Archive for the ‘Geekery’ Category

Regeneration X

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Just a quick post about the new Doctor Who - Mr Matt Smith.

There’s not much I can really add to the thousands of column inches and Internet posts that are no doubt being produced right now but I though I should thrown in my two cents…

I like the look of him - I thought I should get that out the way first. Secondly, I love the fact that he was never mentioned as a possible candidate, although I’m kind of kicking myself now that I never realised that the most likely person was someone that they had purposefully kept secret. Let’s face it, it was never going to be Catherine Zeta Jones…

While I normally find it best to ignore myself when it comes to such things, I’ve had a look back at my previous post on how I would like the next Doctor to be. So let’s compare Mr Smith to my criteria, based solely on the 2 minutes or so he was on-screen being interviewed:

1. Older - oh dear. Not only is he the youngest ever, but he’s younger than me. Weird. However, as Stephen Moffat said, he does have an old edge to him somehow, so I’ll give him half a point.

2. Spooky - he does seem to have a natural weirdness to him. One of my friends commented that he is kind of ugly, with another saying that he looks a bit like a neanderthal. Harsh. A Brother of the Bob also said that he looks like an alien. So he’s a weird, ancient, ugly alien. That’s pretty spooky and has to be worth a point, plus a couple of bonus points.

3. Acting ability - from the brief clips shown, and on the advice of The Flatmate of The Bob who actually saw the Party Animals programme that he was in, it seems that he’s very good. He was also in the History Boys in the West End so he has stage experience which seems like a good thing. Even just the way he was talking about working on the part pleased me, so I’ll give him a bonus point.

4. More serious - impossible to know until he’s done a few episodes. This is obviously going to be down to the scripts more than anything else anyway, but he does seem quite intense in his style (from the extremely limited number of clips I’ve seen). Half a point.

5. Not James Nesbitt - He’s not James Nesbitt! Huzzah! 5 points!

Which gives him a score of 11. And he’s the 11th Doctor. So I’ve scientifically proven that he’s the right choice! Genius.

Ignoring indisputable maths for a minute, ultimately the success of the 11th Doctor will come down to more than just a man himself. The scripts, the production, the music, not to mention the supporting cast, are just as important (let’s face it, the first series would have been far less good without Billy). But the Companion issue is interesting. The Brother of The Bob also pointed out that it would be a bit weird now with Captain Jack in it, with him being (or at least appearing) so much older than The Doctor. That said, it would also be weird with a younger female companion, like Rose or Martha, as they will basically be the same age. So it’s hard to know which way they’ll go on that one. Personally, I hope they have a couple of Companions like some of the previous ones had.

It’s all still rather far away though, as we won’t seem him in action for about 15 months. I should probably be giving more thought to 2009 instead of worrying about next year…

(Oh, and I realise that the title of this post would have worked much better if he was the 10th Doctor. Damn it!)

Another year over…

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

Hello, and a Merry Christmas to you both.

I’ve not written anything for ages, as per usual, due to real life getting in the way. As I’m on holiday at the moment, however, I have no excuse. So I promise to write a whole bunch of pointless crap over the next few days.

For today however, I just want to stick my thoughts down about the last series of Heroes. I realise that neither of you probably watch it anymore, but I just feel the need to document my reaction to how they finished it all off.

(As ever, if you haven’t watched the whole of the “Villains” section of Season 3 look away now…)

Well, that was pointless. Basically with all that happened over the course of the series - Arthur Petrelli coming back, Peter losing his powers, Mohinder turning into the fly, Sylar turning good, etc etc - by the end of the last episode, nothing has really changed. Not only did all the major characters survive, but most of the new ones have been killed off leaving us right back where we started.

I think really we can put the whole thing down to a bad dream and move on. There were lots of good bits, and I very much enjoyed the last episode, but hopefully they sort themselves out for the next volume.

A quick note of seasons/volumes etc. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) season 3 is split between 2 volumes - 3 and 4 - entitled “Villains” and “Fugitives” respectively. So “Fugitives” will still be part of Season 3, but a whole new story arc. The only real affect this has on us punters is that it will be starting in the States in February 2009 (when if it was a whole new season it wouldn’t usually be until after the Summer). The Internet doesn’t seem to want to tell me when it will be on here, but I’m sure the Beeb will keep us informed…

Anyway, let’s not dwell too much on the past; what will Season 4 be like? Well, it seems that Nathan, whose character stopped making sense about 2 years ago, has gone completely off track and has dobbed them all in to the President. But not just the President, but President Worf. If either of you didn’t notice, that was none other than Michael Dorn adorning us (sorry) with his Klingonian presence. Which is probably why we didn’t see his full face (cos of all the bumpy bits…)

A black President though? Didn’t 24 already do that? Oh yes, and the real world has done it too. Though I bet Mr Obama is less handy with a bat’leth. Probably.

With Nathan ratting out all the other main characters to the Feds I guess the next Volume will be about them all pulling together to help protect each other, fighting a common enemy, etc etc. Has this not happened a few times already? It also reminds me of Season 4 of Buffy, which was mostly about the US Government trying to get in on the paranormal action. And it was rubbish.

On the other hand it is also extremely like the rather excellent direction Marvel comics went in a few years ago, in a story arc called “Civil War”, the basic premise of which was that all the superheroes (Spider-man, Iron Man, Captain America, The X-Men, etc) had to sign onto a Government register, stating their real names and powers. Many of the heroes objected to this while others supported it whole-heartedly, leading to the titular Civil War. While this means that there are lots of exciting battles and such like between former allies, it also raises lots of interesting ideas around the idea of being a hero (like, if you destroy half a city while saving the world, who should pay for it?)

But I’m rambling now. In conclusion, hopefully Heroes manages to recapture some of the magic. It needs to have a bit more mystery than recent years, a bit more threat. We know that the main characters are safe, and even if they do appear to die they can always, ALWAYS be bought back to life/saved through time-travel/become another character entirely. A small cull might help with this. I would probably get rid of Claire, Angela, and Mohinder, and not bring back Sylar again (again). But I’d guess that Angela is the only one of the current cast that is likely to be scrapped.

Basically, I’ll probably still watch it but I’m not holding out much hope for the next 12 episodes. Hmm… I think I might start watching The Wire instead…

No Heroics

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

The Guardian has an article on Heroes today that pretty much says what I haven’t got round to saying on here yet:

I agree with most of the review of the current state of play with the show, but not entirely with the reasons behind it. I haven’t bothered to blog about it in the last few weeks as each episode just seemed to add some many more layers of plot that I wanted to see where it was going before laying my judgement.

Unfortunately they keep using cheap tricks and cliff-hangers to keep the audience interested, but it just seems to increase the level of disbelief. As well as the points mentioned in the article and comments there was also Hiro appearing to kill Ando, and Adam coming back only to be killed off (surely he’s actually dead this time?)

I actually like Matt’s “vision of the future” episode - one flash-forward episode per series is a great way of setting out why the heroes are doing what they are doing, and where things are going unless the world is saved (via cheerleaders or otherwise). Of course, the whole point of this season is for the Heroes (Peter, Claire, Mohinder) to go bad, while the Villains show their good sides (Sylar obviously, Matt’s Dad had a moment of redemption, Mrs Patrelli perhaps). I give it 2 weeks before Claire kills someone just for kicks…

However, I think there are two reasons it feels like it has lost its way (or at least gone the way of Lost). First of all, as mentioned, there is little real character development. This is partly due to too many characters, but it is also because the writers feel the need (or are being forced by the producers/studio) to crank-up the action and shocks. The first series was a real slow-burner if you remember - it took weeks to find out who Sylar was, how characters like Parkman or Hiro fitted into the main Peter-based story, or what the point of Nikki was (what was the point of Nikki again?)

When season 2 started and the ratings fell, I remember reading an article saying that fans were complaining it was dull. Creator Tim Kring replied saying that he thought viewers wanted a slow build up again, with new Heroes and plenty character development. So perhaps the blame should lie on those folk who said that the start of season 2 was too slow and boring.

For the record, I actually really liked Season 2 possibly, I say quietly, more than the first series. Also, I wouldn’t quite yet say that they’ve jumped that shark, but there are certainly a lot of fins in them there choppy waters…

Tennant’s special

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

So David Tennant has decided to hang up his trainers and regenerate into a relative dimension of obscurity. I wasn’t thrilled by this news at first, and was originally going to call this post “God is Dead”. But that would perhaps have been a slight overreaction…

I think he’s right - as Russell T Davis and Julie Gardner are both leaving as well this seems like a good time to go, which will let Stephen Moffat have a clear run to do his own thing. There’s also the ol’ “get out-while the going is good aspect”; it would be a shame if he had done a few more series that just didn’t live up to what has gone before. Although I guess the specials still to come could be as bad as last year’s Christmas episode.

Anyway, obviously the big question is Who next? (that pun has been used before, and will be used again). My criteria for how to choose the next Doctor (purely from a personal point of preference) would be as follows:

  • Someone older - I don’t necessarily mean William Hartnell old, but just someone who is a bit less, well, young and er… hip. Someone who can’t just run about all the time. The old Doctors were always a bit more of a father-figure to his companions rather than a buddy I reckon, and it might be good to get back to this a bit. It would also remove any possibility of another romance, which would be a good thing (keep the love of Rose pure!)
  • Someone with a spooky edge - having recently watched some of the old Tom Baker episodes recently, one of the things that made him stand out was that his Doctor was a strange fellow. You feel like you never know what he’s going to do next, and there’s something about his grin that can be rather chilling. He also wasn’t that nice to all his companions the whole time, and in fact was down-right nasty to some. Crazy eyes too.
  • Someone who can act - Tennant and Ecclestone are both actual, real actors, and that give the whole thing an edge of quality that couldn’t be achieved otherwise. There’s always the slight fear that they’ll get in a familiar face, someone young, sexy, and popular, just for the sake of it. So not Russell Brand then…
  • Perhaps someone a bit more serious (within reason) who doesn’t have the constant excitable, nervous energy that both Doctors 9 and 10 had.
  • Someone who isn’t James Nesbitt.

Ultimately I just want someone who is a bit different to what has gone before. And who isn’t James Nesbitt.

The BBC Website has published a list of the top rated candidates and I may as well give them the once over. Let’s look at the front runners:

Paterson Joseph - Like it, like it a lot. He’s quite a big guy, has an awesome voice and plenty of gravitas. I reckon he could also do spooky and intense very well. Obviously there would be plenty said on the fact that he would be the first black doctor, but it surely makes no difference at all. There was talk previously of a female Doctor (can Time Lords change gender, oh geeks out there?) and even rumoured at one point that Billy was going to get the role. Nightmare! Anyway, he’s the favourite with the bookies, and I would be more than pleased if he got the job.

David Morrissey - He’s actually a bit of an unknown quantity for me. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid all the things he’s been in, but I’ve heard only good comments. So I can’t say much more until after the Christmas episode…

Sean Pertwee - I had heard all the others being mentioned before in rumour and small talk, but this one took me by surprise today. And I’m loving it. He also has a great voice (see Equilibrium for details), and great screen presence, and has a slightly mean edge to him that could be awesome. And he’s hard as nails, which would be different.

James Nesbitt - No. No no no no no no no. Seriously. No. Stop that. It’s almost unthinkable. It would just be James Nesbitt in a scarf. No. Alan Davies has been mentioned numerous times in the past and I would be just as against him too. They’re both too famous and familiar, and in every other bloody thing on TV.

Just… no.

Russell Tovey - Once again a relative unknown for me. He was good in the Christmas episode (considering how bad most of it was) but really is just too young for me to agree with.

James McAvoy - Surely he’s too busy with his Hollywood career to do Doctor Who? He also doesn’t do well against my criteria above, but he would probably be okay. I just don’t see it happening.

I’m trying to think of who I would pick, apart from either Mr Joseph or Pertwee. Well, Trevor McDonald is leaving News at Ten, and he does fall into some of my criteria… perhaps not.

Send me you thoughts and suggestion please, in the usual way.

Heroes and Villians

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

As mentioned in my previous ramble, Heroes season 3 has started. And what a great start it was - enough so that I feel the need to document my thoughts on the subject. However, this is pretty pointless for any of you, as either you watch the show and will know what happened, or don’t and therefore don’t know or care what I’m writing. So stop reading this and go and do something better instead. Like watching Heroes…

SPOILERS AHOY!! If you have any intention of watching Heroes and you haven’t seen up to Season 3, Episode 2 LOOK AWAY NOW!

Righty ho. So you’re the makers of Heroes and you want to set up the new series. What to do? Well, as every seasoned seasonal programme-maker knows, with each new year you need to up the ante. More baddie, harder to kill baddies, and the best method - make some of the goodies turn into baddies! By which I don’t mean a fight to the death between Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie. Not that I wouldn’t watch that too…

Nope. It looks as if various of our favourite Heroes are going to turn to the dark side. They’re still trying to make Peter seem edgy and deep, but I still think he is, well, rubbish. Just because he has a scar, speaks in a slightly gravelly voice, and frowns even more than previous doesn’t make him hard. Or interesting.

The big season 2 cliffhanger was of course Nathan being gunned down, just as he was  about to reveal the truth about himself. I must admit that although I seem to feel the need to fill up the Interweb with my own cluttered thoughts about the show, I don’t actually go looking for other peoples (mainly because I don’t what to know what’s going to happen until I’m actually watching the episode). But I can imagine that there were many a comment online about who the gunman (or woman) might be over the summer break. And let’s face it, it could have been anyone at all. My guess would have been Nikki, as it would have been the most surprising. Or a Nathan from the future. Who’d have guessed? Probably lots of people actually. Okay, the least likely option was probably Molly, but that’s because she’s 10.

But no, it was Peter from the future. Great. At least Mrs Petrelli seems to be getting plenty of screen time this year, and we’ve finally been told what her power was (and it should have been obvious really). An interesting side note from this week’s broadcast that Bob’s power seemed to be turning things to gold. Not very sure what Syler is going to do with that one. (I did warn you there would be spoilers…)

Just thinking through the other characters… Claire - looking hot, all dark hair and leather, in the future, sadly still rather whinny in the present. But I have to say the scenes with her and Syler in the first episode were particularly good. As for the man himself, it’s nice to have him back properly, but I can’t help but wonder (and worry) how much he’s going to be in this year as surely Zachary Quinto has been too busy wearing pointy ears and being all logical? I’d look online, but it might spoil something…

Anyway, it seems from his actions towards Claire in the first episode, along with Mrs Petrelli’s dream in the second, that they are going to show that Sylar isn’t just “evil” for the sake of it. He just enjoy killing n’ stuff for the sake of it. Unlike the Bad People who have been released from the holding cells, who are Bad, and do Bad things, like burning people and stealing cars. Wow. And now Peter is mixed up with them and he doesn’t know WHAT to do. How about just not going with them you wet git?

Other folk: Parkman - randomly in the middle of Africa. This will obviously end up being connected more than we can guess to the main storyline, in a Hiro in Ancient Japan sort of way. We’ll just have to wait and see. And I still think Greg Grunburg is the dude and he can do whatever he wants.

Mohinder - seems to have turned into Spider-man, including the mutation storyline. Yet he’s still a bit dull, despite being superpowered and sharing all his scenes (and fluids) with a hottie. She, Maya, is even more pointless than last year, but I should probably give her time. And she’s better than…

Nikki - oh bloody hell. They brought her back from the dead. Or did they? Is she other aspect of Nikki/Jessica? Or someone else entirely? Who knows? Who cares? Nae me laddie, nae me. No sign of Mika yet, and if Monica isn’t in this year then she was officially The Most Pointless Character Ever.

Nathan - quite liking it so far, and more Linderman can’t be bad. I was also very pleased to see Bruce Boxleitner back on the box (sorry, too easy). For those of you who don’t know (ie all of you, unless Ewen is reading this) he was Commander, and latterly, President Sheridan in Babylon 5. Of all the geeky things I’ve ever watched, it is the most geeky… Anyway, he’s the guy playing the Governor in Heroes. Not the world’s greatest actor, but he’s got a certain Clinton like quality to him that makes him seem like a convincing and likable politician type. By which I mean Bill, not Hillary, by the way.

I’ve not mentioned Hero and Ando yet. Well, I always like them really, but it’s hard to get particularly interested in another Quest set by Destiny. Ando developing powers and turning evil? Could either be exciting and emotional as the two former friends battle it out, or could be the shark-jumping moment Heroes has often threatened to waterski towards (if you don’t get the rather mangled metaphor, read this). But a “formula that could destroy the world” sounds suspiciously similar to the disease that could destroy the world last time around. Is it going to be the same power-giving formula that Mohinder has developed? Probably. Will Ando turn evil? Probably not. Only time will tell (pun intended).

So, in conclusion… er… I don’t know. The first episode was great and started up some interesting storylines. The second episode just seemed to add in more questions and intrege, without actually moving the story on much. Still, there’s plenty more to come…

It’s not the end of the world as we know it (and I still feel like crap…)

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

I guess I have to throw in my 2 (euro) cents about this whole CERN LHC thingy (if you know not of what I speak click here. And buy a newspaper/radio/TV).

Well, the world didn’t end, which was nice. Of course, the pedants among you will know that actually today was just the machine being turned on - the potentially universe-eating moment comes when they get 2 particles to crash into each other and, like, this whole mess of crap comes out (to quote Friends, of all things).

But it was nice to hear on the Radio 2 news this morning that the world was probably not going to end today (this is perhaps something that should be said more often).

The 1 minute story basically ran with the facts:

1. World’s largest science experiment starting today

2. To uncover the secrets of the Universe

3. Took years to build

4. Cost lots of money

They really should have stopped there quite frankly. But they added:

5. Might kill us all

6. Probably won’t

Unless you had already heard about the extreeeemely small potential for black holes they really shouldn’t have mentioned it. There’s nothing like being told that everything will almost certainly be okay to scare the bejesus out of people. They even had an expert to reassure us that the experiments would not destroy the Earth, as more volatile particles hit the planet every day. Who was this expert? Well, apparently it was Stephen Hawking, but quite frankly it could have just been Terry Wogan with a voicebox.

(okay, that was a cheap shot and I’m sorry)

However, I was wondering though if anyone took the whole thing to heart and started preparing for The End. You know the sort of thing - telling people they shouldn’t that they love them; committing crimes for a laugh; selling all their stuff and spending the money on that Amazing Spiderman issue 1 they always wanted, and then burning it.

For the record: I have always loved you, I would never do anything illegal, and I have nothing worth selling.

So if any of you did anything like this (or even considered it) why not leave me a comment below so we can all laugh at you. Hey, what does it matter if we do - the world might end tomorrow…

Gone, but not forgotten

Friday, July 18th, 2008

In response to a comment left by Richard in my post about Heroes, I thought I would explain the N.E.R.D. concept.

No-one Ever Really Dies.

That’s pretty much it. It’s the idea that in any story, no matter how dead someone seems to be, there is always the possibility that they could come back in one form or another.

I think it was originally said in relation to comic books, but it can happen in any story.  It tends to be in sci-fi more than any other genre because, let’s face it, if you’re dealing with time-travel, magic, or ridiculous technology you can pretty much do what you want. I was about to start listing some of my favourite examples but it’s a bit tricky - I don’t want to spoil the party for anyone else by revealing something I shouldn’t. But here are some examples you all probably know about:


Superman - He was actually killed off around the mid-90s, probably in an attempt to get some new readers. They bought him back within a year…

Pretty much any/every Doctor Who baddie - Davros and The Master are good examples. They always seem to be left in a burning spaceship, or trapped in time or somesuch. Although when John Sim’s Master got shot it seemed sort of permanent. But it wasn’t, let’s be honest. (I always thought that in the recent series instead of saying “Activate Temporal Shift”, the Daleks should have just said “Activate plot device”).

Buffy - she died at the end of series 5, (”Devoted Sister, Beloved Friend. She saved the world. A lot.”) only to be resurrected at the beginning of the next series. Wasn’t the shark-jumping moment it could have been… Just remembered that Buffy actually died at the end of series 1 as well, but came back to life in the same episode.

Gandalf - I don’t need to explain this one. If you haven’t read Lord of the Rings or seen the films then get the hell off my blog and don’t come back until you’ve at least watched the films.

The soaps do it all the time as well.

Harold Bishop - about five years after being swept into the sea (”Haaaaarooold!”), he came back as Ted, the Salvation Army shop assistant.

Dirty Den - ‘Ello Princess. Don’t know or care much about this one…

Bobby Ewing - a whole series of Dallas turned out to be a dream just so they could bring back a popular character. Awesome.


Jesus of Nazareth - allegedly. I should probably leave that one there for now.

And from the same book - Lazarus. I wonder if his wife was still able to claim on his life insurance?

Gary Barlow - I won’t say that he’s back for good, but I’ll think it…

Wispas - they went, then came back, supposedly for a limited time only. Are they still about?

There are also those characters that do actually die but still remain integral to the plot either in as ghosts or visions, or through vision, time-travel, or whatever other excuse the writer can come up with. Obi-Wan, various Harry Potter characters (I ain’t spoiling nothing…), Darnell in Heroes.Kosh in Babylon 5 (oh dear, I’ve hit an all-time geeky low…)

I’m sure there are thousands more. So hey! Why not tell me your favourite one - click on the comment tab below. Maybe you’ll spoil some really good book, film, or TV programme for someone…