episode came about in one of those "bugger, I've written two episodes, now what?" moments. As anyone who's done NaNoWriMo knows, when things get stuck, throw a spanner into the works to keep your characters occupied and to give the story a new direction. The best way I could think of was to have the previously sweet, identifiable stewardess Marion reveal that she's been the baddie the whole time and has now taken over as the villain of the piece (and having already started work on part three, you're all in for a treat next month when Kara Dennison begins to be bad...). I did make sure the twist is very subtly set up throughout the first two parts. Listen to her dialogue again, it's all specifically written to hint at it. I hope.
Umm, nothing much more to say about this. Here's a public apology to JJ Wilson for giving him a script where the first episode he spends whining, the second he spends moaning and the third he's dead (or is he?). Oh, and sorry to DB Cooper for giving her two lines, she so deserves more than that. Oh, and who else is getting all gooey inside hearing Corey's voice crack after Murdoch is killed? It's my favourite moment of the episode :D
So, until next month...
So much for that schedule - just so close to finishing our second story on time, and we run into a series of unavoidable errors. So instead of releasing this episode in June like we wanted to, we released it in August. Ahh well, these things happen. It was cool while it lasted. I won't go into the details as to why we're so late - it's the usual stuff anyway, lines not being completed, a distinct lack of spare time, etc. Anyway, it doesn't matter now - it's finished, released, and ready for you to enjoy. So how do the TARDIS crew get out of this one?
It's occurred to me that there's a distinct trend to most of my writings, especially in a series. And it's that in every episode 3 of any story there'll be one scene dedicated to furthering the story arc. In A Cause For Carolling we had the present giving scene, A Time Lord In Prince Henry's Court gave us the discussion about changing history. Here, we have the cameo return appearance of a very familiar, well, character if not voice. As was always the plan, we're following up on The Computer's very drastic disappearance from the series at the end of Faithful Unto Death. Although you may notice that she sounds different - Coren Idle, sadly, has had to step down from playing the two roles of Astra and the Computer due to her own life taking too much of a toll on her time. While we hated to loose her (especially since Coren has been involved with these plays since nearly the beginning), the storylines have been ready to roll for ages, and the parts have had to be recast. We hope that one day Coren will be in a position to do more with us, but for the meantime, the Computer will have to sound slightly different.
Enter Sapphira, an experienced voice actress who, I think, does a very good job at imitating Coren's previous performance (which in itself was an imitation of Jane Carr's character in the BBC drama "Slipback"). While she only has a very short appearance, stay tuned for a lot more attention for her in the very near future.
What else is there to say about this episode that hasn't been said already? Take note of the baby born at the end - he's important later on (but I'm not telling you how). Hopefully this episode serves its purpose well and gives a nice conclusion to the story as well as setting things up nicely for the next episode. Don't think all those characters are going to stay dead forever now...