Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Missus and the Ex: Tennant and Piper in the 50th Special

Well, "The Bells of St. John" is airing in Britain, but I have to wait until iTunes has the episode tomorrow. And even if we did get BBCA (which we don't), it's off to a hockey game tonight....sigh. In the meantime, I'm going to muse over the latest announcement regarding the 50th anniversary.
Billie Piper and David Tennant are returning for the 50th anniversary special, 
confirmed by the BBC here. And there was much rejoicing online. Well, much rejoicing tempered with concerns about Moffat writing Rose. On the other hand...I have a feeling I'll be flooded in hate once I post this on Tumblr.
None of what follows is a judgment on Tennant or Piper. They're fine actors, with outstanding roles outside of Doctor Who as well as their significance within the fandom.  I may not like certain aspects of the characters they played, but I have nothing against them. Also, I have seen all but one season of Classic Who, so what follows is said as a fan of ALL the Doctors, not just NuWho.
I have concerns about the length and number of the specials, though I won't go into them here. In my opinion, the purpose of a 50th anniversary special is to commemorate the entire history of the show, not just the revived series.  Therefore, the characters and monsters should be iconic--the things people think of when they say "Doctor Who," not just one-off enemies, no matter how well-liked. For Moffat's era, that would be Ponds and Weeping Angels.
Therefore, I think that Sarah Jane Smith or the Brigadier would have been the most appropriate characters for a return--which is impossible, sadly. Both appeared with multiple Doctors and spent multiple seasons in the show. I'm not sure who I'd pick as a runner-up, but I have dramatic issues with Rose.
The announcement didn't say that Piper and Tennant are reprising their roles as Rose and Ten(Two?)--I think it'd be cool if they weren't, but I'm going with the obvious assumption. So either we have Rose and Ten from season two, or Rose and TenToo from the alternate universe.  I'm not thrilled with either option, but again,  the latter seems more likely.
I didn't like Rose's return in Journey's End--it cheapened her departure in Doomsday. I mean, we're told both universes could collapse if they were breached, so how did Rose make it back?  The stars were going out, but I would think that would only increase the problem, not let her come through.  Flashbacks and clips are one thing--I was fine with the cameos in Let's Kill Hitler, even the End of Time moment--but her story has reached a satisfactory conclusion. So has the Ponds. I love them, I'd love to see them again, but the Doctor can't. Period.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Les Miserables

To love another person is to see the face of God
---Les Miserables. 
After putting up with my roommate's obsession for months--she had  "Red and Black" as her ringtone until even she got fed up with it and put it on vibrate--I have finally watched the 2012 film adaptation.  And my opinion?

Well, I really liked the first half, with Valjean fleeing Jarvert (Do not forget his name!). I think I saw one of the old film adaptations, or at least the candlestick part--and I dimly remember reading it at the school library, though it must have been an abridged version. Anyway, I liked seeing Valjean's transformation and his care for Fantine. Especially since the opening of "Lovely Ladies" reminded me of nothing so much as maggots crawling from a corpse onto a fresh body and transferring infection. Ewww! Definitely not rated PG, especially since the bed at the end of the scene strongly resembles a coffin.  After that nightmare, his kindness must have been so surprising, especially since Fantine believed he'd consented to her canning.

The second half, on the other hand....I couldn't keep the barricade boys straight in the least. Their plan didn't make sense to me either. Okay, so you hijack the parade of a national hero and build barricades from everybody's furniture--and this is supposed to accomplish what, exactly? It's as odd as the Occupy Wall Street protests, except there's guns involved and almost everyone dies. Maybe it's because I like character development, but I couldn't really see any development in any character besides Jarvert , Valjean, and (more passively) Fantine. Cosette is Marius's blond sweetheart, while Eponine is the unlucky first girl and the guys are handsome canon fodder. Gavroche was cute, but given what happens to him...

I think I'd like the film better if I had the author's original backstories in mind, which means...a lot of reading

Friday, March 22, 2013

Clever Title Loading--Insert Something About Clara Here

I'll admit it---as the new season of Doctor Who draws nearer, I'm worried about it. Okay, I'm excited too, but mostly worried. This is the first change of companions since I've started watching in 2010,  and one of my other shows is getting wibbly, so I'm just on edge about fandom things right now. The main thing I want to see in this season is the Doctor's smile--a real one, not a half-smile of remembrance or distraction. I want this companion (who I'll be calling C3 to distinguish her from Clara and Oswin) to help Eleven heal from ---but not forget. He can't ever forget them) the Ponds.
When I thought about this, I came up with three character traits that I think C3 needs.
1.  Most of all, C3 needs to be a good listener.  More than that, she needs to be a meta-listener, understanding all the things he doesn't say, all the times he stops himself from mentioning a name or looks at her with distant eyes. This might mean drawing him out on occasion, but mostly it means paying attention to him. He doesn't look back, it hurts too much, and if she ignores what he does say, he'll bottle it all up and we know where that leads....
2. Because he's sulking, C3 needs to be enthusiastic about life. Not necessarily an optimist--sarcastic would be fine--but someone who grabs his hand and drags him out of the TARDIS to meet Geronimo or visit the planet where all the ballpoint pens go. Eleven said in a season five extra scene that he brings people with him so the universe is not just "stuff," but something exciting.
3. C3 needs to care about him. Well, she should be compassionate in general, but she especially needs to care for him. He's convinced that the universe doesn't care, that it doesn't matter how many times he does good things, it will always go unnoticed--and since we're not sure where River is*, that job falls to C3. I just wish I could be there to give him a hug, but since I can't,  I'm counting on C3 to remind him that he's not alone.
 (And a bonus:  C3 MUST get along with River) They don't have to be buddy-buddy or anything like that--it might hurt too much,  now that I think of it.  Oh, mah Pond girls!--but if she tries to belittle or diss River, it will not end well. If River doesn't claim revenge, all her fans will be lining up for a shot, and I'll be at the head of the line.

The only other major concern I have is that Clara might be a lesbian. Not that I think they'd show anything more than flirting or a kiss on family TV, but it would still be awkward with my family, especially the little brother. Don't want her crushing on the Doctor, either...

*Still wish Sarah Jane could show up and remind him "You've got the biggest family in the whole of creation."


Look at the pretties that came in the mail today! And you don’t even see the mini-posters—one of Four, one of Death of the Doctor, and one from The Next Doctor. I squeed so loud when I got the notification, then took off running to the mail center! HAPPINESS! 
Look at the pretties that came in the mail today! And you don’t even see the mini-posters—one of Four, one of Death of the Doctor, and one from The Next Doctor. I squeed so loud when I got the notification, then took off running to the mail center! HAPPINESS! 
Surprisingly, I actually found the Christmas issue to be more exciting--there were interviews with Tom Baker and Kathy Manning, and a comic story that had Eleven meeting the Inklings, and reviews of audio adventures I'VE ACTUALLY HEARD*

*This is big. Unlike the old novels, most of the audios aren't available online.  Back at the beginning of January, BBC Radio 4 Extra aired Big Finish's aired the Eighth Doctor's (audio) season four (except for An Earthly Child), so I know things about Tamsin and Lucie Miller. It makes me feel superior.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Twilight Zone

Snow on the first day of classes after spring break is a little weird,  although normal for this region of the country. First day of spring today? In my dreams, sweet summer child.  We're probably the only people to understand the phenomenon of "second winter"--such as last year, when we had an 80 degree week in March followed by 50s and 40s.  
But what's even weirder is the effect of Daylight Savings Time.  It got kind of trippy to begin with, since I was down at my grandparents' that weekend, and we went to their church...which happened to be just inside another time zone. So I'm not sure what that did to my body clock, but...
It's still light out till, like 6 pm! Left for Awana the other night and it felt so off driving to church in daylight. I don't think my mental clock is comfortable with this yet. And that's not even counting food schedules...yeah, I have no idea about time anymore.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Welcome to Storybook (and possibly goodbye)

I know I've said this before--after The Miller's Daughter, after Queen of Hearts--but when Once Upon a Time gives me more distressing feels than Doctor Who,  it's time to reevaluate fandom ties.
At least with Doctor Who, you know that the writers genuinely care about ALL the characters. While interpretations may vary, you don't get fans cheering on the Daleks or Cybermen and being angry when they lose-loose ugh I give up--don't win.
Once Upon a Time...well, I have my doubts. I'll be honest, it's the first time I've hated the fandom at large. So many people call Henry horrible names, so many people call the Charmings hypocrites...and then last week's murder--I mean, I'm glad Cora's dead and Snow's still alive, but at least if one of the good guys had been killed people wouldn't have more reasons to sympathize with Regina...
*cough*you know it's bad when you'd rather have one of your favorites killed to protect her reputation  *cough* Anyway, I thought it was kind of cool to see how Regina responded to the initial arrival in Storybook--though it would have been cool to see if she was surprised by electronics and such...but the way she acted with the boy--as soon as I saw Owen, I more or less took it for granted that he was connected to the stranger who crashed into town goodness-knows-how-many-episodes ago (law of conservation of detail), but seriously, how does Regina's treatment of a kid SHE ORPHANED  prove she was a good mother to Henry? And then Regina claims Snow is  "corrupted!" I'd be more worried if Snow WASN'T upset about killing Cora, for crying out loud....

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph

It seems last night was a Wreck-It Ralph night for a lot of people--two of my Facebook friends commented about (trying) to watch it, and my family rented it from Redbox. I was actually more interested in Rise of the Guardians (especially because it's gained a four-way crossover fandom on Tumblr), but it actually was really fun. I cared about the characters and loved the scenery in Sugar Rush, but it didn't produce any of the intense "feels" that Doctor Who or even Once Upon a Time does.

Ralph is tired of smashing windows and living in the dump in his video game. The only way his life is going to improve is if he gets a shiny medal, so he sets out to get one. But his attempts to climb the tower in Hero's Duty go wrong, and he crashes into the candy-racing world of Sugar Rush, accidentally bringing a computer virus with him. But his biggest problem is Vanellope, a "glitch" who steals his medal in order to enter the big after-hours race.
It's been a while since I've watched an animated film, and I've forgotten how much fun it was. Oh, it was really funny, and I loved Vanellope and Ralph. They were so sweet together, like a big brother and a way-younger sister who gets on his nerves but he still loves her.  
Next on the list: Rise of the Guardians.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Critiques and Commentaries

"Though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creature so wild as one of his own commentators."--G.K. Chesterton

Hornets buzz in my blacked-out brain:
panicked, shrill, and harpy-sweet.
Hands clamp shoulders, press into stillness,
the motionless frenzy of deer before dogs
devour their entrails. 

I snatch bewildered maple seeds
 name them, squeeze my fists
 too tightly: the webbing tears. 

Two syllables as a question:
my name 

with the rising, falling he uses used.
I almost had his hand. 


A ton of feathers, 
too heavy, light,
blown apart in the breeze. 

Warm, clinging fingers wrap my wrist
,brushing the base of my thumb, afraid to hold
tighter lest I break and bruise.  My name—soft, like a prayer,
like he said it. Oh. Her. Pale, skittish, empty-eyed.
My chest tightens, accused by her resemblance. 

It’s no kindness, her comfort 
a black-edged telegram: cause of death
 accidental. Grant me gnawing guilt,
feast it with fire, anything but emptiness

and shared sorrow: stale snacks in
some psychoanalyst’s office.  

One of my classes this semester is Writing Capstone. It's meant to be the final class for writing and writing/literature majors, in which all your previous classes and work are drawn upon to produce the ultimate expression of your writing skill. So, no pressure there.  Because there are only five of us in this class, we all read and critique everyone else's work.  The above poem was my first piece written for this class.
What do you think it's about?
  1. A romantic poem
  2. A mental breakdown
  3. A friend's death
  4. I'm not sure
The "correct" answer, if one still believes that authorial intention is valid, is number three, a friend's death. Actually, it was mostly, if not entirely, based on the reaction of Eleven to the Ponds' departure in "Angels Take Manhattan" and John's response to Sherlock's fall in Reichenbach. Mostly the former, but some elements of the latter as well. The "she" in the last two verses is River, of course. I have complicated narrative headcanons for my poems, which are being removed during editing, but I just thought I'd share this. It was actually hilarious to me when we started critics, because all of the incorrect responses mentioned above were actual comments given by my peers. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Miller's Daughter

Good news! She's dead!
The Witch of the West is dead!
The wickedest witch there ever was
The enemy of all of us here in Oz
Is dead!
…actually, maybe that’s not the best song for this post, considering that the whole musical is devoted to proving that the “Wicked Witch” really isn’t that evil after all. On the other hand, given certain segments of fandom, it might be the perfect tune.
I didn’t actually get to watch this episode until this morning, since I was riding through a snowstorm Sunday evening. I even dreamt about it—though in my dream, it was Hook(?!) who died, not Cora. 
I am fine with Cora’s death. More than fine, actually. I think she’s the one character that the fandom would label evil—though I don’t hang out in Evil Regal-dom if I can avoid it, so I’m not sure. But the aftermath…ugh, it’s going to be just as I suspected, if not worse. A brief visit to the tags produced plenty of calls for Snow’s death….a few people were defending her actions, but the latter makes me uncomfortable as well. Especially the part where she acted like she was trying to help Regina, because it was so genuine and believable. It almost calls into question all her previous actions, giving the anti-Charming contingent more fuel for their hatred.
I am also a fully converted Rumbelle shipper—his goodbye speech to Belle was absolutely beautiful.
You are a hero who helped your people. You're a beautiful woman who loved an ugly man. Really, really loved me. You find goodness in others. And when it's not there, you create it. You make me want to go back... back to the best version of me. And that never happened before. So when you look in the mirror and you don't know who you are, that's who you are. Thank you... Belle.
After a speech like that, they had to keep him alive for potential fallout next week—plus, I’m confused—didn’t Regina do something odd when raiding Belle’s purse? I thought she had her memories back. Or at least some of them. Anyway, that was heartwarming. All the scenes with Rumple were heartwarming…he may be a scheming, conniving crook, but at least he doesn’t go around planning to murder people, just make them miserable.
And did Snow have to use the candle? Seriously, that’s absolutely horrible…I don’t want Snow to be a murderer. David was absolutely right—it’s not who she is, it’s not part of her character, even in protection of her family. I would have been fine with a sword fight, falling out of the clock tower, even something like a trial by jury…part of it can be summed up in The Song of Fire and Ice line “if you kill a man, you have to look him in the eye.” I wanted that for Snow’s sake, not Cora’s—I feel like that would have been less damaging than the underhanded way she had Regina put the heart back in.
Now everyone feels sorry for Regina, watching her mom die because of something she did. I am glad that Cora’s gone, but with how things played out, it’s like they want us to hate the Charmings. I am this close to giving up on the show and writing an elaborate headcanon for how it turns out.