The Aftermath of “Listen” *Spoilers*

Spoilers, blah, blah, blah, you know the drill by now. On to the good stuff.

“Listen” is one of the creepiest episodes of the series. It reminded me a lot of the immortal “Blink”, but its tone was much darker. It also seemed more, well…the closest word I can think of is philosophical. We faced our deepest fears, encountered some mind-blowing paradoxes (well, maybe they weren’t quite mind-blowing, but they still had me shouting, “MOFFAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT!”), and were treated to more of the ever-more-intriguing Twelve-Clara dynamic.

I must say that I am loving the new interactions between Twelve and Clara. Their exchanges remind me a lot of siblings–the way the Doctor will criticize appearance and boyfriends and Clara will tell him he’s being an idiot and to just shut up already. It’s like having a brother and sister in the TARDIS–they’ll pick and nag at each other, but deep down inside, there’s a lot of love there.

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Not Very Surprising

Some time ago, I reported that Norm Lewis, a.k.a. Awesomely Awesome Javert from the 25th anniversary Les Miserables concert, had been cast in the title role in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera. Naturally, I was excited to hear this–Norm Lewis is extremely talented, so I was sure he would do a good job.

Now we have proof. Now we have a video excerpt of him and co-star Sierra Boggess (from the 25th anniversary Phantom performance) singing part of the title song.

Honestly, this didn’t surprise me in the least. These are two people known for their awesome singing; how could the video be anything less than stunning?

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The Aftermath of “Robot of Sherwood” *Spoilers*

This week saw our beloved TARDIS duo take a spin into the past–specifically the 1190’s at Clara’s request. Why? Because she wants to meet Robin Hood. Be warned, spoilers lie ahead.

The Doctor keeps insisting that Robin Hood is just a legend; Robin Hood is convinced he’s quite real, and Clara doesn’t understand why they’re bickering like five-year-olds. This Doctor definitely has a sulky streak. And mad fencing skills. With a spoon.

Doing a period episode was a refreshing change of pace because no one can do costume dramas like the BBC. Okay, so the robots may negate the whole “period episode” angle, but it was still fun. I wish they’d do more of them in the future. They wouldn’t necessarily have to have any science fictions elements; it’s been awhile since we’ve had a strict historical done in the same vein as “The Aztecs” or “The Reign of Terror”, and I think they should start bringing those back.

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The Aftermath of “Into the Dalek” *Spoilers*

And we’re back with a review for the second episode of Doctor Who‘s eighth season, an episode that saw the Doctor venture into the darkest, most dangerous place in the universe–the inside of a Dalek. As with last week’s review, there will be spoilers, so you have been warned if you haven’t watched it yet.

I’ll be honest–I have kind of mixed feelings about this one. Don’t get me wrong; Capaldi was brilliant, but too much of the story felt like a rehash of 1977’s “The Invisible Enemy”. Because of this similarity, it was kind of difficult to enjoy the story; it would have been better if they had gone with a more original plot. I will say this, though–the twist with Rusty’s taking his inspiration from the Doctor’s hatred for the Daleks was definitely unseen.

I also enjoyed Danny Pink’s first appearance. He seems like a nice enough guy, and it would appear they’re setting up for some conflict between him and the Doctor. After all, the Doctor is not fond of soldiers, and Danny used to be one…but Danny obviously regrets what he’s done just as the Doctor regrets his service in the Time War. Even if things are tense between the two at first, they’ll inevitably find that they have more in common than they first thought.

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The Aftermath of “Deep Breath” *Spoilers*

The eighth season of Doctor Who is finally upon us! Hooray! And is it ever good! Now there will be spoilers in this post, so you have been warned, but I just had to share my thoughts on the new everything.

First we have a new opening sequence and theme tune. I’m not sure I’m sold on either just yet, but I’m sure it’ll grow on me in time.

As for the new Doctor himself–oh. My. Gosh. Capaldi has surpassed my wildest hopes and dreams; words cannot adequately express how much I love his Doctor. It was just a bald statement of fact–he is the Doctor. Even in his post-regenerative muddle, his presence never ceases to be sharp and commanding. He was so much the Doctor that Matt Smith’s surprise cameo left me kind of “meh”. Everything about Capaldi just screams Doctor, and it’s hard to imagine a more perfect actor for the part.

Jenna Coleman is also in fine form as Clara Oswald. In my opinion, she plays off Capaldi better than she did with Smith, and I’m really looking forward to seeing her future interactions with Twelve. Apart from the Doctor, she is a stronger character in her own right, more so than from last season. She’s quick to decipher the mysterious ad in the paper and does well in holding her own against the androids, figuring out that the best way to escape their notice is to hold her breath. About the only thing I didn’t like was her skepticism about the Doctor’s regeneration–I mean, she was inside his timeline; she understands regeneration in a way most companions never will! She’s seen all of his different faces, so a new one shouldn’t have been quite so jarring.

All things considered, “Deep Breath” was a joy to watch, and I can’t wait to go “Into the Dalek” next week!

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A Decision (Which Might be Unpopular)

In my previous post, I talked about how I was finally getting around to watching the X-Men movies, and at that point I had only seen two of them. Now I’ve seen four (the original trilogy plus X-Men Origins: Wolverine), and I have reached a decision. It will undoubtedly ruffle some feathers, and I am prepared to dive behind my couch to avoid the flying vegetables that might be pelted in my direction.

*Inhales deeply* I like the X-Men movies better than the Avengers franchise! *Dives behind couch*

Yes, I know the Avengers movies are bigger and more popular, and I’m not saying I don’t like them–I do. Iron Man was good; Captain America was really good; Thor was…middling but still enjoyable (thanks in large part to Tom Hiddleston’s relentless screen hogging–seriously, how are we supposed to root against the villain when he’s more compelling than the hero?), and The Avengers in general was a fun, fast-paced ride. But these movies do tend to be oddly serious at times, a seriousness that doesn’t always fit the premise. Come on, it’s a comic book–maybe I’m old school, but I want some fun and light-heartedness in comic book-based movies! (Sometimes the darker tones work well a la Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but that’s another post entirely.)

The X-Men movies do deal with serious themes, but there also seems to be a more fun, almost tongue-in-cheek aspect to them as well. After all, you can only be so serious when dealing with mutants in odd costumes. But what really gets me is the compelling storylines behind the characters themselves. For instance, Erik/Magneto was an unexpectedly understandable and relatable character–he already lived through one holocaust and feared he would see another, but he thought the only answer was to kill the ordinary humans before they could kill the mutants. And then we have Logan/Wolverine taking responsibility for Marie/Rogue’s safety to the point of risking his own life to save her, Kurt/Nightcrawler’s insistence that faith and love are more powerful than hatred–this is all really compelling, detailed character development.

I’ve been impressed with the X-Men movies. I didn’t think I would like them, but I have. I’m interested to see how the others play out and if there will be any others in the future. And maybe one of those future movies will explain why Wolverine’s hair is so weird.

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Discovering a Kindred Spirit

It’s always a brilliant sensation when you encounter someone who shares your likes and beliefs, be they the mutual love of a book or TV series (here’s looking at you, fellow Whovians!)…or a religion.

Being Catholic myself, I always find it uber-exciting to discover another Catholic well-known to the mainstream media–here’s someone in the glaring public eye with whom you can actually relate on some level! And it may not even be someone you suspected of sharing any similarity with you at all. For example, I’m finally getting around to watching the X-Men movies (don’t judge that it took me so long, okay?), and I was going along enjoying the movie when all of a sudden, WHAM! I discovered Nightcrawler is Catholic.

Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler in

Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler in “X2: X-Men United”

This is Nightcrawler, whose real name is Kurt Wagner. Kurt is a blue, freaky-looking teleporter. He is also a devout Catholic, so to me, the freaky-looking blue aspect doesn’t matter at all, and the teleporting is a sweet perk. It was just so exciting to have a character to have some sort of trait that enabled me to identify with him, and not just any trait, either, but one that is so deeply rooted in me.

Not only is he Catholic, but he also has a strong understanding of his faith. I wish I could find the scene where he was talking about how he pitied those who hated the mutants instead of hating them in return, but YouTube has decided to fail me and not have any clips of that scene. Still, that just cemented his unique self into my head, and he is now on my List of Fictional Characters with Whom I Would like to Converse.

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