Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Where are you now, Devastatin' Dave, a man so bad he has no use for "g"s on the end of words? Have you been emancipated as a turntable slave? Will your crotch still electrocute people?
Sweet Jesus, how did this get by the A&R guy?
And we finally know where Dustin Hoffman got the inspiration for Tootsie.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) - Initially, the Seventh Doctor's era seemed to be as doomed as his predecessor's. The Seventh Doctor was written as a buffoonish cypher with a penchant for malapropisms. In his second season, however, the generic clown persona was phased out in favour of depicting him as scheming master-planner that constantly hid his true motives and intentions. McCoy brilliantly played the Doctor as an increasingly dark and melancholy figure, with the weight of the universe on his shoulders and a willingness to deceive and manipulate even his companion, Ace. This resulted in his final season being among one of the best seasons in the show's history, although sadly, it was also its last. The series was cancelled by the BBC after 26 years on the air.
The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) - After the cancellation of the classic series in 1989, viewers would have to waitseven years for the Doctor's return to television. Following the Seventh Doctor's regernation, Paul McGann took over as the Eighth Doctor in a TV movie produced by the BBC and Fox. The resulting hybrid of British and American sensibilities did not mesh well, with concessions made to the American side that wreaked havoc with established continuity. However, McGann put in a lovely performance. After the dark and melancholic Seventh Doctor, this incarnation was a more Byronic figure. He exhibited a passion for life and the little things, with a more openly romantic and expansive personality. He was the first Doctor to share a kiss with a companion, and he also claimed to be half-human, although this was never definitively proven. Sadly, he would only make one appearance as the character, but McGann proved that the character could be revived.
The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccelston) - In 2005, the series returned once more, this time in a relaunch that effectively merged the classic series with modern sensibilites. Eccelston's Ninth Doctor was seemingly radically different from all of his predecessors; he was decidedly more working-class and gritty, favouring a low-key wardrobe and a more casual, familiar tone. However, he was still the Doctor. Like many of his predecessors, he exhibited manic mood swings and a propensity for joking in the face of danger. He was an improviser at heart, rather than a planner, and though he retained a sense of joy and wonder at his travels, he also hid a deep sense of melancholy and sadness. In the time between the TV movie and the relaunch, the Doctor had fought in a Time War alongside his people, which resulted in the extinction of the Time Lord race save for himself. Eccleston allowed a haunted sense of loss to permeate his performance, giving the character a weight and emotional resonance.
The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) - After Eccelston's short tenure, Tennant stepped into the role with great confidence, making it his own. On the surface, the Tenth Doctor appears to be an eccentric crackpot with a light-hearted, talkative, cheekily rude manner. But Tennant also emphasizes the lonely and remote qualities of the Doctor, resulting in a somewhat ruthless and dangerous character. Being the last Time Lord, it's clear that he has an absolute moral certainty, one that sometimes causes him to go too far in punishing his enemies. Still, his Doctor is one of the most nakedly emotional, conveying a deep sense of loss following Rose's departure, and openly weeping over the Master's body. Tennant will leave the role soon, and it is clear he will be missed, as he has given one of the most fully realized and popular interpretations of the character.
Happy Birthday, Doctor, here's to 45 more years.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
As my favourite science-fiction television series of all time, I've got to give the show its props as it heads into middle-age. Time for it to buy a sports-car, grow a pony-tail and start dating a younger genre franchise - maybe Firefly or Lost.
In honour of the franchise, we're going to salute all the Doctors, from William Hartnell to David Tennant. We'll look at the first five Doctors in Part One.
The First Doctor (William Hartnell) - The guv'ner. The guy who started it all. When the series debuted, viewers knew almost nothing about the Doctor save that he was from another planet and traveled in time and space in his TARDIS. He began as more of a slightly sinister selfish anti-hero, but soon evolved into a irascible wiardly eccentric with a steadfast dedication to righting wrongs wherever he found them. From him came a lot of the traits still seen in the character today; the mood swings, the mystery and the moral authority.
The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) - Stories vary as to exactly why Hartnell left the series in 1966; some say his worsening health made the punishing shooting schedule too demanding while others claim he wanted too much input into the series and was becoming difficult. The production team came up with the original concept of the Doctor regenerating and this allowed Troughton to step into the role. His Doctor is my fave; a scruffy anarchic "cosmic hobo" that improvised his way out of scrapes, he often seemed almost overwhelmed by the situations he finds himself in. Troughton's so much fun to watch, even if his era is mostly missing, junked by the BBC's criminally short-sighted technique of wiping old episodes from their archives.
The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) - Pertwee took over in 1970, during a time of upheaval for the series. In Troughton's final story, the Doctor is finally caught by his own people, the Time Lords, and tried for violating their law of non-interference. He is sentenced to exile on the planet Earth in the late 20th century, and is forcibly regenerated. The Third Doctor worked with a paramilitary organization called UNIT, investigating alien menaces. He was more dashing and physical than his predecessors, employing alien forms of martial arts and numerous gadgets to subdue foes. Although he was still anti-authority, the Third Doctor was much more authoritative, and he exhibited a higher degree of arrogance and self-rightousness than before; traits that would remain to greater or lesser degrees in most subsequent incarnations.
The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) - In 1974, Baker took over the role, beginning a seven year stint as the character. During his tenure the show would become a world-wide success thanksgreatly to his wonderfully eccentric and distinctive take. He played the Doctor as a strange traveling bohemian, subject to incredible mood swings and possesing an indefatigable wit. Funny, eccentric and totally original, the Fourth Doctor was the most alien of all the Doctors. Baker's portrayal was so iconic that each actor that subsequently took on the role had to emerge from his shadow.
The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) - After seven years of the aloof, alien, eccentric Fourth Doctor, Davison chose to make his Doctor more approachable, creating a vulnerable, more sensitive and relatable Doctor. Drawing primarily from Troughton as his inspriation, Davison's Fifth Doctor was an improvisor more than capable of seeming over his head when battling enemies. He wasn't too nice, however, he was still quick to anger when dealing with fools, bullies and annoying companions.
In our next post, we'll move on to the most recent Doctors!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
In the meantime, during our epic packing, we were looking for something on the TV to distract us from the boredom of packing endless boxes. We came across Pretty in Pink.
Now, I would like to pause for a moment to make an admission. Along with each and every Smiths album, the films of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe helped get me through my adolescent angst. I could watch his flicks and identify with the teens struggling through their trials and tribulations. I thought that Hughes and Judd Nelson really "got" me.
Pretty in Pink was one of the darker films in the Hughes ouevre. Like a lot of these movies, it deals primarily with two things; unrequited love and the pressures of fitting in to a clique structure. When I was a young teen, who else would I identify with but Duckie as played by Jon Cryer? Duckie was awkward and nerdy and totally in love with best friend Andie (Molly Ringwald), and if she could only see that he was funny and offbeat and unique and devoted to her, they would live happily ever after, right? I mean, what teen hasn't been there? And then at the end, she chooses that douchebag Blaine (Andrew McCarthy).
Except that, watching it as an adult, an odd thing happened. I came to a shocking realization:
Duckie is a stalker. Oh yes. Duckie is one firm rejection away from killing Andie's cat. There's a scene where he phones her like, twelve times in one night. He's constantly creeping in through the back door at her work without telling her he's there. She knows how the Duckmeister feels, and she's not into him in that way. But Duckie can't let go, and has deluded himself into thinking there's a future. When that's threatened, he jealously freaks out and sits on a mailbox in the pouring rain.
And he's annoying. He dresses like an idiot (even for the eighties), he badly lip-synchs to songs for no apparent reason, and he touches the tapedeck in other people's cars, which is a fucking faux pas.
And you know what? Andrew McCarthy is not so much a douchebag anymore. Yeah, he dresses like a preppie moron, but at least he doesn't look like he's from Mars a la Duckie. Blaine's geniunely trying to break free of his clique restrictions, as is Andie, and while he'll probably dump Andie once he goes to Yale and starts banging coeds, at least he won't write her letters in his own blood like Duckie might.
Wow. You know you've officially left your rebellious teen years behind when you sympathise more with Andrew McCarthy than Jon Cryer.
Lloyd Dobler still fucking rules, though.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Still, the new movie has me. I'm excited. I'm psyched. Every new photo and detail looks retro-cool and so much fun. And recently, there's been a whole bunch more new stuff hitting the Interwebs about the flick.
Take this photo of the new Enterprise from Entertainment Weekly, for instance:
It's pretty awesome. It looks like the Enterprise, but it has a jaunty flair to it.
Look, I think that personally, long-time fans might not love every single thing about this film, and if there's one thing fans do, it's find one completely insignificant continuity mistake or change and harp about until the end of time. However, for an audience of newbies, and people who don't give a crap and just want a good time, this could be a lot of fun.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
As a result, many of the enduring life lessons were taught to me through the virtual reality of television. I'm not entirely sure that that isn't the most pathetic thing I could possibly admit, but TV is not wholly to blame. I read a lot of comic books too, so Stan Lee probably shares some culpability.
So, it only makes sense that before I became entranced by girls that actually existed in real life, I was first smitten with some damsels on TV. The following is a nostalgic shoutout to the first women who ever gave me, as Adam West might have put it, "strange stirrings in my utility belt".
10 - "Samantha" from Bewitched - First off, she was a witch, which was awesome. Secondly, look at that photo. She was also funny and kinda cool in a down to earth way. She seemed attainable too, mostly because Darren (whoever was playing him) was a complete dweeb. Some may prefer Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie, but I'd rather hook up with Sam. Jeannie seemed too ditzy and sophmoric to have a conversation with, and besides, being with Sam might also mean that Paul Lynde would come to visit, and that cat was hilarious.
8 - "Nurse Margie Cutler" from M*A*S*H - I'm reasonably confident this is the one crush on this list that will belong only to me. Marcia Strassman played Nurse Cutler in the first six episodes of the sitcom, and I guess was supposed to be Hawkeye's main love interest. She was quickly dropped in favour of playing Hawkeye up as a womanizer. Too bad, because I was totally smitten with Margie when I was kid, and unlike a lot of the crushes on this list, I still kinda have the crush. Look how adorable she is. She looks like an indie chick but from 1972. Oddly, Strassman never did it for me in Welcome Back, Kotter or any other of the shows she appeared in after this. It was Margie Cutler I crushed on.
7 - Meg Tilly - A few months back, Mrs. Nerdlinger and I were at our local Wingnuts, getting wings and whatnot. Who should be sitting across from us but a former crush of my youth, Ms. Meg Tilly? I know she's a celebrated author who has some bitter feelings regarding her past as an actress, so I didn't go over to her and inform her that the scene in The Big Chill where she wears a leotard and does yoga was an early sexual experience for me. That....would have been.....awkward. From Psycho II and Masquerade, I have endured some pretty crappy movies for you, Meg. I still haven't read your novel, though. Sorry. By the way, that photo there is of her in the infamous leotard.
5 - "Wonder Woman" - Lynda Carter actually pulled off that costume with such unfettered awesomeness that a show that is probably nearly unwatchable is still talked about today. Even as a kid, I watched this show for pretty much one reason, and I'm a comic book geek. Basically I would wait for her to spin around and turn into Wonder Woman, watch her run around, wonder why I was all sweaty and dizzy, and then go back to watching CHiPs.
4 - "Emma Peel" from The Avengers - The archetypal ass-kicking, cool as ice, super-hot female action hero. First off, this show was so awesome; it was funny and sophisticated and kitchy cool. Patrick Macnee was the epitome of stuffy cool as John Steed, and Diana Rigg radiated sexy as the cat-suited superspy Emma Peel. She was also smoking hot in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, too.
3 - Julie Newmar as "Catwoman" on Batman - Now we're getting into the all-time classic women of "first crush" stories. In her slinky outfit that was so tight that it defies hyperbole, and a portrayal that was overtly sexual, Newmar was the instigator of many kids' first awareness of sex at all. I posted this picture because it showed off Julie's face the best, but there's another shot floating around on the net that is from behind and waaaaay more indicative of a precise moment where a little kid might get a "funny feeling". Do an image search, and you'll find it.
2 - "Batgirl" on Batman - She was a goody-goody librarian and also a crime-fighter dressed in a skin tight costume. She was a brunette and a redhead. In short, she was hot. Craig also gets special marks for appearing as a green Orion slave girl in an episode of Star Trek.