So I’ve Discovered “The X-Files”…

…and I’m trying to figure out how I’ve gone so long without realize how good this show is. I’ve always known it as the weird show about aliens–which, in all honesty, it is, but it’s also really good.

I started watching the rebooted series when it premiered a few weeks ago, mostly out of curiosity. I remembered seeing commercials for the original show long ago, but I had never watched it; now that it was coming back, I decided to see what it was like. Yes, it’s strange and full of off-the-wall conspiracy theories, but the strangeness and conspiracy theories are packaged in good writing. To top it all off, the other day I watched the pilot episode of the original X-Files series, and I have officially decided that qualifies as A Very Awesome Show.

I must say that the decision to carry on with the original characters and scenarios reminds me of how the BBC brought back Doctor Who in 2005–both series picked up where they left off (more or less), and they kept the same theme song. I think this helps to illustrate how both Doctor Who and The X-Files are not supposed to be reboots in the usual sense; they are extensions and continuations of the original shows, which, of course, encourages fans to come back and watch.

Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen of The X-Files so far, and I suppose it and Legends of Tomorrow will be helping to fill the TARDIS-shaped void in my life that comes from not having new Doctor Who episodes until Christmas.

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BREAKING NEWS: Steven Moffat Resigns as Doctor Who Showrunner, Series 10 Pushed Back to 2017

The Radio Times website reported today that Steven Moffat, the showrunner Whovians love to hate, will leave Doctor Who after series 10…but series 10 won’t air until 2017. Oh, we’ll get a Christmas special this year, but you can forget any fond hopes you nursed about an epic, timey-wimey 2016. Apparently the BBC decided that Moffat’s last series as showrunner would be overshadowed by the Olympics, so in order to give him a proper sendoff, they’re going to wait a year to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

A year? Really? Are you trying to antagonize the fans?

Anyway, the new showrunner will be Chris Chibnall, whom I remember as writing some very excellent episodes of Doctor Who in past series (“42” was very taught and well-paced, and “The Power of Three” deftly illustrated the push-pull relationship of a normal life and a life with the Doctor), and so I am greatly anticipating the stories and tone he will be bringing to the show when he assumes the showrunner mantle in 2018.

Let it be known, however, that I fully disapprove of the year-long hiatus of Doctor Who; I think the BBC is making a mistake by making the fans wait that long, and if this is a sneaky way of trying to kill the show, well, I think they’re going to be awfully surprised. We’ve survived longer hiatuses than this one; we will prevail over this one, too!

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One Love, One Lifetime (or Why Christine was Smart to Choose Raoul)

They’re back, the random yet hopefully edifying Phantom of the Opera posts! You didn’t think they were gone, did you?

Within the phandom, you tend to see a lot of people insist that Christine should have chosen Erik for all the usual reasons–taught her to sing, more romantic, not a fop, etc. To me it just seems that Raoul gets a lot of undeserved hate. I’m not passing judgement here; I used to feel the same way. I was 15 when I read The Phantom of the Opera for the first time, and my 15-year-old self did not think much of the vicomte. He seemed like he was trying too hard at, well, everything, and instead of respecting him, I wanted to laugh at him. At the time I did think that Erik was a better choice because he managed to command more respect. Of course, considering that Erik was also a kidnapper and a murderer, I also reflected that maybe Christine shouldn’t have married either one of them.

As I got older, my understanding of love changed and became a little clearer, and the distinction between Erik and Raoul became more distinct to me. I realized the fundamental difference between the two men was the result of the difference in the way they approached love. Erik was willing to kill for Christine, but Raoul was willing to die for her. Erik’s love was selfish and possessive, driven by his own desire for a normal life, but Raoul was willing to sacrifice everything, including his life, to keep Christine safe. Sacrifice is intrinsic to love; there is no way to separate the two. Erik expected Christine to give up everything to be with him–it’s been awhile since I’ve read the book, but I’m pretty sure Erik was sacrificing nada in this relationship.

I want you to give up your friends, your career, and everything you knew to live in a cold, dark cellar with me. That's all I ask of you.

So, yes, Raoul may have been a bit pathetic and laughable, but it’s important to remember that he was still young–really, he was just a little vicomte; he was still working on being awesome when he grew up. Although his execution of his plans may have been lackluster, he had a pure and noble intention. I realize that now as an adult, and I respect him for that.

That’s not to say that I don’t still feel a smattering of sympathy for Erik–life was cruel to him, and he never really got a fair chance to prove that there was a man behind the face of the monster. But he had a whole lot of issues, way more than Christine would have been able to help him with, and the fact that he lied to her and kidnapped her were honking big warning signs that a relationship with him was the textbook definition of a Very Bad Idea. So in the long run, I’d say that Christine was smart for choosing Raoul. He proved his love for her in all of his actions, in his willingness to sacrifice everything, even his own life, to save her.

Sacrifice and love are inextricably entwined. Never forget that.

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Some Thoughts on “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride” *Contains Spoilers*

I suppose this review could be considered tardy since this episode aired on January 1, but I had to give my brain some time to process everything I had seen. After two years of no new Sherlock at all, suddenly being gifted with a nice shiny Victorian special was a bit overwhelming, and I had to make sure my thoughts actually made sense instead of being incoherent fangirl noises.

We start off with a Victorian retelling of how Sherlock and John–though I suppose here I should refer to them as Holmes and Watson–meet, and we even have Victorian-style opening credits (which are completely awesome and which I would share with you if I could find a clip of them). When Moffat and Gatiss put their minds to it, they can sure pull out all the stops. From there on, it’s an unusual mishmash of the Victorian and the modern–the settings and costumes are all Victorian, but the dialogue slips into the modern usage sometimes (and there’s actually a reason for this, which I’ll explain later). This combination gives the episode a bit of a steampunk-y feel, at least to me. What’s really interesting is that the characters we all know and love haven’t changed much in the time shift. Holmes is just as brilliant and distant as ever, Watson just as loyal and grounded. Mary retains her high spirits and balks at being told to stay at home and cook dinner; Mycroft continues his scheming (but has put on an awful lot of weight since the last time we saw him), and Lestrade is…well, Lestrade. Molly still has her job at St. Bart’s but has disguised herself as a man in order to gain respect. All in all, it’s a very fascinating setup, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more episodes set in this Victorian era.

There’s a twist, though–then again, when isn’t there a twist? Anyway, remember how Moffat was saying this was just a one-off special and was not connected to the other seasons? Well, he lied. Again. The Victorian crime is taking place in Sherlock’s mind palace (hence the occasional use of modern dialogue), where he is attempting to figure out how Moriarty can be back when he committed suicide in “The Reichenbach Fall” by blowing his own brains out, using the unsolved case of the Abominable Bride as his template for figuring out how Moriarty faked his death. Long story short, Moriarty faked nothing–he’s dead for real, but someone is using his name to continue his reign of terror. But who? Answers will come whenever we get season 4.

One of the things that impressed me about “The Abominable Bride” was that we finally confronted Sherlock’s drug problem. It was implied in “A Study in Pink”, and he denied using drugs in “His Last Vow”, but here it was finally out in the open. I know a few Holmes adaptations tend to veer away from Sherlock’s drug use, so I was impressed to see that Moffat and Gatiss decided to address the issue head-on. It’s a stark reminder that Sherlock is not the hero everyone makes him out to be, something he has always protested.

“Don’t make people into heroes, John. Heroes don’t exist, and if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.”

“I may be on the side of the angels, but don’t think for one minute that I am one of them.”

All in all, “The Abominable Bride” was a great way to get Sherlock back on our screens after a two-year absence. My mom even said she enjoyed it more than she did The Force Awakens, which we saw earlier that day (I’m sure you’ve already read my review on that). There’s still no confirmation for when we’ll see season 4, but at least we had a doozy of an episode to tide us over.

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Some Thoughts on “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens” *Massive, Massive SPOILERS!*

I have finally gotten to see The Force Awakens in the theater, and as I mentioned earlier, I am here to review it for all to enjoy. There are going to be lots and lots of spoilers, so turn back now if you haven’t seen it yet and still want to be surprised!

Where to begin, where to begin? First, let us observe a moment of silence for the Darth Jar Jar theory. Lumpawarroo, if you somehow manage to see this post, I still believe.

One of the few complaints against this movie was that the plot was simply a rehash of A New Hope, and it basically was. Sending the droid off with the secret plans, getting stuck on a desert planet, escaping with the Millennium Falcon–yep, we’ve seen this all before. And then the First Order builds the Starkiller, which is basically just a gigantic Death Star–really, guys, is that the only design you have? It’s been, what, 30 years since Return of the Jedi; didn’t your engineers come up with a different plan by now? And then the Resistance destroys it in exactly the same way. Come on, J.J., get creative!

It wasn’t all bad; I really like the new trio of Poe, Rey, and Finn. I hope we get to see more of Poe in Episode VIII since it seems he was barely in this one. And I must admit that the trailers had me convinced that Finn was the Force-sensitive character of the new trilogy, so I was genuinely surprised when it turned out to be Rey. I’m fairly certain Rey will turn out to be Luke’s daughter for a number of reasons:

  1. We’ve already seen how strong she is with the Force–she resisted Kylo Ren’s attempts to read her mind; she tricked a guard into letting her go, and she was able to ultimately beat Kylo in their lightsaber duel.
  2. She can fly any ship she gets her hands on, a trait she shares with Anakin Skywalker. In the Rebellion of the original trilogy, Luke was also an exceptional pilot.
  3. When both Rey and Kylo were trying to summon Luke’s lightsaber, it flew to Rey. Kylo claimed the lightsaber rightfully belonged to him, but the fact that it preferred Rey indicates that she had the greater claim.
  4. If Rey is a Skywalker, why should we think she’s Luke’s daughter? Well, Leia and Han didn’t recognize or acknowledge her as their daughter, so if she has Skywalker blood, it must be through Luke.

Speaking of Kylo Ren…I’m sorry, I cannot take him seriously as a Sith Lord. He’s too young; his hair is too fabulous, and he’s too whiny. How did he wind up so angsty after coming from such awesome parents as Han and Leia? (As an aside, if you want a good laugh, check out the Emo Kylo Ren Twitter account.) My initial theory about his identity, that he was a former student of Luke’s who turned against him, turned out to be correct, so I was happy that I had guessed that part.

It wasn’t all sunshine and nostalgic rainbows in this movie, though. J.J. Abrams committed the unthinkable act of KILLING HAN SOLO. One of the most iconic characters in all of Star Wars is no more; a piece of my childhood has been crumpled up and tossed in the trash can. It’s…it’s kind of hard to cope with this, guys.

All things considered, I did enjoy this movie. In previous posts I had mentioned my concerns that this was going to turn into another Hobbit debacle, but there weren’t any huge deviations from established canon. Of course, if I go back and rewatch all of the other movies, I’ll probably find an inconsistency somewhere, but for now I think I’ll just enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having watched Star Wars on the big screen…even if the villain was more amusing than terrifying.

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Happy 2016!

A brand new year means a brand new batch of things to celebrate!

  • Sherlock: The Abominable Bride premieres tonight! After two years of no Sherlock at all, this one-off special set in Victorian London promises to be spectacular.
  • Star Trek turns 50!
  • Doctor Who will be getting a new companion!
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000, the cult classic about a guy and some robots making fun of terrible movies, is returning to TV!

I’m sure there are other exciting things happening this year, too, that I’m forgetting to mention here, but I’m sure they’ll turn up sooner or later.

And remember, January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation (Feast of the Circumcision/Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God), so if you’re Catholic, get thee to Mass today! Unless you went to Vigil last night, in which case, you’re good.

Happy New Year!

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The End of 2015

Here we are again, bidding one year farewell and saying hello to a new one. I hope you accomplished everything in 2015 that you wanted–and if you didn’t, well, that’s what 2016 is for (seriously, I know the feeling. There’s stuff I wanted to do this year that didn’t happen because of life).

Like I did last year, I wanted to share my stats report with the rest of you because you are ultimately the ones who make this blog worthwhile.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My views went down from last year, but views do fluctuate from time to time, so that’s not really an issue. I did write more posts, which was one of my goals for this year, but it wasn’t by all that much–last year’s total was 66; this year’s was 69. So I suppose I can say I met that goal. Sort of.

Before I sign off for 2015, I want to provide you with the link for the Patron Saint Name Generator again: http://saintsnamegenerator.com/#.UrhbhLTHlEk. My patron saint for 2016 is St. John of Damascus (aka St. John Damascene), patron saint of pharmacists, icon painters, and theology students…of which I am none. Still, he’s a Doctor of the Church, so it can’t hurt to have one of those interceding for you during the year.

Happy End of 2015!

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