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16th May 2013
ed_rex @ : Review: Nightmare in Silver
Nightmare In Tedium
Neil Gaiman channels Stephen Thompson
(Which is never a good thing)
On more than one occasion, the writer Harlan Ellsion insisted his name be removed from a movie or television program and replaced with that of Cordwainer Bird in place of his own. He did it when he believed his script had been butchered: changed to the point where the on-screen result would in some way make him look bad. It was his way of "flipping the bird" at those who had ruined his work and, more, of protecting his own reputation as a screen-writer.
If Neil Gaiman doesn't have a pseudonym for similar circumstances, he should get one — and apply it retroactively to his sophomore entry as a screen-writer for Doctor Who.
"Nightmare in Silver" isn't the worst episode of this year's often-dreadful half-series (far from it) but it isn't very good, either.
It is almost inconceivable that the the writer of "The Doctor's Wife" (not to mention of the Sandman graphic novels) could have handed in a script as dramatically disjointed, as illogical and as frankly boring, as that which showed up on our television screens this past weekend. And surely, it wasn't Neil Gaiman who closed the episode with the appalling spectacle of the Doctor almost literally drooling as he ponders the sight of Clara in a skirt just "a little bit too tight".
A nightmare in silver? More like pewter, or even tin. Spoilers and snark, as usual.
12th May 2013
ed_rex @ : Review: The Crimson Horror
Patterns of abuse
(I know, this is coming awfully late; I've got "Nightmare in Silver" queued up now. Hopefully, that will result in both a more timely and a more positive response. But for now ...)
I know a lot of you enjoyed "The Crimson Horror" and, in comparison to the previous week's travesty, you had every right to.
Nevertheless, what you enjoyed was still pretty lousy television and I guarantee that, unless you make a real study of it, you won't remember a damned thing about it a year from now.
Don't believe me?
Read "Carry On Up the Tardis!" to find out why it was the idea of "The Crimson Horror" you liked, and not the show itself.
As usual, both plot- and fun-spoilers abound, so enter at your own risk.
4th May 2013
ed_rex @ : Review: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS
The contempt of the show-runner
An insult. A slap in the face. Or should I say, another insult, another slap in the face?
What more is there to say? The whole of Steven Moffat's Doctor Who has been a long series of insults dressed up as Big Ideas, punctuated by apologies from the likes of Richard Curtis and Neil Gaiman.
But how long can we point to "Vincent and the Doctor" or "The Doctor's Wife" and tell ourselves that Steven Moffat actually cares about the cultural institution in his charge?
The truth is, we have become so used to terrible television that when the merely mediocre happens along, people like me nearly start preaching the second coming.
It's time we face the truth: Steven Moffat holds us, his audience, in utter contempt. Take as Exhibit 37, the latest mess of a program broadcast under the name of Doctor Who.
"Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" begins with an implausible and arbitrary set-up and is propelled by a plot that works only through the unlikely stupidity of its guest characters, the even more unlikely (and dumb) decisions of its regulars and a resolution that re-uses — yet again! — one of Moffat's now tired and tiresome time-travel tropes — and which then cheats on its own rules. The BBC brain-trust ought to be ashamed to have allowed it to air.
My full review is behind this link, but be warned: I am not happy and sometimes I say so in language unfit for ears of the young and tender, or for eyes of work-mates reading over one's shoulder. Also, there are spoilers, as per normal.
Finally, if you want to suggest that I hate this show so much I shouldn't be reviewing it, you may be right. But I committed myself to seeing Series 7 through to the end, and so I will. But after that? If Steven Moffat is still in charge, I rather suspect I'll be done with the show for the duration. Those of you as sick of my opinions as I am sick of Steven Moffat's stories probably have more reason for hope than I do.
22nd April 2013
ed_rex @ : Doctor Who: Hide, reviewed
Of ghosts, of monsters, of hockey teams
A fan's faith, reborn
April 22, 2013, OTTAWA — I grew up during the 1970s and was a fan of the Montreal Canadiens (a professional (ice) hockey team, the only sport that really matters in Canada). The 1970s was a good decade to cheer for the "Habs"; les glorieux won the Stanley Cup in 10 of the first 14 years of my life.
Since then, they have drunk from that sacred Cup but twice, a bitter drought for those loyal followers who yet wave the bleu, blanc et rouge and who, each autumn, dream again the following spring will see a return to glory at last.
Saturday's episode of Doctor Who, "Hide", felt almost like I had (yes) been transported back in time and in space, to the Montreal Forum on the evening of May 21, 1979, to witness my team's 4th Stanley Cup victory in a row.
All right, I exaggerate. One episode does not a championship make. And maybe the metaphor doesn't entirely make sense. But neither, often, does logic in Doctor Who. So (as an American might say), sue me.
The conceit feels right to me — and besides, when was the last time someone discussed hockey and Doctor Who in the same place?
Point is, for this fan, the last few years following the Doctor has felt a lot like watching the Montreal Canadiens lose hockey games. The uniforms look more or less the same, and there's still a lot of travel involved, but victories are few and far between.
"Hide" was one of those victories. And a victory so convincing, this fan suddenly feels those naive hopes of a championship springing like wheat from an arid field. Click here to find out why. Far fewer spoilers than usual.
20th April 2013
ed_rex @ : Review: The Cold War
"The Cold War" weds mediocrity with subtle brilliance
Jenna-Louise Coleman becoming a revelation
Late again, I know. Life and an episode of back-aches has kept me busy.
And more, I found it hard to find my focus on this episode. An entertaining tale on the surface, dig just a little bit and you find in the Mark Gatiss-penned "The Cold War" only another stop on Steven Moffat's Travelling Medicine Show of Intellectual Horrors.
An idiot plot, in other words.
But there was an upside, beyond the mere fact this episode made for the second in a row that managed at least to be an entertaining distraction on first viewing. That is, that Jenna-Louise Coleman is starting to look like the best regular actor to grace this series since maybe as far back as Christopher Eccleson's turn as the Ninth Doctor, and certainly since Catherine Tate played Donna Noble.
I know, I know, it's early days, and so I stand to be corrected, but so far Coleman is doing remarkable things with often ludicrous material. "Click here to read more, and to watch a video aide. Spoilers, as always. Links to my Series 7 reviews can be found at Edifice Rex Online.
12th April 2013
ed_rex @ : The Rings of Akhaten reviewed
The Rings of Akhaten" is solid Doctor Who
Decent space opera fun is welcome tonic in a dismal era
I really enjoyed this episode on my first viewing and, despite hearing from some quarters that it was awful — worse even than "The Bells of Saint John" — I liked it well enough the second time 'round, too. But then I've always had a preference for off-Earth adventures and have a fondness for space stations, so possibly I cut it more slack than I otherwise might.
In any case, "The Rings of Akhaten" suffers from special effects more ambitious than successful and, maybe, from a script that was cut down hard to make a two-part story into a single episode, but still managed some decent space opera fun, a welcome dollop of secular-humanist scepticism courtesy of the Doctor and our first chance to get to know Clara Oswald as more than just a mystery with a fetching smile, but as a genuine character.
For my full review, visit "Good news from the Rings, someplace (almost) awesome". Spoilers as per usual.
6th April 2013
ed_rex @ : A week late: The Bells of Saint John reviewed
"The Bells of Saint John" entertains, but fails in the details
|Clara meets the TARDIS. Screenshot, contents copyright © BBC.|
What is it with Steven Moffat and passivity as drama? It isn't just women in refrigerators or women happy to have been bounced back in time to live out their lives in a previous century, now it is the Doctor himself, literally waiting for the phone to ring in order to get our story started.
Passivity is looking less and less like unconscious misogyny and more like the mark of a writer unable to think of a more creative way to get to the parts of the story he thinks are "cool". Many have noted his treatment of women, but it seems a trope he uses to the point of exhaustion. Rory Williams anyone? And now the Doctor ...
In the opener for Series 7 (Er, 7.5, I guess), we're treated to the conceit that the Doctor has decided the best way to find someone is to hide away in a 13th century monastery and hope she comes to him. That it works is a given, else there'd be no story, but it's a pretty inane way to get things started.
Not that I didn't enjoy "The Bells of Saint John"; I did — at least, on first go-round. For a bit of a wonder, Moffat's script moved along at a good clip and offered some tension and humour. But on second viewing, the story didn't make a whole lot of sense, which leaves me less than confident about the rest of this year's series.
My my full review, please see The Mad Monk meets the Lazy Writer (beware of spoilers!).
13th March 2013
ed_rex @ : The last words of Elisabeth Sladen
Speaking ill of the dead
Elisabeth Sladen: the autobiography
Like many North American of a certain age, my introduction to Doctor Who was haphazard at best. The first episode I remember seeing was Robots of Death, in which Louise Jameson's Leela was the companion, not Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane Smith.
Nevertheless, TV Ontario sooner or later broadcast at least a few of the Sarah Jane serials, and the buttoned-down young journalist joined the half-naked savage as my favourites among the Doctor's companions.
So I was very much part of the target audience when Sarah Jane returned to Doctor Who in the (revived) series' second season episode, "School Reunion". That production managed to please both old fans and new, so much so that Sladen's return spawned a spin-off, The Sarah Jane Adventures, a children's program that often managed to be quite a bit better than its big brother.
The Sarah Jane Adventures featured Sladen as its alien-fighting principal, a woman in her seventh decade who was nevertheless forever running down corridors, hopping fences and facing down monsters, even as she played reluctant mentor and den mother to her teenage co-stars. Sarah Jane Smith was so credible as a paragon of courage and intelligence that one longed to believe those traits reflected the performer as much as they did her writers.
Fan of both Sarah Jane Smith's first and third incarnations (even Sladen quite rightly acknowledges the failure of her second, in the early 1980s), I am clearly also part of the target audience for Sladen's memoir. And so it was I impatiently waited for a Canadian release of Sladen's autobiography, completed just a few months before her surprising and terribly untimely death from cancer in 2011.
Sadly, the contents between the frankly dated and cheap-looking covers pretty accurately reflect the contents of the book itself.
Though the autobiography does not stoop to gossip or cheap score-settling, neither does it offer much insight into acting; into what it was like being a feminist icon of sorts; or into Sladen's life. Those hoping for more than some amusing anecdotes about working with Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker will find in this book some tasty snacks, but nothing remotely like a full meal.
My full review is at my site, ed-rex.com.
6th September 2012
ed_rex @ : Review: Asylum of the Daleks
No escaping the Tedium of the Daleks
It's not too far off a year since Doctor Who last graced our screens, the 2011 Christmas special. Which I know I watched, but about which I did not blog and of which now I remember precisely nothing at all — save that I found it dull but not outrageously offensive.
(Oh. Wait. As I typed the preceding, I began to recall that episode's companion of the hour. A woman, naturally, and one whose identify (correct me if I'm wrong) and whose heroism was entirely bound up in the fact of her motherhood. Hot mother or hot model, that's our Mr. Moffat. Ah well, onwards.)
Between that ostensible special then and the program's resumption now, I made the mistake of paying good money to see Moffat (et al)'s Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (which was only the second worst movie I have seen this year). So it comes as no surprise that "Asylum of the Daleks" shows no sign that Moffat has taken a remedial course in story-telling. Indeed, the new outing only provides further proof that Steven Moffat has forgotten everything there is to know about the basics of narrative fiction.
What Moffat does have is a strong command of the idea of story-telling, the parts that make up a story. But of story itself? Fuggedaboutit.
Does it sound as if I repeat myself? No doubt: I repeat myself. If that bothers you, please just pass on by. Otherwise, please click the link to (re)discover the moral vacuum at the heart of Steven Moffat's Doctor Who. Spoilers within, of course.
29th August 2012
acciochocolate @ : the Sixth Doctor will be at TimeGate 2013!
Exciting Press Release from TimeGate (Atlanta's Doctor Who and more convention) May 24-26, 2013:
As you all know, 2013 is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, and we at TimeGate have been in the planning stages of something really special for more than a year now. We already have some really incredible guests lined up, and we're about to add one more to the roster.
For the first time ever, TimeGate brings you ... THE DOCTOR.
::: COLIN BAKER :::
More info under the cut! And of course we will have the Masquerade and the Costuming/Cosplay track. :) And we have a costume designer guest. :)( Read more...Collapse )
6th August 2012
darkbunnyrabbit @ : Videos: Doctor Who + Multifandom (w/Doctor Who)
Song Title/Band: Accidentally in Love, by Counting Crows
Series: Doctor Who/Takin' Over the Asylum/Blackpool/Casanova/Single Father/Surprise fandom :3
Summary: Spoilers for LOTS OF THINGS.
So, this is a MEP-style crossover couple vid done for fun. Requested couples were:
Fergus/Anyone (Taking over the Asylum)
Riley/Tyler (Male OC!)
Rose/Dave (Single Father)
There's one more surprise pairing! This is the cutest vid I've ever made, I think. It's like a Fluffy True Love
Song Title/Band: Spin, by Darren Hayes
Series: Doctor Who, Casanova, Blackpool, Takin' Over the Asylum, Secret Diary of a Call Girl
Summary: There's not an enormous amount of spoilers, but consider this a general warning for Blackpool, Doctor Who, Takin' Over the Asylum, and Casanova.
This is just a fun vid playing with all the dancing in these series, there's nothing really any deeper to it. It did take me since...February to finish it, though. Phew.
Title: ...And no one can hear
Song Title/Band: Found Love (Intro) by Rihanna
Series: Doctor Who
Summary: Spoilers for Doomsday.
This video is a bit like an extension of 'the story of how I died' narrative. The audio from the episodes isn't meant to be distinguishable.
29th July 2012
chasepan @ : Dark Horizons review
Dark Horizons is a new hardback 11th Doctor novel by Jenny Colgan, who has 11 best selling novels or so. When she was 11 years old she met Peter Davison by winning a contest and he thought she was a boy! In any case, the novel is very, very good. It brings back the feeling of good storytelling, amazing original ideas mixed with short references to past stories and other movies and TV shows and the Doctor's own background without going overboard. The novel is helped by not having Amy and Rory and River. The Doctor's on his own and in the far past where he meets Vikings, settlers, and...something else. The TARDIS goes underwater and there is some brilliant imagery there and throughout the other scenes. There are well drawn characters among all the different groups of humans and the threat is dangerous. The Doctor acts like the Doctor--he is not just the hyperactive, manic Doctor we see on TV (IMO Matt Smith has the Doctor all wrong at the current time).
It my opinion that Doctor Who, since 2010 or just before during the Specials (which weren't so special) has lost its storytelling prowess on TV. This novel depicts how to Doctor Who as it tells a plot driven story with seriousness, some humor, a dangerous threat and amazing settings. It is highly recommended.
4th July 2012
scifiangel @ : Scifiangel Four Times Jack Wanted to Kiss the Doctor and One Time He Did (Jack/Nine) [PG]
This was writen for a challenge over at Winter Companions
, which is a Doctor/Jack prompt site. Hope you enjoy it.Title: Four Times Jack Wanted to Kiss the Doctor and One Time He DidAuthor:
None, all mistakes are mine.Challenge:
PGWarnings and Spoilers:
Spoilers for new Who episodes The Doctor Dances, Boomtown, Bad Wolf,
and Parting of the Ways.Disclaimer:
I don't own our lovely boys. They belong to the BBC. I make no money from this, much to my sorrow. Full disclaimer under cut.Summary:
What it says on the tin.Kisses
14th June 2012
darkbunnyrabbit @ : Video - Pieces (Master/Rose AU PG-13)
Song Title/Band: Pieces, by Linkin Park
Rating: PG-13 (There's one or two sexual references)
Series: Doctor Who
Summary: Spoilers for seasons three and four.
AU assuming for whatever reason there is no Doctor. Rose takes the place of Lucy, first falling for and following the Master faithfully, but over the year slowly realizing just how horrifying he's made Earth. Their relationship is more mutually caustic than Master/Lucy.
The POV is mostly Rose's, but like the relationship, they play a little bit of tug of war over it. It's also not entirely linear, but the plot should still be clear. Their relationship has the both of them so entwined with each other, neither one of them can really let go, even if they want to, and they both will suffer if they do.
Of note: Rose is often dolled up because it's more becoming of the Wife of the Master of the Earth, and she freely moves between the Valiant and Earth.
22nd May 2012
acciochocolate @ : TimeGate is this weekend!
TimeGate is the Doctor Who (and more!) convention that takes place in Atlanta, Ga, USA, from May 25 to May 27, 2012. Our Doctor Who Guest of Honor is Caitlin Blackwood, who plays Amelia Pond. Much more info can be found at the website: http://timegatecon.org/
including the Schedule of Events, One-Day-Only Ticket Pricing, and Hotel Info.
Under the cut is a listing of panels for the new Costuming Track. Many of these are oriented towards the Doctor Who 'verse.( Read more...Collapse )
As the Director of the Costuming Track, I look forward to seeing wonderful cosplays and great costumes at TimeGate. :)
21st May 2012
darkbunnyrabbit @ : Something Different (Metacrisis Doctor/Rose PG fic)
Title: Something Different
Spoilers: Some unspecific spoilers for season 6 (If you've seen A Good Man Goes to War, you're good.)
Pairings: Meta/Rose, theoretical hints of Eleven/Rose?
Characters: Eleven, Rose, Metacrisis Doctor
Genre: Gen, crack and/or fluff
Summary: Rose and the Metacrisis Doctor stumble across a multiversal rift. They make the Doctor surprisingly uncomfortable. Rose and the Metacrisis Doctor aren't particularly amused.(He kept staring at them.)
12th May 2012
darkbunnyrabbit @ : Video - Losing Your Memory (Doctor-River PG)
Title: Losing Your Memory
Song Title/Band: Losing Your Memory, by Ryan Star
Rating: PG at most
Series: Doctor Who
Summary: Spoilers up to S6x13
Whenever they see each other, they're always forgetting a little bit more.
Slightly AU in that the Doctor and River's timelines are like 95% back to front (with the suggestion that 6x08 or 6x13 is the last encounter with River from the Doctor's POV) rather than the 40% of canon.
...Yeah, right, so I'm a slave to the muse, obviously. There are so many glitches in this video even after three renders, but I spent a day and a half on this, so I am done fighting with it.
27th April 2012
acciochocolate @ : Timegate Costume Track Panels
TimeGate is the Doctor Who (and Stargate and more) convention in Atlanta, GA, USA, held annually over the Memorial Day weekend. This year it's at the Perimeter Holiday Inn Select, convenient to MARTA and Perimeter Mall and I-285, from May 25 to May 27.
The website is : http://www.timegatecon.org
Memberships are only $40 to May 6; at the door is $50 for all three days, and there will be one-day-only membership as well at the door.
With TimeGate less than a month away, let me mention that I'm the Director of the new Costuming Track this year. :)
The Doctor Who
panels are:New Who Costuming
We'll be talking about Nine, Ten, and Eleven, and some of their Companions and guest stars, with the exception of Amy Pond. (See below!)Doctor Who Props
From K-9 to the Sonic Screwdriver, come and get some ideas about how to craft your own DW props. Classic Who Costuming
An oversight panel of costuming for the Classic Who era, including Doctors and Companions, and maybe a monster or a robot or a villain or two. Dressing the Companion: Amy Pond
With two seasons/series behind us, and one more season/series upcoming, we will take a good look at Amy Pond's wardrobe.
Other panels below the cut. ( Read more...Collapse )
On Friday night, there will be a Photo Op in the Costume Track panel room, so come and get your picture taken!
The Masquerade is on Saturday night. :)
If you are attending, and would like to be on any of the panels, please send me a PM, letting me which panel(s) and your expertise in the subject. My ideal panel consists of one Moderator (already assigned) and two to four panelists. If you can attend in costume, or bring cosplay to show off, or props, that's added value. :) I cannot promise that everyone who applies to be a panelist will be accepted, but I will do my best. Good panelists need to not be only knowledgeable, but must work well with other panelists, and can answer questions from the audience in a helpful and kind manner.
See you at TimeGate!
11th January 2012
acciochocolate @ : Major TimeGate guest announcement
From the latest press release for TimeGate:
We are very pleased to announce that at TimeGate 2012 we will be joined by none other than CAITLIN BLACKWOOD, who plays Amelia Pond in the current series of Doctor Who
alongside Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill and Alex Kingston. Amelia, of course, is the 'younger self' of the Doctor's current companion Amy Pond, who is played by Karen Gillan -- Caitlin's cousin. Karen and Caitlin had never met before when Karen persuaded producer Stephen Moffat to let Caitlin audition for the part. Caitlin won the role of Amelia, and finally met her cousin Karen at the first script read through. She immediately won the hearts of the Doctor Who
audience when the first episode, The Eleventh Hour
-- featuring her lengthy opening scene with the new Doctor -- debuted in April 2010.
Caitlin has made three more appearances since her debut, and with Amy's story wrapping up next season, it's almost guaranteed that Amelia will show up once more.
Caitlin will be appearing at TimeGate along with DAVID NYKL (Dr. Zelenka, Stargate Atlantis), PAUL KASEY (various monster and alien roles, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sarah Jane Adventures) and many more wonderful guests.
You can get full information on all of our guests on our website.
You can also purchase your membership if you haven't already! Memberships are currently just $40 (they'll be $50 at the door, so buy now and save yourself a tenner!). http://www.timegatecon.org
21st November 2011
icequeen3101 @ :
Walking Dead (25)
Doctor Who (15)
Lost (16) HERE
20th October 2011
ed_rex @ : Review - The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Man Who Never Was
The sonic lipstick's last hurrah (Part 3 of 3)
It seems churlish — and a bit pointless — to dwell on the negatives, so let's get it them of the way.
The Man Who Never Was is the weakest serial of The Sarah Jane Adventures's final half-series. The details are clunky and there is an almost unforgivable bit of idiot-plotting to get us to the cliff-hanger at the end of the first episode.
But never mind all that; it is still an entertaining episode and a fitting tribute to its late star.
The other parts of the story, the important bits, more than make up for the deficits, and Russell T Davies deserves our thanks for reigning in his tendency towards over-blown melodrama.
I'm going to miss The Sarah Jane Adventures an awful lot. In its quiet way it offered its young (and not-so-young) viewers a powerful moral vision and provided an example (instead of a lecture) of a subtly radical alternative to life as most of us know beneath its fantastic trappings.
Some spoilers behind the link. And I'll try not to get blubbery.
13th October 2011
ed_rex @ : Review - The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Curse of Clyde Langer
The sonic lipstick's last hurrah (Part 2 of 3)
There is but a single story left to tell before The Sarah Jane Adventures is done.
Following hard on the heels of last week's solid series opener, the program has hit one out of the proverbial ball-park.
The Curse of Clyde Langer was an emotionally involving and sometimes very creepy story that only faltered — maybe, a little — in a slightly too-easy resolution.
To add to the episodes' multiple pleasures, The Curse offered strong characterizations, a hefty dose of good humour and even a little unexpected romance. As usual, some spoilers ahead but no snark whatsoever.
11th October 2011
ed_rex @ : Review - The Sarah Jane Adventures: Sky
The sonic lipstick's last hurrah (Part 1 of 3)
Pretentious is a dangerous word for a critic, one I try to avoid and one which (I hope) I use with judicious deliberation when I do press it into service.
The term is kissing cousin to dishonest, and which implies promises which are undelivered or, worse, betrayed.
As you might know, I have spent considerable time over the past few months looking at a couple of British science fiction series, the 2011 editions of Doctor Who and its ostensibly adult-oriented spin-off, Torchwood, both of which promised much but delivered very little indeed.
So it is that I am very happy to report that the first (of three) remaining instalments of The Sarah Jane Adventures promises only an entertaining children's adventure story yet delivers quite a lot more.
Phil Ford's eighth two-part serial is, not surprisingly, very much a typical Sarah Jane adventure, offering low-key, character-based comedy, thrills enough (I think) to keep a child on the edge of his or her seat (if not, quite, hiding behind the proverbial couch), and a subtle moral seriousness that leaves its more bombastic cousins looking like charlatans, or worse.
Not many spoilers and no snark at all (for a change), as I take a belated look at Sky and begin my last dance with Sarah Jane Smith.