Confession #71: I'm in Crossover Heaven

Dec
17

As an American growing up in the 70s and 80s, my exposure to Doctor Who was, to say the least, limited. Although my home state has been broadcasting the show on public television since 1974, it never even made a blip on my mental radar until I got to college—and then it was more as an indicator of which weirdos to avoid.

Star Trek, on the other hand, was regular fare.

I still remember afternoons after school parked in front of our little TV watching Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura (not to mention numerous redshirts) in action. My first specific memory is of captain and science officer in a jail with iron bars, and—I'm fairly certain—a comment about Spock's green blood (probably from the episode "Patterns of Force").

Later, when Star Trek: The Next Generation came on the scene, it was an easy sell. And just like the Whovian weirdos who met periodically in one of the dorm lounges to watch their show together (though I certainly didn't recognize the parallel at the time), my dorm floormates and I lugged one guy's TV into the floor lounge each week to watch the latest episode of ST: TNG together. The floor T-shirt that year was even based on that practice (including oft-used comments from the peanut gallery like "nice angle" and "Worf should kill them all").

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Confession #70: I Want to See Others' "Christmases"

Dec
10

We have plenty of evidence of the Doctor's familiarity with British culture and customs, including its religious ones. He's also at least aware of many other human practices and can identify them as readily as he does members of Species X from Planet Y (e.g., recognizing that Rita was Muslim in The God Complex). So I can't help but wonder what sort of winter festivals he could show us, were we to travel with him to the far reaches of the Galaxy.

Usually when we get a look in on the Doctor, he's put his foot in it, and things are about to go all wahooney shaped. But it's only when he's on Earth that we ever seem to see his adventures intersect with an annual religious/cultural festival. The closest thing I can think of off the top of my head is the Festival of Offerings in The Rings of Akhaten, but that was a rarity, rather than yearly event. Why don't we get to see other people celebrating their "most wonderful times of the year"?

Granted, certain species aren't likely to have any such thing. Given that the Daleks don't (normally) have a concept of blasphemy (see: The Parting of the Ways), they wouldn't have a sense of the sacred, either. No Dalek Christmas, then. Similarly, I find it unlikely that the "emotionless" (~cough~) Cybermen would have any such thing. Not exactly a celebratory lot.

But what about other alien cultures we've seen repeatedly? Sontarans? Ice Warriors? Those species aren't exactly good candidates for having high holy days, but perhaps they'd have a regular commemoration of an important military victory. There's got to be something these people get excited for besides the next battle.

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Confession #69: I'm Dreaming of a Blue Christmas

Dec
03

December gets super busy for most folks I know. Several of us are coming down off of NaNoWriMo and attending to tasks we'd let slide during November (like paying bills, or bathing). Some are gearing up for the heavy gifting season (whether that be Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holiday of choice). Others are just waiting to see what the Christmas special has in store for us.

But what the upcoming holiday season means to me—aside from a couple of weeks during which I lose those eight hours a day when I don't have to keep track of my kids—is a prime opportunity to catch up on my Whoniversal pastimes. Life kind of hit me upside the head this year, and I'm feeling really behind on almost everything (for someone who used to get all her Christmas shopping done by the end of August, that's an unsettling place to be). I mean, I didn't even get my plane ticket for Gallifrey One (affectionately known as "Gally"; coming up in February) until just this past Monday!

So although I find myself alternating between the flappy hands of glee at the prospect of more Capaldi on Christmas and the eyerolls of cynicism when I remember he'll be accompanied by Kris Kringle himself, there's no waffling when it comes to my anticipation of the pending break. Not only do I have plans for concocting our family's "usual suspects" list of holiday goodies, but there's so much Who-related stuff for me to do, I'm practically dreaming in TARDIS blue.

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Reader Poll Roundup: Series Eight Edition

Nov
26

I have been fascinated with the results of this year's reader polls, especially as I compare them to last year's. My data sets aren't completely parallel, since Series Seven had thirteen episodes with a Christmas Special in the middle (for a total of fourteen) while Series Eight only had twelve, but I think the comparisons are interesting nevertheless.

As last year, I'm going to start with the average (mean) ratings of episodes in chronological order. For any given episode, each star rating (e.g., 5 stars) was multiplied by the number of votes it got, the results added, and the sum divided by the total number of votes. Here's how the ratings looked for Series Eight:

Honestly, I was surprised by how low some of these scores were, as the series was my favorite of Moffat's tenure. Clearly, YMMV. What I find stands out though, is the sharp difference from episode to episode, especially the ratings plummet between episodes nine and ten.

Confession #68: I've Found "The" Doctor

Nov
19

There have been some wildly varying reactions to Series Eight both around "t3h Intarwebz" and here on the blog. (A big "thank you!", by the way, to everyone who's taken the time to vote in the reader polls or comment on a post. I love hearing from you!) I've heard pretty much everything from "Moffat must go!" to "Best. Series. Evar!", not to mention quite a few opinions in between.

This wild variation could be seen in microcosm for almost every episode, too. Next week, when I post the aggregate results of the reader polls for this series, I'll go into more detail, but suffice it to say, several stories with lots of 5-star votes also got a lot of 0-star votes. Anecdotal evidence from online conversations bears out this love-it-or-hate-it reaction to much of the series.

The one thing I haven't really seen, though, is Capaldi hate.

Of course, there's always someone; no Doctor—no person—has universal appeal. And perhaps it's just due to the particular corners of the Internet that I frequent (I'll admit that it's rather insular, by design) that I haven't seen angry fans frothing for Capaldi's immediate removal. But I've been pleased (though not surprised, thanks to personal bias) that even when people ranted about the hyper-stinkitude of this or that episode, and called for other heads (particularly Moffat's), there's been no sense that Capaldi's to blame for any perceived shortcomings in the series.

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