bookzombie: (chris)
Okay, so I've been having tremendous fun archive-binging on Philip Sandifer's TARDIS Eruditorum site (and by the way, thanks to [ profile] nwhyte for linking to this enormous time-sink!), of which more at a later date, but it has made me think about my own Doctor Who fannishness. I'm prone to talking about it as my first fandom (even though that's a term I've only started using recently) and it's the thing that starts me on the road to being an sf fan (The Tomorrow People was also a contributing factor), but looking at it it's amazing how little of the program I actual saw in 'real time' when it was first shown. I've been interrogating my memory, trying to work out a list, and it goes something like this:Doctor Who episodes I can remember seeing by season )
So in other words the only season in which I can be pretty certain that I saw every episode from the original broadcast is the very last one in 1989! Going into this I would have sworn I'd seen all of at least season 13, until I realised that I hadn't seen The Seeds of Doom all the way through.

Okay, some of this is understandable. There were no video recorders for much of this time so if you didn't catch it on the day you didn't see it at all. If it clashed with something my mum wanted to watch, or if either parent just didn't want you to put the television on at the appropriate time then you missed it. If there were family visits to or from the grandparents then you missed it.

But that doesn't explain periods of time when I didn't watch it at all. The middle period of Tom Baker's time I just wasn't much bothered with (partly because I always found K9 really silly and annoying - even though I was theoretically at exactly the target age group for him), I lost interest in Peter Davison half way through his tenancy, couldn't get on with Colin Baker's stuff and thought McCoy was far too silly until TV Zone magazine started coming out and convinced me that the program was starting to do some interesting things.

But also, I wonder if the way we watch television has changed in other ways? I don't recall that we ever really did 'appointment television.' There was nothing that anyone in the family always watched - not even mum with 'her' soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale Farm - but if you happened to be free you sat down and watched whatever was on. Obviously there were some you made more effort for, but nothing that you sulked about if you missed.

So the question for people of my generation is whether that was a common model or just the way my family did things. Any thoughts?
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Megan Hood used to be a neurosurgeon, but after being in a car accident, nerve damage means that she cannot continue to pursue her original career so works as a medical examiner. Her forthright and arrogant manner puts her in conflict with both her colleagues and the police.


A fairly typical glossy US detective series with some promise, but let down by cliched characterisation. Spoilers ahead.

Read the rest of this entry ยป )

Originally published at Books, Bytes & Other Bits. Please leave any comments there.

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Okay, given that all I've posted recently has been stressing about work I thought it was time to talk about something else.

So what have I been watching recently?

I gave Season 1 of Life a go. I like the central idea and overarching story, and the characters are interesting, but the 'case of the week' element is distinctly ordinary. Probably not going to go any further with this one. American friends: is Damian Lewis' accent as dodgy as it sounds to my British ear?

I managed two seasons of Burn Notice. I like the main character, and Bruce Campbell & Sharon Gless are both fun. But I have a real struggle with the character of Fiona (aside from finding myself screaming at the tv 'for god sake eat some proper food - you look one burger away from an eating disorder) My problem is with her being an IRA bomber. I know I'm probably going to be chastised for taking things too seriously, but I still remember being evacuated off trains because of bomb threats, etc. Just consider if a UK television series had one of the 9/11 planners as a main, romantic character and none of the characters have a problem with it. Anyway, that aside, I think I've got to the end of my run with this one.

I've seen the first 3 episodes of The Event. It's okay, I suppose, but I can't see me lasting with it.

I've rewatched (most of) the first two seasons of Buffy recently. It's the first time for five years, I suspect and I've been enjoying it all over again. Season 2 is still the series' high point for me. I've rediscovered various things:
1. How much the series is lifted by the performances of Tony Head and Alyson Hannigan (and how entertaining Armin Shimmerman is)
2. I remember why Xander irritated me.
3. James Masters is great, but his accent in Season 2 is appalling.
4. Episodes like Innocence, Passions & Becoming still pack an emotional punch.
5. Even the series' best season there are some real duds (Ted & Go Fish, I'm looking at you!)
6. Marti Noxon used to be funny once (Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered)
7. David Boreanis looks really young. And his acting has improved since then...
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So I've been off work all this week with the cough from hell. I actually drove part way to work in Reading on Tuesday and had such an awful coughing fit that barely kept the car on the road and at the next opportunity I turned around and came back home again.

I phoned the doctor to sort out a sick note (for the first time in at least fifteen years, possibly longer) and he said that I actually had bronchitis - the coughing following on from a cold is a bit of a clue. And there's really nothing you can do about it except rest and wait for it to clear up. That part is taking its time; I'm not really feeling any better than I was a week ago - I get a few good hours maybe and then have some ferocious coughing fits. Anyway, back to work on Monday and see how I get on - I have a feeling that they might send me back home again! But we'll see.

The main reason I need to get better as soon as possible is that we are only just over three weeks away from Scrooge and with the number of rehearsals I've ended up missing I'm feeling really unengaged with it. We've got a rehearsal tomorrow (Sunday) and I'm planning on going along so I can at least catch up on some of the bits of 'setting' that I've missed or only done once. I doubt that I'll be able to do any actual singing, but at least I can get a reminder of where to stand.

So in the meantime I've spent a couple of weeks getting through Clarke award reading and playing computer games from the comfort of the living room sofa. I finished 'Star Ocean: The Last Hope' (verdict: better than many of the reviews seemed to think but still way too long) and played through 'Mini Ninjas' which was fairly slight but just about what my brain could cope with. And now, after a second attempt I've finally given up with 'The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess' on the Wii. There are things about it I like a lot but the nunchuck-controlled direction controls is just not working for me - I continually screw up the platforming and fighting sections because I just can't get the fineness of control that I need - it also leaves me with a slightly sea-sick feeling. I guess it's just me as others don't seem to have the problem!

I've also come to the end of Season 3 in my project to watch 'Alias' through from the beginning. It remains a) great fun and b) dumb as a very dumb thing. A great game to play is 'who is holding the idiot ball this week'...
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I know I've been a bit quiet the last week or so. This can partly be blamed on last week's illness which left me unable to face sitting up at the computer for any length of time (just a fever/cold/cough thing that has more or less gone away now), spending a lot of time on the surprisingly large pile of Clarke Award books which have already arrived (15 so far, 4 read, 1 in progress), long rehearsals, Oxford visits and work being well, let's just not talk about it shall we (I've had a particularly crappy day today).

Other than that, there has been gaming, of which more when I have a brain. We also watched the 2006 production of Jane Eyre which I much enjoyed. I read the book a few years ago and while it was okay I found Jane rather a prig and Rochester a monster. The tv version managed to get away from that without substantially changing the characters, and there was real chemistry between the two main actors.

I'm also watching the first season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles while I do my cycling and mainly enjoying it, though please I hope there isn't too much of the 'Cameron learning to act human' stuff that was boring when it was Data in ST:TNG. Is it me though or does Summer Glau look no older now than she did five years ago when she was in that episode of Angel? She's got a horrible picture in the attic, that's all I can say...

bookzombie: (Cake or Death)
Overall, not bad I have to say. I know I shouldn't say this out loud but work seems to be settling down a bit again; this week has been reminding me of what I like about the job.

Non-work wise, I finished Devil May Cry 3 on the PS2 yesterday, which was fun overall but even on easy mode had some horrendous, temper inducing sections!

Also yesterday I finished George R. R. Martin's A Feast for Crows which was as always hugely enjoyable. I couldn't help but snigger a little at the author's note at the end which said that the next book, A Dance of Dragons (or something along those lines) would be out the next year. This note was written in 2005 and the last publication date I saw for the book was spring next year.

Also much enjoyed was Soundings, Gary K. Wolfe's collection of reviews and Bryan Talbot's Alice in Sunderland, which I mentioned a few days ago.

We've been watching Studio 60 from the Sunset Strip, the already cancelled Aaron Sorkin show. Overall I have been very much enjoying it, Matthew Perry particularly is surprisingly good, but I can understand a little why it was a flop. For a start off the bits of the comedy show we see are just not that funny. Harriet, the woman who is the lead in the comedy show is as dull as dishwater. Nothing against her performance, but Amanda Peet seems far to young to be convincing as a studio president. But the biggest problem I have about the show is this: the 'show within the show' is supposed to be a topical comedy programme, but the whole 'show outside the show' is given the same serious treatment (bordering on portentousness) of The West Wing, which seems to be over egging the pudding, frankly.
Still, I'm am enjoying it in spite of my reservations.

Oh yes, and we've just come back from seeing Harry Potter V, which actually does a good job of slimming a hugely over-written book down to something that is both manageable and quite entertaining. Mind you, it didn't escape our notice that the small children sitting behind us were getting rather audibly bored...
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Ganked from [ profile] annaoj

Bold all of the following TV shows which you've ever seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime.
- Italicize a show if you're positive you've seen every episode of it.
- If you want, add up to 3 additional shows (keep the list in alphabetical order).

bookzombie: (sdwolfpup)

Alas, we did not get to the cinema as often as we would like to this year. I don't really know why - just apathy I guess. Of the films we did see:

Pirates of the Caribbean 2 was fun, but could have been greatly improved by having half an hour trimmed off the running time.
Superman Returns was beautiful to look and oddly affecting, but could have been more exciting - I'd like to have seen the director give more of his own stamp to it, rather than slavishly trying to mimic the first Christopher Reeve film.
But by far and away the best film was The Prestige. A marvelous piece of filmmaking which manages to make a good adaptation of a difficult novel and still be a classy piece of film-making in its own right.

A mixed year for TV viewing. Battlestar Galactica continued to push the envelope of TV sf drama, but still remains a show to admire more than to like. Smallville had an okay year - still remaining 'The show most dangerous to recommend to other people' on the grounds that amoung some really good episodes, there is an awful lot of formulaic crap.

I enjoyed season 2 (and what has been shown so far of season 3) of Lost. I'm still not convinced that the show-runners have an overall plan but its an entertaining journey nevertheless. But, please God, no more flashbacks for Jack, the most annoying leading character in a tv show ever!

Eureka was silly and quite formulaic but again very entertaining in its own way. In these days of moral ambiguity, it is nice just once in a while to have a show with some genuinely likeable characters.

I'm still not quite sold on Torchwood. I wanted to love it so very badly and the most I can stretch to is liking it. One of the reasons that Doctor Who has been such a success is the genuine warmth the makers seem to have for the characters. Torchwood suffers from a bunch that are either not terribly likeable or are ciphers. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for complex characters, but I'm struggling to find something to latch on to. Still, there have been some good episodes: the P. J. Hammond 'fairy' story, the one with the plane that travelled back in time from the 1950s (so sad) and the one where Suzie gets resurrected. But I could write an essay about everything that they got wrong in the one where they try to do a Love and Monsters (outsiders viewpoint) and fail.

The best stuff:
Spooks had an excellent year; nicely complex and no easy answers.

Veronica Mars season 2 was also very good indeed. Among other admirable things it still is the tv series that has the most realistic view of the US class system (from what others have told me, anyway, not being from there myself!).

After the first time through I was a little disappointed with season 2 of the new Doctor Who. It had some stuff I loved (School Reunion for my inner fanboy and The Girl in the Fireplace for my inner romantic, a great end-of-season story) and I really like David Tennant. But something didn't quite hang together as well as the first season. But having recently watched the whole thing again I have to say it has grown on me considerably. And I have really taken to Love and Monsters, Russell T. Davies' love-letter to fandom. Okay, I still feel that the ending was a little silly, but it also has some great performances (particularly from Marc Warren & Camille Coduri) and some of RTD's best writing. What is so nice is that the people looking for the Doctor are not geeks or idiots; they are all real human beings who bind together through a common interest but grow beyond that initial link. Sounds like my fandom, for sure! (And that, by the way, is what Torchwood got so wrong: in the equivalent episode the viewpoint character is just a geek, with no real reason given why we should like him).
Next year is going to be a tough one for the show-runners, though, in having to replace Billie Piper. I wonder how many of the viewers watched it for Rose as much as for the Doctor? Quite a few, I imagine.

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Just to make a change from the Worry and the Whinge, a few bits and pieces on the entertainment front.

(Some spoilerish stuff in here, so behind cut )
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So, we've watched the first 3 episodes of Buffy/X-Files cross Supernatural.

Thus far (bar some irritating picture bleaching and, in episode 3, the shoddiest back projection I have seen for some time) it is enjoyably entertaining (and I hear it gets more involving).

But it has to be said that it doesn't have an original idea or a brain cell in its pretty little head.

Bless it.
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Okay, even I have to admit that my postings have been a bit wingy recently (and I'm not going to mention the thing that happened at work today which could potentially double my work load over the next three or four weeks...).

So, on a different theme some more fun stuff.

Vaguely spoilerish stuff behind cut )

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We've watched the first four or five episodes of Bones.

And the verdict is: virtually no resemblance to the books, but still fun in its own way. Given that, particularly in the early series, I always thought that the problem with Angel was Angel himself, I'm actually rather enjoying David Boreanas in this (and he must be enjoying filming in daylight...). Brennan herself is less likeable, but the two spark off each other entertainingly.

I do have to grit my teeth and suspend disbelief at times. They have Brennan and her people doing stuff that would surely be done by a CSI unit. I don't believe the hologramatic reconstruction stuff for a second (though I will, of course, eat my hat if someone tells me that it is all real...). And maybe it's different over here, but would a University facility really have all that space (half of which doesn't seem to be used for anything - we fit about 80 people into the same space in my office!), let alone all the equipment to fill it? Oh yes, and ditch the annoying grad student character (Zack? Something like that. It usually takes me about 20 episodes before I can remember names!).

So, quite good fun, but it's no CSI.
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Those British people of a certain age may remember a childrens' TV series called <i>Children of the Stones</i>.

Discussion includes spoilers, so behind cut )

Catch up

Oct. 2nd, 2005 06:24 pm
bookzombie: (kyocat)
Hi folks,
not been posting much recently. This is in part due to work, and part due to (possibly work-related) tiredness.

I've been having one of my tired weeks: getting home from work and feeling absolutely shattered and not feeling up to much beyond eating, watching some TV and sleeping. I'm not sure whether this is the remnants of the Glandular Fever still hanging around, the stress levels at work, or whether I'm sickening for something. I've had a bit of a sore chest for a couple of weeks now but it doesn't seem to become anything more serious.

We spent much of the evenings last week watching season 6 of The West Wing on DVD. This was very much enjoyed - a step up from the previous couple of years, with only really one minor dud episode (if I had more brain I'd have more to say...).

Haibane Renmei volume 3 arrived finally last week, but we've not had the chance to start it yet - since we finished WW6 we've been catching up on the stuff we've recorded from the television (Spooks, The Dead Zone, Carnivale, etc).

I've been keeping up with the gym, which has been good - my weight is back in the single figures of 12st now.

We were originally planning to go to the Norcon convention this weekend but didn't get organised. Given how tired I've been, perhaps it is as well.

Recent reading has included Tim Power's first novel The Skies Discrowned which is okay, but very old-fashioned. Currently, I'm two-thirds of the way through the second volume of Mike Ashley's history of science fiction magazines. Fascinating stuff - the only bad thing is that it tempts me to start trying to get hold of obscure magazines...

Saw Pride and Prejudice at the cinema yesterday - much better than I was expecting but still not as good as the BBC production of a few years ago. The problem is that the restricted running time means that it feels like the 'Cliff Notes' version of the story. In particular it is difficult to see why the various couples fall in love with each other.

Anyway, that's it for now. More when I have more brain!
bookzombie: (kyocat)
We saw very different films/episodes of series yesterday which just show the extremes, even within the realm of the fantastic.

Sin City review )

And for something completely different we have the the Anime Fruits Basket, recommended to P. by a colleague.

Fruits Basket review )


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