"New sun, new air, new sky. A whole universe teeming with life. Why stand still when there's all that life out there?" -The Doctor
"Asking a linguist how many languages they speak is like asking a doctor how many diseases they have." -Unknown

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

W13, DW 6.8, and other acronymless things

Two posts later and it's August again! My my, how the time flies.

It's been a ridiculously long time since my last post about...well, about a CG kids' movie. Since then, I've switched continents, visited some seven or so countries, gone to a linguistics conference, and acquired an apartment, a car, a job (which starts a week from today!), and at least one new TV obsession. I'm also on a diet--but man, I wouldn't want to hear about that if I were you, so I won't talk about it. Also because if I do, I'll just end up thinking how much I want chocolate chip cookies right now.


Let's talk about the TV obsession, eh? Just get it out of the way.

I added this one to my Hulu list, oh, over a year ago and never cared enough to actually watch it until my sister was like, "Hey, that show's funny, you should watch it," so I did, and I totally fell in love. Warehouse 13 is about two Secret Service agents that kind of get shanghaied into working for, well, Warehouse 13, which is this epic warehouse (like the one from Indiana Jones) chock-full of objects that do weird and generally dangerous things. This artifacts were usually either the personal possession of some famous historical figure or from some emotionally charged major event that imbued the artifact with some power. There's a plank from the Titanic that causes those near it to die of hypothermia; a can of spraypaint from East Berlin that disintegrates walls; Edgar Allen Poe's pen, which makes that which is written with it become real, and also makes the user emo; a Shakespeare folio that kills you in the same way as the famous character pictured died unless you can say their last line before the picture self-destructs; and so on. The possibilities are endless.

The great thing about this show is not just the fun of famous objects gaining some superpower from their owners or surroundings; it's also a rollicking, go-in-Teslas-blazing, buddy-cop sort of sci-fi/fantasy/adventure/detective drama/comedy that bounces gleefully between nerdy silliness (superpowered underpants on Firefly's Simon Tam) and sobering philosophical questions (is torture permissible when there are innocent lives at stake?) with a seasoning of both cutting-edge technobabble and super-stylish steampunk. It's not high-budget, it's not sexy or profane or vulgar; Warehouse 13 is just mischievous, dorky, exuberant fun. I loves it so much.

I got pretty addicted pretty fast and blazed through the whole two-and-a-half-season archive in like a week. Now I'm caught up and wishing I'd taken it slower; luckily they're still airing new episodes, although not fast enough for my liking (three a day would be good). Also, I'm now Facebook friends with Eddie McClintock, of which I am stupidly proud.

In other news: Doctor Who returned last Saturday! Unfortunately the promise of a title like "Let's Kill Hitler" was sort of wasted (given the opportunity to address one of the classic time-travel dilemmas) and the episode was devoted pretty much entirely to River Song.

Now, I got to say, I love River. She is all kinds of kickass and just the right sort of woman for the Doctor--just as conniving and mysterious as he is. But really, a show called Doctor Who should really be about the Doctor, and lately it's mostly been about River, which is interesting but not, y'know, brilliant. Season 6.1's best episode, "The Doctor's Wife," was all about the Doctor and the TARDIS and their past, with no River or melty babies or creepy eyepatches. Now, you don't necessarily have to have the Doctor at the center for an episode to work ("Blink"), but it sure as hell doesn't hurt ("The Beast Below," "The Girl in the Fireplace," "Midnight," almost all of the show). I'm just a little tired of the show obsessing about River. I'd rather find out about her in pieces and fragments, like we have so far, instead of huge and confusing chunks of her past being dumped in our laps.

That being said, it was so enjoyable to watch Psycho!River and the Doctor do their little duel of death, which River won with considerable grace and style. Again, it's such a shame to waste a perfectly good setup to play with the Hitler paradox--why go there in the first place, anyway?--but ah, well, there are bigger problems to deal with.

For instance, we're told a couple times that River's been brainwashed--trained and conditioned to kill the Doctor, and to believe that doing so is the right thing, what she's supposed to do. She's waited a good long time to do it (since 1969? I'm not sure, the timeline here is a bit confusing), and she does--getting herself stuck in a totalitarian country on the brink of war, which doesn't seem too clever to me--only to give up functional immortality to save him about 20 minutes later. What causes this dramatic and lifeshattering change of heart? As far as I can tell, watching him die (which is, remember, exactly what she was intending to see) and try to help his friends, which is not that extraordinary. And also, flying the TARDIS.

So, I'm confused. Doctor & Co. go through lots of effort and pain and death to find Melody Pond, only to find her turned into a brainwashed assassin. But that's okay, because they fix her--only to dump her on a planet in the future so she can study archaeology and meet Ten? So at what point does she kill the Doctor? Or did she already? But if she already did as a child, why would future Psycho!River need to do it again?
I think I'm just missing something.

Also, HellDave was kind of silly, but the antibodies' assurances ("You will experience a slight tingling and then death!") are wonderfully creepy-hilarious. As I said, there was too much of the stupid robot walking around torturing people and not enough playing with the space-time continuum. On the plus side, as if the Last Centurion wasn't kickass enough, Rory also got to punch out a super-advanced hellbot and Hitler! And the TARDIS with the red Corvette is my new desktop background. <3

But in any case, I'm glad to see that next week will be a good old-fashioned Monster of the Week episode, hopefully creepy as hell and awesome to boot.

That's all I can really think of to say for the moment. I'll...not make any promises at this moment in time. I think that's for the best. Byyeeee!