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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Posts Tagged ‘watching’

ROBOTECH REWATCH 1: So Much For World Peace

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

robotech rewatchSo, Robotech. I’ve read and watched a lot of space opera over the years, but this cartoon is the one that first climbed inside my head. I’ve never watched the Japanese original, Macross. I have always meant to, but somehow never got around to it. Maybe after this rewatch is complete…?

I have read almost all of the Jack McKinney novelisations, multiple times. They’re really good. They are genuinely so much better than novelisations of an anime show dubbed into English should ever be expected to be. They fill in a lot of the blanks, extending the characterisation and backstory, and acknowledging the darker and more mature themes of the story more thoroughly than during the short episodes.

I was exactly the right age (about twelve I think?) when I first came across Robotech, and grew deeply attached. The combination of spaceships, politics and romance really appealed, and the serialised aspect hit all my most obsessive buttons.

“Robotech” is made up of three anime shows, dubbed into English and rewritten just enough to pretend they are all part of the same universe. I did not know this when I first watched. I didn’t know why each new series was so tantalisingly separate from the previous one, and where all the characters I liked had disappeared to. It bugged me for years, and only the books (and later, Wikipedia) helped me figure out how it all worked. In the mean time, I watched the later seasons closely, hungry for callbacks.

I tried introducing Raeli (now nine!) to the show a few years ago and she wasn’t interested. When the Musketeer Space milestone funded to kick off this Robotech rewatch, I gave it another go on the grounds that it would be much easier to watch that many episodes if my daughters were watching along with me.

We watched nearly 5 episodes in that first session. Raeli adores it. Watching it with a kid is great because it gives me that double perspective – the odd disconnect about a show that feels more adult than your brain tells you it should be.

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That Captain America Movie (and that imaginary Black Widow movie)

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

falcon-character-poster-for-captain-american-the-winter-soldierI didn’t expect to start caring about Captain America. Even when I started getting seriously into the reading of Marvel comics (something I’ve only been doing this decade as opposed to DC comics which first captured me back in the early 90′s), he was never a character that interested me.

It probably didn’t help that I read the Ultimates pretty early on, which didn’t just have the effect of ruining me for the ‘real universe’ versions of Nick Fury and the Wasp (just not as good), but also set in my mind that Captain America was a bit of a dick, really.

Reading the Civil War run of comics didn’t actually change my mind on that, so it’s not just the Ultimate universe’s fault. Like Superman, Captain America has a long history behind him of being the straightest guy in straight town, and it’s hard to get invested in that as a character.

And let’s face it, I met the Justice League parody of Captain American, General Glory, two decades earlier. I was never going to be able to take him seriously. (the one where Power Girl ends up trapped back in time as the replacement for Bucky/Ernie? Priceless)

The first Captain America movie was okay, but I was mostly in it for Peggy Carter. It was in The Avengers that I really started warming up to Cap, as the man out of time who doesn’t get any of the pop culture references. A brief cameo in Thor 2 (one of Loki’s disguises) made me realise – oh, yes. I like this character.

Then came Captain America 2 – The Winter Soldier. Which I flat out loved. There were so many things to enjoy in this movie! Sadly, the Winter Soldier himself was the least interesting aspect of the story, but I’m okay with that.

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Christmas Vids: A Regeneration Carol by Not Literally

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The Trials of Turlough [WHO-50—1984]

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

1984Turlough was one of my favourites. I’m not sure why especially, except that he brought the snark better than anyone. Tegan would complain and shout a lot, but Turlough got to be witty and elegant in his resistance to the Doctor’s particular brand of virtue and heroism.

What is it about Earth people that makes them think a futile gesture is a noble one?

There’s a popular idea that classic Doctor Who companions always start out with pots of characterisation and then gradually descend into bland screaming girls until they are finally written out at the request of the actor. I’m not sure that’s entirely true for any companion at all – it is true that many get stronger scripts to start with than later, but it’s rarely such a linear progression as fans (and perhaps the actors) tend to believe. Sarah Jane’s feminism waxes and wanes rather than sliding in a downward spiral, and the same is true for Nyssa’s scientific know-how, Jo’s spy skills, and so on.

It is rare for extra backstory to develop after a companion’s first appearance – though it did happen to some extent with Ace, and with Tegan. Many companions started out with almost no backstory and… never got any more.

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Watching New Who: The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

DOCTOR WHODavid is coming to New Who for the first time, having loved Classic Who as a kid. Tehani is a recent convert, and ploughed through Series 1 to 6 (so far) in just a few weeks after becoming addicted thanks to Matt Smith – she’s rewatching to keep up with David! Tansy is the expert in the “Doctor Who in Conversation” team, with a history in Doctor Who fandom that goes WAY back, and a passion for Doctor Who that inspires us all. We are working our way through New Who, using season openers and closers, and Hugo shortlisted episodes, and sometimes a couple of extra episodes we love as our blogging points. Just for fun!

Thanks to everyone who nominated us for the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review, we are chuffed and delighted and might even be inspired to run through these a bit faster than we have been doing. No promises, obviously!

TEHANI:
Righto, so we’ve skipped over “The Fires of Pompeii” and “Planet of the Ood”, moving along to “The Sontaran Strategem/Poison Sky” double episode (not Hugo nominated, but Tansy felt they were important to talk about – we agreed!). I would like to mention a couple of things about the preceding two episodes though. In “The Fires of Pompeii”, we saw Donna make the Doctor to rescue just one family from the eruption, effectively forcing him to remember that EVERYONE MATTERS, and clearly setting her up as his conscience and moral compass. This is interesting when followed by “Planet of the Ood”, when his compassion is demonstrated in his fight to save the Ood despite their apparently murderous tendencies. Donna’s impact is swift and cannot be overstated, as it becomes so important later on!

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Tegan’s First Flight [WHO-50—1981]

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

1981Logopolis is one of my all time favourites. I used to watch it over and over as a child. Yes, really. The most melancholy, gloomy Doctor Who story of all time. I adored it.

Rewatching it recently with my family I was struck by the first episode in particular – how familiar all its beats were to me despite it being so unlike almost any other Doctor Who story ever.

There are three stories going in parallel. Firstly, the dark, irritable Fourth Doctor teaching Adric about block transfer computation (or alien maths as I explained it to my eight year old, don’t judge me!) and deciding to Move On With His Life After Romana. Never mind that Romana left him a whole serial ago, this is the story where we see the Doctor dealing with his loss, gazing mournfully into her room and muttering about how he always meant to fix the chameleon circuit with her (not to mention that when he needs to jettison a room, he chooses hers APPARENTLY AT RANDOM YEAH RIGHT).

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Eldrad Must Live! [WHO-50—1976]

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

1976The Hand of Fear, Sarah Jane Smith’s farewell story of the classic series, is a favourite of mine, and I’ve never really stopped to think about why. In many ways it feels like a very ordinary story, ticking a lot of the boxes of Pertwee-Baker Earthbound serials, without even a UNIT chappie or two to liven things up.

I think that a big part of the appeal of this one for me is that the story revolves around Sarah as the companion, and has a greater effect on her than most of her later stories had. It might be paced like the old show (and how), but it has a gleam of what we would get in New Who – stories where the companion’s feelings and reactions to things were basically the point of the plot.

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Turn that Frown Upside Down

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

A crappy end to the school holidays – both girls sick and cranky, me sick and tired and crankier. The only cure for such a bleh day is Sesame Street, as sharp and awesome as ever:

(I never thought they’d top 30 Rocks, or True Mud, but they DID)

The Third Doctor’s Day [WHO-50—1972]

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

I always loved Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, maybe not best of all – I didn’t start to think of him as my favourite Classic Doctor until I was in my late teens – but his era was very special to me. I knew that Tom Baker was regarded as The Best Of All Doctors thanks to my early introduction to a small group of fans but also because most of my Doctor Who Received Wisdom came through my Mum. Who, by the way, loved Tom Baker like he was drizzled in chocolate.

THERE IS A REASON TOM CAN NEVER BE MY DOCTOR, JUST SAYING!

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Domesticating the Doctor II: The Missus, the Ex and the Mothers-in-Law

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Originally posted on Doctor Her on 15 March 2012.

In the last Domesticating the Doctor post I talked about various instances from Classic and Big Finish Doctor Who of the Doctor being domesticated against his nature. Now it’s time for the New Who story! Or the RTD years, at least, as it got a bit longer than I expected.

The Ninth Doctor puts his cards on the table right from the start. “I don’t do domestic.” No previous Doctor had ever had to make such a statement, but right from the start, the writing team of New Who seemed to relish throwing kitchen appliances and chips and the telly at the Doctor’s head, to watch him squirm.

“I’ve never been slapped by someone’s Mum before,” he complains in Aliens of London, one of the stories that most deeply explores the collision of the Doctor and domesticity. He’s never had to deal with anyone’s Mum before – he’s met a few companions’ Dads, but they’ve mostly got themselves conveniently killed before the credits rolled.

Imagine, oh imagine, if Jo Grant’s Mum had turned up to see what her new boss was like? Or if Romana’s Mum had arrived in the TARDIS to demand the Fourth Doctor tell her why her daughter’s postcards home had suddenly stopped…

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