Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Can't Be the Only One Who's Thought of This

This sort of comes out of left field, but I thought with the news that Steven Moffat is going to give the Daleks a break (SWEET MOTHER OF RASSILON, THANK YOU!), I thought it would be fun to post this idea that I've had percolating in my brain for a while now.  Granted, it probably won't ever happen, but a fan can dream, right?

Dear Friends and Internet,

This is Steven Moffat, producer, showrunner and head writer of Doctor Who.


He has created many scary monsters for the show:

The Empty Child


The Weeping Angels


The Vashta Nerada

This is actually the result of someone running into Vashta Nerada.  Honestly, the only real picture of Vashta Nerada would be a weird-looking shadow. Great-Aunt Ethel casts those all the time and she hasn't eaten anyone... yet.

The Silents


It may be said that Moffat is the man responsible for so many people, heretofore possessing the ability to control their bladders, returning to their childhood habit of bed-wetting. Those who still have dry sheets have instead had their brains turned into pretzels by the Moff's insatiable "Timey-Wimey, Spacey-Wacey" storytelling techniques that - contrary to all pessimistic predictions - have NOT gotten old. Steven Moffat is also a longtime fan of the show and is very familiar with many elements of the show's past. He has taken great care to ensure the continued success of such a beloved and treasured enterprise, which the fans (by and large) love him for.

For all the scary monsters Moffat has added to the Whoniverse, there is one monster from Classic Who that I would love to see him tackle. Nothing has been said that would indicate this would ever actually happen, but merely my fan-wank brain coming up with crazy ideas.

Ladies, gentlemen and variations thereupon, I introduce - the Mara.

This is actually the Doctor's companion Tegan as possessed by the Mara.  She doesn't always look this scary

The Mara was first introduced in the Fifth Doctor story "Kinda" and later revisited in "Snakedance." It is represented by a snake and can possess anyone it comes in contact with - sometimes more than one person. The Mara is a crafty creature; he can hide in anyone and no one else would ever know. Even if someone has been freed of the Mara, it can stay with that person for a long time and become repossessed later. It gets its power from feeding on the fear and suffering of others.  And the Mara's laugh will send the strongest and most courageous person running for their teddy bear and crying for Mommy.


(Yes, I'm giving spoiler warnings for episodes that were broadcast almost 30 years ago. Deal with it).

The ending scene of "Snakedance" where the Doctor fights the Mara with just his mind is one of the most intense and fantastic scenes in Classic Who.  It's one that I find myself unable to turn away from because it is just so good.  In watching that ending scene with all it's back-and-forth between the Doctor and the Mara, quick editing, great acting, awesome sound and special effects and, of course, brilliant writing, I wondered why New Who hasn't brought the Mara back, even for one episode (or even a two-parter).

The short answer would be that Moffat and the rest of the production team probably have their own new ideas and would rather focus on those things instead of rehashing the past, which is a good thing. The Doctor probably shouldn't fight the same monsters over and over again (*cough* Daleks *cough,cough*). However, considering how well the Mara was done in Classic Who, it would be fun to see how it would look through the eyes of New Who.

And, honestly, who wouldn't think it appropriate that Steven Moffat put his own spin on an old creature known for feeding off fear?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I TAKE IT ALL (mostly) BACK!!





*deep breath*

You all saw this coming, didn't you? (Well, you should have.)

Dear Steven Moffat and Matthew Graham,

Please disregard my less-than-enthusiastic reaction to "The Rebel Flesh" from last week. "The Almost People" more than made up for it (much the way the ending of "Cold Blood" made up for "The Hungry Earth"). In spite of the weak storytelling and overuse of "Tell, Don't Show" techniques and the fact that I just don't give a flying leap about these acid miners and the moral dilemma that was stupidly created for them by unseen Powers That Be, I still enjoyed this episode and - ZOMG GANGER!AMY ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

Now that's out of my system - GANGER!AMY WHAT THE HOLY FLYING HELL IS THIS?

Okay - I will TRY to discuss this episode is a calm clear manner - HOLY CRAP ON A CRACKER - GANGER!AMY!!!!

(I lied - this will NEVER be out of my system. This entire review will be peppered with me CAPSLOCK-SCREAMING like a crazed internet banshee. Deal with it).


I'll be honest - most of this felt really anvilicious with the heavy-handed "Gangers Are People Too!" Moral of the Story. If not for the HOMG - GANGER!AMY ending, this would not have been as good. Most of this felt like someone else trying to tell a Steven Moffat story, but not doing the greatest job. I point to the Doctor rigging up a time-delay phone call from that one guy's son during his birthday (these acid miner characters were so forgettable that I don't care enough to remember their names, with the exception of Jennifer and Cleaves). How would the Doctor know that Ganger!Dad would be there to take the call? How did he know the boy would be there to make the call? It seems a little too coincidental to me. I can buy the Doctor and his ganger switching shoes while they're popping up and down talking to Amy or whenever else it seems to fit, but some things just didn't mesh there. I would humbly suggest that other writers leave the timey-wimey, spacey-wacey stuff to the Moff.

But maybe that's the idea - give the weaker stories and plots the real big WHAM endings and maybe no one will notice. Except for us weirdos who take notes while they watch the boring story lines but get too involved with the WHAM! ending to even think about writing something down for that. My notes for this episode make it sound like it was a boring story, but the ending brings it all together and I finally buy into it (mostly. I still don’t care a whole lot for these acid miners - I barely remember any of their names. And I really don't feel too bad about it. However, I want to know - who decided mining for acid and using living-yet-sort-of-fake flesh people as workers was a good idea? Anyone? Bueller?)


I said I would be more positive about this episode because GANGER!AMY was an AWESOME ending. But to get to the ending, I had to sit through the beginning and middle. The beginning was fun enough - I did like the Doctor and Ganger!Doctor's interactions.  Their going back and forth finishing each other's sentences was hilarious. And having Ganger!Doctor trying to sort through his regenerations was a nice touch (which also provided the people who put the Next Time trailers together with some nice images of the Ganger!Doctor yelling and screaming in the most frightening way possible).

Another Thing I Liked: "Tough, dependable Sexy." :)

Yet Another Thing: "Roranicus Pondicus." I don't think I need to say anything more, do I? XD

Oh, and the Doctor made a brief mention of Cybermen and Cybermats at the beginning of "The Almost People." I don't know what that's about - having religiously avoided any and all spoilers, even from (ahem) "Official Sources" (as far as I'm concerned, the official BBC "Doctor Who" website is off-limits) - but it seems important.

I'm curious - did anyone else get throwback vibes from the "Space" and "Time" Red Nose Day specials when the Doctor was "flirting" with his ganger? Honestly, if they spent the whole episode on interaction between the Doctor and Ganger!Doctor, this would have been a wonderful episode. As it stands, it ranks slightly higher than a "Ehhh… it was okay" episode.


The personalities of the miners and their gangers was pretty much flipped around - in "The Rebel Flesh," Jennifer was a the cute, vulnerable one and the one most likely to side with Team TARDIS and Cleaves was the paranoid, "Kill 'em All" leader of the opposition. But in "The Almost People," Cleaves winds up siding with the Doctor and Ganger!Jennifer goes crazy and tries to kill everyone - including herself. I appreciated that little wrench getting thrown in the mix. Don't know why, but I just did.

Okay, I rehased all the unremarkable stuff from the actual story - HOW ABOUT THAT ENDING, EH? I did read a theory over this past week that posited something about Amy having a Ganger and the Ganger was the one that was pregnant and I shrugged that theory off as rubbish (as I often do about pure speculation theories). I NOW WANT TO FIND THE PERSON WHO PUT THAT THEORY FORTH AND AWARD THEM THE ENTIRE INTERNET BECAUSE THAT WAS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER!

But it makes sense. So many people have pointed out that Amy has worn nothing but red plaid this season. Her Ganger explains this so much - she was probably kidnapped and the Ganger put in place during the 3 month lapse between "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon." It also explains why she started seeing Eye-Patch Lady in the orphanage right before the Silents kidnapped her that one time.

Bottom Line: This two-parter had it's strengths and weaknesses. Most of it's strength were in the second part, not the least of which was the HOLY SHIT WHAT THE HELL ending that leads us into "A Good Man Goes to War." Which I will be watching next week as well because I have avoided getting spoiled fairly well so far and I will be damned if I have to wait an extra week just because BBC America couldn't be arsed up to show a new episode on time just because of a stupid holiday weekend (I'll say it again - NOT AMUSED).


The End.


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You sly, conniving, magnificent bastard, you.  That's all I'm going to say right now.

I need to go watch this episode again.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

World, You Cannot Ruin My Day

Because I found this on my Twitter feed this morning:

Source: @whobabby on Twitter

Which I then did a little bit of further searching and uncovered this:

Source: Same as above
How can you have a crappy day after seeing that magic?

(I'd seen this little girl in pictures from Gally this past February as Eleven and Five, but I had no idea her parents were going to do all the Doctors!  My hat's off to them - that is amazing!)

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Don't Ever Watch This Show...

... but if Catherine Tate was on it, I would sooo start watching "The Office."

Evidently, you can vote on who should be the next Head Cheese of the office in... "The Office."  And Catherine Tate's character is in the running (I did watch the finale on Hulu just to see what all the fuss was about - it was pretty good, I have to admit).

So, I'm issuing a challenge - everybody who reads this, go to this link and vote for Nelly (Catherine. Or Donna, if you prefer).  Screw the 2012 Presidential Elections they're ages away.  This is more important (it might make up for all the crap that NBC has put on TV in recent memory).

A vote for Catherine is a vote for AWESOME!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Feel Like Somebody Owes Me a Nickel

Spoilers for "The Rebel Flesh" beneath the video (this makes a point later)

(I'm probably going to get slapped for this review.)


When I was nine years old, my parents were in the market for a new car.  At the time, my mom was pregnant with my youngest sister and she'd been driving this really old and crappy beater Chevy Blazer for as long as I could remember.  I wound up going into Salt Lake with my parents to go look at cars and see if Mom could find something she liked.

We got to the car dealership and met with a salesman. Mom and Dad told him what they were looking for and he promptly led us to this 1993 Buick LeSabre and started talking it up like it was a shiny purple unicorn that crapped strawberry ice cream (Tape Deck! Working FM Radio! Interior Wood Paneling!) He even got my parents to take it for a test drive while I sat in the backseat.

Now, even at the tender age of nine, I knew how to count (shocking, really). There was no possible way that me and my three younger siblings (soon to be four at that time) would all fit in this five-seat (six if you lifted the front center console) sedan along with my parents. Oh, it'd be okay for Mom to take us to school in or to run to the store, but when the whole family was there? Not a chance. Once the baby was born, the car seat would probably displace at least two of us.

Long Story Short - the salesman conned my Mom and Dad into buying the car. And it was soooo not the car we needed. It didn't fit everybody and it was too nice of a car to drive on the dirt roads that we lived on. Luckily, my grandma's car soon went kerflooey and we gave her the Buick while Dad got Mom a nice Ford Explorer for her birthday (which turned out to be the perfect vehicle for running errands and ferrying kids to and from wherever - and that sucker was perfect for driving on the rough roads on the farm).

The point is that when someone's trying to sell you something, the more they talk it up and advertise, the more it disappoints when you actually get the product they're selling (which is why I got so sick of TV spots for "The Event" on NBC during football season - I could already tell it was going to be crap just by the way they were pitching it). This was how I felt after watching "The Rebel Flesh" for the first time.

Granted, anything that has to follow "The Doctor's Wife" is going to have a tough time living up to the high expectations.  If there's anything worse than having to follow-up a Steven Moffat episode, it would probably be following-up Neil Gaiman.  But "The Rebel Flesh" felt like they had to throw every gimmicky thing possible into the pot and it would up falling flat. This is not to say this was a completely crap episode - it was more of a "Meh…" episode. I never got the connection to the characters that is so key to enjoying a good story. Even Team TARDIS felt distant to me (what is this - the TARDIS Console Room is suddenly a pool hall?  I half-expected Rory to have a cigar hanging out of his mouth while he was shooting darts). And why is Muse playing in the background? Don't get me wrong - I like Muse well enough and I'm sure many other Whovians do too (do you know how many DW fanvids are set to Muse?), but as background music in "Doctor Who," it was just… odd.

I usually take notes while I watch a show that I know I'm going to be reviewing later and so far this season, I have come out with pages and pages of notes. Even with "Curse of the Black Spot" there were at least some funny lines to comment on. But with "The Rebel Flesh"… not so much. My dad called me during a scene that was meant to be intense and edge-of-your-seat crazy. He asked me to go look for something for him and I actually paused the scene and got up to look for it because I just wasn't into what was going on. I did come back and finish, but the "So What?" factor just wasn't there.

That's my overall reaction to this episode. Now, it is a two-parter and maybe it'll pick up in the second half. These two-part stories do have a habit of setting up the characters and the world the Doctor has landed in before getting to the actual story. The one example that immediately comes to mind was the "Rise of the Cybermen"/"Age of Steel" (actually - no, that one was much better. Forget I brought that up).

Anyway, here's to my customary lists:

- One thing that bugged me so, so, SO much was the scene in the dining hall toward the end. The Doctor has the humans and the Gangers seeing eye-to-eye and they're just about to agree to leave together when Cleaves shows up in the most stereotypical fashion possible. I mean, this woman is over-the-top "I'm here to ruin the uneasy peace you've managed to broker here because I'm scared of these 'Other People'." I wanted the rest of her crew to say "Dude, get over it" and go with the Doctor anyway. Holy manufactured drama, Batman.

- Of all the things I could be down on this episode about, I do have to say some positive things about Rory. His "Welcome to my world" line was brilliant - nice to see some acknowledgement in-universe that the number of times he's died is getting a wee bit ridiculous. And helping Ganger!Jennifer was cute. I can just about buy into their friendship (needs a little more tightening up in the second part, but I'll go with it for now).  For all the faults of this episode, Rory continues to shine.

- I called the Ganger!Doctor early on in the episode. Like, when he touched the ooey-gooey flesh at the beginning. I highly doubt I was the only one. There wasn't much to that reveal, sadly.
           - However, it brought to mind a line from "The Impossible Astronaut," if you can believe it.  When the Doctor gets shot by the lake and Amy's crying over his body, she insists that it has to be a clone or a duplicate of the Doctor that died. I'm not letting go of the possibility this may come back to the story in episode 13.

- Maybe it was the style of the sets or the costuming or something else, but I got a strong "Vengeance on Varos" vibe from this episode. Make of that what you will (I still don't know what to make of it, so whatever any of you come up with is fine with me).

I… really don't have much else to say, honestly. I don't want to be one of Those Fans - the people who love "Doctor Who," but always seem to find something to complain about. My longtime readers know I usually gush about the latest "Doctor Who" … but just not this time.  Don't get me wrong - I like the premise and the idea, but the execution fell flat.  Maybe TV wasn't the medium for this. There's a lot of backstory to go through and I think this might have been better as a tie-in novel.  I'm hoping "The Almost People" brings this two-parter out of the dumps.

As an aside - If you have a different opinion, I'd be interested to hear it and why you think that way.  I promise - I won't bite.

Friday, May 20, 2011

So... is This Movie Still Playing Somewhere?

With all the talk of the Rapture and the end of the world being tomorrow (at least, people on Twitter can't stop talking/joking about it), I thought I'd pull this little piece out for laughs.

If "The Dark Knight" is still showing in a theater somewhere, maybe we ought to be worried?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Coolest Thing EVER!

I had to work today and most of my family had to go into town for a funeral, so I was most or less on my own for my birthday (however, since today was also my dad's birthday and my mom's is next Sunday, we're going to do something to celebrate later).  I got tons of birthday wishes via Facebook and Twitter (Thanks y'all!) and one of my dearest friends left me the sweetest voicemail.  Plus, I stretched out my birthday gift opening so I basically opened presents all day.  I wound up with Incarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher (I've heard nothing but good things about those and I'm eager to read them) plus the "Trial of a Time Lord" DVD boxed set (*gleeful cackle*) (Don't ask me why I'm gleefully cackling over "Trial" - I haven't even seen it yet).  And my boss left me a gourmet frozen pizza from Schwan's with a really nice note wishing me happy birthday.  All in all, a pretty good birthday.

Then, my cousin calls and says she's making a nice dinner and chocolate cake for my birthday (WHEE!). So I go over and visit while she's making dinner when her eight-year-old daughter comes up the stairs with the distinct look that she is Up To Something.  The eight-year-old tells me she has a birthday present for me, but I have to guess a riddle in order to get it.  Something to do with where birds build their nests (she's eight - it's cute).  Evidently, I guessed correctly because she leaves for a minute and comes back with this:


(And suddenly, the fact that she had been staring at my TARDIS t-shirt at intermittent intervals makes so much more sense!)

I don't care who you are - that is so stinking adorable.

When Everything Goes Quiet

Wow.  It's been a while since I did a post about nothing in particular.  It's my birthday.  I'm entitled to it :)

My students are all just working on their end-of-year projects.  They have five big things due in English, plus the yearbook needs to be finished.  There's really not much for me to do except answer questions and proofread their stuff.  It's nice that it's so quiet, though.

Oh - there is one thing that's annoying me - the new Popular Science issue came today, so I was flipping through that.  They had a feature on upcoming summer movies and they dissected the science behind things like "Green Lantern" and "X-Men" and "Transformers" and "Captain America" and (what was the other one...) "Cowboys and Aliens."  And I have to say, I got a little annoyed with their analysis.  For example, in the section on "Captain America," they talked about his shield and that it can absorb the shock of a machine gun, but also cut through enemy weapons.  They then go on to say (and I imagine it in the nasally voice of a human weasel) that couldn't ever happen because of some killjoy scientific mumbo-jumbo from a research scientist at We Hate Fun Times University.

It's times like this that I understand why I didn't major in engineering or something like that.  I love science fiction and fantasy stories, but all my enjoyment of those things would be tainted by this little thought in the back of my mind insisting that never could happen.  Of course I know this stuff is fiction, but I don't want to be thinking about it while I'm watching the show!  Good grief - does anyone employ willing suspension of disbelief anymore?

Wow - that was incredibly negative. Sorry about that - I've been trying to quit.  Let me segue into something more enjoyable like...

Birthday Presents!

This year, I'm opening my presents all day (it's tough for the whole family to get together on a weekday, so I got some of my goodies early, but I waited to open them).  This morning, I got the book "Incarceron" by Catherine Fisher.  I'm excited to read this - I've heard nothing but good things about it.  Even one of my brother's buddies recommended it and they aren't exactly Book Club Central.  Almost certainly there will be a review of it on cj's bookshelf when I'm finished (I still need to write my "Uglies" review - boy howdy, do I have things to say about that!)  When I get home for lunch, I'll open another present.

Off to the library!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oh, You Sexy Thing




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I've only seen this episode once, but I had so many thoughts about it that I wanted to get them all down.  I didn't quite catch all the witty and brilliant lines, so I will have to go back and rewatch to get everything (oh, what a pity...)

If had to describe this episode in one word, it would be GORGEOUS!!! (with three exclamation marks, caps lock and everything).

First off - I had only heard of Neil Gaiman when I learned he would be writing for "Doctor Who" this year.  I hadn't read anything of his, but I knew that many a geek was over-the-moon for his work.  I'd even had people tell me I needed to read his stuff and I just never got around to it.  Earlier this year, I saw "Coraline" without even realizing he'd written it and I absolutely loved it.  Then I read "The Graveyard Book" and loved that as well.  So, I was in much anticipation for "The Doctor's Wife" (just like everyone else in the world).

Imagine my surprise at first when I wasn't completely sucked in.  At first, I was a little unsure - it just looked like "The Graveyard Book" with the Doctor and companions thrown in.  At that point, I wasn't too concerned about all my extended family creating so much noise and chaos behind me while I tried to watch.  This wasn't going to be anything special...

Oh... how very wrong I was.

Let me get this out of the way first:


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Never mind that it took a fanboy like Neil Gaiman to finally put it in the show.  Hell, Steven Moffat is fanboy extraordinaire. IT WORKS!!

People (myself included) freaked out when the title of this episode was released. What convoluted and complicated thing could this mean? What off-the-wall, dingbat theories could we conjure out of this one? Why wasn't River Song in this episode? "The Doctor's Wife" - surely that must be her.

Well, duh. Of course it's the TARDIS.

(I wonder how many fans had that reaction throughout the world.)

The beauty of it is that the idea is so simple. I've said before that I'm not much of a shipper - but that TARDIS has been through everything with the Doctor. Companions come and companions go, but that crazy blue box has always, always, ALWAYS been there. If there is any one person "for" the Doctor, it's the TARDIS.

In other news - I had a complete fan-flip-out moment when Amy and Rory started wandering the TARDIS corridors. Because I had seen the trailer and there's part where Amy screams in the trailer. At the time, I had thought "That background looks like it would be part of the TARDIS." And I was right!!!

Okay - other things:

- Idris called Rory "The Pretty One." This shall be his nickname until I decide otherwise.

- Actually, Rory got so much "Be Awesome!" time in this. Neil Gaiman, I thank you.

- The TARDIS corridors weren't that creepy back in "Castrovalva"! Then again, the TARDIS wasn't being possessed by an angry not-asteroid-monster in "Castrovalva," either.

- You know what I just realized? We never saw the "monster" in this episode. We heard a menacing voice, but never saw anything. I love it when they do that!

- They killed Rory - AGAIN! But this time, it was a fake-out. Amy was being fed some stupid illusion. Maybe that's the punchline of the joke (maybe that's why "The Curse of the Black Spot" was moved to Episode 3) - we've killed Rory so many times, so here's a time when it's for-really-not-real (and I appreciate that).

- "I wanted to see the universe, so I stole a Time Lord and ran away. You were the only one mad enough."  How perfect is this?

- "I took you when you needed to be"  YES. YES YOU DID, TARDIS. YES YOU DID!! (another theory of mine gets validated)

- (Those were the only two lines I caught on the first viewing, by the way).

- IT'S THE NINE AND TEN TARDIS CONSOLE ROOM! SHE KEEPS THEM ALL ARCHIVED!!! AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! (and that little makeshift TARDIS the Doctor and Idris flew in on looked like an amalgamation of all the TARDIS Console Rooms from the Classic Series - almost like some of the pictures of the TARDISes from The Doctor Who Experience I've seen). Who else but a hardcore fan would write something like this? Honestly.

- The good-bye scene between the Doctor and Idris was the saddest thing ever! It was weird - I was sad, but I knew that the TARDIS was still going to be around... but not in the way that the Doctor could talk to her. It was as sad as any regeneration scene I've watched (and I've seen some doozies).

- I'm so happy they didn't try to throw in any season-arc references at the end. They got that in briefly at the beginning and let the whole story work the way it was meant to. Because then, we got this beautiful little moment where the Doctor and the TARDIS are alone and he's walking around the TARDIS console with a new appreciation for the old girl.  I FREAKING LOVE MATT SMITH!!

End Summary - This is the kind of storytelling that made me fall in love with "Doctor Who."  I've always loved the idea of the TARDIS being a sentient creature and she's the one constant in the Doctor's life.  Sometimes my "hopeless romantic" gene would kick in and I think I would like a story exploring the Doctor and the TARDIS's relationship, but then my logic kicked back in and I shoved that idea back in the file under "Stuff to Leave for Horrible Fanfic Writers."  However, Neil Gaiman hit it out of the park.

With any fandom, I suppose there's a risk involved with giving creative license over to a fan.  Maybe they try to shove in too much continuity or obscure references to the past that only a handful of people will understand or that has no real relevance to the actual story (I'm looking at you, "Attack of the Cybermen").  That risk is certainly involved with "Doctor Who," with nearly 50 years of material to draw from.  I can see why Moffat wants to get away from using the Classic monsters too much and introduce new things - which, I'm glad that he's taking the show that direction.

However, if nods to the past are done well and with the respect they deserve, something special happens.  Even the newest fan can appreciate the love and care the creator-fans put into this remarkable show, without knowing every detail of the show's past (not to belabor the point, but that was my reaction to "Time Crash" last summer).  There's a certain magic to that.  A magic that happens when someone finally gets to pay homage to something meaningful and special to them.  "The Doctor's Wife" is such magic.  Glorious, beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous magic.

Bravo, Neil Gaiman.  Bravo to you, sir.

(Okay, I need to go watch this again!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Super-Temp!

 Guess who's birthday it is???

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It's Catherine Tate's birthday!!

Remember Catherine? Super funny lady? Played Donna Noble in "Doctor Who"? Going to play Beatrice opposite David Tennant in "Much Ado About Nothing"? Just plain awesome and cool?

In honor of the occasion, here's my Donna fanvid:

Happy Birthday, Catherine!

(Okay, yeah - her birthday's actually tomorrow (May 12).  But I'll be in a conference all day tomorrow and it's actually May 12 in Britain, so I'm posting this right now)

Filed Under "Decorative Vegetable"

I'm hanging out at my classmate's house right now and her son is making a diorama of a forest for his science class.  The trees he cut out look remarkably like celery and his mom commented as such.  He looked a little sad, so I said "Don't worry about it. Celery is a sure sign you're in civilization."

He had no idea what that was in reference to, but he laughed and felt better.

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Obscure "Doctor Who" references.  I make them.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Ship is a Ship No Matter How Small (or Big. Or Weird)

Here is my reaction post to "The Curse of the Black Spot." SPOILERS AHOY! (and it actually makes sense to say that in this case!)

First - a nice little song (which should always be played and sang to at the highest volume possible)

I thought about this song when the screen opened up with the pirate ship on the still water. My childhood...

For being a one-off adventure story, this episode gave me a lot to think about within the context of the larger series. Not necessarily to say that it's all relevant to the overarching plot, but it was more that my brain was sufficiently fried by the previous two episodes that I just look for links in everything now.  I really don't have a thorough literary deconstruction-type of review, just a bunch of lists.  I just ended up with a ton of notes for this.

Okay, so "Doctor Who" does pirates. At first, the episode felt rushed with all the pirates and Team TARDIS running around trying to avoid the Siren. But then people started settling down and the Doctor starting thinking about stuff and the story played out to its conclusion.  Like I said, it was nice to have a fluffy little adventure after the flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants ride of the previous two weeks.

So... Begin the Lists!

Funny Things:
- Amy "Elizabeth Swann" Pond. Don't tell me that didn't cross all your minds.
- Actually, just pretend this is a big old list of "Pirates of the Caribbean" jokes and we're sorted.
- I want a t-shirt that says "I'm Confused." Even more than I want one that says "The Angels Have the Phone Box"
- Oh boy, the Doctor and his hats.  You know, I don't think the pirate hat really suits him.  Not in the way the fez and the Stetson did.  But for once, this hat didn't meet a gruesome fate at the hands of River Song.
- Drunk-on-Siren-Music!Rory is so adorable. I love how I continue to ask for adorable Rory moments and the writers continue to oblige.
- Watching on BBC America and the commercials - this is the first time I've ever seen Doctor Who toys advertised on TV! It was a momentous event for me, as weird as that sounds.
- "This is the treasure of the Mogul of India!" "Oh good, for a minute I thought it was yours!" Wonderful dialogue, as usual.

Things I Liked That Weren't Necessarily Funny, but Still Cool -
- The Doctor's sad, sad look when the TARDIS disappeared. There have been many companions and friends in the Doctor's life, but that TARDIS has always been the one constant. That's his home and his way around the universe, she facilitates his wandering lifestyle and she's is number one best friend. He's allowed to be totally devastated when something happens to her.
- I'm not well-versed in special effects technicalities, but I was really impressed with the ghosty Siren effect. No, really - that was amazing.
- Part of the Siren's song sounded like "Ma Belle Evangeline" from "The Princess and the Frog" (there's a little five-note sequence that the two songs have in common, or at least it's very similar).
- Maybe this is a result of having watched "Carnival of Monsters" with the Traveling the Vortex boys for Friday Night Who, but how many times has the TARDIS landed in the cargo area of a sailing ship? ("Enlightenment" is another one. I should make a list…)
- For being a 17th (18th?) century guy, Captain Avery takes to the idea of space travel and supernatural things rather quickly.  The fact that he figured out the parts of the TARDIS console was awesome (between him and River Song, it seems that the only one who doesn't know how to fly the TARDIS correctly is the Doctor.  Watch - Rory or somebody will land the TARDIS next week).
- So far, this season has an interesting occupation with sight. The Silents had to be seen to be remembered and the Siren travels through reflections in mirrors.

Things That Made Me Jump:
- I find mirrors creepy anyway, so when the Doctor discovers the Siren is getting on the ship through reflections... NO THANK YOU! Even though it turned out the Siren was a nice nurse-doctor-lady and it was sort of okay. But not really.
- Leeches are disgusting. Everyone should know that already.

And, of course, the topic that I'm certain will be the #1 discussion in all of Whodom this week (possibly even beating out the anticipation for the Neil Gaiman episode):

Return of Eye-Patch Lady

Much has been said about her already (with only one line in "Day of the Moon"), but I really have no theories on her. But I have some thoughts and here they are:

- Last week when she first appeared, my mind immediately thought of the Rani. Which is kind of stupid because I've only seen her in "Dimensions in Time" (you may all commence throwing rotten fruit). I really don't know anything about her other than she's a Time Lady and not a very nice one (the impression I got was that she makes the Master look like Count Von Count from Sesame Street). Maybe it's a dumb idea because I didn't see her mentioned in anybody's theories over the week. In any case, it's probably time for me to track down some stories with the Rani.
- The white background behind her made me think of the Eighth Doctor audio "Scherzo" where the Doctor and Charley are trapped in this weird alternate dimension and all they can see is brilliant white light and nothing else. That really doesn't mean anything - just something I noticed/thought of.
- This next one may just be me seeing things weird, but I thought her eye-patch looked different from last week. Last week, it looked like it was metal and bolted onto her face where this week it looked more leathery and pirate-like.
- IIRC, this episode was actually meant to have been in the second part of this season, but they moved it up. I think the reason they did that was maybe they thought we needed an earlier look at her. Like in "The Poison Sky" in Series 4 (SPOILER ALERT - highlight to read), they tacked in a background video image of Rose that had been filmed for inclusion in "Midnight," but RTD decided the audience needed to see Rose before then because she was important to the story arc later (END SPOILERS).
- I thought Eye-Patch Lady's line of "You're doing fine. Stay calm" sounded like she was coaching someone through childbirth.

To end this List of Lists to End All Lists, I'll finish up with a list of random things I noticed:
- What is it with this season and stabbing people's palms? If the Doctor's wife (or whoever) turns out to be a palm reader… well… I won't leave, but I won't be very happy.
- The Doctor taking Captain Avery to the TARDIS reminded me of how Kazran Sardick became the sub-in companion in "A Christmas Carol" and Amy and Rory (the official, names-in-the-opening-credits companions) were just hidden away in a cupboard somewhere. However, the way Amy and Rory were with Toby was pretty cute and I couldn't help but think that they would make adorable parents (how many times have I said "adorable"? I need a new word for that…)
- Why weren't the Doctor, Amy and Captain Avery put in the sick bay when the Siren took them to from the pirate ship?  Just so we could have Matt Smith stick his hand on a console covered in alien bogies? (As funny as that was...)
- Okay, I'm going to say this calmly and rationally - WILL YOU STOP KILLING RORY???? (Murray Gold had a hilarious tweet on the subject, which I would link if I knew how to link to individual tweets).
- While we're on the subject, enough playing with Amy and Rory's relationship! They love each other, they're married, they're going to have a baby (I think - wait, yes… no... yes - no - yes-no-yes-no… yes. *grrr* Definitely not! Um… I have no idea).
- Re: Trailer for next week's episode - Yup, this is a Neil Gaiman creation all right. Even if it totally tanks (which I doubt), at least they got the look of the story right.

Final Thoughts on "The Curse of the Black Spot" - This may not go down in history as the very best "Doctor Who" episode, but it's a solid one-off adventure.  It's like "The Unicorn and the Wasp" from Series 4 - placed between stress and angst to give us all a chance to catch our breath and let our brains de-frazzle.  It was entertaining and there was a lot to think about and enjoy.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Verily I Say Unto Thee, It's the Summer Movie Season!

Despite all weather patterns to the contrary (there was frost on my windshield this morning), the big Hollywood movie studios are gearing up for the summer movie season.  Which means comic book hero movies! (yay!) Which also means ItsJustSomeRandomGuy is up to his old hijinks! (double yay!) And thus, I must share his latest creation with my readership (all five of you).

Prepare, mortals, to laugh thy butts off.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One Whacking Kick Up the Backside!

It took me two viewings to fully digest "Day of the Moon," but now I'm ready to pontificate about it. Spoilers beneath the gif.

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension

First of all: This episode took me a couple rewatches. There is no way I could get all of this on one viewing. I have no idea how we would have been able to follow what's going on in this story if it was made in the days before DVR or iTunes downloads.

The Opening: Some stuff is just taken for granted - like how the TARDIS is in the "Perfect Prison" at Area 51, how Amy ends up getting chased all the way to Valley of the Gods (also why River and Rory end up in New York and Arizona, respectively), how Canton knows and follows the plan. It's Steven Moffat - just roll with it.

- Also - Canton's men shot Amy and Rory and stuck them in body bags - did Amy and Rory just fake dead for however long it took Canton to get them to Area 51? That's a long ride in a body bag in a car - likely over bumpy roads.


Before I get on to things beyond the Utah scenes, I have to indulge myself in a little personal giddiness - I was thrilled beyond all reason when I heard that "Doctor Who" would be filming in my neck of the woods.  My favorite show ever - and they're filming in my home state!  To be fair, Valley of the Gods is in southeast Utah and I live close to the western border, but still!  Plus, parts of Southern Utah resemble my hometown a bit (we don't have as much red rock, but there's plenty of sagebrush and desert).  Have some pictures:

This is the view from the pond on my parents' property.

This is the view from the pond looking to the east.  If the dirt was reddish-orange, it would be similar to Valley of the Gods.

This is the view from the lane to my house.  It was rainy and cloudy the day I took this.

This one's off the side of the road about forty miles from my house - close to the geode beds and Topaz Peak. That's as much red rock as we have.

Thanks for indulging me in that. The fact that I now have a personal connection to "Doctor Who" - however remote - is pretty cool to me and I felt the need to share.


Things I Loved -
- River falling into the swimming pool :)
- Rory is adorable in his suit and 60s glasses. Rory is adorable, period. I require more Rory being awesome.
- Second week in a row that the phrase "TARDIS Blue" was uttered. I am now waiting for my TARDIS Blue crayon.
- River shooting Silents. Usually clips in trailers don't live up to the actual scene in the show, but that one did. *APPLAUSE*
- "What's the point of two hearts if you can't be forgiving now and then?" And then the Doctor totally takes it all back.
- "And one whacking great kick up the backside for the Silents!" (that sentiment works for the audience watching this)
- "You've got a screwdriver - go build a cabinet!" River gets in on the witty one-liners!
- The (11th) Doctor is still awkward with kissing. Even though it's heartbreak for River, I'm glad that characterization for the Doctor is still there.
- The Doctor asked Amy why she didn't tell Rory when she thought she was pregnant. Because it bugged me when she told the Doctor and not Rory.
- Rory - "I'm a nurse. I'm good with pregnancy."

I'm Calling It Now: We haven't heard the last of the Silents in this season. There is no way you give them so much setup (even from last year) and just off them with a simple post-hypnotic plot device.

(Re: Flashback to Series 5 - If no one ever remembers the Silents, how did Prisoner Zero, Signora Calvierri, etc. remember that they were running away from the Silents? THESE ARE THINGS THAT BOTHER ME! That being said, I am SO happy that they made mention of it - after last week's premiere, I was afraid we'd never get any explanation. It's just nice to get a little acknowledgment. It was like Moffat was saying "Yeah, we know you're curious about this and your patience will pay off... just not now.")

Politics in Fandom: I am going to say it again - I love that the Richard Nixon in this two-parter isn't just a crude caricature that most shows portray.  This version of Nixon just fills the role of the President that the story needs.  Truthfully, any US president would have worked. It just happened that this story is set during the moon landing in 1969 and Nixon was president so that's who they used. For once, low-brow political commentary (apologies for the redundant statement) takes a backseat to the actual story and I find that refreshing. Not that I'm any big fan of Nixon or anything, but I get so tired of wide political statements being made in stories I like. I seek out entertainment to get away from all that crap (especially with people getting geared up for the 2012 elections - shoot me now).  Honestly, I don't care about anyone's agenda or even a perceived agenda - just tell me a good story and keep politics out of it.

One other thing: Rory observes that the Roman Empire fell.  Then we have the phrase "Silence (Silents) will fall."  Just making an observation...

More Questions that Need Answering:

- Why exactly did the Silents need a spacesuit?
- Lodger!TARDIS. Again, why?
- Who is Eye-Patch!Lady? She gets one line in the orphanage and that's it?
- This one's just a silly thing, but I want to know how Amy and Rory met (but that's probably in the realm of fanfiction. Sadly).  Amy's "fall out of the sky" line has me curious.  That's all.

On that note: As much as I do love Rory - he really needs to get over his issues with Amy possibly choosing the Doctor over him. How many times does she have to say it/he has to save her/whatever else happens to reaffirm their relationship before he gets it?

And now, I'm going to address the great big, honking elephant in the room - THE ENDING OF THIS EPISODE!

First, the last scene in the TARDIS: I'm not worried about Amy being pregnant (as "Days of Our Lives" as it seems right now). I'm more concerned with the fact that the TARDIS scanner blipping back and forth that she is pregnant... and then she isn't. So... Amy's body can't decide if it's pregnant or not? Or the TARDIS scanner can't decide if she's pregnant or not? It's likely an issue with rewriting time, but I can't figure it out beyond that.

And now - my reactions to the little girl regenerating:

I'm going to take the obvious inferences the ending has and throw them out the window right now. The girl is NOT the Doctor's child and I really don't think she's River Song.  I find that idea dubious at best, but I may be wrong (please don't eat me).  She does have a connection with Amy, though - but what?  It will be interesting to find out.

One other thought on regeneration: I think this season may possibly seek to address the 12 regenerations thing, though.  But only as an aside. The girl says that she's dying, but she can fix it. I have the feeling that she has done this lots of times before - possibly more than 12 (I don't know that, I'm just guessing).

FINAL THOUGHTS ON "DAY OF THE MOON" - This two-parter was a solid opening to Series 6.  I'm sort of waiting to see how the rest of the season pans out to pass final judgment, but so far I really like it.  This is definitely a story made for an age where people can DVR an episode and rewatch it again and again in order to get the whole story (imagine trying to do this kind of storytelling in the '70s!)  It raises a lot of questions to keep me interested, but not so many that I get overwhelmed and decide to give up on the whole season.  Knowing how Steven Moffat crafts a story, I am confident that all my questions will be answered and answered in a big way - not necessarily RTD-style epic, but enough that I am satisfied.

Color me eager for the rest of the season!