Monday, June 24, 2013

Kindle Book Review: The Angel's Kiss

When this little book came out after "The Angel's Take Manhattan" I thought it was supposed to be the book they were reading in the episode. I never noticed the book in the episode simply had the title "Melody Malone." But "The Angel's Kiss" is a prequel of sorts to the episode/book in the episode. There are definite links, like a mention of P.I. Garner and a cameo by Julius Grayle. We do get to see how Grayle got his angel. And the statue of the woman and boy are there, but it is definitely a River story, despite that name not being mentioned.

The whole book would probably fall flat for anyone who doesn't watch the show. There are many subtle nods to the show, but never any direct mention or connection of anything other than River and the angels. Only the barest hints at things like time travel, hallucinogenic lipstick, and The Doctor. That's okay, though, because I discovered that River can carry a story on her own. Justin Richards did a great job with her dialog. I found it easy to hear Alex Kingston's voice delivering the lines, which made her sexual innuendos funnier to read. He also provided an easy read that was a detailed story that moved swiftly. He did a good job of creating a late 30's feel.

The story is of Melody Malone, private investigator, taking a case from a top 30's movie star who has overheard plans to kill him. On their second meeting it is clear the case will not be simple when the star does not remember her. The story is pretty straightforward for the first half (4 chapters), but then Melody accepts the offer of studio executive Max Kleiner to visit the set, everything gets going, and a bit crazy. I would read another River story. Maybe some archaeological trips? It definitely gives me optimism about reading some of this author's other Doctor Who books that have come out.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the 'About the Author' page. Here is what it says:

"Melody Malone is the owner and sole employee of the Angel Detective Agency in Manhattan. She is possibly married but lives alone usually, and is older than both her parents. Sometimes.

Why not visit her website? Ah - probably because the internet hasn't been invented yet. Sorry, Sweetie."

Visit this link to get the book on Kindle from Amazon

More Waiting, A Review and Matt's Goodbye Message

According to a Radio Times article (click here to read full article), we are going to have to wait until just before the filming for the Christmas special to find out who the next Doctor is. They also are not starting filming until autumn, probably August or September, followed by filming for the next season. I don't mind any of this because it is going to break up the time we are having to wait for a new episode. It just means we have to put up with so many more rumors and useless speculations.

On my Classic Who tab you will find my review for "The Mysterious Planet", which is the first of four stories in the "Trial Of A Timelord" season. It features the 6th Doctor and his companion Peri Brown, and begins the story arc of The Doctor being put on trial (again) by the Timelords for meddling in the affairs of others. With a great script from Robert Holmes, the story lays a great foundation for the other 3 stories. It also sees The Valeyard in charge of the case against The Doctor, a nemesis of sorts mentioned by The Great Intelligence in "The Name of The Doctor."

The other day in Detroit, while filming his movie, Matt Smith recorded a thank you and goodbye video for Steven Moffat, his fellow cast members, crew, and most of all to the fans. This could have been just a nice gesture done in advance on a whim, but it also fuels speculation that Matt is already done. This isn't helped by the cutting of his hair, either. If he is done, and the regeneration happens at the end of the 50th special/beginning of Christmas, the Christmas special could essentially be a 12th Doctor story, which would fall in line with December being the 12th month. They have been focusing on a Doctor each month. But what if there was also a regeneration at Christmas. Say 11 regenerates into John Hurt, who then regenerates into The Doctor for season 8. This would then put us at the point where, according to Who canon, The Doctor would be out of regenerations. Just some thoughts.

Coming up, hopefully tonight, the review of the novelette, "The Angel's Kiss."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Roundup Of Sorts

It's been a busy time. I finished my monthly article on time and then I got an iPhone, which I've been glued to for over a week. But there is simply no excuse for not having congratulated David Tennant earlier on his Emmy award win. The win came for vocal work on the cartoon "Star Wars The Clone Wars" as Huyang. This doesn't surprise me for David has a very idiosyncratic voice. Congrats, David, on this prestigious honor.

Okay, you already know how I feel about talking about nothing when it comes to the next Doctor. I avoid the speculation because it's an infernal waste of time. So every once in a while, like today. I might bring up the names of the moment, but I'm not going to keep track of it daily. I will probably also avoid posting about what other various people (related AND unrelated to Who) think about the topic, unless it's individually interesting. One other blog even posted a post, longer than some of my reviews, about why they are not talking about it. but I can hardly post after a couple of weeks without at least mentioning it.

The main male name I still see is Dominic Cooper. I recognize his face, but have seen nothing he is in, but I will probably see the Captain America movie. I have no feelings one way or the other because I have nothing to form an opinion about. It makes me laugh because the reports change from day to day. He's interested, he's not interested, he's interested. Ugh, it all really is silly to keep on about until it is announced.

Interestingly, the female name I am now seeing at the top of the list is Sheridan Smith. I will not let our common first name sway me. I know her from Gavin & Stacey, but not from watching it. I think shes quite charming, though, but I'm still one of those that doesn't truly want a female Doctor. An interesting connection here is that Sheridan plays The Doctor's companion Lucie Miller in the Big Finish audio dramas, which are awesome. I haven't listened to any of hers, but if any of you are interested, go to the Doctor Who Big Finish Webpage because these are great productions featuring actors from the show, including the Doctors. If you've never listened to an audio drama, think listening to the tv with your eyes closed, but with dialog to express what is happening and surroundings. Next year they are going to release "The Abandoned" which is the first to be written by a former star of the show. This was penned by former fourth Doctor companion Leela, Louise Jameson.

They announced who will direct the Christmas episode, Matt Smith's last. It will be Jamie Payne, who directed "Hide." Not that I think it will be the same, but I hope you liked "Hide," I sure did, and I know a huge portion of that was the direction. He has also done work on other shows I watched and liked. The Hour, Call the Midwife, Outcasts, and Survivors. With him directing Moffat's words and Matt & Jenna's actions, I am starting to get more excited about that episode.

Another thing happening sounded silly at first but once I looked into it I liked it more. A kickstarter campaign was started, and succeeded, in raising the $33,000 to send a 1 foot scale replica of the TARDIS in the payload of rocket and getting it into low earth orbit. The thing is, it has solar power cells in the windows so the light on top works. Hypothetically, the people in the space station could look out at the right time and see a TARDIS orbiting. It also contains a camera to take shots, like we don't have enough pictures of Earth. The thing that was interesting to me is that if this is successful, they would then like to raise some $300,000 to send up a life sized replica. Just imagine, with the right telescope, on a clear night....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New News Is No News

There's a whole lot of nothing to report. Speculation about the next Doctor goes on, with Rory Kinnear in the forefront today. I don't think I know him. It doesn't look like he's been in anything I've seen, yet. We are going through the Bond movies now, and I know he was in Quantum and Skyfall. Bottom line, I have no opinion on him. We'll see if I have one on whose name pops up tomorrow. I honestly don't know why people report rumors from some sources, sources that are particularly known for not getting it right. So I am going to stay out of that mix until something more reliable comes along.

Until then I have decided I am going to review a couple of books I got for my Kindle. One is, 'Angel's Kiss', by Melody Malone from "The Angels Take Manhattan". The other one is the one that Artie was reading in "The Bells of Saint John", called 'Summer Falls', by Amelia Williams. It won't be a spoilery review, like the episodes are. Actually, I might've just lied. I just haven't decided yet. I've never reviewed a book before. I also just started reading the 'Prisoner of Time' comic book series they have been releasing this year. That got me to thinking. These comic books are numbered, 1 of 12, 2 of 12, 3 of 12, and so on. Each is of one Doctor starting with the first. So in December will there be a 12th Doctor comic book? Same goes with the short novels they have been releasing each month, which I may also review.

Over on the classic side I'm reviewing 1986's "The Trial of a Timelord" which was the entire season 23. So that's what's coming up so far. Hopefully we will hear by the time they start filming Christmas next month who Who will be and all this madness can stop.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Doctor Who 2014

Look at how young Matt looks in this picture, one of the first taken after announcing he would take over from David Tennant. He doesn't even look like The Doctor yet. Soon we will have another such picture, and we may not have long to wait to find out who will replace Matt Smith as The Doctor. In This Radio Times Interview, they give us hope that we could hear as early as next month. This would fall in line with them beginning the filming of the Christmas special. Keeping Clara's appearance in "The Asylum of the Daleks"  a secret was one thing, but who the next Who is? That would be more difficult. At most we would have to wait until the Fall, when they will start filming season 8. I agree that it's more likely we will find out by the time they start filming for Christmas.

Speaking of season 8, another bit of good news seems to be the word that there will be one entire season, not split, but I am seeing a 12 episode run with the Christmas special following as the finale. That would be something different, which is what Moff said he wanted to do. It would also insinuate that the season would not begin until the Fall, around September if there was no break before the Christmas special. Still, better than those damn split seasons. One full season gives me hope that Clara will be in the entire thing. I like her, and I also love when a companion goes through his regeneration and continues traveling with him. In the Radio Times article, they were also told by a BBC source that Steven Moffat will still be showrunner for season 8. Personally I am happy with this. I love Moff's writing and am generally pleased with the direction the show has taken. I also believe he has assembled a very talented team, who all work to create the show. I know he will leave soon, but thankfully it won't be both he and Matt at the same time, if the source is to be believed. Radio Times are pretty reliable, right?

One last thing here. WOW is everyone talking female Doctor. I don't know how much of it is wanting it to happen or just the fun of speculating on who it could be. I have seen some interesting names, but right now the only one I truly love is Olivia Coleman. She really does have it all. The drama, the humor, the almost alieny look. (adorably so) I've said I would be okay with a female Doctor. Actually, depending on who it was, I would still watch but reserve being okay with it until watching. But for sake of argument, let's say Olivia got it, I would be okay with that, but what I don't want is for them to do it just for the sake of doing it. Just like making him a different race. The racist issue is silly. I believe if they find the right person no matter what race they would choose him/her, as long as (s)he's BRITISH.

Has anyone put out the name of Mark Shepherd? I know he does work on Supernatural, but I would love to see him as The Doctor. I also like the idea of Simon Pegg. I thought when Tennant left that he would be good in the role. Call me crazy but I like Daniel Radcliffe for the role. I don't know how it would work with Sherlock, but Andrew Scott would be great, IMHO. Oh, and speaking of Harry Potter people, what about Matthew Lewis? Really, I could go on and on like so many are doing, but what I really hope deep down is that once again it is a relative unknown.

UPDATE: I am seeing news supporting the 12 episode Fall run with the 13th episode being the Christmas special finale. There are also rumors that Ben Daniels may have already been signed as The Doctor. I reported him yesterday as having the highest odds on SkyBet. I loved him in Law & Order U.K. most recently. I love the idea but am a bit surprised if it is true since it would age The Doctor's appearance.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Who will it be? Off and running.

I can't remember how "plugged in" I was into the information zone when David Tennant announced he was leaving, but after Matt Smith's announement, the NEXT morning I get up and there are rumors and speculations galore. And that's all it really is, speculation, but the speculation does bring up many points about the next Doctor. How old should he be, what race, and what gender? Many wonder whether or not Steven Moffat planted a seed, or was fishing, when he asked the crowd at a convention if they would still watch if The Doctor became female. Sure, like he says, it is in Timelord lore now, but only because HE put it there. (Ok, technically Neil Gaiman, but he could've had a request) I thought it would be fun to look at the names that are floating around, and MAN are there a lot. I find it an odd thing on which to bet.

Now, all of this is totally ignoring the end of "The Name of The Doctor," when John Hurt is introduced as The Doctor. I wonder why I don't see more talking about this. Maybe he's next? I saw a speculation that at least part of season 8 would be like a time war flashback kind of thing, but I don't find that likely, especially with Clara staying. It would be interesting, though.

Some bookmakers immediately topped their lists with a new name and a repeat. Once again Russell Tovey finds himself in the rumor mill as the possible next Doctor. I like Russell, and it wouldn't be the first time The Doctor has appeared in an earlier episode. (Colin Baker as Maxil in "Arc of Infinity") I just don't like him enough to be The Doctor, and think they might go in a different direction. One possibility is that they will find a relative unknown, like almost every other Doctor has been. I like that, and whatever else they choose to do, I hope they still do that.

They could continue with the trend of decreasing the age of The Doctor. One name I'm torn about is Rupert Grint. I've never seen him act outside of Harry Potter, but I think that my hesitance and the pic I used says what I felt about his performance. But on the other hand, he's ginger. One name I'm slightly familiar with is Ben Whishaw. I only saw a little of The Wire, but thought it was good. I could see that I think. High up on one list though is Ben Daniels. It would take The Doctor a little older, but I do like that actor. But will they age him with such a new young audience?

Speaking of aging him, what about if he's a her? I'm not opposed to nor am I very thrilled at this idea. I have to accept it now that it happens to be canon, planted for this very opportunity, I'm sure. The funniest name to me is one I kind of like, and someone who I hear expressed interest before, Dame Helen Mirren. But imagine it's Helen Mirren... as Queen Elizabeth! Romana chose the body of Princess Astra to regenerate into, why not here? Or it's just an accident. The one name I do love if this idea happens is Olivia Coleman. I fell in love with her on Peep Show and am sure she would do a great job. Not an unknown in Britain, however. She's an incredible BAFTA award winning actress. That would be two firsts, I think. Another interesting name out there is Eve Best. Many Americans will know her from Nurse Jackie, but she's so much more than that role. To be honest, they could change the gender or race of The Doctor and I would continue to watch, as long as The Doctor was still British. Well, you know what I mean by that. Take these American actors' names out of the so-called running.

So speaking of changing race, there are some interesting names there, including some who have been in Doctor Who. Like Ashley Walters, who we just saw as the dominant Van Baalen brother in "Journey to the Centre of The TARDIS." I can probably see that. Idris Elba would be very good, but are they going to go younger? I'm not very familiar with Adrian Lester, but he looks a good age. Then I saw Zawe Ashton on one list, who I'm also not familiar with. It would be interesting to change both race and gender.

Various sites have various odds. Right now William Hill has Rupert Grint and Russel Tovey at 10/1, but SkyBet has Ben Daniels at 6/1 and Olivia Coleman at 25/1. There are some ridiculous names on SkyBet. Russell Brand. Zac Efron. Neil Patrick Harris (puhleeze). Also some interesting ones like Simon Pegg, David Walliams, and yes, for real, David Tennant at 33/1. A friend alerted me to this rumor of Tennant coming back. But wait, didn't he leave Who for a Hollywood career?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Matt Smith's Departure Leaves Records Intact

So with Matt Smith announcing is was leaving, I had to go back and crunch the numbers. If he had stayed for season 8, he would have been The Doctor in more episodes than David Tennant. It is close, though. Including the 50th, David Tennant is in 49 episodes. I'm only counting regular full length televised episodes. Including the 50th and upcoming Christmas episodes, Matt Smith is in 45. Each increases by 2 if you include their appearances in The Sarah Jane Adventures. Bottom line is that David Tennant will still be the reigning long-running Doctor of the new show. Now, this isn't too fair of a comparison, but 4th Doctor, Tom Baker, was in 175 episodes. In all cases I include their appearance at the end of the regeneration, or the beginning of the next episode as in the 4th Doctor's case. I did not include "Shada" since it was not televised and I included "The Five Doctors" which was the same footage anyway. At that amount it hardly makes a difference.

Then I got to thinking about the companion in the most episodes. I knew it was either Rose or Amy. Amy was in 33 episodes. I'm not counting Karen Gillan in "The Fires of Pompeii." With Rose, even if you don't count the two flashes on screen in "The Poison Sky" and "Midnight" but include the last 3 episodes of that season as well as "Partners In Crime" and "The End of Time Part 2" and the upcoming 50th special, Rose has 33. They are neck and neck, but technically Rose has those extra 2 appearances. Without examining every single companion, I think I can confidently say that Sarah Jane holds the record at 84 episodes, and that doesn't even include either K9 and Company or The Sarah Jane Adventures.

I Hope You Wanted A Regeneration For Christmas

Well, I'm not even close to being the first to report this, but Matt Smith is leaving the show. His last episode will be the Christmas special. This doesn't come as much of a surprise, given comments Matt has given about  his desire to pursue a Hollywood career.

Jenna-Louise has said she will be back for season 8, but that hasn't been confirmed to my knowledge, and given we heard not long ago that Matt would be back for season 8 who knows what's going to happen. I hope they keep Clara.

I wouldn't be surprised in the least if we learn that Steven Moffat will be leaving soon, if not at Christmas.

Buckle up, it's that time again. Finding and discovering a whole new Doctor. And that moment you realize there are only two Matt Smith episodes left :(

Doctor Who 50th Projection Special In Sydney

Tonight in Sydney, the Australia/New Zealand  branch of the BBC Worldwide and Vivid Sydney put on what was billed as a 50th anniversary special, or feature, or celebration. While the video projection on the side of the Sydney customs house was impressive and a bit dazzling at times, I must agree with other's comments that it was pretty much all Matt Smith. Even the flashes of all previous Doctors were taken from "Nightmare In Silver."  Regardless, it's enjoyable and made me wish I had been in Sydney for it.

I chose this rehearsal video because the angle and sound are best.