Saturday, 31 May 2008

River Song

Ok, this weeks episode of Doctor Who introduced a character played by ER actress Alex Kingston. The character goes by the name of River Song, but who is she?

Ok so the important things:

The Doctor and Donna arrive at "The Library." The biggest library in existence, because someone (it later turns out to be River Song) sends him a message on his psychic paper.
This library contains a copy of every book in the universe up to that point- Most of which Donna is not allowed to look at because they don't exist yet. No Spoilers, warns the Doctor.

Ok, so the message River sends the Doctor has a cute little x at the end.
As Donna pointed out, who sends messages with little x's unless they know the person?
When the Doctor and River meet, she is clearly surprised that the Doctor doesn't recognise her, and some of the dialogue from this episode clearly implies that River and the Doctor have some sort of history with one another, from Rivers perspective at least. Its a sort of "future history" and for the Doctor, it hasn't happened yet.

Oh! Very quickly! The swarmy things!

When the Doctor arrives, as per Rivers instruction -to the library- there are some pretty odd things going on. Specifically, little creatures that live in the darkness and feed on flesh are swarming. Bad news for those of us who are made of flesh. So the swarmy creatures go around killing off the other guys on River's expedition, people who I'm sure are only there to get killed off? Because other than that, their purpose is lost on me, as they don't really do anything.

And the little girl..

And of course there is the little girl who apparently has some sort of connection to the library, it seems, that she's able to appear in the library, and has some control over what happens there.
In the real world, the girl is being seen by a psychiatrist, because of course her parents think her library is all in her head. So, her Doctor is trying to fix her little problem and get her back into the real world, or so it seems.
It later because obvious that there's a little more going on when her Doctor tells her (paraphrased) "There's the real world and the nightmare world, your nightmare world is the real world, the library is real and people need your help" etcetera etcetera.

Ok, so back to River.
She's the most exiting thing in this episode, the mystery that is River Song. The rest just seems kind of, meh!
As she later explains, she's accidentally summoned the Doctor too early in his timeline, so, she knows him but she doesn't know her.
And then there is her little book.. Which is -weirdly- TARDIS-ish in design -not that it uses any sort of chameleon/timelord technology- it just looks like the outside of the doctors tardis. Anyway... The Doctor is not allowed to look in this book, its against the rules, his rules apparently. No Spoilers Doctor.
The dialogue seems to imply that she travelled with the Doctor, or will travel, to be more precise. She knows who Donna is, she has her little diary- "Today the Doctor and i went all around the universe and it was so much fun!"
She even has her own sonic screwdriver, which the Doctor gave her, and its also identical to the one he currently uses..
She is definitely the "big thing" this episode, forget the little girl and the swarm and the Whovian version of redshirts, and the fact that Donna gets turned into this weird mechanical thing with a face- apparently she's been saved. Oh and the hundreds of people that disappeared in the library and probably got turned into mechanical face robots. Actually that reminds me, maybe the little girl is one of the library victims, and she befall the same fate as Donna and the other library "assistants"? Maybe we'll se Donna in her own little fantasy world next week.
All of that feels kind of irrelevant though, it doesn't matter because it'll all be resolved next week.

Doctor Who seems to be more "monster of the week-y" than ever. Not necessarily a bad thing, but i live for those big moments. Those glimpses of the future. This episode had me giddy, for that reason.
So, River, one of the Doctors future companions? Probably..
Most likely an important one. His next one, maybe.

Is it bad that the only thing i care about from this episode is River? That the rest is kind of... mediocre television. The story was, unfortunately pretty dull. Doctor Who used to have me gripped, but this episode was far from on par with the greats.

I'm hoping that next week will have me unable to tear my eyes away from the screen.


Monday, 12 May 2008

The One Eyed Monster.

Or Ro regains faith in his destiny... (A Star Trek: Odyssey review- Vile Gods)

I must say that after re-watching the entirety of Star Trek fan production "New Voyages," (or Phase II) The lower production values on Hidden Frontier spin-off "Star Trek: Odyssey" took a little getting used to.
Fortunately its not the production values i value in my fanfilms.
Once i had gotten reacquainted with the green screen-esque aura surrounding the cast, i was back in my element again.
I love this series. I love this series so much.
I told my partner recently that "Odyssey does it better than Voyager" and I'm sticking to my convictions.
The story was fairly simple; Ro Nevin gets taken into custody and sentanced to death for the destruction of Omega. While this act no doubt did the Kelvan a favour, it was still a violation of Kelvan law. As a consequence, Sub-Commander T'Lorra takes command. Well, to quote Stadi "that's the rules.." This was a wonderful opportunity and something I've been dying to see- A Romulan in command of a Federation ship!
This episode, at least in my head seemed to deal, again with Ro thrust into a position he wasn't ready for- and using a religion he didn't particularly ascribe to as a storytelling medium.
It was a great idea, a great story- but then HF stories are always good. I think perhaps its because they don't have the flash and the glamour that NV has, and therefore, are under more pressure to tell a great story.
I would like to tell our new Ro how hot i think he is...
Also he's a good actor.. You can See Ro's pain and fear in him when he acts, but generally i just zone out and get lost in his hotness. So really what I'm trying to say is, that i cant really be an objective Brandon critic, i think I'm physically incapable of it.

Doesn't Dr Vaughn just get better! He is such a soulful character. Something about him suggests a dark and troubled past, he just screams "give me an episode all to myself and i'll amaze you."

T'Lorra- We may have seen some hidden depths here, she did good in this episode. I even think Stadi may be beginning to accept her. The HF guys have done something great with her- She didn't become Starfleet's lapdog ala Voyager's Maquis. I hope she's Romulan til the end!

Stadi is as cute as a button. There was a jokey thread on the HF forums about stalking Julia.. I'd probably be right behind them. I love the bounce she has- despite the drama of the situation she is still a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately she seems to have "T'Lorra's antagonist" written all over her. It would be nice to see her develop to be more than that.

The archein storyline in this series is one of the best i've seen in any Star Trek. Especially how Odyssey and the Helena Chronicles merge into one another rather than crossover. Its a fairly massive undertaking, creative a species and culture from scratch. Fortunately it worked with The Grey, so here's hoping.

It caught my attention how the Kelvans had kitted out the exterior of the Arhein ship to make it their own- The skull and crossbones was a nice touch- and from an anthropological stand point, makes sense. What i mean to say is that the skull and crossbones image has been seen throughout human culture, usually to signify a warning of some sort, or to signify death- or both. As often in Star Trek, cultures evolve to parallel one another, (if you want to know why, see my earlier post with the section on panspermia/exogenesis) so it makes some sense that our space pirates would stick that on the side of their ship. I always enjoy seeing parallels to human society on star trek.

OK, here comes the mean part... Its Tybiss, our one eyed guy- i really didn't find him to be all that impressive- i didn't particularly enjoy his acting, although that could be to do with the fact that i didn't like the character- I just don't see him as a very good villain. Our Archein lady Majan is a much better menace.
I can't seem to be able to put my finger on exactly why i disliked the Tybiss character, i just found him to be.. Grating.

I hope he doesn't come back.


Sunday, 11 May 2008

Do you like my Spocks?

Pictures i posted on
I figured i'd also post them here.
Bad Spock Rocks!

Miscellany Part 1

Hot Topics..

The Big Bang Theory..
Or "Did God create the universe?"

A message board i frequent has been talking alot about the big bang and the beginnings of the universe lately. A thread started with the comment "How can you get something from nothing?"
and the debate hasn't stopped.
Mostly the talk has been centred around the philosophical aspects.
While most people are not contesting the actual event itself, some are postulating that God was the cause, that God was there first, because you cant get something from nothing. So next comes the question "Did God create the universe?"
No.. He didn't
Well probably not...
Well i don't really know.
That is the problem- This argument could go on forever, because nobody has the answers for it.
To be honest my opinion is that to assume that God created the universe is just absurd, and reeks of "i believe this because its the easy answer."
So if God created the Universe, then God created everything. Oh wow! isn't he brilliant! and with religion defining everything, we have no reason to think and hypothesize or come up with any answers on our own because God is the answer to everything! Aren't we lucky to have someone there to hold our hand always. Yeah, whatever...
But that is just my opinion- what i see when i think about "the big picture."
That's not to say that i don't believe in God, or that there is nothing out there. I feel that there are many things that we do not understand.
I feel that humanity as a whole is still taking baby steps, and possibly imploding under the weight of the universe. If we should survive- if we don't kill each other first- then i believe that we will move beyond the point where we need religion to fall back on when bad things happen. One day humanity will evolve beyond that.
The problem with the big bang debate is this question- "How can we get something from nothing?" and then consider the big bang itself- Dense hot ball of stuff explodes/expands to create a much cooler universe (be aware that I've used the word "event" to describe this a couple of times- even though nobody knows yet, so its just a theory, event simply felt fitting.. )
Bearing this in mind and the thread starters initial comment, where does it imply that there was ever nothing? It doesn't- Not really.
So the answer to "how can you get something from nothing?" is: You can't.
The ideal that God clicked his omniscient fingers and the universe became is not in keeping with the whole topic. Besides- Even God is something.


We seem to live in a perfect world. Everything seems to be... just so.
Perfect. For us.
What i mean to say is that humans seem to be designed to optimise interaction with the surrounding world. We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, the trees and plants that cover our fair, lush, green planet do it the other way around. It seems that we evolved perfectly to survive on this planet.
Of course we did, we adapt and grow and evolve and mutate to fit our environment, its in our nature. Aren't we brilliant! Isn't nature amazing.
Sometimes i tend to have.. Something of a creationist view on evolution, every now and again this creeps into my head; "But everything is so right, so perfect, designed... Someone must have had a hand in it."
I don't believe that God or any other advanced being created the universe, but I'm not so sure on that score when it comes to evolution.
Darwinism states that all plants/animals developed by changing and adapting to their environment. The origins of species is the result of genetic mutation. We evolve, we mutate, those that are successful survive and those that don't do not. Survival of the fittest?
Does this still apply now that we are no longer killing one another (well not in the same sense that this refers too) and weeding out all of the weak ones?
Today's humanity is a sea of imperfection and weakness, some would say that that is what makes us who we are.
Mutation is supposed to be random. Well why is random so perfect?
Truthfully i still do not believe that God had a hand in evolution. There are just too many questions to be answered and it is difficult to know where to start.
The origins of life on earth might be somewhere.
As a Trekkie, i love the concepts of exogenesis and especially panspermia. (of which an episode of ST:TNG dealt with quite nicely)

Taken from Wikipedia article on "Panspermia":

Panspermia is the hypothesis that "seeds" of life exist already all over the Universe, that life on Earth may have originated through these "seeds", and that they may deliver or have delivered life to other habitable bodies.

Exogenesis is a more limited hypothesis that proposes life on Earth was transferred from elsewhere in the Universe but makes no prediction about how widespread it is. Because the term "panspermia" is more well-known, it tends to be used in reference to what would properly be called exogenesis.

Because of the nature of these ideals, they do seem to drift towards a creationist view on the origins of life in the universe. I believe in panspermia, it seems to be the most logical likely answer. One that is neither pompous nor pretentious and as such does not assume that Earth is the only planet that life evolved on. I believe to assume that we are the only life in the universe is akin to believing that we are the centre of the universe- an absurd notion.

To Be Continued... When I'm not exhausted.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Little Miss Timelord

I have to say that i am pleased with "The Doctor's Daughter" which is the sixth episode of season four of Doctor Who.
I just watched it and yet again, we get another near-absolute masterpiece from Russell T Davis and Co.
David Tennant was of course brilliant- Which makes the rumours that he is leaving the series all the more difficult to accept.
I saw a review of the first episode after it aired (Partners in Crime) in the News of the World. It heavily criticised Tennant's performance. To paraphrase; It said "perhaps it's time to regenerate?"
I didn't understand it at the time and i definitely don't understand it now. Perhaps i am biased since i love David Tennant.
Back to the episode- Georgia Moffat was an absolute star, and since we saw "Jenny" regenerate (sort of- more of a revival really) at the end of the episode (although her appearance didn't change, perhaps a result of her odd creation)
she will likely be returning, which can only be a good thing.
I liked the story surrounding the hath and the humans on messaline, especially the "war raged for generations but it turns out its just a week" thing. Nice touch. Really the plot was pretty simple- war bad. Peace good. Doctor saves the day. The human/Hath struggle gave us some pretty good drama even though it was just the b-story, and really- obviously just a way to introduce Jenny. The real story here is of course the Doctor's daughter. I loved the personal struggle those two endured during this episode- The Doctor refusing to accept Jenny for who and what she was right up until the end- It had some pretty intense moments, and emotional repercussions for the Doctor that drew the viewer deeper into his psyche. I have to tell you, by the time she had died and the episode was drawing to a close and it began to seem less likely that she was going to regenerate- i had began to feel some concern.
All i could think was "why would they spend an entire episode on her and then just kill her, whats the point?" but Davis and Co haven't let me down yet, and they didn't disappoint me here either.
Thankfully that "better late than never" regeneration came along just at the right time to quell the tears.
So what next for our dear Jenny?
Was her introduction to the show just a precursor to another spin-off? This time with a hip young female timelord? I hope not.
I really don't think another spin-off is the right way to go with this. Although it would probably make those "i want the doctor to regenerate into a woman" guys go away for a while, i don't think adding another spin-off to the mix is really going to do anything good for Doctor Who. There comes a time when one has to say "you've taken it too far, enough is enough." I'd imagine if they're going to do this, they'd chuck it into next year, when we are only going to have a few Doctor Who specials, instead of a full season.
Maybe she's coming back for the last few episodes?
I hope so, this will be good to see, although from what i hear, everyone is going to be in the last episode. It'll be a weird reunion of sorts, Doctor, Donna, Martha, Jack, Rose and Jackie and probably Mickey. Damn i hate Mickey...
It would be good to add Jenny to the equation. That could be explosive.
Or another possibility...
Since we know that Catherine Tate is leaving at the end of this season, and we don't yet know who the next companion is going to be...
... Could it be Jenny?
Now i have heard some speculation that Rose is coming back for the next season, and that she will be the companion again, but this all might just be something out of nothing. Admittedly i may have perpetuated these rumours but hey.. What's a girl to do?
I for one would cry tears of joy if Jenny was our next companion, i am just dying to see more father daughter bonding.
They work especially well together.
"The man who never would" just gets better and better, and this episode offered us yet another chance to look into his past.
The scene where he told Donna that he was a father once and had a family was more than just a little sad- He tells her that the loss of his first family left a hole inside of him that couldn't be filled.

It was done well and it was a lovely touch on Doctor Who mythology.

I guess in regards to the Doctor's daughter's return, we'll just have to wait and see.

Now, okay- good stuff done.
Here comes the bad stuff..
Have you ever noticed that the music on Doctor Who is unnecessarily overpowering? I'm not talking about the piece of course, the actual music is consistently good. Its just.. I've missed about half the dialogue since Doctor Who began because the music is just too damn loud. They could really do with toning it down a lot.

I didn't fail to notice, that this episode used pretty much the same plot devices as last week's and the week befores The Poison Sky and The Sontaran Stratagem, respectively. I've now pretty much had my fill of military/cloning story lines.

Another common Doctor Who problem is that everything is always so tightly packed into the episode- something that isn't always a bad thing but in this case, i think they needed longer to fully explore the Doctor/Jenny relationship.
All in all though, we had our usual Doctor Who standards, and despite the occasional problems that they might have- they've always got an amazing story to tell.*
Right, well I'm off to save planets and defeat bad guys and... yeah whatever.


*The two exception's to that are the first and second worst episodes of Doctor Who- "That annoying one with Peter Kay that i don't even remember the name of and never want to see again..." and "Voyage of the Damned."