Tag Archives: 2016

Farewell, 2016

It was a hard year that saw the deaths of a lot of celebrities (including the most recent passings of Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds) as well as one of the most hotly-contested US presidential elections in recent memory. But there were good things that happened this year, too–Star Trek celebrated its 50th anniversary; Doctor Who gave us a Christmas special we’ll not soon forget, and there are always books to read and movies to watch and games to play. Perhaps it’s the hobbit in me, but I always try to find the bright spots in a bleak year because in the end, those are the moments worth remembering. Plus, we get a new season of Sherlock tomorrow, which is always welcome.

I also wanted to take a moment to share the patron saint generator for 2017: http://saintsnamegenerator.com/index.php. I’ve always thought this was cool, and it’s a great opportunity to learn about a new saint. My patron saint for 2017 is St. Leopold III, patron saint of Austria. I’m not entirely sure how well this will work since I’m not Austrian, but he was a good king who did his best to lead a holy life, and I can identify with that (not the king part, the trying to lead a holy life part).

Alas, I had hoped WordPress would have published a recap of my blogging this past year, but for some reason I didn’t get one. I guess the biggest thing that happened in my blogging is that I published my 400th post, which is certainly more posts than I ever thought I would have.

See you all in 2017!

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Doctor Who Review: The Return of Doctor Mysterio *Contains Spoilers*

Considering this was the only new episode of Doctor Who we could expect to see this year, writing a review of it was kind of a no-brainer. I did miss having new episodes to review each week, so I looked forward to having a chance to write down my thoughts on the 2016 Christmas special. It’s been exactly one year since our last new episode–was it worth the wait?

“The Return of Doctor Mysterio” sees, well, the return of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor with Matt Lucas reprising his role of Nardole from last year’s Christmas special, “The Husbands of River Song” (yes, there is an explanation as to why he is back in one piece after he was beheaded last year). After his twenty-four-year night with River on Darillium, the Doctor reattached Nardole’s head to his body and offered him a place aboard the TARDIS–with both Clara and River gone, he didn’t want to travel alone (although he denies this reason). They turn up in New York City investigating Harmony Shoal, suspecting it’s a front for alien activity. Their investigation leads them to cross paths with Lucy Fletcher, a journalist trying to get background information on Harmony Shoal’s real purpose, and the Ghost, a masked superhero who has made it his mission to protect the city from all threats. Plot twist–the Doctor and the Ghost have met before. Twenty-four years ago, there was a little boy named Grant who had a conversation with a madman on a roof, and during the course of the conversation, he accidentally swallowed a Hazandra gemstone. Known as the “Ghost of Love and Wishes”, this gemstone has the ability to grant any wish–to a young boy with a love of comic books, it gives him super powers. The Doctor made Grant promise never to use his powers, but Grant saw an opportunity to help people, and he took it.

This wasn’t the best of the Christmas specials, but it was very good, nonetheless. There was much poking of fun at common superhero clichés and wry commentary. What I noticed, though, is that Moffat seemed to have toned down his writing this time; it seemed less frantic and manic than previous specials. Frankly, I think the story benefitted from that change of pace–when Moffat slows down and takes the time to work out the plot, his writing is much better. Also, I hope we get to see Grant and Lucy again in the future; they were fun characters. They started as parodies of Superman and Lois Lane but turned into characters I genuinely cared about.

Something else that struck me was a change in Nardole’s character–he seemed wiser, somehow, and seemed to have a good understanding of the Doctor. I’m not sure if that wisdom came from having a drastic perspective shift from being beheaded or if it came from many previous travels, but he definitely understands the Doctor’s pain and wants to help him heal. The Doctor certainly trusts him, or else I don’t imagine he would have taught him how to fly the TARDIS. But Nardole is showing he can be more than an inept bumbler, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out in season 10.

And speaking of season 10…

Allons-y!

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Christmas Eve 2016

Yes, it’s Christmas Eve once again, ladies and gentlemen, and I decided to get on here and wish you all a Merry Christmas in case I don’t get a chance to do so tomorrow. I also wanted to share one of my favorite Christmas songs with you, “Gabriel’s Message”. My church choir sings it every Christmas, but I didn’t know what the title was until I searched for some of the lyrics. My search led me to this, and I am so glad I finally found the title.

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I Made It!

I made it all the way through National Blog Post Writing Month 2016! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to finish it this year, but I did! Hooray!

So if you don’t hear from me for awhile, I’m busy recovering my sanity. I will be back, though!

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Christmas Novenas

November 30 is the last day of November, but it’s also the feast day of St. Andrew, one of Christ’s Apostles. Thus, I am bringing up the St. Andrew Christmas Novena, which starts today and goes to December 24. Yes, I know that is not a period of nine days, so I don’t know why they can still call it a novena, but here you go anyway: http://www.fisheaters.com/customsadvent7.html.

There’s also a different novena you can say that actually is nine days long. It starts on December 16 and finishes on Christmas Eve: http://www.fisheaters.com/customsadvent8.html. The website notes that this novena matches up with the O Antiphons, which is nice if you’re also reciting those in the days leading up to Christmas.

I admit, there was an ulterior motive for mentioning the St. Andrew Christmas Novena today–it is also the last day of National Blog Post Writing Month, and since I started out the month with a saint post (All Saints’ Day to be precise), I thought it would be nice to bring everything full circle by ending with a saint post.

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A New “Dune” Adaptation?

It came to my attention last week that Legendary Entertainment, the studio behind movies like The Dark Knight and Pacific Rim, has acquired the film rights to Frank Herbert’s Dune. Granted, there have been no announcements as to whether or not there will be a new movie, but if you have the film rights for a book, you must want to make something, right?

I can only hope it doesn’t mutilate the story a la the 1984 version. That was such a disappointment. I do remember that Syfy (back in the days when it was still the SciFi Channel) turned DuneDune Messiah, and Children of Dune into a miniseries. I never saw the Dune Messiah or Children of Dune parts, but the parts that dealt specifically with Dune were actually pretty good. I think on the whole Dune works better as a miniseries, so perhaps Legendary Entertainment will take that route with their new adaptation.

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“Power of the Daleks” in Animated Form: Not the Original but Pretty Close

I’ve been watching the broadcast of the animated restoration of “The Power of the Daleks” on BBC America, and though it’s only been on for a couple of weeks, I wanted to go ahead and write down some of my thoughts on it.

The animation, while good, will never quite match the magic of seeing the actual actors–but that’s okay. What matters is that we have the story back for the first time in 50 years, and it’s a brilliant story that didn’t deserve to be wiped in the first place. After regenerating for the first time, the Doctor arrives on the planet Vulcan (no, not that Vulcan) and is mistaken for an examiner from Earth. A mysterious capsule has been unearthed on the planet, and the colonists think that the Doctor has arrived to examine it and give them permission to open it. Judging from the title, you can probably guess what’s inside.

I must admit, there was a certain magic in watching the first ever regeneration scene. It was very low-key, and the Doctor was nonchalant about the whole thing. He experienced some momentary confusion (not being able to remember where he left things, referring to himself in the third person), but nothing like what we’re used to seeing lately. I almost wonder if the reason this regeneration was so easy is that his body had simply reached the end of its natural life. Pretty much all of his subsequent regenerations were the result of some sort of trauma, which was probably severely disorienting. Come to think of it, that’s what happened to the War Doctor at the end of “The Day of the Doctor”–his body reached the end of its natural life and was renewing itself, and when we saw him again in “Rose”, it was obvious he had pretty much just finished regenerating (the scene in Rose’s apartment is the first time he sees himself in a mirror). Ben and Polly were confused as heck, which I imagine was the feeling of every single person watching the show, but they eventually came to accept the new Doctor–and so did the audience.

On the whole, I’m glad the powers-that-be decided to animate this story since the chances of it ever being found intact are very slim. I hope they do this for the other lost episodes. There are so many great stories from the First and Second Doctors that deserve to live again that it would be a shame if this was a one-time-only deal.

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