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Category: pop culture

Film Critics: You’re Doing it Wrong

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I wonder how many decisions go into making a movie? A hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand …..more? Casting alone would present a thousand questions with multiple outcomes. Just to make it a little more complicated; let’s introduce a well established canon with a built in fan-base, but at the same time try to branch out and create something altogether new. Oh ya, and there is also potentially billions of dollars riding on the decisions you make. I think those last few factors may have some influence on the way you go about things. So what do you do?

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

You go out and make Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Rogue One a Star Wars story,……. then you market the crap out of all the decisions you made, then collectively hold your breath and see what the fans think, and then check your receipts, and then … maybe see what the critics are saying. So what are the critics saying? In the case of the two movies mentioned above: the consensus for both of them is that ‘they are both at home in the universes they inhabit with a welcome cast of new characters that create an enjoyable chapter to expand their canons but are not without their flaws’. Highly serviceable to borderline satisfactory. Wow brings a tear to the eye!

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As of this moment we have yet to create the perfect blockbuster movie that satisfies everyone. The reason being; there are too many specified factions to appease. How do you cater to the hardcore fans and the uninitiated simultaneously? They both require two different things that often run in direct opposition to one another. Now that we reaffirm all our own beliefs and opinions on social media, we can pick and choose the reviews that suit our experiences. If you want a nostalgia based Easter-egg laced review you’ll get it for the nod and wink crowd. If you’re more into the opportunity missed, what I would have done differently review, they’re multiplying like rabbits. If middle of the road, should I spend my money on this is more to your liking than just glance at the overall percentages or box office receipts.

A few things that need to be considered: what do you want to get out of the movie going experience? We all want to be entertained, ideally through our heads and our hearts but how high are our standards? Is anything short of (insert your favourite movie here) passable. Can a movie even come close to the character development and long range storytelling that we are spoiled with in the Golden Age of television? How much ownership do we have to these worlds and why do we take our entertainment so personally?

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Everyone’s a critic, myself included. I watched both films discussed and was happy with the results. The kid in me was tapping myself on the shoulder exclaiming “did you see what they did there?” more times than my inner critic poking me in the back saying”did you see what they did there?”.  I will probably get the DVD’s when they come out (because I’m a Philistine that loves dated technology) and watch them over and over high-fiving my inner child the whole time. Mission accomplished.

How’s that for a review?

Nostalgia Smack-down: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child VS Stranger Things

HP vs STThis hot hazy summer brought us a spoil of riches. We were treated to two superb pop culture phenomenons that tweaked our childhood nostalgia.(warning spoilers) I don’t want to give too much away, but in order to compare these two seemingly unrelated  media artifacts I will have to explore a few details. In both offerings the adults take a back seat and the kids fuel the adventure, but talk about your cursed children! (Oh Barb, we barely new you.)

harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child Both The Cursed Child and Stranger Things play heavily into our collective consciousness. We associate these things with mostly fond memories of our youth. Reading the many reviews of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child I began to see a pattern. People were just as excited to write about the ritual and anticipation of waiting and acquiring a new J.K. Rowling offering than talking about the play itself. With myself I found the expectation to be both very high and low at the same time. I really wanted to be back in that world again, because when you’re there, it is totally immersive. I also went into it with the knowledge that this wasn’t a complete novel  but a snapshot (co-written by J.K.)  in the form of a play and that ultimately the best way to experience the story would be to see it performed live. Like most of the readers who picked up the play, it didn’t take long to reach the end. So how did it fare?

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Revisiting these characters, I was a little worried that my ideal impression of them would be tarnished. How would they be portrayed? They even played with this idea by presenting different versions of each character that exist in alternative realities. I was delighted that in no matter what reality Ron and Hermione had feelings for one another, but Happily Ever After is not a real thing, even Han and Leia broke up over a problem child. J.K. embraces real life, (hog)-warts and all and the Cursed Child explores many of the pitfalls life has to offer.

Daddy issues play heavily into the Cursed Child affecting many characters especially Harry and his role as a parent. He has no compass to navigate these waters, having lost his real father as a child and then his two surrogates (Sirius and Dumbledore) in his teens. We as readers take on the parenting role in a diminished fashion; watching these characters (we see in some way as our own) behave in ways we can’t control. The Cursed Child can elude to a multiple of characters in the play, along with the expectation we place on this story. How can it  not be cursed?  Cursed but not without magic.

1385b630-2c31-0134-0ca6-0a0b9a139ea7Speaking of cursed magical children, Eleven has a tough go of it, along with her own personal Daddy Issues amped up to well…. 11. Stranger Things came out of nowhere. It hit the perfect 80’s sci-fi sweet-spot we didn’t know we were craving. It wore all it’s influences on its sleeve and did it with unwavering homage and unquestionable affection. As a child of the eighties I was in heaven; from the soundtrack to the wardrobe to the details I was transported back to my youth. A time when your bike was your lifeline to the world because there was no such thing as a cellphone. Our heroes have to use walkie-talkies to communicate to one another.

Stranger-Things-TV-show-on-Netflix-season-1-canceled-or-renewed-590x332The reviews are in and Stranger Things has become a bonafide hit. Word of mouth is loud and non stop. As quickly as we read The Cursed Child we binged all 8 episodes. Stranger Things had an advantage over Harry Potter and the Cursed Child being that it had no preconceived expectations or canon to be accountable to. It however firmly placed itself in some pretty big shoes. The parallels between early Steven Spielberg and early Stephen King are unmissable.  To bring a tale of two Stevens and do it well is a rare occurrence.

pQjYuG8lBoth the Cursed Child and Stranger Things use nostalgia as their hook but it’s the characters and the story that distinguish them as great. I was initially worried about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child but was left with a sense of satisfaction and closure. Now the big thing that worries me: can Stranger Things season 2 deliver on our new high expectations?

House of Cards Season 4: Reality Index

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I just finished watching the 4th season of House of Cards, or as I like to refer to this season: Below and Beyond. For a show that should feel Shakespearean in scope; Bill is nowhere in sight. The three main points I gathered this season were: no one knows their proper place/ position ( if a pipe needs fixing, ask the First Lady – she can do anything), the power of rehearsal ( an inordinate amount of time was given to people practicing their lines – I kinda like this fact because always talking off the cuff will eventually reveal how utterly out of your depth you are) and lastly how enamored the public is with speechifying  at this moment in time. Take a minute and do a quick count in your head as to how many rhetoric laced speeches we hear on a daily basis. Soapbox salesmen must be making a killing. Obviously, there’s an election going on in the show and in real life, but who knew we were so craving to hear other people soundbite our fears, hopes and dreams to the tune of billions of dollars so they can turn around in the future and slash budgets for sorely needed services because there’s no money. The irony would be delicious if it were’t so scary. Speaking of scary: scary Underwoods are way more fun to watch then feuding Underwoods, so how did they do?

Again, I’m going to borrow steal the brilliant recap format from the high watermark of all TV recaps: Vulture’s Gossip Girl coverage. (They made watching a bad show fun.) This is how it works: points are awarded when events seem believable and deducted when the events are a little too implausible. At the end, we’ll tally the score and see if our tale of the Underwoods veers into the realms of the unreal, and yes I do know this is a TV show but even TV has its limits. Warning Spoilers

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The Underwoods are nothing if not consistent. The plausibility of their actions according to their characters is always intact but the plausibility of their actions according to their stations well let’s say – what’s in a title? They are the President and the First Lady, but have a hard time getting respect from terrorists and flower arrangers alike. I’m sure, the first thing anyone would imagine themselves doing if they were ever invited into the Oval office is to sit on the President’s desk like they owned the place like Governor Conway did.

This scores him major points on the reality side: lack of respect for the position of the Presidency. In this day and age you don’t even have to have held public office for a single day to feel you’re qualified for the most powerful position in the western world. The Presidency looks like something you’d be really really good at. Perceived entitlement is the only job qualification. +100 points

Speaking of the Conways, they’re kind of perfect. They should definitely get everything they want in this life. Instagram as Norman Rockwell painting: +50 points

This also leads to my favourite line this season, maybe in the history of H of C. When asked if Claire regrets not having children by Cathy Conway, Claire responds, “Do you regret having them?” -so cold, so good. + 50 points

Plus besides, how would Claire explain to her kids why Tom the writer was always having super quiet silent breakfast time with them? Meacham is dead, long live Meachem. +50 points

A resounding 250 points in the real column! But on the flip-side…..

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When producing a TV show there are some things that are unavoidable; like what do you do when you biggest star is in a coma? Do you have them just lay their doing nothing for a couple of episodes? Solution: unnecessary dream sequences -check. You also spend a lot of money on accurate recreation set pieces so you might as well use them.Why else would you have letter-opener death threats in the Oval office? (I guess that is kind of believable). This is also the only reason I can imagine, even in this completely fantastical world, where the Conways would stay in Claire’s bedroom. It is obviously done for the opportunity for candid exchanges between the antagonists and provided for my favourite line of the series, but Claire ain’t having no rugrats jumping on her bed. – 50 points.

Speaking of people being in places they shouldn’t be. The First Lady had her finger in so many pies this season she might as well be the Vice President, oh wait..

Claire strong arming the Russian President – 50 points

Claire negotiating with the head of an international terrorist organization. Did no one watch season three when she went to negotiate with  another prisoner? -50 points

The final scene that shows every character in the Situation room. It’s like they won a  radio contest – win a chance to watch a public execution with the President live in the Situation Room. What are those people doing in there? – 50 points.

The only person not in the Situation room was a bloody translator when the terrorist goes off script. “I wonder what he’s saying? Let’s just look at one another and let him keep speaking until he says something in English again.” -100 points

Lastly, for a season so obsessed with information tracking on the net, why would a Frank smear campaign involve a photocopy billboard of his dad shaking hands with a member of the KKK instead of leaking the image online? -20 points   Oh wait, being aligned with intolerant racism is no longer the political deathblow it should be, we can scratch that last one. 0 points

300 for the unreal.

Another season, another reason to go above and beyond the limit of plausibility. As far as this show goes, it’s got nothing on reality.

Season 3  Season 2

Everyone laughed? I gotta see this dance.

basketsOn movie’s biggest eve, naturally I’d like to talk television. Here’s hoping Oscar gives a little love to Mad Max, Brooklyn (sweet little movie) and Leo (scroll down for Revenant review) but we’re here for good TV, not overlong award shows where the Hollywood elites get to stroke each others egos for 4 hours to the tune of $232 000 gift bags. We’re also not here to talk about the ” the inmates are running the asylum” media circus, reality TV, “the am nots” and “are toos” that passes for political discourse these days TV. We’re here to talk about artists, clowns, New York in the seventies, punk rock, alien abductions, lizard men, Louis C.K., Louie Anderson, racist Alan Alda, pie sitting, mental illness and Martha Kelly.

Who’s Martha Kelly you’re asking? Martha Kelly is Chip Baskets’ insurance adjuster. Chip (Zach Galifianaskis) who was studying to be a classically trained clown at a Parisian clown Académie, up until he got expelled for not being able to speak french is forced to go back home to California. He returns to the states to pursue his dream of clowning, but finds that there isn’t a huge demand for clowns in his hometown of Bakersfield, except for at his local rodeo. Chip also has to suffer the insults of his twin brother Dale (also played by Zach) and the indignation of having to move back in with his mother played by Louie Anderson. Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d ever type: I love Louie Anderson. His portrayal of Mrs. Baskets is kinda brilliant. Produced by Louis C.K., Baskets is dark, funny and my new obsession.

118220_originalLouis C.K. also has another show on at the moment entitled Horace and Pete. You can stream it from his website. This is what Louis has to say about it:

“Warning: this show is not a “comedy”. I dunno what it is. It can be funny. And also not. Both. I believe that “funny” works best in its natural habitat. Right in the jungle along with “awful”, “sad”, “confusing” and “nothing”.

I just think it’s fair this one time to warn you since you have every right to expect a comedy from a comedian. I will not warn you again. Anyway it’s 2 dollars this week. Take a shot.”

Set in a bar in Brooklyn, it is shot like a one room stage play. The show tackles issues of racism, mental illness, family dynamics and dysfunction. It can get tripped up on its own ambitions but has moments of brilliance and insight. The cast is phenomenal: along with Louis you have Jessica Lange, Edie Falco, Steve Buscemi, Steven Wright and a show stealing  Alan Alda who plays the cantankerous Uncle Pete. I’ve only seen the first two episodes but there is enough there to keep me coming back for more.

maxresdefaultSpeaking of back for more, The X-Files returned for a 6 episode refresher to remind us the truth is still out there. The 6 episodes produced uneven results with the best being Mulder and Scully meet the Were-Monster which showcased  how good this show can be when it combines humour and the paranormal. The grand conspiracy was probably too ambitious for just 6 episodes and felt too rushed and too problematic. All that can be forgiven for the little moments we got between Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) that showed two old friends who truly cared for one another.

maxresdefault (1) The main character of Mick Jagger’s and Martin Scorsese’s  Vinyl is the music. Everything else except maybe the tone take a backseat to the energy and mayhem of what was going on sonically in 1973 NYC. Vinyl is best viewed as a heavily dramatized historical glimpse (with many liberties) into a pivotal moment in Rock N Roll. You can forgive the clunky dialogue and tired plot points to imagine you were there at Mercer Union to see The New York Dolls tear through Personality Crisis or seeing The Velvet Underground playing Venus in Furs  at one of the Plastic Exploding Inevitable parties with Warhol cool or witnessing the birth of Hip-Hop at 1520 Sedgwick avenue in the Bronx with DJ Kool Herc cutting up the Meters.  As long as the songs remain the same, Vinyl should remain in the rotation.

landscape-1447851048-ustv-better-call-saul-season-2-02Better Call Saul is back and as good as ever. It’s not easy to emerge from the shadow of one of TV’s watermark programs, but Vince Gilligan’s spin on a small time grifter who finds his true calling in the morally flexible nature of the law stands on its own. Bob Odenkirk musters enough charm, wit and sleaze to give Jimmy McGill a place among the greats. Season 2 starts off with Jimmy’s career skyrocketing but the allure of the con is always beckoning. Mike (Jonathan Banks) still doesn’t suffer fools kindly but always seems to be surrounded by them. In Better Call Saul we get to watch another person break bad in front our eyes and the brilliance lies within the increments that it takes place. Noble ambitions become tarnished and discarded as characters succumb to the pitfalls of ego and validation. Corruption never looked so good.

It’s nice to know TV’s still golden, and in a week’s time we get to put House of Cards through the reality index once more.

The Revenant Review

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There are parts of Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant I like and parts I like less. There are some truly unforgettable sequences in this sprawling tale of a broken Hugh Glass’s will to survive, along with a few elements that detract more than compliment. The Oscar buzz surrounding this one is thick, especially for its star Leonardo Dicaprio. Does his performance deserve it? He physically went through hell for this role; from wading into freezing rivers, crawling and dragging himself across a frozen landscape, eating raw buffalo meat and so on. For his commitment and what he endured I think he earned it. Was it the best piece of acting he’s ever done, hard to say? The academy has a way of awarding people for their past achievements through their current projects and at this point Leo is due. If he doesn’t win, then the ‘what do I have to do to impress these people? I ate raw buffalo meat for god’s sake!’ comments would come fast and furious.

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Why exactly did Leo and the rest of the crew put themselves through such extreme circumstances? For art? Art has a weird way of gaining access to things that other human endeavors seem to be shut out of. A big caveat it seems to hang its hat on is the nobility of suffering. If this is the case, then The Revenant is of the 10 gallon persuasion. The film is based partially on the true life story of Hugh Glass who was a fur-trapper in the early 19th century. The real story goes: that in 1823, deep in the wilderness, while out setting traps he was attacked and mauled badly by a Grizzly bear protecting her cubs. Hugh Glass was severely injured and unable to travel. The rest of his hunting party needed to continue on so they left two men to take care of him and bury him when he passed. The two men left with this task were John Fitzgerald (played by a brilliant Tom Hardy in the movie) and a younger gentleman (Will Poulter). The two men assuming Glass was on death’s door pack up and abandon him but Mr. Glass had other plans. This is enough story, but then Hollywood tries to spin its magic and that’s where things go south. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into details, but all the magic embellishments kind of distract from what could have been a brilliant movie.

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The movie is flawed, but definitely worth seeing, especially on the big screen. There are two reasons to see this film: 1.the landscape captured in natural light is absolutely gorgeous, 2. the bear attack sequence is one of the most visceral terrifying bits of film making in recent memory.

4/5

Lists the Season: 2015 TV edition

fhaar4dFqK2O7cqdiU9UrsHObzeIt’s that wonderful time of the year again; when we organize our lives into easily readable bullet-ed points rating our experiences from good to bad. Who doesn’t love lists? Many of you reading this right now probably have a few lists on the go as we speak: presents to buy, food to make, movies to watch etc.. So here’s my contribution: the top 10 TV shows of 2015. I’ll start by saying, it was another great year for the small screen. We said goodbye to a few old friends and were introduced to a few new ones. There were a few ‘what did I just witness’ moments along with ‘that went south quick’ ( cough, cough, True Detective season 2) . So without further ado…

0213durst0110. The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

This six part HBO series paints a disturbing portrait of a man whose reality feels like it was pulled straight from the pages of pulp horror novel with one of the year’s biggest holy crap moments.

Mr.Robot239. Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot does a lot with a little. Social anxiety never looked so good. I’m not sure the big twist really works for me, but I’m invested enough to see where this thing’s headed.

maste_s1_003_h.08. Master of None

Aziz Ansari has created a slice of life comedy that functions one part Seinfeld, one part Bored to Death and one part romantic comedy. The best part is that he cast his real parents to play his parents.

marvel-jessica-jones-david-tennant7. Jessica Jones

Finally a Marvel villan worth watching. David Tennant does a wonderful job painting a sinister picture of the ultimate ex-boyfriend from hell. A superhero show that dispenses with the cape and concentrates on the fall out.

key-and-peele-26. Key and Peele

These two together are going to be sorely missed.

episode-01-1024.jpg5. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

This year we lost Letterman, Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report but luckily we still have Mr. Oliver to tell it like it is.

wet-hot-american-summer-netflix_article_story_large4.Wet Hot American Summer First Day of Camp

The combination of 40 year-olds playing teenagers and 80’s power rock hits that camp nostalgia sweet spot like a deep breath of Polo cologne with underlying traces of Deep Woods Off.

peggy 3. Mad Men

Mad Men’s stellar seven season run ended on a high note; giving the history of television one of the best series closings of all time.

maxresdefault2. Better Call Saul

How could this not be good coming from the team that brought us Breaking Bad?

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 12_12_14 AM1.Fargo

This show has style for days: great characters, great performances, great dialogue, amazing cinematography, great soundtrack …… great show.

 

Star Wars The Force Awakens Review

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*Very Minor Spoilers*

This will be a brief review, with a more in depth one to follow after more people have had a chance to see the film and a real discussion can take place about the story and where our heroes (old and new) have found themselves.

I’ll start by saying; I am a huge fan of the franchise and love it warts and all. It’s partially because of those warts that I have such affection for it. In preparation for tonight’s screening, I went back and watched the original Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back this week, but ran out of time before I could see Jedi. I have to say nostalgia goggles do play tricks on the mind. In some ways the original movies play like a series of wonderful vignettes sloppily taped together with their slips showing the whole time. The longer you stare the larger the holes are, but the more times you watch, the more inconsequential the gaps become. We don’t care about the gaps because we just want to see Han’s ‘the cat that ate the canary’ grin or Luke whining about not being able ‘to go to Toshi Station to pick up some power converters’.

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There are a few moments in The Force Awakens that make you cringe slightly on your first watch, but that you know after repeated viewings will be little pieces of anticipated dialogue. An example that comes to mind is when Finn (Jon Boyega)  looks up at the sky and sees an X-Wing flown by Poe (Oscar Isaac) and says something like ‘That pilot sure can fly!’ Only in a Star Wars movie could a character say something so awkwardly obvious and some how come off kind of endearing. Daisy Ridly (Rey) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) steal the show and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren delivers a villain with a back story worth watching.  This chapter is definitely a return to form warts and all, that will make you want to see it again and again.

You had me at “in a galaxy far far away…” .

Related: Star Wars in the Age of Social Media

 

Even a Stopped Clock Gives the Right Time Twice a Day

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So a lot has happened since my failed attempt at soothsaying. I got Clara’s story spectacularly wrong but I may have stumbled half-assed  backwards into a plot device for Heaven Sent. I’m self awarding myself an over-sized participation ribbon for my efforts.

Truth be told, no one could have predicted the specific details of Clara’s endgame, considering all the so called ‘rules’ for her demise were spontaneously created for that particular episode. ‘You can give the death-clock tattoo to another person but then you can’t take it away from that other person after they’ve accepted it’ feels pretty made-up plot devicey. We get it: Clara needed to die from her reckless out-smarting herself with a pinch of altruism. I felt overall, it was a little less than satisfying. Another truth be told, I’m a Clara fan and I will miss the impossible girl, but maybe it was time for her to move on.

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This leads us to the events that happen in Heaven Sent. I don’t know about you, but I love it when the Doctor gets to spewing all fire and brimstone like he does at the beginning of this episode, and I don’t think any other Doctor delivers it better than Peter Capaldi. If you’ve ever seen The Thick of It than you know that this man can say things that would make a prison guard blush and intimidate a charging elephant. As great as all the other Doctors have been, I don’t think any of them could have pulled off the groundhog day shepherd boy story-line as well as he did. It’s hard to picture Matt Smith punching his way through a mountain made of a substance 40 times harder than diamond for 2 billion years. This episode was tailor made for the 12th Doctor.

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So sadly, we’re coming to the end of a mostly excellent season – and of course don’t forget the Christmas Special ( which like most of you who might be reading this, has become a family tradition). I’m not going to make any predictions, but I will leave you with one last hyphenated word (once I started I couldn’t stop)  that I think will sum up Hell Bent: nitty-gritty.

Paging Doctor John “Basil” Disco

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So sometimes, I don’t think I’m a particularly smart individual; scratch that, I know I’m not. I gave up on trying to predict things a long time ago, not because I couldn’t do it, but because it kind of ruined things for me. Now, I’m more content to be in the moment. I would make for a lousy weatherman. So it came as a big surprise that after watching last night’s Doctor Who episode I was left with a small theory about our favourite Gallifreyan (more on this a little later). See, I have this annoying habit of watching television programs and movies and enjoying them for what they are and not for what I want them to be. I think I can see the larger themes, allegories and pick up on some of the hidden references that are there for the initiated, but then again maybe a lot of it is going over my head. In the Whovian world I’m definitely a light weight. I’ve watched all the new Who and some of the old Who but am in the dark about most of its mythology and I’m OK with that. I read reviews and recaps and think, I didn’t see it that way. Why are so many people dissatisfied with certain show-runners, companions or Doctors or lack of action or too much of this and not enough of that. Fandom in some cases has ruined being a fan. Doing something well is really hard, but doing something well consistently well for over 50 years, well that’s near impossible. I guess I like Doctor Who no matter who’s steering the ship.

Do I have a favourite Doctor? Sure …….who is it? Depends on what day of the week you ask me.I like them all, all for different reasons. The thing I like the most is that they are all the same person but different incarnations of that same person. The different actors bring a different personality trait to the surface, but it’s still the same character underneath it all. It would be hard to show that much range with one actor, there would be too many cries of inconsistency. We love the Doctor because the Doctor is always the smartest person in the room who will always come up with the right plan and cracks wise while doing it …… which leads me to my theory. (spoilers)

The thing with being a light weight fan is that I haven’t put the time, effort and research into the science fiction and mythology of the show. So my theory is probably not a new one, I don’t know, I haven’t googled it. For those of you who have thought this since the seventies I apologize, but as I mentioned earlier I never do this so I am curious about it. So here it is: The Doctor works with the Groundhog Day principle. He repeats the same series of events over and over again until he gets it right and we as viewers only get to see the correct version. Ok ok I can hear the rebuttals already.What I do know of the mythology is this seems to go against a set of rules set by the show that pertain to time travel, but what I also know about the show is that rules routinely get bent out of shape.

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What got me thinking about this were two comments from last night’s episode: first when the Doctor mentioned this was the 16th time Kate had said a certain phrase after realizing there was nothing in the Osgood box and second that the Doctor had been worried for a month when Clara perceived it as only five minutes. Both these comments lead me to believe that the Doctor can go back and change the course of events if he so chooses. This goes a long way to explain how he always comes up with the right solution; he has had the luxury of trial and error. If this theory holds water, how does it effect our opinion of the Doctor? This is also where it gets sticky, especially for Clara. If he can go back and change things why didn’t he prevent the death of Danny? Is this the reason why Clara and the Doctor part ways at the end of this season?

I’m sure none of this is new and I hope that I’m wrong on all accounts, which I probably am; because I’m sure its all been disproved ages ago and I just wasn’t paying enough attention to notice. So I’ll just get back to letting things wash over me and leave the predictions to the meteorologists.

Intelligent Humor

ih_010 Last night while flipping through the channels I stumbled upon the Disney movie Big Hero 6 . I quickly got sucked in and before I knew it the story of Hiro and his friends whizzed by in a dazzling array of visuals and set pieces -and then the credits were rolling. As I was about to flip the channel a name on the screen unlocked a rumbling of a memory from a lifetime ago. The name was that of the director: Chris WilliamsWhy was that name so familiar to me? Was the Big Hero 6 Chris Williams the same Chris Williams who is the creator of one of my all time favourite comic strips: Intelligent Humor? Turns out he is, and now the universe makes a little more sense. ih_054 If you haven’t heard of Intelligent Humor, don’t worry it’s kind of obscure. The strip ran in the early nineties in the University of Waterloo’s student run newspaper. I was an art student there at the time and from the first read you could tell something extraordinary was at work. The strip combined absurdest humour with an underlying pop culture surrealism. Intelligent Humor is to Big Hero 6 what Life in Hell is to The Simpsons. It is an early look into the work of an artist that will go on to do big things.

You can check out the Intelligent Humor archive HERE with over 60 strips.