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