fajrdrako: (Default)
I've been struggling with a cold all week, which, on the negative side, means I can't work, and on the positive side means I get to loll about reading, playing games and watching television.

So I logged into World of Warcraft for the first time since... since I don't know when, and discovered things have changed. I had to re-arm my characters, and recover my pets. (I like to play hunters.)

I watched three episodes of Death in Paradise. Classic puzzle-mysteries, good characters.

I read Trinity by Matt Wagner, and I certainly enjoyed it, though I like Batman to be a little less pathologically grim, and there was something just a little stiff about it. Still: beautifully written.

I slept a lot.

I read The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch, and found myself wondering why it was called that. But of course, it's all about the Tyburn.

fajrdrako: ([Shakespeare])


Watched the first two parts of Michael Wood's In Search of William Shakespeare this evening. What a great show.

fajrdrako: (Default)


Last night I watched the pilot episode of the Chris Carter show, The After.

What an ill-conceived show.

The problem was, it made no sense. It appeared at first that nothing electronic, electrical, or mechanical would work - but then some things did work. The initial characters, six people stuck in an elevator, appeared to be random - and then turned out to have the same birthday, though not the same date of birth. In all the general sense of hysteria, panic, and confusion, no one expresses surprise or speculates as to why this may be happening. Our protagonist, physically attractive but not too bright, risks life and limb to recover her cell phone - twice - when the phones aren't working and her battery surely can't last much longer anyway. There was a lot of shouting and some gunfire, but nothing much in the way of coherence.

The only that almost made it interesting was the appearance of a funny-looking alien, but even that was brief, unexplained, and unremarked. And the characters? It was fun to see Aldis Hodge (from Leveage) and Adrian Pasdar (from Heroes), but they seemed to have no personality - except the left-over personalities of Hardison and Nathan Petrelli. That may have just been my interpretation, having nothing else to go on - least of all script.

Makes me long for the old X-Files days.

fajrdrako: (Default)


My computer is dismantled and sitting on the floor of my bedroom, not because it is malfunctioning (which it is), but because I got new furniture: a lovely new desk, which calls itself a Maplewood Writing Table. And my wonderful friends helped me set it up yesterday.

There seems to be no photograph of it online. It has an old-world look with new-tech functions: the large drawer doubles as a keyboard tray, and at the back of the desk there are two plugs and three charging ports for electronic devices.

Between the process of taking down my old massive desk and putting up my new sleek one, we watched The Doctor Who 2013 Christmas Special, which Alayne had not seen. I liked it rather better the second time round; the first time, I was irritated at how little sense it made, and only really enjoyed the bits with Peter Capaldi at the end. And I'm still not sure why the Gallifreyans offered the Doctor extra lives in the end - not that I'm complaining. Transilore may have fallen - I'm not sure the Doctor is the best protector they could have had - but the universe goes on, the Doctor has new kidneys, and Clara stands faithfully by.

Shield...

Jan. 15th, 2014 09:13 pm
fajrdrako: ([SHIELD])
Watched this week's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at Pim's place tonight

Love that show more all the time. Skye's story is getting more interesting.

Also: reading "Freedom and Necessity" by Emma Bull and Stephen Brust. Amazing story.
fajrdrako: ([Uncle])


I'm enjoying this show more with each episode. It reminds me of favourite shows of my past: The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the Avengers - I mean Steed and Mrs. Peel, not the Marvel version; X-Files and Fringe. I love the international settings - how many shows these days bring us Stockholm and Malta in two consecutive episodes?

I loved it that the show used X-ray specs.



Are we going to get more weaponry and gadgets from the ads in the back of the old comics? Amazing Sea-Monkeys? The Black Dragon Fighting Society? Grow Living Monsters in Your Own Room? New Bodies for Old?

There's a potential plot in every one of them.

fajrdrako: ([Coulson])


I watched Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. again tonight, this time with Pim and [livejournal.com profile] maaseru. And I think I may have fallen in love with it this time. Okay, I still don't like Maria Hill's hair.

In the comic, she looks like this:



While in the TV show, she looks like this:



and because I am pretty much madly in love with her anyway, it's hard to adjust.

Now that that is off my chest...

A look at more details... )
fajrdrako: ([Coulson])
I've been a fan of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the Steranko days - and a fan of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. before that. So the announcement of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series filled me with joy and trepidation. I knew it wouldn't be the S.H.I.E.L.D. of my dreams. The tidbits of information Whedon leaked about the story sounded terribly trite... but that man has been known to make pearls of out swine (and vice versa), so that wasn't much to go by. It would at least feature Agent Coulson from the movies - whom I adore.

Mixed feelings about it. I couldn't wait. I begged, cajoled and bullied my friends into watching it last night. My feelings? A sort of reasoned: not bad, not bad at all. The story didn't thrill me or move me as much as, say, The Avengers movie did, but it wasn't horrifying, either, and it had a few real plusses.

One thing horrified me: Maria Hill's long hair. So wrong. It made me almost sorry they included her.

But if that's the worst I can think of...

Though, actually, Maria Hill's hair was exacerbation of something that both [personal profile] commodorified and I thought: that the main characters were all a type, all too alike. Young, dark-haired... even Sky, who is supposed to be a renegade, seemed very conformist. To blend in with the crowds she hides in? I wanted her to be more of a Kenzie, more of an outsider. But she was my favourite character, except for Coulson himself. As a matter of fact, more than I expected, I liked them all - even though I had some trouble telling them apart. I didn't even notice that May was Asian until someone pointed it out.

I loved the comic book and movie references. "With great power comes..." and the inclusion of Extremis in the plot. Mentions of Thor and Iron Man and the Chitauri. It's the Marvel world, but it's a variation of the Marvel world we haven't seen before - the TV Marvel world.

I'm looking forward to next week. It hasn't awakened my fannish passions, but it has me interested and intrigued.

And it's Phil Coulson. He makes me happy. I particularly loved his moment of anger: "Don't tell me you can't do it." That's why I love S.H.I.E.L.D.

Oh, yes. Also his car. Lola. Yup, that's the right spirit.
fajrdrako: Lewis and Hathaway in an Oxford street ([Lewis])


One of the things I most love about Lewis is the titles. (Well, besides obvious things like character, plot, setting and stories.) This one sounds to me like a phrase Lois McMaster Bujold might use, but no, it's quoted in the episode as being from Gerald Manly Hopkins:

    O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
    Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
    May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small
    Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
    Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
    Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.
    O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
    Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed O my dear

It's from a poem called No Worst, There Is None, which relates nicely to a murder story, though I'm not sure what Hopkins' title meant. I wouldn't mind finding out; I rather like Hopkins' poetry, though it's dense, often baffling. Which is maybe why I like it.

Anyway, the episode: there was some beautiful acting here from some very interesting actors, including Thomas Brodie-Sangster, whom you may know as Jojen Reed (in Game of Thrones) or Tim Latimer in Doctor Who. Jack Roth, who played Jack Collins, is the son of Tim Roth. I thought one of the best performances was from Lucy Liemann, who inexplicably reminds me of Diana Rigg.

The hints of romance between Inspector Lewis and Laura Hobson don't do much for me, partly because I so loved Lewis' relationship with his wife back in Morse, partly because we haven't come to know her personality very well. I like her - and I really like Clare Holman, who plays the role - but her relationship with Lewis seems totally bloodless to me, and less interesting than his relationship with, say, his Superintendant.

The plot was fun. Kept me guessing for a while, but when I worked out a plausible motive and method for a character who was in the right place at the right time, but who was kept in the background just enough not to be too obvious - well. I was delighted to be proved right.

This show makes Oxford look so beautiful, though I do note that we see the same buildings, gardens and streets over and over and over.

I will be sad when I've seen the last episode of Lewis. But at least now we have Endeavour, and I have every intention of watching all the episodes of Morse again in the neat future.

fajrdrako: ([Doctor Who] - 01)
Tonight for Fannish Night we watched the last episode of Doctor Who again, "The Name of the Doctor".

Oddly, it seemed to make less sense than the first time through. I still liked it well enough - some things about it, I loved - but a masterpiece of clarity it is not.

Makes me curious about what is to come, though.

And I really, really like the ending.

fajrdrako: ([Doctor Who] - 01)


Watched the Doctor Who season-ending episode "The Name of the Doctor" this evening.

Now, I've been grumbling about Steven Moffat's storytelling for a while. I have all sorts of gripes with it: plot sof time paradoxes built into ever-twisting halls of mirrors, characters with unsatisfactory endings to their lives and their stories, a Doctor who is randomly childish and wise, irresponsible and noble, clueless and insightful... Steven Moffat stories tend to leave me mildly unsatisfied. Sound and fury but not much sense. And cheap tricks.



So it was a relief to like this one quite a bit. A lot of it made no sense at all, but that didn't get in the way of the story. The mystery of Clara the Impossible Girl was nicely sorted out in a way that reminded me of Rose becoming Bad Wolf in series one: I like both instances, though I was left with the feeling that Clara's life had no intrinsic purpose but to keep the Doctor alive.

So yes, there were more cheap tricks, but also much to love. Seeing the old Doctors. Seeing... the person who isn't Doctor whom we see in the end. The Doctor being actually caring and loving to both River Song and to Clara. Keep this up, and I might actually end up liking River. I particularly liked some of the visual metaphors: the villain with an empty body, the old TARDIS full of vines, the threads of light that are the Doctor's timeline... And it might be the first time that I've believed Mat Smith's Doctor was a real person.

It's possibly the first time since David Tennant that I've thought a Doctor Who story had real substance. (Despite Neil Gaiman's best try.) An interesting episode that quite makes me look forward to the 50th Anniversary show.

fajrdrako: (Default)


Tonight we watched Doctor Who, "The Rings of Akhaten". We watched it more or less in silence, and when it was over we said to each other: "What was that?"

There was stuff I really liked: Clara. The little girl, whose acting and singing was great. Clara in the TARDIS. I kind of liked some of the hamminess. But...

Is there any way that story made sense? Part of the time I couldn't tell what I was looking at. The villain looked like a fuzzy Jack-o-Lantern. The vampire mummy and his cohorts in the cool coats didn't seem to have anything to do with anything. The Doctor wandered off and left Clara to explore a bazaar on a strange planet on her own, for no obvious reason.

I was perplexed. I kept wondering if my friends were understanding what was going on just fine and I was the only one for whom it didn't make sense, but apparently not. They were talking about 'white man's burden' but my thought was more like, "There's no narrative here... What kind of a plot is this?"

I liked the bits about Clara's background. And the explanation of the leaf in her book.

fajrdrako: (Default)


The trailer for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special is up: Doctor Who: The First Question.

Wow.

Now I'm excited.

fajrdrako: (Default)


Another new Canadian SF show debuted last night. Orphan Black. It looks and feels and tastes Canadian, from the VIA Rail train to the graffiti of Toronto.



The story at first seemed close to that of Ringer. A girl on the run from druglords (to whom she owed money) witnesses the suicide of her double, and assumes her double's identity. Many times she is almost found out; many times, due to luck and quick thinking, she avoids discovery by hook or by crook - and by having sex with her double's boyfriend. And someone is trying to kill her.

The difference? There's a third woman with the same face and body. Seems Sarah is one of a set of clones.

I liked Sarah's gay artist friend Felix, who helps her with her role and even holds a memorial service for her. I liked the attractive half-naked men and the inclusion of sex. I liked the various distinct characters - oddly enough, for a show about clones, there was a delightful diversity and each character, clone or not, was unlike all the others. Though the story wasn't very exciting - it was more set-up than anything else - I liked the situation and the ambiance. Will I make a point of watching more?

I just might.

fajrdrako: Supernatural ([Dean])


Pim has been greatly enjoying the TV show The Walking Dead, and urging me to watch it.

Now, I don't like zombies. I just don't. I don't see the charm. I watched Sean of the Dead because StarWolf talked me into it, and it was funny, but it didn't make me like zombies. I don't even like zombies in comics.

But I was reasonably curious about The Walking Dead so I watched the premiere episode. Since I watched it at her place, I had no pludh crocodile to hold or hide my eyes behind, so she furnished me with her Tare Panda.



He did the job just fine.

I was interested to see that the show was by Robert Kirkman - I had no idea. I'm familiar with his comic book work, particularly on X-Men and Fantastic Four. Way to do, Kirkman.

The show was well made, but there wasn't much there to appeal to me. It was so unrelentingly sad. And lacking the kind of humour that makes Supernatural so comparatively palatable. Well, I suppose, that's the point.

Right.

It reminded me of the fourth series of Torchwood, the one I stopped watching because it was so grim and depressing.

fajrdrako: (Default)


From Wired:

    As of today Steven Moffat has confirmed that he is completing a script that will feature the current Doctor, Matt Smith, facing a foe so great that he will need assistance from all ten of the previous TARDIS inhabitants. That’s right, rumors say Eccleston is in!!! The producers have gotten agreements from all living actors who have ever played the Doctor; Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith. With some studio special effects they have even resurrected William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee.
.
I love the way they can bring them back from the dead. The Spiritualists of Arthur Conan Doyle's day would be so envious.

This sentence caught my attention:

    Every decade since the inception of Doctor Who there has been some sort of anniversary special that pays homage to the previous Doctors.

Is that true? I thought there was nothing at all between the episode with the Eighth Doctor in 1996 and the Ninth Doctor in 2005.

fajrdrako: (Default)


I just watched this scene from Doctor Who, series 4, from "The Doctor's Daughter", which - as I mentioned recently - was one of my favourite episodes.

"Let's find a new world. For her."

What a wonderful scene! Donna really shines in it. I wonder which scene was aired in its place.

fajrdrako: (Default)


30 Days of Doctor Who: Question 30: The moment you fell in love with Doctor Who.



Not a moment, exactly, but an episode.

I'd already come to love the Doctor himself because of his wonderful speech to Rose in Rose, which I've already quoted here:

    Do you know like we were saying? About the Earth revolving? It's like when you're a kid. The first time they tell you that the world's turning and you just can't quite believe it 'cause everything looks like it's standing still. I can feel it. [He takes Rose's hand.] The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at 1,000 miles an hour and the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it. We're falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go... That's who I am.

I fell in love with the show, above and beyond just loving the protagonist, with the episode Dalek. I'd heard about Daleks, of course, but I'd never seen them before. And I was under the impression still that Doctor Who was a show full of silly monsters and improbably situations - the first few episodes I saw here did nothing to make me change my mind.

The: Dalek. Nuances. Shades of meaning. Ideas beyond cliches. Characterization of heroes, bystanders, villains, and monsters. A plot which changed the main characters, and changed the situation, and changed the tenor of the show.

Doctor Who does not always live up to the potential I saw in that episode, but it had met the mark more often than I dared to expect.
fajrdrako: (Default)


30 Days of Doctor Who: Question 29: A character you didn't like at first, but came to like.

Donna Noble.



In "The Runaway Bride" she was stupid and annoying. On all subsequent appearances, she was wonderful.

I didn't like the way her story ended.

fajrdrako: (Default)


30 Days of Doctor Who: Question 28: Favourite character who appears in one episode.

Jenny, the Doctor's daughter.



From episode 4x06, "The Doctor's Daughter", of course. I loved that episode. I loved Jenny, and thought it was great to see Nigel Terry. I loved the way Donna related to both Jenny and the Doctor, and tried to reconcile them, and to find out about the Doctor's past. I loved Jenny's personality, her talents, and her fate. I loved it that Martha was in the episode, too, and did her part towards creating the peace.

I love it that Jenny is out there somewhere in the universe, having her Time Lord adventures.

I've always hoped we'll see her again.

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