Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Almost People (Doctor Who series 6, episode 6)

[A revised and improved version of this essay appears in my book The Eleventh Doctor: a critical ramble through Matt Smith’s tenure in Doctor Who.]

It’s part of the essence of Doctor Who that it drops bombshells on us.  It’s a show where things are not always as they seem, and where trying to figure out exactly what’s going on is an important part of the fun.  Back in the day, we were shocked by the revelation in The End of the World that the Time Lords were gone; we all guessed wrongly at the identity of The Doctor’s Wife; we were chilled by the sight of Daleks on our side in Victory of the Daleks.

The one constant that makes these constant twists and turns work is that the character of the Doctor himself is reliable and consistent, even as his personality changes between incarnations.  He himself is the bedrock against which all the waves of the universe break, the ground against which we evaluate the changing figures.

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW THE BREAK

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Dumbed down

I was picking up some groceries in Lidl this evening when this advertisement in their hand-out caught my eye.

Seriously, Lidl?  Do we really need to be told that a Stainless Steel Pedestal Barcecue is “Ideal for BBQs”?

Yes, apparently we can’t be expected to figure this out for ourselves.

The Rebel Flesh (Doctor Who series 6, episode 5)

[A revised and improved version of this essay appears in my book The Eleventh Doctor: a critical ramble through Matt Smith’s tenure in Doctor Who.]

“We have met the enemy, and they are ours” — General William Henry Harrison.

“We have met the enemy and he is us” — Walt Kelly.

The Rebel Flesh is old-school base-under-siege Doctor Who.  But this time, the enemy is us.

MORE SPOILERS FOLLOW

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How to get things done: don’t open your post

This is the pile of unopened post that’s accumulated inside our front door over the last couple of months:

Usually I feel a sort of low-level nagging guilt about this, but actually I think it’s a good thing.

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The Doctor’s Wife (Doctor Who series 6, episode 4)

[A revised and improved version of this essay appears in my book The Eleventh Doctor: a critical ramble through Matt Smith’s tenure in Doctor Who.]

Doctor Who continues to exhaust superlatives”, Andrew Rilstone wrote back in the far-off days of Series 2 (although I am not sure he meant this altogether positively).  Five years on, I can only echo the quote, if not the ambivalent sentiment behind it.  More and more it feels to me as though Series 6 is a qualitative step up from what’s gone before.  Which, given how much I loved Series 5, is high praise.

The Doctor’s Wife is another episode that’s hard to talk about without giving away some secrets, so be warned that there are SPOILERS AFTER THE BREAK.

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The Curse of the Black Spot (Doctor Who series 6, episode 3)

[A revised and improved version of this essay appears in my book The Eleventh Doctor: a critical ramble through Matt Smith’s tenure in Doctor Who.]

WARNING: spoilers from the start.

Read on if you’ve seen the episode.

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The British public has spoken!

Well, the referendum on the Alternative Vote system is over, and the results are in.  So here we go:

67.9% of us said that we wanted all our preferences but one to be ignored.

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Stop voting for lizards; start voting for people.

In So Long and Thank for All The Fish, the elegaic fourth book of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy, Douglas Adams gives us this conversation between Arthur, a very ordinary Earth-man, and Ford, his best friend who he thought was from Guildford but turned out to be from a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse:

Ford explained, “On [that] world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

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British readers: vote on AV tomorrow!

When I wrote about voting reform four days ago, I said “this is the first time I’ve ever written about politics on this blog, and I hope it will be the last.”  True to my word, I then wrote about politics again yesterday, and now I’m doing it again.  But this is the last time, honest.  You know, unless something comes up.

Tomorrow is the big day for how we do democracy in the UK.  Please vote.

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Step up to the plate, Mister President

So apparently, Osama Bin Laden is dead.  You know, that Osama Bin Laden.  The Osama Bin Laden who was definitely behind the 9/11 attack, most likely, so far as we can tell.  Or who, at least, was probably involved somehow, or approved of the attack after the event.

And this is great news.  Not because an individual is dead, but because Bin Laden’s death is the perfect pretext to announce that George W. Bush’s oh-so-stupid War On Terror is over — that it has been won!  And that America can therefore start recovering all the liberties that it sacrificed in the name of the WOT that was, ironically, being waged to protect those very freedoms.

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