shadowkat: (Default)
1. Christopher Eccleston Interview highlights diversity of casting in the arts and disadvantages of working class roots

Worth reading for this great little quote.


Life imitates art, and art imitates life. Eccleston brings up the point that inclusion and diversity in the arts is important to look at as a barometer for how everything else is going. Stories generally serve one of two purposes. They either show us what we are, or they show us what we can be. When we think critically about pop culture, it’s important to examine it from both those perspectives in order to move forward.


I admittedly tried Doctor Who because of Eccleston, and he remains my favorite Doctor.

2. Rally Cat at Cardinals Game - thanks to cactuswatcher for the link. It made me laugh, although I fell in love with the cat and wanted it.

Note to grounds crew man: "A cat is not a football. It doesn't even look like a football. Nor it is a dog. If you treat a cat like a football, do not be surprised if you get clawed and bit repeatedly. Just saying."

3. David Tennant talks about the new Doctor Who, takes pot shots at Brexit, and at Trump..making me adore David Tennant. Who is my second favorite Doctor, although I've loved him in other things. He's amazingly versatile actor. It also helps that I agree with his politics and think he's a lovely person.

David Tennant Gets Political...and rather humorous )

I loved his joke about Brexit. Particularly after reading in Reuters this week that New York City is apparently going to be the big winner, after brokers flee the London markets. Not sure how I feel about that.

Read more... )
shadowkat: (work/reading)
More other things...

1. A friend of mine on her FB page is having multiple heated discussions with various Doctor Who fans about well, a female Doctor Who. She's for it, of course, they aren't. Her discussions are reminiscent of the debates she had regarding Hillary and Trump.

She's a great debater. But people are...stubborn. Her best point was this Original Creator told BBC to cast Woman as Doctor in 1986.

Here's a link to an interesting article in The Mary Sue about negative female reactions to Doctor Who. And how ingrained misogyny is in our culture. I know it is, I've read a lot of romance novels and literary novels by female writers...and oh dear. Also, notably, I know a lot of men who are happy with Doctor Who being a Woman, voted for Hillary, and loved Wonder Woman, and a lot of women who need well a strong male lead and can't handle powerful women. I saw it in the Buffy fandom, Doctor Who fandom in regards to River Song, and Battle Star Galatica fandom in regards to Starbuck.

2. What I just finished reading?

King's Rising - The Captive Prince Part III and The Summer Palace by CS Pascat. Both were okay. Kings Rising was better. Summer Palace sort of works as a fanservice epilogue. Lots of boring sex, not a lot of story. I'd skip Summer Palace and just end with King's Rising.


What I'm reading now?

Lord of the Fading Lands by CL Wilson -- hmmm, apparently I'm on an initial kick.

This is fantasy, told in a fairy-tale style, with a romance at the center of it, at least for the first two books. The later three in the series apparently focus more on the battles and conflict apparently.

Not sure I'll make it that far. The writing style is not exactly captivating me. I'm having issues with how the writer perceives gender. Also she's very conventional, as is her story. It follows the established tropes.

That said, she says some interesting things about our culture, via fantasy, and is an excellent world-builder. From a thematic, world-building, and plot perspective, she's pretty good, somewhere in line with CS Lewis. And her style is in some respects similar to Anne McCaffrey. (I don't like Anne McCaffrey's writing style now, which is odd. I recently tried to re-read her Dragon Rider's of Pern series and gave up mid-way through. I have a feeling that I'd react the same way to CS Lewis. I loved both as a child, but now certain aspects of their writing and how they viewed gender, get on my nerves.)

I'm admittedly a little obsessed with gender issues at the moment. There's a reason for that -- points at current President, and last year's election.

3. Claws

Made it through five episodes of this series on "On Demand". (Adam Ruins the World -- almost ruined the episodes. He kept popping up in the commercial breaks -- which is every fifteen minutes for On Demand. And I kept muting him, because I cannot abide that man's voice. It's the human equivalent of nails on chalk board. Seriously, people, watch Bill Nye Science Guy instead of Adam. His show is on TruTV. The US has more television networks than it requires. I don't know, I think 1000 is a bit much, don't you?) BTW, the later episodes (of CLAWS not Adam) are really good. You sort of have to get past the introductory stuff...or I did. Actually this is true of most television shows. I rarely get hooked with the first episode. And when I do, the show tends to lose me after the third one.

I loved the fifth episode. Although, I feel a little guilty for loving it. It's hilarious in places.
There's this scene where ...you sort of have to see it for yourself. Too hard to explain. Oh and a great dance sequence to Lady Marmalade.

It also has a lovely twist, that had me giggling.

The series reminds me a lot of Breaking Bad -- except with a John Waters flair.

4. Struggling with a lot of things at the moment. I think I may have to go off fruit. Broke out in hives after having a dish of berries, truwhip cream and a little ice cream. Had the same thing last night, no issues. Not sure why I had a reaction tonight.

Super promises he'll paint the living room soon. Just hasn't happened yet. I'm waiting for it to get painted prior to doing anything else with it. I want a table so I can paint. I miss painting. I watercolor, not oil paint or not with acrylics. Although I have painted with acrylics in the past. Taught myself in my twenties. Just have had more watercolor courses and I'm more comfortable with the medium.

Considering taking another class -- but it meets on the upper East Side, and is at 6PM after work, and I just don't know if I can get there in time and if it's doable.

At loose ends. Want to do something, just not sure what. I want to paint, but do I really want to take a class? I need a table. I can't paint on my lap or the floor effectively. And I tend to spill things, so... Also, I have a bad back.

Also struggling with my novel. I don't really know why.
shadowkat: (Default)
Just finished watching the Doctor Who Season Finale for whatever season this is. Honestly after a television series hits seven, I lose track.

Rather enjoyed it, much more than anticipated. Huge improvement over the last few episodes. Although I did like Eaters of the Light.

Actually, I've figured out a pattern in regards to my Doctor Who watching...I appear to like the seasons that do not over-emphasize the importance or value of the leads. I think that was my difficulty with the Clara story arc, I liked the character well enough, just couldn't stand the whole "chosen" or "impossible" or "most important girl in all the world" bit. Same with the tenth Doctor, I liked Tennant, and the series as long as it wasn't doing the whole lonely god bit.

Also for the first time since Derek Jacobi portrayed him in the Clockmaker at the End of the Universe, I actually found "the Master/Missy" interesting as a character. Missy was interesting this season, while I'd merely found her irritating in previous seasons.

Rather enjoyed the emphasis on agency, and in regards to gender and form. That the particular body or form we are in is not all that important. And it's not about winning or what we can get out of it, or playing god, or being important, or victorious or a hero... but about kindness. Being kind.

Spoilers, because it is sort of hard to go into any detail without them and there are quite a few delightful surprises in this episode for new and long-term Doctor Who watchers )

Writing all this down, I realize how much I loved these two episodes, how deeply they resonated with me, I find myself repeating bits in my head.

Best two episodes of the season, and best that I've seen in the last two or three years. Also an very good ending to Moffat's arc on the series. I will miss Moffat, since I've more or less enjoyed his writing in everything he's done. I think his next project is Dracula of all things.

Overall rating? A

[As an aside, the US got tired of waiting on the British and created their own personal female 007, with Atomic Blond. Charlize Theron plays the titular agent role, and James McAvoy the love interest/male squeeze we may not be able to trust. I may have to see that.]
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR WHO STORY RANKED FROM BEST TO WORST for the DW fans on my reading list.

Reading through it, I was reminded of why I found the series far too scary to watch when I was eight in the 1970s. It also reminds me a great deal of two sci-fi anthology US programs in the 1960s and 70s, which were reprised briefly, Outer Limits and Twilight Zone. I liked Twilight Zone better -- it was psychological horror, while Outer Limits was basically monsters came to eat you from outer space.

The 1950s in the US seemed to spawn a lot of scary sci-fi movies. I think most if not all of them were allegories of the fear people had of the Other, or Communism. We'd just come off of a brutal war, where no one was necessarily a good guy. (If you disagree, go google the Battle of Dresden and read Slaughter-House Five. Also google the US internment camps for Japanese Americans, and what happened with the two atomic bombs.) Anyhow, WWII spawned US and Japanese sci-fi horror films. Our fear of nuclear warfare, communism, nazism, fascism...all show up in those, along with Doctor Who.

Anyhow, it's hard for me to quibble with the rankings, I only saw a smattering of the episodes. Agree with Blink, Midnight, Listen, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Day of the Doctor, The Doctor's Wife...have never really understood the appeal of the Vincent Van Gough episode and the Girl in the Fire Place, but that's just me. Personally I preferred The Impossible Astronaut and A Good Man Goes to War, along with Family of Blood and The Human Condition.

2. Television Shows to Binge Watch.

Please name a television show that you recommend binge watching this summer, list the channel and where to find it. I'm looking for recommendations.

Right now considering Orange is the New Black, Fortitude, Bosch, Big Little Lies,
American Gods.

3. What are the Best Television Adaptations of Books?

Hmmm...the best one that I've seen, and actually read the book, was A&E's adaptation of Pride & Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. It seemed to be the closest to the book, with a few interesting tweaks here and there. Such as Darcy taking a dip in his estate's lake only to find himself running into Elizabeth and her Aunt and Uncle.

I didn't like Poldark take 2 that much. But that may be a mood thing. And I didn't read the book.

The Expanse did a rather decent job with Leviathan Wakes, the first in that series. I haven't read the others yet.

I think it is hard to do a decent book adaptation. I liked The Night Manager, but again have not read the book. Le Carr gives me a headache, I can only watch the adaptations of his work. His books...feel a bit like trudging through quicksand.
(I admit I was more of a Ludlum and Fleming fan, and Helen McInnes, who were less realistic but more fun.)

The Thorn Birds was a good adaptation of that book, I must admit. Collen McCullough's Australian epic actually was my favorite of that specific genre.

Oh, and the best horror novel adaptation was Harvest Home (by Tom Tyron) which was adapted in the 1970s.

4. Brings me to my next question which books would you like to see adapted into a television series?

I can tell you this much, none that are currently being adapted. The one's I want adapted aren't popular enough, apparently, to be adapted.

Would love to see all the Shakespearean plays adapted. That would be cool. Do modern adaptations!

Also love to see His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman adapted into a television series. I think it would work better for television than film.

And The Chronicles of Lymond by Dorothy Dunnett starring Tom Hiddleston in the lead role.

Would not mind it if they adapted the Vicky Bliss mysteries.

Other books? The Secret History by Donna Tartt and The Sparrow/Children of God by Maria Doria Russell. The Kim Harrison - Rachel Morgan series, about a bounty hunter who discovers she's a demon. Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.

Sci-Fi series? Hmmm....they don't tend to do a good job with sci-fi book adaptations.
Although I haven't seen Man in the High Castle. I did not like what they did with Dune or the Wizard of Earthsea.

See? Too off the beaten path. They'd never do them.

5. Any reboots?

Can't think of any. They always reboot shows that really don't need to be rebooted.

What they should do is continue series that left us with a cliff-hanger. Sort of a wrap-up of that series. Or something.
shadowkat: (Default)
Finally saw the latest Doctor Who which once again cut off the last two minutes. Dang it. That was the best part of the entire episode.

However, Doctor Who, Episode 10, Eater of the Light by Scottish playwrite and tele-writer Rona Munro, who also wrote the Doctor Who episode Survival in 1989, and is among the few female writers of the series, was actually among the better episodes to date.

I am, however, wondering why all the soliders in these episodes are dressed in red, and all the monsters seem to lizards or fish. (Yes, I know Roman soliders tended to wear red...but, not always, and why these soliders?) Maybe that's just me? Maybe it is coincidence? There were a few that weren't, not many, but a few. Maybe...there's some sort of metaphor relating to ancient Rome and the Scots that I'm missing because I don't remember the history that well? (I vaguely remember visiting Hadrian's Wall in the 1980s, and hearing the tale about how the Scots built it and kept the Romans back. Rome was able to conquer everyone but Scotland, in part due to the wall, in part due to the cold.)

There also seems to be an on-going theme about shutting out the light. Along with the agency/choice theme.

Not overly sure the episodic nature of this season works. With just snippets of an overall arc.

This was a metaphor heavy episode, as opposed to plot heavy, which I think worked better. Had a sort of fairy tale structure to it. Also worked better from a structural perspective. I actually prefer Doctor Who when it follows a more dark fairy tale style than sci-fi style. Mainly because I'm not sure these writers are very adept at sci-fi.
Am wondering if it is possible to do an episode without a monster of the week?

Eh, spoilers )
shadowkat: (Default)
Finally saw this episode. And....well, Mark Gatiss really should stick to acting, he's not very good at this writing thing. Just saying.

The episode reminded me of some of the very cheesy sci-fi television shows and movies that I watched as a kid in the 1970s, but were created in 1960s. Unlike the UK, apparently, the US had lots of cheesy sci-fi shows and movies to choose from. None of them lasted very long, because, hello, cheesy. I think the worst was Land of the Lost. Even the gadgets in the episodes were very seventies.

Had a very Jules Vern/HG Wells vibe going.

I'm not really sure what the writer was trying to say in the episode. But then it was written by Mark Gatiss, who I tend to find to be unintelligible on a good day.

spoilers )

Overall? Not a good episode, and quite skippable. Unless of course something major happened in the last five-ten minutes,which I missed because it didn't record.

Been having recording issues this week. Still Star Crossed didn't record. Yesterday I got Jeff Sessions instead of my soap, and today no soap, had to watch online. (It's sad, I know, but I found the soap to be more entertaining than the Jeff Sessions hearing or this week's episode of Doctor Who.)
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. Question: Are any television shows worthy of obsession?

Answer: Probably not. Doesn't keep me from obsessing about them, though. Or anyone else for that matter, apparently.

Read more... )

2. Question: What qualifies as kid fare and adult?

Answer: I've been wondering about this for a while now. I will go through the children's shelves in book stores, and while much of the books on the shelves are obviously kid's fare, such as Goodnight, Moon. Other's I wonder about from time to time. Peter Rabbit has some disturbing bits in it. As does The Hobbit and Harry Potter, and Twilight.

Read more... )

3. Television Reviews well sort of...

* Doctor Who - The Lie of the Land

Don't have a great deal to say about this episode. It was okay. I thought it was better than last week's episode, less obvious plot holes. But I also felt like I've been there done that...which was the problem with this particular arc, well amongst other things.

I did like some things about it, which are spoilery, so beneath the cut:

spoilers )

* Riverdale

Two episodes left. I'm enjoying the series. It's beautifully shot and has an amazing color scheme. The production, set design, cinematographer, editors, makeup and costumes are doing a great job. The only weak points are well, the direction and writing...which is rather limp. But I'm enjoying it.

It has a graphic novel feel to it. Jughead is my favorite character. The actor is doing a great job...emoting. And I love Skeet Ullrich as Jug's dad "FP". Molly Ringwald, who plays Archie's mom, looks weird. Has she done botox or plastic surgery? Her face is oddly stiff and lop-sided. It's admittedly odd to see her as a Mom, but then it is also odd to see Luke Perry (who played Buffy's high school boyfriend Pike in the Buffy movie) as a Dad, and Ringwald's hubby.

I like the tone of the series and find it captivating enough to stick with.

*Still Star-Crossed

Well, I'm not sure it's very good, but it is definitely intriguing. (Reminds me a bit of Reign actually in quality - so more a CW series than an ABC series...). But it is intriguing enough to hold my interest at any rate. It focuses on the twenty-somethings in the cast. But I like Grant Bowler's turn as Montague. Head, I'm on the fence about at the moment. The casting is the most diverse and colorblind that I've ever seen. They have interracial couples all over the place and aren't blinking an eye. Romeo is black, with a white father, white cousin, and in love with white Juliet, who has black cousins. It's startling because a mere ten years ago, such a thing was...well rarely done.

Don't get me wrong, I love it. But it surprised me a little. Time was, the networks would have prohibited it. And this is on a major network - ABC.

The first episode pretty much retells the Rome and Juliet storyline, except from Benvolo (Romeo's confidante) and Rosalind's (Juliet's confident) perspectives.

And it changes a few things from the Shakespearean version which I found intriguing.

spoilers )

The only drawback? It feels like a CW teen show. Not that this is a huge problem. But ...I wish it focused more on the older characters.

* Nashville

Hmmm, I'm really enjoying the new writers of this series. The show's quality has improved. Also certain storylines have opened up. It's not predictable and has surprised me time and again. Completely different show than the past several years. Instead of a soapy melodrama about the music industry, it's become a relatable drama about the country music industry.

There are some...sentimental moments, but nothing too manipulative and overall it worked.
spoilers )
shadowkat: (Default)
Well, I actually watched an episode within 24 hours in which it aired. Usually it's fourteen days later. Also, dear BBCAmerica, please stop airing the last five minutes of Doctor Who within the same time slot as Class, because my DVR keeps cutting it off. In order to see the last five minutes, I had to start DVRing Class. No haven't watched any episodes of it yet, in part because I'm annoyed that I have to tune in order to see the last five minutes of Doctor Who.

spoilers )

Ranking:

1. Pilot
2. Extremis
3. Smile
4. Pyramid at the End of the World
5. Thin Ice
6. Oxygen

How many episodes does Doctor Who have? Is it ten a year? Or six? Or thirteen? I'm guessing ten.
shadowkat: (Default)
[Have a dinner date with Uhurua around 7, who I haven't seen in a while. We considered a movie. But Wonder Woman isn't out yet. And U didn't see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, sort of impossible to see 2, without 1. U did ask if I wanted to see...Alien: Covenant.

Me: I'm not sure I want to see a horror movie...and I thought you hated horror movies?
U: Well if it's sci-fi and not Nightmare on Elm Street...I can usually do it....Never mind, lets' keep it simple and just do dinner.

LOL. I don't know. I think of the Alien movies as full fledged horror films. But then I also think of Doctor Who as horror, so what do I know?

Anyhow, we'll see if I can write this in under two hours. ]

So, I finally saw the Doctor Who episode "Extremis" which apparently revealed who was in the vault and why. Feel sort of silly for thinking it could have been anyone else. Sometimes a cigar really is just a cigar or the simplest choice is the right one.

I liked the episode. I could tell Moffat wrote it, has the intricacies of plot that Moffat is famous for. With some good dialogue throughout. Particularly liked Bill's exchanges with the Doctor and Nardole

If an episode has good dialogue, I'll usually enjoy it. (And no, not all the episodes have good dialogue, at least three did not. I'm picky about dialogue. Some people are picky about plot, some about moral messages, some about theme, some world-building, some consistencies, for me? It's dialogue. (Well, dialogue and character development, which often go hand in hand). Which you'd think wouldn't be a problem in a medium that is basically 98% dialogue, but...it is.)

I also agree with the people who said River Song's tale is far from over. There were numerous allusions to River Song, in particular the whole idea of a simulation world where people were data feeds, set up in a manner similar to the Library. Maybe one of the reasons I liked this episode is in some respects it reminded me of Silence in the Library?

spoilers although I think everyone but me has seen it by now )

Overall I enjoyed the episode. (just the one quibble about the villain). It has a big of a chinese puzzle box of a plot, but that's Moffat and why I enjoy his writing.

Ranking of episodes?

1. Pilot
2. Extremis
3. Knock Knock
4. Smile
5. Thin Ice
6. Oxygen.

[Sigh. The Opera Singer is back. It sounds like a Russian Opera singer, singing in Hebrew...So a Russian Jewish Opera Singer? I live in an interesting place. Today I bought earrings at an African Street fair, which was packed. And the only white people there were possibly me and ten other people spread throughout. All the vendors and 90% of the customers were African-American or Carribbean-American descent, ie. black. The earrings are gorgeous. They'd bussed people in. This was in Fort Greene, which otherwise is wall to wall yuppie or hipster in today's lingo. Under 40, hip, white, and pretty. They all look a like. All thin. All active. Guys wear beards. Women long hair. I
feel like I'm looking at the cast of one of those shows on Freeform.]
shadowkat: (Default)
Hmm...so I finally saw this episode and liked more than I thought I would.

There's some good character development. A rather interesting take on racism...and how two people, who normally struggle with racism or being treated as different, both make verbal faux pas when addressing a blue space alien. I rather liked that and thought it funny and thought-provoking.

And some interesting themes. See below. Cut for spoilers.

1. The Evil Corporation Sci-Fi Trope, cut for plot spoilers )

At least this theme didn't overwhelm the episode. But it did seem to be a repeat of The Smile episode, making me wonder if they are trying to make a point about agency...ie. the control people have over others, and themselves? Actually that was the interesting theme that I saw.

Which brings me to what I think is actually one of the overarching themes of this season. And a far more interesting one than the above. Because frankly, I'm bored of the evil corporation theme. It's been a tad overdone.

Agency or Control )
shadowkat: (Default)
[Prior to my review, was thinking about something the other day -- while jumping about the net looking for info on a favorite Marvel character that no one appears to like but me, and realized why being involved in a fandom isn't always...workable. I can't think of the right word. I mean what happens if you are "fannish" about something, and everyone you come across really isn't? I suppose you could find someone who loves it...but it can take a bit of doing. Buffy was easy -- when I joined the fandom, 75% of the people I ran across seemed to agree with me. We were simpatico for the most part. Oh there were a few here and there that didn't but generally speaking...it worked out okay. Hmm...this may be why Buffy is the only fandom I've managed to join or stick with for a length of time. It's not that I don't get fannish about things, it's just that I find it hard to find people who are like-minded about it. And don't get me wrong, I do like disagreement here and there, but it does get exhausting and it would be nice if you didn't have to do it all the time.

I think this is why I struggled with getting too involved with the Doctor Who fandom. What turned me on doesn't appear to turn on other people. rather long musing on this that you may want to skip, don't say you weren't warned )

Okay that was rather long. I sort of went off-tangent. So went back to put it behind a cut.

1. Thin Ice

Was rather disappointed in this episode, after all the shining reviews of it online. They were touting it as the best episode so far. (Hmmm, see above. But this is should be a warning to me, whenever the fandom or the critics LOVE a Doctor Who episode, I appear to find it rather boring and derivative...wondering WTF are they smoking? Yes, folks, I'm at odds with the Doctor Who fandom apparently. This happened with The Vincent Van Gough episode (which I can't remember and did not understand the appeal of), Girl in the Fire Place (ditto), the whole Rose Tyler arc, most of Donna's arc with the exception of Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead -- which I thought were the best episodes ever, and everyone else didn't. Yes, I'm definitely at odds with the fandom. Oh well.)

Anyhow...what I liked about the episode, there's a reiteration of this season's apparent theme, which is "things aren't evil, they are just hungry or wanting to survive". Also a reiteration of the theme in Moana -- although I liked how Moana expressed it much better. (Which is ...man's greedy impulses destroy what is freely given. Harnessing a creature of nature for his own needs, makes man the monster not the creature.) Actually I think the only monsters we need to fear are ourselves. Which seems to be a theme that Doctor Who is reiterating this season.

spoilers )

Overall not a bad episode. I was a bit bored during it and thought it could have been better paces. Also it got a bit didatic and preachy in places. (Characters stopped everything and gave long speechs that didn't really propel the action and weren't really required. They were nice speeches. But, I'd heard it before. In fact when Bill asks the Doctor if you have to live a thousand years to give a speech like that. I thought, uh no, he gave one more or less just like it when he was just 600 years old.)

2. Knock Knock

Found this episode far more entertaining. Don't know who wrote it. Noticed a woman wrote the last episode, which was nice. We have women writers now. Maybe we always did on Doctor Who and I just didn't notice? I felt guilty for not liking her episode better than this one. Solidarity and all that. But I wouldn't worry about it too much, apparently everyone else including the critics felt the opposite.

I thought this one was rather clever. (Although the bug bit felt repetitive. Haven't we done that before? I feel like I've seen it somewhere...just can't remember where? Oh well, there's no new plots, I've pretty much seen everything done somewhere before...so doesn't really matter. But I kept trying to figure out what television show or episode did something similar.)

And the dialogue/banter between various characters was hilarious in places. I did have to put it on close caption, because between the songs, sound-effects, and the thick British accents, I was having troubles making out what the characters were saying -- particularly in The Thin Ice episode.

spoilers )

Rather enjoyed this one. Overall? A good episode. Not as good as "The Pilot" but I think a notch better than the last two.
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
Pouring at the moment. I had the day off -- to get reacclimated to NYC before heading back to work. The differences between the city and Hilton Head are huge. For one thing - I take trains, walk, and the subway in the city, rarely am in a car, while in Hilton Head - we drive everywhere.
Also grocery stores are much smaller in the city, and in Hilton Head - they are the size of two city blocks and you could lost in one for days.

Saw the Doctor Who Christmas Special finally, entitled The Many Husbands of River Song -- which I enjoyed far more than I anticipated. And it's stuck with me a bit longer than most.

spoilers )
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
1. Doctor Who Episodes 9.1.5-9.2 or rather "Meditation for the Doctor", "Magician's Apprentice", and "The Witch's Familiar".

The problem I had with these was the damn commercial interruptions. Can't help but wonder what it would be like if I wasn't constantly fast-forwarding through commercials every 15 or 10 minutes. As a result of the commercials, some of which were flash-forward previews regarding what will happen next in between commercials, so you don't give up, I found it hard to follow. Not to mention jarring.
Note to television writers producing shows for "commercial" television - out of order narratives or jumpy narratives are hard to follow when you are interrupted by commercials. It interrupts the flow.

I felt I should get that out of the way first. My main issue with Doctor Who, and probably the reason I was never "fannish" about it - is it is geared more towards "horror" than really speculative science fiction/fantasy/adventure. Basically the writer is interested in examining what scares us. This has never had a great deal of appeal for me. I'm not a big fan of horror. I like it, but sparingly. If you aren't a horror fan -- you probably don't like Doctor Who all that much.

Ignoring both of those quibbles? (Because one, let's face isn't the writers fault, he wrote the series for non-commercial television, and two, it's a horror series. Hello. Sort of know that going into it.) It was an interesting series of episodes. Playing around once again with the idea of mercy and war. And enemies vs. friends. The Doctor at the end of it, chooses to save the child who will one day become he's most dreaded enemy, to show mercy, as opposed to the more tempting choice - to kill him.

spoilers for Doctor Who )

2. New American Television Series

* Scream Queens -- I gave up halfway through, around the 30 minute mark. I'd read good reviews of it. But here's the thing, Ryan Murphy's unique and rather flamboyant (read over the top) brand of cultural satire/parody either works for you or it really doesn't. Don't get me wrong, I didn't find it offensive so much as boring. I didn't care about any of the characters. And I kept wondering why all these rich entitled college kids weren't using smartphones 24/7 like their real life counterparts? In short, I was taken out of the story intermittently by the thought - why aren't they taking pictures of that with their cell phones? Why don't they have their cell phones on them? Clearly Murphy and Falchuck are of my generation and don't seem to realize that everyone under the age of 30, with few exceptions, has a cell phone as a third appendage.

But my main difficulty, was none of the characters was relateable, interesting, charming, or compelling. Not one. I need at least someone to care about and root for. In Glee, I had five people, plus nifty musical numbers. This...I don't even have the musical numbers, just gory death scenes, and seriously who wants that?

* Blindspot --- has potential. My co-worker loves it. I find it a bit boiler-plate, but I admittedly have watched too many tv shows in my life-time. It feels a bit like Orphan Black meets the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. A woman has her memory completely wiped, and her skin covered with tattoos, then she's dumped naked in a duffel bag in the middle of Times Square. The duffel has a tag stating that they should "CAll the FBI". Oh and on her back is the name of a top level FBI agent, Kurt Weller. Apparently each of her tattoos holds a clue to her identity and to various terrorist attacks around the city or country. It's a treasure map of sorts.

So, each episode will be unraveling the mystery behind each individual tattoo. The case of the week is the terrorist or criminal action that the tattoo is a clue to, and the back plot is who is this woman and what does the tattoo and the case reveal about her.

She's clearly a trained fighter, with awesome shooting and kung fu skills. (And has a Navy Seals Special Ops Tattoo hidden under a new tattoo.) We're also shown the man who trained her and did this to her - but no clue if he is a villain or what exactly.

Like I said, it has potential, but it's nothing new or that we haven't seen before, exactly.

3. ) I've finished Grant Morrison's New X-men - which overall, was quite good. Read more... )

Anyhow. Now re-reading Joss Whedon and John Cassiday's Astonishing X-men, which is much better than I remembered. Read more... )
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
It's a cool day, considering either making pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread via a paleo recipe that I discovered on the internet. (Feel I should define what I mean by paleo - no diary, no sugar, no grains, no glutens, no yeast, nothing that I'm sensitive to. Sort of similar to lactose or diabetic or gluten free. It has bananas, chai tea, pumpkin, coconut flour, eggs, spices..) Have decided to take the weekend off to vegetate in new apt. Still adapting to it. While it does get natural light - well in the bathroom and living room, and has a nice enough view of trees and houses and sky. It's not bathed in sunlight like my last apartment. But other than that - it is admittedly a huge improvement in various and sundry ways.

On a totally unrelated topic, we really do bring our own baggage to everything we watch, read, listen or witness - don't we? What astonishes me though is how unaware people are of this fact. I'll read a professional critical review - and think, whoa, we didn't see the same series of movies and you are reading a lot into that which I'm pretty certain was not intended. Entertainment Weekly, the guilty pleasure magazine that I can't quite bring myself to stop subscribing to, had two articles in it that seemed oblivious to this fact, yet ironically emphasized it. The first one was a television critic's take on Nolan's Batman flicks, and the second was a review of the Martin Scorcese documentary -The New York Review of Books - The 50 Year Argument, which highlights a 50 year fight between Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal culminating in a verbal battle of words on the Dick Cavett Show regarding Vidal's review of Eva Figes' Patriarchal Attitudes (which isn't even by Mailer), in which Vidal stated that Mailer's analysis of gender politics "read like three days of menstrual flow", then went on to contend that Mailer, Manson (Charles Manson - the serial killer not Marilyn Manson), and Henry Miller were men who viewed "women as at best, breeders of sons; at worst, objects to be poked, humiliated, killed." I have a feeling Gore didn't realize had hard this hit Mailer - until Mailer blew up at him.
Goes to show you - you need to be careful about critical reviews, and the most seasoned and successful of writers can get riled by them. It also demonstrates how we tend to view everything through our own baggage.

apparently I'm the only one who wasn't blown away by this week's Doctor Who episode? )
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
the apartment )

I did see the newest Doctor Who episode - Listen, and now I understand the posts on my flist and the varying reactions. It was an interesting episode in that it dealt with various things that I've been thinking about lately. But I admittedly had troubles watching it - the commercials drove me bonkers. Every 15 minutes. And I can't fast-forward through them as easily or efficiently like I could with Time Warner. Time Warner had fast-forwarding and rewinding down to a science. Cablevision does not. Each time I try - I skip over the tv show and land on the commercial, when I rewind, I get caught in a loop, where it skips to 41 minutes than back to 44 minutes, then back again, driving me bonkers. Ugh. Tempted to call customer service and ask : why does this function suck and when will you fix it?

Anyhow...I now totally understand why two people thought of politics while watching Listen. Or related the episode to unrelated politics. (The other one was an American female, not a British male, as I original thought). It's due to the message, which is admittedly counter to what you would expect. spoilers )

But getting back to why I personally found it to be fascinating, and why it resonated for me on a certain level? Two things - first "LISTEN".The Doctor is told to LISTEN and tells others to LISTEN, but ironically, he doesn't listen. He spends a lot of time talking. Very rapidly. (I used to think this was a British thing, but I think it's just a Doctor thing.) And when he does listen he doesn't quite hear it clearly. He's baffled. I think one of the most ironic things about the information age - is that everyone is so busy talking, tweeting, texting, posting, etc that they aren't really reading or listening carefully to what is actually being said. We are in the age of scanning, skimming, and skipping. Too much information after all. We are distracted, too busy multi-tasking - watching tv while surfing the net, driving while talking on a phone, texting while watching a movie (really wish people would not do this). I certainly was distracted while watching Doctor Who, and later while attempting to watch Rectify (read a magazine, popped on the internet, went to the bathroom, did stretching exercises). And we have all these interruptions. If you are on the phone, someone buzzes in interrupting your conversation or your service clicks off. Or in person, you are chatting, and your friend or your own cell phone rings and of course you answer it - stopping the conversation or maybe during it, you sneak a quick text to Face Book or twitter. I've seen this happen in a lot of meetings. And if you are on the internet, reading this post - how much of it did you really read? I admit, I'm no better - I misread two posts in my scan, one I thought was about Doctor Who, was in reality about Marvel Agents of Shield (embarrassing). I need to stop skimming.

I remember on a fan board way back in 2003, a friend of mine wrote a comment in response to a poster about "writing carefully", and I thought afterwards, reading and listening carefully is equally important. If you don't, and you respond or not as the case may be - much chaos may ensue. We aren't passive when we read or listen. We do affect and change what is being said by our mere act of listening or not listening carefully. How we listen can change or influence what is actually said.

For example? I skimmed over my flist last night. There were several reviews on the Doctor Who episode Listen. I just read the blurbs, nothing beneath the cut, in order to avoid spoilers. Two of the posts I misread. One was discussing Marvel Agents of Shield not Doctor Who. The other stated, Doctor Who and unrelated politics. I went back tonight and read both - and upon doing so, understood better what I'd read. But before doing that, I posted on what I thought I'd read in my own livejournal in which I said two posts related Doctor Who to politics and didn't seem to like it that well - resulting in various comments and criticisms of those two posts - stating how in the heck could anyone link that episode to politics. Now, having watched the episode myself and re-read the posts - I see how not reading them carefully, yet commenting on them - caused confusion and chaos. This is a minor example of how we can screw things up by not listening or reading something carefully. Sabotaging ourselves, the original post, and others in the process - and spreading misunderstanding and confusion.

When we listen or read something we engage in a conversation. In a Slate article about film actors - which I posted about recently, the writer states that actors who listen well - are better than those who don't. They provide meaning to the words being said or a reaction, giving context to the scene and action. spoilers )

The other bit that resonated, and can be interpreted more than one way depending on what is going on with you at this moment in time, was the dialogue on FEAR. major plot spoilers )

One of the better episodes that I've seen. Definitely the best one this year.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Finally got around to seeing the Doctor Who Christmas special - being unable to see it over the holidays due to being with family.

Mixed feelings regarding the episode. I can see why a lot of RT Davies fans (including the former minister of my church who was whining about Moffat on Face Book) aren't Stephen Moffat fans - the two have quite different writing styles. Read more... )

In addition, you have the contrasting acting styles of Matt Smith (the Eleventh or is that Twelth Doctor - even the Doctor appears to be confused on this point) and David Tennant (10th Doctor). Read more... )

Time of the Doctor Review

Anywho...that said, I did like the episode. Particularly the ending...where The Doctor tells Clara in response to her plea not to change or in her view "die":

Times Change, so must I. We all change when you think about it. We're all different people all through our lives. And that's okay. That's good. You've got to keep moving so long as you remember all the people you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.

plot spoilers )
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Well, that was a pleasant surprise. I honestly didn't know what to expect, except that my lj flist's tastes are syncing rather well with mine at the moment. All the reviews on my correspondence list were...exemplary.

But with Doctor Who...mileage tends to vary. So you never know.

Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor

This was written by Stephen Moffat vague spoiler )

Before going into spoilers...this was rather funny and introspective. It delved into the character of Doctor Who, while at the same time examining the larger theme of playing God with the universe and the ramifications of doing that. It also examined the history of the series and referenced in various ways all the incarnations of the Doctor and how each actor influenced the series in different ways. And also, referenced the women who accompanied him on his journeys and how they've tended to act as his conscience, debating the aggressive decisions he's made and proposing another way. Which is an interesting commentary on British imperialism and war mongering. But Doctor Who much like its US counterpart, Star Trek, commented on political themes within the guise of science fiction.

This was a wonderful episode of the series, which pulled together many threads and commented on the Doctor's journey, while providing closure to other threads. It also, and this surprised me, veered sharply away from romance or romantic emotion, and focused more on other issues. Plus it was quite humorous in places. David Tennant and Matt Smith have excellent chemistry. And Billie Piper is not quite what you'd expect and rather good in her cameo.

spoilers )

Overall rating? A+ Quite enjoyable and highly recommended.
shadowkat: (Calm)
Another crisp and clear sky-blue day. In the upper 40s and low 50s, not sure what that is in Celsius. Spring for what it is worth has apparently arrived in NYC, complete with trees in full bloom and daffodils and tulips budding. Went to the farmer's market, bought fresh tomato sauce, apples, and eggs, then wandered home - since my back was bugging me.

1. Just finished watching the surrealistic award winning film : Beasts of the Southern Wild - which is about a 6 year old little girl who lives in the Mississippi Delta with her father when Hurricane Katrina hits. It is told completely from "Hushpuppy" - the little girl's perspective, hence the surreal nature. I can see why it got mixed reviews, and it is admittedly slow in places - sort of like watching a visual poetry. Which in a way is reminiscent of Terrence Malik films, albeit less arrogant and not as self-indulgent. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea as the case may be. I know at least two people who despised the film and found it to be dull and over-rated, while most of the people who reviewed it online loved it.

In places the film is rather magical...and the cinematography astounding, in others it sort of meanders and wanders...and I start to drift asleep much as I did during Sofia Coppola's far less interesting and definitely overrated films - The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. This film has a lot more to say than Coppola did and isn't as self-indulgent and silly. But is sort of in the same film sub-genre - surrealism. There are better films out there that Beasts matches, such as Luis Buneal's That Obscure Object of Desire, or the film Black Orpheus. (I watched a lot of these films in my 20s and 30s, and my brother made one or two.)

In some respects Beasts of the Southern Wild reminds me more of another surrealistic piece about the Southern US, this time the Gullah, entitled Daughter's of the Dust, except I think it, Beasts of the Southern Wild is ever so slightly better - it's narrative is tighter and more focused, in part because there are less characters.

It's really about a child navigating the difficult terrain between life and death and who she is, consciousness, and her purpose for being. She's practically raising herself at this point anyhow - so it is a tragic yet equally uplifting story about Hushpuppy's survival - in difficult circumstances. She has next to nothing, her father is ill and dying, and her mother gone - and she lives next to or literally on the sea or as she calls it The bathtub.
Away from society, in a small close community. And since we see everything through her eyes - the adults seem wacky and incomprehensible most of the time. She's attempting to make sense of her surroundings and her place within them. Coming to the conclusion that everything is connected and she is part of the whole and matters because she is a piece of it.

Watching Beasts...is a bit like watching a very long visual prose poem. If you don't like that sort of thing...I wouldn't rent it. If you do - you'll most likely adore it. Poetry doesn't quite work for everyone, I've discovered. Wish it did, sometimes I think life would be easier if it did, but it is what it is.

2. Doctor Who Episode - Hide - one of the better Doctor Who episodes to date, which admittedly surprised me, because people were comparing it to the Rings of Achteung episode, which I did not like. [ETA: Apparently the same writer wrote both. Oh well, we're all granted one bad episode after all.] This one was much much better written. Hard to tell it was from the same writer - the two episodes are nothing alike. It's actually my favorite of this season, so far.

eh spoilers )
shadowkat: (tv slut)
Me by email to coworker: So turns out that Tom Baker was the 4th Doctor Who and Davison from All Creatures Great and Small was the 5th. Which Doctor appears in the book you are reading? Guessing 10? [Courtesy of online flist, I didn't google it.]

Coworker: Well it was published in 2012 but the companions are Zoe and Jamie, so Doctor Who 2.

Me: Wow. They are actually writing books for Doctors from that long ago?

Coworker: It's lost on me ...I just see David Tennant or Tom Baker in the role. Apparently the Doctor can only regenerate 11-12 times.

Me: Sort of interesting that - a good way around actor unavailability. If an actor wants out, the show doesn't end we can just have the Doctor regenerate...so it can go on forever.

Coworker: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_actors_who_have_played_the_Doctor - there's over a 100 people who have played Doctor Who.

Me: 100? So apparently Doctor Who is like daytime serials...it doesn't care. Someone leaves, we just replace them. Someone dies, we just replace them. The actor's availability has little affect on the fictional character's survival. Neat that.

Coworker:Johanna Lumely one of my favorite Brit-com actresses played it.

ME: There was actually a female Doctor Who?

Co-worker: See the link I provided.

Me: Oh, not official, she played an Alternative 13 in a parody of Doctor Who in the Red Nose charity function. Doesn't count.

Co-worker: That's why there's only 100.

Me (he actually counted them???): So I guess you just subtracted the unofficial ones?

[On a personal note - 70 year old mother called:

Mother: I can compete with you on stars.
Me: What?
Mother: And I'd win.
Me: What?
Mother: I tripped over the garden hose and my face got butchered by the house. Scraped my nose.
My cheek. 12 stitches inside and outside of my eyebrow.
Me: Wait, what happened again?
Mother: on the way back from picking up the morning paper, my foot got caught in the garden hose and I hit the wall of our house hard. Had to wake up your father to get him to take me to the emergency room.
Me: Any broken bones? Sprains?
Mother: No. Just 12 stitches. My eye is swollen and black and I look a mess. Plus I'm caught up on all my tv shows - should have done something yesterday and done the tv stuff later, I guess.
Me: Well, thank god nothing is broken or sprained.
Mother: My knee is badly bruised though. The left knee, they don't think the bone is bruised.
Me: Good. So just the stitches then. Does it hurt?
Mother: Not really. No headache or anything. He did numb it, but that would have worn off by now.
I'll have a worse scar than you do - I can compete with you on "scars" and I'd win.
Me: Oh, "scars", thought you said "stars" - had no idea what you were talking about.
Well yes on the scar, not on the rest - I had a sprained ankle, banged up knee, broken finger, and a headache with the six stitches...it's going to hurt like hell though tomorrow.
Mother: Not so far.
Me: Let's hope.

Sigh. I'm sort of glad I live over 100,000 miles away...on the other hand, sort of wish I was there so I could help.]
shadowkat: (uhrua)
So does anyone know what the weird Doctor Who fandom kerfuffle on Twitter was even about?

From the blurbs I've read on my flist - it appears that a couple of holier than thou Doctor Who nitwits got all hot and bothered over the last Doctor Who episode? WTF? I saw that episode. While certainly not the best tv episode on the planet, it wasn't the worst either. It was sort of innocuous. And silly. With a few good relationship moments. I've seen worse and far more offensive Doctor Who episodes (*cough*RunawayBride*cough* and sigh...some 1970s ones that I only vaguely remember.) Also for that matter seen worse tv episodes period.

Did the Twitter DW fandom just go insane? Twitter can do that to people ...actually so can the internet for that matter. Late night posting should not be permitted.

At the same time this is going on there's a bunch of loony people in Egypt protesting a movie about Mohammed. (Which the Muslim community so does not need right now, they have enough PR problems as it is. Wish the news media would show the crazy Judeo/Christian protests too - after all I vividly remember when every other church in the country went nutty over Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ. I ended up seeing it at the Unitarian Church while people protested out front in Colorado Springs. And just to show how hypocritical these people can be - they just could not understand why other's protested Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ.) Folks, I want to say, the problem with freedom of expression (or free speech and freedom of religion) is that it means you have to put up with expressions (or speech) that you don't like or necessarily agree with and often offend you. Same with religions. You can't have your cake and eat it too. I'm sorry. If you get to offend me, I get to offend you. And you have to take it like a grown-up. That's how it works. Stop throwing a whiny hissy fit, and calmly make your own counter-argument. It's a lot more affective. (Having thrown the whiny hissy fit myself on occasion, I've learned this the hard way - maybe throwing whiny hissy fits is human? Or just immature? The internet can bring it out in you. That and self-righteous diatribes...those also appear to be quite the rage at the moment.) You don't like what someone says about your religion or you find it offensive? Find a creative and peaceful way of stating it. Screaming, throwing stones, making death threats, and burning flags isn't going to help your cause. Grow up. Seriously, these nitwits give social justice a bad name. That's not social justice people - that's throwing a violent temper-tantrum.

Feel like crap. Allergies. Been alternating between being freezing and hot all day long - and no I'm not running a fever (I checked). And a random mosquito keeps snacking on me in my apartment.

Plus the comedy club meetup that I signed up for on Sat...and paid for, has two people going. Me and the Organizer. Which is why I don't normally sign up for anything on meetups with money attached. Feel sorry for the organizer. Meetups are a mixed bag. You either get a 100 people and for the weirdest things or only two people.

So feel like crap and am depressed. Is there a hole somewhere that I can climb into? Oh well, at least the weather has been disarmingly cheery. I feel like it is mocking me.
I love September, I truly do, it just does not love me.
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