Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
In the meantime I discovered an awesome Black Lodge simulator (click on the sycamore grove and don't take the ring unless you want to leave!)
Oh, and Tibet.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Spoilers ahoy, so if you're watching either Lost or Galactica, prepare to get spoiled.
I'm getting a little jaded with Lost and Galactica in their latest seasons. Lost in particular is getting silly and the show has just moved too far beyond being about a struggle to survive on a strange island into some inexplicable James Bond/Sci-Fi thriller for my liking. Sayid is now James Bond, the annoying guy Ben is still alive and a bunch of the main cast are all trying to get back to the island. There is some sort of weird time-travel thing on the island and they've introduced a new cast of scientists and marines who are on a ship. Except nothing's been explained yet.
Battlestar Galactica is similarly getting a bit long in the tooth. Somebody should shoot Baltar. I could believe that after being forced to deal with the Cylons on New Caprica and being 'abducted' he would somehow survive the mob justice and impromptu executions that claimed most of his underlings. I could believe that in his big show trial he got off – to be honest after the closing arguments of Apollo I'd have let him off. However his name should still be mud. He's been seen canoodling with cylons and let's be honest it's a bit suss he survived for months on one of their ships. What I can't believe is that he is inexplicably now the head of this bizarre monotheistic god worshipping cult (in a society used to worshipping the Greek pantheon) that is based on the Galactica and populated primarily by nubile young women all too eager to service him in Baltaresque ways. Is he a good guy? Is he a baddie? Am I supposed to feel sympathy for him? He seems to be doing exactly what he normally does, lying, sleeping with sexy women and talking to the ghost in his head that now resembles him. Are the Cylons baddies? I mean they did nuke 13 planets worth of humans, and Baltar was unwittingly complicit. His complicity did come out under some truth drugs last season and was pretty much ignored.
By Season 4 it seems like the conflict is getting rather stilted. Apollo disagrees with Adama and takes a stand, humiliating him for the billionth time. Apollo disagrees with Roslin and takes a stand, humiliating her. Roslin fights with Starbuck. Starbuck acts like a loony and pisses everyone off. There's yet another mutiny. The Cylons start blowing each other up. Where's it all going? It seems like people are fighting with themselves purely for the sake of it. They've also revealed characters as Cylons who could easily have sabotaged the fleet anytime in the last 3 seasons. Clearly that's not the plan – but it is getting a little old. Fortunately this is the final season – so hopefully it'll all make sense.
Oh and for the record my bet is the final Cylon is Roslin.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
I'm planning on hitting the Last Battle soon, though to be honest I didn't like it when I read it as a child. Aside from its apocalyptic overtones which make it unlikely to ever be adapted it's probably the first book I thought of as being "a bit gay" to be honest (though as a child I probably didn't use those words). I vaguely remember King Peter turning up inexplicably and a fair bit of boy-on-boy (platonic but I was 9 remember) kissing at the end.
Worse it turns out almost all our beloved main characters from previous books have died horribly and are now going to "true" Narnia. The thinly veiled Christian allegory is laid bare, which is fair enough, but it's a pretty horrible way to do it in my opinion. The Last Battle really didn't need to be written.
Of even more discomfort is the fact that Susan does not appear in the Last Battle, having refused to attend the "Narnia Reunion" that resulted in everyone else dying horribly in a train crash. Apparently she is "no longer a friend of Narnia... she's interested in nothing now-a-days except nylons and lipstick and invitations". Again rather troubling in what was for a 9 year-old me a very very uncomfortable read.
Apparently I was not alone - as when more recently I started working my way through Fragile Things, a collection of short stories by Neil "Does Not Look Like Ross From Friends Steve" Gaiman I came across his story, the Problem of Susan.
I should point out you can read The Problem of Susan online. It's a well-written story but like a lot of Neil Gaiman's non-kiddie Stardusty stuff it's rather disturbing (particularly the image of the White Witch literally riding Aslan) though it does paint a rather sad picture of poor Susan.
Also he does seem to take the rather disconcerting view that Susan didn't go to Narnia because she got interested in sex and boys, rather than what I read to be being interested in ephemeral trappings (makeup and so forth). Me personally - I like to think she would've mended her ways and gone to "true" Narnia in the future. After all heaven without your friends is like being locked up in a small room with your friends forever.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Sadly I took 1.6 hours to get back to car and found a ticket on my windscreen. A massive missive was contained in the ticket explaining my ticket expired at 2:51pm, the attendant had checked my car at 3:02pm and I only turned up at 3:05pm. He was still standing there, where I'd left him 1.6 hours ago, but as these people are remarkably unreasonable once they've written you have a ticket I merely vowed vengeance on him and his sires and drove off.
In short - I'll be walking into town from now on. It's a lot cheaper!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Yes, it's been a while. I'm not going to blog about the new series, or the improved but still excessively-mincy 2nd season of Torchwood. I've listened to a lot of Big Finish over the summer and winter and as you know I like the Eighth Doctor.
The Girl Who Never Was didn't quite get rid of Charley "Good God You've Been in 112 episodes – Call It A Day" Pollard, a companion who had lately begun to get very stale and rather annoying. Ironically it was her posh manner and voice that was beginning to grate. Anyroads the play, which is very good and harks back to the excellent 2nd season of McGann & Charley audios, ends with Charley marooned in the distant future and the Eighth Doctor suffering from amnesia, forgetting all but the first five minutes of the play and assuming that Charley has buggered off and left him. Sadly the play ends with Charley being rescued by...
Colin Baker's Doctor.
Yup – somehow Miss Pollard now travels with the Sixth Doctor, trying to pretend she's never seen a TARDIS or travelled in time with such great bluffs as "Why don't you use the scanner or... err..."
Somehow the Sixth Doctor (whose TV persona I loathe, though in all fairness his audios are very, very good) is going to forget this Miss Pollard, making it a bit pointless. I'm personally not in favour of diluting McGann's seasons by moving his companion into Colin Baker's era. It seems a little fanwanky. However Big Finish seem to be very loathe to let the actress who plays Charley go. I guess they like her a lot. Despite listening to and enjoying Baker and Pollard's first outing I think they're eeking the Pollard character too much. There's even a near identical sister in one of the spinoffs for frick's sake!
Meanwhile it's time for a new season of Eighth Doctor adventures. Not with Charley Pollard (thank gawd) but with brash Blackpool lass Lucie Miller, played by Sheridan Smith (that girl off Two Pints of Lager).
Dead London is an interesting idea – a maze of interlocked chunks of London (where else) from various time periods – Roman, Blitz and of course 2008. This is something the new series has not done yet – an episode that spans multiple time periods in any great depth. It features the bloke who plays Lord Ashfordly from Heartbeat playing many many characters. It's pretty good.
It's not as good as Max Warp though. It's a Top Gear rip-off, with Max Warp being a suspiciously similar show presented by a Clarksonesque misogonist, "Timbo the Ferret" who is no way a riff on Hammond the Hamster, and the boring third guy who is voiced by the guy off the old Rory Bremner show that wasn't Bremner or the one with the goggle eyes. While showing off the new Kith spaceship, Hammond – sorry Timbo has a terrible accident that is a little close to the knuckle and appears to have died. This is bad as the Kith and humans have recently been at war and one side is keen to accuse the other of starting trouble. The Kith are a sponge like race with Somerset accents voiced by the guy who was Little John in that classic movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Add in a president advised by a spin-droid, an Agatha Christie style murder mystery and some good one-liners and it is quite fun.
As you might have guessed it's not the most serious Doctor Who story.
Brave New Town is an interesting idea – a village of Auton people being used by the Soviets during the Cold War to train for infiltrating the UK. Only it's 2008 and no-one's told the Autons that are trapped in 1991 listening to Bryan Ferry. Sadly not as fun as the previous two it does however feature the image of the Eighth Doctor rescuing people in a double decker bus.