Sunday, 28 May 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 7 (The Pyramid At The End Of The World)

(Hey it's a Doctor Who thing and there's spoilers for it.)

If nothing else, now I'm really excited for next week.

Google didn't have any better pictures so this will
have to do.
Okay, we really are sort of playing about in that fun state of quantum flux between weeks. This exact reaction to The Pyramid At The End Of The World is only possible within the next six days; once the next episode drops and we have a realization of the consequences of this one's ending, my perceptions are going to change massively. Funny enough, the last time this happened was another joint by Peter Harness from 16 months ago; the Zygon Inv__ two-parter. There are one or two parallels to be drawn here between those episodes and Pyramid, but we'll have to save that. What we have in the meantime is a neat setup playing off of the previous setup of Extremis. I like this episode fine, which is a bit of an inversion (HEH) of how I felt about the first half of Peter Harness's previous job. Really, the vibe I get here is of Under The Lake; an interesting premise with an ending that can lead to some really clever bits if they follow up their own themes in the ways I'm expecting and hoping for. That should terrify me considering how much of a fucking botch job I thought Before The Flood was, but I have a little more faith this time. Whether or not it will be unwarranted... well, those of you reading this on the day it's written are just going to have to wait along with me. Anyone from the future coming in already knows if The Lie Of The Land fucked up or not, but hey. Fingers crossed, right? Good. Let's talk about this show a little bit before we get to the specifics of what crackles about it.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impression: Episode 6 (Extremis)

(Doctor Who impressions! Spoilers! Yep!)


The Doctor as President? This simulation is already better
than reality.
So here we are, back again with a High Concept Steven Moffat Episode that also furthers along the arc of the series, so to speak. It's absolutely a very good One Of Those, despite my usual gripes about a Steven Moffat arc that I've had already. More to the point... I should be careful what I fucking wish for. On my pal Rainiac's Doctor Who podcast thing, I have expressed a desire for more weird shit to happen. I probably said that after we did Knock Knock and I was let down by how stock it was. Well, THE FINGER SURE DID FUCKIN CURL ON THAT MONKEY'S PAW DIDN'T IT? Moffat threw a bunch of shit into a blender and made another Doctor Who smoothie. This isn't just "Doctor Who Does X", this is "Doctor Who Does A WHOLE BUNCH OF BULLSHIT AT ONCE". Lovecraftian undertones of an understanding of the universe beyond our human comprehension, mixed with equal parts Star Trek, Hitchhiker's Guide, The Dark Tower, The Mind Robber, The Happening, and Undertale. Garnish with Moffat tropes and you have your Doctor Who smoothie for this week. Fuck it, get my bendy straw. We're going in full throttle with this one.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 5 (Oxygen)

(Doctor Who post. Spoilers.)

Holy mother of fuck.

You've got red on you.
What's that? We did the "one sentence synopsis" gag last week? Shit. Okay I guess we do have to talk more about that episode of Doctor Who, then. Nah, I'm just heckin' with ya, I was going to elaborate on it any way. You know my time wasting/stalling shenanigans by now, but unfortunately they have run out. Run out right about now. At the end of this sentence. Period. That was also a smart joke but what we have here is a very smart episode of Doctor Who! Oxygen, by Jamie Mathieson, who is perhaps Doctor Who's most consistent writer in the Capaldi era. His previous three episodes were all highlights of their respective series. Mummy On The Orient Express was a solid episode with a lot of cool tricks and puzzle solving. Flatline brought Clara Oswald full-on into her role as a mirror of the Doctor. The Girl Who Died was an oasis of high-quality Doctor Who after wading through an underwater base of shit. That's where we are yet again. Knock Knock was no Before The Flood, but it was a letdown from a really good run of three in a row. Oxygen not only climbs back up to those peaks, but it may even surpass them. I haven't decided if it's beaten out Thin Ice as the best S10 episode so far, but we'll see how I feel about that once I get all of the words out on the page.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

A Psychic History: A Magically-Imbued Walking Tour In Gander, Newfoundland

What you are about to experience is a magic spell. All of my word projects are, in a way. I imbue my thoughts and they travel along ley lines, from the neurons of my brain to the impulses which make my fingers hit keys on a keyboard. Those make electrical connections which send them onto the screen, and when I am done I use a cable which connects me to information on the rest of the world to place the words onto an Internet website and create a link... a link which you clicked, with your finger impulses led by the neurons in your brain. We're linked now, you and I. I call it the psychic link. Here, then, is the form that the magic takes. I borrow my phrasings from Pathfinder, the tabletop roleplaying game. This is not arcane magic, nor is it divine magic. It is psychic magic, and it is an art I have dabbled in before. I have created travel vlogs of my trips to Grand Bank, Newfoundland. In them I rant in a basement and occasionally go outside to show off interesting things. In this old Nintendo Project post, I wedded an average walk in my hometown area with the endless adventure that the two Legend Of Zelda games on the NES offered. This has had many names. Psychogeography. Psychochronography. I am opting to call what I do "psychic history". The spell has rules, as all spells should. I physically visit a place, inhabiting its streets and walking down them and experiencing them as is typical of any average day. I take photos (or video, in Grand Bank's case) of this place that I visit. I then share them, and write words about the experience of being in that place and what the buildings and sights mean to me personally. By sharing my own personal memories and imprints of what I saw, I give them extra power and imbue them with their own special psychic history... which then gets passed on to you. You are the recipients of the spell, and by taking in the words you gain part of the power of their memory. Perhaps even becoming more enlightened as a result!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Doctor Who Series 10 First Impressions: Episode 4 (Knock Knock)

(Doctor Who review. New episode. Spoilers. You get it.)


"And THIS is a selfie with me, David Bowie, and a Krarg."
Oh, alright, you get more than that. This is, simply put, "the spooky one". As of now, that is; Series 10 could pull another "the spooky one" out of its hat in the next 8 weeks. Any savvy viewer of Doctor Who knows how the spooky one works by now. There's a spooky house and spooky things happen in it and people get killed by the spooky thing while the Doctor tries to sort it out. There are a lot of good spooky moments and good character moments that we'll get to as I write more words, but beyond that this episode is wildly mediocre. It isn't terrible, just passable. That's unfortunate considering how the previous three episodes all had some really interesting and cool shit happening in them. The Pilot had Bill intro stuff and the rules of Puddle!Heather, Smile spends the majority of its time as a two-hander and has some stuff about robots, and Thin Ice has class issues and a racist getting the shit kicked out of him, getting denied something for the first time in his privileged life, and dying a commoner's death. (I really liked Thin Ice, can you tell?) What does Knock Knock have? A stock premise with some creepy imagery and a very Doctor Who ending. That's about it, but the foundation of this haunted house isn't all that rock solid. Hell, you can hear it creaking. Let's dig into it.