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I have been in Paris which was fantastic. A great city to visit. A friend of mine sort of lives there every other weekend so we had dinner at his boyfriend's flat with its fifth floor balcony garden of wonder and moody, pretty cat. I don't know why I haven't been there more often, except that it's so close that I think I can go there any time and I should spend my vacations on places further afield. This is stupid.

I was supposed to be away this week as well, except work is completely effed up so I volunteered to go in from tomorrow. I am deeply irritated with myself for cracking and offering to cut my holiday short, and I know that I have to guard against being a burning martyr saddo.

I often love what I do but the future is worrisome and it's sometimes a huge pain in the nether regions. We should get a new boss soon, which could be good. Or, you know, not.

While I was away, I missed the Ashes to Ashes finale, which was almost everything I hoped it would be. It not only answered the questions posed by the eight episodes before it, it made me want to start again with Life on Mars and watch the whole saga all the way through again.

It was not perfect, but it did make me happy. It also made Sam Tyler's decision to jump off the roof at the end of Life on Mars more palatable, because if people in Gene's world can be taken by the forces of evil, then his decision to go back to prevent that is a positive one instead of a despairing rejection of reality.

I've loved and continue to love this series of Doctor Who. It's not everything I hoped but it's pretty close. Half of the episodes have been crackers and only two have been poor. Unfortunately, one of those was this week, so I am going to have a rant about it.

There were several things I liked a lot about s05e08-e09. They were almost all to do with the performances and those last ten minutes. I liked the sound editing and dressing of Cwmtaff with tropical plants to suggest global warming. They forgot to CGI in heaps of slag etc -- 21km of drilling means that lots of rock is displaced, it has to go somewhere, and if it's carted away in trucks, it leaves shedloads of dust everywhere. But otherwise A1, well done, gold star, liked the bioluminescent underworld.

I would watch Meera Syal in anything and she made Nasreen a great character. Ditto Stephen Moore. The kid Elliot was great. I continue to adore the quicksilver, alien charm of Matt Smith's Doctor. I like Amy a lot, and if I wish that Karen Gillan would stop swallowing occasional lines so they're difficult to understand, it's a niggle amid a smorgasbord of goodness. She's messed up and complicated, not quite grown-up. And Rory. I love Rory, the ordinary, decent, funny man who looks after everyone. Who represents, for Amy, home and love and stability -- which she might not be ready for but which she needs desperately to know is there, even when she's off gallivanting. Oh, Rory….

My main difficulty is this: Chris Chibnall is a HACK and I don't believe for a second he wrote the best bits of Cold Blood, which was the last ten minutes.

Chibnall is the bad karaoke of Who. If he were a karaoke singer, he'd be the one who hogs the microphone to sing Hallelujah without ever caring what the words mean. He'd be the one who thinks he can sing like Whitney Houston, the kind who replicates her melismatic runs, half a tone sharp and reminiscent of a yowling cat. I expect he entered the writing room saying "Tonight, Moff, I am going to be Malcolm Hulke".

He has no real flair for dialogue -- he couldn't even translate L&O into British English and a UK milieu properly, his original plots fall to bits if you prod them and he leaves loose ends straggling everywhere.

Worse still, he gets his bloody issues with women smeared all over the episodes like some foul genderfail Marmite.

Other people have gone through this better than me, so I am going to stick to the most offensive example. Ambrose, clearly meant to be an upright citizen who organises meals on wheels, is scolded first for gathering weapons, after she is goaded into killing Alaya, then told to go raise a good son because she's hopeless; whereas the Silurian doctor who is seen vivisecting people while conscious and admits kidnapping children to experiment on them is given a pat on the head.

Every time he writes, from Torchwood, to Doctor Who, to Law and Order: Cash for Thesps, it's made up of direct lifts of plot points and paraphrases of things that better writers have done. 42, for example, is a cut-and-shut horror made up of The Satan Pit and Battlestar Galactica's 33. Fragments gives Owen a risible backstory that only fits with what comes before because the actor sells it, and pisses all over UNIT. Exit Wounds' plot is also ridiculous and convoluted (not helped by the casting of Gray: did some producer's nephew need a job?) He may have done a fine job with Ianto's backstory and the final conversation between Tosh and Owen but even a hack gets it right sometimes.

He's still a HACK.

Ten days to the World Cup! I love the World Cup. England have little chance and everyone's being quite realistic, which is a refreshing break from the usual. If I were a betting person, I would lay cash on Spain making the final, and possibly the Ivory Coast if it all comes together for them. It would also drive the tabloids round the bend if Sven Goran Eriksson were to win the World Cup with Ivory Coast when he did not lead England to any sort of glory, so it has that to recommend it.

The US is a good long shot for making a great run because they're smart, strong and tenacious, and they're in an easy group. You can never discount Brazil or Argentina. Italy and France's teams are probably a little past their best now. The Netherlands would be a good bet, except they usually self-destruct. I would quite like Australia to stuff Germany in their first game. Just for the laughs.

Sports scores are *news*. I promise to spoiler-cut the result and not use an appropriately joyful/miserable/sarcastic icon, because it's polite to do so for people in other time zones. But it might also be lovely if anyone demanding that I spoiler-cut news admits that it is news and spoiler-cutting it is, in principle at least, silly. :P


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 1st, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
I am resisting reading your Ashes to Ashes cut-tag. I'm on S2 right now (airing on BBC America) and then want to find S3 through whatever nefarious means I can, and from the little I've seen on S3, unspoiled would be bestest.

I can be strong!
Jun. 1st, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
DO NOT SPOIL YOURSELF. There isn't anything I'd consider a spoiler in what I've written but there is a spoilery suggestiveness in the way I wrote about LoM. So, non-spoilery version follows:

The end was miles from perfect, and I could pick at least three things I didn't entirely like, and yet it somehow *was* a perfect ending. It made me want to go back and watch all of LoM and A2A again to see how it all fits together, in the happy anticipation that actually, for once, the showrunners have *made sure* it will fit together.
Jun. 1st, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
::happy sigh::

Can't wait. Must research ways to get S3.
Jun. 1st, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
I can furnish you with DVDs if you wish.
Jun. 1st, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
::bats eyelashes at you::
Jun. 2nd, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
I'm quite looking forward to World Cup - the time difference (and that whole "working" thing) makes watching matches difficult at times, but hopefully I can cheer along to at least some of them 'live'
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:08 am (UTC)
If there's no trouble, it's going to be terrific. There are some fantastic teams and the USA's opening game is against England and that'll be the best in that group. I think the US will win 2-1 because I am a pessimist. I find that's the best way with the England team. Expect the worst then you can be delightfully surprised when they do actually play well.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 01:14 am (UTC)
Sports scores are *news*.

True. Thankfully I get to watch the Belmont Stakes on Saturdy in my own time zone. (In my own state, actually, except I'll be in NJ that day and the TV gives you a much better view than the live race anyway.)

Yes, I never outgrew the obligatory pre-teen horse phase. Sue me. ;-)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:06 am (UTC)
Hey, if I can watch football and heckle like a big kid, you can watch horse racing. These are noble pursuits. Or something ;)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
I admit it's probably silly, but I am also very thankful to anyone who spoiler-cuts for World Cup, especially since I'm nearly at the end of the timezones and thus have a very long time to get spoiled after stuff happens in the rest of the world. So, thanks. :)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:05 am (UTC)
I'm teasing. I am the sort of person who reads the end of the book first, so I quite like knowing scores in advance and then seeing how they got that way but I know that if you're not, being spoiled for a score is a total bugger.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 01:44 am (UTC)
dinner at his boyfriend's flat with its fifth floor balcony garden of wonder and moody, pretty cat.

Of course the cat was moody and pretty. It's French ;)

Sounds like a lovely trip--one of these days I'll get there (then again, I've been to Britain 3 times and NEVER been to London--unless you count Heathrow, and I don't *g*)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:02 am (UTC)
Holy cow. Well, there's a holiday project for you. London and Paris in 7 days or something.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
I shall take it under advisement *g*
Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Thank you for hating Chris Chibnall as much as I do. I saw his name in the credits and I was like, c'mon Liz give the bloke a chance. AND THEN UGH UGH UGH I WAS WRONG TO DO SO. The two parter is such a fucking mess on a basic writing level. And given that I was JUST STARTING TO LIKE THE DAMN THING because MAYBE I'M NOT QUITE OVER TENNANT YET OKAY AND NEEDED SOME TIME, the entire exercise is frustrating.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:01 am (UTC)
I understand the difficulty of moving on from Tennant. Didn't experience it myself but that was only because I was starting to hate the way RTD wrote Ten.

But my dislike of RTD's writing in those latter stages is nothing to my burning contempt for Chibbers.

RTD is a good but self-indulgent writer, who started to break rules he should respect. Much like next week's fellow, Richard Curtis. Chibbers is a hack.

Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
Yes! Exactly. :)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
I am very, very envious of the Paris.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 08:53 am (UTC)
Look, if you ever get over here, come to Paris for a few days as well. The tickets can be as low as £70 and the journey is two hours, on a train. It is the least stressful and expensive foreign travel ever. If M is there we could go meet P and see his kitty Toto, and all would be grand.

I know. School loans and hideous work demands, but one day.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 03:24 am (UTC)
Yes. There will be one day.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 12:53 pm (UTC)
I adore mooching about in Paris. Alas, I am passportless at the moment so am islandbound. Must do something about that.

I expect he entered the writing room saying "Tonight, Moff, I am going to be Malcolm Hulke".

And Bob Sloman. And Barry Letts. And Don Houghton. It's a commendable ambition, but alas Chibnall always falls short in the execution. Even with their scripts to crib from he still couldn't shuffle the pack and come up with a coherent remix of the plot elements.

I am largely unspoiled for this season - I wouldn't have known about the Event in that last 10 minutes if Chibnall's ham-fistedness in part one hadn't made it so blindingly obvious it was coming - but knowing the writers names in advance seems essential. It's never as bad if you've adjusted your expectations downwards in advance.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
As usual, your thoughts on Who are my thoughts. I am completely baffled why they keep letting Chibnall write. He needs to GTFO.

I would love to see Ivory Coast do really well.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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