Posts Tagged With: star trek

Have I Got Whos For You (Not Exactly Trailer Edition)

God. The sequel to ‘Army of Ghosts’ looks rubbish.

Content warning: if you really want me to talk about the trailer, you’re best heading off to The Doctor Who Companion, where you’ll find a brief missive I tapped out Saturday afternoon in between doing the taxi run and preparing for Edward’s birthday party. Suffice it to say that “The name’s Doctor – the Doctor” is an absolutely dreadful way to begin anything, let alone one of the most hotly-anticipated trailers since…well, since the last one, but apart from that clunker of an opening I really rather enjoyed it. Certainly it felt like Doctor Who. Things exploded and there were monsters. Oh, and we got our first proper glimpse of Stephen Fry, whose presence in the upcoming series has been foretold since the ancient times.

“So you’re the Master, then?”
“Of Lake-town, yes.”
“But you are the Master.”
“Yes. Of Lake-town.”

Having said all that, I really can’t see how some vloggers managed to stretch out the conversation to an hour. An hour? To discuss a fifty-second montage of shots? Did they talk about the location of the vineyard or Jodie Whittaker’s goggles? Oh, no, wait. It was the tuxedo, wasn’t it? I mean, I’m only guessing (I refuse to listen to the thing), but I assume there was a lengthy discourse as to whether or not it ought to be her permanent costume this time round, along with whether she borrowed the coat from Jack (she didn’t; Jack’s coat is completely different). Either way they all scrub up nicely. And ooh look, scenery.

“I could have sworn it said White Tie.”

One of the big talking points is about exactly how the series opener (from which this shot is purportedly taken) will be the ‘game changer’ it’s reported to be. Speculation is rife, with everything from Tennant’s supposed return – leading to a scene in which Whittaker castigates every single male Doctor that’s preceded her – to the revelation that Hartnell was actually the first of a brand new set of regenerations, with the previous thirteen being female. Which is so ridiculous I don’t really know where to start, although as it turns out I started here.

When one particular fan chose to speculate about whether or not this would happen, I told him it was unlikely because it was a stupid idea – leading someone else to interject with the words “It’s plausible, though”, and then follow it up with a long explanation of Gallifreyan history I didn’t need to read. I replied that it was plausible, but still stupid.

“Hang on,” he said. “How could something plausible also be stupid?”

“In the world of Doctor Who,” I explained, “just about anything is plausible. That doesn’t mean it’s sensible. The next Doctor could be a young girl with pigtails, a pink TARDIS and a pony fetish. That would be plausible, within the confines of established scientific laws. But it’s a stupid idea and it would kill the show outright. You can see where I’m going with this.”

I mean, I’m fine with tinkering with the history, but fan-baiting is always going to land you in hot water. That’s what Moffat did, and people didn’t enjoy it then either. I am at the stage where I genuinely don’t care any more – Doctor Who is a silly show and I don’t have any particular concerns about them making it even more silly, as long as it’s dramatically satisfying (in a way that the frog wasn’t), but doing a retcon of Captain-America-is-actually-from-Hydra proportions for no other reason than to grab a headline is frankly a little bit insulting.

(Incidentally, when I posted the above, I had a few people saying “Hinchcliffe? Everybody loved Hinchcliffe, surely?” To which I had to explain that no, no they didn’t. Not at first. The love came later, once people had got used to the disbanding of UNIT and Baker being a bit mad and the whole Gothic thing. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. I wonder if years later people will look back at ‘The Tsuranga Conundrum’ and hail it as the classic it probably isn’t?)

1975 was also the year that Jaws came out, which made me think about Bradley Walsh’s assertion that series 12 will feature some “absolutely terrifying monsters.”

Oh well, at least it’s official.

[coughs politely]

In other news this week: a photo of three small children outside a Canadian gold mine in 1898 has led to much speculation that Greta Thunberg could in fact be a time traveller. I have embedded it below so that you may judge for yourself. No idea who the fella at the back is.

Entertainment, and one of the big talking points at the moment is the BBC’s grandiose, delayed-beyond-explanation adaptation of War of the Worlds – big-budget, ‘contemporary’, and (if you read the Telegraph) unnecessarily Woke. I’ve not seen it yet, and thus couldn’t possibly comment, but I note with interest that they seem to have cast Francis Begbie as the astronomer.

“The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to – what? What is it? What?”

War of the Worlds may be the most anticipated BBC show in years, and just about the only thing to rival it for sheer levels of excitement is Picard, the new Star Trek series that sees Admiral Jean-Luc climb back into his spaceship for one last job. Patrick Stewart’s been rather quiet about the whole thing, but I’ve had this one hanging around for a while, so in it goes.

Oh, and in a highly anticipated crossover moment, the Doctor laments to Clara his decision to allow Yoda to examine the heart of the TARDIS.

“I told him not to look inside. I bloody told him.”

 

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Have I Got Whos For You (We Sure Picked A Creepy Night For A Drive Edition)

Boring Doctor Who episodes, #47.

It’s Scooby Doo’s birthday. The cowardly canine is a whole half-century (that’s an oxymoron, surely?): five decades of running up along corridors avoiding the portraits with living eyes and hiding behind lampshades and suits of armour, before discovering the larder and constructing geometrically implausible sandwiches. I just finished playing a mobile game called Agent A – one of those episodic adventure / puzzle type things that was actually quite good – and you spend five chapters exploring the villainess’s lair and its surroundings and NOT ONCE DO YOU ENCOUNTER ANYTHING THAT MIGHT REASONABLY PASS FOR A KITCHEN. I mean honestly. I know the woman is stick thin, but surely she must down the odd protein shake? Sushi? Bit of salad?

Perhaps it’s all fine dining and drive-throughs. You’d think it would show on her figure, except Shaggy manages to eat the monthly food allowance for a small Peruvian mountain village and still fit into size 32 trousers, so I guess these things don’t have to make sense.

“IT’S, LIKE, BIGGER ON THE INSIDE!”

In the news this week: rumblings in Scottish lakes, or lack thereof.

The Loch Ness Monster is rather like a no-deal Brexit. Everyone has their own idea of what it’ll be like, we’re all probably wrong, views from experts are being largely ignored in favour of populist trash and there’s considerable doubt as to whether the thing will ever actually surface, and so at the moment it’s mostly a marketing opportunity.

It was also Roald Dahl’s birthday yesterday, which led to the usual moaning on Twitter about how he was problematic, owing to some unsanctionable views on the Holocaust, some rather unfortunate stereotyping in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and the fact that when it came to family the guy was a bit of a nob. It’s ironic when you consider that Danny The Champion of the World contains one of the most beautifully rendered portraits of fatherhood I’ve ever encountered. David Walliams, on the other hand, is being touted as ‘the new Roald Dahl’, despite being a much nicer person (at least ostensibly) who possesses only a small portion of Dahl’s talent; I do enjoy The Boy In The Dress but is this really the pinnacle of contemporary children’s writing? Or can we do better? Because I can’t help feeling we can.

Anyway, I’m not getting into whether or not you’re allowed to read Dahl’s books or even celebrate his existence on the grounds of his personal life and political allegiance; if you’ve been around here long enough you’ll know my views on the matter, so I will leave it to grumpy Spectator columnists and millennial hacks writing for trashy, overly Woke online publications to have that particular argument. Instead, you can have a deleted scene from 2005.

And poor little Charlie Bucket was never seen again.

Oh, while we’re on mashups (I can’t believe I actually wrote that; mashups is all we ever do around here), perhaps now’s a good time to put that irritating Reddit meme to bed, albeit with a different image than the one that’s currently doing the rounds.

I leave you with the news that Fireman Sam has been dumped. No, not by Penny (with whom, I suspect, he’s been having a long-standing relationship, complete with fumblings behind the lockers during the evening shift and all sorts of innuendo about hoses and poles), but by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, who deem him inappropriately male for their contemporary inclusive image. I suspect that as the epitome of white male privilege (yes, I had a bit of racist abuse at school for my Hebrew ancestry, but nothing to write home about) I should have no views on this whatsover, and thus will refrain from stating one.

Anyway, Sam needs to find a new gig, so accordingly:

“It’s all right, don’t panic! I’m ‘ere!”

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Have I Got Whos For You (half rice, half chips edition)

In the news this week: there is general panic in supermarkets up and down the country as Donna and Martha struggle to keep the Tenth Doctor away from the ice cream.

An alternative, previously unseen angle from the Apollo 11 moon launch fifty years ago throws up a disturbing sight.

And the full, unseen edition of the poster for Patrick Stewart’s new Star Trek vehicle shows exactly what Picard was staring at off to the right.

Elsewhere, the Thirteenth Doctor’s pleased when her Amazon order shows up.

And a deleted exchange from ‘The Sound of Drums’ proves to be oddly prophetic for Boris Johnson.

Talking of Boris, his announcement during last week’s debate that “we must get off the hamster wheel of doom” kind of gave me an idea.

Finally, this week’s recipe, which has no ingredient lists or method, and consists instead of a single instruction from the War Doctor. “Great men are forged in fire,” he tells us. “It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.”

Be good, and if you can’t be good, be careful. And if you can’t manage that, remember the date.

 

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God is in the detail (9-3)

If you’ve been reading around, you won’t have failed to notice the visual nods to Star Trek that showed up in ‘Under The Lake’. There were two fairly obvious ones, and a couple that slipped under the radar. For a start, there was the use of a bay door that featured the number 1701B – which, coincidentally, was the serial number of the fourth Enterprise. This ties up neatly with the mysterious spacecraft that’s the cause of all the trouble – a craft that resembles a Federation shuttle – as well as the whole design of the Drum, as established in that opening shot:

9_3 Detail (1)

Most of all, however, there was this.

9_3 Detail (3)

Ha ha, I hear you saying. Yes, very good. A nice couple of Easter Eggs dropped in to please the Trekkies. To which I say ‘Certainly not’, but in a particularly loud and vivacious voice, in the manner of the Eleventh Doctor bellowing “I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS!”. The truth – and here at God Is In The Detail Central that’s our only currency – is that the episode is absolutely full of BLATANT AND VERY IMPORTANT STAR TREK REFERENCES THAT CANNOT BE IGNORED. And don’t worry, you don’t have to go on the hunt for them – I’ve done it for you. So what are we waiting for? Warp factor five, and don’t take your eyes off that glowing circular thing on the screen. Oh, and for heaven’s sake, try and keep your shirt on.

Let’s look at the dots.

9_3 Detail (5)

There are eighteen concentric dots in that outer circle, and a further nine in the next two, along with a single circle in the middle. The number nine has great significance in the Star Trek universe: there are nine principal characters in The Next Generation (Picard, Riker, Data, Troi, Worf, Dr Crusher, Geordi, Gaia and Will Wheaton). Voyager’s de-Borgified scientist Annika Hansen went by the name Seven of Nine (and as a side note, Doctor number Seven starred in a Big Finish Star Trek pastiche known as ‘Bang-Bang-a-Boom!’). And the desert filming for ‘Arena’, episode eighteen of the original series, took place on 9 November. Coincidence? I DON’T THINK SO.

18-9-9 is a type of particularly nitrogen-heavy fertiliser. In the episode ‘The Passenger’, a fire broke out on a Kobliad transport ship – a fire that was extinguished by Major Kira Nerys, with the help of a nitrogen fire extinguisher. This happened in Episode nine of series one of Deep Space Nine. Two nines are eighteen. Draw your own conclusions. (No, really, do draw them. We could do with some more pictures to brighten the place up.)

Finally, the ninth film in the Star Trek series (Insurrection) was released in 1998: a number which may be rearranged to form 18-9-9. ALL OF THIS IS CLEARLY IMPORTANT.

Now look at this.

9_3 Detail (7)

Examine the circular structure that forms the right hand side of the picture. The three large rooms allude to the landing party that energises in every episode in order to explore whatever planet they happen to have discovered (centre). McCoy and Spock (top and bottom) form two ideologically opposite ends, while Kirk (centre right) is the middle ground, charged with listening to both. The two circles containing horizontal lines, just to the left, are CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS references to the redshirts who would join them on each occasion, only to get zapped almost immediately.

Now look at the passages to the left. Each room represents a different Trek series, all branching out from the single, spherical hub. This one represents the original series, while the cube-shaped ones signify The Next Generation and Voyager, insofar as both feature encounters with Borg Cubes. Meanwhile, the hexagonal one in the middle represents Deep Space Nine, given that this was the first series to include a Ferengi in Starfleet, with Ferengi display devices (PADDs) being hexagonal in shape. Oh, and the rectangular one at the bottom? That’s Enterprise, but we won’t dwell on it.

Lastly, note that there are three passages. The instrument of choice for an exploratory landing party was a TRICORDER. I think we all know where this is going, don’t you?

It’s not just Star Trek that gets a look in, of course. There are plenty of nods to George Lucas as well. Witness the symbols inside the shuttle:

9_3 Detail (4)

Which unambiguously depict iconic moments from the Star Wars franchise:

9_3 Detail (Signs)

You will note that none of these are from the prequels, for the simple reason that the prequels are crap.

It’s back to Star Trek for our final image.

9_3 Detail (2)

The clue here is in the upended chairs that scatter the floor. To fully understand this, we must turn our attention to the films, specifically parts two and ten (The Wrath of Khan / Nemesis). Both featured the deaths of prominent characters: Data (on the left) and Spock (on the right). The uniform colours give this away:

Data-Spock

Meanwhile, the orange chair signifies Kirk’s death in Generations, tied up as it is with the upturned yellow chair that is almost perpendicular, signifying that Kirk died not once, but twice.

Now, you’ll notice we’ve been rather light on Doctor Who-related content this time around, but finally, observe what happens when we join up these chairs.

9_3 Detail (2b)

The resulting shape is, of course, a pyramid. And this episode was broadcast the week they found water on Mars, even though they had filmed it sometime before. They knew. THE BASTARDS KNEW.

Set phasers for ‘overkill’…

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The CBeebies Amalgamation

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks – or, I don’t know, just not in the U.K. – then you can’t have failed to notice the return of The Clangers, Oliver Postgate’s little piece of 1960s whimsy. Postgate – who (along with longtime colleague Peter Firmin) also gave us Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog and Bagpuss, among others – charted the adventures of a family of small grey / pink rodent-like creatures who live on a distant planet and who speak only in whistles, although thankfully Postgate is on hand to translate. (In true Blade Runner style, his voiceover was added only reluctantly, and he always wondered how the show would have been received without it.) The Clangers are aided in their adventures by the now iconic Soup Dragon, along with the Iron Chicken – and if you were wondering, the name ‘Clangers’ derives from the sound made by the lids that cover their underground holes when they slide them off.

The show was notorious for having some quite objectionable language (at least for a children’s programme) in one of its original scripts, as Postgate explains in Seeing Things:

“I could think of only one piece of bad language. One other episodes begins with Major Clanger trying to open the big sliding doors of the main cave-mouth. It jams and his first line is:
‘Oh sod it! The bloody thing’s stuck again!’
‘That’s it,’ said Ursula [Eason]. ‘You know quite well we can’t say things like that on children’s programmes.’
‘But…’ I said, ‘they don’t say it. They whistle it.’
‘But surely people will know?’
‘If they have nice minds they will hear him say “Oh dear me. The naughty thing is jammed again.”‘
‘Oh, all right then, I suppose so, but please keep the language moderate.'”

And, of course, when they released the ‘talking’ Clanger toy a few years ago, the phrase it emitted when its tummy was squeezed was…

Well, you can guess.]

Anyway, I was thinking about all this when a couple of Doctor Who-themed mashups came to mind. Curiously (or perhaps not) they were both from ‘Kill The Moon’:

.

I’ve said before that I probably watch more CBeebies than is healthy, and I definitely watch more Doctor Who than is healthy, and when that happens you start seeing the two of them together with alarming regularity. Edward is a big fan of Let’s Play, which I rather poorly described to Gareth as “Mr Benn, but with better sets” (“Mr Benn had great sets!”). The premise is that CBeebies veteran Sidney Sloane and relative newcomer Rebecca Keatley have some kind of house share thing going on: in each episode they take it in turns to put on a different costume and travel through a mystic portal into another world, in which they have an adventure as a chef or a builder or a clown, interacting with a bunch of archetypes, all of whom are played by whoever it is that has stayed in the house. It is great fun, even if some of the geekier characters played by Sloane are awfully like Whizz Kid.

Anyway, the other day Sid was on an alien planet dressed as an astronaut, and I started making connections between the alien he’d encountered and some of the creatures from ‘The Web Planet’, even though they look nothing alike:

(I can more or less guarantee that a couple of hours after I post this, Gareth will email me and say “She looks like a ___”.)

Sid is accompanied on his travels by a robot dog, which (despite some variation at the base) looked awfully familiar. I don’t mind, of course. There are only so many ways you can do a robot dog – literally, as it turns out:

No, you really didn’t see this. Keep scrolling.

Meanwhile, in the Best Cafe In The World (TM), Big Cook Ben and Little Cook Small find themselves in a scene from an unwritten Big Finish ‘Planet of Giants’ spinoff.

 

And completely unrelated to Who, the Twirlywoo submarine is invaded by Tribbles.

 

I think I need coffee.

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It’s a Bing Thing

07056_2

If you watch as much CBeebies as I do, the adventures of Bing Bunny can’t have escaped you. Based on Ted Dewan’s children’s books, the series takes a peek into the lives of Bing, a young rabbit who spends his days getting into the sorts of scrapes that toddlers and small children find their way into with ease. Every episode sees the titular bunny face and eventually overcome some sort of problem – whether it’s learning to share, dealing with fear of the dark or apologising after dropping your friend’s shoe down the toilet (yes, really). The episode ends in true 1980s cartoon style (see Masters of the Universe / Inspector Gadget / etc.) with one of those monologues to camera, in which Bing reveals that “In today’s story we learned…” – well, more or less – before Flop joins him on the blue green yellow screen, summing up the tale with the words “Splashing / Sleeping / Myxomatosis. It’s a Bing thing.”

Bing spends a fair amount of time hanging around with friends Pando (a panda with an amusing habit of removing his trousers at every conceivable opportunity), Coco (a larger and somewhat irritating rabbit, reminding me faintly of the Tweenies’ Bella) and Sula, a young elephant. His principal guide on this journey, however, is Flop (voiced by Mark Rylance – more on him next time), a sock puppet half his size and only vaguely rabbit-like in his appearance. This has led to all sorts of sorts of speculation as to the nature of the relationship between the two, including an amusingly tongue-in-cheek theory about biodomes and knitted guardians of a master race that you really ought to read. However, here’s the bottom line for those of you who happen to have stumbled in here because you’ve Googled it: Flop is supposed to be Bing’s carer, not his old man. He’s a sock puppet because he’s a sock puppet, although he resembles Bing in the same way that Amma (Sula’s carer) looks like an elephant. And he’s half the size because children tend to place themselves at the centre of the universe (this is the creator’s insight, not mine), so it’s all too feasible that what we’re seeing is Bing’s interpretation of what Flop looks like, not his actual appearance. (You know, like the scenes in Quantum Leap where a doctor or someone would look down at Sam Beckett and see a man with no legs or a woman about to give birth, rather than Scott Bakula.) I certainly hope Flop’s not that actual size, given that the houses in which the characters live are replete with full-size furniture, suggesting that Bing is destined to grow to be twice the size he is now.

Bing-flop

There are two chief complaints levelled at Bing by well-meaning (but ultimately misguided) parents. One is Pando’s tendency to disrobe, which can be explained away by the simple fact that small children love taking their clothes off. Seriously, you’ve got two boys under five and you didn’t see this coming? You didn’t? Well, come to my house at half past four on a warm weekday afternoon. Nakedness is abundant. The other is Bing’s use of incorrect words – terms like ‘gooderer’ are abundant – but moaning about this is frankly churlish. For one thing the animals speak exactly how real-world children speak – anything else would undermine the sense of naturalism and it’d just sound like those irritating stage school brats on The Green Balloon Club who always parse their sentences correctly –  and even if the kids get things mixed up they learn from the adults, all of whom speak impeccably. For another, teaching correct language is not the responsibility of the BBC, it’s the job of the parents, and at the risk of making huge generalisations I’d suggest that if your child is learning solely from the TV, rather than you, you’re not doing your job properly. For yet another, made-up words and richness of language and – for pity’s sake – HAVING TV CHARACTERS REFLECT REALITY – is abundant throughout this medium. Do these people stare daggers at Elmo because he repeatedly refers to himself (and others) in the third person? Did they whine about the made-up words on Dinopaws or the baby talk on In The Night Garden? (They probably did, so I think it’s a lost cause.)

Anyway, this is all leading to something I’m working on, and which I’ll tell you about next time. Suffice it to say that I’m very keen on exploring the darker side of this wonderful series, particularly Flop. But while you’re waiting, if you ever wondered what Bing and Flop would look like if they’d been dropped into the worlds of Lord of the Rings or Star Trek, you need wonder no more. I confess that I am rather proud of that third image, but I find it unfortunate that I have yet to come up with an inspired idea for a Doctor Who themed one. Still, there’s time. Which is probably also a Bing thing.

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Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels

Rarely do I post even on successive days, let alone twice in the same day, but I do feel like part of my childhood has died this evening.

Happy trails, Mr Nimoy.

Sheldon_Spock

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Degrees of Separation

The other night, Joshua and I watched ‘The Lazarus Experiment’. I found it better than I remembered. (Gareth finds it truly awful.) Perhaps parenthood has softened my inner critic. When a small child holds up a badly-scrawled line drawing and you have no choice but to say it’s lovely, even when by their own standards it isn’t, it can be hard to turn that sort of behaviour trait off again.

There’s one scene in ‘Lazarus’ in which Tennant and Agyeman are trapped in the portaloo chamber of youth, which is about to activate. They escape when the Doctor manages to rewire it so the energy blast is directed outwards, rather than towards them. As they emerge, and Tennant does that hair-ruffling thing, he remarks “It really shouldn’t take that long for me to reverse the polarity. I must be a bit out of practice”. When I mentioned this to Gareth, he said “It’s strange.  If Davison or McCoy or others said that in a BF audio,  I would find it an amusing touch.  But when it happens in the new TV series, it grates as a painful reference.  Odd.”

From then on, our conversation ran basically like this…

Me: Maybe it’s because there is an inherent smugness in the new series that you don’t find present in the audio. When RTD writes something like that he’s typically doing it as fanwank, and you can’t stand that. The audio stuff is not mainstream, it’s niche, and for a specialist and highly appreciative audience. The TV series is aimed at the masses and I sometimes wonder if that’s why you don’t like it, because you simply don’t expect to.

Gareth: That now makes me sound very, er, something.  “Snobbish” isn’t the right word, but that sort of idea.  I would like to like New Who, and I have liked some bits.  But I don’t like much of modern TV at all, not just Who.

Many programmes, especially sci-fi-shaped things, are becoming a generic soup of effects and similar styles of arc and angst.  Everything these days deteriorates into tedium about the characters and their emotions, development, etc.

“We’ve got a time-travelling alien who can go anywhere in the universe!”
“Great, let’s give him some modern-day Earth friends and focus on them instead!”
“This Lara Croft video game thing.  It was a great series about exploring tombs, solving puzzles, fighting enemies. We should make new versions!”
“Great, let’s introduce a backplot where her parents and good friend are lost when she’s young, and have her angsting about finding what happened, trying to get them back etc.  What’s even better is that we can drag this out over three games!”

James: It’s not so much that you don’t like it because it’s aimed at the masses, but more that you don’t like it because of what they felt they had to do to aim it effectively at the masses. Does that make sense? I think you just don’t like contemporary TV because so much of it is the same. That may be why you enjoyed Life on Mars, which was at least a bit different.

(Re: your Tomb Raider thing, you have basically described the new Star Trek film.)

Gareth: That sounds plausible.  Everything seems to blur towards the norm these days, which is a bit dull.

James: It’s like if you look at action cinema. Every. Single. Action sequence. Is the same. Spots of slow motion – acrobatic leaps followed by slow-motion landings and leg sweeps. Wind machines. Thudding score. Oodles of fast cuts. And that’s before we get to the 3-D. It’s just so *boring*.

Gareth: With an explosion.  Coming towards the camera.

James: And someone outrunning a fireball. WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE. Conversely, have you seen Children of Men?

Decontextualized it loses a certain something, but it’s brilliant, because it’s how car chases would probably really happen. There’s a lovely sense of realism about it.

Gareth: I just went to have a look.

It had an unskippable 22-second trailer.  Then an advert banner appeared across the bottom, which I killed (although its kill button was right next to its open button, and I missed).  Then another advert banner appeared across the bottom.

We were about a minute in before I was actually able to pay attention to any of it.  As you say, I think it needed context, as when I paid attention it just made them look incompetent.  (Yes, it might be more realistic than many, but then so might them stopping for 15 minutes to repair a puncture.)

We also started watching the Who ‘Frontier in Space’ DVD yesterday.  I’m used to them taking more than two minutes to get going, as they have the BBC Logo, the 2 Entertain Logo, the Doctor Who intro sequence, the title being announced, and the “enter audio navigation now”.  I am quite happy to have the “audio navigation” announcement (although I’m sure that these days there could be a setting on the PS3 or DVD player saying “don’t bother showing me this” – like with Infamous 2 where we have to sit through the warnings not to swing our motiony PS3 Wii-like controller too vigorously, or with Mission Impossible Season 4 where we have to choose the language each time).

But in FiS there was also an unskippable and unfastforwardable advert for more Who DVDs, adding more than another minute to the loading time.  It’s things like that that make me wish I’d got a pirate copy…

James: I know. It’s all very well complaining that you get dodgy quality with pirate DVDs, but you also don’t get all the stupid ads. (The one I hated the most was “You wouldn’t steal a handbag. You wouldn’t steal a car. Would you steal a film?”, which is a crappy analogy.)

Gareth: It’s truly awful.  If they’d said “you wouldn’t somehow make a clone of the person’s handbag, not depriving them of their own handbag – not for any fraudulent use of the contents, just to have a nice bag”, I expect many people would say “well, why not?”

James: It would have been a far more sensible question, but you’d have had to knock it down to twelve point fount to get it on the screen, and they’d have had to show it for longer, which sort of breaks up the flow.

YouTube sucks, really, doesn’t it? This is why I don’t monetise. It’s the principle.

Gareth: Many things are going the tedious way.  The strangest (and also quite annoying) thing I’ve met recently is when you buy something on Amazon, you can press a button to announce to Facebook that you’ve just bought it.  Um, what?  Firstly, why would anyone care?  And why would I want to tell the world I’ve just bought stuff.  (Maybe it’s so that Facebook can pass the information on to more people!)

We had a phone survey a while ago.  I usually hang up, but occasionally I’m bored and see what they want.  It was going along all sensibly until we got to the computing and media section, which included the question “how many laptops do you have in your house?” and I thought that this was an unsubtle question to ask.  Would the follow-up have been “and do you have particularly good window locks?”?  Probably not, but that’s not the point.

James: You’ve seen, presumably, how I dealt with our last telemarketing caller? (It involved toothpaste.)

Gareth: I did, yes. Guess what, I just had another one. He said “Hello.  This is Something Lifestyle Survey.  I ask a few questions, it only take a few minutes, and you say ‘yes’ or “no’.  First, how are you today?”

I think that “no” was the only possible response to that.

James: It reminds me of the alleged courtroom dialogue that went

– All your responses must be oral. What is your name?
– Oral.

I have always assumed this was an urban legend, because I can’t believe that even in America anyone could be QUITE SO STUPID.

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