In My Secret Life

I feel that I haven’t written at length about Doctor Who in a long time. I don’t have too much to say, really. The 50th anniversary is coming out, and I hope I have the day off of work to watch it. It’ll be a big event, that’s for sure. I’m hoping it’s good, and not just an overstuffed mess. I’m on record not much caring for Matt Smith and respecting but not actually liking David Tennant all that much, but as usual, I’m in the minority, and if they can play off of each other well enough, I’ll consider it time well spent. It’s nice to see John Hurt in there, although—ugh—what the fuck is Rose doing there? Her character arc is over. I know that some people think that her romance with the 10th Doctor is some sort of grand, epic love story, but I want to beat those people to death with a copy of Antony and Cleopatra. She’s been brought back so many times that I’m tempted to kill Billie Piper just to make sure that it doesn’t happen again and I don’t even blame her for how much I hate her character.

So with that out of the way, I will go on a nerdy digression that will make no sense whatsoever to those of you who aren’t Whovians. I feel that Tomb of the Cybermen is due for a reappraisal. It was thought lost for many years and garnered a reputation as one of the all-time greats. Then it was unearthed in the early ’90s and suffered quite a backlash. I think it’s time for a bit of a backlash against the backlash. It’s far from perfect, but the moments that work far outnumber the ones that don’t. For one thing, Troughton is awesome, and the scene where he consoles Victoria about the death of her father is one of the finest moments in Who history. The Cybermats look silly and Toberman is a horribly racist caricature, but his character still has a moving arc, fighting back against the Cyber-conversion to eventually save the day.

The momentum does stall a bit in the last two episodes, but I think people who criticize it for having plot holes are missing the point. The Cybermen intended the facility to basically be a hibernation facility for the ones inside to hang out until, I don’t know, Cyber Central Control needed them or something. They filled it with puzzles to entice the curious (the Doctor), but when the space crew wakes them up, they realize that the only one of them who will make a good Cyberman is Toberman. So they kill the dude who thought he could team up with the Cybermen once they were reawakened (there’s always somebody like that in a story like this) and set about converting Toberman so they can kill the others. In the end, the Doctor and the others escape and the Cybermen go back to hibernating because that’s what they were there for in the first place. It does make sense if you are willing to overthink it (which, of course, I am).

Did you get all that? Good. There’s a test. And yeah, the ending is anticlimactic, but somehow, that kind of works for me. It’s like they’re still there…waiting for someone else to disturb them. That’s almost scarier than if they had kept chasing the Doctor and the others. Kind of like a monster movie.

Oh, and this makes me swoon. It’s also very funny. I think my favorite is the dude from Lilo & Stitch. Peter Pan looks like such a sexy twink. After years of Disney Princesses who look like perfect Barbie dolls, I have to say that I am rather turned on by somebody giving the other half of the population a little eye candy.

takeiLet’s talk about classic science fiction for a second. In literature, the big three are Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein. I’m a big fan of the first and only slightly less so of the second, but still unsold on the third. His writing is good; his politics are abhorrent. Starship Troopers is fascist. I guess some people admire it as a portrait of a society gone horribly, horribly wrong, but it troubles me that the guy who wrote the book seems to have honestly believed that that was the way to go. I also read Stranger in a Strange Land. To some people, it’s a brilliant countercultural document, but the ideas in it struck me as silly and dated. Maybe I’m just grumpy. (I also dislike Easy Rider even though so many think it’s a masterpiece. When I mused that perhaps you had to have been alive in the ’60s to get it, my mother and father both assured me that no, you didn’t, because they thought it was stupid, too.)

It’s possible that I’m missing something. Heinlein is one of those people who you almost have to respect, even if you don’t entirely like him. He was so influential and beloved that he can’t be written off by any serious science fiction fan. (My opinion of him is also tainted by the awful Starship Troopers movie, which set out to satirize fascism and cheesy 50s sci-fi but ended up hewing too close to what it was trying to mock. Some will say that that just makes the movie that much more brilliant, but…they’re wrong.) So I guess I’ll have to pick up something else by him eventually.

I’m going to leave this blog without an ending. If it seems like a collection of disorganized thoughts, oh well. It’s the internet. My dreams are essentially a bizarre hodgepodge of futuristic machines and naked men these days, so that seems fitting. Here’s a funny video.


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