...or jammy dodgers, as the case may be.
Okay, so, first of all, something I can't believe I still forgot to say about "The Beast Below": When it showed the whole space-whale, carrying the city on its back from the outside? DISCWORLD OR WAT?!! I was like "Ohmygod! A'TUIN!" in like, this squeak voice when I saw it. The fact that there are now live-action Discworld things in which we can SEE a giant CGI version of Great A'Tuin, doesn't exactly hurt this comparison...
(Come to think of it, I STILL haven't seen "Going Postal"! WHY haven't I seen Going Postal?! I need to rectify that pronto.)
And yes, I know I'm not at all the first person to say/notice that (Diamanda Hagan did, for one) or any of the other things I'm about to say. But that's the blessing and curse of cutting yourself COMPLETELY off from The Fandom so you can finally see stuff without spoilers: You get to have your own natural unadulterated opinions...and accidentally sound like a trite broken-record cliche when you say them. Sometimes in even the same actual words as everyone else. It's gonna happen. I'm dealing with it.
Anyway. Victory of the Daleks:
--At first, I was like "EEE!" at all the outfits, the old-timey phones, radios, planes, etc. 'cos I've been reading a lot of Golden Age comics lately AND I absolutely adored the Captain America movie. So when I saw those weird planes with the propellers in the back I was like EE. Too bad the episode itself had to be so...lacking...
Oh, it wasn't terrible. I wasn't like, MAD at it or anything. But think, what could've been done here--with the Daleks, who have always clearly and Word-of-God canonly been a metaphor for the Nazis, in WWII...working, ironically, AGAINST the Nazis! You don't expect that! It could have all kinds of pick your side and Dark Doctor done right and Amy having moral loyalty decisions to make and stuff, and it could've been a really intense story set in WWII, rather than just a bit of silliness that happens to have old-timey uniforms and red lipstick. It's kind of a wasted opportunity.
--What, no fast-talking explanation from the Doctor about how his "naked" Companion is a savage girl rescued from the jungle? No? Nobody's gonna notice Amy's really-short-by-'40s-standards skirt, ever, the whole episode? Okay...but you missed another wonderful back-reference opportunity there, guys. Two if you count Seven's original edition of it from "Ghost Light", and I very much do.
--(creepy singsongy Dalek voice) "I AM YOUR
SER-VA--SOOOLL-DIER!" Yes yes everybody and their dog has made this comparison to "The Power of the Daleks", Two's very first proper outing as the Doctor, but it was done on purpose and I can't HELP that I saw this episode about two years over it aired. So hush.
--"I!" (WHAM) "AM!" (WHAM) "YOUR!" (WHAM) "ENEMY!" (WHAM) Everybody has made fun of/macroed this scene, but all I could think of at the time was, "Well, if they weren't before, they are NOW...!" :P
(I mean, really, if there was ever a quick and easy way to make an enemy out of someone, whacking them repeatedly across the head with a wrench would be it.)
--Skittle Daleks! Taste the Rainbow!
Again, everybody's made the same jokes, but again, for the same reason. I wasn't actually offended by this. I do think they look dumb, but if that's the worst sin this season commits, I'll be happy. Unfortunately, I already know it isn't...
Anyway I've seen one of the Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies, and they instantly reminded me of the Daleks in those! So I didn't mind so much.
--I KNEW that what Eleven was holding them off with was going to turn out to be some kind of food--I guessed candy, but I was close. Again, this reminds me of bits with Four such as "Back off or I'll kill him with this deadly jelly-baby!" and again, I assume it was meant to. At any rate, Doctors need their munchies sometimes. Saving the universe is hungry work!
--Spitfires in Space! Despite the utter, COMPLETE lack of sense that made re: how much time they would have to prepare, I didn't care. It was comic booky and I LOVED it. Remember: WHEN CAPTAIN AMERICA THROWS HIS MIGHTY SHIEEEELLLDDD...
(Or I guess that should be Captain Britian, in this case.)
--And yes, here we come to the STUPIDEST part of the episode and the god-damn dumbest thing I've seen in Who in a long time--and that's saying something: Defusing a bom...with the power...of LUV. My main objection here--besides the fact that apparently love--specifically, romantic love--is a more legitimately "human" emotion than the ones the Doctor was trying to evoke (and the philosophy-class A student in me could take THAT to task all day), is that--did I miss a line, or was this not EXPLAINED at all?
Now, I'm a Whovian, an original Trekkie and a fan of Silver Age comic books. I can accept a LOT of stupidity in my explanations. I can accept COMPLETELY bonkers batshit stuff, if it fits the universe. Indiana Jones survived a nuclear blast because he was in a lead-lined fridge? Fine! Don't believe it's realistic, no, but it doesn't offend me. For example, I just recently read--and enjoyed--an issue of Green Lantern from 1962, in which Hal falls out of the air and loses power because SOUND WAVES were used to affect his brain. It does not matter, in this context, that the explanation makes no realistic sense. It's a Silver Age comic book, for the Guardians' sake. What matters is that there WAS one.
(For me, what really makes this scene is the people in the background. LOOK at them! Not only do they react the way your or I would if the famous local superhero suddenly plummeted to the ground in front of you and RAYED HIMSELF IN THE HEAD, but it's consistently the same guys in each panel! I love it! (Although I do wonder about their fashion sense...))
I can accept emotions doing a lot of stuff to robots--it's a long-standing sci-fi tradition. Make them fall in love so they drop the gun, go crazy, turn on their creator, or just break down entirely in a shower of sparks 'cos they're not programmed for emotions at all. Talk them into blowing up (heck, Seven did that to a Dalek once), "calculate Pi to the last digit" etc. but the problem is, all of these have to do with affecting the robot's DECISIONS. The bomb was automatic, already in whatshisface's body, and already activated. No amount of convincing him he was human would defuse it; it's a physical thing that is not tied to his emotions or moral decisions. DEFUSING it would defuse it. Like, by cutting the right wires.
This didn't like, deeply ANGER me or anything--the reason I'm going on about this so much is the irony of it. ONE LINE of even the flimsiest, stupidest, most nonsencial technobabble ever to explain WHY making him realise he's human would defuse a physical bomb that was already activated, and I wouldn't have my second main problem with the scene. One line.
Anyhoo, that utter bit of stupidity out of the way, I didn't mind "Victory of the Daleks", although it does strike me as wasted potential. NEXT!
"Time of Angels" and "Flesh and Stone"
Up until those last five minutes--which I was very glad to find out I WASN'T the only Whovian out there who utterly hated them and wants to unhappen them from the rest of the two-parter, so that the rest can still be preserved as a good story--there was a lot to like here. Some parts of it made no sense, but I'm very subjective as to what I choose to be picky about. Put me in a good mood and have the first part of whatever already be good, and I'll be more likely to let things ride, up to a point. Start it off bad and stupid, and I'll be more likely to grump and find fault. In this case, we have a legitimately atmospheric feel here, and I agree with the "Doctor Who Podcast" people--this did indeed feel more like Classic Who than any other episode of the new series! The pacing was more like four twenty-minute serial episodes than the usual new style, and they were in a cave...and there's a jungle in a spaceship like in "Nightmare of Eden"...and...
One big problem here? I think the Angels were creepier before. Oh, sure, them being able to enter your eye and GET INSIDE YOUR BRAIN from a mere video image is frakking terrifying. But all the parts where the Angels were looking at each other and not turning to stone, and the snapping your neck instead of just sending you off in time to "live to death"...I dunno. Their original thing was iconic, instant-catchphrasey, and CREEPY. This? In trying to one-up the stakes, Moffat...kinda cheapened his own creations. Again, as a comic-book fan, I know this is...NOT at all the first time this has happened! but it kinda makes me sad.
Anyway. River Song? Still mysterious. Still kinda awesome. Not annoyed with her...yet. I LOVE those amazing shoes she had on in the first scene, though I would never, ever wear them. The military Church guys? Didn't bother me. It's kind of like a futuristic version of Knights Templar only with machine guns and rocket launchers, innit? There's kind of a tradition of religion + warriors all through history. The main guy, what was his name, Father Octavian? I rather liked; he came across as kind of wise and badass at the same time. (Physically he kinda reminded me of Lytton from "Attack of the Cybermen", but I'm not sure why.) And "Angel Bob" for some reason kept cracking me up every time the Doctor said it.
Also, Amy's big huge hangy red sweater was awesome simply because, you know? How often do you see attractive main character women on TV, in ANY show, wearing loose, comfy stuff? Stuff you could actually see yourself hangin' around the house in? Even when they're not slutty, female fashions from any era in which TV existed tend to be fitting to the body at least a little--gotta make sure we show the outlines of those breasts and that waist! And here's Amy wearing something like a normal woman who isn't on the prowl at the moment and just wants to, say, buy her groceries, would wear. Holy crap.
Okay so she's got the short skirt underneath, to show "I'm wearing something huge and baggy to show off how young and skinny and CUTE! I really am under it!" but still.
Anyway. Aside from the Angels being a bit cheapened in the name of trying to make them scarier and little things like, why would turning the GRAVITY back on make everybody's hair and clothes flap around as if in a great wind (erm...you've got that and opening an AIRLOCK a bit mixed up methinks, Steven) I really had little problem with this episode. The idea of having to walk completely blind, when you've been sighted all your life and are NOT used to it, through a treacherous forest full of things that could realise you're there and kill you at any moment and to not only do this alone, but move "as if you can see" sounds like one of the HARDEST things to do, EVER. I did not envy Amy in that scene. Also, everybody being unexisted one by one is incredibly creepy, and reminds me of this one Twilight Zone episode. (I wish I could remember its name...)
So, there was a lot to enjoy in this one. And then...we come...to THAT scene.
(sighs, hangs head) I know nobody wants to hear my rants about the romancey stuff in Who. But this was so completely, utterly WRONG for the show!! And it made me dislike Amy, whom I barely know and WANTED to give a chance to, I really did! But no, she's not just pouncing the Doctor--the DOCTOR--but she's doing it when she's already involved with another guy. Engaged to another guy. Her WEDDING DRESS is hanging right there in the corner of the same room and she's getting married THE VERY NEXT DAY. Holy Hannah, could you make this any more hateful? Even Gwen stopped sleeping with Owen once she had the "Ooh, yes, that's an engagement ring, that is" on her hand and THAT was freaking TORCHWOOD! (Granted, it was the alternate universe version of the team from "Earth-2", but still...)
And it was premeditated! This entire time, I've been assuming that she pounced him right after she came out of the forest, in a fit of passion, just instant instinctual uncontrollable kind of thing. But no. She uses lines like "Tomorrow's a long way away!" meaning, she knows EXACTLY how wrong a thing she's doing and is still trying on purpose to do it anyway. HATE you, hate Moffat, taking the dog. Sincerely, Romana.
I've said this before, but it bears saying again: WHAT, is WITH, this show and assuming we'll sympathise with main characters who cheat, betray and selfishly grab? It's ALWAYS against adorable, sweet, ordinary guys who don't deserve this rather than, say, smarmy demeaning S.O.B's, and it's always guys whose only crime is that they ARE ordinary, unlike the Doctor! Sure, Mickey was a bit posessive, Rhys could be a bit petulant and I'm sure I'll find out Rory's problems soon enough but they all don't deserve...THIS! What is it? What's the point? I understand trying to be progressive and sex-positive and show that women going after what they want is not bad but...why can't the women be SINGLE first?!
If the rule is that your hot main female protagonist absolutely MUST have an established sex life or else, oh noes! She's not NORMAL and the universe is broken!--then there's the easiest solution in the world: Have a scene where she talks about her recent breakup. There! Problems solved! The hot chick is dating, just, not at the moment, she can fall for the Doctor without hurting a sweet guy who doesn't deserve it, AND the character is made several shades less hateful/more likeable. DONE!
Seriously, these are like, THE ideas that everybody on Earth would come up with after one second's worth of thought. Do Moffat and Davies both ACTUALLY think cheating--hurtful, selfish, thoughtless betrayal of a significant other who takes the relationship seriously--is the same thing as open relationships? 'Cos they're NOT.
Anyway. The MAIN thing that made me so very, very, very hurt and despairing about this scene, was simply the fact that it existed. The only reason I thought perhaps Moffat taking over would be a good thing is not because I liked Moffat--when I first heard about this, I hadn't seen many of his earlier episodes yet--but simply because I thought that ANYbody taking over from Davies would mean lots of changes. And the ONE thing I hoped for the most, was that putting a new guy into the show-runner's seat--any new guy--would mean: No More Fanfic. No more stupid romance, no more Mary Sues, no more Companions instantly and constantly falling in LUV with the Doctor. A. REAL. Change.
...when I first saw this scene out of context and several months before I was due to get to that episode properly, it not only dashed that hope to pieces, but slammed it up against the wall and raped it with a chainsaw. What--what--what was I even SEEING? This can't be a YouTube video Photoshopped by a clever fan, it looks too real! What--what--WHAT?!!
Not only the kissing and longing and whispering "I love you" on the beach, but ACTUAL FREAKING ATTEMPTING TO RIP OFF CLOTHES?! There went all my hopes, forever. Moffat not only didn't stop the fanficness, but apparently he was being like "Hey Davies? You had kissing? Top THIS!" just because he could. We went from Twilighty longing-from-afar to the likes of freaking "My Immortal" (the avatar girl just starts sexually pouncing the guy without any romance first) and that is NOT an improvement! (Well, actually I highly prefer "My Immortal" to Twilight, because--if nothing else--Ebony is PROACTIVE...but that's beside the point.)
I saw this clip way the heck out of context where I wasn't expecting it, and for months, assumed it must be some kind of drug, posession, clone, alien sex spores...etc. But when I realised how very much longer I had to go before I found out, I got morbidly impatient and looked up reviews of the episode trying to figure out just that one bit. When I found out it was REAL, the real Amy, in her right mind, and intentional...
I'll spare you the screaming F-bombs...but to give you an idea of how much I felt stabbed in the SOUL by the fact that not only was the stupid fanficness going to continue, probably for years, but it was going to be so, so, so, so, SO much worse than anything I could have ever imagined in my most exaggerated parody mockeries?
Well...ya know how magratpudifoot and I, and maybe some others, go around doing the thing where we number the show's seasons with two numbers with a slash, the first one being the actual season number of the new show alone, and the second one, after the slash, being what it would be if you added on the 26 seasons of Classic Who, to recognise that it's really all one big thing?
So, like, Season 4 of the new show, we call "Season 4/30"? Season 5 is "Season 5/31", etc...?
...anybody noticed that I stopped doing that a while back? How Eleven's debut year is now ONLY called "Season 5"?
I'm STILL determined to catch up, though, and so I'm going to watch "Vampires of Venice" tonight, 'cos this happens to be when Doctor Who came up again in my rotation. Looking forward to getting to meet Rory a little better. If you want more blanket Moffat bashing, well, I'm sure I'll come up against themes of his that he uses like crazy to the point where I want to bang my head against the wall soon enough, but--remember, RTD's first season wasn't all bludgeony and obnoxious, either. No, it took a while for his particular brand of constant, intelligence-insulting hammering in of ideas to fully develop. At this juncture, I'm just so happy to be out from under the overwhelming, crushing "THE DOCTOR IS GOD" influence that, no kidding, it actually feels as if a heavy blanket has been lifted from me. FREEE! I CAN MOVE AGAIN! I CAN BREATHE!
I'm rather happy with the way I've worked something out lately, too--although I'd really rather be able to TALK directly to other fans right after seeing something--some messageboard somewhere that has a nice mix, both giggly teenyboppers and intelligent, critical fans (not to say that teenagers can't be smart, or adults can't be dumb) but what I'm just seeing now is old to everybody else, and, they can't be trusted, ever, not to drop spoilers from Season 6/later in Season 5. How to get fan feedback, find out if I'm alone in an opinion or not, and hear what others thought without getting spoiled? PODCASTS!
Specifically, I've found the Doctor Who Podcast, run by a couple of snarky Ozzies and a grumpy Scotsman, which is filled with not only the most delightful accents but a wonderful mix of opinions, and a nice balance between fannish gushing and angry bile. In other words, EXACTLY WHAT I WANT, in the overall tone of a Doctor Who podcast. I just look up the early episodes in which they themselves have just seen the episodes in question, new, and therefore don't KNOW any actual spoilers for further stuff yet, only rumours and Wild Mass Guessing, and bang! I get to hear people both bashing and defending stuff like That Scene, so I no longer feel so alone, a lone angry fangirl howling in the empty wilderness, screaming like an idiot banshee that nobody will listen to and nobody cares (SERIOUSLY, Magrat, could you write to me more than once every two years?! Or at least watch ONE thing I reccommend, and talk about it on your LJ?), and I don't have to worry about spoilers. Bing!
I've also discovered another podcast lately--I'm saying both of these to show that I don't hate everything about Who, and I am capable of enjoying even The Fanbase sometimes--called "Bigger on the Inside" These guys are reviewing every single Doctor Who story--from the VERY BEGINNING, that's right, "An Unearthly Child" here--up through the present day and so far have gotten to "Time and the Rani". This is way, way, WAY farther than the much-lamented Camdium 2 podcast got, so I wish them well!
They're American, so you don't get the cute accents, and they're not as funny as the previously mentioned podcast, but the main appeal here is that they are approaching these from the point of view of a fan who started on the new series first, but is willing to give the old one a chance. Or in other words...exactly the same position as me. (Well, one of them is.) They can get into old characters and black and white stories that are hard to see--when they're good--but mock what deserves to be mocked. Michael's reaction to when Barbara MOWED DOWN A DALEK WITH A FIRE TRUCK in "The Daleks' Invasion of Earth" alone sold me. If you would like a semi-amusing, thoughtful, and really comprehensive show about Doctor Who in your ear, you could do worse than this one.
(They also have a podcast called "World's Finest" which is about EVERY EPISODE OF THE ENTIRE DCAU. So far I've only seen Batman: The Animated Series from that group but you JL fans out there? You're welcome.)
So anyway, yeah. That's where I'm up to, that's how I'm dealing with the dilemma of wanting to talk about this stuff but having nobody to talk TO...who won't give me spoilers anyway...and where I stand with the series now.
Sorry about the length above--I keep meaning to write shorter, more casual journal entries more often, but then forget to write anything for a long time. (I also wish to apologise for spamming your in-boxes with lots and lots of edited versions of my previous entry, magratpudifoot and bizzarreoptimism--I completely FORGOT that it would send a whole new message to you every time I did that. D'OH. Seriously, I was just trying to make it look more like how I wanted and get the correct ideas across, on MY end. Didn't even think of that angle.)
In other news, I would be a little worried that my favourite character on Hetalia Axis Powers has definitely shaped up to be Germany--if it wasn't for the fact that the show is UTTERLY silly and, as far as I can tell, not meant to be taken seriously at all, and if my own mother hadn't once written a fanfic about Cardassians, who are essentially Space-Nazis. So it's not MY fault. It's in my genes. :P
But mainly, it's because he's a long...SUFFERING...(and with very good reason) deadpan...snarker. A BARITONE deadpan snarker, at that. When he's not flipping out and finally unable to take it anymore, he's got rather a nice voice, actually--but the fact that it took me until episode FORTY to realise this, is a testament to just how funny the lines are and how good he is at that flat, dry tone. He (Patrick Seitz), like everyone else in this dub, makes everything he says SO FREAKING FUNNY--or rather, brings out the humour that was meant to be there--by how he says it. I didn't previously recognise any of these voice actor names, but looking them up, I found out that most if not all of them are between 30--early 40s rather than being fresh-faced newbies, and each has at least a page-down's worth of experience in other cartoons. That...makes a difference. It really does.
(Oh, and the fact that I might've had my opinion changed re: square-jawed blondes with short, slicked back hair changed by certain other WWII-era hotties has nothing to do with this, no...(That's Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, although Captain America in the '40s would also apply if I had any comics of his to grab pictures from. There are better shots of Alan out there, but in this one he's at a desk and shot at almost exactly the same angle as the Germany picture, so...))
Well, to be perfectly accurate: Germany is my favourite...but America is, far and away, the funniest. Every time he even opens his MOUTH, I crack up! Seriously--he swaggers into his room in his bomber-jacket with a sheriff's-star patch on it, a hamburger in hand, and an exuberant greeting of "DUDES!" and I hit the floor laughing every time.
Why Hetalia, and why right now? The why right now is because I had a slot in my watch-rotation open, a list of both old animes I've always meant to see and newer ones I just heard about that sound interesting, and a random-number-generator program. The why watch it in general? You'll find out below!
Hetalia, at a start date of 2008 and still going (?), is easily the most recent anime I've seen yet. How the heck to describe it? Well, basically, the countries are PEOPLE. And their political relationships are acted out as if they were personal relationships--so that, say, a treaty would be either a love affair or a marriage and yes, most of the characters are indeed cute guys.
...and the writers are very aware of this. And they are aware of how the fans typically react. And they make fun of this. And then they make fun of THEMSELVES for being so bloody obvious about it. (Real example: Two countries argue in a way that devolves into a childish slap-fight, and Britain calls out: "If you two are QUITE through relieving sexual tension over there...") Oh, and wars are usually represented by the likes of one country-character bopping the other over the head tauntingly, like "DOES THIS BUG YOU? DOES THIS BUG YOU? DOES THIS BUG YOU?"
It's zany, it's SUPER-DOOPER FAST, it contains tons of bits where you have to pause in order to read the actual historical information on the screen (under all the silliness and snark is all kinds of historical detail--so it comes across as kind of a joshing love-letter to history, really) and lots of stuff where you have to rewind a bit and replay just so you can hear the five jokes you missed while you were laughing at the one, it contains NO reverence for anything and is...sometimes a little blunt with the sexual humour. But it's all in good fun.
Also, it is chock full of EVERY STEREOTYPE KNOWN TO MAN. So why isn't it offensive? Simple. EVERYBODY is stereotyped just as much as everybody else! When you do that, it sort of becomes equal again...in fact, the overal tone is so silly that the stereotypes somehow pass straight through potential offensiveness and back out into a strange form of CELEBRATION. Like, "We're all stupid in our own different ways...but the important thing, at the end of the day, is that we ARE all stupid. So let's link hands and sing out all our different stupidities together!"
The end theme song especially feels like this to me--the standard version is sung by Italy, and I figured this out not by the lyrics, but because I "recognised" the voice. (Then I realised that the song was in Japanese and I was watching the English dub, so I wasn't RECOGNISING anybody at all--it's two different guys! This then hit me with a whole OTHER brand of "Whoah!". Seriously, they're an American VA and a Japanese seiyuu and they sound...EXACTLY...alike!) But it wasn't until they started having other countries sing the theme song from their points of view, that I fully realised this--and not only do the lyrics re: "mama", asking for a beverage, can't get the taste of (food) out of my head, etc. all change to perfectly reflect each country's culture, but the BACKGROUND MUSIC does as well! Without sacrificing the meter or tempo! (Russia's version. A full-length copy. We WANTS it, precious...Oh, and possibly also Japan's, China's and America's.)
And, even weirder--on Germany and France's versions, I can totally hear cartoonish German/French accents...on the Japanese lyrics. WHAT. HOW THE FLYING FREAK AM I HEARING AN ACCENT ON A LANGUAGE I DON'T ACTUALLY SPEAK?! (brain breaks)
That, alone. Once you hear all of those together, the "let's all celebrate how silly we are in our own different ways!" feeling becomes apparent.
I must also take a moment to rave about the voice acting. I'm listening to the dub and MY WORD, these guys are funny. They're over-the-top, but in exactly the right WAYS, and it's an over-the-top kind of show. Everybody says their lines in exactly the way calculated to bring out the maximum humour, through all kinds of odd accents.
Would I reccommend you watch it, either right now or in a bit? Nope. The fast pace that makes it hard to keep up with is at times a bit wearing and the zanyness where characters randomly transform into superdeformed whatevers from time to time make it not quite one of my first picks for How I Would Represent My Tastes to Others. But with its SEVERAL layers of satire one upon the other and legit love of history underneath everything else, Hetalia is definitely one of the most intelligent fan-baiting pieces of silly I've ever seen. :)
Anyway. Hope this wasn't quite as obnoxious as the last one. Toodles!
Oh, and to tie both subjects together, here? At one point in the movie, "Paint it White", they're arguing about whose TV/movies are the most popular, and at freaking light speed where I had to watch the lines again to make sure I really heard what I thought I just heard, Britian says "Well, we've got some quite good offerings as well" to which France replies, "Time-travelling phone booths can only take you so far!"
Edit: Edited one last time for THEME SONG PARTY!! WHOOO!!
- Current Location:America's house
- Current Music:draw a circle, that's the Earth...