The Sarah Jane Adventures (Or, New Houseguests and Old Doctors)

Ahhhhh.  Another long day!  This time my relaxation show of choice was The Sarah Jane Adventures (specifically, The Mad Woman in the Attic).  My currently-couch-surfing friend C is staying with me for a week, so I had some company while watching a portion of this.  As I watched the first part, he was mostly on the phone.  As he hung up, he just smiled at me, shook his head, and said “I just can’t picture anyone but you guys* watching this kind of thing.  It’s so…British.”

Later he was sitting in the corner, ostensibly reading A Dance with Dragons, but he clearly kept getting sucked into the show.  More than half the times I glanced over, I caught him looking at the TV and not his book.  I don’t blame him.  I really liked this story.  Much of the time I’m rather lukewarm** about this show.  I will happily watch anything with Sarah Jane, but sometimes it’s just a little too cute/childish/pat.  This story however, struck me just right.  And that was even before they alluded to the Doctor returning in the next episode.

Come to think of it, it’s rather odd that I liked this one so much.  It centered around Rani, a character of whom I’m not particularly fond.  I guess I appreciated the entire-episode-as-a-flashback convention.  And I really liked the actress who played Eve.  She was cute as a button and charming to boot.  (Red skin and yarn-like hair notwithstanding.)

As I mentioned, I had company tonight.  Even though he was only half-paying attention, it was lovely having someone to share this with.  At one point in the show, a teen named Sam makes the common error of confusing Frankenstein with his monster.  Luke, of course, calls him on it.  I loved that, and couldn’t help but bust out with a Nelson-from-the-Simpsons laugh at Sam’s expense.  C (who is long-acquainted with my proclivity for pedantry) looked up at me, laughed, and said “you tell ’em!”

C has since scarpered off to play boardgames for the evening, so the rest of my Sarah Jane-ing will be done in solitude.  I couldn’t possibly go to bed now, knowing that David Tennant is in the next story, The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith.  (Wish I’d have thought of that before I took the melatonin…)  I’m actually a little nervous to watch this next one.  I haven’t seen Tennant as the Doctor since…well, since he was the Doctor.  I wouldn’t say I fall into the category of “Tennant fangirl,” but I did love him as the Doctor.  Now I’m wondering if he’ll live up to my pleasant memories, or if I’ll find that I’m disappointed by his lack of Matt-Smith-ness.  I guess there’s one sure way to find out!  I’ll finish up this entry in about an hour…

Before I go, and lest I forget, yes, I’ve been knitting!  I’m done with the first medium-sized purple stripe, and I’ve moved on to the following orange one.  I really like switching from purple to orange and back.  Or purple to red and back.  For some reason it’s much more satisfying to switch between colors that are substantially different.  Is that weird?

<an hour passes–for me anyway>

I needn’t have worried.  As soon as he (finally) appeared, I got that shivery oh-my-goodness-there’s-the-Doctor feeling I always get after not seeing one of my favorites for a while.  Actually, that feeling started the first time I heard the TARDIS sputterily trying to materialize in the street.  Funny how house keys scraping piano strings can make me go all gooey.***  But yes, I still love Tennant as the Doctor. I’d forgotten just how frenetic he is!  It was almost more than I could take, but it was so nice to see him again (and in something I hadn’t seen before) that I let it slide.  (I still rather detest his allons-y catchphrase though.)

This story was a little too full of technobabble for my taste.  (Is there a better word for that?  It really wasn’t technical enough to be “techno”-babble.)  It moved a little fast, and it seemed like the resolutions all came too quickly and easily.  (No surprise there in a children’s show helmed by Russell T Davies.)  I enjoyed it nonetheless.  The being-trapped-in-a-single-second predicament reminded me of an episode of The New Twilight Zone (A Matter of Minutes) in which a young couple is left behind in time and surrounded by blue men who “built” each moment.  That was always a favorite, so I liked the similarities there.

I was pleased to see Nigel Havers as Sarah Jane’s love interest.  I quite enjoyed him on Manchild, and he’s still looking pretty dreamy.  Also, I’m so glad to have K-9 back!  I effing love K-9!  His voice sounded a bit off, but I know it’s John Leeson, so it doesn’t bother me too much.  And either I got used to it as the story went on, or it started sounding more like the K-9 of old towards the end.  Maybe both.

Unsurprisingly, I got all weepy as the story wrapped up.  When Sarah said goodbye to the Doctor, I couldn’t help but think about how it was, indeed, the last time she saw him wearing that particular face.  And more painfully, how the world itself had to say goodbye to Lis Sladen.  I may have mentioned before how I’d never gotten upset about a celebrity’s death, but when I heard that Sarah Jane was gone, I sobbed like a little girl.  I may not quite be back there now, but the waterworks are definitely underway.  Golly, what a sap I am!

I think it’s high time I took my lachrymose self off to bed.  Sweet dreams all!

*He used the plural to include my entire family.  He’s known us all for years, and we are, every one of us, Doctor Who geeks.

**Pun intended.

***For the record, the Doctor Who theme song has the same effect.  Every.  Time.

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Doctor Who: 3 Doctors + 3 Goofballs

OHMIGODWHATALONGDAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHhhhhhhh….  Sorry.  So.  Tired.  Long.  Day.

Note to self: don’t get people to dare you to exercise on days when there’s a chance you’ll get stuck at work for 11 hours.  But hey.  I did it.  Then I decided to treat myself to a repeat viewing of The Three Doctors, this time with commentary by those Radio Free Skaro rogues.  Tomorrow my muscles will be sore from exercising, and my stomach muscles will be extra-sore from laughing.  Truly, the boys were on fire with this one!  I’m not generally a laugh-out-loud type of gal–I do the smile-and-nod thing most of the time.  Tonight however, I’m pretty sure my neighbors must think I’ve gone insane.  Perhaps I’m giddy from fatigue, or perhaps it was the half-glass of wine.  Whatever the reason, I was nigh-guffawing.

Yes.  I even laughed at the Wisconsin joke (while simultaneously rolling my eyes).  “Milk report” indeed.  Sigh.

I’m way too tired to go into much detail.  Instead you get this list: seagulls, sirens, jokes in hilariously poor taste, innuendo, blatant “out-uendo,” Steven humming David Bowie <swoon>, all three fellas quoting Oasis (which reminded me of my sis, so yay!), and many people named Tyler.  Really, watch this episode.  It’s great.  And listen to the commentary.  Also great.  And maybe if you have time, please explain to me exactly what “end of” means.  Or rather, from whence it came.  I grokked the meaning based on context, but the turn of phrase is new to me.  I should be excited about learning a new expression (albeit an obnoxious one), but instead, I’m going to bed.

Oh yeah.  Knitting.  Right.  I did that too.  I was pretty diligent tonight.  Diligent enough that my shoulder is quite sore now.  I’m almost done with the next purple stripe.  Wee!  And stuff.

Sleep.  Now.

Torchwood: Miracle Day (Dead of Knitting)

Ta daa!  Finally, the promised picture.  Still not much, is it?  I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s almost no chance this’ll be done in time for Chicago TARDIS, and that’s a real shame ’cause I’ll probably really want a scarf like this in Chicago in November!  Oh well, that’s not really why I was making it in the first place.  I want it for me, not to show off.  (That part’s just gravy.  Mm.  Gravy.)

So today while knitting I watched the third episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, Dead of Night.  I’m not going to say too much about it here.  For one thing, I don’t want to inadvertently provide any spoilers.  For another thing, if you are interested in information about T:MD, there are myriad sources out there–most of which are far more insightful and informed than this little blog.

What I will say is that I’m enjoying the return of Torchwood very much indeed!  I was a fan of the first three series (yes, all three), so I had little doubt that I would enjoy the new stuff.  I was a wee bit nervous about the prospect that it would be too…American, but as it turns out, I’m really liking that aspect.  Watching Rex Matheson cope with travel in the UK and watching Gwen Cooper trying to learn the American dialect has been quite amusing.  And I had no idea lemonade is fizzy in Britain.  That makes it an educational show too, right?

Anyway, if you liked any of the three previous series of Torchwood, I definitely recommend checking out Miracle Day.  It’s a good time.  Also, Captain Jack is still hot as hell.  I figure that’s always worth pointing out.

Doctor Who: The Three Doctors (or A Brotherly Blast From the Past)

Holy balls, what a great evening!  It’s my every-other-Wednesday with my brother, and while it’s always a good time, tonight was extra-special.  We usually eat dinner, chat a bit, then watch something on the teevee.  For a while it had been scientific lectures on the nature of the brain and consciousness (fascinating stuff!), but we finished off that series and have moved back into the realm of fiction.  Tonight, I suggested The Three Doctors (mostly so I’ll have it fresher in my mind when the Radio Free Skaro fellas release their commentary next week).  D was all for it.  He’d watched some Hartnell not too long ago, so was in a classic-Doc kinda mood already.  Before we started, we calculated that we’d last watched this episode in the fall of 1994.  And we’d most likely watched it together, so this was a reunion of sorts.

What neither of us had remembered was what a great episode it is!  We were both laughing out loud at the Doctors’ antics.  I’ve always adored Troughton, and watching him bicker with Pertwee sent me into fits of giggles.  I positively loved the writing in this story.  Part of me felt like some of it should have been a little too over-the-top look-how-clever-we’re-being, but none of it actually struck me that way.  Perhaps it would have been different had I been in a different mood.  One line in particular took D and I right back to childhood: Troughton–“Well you’ve been fiddling with it haven’t you?”  Pertwee–“It was perfectly alright until you touched it!”  We figured out that our mom had that sound clip on her computer, and it would play every time something-or-other happened.  That something-or-other must have happened a lot ’cause we both remembered hearing it often!  (I’m betting she had that mapped to an error message.  It would seem to fit.)

I think I mentioned a few posts back that Troughton’s Doctor always seemed more fallible to me than some of his other selves.  This was pretty clearly demonstrated in The Three Doctors.  He blatantly screws up and expects antimatter to behave as matter would.  It led to a lovely moment when D said to the screen “It’s antimatter!”  Echoed closely by Troughton saying the very same thing.

Moments like that remind me how nice it is to watch Doctor Who with company.  I do love the commentaries–they give the illusion of companionship, but it’s not the same as watching with an actual person.  Especially when that person shares the same raised-on-Doctor-Who love that I do.  I was almost giddy with excitement at being able to share the fun.  It really did take me back to 1994, which I will always think of as my “year of Doctor Who.”  I’d just about finished watching all the stories my mom had on VHS (all 100 or so), when D said, hey, I want to start watching (technically, re-watching) those with you!  He tells me I insisted that we backtrack and start with the Tom Baker years.  Apparently I wanted to ensure that the fourth Doctor would be his favorite too.  I admit I do have a vague recollection of this, and it certainly sounds like me!

Now I feel obliged to throw in a brief note on the knitting.  I know I promised a picture, but as I half-expected, I’m too tired and lazy to provide it now.  It’s past my bedtime, after all.  I did get that big old orange stripe done, and I’m well into the next red one.  I made very steady progress this time.  I think it was helpful having someone around who might notice if I started flagging.

So anyway, tonight was a thrill for me (not to mention extra-productive), and I hope there will be more shared Who to come!

Well, you’ve been fiddling with it, haven’t you?
DOCTOR: It was perfectly all right until you touched it.

Doctor Who: More Sea Devils (w/More RFS Commentary, but No Nap)

I am seriously thinking of making myself a dress or shawl or something made out of that sweet Sea Devil mesh fabric (or something similar–assuming I could find anything).  And yes, before your imaginations run away with you, I’d line it with something if I went the dress route.  Get your minds out of the gutter.  (They’re crowding mine.)  Anyway, I’m not talking costume here–just a fashion homage, if you will.

Ok, first off: knitting.  I’m exactly one row away from finishing the orange stripe.  I’ll definitely post a picture next time.*

I have to apologise for my second consecutive sleepy post.  I got 11 hours of sleep last night, and that apparently wasn’t enough.  I was afraid I’d fall asleep while watching, but I shouldn’t have worried.  The lively commentary (plus theremin and slide-whistle) kept me right in it.  Now, however, I’m thinking about napping.  And that would be foolish ’cause it’ll be bedtime soon.  Incidentally, no, I don’t have mono or anything.  I slept so long to make up for my up-until-5am-Friday-night.  That was the fault of a great Sunspot show and the second episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day.  (I should know better than to think I can “just watch 10 minutes and then go to sleep.”)

So.  I watched episodes 4, 5, and 6 of The Sea Devils with commentary provided by the fellas from Radio Free Skaro.  Here is a measure of how much I liked it: I recently knocked my Netflix subscription from three discs down to two, and I’ve been missing that third disc.  Even so, I hung on to The Sea Devils disc for over a week so that I’d still have it when the second half of the commentary came out.  That’s how much I enjoy their commentary!

So this time I

  • Learned more about the episode itself and Doctor Who in general.
  • Heard some more crazy iphone-provided “bonus” sound effects, compliments of Steven.
  • Laughed my way through more bawdy digressions.
  • Agreed with Sea Devil fashion critiques.
  • Grinned every time they said what a great year 1977 was.  (It really was; that’s the year I was born.  Star Wars came out just before I did.)

I wouldn’t exactly call The Sea Devils a “romp,” but that moniker could easily be applied to the accompanying RFS commentary.  Well done boys; well done indeed.

I suppose I also ought to mention that this week I listened to the TARDIS Tavern episode covering The Sea Devils.  (That’s episode 12 if you want to go looking for it.)  This was purely coincidental.  I’ve been working my way backward through their catalog, and just happened to light on their Sea Devils episode in between RFS commentary episodes.  How fortuitous!  That was all kinds of fun as well.  I can’t recommend those guys enough either.  My favorite line was when Steve said “If you’re a sandwich, this is not a good story for you.”  I laughed out loud.

I’m too tired to go into detail (and this is getting a bit long), but I was also going to talk a bit about how I’ve been toying with the idea of going to the Gallifrey One convention next February, and how no fewer than seven people have tried to talk me into it this weekend.  My financial-stability-related resolve is crumbling.  I suppose I would have rather a long time to save up for it…  Maybe when I’m wider awake, I’ll have to do some monetary math.

*Disclaimer: I might not actually post a picture next time if I happen to be too tired or lazy to do so.

Doctor Who: Sea Devils Redux (Episodes 1-3 w/RFS Commentary)

Ok.  I took some melatonin a while ago, so I’m going to have to make this brief.  I can barely keep my eyes open.  But before I started nearing somnambulance, I decided tonight was going to be all about pampering myself.  I cooked dinner: a burger using pasture-raised beef from a local farm, topped with lettuce and a fried egg (both also from the same farm) on gluten-free bread with onions and a dollop of mayo.  Decadence!  Then I was still hungry, so I made myself supper #2: sauteed day lilies (yes, really!) with onions and ground beef.  I’d never cooked day lillies before.  They’re delish!  After that I decided it was time for dessert and some quality entertainment.  I made some homemade organic sweet-cinnamon-crunch popcorn and settled in to re-watch the first three episodes of The Sea Devils–this time with commentary by the “Three Who Rule” from Radio Free Skaro.

I’d never listened to commentary with anything before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’m thrilled to report that I loved it!  I can’t express how much fun it was to kick back, pig out, and let the good times roll with the boys from RFS.  It made my little apartment seem a bit less lonely to have three jocular voices prattling in my ear while watching some good old classic Who.

My favorite part was when Warren and Steven downloaded a theremin app for their iphones.  Warren’s delight and Steven’s pure glee at their ability to “play along” with the soundtrack actually made that aspect of the show bearable this time around.  It made me giggle more than once.

The other thing I loved about it was how every scene seemed to devolve into ribald jokes.  Absolutely up my alley, that.  I felt I was in good company the whole way through.

Oh yeah, and they offered interesting and informative insight into the episodes, characters, actors, blah blah blah.  Tonight, I’m really more interested in the fun, but it was a quality commentary from a scholastic viewpoint as well.  If you’ve never listened to the Radio Free Skaro podcast, I highly recommend you do so, and not just for the entertaining commentaries.  I could wax poetic about how great the podcast is, but I’m too tired.

Ok.  I really am about to nod off.  Just enough time left to mention that I knitted through episode 2 and am 10 rows away from being done with that big…orange….zzzzzzzzz…

Doctor Who: The Sea Devils

Ugh.  I should start by saying that I’ve had a crappy day.  Not because anything bad happened (it didn’t), or because anyone did or said anything to upset me (they didn’t), I’ve just felt crabby and lousy all day.  So you may want to take whatever I say hereafter with a grain of salt.  On the other hand, the fact that I’m aware of my grouchiness might cause me to overcompensate and be too forgiving.  I suppose this entire paragraph is completely unhelpful.  Sorry.

Anyway, let’s get the knitting business out of the way first.  I’m now exactly halfway done with that big ol’ orange stripe.  (For a split second, did you think I was going to say halfway done with the scarf?  I wish!)  Once I get it finished, I’ll probably post another picture.  I do have to admit that I only knitted through about half of this story.  I was feeling lazy through the first three (of six) episodes, so I wasn’t quite as productive as I could have been.  Sue me.  (Golly, I am a curmudgeon today aren’t I?)

Ok.  The Sea Devils.  I’ll come clean right off the bat.  I’m not exactly a fan of the third Doctor.  I don’t hate him or anything, he just ranks at the bottom of my list.  I love the Doctor.  I love all of his incarnations.  I simply love his third the least.  Something about his stuffy aloofness tends to rub me the wrong way.  And he has a bit of an action hero thing going on that doesn’t sit well with me.  There’s something James Bond-ey about him.  And at the risk of pissing off even more readers, I’m going to admit that I’m not a James Bond fan either.  Hey, at least I’m consistent, right?  Right…?

That being said, I still enjoyed this episode.  (Full disclosure: I love Doctor Who so much that I find it hard to imagine an episode I wouldn’t get at least some enjoyment out of.)  I haven’t watched much Pertwee at all, and no more than a couple episodes in the last 15-20 years, so this was an interesting exercise in reminiscing and catching up.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen this episode before–at least not that I remembered.  I’m pretty sure I have the Target novelization and have read that–some story elements seemed quite familiar, but nothing visual rang much of a bell.

Ringing a bell brings me to my biggest complaint about The Sea Devils.  The sound effects drove me INSANE.  High-pitched, screechy noises seemed to pop up everywhere with no rhyme or reason.  I honestly considered just giving up and turning it off around episodes 2 and 3.  The shrill noises were so incredibly grating that I wanted to scrub out the inside of my head with a wire brush.  It would have been preferable.  I was ok with the sounds when they were visually linked up with the action, for example, a Sea Devil communicating or a machine communicating with the Sea Devils.  That was all well and good, but at the beginning of the serial, we’d hear them when a person in an office hung up the phone.  Wtf?  Maybe it was supposed to not-so-subtly indicate that “someone’s watching” or “there’s something out there somewhere.”  I don’t care.  It was awful and unnecessary and took away from the story rather than adding to it.

I did enjoy watching Roger Delgado as the Master.  He’s so delightfully and charmingly evil.  When a guy like that says “All your troubles will soon be over” you just have to smile, really.  Another character whom I rather loved to hate was Walker, the Parliamentary Private Secretary.  What a jerkwad!  I just wanted to smash his face against the desk!  (Gosh!  What’s with me today?)  He did help me out in one way though.  I’ve never known what to say when I’ve been asked what superpower I’d want if I could have anything at all.  Well now I know.  I’d like the power to make people see/recognize/feel how they make other people feel.  So when jackasses like that are being jackassey, I can turn it around on them and say “Here, this is how you’re coming off to the rest of the world.  Are you sure you want to keep acting like that?  Hmm?”

There were a couple of plot issues that bothered me, the worst of which surrounded a machine that the Doctor and the Master were making together (ostensibly, to awaken all Sea Devils all over the globe).  The Doctor agrees to this readily, and the Master, for some reason, just believes that the Doctor is going along with it and cooperating.  That just seemed ridiculous to me.  Then, when the Doctor turns it on and something is obviously wrong (the Sea Devil in the room starts clutching its head in pain), the Master lets it go on for several minutes before turning it off.  There’s no good reason for this.  (Except from a move-the-story-forward point of view, ’cause it gave Jo and Captain Hart time to escape, but the Master knew nothing of that, and if he did, wouldn’t have wanted them to get away anyway.)

Overall though, this episode was good fun.  It had the Master, it had the Sea Devils (a great “enemy” race ’cause they’re not actually aliens at all–they were here first, and that leads to a delicious moral dilemma), it had some good location shooting–on water and on the beach, it had the Doctor reversing the polarity of the neutron flow, and it even had fencing and Venusian aikido.  What more can you ask for, really?