Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Talking to yourself: Intelligent conversation not guaranteed

When watching the news last night

JARED: Hey, who's that actress in the photo? Looks kinda like Rachel Weisz or Liz Hurley. They're hot. Surely I'd have noticed if they were in anything recently?

HIGH AND MIGHTY JARED: ...that's Kathryn Bigelow.

JARED: Oh. Right.... so what's she been in?

HAMRED: She hasn't been in anything.

JARED: What? So why's there a photo of her with 'BAFTAs' written next to it?

HAMRED: Because she won a BAFTA!

JARED: ...but you said she isn't in anything!

HAMRED: No! - because she's a director, you fucking idiot! She did The Hurt Locker.

JARED: Ohhhh. Right. I think it says a bit about the movie industry that it didn't occur to me that a woman could win Best Director.

HAMRED: Really? Or does it say a bit about you?

JARED: What's that meant to mean?

HAMRED: I think maybe you overlook women directors entirely.

JARED: What? You crazy, motherfucker!

HAMRED: Okay, then. Name some.

JARED: Erm.... erm..... erm.... Fiona Cumming.

HAMRED: She's a TV director.

JARED: She's still a director.

HAMRED: From Doctor Who twenty years ago. That really doesn't count.

JARED: You didn't stipulate anything like this!

HAMRED: I didn't think that I'd have to. Come on, man, you only remember her name because it sounds a little dirty.

JARED: Hey, but she did Enlightenment and Planet of Fire. Those stories were pinata!

HAMRED: Okay, no more messing around, a female FILM director.

JARED: Okay... erm.... erm.... ermmm.... the chick who's done It's Complicated and I think may have done About Schmidt as well.

HAMRED: The chick?

JARED: The lady! The lady!

HAMRED: You don't even know her name or if she did that second film.

JARED: Yeah, well.... erm... there was the.. woman.. who did The Oyster Farmer. That's two I don't know the names of. Surely that would add up to one I DO know the name of?

HAMRED: Sigh, you're setting the bar very low...

JARED: Okay what about.. Kathryn Bigelow.

HAMRED: That's the one I brought up a few minutes ago.

JARED: Okay... Alice Bell!

HAMRED: She wrote Suburban Mayhem.

JARED: Yeah...

HAMRED: You expect me to be impressed at the mere fact you are able to remember a female's name in general?

JARED: Well... you put it like that you make me sound like a prick. Surely Meryl Streep has directed something?

HAMRED: You know her as an actress!

JARED: Christ! This sucks. How many people can name a heap of directors, anyway? Huh?

HAMRED: How many can you name?

JARED: Just a couple. Steven Spielberg. Martin Scorses. Francis Ford Coppola. The obvious ones, you know. Like...Peter Weir, Kevin Smith, William Friedkin, James Cameron, Woody Allen, Cecil B. DeMille, Alfred Hitchcock, Ron Howard, Raoul Peck, Paul Goldman, Clint Eastwood, Spike Jonze, Guy Ritchie, Andy and Larry Wachowski, Michael Moore, Peter Jackson, Paul Greengrass, Ridley Scott, Michael Winner, Richard Curtis, Luc Besson, Bryan Singer, Harold Ramis, Spike Lee, David Murramai, Ang Lee, Christopher Nolan, Ivan Reitman, John Landis, Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Franco Zefferelli, Tim Burton, Kenneth Brannagh, Mark Joffe, Gore Verbinski.

HAMRED: You see my point?

JARED: I should have a couple of others. Oh! Sophia Coppola!

HAMRED: NOOOO! YOU HAVE DEFEATED ME! Although you only know her because she's the daughter of one of the dudes you just mentioned.

JARED: True.

HAMRED: And she stuck in your mind because she's hot.

JARED: Also fairly true.

HAMRED: I bet you can't name any films she's done.

JARED: I can too,

HAMRED: Oh, go on then! Give us a go if you think you're hard enough.

JARED: Marie Antoinette!

HAMRED: NOOOOOO! YOU HAVE DEFEATED ME ARGAHGHAGHGAHGAH... hang on, can you name any others at all?

JARED: .... maybe.

HAMRED: Go on.

JARED: ... Lick the Stars.

HAMRED: What the fuck is that?

JARED: It's... erm... a film about The Moon from The Mighty Boosh and his habit of.. licking stars on the back somehow without burning his tongue or being noticed by said stars.

HAMRED: .. that does not sound likely.

JARED: Yeah. But she did Lost in Translation as well.

HAMRED: Hang on, you're on her Wiki page, aren't you?

JARED: ...no?

HAMRED: Oh, I don't believe this. Look, her name's Sofia Coppola! AND she was an actress before becoming a director!

JARED: Yeah, well, I got Marie Antoinette off my own back. I did fairly well considering. Also, you're a real jerk.

HAMRED: Yeah, I know.




This blog post dedicated to the many female filmmakers I have never heard of before:

Alice Guy-Blaché
Lois Weber
Dorothy Arzner
Germaine Dulac
Maya Deren
Barbara Loden
Birgit Hein
Catherine Breillat
Barbara Hammer
Julie Dash
Tracey Edmonds
Dianne Houston
Nnegest Likké
Safi Faye

And others, of course.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When the robots take over [Sneak preview]

If I had a blog maintained purely by spambots, it would look a lot like this. All my Facebook status comments over the last couple of months? Why? No particular reason. Well, it pads out the entries. Makes me feel a little less guilt for letting this blog rot and spread its gangrene over the web.

With added informative notes to salve my conscience over Ctrl+C blogging.


Ahaha, I now have Ashes Cricket 2009 working. BUt for some reason I am unable to avoid batting like a complete twat. Part of my brain is telling me the key is to run crazily as soon as the ball is not touching your bat and it won't shut up.

(N/B: I did score a fairly impressive 202 in a Twenty20 match. And made 120-odd in the first 10 overs of another - but in the first case this was after running out the entire top order, and the second case I then managed to lose 5 wickets in the space of an over to Kevin Pietersen's off-spin. Please note, that is very, very bad. Also, there'll probably be a cricket post soon. Soz)

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She's so hot. She's so flippin' hot. She's like a CURRY! I want to tell her how hot she is but she'll think that I'm sexist. She's so hot she's MAKING me sexist. Bitch! I think I need a 1983 Casio DG20 Electric guitar... set to electric mandolin.. some drums -yeah.

Ha! Weren't expecting me to do that thing where people mindlessly quote TV shows into their status, were you? FOIL'D!

(N/B: Flight of the Conchords, episode 2)

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Currently re-reading Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Forgot all the bits that people DON'T quote all the time, which are awesome. Best book ever to not have a plot, hands down.

(N/B I've been effectively making notes while reading it as to errors made by outspoken critics of the film version as to its un-Douglasadamishness, but was most surprised to see the strength of their case on Zaphod. In the book he is a dude who has taken obfuscating stupidity to an artform, to the point he isn't certain if he's a genius, an idiot or a madman, rather than the films Peter Griffin's brain in a hippy's body)

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Got some musical whiplash thanks to the random function. Straight from Rage Against the Machine's "Calm Like a Bomb" to John Butler Trio's "Better Than". I recommend it to anybody.

(N/B What makes this awesome is the fact that Calm Like a Bomb is one of those songs that wraps up really abrupty, and likewise Better Than starts quickly. There's no pause. It sounds like Rage might have put the riff in the song as a joke.)

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Also, only just realised that considering 50% of people on Facebook shove their girlfriend in front of the camera to take their profile pic, using an old highschool photo of me with my arm round a mate actually makes me look gayer than usual.

(N/B I have no idea why this did NOT occur to me)

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I never even knew the date of Valentine's Day before getting Facebook. I let you draw your own conclusions from that.

(N/B I was playing the sympathy card. No takers. Sorry, I'm doing it again, aren't I?)

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Not getting Channel Nine at the moment so can't watch the NRL Eugenics Smackdown.

(N/B The recent "Indigenous All Stars VS NRL All Stars" game, criticised widely for being the most racist thing since Pakistanis were banned from buying the Mein Kampf audio book read by Kyle Sandilands. Whitely lost, incidentally.)

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Ah, Summer lawn mowing. Went for an hour in the full sun. When I was done my shirt was unwearable due to the sweat. Plus my boxers. Again due to sweat. I don't jizz when mutilating grass. Well, not all the time, anyway.

(N/B In actual fact I have never done so. It was a deliberately absurd statement to amuse others with no basis in reality. )

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Can't get a Lily Allen song out of my head. No, wait.. there's two of them.

(N/B And I don't even know what one of them's called! They're gone now)

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Ever seen a dude with DTs trying to move cattle lose concentration when he hallucinates being attacked by a swarm of bees? It's a scene, man.

(N/B Can't remember if I mentioned this on this blog. Sadly there isn't much more to the story)

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Lol, I just realised who the dude named 'Rickie Pearce' is who wants to add me - one of many people who received threatening emails from me due to my zero-tolerance policy on chain emails. NB: the extensive filter system in Gmail allows you send hateful emails from you to other undeserving people, and thus create an en...dless circle-jerk of bile and fury. It was my favourite game for a while.

(N/B Hey this one already had a note in it! Guess this is redundant..)

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Why isn't there a 'dislike' button? Is it because they know people like me would use it on EVERYTHING?

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Just submitted my first pitch/script. Sadly this group will only send feedback to the sucessful writer so I'll have to wait a bit longer for my first rejection letter.

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Last night I dream that the characters in Friends were all just aliens PRETENDING to be human. Somehow it made the show cool for the 8 hours I slept.

(N/B I have no recollection of this dream. I have been dreaming a lot of weird stuff)

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Tallied it up and I've written around 6000 lines of code for the game I'm working on atm. Guess now I have to finish it.

(N/B That number will have gone up significantly - the solitary room I'm working on right now that I wasn't at that tage has over 1000 lines of code on its own, and it isn't quite finished.)

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It was agreed last night that the most surefire way to destroy Stargate: Universe would be to reveal Dr Rush has the power to manipulate physical matter via freestyle rap.

(N/B And that's how the gets the spaceship open, see? I'm open to other suggestions for either his escape or destroying the entire show, though...)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jared reviews the REST of "End of Time"

Now here is a rare thing - a story that defies review. (Yes, that's why it's taken me so long) For five minutes or so I tried the old 'write comments in wordpad' trick, but there are some stories where that just doesn't work and this definitely was one of them. Far, far too much going on. I guess the first thing to look at is whether this story has done what it was meant to do.

Firstly, has it broken the completely untenable and banal new tradition of endlessly trumping last years finale? Not a straight-forward answer, really, as the previous finale was about a plan to destroy the Universe by Davros and this one was about a plan to destroy the Universe by Rassilon. Kind of just two sides of the same coin.

Seeing as you cannot go bigger than trying to destroy the Universe by definition, let's break it down further. One has a REAL regeneration as opposed to a really crappy fake one and the first return of the Time Lords versus the 600th return of the Daleks, and a roughly equal amount of returning cast and characters in each.

(Okay... let's see.. Jack, Rose, Martha, Francine, Wilf, Sylvia, Sarah-Jane, Harriet Jones, Mickey, Jacqui, K9 versus Jack, Rose, Martha, Wilf, Sylvia, Sarah-Jane, Mickey, Jacqui, Matron, Donna, Ood Sigma, The Master, Rassilon and Alonso. No sign of the terminally underrated Mr , nor Adam the eco-warrior who wears a lot of hats. Oh, and not even a glimpse of The Bitch on the Bus, I just realised! By my count End of Ten wins out on that front, though no doubt there's plenty of quibble room to debate even counting Rassilon seeing as he never regularly appeared on the show and that Gwen, Ianto and Luke Smith weren't on my list)

Ultimately I'd say this story puts extra pressure on Moffat if anything. Sure, it could be the awareness of the changeover on the producer's chair, but there is a palpable feeling of "Right, follow that you Scottish sweater-wearing bastard!" And given Grand Moff Steven has gone on record as saying he finds the Time Lords boring and doesn't want to write about them, bringing them back and thrusting them to the foremost of the fan consciousness seems like a mite unfair. Painted into a corner with Seals of Rassilon, anyone? That said I've seen the Series 5 trailer and the best way to describe it is very Moffat. With a lot more guns than I think anybody would have expected..

Secondly, has the story closed up the rather abruptly set up arc from Waters of Mars and validated that rather functional story? Not really. It becomes a confusing game of guesswork to the audience as to when, or if, The Time Lord Victorious is around in this one and doesn't ultimately have any bearing on the events that unfold aside from explaining the strainging-sympathy whiny monologuesplosion from Ten at the end of all things.

IF the Time Lord Victorious had been stronger, thinking to change the decision he made in School Reunion and looking at what could be achieved by rescuing the Time Lords and breaking the time-lock, there could have been a bucketload more drama in the guts of the story and not fall back on "I do this and the Universe dies" absolutism. True, it would have made things more convoluted but at least it would have a shot at filing out it's bloody running time. I guess the idea of the TLV was to make it more plausible that the Doctor would shoot either Rassilon or the Master, but it really wasn't gotten across to the audience.

Thirdly, did it address the cliffhanger? Yes. Interestingly, as with the last time in Last of the Time Lords it did it by jumping forward in time a little. Apparently if the Doctor doesn't kick his enemies arse in the space of five seconds there's no point in showing the cliffhanger's immediate aftermath. With that said there was a fascinating mini cop-out involving Donna - the cliffhanger did suggest she would play a crucial role in the story - instead she exploded in a way that made little sense, contradicted everything the Doctor had said about her until that point and vanished her out of the story. Seemingly just to stop her interfering with things.

I guess the most important question, really, is did it give David Tennant a good send-off? And that's a tricky one to answer, seeing as the story does portray him as quite a dick AND also serves perhaps even more so as a farewell to RTD leaving the series. Before I thought little of this as it seemed only a logical way for him to part company with the show and the Doctor at the same time, though part of me was disappointed that we wouldn't get to see Tennant evolving Tom Baker-like under the guidance of three different producers and inspire fans to rant for decades to come how shit his performances became under Moffat, Gatiss and Gervais.

To clarify a point, I do have a lot of respect for freakishly gargantuan Welsh scriptwright Russell Davies, because even though I delusionally enjoy referring to myself as a 'writer' it's easy to recognise when somebody has a level of talent that is beyond you. Davies has a remarkable mind for ideas and knows how to develop something infinitessimally small into a plot that can capture the viewing public's imaginations, and in addition to this he has balls - amply displayed in his quite frankly amazing dispaly of making clear political messages about what's happening in the world in what is seen as a tea-time kid show. And Children of Earth may be best described as him roaring "CALL THAT FUCKING ADULT???" at the regular Torchwood stables.

Furthermore, everytime I essentially say "This is shit" referring to his work, it is actually a lie. Everything he writes is technically sound and accomplished. The matter is a divergence of tastes, in a big, big way. Hell, I'm a dude who thinks Sharpe is among the pinnacle of great television - I like my characters somewhat understated like I am, I want to infer what they think and feel, not be told. When somebody dies I want no music, like there wasn't for Pvt Perkins or Roj Blake or Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner. There's no accounting for taste and it just so happens that RTD likes everything THE EXACT OPPOSITE, which is a frustration I have not dealt with terribly well over the last couple of years.

He likes his characters to shriek out their feelings whilst crying, to hug after doing so, to solliloquize about what exactly somebody means to them. Guardedness and emotionlessness are generally signs of a villain or else somebody who the Doctor will not get on with (Bloody hell, I wonder what RTD would make of ME?)

This is a very big issue in this story, for me personally because this story is very much RTD's last hurrah and as you would imagine there is nothing particularly subtle about this fact. The episode functions as something of a distillation of the entire RTD era, which I imagine would account for some extreme reactions to this episode.

It also doesn't help, as previously mentioned, that as a combination of a celebration of RTD's time at the helm and also an unashamed attempt to one-up the already off-the-fucking-planet Stolen Earth it becomes a complete fanwank extravaganza.

A publicity campaign for this could have spoofed that of cinematic speutum Saw III with a ventriloquist dummy in a Cyberman mask saying via tape recorder "Oh, yes... there will be squee." (Can you guess which word I decided to replace in that sentence?)

For my own part I think the central drama wasn't quite strong enough. RTD has done vanishing tricks too often and to believe that the Time Lord storyline could be concluded would be ridiculous. Any dilemma that could be involved in the Time Lords returning is defused by the fact that if they return a) Earth is annhilated and b) The entire Universe is ALSO annhilated. Obvious questions like "Erm, why can't they end time in their own timeline instead of transubstantiating themselves upon an entirely different planet?" aren't really addressed. It's a foregone conclusion of a few.

What we're to take away from the Time Lords' race is a bit garbled. They've gone from the pompously powerful yet idle beings into pieces of walking mythology, Shakespearian archetypes who sway between relying upon haggard old crones to cackle out meaningless 'prophecies' and bad-ass dudes with Sonic Mittens capable of 5,000 amazing tasks (2,800 of which are entertaining ways to kill people) The suggestion that they have also devolved into genocidal maniacs is also a bit confronting. Some questions are begging to be asked - if the Doctor was involved in the war effort for longer than the Master, apparently on Gallifrey until it's final hours then how did he not hear about the Master's resurrection and eventual escape? Also other questions such as if the Doctor was on the planet, why didn't he rescue any other bloody Time Lords?

The most likely explanation could be that he only convinced the Meddling Monk to come with him and completely disowned him as a useless wanker after weathering the storm in a parallel universe, trapped for weeks with his Matt Lucas incarnation.

Yes, I am now allowing Ben Chatham parody fics into my personal canon. Alyson Hannigan gets to be a companion if nothing else!

It's interesting that the response has firmly been that the Time War should not be depicted but gradually we are straying into that territory and it seems like everyone has had a good point. If they're going to throw up confusing details people will only want more answers and then it really WILL get crap. After all, consensus seems to be that the top and tail of the books' Time War were strong, and the inbetweenies were on the weak side, especially the one known as Lawrence Miles Kills All the Characters (including Essay on how much the Doctor sucks). (retitled Interference for it's North American release so I heard) Naturally with that said Alien Bodies may be the finest written story ever to not have an ending, and The Ancestor Cell is a fine third act to a story nobody was arsed to write. If only they operated like an Al Jaffee fold-in.

But now, back to the future. One great strength of the story is that the Master effectively takes on something of a companion role through the drama alongside Wilf... somebody needs to a sans-companion story where the Master takes the role utterly because it's a terrific setup. There have been many cases of the partnership in the classic series, the terrific Claws of Axos being the first to leap to mind, but not involving the hyper-unpredictable John Simm half Time Lord half insane zombie persona, a Master with a lot of bite. And with Wilf for support - what a team. The cast is terrific, Timothy Dalton added some much needed gravitas to a role that would look quite one-note on the page.

The annoying thing is that for a story that by modern telly standards is quite arse-numbingly long, the setup, although supersized in presentation, is really small-scaled. The entire point of part two is concerned with two set-piece moments involving a handful of characters. The big moments of "Oh no, what happens next??" drama are entirely defused. Firstly, Donna is in absolutely no danger at all and the Doctor apparently knew this, I guess feigning pissing his pants just as a ploy to make the Master look like a right git. Secondly, when the alien spaceship is disabled and the Doctor is in space, he is completely un-stranded and... just feigning being at a loss to make the green aliens look like complete gits. Is he that insecure at this stage he needs others to look stupid?

If you think about it, the course of the story wouldn't really have changed if Wilf and the Doctor never made it out of those chairs they were tied up in. They would have been there when the Time Lords showed up, the Doctor would have gotten the gun (the details aren't important, he would have) and BANG. There you are. First setpiece.

Performances are good but.. ultimately it's strangely dull. If you think for a moment that the Doctor is going to blow somebody's brains out with a six shooter under Julie Gardner's watch I think you're late for your methadone. There is no more foregone conclusion than the Doctor taking a third option that nobody has even alluded to and so he does. Albeit after receiving the information in High Gallifreyan Eye Braille from his mum.

To get to that point, though, we DO get to see Wilf gunning down the entire nuclear arsenal of the United States from the Millenium Falcon , of course, and John Simm beating the shit of Rassilon as he vanishes into what amounts to a gateway to hell. It's hard to think of any cooler moments of padding in the series history. Definitely beats the accumulative half hour we got of Davison wincing quietly as his companions insulted him/said something retarded.

Immediately after that, the second set piece comes - I was about to say one that the show amazingly hasn't used, but then my mind reminded me of Caves of Androzani and pointed out how fucking stupid it would be to forget that. Especially since it makes this story and David Tennant in particular look distinctly unimpressive - when your competition is the absolute best of the best, though, what can you do?

The scene seems to be heavily controversial - for my part I thought it was very well handled. The ego of the Doctor has grown too large and his outbursts in this scene are to show us that it really is time for him to go, and that his anger and bitterness have kept him clutching on to life. Gradually we see his true colours taking over, defeating the resentment he feels at his pathological need to do the right thing - the length of time that he argues the point with himself clearly betrays that he does not believe his argument at all, though the darker side of his mind tries with all its might specifically to believe it.

Apparently the scene was to originally feature a complete random scientist who had had no dialogue at all up to this point in the story, to drive home the fact that the Doctor was giving up his life for a nobody. That would stick closer to the theme, but I think the version as is is more effective. For a start, Bernard Cribbins' performance is brilliant as always. Second, we have the element that Wilf is old, has lived a full life and does not want the Doctor to lay his life down for Wilf. And finally - it is so utterly in character for Wilf to be the one to save the random scientist in the midst of all the chaos, without even thinking of the consequences.

The third point, which I think is very important, is to show that the qualities the Doctor possesses are not just his, to reinforce his companions are chosen for a reason, and that we can be like him. Wilf does what the Doctor knows he shoud do, without thinking. He is ready to die for the sake of somebody he has never met, and is willing to die in place of the Doctor. This does quite a bit to bring the Doctor down to size, from his demigod status...

..which is a bit of a pity because the rest of the story doesn't make much of an effort, does it? He knows the Time Lords' entire plan, already knows the flaws in it, can apparently defy the laws of physics utterly when jumping from speeding spaceships and continues to know more about the working of said spaceships than their owners. A bit of consistency would have been nice.

Also, from my recollection I've reviewed about half of the story. The second half is disgustingly self-indulgent. And the main reason for my lukewarm response - in the finest traditions of clip show television the Doctor goes back to visit all his companions giving the viewer little. Aside from baffling revelations such as two characters have hooked up based purely on their own skin colour and fan judgements upon their acting abilities and decided to run around the abandoned factories from B7 shooting Sontarans as an optimum use of their medical and computer hacking talents. Was there no other way to say "These fuckers will NEVER be part of Torchwood!!"?

On that note I thought the sequence started especially poorly with the Doctor first saving Martha and Mickey from being shot and Luke Smith from being run over by a car, like he's re-enacting the end of fucking Groundhog Day. These losers are his heroic companions? Rushing like lemmings to get themselves killed! How did they ever survive without him! Thankfully the conceit is dropped suddenly, though in the process it's distinctly jarring. The Doctor goes back to his reliable unjustified wish-fulfilment ways.

Oddly the only sequence from that I enjoyed was probably the most self-indulgent - meeting the Matron's descendant in the book shop. But I liked it because it was clever and did very little to talk down to the audience and make it clear what was happening. Took me a moment to remember who she was, actually, which I'm not used to. Of course it's also one of those things that makes less sense when you think about it because it would be more logical to leave the ethnographic present for a few moments and look at the ACTUAL woman you fell in love with as opposed to Daisy Steiner, struggling writer and convenient identical granddaughter.

Once the obligatory Rose Tyler appearance is over, complete with all the "Awww, she's just like us but simultaneously so much better than we could ever be!" nonsense it's time for the Doctor to actually pop his fucking clogs, just as he would have done in the smouldering wreckage of Joseph Naismith's (or Rairf Kcut, if that joke hasn't overstayed it's welcome) lab, alone and friendless, save for the last companion standing to hold his hand and be bewildered if we were in the good old days. But there's nothing without closure now.

He gets an entire bloody day to travel through the time vortex, looking for moments where his companions lives were emperilled enough for him to look cool by rescuing from there own pigheaded foolishness, or else running into hotties that he'd encountered for all of 30 minutes on a previous adventure and so could hook up on a wing and a prayer. Yes, the Doctor enjoys acting as pimp for sole survivors of horrific interspace disasters. Is this the grey morality the character has needed? But anyway, after all this it is at least semi justified as the Doctor gives a self-pitying solliloquie to make sure everyone in the audience is over his shit where he whinges it hasn't been enough, to the bemusement of those half-awake glancing at clocks, and that his audience figures will never be so good again, not even if ITV go on strike again!

Such is his refusal to die that the Doctor effectively DESTROYS THE TARDIS. What a prick, but at least it gives Smithy an excuse to redecorate. And speaking of Smith - no fucking idea. He's on screen for ten seconds and gets to yell nonsense. Nothing to analyse at all, not even to excitingly email your friends and say "See! He ISN'T A SHIT ACTOR HALLELUJAH!" as some may have.

This story and the RTD era are one - it is both awful and brilliant.


5/10

Here's what I had left from my very brief attempts to write a review while I was watching:

Motherfucker, this goes for an hour and twelve minutes? It's like they haven't even put the pausing-it-every-ten-seconds demographic in mind at all!


2:01 - Isn't it interesting that the first story to feature the big-ass wooden collars worn by the Time Lords, Bob Holmes' The Deadly Assassin of course, made it clear that they were

a) Purely ceremonial wear
b) Only worn by members of the High Council, apparently during important ceremonies only
c) Not particularly well-loved by the Time Lords


and all three of those details have since been ignored in just about every Time Lord appearance since. (Although it only shows up once in The Five Doctors, I noticed - at that time worn by Chancellor Flavia bestowing emergency powers upon the Doctor which does rather make sense)


2:16 - Aha, so this is a prequel bit... how many scenes that RTD would never ever show us does that make now? I guess I shouldn't complain - they've all been about stuff we wanted to see anyway...

2:22 - Man... the council standards have dropped a bit. Is this Compassion in her later days?

2:42 - FLAVIA!!!! .... or just some random.

3:17 - THE HAND OF OMEGA!!!! .... or just a death-glove.

4:13 - Two survivors? Locked in time? The enmity of ages? Hey, that old tart's just ripping off unfilmed Eric Saward scripts.

...man, now I've got a bad feeling about this... are they about to pull out the contracts?

Also, any votes for most annoying Oracle ever?

5:00 - I was about to ask how the Master got Wilf out of the tube... then I remembered that this is the bloody Master, the Doctor's intellectual equal, so if anyone should be able to find a way it'd be him.

6:40 - "It was this thing the Doctor did... he did it to her..." Hehehe

6:51 - "He loves playing with EARTH GIRLS *ugh*!" Well, nice to see a return to high camp from the Master but could that be seen as slightly hypocritical from a guy who was recently maried to one and asked her to put a lesbian show with a maid?... or did I just imagine that scene? Was she just a rubbish beard after all?

8:06 - ..like a lot of fans, I am sure, I'm hoping at this stage that Donna's apparent ability to fry Masters in a time-fuelled EMP blast is a freak effect and she is not to be turned into a walking weapon by the end of this story..

9:02 - Wow. The Doctor is verging on obsequious groupy here. What a bizarre thing the Doctor-Master relationship has turned into...


48:57 - See this is the bit I have the bad feeling. It looks like the plot has been resolved and there is nearly 30 minutes left. This had better not be a trademark RTD ending that's as long as the actual storyline...

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Radar does not actually detect energy - it detects matter. Shutting off the ship's power would achieve absolutely nothing, nor would keeping deathly quiet.

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Did RTD cameo as a guy running in panic down the Nobles' street?

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"You weren't there - in the final days of the war?" ... I got the impression that he WAS...

*

Something that will amaze nobody who knows me - when Luke Smith appeared on the phone to Clyde I said "Aww, fuck off!" quite loudly to my computer screen.

*

I also am imagining at the time of writing that the note that Captain Jack has gotten from the Doctor will read "Don't go with the goat man, he'll fuck you up so bad you'll look like Bob Crane." Jack will then write a note back saying "No, I'm into that. And stop reading my Facebook in the future you git." And then the Doctor will write another note back saying "Why the fuck haven't you added me as a friend?" and the scene goes for a very uncomfortable ten minutes.

*

Wait... when was there any suggestion Alonso was gay?

*

FUCK YEAH! Cameo from... okay, it isn't India Fisher she just looks and sounds ever so slightly similar... Spaced Girl? Is that her name? Erm... no. That would be unlikely. She'd be all like "Hey, Simon, I want to do a show." and he'd be "Really, Spacey? What are we going to call it?" and she'd say "You name it after me, you arsehole, because I'm writing it! I bet you'll take all the credit for it on the internet though, as soon as it has been invented because this is the early nineties even though the year's actually around 1998." and Simon says "So THAT'S why they call you Spaced Girl."

In writing that I actually remembered her name is Jessica Heinz nee Stevenson. And doesn't detract from the awesomeness, unlike Invaders from Mars.

Needless to say I noticed her name was Verity Hussain Nation-Newman and approve.




Oh, and I just remembered that other thing I used to do, where I post responses to all aspects of a story from all manner of folk...

WHAT THOSE OTHER LOSERS SAID

Ritalin Response:

Another thing that confuses me and another fan mentioned it before stolen earth when the doctor goes to davros the entire war is timelocked when the doctor mentioned the timewar he said his planet was gone forever how did that change or did the writers decide to change it to timelock?
why is timothy dalton voiceovering events on end of time part 1?
am i right in thinking in the timelock the events go round and round in circles so they never truelly die they just cant change it they just keep dieing over and over again? if this is the case i think thats neat cause it shows oneday they maybe able to escape the timelock there not extinct just in endless death.
If im wrong how and why are the timelords alive now is it because dalek khan went into the timewar and saved davros which enabled them to have a second chance?

TVTropers Response:

But the worst of all was The Doctor's 'Why Me?!?' speech bemoaning his fate to die regenerate. Not only was the rant unbearably whiny, self-centered and completely OOC, it also came across as RTD using The Doctor as an Author Avatar (" Look at all the wonderful things I've done! It's not fair that I have to leave!"), perhaps suggesting that his own departure isn't entirely voluntary. If the only reference to the Doctor's reluctance to regenerate had been Tennant's final line (" I don't want to go."), the whole premise, while flawed, would have had so much more impact. Instead, we get this drek combined with the most maudlin, cliched and drawn-out series season finale scenes I've witnessed in a long, long time, which sadly had the accumulative effect of making me almost RELIEVED that Tennant and RTD are done so we can move past the sentimental claptrap and get back to having fun. YMMV, of course


TVTropes Response to Love & Monsters

There is the fan theory that Elton is meant to be an Unreliable Narrator and was driven a bit nutty by losing Ursula so now he's just imagining her as a piece of pavement. Note how we only see her face from his point of view, while his camcorder only sees the back of it... Which means that the Doctor has left Elton to go completely insane in the privacy and comfort of his own home, with a slab of concrete to obsess over. How is that any better?

(The idea of Marc Warren fucking a lifeless concrete slab for the rest of time appeals to me. I don't know what that says about me..)


Lawrence Miles Response:
If you can survive the sentence "a two-part story about Professor River Song and the Weeping Angels", then nothing in life will ever be able to harm you again. What's that Hansen? Stopped paraphrasing me? HA! I AM INVINCIBLE!!


Moral Guardian Response:

Exactly. Gay men are so shallow. It's all very well going for superficialities like looks and shaggability but they're going to look pretty silly if they decide they want to have children and only then discover that they're genetically incompatible. The relationship is doomed!!!

Paranoid Etomologist Response:
Someone on another forum just pointed out that, just as "Mister Saxon" was an anagram for "Master No Six", "Wilfred Mott" is an anagram for "Time Lord WTF". Add to that the incredibly unsubtle "Donna Noble", and my theory that there's at least one and possibly two silver fob watches hanging around in that family is confirmed.


Alan Stevens Response:

.... the bit where somebody looks down at the Earth and is amazed has been done before.

(Okay, how can the dude bag me out for reviewing audios from 2001 when he/his missus uses the blog to review relevant cinema hits such as Catch-22 and The Deer Hunter when DT's last ever story is out there and all he's done is written it's a bit similar to Space: 1999?)


Sir Kelsea of Chelsea Response:
I said earlier this year that if Martha ended up married to Mickey, it would render her awful character a billion times worse - she does come across as a Rose Tyler stalker. And the terrible way her character has developed from medical student to Lara Croft in a catsuit!

It's like that husband and wife detective series Hart To Hart except in their case it's Hart To Tart

I just love how The Doctor didn't bother speaking to them. He just appeared and walked away.

Paranoid response:
Did Tom turn into Mickey like everyone else turn into the Master

Spock response
Personally, I thought getting together with Tom in the first place was the odd bit. Time had been "rewound" back to a point before Tom met her. Why would she feel the need to pursue a man who had no idea who she was?

Tinu response
waiting for the fanfiction so it can make sense for me

Cameron J Mason response:
Maybe [Tom Milligan] found his calling in Africa?

(Okay, not mind-blowing, I just rarely see a post from him and thus get excited)

eFXBarry Response:
Martha the heart breaker.

Noel Clarke Response
Mickey Smith has had Rose and Martha. whooop whooop

Nicknacks Response
Seemed a bit like a case of pair the spares. Either it was cheaper for the two characters to have their sendoff in the same scene, or it was because Davies was feeling a little uninspired and thought he'd just shove the two characters together. It's just... problematic. And have the two of them spent any time on screen talking, at all?

Clutching at straws response
Maybe when she said 'you shouldn't have married me' she meant Mickey was a priest

DIE FOR OUR SHIP response
I PREDICTED IT. Really, I've written two post-JE fanfics and RPed Martha/Mickey at www.votesaxon.org.uk

And I like it. It works. Way I see it, Tom was too cocky with the Daleks and got zapped... Or was guarding the tunnel in PotD and got zapped. Or was in the building with the 456 and got vapourised-zapped. Or was investigating Naismith and got zapped. Or it was in one of those many many alien threats that happen off-screen, and got zapped.
Really, in a show like Doctor Who, do you really NEED to LOOK for a way of getting rid of a minor character? No! He was Third Corpse on the Right.

And Martha love(d) the Doctor, who love(s) Rose. Mickey love(d) Rose, who love(s) the Doctor. Martha/Mickey + Rose/Doctor = Happy world, happy fandom, unangsty clean slate for the Moff/S4 of Torchwood.

poetryG response:
Why do you think Mickey hugs Martha so tightly? He's already had one woman taken away from him by the Doctor. The Doctor scares him. And you can see from Martha's expression that she still has feelings for the Doctor.

Charles Daniels reponse:
... man what the FUCK??? [paraphrased]


ME: But Martha was meant to be married to the medic dude from The Last of the Time Lords - am I the only guy who remembers this? The result was more propaganda about how white guy-black girl interracial relationships never work out - just like season 4 of Scrubs! They made up for it by bringing back Jessica Stevenson for a cameo, though.

AK i just got the impression that russell t davies just wanted to wrap up everything nicely and quickly. 2 be honest i didn't mind that they were married.

ME How's about this - David Tennant goes to Martha's house "You still married to whitebread?" "Yeah!" Tennant goes to Mickey's lair "You still being co-erced into gay sex by the former Blue Peter host with ultra-gelled hair in Paris regularly?" "Yes! PLEASE MAKE IT STOP" "Allonzee!" That's about 30 seconds of screen time and would have been much ... See Morecheaper to film. Why do you want that dude from Last of the Timelord's fictitious life to end in horrible heartbreak, Ashley? First his wife does a face-heel-turn then he's rejected for MICKEY SMITH of all people. That dude was probably jumping off a bridge right as the newly-weds rutted disgustingly in front of their mighty swag of festering Sontaran corpses. You think that is a happy ending? A man DIED! You make me sick.

NTR - No, i picked up on that too, i thought it was weird that the medic guy was gone and mickey was the husband, and speaking of which, how many interracial couples are there in the whoniverse? Jack and whoever he is putting it to don't count, he's a different species

AK - jack loves everyone bless him. but coming to think of it there was only mickey and rose, but we know how that all ended. and jared i think you've either had to much coffee or not enough sleep, lol. yes i do remember she was married to someone else, but lets just think he couldnt handle her alien battling ways, got divorced, she and mickey had a few... See More adventures and fell in love. and furthermore who said anything about mickey being co-erced by the gay ex blue peterhost from the parallel world. him and rickys relationship was a deleted scene, hardly enough to justify your allegation of gay coercion to mickey.

ME - Sigh. I thought you guys were fans. Donna and Lance, Donna and her new hubby, the young couple in Gridlock, Ianto and Lisa, Owen and Tosh, Mia and Yuri, Martha's cousin at Torchwood Tower and some random due and buckets of others I'm sure... did they mention if 'The New Doctor' and his black prostitue companion were doing it?

NTR - First of all, I'm talking about successful relationships, not those that are a) brought about by a need to infect the other partner with huon particles, b) settling for someone because you can't remember the fabulous adventures you had with the Dr, c) half human half cat, d) confined to semi robotic status for the rest of her miserable existence (... See MoreIanto and Lisa just confirm that white guy/black girl relationships don't work, not the other way around), e) unrequited. I will give you Mia and Yuri, but Martha's cousin... All those I would not call great interracial relationships

ME -Well, you should qualify a little further in future. I thought you just meant people who had relations with one another. And with regards to Gridlock I was talking about the couple who kidapped Martha rather than the cat dude from Father Ted.

NTR - Ok, so, of successful interracial relationships in the whoniverse, can you name me any besides Mia and Yuri? Cause I'm struggling to find one that doesn't involve the kidnapping of innocent bystanders or alien sleeper agents that end up killing their partners

ME - So you're not accepting that the kidnapping was done purely out of love? Just as well I DIDN'T put Yana and Chant'tho on my earlier list... erm, now I can't think of any more from the top of my head. Martha's sleazy dad and that blonde chick who's the same age as his daughters? There's nothing to suggest that they're an UNhappy couple. [/baiting]

NTR - ut not a successful couple either, she walked out on that birthday dinner in a huff and who knows what happened after that. And Yana and Chant'tho- what part of different species do you not get? He hated her anyway. I think secretly RTD doesn't like the chocolate/vanilla swirl, and it subconsciously leaks through to the shows

AK - chocolate/vanilla swirl, love it lol :) i dont think rtd didnt like interracial couples, if anything he tried to show love and acceptance between everyone hence the multitude of different people getting together. but of course in such a chaotic universe as doc who i doubt many same race relationships would last as well. its just to improve the characters and move the plot along

ME - Yana liked Chant-tho, Nadia - it was THE MASTER who hated her. Heh, I find it funny how seriously you seem to have pursued this discussion - it was just an offhand joke from me to start with. You sound like you're an even bigger supporter of Tha Swirl than I am!

NTR - Mate, i love the swirl! I'm a fan. But i still contend that rtd is not a fan, and furthermore, you know you can't bait me bout this! Take you all down! :)



Man, that was a big one. And I didn't even touch on the whole "Rassilon?!? What the FUCK??!?!" aspect...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Febuary and Nothing to Talk About

I've been oddly uninspired. Soon I'm going to need to talk about that blog post I've written and subsequently decided was too shit to post, maybe that one relating my adventures in PC cricket games that I thought was too disturbing to post, actually finishing my review of End of Time which bafflingly was more difficult for me to write than a bit, maybe talking about the now 6-part novel series forming in my head, which is essentially Sharpe transplanted into a very un-fantastical fantasy world where Roman-expys enslave the 'Fey', kick arse and it turns out the Elves are the badguys, or maybe just try and work out who Robert Lindsay was a dead look-a-like for when I just glanced at the telly and saw it's a gimmick episode of My Family set in the future with Clive "Mr Copper/Jobel/Richard Bucket" Swift in it.

Was it Ian McKellen? Richard Gere? That old bloke from Wild at Heart? A combination of all three? Dave Allen? Dudley Moore in that sketch where he plays Roger Moore's housebound father? Robert Lindsay with talcum powder in his hair? HENRY KISSINGER???

Hmmm... what else? Oh, I can't get a Tax File number because I don't know where the fuck my birth certificate is. Better yet, it's apparently MY fault, even though I was never the one who stored it anyway. If I can't get a Tax File number I can't work and I guess I'll just starve to death in my own filth.

I've been working on a game. A lot. That's why I get distracted. It's not a project I want to talk about because of slightly possible legal issues and I also shot my mouth off in an unwise manner late last year only to get quoted verbatim on a podcast. Thank Christ it was the sort that nobody listens to do.

I played through The Tales of Monkey Island a way back and it was incredible but nobody will really care.

I've been working on another game, barely at all. That one I can talk about - Secret Agent on Roller Skates. It is completely retarded, and I hope it will give it enough charm for people to like it when/if it is released. Hint: the secret agent is on roller skates so I don't have to animate him walking. In spite of this the game contains a far minor character who DOES walk around, and a muppet like automaton who I had to animate tearing a hole through reality and climbing into existence, which was significantly tougher to draw. No logical explanation is offered for why exactly he works in an art gallery while apparently inhabiting another dimension.

But for all of that, it suddenly struck me that I never ranted about Hollyhood - the worst TV show ever created. A bizarre oversight but then a lot of stuff I have meant to rant on has gone by the wayside. Remember when my music video reviews were meant to be a regular feature? No? YANA.

This springs from the same font, back in my gymasium days, forced to watch whatever bilge was on the TV screens a nightmare made worse when the Weird Foreign Guy was around who did not know how to operate the TV and was convinced there were only three channels on Foxtel.

To rate what was on offer -

MAX a station that shows music from MORE THAN ONE DECADE. This was the true meaning of awesome. Something of a mixed bag in the offering, especially with their "Lunch on MAX" sessions where they play one band/artist for an hour. The Bruce Springsteen one wasn't too enjoyable, but then they did Icehouse. Fuck yeah. Videos MAX gave me that nobody else had the balls to: I Can't Dance, Karma Chamelion, The Street Cafe, Song For the Dumped, and Take On Me.

V2 came next, being nearly entirely music videos. That mightn't sound too appealing, but really the alternatives on pay TV seem far less entertaining. I don't remember ever having to watch a horribly produced and braindead show on this channel, just occassional ad-breaks and 'special presentations'.

V the ORIGINAL, you might say. Channel V that is. Nothing to do with aliens or mask-wearing anarchists. Nearly all the same clips as V2, played with less frequency, more stupid shows. I don't remember any of the shows being THAT bad, though, and often thankfully brief. The inclusion of James Mathison, though, can bring anything down to subterranean levels. He is the man with the world's most punchable face.

MTV in spite of its reputation, nearly no music videos AT ALL. One clip between every 2 20 minute shows. What made this excruciating was not only the quality of the shows - Jackass was the highlight, in contrast to Cribs a show where people in the arse-end of celebrity show you how much shit they've got in their house and how it relates to their own superiority to you personally - but the fact that they play six episodes in a row for the one program, to make sure any enjoyment potential gets syphoned out of it.

The Lifestyle Channel - endless armies of orthodontically manufactured Americans who laugh at everything going around the world to embarass themselves in front of far more dignified locals. Highlight was a transatlantic fuckwit angering a crowd of Frenchmen by destroying the first bottle of wine from their vineyard and effectively destroying the ceremony. Lowest point was predictably awful Blair Witch parody when one of the hosts stayed at "The most haunted castle in Britain" Leave parody to those without congenital brain disorders.

National Geographic - you would think, given their magazine, this would be top of the list. Smart, informative, painstakingly researched, economically presented... no. The better name by far would have The 24/7 Steve Irwin experience. I mean literally nothing but Steve Irwin. At least give me some fucking Mark Strickson or even Naomi Robson!


MTV nearly gets on the bottom because of the nightmare day I had when the show MTV were playing nonstop was Hollyhood. Looking at Wikipedia is a bitter-sweet experience. Firstly, I see that this awful show only lasted for 8 episodes in 2007, heartening news for this show looked like the nadir of humanity to me and it's good to know we're metaphorically climbing out of the slime having cancelled it, but it also frustrated me that clearly I happened to be at the gym when MTV was showing THE ENTIRE RUN back to back.

Hollyhood was a 'reality TV show' following a household of complete wankers, as most of them do. The wankers in this case were a hip-hop group apparently called Three 6 Mafia who we are led to believe homo-erotically live together in a mansion draped with disgusting status symbols and are never seen doing anything vaguely close to work or music.

Annoyingly my mind is fogged by the mists of time as to the true extent of the shows awfulness, but I remember clearly the first disturbing episode was 'Juicy J's morbidly obese person IT manager proposing to his even-more-morbidly obese love interest, whilst being stalked by the other members of the group and their 'crew' in a black van with CIA-esque surveillance equipment, pissing themselves laughing. After the proposal went successfully we were treated to infared night-vision footage of the two in bed, a disturbing enough prospect as is, that managed to become more so when it appeared that 'Computer's woman was dishing out some good ol' domestic violence.

What. The. Fuck.

That's a summary of what was going through my head during my bicep reps exercises and for hours afterwards.

The thing that really disgusted me about Hollyhood, aside from sheer awfulness, the stereotypical behaviour (or 'cooning' if you like Uncle Tom parlance) and ludicrous attempt to make rap video world seem even close to reality, is the fact that it is one of so many American shows that wear the badge of a 'reality show' as an excuse to feature shithouse writing, shithouse acting, shithouse production values, shithouse editing, shithouse direction and a shit house full of shit people.

The second episode I had to watch, where a Doctor with ludicrously hot and barely-attired nurses who had no problem having his entire check up of DJ Paul fimed in spite of the fact there's such a thing as Doctor-patient confidentiality informed Paul he'd need to go on a diet with the delivery of Chip Jamison on his death bed. The plot was that somehow Paul was to convince his crew that the Doctor had told them ALL to lose some weight. This makes no sense at all, as you realise because of your functioning cerebral cortex. And so there was a competition, forming the 'plot' of the worst sitcom ever.

Incidentally, 'Computers' the morbidly obese IT guy won the compeition. He had to, right, because the fattest guy will always win. Presumably his prize was to get the spy cameras removed from his bedroom for the night.

I thankfully got to leave the room before the horribly Three's Company-looking episode in which Juicy J asked out Ashton Kutcher's PA and presumably would have a date that went horribly wrong, possibly with his crew monitoring from the command vehicle.

Possibly the worst thing is that I'm sure there actually dozens of shows just as bad out there on satellite television and I've just been living in blissful ignorance.

It will be funny if the Hollyhood fanclub find this post and take me to task for mixing up the details of their favourite show.

And, yes, I recognise the irony of a blog post entitled 'Nothing to talk about' which actually goes for 1600 words. My fingers hurt.