Guns and girls.

This is going to be a very nerdy post: Three reviews of things, the first of…

The Miserable, and the wretched.

Saw Les Misérables yesterday.

Honestly, a musical is not my cup of tea, but the movie was just fine. I have familiarity and appreciation for the story, and the musical, from my youth, so I was curious to see how it would be adapted, and like everyone else, I had heard good things about the performances of Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman. I suspect they’ll both get Oscar nominations, but Anne Hathway is the one with the real shot here. She does a lot of heavy lifting with the relatively limited role of Fantine and even in her short time here no one hits the strides and the heights and depths that she can plumbs so easily. Jackman is good, but not as good as her. Plus, he’s got the unfortunate timing of potentially being nominated for Best Actor in the same award season as Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln.

I dreamed a dream.

Tom Hooper, however, is as boring in his direction as he was in The King’s Speech, and possibly less so. Somehow that film was both nominated and managed to win the big awards, but I don’t think that will be the case here. Especially not in a year that produced a Lincoln, a Zero Dark Thirty, and a Life Of Pi.

Anyway, minor flaws of the film that aren’t so minor: Way too fucking long and not interesting enough to sustain that length. The stuff towards the end with the June Rebellion was dreadfully boring, and anytime Jackman, Hathaway, or even Russell Crowe as Javert weren’t on screen, you found yourself checking your watch. I did enjoy Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (she’s just doomed to always play the gothic clown now, isn’t she?) as the Thénardiers, and they did provide some much needed comic relief to the film, but their rendition of the film’s second most memorable song was pretty boring.

Anyway, my second review is of…

Mad hilarity, merciless action, dark cynicism, and incorruptible bravery.

Gun Machine, the new novel by Warren Ellis.

This is a fun, slightly nuts book, which is the usual from Ellis. His first novel, Crooked Little Vein, was a silly but interesting little pulp travelogue through America, and Gun Machine comes from a similar place, but it’s more of a harder crime novel. This is Warren Ellis sodomizing writers like James Patterson and Ed McBain with his ideas, sort of.

The premise is simple: A cop stumbles upon an apartment filled with guns, hundreds of them and nothing else, and each crime can be traced to a different unsolved crime. Somebody has been keeping these guns all this time as trophies.

I believe I read somewhere the book has already been optioned to be developed into a TV show, which is… exciting, I guess. Granted, they’ll take the premise, and they’ll tone it down. They’ll have to. This book is a little nuts, and filled with a lot of little minutiae that’s probably closer to the harsh reality of crime in a big insane urban cityscape, but not the kind of thing that the flyover states are ready to tune into from their local affiliate. The first scene of the book, for example, involves the main character’s partner getting half of his face blown off by a shotgun blast delivered by a ranting naked man.

Gun

That said, there are lots of little ideas and the basic premise that could easily translate into a very interesting serial procedural. That, and I would like to see the type of characters that Ellis writes on either the small screen or the big screen, as they’re usually broken, mouthy creatures who are incorruptibly brave (a nice way of putting it from the Wired review quoted as a blurb on the cover) and very good at what they do.

Half of this book is written in the parlance of the internet, almost as if Ellis got tired of scanning the internet landscape and fueled some of that excitement and anger into a writing frenzy. At the same time, as a fan of his comic books and ideas shared in various places online, I am excited to see him evolving in a new medium, but I can’t say that it feels like he’s challenging himself here. But I have to say that I would secretly like to see Ellis tackle one of his nonfiction books that have more than one foot inside music theory and hauntological futures (which he is working on, thankfully), or maybe some kind of insane sci fi novel – I would love to see Warren Ellis become the new Harlan Ellison – or really get into TV, writing for Doctor Who or resurrecting Quatermass, something like that.

The second review being of…

Victorian values.

“The Snowmen,” the recent Doctor Who Christmas special.

I miss talking about Doctor Who, here or anywhere else. I really need to develop a venue for that, but as far as this episode goes, in short: This was a merely so so episode with great characters in it. Matt Smith is always good and shining with the Doctor, and only improves as he continues to play the character, and Vastra, Jenny, and Strax are welcome ongoing returns to the series, and I can’t say enough nice things about Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara, who is mysterious and a serious breath of fresh air. If I’m being honest, I may be doing this post solely to post pictures of her.

That said, this episode was not great. The webisode prequels were more interesting than a good deal of the regular plot of the episode, and I thought it was brave that the threat that the characters were facing down was given an extreme back seat to the character moments.

More guns.

Steven Moffat’s writing is always great, but if I had one major criticism of his tenure on Doctor Who as the showrunner it would be that everything feels too rushed. I assume that the fickle nature of television and the constant need to up the ante is what causes that, but as much as I enjoyed season 5 as the shakedown cruise for a new Doctor, companion, and way of looking at the show, season 6 seemed very rushed, big on set up and small on payoff, possibly because the payoff had to be pushed forward, forward, forward. Part of me wonders if a lot of that was necessitated by the upcoming 50th anniversary special.

That special lead to a lot of new additions in the Christmas special, including the introduction of Smith’s face in the main credit sequence (which I’m positive they’ve been threatening since he took over the role) and a redesigned TARDIS console room that brought back a lot of the blandness of the poorly executed production design from the show’s earlier regenerations in video with rubber monsters back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

Cosby sweaters and scripts

And I’m as curious as the next person about some of the big things to come, like the presumed payoff of the First Question, but eventually it could get tiring to constantly finding situations for characters to say, “Doctor… Who?”

Anyway. That said, I’m looking forward to the second half of the current season and the (re)introduction of Clara, Mark 3. I suspect that she’ll be everything that we had assumed and hoped that Amy Pond will be, and I’m really looking forward it. The show regenerates each time a new Doctor steps out of the ashes of the previous one, but as they keep rightfully so telling us, the show is about the companions and the view they provide, and it really feels like the show could come to life again with the addition of Clara. I’m excited.

Remember.

“The only water in the forest is the river.”

Last week it was the third three episodes of the current season of Doctor Who, with a planet called America and the moon landing and Richard Nixon and aliens you completely forget about once you turn your back and then pirates and alien medical Sirens and this week it’s dead spaceship graveyards and the creepy disembodied voice of Michael Sheen and a mad woman who’s bigger on the inside and who might just be “The Doctor’s Wife” and also the guy who brought you The Sandman is writing the words…

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The legs, the nose, and Mrs. Robinson.

This is a Doctor Who post.

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Writing through time and space.

So, in my talking about the works of Russell T. Davies, especially on Doctor Who and “The End Of Time,” parts one and two the other day, I totally neglected to mention this:

The Writer’s Tale, a compilation of emails sent back and forth between Davies and journalist Benjamin Cook over the course of one year in the production and creation of the show, from the “Voyage Of The Damned” Christmas special and thru the fourth series to the following Christmas special, “The Next Doctor.”

This is quite an amazing book, more than the usual fluff that might be put out to cash in on the show’s fame, but more of an in depth and beautifully honest discussion by two people. And Davies is quite the figure, ever the “real” writer, primarily existing in the lonely twilight, chain smoking and pounding away on a keyboard, ironing out frustrations and finding the mad joy in the stories he’s making. Now, no book can truly capture the spark of creation that exists in a writer’s mind just the same as no science text can really tell you about the Big Bang, but this is a fascinating attempt.

Somehow Cook is both silent in the tale, letting Davies assume the full spotlight as he should, letting him become amazing candid, and also conjuring up the landscape to prompt more from the screenwriter. You eavesdrop on these men for something like 500 pages and it’s brilliant, sometimes cheeky and sometimes guilt-ridden and scared, letting the media personages fade away. You’d think this would something solely for the Doctor Who nuts out there, but it’d make a lovely gift for a writer who understands what it’s like pull shapes out of the ether, and Davies gives the craft the size and the majesty it deserves. And somehow, the book just doesn’t feel long enough.

…which lead to good news, I discovered quite by accident, since they’re revising and expanding the book for it’s upcoming paperback release, retitled to The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapter, and presumably covering the creation of the last specials to feature David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor before Steven Moffat and Matt Smith take over. I can say that, without a doubt, I’ll be getting that as soon as it comes out.

Should be exciting. And I can only hope that Steven Moffat would do a similar project someday. As good as Davies is at these big crowd-pleasing and sweet, sometimes metaphysical, romps of adventure and romance, Moffat is just the same, but simpler, more tragic, more dark, and more human. He falls into the same category, for me, along with writers like Charlie Kaufman or Darin Morgan or Joss Whedon or Amy Hempel or Don Delillo or even Grant Morrison, creators whom I’d love to dissect the inner workings of their creative impulses, the way they move and think. And ultimately steal some inspiration from too, of course.

I’d possibly through Neil Gaiman on that list too, who I mentioned briefly and in passing here, because, while I don’t love everything he puts out, I admire his relentless entries into the creative. Not that Gaiman isn’t famous enough, but he really deserves the empire we’ve handed so easily to Stephen King. Of course, in my mind, the persistent rumors that Gaiman (and also possibly His Dark Materials‘ Phillip Pullman as well) might pen an episode of Doctor Who under Moffat’s tenure don’t exactly hurt either.

by Ape Lad, from here.

Speaking of writers…

How To Talk To Girls At Parties” by Neil Gaiman.

A short film based on Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama.

Picasso’s Guernica and Roberto Bolaño’s 2666.

Tk’tk’tk” by David D. Levine.

A Study In Emerald” by Neil Gaiman, a brilliant combination of the world of Sherlock Holmes intertwined with the Cthulhu mythos. As good as this story is, I should warn you that it’s really for those “hardcore” fans of the Holmes stories.

Warren Ellis talking about hauntology.

Bruce Sterling on the state of the world here in 2010.

The Nine Billion Names Of God” by Arthur C. Clarke.

I, Cthulhu” by Neil Gaiman. Is it Cthulhu Cthursday, right?

Oliver Wetter’s The Call Of Cthulhu, from here.

The end of time, part two: Geronimo!

NERD ALERT, part two. With spoilers.

This is what we had to look forward to going into “The End Of Time, part two,” the conclusion of David Tennant’s swan song as the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who last night (airing today in America):

I tell you what, for a long time as I was watching this episode, as it swelling and building on it’s action and it’s emotional cadences, I was sure that I was going to walk away from it crying. Maybe just a manly tear or two, maybe just a bad case of the “watery eyes,” but I had that feeling. And in the end, no, I didn’t cry. But it was worse.

This episode broke my heart.

The plot so far: The Doctor’s mortal enemy The Master has come to Earth, freshly resurrected, but it’s gone wrong. He’s slowly wasting away and meets the Doctor who’s not only reeling from the prophecy that he’s soon to die, the victim of someone who will “knock four times,” but that “something is returning,” and said return will herald the end of time itself. The Master gets his hands on an alien medical device and writes his template onto all of humanity, turning the Doctor’s favorites, the human race, into the Master race.

Meanwhile, the Time Lords, still trapped within the confines of the Time War may have just found their way out…

And of course, there was some glorious references to Star Wars there, ranging from escaping from the Death Star to the Mos Eisley cantina, sort of.

At this point in the revamped show’s history, head writer Russell T. Davies has essentially become marmite. People either love him or they absolutely despise him. And, to be fair, it’s easy to want to see him go, especially with Steven Moffat waiting in the wings, but I think a lot of the criticism is massively unfair. If you love the show now, it should be hard to forget that it all goes back to RTD’s influence. And it should be hard to praise Davies as a massively effective writer, perfect to taking the show to massive crowd-pleasing heights all the while creating water cooler moments and turning potential weaknesses or set backs – Billie Piper leaving the show, or the actor playing Donna’s dad passing away – into victories, making them look like brilliant things planned out all along.

Plus, and this is just a personal thing, you have to love the technobabble that RTD comes up with, especially when it comes to the Time War: The Nightmare Child, the Shadow Proclamation, the Medusa Cascade, the Horde of Travesties, and the Could Have Been King with his army of Meanwhiles and Neverwheres. It’s ridiculous but it’s just glorious sci fi word puff.

But one of RTD’s many strengths in his run on Doctor Who has been with words, not just the glossolalia of sci fi puff or fantasy technobabble, but the arcwords, things like “Torchwood” and “Bad Wolf,” the recurring way just talking can scare us or excite us. He’s practically programmed his audience to howl with joy whenever Tennant screams “Allons-y!” or to curl up with sadness whenever the Doctor again refrains with “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

And while a lot of people had – and rightfully so – a lot of complaints about last week’s episode, there was still something brilliant in it’s frantic chase to the end, this beautiful insane pace as these two men, former friends and now bitter enemies, tried to outrun each other and their own mortality.

And then the evil Timothy Dalton had to show up and start spitting all over the place.

And I have to pause here to toot my own horn for a moment. I totally saws the return of the Timelords coming (and perhaps it was hard not to?), though I assumed it would’ve been in last year’s mega-finale of near fan fiction proportions, “The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End.” I had assumed that hidden away there in the Medusa Cascade was the locked away Time War. And part of me was glad it wasn’t.

Mostly because I was dreading their return. I know this show, this revived edition from 2005 to now, and every time I dabble in the 40+ years of lore of the show prior to that, I just have to shudder. The embarrassment of those involved, I think. It’s everything that we mock about the BBC shows, particularly their sci fi: looks like it was all shot on video for pocket change, lots of guys in rubber masks and trash cans wheeling around while a bunch of overacting thespians with bad teeth start shouting at each other. And then there’s the Time Lords with their funny hats and silly robes.

I once read an interview with RTD where he prided himself on the fact that he was a long time hardcore fan of this show, since childhood, and that as showrunner, while he may play with certain elements and tweak things here and there within the show’s vast continuity, he had never contradicted the show, not once. And to his credit, I’ve never heard that he has. And I think, based on the things I’ve seen with the Time Lords in the past, that he’s been true to that in this incarnation of them. Here, with the exception of the woman whom I think is clearly painted as the Doctor’s mother, they’re painted as villains, insane dictators of space and time, willing to cleanse and sanction the universe at their whim, and that seems pretty accurate to who and what they’ve always been.

Plus, I think Doctor Who works wonderfully with that nice little bit of pulp roots there, the lone survivor of an ancient and once noble race, lonely as he wanders the universe, seeing everything there is to see and and helping out where he can. It’s a nice bit of dress up for a show about an adrenaline junkie crossed with your classic British pacifist hero who just happens to have a device that punches holes in the universe.

Speaking of which, I was fascinated that a significant aspect of this episode was trying to tempt the character to take up arms. Though, for all the moral high ground that RTD’s Tenth Doctor has taken up over the years, its’ been a shaky, topsy turvy high ground. Sure, he wouldn’t shoot a man in revenge for killing his daughter, but there was the man who offered “no second chances” to the Sycorax leader above London all those years ago in that first X-mas special.

Two other items of tooting my own horn: The sound of the drums in the Master’s head? I totally called that being something involving the Time Lords and their return. Probably blatantly obvious, but still. And I always unfortunately worried that Wilf would be the man who knocked four times. And it was mostly confirmed last week when he became the only person (still living)(and a “he”) that the Doctor had previously told of the prophecy.

And it’d be criminal not to mention Bernard Cribbins as Wilf in this episode. The cafe scene last week was merely prologue to the vulnerability and sweetness he displays here. This wonderful character actor doesn’t just deserves to be awarded for his part in this episode, he deserves to be knighted.

But from that, I think we got a delicious bit of anger from Tennant’s Doctor. All the good he’s done, all the joy he’s caused within his time in the universe, of course he’d be angry that it has to stop, and stop because some silly old man goes and gets himself locked up with a nuclear device, even if he was saving the life of some poor technician. Though his anger is fleeting, it’s natural and perfectly within the character, I think. A year ago in a brilliant regeneration tease, he decided that he didn’t want to die, and he feels the same way still.

Plus, it nicely echoes Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor transforming into the Tenth. Both men absorbed too much bad radiation of some kind and watched as their cells slowly began to break down and their regeneration energy started to build up. A particularly nice echo also when you consider that I, like so many, was devastated when Eccleston left the part. I figured, “I’ll give this Tennant chap an episode or two, but I’ll probably tune out on the wanker then.”

And somewhere along the journey, David Tennant became my Doctor.

David Tennant with the newly knighted Patrick Stewart in Hamlet.

And I’m glad that my Doctor got his just rewards, a final look at his friends through the eyes he was soon to leave behind. Goodbye, Sarah Jane and bratty son. Goodbye, Captain Jack, who know gets to work his naughty magic on Alonso Frame, replacing dead Ianto after the events of “Children Of Earth.” Goodbye, Mickey Smith and Martha Jones, the new Smith and Jones. Goodbye, Journal Of Impossible Things. Goodbye, Rose.

I knew pretty much everyone was coming back for some filming, except I was under the impression that Freema Agyeman wouldn’t be among them, busy with the British version of Law & Order. And it would’ve been understandable if she didn’t make the return trip, especially when you consider how her character got shit on before she left. First, she’s stranded for an episode in a mud pit with a bunch of fish aliens who can’t speak English. Then she’s berated for the whole Osterhagen thing. And then, finally, she’s stranded with Ricky Mickey. Oh well. Martha, you were still my favorite companion.

And I liked that last scene, well, the scene before the last scene, the goodbye to Rose quite a bit, more than I thought I would. I never disliked Rose, but I didn’t think she was as great as were lead to believe she was all this time. I think certainly she was just a nice chav girl who was in the right place in the right time, and a much needed bit of common sense for the Doctor on occasions. At least for Tennant’s Doctor anyway, since she was always the daughter/audience proxy archetype for Eccleston’s Doctor.

But here again, the two characters had a lovely dichotomy. For him, this will be the last time he ever sees her, and while she doesn’t realize it, this is the first time she’s met him, there in the snow on New Year’s eve. The same as the always recurring arc word “Bad Wolf,” which for Rose, always meant something good, but for the Doctor, it was only something bad.

And then there was the Ood in the snow again, singing the Doctor to his goodbye, well, at least his goodbye to this incarnation. To the regeneration that we’ve been waiting for… for over a year now? This song must end, but it’ll start up again with new instruments and new voices. But the music endures and continues and hopefully only gets better.

And those brilliant last words. We don’t want you to go either, David Tennant. But everything ends. The day before the episode aired, I emailed a friend a bevy of linked related to this episode – preview scenes, reviews, those bingo cards for the finale – and then a little later, I realized I had gone a bit nuts there. I emailed her back to apologize and she said, “Don’t worry. It’s understandable. It’s the end of the era and there’s no better time to go crazy.” Quite right too.

“We’re not in the business of being nostalgic, we’re making nostalgia for the future, new monsters, new friends,” said the brilliant Steven Moffat as he gets ready to take over the show (well, more than gets ready to since they’re probably finished filming the next season by now). Everything Moffat touches tends to turn to brilliance, from Coupling to Press Gang to all of his previous Doctor Who episodes, particularly “Blink” and “Silence In The Library”/”Forest Of The Dead,” and of course “Girl In The Fireplace,” to upcoming Spielberg movie version of Tintin.

Nothing filled me with more confidence than when Moffat told Comicon last year: “Doctor Who is at its best when it’s brand new and you’ve always got to remember that there’s a new bunch of eight-year-olds watching every year and it has to be original – it has to belong to them.”

Well, like I said, first Eccleston was my Doctor, and then, despite my intentions, David Tennant became my Doctor and the show felt it belonged to me. Personally and selfishly, I hope to retain that sense of ownership when Matt Smith’s Doctor takes over, even if he does look like a strange little boy, which may just be perfect for this character.

from here.

I know that the Daleks show up next season, but hopefully there appearance is a short one. I’m a bit Daleked out, personally. Other than that, with Davies raising the bar high on threats faced – the end of reality itself in “Journey’s End” and the eponymous end of time – I’m hoping Moffat will respond with quieter, more intimate bits of dread. I both like watching this show gripping my armchair and cheering along with it and watching it from behind my couch.

Oh, and as I finally wrap this up, here’s a bit of geek-ish warning. Just as we obsess over shows like Lost and Mad Men here at Counterforce, it’s a new year and a new era, and I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, but I’ll probably be coming at you with quite a bit of Doctor Who when the new series starts in the spring. Hope you’re along for the ride…

And then there’s how it ended, not with an ending, but with a beginning, with something new making contact in 2010:

The end of time, part one.

Warning: MASSIVE NERDERY ABIDES.

This is a Doctor Who post. Sort of.

I should talk about the part one finale of the Tenth Doctor era, “The End Of Time, Part One,” but instead, especially in the spirit of the approaching New Year, this is about the anticipation of the concluding episode, which airs on New Year’s day in the UK, and the day after here in the colonies.

If I were to talk about part one, I’d tell you that it was a truly silly and ridiculous episode, just incredibly over the top at times. But wonderful. Just perfectly strange and nonsensical at times, but then within that wildnerness of weird, you’d get little scenes, like the one between David Tennant and Bernard Cribbins in the cafe. With just the faintest possibility of a tear in my eye, I could probably watch that scene again and again.

Also, thank you mightily Timothy Dalton for all that Time Lord spittle.

Definitely something that I think the thespians in America need to appropriate from across the Atlantic: The glorious art of just throwing some of your own saliva in another actor’s faces while chewing the scenery. Making someone blink and possibly having to take a handkerchief to their face is really what should decide who gets Oscars and things like that these days.

Play along at home:

from here.

Now, some mad linkage as the year draws to a close…

Ricky Jay and the secrets of the magus.

The man who is scaling Mt. Criterion film by film.

Julie Klausner and the end of the 00s.

15 reasons to live for the next ten years. If a meteorite doesn’t kill you, that is…

The Russians are going to chip in to save the Earth from destruction via meteorite in 2032. I remember reading about 99942 Apophis, the asteroid that will get dangerously close to our planet two decades from now and emailing a few people about it, not freaking out or anything, just saying, “You know, this is kind of interesting.” And I remember people telling me, “If this was a big deal, we would’ve heard something by now.” The time is now.

Notes on A Lover’s Discourse.

My Dinner With Andre is online.

Why do so many terrorists have engineering degrees?

Dear Benjamin, Light: Ap-Ro-Po. You cunt.

Jeff Dunham’s show has thankfully been canceled.

The sudden exoticism of Africa, and how ridiculous such a notion is.

Joeblog, you are missed.

Dylan Moran’s Black Books is on Hulu!

Republicans, Obama, and failed airplane bombs.

This article linked here: 2009. Independent film. Brave. Free thinkers.

Clean your screen.

Be Seeing You.

The Smoke Monster from Lost totally deserves it’s own show, am I right?

I feel like I might have to start something called the Reboot Report here or something. In this week’s entry: They’re rebooting Highlander. I never saw the movies, well, except for the one with the two of them, but shit. Seriously, guys? Highlander? I mean, who gives a shit? Remember back in the 90s, back in the glory days of syndicated sci fi ridiculousness, and this show as ALWAYS FUCKING ON. If it was on at 10 PM on channel A, then it was on at 11 PM on channel B. And channel C? No worries, they were airing it at midnight.

I wonder who they’ll get to play Sean Connery’s character. I mean, I’m sure it’ll be someone who sucks, but still, I’m curious. Weren’t they aliens in the original movie, rather than just immortal Scottish sheepfuckers? Well, if Connery’s character was a mentor type, I’m sure they can get Liam Neeson to play it. If he’s not busy doing Taken 2, in which he hunts down the manufacturers of that chairlift and makes them pay.

Joss Whedon on the Buffy movie redo: “I hope it’s cool.”

I remember a few years ago reading something where Joss had been asked why he wasn’t directing X-Men 3 after Bryan Singer left (at the time, Joss was writing a truly amazing run of X-Men comics) and Joss, ever the taker of the high road, said something like, “You know, I really searched my feelings, searched my heart on the matter, and I realized… They never asked me to.”

I’m just like Jerry here, I totally hated that Michael on Melrose Place back in the day. Somehow he kept getting these amazing women, and then he’d try to kill him (which is kind of a really huge jerk move when it comes to break ups) and they’d still take him back. Sigh. Heather Locklear was ehhh, and of course, everyone remembers Marcia Cross’ gross scar reveal. But my favorite character was always Laura Leighton’s Sydney.

I’m not going to lie and say it was because of any depth of character or anything, it was mostly just because she was hot. Anyway, she’s in the Melrose Place restart (a la 90210) and she dies in the first few minutes. She’s the big murder mystery that will run through the first season. Pause for a moment to think about how shocking it is that there will be a first season to a redo of Melrose Place. Have we completely burnt out on 80s nostalgia that we’re shitmining the 90s for their magic and wonder?

Other nerdy TV news: Freddie Prinze Jr. is joining 24 (wha huh?), Famke Jansen’s transsexual character is coming back to Nip/Tuck, Claire is rejoining Lost for it’s long rumored zombie last season, Tom Swift has daddy issues, somehow they won’t fucking cancel Scrubs, no Gossip Girl spinoff set in the 80s, and maybe, just maybe, Summer Glau will show up on Dollhouse. Also, a query: Who the fuck actually watches Burn Notice?

Of big dorky relevance to me this past week was news about the opening title sequence to next proper season of Doctor Who, dropping on our heads somewhere in 2010. Here’s the title sequence to the first season of the restarted Doctor Who a few years back with Christopher Eccleston…

Simple, classic. I wasn’t a geek who had stuck with this show for 40 years so I have no problem with that opening at all. In fact, the nice thing about it, along with a show like The Venture Bros is that they keep the opening teaser very short, very tight, and then end it on a sharp note and then boom you right into the hard, driving title sequence (the theme was redone to be even more booming and driving in the last season with David Tennant). But, that’s that. The dorktastic news I was mentioning is that when the show changes Doctors and creative hands next season, they want to go for more of a nostalgia kick and work in the large, floaty superimposed head of the Doctor (in this case, the very scary looking Matt Smith as the next regeneration) somewhere in the credits. This kind of nostalgia, like I said, means nothing to me, and as an example of why this is bad, I give you the credits sequence of the last Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, who had it:

And he winks at you! That just makes it so much more cheesy and stupid. Ha ha! Ah, but if I could steal your attention away for a moment for cheesy but great TV show openings…

Fuck yeah MacGyver. Although the Magnum P.I. one is pretty great too. And if you don’t believe me, I will fight you to the death. Hawaii 5-0 is probably the greatest TV credits sequence ever, but I would live happily with a Magnum P.I. theme ring tone:

Star Trek XXX

…starring Sasha Grey. This works as a reboot, I think. I can’t wait for the sequel when they work the whales in.

The thing about Ian McKellen is that there’s always just a certain strength and class in just about everything he does. That said, I’m going to say ehhh not so much to this teaser for The Prisoner remake miniseries (up above there), cause there’s nothing here really to be for or against, but just that it was made at all. Ugh.

The Prisoner is probably one of my favorite shows of all time. Discovering this show back in junior high did something horribly wonderful to the way my brain worked and I’ve been grateful ever since. McGoohan actually died back in January, and the remake miniseries looks… not promising. Somehow the planned movie remake hasn’t been canceled yet, so who knows what’s going to happen. It may be a bit of a fiasco, which has Caviezel as it’s No. 6. That sounds… scary. And boring in a kind of unrivaled way.

But here you can catch a little behind the scenes teaser for the new miniseries.

AND the one thing that AMC did right here is that they put all the original episodes of the original show online free to view. That’s fucking brilliant. And until next time…