Doctor Who is back! It’s a good thing too, since I was starting to go through serious withdraws. The 8000 episodes of Star Trek added to Netflix helped the pain a bit, but it was still a long summer. So did Let’s Kill Hitler deliver? In a word: yes. In two words: F&$* yes! In three words: Yes and No.
Confused? Me too. Although I think this is my second favorite episode this season ( the first being The Doctor’s Wife ) it took several watchings to get me to that conclusion. At first I was just spent by the whole thing emotionally. I bought every red herring hook, line, and sinker, and because of that I couldn’t properly gauge how I felt till at least watch-through number 2.
At any rate, look below for my spoil-filled review.
“You named your Spoilers after your Spoilers.”
* HITLER IN A CUPBOARD – Although many people cheered and giggled at the announced title “Let’s Kill Hitler” when it appeared in epic bravado at the end of Episode 7 I cringed. I held out hope that the follow up to AGMGTW would be more River/Melody focused, and when the first 10 minutes of this episode seemed to be a standard historical romp with robot Nazi justice soldier I cringed even more. Then Hitler got put in a cupboard, Mels was revealed to be Melody (how did I not see that coming?), and the whole episode become beyond what I was looking for.
* Melody/River – I read somewhere that Russel T. Davies, who got the honor of casting River for her first appearance in the 4th season, originally wanted to cash in a favor to cast Kate Winslet in the part. I doubt the Oscar Winning Winslet would have ever returned had she been cast, and I wonder what the show would even look like now had that been the case. Alex Kingston was brilliant in this episode. It sort of reminded me of watching Buffy the Vampire after Angel lost his soul. We are forced to watch one of our favorite characters as evil, but unlike evil Angel, Melody/River has a certain innocence that comes with the sociopathic tenancies. Plus, she has the greatest line I think I’ve ever heard on Doctor Who “Well, I was on my way to this gay Gypsy bar mitzvah for the disabled when I suddenly thought, “Gosh, the Third Reich’s a bit rubbish. I think I’ll kill the Fuhrer.” Who’s with me?”
* TIED UP LIKE A BOW – We get to find out why River didn’t regenerate when she dies in the library. We get to see her first given the diary by the doctor. We get to (I think) see where she hears the Doctor’s name (if that is what he whispers to her as he is dying. We even get the first ever “Hello Sweetie!”
* CONFUSING EMOTIONS – So I am confused, sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way. I still want Rory and Amy to get their baby back. It’s really weird to see Rory and Amy doing so well after there baby was kidnapped so traumatically in AGMGTW, and I hope as we go back into standalone episodes next week that it isn’t just brushed under the rug. At the same time, do I really want them to find the baby? Because if they do then the River Song we know and love might never have existed, Mels wouldn’t have pushed Amy and Rory together, or given them the name to name herself. Again, it is confusing.
It took the Super Justice Robot Squad that long to check there instruments and find out they were in the wrong year? This seems pretty careless seeing as they had already spent a lot of time and resources killing a dude and assuming his identity. I guess I shouldn’t expect much of the group that thought it was a good idea to make a security system that would kill them if they forgot to wear their WWJD bracelets, but someone is paying a lot of dough for this. Transformers can’t be cheap. Otherwise, we’d all have our own Optimus Prime.
* You Accept and Know this to be true? So Silence will fall when the big, bold, first question will be asked. The question is said to be in plain sight. So our big question is what is that question? Moffat likes to mess with mistaken dialogue a lot. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that when Robot Amy confronts River/Melody by saying “You killed the Doctor by order of the Silence, the Academy of the Question. You accept and know this to be true?” That it actually meant “the Academy of the Question: You accept and know this to be true?” As in You accept and know this to be true is the question in question, and the “this” refers to all of life.
This was River’s episode, and after I knew that, I loved it. When the red car came darting through the corn field I expected River to come out. I was surprised when she didn’t, then surprised when I found out that she really did. We had a lot explained, and next week we get to some creepy stand alone romps, which honest-to-science I am kind of glad for. I have some plot fatigue.
Is it a dirty word? “Reality” show. I hate them. The manufactured, bullshit scripted dating, people in a house who stop being polite, singing contest shows. I hate the spoiled 20-something “Contestants” on them. My wife watches the worst of them, including the Real World and the Real World Road Rules Challenge shows, and I can’t even be in the room with her while she does. They make me sick.
I have discovered that while I hate those type of shows, I can’t get enough of shows about people doing their jobs. It started with Dirty Jobs, on which Mike Rowe is a delight to watch slog through the worst occupations on the planet. It grew from there.
Here I give you, my favorite “Reality” shows about people doing their jobs:
Parking Wars follows the parking enforcement officers of the cities of Philadelphia and Detroit as they ticket, tow, boot and impound the vehicles of law breaking citizens. The officers are amusing characters, I will watch Ponytail ticket in Detroit, and Garfield boot all over Philly any day. The best parts are, of course, the reactions of the ticketed, booted or impounded car owners. They flip the fuck out, trash their cars trying to escape, and just do not understand the laws of the cities they live in. It’s pretty awesome. Check it out on A&E. Full epsisodes are available on their website: http://www.aetv.com/parking-wars/
I just recently discovered this jem of a show, which follows the happenings at American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit, Michigan. Les Gold and his son and daughter run the shop, along with a colorful cast of characters. The family fights constantly, battling for each others’ respect. The best part, is of course, the ridiculous customers who come in trying to sell things, and get upset that they can’t get a thousand dollars for a piece of junk. they flip out even more than the Parking wars people. I guess it helps that the store is at 8 Mile and Greenfield roads, right on the edge of Detroit. This show is the only one of the three I have added a series recording of to my DVR, it’s great. watch it on Tru TV. They also have full episodes online: http://www.trutv.com/shows/hardcore-pawn/index.html
Mounted In Alaska
This is another recent discovery. After seeing it on The Soup, I have become an avid viewer of Mounted in Alaska. This show isn’t as crazy as the others I’ve mentioned, but it’s still a fun watch. The show follows the happenings at Knight’s Taxidermy in Anchorage, Alaska. The owner, Russ Knight and his staff of cantankerous taxidermists goof around and build some pretty neat things out of dead stuff. It’s a funny show to watch on a quiet evening. Check it out on the History Channel. This one only has one full episode available online currently: http://www.history.com/shows/mounted-in-alaska
This weeks part one of a two parter was a romp that hit a checklist of Sci-Fi clichés, took doctor who back toward its roots, and did what it most needed to do, occupy space while using very little of the budget (the cash gained from these two episodes’ limitations is what allowed our heroes to play around in Utah and what not). All that being said, its rather hard to judge the first episode of a two-parter, especially a more traditional one like this. It’s a bit like shutting the movie “12 Monkeys” off at the halfway point and saying, “Well, what do you think?” All that won’t stop me from trying though, so look below for my spoiler filled review.
“Yes spoilers are insane and they’re about to get ‘insanerer.”
*THE ‘GANGERS – The concept, albeit no where near a new one, was pretty cool and fairly well executed. The actors had a difficult job of playing themselves and their bizzaro clayface selfs, but they all did a good job. The effects (except for the snake one, and we’ll get to that later) were simple but freaky. Even though this was a more traditional Who episode, it definitely played well to the creepy of the new series.
* THE DOCTORGANGER – As much as the ending was telegraphed the length the Pretenders would walk away (500 miles, if you don’t get that joke) it was still pretty damn cool way to end the episode. I get to spend all week thinking about how this can be handled, or mishandled. What’s especially great about it is that it flipped everything on its head. The Doctor was all for the Gangers and the Normies to kiss and make up, but how will he feel about another Doctor calling the shots, or another Doctor that feels he has just as much right to the Tardis? This puts his own morals under fire, or rather, under acid, and it will be interesting and fun to watch next week.
* Why Can’t We All Just Get Along – It’s petty, but I’m growing kind of sick of the didactic “why does war have to happen” episodes when it all goes to hell because one psycho-lady can’t handle the concept of talking before filling the objects-that-are-supposed-to-represent-the-middle-east-or-some-such-nonsense full of lead. We get it. We humans; we stupid, we fight each other. I guess I’m only so mad because its so similar to last years hungry earth saga. Couldn’t we just watch Rory fake die again (please, no, Stephen Moffat, that was a joke).
The Snake-Ganger thing looked horrible. Find whoever made that CGI and sack him!
* GANGERS WON’T FEEL SO H.G. WELL – They spent a lot of needless time having the one normie sneeze a lot. I’m guessing in the end all the gangers will die from the common cold. I don’t want this to happen, again, it’s horribly cliché, but such is life. Clearly they have to have them all die in some sort of inevitable way anyways, otherwise the presence of the gangers (especially the one that looks like Matt Smith) presents to many problems.
Like I said, it’s hard to review part one, but thus far I’m along for the ride.
Bret Harrison is one of my favorite television actors. I first became aware of Bret when he briefly guest starred on That 70’s Show when Topher Grace left the show. His part was funny, sending up the typical replacement characters sitcoms had seen over the years. Unfortunately, all of the terrific shows he has starred in since then have been short-lived. In all 3 of the shows we have seen him star in, he has basically been the charming straight man to a cast of oddball characters, trying to make sense of a situation he was thrust into. Bret is easy to identify with in each role, and manages to be funny and charming, and the underdog we root for in each series.
The Loop – In this short-lived Series, Bret played Sam Sullivan, a young airline executive, struggling to fit in at work with his older co-workers, and to satisfy his boss. He also tried to fit in a social life with his friends, who were still living the care-free life of the typical early twenty-something. The show was hysterical and charming, typically finding Sam’s personal and professional lives at odds, and him struggling to make both work. TheLoop unfortunately ran for only two abbreviated seasons on FOX from 2006 to 2007, being cancelled before episodes of season 2 ever began airing.
Reaper – Lasting three seasons, reaper focused on Bret’s Character Sam Oliver, whose parents had sold his soul to the devil, resulting in his life of servitude to the Devil, expertly played by Ray Wise. Sam, along with his friends, was tasked with capturing souls escaped from hell and returning them through a drop-off in the DMV. The best part of the show was the interaction between Sam and his friends, Sock and Ben, played by Tyler Labine and Rick Gonzalez as they chased escaped souls while working at the Work Bench, a home improvement store that inexplicably carried every item they could ever need to aid them in their task. The series also built up a pretty impressive mythology in its short run, introducing the devil’s slick son, a demon girlfriend for Ben, and Sam’s dad turned into a zombie, living in a chest freezer in the garage. Reaper ran from 2007 to 2009 on the CW network, and was dropped after the third season ended on a cliffhanger, seeing Sam lose his girlfriend’s soul to the devil.
V – Bret played a scientist drafted into the human resistance by the series’ main characters. The role was small, and the show’s ratings were already low when he joined late in the second season.
Breaking In – A new show this season on FOX, Breaking In followed Bret’s character Cameron Price, a computer expert who is recruited by a security firm that specializes in breaking in to secure locations to test their existing security systems. In its brief run, the series sawCam pine over his beautiful co-worker Melanie, played by Odette Annable. The cast also included cash, a nerdy fanboy gadget expert, who was constantly dropping references to pop culture, including re-making the entire Star Wars trilogy starring him in every role. Christian Slater played Oz, the owner of Contra Security, the eccentric boss who was constantly manipulating the staff into doing whatever he needed. The show was full of funny and nerdy moments, including an office-wide Nerf gun fight that ends with Oz firing a very real arrow through the water cooler to break it up. Or cash having to face off against a Ninja Turtle at Comicon to retrieve a copy of Goonies 2, a movie they had been hired to protect. Apparently a victim of low ratings, the show only lasted a brief 7 episodes on FOX this season.
Three times now, (four if you count V) I have been burned by shows starring Bret Harrison, but I will keep tuning in whenever I see him in the cast of a new program. I hope the next one sticks, and America sees just how brilliant and funny a comedic actor Bret is.
I checked, all episodes of Reaper are available on Netflix instant watch, and the Loop is available on DVD from them as well. Do yourself a favor and check them both out.