Gallifrey Falls, No More

Good God, was the “The Day of The Doctor” what anyone expected? (Besides it being awesome. Because it was awesome.)

AWESOME!!

AWESOME!!

I’ve now watched it 3 times and I’m no more prepared to articulate my feelings than I was last night. Because so many things just happened. I’ve always preferred Russell Davies work on Doctor Who to Stephen Moffats, because it’s always just a little less bonkers.

If that’s the way to describe it. I immediately went on Netflix and watched “Rose” afterwards, and it’s hard to believe that this is supposed to be the same show, because it shares almost nothing in common with “The Day of The Doctor” except for Billie Piper.

So let’s start with Billie Piper. She was fantastic. She always is. I’m a big fan of how she always seems game to deliver these seriously cryptic lines and cry far more than any other character. (Seriously, did anyone cry as much as Rose? Maybe Jack, at the end of Children of Earth, but that’s a totally different animal.) But I was always happy that she got a happy ending, tucked away in her parallel world with her Doctor clone. I like thinking that they fought with their world’s Torchwood, settled in a nice little suburb and had babies. (I’m very conventional that way, that’s how I want things to go for everyone.)

So when we found out that Piper was coming back, I was worried that it would disrupt Rose’s happily ever after. It didn’t, because Rose didn’t come back, not as such. When The War Doctor, played by William Hurt found the weapon that he had to use to destroy both Gallifrey and The Daleks, it turns out The Interface or The Moment has a consciousness. It plucks Rose from the Doctor’s time stream, even though this Doctor has yet to meet Rose Tyler, The Bad Wolf.

The Moment haunts the entire episode, a sort of Christmas Carol type ghost, guiding the War Doctor through meeting his two future incarnations.

We see 11 first and foremost. He summons Clara and asks if she wants to go on a generic adventure. She’s excited. They get picked up by U.N.I.T., and I know it shows what a dilletante I am, that I was disappointed their U.N.I.T. mission was commanded by Kate Lefbridge-Stewart instead of Martha Jones. (Was Martha even with U.N.I.T. by the end? I know she and Mickey got married…) But see, having only watched the new series, I have no knowledge of The Brigadeer, except that he does in fact exist…

Anyway, The U.N.I.T. mission were orders passed down from Queen Elizabeth I, basically if anything ever went wrong in the secret gallery of “dangerous” art beneath The National Gallery.

I initially assumed that “dangerous” art meant a large collection of weeping angel statues that had eyeballs on them at all times. But it was actually well, much more than that, involving a shape shifting race that forced themselves into the paintings in hopes of invading Earth at a later time.

When Clara, (because this is what companions do!) asks if the Doctor knew Queen Elizabeth, he responds, “Yes a long time ago!” We flash back to England in 1542 and see the 10th Doctor (Yay!) courting The Virgin Queen. They go on a picnic, and he proposes and she accepts. He claims that this is proof that she’s an alien impostor. But she isn’t, and it’s only proof that no woman is safe from falling in love with David Tennant.

Nope. No one is safe

Nope. No one is safe

When I was watching the episode last night I was also whipping up a sick batch of chicken and bacon macaroni and cheese, (It was awesome) but I dropped the wooden spoon I was using to make the sauce and jumped up and down squeeing like, well, like the 10th Doctor was back.

I’m sorry, I just like him best.

Anyway, the two doctors are quickly united and 10 makes a small penis joke about 11, and all is right with the world. Then The War Doctor shows up and while all of the levity isn’t gone, things get a good deal darker.

After being imprisoned in The Tower of London, the three Doctors argue for a while about behaving like a grown up. A new favorite moment comes when 11 talks about a “timey wimey” situation and The War Doctor is disgusted with the colloquialism, and 10 claims he has no idea what this person is talking about. In fact 11’s general not giving a fuckedness (I can’t think of a better way to describe it) annoys both of his predecessors, and I have to admit is sort of what has always bugged me about him.

Anyway, they stop the invasion (Hooray!) but that’s not the big story. I mean, it would have probably been enough. But The War Doctor has to decide whether to destroy Gallifrey or not, and after seeing how great his regenerations are (awww) he decides, that yes, he must do this. The other two Doctors join him to press the button.

The rhetoric that they use to explain why this must happen will be familiar to most Americans. See, I find the whole concept of the post time war Doctor fascinating, and 100% get why the new series is the one that really caught fire in the States. We committed that unspeakable crime to end World War II. We’ve spent the past 70 or so years trying to justify it, trying to understand how we let it happen and ultimately running from it. That something so quintessentially British could speak to one of the deepest darkest parts of the American collective psyche is fascinating to be.

But maybe I’m being culturally biased here and Brits also feel guilty about the bomb.

I somehow doubt it though.

Anyway, Clara’s the voice of reason, explaining that The War Doctor is The Warrior and 10 is The Hero (Hell Yeah!) but 11 is The Doctor. So, he comes up with a solution to save Gallifrey.

That’s right, the Doctors save Gallifrey.

They do this by some improbable time travel magic that involves uniting all 13 (yeah, we get our first peak at 12) Tardises and freezing the planet in a pocket universe. That universe is lost, so they can’t know if it worked, but now there’s hope rather than despair.

The only reason why I’m not crazy about this solution (I love happy endings!) is that it basically destroys the 9th Doctor’s entire characterization.

Eccleston is the real victim.

Eccleston is the real victim.

I kind of liked how in order to deal with having committed double genocide, 9 was just a massive dick to everyone but Rose. And even to Rose sometimes. It’s slightly fixed when we learn because of more Time Travel Magic, only 11 will remember that this happened. (Or something? Seriously 3 viewings and I’m still not positive what happened.)

After The War Doctor leaves, and 11 warns 10 about Transilore, he settles in with Clara, who says the curator of the museum was looking for him.

The Curator is The  4th Doctor…sort of! Either way, they have a cryptic conversation, and learn that the painting that started the whole adventure, which was believed to have to titles Either, “No More,” or “Gallifrey Falls,” it turns out is meant to be, “Gallifrey Falls, No More.”

The Doctor has a new mission statement for his new incarnation. He’s got to find his home. He has to find Gallifrey.

The internet is going a little nuts over this revelation. After all, we’ve had eight years of fighting for redemption. But well, there’s something to be said for changing things up. I’m really looking forward to the Doctor having a mission statement again.

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The Schwartz Factor

Most showrunners have a pattern. You can spot their shows from a mile away and they tend to go really well for their fans if they stick to that pattern.

Joss Whedon: Group of misfit adventurers fight demons/evil space empire/evil mind control corporation/supervillains while bucking conventional social ties and falling in love. BUT DON’T EVER ADMIT THAT YOU LOVE SOMEONE BECAUSE THEN YOU AND OR THEY WILL DIE!

Aaron Sorkin: Impossibly good looking and intelligent idealists talk a lot about saving their corner of the world and do. Also everyone else is stupider than them. Hooray!

Brenda Hampton: Self righteous teens and their parents deal with issues in a ridiculously straightforward way. Lead actress turns out to be actually talented but her character is the WORST.

JJ Abrams: Strong concept and characters devolve into useless twists, but you’re hooked so you keep watching anyway.

Matthew Weiner: WIN ALL THE EMMYS!

But I’m not talking about those guys. I’m talking about my favorite show runner of all. Mr. Josh Schwartz. I’ve mentioned before how much I love his shows, but last night I started watching Chuck again and of course started thinking about his pattern again.

So here it is outlined:

Affable (And good looking) Nerd

Schwartz heroes

Gets together with a Hot Blonde

Schwartz 2s

They have quirky friends and family!

Schwartz Casts

One of whom is just better than all of the others!

Schwartz BestSeason 3 on kind of blows, and there are a lot of pop culture references.

Also, there are foods that they talk about, over and over.

Schwartz Food

And Love Triangles!

There weren't really any love triangles on Chuck, so Gossip Girl gets 2!

There weren’t really any love triangles on Chuck, so Gossip Girl gets 2!

There’s True Love

Schwartz True Love

There’s great clothes and improbable story lines and great music and it’s all wonderful.

I like formulas, especially on TV. But Schwartz’s formula sticks with me the most, probably because it’s so character driven and falling in love with characters is the main reason I watch TV. Plot is great. It really is, but I watch movies and read books for plot. TV and Comics? Those are for characters.

The OC had some memorable for all the wrong reasons story lines. I mean, Ryan’s ex girlfriend gets pregnant, then fakes an abortion to set him free? Luke sleeping with Julie Cooper? Volchock? No. Just no. But it also had Seth Cohen, Ryan Atwood and Summer Roberts, three of the best characters ever. And Sandy Cohen. Oy! With the bagels.

Gossip Girl plumbed terrible plot depths that The OC only dreamed about. Remember when Serena thought she killed that guy? Or when Serena was sleeping with Nate’s married senator cousin and he pulled a Ted Kennedy, leaving her to die in a car that he crashed? Or when Jenny lost her virginity to Chuck? Or when Chuck’s dad came back to life? But we also got Chuck Bass, Blair Waldorf and Lilly Rhodes Vanderwoodsen Bass Humphrey Vanderwoodsen. Two of the best prime time soap characters this side of Alexis Carrington and Blair Waldorf.

Chuck is to me one of the greatest bait and switches in TV. It’s so utterly ridiculous that pretty much anything that happened could be excused and then redeemed by how likable Zachary Levi is. More dead parents who weren’t really dead! And partners, and The Intersect getting passed around like crazy.

And Hart of Dixie, ohhh, my poor Hart of Dixie. It’s so good. Just so lovely and small and character driven, and stupid. And I love it so much.

I can’t wait to see how he screws it up after this season. Because he’s not good at keeping things going after season 3. As I previously noted.

Thor: The Dark World Moves More Pieces

thor the dark world poster

I should give some background about my relationship with the movie Thor.

I love it very much. But my love for it may be tinged with a lot of lust for its leading man, and the (albeit hazy) memory of the first time I saw it.

It was a late night showing. I was two weeks from graduating college. I had been picked up from a bar crawl with a bunch of bio majors. (Chrissy brought me. certainly was not a bio major. My inability to comprehend undergraduate levels of science was a big part of the reason I had to be in college for 5 years…) I remember thoroughly enjoying myself, and going to bed that night to have erm…pleasant dreams that night.

Anyway, I’ve also always said that I’ve never walked away from a MCU movie bored, and that holds true. These movies are an extreme amount of fun. The Dark World is still fun. It’s funny and quirky and epic.

And I didn’t love it.

I loved the individual elements, but they didn’t seem to quite gel. Chris Hemsworth is great, and like Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3 did a very good job of telegraphing the changes in Thor since The Battle of New York. He’s more serious, a bit somber, and very distracted. Everyone around him notices it, but only Odin points it out. Also, Odin is all, “Forget about that earth girl, focus on being king and go marry and make babies with Sif. KTHANXBI.”

For her part, Sif seems not opposed to this outcome, but she also doesn’t seem overly invested in it either.

Jane hasn’t forgotten Thor’s promise to come back either, but she is on a rather pleasant lunch date with a Perfectly Nice Guy (I was SOO hoping that Jane would get a Perfectly Nice Guy, or A Baxter as they’re sometimes called.) in London when Darcy comes in and drags her out because some of their instruments are going nuts. As nuts as they did back in New Mexico! They call Erik, but he’s too busy running around Stonehenge in the buff saying that he has to save us all. (Loki left Dr. Selvig a little batty. If we find out in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that Hawkeye is also exhibiting such behavior, I will be thrilled.)

Anyway, there’s some hoo ha with some London Street children and portals and Thor winds up taking Jane to Asgard and the movie really kicks off.

The main plot, or I guess the un soap opera plot concerns Malekith and the Dark Elves wanting to bring the world back to darkness as it was when it began. Or something. I don’t know. Christopher Eccleston is a really good actor and all. But Malekith as villain was still swallowed up by the super nova that was Loki as Anti Hero.

My second favorite superhero movie (favorite is The Dark Knight Rises) is X2: X-Men United. I love when the good guys and the bad guys get together to take on the bigger threat. That happens here. Sort of.

Malekith’s plan involves The Aether a mystical sort of anti matter that behaves strangely like the extremis virus when it infects Jane. Searching for the Aether leads Malekith to Asgard, because that’s where Jane is. You know who else is in Asgard? Locked in a the dungeon? Loki.

Loki’s imprisonment is only half of his punishment. Odin has also banned his wife, and Loki’s mother Frigga from visiting. In fact it was only Frigga’s intercession that is keeping Loki alive. Thor and Odin would be happy to execute him. Frigga does use Asgardian Magic/Science to hologram into Loki’s cell and have angry conversations with him. She also gives him books. Anyway, while shielding Jane from Malekith Frigga is killed. This finally breaks her youngest son. Loki loses all of his bravado.

Thor has a plan to defeat Malekith, but Odin has put Asgard on lockdown, so he has to sneak out. Only one person knows how to do that. The brothers team up to avenge their mother and win the day.

Their are some major spoilers along the way, but during one of the fight scenes Loki cuts off Thor’s hand. Um, yeah.

Here’s what happened in my head. “Wait? They killed his Mommy and cut off his hand. IS SHE GOING TO DIE BEARING TWINS AND HE BECOME THE SECOND MOST EVIL BEING IN THE UNIVERSE? Did this just become Star Wars NT: If we made it less boring and the romantic leads had chemistry??”

Like I said, the movie was a lot fun. Zachary Levi (Squee!) took over as Fandral, and did a lovely job as a swashbuckler. My favorite scene involved Loki and Thor walking down a hallway and Loki taking on different forms. First he becomes a random guard. Then he becomes Thor and turns Thor into Sif. Then he turns himself into Captain America. This brilliant little cameo by Chris Evans made me so happy. He bounced down the hall and delivered the following speech:

“I can feel the righteousness flowing through me veins! I even like the costume, although it is rather tight! Do you want to have a conversation about truth, honor, patriotism?”

Then Thor punches him in the face. I kind of loved it because I feel like it gave you a sense of the relationship between Thor and Loki before Loki’s power grab, and my guess is Thor wanted punch Steve a time or two.

There’s a twist ending that I like, and the post credit scenes (There were two! TWO!) set up a long game for the MCU. The first, Sif and Volstag drop off the Aether with The Collector, who accepts it, wondering why they aren’t keeping it themselves. They insist that keeping “two infinity stones” together (Aether and Tesseract) would be a bad plan. The Collector agrees and gleefully says, “One down, five to go.”

So while phase 1 appeared to be about the tesseract, phase 2 appears to be about The Infinity Gems.

That’s a long game to play, but I’m psyched. First of all because the appearance of The Collector establishes the kind of goofy out there tone that Guardians of The Galaxy should and will probably have. Second of all because it teases Thanos in a big way and I was let down that it was teased and forgotten about for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The second showed Thor crashing breakfast with Jane, Darcy, Erik and their new friend Ian. Thor and Jane make out. All is right with the world.

Stray thoughts:

The women in this movie kick ass. Rene Russo leads the pack as Frigga. She’s only in the first half but she’s incredible. Natalie Portman continues to not annoy me as Jane. This is a huge coup for this character because I find Natalie Portman endlessly annoying. Kat Dennings was sarcastic and adorable. Jaimie Alexander was fantastic and should play Wonder Woman.

Sorry did I say should? JAIMIE ALEXANDER HAS TO PLAY WONDER WOMAN SOMEONE MAKE THIS HAPPEN IMMEDIATELY THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

It’s so clear how much Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth love playing these characters. The joy in their performances make these movies better.

Darcy tried to call S.H.I.E.L.D. to report Jane’s disappearance. I want a Darcy/Skye scene where they make sarcastic comments about everyone else. We could call it “Two MCU Girls.”

Stan Lee as a mental patient who’s shoe Selvig steals.

Trailers!:

Catching Fire looks better the more I see of it. Can’t wait for this.

Am I the only person who thinks that while the premise for Delivery Man is awful, the movie itself looks straight up adorable? Yes? No? Just me then?

X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer made me cry. AGAIN. I’ve now seen it 3 times. I have cried every time. It’s incredibly well done.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I’ve talked about this, but I’m incredibly excited. Things that I’m excited about besides what I’ve already said: Robert Redford. The man who if I had a time machine to pick the right actors at the right ages to play superheroes I would give the role of Captain America to. (Circa The Sting) Anthony Mackie as The Falcon. I love Mackie. I love pretty much everyone who was involved in 8 Mile. 

Rankings (Movie season is speeding to a close friends. I’m ending with Catching Fire and that’s next week!)

1. Pacific Rim

2. Runner, Runner

3. The Great Gatsby

4. The World’s End

5. Salinger

6. Kick Ass 2

7. The Butler

8. Man of Steel

9. Don Jon

10. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

11. The Wolverine

12. Thor: The Dark World

13. Iron Man 3

14. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

15. Despicable Me 2

16. Star Trek Into Darkness

17. Elysium

18. Monster’s University

19. After Earth

Cap is Back!

I was waiting a long time to write that title.

Anyway, this week gave us the X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer and the Captain America: Winter Soldier trailer. The Days of Future Past trailer made me so feely, that I couldn’t write about it properly. As I mentioned when I saw The Wolverine, I had a really bizarre emotional reaction to Charles Xavier’s resurrection, so to say that I’m looking forward to it is probably an understatement.

I tend to get rambly and unable to form words when I think about it, actually.

Not so with Winter Soldier.

I’m excited. I mean, I loved Captain America: The First Avenger. I think it’s the best movie in the “phase one” of The MCU. “Phase Two” is looking to have a very different feel, and one that I think will suit Steve pretty well.

But that’s not what I liked best about the trailer.

It wasn’t the new tone.

It definitely wasn’t the new costume design. (That actually looks pretty stupid.)

Nope. It’s the fact that the first 30 seconds or so of the trailer is Steve and Natasha flirting.

Seriously, he’s about to jump out of a plane. Being that he’s Steve, and she’s teasing him about asking out some girl. He basically winks and is all, “you’re the only girl for me.”

Which, yeah, because Black Widow is pretty much “Agent Carter Part II” in terms of Steve-land. She too introduced him to a new world, she’s a soldier (well, a spy) and she probably won’t take his crap.

Plus, well, they were adorable together in The Nanny Diaries.

So cute!

So cute!

I’m actually pretty psyched to see S.H.I.E.L.D. take on a bigger role in the story too. Not because it worked out super well in Iron Man 2 (it didn’t) but unlike Tony, Steve is a soldier, thus, he needs a larger organization to make his character work. Rogue Captain America is interesting for about a minute. (Where as Rogue Iron Man is always interesting.)

Of course I’m sure Steve and Director Fury will have some kind of a disagreement at some point and he’ll throw a Captain America hissy fit, because, life is Black and White when you’re Captain America and the world is a Whole Mess a Grey when you’re Nick Fury.

Also, am I the only person who kind of hopes that Fitz and Simmons build his tech for him?

And seriously, how cute were they on last night’s Agents? The only reason I don’t want them to get together is because I don’t want one of them to die. (Whedon rules state that once characters admit their true feelings to one another, one of them has to die.)