Monday, August 9, 2010


This is what I have the privileged of seeing in front of my house every day at around 10 AM. I get the feeling that this is one of the few times a day when this guy isn't surrounded by screaming fans.

Invisible Beer can.
The rattling of his lungs reminds him that sweet, restful death can't be far off.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bable Fish just raises more questions

On a hunch, I ran my blog through Bable Fish translator set to Japanese to English. This is what I got in response to my Walkig Dead vs. Crossed column


Liu 淑 芬 said…

每 One grain calamity luck seed, 卻 package 孕 work not yet 來 豐 prosperous fruit 實 ......................................................................

It is good Tsubame said…

你 True 很 stick ~ thanking/apologizing thanking/apologizing amount 享 囉 ~ ......................................................................

Iku rainy Iku rain said…

Fixed main point retention most it is good 狀 circumstances 呦, the adding oil!!! Expectation 你 發 chart new composition! .................................................................

AlphonseH_Va Satoru maintaining said…

Happy non- right altogether, human 還 possession responsibility. ............................................................

Kei Shigeru Kei Shigeru said…

Success yes invitation pulling friend and 挫 defeat/miss yes thought 驗 friend ............................................................

Good 皓 it is good 皓 said…

與 其 period 盼 another person 疼 你, non- 如 self 疼 oneself. ..................................................

Trust greatly trust it is great said…

The adding oil - non- theory how capital support 你 ............................................................

Heaven flower heaven flower said…

I love readding and thanks for your artical ...................................................................

楊 ceremony 卉 said…

Friend right all over mirror child ............................................................

campbellaguilar forest will divination said…

Failure is the mother of success ...................................................

King Japanese plum 秀 樺 姵 you said…

來 watching watching 你 逛 逛 blog 囉, adding oil! ............................................................

Forest 聿 rare forest 聿 rare forest 聿 rare said…

Human impossible image animal one 樣 life work, 而 應 said pursuit knowledge Kazumi 德 ............................................................


This is what responses look like to me

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I can never read any of the comments that this blog gets. They always come up as unreadable. Is everyone who responds writing from Asian and Cyrillic speaking countries? Sorry if anyone feels ignored.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

3D Hand Street Art

Urban Kintting

Kitten Cave


Follow Your Heart AT-AT

Mother Dinosaur

Shopping Cart's World

Boarder Crossing Triptych

Rogues Gallery

Let's Go Phillies!

Awesomest Light Switch


Fiberglass Chimp

He's got to be here somewhere...

Obama T Shirt

Pimps in the Pulpit

Banana Sticker

Andrew Dyer Sighing

Super Rare ROTF Figure

Found in a bin at Superfresh.

Excessive Exposition Laundromat

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Crossesd vs. The Walking Dead

Thanks to a visit to the recent Wizard-sponsored Comic Con here in Philadelphia, I was able to get myself caught up on WALKING DEAD trades. I'm now only six issues behind the stands and as enthralled as I was after picking up the first issue. The overall strength of this series has caused my mind to wander back to another of the post-apocalyptic outbreak comics that seem to be littering the shelves these days, Garth Ennis' CROSSED. Normally I'm all for a new Ennis series. The sheer number of them makes it hard to keep up, but I'm getting to them in turn. I first picked up CROSSED last year shortly before the '09 Philly comic book convention. As luck would have it Garth Ennis was a featured speaker. I attended his panel and made sure to sit up front as to better my chances of getting to ask a question. I believe that it started with something along the lines of "Your books have been getting a little rapey lately. Would you care to comment on that?" He more or less shrugged off the question as smart alicy comic book writers tend to do, and moved on. I was not reassured. CROSSED, for anyone not familiar with it, is Ennis' contribution to the zombie book genre. His big innovation with the book is that the zombies are non-dead, plague victims who retain all of their human intelligence and use it to torture and rape their victims. Mostly rape, though. "Rape Zombies" was how I summed it up for friends. Well, that is scary. No doubt about that. The question is, where does it go after that? The short answer is not far. For nine issues and an "issue 0" prologue book, more or less nothing happens except for the most unimaginable horrors and flash backs to yet more horrors book-ended with lame, phoned in dialogue and contrived situations that make EC's old horror line like look downright sane.
Garth Ennis books have always been shockingly violent. Even amongst the other writers on JUDGE DREAD, he stood out. His run on HELLBLAZER excised the Neal Gaimeny purple prose and gave the book a real-world (I refuse to say "gritty") feeling that drove the mystical and earthly horrors home is a genuinely affecting way. These same techniques would later serve to make PREACHER one of the biggest game changers in comics since Frank Miller's first, good DARK KNIGHT miniseries. The books that would become the VERTIGO line had been pushing boundaries and exploiting religious subjects for visceral impact for years, but it's that tone that Ennis struck that changed things. That swaggering, "it's ok for out hero to be cool and competent again" vibe mixed with lots of swearing and crazy violence. Lots of guys are still trying to write the new Wolverine, but the better read ones want to write the new Jessie Custer. The Da Vinci Code? Old news to Preacher fans. Our version was way funnier too.
In spite of their superficial qualities, the real uniting factor of all of these books was not their violence, but their story telling. John Constantine really outsmarts the Devil, more than once. In PREACHER we see the story of a full-fledged world dominating organization and a man trying to hunt down God whittled down to two men standing nose to nose, and it all makes sense! The plain fact is, when all of the window dressing is torn away, it's story telling that makes it work. That's my problem with Garth Ennis' current work. There are still books he cares about. His War Story titles are outstanding, but I can't honestly say the same for much else that he's done in the last five years. 303 is strong, but undeveloped, no matter how satisfying. I've still yet to get around to WORMWOOD, but I read the first issue and I haven't been back since. It all follows the same pattern for me. When Marvel needs to make budget, they crank out more books with Wolverine on the cover. When Garth needs to pay the bills, he writes something grotesque.
In each hand I hold book in which people are constantly dying in gruesome and horrifying ways. In both books the human race in on the brink, and the main characters are forced to do things to survive that test their limits and cost them bits of their souls. One of these books is THE WALKING DEAD. In this book the characters feel real. The situations feel natural, and the horrors have a real impact because the world that has been drawn, both literally and figuratively, feels as real and solid as the one out of my window. The other book is CROSSED, and I would not even recommend it to people who crave the unconscionably violent and obscene because real life images of such things are readily available for free online to those who know where to look.

As an afterward, I would like to point out that I've obviously done more here to pique interest in CROSSED than I have to dissuade it's reading. To paraphrase Sideshow Bob, I'm well aware of the irony and I can accept it. I'm also aware that pushing limits is the point of things like CROSSED. Putting aside my moral objections to using extreme subject matter to sell comics, there must be the writing to back it up. I don't think that a writers get to wave rape around like a kid who found his parent's gun unless they are prepared to say something worthwhile. Otherwise it's like using the Holocaust to sell spare tires. Crude and juvenile.
Even in bad taste, there's an art, and few understand that art like John Waters. His films are the best kind of exploitation. They're filled with horrible acts by worse people but also humor and joy and some fine film making! The ones being exploited are those on the screen, and even then not really because they were all in on the joke. (With the possible exception of Edith Massey.) The exploited were never the ones who paid to be in the theater. (With the possible exception of those who went to see A DIRTY SHAME.) It also bears mentioning that comparing a miniseries with an ongoing title is unfair on it's face, but quality is quality. In the 80s, it only took four or twelve issues to change the industry. How many books can you name that haven't even come close after hundreds?

Survival of the Dead

I had the good luck to attend a theatrical screening of Survival of the Dead. This is the fifth Romero zombie flick after Night, Dawn, Day, Land and Diary. While it's not the best of the series, it represents a serious improvement after the disappointment that what was Diary of the Dead. As a loose rule all of Romero's Zombie films stand alone from each other. Dawn and Day go together quite nicely, but could just as easily be in totally different worlds, and the years between Night and Dawn are more than obvious. Survival, on the other hand is a direct sequel to Diary of the Dead. It follows a group of National Guardsmen who robbed the insufferable college kids from Diary. For those who didn't see it, and those of us who don't care to remember, we are treated to a narrated flashback. The military never does very well in these movies. Sometimes they're just incompetent. Sometimes they're crazy. Invariably they're eaten. The reason that this group stands a chance seems to be because they have gone AWOL and as such are no longer tools of the establishment (as viewed from the perspective of hippy politics that still pervade the series). The fact that they're still robbing anyone who crosses their path is framed with surprising ambivalence by the typically moralizing director, and the moral high ground that they cop towards other traveling brigands is an irony that is left unexplored. Anyone following these movies is apt to detect certain patterns. The strong black lead whom the white people don't listen to is a big recurring element for George Romero. At some point in every film, that guy is the voice of the director. He's the voice of reason in the first two films. By Day of the Dead, he's telling the characters who will listen that they shouldn't try to control everything and enjoy the days that they have left. By the time that Land of the Dead rolled around this character had morphed into Big Daddy, the zombie general leading what could only be characterized as peoples' revolt against their human oppressors. Romero had clearly switched sides. Tellingly, Diary of the Dead had no black main characters at all. Along with melanin, all good sense and likability had also been drained from the cast. Our snow white protagonists did run into an all black group of survivors who were doing pretty well for themselves, that is until out heroes came along.
Survival of the dead has no black people at all. The only non-white person on display is an indistinctly Hispanic character sporting a cringe-inducing accent. George has always tried to add variety to his casting, but sometimes the result is a bit strange at it's best and at worst, downright George Lucas-like. When this Latin lothario makes the slimiest sexual advances imaginable, he sounds like a pornographic parody of Speedy Gonzalez stealing Pepe LaPew's act. Those familiar with Romero's politics will probably shrug this off as a miscalculation, but I wouldn't hold it against anyone who didn't.
The set up is that our small group of National Guard deserters have set off to survive on their own and end up on an island off of the coast of Delaware that is inhabited by a warring clans of Irish farmers. Since the movie has already featured thick Southern Accents in what we are told is Philadelphia (!), I suppose Irish brogues off of Delaware aren't the strangest thing going on here. Nonetheless, this is only one of the elements leading to this being hands down the weirdest of Romero's zombie movies to date.
The clan rivalry largely stems from one group wanting to kill the zombies, embarrassingly called "Dead Heads" by some characters, and the other who want to domesticate them. The level of zombie intelligence has been a major question in these movies since Day of the Dead, when Bub the zombie learned how to say "hello to (his) Aunt Alicia", and here they are seen chained up trying to till fields and deliver mail. The suggestion seems to be that they are less mindless monsters than aggressive proto-humans. This is all explored in a rather limited way by the rather limited characters. The rest of the time is taken up with wacky zombie kills, dodgy CGI and outright Loony Tunes physics. (A hand grenade makes a wall vanish revealing surprised, soot faced characters. A flare gun makes a zombie's head burst into flame from which a cigarette is lit. The skullcap of a blown off head drops neatly back onto a now vacant neck hole.)
All in all, Survival of the Dead has more going for it than against it. It's a good time, if not a scary or compelling one, and worlds better than the previous entry. For a director who has been making movies for roughly forty years, George A. Romero's work is surprisingly lively and fresh feeling. These last two movies, while inferior to earlier ones don't feel at all like the later work of an aging director. The mistakes seem more like those of a novice- someone who is so excited about his subject matter that errors come more from enthusiastic speed than waning talent or lack of ideas. Weather this is due to the director himself, or those with whom he has surrounded himself, it's refreshing and gives every indication of only getting better.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lego Machete!

Lego Machete!

MACHETE controversy? I call Troublemaker Studios to straighten this all out.

The story thus far:
A few years ago Robert Rodriguez did a fake trailer for a fictional Mexploitation film called MACHETE. This fake trailer proved to be so popular that a real MACHETE movie was given the green light and will be coming out later this year. In the meantime, the director couldn't resist making a second fake trailer for the now-real movie to tweak the public over the real-life Arizona immigration law controversy. The second fake trailer, beginning with the title character growling at the camera that this is "a special Cinco De Mayo message FOR ARIZONA!", mixed elements of the real movie and the original fake trailer to create something that was clearly meant to be taken as pure farce. Of course, like anything intended for grown-ups, it's been misinterpreted.
And now the continuation:
The new gag trailer for MACHETE released by Troublemaker Studios on Cinco De Mayo has stirred up a lot of heat with the right-wing conspiracy theorists on YouTube. It seems that they don't find the obviously satirical race-baiting premise of the admittedly fake trailer at all amusing and are predicting the end of (North) Western civilization via race war upon the film's September 3rd release date. Colorful character Alex Jones posted himself doing a dramatic reading of script excerpts (Without spoiler warnings. Bad form Alex!) on his Youtube channel along with the mailing address and phone number of Troublemaker Studios where he encouraged true believers to register their outrage.
I called Troublemaker Studios to find out how many had, in fact, called to complain. The gentleman who answered the phone didn't know of any offhand but thought about it for a moment and offered a non-committal "Maybe one?" He asked me about the blogger who was calling for action. When I told him about Mr. Jones, he chuckled and said "oh yeah, that guy." Just for the heck of it, I asked him how high up I could get at the studio to tell everyone there that I thought that they were doing a good job. He told me "not very far", clearly implying that I was already there. With that I asked him to relay the message, thanked him again and hung up.
To finally clear everything up, here's a link to an interview that Rodriguez just did for

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Census Worker's Day

I'm currently working as a US "Census Enumerator", so basically I have to go to the houses of people who for whatever reason haven't filled out their census forms. Typically this is because they just don't look at their mail, don't read English very well or are a little paranoid. I haven't had any real trouble yet in the two weeks that I've been walking the beat, until today.
I needed to fill out forms for three apartments in this one building with no doorbells. I'm learning that there's something of an epidemic of multi-family dwellings in South Philadelphia with no doorbells. I've got to work almost the entire block, so I'm hanging around and by pure chance I spot a girl coming out of the building. I ask her very nicely if she lives there, and I get the snub. She finally acknowledges me when I repeat my credentials and show her my ID card. She just says "no" and zips off. I still have tons of forms to complete on this block, so I'm still there a few days later and I see her again. She still won't even admit that she lives there, but now she tells me that she won't answer because she "doesn't believe in the census". Now I'm not the do-gooder sort. I'm not here collecting pennies for orphans here or trying to sell tickets to the Policeman's Ball. I'm certainly not asking for letters to Santa, or anything else that might actually involve some sort of belief structure. I'm working at the best job that I can get right now, and as a big bonus, I can take pride in the fact that it actually does matter and help my community. She won't hear any of that. She tells me that it isn't in the constitution and she doesn't believe in it. This is an annoying and ignorant point of view, but I can live with that. I ask her, still very politely, if she could tell me her unit number, so I can at least put her down as a "refusal" and pass on her paperwork. "NO!" she laughs over her shoulder as she darts off on her bike. That makes me feel great. I have no idea which unit she was in so I still have three Questionnaires that I'll never get rid of.
About ten minutes later, as I'm stuffing a "Sorry I missed you" form into another door, I see a twenty-something guy come out of the same building. I dart over and see that he's heavily tattooed on his upper arms, has his left wrist encased in a cast and is walking a big pit bull. Again with all due respect, I ask him if he lives there, and in return he allows his dog to lunge at me before yanking it back. I keep my cool and keep talking as he throws me a look that might be a little to harsh for what his mutt was leaving on the sidewalk. I explain myself, and the young man mutters "Census, does that shit really matter?"
"Only if you care about Democracy, sir." I'm a little taken aback by just how Civics class that sounds coming out of my mouth, but I honestly can't think of a better answer. Hell, I like Democracy. Blank, angry stare. This one won't tell me his unit number either. Back inside he goes. "Nice to know the dog is getting enough exercise", I think.
Years of retail have taught me to report problem customers right away to a supervisor, so I crossed the street to the shade of a nearby grade school and did just that. I told my little story and added the information that I would be filling out the "Unsafe to Enumerate" form and not going back. Just as I was wrapping up, who should come back out of his building but Broken Wrist McNastyface shouting like a nutcase into his cell phone. Apparently, my visit was so out of line that he just had to get on the phone right away to express his moral outrage to his bestest best friend. As he catches site of me across the street, I hear him clearly say in his conversational scream, "That asshole's still out here!"
I wave. "No chance I could get that unit number then? One? Two? Three?"
"You're wasting your breath man! You're wasting your breath!"
Obviously, I'm not. I gave an unstable lunatic the greatest gift of all- a totally irrational thing to become completely enraged over.
Did I mention that I'm working right in my own neighborhood?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Photos have leaked from early shooting locations for TRANSFORMERS 3 featuring an AUTOBOTS GO HOME stencil. This will no doubt be heavily featured in a viral campaign for the movie as it approaches release. For your consideration and entertainment, I would like to present to you this "BAY GO HOME" stencil.

Larger files are available upon request.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tuba at 2

In the world, there are the light sleepers and the heavy sleepers. Should Amanda and I ever have children, they will have a fifty fifty chance of being able to sleep through a bus accident. My father is a heavy sleeper. My mother has timed him at being able to drop off into a coma like state in six seconds flat, and he is able to sleep through just about anything until a predetermined time of his choosing. Unfortunately, I take after my mother. Going to sleep is a chore. It takes at least twenty frustrating minutes of adjusting, positioning and mental games of trying to distract myself from just how frustrated I am at how I can't seem to properly distract myself. Once I am asleep, I am often roused by the creaking of the house, the cat climbing or running down the stairs or the sounds made by large, passing insects or rolling bits of litter. My condition was always manageable, but the new responsibility of home ownership in an urban setting has aggravated my light sleeping into a genuinely chronic condition. If I slept with a gun on my night stand, there would be holes in every surface that faces the bed.
There was a time when mine were the favored genes. We could protect our village from encroaching bears or lions. We could spring into action if sneak thieves from less advanced tribes were raiding our stores of wheat or mutton by cover of darkness. Now we just stare out the bedroom door at night trying to determine if the sounds we are hearing are really the foot steps of burglars or deranged homeless men who has found a way to circumvent the brand name security alarm that we pay good money for every month to keep it on and monitored from a remote location. As we finally go to sleep we wonder about the sounds that we can't hear. Should we have hidden the kitchen knives so we aren't awakened by our throats being cut by these crazy, homeless, cat burglars who can materialize through solid walls, silently scale our creaky stairs and sneak in through locked windows?
I recently had occasion to inform Amanda that I was awakened by a Morning Zoo program blasting from some fat slob's car radio just below our window. And when I say car radio I mean minivan radio, and when I say fat slob it is only because he was so bulbous and grotesque that it seemed to be less a vehicle for him and more the only economical device for conveying his immovable bulk from place to place. It was only when the "poppa ooo mao mao" was replaced with Frank Sinatra with full brass behind him at twice the volume, exactly one hour before the alarm was due to go off, that I had my robe and slippers on and I was out the door. Amanda later asked me the exact question that I asked myself right before I told her: if I would have been so bold had the car had been blasting, let's say, Ghost Face Killa? Probably not, but I honestly couldn't tell you. I went up the economy class blubber transporter and informed its driver that he was making it very hard to sleep. He expressed the expected surprise at how anyone wouldn't want to hear Frank at jet engine decibel level at the crack of dawn.
"I love Frank, and I love coffee!" This is what he said to me.
"I like him too" I lie, "But I like sleeping more."
Jumbo turns it down, and I throw a wave over my shoulder as I walk back to my house as the understanding that I am now the sort of person who leaves his house in a robe and slippers to bitch someone out crystallizes in my mind. I'm a little too pleased with myself as I go back to sleep. When I wake up about forty five minutes later, I decide to hold off on telling Amanda what I've been doing while she slept. I do ask her if she was awakened by the John DeBella show in the wee hours. She was not. I start to feel slightly embarrassed.
I was a bit too pleased with myself at how I had handled the situation, and I am paying for it right now. The Mexicans next door have been blasting mariachi music for hours. It's now 1:47 AM. They live on the second floor above a convenience store and don't have a door bell. Let me share a little secret- the Philadelphia Police Department doesn't actually respond to noise complaints and even less so on Friday nights.
A few moments ago, a friend of mine drunk dialed me from a party and she got cut off which mend a follow up call could happen at any moment. I'm typing this at the computer now because it's on the other side of the house from the bedroom, which is vibrating with the sort of music that I normally associate with riding on a carousel. The bed is vibrating in an insidiously subtle way to the farty bass of a tuba. The phone did wake up Amanda, but she seems to have dropped back off.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'll show you what one screwball can do!

I wrote a letter! Not an email, mind you. A letter. With a stamp and everything. To whom did I write this letter, you may ask? To one Brian L. Roberts, CEO of Comcast, new owner of NBC, to complain about the shitty treatment of one Conan O'Brien. While I was strongly pulled in the direction of including the phrase "Fuck Jay Leno in the ass with a rake!" I did not. I actually think I was very grown up about it. I even used proper Business Letter format as I learned in 5th grade. See for yourself. (I have omitted my personal information from the head and signature of the letter for obvious reasons. (yeah I'm talking to you creepy!)

Brian L. Roberts - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
One Comcast Center
1701 JFK Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Dear sir,
The way that NBC is treating Conan O'Brien is disgraceful. I enjoy Conan's humor, and I was excited when he was given the Tonight Show. I believe that when I heard the news, my exact remarks were something along the lines of "Wow, maybe I'll actually watch the Tonight Show for the first time ever".
Everyone that I know who like Conan O'Brien is thirty five or under. If I knew anyone who liked Jay Leno, I imagine that they would be much, much older.
Please do not let Jeff Zucker take Conan's time slot away and give it to proven failure Jay Leno.

Thank you for your time,


I've got my full review up of the Master Collectibles CLASSICS SCIENCE ENGINEER CONVERSION KIT (aka the kit that transforms a stock Sunstreaker or Sideswipe into a Classics Wheeljack) up at
This is pretty exciting for me, as it's the first review that I've done of a pre-release product. It's also the first thing that I've reviewed that I haven't paid for with my own money.
See the first half of the review Here

Doctor Who- THE END OF TIME review

This is a two part review that I did for The episodes aired on Christmas Day and New Year's day.


The Tenth Doctor's days are almost over. David Tenant will be leaving the role on January 1st and a new Doctor will will regenerate into his place. Russel T. Davies will also be stepping down from the position of head writer and will be replaced with Steven Moffat. Both writers have had great runs writing for Doctor Who, but while Russel T Davies has more excellent episodes to his name, including all of the previous season finales, Steven Moffat is the credited writer on some of my favorites, "The Doctor Dances", "The Girl in the Fireplace" and the one that everyone shows their friends who are skeptical of the Doctor, "Blink". Unfortunately for all of the generally high quality and lets not forget actually being responsible for resurrecting the show in 2005, Russel T. is also responsible for some of the lowest and most inane moments of the show. To my supreme disappointment, this is includes the first half of the '09 Christmas Special and David Tenant farewell, "The End Of Time".
Adding insult to injury is the way it comes right on the heels of the Fall Special, "The Waters Of Mars" which had the Doctor struggling against the temptation to meddle in historical events that must happen in order for the universe to remain intact. Though it has some problems with pacing and general tone, the episode has some really clever plays on how the standard episode plays out and shows the audience a side of the Doctor that has only ever been glimpsed in the current series- the despair and survivor's guilt that being the Last Time Lord causes him and the power that those emotions can have over his actions. David Tenant's acting is at the top of his game as is that of Lindsay Duncan in the role of the captain of the first Martian Colony who has to make some very difficult choices both in spite of the Doctor's prescience and because of it. The episode's most glaring flaw is the inclusion of futuristic Wikipedia entries for the crew and their base that flash on the screen showing that they are all fated to die on the day our story plays out. This is meant to put us on even footing with the Doctor as we were in Pompei, knowing of the characters fates but not knowing how they would play out. Without them, there would have been much more weight to the excellent acting that David Tenant does and allowed that much more weight to fall on the climax of the episode. It works extremely well as it is, but would have been just as good or better without the hand-holding that goes on in the DW Holiday Specials. Even so, the last minutes of the episode are haunting and very affecting.
The opening moments of "The End of Time" are sloppy and tonally awkward to the point of feeling like fan fiction, and it doesn't get much better. Russel T. Davies mentioned that he wanted this one to top the tension of the previous season finales. It doesn't. Right off the bat, a narrator steps in with some ham-fisted jazz about how this is the Earth's Final Days. That might fly elsewhere, but for me when I hear a Doctor Who character droning on about doom and whatever, I just tune him out. When the stakes are that high, the scheme's obviously not going to work. Destroying the Earth in the future is par for the course in sci-fi. It's a real threat. Heck, they did it on the show in the 70s. Say that you're going to bring on the, oh let's say END OF TIME, and it immediately relegates you to the level of Cobra Commander. We as the viewing audience are waiting, not to see if the hero can stop you, but to see how he does. When too much weight is given to the doomsday plan itself, it feels phony. Compounding the corniness of the episode is the manner of Master's fated return. It's nice to see the Master's Wife return in a cameo appearance, but it involves a faux Satanic ritual scene that is, maybe, the worst written single scene of Doctor Who since the garbage can ate Micky the Idiot in 05. The laughably awful ceremony goes wrong and results in the Master being resurrected incorrectly. Symptoms of which include his skull being occasionally visible the bestowing upon him of him both the proportionate strength and speed of a spider and Spirit Bomb attacks. It also makes him eat in goofy fast motion scenes that recall Benny Hill more than anything that might actually scare anyone. One of the strengths of Doctor Who has always been the fact that it, usually, doesn't insult the audience's intelligence. It will always be a show that is primarily aimed at children, but it doesn't talk down to them, and it even gives them a few tidbits about physics and General Relativity that maybe they'll go ask their parents about or look up on line and come away with something more than an urge to buy the new monster figure. I'm obviously now knocking the monster figures, as several of them are staring at me as I write this, but they're the cake, not the meat ant potatoes.
I'm looking forward to the conclusion of "The End of Time". Clearly Russel T. Davies is setting up a whole new universe for the Eleventh Doctor to play on, and he's certainly written enough good episodes to warrant the benefit of the doubt. I'm hoping that the mysterious Woman in White will pay off they way I'm hoping she will, and I'm eager to see why the woman standing behind Timothy Dalton is holding her head in her hands. This might be a cheap shot, but I sympathized.
The second half of The End of Time will air on New Year's Day on the BBC and shortly there after in other parts of the world.

THE END OF TIME review part 2

In light of the final episode of Doctor Who Season Five, the penultimate episode can be seen in a slightly clearer and even less flattering light. My initial assumption was that it was the set up for something entirely more complex than it seemed, and that while what we were seeing was nonsensical drivel it would also be the foundation upon which a complex and satisfying finale would play out. This was not the case. It turns out that almost nothing seen in the first episode served to do anything except resurrect The Master and have the Doctor drag himself around crying about how he's going to die. The Master's total, and no small bit goofy, plan of world cum universal conquest was never destined to go anywhere, but the fact that it's foiled by an honest to goodness god from a machine is in turns annoying and infuriating to someone who is tasked with describing these things without using the most obvious analogies and how-not-to-write catch phrases.
Without giving too much away the episode plays out like so- The Doctor is captured, breaks out, comes back, confronts the bad guy and is placed in a morally compromising position before the big finish. Even more annoying than the by the numbers plot is that it's paced like George Lucas had creative control. More time is addressed to characters sitting around droning on and re-hashing story elements than ever before in the series. The over riding impression given is that everyone involved was more interested in this being a two-parter than with coming up with enough story to fill the extra time. If all of the nonsense about characters and plot points that go nowhere and everyone sitting on their collective asses was cut out we could have been left with if not a better episode than at least a tightly paced episode. What we get is an over-long slog stitched together from old plot devices, shaky logic and ham-fisted sentiment.
Towards the very end, a good job is done to subvert the expectations of the audience. Inattentive viewers like me will get an extra surprise when they find that the typical run time has passed with the Doctor surprisingly un-dead and the episode continuing unabated. (It's an extra long episode ala Voyage Of The Damned.) However for me the intrigue of those subverted expectations soon into dissolved as I realized what was happening. I found myself getting more and more annoyed with the rising level of sap and sentiment of the epilogue that I was amazed that it was slowly working a bit of magic on me. The last thing that I wanted to see at this moment was more of Russel T. Davies' spin-off spectacular machinery at work (The Doctor's Daughter anyone?), but by the end of the whole hammy swan song, a few fat tears actually started to well up as the Ood sang The Doctor to his final sleep. That moment is clear and perfect. It's the sort of scene that would be utterly insane in any other context, but here it's downright beautiful. Of course you and I know that a Time Lord's regeneration is nothing like sleep so much as a dip in the Lazarus pit- a painful screamy light show culminating in a period of madness, but the Ood presumably don't know that. It is the last thing that we're ever going to see this Doctor do, and I know that I'll miss him. And I am mad that the writers used that to make me cry at such a bad episode.
A word about the new kid- I've seen a few Doctors come and go in my time. If one thing holds true, it's that when the new one pops up the first thing that self professed "real fans" scream is what an absolute twat this one looks like and how the series is over. Being the breed of nerd who scours the web for news to drive himself crazy, I had that fit months ago. At 27 the new guy will be the youngest Doctor ever. Prefer as I do the more avuncular breed of protagonist, I was not thrilled. However, since it's unlikely that Hugh Laurie will be cast as the Doctor any time soon, I'm ready to give this kid a shot.
Of course, what I'm really dying to give a shot to is a new Tardis set. I've never been wild about the current one. Much as I like the design on the show, it can be a tad one note. Brown and bronze, bronze and brown, brown and bronze. Even K-9's guts looked like they came out of City of Lost Children. Steam punk is great, but not everything needs to look like the Closer video. If the new show does nothing else right, I'm praying for a bit of the old mod glory.

Doctor Who Series 5 preview trailer

We finally have a solid official preview of the new Doctor in action. Like just about every jaded fanboy out there, my first impression of this guy was that he looked like a low-rent version of the forehead kid from the Twilight films. Upon closer inspection and confirmation from the hetrosexual female who lives with me, there is a resemblance, but he's much less attractive. That's enough for me to deny him the title of "pretty boy". That in itself is good news. So what else is on display here? Elizabethan vampires play a prominent role, so I'll be looking for them in an early episode. That doesn't really help dismiss the idea that this series is going to start making a serious play for the female teen audience. There's also bit of assistant kissing. Helping matters for the boys is the fact that said assistant is just about the cutest one that we've seen in... well, possibly ever. Apparently she's a cop, so those of us who remember, might get to relive some of that old X-Files cute redhead weilding a handgun action.
Also glimpsed are two distinct Daleks. Curiously enough one seems to be dressed in army fatigues as the Doctor wails on it with a large pipe wrench. The other is only seen in a straight on extreme close up of the eye stalk, but it is clearly of a new design with a white dome, reminiscent of the Imperial Daleks of the 1980's.
Several jobber monsters are also seen including Lizardmen, a scary rotating toy head and a spooky cloak lady. The most unlikely match up looks to be The Weeping Angles in what the clips imply is a confrontation with a military unit in the sewer. Best of luck there boys.
Not much of the 11th Doctor's actual acting is on display, but from what's there and other clips of him I've seen around, he's ok. He does the confident Doctor strut well, and does a good job of seeming in control in those ever present low angle push ins. What troubles me is that the Russel T. Davies obsession with saddling the Doctor(s) with catch phrases seems to still be in full effect, and this one's is "Geronimo!" I'm not suggesting that Doctor should stop reversing the polarity of the neutron flow or banging on the Tardis console, but there was a point in the last series when it seemed that the Doctor was "sorry, so sorry" about every person place and thing that he met.
I'm past the point in my nerddom where I wanted everything to be bad just so it can confirm my worst expectations. In accordance with some advice I was once given, I still expect little, and allow myself to be pleasantly surprised, but I do secretly hope for the best.

The Series 5 trailer is up on the BBC's YouTube channel.
(someone should really straighten the Brits out on this whole series/ season business.)