Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Greatest Hits

So I hate the new theme song. Let's just get that out of the way, first. The negativity. Because I am a geek and therefore on some level cannot be happy unless I have something to grouse about. I hate the new theme song. Beyond that, when "Silence in the Library" came out back in 08, and Steven Moffat was announced to be Dr Who's new show-runner, some fans worried that he'd rather run out of ideas. The squareness gun, the 51st-century setting, the "Everybody Lives" moment. (So far no one has died in a Moffat story save from old age, still, unless you count River and company, which the message of "Forest of the Dead" seems to philosophically contradict. Ie: Everybody Lives, Even When They Don't.) And "The Eleventh Hour" certainly keeps up this tradition of running through previous Greatest Hits of The Doctor, especially those from Moffat's stories. Amy's story is much like poor Reinette's in "The Girl in the Fireplace;" the aliens-talking-through-anything-with-speakers is the same as "The Doctor Dances;" and the central conflict of the episode--an alien prisoner loose on Earth being pursued by some pretty draconian aliens--is pretty much the exact storyline of Russel Davies' season-3 opener, "Smith and Jones."

But who the hell cares about plot? This is Doctor Who! There are monsters every week; that's not important. What's important is how our hero and his companion react to those monsters. Much more importantly, this is a new Doctor story, and there's only one question: How'd he do?

I'll admit I was put off by his youth. When the announcement was made, when the first publicity photos hit the air, I was a bit miffed. He's younger than I am, for God's sake. I am older than the Doctor, now. That's just not right. Not right at all.

However, I'm pleased to inform that my petty first impressions were entirely unfounded. Smith knocks it out of the park. And the script gives him ample opportunity to do so. There are a few lines which sound as though they could have been written for Tennant, but Smith does the one thing, the most crucial thing in this role: he makes it his own.

Favorite line: "Do you know when adults tell you everything's going to be fine and you're pretty sure they're lying?"
"Everything's going to be fine."

Just the reading of that line is fantastic. Smith takes to the role with energy and authority and absolute commitment. And he moves, the way he moves, all awkward and gangly, in direct contrast to Tennant's bounding about the place and Eccleston's stalking swagger. (Which was awesome, don't get me wrong. Awesome.)

Bit of trivia: This is the third time the Doctor has stolen his clothes from a hospital.

I quite like the new companion, Amy. With "Rose" in 2005 we got reintroduced to the Doctor through his companion's eyes, and it happens the same here, only with a slightly different, fractured-fairy-tale spin. He becomes an imaginary friend, a story she tells herself then forgets was ever real, until he comes back. This is the kind of thing Steven Moffat has been doing extremely well in his Doctor Who stories these past five years. I'm entirely confident that the next five years will be utterly brilliant. I can't wait.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Don't Let Them Take Babs, Neither

Not only do there continue to be little whispers of rumors of a US Torchwood remake (and the almost inevitably straightened-out Captain Jack that would follow) but another rumor rumbles and bubbles and gurgles and does other nasty things, that of a Barbarella remake.

This is a terrible idea, for the following reason: Americans would make it.

When Barbarella premiered in 1968 it was a French production (albeit with an American actress) based on a French comic. And not anything against American movies in general, but let's just go through the plot of 1968's 'Barbarella,' shall we?

Barbarella gets the call to go to Tau Ceti and stop evil scientist Durand-Durand. She rather crash lands, runs afoul of some evil children, gets rescued by this hairy dude, sleeps with the hairy dude, goes on her way, meets an angel, bangs the angel in to being able to fly again, gets in to some trouble in the City of Night, hooks up with the resistance, saves her angel, defeats Durand-Durand's orgasmerator and the evil one-horned cyclops chick whose name I can't recall and books out of the City of Night with her angel Pygar and the aforementioned cyclops lady.

Let me tell you how this would work in the United States in 2012, or whenever. Barbarella (now played by Megan Fox or some other Real-Doll) crash lands on Tau Ceti, where she's rescued by Sam Worthington or some other hunky bottomless pit of charisma from whence there is no escape, they banter "sexily," she stays hung up on him the whole film despite some second-act Lipstick Lesbianism, they blow the living SHIT out of the City of Night, and Worthington conquers her in some soft-focus missionary that cuts out with a bad pun before the movie ends.

Shoot me.

Take the American TV landscape, for instance. Tell me if I'm wrong, but with the exception of 'Sex and the City' and other ostensible "by girls, for girls" TV--and especially in the case of genre TV, something usually fronted by guys--if you're a Lady Protagonist you're bound to spend the entire series shacked up with pretty much one guy while the Highlander two channels over is busy banging chicks from here to 16th-century Scotland. The Ghost Whisperer, that chick from Underworld, that Medium lady, the girls of 'Charmed' (one of whom, Rose McGowan, was rumored for the part when she was dating Robert Rodriguez) they all have some constant male companion of greater or equal ability in the Getting Shit Done Dep't, or they're like Sydney from Alias: one lover dies early on and the other is this slow burn for half the gawdang series.

In the original film, Babs is free, self-assured, and capable of doing her thing without using sex as manipulative tool or following some dude around doe-eyed because one time he looked at her funny. A character like this, in full possession of her sexual superpowers would like as not be a villain in any major US production. So, please, Hollywood. Make 'Transformers 5' instead.

Addendum: Because it amuses me, here is the entirely NSFW Orgasmerator scene: