Viewing posts tagged pop between realities

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 32.5: Star Cops

Iain Coleman offered me a guest post on Star Cops ever so slightly too late to make it in for the holiday run of them I did, so I held it for later. Since running one this week massages my schedule such that all the Children of Earth entries fall into the same writing week, here it is.

It is 6 July 1987. The Pet Shop Boys are at number one with “It’s a Sin”, having knocked The Firm’s “Star Trekkin’” off the top spot a week earlier. The European Community has passed the Single European Act, a key step towards the European Union as we know it today, and a court in Lyon has sentenced the city’s former Gestapo leader Klaus Barbie to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. And at 8:30 pm on BBC 2, the first episode of Star Cops is broadcast.

Star Cops was created by Chris Boucher, who wrote five of the nine broadcast episodes. By this time, Boucher was an old hand at TV SF, having written three well-received Doctor Who serials before moving to Blake’s 7, where he was script editor on all four seasons as well as ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 75 (Hamlet)

It’s a time-honored strategy. A skilled actor defined by one major role does some “challenging” work on a serious project to show that they’re flexible in anticipation of moving to a more serious and major level of their career. In the UK, the practice often involves a run in theater. For David Tennant, who had extensive theater experience anyway, it was the natural move - use the gap year opened in the production to do some high profile bit of theater.

Meanwhile, the Royal Shakespeare Company was in a position that could only be described as “in dire need of a hit.” The decision to terminate its relationship with the Barbican Centre in 2002 had left it with a vastly diminished presence in London, which, as it turned out, was not necessarily a great thing for a theater company, especially given that its Stratford-upon-Avon facilities were, at the same time, undergoing a lengthy renovation. The result was several years where the Company hemorrhaged money.

The two were natural partners, in other words. Tennant allowed them to have a high-profile production with a celebrity actor that would amount to a license to print money, and Tennant had a nice, high ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 78 (The Time Traveller's Wife)

Alison J Campbell’s piece on LOST was so well received, she was inspired to write something else. How could I possibly say no? Technically this one should go somewhere in the Moffat era, but I’m still on vacation, so think of it as a message from the future, a New Year’s present – for the moment.

Aviary Box by Joseph Cornell. Trust me on this.
The problem with time-travel stories isn’t in the contradictory nature of their construction -- neither in the apparent paradox of information that doesn’t seem to have a causal origination, nor in the notion that time can be rewritten. The main problem with time-travel stories is that they’re too often taken literally. Time travel stories are inherently metaphorical, because our most basic conceptions of time itself are ensconced in metaphor. Without the metaphor of Time as a Dimension of Space, wherein everything we know experientially about moving through the three dimensions gets applied to Time, we would never have the concept of time-travel, let alone time-travel stories. (We also conceive of Time as a Moving Object, particularly a River; and third as a Resource, something that can be apportioned and managed as ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 74: Merlin

Jack Graham, of Shabogan Grafitti, asked me a month or so ago if I'd seen Merlin. I said I hadn't, but it was on the list to cover before Season Two of Sarah Jane Adventures. He then proceeded to tell me how appalling it was, and I decided that I'd rather read him writing about Merlin than actually watch it. 

The Dragon, the Villain and the Closet

Whoah… where am I?  I was just rummaging around in the back of the wardrobe and suddenly here I am, surrounded by fractal paisley.  

Ah, I remember.  I was supposed to come to this land of hallucinogenic monochrome and talk about… get this… Merlin.  

Yes, Merlin, the extremely popular series – made by BBC Wales and Freemantle - which ran from 2008 to 2012.  I recently watched it all the way through, for reasons that defy rational explication.

Okay, first the background.  I’ll do this stuff in bullet points, so to speak, because it doesn’t really interest me.

BBC Wales.  Julie Gardner (among others).  Family show based on Arthurian legends.  Various attempts prior to this (one involving Chris Chibnall).  ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 41.5 (Mystery Science Theater 3000)

Seth Aaron Hershman, who is too awesome to fit in one blog, and so has two, fills in another major gap. Also, in case you missed it, I've put all of my books on sale through New Year's.

This is a guest post written by a rank amateur. Please turn down your expectations, where applicable. 

It's November 24rd, 1988. Robin Beck remains at number one with "First Time," a situation resolved two weeks later when Cliff Richard unseats her with "Mistletoe and Wine." Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Pet Shop Boys, Rick Astley, and Salt-N-Pepa also chart.

In real news, Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan. The number of HIV positive people in the UK is pegged by a government report at 50,000, and it's estimated that by 1992 as many as 17,000 people may die of the disease. Health Minister Edwina Currie causes a massive crash in egg sales through a carelessly worded claim about salmonella. The last shipbuilding facilities around Sunderland close. And Mystery Science Theater 3000 debuts.

The degree to which that last one qualifies as “real news” is at once unsurprising and completely and utterly baffling ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time For Tea 49.5: Farscape

Logan Locksley helps fill in a needed gap.

The year is 1996. It's a leap year. As usual for a year on Earth, all sorts of things are happening. Independence Day, Twister, and Mission: Impossible are among the highest grossing films of the year. Musical hits include Breakfast At Tiffany's by Deep Blue Something, Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai, and Amish Paradise by Weird Al Yankovic. In other news, a chess computer called Deep Blue defeats world champion Garry Kasparov for the first time, the Nintendo 64 console is released, and France performs the last atomic bomb test.

On May 27, the Doctor Who TV movie starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor airs in the UK. The film fails to result in a new American co-produced series for several reasons, but mostly because it isn't a very good movie. It kind of sucks, to be honest.

Hey there. I am, quite obviously, not Phil Sandifer. I'm not nearly as eloquent or erudite (am I using that word right? [Other than applying it to me, yes. - Phil]) as Mr. Sandifer, but I heard he was looking for someone to write a guest post and I jumped ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 73: Final Crisis

Andrew Hickey writes on Final Crisis. His book on fifty years of Doctor Who, Fifty Stories for Fifty Years, is available from AmazonAmazon UK, and, for print editions, Lulu. You'll also probably enjoy the interview he just did with me for Mindless Ones.

Narrative Collapse

“There was a cosmic war. And the powers of evil won. And I know how this sounds, but they’re here among us now. I was kinda hoping you might be able to help me put some kind of team together.”
Grant Morrison, at the time Final Crisis was being released, said (in a now-deleted blog post, so I can’t quote it directly) that Final Crisis was clearly tapping into the same zeitgeist as Doctor Who, because of the number of superficial similarities between his story and The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End. He may even have believed it. But Final Crisis rather conclusively missed the zeitgeist at least as far as its intended audience were concerned.

Both Final Crisis and The Stolen Earth were inspired by the comic-book tradition of the crossover, where you get characters from many different series, all of which ostensibly take place in the same fictional ...

Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Coffee (LOST)

“Artists should not be trusted. If an artist is not deceitful
every so often in the cause of his art, then he is a poor artist.”
-- Chaim Potok, My Name is Asher Lev

LOST was quite possibly one of the biggest shows to hit television in the last decade. More remarkable was the fact that it was ostensibly “cult television” and yet it still hit it big in the mainstream. It was never the highest rated show on television, but it was in the American top-20 for most of its six-year run, it was the most recorded TV show at the time, and it was also an international sensation. It garnered 55 Emmy nominations (the American equivalent of BAFTAs) winning 11; many critics once called one of the greatest shows ever made.

As far as this blog is concerned, we shouldn’t be surprised. Like Doctor Who, LOST provided a means by which disparate genres could be smashed together. Doctor Who has the TARDIS; LOST had The Island. A place for people who were metaphorically lost in their lives, it allowed all kinds of different stories to play out. One week The Fugitive would be running about helping people and ...

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