So now we know who the next Doctor will be. I've never heard of him, and he's pretty young (or, indeed, pretty and young) but he's got something. That interview showed a passionate and excited actor with a light in his eyes and great expressive hands. The kid might be all right, as they say, though to be honest the casting is less weird to me than the fact that I will now be sitting around waiting for 12 months or more before I find out if the guy is any good. Unless they do something unpredictable and interesting like give him more than ten seconds at the end of Tennant's last episode.

Now I can get on with other things, though. Grand.
Okay, so now if you're in Australia you've no excuse not to have seen all of series three of new Doctor Who. Prompted by [ profile] hnpcc, I thought I'd post my thoughts. I'll still use a cut for the rest of the world, just in case. ) Bring on Christmas and next year. I'm ready.
I didn't get a chance to write about it on here, what with moving in the intervening five days between being told and the event, but yesterday was the last Impro Sundae for The Crew. I've been with them over a year now, and I've always been immensely proud to be part of a team that have produced a weekly impro comedy show consistently for more than six years...and now it's over, with hardly any notice from management and so no time to organise a proper send off. It's very sad...but while it may be the end of Impro Sundae, we will return with a regular show somewhere, sometime.

But in happier news, tonight I will watch, with the usual suspects, the last two episodes of series three of Doctor Who. I am excited. I mean, Utopia's main plot was nothing special, but that last half...? Derek Jacobi as...well, as you-know-who, assuming you do? Awesome. And of course I won't do more than vaguely allude to what happened after, but hot damn.

I've had The Sound of Drums in my hot little hands for a week - and not watched it. I've managed not to spoil myself for it either. Or the last episode, about which I know bugger all except that it's 51 minutes long. It's...well, how much television can cause this much excitement? In my case, almost none. Doctor Who's effect is magical. I mean, come on - anything that can make me take leave of my reason and cause me to watch Torchwood must be putting the 'fluence on me, surely?
Man, sometimes, I just get obsessed with getting something done. Sometimes this is appropriate. But even so, I did not plan to stay up until 5am two nights ago. I'm still recovering. Even my ability to function on little sleep can't handle three hours.

But still, I stayed up last night to watch some DVDs with some friends, something I hadn't done for quite a long time. We watched one of Mick's favourite films, My Favorite Year, starring Peter O'Toole (magnificent) and Cousin Larry from Perfect Strangers (I could give you his name, but really, would you recognise it?). It was a great film, and I found my anglophile prejudices showing when I found myself surprised that this American comedy, produced in the early 80s, managed to pull out some moments of quite sophisticated comedy amongst the otherwise fairly broad (but nonetheless excellent timed and thoroughly enjoyable) schtick.

I was planning to have the guys watch Planet Nerd with me, but alas, the only television available had only digital reception, so Channel 31 was beyond our reach. I was rather excited to discover that we have a Wikipedia entry, though considering it was created by the programme's creator, there's a fair chance it'll be deleted under Wikipedia's rules against self-promotion. That didn't stop me from correcting a link on the page, or adding us to the template for Channel 31 shows, of course...

Don't forget, too, that if you're an impro fan, Theatregames LIVE! starts on 31 tonight, featuring The Crew's very own Janelle Koenig. I'll be appearing later in the season, around week seven.

And I just want to say, I'm not terribly sad that The Sideshow is being given a rest by the ABC so they can play series three of Doctor Who. Especially when the new series of Doctor Who has kicked seven kinds alien arse, one horrible two-part story excepted. The last couple of episodes - another two parter, adapted from one of the original novels written during the time the show was off-air - were particularly excellent television.

Now, Channel 10, see how I talked about that without giving anything away? Unlike your ridiculously over the top promotional campaign for a certain Torchwood programme? It'll be interesting to see how it rates, and it's also interesting to note that it's playing on 10 around the same time (though not directly opposite) as the new Doctor Who. Coincidence? Or deliberate, smart move? You be the judge.
This post is not terribly deep, but it should bring y'all up to speed:
  • The Crew's sixth birthday will be celebrated this Sunday with an Impro Rumble! Come and cheer me on. Please? 5:30pm, at the Comic's Lounge. The usual drill except it will be an improvised battle royale and yours truly is in the running. If you only come to impro once this year, make it this weekend.

  • After two months of screwing things up and occasionally blaming me for said cock-up, I have finally been paid by one of my employers for work I did back in March. Only they've double-paid me, and now I have to go through the hassle of figuring out how to give the money they accidentally gave me back. Perhaps I should have said nothing and seen if they worked it out.

  • Probably moving very soon - haven't had any luck finding people to move in with me here once Darren and Emma leave. Got a few more tricks to try this week, but after that I'm out of time and will need to start looking.

  • Several possibilities for more science-comedy work have come up; nothing concrete, but all interesting.

  • Make sure you get good Channel 31 reception (and if you haven't tried for a while, tune in again now) - I'll be on two shows there in June/July, Planet Nerd and Theatre Games LIVE!

  • I have so far managed to avoid buying a PlayStation 2; I don't really have the time to play, as much as I would like to. But now I find out that Guitar Hero III is coming, not only with a Gibson Les Paul style controller, but with songs including Sabotage, Knights of Cydonia, School's Cult of Personality and...The Metal. By Tenacious D. It will be harder, but I shall continue to resist.

  • I like series three of Doctor Who a lot. Except for the Dalek two-parter (I like to pretend it didn't happen), every episode has at least been fun, and several have been great. Fan opinion tends to disagree, of course, though this is notable because I thought the last series was a lot worse. And now I'm looking forward to the next two-parter, Paul Cornell's Human Nature/The Family of Blood, which is based on a novel he wrote. Could be a corker. I'm excited.
New UK science minister Malcolm Wicks reckons that "Doctor Who can help save science". So far I'm with him, obviously. There's a whole section of my latest show devoted to saying more or less just that. But the minister loses me with the very first sentence of the article: "Schools should use episodes from Doctor Who to teach children about science rather than technical and "boring" textbooks."

Well, they'd have to put some actual science in it first. The new series has even less than the old; it's wonderful and magical and still espouses the benefits of brain power over just blowing things up (though if I'm honest I have to say a lot of the time the Doctor (particularly Eccleston) uses said brain power to blow things up), but it's a fantasy with science fiction trappings. There's no science involved.

Unless, of course, he knows more about the third series than we do...
Okay people, for those who are waiting to see more new Doctor Who, the unofficial start date for series two (presumably including The Christmas Invasion, the special which introduced David Tennant) is July 8th, with episodes on Saturdays at 7:30pm. This is from an email sent in response to a fan query and forwarded to a news site by a fanclub, so hopefully it's true but maybe not.
One of my favourite bits of the BBC's Doctor Who web site is Fear Factor, where four kids, aged 5, 7 9 and 13, get to watch the next episode before broadcast with their Mum and Dad and give a score out of five for how scary it is. I've noted that the recent Cybermen episodes scored scarier with the older kids than the younger, while the reverse was true of last week's episode, The Idiot's Lantern.

This week is the first of two parts, an episode titled The Impossible Planet. Five year old Amy wasn't too fussed, giving it a three, while only-just-a-teenager Adam gave it the full five. What has me really excited isn't the warning given on the site this week - "Children are warned that some adults have found this episode especially frightening. Get ready to hold your parents' hands if they get too scared..." - but the fact that the middle kids, Harry and Samuel, somehow got their hands on scorecards reading six...

Doctor Who is always best when it's scary. So I'm thrilled.

PS: Astute readers will have noted that I am procrastinating a lot at work today; I've been feeling a bit off today.
The Children in Need mini-episode of Doctor Who is awesome fun. Go check it out; it's the best 7 minutes you'll spend watching anything in a long time.

Tennant is going to rock our socks off.
The special Children in Need Doctor Who mini-episode will be available online from the night of it's broadcast (Friday November 19, 9:30pm UK time, so about 8:30am on Saturday morning for we on AEDT). There's a teaser for the whole Children in Need special there at the moment, including a rather excellent clip of Rose and the Tenth Doctor; he's kind of manic, kind of childish. I like him already.
If you know nothing at all about the new series of Doctor Who - and I mean not even what the BBC have been saying in all their press releases, even I'm trying to avoid the stuff which has been leaked from behind the scenes - then you may wish to look away. (This is what we used to call in the old days a "spoiler warning".)

There's been a lot of nay-saying about the new look Cybermen, finally revealed on the BBC web site today. In fact there have been some very rude things said - that it (Cybermen are, after conversion, technically without gender, despite the masculine posturing and voices) looks like Metal Mickey (bollocks!), that it's Tweaky from Buck Rogers' big brother (they're both silver metal humanoids is about as far as it goes), and so on.

Well I say yah sucks boo to the lot of them; the new Cyberman is awesome. It looks like it could take on the Terminator and win, and the subtle bulk of the costume really suggests the strength they've always had (remember the gruesome scene in Attack where they torture Lytton just by squeezing his arms, crushing them until they bleed?) it could certainly crush you in one hand if it wanted to ("That would be illogical; it would damage the specimen and prevent the conversion process.") And they've got it just right, I reckon, as with the Dalek update (though more different obviously) - recognising the soundness of the original design and updating it, giving an overall more menacing and powerful effect.

Now I'm itching to see them in action; truth be told, I probably like Cybermen better than Daleks, so I'm super excited even if other rumours about their two-part episode are a little disappointing. (Don't worry, I'm not going to mention them here.) March/April just can't come soon enough; hopefully the ABC will jump on board right away this year!

PS - I originally screwed up this post by accidentally using the non-existent tag <awesome> and frankly, I think it's a crime that it doesn't exist.
Doctor Who came back. No-one would have believed it would happen three years ago, but it did happen. Now, something else is happening: Torchwood, the first Doctor Who spin-off*, which will be an adult sci-fi drama, written and produced by Russell T Davies, about a crack team of investigators and their exploits in modern-day Cardiff. Oh yeah, and the team will be led by ex-companion and all-round awesome future guy Captain Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman. (Source: "BBC to screen 'Dr Who for adults' as new spin-off show", The Independant Online; thanks to [ profile] jblum for the tip-off.)

Torchwood is, if you missed it, an anagram of "Doctor Who", and we've already heard that this is a word which will crop up in the new series. We've also already heard that the BBC have registered a Torchwood domain name, so all indications are that this is very real. But - and this is the exciting Doctor Who bit - we've also been told that there will be some kind of through line or "arc plot" for the second series, in the way that we had Bad Wolf in series one, and I'm guessing Torchwood isn't it - meaning it's a whole new mystery just waiting to be discovered. Awesome.

Now, the only real worry is that Davies will do a Joss and, when working on two shows at once, allow the quality of both to suffer a bit. Then again, most of his his scripts were the weaker ones on the first series (with a couple of exceptions), so perhaps we'll get lucky and he'll do less writing for Doctor Who, allowing him to get back to what he's really good at - writing complex, sexy, funny character drama for adults. (It's the family friendly adventure pacing and tone he has some trouble with on Who.) Like Queer As Folk, only with aliens and explosions and stuff. (I really really gotta watch the original Queer As Folk; the ten minutes I've seen plus the billion rave reviews mean I know what I'm missing.)

You can keep your US television schedule, I need it not. Doctor Who, Torchwood, Eleventh Hour, Casanova, The Green Ward... I need a satellite feed from the UK so I can get BBC3, damn it. Now, I'm going to go find myself a job for the next four months.

*All right, the first Doctor Who television spin-off, if you don't count K-9 And Company, which I don't, largely for the theme song. Sorry Liz.
Thanks to all the people who directed me to this image of David Tennant in costume as the Tenth Doctor. I This is a man whose style I want to emulate, whose look is, essentially, an extension of how I would like to dress and have been working toward. And whoever thought I'd say that of the Doctor? If you want to find me, I'll be scouring the second hand shops for a brown pinstripe suit and a long, suede coat. I don't know that I'd do it with sneakers, though; as one person has pointed out, it makes him look a bit like Jarvis Cocker.

By the by, the Einstein thing? Went great. I've already been invited to participate in a school debate as Einstein, though admittedly the teacher is the partner of one of the Physics Forum's organisers, and I live opposite said school - though I'll have moved by the time the debate rolls around.
barrington: (REG Doctor)
Dalek underpants with the text "Aim for the eyepiece."

That was my idea. I realised tonight I haven't shared it with enough people. If you don't get it, move on. If you hate me, I understand, but you're a whinging fanboy/girl. If you laugh... You're one of us.
barrington: (REG Doctor)
I still love you, T-Rex. Outer space is only 100km up.

I saw the end of the current series of Doctor Who, so I won't bore you with it any more, at least not until Christmas. But really, give it a shot. This week's episode (in Australia) is Dalek, and it's a cracker. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll believe a Dalek can exterminate. No really, check it out. I can't wait for The Christmas Invasion.

I saw Batman Begins, it was really good, but there's a total spoiler right here behind this cut tag ). Gary Oldman is still my all-time favourite though (sorry Christians Bale and McCrea).

I still don't have a proper job, but at least I have work this week with my old teaching gig at Melbourne uni (the one that pays fantastically well, but which provides maybe a maximum of 100 hours work a year). That starts this afternoon. And tomorrow night it's time for another party, which should be all awesome and stuff.

Catch you all on the flip side. Whatever that means.
I've not made a Doctor Who post for a while, but as UK viewers (and those of us who found ways to watch alongside them) prepare for the tumultuous end of the first new series (no spoilers here, promise), the good news is coming in thick and fast. Most astoundingly, the BBC have now commissioned a third series (along with a second Christmas special episode), and earlier in the week we found out that Billie Piper is staying for the entire second series. We also found out that a few other characters will return next year, though on the down side they include Rose's Mum.

But most exciting of all is the line-up of directors for the second series, announced yesterday: James Hawes (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances), Euros Lyn (The End of the World, The Unquiet Dead) and none other than veteran Graeme Harper (The Caves of Androzani, Revelation of the Daleks). Sadly no Joe Aherne (Dalek, Boom Town and Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways), but then we don't have to sit through anything else directed by Keith Boak (Rose, Aliens of London/World War Three) either.

When the new series was announced, I thought there'd never been a more exciting time to be into Doctor Who. But I think I may have been wrong.
barrington: (REG Doctor)
I use Awesome as a noun in title, obviously. But here's the thing: some guys kidnapped a Dalek from a tourist attraction, and then sent in a ransom note:

Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor) might negotiate with them.
barrington: (REG Doctor)
Sometimes, these things are spot on.

8thdoctorYou are the eighth Doctor! Friendly and warm, you are the most human of all the Doctors. Your sense of style is a bit old-fashioned. You have a bit of trouble figuring out exactly who you are at first, but no worries. Eventually you'll find your way.

Which Doctor (from Doctor Who) Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
I'm a thief. I steal the BBC's intellectual material by downloading it every week. This is a fairly inoffensive crime to most people, of course, but let's not kid ourselves and think this should be okay by the law just because I do it in a way I find ethically sound (i.e. I plan to spend money and buy the DVDs when they come out, rather than just download and watch it). But all bad things come to an end: the torrent tracker site I used to find the new episode each Sunday, btefnet, is one of six sites sued on May 12 by the MPAA. And it's down, there's a placeholder "domain parked" site where it was. I haven't been able to find a replacement, though it's likely one will spring up somewhere.

So, no new Doctor Who for me now until the ABC catches up to where we were up to, which by my calculations will be July 9th. Ah well, we've had a good run.

As usual, though, the MPAA doesn't seem to want to go about this the carrot way. As people better versed in cultural theory have no doubt said before m, the nature of entertainment delivery, of how it's viewed, is changing. Information has been freely available on the Internet for such a long time that to take it away is seen as an outrage by some, and the MPAA is not winning any fans. There are people out there - many of them, apparently - who see nothig wrong with downloading films or music, let alone television episodes, for free. (Television is usually held apart in such arguments as it is broadcast free-to-air, so no-one's depriving anyone of revenue. Of course, this is bollocks; if you don't watch the program when it airs, then the ratings are lower than they "should" be, and the advertising for that program becomes less valuable. And of course there's now DVD sales to think about, and the majority of people who regularly download this stuff do it as an alternative to buying DVDs, rather than as a shortcut to seeing the program before DVDs are available.)

But at the end of the day, with press releases like this one, the MPAA is interested in making it clear no-one should stand against them, which will only make it a challenge to serious file sharing networks to try again. As long as they continue to hold out on giving a cheap, legal paid download service (as the BBC has been reported to be working on in the past), they won't win any fans by such legal action, despite the fact that they are in the right to take it. And they are; I don't deny them that. They just need to follow up with something, because otherwise they'll never change the attitude of the people who steal content - who no doubt feel a bit like Robin Hood or at the least like they're sticking it to the man.
barrington: (REG Doctor)
Kate Orman was kind enough to post a link to this article in the Telegraph by former Doctor Who script editor Christopher H Bidmead. In a nutshell, he thinks the new Doctor Who is too silly and that it has lost some of what made it unique. If you're at all interested, what I have to say in response is behind the cut below, for spoiler and length reasons. Sorry to those of you who aren't interested...there's a non-Doctor Who post that's been building up, which will hopefully make your time here worth your while.
Do you want to know more...? )

February 2012

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