23 November 2013

The Power of Thirteen (Review: 'Doctor Who', "The Day of the Doctor")

Doctor Who's 50th anniversary episode was subject to intense secrecy - with no press screenings or preview tapes, as well as a global simulcast to minimise spoilers. Sometimes hiding your completed work is a sign that it's awful.

Not in this case. After a slightly disjointed start, Steven Moffat's 75-minute long tale proved to be a worthy and brilliant tribute to the world's longest running sci-fi/fantasy show.

This review contains minor spoilers

Thirteen points that stand out for me:
  • The use of the original Derbyshire theme at the beginning was great, along with the starting location at Coal Hill School.
  • Steven Moffat's ability to rewrite the show's history and still leave all the old stuff intact is superb; the climax here is a lovely example.
  • Mind you, we're going to need to alter a good number of Wiki articles on the Doctor.
  • I've visited the National Gallery and most of it doesn't look like that - it's full of religious painting, nudes and the occasional religious nude.
  • The Zygons were great fun - it allows for Moffat to easily wrong foot the audience, although one of those transformation scenes did look a bit overly gruesome for kids (hence the time slot, I would say).
  • Three Doctors in one scene, all arguing with and insulting each other; that was superb in 1972 and it's just as good now. "Sandshoes" and "Grandad" will last long in the fandom's memory.
  • What was the fez doing in the Under Gallery in the first place?
  • We've now got an explanation for that scene at the end of "The Shakespeare Code" and a reference in "The End of Time".
  • I guess that the Could Have Been King was a bit beyond the budget. I don't think we actually saw any Dalek extermination effects here either and some of the CGI in the final shot was a bit obvious, but it had to be with three Doctors no longer with us and four no longer looking like they did.
  • The appearance of [censored] at the end was a great one, which was a lovely bit of the past.
  • I thought we might get an appearance from [spoiler], although it was a very brief one.
  • The lack of an appearance from [spoiler] was got around nicely and we've now managed to get all the [spoiler] on camera.
  • So, we are going to Trenzalore for Christmas... counting the one in "Journey's End", we've used up all twelve regenerations, so that will have to be dealt with then.

A bit disjointed to begin with and I was wondering how Moffat was going to deal with the previous canon near the end, but he managed it admirably. Well done to all involved.


50 Years of Doctor Who

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Doctor Who going out on BBC TV, broadcast 80 seconds behind schedule at 17:16:20 GMT according to BBC records.

Yesterday, I attended the Doctor Who Celebration event at the ExCeL in London's Docklands. I enjoyed the event and seeing the rare props, costumes etc, although I can't say I liked the long queues for nearly everything, including the BBC Shop.

There were a good number of people of all ages in costumes (you frequently got three or four different Doctors standing together, which must do something in terms of the space-time continuum) - there were indeed a good number of 'femme' Doctors. That was one of the more charming parts of the day.

It really says something about the success of this show that you can hold a sold out event in the London convention centre, have itself regularly appear on the cover of major TV magazines, have its every plot twist scrutinised in multiple countries... and still remain brilliant.

Happy Anniversary, Doctor Who. Here's to the Diamond Jubilee.

22 November 2013

50 Years since the death of JFK

Fifty years ago today, John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Who killed him and why will be conspiracy theoried until the end of this current human civilisation, if not more, but it is clear that it is a defining moment in the 20th century.

If JFK had lived, it is possible that the US might have avoided being bogged down in Vietnam... but the Civil Rights movement might have taken longer to achieve its goals as he had difficulties getting the legislation through Congress. Also, what if his philandering came out?

Whatever happened or might have happened had it not occur, you have to feel for Jacqueline; even the Zapruder footage doesn't quite convey the pure horror of seeing your husband get shot in the head in front of you.

Rest in Peace, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

10 November 2013

Remembrance 2013

You may not agree with the conflicts, but you can certainly agree that those who have been involved in war are worthy of our consideration and our thoughts - in many cases, they made the ultimate sacrifice willingly for the sake of humanity.

We will remember them.