Saturday Waffling (August 2nd, 2014)
After a couple of people suggested it, I decided to try crowdfunding Season Eight reviews. So, if you are interested in a weekly column about Season Eight of Doctor Who as it airs, in which I will engage in almost certainly wrong speculation like any other punter and attempt to analyze television on the fly, I’m doing it as a Patreon campaign. It’ll run exactly twelve weeks, charging you a dollar every week if you back it. And if enough people back it, I’m throwing free ebooks at all backers, so it’s hopefully a pretty good deal.
I haven’t worked out the exact logistics yet, but expect that reviews will be posted in a manner that will allow for discussion, and that the Saturday Wafflings for the twelve weeks that Doctor Who is on will also be open threads about the episode, so people can discuss here or wherever. And I’m probably going to participate in both threads, so if you can’t or don’t want to pay $12, you’ll still probably hear my thoughts. Might get around to linking my Tumblr as well, where I’m sure I’ll end up discussing them.
I feel a little odd doing this one, to be honest. but equally, to be honest, I’m going to have one book out this year compared to four last year, and the Last War in Albion Kickstarter was half the Eruditorum one (not a surprise in the least, or a problem), and it’s always something with money, so while we’re by no means in any seriously bad situation, we could also use a kind of profitable thing, so, here it is. A thing people will hopefully enjoy in exchange for a small amount of money. You can back it here. Thanks very much if you do. I appreciate it.
Working on Williams-era essays. Being kind of obstinately lazy about it, mostly because it’s been an incredibly hectic few months and I’m enjoying a week or two of not having much to do. But it’s starting to itch at me, so I expect mad productivity will arrive again soon. So far I’ve got four done – Festival of Death, one on the nature of the Guardians, the “Now My Doctor,” and the commissioned essay – still got the Big Finish (probably Auntie Matter?) to do, as well as the Pop Between Realities on Target. Might end up throwing in some other 70s cop shows as well, although really, that essay exists to be a “the story thus far.” Might end up doing Target/Never Mind the Bollocks, Here Come the Sex Pistols. That would be a fun essay. And there’s one more thing that’s not quite a Time Can Be Rewritten, but will be very fun. Then it’ll be on to the extra material for the Logopolis book.
Since we’re on the subject of Season Eight, what are your thoughts on what’s been released so far? If you want to go so far as to discuss the Deep Breath leak or the script leaks, go ahead, but please no spoilers. For the rest of us… trailers? Publicity photos? The Doctor becoming Navi from Ocarina of Time?
August 2, 2014 @ 1:02 am
Already asked this on your Patreon page Phil but I'm throwing it out here to the Eruditorum at large.
Will you be watching at home on TV, at a friend's on TV as part of a welcoming the new Doctor Who celebration or on the big screen at a cinema on your own, with a partner or as a group?
Any thoughts on how the 'big event' nature (cinema screenings, advance teasers, leaks etc.) of millenial Doctor Who affects its position as pop cultural phenomenon.
August 2, 2014 @ 1:38 am
signed up, but then my bank phoned and cancelled my card due to fraud protection. I assured them that I was genuuine, but it was a bit odd.
August 2, 2014 @ 2:54 am
I'll be watching in all three environments, hopefully! And it will probably go like this: first, at my sister's house, watching with my parents and my nephews (while my sister and her husband go out, not being Doctor Who fans. I'll watch it again later that night, at my folks' house, but after they've gone to bed. And probably again in the morning, at which point I'll get a "mirror post" going on GB (this viewing will be oriented towards taking screen shots). On Monday night I'll see it at the movie theater back in Valparaiso with my best friend, to celebrate my birthday. And then probably once or twice more on my own TV at home later on in the week, after work.
I do watch every new episode three or four times the week it comes out, as I've found that these days there's usually so much jam-packed into them that I take three or four viewing to fully decompress them. At various points I'm watching just for the thrill, to studying the dialogue, to analyzing the visual compositions.
Yes, I'm a total dork.
August 2, 2014 @ 4:15 am
The Doctor becoming Navi from Ocarina of Time?
Hmm…that is an interesting proposition.
First I guess I'd better lay down what I perceive Navi's role as being. I'm not very sympathetic to the consensus view of her being little more than a perpetual irritant – the butt of thousand Internet jokes. If video games can be seen as tools for exploring a conceptual space, then the mid-nineties was an awkward period where developers were struggling to find a way to map an existing space into an additional dimension. We might take three dimensional gaming for granted now, but before Ocarina of Time very few had traversed this gap successfully.
Nintendo were acutely aware that the Player would need guidance. A navigator through the new conceptual space. This was the role Navi was designed for. To highlight important objects the Player may miss with their freed perspective. To remind the Player they had goals more complex than 'go to screen right'. To divulge the Achilles' Heel of every monster the Player encounters. And to facilitate their defeat – solving three-dimensional combat with the provision of Z-targeting (in the finale, the stakes are upped when Navi is separated from the Player Character and this cannot be utilised).
So what would a "Navi Doctor" be like? Well, he would become the cabbage on his companion's shoulder – an instrument of guidance, and of exposition, but not of action. And I can really see the appeal of such an approach. It would make such a refreshing change for a series which has been Doctor-led since…well…New Earth I suppose. And Jenna Coleman has proven herself to be more than capable of carrying a series.
But to see why this is an approach the series cannot commit to we only need to turn to what happens at the end of Ocarina of Time. Navi departs, and her time-travelling companion is cast adrift – his place in the world no longer what it used to be. He seeks her out in vain, only to become trapped in the routine of the ordinary and to meet with a terrible fate.
I would love to see a Clara-led series. I even suspect that is part of what we will be getting in Series 8. But Clara Who cannot survive. Whatever shift in character dynamics are made, in the end it is the Doctor that has to lead because it is him we have to follow. He can never become a navigator because his journey can never have an end.
…oh, wait. Hang on. That was just a joke about the 'Listen!' teaser wasn't it? Nevermind then.
August 2, 2014 @ 5:21 am
I watched the leak with a female friend* a couple of weeks ago (have nothing to say about an uncompleted episode, though), will be watching in the cinema at 10am with a bloke friend (a member of the group [4 dudes, 1-3 girls] that watched most of the first four years of Davies together, when Australia was still on a several-month delay – we'd watch 3-5 episodes in a batch together), and probably watching again that night with at least one of my (two, female) housemates.
Openers and finales in 2010-13 I usually had 3-9 people around; for The Eleventh Hour, two of these were under five, and their dad carefully led the eldest behind the sofa (on nods from the two of us who'd already watched that afternoon on laptops) before the scary bits.
Demographics included out of interest in Phil's early Smith-era posting.
*actually watched the first five minutes with housemate, just to see how incomplete it appeared to be, and was comfortable to leave it there; however when I txted pal to ask if she WOULD be THEORETICALLY interested in a b&w, watermarked, background-missing version, she txted back that she was putting her boots and coat on immediately.
August 2, 2014 @ 5:28 am
We might take three dimensional gaming for granted now, but before Ocarina of Time very few had traversed this gap successfully.
Possibly a US-centric view? The Amiga had a ton of popular and successful 3D games: the Freescape games, the Mercenary trilogy, Midwinter, Cybercon III, all off the top of my head. But since that computer was much more popular in Europe than America, they've now largely been forgotten.
But even if we stick to the N64 / PlayStation era, by late-98 3D games were hardly a novelty. Pretty much every successful PS game was a 3D one, as far as I can recall; Tomb Raider was two years old when Ocarina came out, FF VII over a year (well over, if you were Japanese). And Tomb Raider never felt the need to explain anything or guide the player (excluding the Lara's house sandbox). It's eerie how silent and lonely those cavernous levels are…
August 2, 2014 @ 6:41 am
@peeeeeeet – I think what I was going for there was "games with an established conceptual space gaining an additional dimension". That is, taking gameplay that worked in 2D and mapping it into 3D without corrupting it in some way. Though reading it back, that's not at all clear from what I wrote (I reached that point where making a third pass on a comment about a throwaway sentence on a casual blog post seemed like overdoing it :)).
The Amiga games you mentioned (which I haven't played myself) appear to be doing something different – drawing their concepts from an established 3D space. Final Fantasy VII is conceptually still a 2D game from what I recall. As for your point about Tomb Raider, note that the Zelda series skews to a younger and broader audience – making the 'accessibility' and 'approachability' of its first 3D foray of paramount importance (and, I'd argue, a critical factor in its success).
And I did say "very few", rather than "none". Though we can look back fondly at the cream of the crop now, there was an awful lot of missteps down that Z-axis.
August 2, 2014 @ 7:31 am
I think what I was going for there was "games with an established conceptual space gaining an additional dimension".
OK, yeah, fair enough. Certainly the attempt to bring Lemmings into the third dimension went down like a lead balloon IIRC (though I quite liked it, at the time)
August 2, 2014 @ 7:33 am
(oops. That was totes in the right place when I clicked send, honest guv)
August 2, 2014 @ 9:35 am
Are you going to be doing essays on the Big Finish Gareth Roberts adaptations when they come out?
August 2, 2014 @ 10:04 am
Oooh, while I remember – people's thoughts on the casting of the Damaged Goods adaptation? Yasmin Bannerman kicks ass, so I think she might do a great job. The Cwej dude I'm not that familiar with outside of Gridlock, but he seems like a good choice… not sure how well the story will translate to the medium, though.
August 2, 2014 @ 10:16 am
I couldn't see a way to pledge more than a dollar per. When I submitted my payment info it just gave me a button saying "pledge $1," and I clicked that and was done.
Pen Name Pending
August 2, 2014 @ 11:02 am
I know this is kind of off-topic, but does anyone here get DWM through iTunes? I was getting the print version but some warehouses closed down and my B&N hasn't had it for over a month, so I just bought the digital copies. I really like reading it on my phone, but the problem is that the pictures don't focus. Which is all fine and dandy until you get to the comic and can barely read it…anyone know of a way to remedy this? Though I'm not sure there is one…google searches aren't too helpful but they tell me I can't read them on my computer.
The other thing is I'm relatively new to this newstand app, and I know I might not be able to sync my purchases, but could I redownload old purchases from the Cloud if a get another phone in a few years? Each issue also takes up about 100MB on my phone and space could be an issue farther in the future, so is there a way to delete one but redownload later, maybe?
I'm not too great at understanding the iTunes thing yet. Maybe B&N will just find a supplier again.
August 2, 2014 @ 11:58 am
I will watch at home on the television. My typical watching pattern, to be perfectly honest, is to buy an iTunes Season Pass and then to torrent the episodes after UK transmission so I can watch them in the late afternoon/early evening, because it's annoying to have to shut down Twitter and Tumblr for several hours, and I figure that since I've already paid for the episodes, I can go ahead and get them early.
August 2, 2014 @ 11:59 am
That is very odd.
August 2, 2014 @ 12:00 pm
Matthew – Probably not. I'd have done them for the Williams book if they were out in time, but they won't be.
Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet – I'm very much "wait and hear" on that, but I have some hopes.
August 2, 2014 @ 12:00 pm
Huh. Not sure on that – I know some people have pledged more than a dollar per review, but I've never overpledged on a Patreon, so I don't know exactly how offhand.
August 2, 2014 @ 1:15 pm
Since this seems like as good a place as any to post off-topic, I just wanted to pop in and say once again, Dr. Sandifer and all the fabulous commenters here, how remarkable this blog is.
I read my first posts late in 2013 (I don't actually remember how I found it). After reading all the of the posts on the New Series episodes up to whatever was current at the time (Fires of Pompeii, if I remember correctly) I then went back and have steadily worked my way through the entire blog post by post (as well as keeping current with new posts as they were published).
Having now looped back around to the beginning of the New Series, I now plan to re-read the New Series episode posts as well as all the other in-between stuff that I may have inadvertently skipped before I knew what was good for me.
Having just re-read the "Rose" post for the second time, I just wanted to say that while it may not be the single best post on the site (though I think an argument can easily be made for that) it is certainly still my favorite, for the calm and entertaining way it takes us, shot by shot, scene by scene, through "crime" which Davies and team pulled off so perfectly. It's a monument to excellent criticism, and a worthy testament to the excellence of the show at its best.
I have also, of course, purchased and thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Eruditorum series, and plan on getting the rest as well.
Anyway, just wanted to find a forum to post my praise of this most excellent blog, and to encourage any new readers to do yourself a favor, and go back to the beginning. No matter where you've started or what your level of engagement is with the various eras of Doctor Who, watching it evolve through Dr. Sandifer's erudite lenses is such a treat.
All that to say – keep up the good work.
August 2, 2014 @ 1:50 pm
I would have watched at home but I really enjoyed the sense of community at the DotD 50th anniversary screening. People of all ages sharing their love and appreciation of Doctor Who, cosplaying etc. It was almost like a mini-convention. So I'll be watching it at the cinema, with friends, convening in a pub afterwards for dissection and discussion then probably watching it again when I get home on BBCiplayer.
August 2, 2014 @ 2:13 pm
I hadn't had a problem with comic blurriness, but I was using an iPad. You're right, it's painful on the phone (seems like all the photo content is blurry). That's weird. Hopefully a bug they'll fix.
You can definitely redownload stuff you own, and if you set up the app on a new device, you can restore purchases and get all your stuff back. It's all tied to the iTunes account you bought it with.
August 2, 2014 @ 10:49 pm
Did you have to enter your card details BersekRL? I entered in my name and email etc and hit the button, but they never seemed to ask for any payment details, which left me unsure whether or not I'd pledged.
Pen Name Pending
August 3, 2014 @ 7:32 am
Oh okay thanks! Is there a way to "delete" issues to save up room or would I just delete and redownload the app?
August 3, 2014 @ 2:48 pm
I was able to enter "2" in the text field.
August 4, 2014 @ 1:14 pm
Well I for one will gladly pay a couple of bucks to read your thoughts on the start of Capaldi's tenure as it happens.
August 5, 2014 @ 2:43 am
REALLY looking forward to this. 🙂
August 7, 2014 @ 9:50 pm
Just back from 3 weeks away working – gonna back this. Cheers!