The New Who: Older, Scottish, Still Not Ginger

4 Aug

Moffat really takes the whole “He’s an alien” thing seriously when it comes to casting.

It’s been announced that Peter Capaldi will be playing the next Doctor after Matt Smith leaves in November. I don’t know much about Peter, so here’s what I’ve got:

3. Older

I’m okay with returning to our roots, here. The Doctor can be old, people. He’s not a sex symbol, he’s an immortal, shape-shifting god with a disturbing penchant for young girls. What made Matt Smith so great was his old-man-in-a-young-body vibe. Also, he was weird-looking, which was awesome. David Tennant was wonderful because he had the “I want desperately to be a real person with real relationships” yearning and a sexy, sexy face.

I will use any excuse to post pictures of this man.

I’ll be interested to see what Capaldi brings, because so far what he has going for him is that he doesn’t look like a strange, quirky man at all. Frankly, he looks like a middle-aged banker. Or a low-ranking government official. Which is basically what he played in Torchwood: Children of Earth.

AKA, “You’re goddamn right we’re going to kill off all of our cast”

He was also basically a low-ranking Roman official in a previous episode of Doctor Who called “The Fires of Pompeii.” And for those of you bitching that it disrupts the timeline to have had him appear in the show already, may I remind you that the same episode featured Karen Gillan as a soothsayer, so eat it, y’all.

“I’m just here to find the Last Centurion.”

Also, if we’re not allowed to make previous Who characters become the Doctor, then there’s no hope for Anthony Stewart Head, which is a travesty I shall never accept.

2. Scottish

Steven Moffat is Scottish, so it’s no surprise to me that he would go with a Scottish actor for the new Doc. After all, Karen Gillan is Scottish and she was allowed to keep her accent and her fiery Scottish identity (?) or whatever. So, we’re branching out here at least a little.

Now, we’ve had a Scottish actor before.

Seriously. Any. Excuse.

But David Tennat played a Doctor who spoke Estuary English, and only feigned a Scottish accent for one episode. I’d be really intrigued to see if Moffat let Capaldi play his real accent. That would be sort of progressive. After all, the Doctor is typically an old white Brit. The most we’ve shaken it up in 50 years is to make him younger, attractive, and once from the North.

Yay… progress?

I would have liked to see a woman play the Doctor. I would find it hilarious to have a teenage Doctor who struggles with people not taking him seriously. I’d really enjoy a Doctor with a different skin color. But even to fully endorse a Doctor from “the colonies” would be a nice step for England, (although I don’t ever expect them to make a Welsh Doctor.)

Because this how 90% of the people I met in England viewed the Welsh.

So yes, Capaldi is sorta bland-looking, older and Scottish. I freely admit that I know little else, But I do know one more thing…

1. STILL Not a Ginger

And I am just SO OKAY WITH THAT

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Why Matt Smith Needs to Go

5 Jul

It’s time for a new Doctor.

Lots of people are speculating about who the next Doctor will be, but before we can get to that, I think we need to talk about what we’re letting go of and what direction that character is pointing us.

Matt Smith was a great incarnation who had to come in at the end of the brilliant run of the most beloved Doctor ever.

He also had the misfortune of looking like this instead of like David Tennant.

He played a wonderful Doctor from the very first moment, combining Tennant’s frenetic zaniness with a child-like enthusiasm all his own. It worked. It doesn’t anymore. Let’s look at why.

3. He’s Outlived the Character

Steven Moffat did something very specific when he took over as head writer for Doctor Who: He chose to create a Doctor who felt, in a lot of ways, brand new. Part of the fun of new incarnations is letting them test out their new bodies and personalities. David Tennant spent 15 minutes realizing he was rude,  in love with Rose and not a ginger.

Also, a plagiarist of the occasional Disney musical.

Matt Smith’s Doctor, however, took this quirk to a whole new level. His incarnation has been quite literally taken by surprise by every emotion, sensation, interaction and taste he’s experienced. One of his first scenes involves him trying to figure out what food he enjoys and realizing he hates everything. Smith’s Doctor is a wonderful juxtaposition. He has the hard facts and knowledge of a 900 year-old time god, but when it comes to experiencing sensations, he’s brand new.

Joe Doctor

What a totally novel concept.

It was wonderful to watch this at first. Witnessing his discomfort concerning physical intimacy was hilarious and watching him quiver with excitement when a new emotion hit him brought a freshness to the role that hadn’t been there before. He was still old and tired and sad, but at the same time he was young and excited and new.

But it’s been awhile now.

I have no idea how much time actually passed in seasons 6 and 7 for Matt Smith’s Doctor. He spent a lot of time alone, and purports himself to be around 1100 these days. So the thing is, with all that time spent, it no longer makes sense for him to be excitable and surprised by life.

He can’t look at a mop this way again unless he just found out the handle vibrates, is what I’m saying.

That brings us to…

2. He’s Out of Things to Do

I’ve mentioned previously that Moffat’s Whoniverse is problematically clever. He’s ambitious in his story arcs and enjoys twists that don’t always pan out. When he started, he balanced that with emotional relationships, though. The Doctor and Amy’s initial meeting sparked a powerful bond based on their similar emotional maturity levels.

The Doctor and Amy [citation needed]

She grew up and he didn’t, and that made for an interesting relationship. Rather than being the ageless god, he was Peter Pan, who would remain exactly the same and flit off to have adventures and never hold down a single responsibility. Amy, like Wendy, chose to stay behind and have a real, full, human life.  That was an interesting dynamic.

On top of that you had the fantastic Mrs. Robinson dance going with River Song, which just recently reached its natural conclusion. We finally saw the Doctor take charge in the relationship. He kissed the crap out of his wife when it wasn’t to save the world, turn back time or any other such bullshit.

And no disgusting mullet like he had at the end of Season 6!

Matt Smith’s Doctor is all grown up and has nothing left to do. His wife is dead, he’s finally reached sexual maturity, and his daughter/companion is gone forever. A Doctor in limbo is no Doctor at all, and Moffat knew that when he wrote the most recent Christmas Special. The Doctor was up in the clouds, waiting to become interesting again.

Which leads me to my final point…

1. There’s No Fucking Point to Clara

Tell me one thing about Clara that doesn’t involve the Doctor.

It cannot involve dimples.

I liked Clara when we first met her as the brilliant captive on the Dalek prison world. She was smarter and more knowledgeable than the Doctor and I was so ready for that. I wanted to see him have to try to keep up with someone. By the time we got to her modern incarnation, though, there was nothing really special about her. She’s just…good. She’s a good person who saves the Doctor’s life all the time but who has no extraordinary experiences, skills or quirks.  What is there about her that makes her unique?

I hate Amy, but Amy at least had character traits. She had a past that was all fucked up because of the Doctor, a tough exterior, a bratty sense of self-entitlement and relationships outside of the TARDIS. Clara takes care of children with no personalities and has a dead mother. THAT IS ALL I KNOW.

Oh, and she’s only allowed to be brilliant if an electric colander puts computer knowledge directly into her brain.

Matt Smith cannot remain the Doctor if his companion is just an intellectual curiosity. His Doctor is needy and requires attention and an audience and someone who loves him. Ideally, his character would seek out another child and try to remedy the mistakes he’d made by actually acting as a parent and failing hilariously. I personally would like to see him take on a commanding professional who is either military or technically-minded. Those would bring out interesting things. But if the best we can get from his story line now is a (sexy) mysterious person puzzle, then it’s time for someone new.

But I will miss that bow tie.

Arrested Westeros

27 May

If you’re not watching the new season of Arrested Development and Game of Thrones, shame on you. If you are, why not experience them at the same time?

From the brilliant people here.

Arrested Westeros is the most genius tumblr of all time. It takes the dialogue from AD and puts it on images from GoT.

And I have made one of them.

Proudest day of my life.

Great TV Couples (Who Would Actually Be Terrible Together)

20 May

There are a lot of types of TV romances. Many of them are planned by the writers and producers as long, drawn-out, will-they-or-won’t-they, for-fuck’s-sake-just-kiss-her relationships that are meant to keep the audience watching and hoping.

God, and it works, too.

There’s usually no payout with these kind of couples, but what if there were? There’s a lot of drawn-out sexual tension out there in the televerse and I think that sometimes we forget that just because the writers want us to want a couple to get together doesn’t mean that they actually should.

So, let’s remind ourselves that sexual tension ≠ compatibility and take a look at our list. Some of these couples actually did happen, some of them still might and some of them just never got the chance, but none of them would have been good together. Let’s look at why.

6. Josh Lyman and Donna Moss, The West Wing

I take it back. I want them to be in love for always.

I’m so fucking in love with The West Wing. Mostly because it avoids the petty bullshit of drawn-out relationships and chooses to focus on the workplace and real life.

That all changed when the writers decided to start dropping hints that Josh and Donna were into each other. The tension lasted through the Bartlet administration without anyone making a move, despite the fact that there were no real obstacles in the way of them getting together.

Except this guy in Season 6. But seriously? Lucius Malfoy?

Why we think it would have been awesome: Because we know they really care about each other! It’s depressing how in real life most of our relationships start out as a base level attraction that we desperately pray contains something of substance. We always want to see friends fall in love, even if it’s weird in real life.

Why it shouldn’t have happened: Because it’s weird when friends fall in love in real life. Josh and Donna have an unequal relationship, power-wise. He yells her name and she comes running. Bad for foreplay, methinks. Also, when they did finally get together, it wasn’t cute anymore. We’d been waiting for seven fucking seasons for this, and a payout is never going to be worth it after that long.

Just like grad school!

Their likely future: He forgets himself and yells at her to do things for him all the time. She reminds him that she is way hotter than he is. She has an affair with someone 4 inches shorter than she is (as is the West Wing way) and he drinks himself to death at work while making grimly ironic expressions.

Perfect.

Who they should’ve been with: Josh should have been with Joey Lucas. That was fun. Donna should be with Ronald Reagan.

5. Merlin and Morgana, Merlin

The internet really wants this to happen, I guess.

For all of its focus on relationships, Merlin only rarely considers whether or not its main character might have consistent romantic or erotic feelings towards anyone. Sometimes the thought will occur for an episode and be gone the next time Merlin has to fuck himself over by indulging in needlessly complicated plots and the impulse to not confide in the right people.

One storyline that almost went somewhere was his possible attraction to Morgana. He brought her flowers once or twice and she…barely noticed him. She was too busy practicing her evil “secret” smile every time Uther turned his back.

Other people can still see you, Morgana.

Why we think it would have been awesome: They’re two extremely powerful sorcerers and they start out with similar issues and the problems of trying to cope with magical abilities in a society where such things are forbidden. It’d be kind of hot to see sexy magic times, even if it was just them battling it out and then making out.

Why it would have sucked: Morgana’s not much of a character, and Merlin’s interest in her seems both shallow and transitory. Also, she gets super evil really fast, and there’s just no empathizing with characters that make bipolar disorder look like the Monday Blues.

Their likely future: The relationship lasts only as long as it takes for them to run out of kinky ways to use their magic powers in bed.

Ohhhh yeahhhhh

Who they should’ve been with: Merlin should’ve ended up with the only person he cared about: Arthur. Seriously. And Morgana should’ve ended up with Elton John so they could have the whitest babies ever.

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Top 10 Episodes of Doctor Who

18 May

I’d like to start this off by saying that while Steven Moffat runs the board in this list, it’s an inherently biased article. I’m making this a list of great individual episodes, so gems like “Doomsday”, “Let’s Kill Hitler”  and “Journey’s End” don’t make the cut because they’re overarching plot episodes.

(Also, Moffat, while an amazingly talented episode writer, doesn’t, in my opinion, make the best head writer. Moffat is cerebral and insanely clever, but somewhat misogynistic and lacking a bit of heart.)

Oh, he wishes he had cheekbones like that.

10. Love and Monsters Season 2, Episode 10

Name: Elton Pope
Favorite Pastimes: Sidewalk Fucking

For the most part I’m trying to pick episodes that don’t have stupid, fat, oozing monsters. I’m just so impressed with this episode because of what it had to overcome. It stemmed from a contest where a nine-year-old boy designed the monster and made it look suspiciously like a Slitheen. It also has very little David Tennant, which normally makes me flip tables and tear out my hair.

Seasons 5 and 6 have been rough on me.

“Love and Monsters” is the story of people who interacted briefly with the Doctor, and whose lives were never the same. The Doctor made the world a bigger, more interesting place, but it also brought death and destruction into their lives, none more so than Elton Pope, a weird little weaselly dude who just wants to enjoy his life.

And, I cannot mention this enough, bone some pavement.

What makes this episode great, though, is that it focuses on the damage that is left behind as the Doctor goes flitting off on his next great adventure. Not everyone survives his visits, and those that do are often wounded, confused and lost. It’s like watching Gotham Police clean up after Batman.

Also, Elton is sweet and he tries hard. In the end, it doesn’t save his friends and it doesn’t save his mother, but it keeps him going. He’s not really naive; he can’t be after what he’s been through. But he’s not broken, either. There’s something indomitable about a spirit like that, especially knowing that he created it all by himself, without the Doctor’s help.

Oh, and did I mention the idea for Doctor-Lite episodes was inspired by Buffy’s “The Zeppo”? Win.

Best Moment: Finding out that the twin planet of  Raxacoricofallapatorius is Clom.

Best Line: Elton: “Turns out I’ve had the most terrible things happen. And the most brilliant things. And sometimes, well, I can’t tell the difference…You know, Stephen King said once, he said, “salvation and damnation are the same thing.” And I never knew what he meant. But I do now.”

9. The Shakespeare Code Season 3, Episode 2

Just don’t bother, Martha.

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Top 10 Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

1 May

Just so you know: you’re going to disagree with this list. I’m rereading it right now and I already disagree with it. I know that the top 3 entries belong up there in some sort of order, but that’s it. The wonderful thing about Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that it’s a teen TV show about a girl that isn’t just for teens, or girls. Different episodes can speak to you in different ways at different times of your life.

Like reading Faulkner, but with less wanting to kill yourself.

Anyway, let’s get started with my poor decisions. I’m going to stick with stand-alone episodes for this list. I know that a lot of the season finales are phenomenal, but they’re the product of a season’s worth of buildup. These are ones that can blow you off your feet all by themselves.

[Warning: There are major spoilers below of a show that ended ten years ago. The warning is that you are seriously out of touch with pop culture. Fix that by watching these episodes.]

10. Earshot (Season 3, Episode 18)

“How am I supposed to commit suicide with a gun that’s longer than I am tall?”

There are so many great episodes that this entry was almost a 3-way tie alongside “Tabula Rasa” and “Something Blue” because they’re all funny, mix-it-up episodes with an underlying sadness to them. I went with “Earshot” because it revealed the most about character while still giving the show a good shake.

In “Earshot”, Buffy becomes magically endowed with the ability to hear others’ thoughts, which quickly turns out to be more of a hindrance than an advantage. This episode gave us our first dramatic look at Jonathan, who had previously been used, not even as comic relief, but as a backdrop. It reminded us that other people are starring in the brilliant epic that is their own life, and maybe you should pay attention to that sometimes.

Especially when he suddenly stars in the epic that is your life.

Really, though, I just love this episode for the funny moments of insight into others’ minds. We learn that Xander does math badly to keep from thinking about sex, Oz is the embodiment of Hemingway’s iceberg theory, Cordelia says the first thing that drifts through the vacuum of her cranium, and Angel literally has no thoughts (or they just “make no reflection in your mind”, as though that should mean something.)

Wait. A vampire who’s immune to mind-reading? Didn’t they steal that from Twilight?

Best Line:  Oz: [Thinking] I am my thoughts. If they exist in her, Buffy contains everything that is me, and she becomes me. I cease to exist.
[Out loud]: Hm.

Best Moment: Buffy mentions that she knows that Giles and her mother had sex and Anthony Stewart Head uses this opportunity to walk into a tree.

9. Intervention (Season 5, Episode 18)

The episode that called into question exactly how much silicone makes up SMG’s genetic structure.

Season 5 is all about growing up and while it’s still witty, there are far fewer fun and funny episodes in this season than in others. It’s sort of a downer when the main character loses her lover, finds her mother dead on the couch, gets her ass kicked every time she meets the Big Bad and gets saddled with the world’s worst genetic bag of hormones.

No, Dawn. You know what? You get out.

And then “Intervention” comes along. And it’s classic, oh-shit-topsy-turvy-let’s-make-Spike-and-Buffy-kiss magic and fun. Spike gets a Buffybot for lascivious purposes, but everyone mistakes it for the real Buffy. Hilarity ensues. And then it ends on a surprisingly serious (and astoundingly tender) note. I actually enjoy watching Sarah Michelle Geller in this episode.

Gee, I wonder why.

Spike is easily the most interesting character in this show, because he is victim to some really contradictory feelings. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing him be gentle and loving. When Buffy rebuffs him (leave that pun alone and I will too and we’ll just keep soldiering on here), it’s funny. When she responds with enthusiasm, it’s hot. When she’s touched by his loyalty and kisses him for real for the first time in the show, it melts your soul a little bit.

Aww, his heart is just as tenderized as his face!

Best Moment: Probably a tie between Spike convincing the minions that Bob Barker is The Key and getting to see post-coital Spike with mussed-up hair (I’m a fangirl, shut up, I squee sometimes.)

Best Line: Xander: No one is judging you. It’s understandable. Spike is strong and mysterious and sort of compact but well-muscled.
Buffy: I am not having sex with Spike! But I’m starting to think that you might be.

8. Chosen (Season 7, Finale)

“Buffy, weren’t you gut-stabbed like, an hour ago?”
“Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

I said I wasn’t going to include finales, but I lied. I have to talk about this episode. I loved “The Gift”, which was a great way to end Season 5, but deep down I always had a problem with the heroic sacrifice. Although Buffy chose to give her life for the cause, she always had to play the game that other people forced upon her. She was forced to be a Slayer, she was forced to take in Dawn, she was forced to kill. She chose to die, but she had limited options there.

“Chosen” changed all that. It’s the most feminist episode I’ve ever seen. It’s about a woman who flies in the face of every patriarchal tradition, empowers a bunch of women, defeats evil, and then is free to do whatever the fuck she feels like.

Sadly, not this anymore.

It also has Nathan Fillion as the world’s creepiest preacher, Angel showing up and being shut down, Willow finally embracing the sacred side of magic, Spike’s heroic sacrifice and the brutal slaying of an established character. What more could you ask for?

Nope, sorry. She never comes back. Give it up already.

Best Line: Spike: Most people don’t use their tongue to say hello. Or, I guess they do, but…

Best Moment: The “Welcome to Sunnydale” sign falls into the gaping pit that was once the thriving, demon-infested town. The sun is bright. Everything is still. The cluster of survivors survey the remains of their city uncertainly. Dawn turns to her sister. “Buffy…What are we gonna do now?” The camera pans in on Buffy as a slow realization sinks in. She smiles.

END OF THE FUCKING SERIES, HOLY SHIT, JOSS WHEDON Continue reading

Top 10 Creepiest Sci-Fi/Fantasy Villains

10 Apr

Please note that this is not a list of the BEST villains in Scifi/Fantasy, just the creepiest. These are the insidious shadows and barely-suppressed manic grins that make your skin crawl. What’s really surprising about this list is how many of these are from network television shows, and how they’re way scarier than most horror films.

 

10. The Hitchiker, The Twilight Zone

And then he asked for spare change. The horror!

For those of you who are too young/uninformed to know what this entry is but still hate M. Night Shyamalan, I have good news: The Twilight Zone made a metric fuckton of scary (for the ’60s) TV episodes that outtwisted M. Night way before his movies even got terrible. One of my personal favorites is “The Hitchhiker,” the story of a woman who keeps seeing the same creepy homeless man no matter where she drives. Naturally she has to drive on the most deserted roads and of course she has to stop and get out of her car at several points, because this was back when we all wanted our cars to use a tank of gas over the course of five miles or so.

Twilight Zone: Brought to you by Ford.

What makes it creepy: Society and its multitudinous civilians have given us the impression that we’re always safe, that help is never that far away. This episode shrinks that feeling of safety down to two areas: 1) The inside of an otherwise empty car and 2) Moving. If you don’t have both those things, you’re suddenly not safe. Don’t drive at night after this episode.

 

9.The Puppetmaster/Bloodbenders, Avatar: The Last Airbender

Everyone’s favorite grandmother

“The Puppetmaster” was just about the creepiest episode of children’s television I’ve ever seen. It happens in Season 3, around the time the writers realized that if Katara could “bend” her own sweat, she could probably do it to other bodily fluids as well. So did they depict her stopping a hemorrhage? Blowing awesome snot rockets? Introducing the most creative form of birth control ever?

NO. They gave us a creepy-ass old woman who could literally control people by bending their blood.

What makes it creepy: She can control people by bending their blood. Also, it looks really painful. Or maybe arousing?

Guess where she sent all the blood in this picture?

 

8. Hands of Blue, Firefly

Stopped being a proctologist after all the “Hands of Brown” jokes

I don’t know what these men are technically called. I’d prefer they stay nameless, but we’ll call them the fanon-deemed “Hands of Blue” for clarity’s sake, which is better than “Blue Myself  Twice”

Not the same.

Firefly was cancelled much too young, but one good thing that came out of that was never knowing what these guys really wanted. Having them stalk our heroes through the episode “Ariel” and killing their own men while River freaked out was confusing enough to be really, really creepy. It’s all based on knowing the victim’s reaction rather than the villain’s motivation, so you never know what will happen next.

What makes them creepy: They seem to be immune to their own weapon. Unlike Men in Black, when they set off their flashy-thingy, they wear no protective gear. They look like humans, they wear no armor, but they’re curiously emotionless as everyone around them pukes blood out of every orifice.

 

7. The Pale Man, Pan’s Labyrinth

“The fuck?”

Pan’s Labyrinth took fantasy and mythology and made it insidious and terrifying. All of it reflected the horror of the real world happening outside of Ofelia’s addled little mind. Nothing was creepier than the Pale Man, an emaciated creature that sat and starved at a feast, the only thing on its plate being its own eyes. It mirrored Ofelia’s stepfather, who kept an abundance of food locked in a barn, waiting for people to try and take it so that he could kill them.

What makes it creepy: 

Exhibits A – M

Enough. Fucking. Said.

 

6. Vasha Nerada, Doctor Who

The most primal of fears.

The “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Damned”, Steven Moffat’s two-parter mindfuck really dug into the most basic human fear: the fear of the dark. The Vasha Nerada are sentient shadows that latch onto a host and strip them of their flesh. You never know which shadow might have an aerosol piranha in it, and you never see it coming. You just look down and suddenly you have two shadows. And then you know you’re dead.

What makes it creepy: I always thought I was afraid of things that might be hiding in the dark. Now I’m afraid of the dark itself.

 

5. GLaDOS, Portal

“Cake followed by light bondage?”

Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System (GLaDOS) is creepy the same was HAL is creepy in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s terrifying to imagine our robotic creations trying to murder the tits out of us. What GLaDOS has on HAL is the format of Portal itself. You think you’re just playing a typical puzzle game and she’s the annoying Navi telling you what to do. It’s helpful, but bland, and she even has the cool, neutral robotic voice.

Then she starts slipping in little things that make you wonder, like “Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test.” Then you start seeing stuff like this:

The brilliant idea that was ruined by a thousand memes.

Then she starts trying to kill you.

What makes it creepy:  The fact that since it’s a video game and not a movie, you have to play her psychotic little game. It’s like the difference between taking a roller coaster ride in a haunted house and walking through one on your own two feet.

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