The Eaters of Light Review

The nearest precedents for a classic series writer returning to do a new series episode were probably the P.J. Hammond episodes of Torchwood. And indeed, those two episodes provide a handy map to the pros and cons. “Small Worlds” felt brave and refreshing, “From Out of the Rain” like a clumsy collection of random ideas that belonged to a different show. More to the point, they do this without actually being very different as scripts, which goes to show you that the comeback tour is on a knife’s edge in terms of whether it works or not. And while Hammond and Munro are very different writers, The Eaters of Light has similar problems to the Hammond scripts. Most notably, the characterizations are slightly off. Bill has unexpectedly caught Amy Pond’s already fairly idiosyncratic fascination with Roman Britain, only without the “invasion of the hot Italians” explanation. The Doctor, meanwhile, has rolled back two seasons and change of characterization, becoming more surly and uncharitable than he’s been in ages. (Note the two very Series 8 catchphrases - he’s “against” charm and back to calling human lifespans “hilarious.”) Both Hammond and Munro visibly come from a pre-”tone meeting” generation of writers ...

E3 2017: Nintendo

Strengthen your body. Staying in good health is the basis of everything

My first thoughts upon watching the opening to Nintendo's E3 2017 showcase were that their new demographic seems to be athletes. We opened on a montage of weightlifters, strength trainers, boxers and sportspeople all passionately getting ready for their next event. Much as, I would guess, Nintendo themselves do to prep for E3. But then there were those who seemed to not be training for anything in particular, just groups of friends hanging out at the beach or downtown. Maybe those athletes aren't all career players then. Maybe some of them just do what they do for the love of it.
This is a message that speaks to me.
There are many schools of faith for which total body fitness is a matter of spirituality, especially in east Asia. You take care of your body, mind and soul because all are emanations of the same sacred whole: Health and wellness of the body is the same as health and wellness of the spirit. This is an ideal to which all of us can work towards, and when we train to improve out bodies ...

Shabcast 34 - The Election, Corbyn, the Tories, the DUP, and Grenfell Tower

Shabcast 34 - download here.

The image across is by Steve Bell and was published in the Guardian.  I'll take it down if they ask.  But it seemed too brilliantly, horribly perfect to abjure.

This month I'm joined by Kit and James, to talk about the election we had last week (surprise surprise) in which Jeremy Corbyn defied his critics to resurrect the fortunes of Labour and pummel the Tories into a very uncomfortable corner.  We also talk about the horrific Grenfell Tower fire, just had just happened when we sat down to record.

Please share around, tell your friends, etc.  I think we're all proud of this one.

Credit where its due: this episode very much came about because Kit and James organised it, and James both edited the main body of the episode and supplied the wonderful title.  I'm not even in the episode for half an hour or so.


Eruditorum Presscast: Empress of Mars

Another week, another podcast. This time we've got Ian McDuffie, writer and artist of Feels and the force behind Violet Mice. And a Gatiss episode. One of those is worth getting excited about. The other is... fine. Find out which is which here.

E3 2017: Bethesda

E3 this year has been weird for me. At first I wasn't even going to watch it, resolving to put modern games behind me (except Samurai Warriors) for the foreseeable future, but then the Nintendo Switch started selling like Nintendo stuff does on eBay. So then I was just going to watch Bethesda and Nintendo, and wound up watching Ubisoft and Sony too, the former of which actually did some pretty cool stuff. And yet even so, as I write this, I'm not sure I could point to anything I've seen at this year's E3 that makes me terribly enthusiastic about upcoming releases for the next 18 moths or so, or makes me want to shell out the 300 big ones to get a Nintendo Switch just yet (and “XBOX One X”? Ha. Haha. Hahahahahahahahaha). We're not getting much in the way of reveals and announcements, more “here's a thing we announced last year. We're still making it. Here's what it looks like now and when it'll be out”.
But none of that, weirdly, actually matters, because, in giving us a more understated and intimate show, E3 this ...

Proverbs of Hell 12/39: Relevés

RELEVÉS: Properly “removes,” but best understood in the sense of a relief pitcher, with the idea being that the course replaces the previous one. In practice, it is the big set-piece course, and so functioning much the same way that “Rôti” did.

GEORGIA MADCHEN: They say what's wrong with you?

WILL GRAHAM: Just the fever. They're trying to find out what else.

GEORGIA MADCHEN: They won't find anything. They'll keep looking and keep giving you tests and keep giving you false diagnosis and bad medicine. But they won't find anything wrong. They'll just know you're wrong. (Pause) I hope you have good insurance.

One assumes the FBI has decent insurance, but it’s a delightful joke and, given how little time we actually get to spend with an on-the-mend Georgia, probably the key

The sense of being wrong, as opposed to having something wrong with you, is a deep-seated fear for Will. It’s worth recalling his description of the Chesapeake Ripper as “one of those pitiful things sometimes born in hospitals” that fails to die, a description that puts Hannibal in much the same place.

GEORGIA MADCHEN: They said I might remember what ...

Empress of Mars Review

In what seems likely to be his last script for the series, Mark Gatiss finally manages to get ruthlessly trad Doctor Who to work in the new series. Sure, we’ve had straight-up bases under siege and throwbacks, but most of those were at their root prettified versions - what people thinking back to the highlights of Doctor Who half-remember the series as being. But this is what the series actually was - a quaintly stagey morality play in a cave. More than, I think, any new series episode to date you could imagine this one with Jon Pertwee in it. Sure, the Victorian expedition would be down to about five people and you wouldn’t do the pop culture jokes, but this belongs to the series that made Colony in Space, The Mutants, and, yes, The Curse of Peladon in a way the new series simply hasn’t before.

It’s easy to make this sound like an unimpressive trick - and it’s not like the three stories I listed there make many people’s top ten lists. (Though I think they’re all underrated.) But, and I really want to stress that I’m not damning with faint praise here, one need only look at how long Mark ...

Hung Over

So, interesting times, huh. 

Actually, incredible times.

The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn fights the Tories to a hung parliament after years in the wilderness.  Go back in time and tell me that in early 2015 and I'd laugh in your face.  Not because I ever had anything but respect for Corbyn.  I've always considered him a man of seriousness, principle, and dedication.  And not becaue I think left-wing policies (or what passes for them these days) can't sway people, can't be popular, can't win elections.  They can, and do. 

(The truth is that, spread out across Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru - and taking into account the many people who vote LibDem for left-liberal reasons, and the many more people who abstain because they're too left-wing to feel represented by any party, even if they themselves don't necessarily understand themselves that way - the majority of the British public are to the left to some degree.  As Milton Friedman once bewailed, the public are irretrievably collectivist.)

No, I'd have laughed primarily because I would never have thought Corbyn would be able to get the nominations ...

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