SF

Doctor Good news, Bad news…


The good news is that last week’s trailer was wrong:

not only was Amazon Prime not the villain, but everything bad was caused by the unprincipled actions of a terrorist luddite in a labor dispute over automation taking jobs, or as we call them, “A Typical Leftist”. Corporate management might not be very bright, but they weren’t eeeevil.

The bad news is that that was all of the good news.

Also, no trailer for next week, just a warningpromise that there are only three more episodes (and no Christmas episode).

And, yes, she’s thrusting with the sonic again…

“Oh, the pointing again! They’re screwdrivers! What are you going to do, assemble a cabinet at them?”

Action!


“This doesn’t make sense!”

“That we’re being chased by lingerie space pirates, or that our pilot is a sex toy?”

“That the sex toy is a better pilot than I am!”

“She’s probably just had more stick time.”

“Not funny. Why does her programming include combat evasion tactics?”

“Maybe she’s playing hard-to-get, who cares. Can we focus on this problem?”

“Right. Killer robot trying to cripple the ship. How long have we got?”

“Two minutes, tops. And if it goes straight for the drive once it’s inside…”

”…then we’re toast. Okay, I distract, you smash.”

Tsuranga goes Pting!


Well, I guess now we know what they were saving their effects budget for. Honestly, I’d have preferred a midget in a rubber suit, in the great Doctor Who tradition, but at least we’re in space in the future doing future space things, and not reminding people about Socially Important 20th-Century History. Oh, wait, that’s next week, when they find Yaz’s grandmother hip-deep in the partition of India and Pakistan.

Warning quote from next week’s writer:

“I grew up watching shows like Star Trek and Quantum Leap on the edge of my dad’s bed, and I loved how they managed to capture the imagination of a kid like me as well as acting as a moral compass.”

Dear Doctor,


In two of the four episodes this far, I’m getting what I’d call a “less-goofy Eccleston” feel. This is not a bad thing.

In the other two episodes, I’m getting a “half-assed crap” feel, but hopefully we’re past that.

However, and I’m just asking as a friend, what made you sure that they were all in range of Ryan’s music? I mean, we saw at least two dog-sized ones around town, and nothing to suggest that there weren’t a few dozen more.

Doctor Who premiere


The “pre-show” was full of cringing awfulness that I had to keep muted, and I honestly felt sorry for BBC America, because they clearly have nothing else going for them right now. Seriously, after 13 days of showing nothing but Doctor Who reruns, they’re going into a two-day Star Trek maration, followed by a day of Planet Earth, two days of X-Files, and another day of Star Trek, and next week more of the same; do they even have any programming?

As for the episode itself, the publicity robbed all drama from the spoiler of Spoiler. It does at least suggest that they’re going for a more classic full-time-companions season, which is nice. I liked the performances, and I’ll tentatively give the story a B, even if they had to cheat a bit to give her a real “Doctor trick”. Whittaker carried the role, which is what really matters.

I recorded it, so whatever “extra footage” they show in the after-show special, I’ll see later; I can’t handle more cringe. What really struck me was that BBC is going all-in, but not all-out. I’m not sure I can really explain what I mean by that; it just feels off.

Okay

Let’s see if I can explain it. The BBC is betting everything on revitalizing their brand as pro-women. Witness the tag lines for this Doctor Who season: “Galaxy of Women”, “The Past, Present, and Future is Female”, “It’s About Time”. It’s a conspicuous theme across their programming: they’re Getting Woke.

But the DW promotion feels low-budget and low-effort compared to previous seasons, like they’re not sure this is going to revive the franchise (and more importantly, the merch sales). The pre-show special was full of unknown actors and girl power, telling not showing. Bonus middle finger for having a half-dozen fangirls help fix the host’s remote control with their sonic screwdrivers.

I didn’t see any theaters putting the first episode on the big screen. I didn’t see a bunch of teaser mini-episodes. I didn’t see a special with previous Who actors brought out to celebrate the changing of the guard. It looks to me like the promoters are concentrating on “rah! rah! teh wymmins!“, not “this will be the best damn Who we can make”. The BBC wants us to believe, but do they believe?

I did see the announcement of a limited-edition Barbie (which is actually a decent likeness, unlike the other figures I’ve seen announced of her).

Now, admittedly, too much teaser-ing can backfire. Remember this line from Capaldi’s teaser:

“I’m the Doctor. I’ve lived for over 2,000 years. I’ve made many mistakes, and it’s about time that I did something about that.”

They never even tried to live up to this promise. Hell, last season was a chronicle of suicide attempts, and his best moments were playing off of River Song.

The actual episode, unlike the way it was marketed, was made by people who believe. The Doctor gets a solid foundation for a new personality and style. Each companion gets more character development than Bill Potts got all season. The Monster Of The Week was just deadly enough to take seriously, but not enough to take seriously, if you know what I mean; Whittaker nicely carries off the attitude of “even in my current state, I can spot a loser and mock him for it”.

As long as they don’t immediately follow this up with something written and directed by junior interns, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Honest Dictionary Entries…


Literary Science Fiction: “No academic publisher would take it, so I threw in five lines about time travel and sold it to Asimov’s.”
See also Atwood, Margaret.

[related]

The Penguin is a Harsh Ebook


Apparently the rights have finally been sorted out, and last week Penguin released Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress for Kindle. TANSTAAFL applies, but they kept it under $10.

Please Don’t Tell My Parents…


…that Penny’s story is over. Richard Roberts’ fifth tale of Penny Akk, Junior Supervillain, has finally been released, and it was worth putting up with his publisher’s three months of ominous silence.

In order:

Everything but the anthology containing Summer Of Lob is on Kindle Unlimited.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”