Posts Tagged With: game of thrones

Have I Got Whos For You (salted caramel edition)

By the time you read this, I’ll be somewhere in Warwickshire, probably trying to erect an awning and shouting at the kids. But you don’t want to hear about that, so here’s a largely text-free roundup of the week’s news.

First, there is an air of familiarity about the Game of Thrones finale, in which democracy was not quite ushered in.

Over on ITV, we take a sneak peek at Jeremy Kyle’s new gig.

The news that a familiar face is returning to Doctor Who series 12 is somewhat overshadowed by a leaked picture revealing Jodie Whittaker’s new hairstyle.

(There was another one of these doing the rounds. It is so much better than mine. I’m not linking to it, though, purely out of public shame.)

As the new trailer for Toy Story 4 drops, there are sightings of a countryside recreation of ‘Day of the Doctor’.

On the subject of transport, it’s not been a great week for Nigel Farage.

There is a certain double standard at work here. When it’s Farage, I don’t care. When it’s an ageing veteran in a suit standing outside a polling station I get uneasy, even if he does happen to be supporting the Brexit party. I’m all for exposing fascism but this really is the sort of thing that eradicates sympathy.

When it comes to Farage, of course, you wonder who’s doing the throwing.

“OK, here he comes. Drop ’em on three.”

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Have I Got Whos For You (Winter Is Coming Edition)

To kick off today, we honour the late, great Peter Mayhew, as he interrupts the Doctor’s naptime.

Mayhew was a legend, a seven foot icon who managed seven Star Wars films and who was listed, somewhat bizarrely as ‘Chewbacca Consultant’ for The Last Jedi; my children didn’t notice he’d been replaced and in any case it’s the sort of thing very few people get to put on their CV, so I suppose he could retire happy. It’s difficult to tell just how much of the growling Wookiee’s endless appeal was down to the fact that he was a badass in a fire fight or the fact that he had a surprisingly tender side to him, as witness any scene where he gets to hug someone, or wail because Harrison Ford’s just fallen off a bridge. Star Wars has changed a lot over the years, but Chewbacca has been a constant – even though his cameo in Revenge of the Sith amounts to three or four seconds, the guy’s two hundred years old and you nonetheless know that whatever else is going on he’s kicking around somewhere in the galaxy, raising havoc (and a family) while Jake Lloyd rides off to do his Ben Hur thing. It’s like Mace Windu’s lightsaber: when asked, during Phantom Menace promotional interviews, why he didn’t have one, he replied “I did. I was wearing it.”

“But you didn’t actually use it.”

“Yeah,” replies Jackson, licking his lips. “But I was wearin’ it.” Intended meaning, it appears, counts for a lot.

Here’s a pet hate. Can we please have an embargo on ‘Rule one’? Rule one only applies for series 6, and even then it’s inconsistent, given that its most famous use comes courtesy of the world’s most unreliable narrator since Tyler Durden. Certainly it’s not something we should be using to cover up things we can’t be bothered to explain, which is what I see an awful lot. There is enough confusion in the real world without us having to deal with the reliability of TV characters. Can’t we just accept that they’re basically trustworthy and that sometimes we’re just mind-numbingly thick? There’s no other plausible explanation, surely, for the staggering levels of stupidity I see among the general populace, or the fact that a huge number of the votes cast in last week’s local elections were apparently protest votes. “You can’t deliver what you promised,” says Mr Finch of Tunbridge Wells, “so I’m voting for the independent candidate, despite the fact that I know bugger all about his policies and his leaflet was a copy editor’s nightmare”. Call me picky but that seems like a ludicrous way to decide who gets to sort out the local pot holes. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Of course, we talk about being in the dark about Brexit, but darkness is something we should all be accustomed to, at least lately.

Did I tell you I’ve never watched Game of Thrones? I’ll do so, perhaps, years down the line, having heard all the spoilers about the Night King and Ned Stark and poor old Hodor. I was chatting recently with a friend who told me about a prominent young Christian in his college church who had once told him that watching Game of Thrones was the path to ruin, and that as Church we must be in the world but not of the world, and that it leads to desensitisation and all sorts of other stuff you normally find in a Jack Chick tract. Call me a heretic but this sort of reaction has long since baffled me – not so much the wish to avoid such things (which is entirely a personal choice) but the fervent desire to preach it as gospel. If your faith is sufficiently wobbly – or dogmatic – that you do not feel you can engage with popular media, or if it’s some kind of principle that leads you to believe that fake people engaging in questionable activities is somehow unacceptable as entertainment, that’s entirely your business. But to teach it as some kind of worldview, and to tout your own approach not only as a feasible alternative but as the moral high ground, it’s…well, let’s just say it’s precisely the sort of thing I was talking about last week.

Still. It’s just never been particularly interesting, this tale of dragons and feuds and general silliness. I’m sure it’s lovely if you’re a fan, in the same way that Doctor Who is lovely if you’re a fan (unless you’re watching series 11, which apparently everybody hated except me). A lot of it is down to time. I barely get time to watch the stuff that actually interests me – most of which is Scandinavian – without having to wade into seventy-odd hours of Cornish scenery. You have to pick and choose, which is one reason I never watched Breaking Bad or The West Wing.

Sometimes you just have to prioritise, even if you’re a Time Lord.

It’s weird, though; I’ve watched ‘The Woman Who Lived’ at least a dozen times over the years and I’ve only just noticed this.

(You would not believe the social media reaction I got when I uploaded this one. Amidst the giggling, there were a number of people saying “Oh, wow, I can’t believe I didn’t see that before now! I feel stupid”. Sarcasm is difficult to detect on the internet but at least a few of them, it turned out, were absolutely sincere, which makes me weep for the future of humanity. At the other end of the spectrum was the woman who grumbled “Obvious Photoshop”, thereby completely missing the point. Middle ground: it’s nothing but a fable.)

It’s a different world, these days. Time was you’d get away with something like that. The wobbly sets on ‘The Aztecs’, for example, show up rather nastily on DVD but on a twelve-inch screen in 1963 no one bats an eyelid. These days it’s far easier to rewind and scrub and freeze frame and zoom with minimal pixellation, to the extent that repeated viewings to spot the hidden details are something that certain writers and directors actively encourage. Witness Steven Moffat, for example, who in his Sherlock interviews rambled about “a clue that everyone’s missed”, prompting eagle-eyed fans with too much time on their hands to go back and look again.

Still, at least he’s never done that sort of thing in Doctor Who.

Yes. Well.

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Have I Got Whos For You (Easter special)

I’m going to be poking a sizeable portion of the fandom with a stick in a few days, folks, so do tune in later this week if you want to see the fireworks. I should point out that there’s nothing sensationalist about it; I just felt like a bit of a rant. You know, like when you’re in a Subway and they’ve stopped heating the sandwiches even though it’s only half past eight and they’re not closing for another hour and a half and THEY DIDN’T TELL YOU, and the only seating available is next to five black bin bags that have been left on the floor and the drinks machine is basically flavoured water, and your nacho beef subs don’t actually contain any nachos because they ran out and THEY DIDN’T TELL YOU, and they can’t give a refund because it’s just the two of them and there’s no manager.

I mean, hypothetically.

Anyway, that can wait for a bit. In the meantime, here’s a bumper roundup of news from the last fortnight or so. First: Record Store Day. Which I missed, which wasn’t a bad thing because the so-called vinyl revival is nothing but a fad purported by specialist retailers and music snobs. It did, however, reach the TARDIS.

I sometimes wonder if Levine sees anything I write about him. God I hope not. I do try and have a bit of patience with the man, but he makes it so piggin’ difficult.

If you follow the news, you’ll be aware that scientists have released a photo of a black hole – to be specific, the event horizon of a black hole, as the hole itself is impossible to photograph due to being…well, black. (“The thing about space,” Hattie Haydridge once explained in Red Dwarf, “is…”) Some 55 million light years from earth, the thing was 6.5 billion times bigger than the sun, which meant you had to have eyes as big as the Earth in order to photograph it. Or something. But a closer examination of the image reveals some interesting debris floating across not too far from the singularity.

(Eagle-eyed viewers will notice there’s a mistake in that. Bloody BBC interns. Never could get the staff.)

Back down to Earth now, and a leaked promo image for a new Brexit-themed mashup which goes under the working title ‘Fury from the DUP’.

If you were in the UK, it was a gorgeous weekend: we spent part of it in London, which was full of environmental protesters, selfie-snapping tourists and the smell of cannabis. There were new things at the Tate Modern and we got lost in Canary Wharf, but the Cabot Centre has a piano, so all was well. In the meantime, the Doctor and her friends were out enjoying the sunshine, but nobody spotted Darth Vader sneaking off with the Easter Eggs.

“Hmm,” says every single person to leave a comment. “I can’t see anything in that picture.” I knew I should have used a bloody Cyberman. Question: if you’re looking at one of the Silence / Silents, and then you look away, do you really forget the whole scene? Surely that’s not the case? You only forget about the Munsch derivative; everything else – characters, scenery and so on – is completely intact. If you’re going to reference a series 6 low point, at least do it properly.

Some people unsub from Doctor Who groups when they want to avoid spoilers. Others unsub because the fandom can be toxic, or because they feel their opinions are unwanted. Personally, I unsub around this date every year when you can barely move for selfies and arm shots covered in fucking tally marks. “Ooh! I don’t know why I have all these marks all over me!” I don’t know either. Because you’re a twat?

Sticking with today, and turning away from things that just make me sour, we turn to William Shakespeare, who celebrates a birthday and deathday, and who is close to losing it completely with his new understudies.

(This is crying out for a caption. Anyone want to oblige? No? That’s fine.)

I’m not the only one who’s been hanging out on Twitter. It seems the Doctor is keen to broadcast his TV viewing habits.

Things happen when you’re away. Thankfully nobody died, or at least nobody I’d have wanted to write about, but I did miss the Episode IX announcement, with all its bells and whistles and the pleasing presence of Billy Dee Williams, who will presumably turn out to be Finn’s uncle (or a closer blood relation). It’s something of a disappointment to discover that the film will be titled The Rise of Skywalker. Still: being out of the loop at least meant that I missed (or largely missed) the furore surrounding the Emperor’s laugh, the significance of Leia’s ring, and whether Matt Smith is involved. I can’t remember when this stopped being interesting, although I daresay I’ll see it and enjoy it more than most of the people who purport to be fans. Thank God it’s never like this with Doctor Who.

But then you’re back in Oxfordshire and you need to scratch the creative itch, at least a little. “Can I – ” (I found myself wondering) “- reference the tenth anniversary of ‘Planet of the Dead’, David Tennant’s birthday and the new Star Wars trailer, all within the confines of a single image?”

Yes. Yes, I can.

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Have I Got Whos For You (part 65536)

In this week’s edition: the Bank Holiday celebrations continue inside the Pyramid, although not everyone is keen.

The influence of Game of Thrones on the current series of Doctor Who becomes more and more apparent.

And elsewhere, the Bride catches up with her final target.

Toodle-pipski!

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The tenuous Doctor Who / CBeebies connection, part 34 1/2

 

Five memes. Some are Who-connected. Most are not.

1. The obligatory Bing thing

Bing_TARDIS

2. The ‘two cultural references in one meme’ / ‘well, there’s sort of a Big Barn Farm connection’ thing.

Babe-Pig

3. The obligatory Dinopaws thing.

Dinopaws_23

4. The ‘vaguely topical’ / ‘why didn’t I think of this one earlier’ thing.

Messi_Okido

5. And finally, the ‘Catastrophic revelation’ one.

Maisie_Tele

 

Have a lovely Sunday!

 

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Review: ‘The Girl Who Died’

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Warning: spoilers.

Before anyone says anything, I know that this isn’t a real review. At some point I will get around to actually writing proper reviews again. Consider this one more of a lighthearted redux of Saturday night’s episode – a story I enjoyed, even though the Vikings were essentially an irrelevance, there to provide historical context for certain things to happen. You will find assorted whining about historical detail, but this reflects what I’ve read online, rather than the way I actually feel about it personally. Seriously, complaining about period detail in Doctor Who is like whinging about the mixture of predatory and preyed-upon animals that populate the Jingly Jangly Jungle in Raa Raa the Noisy Lion. Don’t worry about it. Just enjoy the story, or don’t.

Besides, this is the way it went down, isn’t it? Right?

 

SCENE ONE

[The Doctor and Clara are being frogmarched into a Viking settlement. The Doctor is wearing Patrick Troughton’s trousers. Clara is wearing the same spacesuit she wore the last time she faced off against evil spiders.]

CLARA: But they’ve got horns. Vikings didn’t have horns, except when they’d been away from their wives a really long time.

DOCTOR: And you call yourself a teacher. Why’d you think they raided the monasteries?

CLARA: I’m just saying, we’re two days’ boat ride from the TARDIS and I can understand everything they’re saying. Why is the translation circuit still working?

DOCTOR: That’s the way the TARDIS works. Wide radius of effectiveness.

CLARA: Don’t give me that. By that rationale you’d have whole countries of people who could suddenly understand everything in other languages every time you parked. GCSE French lessons would be a nightmare.

DOCTOR: Must be that range extender I got on Ebay. More powerful than I thought. Look. Don’t mess with it. It suits the needs of the writers, it has never been consistent and it probably doesn’t matter.

VIKING: Grrr. [Snaps Doctor’s sunglasses.]

DOCTOR: I feel as though you’ve just killed an old friend.

CLARA: No, he’s killed a new friend that none of us really liked and everyone hoped you would eventually realise was a bad influence.

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[Ashildr comes out of a doorway, singing ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’, accompanied by random chickens.]

CLARA: Ooh look! It’s Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones!

DOCTOR: Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones? She’s in this week’s episode?

CLARA: Yes. Did you know she was in Game of Thrones?

DOCTOR: I did. But they don’t like to go on about it or anything.

CLARA: Does this explain the rough and ready quasi-historical setting?

DOCTOR: Yes, I think that was the intention.

CLARA: And this is the part where you dazzle them with a plastic toy.

[The Doctor reaches for his yo-yo, when – ]

WEIRD SKY GOD: BOO!

[There is a Star Trek special effect and half the men in the village disappear, along with Ashildr and Clara.]

 

SCENE TWO

[Spaceship corridor.]

CLARA: Ooh, look. A door. I bet we could-

VIKING: A moving wall! Quick! Push against it!

CLARA: Guys? There’s a door.

VIKING: Push! Push, we can brace it!

ASHILDR: THERE’S A BLOODY DOOR!

VIKING: If I could just…reach…my Viking…utility belt…

CLARA: Oh, screw it. Darwin was right.

[There is a close-up of a propellor, and then – ]

WEIRD SKY GOD / FAKE ODIN: Behold! I’m drinking Warrior Juice!

ASHILDR: Dude. Seriously kinky.

CLARA: I don’t think this ever happened on Game of Thrones.

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SCENE THREE

[Later. A recovering Clara is sitting in a barn, drinking ale. The Doctor is flipping through his diary.]

DOCTOR: I really can’t believe some of the stuff I wrote in this when I was younger. Listen to this: “Thursday. Dear Diary. I’m beginning to think that maybe Jack likes me, but – ”

CLARA: I still can’t believe they have horns.

DOCTOR: Oh, shut up. It doesn’t matter. You think people watch us because they want historical accuracy? The Robin Hood story we did was absolutely full of anachronisms. And A Town Called Mercy was like walking into a movie from the fifties. What we really should be worrying about is what we’re going to do when the Mire show up.

NOLLARR: We care not. We have lived full and epic lives. We shall die honourably on the blood-soaked battlefield, and WE SHALL BE TAKEN TO THE MIGHTY HALLS OF VALHALLAAAAAA!!!!!

VIKINGS: VALHALLAAAAAAAAAA!!!

DOCTOR: I’ll admit that this grates after a while.

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SCENE FOUR

[The Doctor is addressing a line of blacksmiths, farmers and generally weedy men. There are probably chickens.]

DOCTOR: Right, you lot! This is the comic relief bit, so I’m renaming you all. [He travels along the line, pointing as he goes.] You: amusing pop culture reference number one. You: amusing pop culture reference number two. You –

LOFTY: Can we have swords now?

DOCTOR: Oh well, what harm can it do?

 

SCENE FIVE

[Back in the barn. Everyone’s looking very glum.]

DOCTOR: Oh, thou bounteous mammary gland. I shall die in torment ere I see thee again. Break, heart, I prithee, break.

CLARA: This totally wasn’t what happened the last time you spoke baby.

DOCTOR: It’s a different period, Clara. They all speak like they’re in epic costume dramas. Even the kids.

CLARA: By epic costume dramas, you mean Game of Thrones.

ASHILDR: I was in Game of Thrones.

CLARA: Really? You were in Game of Thrones?

DOCTOR: Hang on. The baby’s given me an idea. We use the eels.

CLARA: You mean the electric eels that are native to the Amazon Basin, thousands of miles from anywhere the Vikings have pillaged?

DOCTOR: Maybe they were given them as a present. It’s a stretch, but it’s not impossible.

CLARA: They’re not even eels! They’re more like catfish!

DOCTOR: And you’re a whining like a puppy that just had to sit through The Twin Dilemma. Now, go and bond with the girl from Game of Thrones. I need to practice my Pertwee references.

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SCENE SIX

[Banqueting hall. The Mire have beamed down, set phasers to kill and are looking menacing, or would if we could see behind those helmets.]

CLARA: Ashildr. You set?

ASHILDR: Oh, I’d never have had to do this on Game of Thrones.

FAKE ODIN: YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR BEDS!

DOCTOR: Smithers! Release the hounds! And fire the electric eels we’re not supposed to have!

[The eels do their magic, and the Mire drop like flies. Then a giant CG snake appears, juxtaposed with the great big puppet thing.]

CLARA: That’s rubbish.

DOCTOR: It’s better than the one in Kinda.

CLARA: Anyway, here’s your MP4. I’ve added the Benny Hill theme.

DOCTOR: That was quick. Has it occurred to you that about half our audience have probably heard the Benny Hill theme on that rave video doing the rounds on YouTube, without having a clue who Benny Hill is?

CLARA: We should probably keep it that way, shouldn’t we?

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SCENE SEVEN

[The barn. A party is in full swing and has been for about half an hour. The Doctor is leading a conga round the room.]

DOCTOR: Lofty! Crack open another cask. Then I’m going to play you all a little song I know, called Stairway-

CLARA: Hang on. Has anyone seen Ashildr?

DOCTOR: Bollocks. She’s still wearing the helmet.

[They dart over and remove the helmet, whereupon Ashildr collapses to the floor, dead.]

DOCTOR: Oh dear.

NOLLARR: Oh, my sweet daughter.

CLARA: I once saw this exact same thing happen in a hair salon.

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SCENE EIGHT

[The Doctor and Clara, brooding over Ashildr’s corpse.]

DOCTOR: All this time, and I still can’t figure out why I look like Peter Capaldi. It just makes no sense. Why couldn’t I look like Tom Hardy? Or George Clooney? Christ, even Jeremy Renner would do.

CLARA: I think they wanted you as a grumpy father figure again. It’s one of those full circle things.

DOCTOR: You know what? I’m a Time Lord. I can fix this. DO YOU HEAR ME? I SAID I CAN FIX IT! AND I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK! I’M NOT LISTENING, DO YOU HEAR? DID YOU HEAR ME SAY I’M NOT LISTENING? I AM TALKING, BUT I’M NOT LISTENING! YOU CAN’T HURT ME ANYMORE! I…HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF…YOU!

CLARA: Do you realise you’re talking to thin air?

DOCTOR: To everyone else, it’s thin air. To me, it’s –

CLARA: Thin air.

[The Doctor does something clever, and Ashildr takes a big breath the way that revived corpses always do in films, unless they’ve been reanimated as zombies.]

DOCTOR: Right, we’re off before the implications of all this sink in. One thing, Game of Thrones girl: take this.

ASHILDR: What is it?

DOCTOR: The number of a friend of mine. He’s in a similar spot, and he’ll help you out.

ASHILDR: Ooh, thank you.

DOCTOR: You’re very welcome. Just – well, keep him away from your chickens.

[Roll credits.]

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S9-05_Girl

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