Archive for the ‘Movies/TV’ Tag

It’s been 15 years, the long national nightmare is over…

…WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!

 

At least three new episodes of MST3K are going to be made!

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Never mind the football game

There’s a reason they call them The Best Damn Band In The Land:

Saw it.

I am… underwhelmed. Since it’s still close to air time, spoilers after the link.
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Well, it evades the problem. Somehow.

I haven’t seen ‘The Name of the Doctor’ yet, so I don’t know exactly what mechanics Moff used to get around the 12 regenerations/13 Doctors limit he claims he’s adhering to. Especially since he’s now claiming Smith is the 13th Doctor, not the 11th or 12th, because Tennant regenerated twice — once from Tennant to himself, and then into Smith.

Which renumbers everything again — Hurt is the Ninth, Eccleston the Tenth, Tennant the Eleventh and Twelfth, Smith the Thirteenth, and Capaldi the… Fourteenth?

Which kinda flies in the face of Moff’s statements about the twelve regeneration/thirteen Doctor rule.

So clearly, he’s going to have to pull something out of his ass, whether it’s a new round of regenerations granted by the no-longer-destroyed Time Lords, or some kind of “magic” reset button, probably from the TARDIS itself.

If it’s the Time Lords, that suggests the new direction hinted at by the end of the 50th anniversary special, the Doctor questing for home, is going to be over with a lot faster than expected. I don’t like it, but it does simplify future story lines: if the Doctor is spending all his looking for lost Gallifrey, he’s not going to have a lot of time to spend hanging out on Earth, and it’s at least in line with established canon from ‘The Five Doctors’: we know they offered the Master a fresh round of regenerations, so it can be done.

If it’s a magic reset button jumping out of nowhere at the last second, I will be pissed off.

It’ll probably be a combination of the two, the Time Lords surfacing at the last minute in an intergalactic deus ex machina, and be both canonical and dissatisfying.

But, we’ll see. While I liked the anniversary and I’m willing to give Moff a chance again, I haven’t set the bar very high.

An Open Letter to Stephen Moffat

All is forgiven.

Thank you so very much.

Three weeks, three theories

The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is fast approaching, the question is, where does John Hurt fit into all this?

Hell if I know, but I have a couple guesses.

The first thing that came to my mind was that he’s the Valeyard, the ‘dark essence’ of the Doctor from between his 12th and 13th regenerations, but the more I thought about it, the less I liked that idea. While a ‘Dark Doctor’ is clearly the man you need if saving the universe requires certain unsavory acts, it still doesn’t mesh with the Valeyard’s behavior, and more importantly, with the fact that the Eleventh Doctor recognized the Hurt Doctor while the Sixth Doctor did not recognize the Valeyard.

Another one I’ve seen is that Hurt is an elderly Eighth Doctor, or some midway point between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors (I’ve seen him called ‘Doctor 8.5’ even). Besides the fact that that’s just slopping around to avoid a renumbering (to say nothing of avoiding Capaldi being the last regeneration), it simply doesn’t make any sense. While my opinion of Moff’s storycrafting ability has slipped considerably, I don’t think he’s so far gone as to do something that just plain lame. In any case, Paul McGann is still quite alive and quite capable of being the Eighth Doctor again (and I think he deserves the chance to get more screen time anyway), so there’s no reason to replace him with John Hurt anyway. It’s possible that Hurt represents the Ninth Doctor, that Eccleston was the tenth, Tennant the eleventh and Smith the twelfth, but that also suggests that Moff is up to ending the series once and for all (unless he’s up to something even weirder). Moff has confirmed that as far as he’s concerned, it’s twelve regenerations, thirteen Doctors, that’s it (although in the above link he suggests the count we use is off). So if Hurt is the Ninth Doctor, that makes Capaldi the Thirteenth Doctor and if Moff says there’s no more than thirteen, what does that suggest other than that he expects the whole thing to shut down at the end of the Capaldi era?

However, what is Moff suggesting in the link above, that some of the regenerations weren’t regenerations? That’s a bit much, to rewrite the entire classic era like that (especially when as far as we know, they haven’t been invited to the party this month). Now, the Doctor himself referred to the changeover from Hartnell to Troughton as a ‘rejuvenation’, but that’s mincing words and in any case happened while the whole backstory was still being developed. There’s another theory that the Troughton to Pertwee regeneration doesn’t count because it was forced by the Time Lords and didn’t occur naturally — effectively meaning that Pertwee was still the Second Doctor, but with a different face. Cue similar logic-chopping with the changeover from Baker to Davison via the Watcher, that somehow being prepared for it means it doesn’t count. Or maybe he means something really extreme, like any regeneration that wasn’t one of the three flashy plasma blasts we’ve had since 2005 weren’t real regenerations. Or that the Time War somehow reset everything.

I don’t know what he’s got in mind, and I’m going to be damned annoyed with him if he’s playing games with canon. Didn’t he used to be a classic Who fan himself?

Anyway, the one I’m going with is that John Hurt’s Doctor is the Doctor before he started calling himself The Doctor. The one that according to some old fan theories (that well pre-date your modern flashy effects Doctor, thank you very much) palled around on Gallifrey with The Master during and after their Academy days, back when they were friends and before they were enemies. The one that might well have even been a co-conspirator with The Master, and might even have been a ‘bad guy’ himself — later turned to the side of good maybe because he was horrified by what the Master was becoming… or by noticing for the first time what he himself had become.

Hurt is therefore the Time Lord that grew up to be the Doctor. If you will, The Zeroth “Doctor”… or just plain Thete. ;)

I mean, the Eleventh Doctor clearly remembered being him, so that (largely) rules out a future incarnation.

Personally, I’m inclined to think there were miscellaneous not-legal activities that led to a long period of incarceration, during which he aged into the apparently-elderly William Hartnell appearance (no regeneration, think of Hurt as a young Hartnell Doctor), and stole a TARDIS shortly after being released or paroled. I doubt an escape because that would require too much retcon to explain why in the Doctors’ later dealings with Gallifrey, no mention of any unfinished jail time is ever mentioned — if he served time, he clearly served all of it, or at least as much as his society demanded. Maybe he was released in a general amnesty of political prisoners during an unusually enlightened period in Gallifreyan history — and I would not at all be surprised to find the Doctor being a political prisoner.

On the other hand, and to quote Mystery Science Theatre 3000, “…repeat to yourself it’s just a show, I should really just relax” :)

This just in…

There have been rumors of a large cache of missing Doctor Who episodes floating around this summer, always later debunked.

This is not a rumor, this one is real: nine missing Troughton episodes have been recovered — the five missing episodes of ‘The Enemy of the World‘ in which Patrick Troughton gets to play both the Doctor and the main villain, and four of the five missing episodes of ‘The Web of Fear‘, which introduced the world to Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (although only a colonel then).

Thanks to Paul for the head’s up!

Finally caught up on this season’s Who

And where the hell have these stories been for the rest of Moff’s tenure? Moff finally kicked it up to where I’d been expecting him to be all along; loved the reveal on Clara (and the jolt of figuring it out before they explained it) and the flashbacks.

John Hurt. The Doctor. And we briefly had Derek Jacobi as The Master.

Anyone else remember “I, Claudius”? Can you imagine John ‘Caligula’ Hurt and Derek ‘Claudius’ Jacobi facing off respectively as The Doctor and The Master, even if only briefly?

I won’t get into spoilers, but so far everything I’ve heard about the upcoming 50th anniversary special sounds… disappointing. I hope a lot of the things I’ve heard are smokescreen and Moff has something epic in mind, as opposed to what would amount to little more than a 5th anniversary special. It’s like Moff is only grudgingly aware that there was Who before he and RTD came along, or that he’s afraid of reminding us how awesome the show was when they had to get by on scripts and acting because there wasn’t an effects budget.

Yes, it really was better back then

Not all forays into nostalgia end well.

Way back in the mists of time, four- and five-year-old me was firmly addicted to one of the earliest animes to make its way over here: a show called ‘Marine Boy’ that no one else seems to remember. It was on just before I had to leave for kindergarten (back then, if you turned 5 before the midpoint of the school year, you could start kindergarten… I guess now you have to be 5 on the first day of classes), and if it had been on later, I would have cheerily skipped school as often as possible to see it. I remember making up new stories — proto-fanfic for the pediatric set.

Well, I recently found the series on line, and watched it again. And while it provided the warmth that only nostalgia relived can do, I gotta admit that it really hasn’t aged all that well. Certainly not aged like a fine wine–although it hasn’t aged as poorly as a fine mayonnaise would have. It was… well, it was a cartoon for kids. It made no pretensions of aiming for an adult audience. It was nice to see again, sure. It was probably even formative to my creative streak.

However, some dumpster-dives into the past turn up unexpected treasures. There was another show back then that I remember watching, that aired in the 1969-1970 season and was cancelled for no really good reason. Five- and six-year-old me was enchanted by the animation, the silliness, the sudden swerves into pure fantasy. It was “My World and Welcome To It“, based loosely on the work of James Thurber. And I recently tracked down a few episodes of it. And forty-*mumble* year old me is even more entranced by the animation, the silliness, and the sudden swerves into pure fantasy.

It’s a pure paean to the joy of the uninhibited imagination, and William Windom’s slightly curmudgeonly Thurber stand-in is absolutely pitch-perfect, whether dealing with his daughter and the death of the family dog or daydreaming his rail commute to NYC into a spy-laden journey on the Orient Express.

Most of all, it’s intelligent, something sorely lacking in this age of “reality” TV (sorry, living on a tropical island competing for a million dollars isn’t part of any reality *I* ever heard of) and celebrity for the sake of celebrity and five hundred channels of focus-grouped, watered-down, committee-approved, completely unwatchable shit.

It demands your attention rather than just filling the air with background noise — if you don’t pay attention, the shifts into and out of Windom’s fantasy life will only leave you confused. It’s a show you put on to watch, and genuinely watch, not just to have something on to fill the room with light and noise while you do other things.

I’ve really taken to radio over the last several years, especially BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra. Why? Because you interact with radio, creatively. They provide the description while you provide the mental image. A really well-done radio production — even a reading, not a full production — is the soundtrack that pushes you to create your own Cinescope movie, all inside your head.

“My World and Welcome To It” is one of the few TV shows that actually delivers visually. It skips back and forth between mundanity and fantasy, and both are often obtruded on by Thurber-inspired animation. It’s also one of the few TV shows that does things that can’t be done on the radio: the visual interplay is just as important as the verbal. A radio program that tried to provide an equivalent word-picture would lose all pacing and become dragged down by its own prose, however well written. So much easier to simply see him talk with his (imagined version of his) wife, she appearing as a huge animated face off the back of their house!

This is a show that genuinely deserves a proper DVD release — far more so than most. This show really is an argument in favor of TV and what it can do.

Moff rocks it again

Been watching the new ‘Sherlock’ seried on PBS’ website — done by Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the Doctor Who showrunner and one of his writers.

Shit, yeah.

Massive props to Suburban Banshee for the heads-up — I probably wouldn’t have given it a second look, except that former Arthur Dent (and future Bilbo Baggins) Martin Freeman is playing Watson.

They’ve brought Holmes into the 21st century, and kept his essential Holmesishness. This series is a win from the get-go.

And this from a guy who watches almost no TV anymore.