Viewing posts tagged capaldi

Outside the Government: Co-Owner of a Lonely Heart/Brave-ish Heart

It’s November 5th, 2016. Little Mix are at number one with “Shout Out To My Ex.” James Arthur, Clean Bandit, Bruno Mars, and Drake also chart. Everything is fine. The Chicago Cubs have won the World Series for the first time in over a century. US Presidential election is in three days and Hillary Clinton is obviously going to win. Then, three days later, she doesn’t. Clean Bandit seizes the number one spot, Maroon 5 and Kendrick Lamar enter the top ten, and the other half of Class’s only two-part story airs

Let’s start with the basic structural oddity: a midseason two-parter in an eight episode season. This means that there’s never really a sense of momentum in the show. Its apparent initial pattern of being a monster-of-the-week show that picks a focus character each week is discarded. The subsequent structure of the next two episodes, in which the cast is split to do a bottle episode and an expensive episode that takes place at the same time, is too singular to establish a new pattern. This could be a compelling gambit of a show that has no pattern and is constantly surprising the viewer, but as ...

Outside the Government: Nightvisiting

It’s October 29th, 2016. Little Mix remain at number one. Actually, the second, third, fourth, and fifth songs on the chart do too. The news is altogether more volatile; Parliament approves the long-gestating Heathrow third runway project, which isn’t that big. In the US, meanwhile, the far-right militiamen who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier in the year are all acquitted and FBI Director James Comey makes a stunning intervention into the US Presidential race less than two weeks before election day as he announces the re-opening of the investigation into Hilary Clinton’s e-mails due to e-mails found on a device during the investigation of Anthony Weiner’s sexting of a fifteen year old girl while continuing not to disclose that Trump Campaign was also being investigated over its links to Russia. This has consequences.

On Internet streaming platforms, “Nightvisiting.” It is here the cracks begin to show for Class. It’s not that “Nightvisiting” is bad. Its ending is slightly misjudged (having Tanya’s effort fail so that Miss Quill can get a hero moment driving a bus into a tentacle mostly serves to ostentatiously deny the black girl an earned hero moment so the femme fatale white woman ...

Outside The Government: The Coach With The Dragon Tattoo

It’s about as long since the last post as it took anybody to select the next episode in the BBC Three menu system. I mean, unless it autoplays. I have no idea. Anyway, neither the music nor news have advanced much in that couple of seconds. 

This gap, or lack thereof, does not do “The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo” any favors. In the course of a double release it largely disappears as “the one that isn’t the premiere” in terms of how Class made its first impression. Actually, it mostly just disappears in general—more than half the audience didn’t even bother playing the second episode, with only 300,000 people tuning in on BBC Three and 600,000 on BBC One a few months later. But taken as originally presented, as a singular item with “For Tonight We Might Die,” this was always doomed to be the smaller one, establishing what the show did in its default setting as opposed to setting the mission statement for it. The unfortunate thing is that this is only half wrong. This isn’t setting the mission statement, but it’s also not the default setting; if it were, Class would be a ...

Outside The Government: For Tonight We Might Die

It’s October 22nd, 2016. Little Mix are at number one with “Shout Out to my Ex,” with James Arthur, the Weeknd, Sia, Ariana Grande, and Calvin Harris also charting. In news, most of 2016 has happened. The US Presidential election is in full swing, Theresa May is in 10 Downing street, Jeremy Corbyn has survived an attempt to replace him as head of the Labour Party, and UKIP is in its usual chaos. 

While on television… well, actually, let’s start there. Class is on television in a sense that we’ve never really dealt with before. It’s a BBC Three show. But unlike Torchwood, which premiered ten years earlier to the day, BBC Three in 2016 is an online only channel following a round of budget cuts that resulted in the shuttering of BBC Three as a broadcast channel. This move contained a wealth of decisions about priorities and privilege. For instance, BBC Four, the more adult-oriented channel with a heavy focus on arts and entertainment programs, remained in place. Instead what was axed was the channel focused on the 16-34 age group and on experimenting with new programs and new talent. 

As a hedge against the ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea: Blackstar

Almost as soon as Doctor Who abandoned its post the world went to hell in a handbasket.

The first visible sign that 2016 would be a cacophonous disaster came ten days in when David Bowie died. Like Doctor Who, Bowie served as a sort of mass culture Lamed Wufnik; an enduring figure that lasted over countless cultural shifts steadfastly defending his corner, ensuring that the strange and wondrous had some quarter in any landscape. For a long time the two moved in sync—scrapping their way to the center of the culture over the 60s, co-founding glam in the early 70s, becoming shambling and gaudy wrecks in the mid-80s, and finding new, if niche life in the paranoid back alleys of the cyberpunk 90s. Then they began a period of effectively taking turns. Bowie held down the fort in the late 90s and early 00s with a respectable dotage that would have served as a perfectly acceptable final act, albeit one with the unsettled and partial ending of a minor album and a final world tour cut short by a heart attack. Then, as he pulled his great disappearing act, Doctor Who roared back to life. Finally, in 2013, they reconverged ...

Outside the Government: The Abominable Bride

If you remained flummoxed/couldn't be bothered to look for it, Husbands of River Song is here.

It’s January 1st, 2016. The Justin Bieber/Adele block are back to occupying the top four spots, with Fleur East, Coldplay, and Mnek & Zara Larsson also charting. In news, Bill Cosby is arrested on sexual assault charges, while a bevy of storms and flooding hits the UK. 

While on television, The Abominable Bride. In some regards a Doctor Who blog is the worst context from which to look at this story, as it forces us to ask “was Under the Lake/Before the Flood worth this?” For a story that already suffers from taking the inflated expectations that Sherlock’s ninety minute structure saddles individual episodes with and adding being a one-off special to it. Really, any terms that are rooted in setting expectations for the story to live up to are going to set it up to fail. This is a bit of fluff that elevates itself unexpectedly in its final act—a bit of goofy filler that turns out to have teeth. 

In this regard, though unquestionably a minor work in the Moffat renaissance that runs from The ...

To Think of a Way to Save Her (The Name of the Doctor)

What do you mean it's not back until next Christmas?
Not the post you expected to see today? Think about how the River Song posts worked in the past and work it out. Or just wait for me to put the link on Twitter later in the day. Or heck, someone's probably put it in the comments by now.
 
It’s May 18th, 2013. Daft Punk and Pharrell are at number one with “Get Lucky,” with Pink, Will I am, Chris Malinchak, and Passenger also charting. In news, Angelina Jolie announces that she has had a double mastectomy, David Beckham announces his retirement, and, three days after this story airs, the House of Commons votes to allow same sex marriage in England and Wales. 
 
While on television, Doctor Who’s seventh season since its triumphant 2005 return concludes with The Name of the Doctor. As a season finale, of course, it is written by Steven Moffat. For the most part the format of a season finale has been consistent since the series returned; a narrative collapse storyline. But in other ways the format has changed dramatically. First and foremost, for two seasons running, due to the ...

Impossible Girl (Hell Bent)

For the second episode running, the Doctor struggles to eat soup.

It’s December 5th, 2015. Justin Bieber still has three songs in the top ten, with “Love Yourself” at number one. Wstrn, the Weeknd, and Grace featuring G-Eazy also chart, with Adele still in there too. In news, the United Nations Climate Change Conference convenes in Paris, beginning the process of the Paris accords. A terrorist attack in San Bernandino, California kills fourteen, while the UK begins air strikes in Syria following a parliamentary vote to authorize them.

On television, meanwhile, Moffat’s masterpiece. This is, I imagine, a rather more controversial claim than last week. Sure, Hell Bent had a 2% higher AI rating than Heaven Sent, which means that it’s objectively as good as Kill the Moon and Aliens of London, but I don’t actually think that joke needs a punchline. The consensus here is clear: Heaven Sent is a brilliant and emotional triumph, while Hell Bent is a hot mess. To an extent I can’t even argue with this. Hell Bent is unequivocally messy, and it has Jenna Coleman in that blue-grey sweater. But many of my favorite Doctor Who stories are messy. Heck, possibly all of ...

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