Viewing posts tagged pop between realities

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

I’m not going to faff about pretending the justification for this involves Peter Harness’s chances of someday showrunning Doctor Who. I mean, I’d obviously love if that happened, but I don’t expect it (or think that we’re in a place to talk about who should succeed Chibnall yet anyway). No, the reason I’m picking this as our stopover reality between Last Christmas and the start of Series Nine is more idiosyncratic: having declared Harness’s debut the best Doctor Who story ever, I feel obliged to keep a bit of track of his work. 

Anyway, this provides an interesting counterpoint to The Game. Like that series, it is an attempted breakout series that didn’t quite work out. It was announced at about the same time as The Game, and went into production two months later. And like The Game, it lingered around not being released for a curiously long time. Its fate wasn’t quite ignominious—instead of getting pre-empted by BBC America and then demoted to BBC Two, it stayed on BBC One but got burned off over the summer—but it was still visibly allowed to fail. To some extent, the same reason applies for both series, which is that they ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time For Tea: The Game

It’s been a while since Toby Whithouse has entered our tale, and things have changed a lot since then. In the leadup to Twice Upon a Time Moffat joked that he’d had Whithouse write for every season, and the one time he didn’t he made him write two the next season. This is true, but obscures the fact that Whithouse contributed to the first half of the split Series Seven such that there were three full years between A Town Called Mercy and his next contribution. When A Town Called Mercy aired he still seemed like one of the most likely heirs apparent. There remain rumors that in the fuss about Moffat’s slower pace of production than Davies Whithouse had been offered the opportunity of stepping in as some sort of co-showrunner or to helm a single season, which he supposedly declined as the obviously poisoned chalice it was. And my past treatment of his work, going back to covering No Angels as a Pop Between Realities prior to School Reunion, has been rooted in the assumption that he’d probably get the job. Obviously that’s not what happened, though. 

So what’s Whithouse been doing for two years? Well, that’s ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Lego Movie, It Follows

By rights, Moffat should have left. Sure, he’d done a season less than Davies, but it was clearly time. Each of his three seasons had been a step down from the one before, with Series Seven being an openly miserable experience. The Day of the Doctor and Matt Smith’s departure provided an occasion where he could leave on a high. His style had become exceedingly recognizable and recognized, which is the phase right before utter stagnation. It was time to go, and if he didn’t he risked—indeed, given the tenacity of his critics, essentially ensured—that there would be accusations that he stayed too long. But, of course, he didn’t. He retrenched, got a new star and executive producer, and went back to try again. This is the story of how that went, and of what may be Doctor Who’s most unexpected golden age.

But to understand that unexpectedness we must first understand the landscape that Doctor Who was returning into. Because the problem wasn’t just that Moffat’s tenure looked long in the tooth on its own merits. It was that outside Doctor Who’s window, the world was catching up. In one sense this was not a surprise. Doctor Who was ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea Final (Game of Thrones)

Well, something had to knock Doctor Who off its Hugo perch. And after competing in long form for its first season, Game of Thrones seems to have cemented itself as the Hugo frontrunner with back-to-back victories over Doctor Who in 2012 and 2013. 2012 was perhaps understandable: It wasn’t an extraordinary year for Doctor Who, and Game of Thrones did have “Blackwater,” which was a stunningly good Peter Dinklage vehicle of an episode. Even in 2013, you can possibly criticize the strategy of having Doctor Who go in with Day of the Doctor, Name of the Doctor, An Adventure in Time and Space, and The Five-ish Doctors as possibly weaker than the strategy of just chucking “The Rains of Castamere” up.

But “The Rains of Castamere” is also an episode worth looking at because it gets at the way in which much of the talk about what makes Game of Thrones good is desperately silly. Because essentially all “The Rains of Castamere” has to recommend it is that it has a lot of really shocking character deaths in it. This is, to be fair, part of the show’s brand. Its first big, iconic cultural moment was the killing ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 84 (Call the Midwife, Supernatural)

Jill Buratto is a nurse specializing in end of life issues, a general badass, and my wife.
In case you missed the boom, Call the Midwife is a BBC period drama about a group of midwives servicing London’s East End in the 1950s, originally based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth. It is the newest big show to hit UK television with ratings roughly matching those of Sherlock and Downton Abbey and surpassing Doctor Who itself. Call the Midwife was also featured in 2013’s Comedy Relief sketch (partnering with Doctor Who in this endeavor) and has Paul McGann’s brother, Stephen McGann as a prominent character in their series. UK TV ends up being a bit incestuous. 

Medical shows are a hard sell to those who work in the medical field. Much in the same way those in the tech field often cannot help but point out the inconsistencies and illogical moments when tech appears in TV or cinema, those of us in the medical field see the problems others can safely ignore. Even “reality” medical shows fall afoul of this issue, I remember yelling at a Mystery Diagnosis episode that “there is dumbing the facts down ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 83 (The 2012 Olympics)

"One measures a circle starting anywhere." - Charles Fort, quoted by Alan Moore in From Hell

Before we begin, a touch of housekeeping. The Williams book should be out within the week. I think it has something that will make a fair number of you excited in amidst the extra essays. Also, if you're in the Cleveland area, I'm giving a pair of talks this week at the Lakewood Public Library. On Wednesday, at 7pm, I'm talking about Wonder Woman, doing "a comic for more or less every decade," and then on Thursday at 7pm I'm doing one on Doctor Who that will be "a brief history of overthrowing the government." Both talks are free, there will be books for sale and I'll be signing, and it'll be a good time, so if you're local, please do come out. Now, on to the Olympics.

I think this will be the last time we do a Pop Between Realities that’s about a cultural event as opposed to another television series. Those have been sporadic features, and from time to time I’ve cheated - I did the Three Day Week of 1973 in the ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 82 (The Fades)

After the Moffat/Willis/Wenger team broke up, Moffat was paired with Caroline Skinner as his new co-executive producer. As we've already discussed, this was seemingly not a creative partnership that ended happily. Nevertheless, Caroline Skinner occupied a position on Doctor Who that was nominally as Moffat's equal opposite number, and though her tenure is brief, it must surely be considered as important as, say, the departure of a script editor or a producer during the classic series. To wit, Caroline Skinner was, upon taking the Doctor Who job, most recently coming off of a BBC Three series called The Fades. This, then, provides us with one of our occasional opportunities to see what the BBC thinks Doctor Who’s nearest equivalent shows are. This is, apparently, how you get the top job at Doctor Who: make The Fades first.

In their defense, it was a well regarded show. It got lovely reviews, and a BAFTA. It has a fine pedigree, and there are no reasonable grounds to complain about Caroline Skinner’s appointment based on it. There’s a few very reviewish paragraphs following this one, and they’re going to point out strengths and weaknesses, and ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 81 (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)

Jen writes My Little Po-Mo, the TARDIS Eruditorum of ponies.

In this scene, Clara is cleverly disguised as a pony named Rose.
Consider a fandom. A curious beast, an amorphous, shifting mass of people wrapped around a core of fiction. Despite the variation in cores and size, fandoms all look basically the same. The swarm of flesh devours the core over and over again, yet the core is unharmed. The beast excretes its assumptions and predictions by consensus, layering it around the core like an invert pearl, fanon-grit encrusting a glittering center. Fanficcers and shippers and “expanded universe” authors build their own structures, grit and crystal in varying amounts, arcing off the core. Sometimes these extend all the way out of the beast, where they draw in their own squishy masses of fan; sometimes, rarely, they break off, forming the cores of new beasts, drawing their own paradoxical factions of fans. That is how the beast reproduces; mostly, though, it just grows, feeding on the source work, drawing new fans into itself with reviews and memes and recommendations by slightly pushy friends.
But then the beast gets old, and something strange happens: the core cracks. Grit gets inside the ...

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