Archive for April, 2011

Doctor Who: This RTD Fan is Finally on Board (SPOILERS)

Well, I just watched the opener to Doctor Who’s Sixth Season, thanks to BBC America On Demand and an unplanned day off from work.  I was very impressed, and for an RTD-Rose fan, that’s really saying something.

Granted, I watched almost the entire Fifth Season while still mourning for Russell T. Davies and crew.   I’d become so attached to the likes of Rose, Donna, Jackie, Captain Jack, and Mickey; it felt like the Tenth Doctor was grieving for them with me the last time I saw him.  Yet this new Doctor starts off as if he popped into existence in Amelia Pond’s yard.  Where did my Doctor go, and by that I don’t mean Christopher Eccleston or David Tennant, I mean the character I’ve been growing attached to for years?  It seemed as if an entire new TimeLord had taken off with the Tardis.  Add Steven Moffat’s public near-disdain for the romance of Rose Tyler and blatant disregard for previous canon—I was left pretty resentful.

Luckily, that’s almost the entire Fifth Season.  The episode The Lodger was so fun and Matt Smith so completely charming, I found myself believing in the Eleventh Doctor at last.  That episode actually made my top ten!

It helped this angst-lover that the relationship between Amy and Rory intensified enough to draw me in emotionally.  I cared when he was sucked into the light and forgotten.  By the time Rory reappears in The Pandorica Opens, the scene where he (unsuccessfully) fights his auton instructions to kill the woman he loves was an absolute tearjerker.  It wasn’t Doomsday, but it was something.

River Song, whom I hated on sight in Season 4 just because she showed up out of nowhere and was automatically the Doctor’s closest companion ever, had become the character to watch in Season 5 (if only because she was the one connection to past seasons).  Still, she won me over all on her own with her confidence and flirtation, culminating in the scene where she faces down the dalek that she believes has killed her Doctor.  I can’t resist that kind of badass.

So…new season, new possibilities, and old grudges almost completely vanquished (with the help of the Christmas Carol episode…yes, I believe that Eleven was thinking about Rose when Kazran asked, “One last day with your beloved…which day would you choose?”  How could it be River when he doesn’t even trust her yet?  He may suspect that he will love her, but it makes more sense for his mind to run on his last love’s tragic end.)  Eleven got my attention right away by announcing he was 1100-&-some-years-old, which annoyed me until I realized it was a plot point.  Amy, River, and Rory have been summoned, apparently just to watch the Doctor die at the hands of an unidentified being in a spacesuit…except it turned out they weren’t the only ones.  The more familiar 900-&-change-year-old Doctor has also been tapped, and his friends can’t tell him what they know.  Ooh, intrigue.  Plus, I loved when River slapped the Doctor—it reminded me of all the times he got slapped in the past (Jackie, Martha’s Mom, Donna), which made me smile.

The monsters here are nicely scary;  Ood-like, suit-wearing aliens that electrocute people, yet as soon as you look away from them you forget they exist.  I’m not in love with Moffat, but he’s very good at creepy.  I’m less impressed with the spacesuit figure, though that’s the big threat to the Doctor.  Honestly, Vashta Nerada anybody?  Same outfit, presumably different insides.  Moffat is so good with his cinematic experience, his storytelling ability, yet he consistently forgets that these “stories” are part of a series, and yes, we do remember what we’ve already seen in the last 5 seasons.  Come on, buddy, acknowledge your venue.

The episode ends with a one-two punch:  Amy announces she’s pregnant (WTF?!) and before I can even comprehend the implications of that, she jumps up and shoots in the direction of a figure in a spacesuit with the face of a desperate little girl.

The End.

Okay, so first, is this pregnancy for real?  Amy isn’t a normal person, what with her Universe-altering abilities, so nothing about her can be accepted as fact.  I can’t really figure out how a pregnancy would work with an official companion, unless Karen Gillian plans to leave after two seasons.  Actually, if she lasts more than two seasons, she’ll be the longest lasting companion since the reboot.  So, who knows?

As for the shooting, I can’t blame Amy for trying to save the Doctor at her first opportunity.  Yet no one expected to see a terrified child possibly in the path of her bullet, and the show ends with both the Doctor and Amy looking horrified.  Suddenly I couldn’t believe I’d have to wait an entire week until I can find out what happened.  Wow.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, though I wonder how I’ll feel about that break between now and the second half, which airs in the fall.  I have heard that my favorite 5th season character, Craig (played by James Cordon in The Lodger), will make a return appearance.

Eleven lost a lot in his previous incarnations, but he wouldn’t have gotten where he is without the ability to move on.  I guess I’m finally ready to let him.

Syfy’s Being Human: “You’re the One that I Haunt” (SPOILERS)

It’s late and I’ve got to be up early, so expect some stream of consciousness writing.  Per usual, if you haven’t seen both BBC’s entire first season and Syfy’s to date, I’m about to spoil the hell out of it for you.

Sally vs. Danny:  the final showdown was tonight.  Anyone who has read my previous posts on the subject already knows that I think Annie and Owen, for the most part, have blown this pair out of the water.  In the contest of cool special effects, however, the prize belongs to Syfy.  Last week’s possession was impressive; this week was as well with Sally’s frightening impression of “The Grudge” and her transformation back, plus her angelic appearance when Danny is finally able to see her for himself.

I’ll also reluctantly admit that the BBC original might have left something to be desired in their simplistic handling of Annie’s final fight back; perhaps with Annie’s powers in general.  We are on Season 3 of the BBC version, and although Annie has progressed in her abilities, we still have yet to see the extent of her powers.  Sally progresses much faster, and here she uses her new-found power to try and force Danny to slit his own throat.

She’s also a little meaner than Annie.

Anyway, Danny shows up to burn the house down and Sally traps him inside with her.  Josh and Aidan arrive in time for Aidan to go all vamp-scary on him and Josh to helpfully (if surprisingly easily) put out the raging fire.  Josh also plays the good angel on her shoulder, since Sally is on the fence about letting Aidan take Danny out for good.  In some ways, this was more satisfying than Annie insinuating what Mitchell and George are capable of before threatening Owen with a secret that sends him running to turn himself in for her murder.  Maybe Syfy can’t match BBC with the emotional aspects, but at least they keep it interesting.  I also have to respect the choice to keep Sally a more traditional ghost:  ordinary humans simply cannot see her (until they lose their minds, like Danny) and she touches no one.  I still don’t see why not, because if she learned in either the first or second episode how to touch physical things, wouldn’t she be interested in some physical contact (I’m thinking about hugs or something, relax) with her roommates at least?  I guess she’s met enough ghosts this season that it hasn’t been an issue.  She also hasn’t bonded with Josh and Aidan all that deeply, which might be another factor.

Moving on to the delectable story of Aidan, Celine, and Bishop.

I’ve mentioned Mitchell and Jonie before, after the episode Dog Eat Dog when I was taken aback by Bishop’s past love with the human woman, Jane.  I’d assumed that this relationship was an echo of Mitchell and his human gf Jonie, since the story with Bernie turned out so differently, as did Aidan’s return to Bishop.  In tonight’s episode, I found out I was wrong, and I can’t help but enjoy the way the relationship was handled.

Jonie, Mitchell’s strong-willed love from the 60’s, is replaced with Celine (70’s?  I couldn’t be sure, but I thought that’s where the haircuts and leather jackets came from) and through flashbacks we see an intense love affair in Aidan’s past.  The story is still very different; Jonie saw through Mitchell and realized that he did not want to kill with Herrick any longer, even as he kidnapped and threatened her.  Thus, she ended up helping him to stay clean.  This is why, when she sees him later as a dying patient in his hospital, she is able to once again force him to find focus and get back on track.  I just adored Jonie.

Celine, however, is shown begging Aidan to turn her, and allowing him to drink from her.  Not cool, when you consider he’s an addict, but her scene with Bishop made me like her just as well.  Bishop has kidnapped her and basically blood-raped her in order that Aidan will believe she has abandoned him.  I couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t just kill her, until he explained in a gorgeously perverse manner that he preferred knowing he had her under his thumb.

Mark Pellegrino was so hot in that scene.  Evil, but hot.

Right, focus.  But Celine impressed me when she not only proved she knew Aidan, but saw through Bishop as well.  The big moment comes after Bishop tells her that Aidan will always return to him.  Despite being pinned to the wall by a blood-drinking psychopath and clearly terrified, she looks him in the eye and tells him Aidan will also always leave him again. Very badass.

About the big ending, of course I knew what was coming.  Last week after watching Going Dutch, I worried that the writers would show both guys as being emotionally attached to Sally.  My worries were unfounded; they kept it real.  Syfy fans, you have no idea how heart-wrenching that same scene was in the BBC version, where the roommates had already been through so much together.  I cried both times I’ve watched it.  But when Sally’s Door showed up, it was more like, ‘Hey, you did it…Bye!’

The emotional part comes when Bishop bursts in through the window (or was it the wall?) and stabs Aidan.  Now Josh gets to cry, and although I didn’t cry with him, at least they’ve bonded enough that I believed him and felt something.  Their friendship is one of the best parts of this show; maybe it’s even the heart of it.  I am such a sap.

BTW, I know Syfy does things in the cool, over-the-top way that we Americans tend to prefer, but what was up with Bishop’s grand entrance?  On BBC, Herrick simply knocks on the door (making George scream like a little girl because he thinks the knock comes from Annie’s Door) and when Mitchell answers, Herrick grabs him, yanks him forward and stabs him.  He wasn’t invited so he couldn’t come bursting in, and the fact that he couldn’t reach him very well explains how he missed the heart.  So how did Bishop get in, how on earth did he miss when he was right on top of him, and why did he act like the sun was hurting him when we’ve seen both Bishop and Aidan outside many times?  No sunglasses = burning vamps??  I wasn’t thrilled with the rule-breaking, just for the sake of drama.  Seems sloppy.

Oh yeah, and Nora’s still pregnant, though she knows nothing about Josh’s true nature.  Joy, rapture, way to freakin’ go.  I suppose she finds out next week, hopefully in the same crazy way that Nina did in season 1.  I won’t give it away (for once) because in the original, it took me by surprise.  Here’s hoping Syfy fans have the same experience.