Saturday, 13 September 2014

Live watch and review of Doctor Who: LISTEN

I missed last week's episode so I'm a little confused as to where Jenna Coleman is right now.

I like this intro though! Capaldi talking out loud to himself is a very good way of showing how the Doctor lives inside his own head.


Obviously this date isn't going well, but I love her dress. It's gorgeous!

This is hilarious. 'I thought I'd hide in the bedroom in case you brought him home' shows just how out of touch the Doctor is. And this is why I love this older doctor. I've never been a fan of the romantic element between the Doctor and his companions. I think it's so much funnier when there's no sexual chemistry.

They're probably at the date's childhood right? something he'll have mentioned during dinner.

Breaking into kid's homes and stealing coffee. That's just how Capaldi rolls.

Oh I was right! It's his childhood.

My housemate's just come in and I kept everyone up last night when I came in drunk at 3am. I'm sorry!

This is pretty spooky! I do like the creepier episodes of Doctor Who. When they do things like this that play on our natural fears.

Something on the bed, and Capaldi is a great doctor. He's building up a sense of confidence in young Danny by talking of fear as a superpower, which is very cute.

Don't look Clara! Oh that's nice though- helping him with his toy soldiers. Ha! Dan the soldier man! What a great moment.

Ooh, good direction! I felt the hairs on the back of my neck prickle with that close up.

Aww she's going back to her failed date!

Oh dear, Clara. You let his real name slip! Poor Rupert/Danny. And now she's ruining it again, but who's this deep-sea-diver! Doctor! Whut r u doin?? Why are you such a bad wing man?

Wait. This isn't going to be the doctor is it?

Oh, damn it. It's Danny.

Or not...? Orson Pink! What a name!

The last man at the edge of time. What is he scared of? What's out there?

Is Clara going to flirt with Rupert's descendant? That would be weird.

He's got Dan the soldier man!

Ohh, a family story about a great grandparent to do with time travel? Have we just seen Clara's future?

A lot of ghosts indeed!

They're doing the rational explanation for spooky noises! We've all done that.


No! Don't open the door!

This is scary!

He's such a dad. DO AS YOU ARE TOLD!

Great, now he's in trouble! Silly Doctor.

Clara's flying the TARDIS on her own now. That's a bit neat!

Where are they? This looks like a barn?

That's probably not Rupert is it? It's the doctor as a child!!!

Ooh! A nice touch. Clara's the source of the Doctor's nightmares and also of his courage when he returns to the barn years later to banish the Time Lords from existence.

I like this background of the Doctor. It's a good way of building the relationship between Clara and the doctor as equals.

Wait, so she gives away the army soldier toy? Is that going to show up again later?


I think this episode is a great return for the spookier element of Doctor Who. I always found Matt Smith's doctor a little too naive for the more serious side of things but Peter Capaldi's Doctor has a great face for spooky lighting and the idea that there's something haunting us that we can't see.

Having said that, this one did leave some unanswered questions. The final message of this episode was that it's ok to be afraid of the dark, and of nothing, yet there was something on the bed in the children's home. There was something trying to get into Orson Pink's base when they unlocked the door. The end of the episode negates the rest of it unless it's revisited later.

Having said that, it's nice to see there's some heart in this episode. Clara comforting a young Doctor in his childhood evens the difference between them a little, which is a good thing!

I have a good feeling about Capaldi, and I hope he's on my telly for a long time yet!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

When did we all start preferring the villains?

There's something that I've noticed changing in the general attitude towards villains (particularly in regards to Disney) that seems to be bleeding out from the internet into the mainstream media. We're losing interest in heroes. The trend of increasingly featuring antiheroes as protagonists has been going strong for a while (for more on the general rise of the antihero trend see this Den of Geek article but watch out for Dexter spoilers!)

On Youtube, there are a few musical parodies of Disney films in which the villain is painted very sympathetically. The below two are very well done with varying seriousness (and plausibility).

And this public interest in Disney villains has definitely been noticed by the studio. With its release of 'Maleficent' we saw what they can do when  given free reign to explore darker personalities and it resulted in 'Maleficent' absolutely storming the box office.

Were we always so interested in villains? Disney's legacy was built on infallible good vs abhorrent evil and Snow White premiered during the depression, which I guess makes sense. When it seems like the world is out to destroy itself it must be nice to sit in the cinema and put a face to that evil for an hour or so.

During World War II we saw the rise of the Superhero; Superman was indestructible and could do anything, anything, to get the job done. When boys were growing up watching fathers and brothers leave for an unknown enemy it must have been a comfort to read about an all-American (well, kind of.) man facing down against the odds and rising up against villainy of all forms.

It may have to do with the political leanings of the time. From a distance (England), I think that since America is a two party country that swings from Conservative to Liberal it's interesting to see how the public likes to see the villain portrayed. A Conservative audience paints things much more black and white than Liberals, who want to see the reasoning behind the traditional villain's motives.

Bane was tortured, for goodness' sake. Wouldn't you go a bit mental?
In England we saw the riots of the 1980's and sympathised. The general public (particularly in the North and the Midlands) saw the riots less as the actions of a mindless lower class and more of an outpouring of frustration when the system seems so firmly set against normal people.

The rise of Feminism has also seen us looking to the evil Queens of Disney stories past to ask 'Why are they evil?'. More recent villains seem to be much more sympathetic than they have been in the past. Mother Gothel in Tangled was seeking eternal youth but was also seen to treasure her adopted 'daughter' in her own way.

Whether she loved her or not is difficult to tell, but for someone who's lived so long, so selfishly, she sure did provide Rapunzel with the materials to keep her entertained and educated rather than locking her up with no means of escape.

Did Mother Gothel grow to honestly love Rapunzel?
If we look at superheroes again, we're seeing many more 'antiheroes' portrayed more successfully than their straight-edged compatriots. Iron Man has become one of the biggest single superheroes on modern times and I hadn't heard of him before Robert Downey Jr. became the biggest millionaire playboy to grace my screen.

His appeal lies not just in his heroism, but in his arrogance and selfishness. He's developing, and becoming a little more serious but the fact that he was an arsehole is precisely why he's so popular. Hell, we even made Thor an arrogant jock to suit our own tastes.

If we love our antiheroes that much, then it's a natural progression to want to see more of the villains. Loki, as played by Tom Hiddleston, has one of the most ardent fan-bases on the internet. He's greedy, selfish (that word again), and doesn't really care who he hurts or kills. So why do we love him so much?

We do. We do love you.
Maybe it's wish fulfillment. We're all, in general, obedient to the rules of society and the law and yet we see villains who take whatever bad thing that's happened to them and using it to go beserk on society. Freud said we are, as a species, inherently selfish, with no real compassion. We act compassionate in order to gain others' admiration, which benefits us selfishly.

Maybe he has a point. GTA is popular because we get to do whatever the hell we want, so maybe we do all have a secret desire to steal and kill everything.

On the other hand, maybe villains are a way for us to face the parts of us that we don't like. Carl Jung believed healthy confrontation of our 'shadow selves' would help us to evolve and better ourselves. Villains can be a good way to focus our anger at ourselves and become aware of our own faults.

Maybe we'd rather be the villain instead of letting those bad things in our past defeat us. No one likes to be the pitiable person who can't defend themselves, so we might want to not get sad, but get mad. Let's fight back against our bullies, and let's assert our authority over weaker people in order to find our own self-worth. If we hurt people along the way, then it's their fault for not fighting back right?


Or maybe we're fascinated by the incomprehensible. We can't fathom being that heartless, but this person has so much power and we can't look away. We explore that character, trying to find an explanation for what's happened, even where there might not be one.

Good transitioning to Evil
This might be why we love Walter White so much. We've seen that journey. We might not comprehend it, and we might not want to believe that this could happen to us, but we desperately want to understand it, and we're endlessly fascinated by it.

This is the option I'd like to believe, but it's different for everyone.

I Crashed my Car :(

When driving home from a friend's wedding (the next day- totally sober) I got into an accident on the M1 Motorway near Watford Junction. There was a car in my blind spot when trying to pull into the centre lane and I saw them too late. Luckily no one else was hurt.

Daisy was though. Oh poor, poor Daisy. I had some good times with that car.

RIP Daisy, you'll be missed!
The new car is pretty sweet though. She's a convertible Ford Streetka with a 1.6 engine, a newly fitted bluetooth stereo system (fitted by me!) and a roof that goes down!

Friday, 25 July 2014

The internet unites! #JewsandArabsRefuseToBeEnemies and PalesTinder

Social Media is a beautiful thing.

I would consider myself an optimist, and when I see things like organically created political hashtag campaigns it does instil some hope in humanity.

We need the media and the governments to stop telling us who to hate and let it be decided based upon individuals rather than a mob mentality fuelled by our peers. The only way I can see this working is through the neutrality of the internet.

With that in mind, here are a few of my favourite tweets and pictures from the #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies hashtag.

Outside of twitter, there is a great Tumblr page called 'PalesTinder', which shares screenshots of American guys and girls who are using Tinder while teaching in Ramallah, Palestine.

Some are funny, some are insulting, and some are just plain off topic. So... basically the same as Tinder in London...

The denial is strong in this one.

This guy totally doesn't care

I think this one is genuinely just concerned about civilians? I can't tell.

I'm quite gutted that there aren't any screenshots of girls in Israel getting approached by Palestinians. Ah well!

Here's to Peace in the Middle East.

Why 'Midnight' is the most terrifying Doctor Who episode ever, not 'Blink'

I've been re-watching Doctor Who (Netflix, I do love you) and it has to be said- the more recent episodes don't quite measure up to those early seasons. The villains are so often sympathetic (at least to an extent) and almost always chilling but at the same time a lot of fun.

Donna Noble is, by far, my favourite of the Doctor's companions. The show's creators so often just give the Doctor a pretty face who adores him and it's just getting annoying!

Who couldn't love this face?
People remember 'Blink' as the most iconic scary episode which I can understand; it gives you a visible villain, and it's all about one person becoming a hero. Then, of course, the monologue from the Doctor at the end along with the shots of statues in public spaces is pretty fucking creepy.

BUT. Midnight is scarier. Way scarier.

While Donna stays behind at a spa, The Doctor takes a tourist bus across a planet to the 'Sapphire Waterfall'.

The Doctor spends the journey encouraging conversation between the other passengers and getting to know them. There's the middle aged couple with a moody teenage son, the Professor studying the planet with his assistant and the solo female traveller going through a bad breakup.

This is not something you'd ever see on the Tube.
The bus has to take a detour through uncharted territory for some reason, and ends up stopping suddenly. A lot of stuff happens that I won't go into but it results in the passengers being stranded with something possessing the solo traveller.

Yes, it's Merlin. Let's stay on track shall we?
The host decides to throw the possessed woman out of the bus. Soon, everyone is prepared to do so, but then the creature starts imitating the Doctor alone. The passengers accuse the Doctor of being involved, driven irrational by fear and ignorance, the idea to throw out both the Doctor and the creature to their deaths surfaces.

This is the strength of 'Midnight'. There is no evil creature trying to destroy the universe- just a new life form and Humanity's fear of difference. The creature eventually traps the Doctor into speaking second, and pretends that the creature has passed into him and released the solo traveller.

This scene is awful to watch.
The Professor and Merlin's dad grab him from behind, and begin dragging him to the door. Merlin joins them tearfully, as his mother and father shout at him to help, but the Professor's assistant and the Host notice something's wrong.

It's only when the creature shouts 'Allons-y!' That the Host makes her desicison. She grabs the Solo traveller and pulls her to the door, smashing the door release and pulling it out with her.

Released, the Doctor falls to the floor and clutches it in desperate relief, chanting 'It's gone... it's gone...' breathlessly. Finally realising what it was that they were about to do, the other passengers sink to the floor in silence.

After the recovery vehicle arrives to pull them away, the doctor finally says. 'The Host. What was her name?' and no one can answer him.

My family comes from Germany, and I had relatives who were part of the Hitler Youth. Maybe because of this I find the idea of the 'herd mindset' truly terrifying. If people I love can be persuaded to believe in something brutal and inhumane then it's very difficult to view groups of people favourably.

I love people individually, but as a group they can be terrifying. Remember that Derren Brown show? 'The Gameshow'? Or even, in real life, the London riots?

This is how things like the Holocaust happen. This sort of thing is happening now- in Israel and Palestine. The weeping angels may have been set in our world, but the 'evil' in this episode is from our world, and still pervades our collective consciousness.

For me, Blink is a fairly straightforward 'spooky' episode. But if you're stuck in a room with a bunch of people under a perceived threat from an 'alien' group of people, then you should be careful what you say.

What if you say something vaguely sympathetic?

What if the people you're trapped with begin to think you're 'one of them'?

What might that group of people do to you?

It's awful.

And we never found out. Not what the Host's name was, not what the creature was or what it wanted. We only know that the monster wasn't anything from another world. It was us. It was always us.

We must not look at goblin men
we must not buy their fruits
who knows upon what soil they fed
their hungry thirsty roots

Friday, 27 June 2014

Together as One- Panem announcement

Have you seen the recent video announcement recently posted on youtube?

President Snow (Donald Sutherland) makes a stirring speech about how a country should stay together in the face of adversity, with the seemingly supportive Hunger Games victor Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson) at his side.

I really like the way that Lionsgate etc have done this first Teaser for the new movie. It has the right amount of pomp and grandeur that suits President Snow, and there's just enough of a hint of a spoiler to whet our appetites for the upcoming film.

Monday, 16 June 2014

My Reaction to Game of Thrones Season 4 Finale

I was going to turn this stream of consciousness into a real blog post, but I think this is as good as I can manage right now. Spoilers ahead, obvs.

We open up with a lovely gloomy bit of Jon Snow grieving beyond the wall, and there was a pretty sweet bit where Ygritte is discussed by Jon and NORTHERN BOSS MAN. It's almost reverent that they don't say her name until they toast to her.

They then toast each other's lost ones from the battle, which is a nice way to show that the free folk are not as barbaric as they're supposed to be, and the confession that they're seeking refuge rather than conquest.


I do love the moment where he refuses to knee though, particularly when Jon Snow stands up for him in that very calm way. He's not one to throw a tizz is our Jon Snow.

Don't cry, sweetie. I love you really

Then it's back to King's Landing and Cersei is watching over Ser Gregor's medical examination. Her constant dismissal of Grand Meister is wonderful to see. It's nice to see her still asserting some authority after she's been so frequently beaten down.

Then she goes to stand up to Daddy Lannister. He's a bit of a harsh man, and he does like to keep reminding his children of how much power he has over them, but her mother's instincts are pretty fierce. I have to admit, I do love her as a character.


He's so against believing it! And she knows she'd crushing him. The rains of Catsermere playing in the background is the perfect way to highlight that his ideal of 'family' is falling around him.

Then she swans off to fight Jamie/snog Jamie. She is ON FORM.

Annnnd they're shagging.

Hi Dany!

She is continuing her benevolent leader-ing. Cotton-wool-beard-man is pointing out the flaws in her current system though. People do grow to love their chains, which is a throw back to her own words when she freed her first city.

Oh, what's this? A baby?

He's getting a bit close. The dragons are getting out of control. I knew it. She can't pay for this one, unlike the sheep. What on earth will she do?

It's good to remind her that she's not all powerful though. The dragons love her but she can't control them well enough. not if they're killing children.

But they're so sad to see her go! That was really upsetting, when they were crying out for her as she locked them in. Especially since it was the red and black one that's the most boisterous.

This badass right here

From one really heart wrenching scene to a slightly less-so. The night's watch funeral is sad, but I'm more sad about the dragons.


Wait, is she making eyes at Jon? Is no one safe from her?

Seeing Jon talk to Tormund, there's a valid point about how Snow sees himself. He's saying he doesn't have a king? That's a bit rebellious! It'll be interesting to see how this pans out.

Oh, Ygritte I loved you so much. and she looks weirdly regal in death.

Back to Bran. Jojen's getting pretty weak now, but we've found the red and white tree! I've forgotten why we want to find it but there's triumphant music and Jojen's face is so happy. I remember when this guy was in the BBC show, Feather Boy. I cried my little heart out at that. (This was before he was in Love, Actually)

He's actually not changed very much at all, facially....

How many Direwolves are alive now? Two?


Poor Hodor doesn't know what to do! He's so scared. Whenever Hodor gets hurt I get so sad. He's like a child.

This is all very Jason and the Argonaughts isn't it?


WTF. Where's this fire coming from?

This jumped up little shit of a girl is telling them to leave Jojen. I don't think I'm gonna like her.

Now he's dead. Bitch.

Smashy smashy skeletons.

The Children? Is this like Westeros' version of the lost boys? Little immortal kids that just have fun all day every day?

Nope. They're dark and mysterious and I'm not sure that I like their underground house.

The three eyed raven man is a bit spooky. Maybe he's Fagin to The Children's... um, gang.

YES, BRIENNE! Poor Poderick is a bit silly isn't he? I love all the road-trip buddy-movie stories going on in Westeros.

Well... this is awkward.

ARYAAAAAAAAAAA! Is this where Brienne finds out that she's the daughter of Caitlin? Brienne is like, the best role model for Arya. I love their chat.

That moment! When they realise who the Hound is! and who Arya is!!! Yes!!!

Brienne kills this scene.

If these two fight, I want Brienne to fucking win. I want Brienne to take Arya under her wing, even though I love the Hound and Arya's road trip, buddy movie type thing.


I have a horrible feeling the Hound will die and Arya will run away anyway. The kid's too slippery for her own good. NOTE: I was right!!!!!!!!

Brienne has to be the one to reunite Sansa and Arya. She just has to be.

Oh my god, they're fighting dirty. DON'T YOU DARE KILL BRIENNE

Right in the Vagina.

Oh, thank God, Brienne lives.

And now she's lost Arya. For fucks sake.

Arya and the Hound's final moments. There's a lot to like in this scene. Not many people are allowed last words in GoT, but I'm glad Sandor Clegane gets them. Even as he's goading Arya, he's still obviously one of the most noble characters in Westeros.

Arya's stone cold though. I love how brutal she's become as much as I hate it.

YES, JAMIE! Rescue your fucking brother! Considering how terrible the Lannisters are I end up liking them a lot more than some of the technically better people on this show. This goodbye between the two brothers is simply wonderful.

Ooh, can Tyrion go to join his lady love across the sea now?

Wait, what's going to go wrong?

Tyrion? What are you doing?


This is too cruel. How is this allowed to happen? Tyrion is making my heart break. How the fuck did Shae end up in his father's bed? Calling his father the same nickname she had for Tyrion? What the fuck?

Now, if he doesn't kill Tywin I will be incredibly disappointed.

Come on, man.

He's on the fucking toilet. This is a fitting way for him to die. Butt naked on the lavatory. Tywin is just such an arsehole all the way through this conversation.


He did tell you, Tywin. He did warn you not to say that word again.


Poor Tyrion. I have so much love for Varys right now, though.

Now for the sound of water to try to calm us down as Arya rides off on her pony to.... where? a coastal village?

They're off to Braavos? Is Arya going with them? Is that where Tyrion is going? Are we going to see the most badass team-up in television history? Can they please band together with Daenerys?

All Men Must Die.

All Men Must Serve.

THIS MUSIC THOUGH. I'm tingling!