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@Lord Denton Anything with McGann!
Now . . . if we could get Patrick Stewart on the show, I think the Internet might explode. ;-)
3 days, 4 hours ago on Tennant Won’t Be Returning Again Anytime Soon
A few thoughts (beyond that I think if your first question about the Boneless was whether or not they were scientifically accurate, you may be watching the wrong TV show):
1) In geometry and physics, a true line does *not* have depth. A line drawn with a pencil does, but that's not really a true line. That's a cylinder of graphite on paper that we use to represent a line, but it's no more a true line than a picture of a pony is an actual pony.
2) Shadows are not two-dimensional. They are in fact *three* dimensional. You allude to this at the end, but I do feel I have to point out that the apparent flatness of a shadow is an illusion. What you perceive as a two-dimensional shadow is merely the intersection of a shadow with a surface. The shadow itself actually exists at every point between the shadow you see cast upon the floor and the object casting it, which you can tell by putting objects into the shadow. One of the classic examples of this is the triangular shape seen from the top of a mountain at dusk. Every mountain of sufficient height will seem to be casting a perfectly triangular shadow, regardless of the mountain's shape. But that's nonsense. What you're seeing isn't the shadow cast across a surface but the three-dimensional part of the shadow that you normally aren't aware of. And it's conical. You're seeing the sides of the shadow, cast through the atmosphere over tremendous distance. For preference, though, I think the most beautiful example is a lunar eclipse which starts or finishes its umbral phase at sunrise or sunset, because you get to see the Earth's shadow darkening the sky and also upon the face of the Moon at the same time.
3) "Flatline" is far from the first work to explore this concept. Edwin A Abbot explored it many years ago, but in reverse, in his novella "Flatland". It concerns the adventures of a square who meets a sphere. He also gets to meet a line, and to contemplate the singularly dismal existence of a point.
4 days, 6 hours ago on Sciencey Wiencey: Flatline
A two-partyer? A TWO-PARTER????
That's the best news I've heard all day. ;-) I love the two-parters, and there seriously haven't been enough of them lately.
1 week, 3 days ago on Toby Whithouse Two-parter Confirmed for Series 9
@The MasterDoctor Except the Second Doctor wasn't going up against an evil version of himself -- just somebody who looked the same. Mr Clever is the Doctor, as the Doctor would be if the Cybermen fully converted him. And that maybe is the part that's creepiest about it.
1 week, 5 days ago on Neil Gaiman on Nightmare in Silver Reception
@Discokingz approves of female Master @DoctarHoo No, just the Myrka. :-P
1 week, 6 days ago on 9 Predictions for Doctor Who Series 9…
@Gallifreyfalls1 It's a shame we don't have Valentine Dyall to do the part anymore. He was utterly magnificent. It would need to be someone who can be totally evil with the same sort of gravitas. Christopher Lee would be magnificent!
@Planet of the Deaf @PaddyB A Dalek??? *runs to get the bottle of brain bleach*
1 week, 6 days ago on New Who’s Best Cliffhangers (Part 2)
I'd struggle to put these in an ordered list; they're all good. ;-) I've been a fan for nearly 40 years, and of course cliffhangers were part of the original format -- so it's always a joy to see a good one on the new series! Plus, it means you're going to get a longer story, and the only thing I really dislike about the modern format is the length of the stories. I'm greedy and always want more. ;-)
Personally, I think it would've been much better if they'd added some bafflegab about the creature eating while it was in the shell via some sort of teleportation mechanism, or consuming material from another dimension, or some sort of reverse to Hawking Radiation (the process by which black holes actually can lose mass -- I realize there's no logical direct opposite, but something along those lines). After all, there are creatures who are born pregnant. Aphid reproduction is fascinating, but also a good premise for a horror story, as in addition to being born pregnant, they're also not born out of eggs -- they actually hatch out of their mother, who has no birth canal. Ew.I do give the story props for actually building a plot around lunar mascons. Most people don't even know they exist, but they're why every lunar orbiter (except Clementine and the Apollo spacecraft) has ultimately crashed into the moon. It's impossible to find a stable orbit, because the gravity is so severely uneven. This is why NASA is proposing a space station at an Earth-Moon Lagrange point, rather than actually orbiting the Moon. It's worse than dealing with Earth's atmospheric drag. The mascons are a tremendous navigational hazard, and props to Doctor Who for exploring a remarkable and novel explanation for the Moon's lumpiness.
(Of course, Mercury has significant mascons too, which will soon claim the MESSENGER orbiter; will that planet hatch someday as well?)But the rest really bugged me. I could put up with the spiders; I mean, there actually are large unicellar organisms, in the form of slime molds, so it's not inconceivable. But other stuff....* They had gravity on the space shuttle, before touchdown. During reentry a Shuttle crew does experience significant gee-forces. But this isn't because of gravity, it's because they're plowing into an atmosphere, which is decelerating them. The Moon has no significant atmosphere; they would have been weightless until touchdown, since they were not firing engines at this point and therefore would be experiencing no acceleration relative to the vehicle. Even during an engine burn, they'd only feel a rather modest acceleration. You can see this effect in videos on YouTube taken aboard the ISS during a reboost. The crews enjoy "falling" gently down the long axis of the station during the burn. (You perceive "down" being directly at the engines performing the burn. Since Shuttle's are at the back, if they were doing a burn, "down" would be towards the back wall.)* That brings us immediately to the next problem. Landing a Shuttle on the moon. A belly-landing of a Shuttle Orbiter on Earth is widely considered to be suicidal, and there you've had the advantage of the air to slow you down to a mere 200MPH impact speed and a nice smooth runway. On the Moon you have no such advantage.* Not that they'd really have had to worry -- Shuttle can't reach the Moon anyway. I really don't care what you do to adapt it . . . it's frankly impossible to procure the necessary parts. By 2008, in fact, the termination of Shuttle had become irreversible due to shut-down of the supply chains. It would cost more now to revive the program than it would cost to build an entirely new system. Which is actually the point -- they cancelled Shuttle so they could afford to build an entirely new system for going to the Moon.* And even if you could, Shuttle simply isn't capable of reaching the Moon. It's very massive, and almost all of that mass is useless for reaching the Moon; the main engines that serve as the vehicle's core stage, the landing gear, the wings, etc. Shuttle's operational ceiling is about 400 miles. You'd need to strap a couple of Saturn V's to it to get it to the Moon, which begs the question of why not just send an Apollo? There are extant flight spares of those too.* And once there, you are confronted with a new problem: slowing down. The main engines are useless here, as the fuel is gone; you must rely on the Orbital Maneuvering System, which is the two pods by the tail. The OMS pods can produce a maximum of 300 meters per second of delta-vee assuming a full load of propellants and a large payload. The Apollo CSM could produce a maximum of 2,800 meters per second and the LM's descent engine another 2,500 meters per second. As they approached the Moon, they were going over a thousand meters per second. They will still be going very, very fast when they slam into the Moon and are utterly destroyed.
* Shuttle's interior is *aggressively* inaccurate. The payload bay is not pressurized on the real vehicle, and the door (which opens into the middeck, not the payload bay) is a circular hatch 40 inches across.* These are big nukes when we're talking about destroying a city. But destroying the Moon? They would have done more damage by simply slamming the Orbiter into the Moon, frankly.
* Props for one bit of (semi) accuracy: before they open the hatch, they depressurize the payload bay. We see puffs out the black thingies along the vehicle's sides. These actually exist: they allow pressure to equalize as the vehicle reaches space prior to opening the doors, and again on Earth.
* Props also for the Shuttle team's spacesuits. They finally came up with a spacesuit design that looked good when filmed in an atmosphere (i.e. Lazarote). Pity the TARDIS team are still stuck in those orange suits from "The Impossible Planet" (apparently the Doctor liked them so much, he went back and got more). They're definitely inspired by the Shuttle ACES suit used for ascent and landing, but the loose fabric construction makes it painfully obvious they're not really pressurized.
In the end, I was able to enjoy the story, but I had to beat my suspension of disbelief to death first so it would shut up. I am not sure I could handle repeat viewings without going all MST3K on it. ;-) It's . . . not one that a space geek should watch.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on Sciencey Wiencey: Kill the Moon
@AlessandroArsuffi @agdenby90 They got away with using McGann. ;-) Fox has no rights to the character of the Master, as it was not created for the TV movie but instead dates back to the 1970s. Grace and Chang Lee are a different matter.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on Why A Multi-Master Story Needs to Happen
THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!!
Rather impractical, and possibly ill-advised as they'd probably kill each other, resulting in massive paradoxes, but still, that would be awesome. But what a pity we don't have some of the best Masters to choose from anymore. The only classic Masters we have left are Geoffrey Beevers, who is quite old now, and Eric Roberts, who gets a lot of hate for his performance, though I thought he did fine . . . even with the American accent. ;-)
I would dearly love to see more of Derek Jacobi's Master, though. From before he did the Chameleon Arch thing.
2 weeks, 3 days ago on Why A Multi-Master Story Needs to Happen
@Typo42 "Magic Carrots" @FireplaceGirl I doubt it; I remember the Rani referring to the Revolution as "The American War of Independence". That war was between the colonies and the crown, and resulted in the colonies seceding from the kingdom and forming their own union. (Which took a few tries and a bit of civil war at the same time; it was a messy process.) It was Bluecoats (the American soldiers) versus Redcoats (British soldiers).
The American Civil War started with states seceding from the Union to form a Confederacy, and ended after the Union defeated the Confederacy and readmitted the states into the Union as part of the terms of surrender. There were no Redcoats involved; that was blue (Union) versus gray (Confederacy).
The Revolution was in the late 18th Century, with the War of 1812 as sort of a second act. The Civil War wasn't until the 1860s.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on 12 Great Moments From Last Christmas
@Typo42 "Magic Carrots" @FireplaceGirl Mind you, "Redcoat" isn't just a term the Americans used. If you remember back to the Second Doctor, it's also a term Jamie McCrimmon used. ;-)
@LiamTheFizz @supermoff @the Ultimate Notsosmartguy Wasn't the first thing that came to my mind. First thing that came to my mind was a betrayal. Perhaps as big as cheating, perhaps as small as standing her up for a date. Of course, I also pondered whether he's not a boyfriend; perhaps he's her brother.
@supermoff @Clara Who, The Apprentice I agree too. Elisabeth Sladen often described the companion-Doctor relationship as one where you're traveling with a mad uncle, and I think she's right -- that's the best one. The Doctor is everybody's mad uncle. (And he's worse than everybody's aunt, of course. :-P)
@Grand Fenwick Yeah. These monsters aren't original -- but the strongest concepts are always old ones. Because let's face it, if an idea is really really good, someone else in the past 10,000 years will probably have had it too. ;-) So it's not about orginality. It's about making a story that works and grabs you. Originality helps in the sense that it creates novelty, but if that's all you've got going for you, nobody's going to watch it a second time, after the novelty has worn off. The story has to work, and that's the single most important thing. It's perfectly okay to use the tricks of the past. And when you need to fit it under an hour, you're better off using old tricks; people are familiar with them, so you don't need to spend as much time explaining it to them.
"Dont' think about them" is in many ways the most brilliant of all. It didn't actually occur to me that it's like "don't blink", probably because that phrase wasn't harped on in quite the same motto-like fashion here. Instead, it was part of a combination of things -- don't think about them, don't look at them, they can see through the mental picture you have in your head. And it's particularly insidious, a play on the old yarn about "don't think about a purple elephant." Because of course as soon as that is said, that's exactly what you think about, and the harder you try not to think about it the more you think about it.
The singing, of course, is a classic sci-fi trope for how to defeat telepaths. Babylon 5 fans will remember several instances of it as various characters worked to foil Psi Corps' powerful telepaths. My favorite example from that series was a congregation of "blips" (runaway telepaths) hiding out Downbelow, who know that dreaded Psi Cop Alfred Bester is coming for them, are chanting the words to "Mary Had A Little Lamb" as they prepare their equipment. But that has definitely been topped now by Shona dancing enthusiastically to "Merry Christmas Everyone". ;-)
I do not want Paul McGann coming back in Series 9.
I want him to have his own damn series about the Time War! Yeah, it'll have to be about his adventures before he finally gives up on trying to keep out of it and regenerates into John Hurt, but there have gotta be tons of stories there. I'd love to see that. I want way more McGann than could be condensed into a single guest appearance. ;-)
But I'd settle for the guest appearance. ;-) Or anything, really. McGann is awesome.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on 7 Things I’d Like to See in Series 9
@pats86 Best part about that whole scene: Hurt was the only actor who knew what was about to happen. The other actors had a vague idea, but Ridley Scott left them deliberately in the dark so they'd be genuinely scared out of their minds when all that stuff sprayed all over the place.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Sir War Doctor of TARDIS
It'll be interesting to see where they go with her now. I felt this would be a good place for her to bow out, but I'm fine wiht her staying as well. If nothing else, it is nice for my self-esteem to have a companion who is close to my height. ;-) (I'm 5' 2", and meeting Karen Gillan and Matt Smith at Minneapolis Comic-Con was . . . surreal, because damn, they're actually taller than they look on TV.)
But I would love to see a second companion come on. Go back to that multiple-companion dynamic!
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Are you happy with Clara staying on? Poll Results
@Chris502 39 year old me thinks "Children of Earth" is only *truly* terrifying to parents. It hits an awful lot of parent hot-buttons.
1 month ago on Last Christmas Allegedly “Too scary” for Kids
@MetamorphmagusWho Check out "Revelation of the Daleks" sometime. That's actually where that idea comes from, and it's not the only horrifying thing we meet in there.
1 month ago on 51 Years Later: 5 Ways to Make the Daleks Menacing Again
I like what Moffatt said about how yes, it's scary, but it also gives kids the Doctor so they know they don't have to be scared anymore because he'll save the day. It's like that old quote from G. K. Chesterton (I think): "Fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist but because they tell us that they can be beaten."
@Snakeblood14 Of course it'll be a play on words. But that would be true whether it refers to a companion or not. ;-)
1 month ago on First Series 9 Title Revealed
@Old Bull Lee I don't see Clara as having a depressing home life. She's actually got quite a good home life. The depressing part is she never seems to appreciate it properly.
I can't help but think of hordes of unstoppable broomsticks slopping water into a cauldron when I think of that title, and a bassoon playing a jaunty little melody, while a frantic mouse attempts to stop them. ;-) I know it's not exactly the same title, but hey, the original is German (and the music is French) so it seems fair.
With the Doctor's current costume described as "magician", I could definitely see this implying a new companion. Intriguing!
@alonsys wants Clara to be in Series 9! @ahunter8056 I'm curious -- what makes the title sound "fanmade"? I mean, it's not like Dr Who has a reputation for highbrow titles in the first place; they range from useless to ridiculously melodramatic. And honestly, the title? There's great literature by that title. "Der Zauberlehrling", by Goethe.
It's more typically translated as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", and the Paul Dukas symphony "L'apprentice sorcier" shows up in Disney's "Fantasia". But you could just as easily translate it as "The Magician's Apprentice".
@Planet of the Deaf @DrMalcolmT How about a male companion who is strong but not a chauvinist? ;-)
1 month, 1 week ago on 4 Different Types of Companions Doctor Who Should Consider
@Typo42 Sceptic of ROSE Not the best? Douglas Adams wrote two of my very favorite stories: "The Pirate Planet" and "City of Death". (The latter under a pseudonym as it was not done in those days for the script editor to write a story.) He wrote fantastic stories for Dr Who. But he was a terrible editor. Part of that was the time factor -- it was the height of "Hitchhiker's" as well so he was massively overcommitted, which is especially bad coming from a chronic procrastinator. But I think another part is that he's just not a good editor. He needs an editor, someone to urge him in the right direction; he's not the right person to be urging other people. You need someone who isn't a procrastinator for that. ;-)
1 month, 1 week ago on No Series 9 Story for Neil Gaiman
@SonicTheHedgehogRules @Whogasms knows THAT MISSY TELEPORTED, NOT DIED! You do know that "Nightmare in Silver" is meant to take place later in their timeline than those other stories, right?
@Hirmien @The Unseen Potato They're traditional here too, at least in some families. Fruits in the stocking are de rigeur in my family, and we're not English at all. The most popular choices are apples and citrus fruit, particularly tangerines or clementines.
1 month, 1 week ago on Last Christmas New Clip
Osgood is definitely dead? Well. Then we just have to hope we get Zygon-Osgood later. ;-)
Meanwhile, since the Moff lies and he's suggested that Orson is more like a great-nephew or something rather than a grandson, can we assume that means he's definitely *not* a great-nephew or something? :-D
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Moffat on Orson Pink Mystery
@Fine. MrRazza, RACCOONite, has put a Xmas hat on. I agree, but I still like Osgood and will cling to any chance of her impossible survival just out of cheek. :-P
I don't think that's a big Clara clue. It could quite easily just mean her time so far. I suspect she is leaving, and Christmas would be a grandiose time to do it, but I'm not going to go into the episode with any assumptions. ;-)
1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Last Christmas Details & Big Clara Clue?
@divya12 Remember, she said much the same thing when folks were talking about Oswin and Clara being the same character. ;-) By saying it's "news to her" she is actually neither confirming nor denying....
Okay, I know when I'm gonna be taking the family to England now. ;-)
1 month, 2 weeks ago on BBC Theme Park Set to Feature Doctor Who
@ilyootha, agent of C.L.A.R.A. @joe4 @pats86 I'd also like to know which of his traits are "specifically male", because honestly, I can't think of any.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Moffat: Gender is Fluid on Gallifrey
@pats86 @ElyotWren You judge the Doctor on his past and his family? You do realize we actually still know very little of both, right? ;-)
@ElyotWren @Colta Yeah, people keep talking like it's new, but the whole reason Moffatt cast Joanna Lumley as the 13th Doctor in "Curse of Fatal Death" was an injoke -- she was the one repeatedly rumored as the next Doctor throughout most of JNT's tenure as producer.
@pats86 @Colta I think they were already planning to bring the Master back before he got the idea of using her. He'd wanted to cast her as another character, remember (almost certainly Karabraxos), but she was busy? And then he realized he could still use her because he still needed to find someone to play the Master for the finale.
@Shane Michaels That's why you shouldn't do it for that reason -- to top yourself. Never get into that game. It's madness. If the right actress comes along, that's when and why they should do it.
@Doctor Ben They didn't really give him very many options, though. And I would suspect that it is most common to keep one's gender, but by no means mandatory.
@Typo42 Sceptic of ROSE *laughs* I could see him dying in a exploding brothel. :-D However, we don't have a clear mechanism for him becoming a woman, and since it's established his body can rebuild itself from being blown into extremely small pieces, I think even reassignment surgery would be futile as his body would try to undo it.
I am unsure about the Face of Boe thing. On the one hand, the dialog definitely hinted that way, and the cast seem to be taking it as canon, but on the other, we have an interview with RTD claiming that he meant it as a joke rather than seriously. So I sit on the fence on that until the series clarifies. ;-)
"Mum Paula Reily said online that complicated plots and the new slot
suggested the BBC no longer thought of the show as being for children."
"Mum Paula Reily", if indeed she exists, does her own children a grave disservice if she thinks they can't handle complicated plots. People underestimate children all the time, but they're quite capable of grasping complicated things. In a wonderful interview on the audiobook CD for "The Wolves in the Walls", Neil Gaiman said that he finds writing for children more rewarding than writing for adults, but he also finds it harder. Adults are actually more forgiving of things you didn't explain well enough, while children notice the errors, and can't be expected to just get references to other things. You can't just say something's like the atmosphere in "Alien", for instance. You have to actually go and recreate that atmosphere from scratch.
Kids are complicated, and kids are smart. I would like Paula Reily to read "Hogfather" sometime, or watch the TV adaptation, which was pretty faithful to it. There's a little girl who wants a sword and an army for Hogswatch, and Death, temporarily filling the role of Hogfather, dutifully provides both. The girl's mother is horrified, as it's not a suitable gift for a girl, and anyway, it's dangerous.
IT'S EDUCATIONAL, Death tells her.
"But she could cut herself!"
THEN IT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT LESSON.
The real Hogfather's sleigh has shown up in a department store, you see, crushing the adorable and sparkly fake one that was there before under a sleigh hewn from massive oaks and drawn by a team of huge, hairy, hideous boars. One of which relieves itself, to the enormous delight of the children. ;-) Kids can enjoy the light, fluffy, harmless stuff, but they can sink their teeth better into deeper, more complicated stuff. Kids aren't some sort of helpless larva that mainly needs coddling and protection; they're people, and I think folks like Paula Reily forget that sometimes.
That said, I do wish Dr Who ran earlier in the day. BBC America does run repeats at 10AM Eastern/9AM Central, which is a very good time for kids who are either homeschooled or on break. But the new episodes generally run at 9PM Eastern/8PM Central on Saturday night. That's prime time for grownups, but difficult for younger kids. Our local PBS affiliate used to do the same thing, running it much too late in the evenings, though for about five glorious years, they ran it twice a day on Saturday and once on Sunday!
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Series 8 Is A “Ratings Flop” (Apparently)
@DaftDalek is Robocop, the original one I wanted to be a Zarbi for Halloween....
1 month, 3 weeks ago on William Hartnell: The Beginning, End and In-Between
@Status: Stuck in the vortex In fairness, this is about who was the Doctor who grabbed you and made you a fan, and the only one with a shorter list of televised stories was McGann. Colin Baker simply had less opportunity, and that's entirely the BBC's fault, for breaking his contract.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Who is YOUR Doctor? The Results
@RobertHancock People who started watching the new Doctors aren't "fair weather fans". They're *young*. Well, young to me. (Get offa my lawn, you young'uns!!!!)
Matt Smith himself had not grown up a fan, as he was only seven when it went off the air. And here in the States, it just didn't have much penetration. A few PBS stations, usually running it at odd hours . . . Sci-Fi Channel (before it became "SyFy") ran it for a year or so, next to "Dark Shadows", but that was the only nationwide broadcast of it in the 20th Century, other than the Fox/Universal telemovie, which wasn't very well promoted, ran mid-season, and didn't get picked up in a series.
And that was 1996. It's 2014. A person born when McGann first graced our television sets would be 18 now. If the typical age for becoming a Whovian is 15-25, then the typical new Whovian was born after the classic series was cancelled.
@Benjamin Bradley Dude! I totally missed that was him in the clip! I was thinking "gosh, this guy looks really familiar, and I'm thinking he's been on Who before but I can't place him...." *laughs* And I do know what he looks like without the prosthetics. I'm just dense.
2 months ago on 2014 Christmas Special Titled
@Deus_Ex_Machina I dunno; tangerines (or, lately, clementines) are a popular Christmas stocking item in Minnesota, or at least they are in my family, and I have precisely zero English* heritage, so I got the joke. (I didn't get the satsuma thing in "The Christmas Invasion", until I looked up what a satsuma is and said, "oh, you mean like a clementine".)
*Some Scottish. Was mostly raised in a Scandinavian background, though. Maybe Scandinavians like tangerines too? I don't know. They're better than the lutefisk, I can tell you that!
2 months ago on “Last Christmas” Promo Art
@the666thdoctor I agree too. It's the right time, storywise, but also although I do enjoy the occasional fake-out or surprise, you can't be doing that all the time. It gets tiresome to always be pranked, and it becomes, well, not a surprise anymore.
2 months ago on Last Christmas: Short Synopsis