Last week it was the third three episodes of the current season of Doctor Who, with a planet called America and the moon landing and Richard Nixon and aliens you completely forget about once you turn your back and then pirates and alien medical Sirens and this week it’s dead spaceship graveyards and the creepy disembodied voice of Michael Sheen and a mad woman who’s bigger on the inside and who might just be “The Doctor’s Wife” and also the guy who brought you The Sandman is writing the words…
1. From his show last night (I believe) this is Jimmy Fallon playing Neil Young performing Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” with special accompaniment by Bruce Springsteen (as played by Bruce Springsteen):
It’s always amazed and fascinated me how Jimmy Fallon isn’t very interesting or funny as, well, himself. In fact, he seems kind of robotic. But he’s always been very shrewd in his impressions and imitations, especially back in his SNL days.
2. Maria was telling me the other day that she’s been watching a lot of Craig Ferguson’s show lately and that she finds him amazing and so wonderfully weird. I agreed with her based on the few times I’d seen his show, even though those times had been so long ago. Then today I caught the interview with Matt Smith from Doctor Who…
I just love how bizarre it is. Ferguson is the closest there is on late night TV to having that kind of special, manic energy that Conan O’Brien has, but I love that it feels less practiced, more out of control, more improvised. Like you’re literally spending an hour in the wee small hours of the morning with a surly, most likely drunken Scottish man (that’s Ferguson’s own tattoo up top there, a reference to Benjie Franklin, yo) and he’s holding some celebrities hostage inside your TV. There’s truly this feeling that anything can happen, that it could be really great or really terrible but either way, it’ll be fun.
Last week on Doctor Who we got James Corden and low fi crazy roommate drama and this week, but this week as “The Pandorica Opens,” we got possibly one of the biggest, craziest episodes of the show ever.
Somehow the stakes are even higher than they were in “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End” and all the teases from this past season and from across time and space start to coalesce into something, like a puzzle assembling itself. Much like the Pandorica itself, a nasty puzzle box that was dreamt up in the mind of a little girl and can unlock itself from the inside…
1. As someone so wisely pointed out to me yesterday, it’s all about perspective:
Ha ha, that’s for you, Benjamin Light.
I will agree that woven through some of the negative reviews for Sex And The City 2 has been a not too subtle undercurrent of sexism, but that’s not to say that some of the reviews haven’t been accurate in how terrible the movie appears to be. I say “appears to be,” of course, because I haven’t seen it and I hated the first movie. And as Fern Diaz points out, whatever the series used to be about or mean to it’s fanbase, it doesn’t seem to mean that anymore, does it?
4. The other day I had a moment to Crowded House’s gorgeous 80s masterpiece of a song, “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” and today I had a similar experience – well, sort of – to another magnificent pop ditty from the same decade…
That’s “There She Goes” by the La’s and I defy you to not get that stuck in your head now. I defy you! And if you do get it stuck on endless repeat, it’ll be okay, because it’s just a lovely song, whether it be about an actual girl or heroin or whatever, it’s all kind of the same, yes?
What makes it weird is that, just like “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” that song was also covered by Sixpence None The Richer. So weird.
5. The other day when mentioning the Chip Zdarksy BP oil spill/The Little Mermaid art mash up, I was also listening just a tiny smattering of the “classic” movies you could (currently) find on Hulu. Well, after further poking around, here’s just a few more: Motherfucking Gandhi, Dr. Who And The Daleks (the non-canonical Peter Cushing movie), The Boys And Girls’ Guide To Getting Down (well, Lola, if you’re moving to LA, then this is the movie you need to watch immediately), Bowling For Columbine, Night Of The Living Dead (the original, thank God), loudQUIETloud: A Film About The Pixies, Shredder (a terrible, but silly horror movie about snow boarders), Hubert Selby, Jr.: I’ll Be Better Tomorrow, Peeping Tom, Charade, The Last Man On Earth, Phantom Of The Opera, The Dead Zone, His Girl Friday, Roman Polanski’s Knife In The Water, The End Of The Affair, Richard Lester’s The Knack… And How To Get It, and, if you can believe it, Nic Cage’s seminal classic, Vampire’s Kiss. Just watch the collection of clips below and then tell me you don’t want to watch that immediately…
Like I said before, last week’s episode of Doctor Who felt like it came after waiting an eternity. This week’s episode, “The Beast Below,” certainly didn’t feel like it it took that long to get here, but after how great “The Eleventh Hour” was, the excitement level for “The Beast Below” was just as high.
This week, the Doctor is finally firmly regenerated and takes his new companion, Amy Pond, on her first real journey in the TARDIS. So much of it feels like a classic Russell T. Davies set up, with the second episode in the new series doing a paint by numbers journey to a slightly dystopian human society somewhere out there ins pace in the future and showing the companion exactly what the Doctor’s philosophy of time travel is. This time, the Eleventh Doctor tells Amy that it’s a strictly non-interference policy, unless, that is, a little girl is crying somewhere.
But then again, this is not the RTD era anymore. This is the new age, the age of Steven Moffat, mixing both the cool, the new, and the classic, and Moffat’s going to put his truly creepy, brilliant spin on all the old RTD tropes and formulas (that did work, for the most part). The Doctor can be lost in the wild regions of deep outer space and be exploring the creepy, cave-like bowels of a spaceship. And you get classic Moffat stuff here: Recurring creepy phrases, sad little girls, and terrifying monsters. This episode was certainly a quick one, bit of a throw away episode, though charming, and one for the kids, though the children in the audience are going to spend probably this entire series behind their sofa.
There was a lot going on in this episode as well: Starship UK, sailing through the stars during a point in the future after the Earth has burned and the individual nations have gone to the cosmos in search of a new home. And also Sophie Okonedo as Liz Ten, the future English monarch, Elizabeth X. Also, the eponymous beast at the heart of the great ship, and the Winders and the Smilers, and the voting booth: Once every British citizen on the ship comes of age, the terribly dark truth of what’s going on is revealed to them and they’re given two simple choices, “Protest,” or “Forget.” Pretty much everyone chooses “Forget,” and that allows them to go on with their lives guilt-free. Those who click on “Protest” are promptly fed to a monster. The modern parallels are terrifying.
I’m trying to stay light on spoilers here and not really recap the episode at all, because, well, we don’t actually like strict recaps here at Counterforce. Why read a recap of a television show when you can go watch the thing?
I liked how we got into the heart of the relationship between the Doctor and Amy a little more, and it’s almost like they’re already old friends. Matt Smith’s Doctor goes where Moffat wants him to (pickpocketing little girls, for starters), showing that he understands humanity even when he doesn’t, he’s human in the terrible ways that they can be, but his instincts are hardly human. The ending comes in a neat little bow as Amy notices that the Star Whale (that name is my only real gripe with this episode) is incredibly similar to the Doctor: old and kind and can’t help but respond when a little girl is crying.
And then there’s Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, who just can’t stop winning me over. I never disliked Rose, but I disliked the ways in which we were constantly told in the RTD era how great and wonderful Rose was. Not shown, but told. To me Amy Pond has already surpassed Rose, rather easily, I might add, but also carries the flare of all the right elements of companions like Martha Jones and Donna Noble. Donna Noble in particular, possibly, echoing her telling the Doctor, “Sometimes I think you need someone to tell you when to stop.”
I liked how the end of this episode tied into next week’s and I wonder if that’ll be something they strive for more of this year. That, and it seems, constant references to Amy’s always needing to be making choices (one episode towards the end of this season is actually entitled “Amy’s Choice”). Also, while there was no mention of the Pandorica or how “Silence will fall,” that mysterious crack in the wall of her childhood room (and the Doctor’s TARDIS console at the end of last week?) has seemingly followed Amy Pond into time and space.