Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Doctor, The Widow and The Review

Blog Music? The Majestic Tale!

"That man is quite ridiculous. You must stay away from him."

I always watch the episode I'm reviewing at least twice when doing these reviews. Just so that I can't complain about a plot detail that was actually explained and I had just glossed over it the first time. It also lets me just enjoy the episode at first, then go back so I have some notes to work from. I haven't watched The Doctor The Widow and The Wardrobe since Christmas Day, apart from to gather some screenshots for this... 'review'. I had no desire to sit through it again.

The episode starts off decent enough. The Doctor is falling out of an exploding spaceship. It's slightly disappointing to see this mini-adventure left so unexplained, but it's something that's not too significant. After falling to Earth whilst having a chat with the stratosphere, The Doctor sortof meets Madge Arwell, the pseudo-companion of the story. It's an interesting meeting, and one which I think captures the essence of Doctor Who through it's ridiculousness, and the characters bemused reactions.

We then get a window into the lives of Madge and her family, including how she met her husband, Reg... The reason they get married is quintessentially British, even if there are a few unfortunate implications. "Follow your crush around for long enough and they'll marry you." Yes! That's a lesson for the kids! While it's around 10 minutes of the episode, the window into the life of the Arwells all felt engaging and necessary for a character driven story... Even if results were less than the sum of the parts.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

I'm in love with Murray Gold

This post is already a link overload, but for the most part, this is quite appropriate...

The Doctor Who Series 6 soundtrack was released on Monday, and given the high quality of the soundtrack this year, I was very enthusiastic about buying it as soon as possible. I've never done a review of a soundtrack before, or any CD for that matter, so please bear with me a little if I go a little too deep or focus on the wrong areas.

There are some real gems this year. "Tell Me Who You Are" and "Melody Pond" (though they'll always be A Melody of River to me) are almost haunting, and have had me humming away for the past 6 months since they were first heard in A Good Man Goes to War, and it's great to finally hear them without people talking over it... Selfish is what it is...

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

IGNorance I - Kirby: Return To Dream Land

Yes, this is numbered. I expect the stupidity of IGN to become a recurring feature on this blog.
I'm keeping the music per blog thing. I like it. This one's more appropriate: Lava Landing...

I saw this review when it was first uploaded to YouTube a little over a month ago, and I was disgusted at some of the ridiculous comments and points made by Richard George in his review of Kirby: Return To Dream Land. However, given that I hadn't actually played the game, I reserved my judgement. But now I have...

I'm going to start with the score the game received. It got a respectable, but not great, 7.5. Shock! HORROR! Well, no. I'm actually in agreement of the score they gave. Return to Dream Land is not the most amazing game  ever created, though I would consider an 8... Anyway, it's their reasoning behind it that annoys me.

Ah! This is the one fans have been waiting
for. What? It's Kirby, not Mario? I'm sure
It'll be f***ing awful.
One of the points offered by the reviewer is that the games aren't as innovative as more recent entries in the series such as Epic Yarn and Mass Attack, because apparently taking a series back to its roots is only acceptable if the series in question is Mario. Savage hypocrisy aside, I'm struggling to see how this is in any way a valid point. The reviewer himself remarks that the Kirby series has had a downpour of artistic, unique titles in recent years, yet they don't see this as a reason to produce a more traditional platformer that specifically expand on and updates the gameplay that made the series great in the first place. No, a game that would appeal to people who grew up with Kirby, and new players with limited (if any) experience with the old console games is obviously a ridiculous concept, doomed from the start.

Friday, 2 December 2011

That's Gay

Now some of you might not have been paying attention, but if you haven't noticed, I'm gay. While I don't personally take a great deal of offence to people using the word "gay" to describe anything negative, I can understand why many people do. Now I've been meaning to make a post about this for quite some time now, specifically from around the time an English teacher in my school got somebody to apologize for calling someone gay. They chased this person for this. It's taken me quite a while to discern exactly what is not right about this beyond "but that's wrong!"

I don't really find the word gay offensive on a personal level. It doesn't offend me in the same way insults targeted at my skin colour don't really affect me that much. This doesn't make it ok. So many times have I seen people say "I don't mean anything by it, some of my friends are gay and they don't mind." This only implies that these people don't give a crap about what other people really think about them. It certainly shows that they don't care about all the gay people who DO take offence, and that just makes you seem like a borderline homophobe, as well as enthusiastically stupid. To some people, being gay is integral to their entire identity, and using gay to mean bad is an insult is much the same as using someone's religion, race or gender as an insult, and rightfully so.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The Late Amelia Pond

A while ago, I put together a Doctor Who story called The Late Amelia Pond. To put it modestly, it was the best idea I've ever had. However, it wasn't until last night that I finally found a way to conclude the plot, because it was pretty damn complicated, involved lots of paradoxes and dealt with damaging time beyond repair. I found that a suitable resolution was sitting right in front of me the entire time, and it would tie perfectly into my story arc!

It all starts on Zaldaea, a rocky, beach-like planet inhabited by crustacean-like aliens. The Doctor and Rory are caught stealing a jade-coloured Obelisk, and threaten away javellin wielding aliens with the 'deadly' sonic screwdriver. Amy dashes in with a bucket filled with dangerous chemicals (really just coloured water), and the trio escape to the TARDIS, where The Doctor triangulates the signal coming from the time harp, a device with some kind of relationship to the Obelisk, to Leonardo Da Vinci's studio.

The TARDIS lands, and Amy is instructed to bring the obelisk, but the doors slam shut before she can leave, and the TARDIS dematerialises, heading who knows where. Anger ensues from Rory, and The Doctor enters guilt/depression mode.

A Volcano, for those who don't know.
From here on out, Amy has brief scenes interspersed with the Renaissance Italy, showing the TARDIS landing briefly in various locales. Apart from a scene in the Paleoarchean Era, where the TARDIS lands in the middle of an erupting volcano, and somehow plays a small role in the oxygen catastrophe, all of the landings are at various important points in the TARDIS's timeline, such as when it's heart was opened by rose in 200,100. Amy's vain attempts to learn more about the Obelisk in the drawing room would be a good point for some comedy material.

Meanwhile, The Doctor explains to Da Vinci the purpose of the Obelisk. The Time Harp has an unfortunate tendency to open rifts to the raw time vortex. The Obelisk is believed to help stabilize it. As Rory storms through the town, furious with The Doctor, he notices wisps of dark indigo smoke flowing from a deserted backstreet. Clouds spiral out of a dark portal, presumably leading to the Time Vortex. Rory leaps to the floor to avoid the stream of clouds. As he starts to get back up, a massive viper-like creature shoots out and loops towards the skies.

Elsewhere, The Doctor has begun to follow the signal he used to track the Time Harp back to The TARDIS, and starts to keep a record. Rory bursts in, telling The Doctor what he saw. The Doctor worries that the Time Harp is already working it's magic, before telling Rory that he's got a lock on Amy, and that the TARDIS is landing at significant points in its own timeline. With Leo Da Vinci's help, they dangerously alter time in order to send Amy messages on how to pilot the TARDIS, as they can now predict where it will land.
This is sorta what I had in mind. Only more purple.
Less modern... a bit less Perfect Chaos...  Nothing like this.

Amy eventually gets the messages, and shakily manages to land back in Italy. She and Rory embrace, lovely stuff. The Doctor moans about having to do everything himself before grabbing the Obelisk and dragging it to the Time Harp.

The Jade Obelisk opens up to reveal a device resembling a music box. The time harp and obelisk play in unison, the surprisingly beautiful music turning the clear blue skies into a dark night filled with purple clouds and crackling lightning. The Chrono Viper slowly descends from the skies, flapping newly grown, draconic looking wings. It screeches and shoots out wisps of dark blue energy from its head. The wisps explode on contact with the ground, leaving only blank white voids behind. Leonardo's studio is engulfed, as well as Leonardo himself. 

Amy realises that the TARDIS was trying to prevent this from happening by taking the pillar as far away from the time harp as possible by doubling back on its own timeline, and asks The Doctor for confirmation on this - though when she see's him repeatedly knocking his head on the TARDIS as he strokes it, she no longer needs to. From the TARDIS's perspective, the furthest place from Leo Da Vinci's studio can be found by going back on its own timeline.

The Chrono Viper appears to set its sights on the TARDIS.

Powerless to stop the hulking beast before them, everyone flees, narrowly escaping the vipers wrath. Cue next story, Vikings of Egypt, where everyone discovers the full extent of the Chrono Vipers damage, and the finale where the mastermind behind the whole scheme is revealed...

Considering I came up with a lot of this last night in the shower, I'd say it's not too shabby. Moffat? You reading this?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Until we meet again, Miss Smith.

Well, here goes. I've watched all episodes I give a damn about, and I have compile a list of the top 5 best and worst stories of Sarah Jane Adventures. Expect tears, laughs and "what the hell moments"... not that such reactions are foreign to my posts... Depending on the reactions through e-mail and comments I get from you guys, I may or may not compile a second list of best moments, but i digress.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith

Elisabeth Sladen passed away this April from Cancer, leaving half of Series 5 of The Sarah Jane Adventures unfinished. The last ever episode, The Man Who Never Was, aired last Monday. As unplanned as it was, it concluded the series and the character in the most perfect way imaginable, having Sarah Jane and the gang save a small group of aliens from exploitation from the iron grip of James Dreyfus. Watch as I look back on the most recent season, and look even further back at some of the series best moments...

Series 5 kicked off with Sky. It was saddening to see a new major character being introduced, knowing the series was coming to a close, but it was something I threw to the back of my mind. As it was the last series, I tried to appreciate this story as much as I could... but I didn't like it. I liked Sky, I liked the idea of a war shifting it's way to earth; but everything about this story seemed like a contrived coincidence. From Miss Myers mind control (which does sort of make sense, given she can control electricity and the mind is merely electrical impulses...), to the video game interface resolution. One thing I've always admired the series for was the way it didn't fall into the trap of having teenage hobbies becoming plot resolutions. A villain with super sensitive hearing wasn't introduced the week Clyde introduces Luke to heavy metal, for example. The resolution to this story was too convenient, too simple and far too effective.
Miss Myers...

If the circumstances were different, however, I wouldn't have been opposed to Miss Myers returning in the same manner as Mrs Wormwood, given their similarities; might even have given a bit of justification to her abilities, instead of them just being traits as the plot demands. It was a fun watch, but it didn't intrigue me in the same way as, say, The Nightmare Man or Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith did.

Incidentally, only in a kids show could a character scream "THE END IS NIGH!" in an entirely un-ironic way...

The Curse of Clyde Langer was a much stronger episode. Clyde's name is cursed by a totem pole called Hetocumtek, anyone who says or sees his full name suddenly feels an intense hatred for him. This allowed for some extreme scenery chewing in the first act, as characters spurn Clyde; followed by extreme emotion as Clyde finds himself on the street in act 2, and the others struggle against the curse. The acting was largely solid, I enjoyed how quickly Sky had become one of the gang, and all the little things like Clyde immediately realising something was wrong when Sarah Jane turned on him, and how, despite knowing she was controlled, he was genuinely hurt by Rani's attack. Nice touch with the whole "If the totem pole would fall back into the HANDS of man..."

However, other moments in the script really jarred with me. Clyde wouldn't have just left Ellie, especially without leaving a note, at least. There was so many other ways to seperate them: Sarah Jane could have teleported Clyde directly to the attic using Mr Smith, removing Clyde's decision to leave her; Ellie could have heard Clydes name when Sarah and Rani arrived, and he was forced to leave... The Night Dragon element felt really shoehorned, also. I wont even get into Hetocumtek, who was destroyed by a hug. A good story that explored a rather mature subject, but I never felt compelled to watch it again because it was so dark and depressing.

The Man Who Never Was, however, I have watched four times already. Partially because I intended to do a full review - I still might - but mostly because it was simply a fun, exciting story with plenty of re-watch value. It boasted an unusually Torchwood-esque philosophy of "Humans can be bastards", and the rather dark scenes involving the Light Sculptors and 'punishment' were emphasized with a strong case of mood whiplash compared to the hilarious interview scenes and moments like:
"Grab Harrisons P. E. N"
*Cut to clydes reaction...*
"Never been so glad to see a full stop!"

The ending was beautiful, though it did seem a little like it had just been stapled on. Though given the circumstances, it probably was! They did the best with what they had, and I think it did the job quite well.

I'll be back tomorrow, with a 'best of Sarah Jane' thing. Until then, enjoy this:

Friday, 19 August 2011

Fantasy Bites

Again, I've been a bit inactive recently. Blame it on the tentatively named "Supernature". Which is what today's blog is about! SUCH FUN! But for all of those who hate Supernature, I'll be treating you to TWO blogs tomorrow. My normal Miracle Day review and a special blog where I'll be solving world hunger.

But writing Supernature has made me slightly depressed, why not. I've been writing from the perspective of Alice for most of the week. Alice Chase is the naive, serious girl who's curiosity got the better of her. The promise of a new job in the bustling heart of Eden draws Alice to Elena, and is the first person on board when everyone realizes that Elena has tricked them into venturing through the... ahem, "Dangerous" Other Realm. For whatever reason, she even romanticizes the idea of being on the run at first, considering it to be exciting and brilliant.

As she fall's deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, Alice is forced to face the crushing reality of what people are willing to do when they're frightened for their life. This culminates in her doing something very nasty to an innocent person whose fear and humanity got the better of him. Admittedly, he WAS threatening to kill her and appeared to have killed someone else when she did it... but still.

The depressing thing about her storyline is having to write this chirpy, funny and innocent character, and then to show her gradual transformation into a somewhat jaded tragic heroine. Luckily I always have Nathan's narrations to comfort me, whose character arc is pretty much the exact opposite. That said, after feeling so strongly about Alice's downfall into cynicism to actually BLOG about it... I think I'll keep some of her chirpy fun-ness wherever I can. Of course, there's always Elena's narrations to fall back on as well. They're always fun to right because of the sheer bitchiness.

It's interesting to see how this writing stuff has influenced my personal life. I went into Starbucks the other day, STARBUCKS! Chilled with a cup of java while writing some traumatic death scenes. Great times. Plus it gives me something to write about on here, could you imagine this blog without it? It'd be all empty and crap, now it's less empty and crap!

Peace out, y'all.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Shut up, Elena

I've been writing my ass off for the past week, quite literally, my new chair isn't the most comfortable. It's pretty attractive though. Tilts back nicely, faux leather, generally quite a nice ride, it's just the seat is a little hard. To rectify I just shove a few cushions there, but even then my butt still starts to ache after a while. Oh well, It'll just make for a sexier, toned butt.

Unfortunately, todays post isn't about the relative merits of my new chair, though there's a thought for the future, it's about Supernature! and how I'm continually annoyed by Elena, one of my main characters.