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No theme this week. Just a selection of good reads from the previous week.

Friday Five: Good Reads | Home of the Autographed Cat
autographedcat: (doctor who - big damn heroes)

Today is Thanksgiving in the US, and we’ve been enjoying the first day of our long weekend with lots of good food and a mini-marathon of Doctor Who.

I’ve always been a huge Doctor Who fan, dating back to when I was a kid.  My room looked like a Doctor Who museum gift shop exploded in it.  I watched every episode, read every book, and bought every poster and collectable I could get my hands on.  Doctor Who fandom in the 1980s was a pretty small group in the US, but we were die-hard.

When the show relaunched in 2005, I was elated, and it once again became appointment television.  Up until the middle of season six or so, at least.  But something about the tenor of the developing storyline with Amy, Rory, and River was bothering me.  It just didn’t feel right;1  I still can’t really articulate it, the whole story that was developing over the beginning of season 6 just didn’t sit well with me.

There wasn’t a breaking point; there wasn’t a moment where I threw down the remote and said “That’s it, I’m done!”2  But something was corrupted in my download of the subsequent episode, and I needed to go and re-download it3 and then we got distracted with this thing and that thing and….the next thing I knew, time had passed and we still hadn’t gone back to pick it up.  The things I was hearing about the developing storylines didn’t actually make me feel like I wanted to come back to it, either.  I did watch “Asylum of the Daleks” with runnerwolf, and the Christmas special “The Snowmen”, because those were setting up the new companion.  The first just refreshed my annoyance with the Rory/Amy storyline, and the second I liked well enough to say I wanted to watch the series again, but not so much that I immediately made room in my schedule for it.

Then, this last week, they aired the 50th Anniversary episode.

I had been keeping an eye on the lead up to the festivities, but I figured I’d wait and see what they actually did with it before committing to watching it.  Multi-Doctor stories are tricky at the best of times, and I was a bit wary of what they might do with it.  But after it aired I heard nothing but good things4, so I pulled it down and we settled in to watch it on Monday night.

To say I loved it would be an understatement.  I’d been intending all week to write a more detailed reaction to it, but this was an episode that felt so perfectly right to me, with the right balance in tone between funny and serious, paid the right nods of respect to the classic series, and managed to hit a big reset button on some of the recent continuity in such a way that preserved the effect while lifting the staggering burden from the Doctor’s shoulders so that he can move on without being blithe and simply deciding to ignore the monumental consequences of his actions.5

The net result of this has been a revitalisation of my interest in the adventures of the good Doctor, so today we settled down over our Thanksgiving dinner to start watching again.  We’re not going back to where we left off — I’m still not entirely ready to watch the rest of the Ponds’s saga — but we did pick up with “The Bells of Saint John”, which was the first proper episode featuring Clara as a companion.  We got through four of them today, which is rather a lot in one stretch for us any more, and I’m finding myself quite engaged.  Some of this is due to Clara herself.  She really reminds me more of an old-school companion in her relationship to the Doctor, and she’s smart and very capable.  The details of her unfolding mystery are interesting enough, but mostly I just like her personality.

We expect to watch the remaining four episodes we’re behind on over the weekend.  I hope everyone had a wonderful day, and that, regardless of whether you are in the US or not, that you spent it enjoying life with people  you love.


  1. I expressed this to my friend Jeff, who has been my best friend since we were twelve and is also a devoted fan of the show.  He said, “I’m sorry you don’t like them.” and I explained that it wasn’t that I disliked them.  I loved Amy and Rory to death, and what I didn’t like was what was being DONE to them. 

  2. In fact, the last episode we watched was “The Doctor’s Wife” by Neil Gaiman, which I loved to bits. 

  3. I still download the episodes off the underwebs.  I don’t trust BBCA not to make a dog’s breakfast out of the episodes cutting them down for time, after the travesty of their edits on “The Eleventh Hour”. 

  4. Even Zander Nyrond, who has been a bitter critic of the new series, wrote “that actually wasn’t bad. I shall probably watch it again, and who knows, it might even make “rather good.”" 

  5. Doctor Who has never been the world’s most continuity-conscious shows in the best of times, but there are some elements you really do have to resolve on screen. 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

autographedcat: (Default)

Whew! Another long fun day at OryCon.

Last night at 11pm was the Polyamory panel, which was in a smallish room absolutely packed with people.  There was a lot of discussion about different ways to approach non-monogamy, and a couple of people there were dealing with particular issues in their own relationships that they asked the room for advice on.  There was a great deal of advice handed out both generally and specifically.  I got a good laugh when I noted that 95% of relationship advice for how to have a good poly relationship also applies as to how to have a good monogamous relationship, “and the 5% that doesn’t mostly involves calendars”.

I had hoped to make it to open filk last night, but after this panel was over, I was exhausted so I went back to the room and went to sleep instead.

We got up and out in time to get breakfast at the hotel buffet before I had to be at an 11am panel titled “Social Media:  Revolution or Time Sink”.  It was a spirited discussion about the various ways not only that we all use social media, but the way that marketers use the information they collect from our engagement on social media for various purposes.1  We got a lot of good questions from the audience, and it was thought provoking.

I had a couple of hours off after that before moderating three panels in a row.  The first was titled “Putting the Play Back Into Role-Playing”, and had a neat group of RPG vets.  We talked a great deal about storytelling, collaboration, and how role-paying is ultimately what you bring to the table as a player more than the mechanics of the given game you are playing.  I was left at the end of it with a desire to get into a really crunchy character-driven RPG again.2

Immediately afterwards3, we convened a packed, standing-room-only hour titled “Fifty Years With the Doctor”, celebrating everyone’s favourite Time Lord.  The audience (and the panel) was a pretty even split between old-time fans of the show like myself and folks who had only gotten into Doctor Who with the new series.  Two of the panelists even said that they got into the show because of their kids, which was a neat sort of reverse-generational story that you don’t run across too often.  After a few opening remarks, we pretty much threw this one open to the audience, and had a rollicking good time rockin’ the TARDIS.4

The third panel of the afternoon was titled “The Positive Influence of Video Games”, and was just me and one other panelist.  He had a lot of notes on scientific studies on the topic, and some background as a developer, so there was a lot of interesting data.  But aside from those studies, we also talked about the aesthetics of gaming and whether or not video games could be art, the sorts of skills and social connections that gaming can help develop, and stories about games that had changed our thoughts about things or made a positive impact on our lives.  We got a lot of good audience participation on this one, too, and I felt pretty good about it.

I met up with kitanzi in time to hear the very tail end of Callie Hills’s concert, which was unfortunately scheduled against my panel, and then we went back up to the room and ordered some food for dinner, after which I took a short nap before my final event of the day, which was being part of a “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” game.  If you’ve never seen the TV show, it’s improv theatre games, with the twist here being that a lot of the topics and scenarios were tailored towards a science-fiction con crowd.  My favourite game was one where we each took on the persona of a fameous author, and then discussed our approach to a book.  The topic was “Romance Self-Help book”, and the authors were HP Lovecraft, Terry Pratchett, Dr. Suess, and George RR Martin.  The lady who had Dr. Suess went on a sad monologue about trying to gain the affections of Sam-I-Am, turning to me at the end and saying “He won’t try my green eggs and ham.  What should I do?” and I, as GRR Martin, stepped forward and said “It was at this point in the story that Sam-I-Am suddenly and tragically died.”, which good a good laugh.  When it died down, I said “But love must go on, so I am introducing 743 new characters in the next chapter.” which got an even bigger laugh. We also had a lot of fun with traditional bits like Party Guests and Dating Game.

Once again, I find myself too tired for open filk.  But I have my concert tomorrow at 1pm, so i’ll get to do at least a little bit of filking at this con.   But for now….sleep.


  1. Which is ultimately, in my view, not really as sinister as we tend to treat it.  95% of the people collecting data are doing it to more efficiently sell us things we might actually want, which means less time wadding through advertisements that you don’t care about.  Since they’re going to put ads in front of us anyway, they may as well be for things we want to see. 

  2. Aside to the old Defensive Perimeter folks:  I miss you all so much. 

  3. luckily, all three of these were in the same room 

  4. If the TARDIS is a’rockin’, don’t bother clockin. 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

autographedcat: (Default)
From [livejournal.com profile] aiela , via [livejournal.com profile] madlori , the 30-Day TV Meme.

Day 06 - Favourite episode of your favourite t.v show

I'm really struggling with this one. As [livejournal.com profile] redaxe noted, if a show is your favourite, there's not likely to be one single episode that stands head and shoulders above the rest. In my case, having declared my favourite show to be Doctor Who, I have over 30 years worth of episodes to choose from. I think it would be hard to nail down my favourite episode from each Doctor, but I'll try...

(Yes, I'm cheating. It's my journal. I get to make the rules.)

William Hartnell (1963-1966): An Unearthly Child
The episode that set the whole thing in motion, introducing us to the mysterious Doctor, his granddaughter Susan, and the TARDIS. The show would later develop a huge and cumbersome mythology, but what this episode gave us was character and mystery. (Technically, this is part one of the first 4 part serial, which includes a trip back in time to visit cavemen, but let's just pretend it isn't. It holds up better that way.

Patrick Troughton (1966-1969): The Web of Fear
I've actually only seen the one episode of this, as the remainder are lost (along with the great majority of Troughton's run, alas), but it was my favourite story from my favourite Doctor. I don't recall now if the Yeti are the only recurring monster to only be encountered by a single Doctor, but something about them captured my imagination. This story also introduced UNIT, which was to play a major role in the adventures of the third and fourth Doctors.

Jon Pertwee (1970-1974): The Daemons
This one had everything. The Master in top form, played by the incomparable Roger Delgado. A quiet English village where a mysterious cult is meddling in dark occult forces, which ultimately (of course) turn out to be alien in nature. The unflappable Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who confronted with a living gargoyle, calmly orders, "Sergeant. Chap with wings. Five rounds rapid." This serial had everything I loved about the Pertwee era of the programme.

Tom Baker (1975-1981): The Pyramids of Mars
Every time I think I've picked a favourite episode from this series, I change my mind. While, unlike most American viewers, Tom Baker isn't my personal favourite, he's the image most over here are familiar with if they know the series at all, and over seven years he did a lot of great stories. I'm going to finally settle on this one, which has a lot of fun with trippy Egyptian mythology motifs, and features some of the best Sarah Jane Smith moments the series had to offer.

Peter Davison (1982-1984): The Caves of Androzani
Sadly, Davison's best turn in the role was his last, in a stellar script by Robert Holmes that played to all his strengths in the role. (Davison said, in fact, that if he'd gotten more scripts of this quality, he might have stayed for a fourth season.)

Colin Baker (1984-1986): The Two Doctors
Honestly, there's not a lot of great Colin Baker stories to choose from. This wasn't really a high point in the series, as it was constantly on the verge of cancellation, and Baker's Doctor never really seemed to gel for me. (It's a pity. I've met Colin Baker and he's a lovely man.) I picked this one not because it's a superior story, because it's a relatively pedestrian effort for a writer as good as Robert Holmes, but it does feature Patrick Troughton reprising his role as the second Doctor, and so I'm choosing it for sentimental reasons. (I note with amusement that this is the third consecutive Robert Holmes story I've chosen...)

Sylvester McCoy (1987-1989): Ghost Light
As with Baker, McCoy never got a lot of good scripts to work with, but story editor Andrew Cartmel had ambitions that were never realized (for good or ill, its hard to say). Ghost Light is a trippy episode featuring one of McCoy's best performances. This story was the penultimate episode broadcast in the original series run.

Paul McGann (1997): The TV Movie
There are problems with the movie. It has some questionable continuity assertions, most of which fandom has decided to collectively ignore, and the actual plot (involving an unlikely Eric Roberts as the Master) is regrettable. But none of that should take away from Paul McGann, whose sole foray as the Doctor on the screen hinted at what might have been. This was a pilot project to relaunch the series in collaboration with FoX-TV, but it never went anywhere. (After seeing how they handled Firefly, I can't say I'm terribly unhappy.)

(Since this is an essay on TV, I'm not considering McGann's extensive "radio" work, but he recorded several seasons worth of audio adventures for Big Finish, and that canon contains many stories superior to this one.)

Christopher Eccleston (2005): The Empty Child
The highest point in the first season of the relaunch, Stephan Moffatt contributes the first in a series of brilliant stories that would ultimately win him the head writer position when Russell T. Davies departed. No obvious alien menace here, just creepy zombie children in gas masks, the ongoing London Blitz, and introducing the roguish Captain Jack Harkness, a character so popular he'd not only recur, but get spun off into his own series, Torchwood. At the time of its airing, this was only the third Doctor Who story in twenty-seven seasons which did not feature a single death of a character. 'Just this once,' the Doctor cries exuberantly, 'Everybody lives!'

David Tennant (2006-2009): Blink
Another Moffatt script, easily the best single episode of the new series and arguably the best Doctor Who story ever, Blink was a triumph of taut, scary storytelling using the time honoured DW motif of 'innocuous everyday thing becomes an object of fear'. The Doctor himself is notably absent from much of the story, which revolves around the delightful character of Sally Sparrow, who I for one would just as happily traded for any of Tennant's three regular companions. The Weeping Angels are wickedly effective as the monsters, and the resolution is wonderful. Tight writing and great acting make this a must-see episode.

Matt Smith (2010- ):  (no entry)
It's too early to pick a favourite eleventh Doctor story. Of the first half-dozen I've seen, I've liked some more than others, and some less than others, and there were none I'd find no fault in. What I can say without reservation is, despite my scepticism, Matt Smith's take on the character of the Doctor is brilliant, and he can just play the part for several years as far as I'm concerned. I'm utterly in love with Karen Gillan (down boy) as Amy, and I fear from the hints being dropped about her as the season-arc progresses that she may be yet another one-season companion, but I'm hoping not. Regardless, the part is in good hands, and I couldn't be more pleased with the latest incarnation of our hero.

So there you have it, then. Ten actors playing one part, and ten episodes of one of the greatest and longest-running science fiction epics in television history. If you're not familiar with the history of the series and wanted an overview, you could do worse than the episodes I've chosen, I think.

More questions to come. Tune in tomorrow for another exciting opinion about television from me... )
autographedcat: (Default)
As big a fan of Doctor Who as I am, there are times I wonder why I bother to dredge through the various online communities which discuss the show. If you took the average discussion of the programme and presented it as a parody of fannish writing, you'd be accused of unfair stereotyping.

But then, every so often, I run across a post like this. Good reading, and interesting to think about.

Steven and Russell and How to Make Jewelry
autographedcat: (doctor who - big damn heroes)
I know one isn't supposed to get too chuffed at one's on cleverness, but today in #filkhaven, I crafted what I think is a very good Doctor Who mnemonic, considering I took all of 60 seconds crafting it:

Have The People Been Demanding Baked Muffins More Easily Toasted?

I leave the meaning of this as an exercise to the reader.

Oh yes

May. 20th, 2008 01:20 pm
autographedcat: (Default)
I'd been hoping against hope for this news, and for once I got exactly what I wanted:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2008/05_may/20/who.shtml

I can't *wait* to see a full season of Moffat produced Doctor Who.
autographedcat: (doctor who)
A few days ago, the syndicated comic strip Candorville ran this strip:



The strip prompted the following discussion on rec.arts.comics.strips:

aemeijers <aemeij...@att.net> wrote:
>
> "Antonio E. Gonzalez" <antegm...@aol.com> wrote in message
> news:00p1v2l4gsofm0stovvats4abbliehk6qb@4ax.com...
>> So . . .the goatee and eyepatch make that "Evil Lemont"?:
>
>
> The Goatee is from a ST TOS episode, but I don't remember an eyepatch being
> involved.

I replied, almost jokingly:
Possibly the eyepatch is a reference to the 1970 Dr. Who episode "Inferno"?
Or am I overthinking this?

This morning, the artist who writes and draws Candorville, Darrin Bell, replied:
You're definitely not overthinking this. I'm amazed that anyone caught that.

I have no words for how chuffed I feel right now. :) *does a geeky little dance*

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