Sunday, March 22, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: Day of the Moon

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved.  I don't mean liked.  I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time.  It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode.  I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things.  I mean give a bona-fide negative review.  Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express).  Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required.  I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut.  What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying.  I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 1.2 of The Nerdist as Whore: Day of the Moon*.  My 'translations' are in red.

The second half of the series premiere of Doctor Who raised a lot more questions than answers, but it’s the beginning of the year, so it didn’t really have to answer much.

I'm sure things will be wrapped up neatly and clearly by season's end and even if things aren't, by the time we get there I'll like totally forget about all that came The Silence.

“Day of the Moon,” while not as cinematic or as, to be honest, engaging as “The Impossible Astronaut,”

It was boring.

still offered a huge amount of creepiness, excitement, and the requisite amount of Doctorishness to keep me satisfied and entertained.

How many times do I have to say it? I'm really easy to please and require little in the way of thinking while watching.

Moffat’s script is kind of all over the map logically, though, which I will get to in a moment.

It didn't make sense within the episode itself, and I worry it won't make sense when we get to the season finale.

The cast, again, were very strong and in particular Arthur Darvill as Rory continues to stand out.

I identify with the schmuck who will never get the hot girl.

I mentioned that the episode was less cinematic, but that is more to do with there being fewer exterior scenes and less to do with Toby Haynes’ excellent direction. Haynes’ work has proven to be among the best, up there with Graeme Harper and Euros Lyn.

For more specifics and the like, read on. (SPOILERS GALORE)

-One thing that put me off this episode a little initially is that we jump to three months later so quickly. We don’t see the direct ramifications of the cliffhanger and only get a little bit of it at all. I really felt like “Day of the Moon” was the third part and we just didn’t get to see part two.

Moffat couldn't think of a way out of something, so he just skipped it altogether, and in a rare turn, I wanted an explanation.  Even though he has two hours to tell his story, Moffat couldn't pull it together.  Bummer. 

-It’s never really explained why Canton needs to pretend to hunt down the members of Team TARDIS in the first place. If the Doctor is so tight with President Nixon, why are he and his friends being doggedly hunted? If it were the Silence using posthypnotic suggestion, why is Canton not affected? Again, I feel like most of this would have been explained in that hypothetical second part.

I actually noticed some plot holes that weren't answered, and let's be honest, probably won't be answered, so I'm wasting my time expecting any.  Therefore, I better just speculate.

More likely, this was just Moffat’s way of making an exciting and confusing pre-credits sequence. There is no narrative reason given for the whole Area 51 section or the “inescapable prison” being built because there’s seemingly no need for either one.

Oh right, I forgot: Doctor Who ISN'T suppose to make sense.  It's British. 

-Amy’s not pregnant anymore… or is she?

I'm so stoked we're getting a mystery and domestic drama all in one!

-I really liked the idea of them having to mark on themselves whenever they encounter the Silence. It adds a visual creepiness so we know there are lots of them about but we don’t actually have to see them.

It'll make for an awesome (and cheap) cosplay.

The scene where Amy walks around the abandoned orphanage is incredibly creepy and made even creepier when she suddenly sees markings on her arms, and then more on her face. Excellent depiction of it. Plus, the pack of them sleeping on the ceiling might be the most disturbing single shot the show’s had.

-The orphanage: Why? The Doctor says something about how the Silence probably wouldn’t take the little girl too far from their “base” in Florida, but why would they need to take her anywhere? That is all sort of glossed over.

Plot hole, or merely a leap in logic?

Again, though, visually, the orphanage is flawless and all of the writings on the wall of “Get Out of Here” and stuff like that were incredibly effective.

I don't care about plot holes or leaps in logic.  It looked AWESOME! 

That poor Dr. Whatever-His-Name-Was. He’s merely a shell of a man and his odd Plantation-Southern drawl made him all the more creepy.

Southerners are creepy and scary.  The typical Southern person is Blanche DuBois.

-Okay, brass tacks: the scene with Amy in the little girl’s room in the orphanage. What the hell is going on there?


First of all, we see a woman with a metallic eye patch through a window in a door who says she’s just having a dream. Uhh, what now?

Like, if I'M confused, just think what a person with average intelligence is going through, one who actually wants logic in their stories.

Then when Amy opens the door, there’s no longer a window and no eye patch woman inside. I honestly can’t even begin to figure out who this woman is or what she’s doing or why. Is she talking about Amy or the little girl?

I'm like so totally lost. 

-Next, Amy sees a bunch of pictures of the little girl and one of Amy holding a baby, presumably the little girl. The obvious implication is that this little girl is somehow Amy’s, but my question is: Why would the little girl have a bunch of pictures of herself in her room? Is this room actually the little girl’s room at all? I’m sort of doubting that now.

I know I'm going out of my comfort zone by trying to think while watching, but I can only take so much before even I start stretching for compliments.

-Finally, the astronaut walks back into the room and lifts the visor revealing the little girl, a bullet hole in the glass. She again asks for help, but before Amy can do anything, she’s set upon by Silence. Clearly, Amy is very important, as is the little girl, but how are they connected?

Andy, you have NO idea...

-Canton, being the bad-ass that he is, shoots a Silent and they are able to take it back to the unnecessary impenetrable prison. But they went to go pick up Nixon first just so he could explain everything? What sort of sense does that make, as, presumably, Nixon would have to be the one who initiated the manhunt for everybody, and yet he seems to be perfectly genial the whole time. (I need to get over this, but the Area 51 thing was a waste of a good idea)

In a rare turn, Moffat introduced something and totally wasted.  It's like the guy almost forgot how to write, which is impossible because Blink forever covers a multitude of sins.

-The Silent reveals to the Doctor that they are, in fact, the Silence and that they will fall. Two things: 1) This moment was entirely wasted because we’ve known for weeks that they’re called the Silence. Could have been a decent reveal, utterly lost because we already knew it.

Oh, Moff, not even the most devoted Moffian could go along with this, and I'm the biggest whore of all.

And 2) Why would they themselves know about their own prophecy of falling? I really like the Silence as an entity and Moffat, being the evil genius he is, has wrapped a lot of UFO and alien abduction myths together in them. First, they look like the “Grey Alien” we’ve all grown to know; Second, they wear black suits, not unlike the Men in Black; Third, they make people forget them once they aren’t looking, which both ties back to the Men in Black as well as “missing time,” which a lot of abductees or people who’ve encountered aliens claim to experience.

Steven Moffat is throwing a lot at us, and I don't think it's holding together, but hey, he's in charge so I defer to him.  After all, I think he's a real genius, like Shakespeare-level genius.

-A lot of attention was paid this episode to Rory still feeling inadequate when compared to the Doctor and believing still that Amy would rather be with the Doctor than him.

Where would Rory get such a silly idea like that?!

By the end of the episode, Amy proves twice that she loves Rory and Rory alone and THAT, my friends, had better be the end of it.

I'm really, really tired of this faux-love triangle business and wish they'd stop bringing up to create 'drama'.

I suppose it was necessary that Moffat address the issue, but I’ll be very happy to not have to deal with a perceived love triangle anymore. Rory is awesome and has more than earned a place in both the TARDIS and Amy’s life. So there.

Since I see myself in Rory, I have to say he's awesome.  He's awesome.  I seriously believe that.  Compared to Rory Pond, characters like Jamie McCrimmon or The Brigadier just flat-out suck. 

-HUGE SCENE: They take the astronaut suit and inspect it and find that it’s composed of a great deal of alien technology. River inspects it and sees that the little girl is human, or at least the suit was set up to support human life. It’s also clear that the girl must be insanely strong if she broke out of the suit. The suit is also, somehow, able to support itself and is kind of alive since it begins rebuilding itself. Perhaps the suit acting on its own accord kills the future Doctor (I doubt it).

That's a bridge too far, even for me, and I'm really lenient about things like plot or logic.

The Silence have been taking technology from other races and planets forever, which would also explain their TARDIS.

-Aboard their TARDIS, Amy is tied up and is surprised to learn she’s been there for a couple of days.

Amy Pond.  The world's only kick-ass damsel in distress.

The Doctor and them arrive and he does his clever bit

Matt Smith talks a lot.

and eventually turns the entire human race against the Silence, all being tied back to the moon landing.

It's not like they landed on an Egg or anything as idiotic as that.

I thought this was very smart and a good use of the era in which it was set. However, I’ll be damned if we’ve seen the last of the Silence. Clearly, they’re still involved in the Doctor’s life and indeed the universe as a whole.

We found an element of the continuing season-long arc!  Score one for me!

-River Song is awesome. Not only does she just kick a lot of ass but I’m really starting to like the relationship she has with the Doctor. He’s beginning to open up more with her and be more flirtatious, and she’s not quite as know-it-all-y like she gets later in her life. I enjoyed the character always, but this two-parter was the first time I really GOT her character. She’s living in the terrible backwards world where the longer she lives, the less this man she loves knows about her. That’s immensely tragic and explains a lot of why she is the way she is in the earlier episodes we’ve seen.

I'm into cougars.  I like psychopathic women.  She should be the star of her own show...which is strange because I thought she already WAS the star of Doctor Who.  Come to think of it, she may be living backwards but strangely, she keeps knowing more and more, not less and less. 

-Amy isn’t pregnant, but she is, or was. The Doctor’s scanner keeps flickering between positive and negative. Hmm…

Yeah, the TARDIS should be able to detect something that a stick dipped in urine would easily find, but we need some way to create and build up drama/mystery.

Well, I guess that’s all the important stuff to talk about. I can’t think of anything else worth discussing… except…

-The little girl frigging REGENERATES! What!?!?!?! This is Moffat making sure we’re awake and I love it.

I, Kyle Anderson, am a pathetic whore, a shill for someone who pays my bills and gets me invites to cons.  Moffat can screw with Canon regarding regeneration all he wants.  I just want to be dazzled by bright lights, so screw logic!

I have several theories as to what this could mean which I will list for you right now.

I'm going to speculate and write fanfic for each scenario, each wilder than the one before.

1) She’s just a kid. The astronaut suit she was in, being made of a bunch of different alien tech, somehow rebuilt her using Time Lord stuff which she now has the ability to use.
2) She is Amy and Rory’s daughter, but the Silence (or some other alien?) took her and did weird experiments on her. I still think just because there’s a picture of Amy holding a child doesn’t necessarily mean she’s holding THAT child OR that that child is hers.
She's Amy and Rory's daughter.  Getting warmer...

3) She’s River Song, though that seems less and less likely the more we know about River, i.e. she ain’t a Time Lord.
Can't be. That be too easy and really too dumb to accept.  River Song a TIME LORD?  Perish the thought! Who'd be stupid enough to put THAT idea into people's heads?  There's just no way River Song can be Amy & Rory's daughter, or have Time Lord DNA.  Ain't happening.  No way, no how.   

4) She’s River and the Doctor’s child, again unlikely since River would surely have known and been more emphatic about helping her.
I SO want the fifty-year-old and the man old enough to be her son to have sex, and I'd like to see Susan Foreman's mother as a little girl because I'm sure everyone thinks River Song would make an awesome Grandmother and that Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman had exactly this kind of woman in mind when they created the show.

5) She is a Time Lord child that the Silence kidnapped a long time ago for experimental purposes.
Which, to hold to established story, must have happened right before the Doctor blew Gallifrey up.

6) The Silence are growing their own Time Lords using the Doctor’s regenerative energy and Amy’s embryo.
7) Something else no one’s thought of yet because Steven Moffat is incredibly clever and likes to show it off to us.

Does that meet my quota of praising Steven Moffat?  I wish I were as smart as Steven Moffat because Moffat understands what Moffat writes, and I don't.  Therefore, I must really be dumb.

All in all, “Day of the Moon” was a fun episode, if not a perfect one.

It was a letdown after The Impossible Astronaut, but it sure looked cool, and we got a non-Doctor regeneration.  How AWESOME is that?!

Whatever happens, this series has set itself up to be incredibly different in narrative style as well as schedule. I’m really looking forward to the next few, non-mythos-weaving episodes.

I'd like to watch a Doctor Who story that stands on its own and isn't part of a longer story arc that isn't as good as Steven Moffat thinks it is.

Just to tide you over, he’s the prequel and trailer for the next episode, “The Curse of the Black Spot.”

Pray the episode isn't as bad as the trailer makes it out to be.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: The Impossible Astronaut

Nerdist Tool...

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved.  I don't mean liked.  I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time.  It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode.  I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things.  I mean give a bona-fide negative review.  Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express).  Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required.  I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut.  What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying.  I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 1.1 of The Nerdist as Whore: The Impossible Astronaut*.  My 'translations' are in red.

WARNING!!! If you haven’t seen “The Impossible Astronaut” yet, do not read this until after you have. I’m gonna get speculative on your asses!
I'm going to put in the most outlandish guesses and hope one of them gets Moffat's attention and gives me credit (and validation). 

Wowzers. Talk about hitting the ground running. Doctor Who‘s series 6 premiere episode didn’t give its audience any time to breathe, as Steven Moffat & Co. serve up one of the most puzzling and shocking episodes ever.
Everything was typical Moffat...rushed, convoluted, and full of wild twists that if I thought about them, wouldn't make sense.  Fortunately, I'm not paid to think.  I'm paid to serve as publicity man for The Moff.
What stood out the most was the sheer scope of the undertaking.


It felt like we were watching half of a feature film and not an episode of television, which is due in no small part to the stellar work of director Toby Haynes, who has now directed five (counting next week’s conclusion) episodes in a row.
Technically, we WERE watching half the story because this is a two-parter, but it was really exciting so I forgot there was a Part II in all this.
The Utah locations really did add a great deal of realism and believability to the usual fantastical events.
Location shooting made things look REAL because I can actually go visit these places and take selfies where The Doctor was!
The shock of the pivotal scene in act one, which I’ll address in a moment, was perfectly underscored by Haynes’ direction and the pristine lake/beach surroundings. The performances were uniformly good, which is a given by now,
I never find fault and will never find fault with the acting, even if it were on the same level as Plan 9 From Outer Space.
and since we know all of the principals very well at this point, we can simply jump into the adventure with them without having to be introduced, something we’ve not had in a premiere prior to this.
Every year, we have to wait for newbies to catch up, but this year we don't have to bother because we all assume we know who everyone is.  We also don't need anything like an introduction because we are all in the know.

Now for the part of the review where I discuss specific things and add my own wild speculation, so just prepare to be wowed (hardly).
Hardly?  Is it me, or does that make no sense?  Did he mean 'handily'?  Or did he mean to say we weren't going to be very wowed and thus, emitted a Freudian slip?  I figure he meant we would wowed in a hard fashion, but wouldn't 'massively wowed' have been a better phrase? 

-Steven Moffat delivers another of his now-standard time-and-mind-bending stories,
Same-old, same-old.  Moffat will never come up with anything really original again, but I'm easily pleased.
this one being a proper mystery with almost none of the action movie tropes that we’ve come to expect (I imagine those will happen next week).
It was confused and threw a lot of questions at us, questions that at the end of the day will probably not be answered or be really outlandish and illogical answers to where they won't make sense if thought them out.  Fortunately for me, my idea of a 'proper mystery' is Sherlock, not Canon.  I don't care HOW Sherlock survived his fall and don't care if I ever get a definitive and logical answer because I don't watch Sherlock for the mystery.  I watch because of how Sherlock and John make me feel.  Besides, we sure to get lots of action next week, at least action in terms of what's on the screen.  I don't mean to imply I personally will get any action myself.
By the end of this episode, we know almost nothing and are left with numerous questions that need answering, just the way I like it.
Told you I was easy to please.

-I liked how we were brought back into the Doctor’s world by having Amy and Rory reading about his exploits in the book and seeing him on TV.

Just like ME!

Aside from being funny, it makes me think, like they do, that he’s trying to get their attention.

Just like ME!

I have to assume it’s for something other than the eventual envelope they receive as they surely would have known it was from him anyway.

Like time-filler.

-The first Doctor we see claims to be 1,103 years old, meaning he’s been traipsing around for about 200 years since we last saw him, yet he looks exactly the same as the second Doctor who says he’s 909. Surely, this will be explained, probably.

Timey-wimey spacey-waysy.

-The Doctor has led his companions, plus the older version of Canton Everett Delaware, III to this one specific moment, and only Canton 3 seems prepared for what’s about to happen. The Astronaut appears, though we don’t know who it is, and shoots the Doctor, causing a regeneration which is immediately ebbed when he’s shot again and dies. This scene made me very sad, as I think was the point.

Steven Moffat makes me cry.  I cry at every quasi-emotional moment on Doctor Who, because that's what Whovians do: cry.  A Lot.  Like I cry at every episode of Sherlock.  It's not like the bad old days, like with something like Planet of the Spiders where I couldn't feel the emotion of the Third Doctor's farewell to Sarah Jane.  Nothing pre-Rose can be as good as anything The Moff dreams up.  Besides, this is something unique: we've never seen the Doctor die before.  It's not the Doctor has some sort of limit on regenerations or anything like that. 

We’ve never seen this happen, obviously, as this would be the absolute end of the Doctor’s life.

Told you.

Canton 3 brings a can of gasoline over to burn his body and they load him up on a nearby row-boat and send him burning into the lake. Now, there are a number of red flags that popped up to make me think this was all a ruse on the part of the Doctor. 1) He tells them in the diner earlier that he’s been running, faster than he’s ever run. This would explain all the popping up in history books in various times and spaces.

Because, you know, he never pops into history in various times and spaces.

I think it’s pretty clear he’s been running from the alien in the suit. 2) The alien in the suit appears at the site of the death to watch. I think the death and funeral were all for his benefit. The Doctor wanted to stop running and he knew the only way he could was to die, or for them to think he has died.

After all, even I know you aren't really going to kill of the main character right now.

3) Canton 3’s appearance at the scene, along with the gasoline he was instructed to bring, point to him being involved in a cover-up and not, like the others, just witnessing a horrible event. He was an FBI guy after all. 4) Lighting his body on fire is a good way to dispose of the evidence, i.e. no way for anyone to examine his body.

Although, in the future, cremation will be found to be a form of torture, because they are really still conscious and can literally 'feel the burn'. 

-They go back to the diner to see 909-year-old Doctor, and are understandably shocked and annoyed at him, or his future self, for making them watch him die and then have to see him again, younger and totally unaware of what’s happened.

WOWSER!  The Doctor is alive?!  Totally didn't see THAT one coming!

I really like the way Matt Smith plays him in this and the following TARDIS scene. He hates it when people know more than he does, especially if it involves him, which explains his combative relationship with River Song.

Matt Smith's funny.  He made the Doctor look like a permanent idiot. 

-They go to the Oval Office in 1969 to help President Nixon and younger Canton 3 with the mysterious phone calls. These calls are being made by a child calling for help. How can the child be calling the President? Why is she ONLY calling the President? And why can she call the President wherever he is? This, surely, has something to do with the omnipresent alien-in-the-suit.

It is called The Impossible Astronaut for a reason.

-Amy, feeling sick, goes to the bathroom and sees the alien-in-the-suit and then witnesses, via another poor soul, that people only remember them while they’re looking, and when they turn around, they forget. These are some scary-ass aliens creatures, not the least of which because they can scream and make people pop.

These new aliens are scary because they make people explode.  They can also scream rather than shout "Exterminate" or "Delete"!

These are, apparently, “The Silence” we’ve heard about. Now, we’ve been told all last year, at several points, that “Silence will fall,” which we’ve generally taken to believe that something horrible called Silence will take over everything and whatnot, but what if it means they will fall like the Roman Empire fell? Perhaps, then, the Silence falling is a good thing as it means they wouldn’t be around anymore. Eh, eh? Food for thought. The Silence tells Amy she must tell the Doctor what she knows she must not.

Won't she forget?  Just a thought.

-Based on the things the girl says, the Doctor determines that the calls are coming from a place a few miles away from Cape Canaveral, where NASA is located. In a series of underground tunnels, River and Rory investigate and find, and subsequently forget, a nest of Silence and eventually reach what looks for all the world like the TARDIS-like ship from last year’s “The Lodger.” River also says earlier that worse days lie ahead for her.

Foreshadowing.  I like foreshadowing.  I also like that River always knows more but always refuses to tell. 

When Rory asks her about it, she says she dreads the day when the Doctor no longer recognizes her, given the nature of their out-of-sync relationship, and that it will likely kill her. (IT DID!! [kinda]).

I hope River disappears soon.  Still, if they are going backwards (his future/her past) shouldn't she know LESS as time goes by?  If I were travelling in reverse, going from age 30 to age 18, how would I keep my memories of things that have not yet happened?  Oh, right: timey-wimey. 

 They are then set-upon by Silence and it looks as though Rory might again die.

Seriously?  How many times does Rory have to be the fall guy?

-On the surface, the Doctor, Amy, and Canton 3 investigate the stolen space suits and stuff and eventually Canton hears something and runs after it. Amy remembers she has to tell the Doctor something, and that it’s very important. They find Canton knocked unconscious. Amy tells the Doctor she’s pregnant just as the astronaut appears. Without thinking, Amy grabs Canton’s gun and shoots it, trying to save future Doctor, but fails to notice first that it has lifted the visor to reveal the little girl inside.

Now that’s a pretty intense cliffhanger and we’re left with the following questions, or at least I was: 1) Is the girl in the space suit really a little girl? 2) Are we supposed to infer, because of what Amy had just revealed, that the little girl is Amy and Rory’s daughter?

Yes, because Moffat likes convoluted plots and simplistic answers simultaneously.

3) How could a little girl be walking around in a full size astronaut suit?

Even 'timey-wimey' can't make sense out of that.

4) Is the space suit actually a TARDIS, which might explain the presence of the console room and “iconic” image released a few weeks ago with the Doctor, Rory, and Amy AND the TARDIS in the visor? 5) I hope this isn’t the case, but is River Song the child of Amy and Rory?

Because THAT would be really, really STUPID!  Not even The Moff would be THAT idiotic or predictable!

6) Since both Amy and River complained of stomach problems, does that mean River is also pregnant?

MORE SHIPPING!  MORE SHIPPING!  And besides, who wouldn't want a sex scene between a fifty-year-old woman and a thirty-year-old man? 

7) Is the little girl in the suit the same person as the person in the suit who shoots the Doctor? (I doubt it)


8 ) Have I run out of questions? Maybe for now.

I guess we’ll just have to wait to see if any of these questions/predictions I have come true, or are even relevant.

*As I consider this a two-part story, I had one review for Impossible Planet/Day of the Moon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Special Announcement Part 2

Well, we're back to schoolbooks.

It's the first day of Spring 2015 at UNT, and thus, it will cut back considerably in terms of postings, hence my mad rush to publish as much as I could before now.

Like last year, I will be posting, but it will not be as frenetic as it has been in the past few weeks.   Some semesters have been relatively easy.  Some have been extremely tough.  I have no idea which one I will have.

Personally, I dislike going through all this.  School gets in the way of more important things (J/K).  I hope to be able to put in a few, but for anyone keeping up with Gallifrey Exile or my sister site Rick's Café Texan, I may be silent for a few days or even weeks. 

I shall be back, but I think it's fair to let people know the truth rather than think I'll be gone.

Hope to be back very, very soon. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ten Things I Hate About Who. Number Ten: Vulgarity and Silliness

I have made no effort to disguise my growing disdain for NuWho.  I was concerned I was speaking to an empty theater so to speak, but to quote the Face of Boe, "You are not alone".  On one of the Facebook pages I belong to (Classic Doctor Who Fans Who Dislike New Who), I have come across a series of thoughts by Mr. Paul Berry.  We in the group were so genuinely impressed by his series that I urged him to publish them. 

Ethan White of Sixstanger00 has requested permission to upload them on his YouTube page.  I don't know if Mr. Berry has but hope he does.  I for my part asked for permission to reprint them on this site. 

For this essay, I have added all pictures save the first, which was part of the original essay.

Mr. Berry has graciously allowed me to republish them as he posts them, and here is the tenth and final of a ten-essay series.  It is reprinted as written with the content exactly as it appears. The only alterations made are for any grammatical/spelling errors, spacing for paragraphs, and perhaps a few afterthoughts which will be noted after the photos.

I hope readers enjoy and share them.  I also hope readers will debate these matters, for I believe in a healthy debate.  However, I find Mr. Berry's comments and thoughts quite well-thought out and worthy of a greater audience. 

With that, I present Part Ten of this series: 10 Things I Hate About New Who


Okay I admit I've shoehorned two reasons into this the last of my posts, but as one story in particular closely connects both issues, I hope you'll excuse me.

I must confess I've never liked Doctor Who when it gets silly. That's not to say it can't have humour or be fun, but when it crosses the line into puerile frivolity it just doesn't work for me. The Classic series was not exempt from silliness: the Graham Williams era when Tom Baker began to get much more control over things often veered in that direction, and as a 12 year old I was mortified by some of the early McCoy stuff, in particular The Rani dressing up as Mel and Richard Briers doing a pantomime turn as the Chief Caretaker amongst other examples.

The loss of Power of the Daleks from the BBC archives perhaps spares us from some of the 2nd Doctor's more outlandish moments. Would this classic be undermined for instance by a moment not recorded in any telesnap, where the Doctor apparently gets up from a chair and walks off with it still attached to his behind? Generally speaking though, despite going through its camp periods, Classic Who nearly always realised it was a mistake and pulled itself together. The camp/silly periods were but but blips in the show's 26 year history.

Not so for the new series, where silliness seemed to be part of the show's remit from Day 1. No longer something to be embarrassed about or shied away from it has carried all the way through the show's 21st century incarnation. The modern version of Doctor Who to my mind has never had a prolonged period where it has been played straight.

What do I mean by silliness?, Some would argue that Doctor Who by its nature is silly and indeed there is a large subculture of fans who revel in the camp elements of the series. But going back to what I said in one of my previous posts, to suspend my disbelief I have to believe in what is going on and any silliness usually undercuts that. It is a fine line between what is acceptable and what is ridiculous, but can anyone argue that Christopher Eccleston's first episode was not irrevocably tainted by that awful burping bin idea? I remember thinking at the time I hope to God that was a one-off; sadly it wasn't and there were plenty more such moments to come.

Only 4 episodes in I was literally astounded by the two part Slitheen story where depths were plumbed which made all the criticism that had been levelled at stories like The Happiness Patrol seem minor in comparison. After going to great pains to point how that Doctor Who in the 21st century to quote Davies was being approached as full blooded drama, this was Doctor Who as send-up. The baby faced flatulent Slitheen being the sort of thing that would have once cropped up in a Lenny Henry or French and Saunders sketch parodying the show.

The Slithheen bring me neatly to my other point. You could once rely on Doctor Who being a clean cut show for the family, I don't think toilet level humour ever occurred in Classic Who. In short the series was tasteful well-mannered entertainment, the sort of thing the BBC name was once synonomous with. Crude vulgarity was just another bad aspect Russell T Davies brought to the show in his attempt to update the show.

The farting was but the first instance, another episode presented us with a lovely visualisation of frozen vomit; there was then the silly scene of Captain Jack having a laser pistol hidden up his behind which if RTD had gotten his way would have also given us a shot of John Barrowman's bum on prime time BBC1.

The following year brought us jokes about the Doctor's genitilia, rather inappropriate humour about the Royal Family and a tasteless inference of oral sex. To my mind all this stuff cheapens and taints the show and lowers it to the level of an Austin Powers movie.

The Matt Smith Era has seen this level of puerile silliness go into overdrive. We have now been subjected to the supposedly hilarious idea of the Doctor being naked 3 times, once hiding under a dress, then stripping for Comic Relief, and finally that lamentable scene in The Time of the Doctor with all that nonsense about holographic clothes.

It's almost at times as if Moffat is being deliberately iconoclastic. That he is supposedly a fan and has any respect for the integrity of a 50 year old character I find hard to believe.

The silly "Doctor Who?" joke seems to recur numerous times in the new series, particularly in the Moffat era, it as if he's trying to justify the name of the show to himself. The scene in Asylum of the Daleks with the Daleks saying "Doctor Who?" over and over and then the Doctor dancing around the TARDIS repeating it was positively embarrassing to watch.

There's also the sheer childishness of the 11th Doctor's Dr. Doolittle abilities as he chatted to a transgender horse. Of course any chance there is to get a gay or sexual joke in there Moffat and Davies are straight in (no pun intended: RA).

I could go on but it is almost impossible to watch Doctor Who these days without a story being blighted by these things, even some of the better episodes. Even though the new series has had moments of drama, it is to the side of frivolity that the programme inevitably leans. Since 2005 it would be fair to say Doctor Who has been afraid to take itself very seriously.

So that's my 10, I could probably think of another 10 but I'm going to leave it open to anyone else if they want to continue on from where I've left off. I have to say these posts have allowed me to get something off my chest which has been bothering me for a long time and I am heartened to see many of you have been in agreement with me about my misgivings . I am a lifelong fan of Doctor Who that no longer watches the series. It's a strange situation to be in and I feel cheated and robbed in a way.

I strongly believe that between them Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat have perverted a great sci fi icon into something cheap, crass and puerile. I have tried to like the new series, time after time I have tried to make excuses for it and forget the mistakes of the past and give it another chance but every time it lets me down. New Doctor Who leaves me feeling angry and mockingly contemptuous, rather than the comfortable feeling of nostalgia I get from the classic series.

I appreciate the show has to change and evolve. I never wanted a carbon copy of the Classic series. I believe we could have had an updated Doctor Who that was relevant to the 21st century and was actually good. Occasionally I have seen glimpses of this in the new series but it has never been capitalised on or sustained. A good percentage of the changes Davies and Moffat have brought to the show have been to its detriment.

It is now nigh on 10 years since Doctor Who returned and it should have been a cause for celebration. Instead I can only look back on 10 years of disapointment, failed potential and on how I became shut out of a show that had been such a big part of my life. Compared to the achievements of those original first ten years, I honestly feel the show has moved on very little from that first episode in 2005.

It's like the series is stuck in Groundhog Day or as Doctor Who would call it a Chronic Hysteresis and to paraphrase Romana... I dont think it'll ever get out of it.

I remember watching from Rose to The Impossible Planet Parts 1 & 2 (Impossible Planet/Satan Pit) and being like many NuWhovians.  This is the GREATEST Doctor Who episode of ALL TIME!  NO, they've done one BETTER!  My enthusiasm for the show grew and grew.

Then came Love & Monsters, and I was left quite literally speechless, stunned at the freakshow I had seen and worse, growing with a shaking fury the more I thought on it.  I was so appalled at the end of it that I refused to watch Fear Her because the trailer became tainted by mere association with that horror.  I was so enraged and disgusted I quit watching Doctor Who then and there.  For full disclosure I did watch Doomsday Parts 1 & 2 (Army of Ghosts/Doomsday) but only to show my friend Fidel Gomez, Jr. (who may or may not be dead) the Daleks and Cybermen. 

He found the whole thing hilarious.  I found it sad and pointless.

It wasn't until The Eleventh Hour that I came back to Who and give it a second chance, and while I do still watch Doctor Who, it is almost with no sense of pleasure, seeing it as being determined to divorce itself from the first 26 years to concentrate on its first nine.  I am extremely close to saying that, despite the "50th" Anniversary Special and the efforts to make NuWho tie in with Classic Who, the revived Doctor Who has nothing to do with what came between An Unearthly Child and Survival

Mind you, this is coming from the fact that the end of Love & Monsters left me a bit puzzled.  "What kind of love life could they possibly have?" I asked myself at the end.  Put it to my naïvete, but I didn't get the 'love life' bit, at least at first.  When, after some thought (seriously, I had to think about what kind of love life Elton and Linda could be capable of), my reaction was "Eww!" 

Russell T Davies says he's shocked, SHOCKED that anyone would think oral sex was going on in here.

Sure, Davies NEVER meant to suggest oral sex.  No doubt about it.  In fact, I bet Davies is still a virgin who has never gone cruising and that Queer as Folk just sprung from someone else's imagination and has nothing to do with Davies or his past (real or imagined). 

I hate Love & Monsters for many reasons (a bad monster, terrible acting, deliberate mocking of the Doctor Who fanbase, almost cartoonish chase scenes, an almost brutal manner with the characters, nonsensical characters to begin with).  The "not oral sex" joke, which for better or worse went over my head, was the most disgusting thing of a disgusting episode. 

Of course, little did I know that Steven Moffat would manage to outdo Love & Monsters.

Here, Barry and I are in total accord.  What is it with all of Moffat's "Doctor Who?" jokes?  I have nothing against this.  The Classic Era had some fun on occasion with "Doctor Who?", like in The Gunfighters or The Five Doctors.  However, the few times "Doctor Who?" was used in the original was few and far between.  NuWho has an almost pathological obsession with it, and like any joke, it's gotten stale with every passing use. 

To quote the great Morrissey, That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore
To quote Frozen, Let It Go.

This is the thing Moffat and the Moffia simply don't get.  You can't take something seriously if the characters can't take it seriously.  Doctor Who is a science-fiction program, not a fantasy program.  The Librarians is a fantasy program, so all sorts of outlandish things can happen because we are not in a 'real' world (for example, Santa Claus appearing).  Doctor Who, for its part, has to be grounded in some sort of reality, otherwise it's just idiotic (for example, Santa Claus appearing). 

Why fans enjoy "Doctor Who?" or the Doctor 'speaking horse', let alone think that the Doctor would come out in favor of same-sex horse marriages, is clever or some sign of genius I genuinely have no idea.

Doctor Who 2.0 is dying.  It is a bad show, too wrapped up in it own faux-mythology to be any good as solid science-fiction.  People may love it, but they also have an affinity for things like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Adam Sandler movies.  Does that make them 'quality' too?  Popularity and quality are not always the same.  It's clear that Steven Moffat, self-delusional 'genius' is at the heart of all Doctor Who's problems.  If he remains stubborn and is allowed to hold on to power, then the brilliant work that has come before, and that includes the revived Doctor Who, will all be shambles, sacrificed at the altar of a raging egomaniac who is surrounded by sycophants and nitwits.