Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: The Rings of Akhaten


 

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 21 of The Nerdist as Whore: The Rings of Akhaten.  My 'translations' are in red.




When I saw the trailer for “The Rings of Akhaten,” and took in the very alien sets and even more alien… aliens, I assumed it was going to be a Star Trek or Farscape inspired space odyssey,

When I saw the trailer for "The Rings of Akhaten", and took in the very alien sets and even more alien...aliens, I assumed it was going to be good.  I also thought that it would be nice to have a story take place somewhere other than 21st-Century London, which did I mention I've been to (and you haven't)?

and while it initially seemed like it, this was again an episode that focused on our two main characters and how they grow to understand each other by dealing with unfamiliar and dangerous circumstances.

While the sets, costumes, make-up, and even music was good, this was again an episode that focused on the Companion and how IMPORTANT she is.  We got to see her whole life story literally flash before our eyes, and realize the Doctor is a bit of a stalker, but coolness.  I don't mind.

In other words, it was a Doctor Who episode, and one that was surprisingly very sweet and touching even if it didn’t offer much in the way of plot.

In other words, it was a Doctor Who episode, and one that was shockingly very dumb and mawkish.  And seriously, what IS it with Anderson's lack of interest in plot?  This is at least the SECOND time where he tells us a Doctor Who story has little to nothing in way of plot, but that it's OK.  NO, Kyle, it's NOT OK.  A story HAS to have a plot to work, otherwise it's just a bunch of scenes tied together for no reason.

Get A Grip, Anderson!

Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but I was really moved by it, and I’m traditionally a cold-hearted bastard. Huh.

For a guy that goes on and on about how excited he is for the next episode of Doctor Who, he doesn't strike me as 'a cold-hearted bastard'.  Senile, well... 

The episode was written by Luther creator Neil Cross, and I must say, he’s a terrific writer for going so far outside of what he normally does, or at least what I know him for. Luther’s a gritty cop drama about serial killers and corruption and redemption, and this episode is, at its heart, about a little girl who is scared to sing in public.

The episode was written by Luther creator Neil Cross, and I must say, bless him for going out of his comfort zone to try and write something different.  It doesn't necessarily mean he succeeded in creating a proper Doctor Who story versus what he does on Luther, but he gave it as good a go as he could, and for that, he should be commended.

It’s something to which we can all relate.



WE is too many people. 

It also allowed us to get to know Clara – this Clara – better than we already thought we did in her curiosity and then wish to help the small Queen of Years, who is made to memorize the sum total of the history of her people, if only to be sacrificed to an ancient god. I adore Jenna-Louise Coleman.

I masturbated to Jenna-Louise Coleman.

She is the absolute perfect companion,

Come Again?
She is the absolute perfect companion,

Care to repeat that?

She is the absolute perfect companion,

I've got something in my bag for you, Kyle.
It'll be wicked...

and she and Matt Smith, who is also just phenomenal every single week, get on so spectacularly that I’m glad we have another six weeks with them.

and she and Matt Smith, who does his usual "Doctor as Idiot shtick" followed by "Doctor gives BIG speech shtick" every single week, are the Doctor/Companion team we're stuck with for another six weeks (at least). 

The direction by Farren Blackburn, of Luther, The Fades and other such British programming, is mostly good.

Farren Blackburn, also of Luther (it's like these guys took a holiday from the crime scene of London to have a bit of a jolly), did what he could with the material.

I loved the way he handled the “street” scenes on the asteroid, with all the various types of aliens and species, all of which looked amazing.

The make-up, costumes, and sets looked remarkably alien, which for once actually conveyed what the production was going for.  Here's to happy accidents.

He also did the stuff on Earth well, for the small amount Earth was onscreen.

Here were go with more "Companion-centric" story arcs.  Boy, I wish we'd get a Doctor who actually liked to travel through time and space, not one who has to sort out the mystery of yet another Tellurian who has to be the most important being on the planet...again.

I didn’t think, however, the massive blue-or-green screen stuff matched particularly well.

The special effects were horrible, which is shocking considering how much money the BBC is throwing at this thing.  Almost makes me long for when Doctor Who had rubber monsters, though at least these VFX, shoddy as they might be, were at least better than that embarrassing Myrka from Warriors of the Deep.  Now THAT was just an awful story, and I felt so sorry for everyone involved, trying so hard to make it all look believable when they knew it was so dreadful.   So yeah, compared to Warriors of the Deep, The Rings of Akhaten were Lord of the Rings brilliant.  However, that's an awful low bar to pass, isn't it?  

That’s not necessarily his fault, as the special effects were done by other people, but I still feel like the scenes could have been staged a little better so that the backgrounds didn’t look so very unbelievable.

It isn't fair to blame someone who has no control over things, but then again, how can I blame "the Moff" for anything that goes wrong on Doctor Who?  I'm paid to praise him, not bury him. 

That’s generally a minor nitpick, but the fact that they kept having to travel back and forth across expanses of space (which apparently has breathable atmosphere which is always at room temperature) really drew attention to the pretty but sometimes not well-blended CGI.

I already explained that I'm not bothered by a Doctor Who story not having an actual plot (which I don't think I've mentioned in this review.  Funny, huh?).  However, even I question the logic of traveling through space with no means of breathing.  Still, mine is not to question why, mine is but to praise and die. 

Something else that I didn’t really care for were the “evil” creatures. Sure, they looked amazing. Seriously, the designers outdid themselves.

Yes, the sets/costumes/make-up was good.  Broken clock.

No, I’m talking about how they were used narratively.

Again, odd since I don't really mind a story not having a plot. 

So, the Vigil are tasked with feeding the Queen of Years to the Grandfather if she decides she doesn’t want to be sacrificed; fine. I loved that they used sound to attack; that was great.

Worked great in driving Noriega out of Panama too.

The mummy in the glass box is not the elder god itself but is the alarm clock which awakens the god, which happens to be the sun around which the titular rings orbit. What’s the point of the alarm clock in the first place other than for us to think it’s the god?

To hit the snooze button?

If all the songs and everything are meant to keep the alarm clock asleep so that it can’t wake up the god, then why didn’t the people just kill the damn alarm clock while it was asleep?

Why ask why?

Did everyone think the thing in the box was the god? If so, then what did they think happened to the Queen of Years each time she got taken to the pyramid? Are the Vigil feeding her to the god or the alarm clock? And why would a god, even just a parasitic one, need a bipedal mummified creature that ALSO hibernates all the time to wake it up? That’s a very strange symbiotic relationship. What does the mummy get out of it besides a lifetime supply of lullabies to listen to from inside its cozy, see-thru box? It just didn’t make sense, really.

It's not suppose to make sense.  It's BRITISH!  Dear Heavens to Betsy, Kyle.  Why are you suddenly hung up on plot points that most of us questioned?  You haven't been before.  In fact, sometimes the lack of a plot is in your view, a good thing.  Why bother to complain now?! 

Also, “Cozy, See-Thru Box” is the name of my third album.

Nothing like a good joke to take the edge of the closest he'll get to actual criticism, analytical critic's mind be damned.

However, the episode wasn’t about the Vigil or the mummy or even the god itself;

If it wasn't, then a.) what was the point of your mini-tirade, and b.) what was the point of the episode itself?

it was about parents and what they mean to us when we’re scared.

it was about the Companion and how IMPORTANT she is. 

The Doctor actually mentions in this that he had a granddaughter, not just making weird allusions to the fact that he had a family at one point. This is juxtaposed with the sun god, which is also called “Grandfather.” Stories are to be passed on from the old to the young, but in the case of the god, he needs stories from the young to keep him alive. He’s a bad grandpa.



The Doctor learns about Clara’s past, which, we learn, colors the way she deals with the situation at hand.

The Doctor stalks Clara from even before she was born, which we learn, is a quick way to get sentimentality into Doctor Who.  Also, isn't curious that last week, Kyle was happy to see we were getting a Companion who was a clean slate and we didn't know anything about her family.  Now, ONE episode later, we learn All About Clara, right to how her parents met. 

Lessons she was taught help her face her fears and all that.

One lesson she apparently never learned: don't talk to idiots in bow ties.  Now, someone remind me: at one point in her childhood she did literally meet the Doctor, yet she has no memory of this?  Granted my own memory of The Rings of Akhaten is a little vague, but am I wrong in my recollection? 

She also learns a bit about the Doctor’s past and who he is, and what traveling with him will be like. Clara’s final speech, about being her own person and not the shadow of a ghost, is a wonderful little moment that lets the Doctor (and the audience) know that she’s more than a mystery.



She has to be. As much as I liked her, I don’t think Amy ever really was.

My, my, aren't WE mercurial.  In The Snowmen, you praised Moffat for coming up with a Companion "even more mysterious than Amelia Pond".  Now, you say Amy wasn't all that mysterious.  Yes, I agree with you there: Amy wasn't all that mysterious (just a mean girl who pushed her wimpy husband around to where she called him "Mr. Pond" to his face and he just said, 'Thank you may I have another?').  However, Clara is boring.  Pretty, yes, but unlike Kyle Anderson, I require more than a pretty face.   

Despite those few misgivings, I really, really liked “The Rings of Akhaten.”

 
SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

 

I hope the rest of Series 7 continues the way the previous seven episodes have.

I hope the rest of Series 7 makes sense.

I’ve always said Series 5 is my favorite New Who series, but at this rate, 7 will have it beat by a mile, even with “A Town Called Mercy” in there.

No surprise, given you've given positive 4-star reviews to 6 out of 7 stories (counting this one).  As for A Town Called Mercy, I think you have a quota of one negative review per season, and that one was the one chosen.   Let's go over a few things before we wrap up this little retro:

You didn't mention much if any of the actual plot (which isn't a big deal to you).
You mentioned oddities (like breathing in space) but pretty much papered over that.
You declared someone to be the perfect Companion after appearing in a total of four episodes (two if you don't count her dead and dead again shtick from Asylum of the Daleks and The Snowmen). 

Remind me, these ARE the actions of one with an 'analytical critic's mind', right?
  
Next week, it’s the one we’ve all been waiting for: “Cold War,” written by Mark Gatiss and directed by Douglas Mackinnon, the one that sees the return of the Ice Warriors, this time on a 1980s nuclear submarine, and even features Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham. I am excite!

Next week, it's the one we've all been dreading: "Cold War", written by my boss, Mark Gatiss, the one that sees the return of the Ice Warriors (which may suffer the same fate as previous Classic Doctor Who monsters), and even features someone from another geek-centric show.

I am not excite!

I am not even EXCITED!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: The Bells of Saint John



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 20 of The Nerdist as Whore: The Bells of Saint John.  My 'translations' are in red.


 

Hooray! It’s back!
 
Oh, God!  It's back!
 
Doctor Who has returned to our various screen-types and has delivered an episode that looks so phenomenal it almost doesn’t look like it belongs on Doctor Who.
 
Doctor Who has returned to our various screen-types and has delivered an episode that looks so appalling it shouldn't bear the name of Doctor Who.
 
“The Bells of Saint John” introduced Clara Oswald Proper (Jenna-Louise Coleman) in a story that was supremely modern in both its storytelling and presentation.
 
"The Bells of Saint John" introduced another cookie-cutter Companion (a feisty 21st Century pretty London-centric girl, making this the fourth London-centric company and fourth pretty girl, Karen Gillan's Scottish lass being the exception in the former, Catherine Tate the exception in the latter).  She was introduced in a story that was supremely modern in that it was rushed, idiotic, and appealing to those who haven't got a brain cell to their name. 
 
It also features some of the best Doctor-companion repartee in quite a long time. The Ponds were fun,

Someone refresh my memory.  In what episode did we meet Amy's parents?  Is it even worth bothering to point out that Amy and Rory were never "the Ponds"?  Granted, Rory was such a wimp he could have changed his last name to hers, but since that never happened, who are these "Ponds" Anderson & Company keep babbling on about?

but Clara’s ability to banter is unmatched. Let’s dive right in!

but Clara's ability to talk fast is unmatched.  Let's get through another Doctor Who horror!

Steven Moffat is known for making the everyday threatening.

Steven Moffat is know for destroying Doctor Who in his efforts to remake it in his image.

This time, he’s done it with something that surrounds everybody all the time, whether they like it or not: Wi-Fi. It’s everywhere and we can do nothing about it, so what if it was hostile?

Skynet would like a word with you.

What if it had control of us all?

Internet controlling people?  What rubbish!

What if it had these weird camouflaged servers with empty, hollow heads? Creepy-ass, right?

Weird camouflaged servers with empty, hollow heads?  You must be so proud, Kyle.  Steven Moffat finally wrote a story about you.  Kiss-ass, right?

As far as a villain goes, the Spoonheads and the corporate people who control them are fairly pedestrian, but the threat is very compelling.



As far as villains go, The Spoonheads were too dumb even for me, but I have to find something positive to say in another of my fluff pieces. 

And when, at the end of the episode, we find out they’re being controlled by the Richard E. Great Intelligence, it gives me a great deal of hope that he (and it) are going to play a much larger role in this season’s activities.

"Richard E. Great Intelligence"?  Looks like someone is in need of a 'Grant'.  I've got a message for you Kyle: don't get your hopes up.

Hooray for references to 1960s, and specifically Patrick Troughton, stories.

Which most NuWhovians have never seen or care about.

There’s probably going to be a lot of that this year.

 

The direction of this episode is nothing short of gorgeous.

Why do I get the sense Anderson confuses 'directing' with 'cinematography'?

This is Colm McCarthy’s first foray into the world of Doctor Who, and he’s not slated to direct any more this year.

This is Colm McCarthy's first foray into the world of Doctor Who, and he's not slated to be burdened by the horror the show's devolved into any more this year.

However, he’s directed episodes of very London-centric shows like MI-5 and Hunter, so he’s one of the best people for directing an episode that so perfectly utilizes the city’s sites and geography.



I LOVED Hunter growing up.  Oh, what, that's not the Hunter he's referring to?  Oh, well then, screw that!

I just went to London last autumn and saw all of the locations shown. It’s exactly like that.

I just went to London last autumn...and you didn't.  I have more money than you do.  I get paid to lick Steven Moffat's boots and Mark Gatiss' ass.  Ain't my life grand?  Sucks to be you, suckers!

And for the record, I, Rick Aragon, HAVE been to London, so stuff it, Anderson.

The throwaway joke about Earl’s Court, when the baddies are looking for the TARDIS, was quite funny. (There’s a real police box outside the tube station there… I took a picture by it.)

Did I mention I get paid to travel and promote crap like The Bells of Saint John?  All you guys can do is look at pictures.

Moffat’s other show, Sherlock, uses London exceedingly well, and I never imagined Doctor Who would feel so… REAL.

I really want Wholock, that long-dreamt crossover between Doctor Who and Sherlock, which would TOTALLY make sense and is as logical as an anti-gravity motorbike riding up on the outside of a building.  I yearn for the day the TARDIS lands in front of 221 B Baker Street because I'm pretty dippy.  After all, you can't imagine the TARDIS landing in front of the brownstone on CBS' Elementary.  That would be so illogical, if not downright stupid. Wholock on the other hand...now that's ICONIC television.  Oh, and if we can get the Winchester Brothers to pop up, oh....SUPERWHOLOCK!  I'm so geeking out!!!
This gives me hope for what an eventual feature film COULD look like.

If The Bells of Saint John is what a Doctor Who movie would look like, I should go and apologize to the ghost of Peter Cushing, because Doctor Who and the Daleks now looks like Forbidden Planet compared to this.

The real story here is the relationship between Clara and the Doctor. Coleman and Smith have chemistry to spare.

I've never been so sexually aroused by anyone as I am by Jenna-Louise Coleman.  Jenna-Louise Anderson.  Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

It was more volatile in “The Snowmen,” but here it’s no less engaging or fun to watch. Seeing the Doctor really care about looking out for Clara and attempting to save her (finally) is wonderful.

It's nice to see that the Companion doesn't die for a change, so maybe third time really is the charm.

Smith never fails to surprise me with how he plays the Eleventh Doctor.

Smith never fails to appall me with how he plays the Eleventh Doctor.

It’s maybe the most varied and nuanced of all the Doctors ever.



He goes from silly to serious so effortlessly.




I love that Clara doesn’t fall for the Doctor’s usual lines and isn’t afraid to call him on his BS. In a series populated by tough chicks, it’s nice to see one who actually IS tough and not just made to look that way.

In a series populated by hot chicks (and Catherine Tate), it's nice to see one who actually is so hot that she doesn't have to be made to look that way.  God, Coleman's so smoking-hot...

The mystery behind Clara is nowhere near close to being resolved, which I love.

The mystery behind Clara is nowhere near close to being interesting, but I love the fact we're going to get yet ANOTHER Companion-centered story arc.  We just got past The Girl Who Waited, we endured The Death and Transfiguration of River Song aka Moldy Pond, and now we're getting The Impossible Girl.  Another mystery involving a Companion.  I LOVE these endless repetitive plotlines.  I just love kissing Steven Moffat's ass.  Hell, I don't just love it, I LIVE it!

We hear, possibly, the origin of the name “Oswin” and we see her do things that each of her previous “versions” have done (look after children and be very good at computers).

Oh, will we get a mention of the "Oswin" bit again?  Don't remember if we will, or will it kind of fall by the wayside as time goes by. 

I was initially concerned about having another companion who is mysterious and with a complicated past, but it’s different enough, and the character is certainly different enough, that it’s not a distraction nor does it feel like a retread.

I thought we were going to get a repetition of what we've gotten before, but I really don't care so long as Jenna-Louise Coleman is in it.  So what if it's a retread? 

Clara is the only companion thus far in the new series with a completely clean slate, seemingly no relations, and definitely nothing going on for her beyond wanting to travel. I’m really looking forward to where she goes this year.

Clara is the only companion thus far in the new series who isn't saddled with a family that we have to get involved with and have to revisit every other episode (unlike Rose, Martha, Donna, Amy).  I'm hoping it stays that way.  However, by the end of her run I'm sure we'll get a particularly embarrassing episode where we DO get into her family and its past. 

The more I think about this episode, the less I feel I have to say,

The more I think about this episode, the less I like it or can defend it so I won't say anything about it.

but the more I think I enjoyed watching it.

I'm easily pleased...or paid off.

It’s not got a very complicated plot,

There's no plot, but I am on record saying that a story not necessarily having a plot is a bad thing.  Besides, if I gave an actual plot summary (which note that I didn't) you'd laugh your head off at the idiocy of it all.

it’s not a huge mystery, it doesn’t have very engaging villains or monsters, but it does have a huge amount of character and it’s never boring or dumb.
 
The mystery of The Bells of Saint John is silly, the villains and monsters are embarrassing, and it really has nothing to recommend it.  You can't imagine how hard I worked to make this garbage palatable.  By my own admission the plot's weak, the mystery small, has no engaging villains or monsters.  It does have Jenna-Louise Coleman, who is the star of my sexual fantasies. 


As for this being 'never boring or dumb', The Doctor rode UP on the OUTSIDE of a building on a MOTORBIKE!  Seriously dude, you don't think that was dumb at ALL?!?  The villains were called The Spoonheads.  Seriously dude, you don't think that was dumb at ALL?!?  The inside jokes about skipping to "Chapter 11" which will make you cry wasn't dumb?
 
It’s just a really good episode, a decent story with exceptional dialogue, direction, and performances.

It's just a really horrendous episode, a dreadful story with idiotic dialogue, passable direction, and hit-and-miss performances.

There’s a reference to Amy (the book the son is reading is written by Amelia Williams),

Whoever this "Amelia Williams" is...

a small reference to UNIT, which you know I love, and there’s a small setup for what will probably be the main baddie for the rest of the series.

I like UNIT, even if it plays virtually no part in NuWho (apart from Kate "I'm Not Just the Brigadier's Daughter But Don't Forget I'm the Brigadier's Daughter" Stewart), and we're getting a thread that the Great Intelligence will be popping up throughout the series/season, like Madame Kovarian, like Bad Wolf, like the crack in time.  We got this year's running thread...but again, does the Great Intelligence really play a large part this season?  Can't remember.

One thing that may (and I’m sure will) come back into play is this mysterious woman from the shop who gave Clara the Doctor’s number that rang the eponymous “Bells of Saint John.” Might be River, might be Amy, might be Clara herself from the future, might be someone totally different; it’ll be interesting to see who.


Well, in a way, it is...and isn't...a woman, if you can believe that.  I can bet you it's someone you wouldn't think was possible this season, but we'll have to wait till next season to come up with a twist so out-of-control I'm sure you'll wet yourself and call 'genius', logic be damned.

So, to sum up: very good episode, would watch again, +++++.

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!
Sorry to interrupt Kyle, but tell me, what was this episode about? 

Next week, we have “The Rings of Akhaten,” written by Neil Cross and directed by Farren Blackburn, both of Luther fame. Looks pretty weird and definitely very alien, which was rather lacking in Series 7a. Until then!

OMG...we're going to get a Doctor Who episode that actually takes place somewhere other than Earth?!  I think this will be the first time since I don't know...maybe sometime when the show was in black-and-white.  You know, one of those 'lost episodes' or whatever.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: The Snowmen




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 17 of The Nerdist as Whore: The Snowmen.  My 'translations' are in red.




Ah, the annual Doctor Who Christmas special; my favorite holiday tradition. And being with family and stuff too, sure.

Nothing about Midnight Mass if you're Catholic, or going to church, or acknowledging that Christmas is celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ, whom many people believe to be God?  I forget, Christ has nothing to do with Christmas. 

This year’s special, “The Snowmen,” brought us a mixture of very old, kind of old, relatively new, and very new, all within a very entertaining and intriguing hour-long adventure.

At the Anderson home, they don't drink Moon-nog, they drink Kool-Aid.

Unlike either of the previous two Matt Smith/Steven Moffat Christmas specials, this one directly impacts the continuity of the series, likely because it’s in the middle of one.

Does this mean that neither A Christmas Carol or The Doctor The Widow and The Wardrobe are part of Doctor Who's continuity?  So let it be written...

It saw the return of some great characters that I was very happy to see again



Love me some same-sex bestiality and idiot Sontarans.

and had an “iconic” villain or two, whatever that might mean.

We have no idea what The Snowmen was referencing too, but we had to do something so we had some nods to what came before Rose, just to keep Classic Who fans disgusted by just how bad Doctor Who has become under Moffat's reign of terror quiet.

It also had snow creatures with big, sharp teeth that make little brothers afraid and have to leave the room (I’m assuming that holds true for everybody, right?)

I'm sure a lot of people had to leave the room during The Snowmen, and more than a few walked out due to fear...fear of hurling something at the TV screens.

and a dead, terrifying governess made out of ice. All in all, a really great return that made me really excited to then have to wait four more months until it comes back…

Well, here we go again with another "this is the BEST Doctor Who episode of All Time until the next Doctor Who episode, which will THEN be the BESTEST Doctor Who episode of All Time" recap.

When we meet the Doctor this time (as with the prequels we’ve seen),

...which is not Canon...

he’s in London, circa 1892, living a hermit-like existence, more or less removed from society, only casually helping The Great Detective (and inspiration for Sherlock Holmes!) herself, Madame Vastra, her faithful assistant/wife Jenny, and the somehow-alive Sontaran Strax, who provides much of the comic relief in the episode.

This man has NOTHING to do with
Sherlock Holmes, who was created by
Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
How is Strax alive?  We don't know, we don't care, we just think he's funny (and gives Matt Smith a run for his money in the 'idiot department').  How exactly does Sir Arthur Conan Doyle come to know of Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint?  We don't know, we don't care, we just think Benedict Cumberbatch is dreamy (and, Jeremy Who?  Vasily What?  Basil Where?...never heard of them).  There were no actors who played Sherlock Holmes before Benny, and no actors will ever play Sherlock Holmes after Benny.

These characters, as you may remember, all appeared in Series 6’s “A Good Man Goes to War”

Kyle, as you may remember, stated that A Good Man Goes to War, "nothing really happened until the last few minutes", and that "was full of action and cool new characters, but there wasn't strictly, a 'plot'".  However, since you also wrote that a lack of plot wasn't "necessarily a bad thing", we know you aren't too particular about such matters, so you should love this episode.

as part of the Doctor’s army. I really love these characters and am very pleased to see them back,

I really loath these characters and am very horrified to see them back, sucking the life out of anything they touch.

and judging by the “Coming Soon” trailer for the rest of the series, we haven’t seen the last of them.

and judging by the "Coming Soon" trailer for the rest of the series, we won't be able to get rid of them, especially if we get another Victorian-era story;  in Doctor Who-Land, the only periods in British history are the Victorian Era and the Blitz.  Nothing happened before Queen Victoria took the throne, and nothing happened between her death and World War II, and nothing between that and the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II.

If there’s one thing at which Steven Moffat excels, it’s creating compelling secondary characters to be the allies of the Doctor.

If there's one thing at which Steven Moffat insists on, it's creating horrible secondary characters to supplant the Doctor as star of his eponymous television show.

Lest we forget, he created River Song

We can't forget Steven Moffat created River Song, and we certainly cannot forgive.

and, if not created, was the first person to write Captain Jack.

I won't argue whether Russell T or Moffat brought us the intergalactic nymphomaniac, but I'll side on the Moffat camp on this one.

I’m not the first to say this, nor will I be the last, but if they wanted to make a Vastra & Company show, I’d absolutely watch it.

I thought The Snowmen WAS a Vastra & Company show.  The whole thing played like a damn pilot for The Paternoster Gang.  If such a horror were unleashed on the public, I wonder what that 'very special episode' where one of the Mrs. Vastras tries to conceive a Silurian/human child.

The enemy in this story is Dr. Simeon, played by Richard E. Grant, who as a child became the play thing of the Great Intelligence, an enemy whom the Doctor has not faced since he was in his Second iteration back in the ‘60s.

And which most if not all NuWhovians can't be bothered with.

I love all the references to the Classic Series we’re getting this year. Might it be due to the 50th anniversary? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Enjoy them while you can, Kyle, because on the actual 50th anniversary special itself, you hear nary a word about anything that came pre-Rose.  You know, the way it was meant to be.

And who better to voice the Great Intelligence than Gandalf Magneto, aka Sir Ian McKellen?

What, Nicholas Briggs was unavailable?

Grant and McKellen are excellent choices, and they’re good enough actors to make do with what is probably the least fleshed-out part of the script.

Grant and McKellen are good enough actors to compensate for the total absence of an actual script.  However, did I mention how I'm not bothered that episodes don't have things like 'plot'?

Essentially, the Great Intelligence is using the minds of people to manifest the chompy alien snow as carnivorous beasts.

As far as goofy plans go, the one cooked up by the Not-So-Great Intelligence is up there in nuttiness.  Unless the Great Intelligence can control the Earth's weather, how will these chompy alien snow work in the American Southwest or the Amazon, where snow is virtually unheard of?

What it really needs, though, is a completely icy person to help it take human form.



Luckily for it, the former governess of a rich man’s children drowned in the house’s pond.

Which would in no way traumatize the rich man's children.  Now, if maybe they had pushed her in...

Luckily for the world, the rich man’s children have a new governess.

Just a spoonful of acid...
 
This brings us to Clara, a/k/a Miss Montague, aka Clara Oswin Oswald, aka SoufflĂ© Girl, played again by Jenna-Louise Coleman, the tavern wench SLASH prim and proper governess. I don’t think I’ve liked a companion this immediately in… ever. She’s absolutely fantastic.

I've never been as aroused by a Companion this immediately in...ever.  She's absolutely f...antastic. 

I thought I liked her in “Asylum of the Daleks,” but this absolutely solidified it. Like most of Moffat’s women, she’s savvy and smart and capable, which is great.


Like most of Moffat's women, she has no personality and is besotted by the main character.

We don’t need any shrieking whiners.

Then why did you like Rory so much?

I was very curious how it would be explained how a girl in the future who was inside a Dalek (who died) would be related to a girl in Victorian times.

(who died).

A few people thought that, like River Song, we saw the end of the character’s life and her time with the Doctor would be earlier in her life. I thought this seemed too easy, and too done-already.

Not that ever stopped the Moff.

My theory was that “Clara” would be some ancestor of “Oswin” who just happens to look exactly the same.



We both were wrong; leave it to the Moff to come up with a character who’s even more mysterious than Amelia Pond.

First, again, NEVER trust a reviewer who insists on such a chummy nickname for the subject he's reviewing.  Imagine if Roger Ebert kept referring to him as "Marty".  It suggests that reviewer and subject are too intertwined.  You can be a champion for a particular figure (as Ebert was of Scorsese) but when you insist on calling the object of your 'analytical critic's mind' by a nickname, it suggests you are far from impartial, which is what Anderson pretends to be. 

As for Amelia Pond being mysterious?  A little too much Moon-nog, Kyle?  Amelia Pond mysterious?! 

Turns out, she’s somehow recurring throughout history and has twice died helping the Doctor. So very interesting.

Turns out, the Moff can regurgitate the same plot points over and over and we won't care.  So very idiotic.

Her scene with Vastra is really great, too.

Jenna Louise Coleman worked great with the star of the show.  What, you thought Doctor Who was about the Doctor?  PERISH THE THOUGHT!

Matt Smith again proves himself to be my favorite Doctor.

There's no accounting for taste.

I loved seeing him sulking around, trying his hardest not to get involved, and slowly but surely reigniting his interest through a new companion.

I hate how we're suppose to care about all this because few things are as dull as dishwater than to see another potential Companion get the hots for the Doctor...again.

He goes out of his way not to wear a bow tie, not to engage with people, not to be the Doctor, but his gradual re-Doctoring was just dandy.

He goes out of his way not to be all about costumes and catchphrases, to make us give a damn, to be a character we can at least try to take seriously, but his gradual re-Doctoring was just agony.

He has this amazing ability to be at once youthful and a thousand years old, and you can see all of it here. At the beginning of the episode, he’s as old-acting as we’ve ever seen him,

You ain't seen nothing yet.

and as he regains his lust for adventuring, he seems suddenly younger.

And as I gain a gander at Coleman's legs and thighs and...other parts I'd like to take a bite out of, I seemed suddenly more aroused.

It’s an amazing feat. The new TARDIS interior is slick and cool and reflects the way the show’s been going this year.

Now, maybe I wasn't paying attention, but did we really get a recap of the actual plot?  I think what we got was a nice love-note to how cool Smith was, how hot Coleman was, and how fun it was to see three useless characters again.  Don't think he mentioned anything about the Doctor's role itself was or what the actual plot was.  Sorry, I forgot that you're not too keen on plots.

There’s a lot more to “The Snowmen” that a second or third viewing will undoubtedly awaken in my brain, but having only seen it once, amid the noise of family, I found it completely agreeable.

There's a lot more to "The Snowmen" that a second or third viewing will undoubtedly appall anyone with a brain, but having only seen it once, amid the noise of payoffs and ass-kissing, I found it completely agreeable.

Much more engaging than last year’s “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe,”

Which you said, and I quote, "succeeded in being a truly Christmassy and special Christmas special".

it continues the Series 7 tradition of being pretty much awesome.



Do you think this runs in Kyle Anderson's head whenever he writes his 'analytical' Doctor Who reviews?

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

The Clara-Oswin storyline is really something I’m looking forward to uncovering.

The Clara-Oswin storyline is really something I'm sure will get dropped pretty quickly and not be spoken of again.  If we do uncover whatever the storyline is, it is sure not to make sense if you think about it.  Unless you have an analytical critic's mind, then Everything Is Awesome.

Until then I’ll probably watch “The Snowmen” a bunch more times.

Until then I'll probably go and kill my few remaining brain cells and let my integrity evaporate a bunch more times.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have ham to eat.

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I have ass to kiss.