Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I feel like Roses

Under the weather at the moment. By that I mean I can hear the weather on the floor above me, and am being kept awake trying to figure out what all the weird noises that it's making are.

And no, it's not because I keep being involved in online chats like this:

PRAT: Please, allow me to respond to your points one by one, in such a condescending way that I make it clear that I am in all means your intellectual superior, Australian-boy!

ME: Fuck you now I list a gignatic essay that I've had to abridge just to fit in one post relating just how badly you misread my entire argument, how your latest points are nothing but retarded gibberish and my top 100 reasons you should have been strangled at birth.

PRAT: I see that I may have misunderstood what you said and did not mean to make you upset.

ME: Apology accepted as if it were a kick to your balls, mofo.

PRAT: Now I make a needly post where I pretend to be gently enquiring as to your previous behaviour but really I'm demanding an instant apology before I cry like a bitch.

ME: I hate you even more than I did last post.

PRAT: Waaaa! Mummy he said bad things about me!!!

Maybe I should just change my OG name to "The Hatemachine" and be done with it?

Anyway, I'm in a bad state because it is Summer and I have a frigging cold, because every time it looks warm and I go out to do anything in short sleeves and pants the temperature drops a full ten degrees leaving me in a permanently freezing state for the last..erm, two months? Now I think I've gone beyond a cold to a fever, because my bare skin is always frozen over, but when I wrap up I'm almost in a sweat and generally I feel unable to do anything.

Summer and fever do not mix well for me.

I've spent the day entirely inside with little to do, especially given the dead nature of the Chatham thread on OG due to a fucknuckle leaving me no choice to unleash the dark side of my mind and thus scare absolutely everyone else off and the fact that Spara has finally learnt a thing or... no just a thing about faking some basic writing skill. (Adjectives in prose - I said it. Throw enough adjectives in a slow, opening prose sequence to 'build up tension' and people think you know what you're doing. It doesn't take a genius to work out the write words [hint: the ones best-sellers use constantly] and keep the narrator detached and vaguely sinister. People won't read between the lines and they assume you have talent. Only took him, what, five years to work it out?)

To my shame, although I have spent a fair bit of this enforced convalescene writing, I spent most of the day in my zombie state playing an ancient game by the name of Shane Warne Cricket. My copy is, naturally, abandonware, you know, that stuff that Wikipedia tells you is the most illegal stuff in the entire planet, and has no sound. So I put on Windows Media Player and play either a BF story (Faith Stealers at the mo... a lot better than I expected!) or a music playlist.

Now, for some reason I cannot fathom, the playlists I was using contained one of the worst songs ever written - Roses by Outkast. I say one of, because Outkast put out at least two albums before, as I like to believe in my wishful thinking, accidentally firing themselves into the sun. I dare, therefore, to check on the 'acting' career of their lead 'singer', Andre 3000, a man who's name garners more vaccuum cleaner jokes than any other in the world.

The thing that makes Roses bad is not just the ineptness of the lyrics, but the style of the music behind them that causes the song to get stuck in your mind for a long duration - especially when you're currently incapable of thinking about much stuff at one time. BUT the lyrics, I would say, is definitely the worst.

(Note, lyrics used from a site where they have been ineptly transcribed for my own amusement)

Caroline! Caroline!
All the guys would say she's mighty fine
But mighty fine only got you somewhere half the time

Outkast are black, did I mention that? I guess it's redundant as it should be clear that they, like all high-profile African American musicians broadcast their independence from the white man by consistently using a stilted, stereotypical form of grammar (or lack thereof) to communicate everything.

Anyway, Caroline is the subject of this song, in a roundabout way. As is clearly stated, she is a physically attractive woman, but there is more to here than meets the eye, according to Andre 3000...

And the other half either got you cursed out, or coming up short

Possibly she is not a nymphomaniac? I can't be certain what this means. Personally 'coming up short' sounds like a euphemism for premature ejaculation. Co-incidence?

Yeah, now dig this,

I'm already listening, Andre. Are you afraid I'm just going to walk out? This is only the first verse!

even though (even though)
You'd need a golden calculator to divide (to divide)

I'm not sure if this is the lyric - it could just as easily be 'go and calcutate the two to five', but it sounds typically Outkastian.

The suggestion is that a calculator made out of solid gold is somehow more effective than a regular calculator, especially for calculating minimal amounts. This doesn't seem likely considering that gold is a far more malleable metal than most and isn't a very effective conductor - a golden calculator would function in a more sluggish manner than most and would break easily after persistent use of its buttons.

Or maybe Caroline is a possible Cyberman?

The time it took to look inside and realize that
Real guys go for real down to Mars girls, yeah!

What we're meant to divide the 'time' by remains forever a mystery, as clearly Mr 3000 is keeping his theories secret. For the meantime.

Again, it's a struggle to not see a misogynistic undertone here - 'down to Mars', suggests 'off the planet', 'out of this world', other such terms for 'wild' which, in turn means 'will have sex with you for no reason because she's crazy!' when used by Americans.

Unless we assume Andre is an Ice Warrior fetishist. This song really is far more palatable for Doctor Who fans...

I know you'd like to thank your shit don't stank
But lean a little bit closer
See that roses really smell like boo-boo
Yeah, roses really smell like boo-boo

This is important to take note of, as this is the chorus of the song and is therefore the bit that gets said 800 times before it's finally over and will be stuck in your head. And it's not a good one, is it?

At this point, Andre mysteriously stops addressing the issue of his nymphomaniacally-deprived ex and begins addressing the audience directly, accusing them of aggrievous vanity with regards to their own bodily waste. What this is based on, I'm not sure. Has Andre noticed an increase in fecal pomposity incidents in recent times? This could be true of myself, as I have practically no sense of smell, of course, but I am aware of the existence of such an odour and I'm sure most humans on Earth are.

His message becomes stranger, though, as he defends the aroma of feces with unexpected vigor. Apparently, the sweetest-smelling flowers smell exactly the same.

So... what's that about?

(Also, he really does say 'thank')

Caroline! See she's the reason for the word "bitch" (bitch)
I hope she's speeding on the way to the club Trying to hurry up to get to some Baller or singer or somebody like that And try to put on her makeup in the mirror And crash, crash, crash.. into a ditch! (Just Playing!)

This bit is quite funny... the first time you hear the song. It won't be long before you start thinking "Wait a minute.. he just used a joke to save himself from writing three lines in a song. That's saving himself only one rhyme to write" Further proof that Mr 3000 can't write a song for shit (or Roses) and is well aware of the fact.

She needs a golden calculator to divide (to divide)
The time it took to look inside and realize that
Real guys go for real down to Mars girls, yeah!

Slightly confused now, as surely Caroline hasn't realized that real guys go for down to Mars girls? Otherwise she presumably would still be shackled to Andre 3000's bed and this entire song would not have existed...

*Sigh* If there's one thing I expect from my lyrics it's a sense of continuity.

Well she's got a hotty body, but her attitude is potty
When I met her at a party she was hardly acting naughty

Okay, here's the rap segment in this verse, handled by one of the unknowns in the band who is actually capable of rhyming a lot of words, though to be fair the use of hip-hop allows words to be used utterly indiscriminately because the speed of delivery generally prevents people from noticing how little sense it makes.

Nothing new here, though, the themes of hotness combined with a lack of nymphomania frustrating young guys is maintained and my heart continues to bleed.

I said "Would you call me?"
She said "Pardon me, are you ballin'?"

"Would you call me?" seems like a clumsy pickup line to me. Possibly 'balling' means 'under the influence of snowballs', which seems like an appropriate response.

I said "Darling, you sound like a prostitute pursing"


Oh so you're one them freaks, get geeked at the sight of ATM receipts

I've no idea what this means. She assumes he is a metamorphic creature who transforms into Steve Urkel when encountering evidence of electronic transfers?

But game been peeped, dropping names she's weak
Trickin' off this bitch is lost
Must take me for a geek a quick way to eat
A neat place sleep, a rent-a-car for a week, a trick for a treat
Now go on the raw sex, my AIDS test is flawless
Regardless, we don't want to get involved with no lawyers
And judges just to hold grudges in a courtroom
I wanna see ya support bra not support you!

I don't even have the power to analyse this stream of verbal diarrhea. As I said, rappers can get away with anything. If you want to try and decipher any meaning from this, other than the fact that her side of the bargain of the relationship is to get her tits roughly ogled, knock yourself out.

Better come back down to Mars
Girl, quit chasin' cars

The 'cars' she is chasing are presumably men not wanting to exploit her entirely... or she is a fan of Snow Patrol and Andre is kindly asking her to stop buying their albums.

What happens when the dough get so low
Bitch, you ain't that fine
No way.. no way.. no way

And just to finish things off on a nice note Andre 3000 informs the heroin that she isn't attractive enough to prostitute herself in the future when in financial strife so may as well shack up with somebody right now.


I've got nothing else to say so I guess I'll end this post on a low note. See you on Mars.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

PMG Season 2: Reviewed!

CHARLEY: You have a plan?

THE DOCTOR: Of course. Tell me Charley, are you fond of DRAAAMA?

CHARLEY: Yes. That's why I can't fucking stand this story.


Invaders From Mars

So... any idea why Mark Gatiss hates me? Because just about everything in this story is calculated precisely to piss me off.

Firstly there’s the voices. See, I like my voices to sound on the human side. Yes, there’s the issue of needing to accentuate and caricature voices to a degree so that all the characters can be told apart by the audience, but there is no excuse for this - a reviewer said it best when he described this as a Bugs Bunny cartoon. That’s the sound precisely, absolutely ludicrous Brooklyn accents that sound like they’re coming from three-foot midgets with oversized fedoras.

Then there’s the plot. Or lack of it. The first two episodes go nowhere because they’re so busy introducing the cast… lets go through it. You got Orson Welles and John Houseman. Their boss, Bix Biro and his secretary who I think was Lola. Biro has an off-sider who I think was called Winkler, and connections with Cosmo DeVine. DeVine is in a gang war with Don “Phantom” Chaney, whose gang includes Mouse and Ellis, who are trying to find out who Chaney’s paymaster is but only run into a private eye named Jack Halliday. Chaney is also holding prisoner a Russian scientist who probably had a name who incidentally has a ‘niece’ named Glory Bee. And then two aliens show up near the end that are a blatant knockoff of The Dominators.

If you count that mess you end up with fifteen named speaking parts and I can assure you there’s a wheelbarrow full of non-named speaking parts as well. This goes some way to explaining the ridiculous voices as essentially all cast members have to triple-up in characters, even though half of the characters I mentioned there do fuck all over the course of the story. But are just about all introduced in the first episode anyway.

Add to this every single one of the fifteen named characters having an agenda, a hidden agenda, a moment where they double-cross somebody, and at some point triggering a gunfight where we have no idea what's happening BECAUSE IT'S AUDIO! This makes the plot quite a considerable mess, but everyone's so frigging pathetic that you don't care, except maybe until the bit where 'Glory Bee' reveals that she is a Russian spy and Jessica Stevenson seems to deliberately do the absolute worst Russian accent as revenge on the people who wrote this. And because her character has nowhere else to go after this cheap and entirely illogical twist, she falls off a bridge at the start of the next ep.

But wait! It can get worse! How about ignoring entirely the fact that America were neutral at this stage and a lot of people saw the Nazis as potential business partners than pure evil and BRING IN NAZIS AS THE BADGUYS!!! Come on, when did Nazi villains not work in DW? Apart from Timewyrm: Exodus and Colditz and in every fanfic they have ever appeared, that is..

MARK GATISS: Oh no, under all the pressure of masturbating into my word processor and sending the ungodly offspring off to my agent, appearing in endless TV shows where I expressionlessly read out lines from a script so I can be called an 'actor', and brainwashing the UK into thinking I have talent, I clean forgot that Gary Russell said he'd kill me if I added anymore speaking parts to this mess. Whatever shall I do? I know! I'll bring in Nazis but they won't say anything at all! I am so brilliant. Who could be unhappy with that resolution?

Me, motherfucker. Me.

And, you know, some aliens who aren't called Tetraps but are bat creatures so I'll call them that and be done with it show up and try to take everything over. But, as previously mentioned, they're exactly the same as those two guys from The Dominators - massively camp and inept in everything that they do. One wants to blast everything, the other wants to scout the options and conserve power. Some of their stuff is even funny, which is good, but resorting to stealing a double-act from an ancient Patrick Troughton story is real barrel-scraping fare and all indicators suggest that the story is crawling to a slow death in a desert of human boredom.

At the last minute, though, Gatiss reveals an absolutely brilliant idea - the Doctor teaming up with Orson and Houseman to broadcast The War of the Worlds to the Tetrap ship to convince them that planet Earth is already under attack by aliens that are halfway competent. Yes! They do it - with the Doctor and Charley playing some of the parts. Yes!

But then, Gatiss moves to piss me off once again - the Doctor’s plan is brilliant, but just isn’t a homage to the massively lame story resolutions in the Pertwee era. When Charley yells out that the Tetraps are just flying away like the bat-shaped bitches that they are the Doctor shouts “Ha! Those idiots didn’t realize that it was just a trick on my part! ‘Me’ being the Doctor! And that if they really wanted to, they could fly straight to the CBS station on 85th and Broadway and blow up the whole building right now, killing me and everyone here instantly, but they cannot, because they have no idea! Yes, I am so much better than them!” straight into his microphone.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who complained about RTD's deus ex machinas needs to listen to this thing - and, yes, that group does indeed include me and I am glad I have now paid my pittance. I say this because the ending breaks all standards of far-fetched, ill-conceived and poorly executed. As the Tetraps head back to Earth, Russian Professor apparently falls out of the ceiling into Cosmo's cell, and proceeds to rant nonsensically, some of it to the gist that he escaped death by, I dunno, jumping into the tank and pretending to be a wall or something. He then reveals the clincher - he is THE FIRST MAN TO INVENT AN ATOMIC BOMB! Yes, in the last thirty minutes, apparently with crap that the Tetraps just left lying around. And he decides to set it off to save the entire world.

The fact that this massive, festering chunk of offal was the opener for PMG's second season rather than the close of the first shocked me. Not just because this is the sort of thing you should lock in your attic and never show to anyone, let alone bring out to say "Look, new stuff! Come and get it while it's brilliant!", but because the production is terrible. The voices are ridiculous. The sound design doesn't even try to let you know what's going on during the action scenes. Cosmo DeVine's mute Nazi mates notably don't seem to walk anywhere or breath. Ambient sound effects are sparse unless directly required by the script. And the music...

Okay, someone dug out a reel of stock music strictly for use in low-grade 1920s porn films that had been terribly distorted by nearly a century of cats urine and leaked battery acid. And decided to play it after every single scene.

I do not give this half a star. I do not give this a single black hole. I give this nothing but my undying hatred.

The Chimes of Midnight

Why is it that so many great Doctor Who stories start with just the Doctor and his companion walking around a deserted place, seeing weird stuff, and talking about it? Why? It’s such a simplistic method of starting a story, nearly too simplistic, but once again Shearman uses it and produces gold.

The Doctor and Charley arrive in a completely deserted Edwardian house, in which absolutely nothing seems to change - they break jam jars, write their names in the dust - but it all vanishes straight away. In some very atmospheric and creepy talking, the Doctor and Charley realise that they're being shut out of the actual house, in a strange twilight reality with cause but no effect. At the same time we're given brief glimpses into the reality that they've been shut out of - and it isn't a pleasant one.

Edith, the pleasant, cheery young scullery maid is at her thankless work scrubbing dishes for the cook, who is obsessed with her plum puddings, when her only pleasure, singing the only Christmas Carol that she knows, is taken away from her by the officious and short-tempered butler. Her life drudges on, but she is unhappy, and everyone in the household seems to loathe her unconditionally. It's uneasy listening...

And then the two worlds cross. Charley recieves a vision of Edith, and Edith tells Charley that she knows that she will die any minute. That Charley needs to remember her...

The Doctor, to the surprise of nobody, announces that this is too messed up for him to deal with and does something he evry rarely does - run to the TARDIS. But then the clock strikes ten, Edith's screams pierce the air, and the Doctor says that they don't have a choice anymore. What has been keeping them out is now letting them in...

When people ask for a Big Finish story starring Paul McGann for a recommendation, this is the one that gets namedropped. And no sodding wonder. This is a work of Rob Shearman's and is, for my money, an absolute masterpiece - one of the greatest DW stories ever written.

Shearman, apparently, makes his writing up as he goes along. And I will admit that there are signs of it here. Episodes Two and Three take tremendously odd turns, but all of it is either touching or blackly funny, and, as usual, it's only in Episode Four that things get explained. The interesting thing I noticed is that one of the two oddities remain unexplained. The one that stuck with me is that there's absolutely no reason for the villain of the story to be obsessed with using cod Agatha Christie plots to torment the inhabitants of the house, but this seems something of a minor niggle in the long-run.

The absolute biggest reason for singing this story's praises, though, is that it gives Charley something to do! In fact, this entire story revolves around Charley, as she is the catalyst for everything that subsequently happens, acting a Schroedigner Cat in a far more effective way then the same theory was used in Zagreus. This is great because every story since her introduction sidelined the character criminally and gave her pretty much zero development (Stones of Venice is something of an exception but was regrettably balanced out by Invaders From Mars being quite sickeningly sexist)

I can't go into much detail about this story, though I will admit that this is, I think, the only story to make me cry. It's the stuff about Edith at the end... it's very moving.

If I bothered giving scores this would be 10/10. Take note.

Living Legend

This story is ridiculously short and thus so shall be my review. The Doctor and Charley meet some ludicrously incompetent aliens. The Doctor gives one a heavy dose of the Eric Saward virus (found, as always, in a three-litre jug of wine) which causes the Vogons (damnit, they're not actually Vogons... but they might as well be) to argue endless, achieve nothing, and then vanish abruptly.

This left me with only one question - why the hell was this story set in contemporary Italy? This could have been anywhere at all. Anywhere! Wouldn't it have been slightly cooler if it was, say, New Zealand celebrating a World Cup victory in 2065 or something? Something implausible? The Italians win every second World Cup because they've become that good at cheating it! Oh, yeah, I went there.

Seasons of Fear

This was a story that got me swearing my head off that out of all the possibilities for a DW series, BF should choose to make a sequel to that one bit in Minuet From Hell where Nick Briggs gloats about how much better he is than PMG, because that's pretty much the basis of this story.

The Doctor and Charley finally get to Singapore, only to find that it's nothing but ambient music and a few voices chattering in the distance. Charley was expecting something more impressive, but even so is only hear so she can get jiggly and fleshy with her date that she met some years ago and fell in love with: Nick Briggs Jr. So she goes running off and the Doctor decides to master his brooding stare in the distance for upcoming BBC novel covers.

But wait, who's this well-dressed fellow approaching? Nick Briggs Scr! Predictably he gloats to a painful level over the Doctor, for no apparent reason, before revealing that he killed the Doctor - in HIS past, but the DOCTOR's future! He then goes into detail about the incredibly unconvincing Singapore backdrop being just that - a backdrop, created by his 'masters' to fool the Doctor into thinking that the Earth is truly being run by pitiful humans with their agile and durable appendages rather than the ULTIMATE BEINGS!!!

Given the fact that there's nothing at all in the story to suggest that this guy isn't just major-league off his fucking nut, it isn't the most enticing of setups. But the Doctor takes him very, Very seriously and sets off back in time to stop him before he started. If you haven't realised that this will inevitably be what causes Briggsy to try and kill the Doctor, I'm guessing you don't know much about sci-fi and have stumbled onto this page by mistake.

The biggest shock for me, though, was realising that Grail, the actual villain of this story, wasn't played by Nicholas Briggs. Rather, somebody who sounds exactly the same. Why, though? For that matter, why does the Kro'ka sound so much like Briggs? And why, for that matter, recruit Michael Keating as a future villain when, again, he sounds an awful lot like Nick Briggs? If you're going to get guest-cast members into these stories, I would much rather they NOT all sound like insane toothbrush-weilders, thank you. Hopefully this has been taken onboard.

Anyway, this story ends up becoming a little ridiculous as the Doctor spends the rest of the story hopping from time-zone to time-zone, following the twisted history of Grail through the years. Because of the small cast, most of the people the Doctor meet sound the same which stretches credibility a bit, and none of the locations are really fleshed out, or have a striking sound to them that really puts you in the scene, unlike most other stories.

The jet-setting nature of the premise, combined with some odd comic relief and completely ridiculous schemes of Grail (He gets peasants to make him a gigantic stockpile of Uranium in the 11th century...) and, oddest of all, a running first-person narration by PMG give this a distinctly uneven feel. The whole story is building up to the reveal of Grail's masters and it seems quite depressingly obvious who they are...

I mean, consider: the aliens travel through 'time corridors'. They use genetic engineering to make Grail more powerful. When they begin to materialise Charley says 'it looks like some sort of metal egg!'. And the Daleks have made two, fleeting appearances, one in a weird freaky vision and another popping out of nowhere into ancient Britain.

So... OH MY GOD! This is all turned on its head and twisted around with the revelation that the 'metal egg' was a pod. And it opens to reveal... "WE ARE THE NIMON!"


Gary Russell brings back one of the worst DW villain races ever. And they still kind of suck, as demonstrated by the way they zap the Doctor in the cliffhanger, but the very next episode he's going "What, is that the best you can do? I can't even feel anything!"

As you may expect, from this point onwards the story becomes harder to take seriously. For me the breaking point was when I realised that whenever the Nimons moved you could hear their hooves tapping against the cobblestones, and I just pissed myself laughing.

But, all that aside, yes they do have an evil plan to destroy the Earth and the Doctor does have to stop them with an incredibly ballsy plan that involves very nearly killing himself for the greater good and such wondrous Ace Rimmer-style panache. The Nimon get defeated, Grail joins the very thin ranks of DW villains that don't get killed, and the Doctor finishes his bedtime story to Don Warrington, who seems slightly bemused. And that's-

No wait. One last scene with those two generic 18th Century conpeople. Hmm, yes, life goes on for them and- wha? A naked glowing Charley materialises in the room? And... kills them. Okay. That is terrifying. Jesus. I thought we were having a good time...

Embrace the Darkness

This story is so frigging Nick Briggs that it hurts. Where did this guy get a reputation for being a good writer? Furthermore, why does every script of his seem to seethe with loathing of humanity? Is he alright? Does he need some professional help?

Why is it obviously Nick Briggs? Well, the guest cast is mostly three people who may as well be the three last human beings in the known universe as they are in complete and utter isolation. They are also the biggest three arseholes you could ever hope to meet. Almost the entire story concerns these people in a 'base-under-seige' scenario in their claustrophobic ship. All other scenes are on an equally claustrophobic base on some boring shithole of a planet.

The three arseholes are attacked by some aliens and they have their eyes eaten. Good show, lads! Then the Doctor and Charley land on the rescue ship headed towards them, run by some extremely talkative robot who was called something like 'ASBO-B01'. ASBO, like most robots, doesn't like intruders and so decides to kill the Doctor and Charley. So the Doctor sonic screwdrivers him. Then he comes back online. Then the Doctor tells him that he shouldn't kill humans. Then ASBO points out that Charley is all weird and shit because she's meant to be dead and then tries to kill her. Then the Doctor sonic screwdrivers him. Then they run. Then ASBO comes back online, says "I am getting sick of this!" and confiscates the sonic screwdriver. Charley gets in an escape pod. The Doctor calls a truce but tells ASBO that he'll be talking him out of killing her later. And that's basically episode one.

From here on there's actual plot but it makes no sense at all because Briggsy was clearly determined to have a last-minute twist that nobody could ever expect and the easiest way to do this is a plot that does constant 180s. It's probably fairly predictable that the aliens who eat eyes turn out to be good, right? Well, they do. Why did they eat eyes? Because they were trying to heal, but didn't understand about eyes because they live in the darkness. Why do they live in darkness? Because evil aliens came to their planet for healing and they were dying out trying to cure them all, but couldn't send them away. And so they destroyed their own sun.

That lack-of-sun is what the arseholes are trying to remedy, by creating a gigantic artificial sun. Interestingly it is to be powered by nine different stations across the planet, but the one the Doctor ends up on is apparently the only one that is attacked by the eye-eating aliens. Hmm.

So, anyway, when the Doctor thinks that the eye-eating aliens are actually evil rather than misled he makes sure that the artificial sun is ignited. But no! That brings the EVIL ALIENS! Instantaneously. They've just had a ship waiting out there for 3000 years waiting for the sun to come back on - and I'm sure we are expected to believe this because the Doctor mentions 'solar sails' on it. Hmm. Solar sails that somehow pull directly towards the sun.

So, then it's battle stations. Much drama when ASBO-B01 screams that they aren't allowed to shoot at them because eye-munchers ignored all that 'healing' stuff and proceeded to annihilate his mind. So they're flying defenceless towards the EVIL ALIEN! ship. The EVIL ALIENS! then proceed to blast the crap out of their ship to the point where they're all on the edge of death and all of ASBOs effort is going on keeping them there. And then, all of a sudden, the EVIL ALIEN! ship docks and out comes...


Wait... no. It's just another species that lives inside a casing. And that casing opens to reveal..


No, not really, but that's what I like to imagine. Hehe, Moloch, I love that guy. More aliens should have moustaches. Are there any others, really? I can think of Dex from Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones and that camp midget green dude from that one episode of Farscape I had to tape for my mate. Well, if you wanted to get pedantic you could include The War Cheif and other such humans-playing-aliens-without-makeup, but I'm talking the real deal. Reptilian green/blue alien with an inexplicable moustache right over their lips/equivalent protuberance.

Whoa, sorry, got sidetracked. There's a lot of stuff that interests me more than this story, you see. Like that YouTube video of a guy trying to play that insanely difficult level of Super Mario Bros. for 25 minutes. Or the fact that they made a Super Mario Bros. movie starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo - what a double act! And the fact that John Leguizamo was subsequently in Baz Luhrmann's massively popular train-wreck Romeo + Juliet. Which also featured Harrold Perrineau Jr., a man often seen as the best feature of the film in his performance, but also subsequently seen as the most offensive elements of both Matrix sequels and LOST. Think about that - if Goebbels was in both of those he'd have a hard time trying to bag that title. Also, who the hell is Harrold Perrineau Scr? Am I really in any danger of getting people confused if I leave the 'Jr' off? I think John F. Kennedy Jr. and people like him are the only people who really have a right to that. Well, and I guess Cuba Gooding Jr. because he's clearly one of two people in all of history to have that goofy name, and if somebody who knew one the Cubas heard some libellous stories, they'd assume it was the Cuba Gooding they knew and spread the filth around liberally..

So... Embrace the Darkness was it? Oh, yes... the alien comes in, opens its casing to reveal.... another eye-eater. Except that this one has eyes.

See, they're one and the same! Hah, didn't see that coming did you?! No, because... why are they called aliens if they were from the same planet? Why did destroying the sun drive them off but not the healers? Why did they all need to be healed? And the big question - why did they try and kill the Doctor if they were just archaeologists?

No answers forthcoming.

This story has some good moments - when one of the arseholes goes completely insane he actually makes an interesting character for a little while, the cliffhangers are strong and the plot, in its early stages when making sense, is pretty engaging. Although I mocked it for being a senseless and generic series of captures and escapes (which it is) the first episode is actually quite entertaining, because it has some handle on what it's doing.

All of this drowns in one character, though. I can't remember her name, 'Laskia' or something, who is the bitchy and officious leader of the arseholes. And the biggest cretin to ever appear in Doctor Who. And she speaks an even worse accent than Jessica Stevenson in IFM, possibly in a loving tribute to Ingrid Pitt.

Every line of hers can be summed up thusly:

"You males suck! I hate you! Do some work!"

"SO, have you watched that boring-as-all-fuck video I keep asking you to watch? What? I hate you! Do it now!"

"Why should I help you? I hate you!"

"Oh, yes, easy to say that when you have eyes! I hate you. I HATE YOU!"

One of the things that will keep people going through this wearing experience is waiting for her seemingly-inevitable death. But sadly it never comes.

Briggsy - stick to the Dalek voices and creepy egomania. Please.

The Time of the Daleks

One of several stories where the YOA version is so much better you wish he'd been working as script editor. Okay, I don't know if they could have actually gotten Sacha Baron Cohen to do it, nor am I sure if Ali G was actually mainstream in the year 2000... but this story just didn't come out right as was.

Shakespeare has been erased from history. This is something you might have noticed when the Doctor decided to quote Hamlet out of nowhere in Invaders From Mars and Orson Welles said "Huh?", or it's equally possible that you took it for the eight thousandth joke to fall completely flat and didn't think twice about it. So what does mankind do but begin a gigantic civil war between The Proletariat and Dictatorship of the Month, each assuming that the other side is responsible for going into the timeline and erasing Shakespeare.

At first I assumed that this was the work of Rob Shearman, because it seemed a very Shearman idea. But then, when I realised that nothing was being done with the idea other than a heap of characters going "We need to get Shakespeare back, cor blimey!" I thought that it clearly wasn't him, but someone doing a terrible impression of him. The culprit turned out to be Justin Richards - one of several DW writers whose work is solid, inconspicuous and can fall either side of the fence but very rarely ends up being classic material. In fact, from memory Banquo Legacy is the only thing that he's done that's really wowed me. Oh, what am I saying, he did The Burning too.

But this won't be remembered fondly by those that admire those creepy, claustrophobic pieces of B7-style cynical human drama against historical backdrops. Because this is a story that strains very hard to be epic. For some reason when trying to make an 'epic' story, writers don't think 'big' problems or 'big' dramas, but 'big' armies, 'big' scenes.

JR's first 'big' scene is one of the Daleks talking about how hardcore they are in the language of Technobabbale for about five minutes. At least, that's what I think they were talking about. But then some weird time loop thing happens and... I don't know, it's hard to understand. Lots of Daleks end up screaming for help or for a rescue effort or something, I don't really remember. Suffice it to say, this scene is the best enthusiasm cyanide I've encountered in my time.

The story doesn't improve from then on... it's like Justin Richards is working from a book of cliches. Faceless dictatorship, faceless rebels, the facists are unwittingly getting help from the Daleks, believing that they are they good guys. Nobody gets any characterisation because JR is too busy trying to find good bits of Shakespeare for them to quote off the cuff.

So anyway, the one vaguely cool thing in this story is the humans having invented a form of time travel using clocks and mirrors. But then it turns out that it's a load of crap taking advantage of the same space-time anomalie the Daleks are caught up in. Ho-hum.

This time travel stuff also creates the most impossible to follow storyline I've encountered, with the Doctor and Charley and the faceless fascists and faceless rebels all splitting up in different groups and travelling through mirrors and stealing stuff. Eventually, they end up in 1560-something. Hmmm, could this possibly be where something happens to Shakespeare? Considering that there are Daleks everywhere with human slave labour, probably.

Oh, and while they're there Charley and Female Rebel meet and 8-year old boy (Played by a girl, for some reason) and decide to take him with them for some reason. Jeeesus Christ. You didn't think anyone would make the connection, Richards?

And then the Doctor time-loops the Daleks. The end.


Sometimes, when I get around to doing these reviews, there are stories I get around to that I can't actually remember anything about, but because I like the look of my own voice on a webpage I persevere and write some stuff down anyway, hoping I don't make an arse of myself. In fact, there was a little bit of that with the Seasons of Fear review, in that I'm not sure if there WERE two Dalek attacks, or just the one - whoever is reading this will know, so that doesn't matter.

Usually I get this problem with the first in a season, rather than the last. For one simple reason: the last is the latest one I have listened to. It should be very fresh in my mind. But, this time, this isn't the case.

So, let me painstakingly go through everything I DO remember about Neverland

*It was really long.

*I stopped listening a couple of times

*It hard more tedious 'evil Time Lords' stuff, specifically when revealed that Romana had a Bureau of Genocide working full time that she didn't find out about because she was too busy joy-riding around in her own past with Paul McGann.

*The naked, glowing evil Charley from Seasons of Fear was not, as I thought would have made sense, Zagreus. She's somebody called Sentris. As just about everybody says in some part of this - Zagreus doesn't exist.

*The Doctor gets sucked into an evil mirror-version of the Matrix for a little while, where Romana is impersonating Hitler and a black man is claiming to be Rassilon. Pfft.

*It seems to rip off quite a lot of things from the Ancestor Cell. But then that was apparently entirely ripped off from one of Lawrence Miles' manuscripts. And it's probably got the wrong date so what do I know

*The Doctor calls Vansell 'toastrack' or something for the whole story. Am I meant to know who Vansell is?

*Oh, Vansell's also, like, a traitor or something.

*There's a lot of runaround stuff, even though Time of the Daleks demonstrated that runarounds suck even more in audio, when you can't see the corridors.

*Trojan horse thing with Never-people giving the Time Lord's a big ol' barrell of anti-time and claiming that it's Rassilon's coffin., wait, hang on... I think that's all the important details. Oh, that and the fact that the design and direction is really good.

I guess it seems like I couldn't remember anything because this story is of an outrageous length. I couldn't believe how dull and boring this was in the middle, because this entire story is nothing but the setup for the cliffhanger right at the end. If there was any sense then this story would have been one episode on one disc, to make it punchier, quicker and more dramatic.

OR: keep it the same length but give Charley something to do. Because, unbelievably, Charley is again sidelined in traditional companion style. She spends effectively the whole story hooked up to machines by some camp double-act of morons, and achieves nothing, even though EVERYTHING in this story, as with most stories in this season, has been caused by he escape from the R101! India Fisher, of course, gets to play the story's villain, Sentris, but probably the least said about that the better because her performance is terribly OTT.

Anyway, after two-and-a-half-hours this is what you're left with: the Time Lords bring back the Barrell of Anti-Time unwittingly, and have already infected themselves. The Doctor meets Rassilon, who tells him that he already knows what he has to do. The Doctor materialises the TARDIS round the Time Lord ship as it explodes.

And then: "I AM ZAGREUS!" *Whack* ZZZZIEOW!!!

It's a good cliffhanger. But the story preceding it is drab, overwrought and overlong. And a bad ending to what was a decent season.

I have to say that, all in all, I'm a bit disillusioned with the quality of Big Finish from what I've heard. They have some great stories, but as is the way with classic Who, it's the ones that come from the great writers. And, somewhat distressingly, these rarely seem to be those from the people who are actually running the whole show. Nick Briggs, in particular, seems an inpet, tiresome, one-note writer. Alan Barnes doesn't inspire me much either, and Gary Russell... hmm.
I feel the need to say this because I have heard such a great deal from people about the quality of Big Finish releases. And, yes, they cannot be faulted for the quality of design, marketing, and general professionalism at all. But a lot of the stories seem half-cocked and display a truly low quality of script-editing at times (Though this problem could well be universal in the industry, I've noticed many moments of cheap or lazy script-editing in New Who and even in Life On Mars, and the less said about Torchwood the better!)

My conclusion is thus: although Big Finish did suffer a massive set-back in the next season (beginning with 'Z' and ending in 'THAT was PMG's favourite story?!?'), the truth was that it was more a case of their welcome being overstayed and the unforeseen timing of a certain announcement from the BBC that truly brought about a gigantic downfall in their popularity.

Of course, a big part of it must have been the singularly unimpressive nature of the resolution to Neverland which DID manage to have a very powerful ending..

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stan Tyrone II: This Time It's Barely Legible

Mr Tryone was unable to operate the immensely complicated processes involved in commenting on Blogger, nor to think of a suitably pithy and appropriate title for his message, which arrived in my inbox under the visage "(No Subject)".

Say what you want about his previous effort, I think this is far inferior. Printed below at his behest:

Hey Cunt, put this on your blog too, I hope you kill yourself anytime
soon, then we won't have to put up with a fucktard like you on this

I hope you get a good case of head cancer, or one of your family members
suffers some excruating agony like being run over in a accident.

Goodbye Fucktard!!

He can't seem to make up his mind. Am I supposed to commit suicide in realisation of the hideousness of my corporate agent lifestyle? Or am I to contract headcancer from overexposure to my own eloquecne? Then he seemingly concedes both of these are unlikely and its best to hope that an indeterminate something happens to somebody who is connected to me.

In the words of Lady Diana Spencer on both her honeymoon and several years subsequently in a Parisian motorway tunnel - "I am not impressed".

Although it seems to me that this battle of titanic wits has been ended at 8billion/Love Advantage: Jared "Fucktard" Hansen, I am nothing if not an endorser of democracy and so I throw it open to the Greater Internet Public: who won this debate to end all debates?


EDIT: Hopefully this tedious business is over so I can get back to my reviews of PMG's second season...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jared Hansen: Uncle Tom and Corporate Agent

You can imagine my surprise when I received an email from Mr Stan Tyrone. Yes, THE Stan Tyrone, a celebrated philosopher, philanthropist, and Booker-award winning novelist of the modern age. A man so bestowed with glorious achievements and ungodly fame, that even inquiring as to who he is is not merely thoughtless and rude, but Treason against the Commonwealth, which is instantaneously to be punished with Death By Stuffing of Plum Pudding.

"Why does this higher being talk to me?!" I stammered, as does a little boy who has become enraptured into the world of the Candy Shop (Not a purveyor of candy, but rather the song "Candy Shop" by 50 Cent, which is quite terrifying) And, oh so tenderly, I clicked.

I read your review of the R4 dvd release of Death In Brunswick on HERE:-(

As the smiley face does pertain, Lord Tyrone is upset with me. And as the rest of the message does convey, it is an issue related to the favoured place of intellectual discourse, The Internet Movie Database. As far as I know, the only debating forum where Ritalin is handed out at the door.

Unusually, even though he says my review can be found HERE he doesn't provide a link, but rather reproduces my 'review' or, rather, my recount of traumatic experiences which isn't a review at all. Presuming that my gigantic fanbase hasn't been stalking me everywhere on the internet, I reproduce it again HERE, making it the most-circulated of my work ever.


I've never had a DVD this badly encoded before. The thing died on me
this morning when I was trying to watch it, small glitches all the way
through the film, but then at the scene where the Turkish thugs have him
in their car, it was lucky to be showing two frames a second. I cleaned
the disc three times to try and remedy this, but it kept stuffing up and
eventually refused to play at all - not even the menu.

Needless to say I subsequently destroyed it and will be avoiding
anything released by Umbrella like the plague.

I will admit, it is not my most lucid and detailed work. But it is all true. The disc did die on me. I WILL be avoiding releases from Umbrella (the produce of Mr Andrew Mechano, a robotic creature formed entirely from the poor-man's Technix) like the bubonic plague, something that I do indeed avoid a lot.

Perhaps I should have gone into detail about how happy I was to have the DVD before it stopped working? Perhaps I should have mentioned how funny the movie was? Or said how clear the picture was when it was in evidence.

But Mr Tyrone, it seemed, was angry.

Have to say what a load of Crap

Some people may talk this as a derogotary remark to myself. But no - look at the very deliberate Capitalisation of the word 'crap'. He is quite specifically referring to the man 'Crap', a member of the German Neue Deutsche Härte group 'OOMPH!', thus reinforcing his close-ties to the movers and shakers of the world in a bid to intimidate me.

Well played...

I have viewed the dvd a number of times
now and have had no problems like you stated here,

For an equivalent example - there have been scandals in New South Wales involving two bridges recently built over hollow ground. In flooding they have collapsed. This issue could only effect two motorists for each occurence. Because it only affected a millionth of NSW motorists, does that mean it is not a problem?

Not entirely analogous but at the same time one of the principla tenets of all modern law is the fact that 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'. Especially when that 'absence' is ascertained by sitting on your arse and watching a Sam Neill film endlessly.

I think you made some
of this crap up eh?

Here Tyrone stops playing softly and effectively slaps me across the face by scandalously suggesting that I am not only a liar, but also a liar trying to undermine the good work of Australian companies.

The only reason I can think of him to believe this is if he believes me to be some sort of insurgent working on behalf of the big distributors. Well, fair enough. It happens. Not usually on a message board that absolutely nobody will read for a film that would be entirely obscure if it weren't for John Clarke constantly referencing it when interviewed, but it does happen.

It also happens that 'bad discs' are made as well. Sometimes it is a freak occurence. I know that I had a copy of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring where the film had a small but horrible glen glob in the first Isengard scene. Slowly it grew worse.

But this was different. Every second or third scene had a minor glitch. I could ignore it. Until the film started skipping. Then it became irritating. But I was caught in the story so didn't want to stop. And then, as I say, it stopped playing at all.

Anyway I have added you to my Ignore list on, you are, my
friend, a FUCKWIT!!

Wait a minute, this is not the work of Lord Stanley Tryone the IIIrd, Poet Laurieat of Beijing and Moscow. That sentence contains two clear contradictions and a turn-of-phrase so banal and jejune (the old 'you are, my friend, a FUCKWIT' chestnut, first uttered by Pausanias of Sparta to Xerxes on his deathbed in the year 398 BC and quoted by everyone of Pausanian I.Q and disposition for the next 2000 years but abandoned from the lexicus populi in 1872 after Oscar Wilde declared it 'didn't have legs') that it could not have been uttered with him.

This email, then, comes from a complete 'random', as the term is.

In that case, sir, fuck you. I fucking get a Christmas present that is so badly encoded I can't watch it, that has mislabled buttons on menus, that has a commentary that won't play, that won't be cleaned at all, and I decide, well, I'll make this post here just in case somebody is thinking of buying it. All I get is you, taking a break from sucking Sam Neill off in his dungeon and being given leave to use the computer, and go through his back catalogue of completely forgettable films that, somehow, made him a middling to minor 'name' in the movie business, save for the parochial market where sad, obsessive limpets decreed him a good because he once got paid five figures. You scour these boards, searching desperately for some to crush with your near-developed communication skills, and pounce on somebody not attacking the man himself, but the absolutely shithouse DVD which managed to be worse than all the endless vanilla releases shat out of the United Kingdom every year. And you decide I am the fuckwit?

You do not have the wit of a fuck. You gaze at the fuck in envy of it's mighty intellectual prowess. The fuck tricks you into working for it at slave labour rates. When they make a sitcom based on the life of the fuck (If they haven't already - that seems to be the whole premise of Skins) you shall play Baldrick to the Blackadder of fuck.

Hmm, one more line to this rectal discharge of an email.



Jamata, auf weiderhesen, au revoir, aloha, adiós, arriverderci, tot ziens, tchau, and fuck off you worthless fucking manwhore, go fucking travel back in time to drown yourself at birth as it is your only chance to appease the gods for your fucking offensive existence.

For what it's worth, the first hour or so of Death in Brunswick was pretty good. Oh, and now I can get back to checking my mail...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Dog is Racist and Equivalent Errata

Hmm, I see that Claire Hooper has closed her MySpace. Is that where all the nude pics were?

Oh, and her 'site' is nothing but a single picture of her, with a link to her MySpace. A MySpace that is CLOSED! And she's wearing clothes in the photo.

I should probably also note at this point (or at another point soon to come) that I also consider her a uniquely talented comic voice and brilliant performer. And yet I still want to see her naked.

It's now that I have to also thank Lawrence Miles for posting on his blog (ages ago - can't be found now as he deletes the entire thing every second week and when he gets cranky) about his deep-seeded feelings of annoyance and resentment with all of the female celebrities announcing the fact that they are getting married, in spite of the fact that it was beyond unlikely that he would be able to get into any sort of acquaintance, let alone relationship with them. Because I feel that all the time.

Who knows - maybe it's a Universal sensation through humanity, but everyone is so embarassed by the sheer irrationality that they keep quiet about it utterly. I like to think that women were considering suicide when Dave Hughes announced his impending nuptials to the world at large...

This, of course, is related to Claire Hooper announcing her marriage to the world sometime last year, when I had only just gotten to know her. She had been coquettishly leading me on all that time, the tremulous hussy!

I'm probably quite mental.


What about that GNW? I watched half of last nights. Well, no, actually I'd say I watched 1/4. There was an ad break that lasted for about 5 minutes (Only getting ABC and SBS most days and generally only watching the Cricket when I do watch something on the 'real' channels mean that I haven't really seen ad breaks for the past three years and they have clearly grown...) and then, when the show came on, they were essentially running an ad break on the frigging show.

The segment with the frigging 'sound-proof booth' that isn't sound proof and it's very existence is never explained as it's completely unnecessary to the rules of the segment. Claire (nice link to the last bit) goes in, is gorgeous, is funny, I'm happy, she gets out. Good! Mikey comically refuses to go in the booth. But wait, there's something oddly scripted about the way Paul greets the news...

My jaw drops as I see the cross-promotion that I have heard so much about from my contemporaries.

Some old fat-ass actress from The Bold & The Beautiful (people WATCH that?) comes on and does a trick I thought only Chris Lilley could pull off.. she forms a comedic black hole and thus sucks the humour from the room. And disgustingly, the two female guests begin fawning over her as if she's some sort of goddess. I switch over to the ABC and hear Peter Costello talking about John Howard knew he'd diss the leadership if they loss. I turn back over. Fucking B&B stuff. I turn to Joe Hockey talking about leaving threatening messages on Howard's voicemail and being 'thanked for his honesty'. I turn back over. What the HELL?! - the two mad women are now doing some re-enactment of a scene from B&B?

ARRGH! Did nobody think that this would be alienating to people who, generally, don't watch midday soap operas? Say, people with broad minds, an interest in current affairs, in the age bracket of 18-30, say THE TARGET AUDIENCE FOR THIS SHOW?!?

I switch to Aunty again in disgust. Brendan Nelson actually being more amusing than anything on GNW at the moment through trapping himself in a convoluted web of double-talk, hypocrisy, and attempted fence-sitting all the while trying to big himself up as leader, coming across more as David Brent than anything else.

I switch back. Finally that fat fucking old lady is in the booth. Her letter is 'B'. The first question...

"What is your favourite TV show"

I nearly did a Levine on the TV.


For those of you who didn't get that reference.... eh, who the hell am I kidding?


On the subject of nerdy stuff, I saw an ad for "TORCHWOOD - the complete First series, finally on DVD!" I guess 'finally' because people who actually liked it can now watch the half of the series that Channel Ten didn't actually air...

What especially tickled me was seeing that the DVD contained a large blooper reel. I liked to imagine that it was a lot of stuff like this:

JACK: Ianto, no, you have to leave her!

DIRECTOR (V.O) : Okay, Gareth, you're seeing Lisa right now, and she's getting torn apart by the talons of a terrifying pterodactyl, screaming wildly, blood is spurting out of her bare, naked and supple skin and... is something wrong.

IANTO: Jesus Christ, John...

JACK: Hey, man, it's not that bad...

IANTO: (to himself) You need the money, Gareth, you need the fucking money. Come on, you can do this...

GWEN: So... who's the last person you shagged?

CHIBNALL (V.O): Pashed!

GWEN: What?

CHIBNALL (V.O): The line is 'pashed', not 'shagged'!

GWEN: But NOBODY says 'pashed'! Am I meant to be 14 fucking years old?

CHIBNALL (V.O): Swear jar, young lady! Do it again and you're grounded.


REAL ESTATE GUY: There's something out there, you know. In the Darkness. And it's waiting...

OWEN: What?

REAL ESTATE GUY: Sub-prime apartment blokes, great deals. Want to see them? *snort*

OWEN: Oh, yeah, really funny.

REAL ESTATE GUY: I'm a fucking real-estate agent! How do I know about the afterlife?

DIRECTOR (V.O) Just say the lines!

OWEN: We've been at this for three hours!

REAL ESTATE GUY (collapsing in tears) 'There's something in the darkness', this is THE FUNNIEST SHIT I'VE EVER READ!


Has anyone else noticed that the Torchwood Novels, unlike the Doctor Who ones, don't have an official website? How are you meant to find out about them? I've found it easier to read up on Star Trek novels for Christ's sake!

I'm guessing that this means that they are NOT open-submission, like about every single line of books out there. Which is a bit of a downer. The only ones I've found that are are, again, the Star Trek novels. This has seriously got me thinking, in the not-too-distant past, about writing one about Harry Kim defeating an alien race that is, essentially, 'the Kromon done well'.

I can't help but feel that if I actually did that, it would have the same stigma as working as a male prostitute. Or writing the DWADs. (OHHHH!)


While I'm talking about things tangentially related to Doctor Who that we all hope will die off reasonably soon and in a fair degree of pain, I need to mention Benjamin James Sebastian James Chatham the IIIrd. (It's a rule that all ridiculously long and poncy names need to eventually end with 'the IIIrd' - we have been fools not to heed it!)

I'd like to give this secretive nod to the gods that ordian the madness that unfolds within a Chatham thread, as they have been getting more bearable of late. Recently they have looked like this:

SPARACUS: Here's my latest fic, folks!




LBC: Assualt! Assault!

JOHNSTONE: Spara, I have some suggestions for you... (*26 pages*)

CYBERWOMAN: I like Kyle. Ben sucks.

HASHISHADDICT: Well, I'm here too late to add anything meaningful. Erm... you're all homosexual!

SPARACUS: Thank you.


But the last few times I have visited the page I have actually been amused. Keep up the decent work.


Also, my dog is racist. Our paddock has been adjisted (it's not like adjusting) so we've had cattle on it. He's a brown dog and he has no trouble with brown cows, bulls and calfs.

But there's this one black calf. And he flies into a psychopathic rage everytime he sees it. Just like these guys...

EDIT: That's meant to be an embedded video there of something I found on YouTube. Due to my crazy dial-up I have no way of telling whether it actually worked or not...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You Mess With Sharpe, You Mess With Me

Or, IMDbers still annoy me.

On the recent revival of Sharpe, Bernard Cornwell's second-greatest arse-kicking creation (Thomas Hookton is probably slightly cooler) some guy posts a long rant about how it isn't as good as the early ones. Or, rather, how it is different, and therefore is rubbish because he has a Hitlerian phobia of things that are not the same as other things.

Naturally, I stuck around to see somebody own his arse. Then, a reply:

Excellent analysis. I agree with all your points.

Hmmm, it seems I'll need to respond to your posts and insult you on my blog in secret...

I was very much looking forward to seeing how Sharpe got on after 10 years, but it seemed at times like being reacquainted with an old friend I've lost contact with and we both seem to have changed.

...yes. It is completely unrealistic for a character to change after a period of time.

For what it is worth, in his first TV appearance in Sharpe's Rifles, Lt. Sharpe (as he was then) was pretty much a psychopath, perfectly willing to kill any, or even all, of his soldiers, and he was only beginning to soften by the end of the story. In the last of the original series, Sharpe's Waterloo, he places the value of a good soldier's life above all else, setting out to risk his own life for just a shot at getting rid of a criminally incompetent officer.

And a character can go on changing, even when the cameras are off.

I noticed bean's acting limitation here; I always made allowances for him in earlier episodes given his social background etc.,

...somebody from a working class background cannot act?

I'm not going to respond to that. I'll just give Christopher Eccleston your address. I hope you like your ears to bleed...

but here he just seems constantly numb.

...I think I might get some of that vibe in some of the scenes, but those are probably the ones filmed when he was ill from all the Indian food. He has a lot of intense scenes, though - he's disgusting with all of the East India politicking, he seethes that Simmerson has scrounged himself another command, and the fury he directs at Dodd and Biggerstaff is as good as ever.

He doesn't even make use of the french he must have learned during his time in retirement in France.

You. Zarking. Idiot. Firstly, you make an assumption based on your own imagination and then cry like a girl when the production company don't share that view. Secondly, your view is wrong in the first place, as you were clearly too stoned out of your mind to notice that Sharpe learnt good French in the second season. Thirdly, after that one story he just about never spoke French again, leaving the interrogating to Frederickson or Harris, which shows that this is hardly a new problem for the writers. And finally - WHY THE HELL WOULD HE BE SPEAKING FRENCH ANYWAY? Yes, there are two French characters in this story - but they both speak good English! And he is dealing with them when he's pretending to be a deserting soldier - coming out with a foreign language is hardly going to go with the whole "`Ullo, I don' know wot Oi'm doin' 'ere but oi can fire a gun 'n stuff" act, is it?

And the mistakes he constantly makes- why in hell does he actually give his real name when acting as a spy?

It's a little odd, I will concede that, especially as he traditionally adopts the name "Dick Vaughn" when undercover, but nobody was looking for him and nobody would know him in Seringapatam. Possibly you reason that Major Gudan, being French would know about Richard Sharpe, but there's nothing to suggest this - although Sharpe becomes legendary among British officers, only two French officers are shown to know who he is: Major Ducos, who makes it his business to know enemy soldiers, and General Calvet, who makes a note of who the Rifleman is who keeps kicking his arse every time he walks onto the battlefield.

My girlfriend kept rolling her eyes at the constant changes in motive and plot twists that kept the story going.

Fuck your girlfriend. No, seriously, fuck her.

And the way it kept stealing jokes from Ewen Campion-Clarke was outrageous.

Hmm. Didn't notice that myself.

And the idea of meeting Harper and the others in the span of a day in a country the size of India right at the beginning tested my patience from the start.

Tell me where Sharpe states that he's only been there for a day.

And what the hell do you mean by 'the others'? He meets Singh, who he hasn't met yet, Cecilia, who is irrelevant to him at the time, and some redshirt bastard who'll be dead in a matter of minutes. I wouldn't call it the most serendipitous of meetings. You'd prefer it if we got twenty minutes of Sharpe riding around on his horse, not finding anything interesting at all? See, in TV, we like to keep plots rolling along.

To have a motley of soldiers (no tracking shot to show how few extras are actually being used)

Because when there ARE tracking shots like that you and people like you bitch about how "there's only 80 soldiers representing a whole regiment"!

WHY do you want that anyway? WHY?! You KNOW they don't have many extras! See, shooting close is for the benefit of other people... people who know how to suspend their disbelief.

carrying the same East Indian Co. flag as a battle flag as opposed to what by then amounted to a Tesco banner was something else that didn't seem right to me.

I can't even understand what point you're trying to make here as your grammar and communcation skill (singular - you've probably only got one but God knows what it is) are more abhorrent than if everyone on MySpace and everyone who wrote comments on YouTube had kids and gave them megaphones for Christmas.

I was keen to see to former Bond baddies square off but,

You were keen to see to the former Bond baddies when they squared off?

*Gay joke here*

at 140 minutes, it dragged on.

That's why it was a two parter.

Now, I think we shall all agree that this fellow is something of a douche. But how mighty of a douche? At the moment I would not dub him the Dux d'Bag, because he has tried to level some sound criticism, but his problem has been in the absence of faculties to either comprehend what he has seen or to try and voice anything sensical. Nothing spectacular assholish. And there's only one sentence left...

How Sharpe after one beating after another managed to shrug it off when my back puts me out is another stretch of believability.


Sorry, can you repeat that?

I said "How Sharpe after one beating after another managed to shrug it off when my back puts me out is another stretch of believability." Is there something wrong with that?

Well... only that you see the fact that a career soldier who is a veteran of Assaye, Copenhagen, Talavera, Bussaco, Ciuadad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Tolouse, Waterloo and even frigging Trafalger (Or 'every historically significant battle in 20 years of history, if you will') doesn't throw his back out everytime somebody pushes him in a queu for the pub toilets like yourself, is a massive flaw in the believability of the story.


PS: Been away for two days. I'll make a post about that sometime soon (Or, just as likely, I will not) so that's why I haven't been as active as usual.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

News Week, yes, but a GOOD one?

Well, I know the bloke who reads this blog is a ravenous fan of anything so much as vaguely connected to Paul McDermott, and, as such, is big on Good News Week, the hilarious and irreverent ABC chat/quiz/current affairs/comedy souffle that Channel Ten did it's absolute best to destroy, but apparently didn't get the job done quite right.

Because this Monday, it came back.

Naturally, because of the fact that there have been episodes in the past, all 'true' fans (ie, those incapable of communicating online without fervently stating their fandom) will think that the new episode was complete crap, if not sacriledge to everything that has gone before. I'd like to offer a measured, reasoned response.... but I only saw the first 15 minutes so I can't really.

The big stun for me was the lack of fanfare - a very interesting move considering just how long this show has been a musty memory from the archives than an actual living, breathing piece of television. In its wake we've had Backberner, Glass House, Chaser, and Spicks & Specks, which have changed the landscape a lot despite, directly or indirectly, following in its footsteps.

And yet all we get is a grab of Paul singing "It's Good News Week", and then Paul himself walks to the very edge of the set, as he always did every episode, and tells us that it's the end of the longest ad-break ever. I didn't expect that to be anywhere near as accurate...

See, the amazing thing was how little had changed about the show. Somehow I was expecting them to... well, try and 'update' it. It is, after all, what commerical stations seem to think they're good at. But no, the exact same 'rounds', the same 'points', even the same mystery story that they have to work out via a series of baffling 'items', one of which involves a guest having to act like a prat. For this reason alone, it felt to me a bit old and tired, but that could simply be me having all the vague old memories stirred up.

What had changed, of course, was the girl. Julia McCrossin was gone (is she still alive? Would we even know?) and Claire Hooper is in. Now, this is something I welcome because Claire was, aside from Paul, the only reliably funny element of The Sideshow (Umbilicals had their off-nights, I'm afraid - and they weren't even always on!) Of course, what I hadn't realised that I'd only seen her prepared gear and had seen little of improv work. And I've still seen little of her improv work.

Poor Claire. She really did seem dropped into this one - didn't seem too aware of the news events in the week, wasn't ready to take control of her team, and certainly wasn't ready to take the piss out of Mikey and THAT'S the unforgiveable part! Has she not seen an episode of the original show? That's what Mikey is for! Sigh, these Jane-y Come-Latelies...

At the same time, though, Claire wasn't unfunny, her problem seemed to be nearly disappearing into the background which isn't as bad as the alternative. I was wondering if that was the reasoning for her two co-panelists, two blokes who I'd have thought should never have been on the same team: the barking insane and completely uncontrollable Frank Woodley, and Craig Reucassel the mumbling, bug-eyed Ginger frontman of the Chaser who, as an emissary of the ABC, seemed quite intent on destroying the show by bringing up Amy Winehouse as many times as possible.


Of course, I only saw the first 15 minutes... and I guess I'll try and explain the reasoning. My property has two houses - yes, two. This is something that confuses a lot of people. The first is a shed on stilts, with about enough room for two people to live uncomfortably, and that's where my four-strong family lived for the first 18 years of my life. That house was built by my Physicist grandfather (adoptive grandfather, but that's for another time) in his spare time as a 'weekender', and as such has a few quirks such as being in the worst position in the lot for sun and wind, no insulation, a badly fitted door, and thin walls. Probably thanks to his day-job, though it had two cool things - some circuit breaker box-thing on the power-pole that meant we never lost electricity due to power surges, and one of the biggest TV antennas in the valley, which meant I was the only person I knew until I reached high school who could get ALL the channels. (Except SBS but that one didn't count)

The second house, however, was a labour of love of my father over three years (I think, maybe more) and was finally completed when I was 18. It rocks. But we use a satellite to get our TV. For a while this allowed us to get Imparja, the Northern Territory channel which features most commercial shows in odd timeslots and has officially the funniest ads you will ever see (I really miss Reggae Dave Resaro, the spokesman for road safety, plying such gems of wisdom as "Don't sleep on the road, mate!") but, due to some probably illegal dealings with a man named as "Mr Satellite" our card was apparently destroyed by a satellite and we were subsequently downgraded to ABC and SBS.

So, in short, whenever I want to watch anything on a commercial station, I have to go down to the old, abandoned first house, which is now filled with junk and rodentia, and is cold and smelly and draughty. That's why I barely watch anything on a commercial station - I really, really have to WANT to. So I guess that's a bit of a compliment to GNW.

**** BACK INTO IT NOW ****

Even though I didn't see it all, I have to say that it was quite a shakey start for the new run of GNW... but a shakey start ultimately means nothing. Once Claire Hooper finds her feet and they think about what type of guests they really want on the show, then the ball can get rolling, and I won't be surprised if this becomes a hit, especially with Chaser off the airwaves this year.

But anyway, to break the flimsy fourth-wall I try and maintain when I'm in blog writer mode... what'd you think Ewen? Oh, and was Sandman actually in it?

Monday, February 11, 2008

I can't believe I actually wrote this...

Well, here's one from last year's vault... the start of a re-write to Sparacus' immortal classic Dark Yuletide. Unusually, it's in prose. This is because I wanted to make Katie a central and sympathetic character, from memory.

Anyway... enjoy.

Prescott gulped down the brandy glumly, as he stared out the window. His paranoid mind pictured lights in the distance flickering out already, but he strongly assured himself that this was not the case...

"Sir? The people from... 'Odyssey' are here to..."

"Yes, yes, send them in!" snapped Prescott.

Odyssey. An idiotic name that made no sense. Still, it suited them, thought Prescott, as the resident double act walked in: Paul Farraday and Corinne Walters. He was an alcoholic air force commander who'd had a nervous breakdown and sworn he'd flown into an alien mothership. She was an ex-MI5 PR spokeswoman with the M.O of a "sexual predator" and a gung-ho attitude to self-promotion who'd proven indiscreet a few times too often. And was also an alcoholic. A match made in hell. The two of them had been the perfect fodder for an attempted coup some years back - superficially they could be seen as qualified to investigate 'inexplicable occurrences' within the UK due to their connections, but really they were there to be scapegoats for the "Operation: Delta" initiative. It had been the single most embarrassing affair in British Cabinet history.

But the two of them survived, somehow, impressing the oh-so-easily impressed prime minister with some evidence of aliens they'd uncovered, some doubtlessly fabricated reports, and like the parasites they were had re-branded themselves as "Odyssey" - a brand new organisation with the same old remit - enjoying the government funding which, Prescott figured without a shadow of a doubt, went straight into their dying livers.

He surveyed them both - Corinne's features were barely distinguishable underneath the mass of make-up she wore, her head near-buried in over-elaborate hair that had to be a wig. She had made some effort but clearly too much. Farrady looked like he had crawled out of an alcoholic stupor five minutes ago - which he probably had - wearing a crumpled suit and his thin, wrinkled face framed with hair that shifted in all directions. Prescott felt they were so beneath him he wouldn't even deign to give them common courtesy, so turned his eyes down to a completely irrelevant file and waited.

"You wanted to see us?" asked Farrady after a time, with extreme trepidation in his wavering voice.

Prescott made a non-committal grunt, before lowering the file and leaning back in his chair. He surveyed them further for another half a minute, timing the pause to give them the maximum discomfort.

"No," he finally said "But I've been informed that I have little choice in the matter. London is near a crisis stage."

"Crisis stage?" parroted Corinne, in shock.

"Yes, crisis stage!" exclaimed Prescott. "You've heard something, surely?"

Farrady mumbled, looking for an answer. Most of their intelligence probably came from Google...

"Regardless," said Prescott, waving him to stop "London is experiencing... a power drain. I am told, an unusually severe one."

The two 'agents' exchanged worried glances. "Currently the plants are compensating but... it won't last long. Soon there'll be a complete black-out. A terrible loss of face this time of year"

"How long's 'not long', sir?" asked Paul.

"It can only get shorter, Farrady!" snapped Prescott. He slammed a photograph onto the desk. Corinne put on a pair of spectacles and examined it - strange lights in the sky, the usual thing. "Wyvern Hill, Sussex. Sighted approximately the same time this drain started. And I don't believe in co-incidence.

"You want us to investigate?"

"I don't want you lounging around on Ministry time any longer, that's for sure! Maybe it's about time you justified your rather generous Cabinet funding."

The two agents exchanged glances. They knew the score, no doubt. Even as thick as they were they knew about Torchwood by now. They knew that something had to have gone wrong for them to get this assignment. And they knew that Prescott hated them and wanted their funding. This could well be the last trip they ever made...

The decision was reached as one. They'd need some cannon fodder.

"For a job of this priority," explained Corinne calmly "We'll need another agent."

"Chatham," explained Farrady, completely unnecessarily, as they only had one agent.

Prescott ground his teeth. Benjamin James Sebastian James Chatham. A loud-mouthed Cambridge snob who'd falled in with Operation Delta and, thanks to their low standards, passed himself off as some sort of agent. He'd caused endless trouble by passing on top secret information to any tom, dick or harry; and disrupted important work by constantly phoning up agencies about half-baked conspiracy theories. He even claimed that the US president was an alien in disguise, for Christ’s sake! Chatham was, simply put, a complete embarrassment to the entire British Government. But, given the fact that Prescott had recommended to the appropriate personnel a prompt assassination for Chatham, he could hardly complain when he was sent on a dangerous assignment.

"Go ahead," he said simply "But get moving. You don't get there soon, and even those damned UNIT yobs might beat you to the scene..."

Katie Ryan loved Christmas. She loved the excuse to wear daggy jumpers in awful colours, she loved fake snow as a decorating accessory, she loved crackers and party hats, she loved bright wrapping paper in excess and she loved outrageously large meals.

Ben Chatham, however, did not love Christmas. Ordinarily, this would be no problem for either of them - but Katie's parents were... well, somewhat orthodox. She'd let a thing or two slip about seeing someone and before she knew it they were demanding to meet 'the young man' in the holidays - every man she dated was seen as a prospective son-in-law by them so she tried to keep them under wraps. Now that they knew about Ben, though, he had to be presented... and it wasn't something Katie was looking forward to.

"It's just so common," moaned Ben, from his near-motionless position draped over the couch "So bloody common."

She sighed inwardly. Everything was 'common'.

"It's common because a lot of people like it," Katie said, trying to imbue her voice with cheery enthusiasm she prayed would be infectious.

"Well a lot of people like shoving lard pies down their throats until they balloon up," drawled Ben "That doesn't make it something one should want to do."

Impeccable logic as always...

"Anyway," he went on, after a desultory swig of his precious absence "It's only practical function is to shift cheap chav toys in bulk numbers, which serves only to destroy our culture and heritage, and encourage future generations to adapt chavish lifestyles. As opposed to sensible ones."

"Sensible ones being those spent perpetually rat-faced on someone else's furniture while sniping about their taste?"

There was a long pause.


And that was that. Katie raised an eyebrow and turned back to the tree, shifting some wayward tinsel in the appropriate way of the elusive festive season feng-shui. Ben had to go soon - state of emergency. Maybe she could arrange a break-up in front of her parents? Good odds. Just as there were good odds that her father would punch him out on sight - he'd nearly done the same to Darren from her days in Trinity College, and he was only a Marxist - far more rational than Ben had ever been.


Katie nearly jumped. Ben's weird robot dog moved near-silently, and it was easy to forget about it. It was the only thing around that indicated that Ben was actually ever so slightly more than he seemed...

"I'm over here, K9!" called Ben

"Correct, Master. However, my instruments indicate that you are not currently capable of making reasonable suggestions..."


"You are currently intoxicated."

"I've only just started this bottle."

K9 prudently rotated himself around a handful of degrees, to face towards Katie and away from Ben. "Mistress - as I was in the process of communicating prior to that unnecessary interruption - my sensors indicate that there are unprecedented electronic fluctuations within the general area."

Katie glanced around. "All the electric seems to be working fine, K9."

"Sensors indicate otherwise, and are supplied generously with fail-safes."

"Aliens!" shouted Ben, with great feeling. He would have jumped off the couch, if not for his condition - as it was he ended up falling to the ground weakly in a shambles.

"Don't you think that's a bit-"

"No! It's always aliens! They want me! They’re coming for meeee!"

That did seem to be true - Ben certainly attracted more aliens than anyone else she knew. She supposed, comparatively speaking, he was the expert.

"K9," slurred Ben "Suggested course of action?"


(Probably not)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Which Aussie cricketer DON'T you look like?

When I saw the ad for a Weetabix Australian Cricketer Lookalike competition thing, I knew I had to check out the site. Simply because I'm a sucker for this kind of nonsense, and to see how bad they were.
(Though in truth I was hoping that I'd be an official deadringer for insane ex-keeper Tim Zoehrer, and hence able to play him in the inevitable film version of the 1986 Tied Test against India, and thus be able to shriek madly and present my arse to the opposing batsman, inviting him to insert his bat therein)

I was somewhat hamstrung by the lack of either a recent or half-decent photo of myself. All I had was this:
As you can see, taken during my fat-squinty-no-haircut phase. Seriously, all my others are from dodgy angles, can we move on here?

Now, from that highly unflattering photograph I was thinking, "Oh, god, I'm going to get Shane Warne, aren't I?" The only other likelihood I could see was wine-guzzler extraordinaire, film critic, and once-in-a-blue-moon spinner Stuart MacGill, noted for probably being the least fit bloke on the Squad.

So you can imagine my surprise when...

Erm.... okay. I am the sixteenth best look alike for Ricky Ponting. So clearly John Simms isn't interested in this comp at all...

Come on, look at him, he's about to say "It has all the classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder!" in a Mancunian accent you could smear blubber on and call a whale.
(Incidentally, some of the critics are saying that Ashes to Ashes is terrible. But I trust the Gene-Genie)
Obviously I was quite flattered by Brett Lee coming in at number four on my look-alikes, ensuring that my blond hair had been noticed at some point by the system, and chose to ignore MacGill and Gilly, as they are undoubtedly good players, but also fairly ugly.
So... what next? Well, basically put in a high-quality photo of someone from a perfectly neutral angle and see how greatly the system fails to find a convincing lookalike. Let's see... ooh! A high-quality photograph of my long-lost cousin Andrew..

Now, from a glance at that I'd say that Shaun Tait would be the best candidate, though Ricky actually wouldn't be too bad a match for that and he could also be a near Matthew Hayden. Who do we get...

Damien Leith, apparently. Oh, no, wait, it's Justin Langer. Now... come the fuck on and tell me that that isn't the single worst lookalike you've ever seen. Well... apart from me and Ricky Ponting. Erm.. they both have eyebrows? Is that the link?

I feel obliged to point out that I knew about this whole thing from the start from an ad on the TV where a girl is flirting with a fat-faced, beady-eyed freak with blatantly-dyed hair by giggling and telling him how much he looks like Bollywood star, acrobat, fast bowler and retail king pin Brett "Bing" Lee. He shrugs this off and says that he looks like the much less popular and well known 'all-rounder' Shane Watson (Christ I know a lot of player's names, don't I?) To finish her coquettish flirting she photos him with her phone and sends it off to the Weetabix Look-a-Like-Finderer. The hideous Big Brother evictee, understandably, asks who he got. The response that ends the ad? "You'll never guess"

No charges of false advertising are hence possible, because they're perfectly up front about it. You never ever will guess because the look-alikes are so bullshit it will blow your mind. In the ad, the answer was probably Lasith Malinga. (Hopefully a Google Image Search will explain the meaning of that zinger.)

One last test - I've often said that George Bradley Hogg, a bloke doing fine work to ensure that 'Chinaman' still has one iffy legitimate use left within the bounds of political correctness, is a ringer for Lloyd Braun, George Costanza's lifelong nemesis in Seinfeld.

Unfortunately, the highest quality photo I could get of him looked like it was from Australia's Most Wanted viewed behind a screen door with a vaseline lense. It did teach me a very important lesson, though: skin tone is important.

Well, that picture came out terribly. Hopefully you get the drift.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Okay, when I watched the finale of Torchwood S1 - in actual fact a double-episode comprised of both Captain Jack Harkness and End of Days - I had wordpad open ready to write my half-time predictions. But things got out of hand when I started getting more and more pissed off with the same old crap from TW, seemingly doomed to forever be more of a joke than DW, which is fairly impressive given the reaming that DW gets from some peeps.

Anyway, I ended up writing a log of all the moments that pissed me off, and my response to them. May not make sense without the episode itself. As is, it's like half a MST3K

Captain Jack Harkness

OWEN: December 24th - that was when Diane flew through the rift...

Thanks, Owen. I couldn't have coped with just the recap I saw a few seconds ago

IANTO: You were in love with her, weren't you?

More subtle exposition. Captain Jack Harkness travels through time and space, with one constant companion... Captain Obvious.

RANDOM GIRL: Why is George dancing with a Jap?

I get that racism is a very serious issue (At least for everyone not working on Little Britain) but where is the rule that says that racism can only be put into a modern-day period piece with all the subtlety of the typical Hitler campaign? Why the fuck is Jack shocked at this racism when he lived in the 40s for years? Why are we meant to be, for that matter?

JACK: Hey, you could always dance with me if you wanna...

...and now he's forgotten about the existence of homophobia. Well done, man!

(Note, it's since been revealed in DW, of course, that Jack has actually lived through the entire 20th Century. Twice. Which makes his apparent ignorance of homophobia, racism and discrimination even less credible. And it's pretty incredible when you notice he has a brain)

JACK: It's not my name: it's his... but I didn't realise he was... so HOT!

Chris Chibnall's idea for making a well-rounded, credible character... have them absolutely obsessed with sex no matter how sombre the ocassion.

OWEN: Shit! (Awkward Pause, staring into nothing) SHIT!

Remember, folks, they hired Burn Gorman for the part because his acting "blew them away". (Not for Brad Pitt-style looks..) Imagine what the other auditionees were like...

COMPUTER: Your battery is running low.

Who the fuck would design a laptop that has a "low battery" warning that takes up THE ENTIRE SCREEN? Most retarded thing ever.

SATO: This period... you look like you fit in...

Well, apart from the whole ineptly hitting on aggressive heteros and getting yourself punched out thing... but he has been wearing a 1940s period dress uniform for the past year, nice to see you started paying attention..

JACK: He dies.

SATO: When?

JACK: Tomorrow.

Sorry, when did they get the date?

(Note, they probably did get it somewhere so you can ignore that complaint. Unless it turns out I was right!)

GWEN: Just a silly dare. Someone said it was haunted.

Again, writers have trouble with the whole "Gwen isn't 15 years old" thing.

GEORGE: How many did you kill in the Battle of Britain? 26?

Pedantic time, but there was only one American pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain and he made zero confirmed kills before being shot down himself. I know this because Tom Cruise wanted to make a film about him...

GWEN: He wears a cravaT. (Nb, weird pronounciation)

HOLY SHIT! IT'S THE SAME GUY!!! No more evidence is needed than that piece of fashion. Not for the Scooby Gang, anyway...

IANTO: No, Gwen, get out, wait for back up!

Back-up being an effeminate butler sort and a cockney Doctor/pervert. I wouldn't be feeling too confident.

As in Robin Hood and B7, it's moments like this where a gang of six against the world feels a bit naff.

IANTO: Get out of there, Gwen, and that's an order!

Am I the only one who remembers Ianto being introduced as the caretaker of the building, rather than a bona fide agent?

IANTO: Open the rift now and the whole world could suffer!

He's at it again!

OWEN: Mainly because Diane didn't try and kill us all and, oh yeah, she also happened to be a HUMAN BEING!

For some reason continuity in Torchwood needs to be yelled or it doesn't count.

(It's also worth noting that there are an awful lot of characters who are also both human and not attempting to kill members of Torchwood. It may also be that they don't know them very well, though...)

OWEN: There's a piece missing - we gotta find it!

Smoothe McGuffin...

JACK: Is that it? (...) Kiss her goodbye!

Once again Jack forgets that he is, in fact, a human and doesn't have the right to wholesale steal lines from The Doctor...

GWEN: What would Jack and Tosh do? How would they try and help us?...

..ah, nevermind, I'll just run after the weird alien guy who's undoubtedly evil...oh, yeah and lets chop the film up with heaps of white flashes. That's artistic.

IANTO: Be careful, Gwen. Bilis is still around.

And he's the BAD GUY. You seemed to get a bit confused on that point...

HARKNESS: Is Toshiko your woman?

JACK: No. There's no-one.

Example #3345 of the fun-ectomy Jack had between PotW and Torchwood


Jack is freaked out when Harkness comes on to him. Yep. Totally in character. Well, I'm assuming that he's been gelded..


The falling apart of Torchwood into a bloody fight between Ianto and Owen is clearly meant to be a shocking moment showing us that the organisation is at it's lowest ebb, hence building tension for the oncoming climax. Unfortunately, something very similar to this happens every frigging week on the show, so it loses absolutely all meaning.

IANTO: You have to let Diane go, just like I did Lisa.

Funnily enough, Owen didn't mention Diane. It was just Ianto, blathering on like an idiot.

OWEN: You're just a tea-boy.

IANTO: I'm much more than that.

A tea-boy with a crap haircut and a breaking voice? But still, gives some sort of meaning to Ianto's bizarrely and suddenly expanded role...

OWEN: In your dreams, Ianto... your sad wet-dreams where you're his part-time shag, maybe...

Again with the characters behaving like school children. Also note the implied homophobia on Owen's part, a strangely recurring theme considering that the season opener featured him date-raping a strange man as a spur-of-the-moment thing...

(*Ianto shoots Owen*)

w00t! Actually not a negative point. Good, in fact. Very, very good. Now, how long til he dies?

GEORGE: What's he doing?

He's reversed the polarity of the homophobia flow! For the next five minutes homosexuality is no longer even against the law! Enjoy his spirited rendition of the French tonsil hockey grand finale with another man in front of everybody! We should retcon history more often. Is Jack now going to get on a jetpack and ferry all the Jews to England one by one?


NB: In the time it has taken Owen to get back to Torchwood, fix the Rift device, crack Jack's safe, have 5000 arguments with Ianto, open the rift, and get shot, Gwen has managed to open her car and get in.

End of Days

RHYS: You know it's rude to stare...

Wha? Rhys is still alive? Isn't he, like, 12 episodes late for being killed off?

JACK: You people love anything that denies the randomness of existence.

Uh, Jack? You aren't an alien, remember?

OWEN: Are we goin' to sit around crying in our lattes...

a) Nobody is drinking coffee in this scene

b) People are angry at Owen, not sad

c) They've only just discovered what the effing problem IS!

OWEN: Or are we going to do something about it?!

Considering what happened the last time you decided to fix a problem, the lack of enthusiasm on show is very understandable...

OWEN: You can't control time WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO?

A moment ago it was 'we'! Owen, you are a worthless prick.

OWEN: No thanks, I'll be fine on my own.

Again, previous experience says no you won't be.

GWEN: Do you have to pick on him in public like that?!

Yeah, Torchwood is a very public place. And also, Jack simply pointed out that Owen caused the whole mess, before Owen started shouting out nonsense in the form of 'dialogue'. Yes, Gwen had sex with Owen, which is probably what justified this line in Chibnall's strange reality...

GWEN: All your staff have feelings, Jack. Even Owen!

JACK: Well, you would know.

Chris, mate, please listen - this is NOT A HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA! They're meant to be saving the fucking world!

ANDY: Excuse me? Hi. Any time you feel like talking sense?

Oh, the irony. Look at the writer's name, my friend. Mwuhahaha!

(Note, I was under the impression that this episode was the work of Chibnall alone, simply going off the feel of things. I don't know who wrote it, nor want to know, but they are a Grade-A jack as this is one of the worst pieces of television I have ever seen)

JACK: That soldier came through a crack in time.

ANDY: He's not serious, is he?

Ahh, those crazy policemen. They never watch the news. Commonly known fact.

ANDY: Everyone's saying it, you know... at work and on the streets... do you think this the end of the world?

Ah. He got up to speed while they were walking down the corridor. Smart lad. Nice initiative.

RANDOM DOCTOR: We waited for you! You've gotta stop this!

How does he know about the deus ex machina method for revolving this crises? Really, what did he expect? Did someone give him Torchwood's number and claim it was the Jesus Christ Hotline?

OWEN: Scared enough, yet? Cos fuck knows I am!!!

More of the mature adult drama, as dictated by Chris Chibnall. It works much the same way as Bruce Willis movies.

TOSH: Okaasan?

That's the honourable form of referring to someone else's mother, or to your own in polite company. Generally, the informal term of address would be appropriate, which is 'Haha'.

Yeah, I know, it's an understandable error, really, but I still spotted it.


Erm, why does Owen leave by walking into a bio-hazard zone, when not wearing his protective gear?

JACK: Have I ever let you down?

Several times. Clearly Jack doesn't keep track of it all.


Ianto: Weevil Hunter

(Note, I have no idea what that even referred to now)

GWEN: Can we stop them from making that noise?

Ahhh, Gwen. She always knows how to prioritize in a crisis.

IANTO: We'll have to open the cells below it's just... we've never used them while I've been here...

Which would be the same amount of time as the others, if not less? You were in Torchwood One and transferred after Canary Wharf, remember? It's not always about you, Ianto.



JACK: Owen, how was the hospital?
OWEN: Laugh a bloody minute.

Was it supposed to be?

OWEN: I suggest you lead us...

Selflessness personified.

OWEN: Who the fuck are you, anyway?

How come he hasn't been so much as tempted to ask this earlier? Remeber people, he's been working there about two years..

OWEN: I would say thanks for the memories...

This moment would mean something if anyone at all so much as nearly liked Owen.


Aww, Burn Gorman's so cute when he tries to cry convincingly!


No complaints for a while here. The reason? Bilis Manger rocks. But it brings me back to...

OWEN: Diane...


RANDOM BLOKE: You aren't allowed to drink there, mate.

Huh? Do Cardiff people take umbrage if you dare drink alcohol at the bar? I'm having trouble understanding these Welsh customs...

JACK: Not gonna happen!

Jack could have a point. The fact that visions of the future were irrefutable law in Ghost Machine is meaningless here, as the laws of the Torchwood Universe are allowed to change regularly. Case in point: They Keep Killing Suzie = no afterlife. Random Shoes = afterlife.

RHYS: Do you work here? I'm Rhys... Gwen's boyfriend and *Hngkkhgurglegurglegurgle*

Whoa! Rhys getting killed! Who could ever have seen that coming?! I defy anyone to suggest they thought that he was going to die!!!! MOST UNPREDICATABLE HAPPENING IN HISTORY!

GWEN: You never even met him...

Chris, if you're reading this... please please please - STOP. I'm serious. I'm sure it's not your intention to turn Gwen, Torchwood's "human element" into a completely mindless and unlikeable bitch everytime you get on the word processor, but it's exactly what happens. Every time.

GWEN: The resurrection gauntlet

IANTO: Was destroyed.

GWEN: You could grab something else!

Is she completely delusional? Have they been tripping over resurrection devices constantly and I just haven't noticed it?

GWEN: There's got to be something you can do or WHAT'S THE FUCKING POINT OF YOU?!?

I think the real question is why everyone in Torchwood is now seeing Jack as their own, personal, one-man all-purpose problem solver. I mean, he's just their boss. If I ran a business I wouldn't expect employees bringing me their dead pets and asking me to bring them back to life.

And what is with all the swearing in this episode? Yeah, I know I'm not exactly The Wiggles in that regard, but it's really gratuitous, out of character, and just distractingly frequent. I think it's Chris reminding us that this is the series finale, seeing as the sluggish pace and constantly shifting plot haven't given any sense of it so far...

TOSH: You came back!

What... the fuck. Why does she grin like an idiot when she says that? Owen walking through the door somehow overrides a dude getting killed and Gwen having a full mental breakdown? And why's she so excited to see Owen back? She hates him after Greeks Bearing Gifts!

OWEN: Are you right? Are you okay?

What do you think, O-man?

JACK: Yeah. Because you're so in love with Rhys that you spend half your time in Owen's bed.

This is a tried and true negotiating technique. Just because it didn't work here, doesn't mean there's anything fundamentally wrong with it. Honest. Go out and try it.

OWEN: I'm sick of people doubting me!

Whoa, calm down. Maybe you should have mentioned it in an earlier episode if it bothered you so much...


Why didn't they need everyone's retina scans last week?

GWEN: Right, Jack, everything is going to go back to normal...

..... yeah. She is delusional. Unless there are earthquakes in Wales every week. I'm learning some fascinating things about that country..

GWEN: What do we do, Jack? How do we stop it?

... don't they realise how pathetic they all look?


Well that was resolved incredibly quickly...

GWEN: I wanna sit with him.

You punched him out and swore your head off at him just a matter of hours ago!

TOSH: It's been days.

Thank you, Ms Narrator.

CHRIS CHIBNALL: Hey, a kiss is what brings the dead person back to life! That's never been done before! I'm a genius!

Wrong on all counts.


We needed the kiss between Jack and Ianto as well. Subtle innuendo is never, ever enough for this show.


Erm, Jack gets in the TARDIS? That's the cliffhanger ending to the season I heard about? Huh. Not... as dramatic as I was expecting.