This Week in Geek (2-8/07/07)

Buys

Only a couple purchases this week: Slings & Arrows Season 3 came out, the last in this most excellent Canadian series, and the cycle ends with King Lear (see "Accomplishments" for more). And to get my Amazon package to the level where I didn't need to pay shipping & handling, I added Priscilla, Queen of the Desert to the mix. Hey, it's Terrance Stamp and Hugo Weaving playing drag queens.

"Accomplishments"

Warcraft news: Lynda with a Y's ascendancy is proceeding apace, going from level 54 to 56 this week, and I only really played 3 nights. She's quick that one, even though she got caught in the worst babble-a-thon ever. But hey, if all I need to do to get the XP is stand there and listen to NPCs shoot the breeze...
...well, I can always stick my nose in an actual book, can't I? After finishing the somewhat plodding Byzantium! last week, I was ready for something a little lighter, and the New Who books fit the bill. They're extremely quick reads. The only I had left unread was The Resurrection Casket by Justin Richards whose other books in the range were very ordinary, so this was a surprise. An actually quite fun adventure starring Rose and the 10th Doctor, though shamelessly ripping off Treasure Island. Since I hadn't read Stevenson's classic in decades, it didn't bother me none. Richards has a better grasp of the principals' characterization here, though he's still a bit keen on big twists and badly choreographed action scenes. Still, it's his best effort yet, and easily read in under 2 days.

So I jumped into the New Adventures novel Birthright by Nigel Robinson. The rough thing about the New Adventures which continued the story after Classic Who collapsed is that it seems like every great book is followed by a sucky one. Since Shadowmind was kinda sucky, Birthright had to be good, right? Well, it was actually excellent. This is really Benny's book and I can totally see how she's become one of the greatest companions ever without ever appearing on tv. She and adult Ace carry the novel with the Doctor pulling the strings in the background. The TARDIS is actually a bigger character than he is, but his presence is felt throughout. Very mysterious, I loved it, and it didn't take much more time than Resurrection Casket did. Of course now the next book in the series will suck.

But that doesn't mean I neglected my own Doctor Who tie-in, crafting 11 new cards for the WhoCCG from The Daleks. And in CCG company fashion, I decided to create variants using pictures from the Peter Cushing film "Doctor Who and the Daleks". Oooh, look at the pretty colors!
(The pleasure of running a fake game company is that I don't have to be a dick about it. The variants are in the uncommon slot, so only about as rare as a rare card, not "ultra-rare". No Future Enteprises for me!)

DVD selections: It was a Scorsese kind of week. I started things out by flipping The Departed. An engaging story and some good performances, though the Oscar buzz is hogwash. It's good, but nowhere near as genius as Raging Bull or Goodfellas. But it was such a joke by now that Scorsese didn't have a golden statue, they had to do it at the earliest possible opportunity. Which was kinda The Aviator, wasn't it? Ah well. The supporting actor nomination for Mark Wahlberg mystifies me a lot more. It's one of his usual expressionless performances. Maybe they're giving a nod to his character, which I thought over-rated. I was most surprised by Leonardo DiCaprio, whose films I have been avoiding. Maybe it's time I revised that. It was certainly his first performance I ever enjoyed. Jack Nicholson seems to trot out his Joker every time he plays a bad guy, so whatever. I'll keep my thoughts on the brain-blowing finale for DVD Tales.

From latest to earliest, I then flipped Mean Streets, his first landmark film. Still has some shocking direction today, even though a lot of films have copied off of it since then. I'm sure it was a complete revelation at the time. The commentary track is interesting, but totally disconnected from the movie. It's basically a long interview you could listen to with your eyes closed. This is too bad, because I really want to hear about certain specific choices, but that's just how Scorsese rolls. Goodfellas is much the same. A good indie film - with some dodgy dubbing - that's a bit bleak, but good on characters.

And finally, there's Slings & Arrows Season 3, the final arc in "the comedy about drama". The New Burbage Festival takes on King Lear, and though there's a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, it breaks your heart something fierce. Let me just qualify it thus: I immediately started rereading King Lear, a play that I never connected with before. Maybe I was too young, maybe I still am. But while it's a perfect little three-season mini-series, I do with there were more.

But that's it for me this week, kids!

2 comments:

Bill said...

I read most of the New Adventure Doctor Who novels when they came out. Your reviews would inspire me to reread them but I sold them all off years ago. Instead I've picked up some of the Virgin novels I missed and started checking out the Big Finish audio adventures.

Birthright isn't bad, but they never do explain who Muldwych is supposed to be, which really bugged me.

Your next NA, Iceberg, got mixed reviews back when it was published. I thought some well done continuity-wank helped it overcome a weak plot myself.

Siskoid said...

Thanks Bill.

I'm actually reading through all the book and audio series - the ones I have anyway - since I missed them the first time around.

Muldwych is supposed to be the Doctor's Merlin persona, but my sources seem to indicate that this wasn't explicitly said in the novels (but accepted by relevant authors). On first reading, I would prefer him to be the Meddling Monk in a later incarnation. Would seem to fit. Doesn't matter, I guess, could be any Time Lord, though the mystery is built for nothing.

Iceberg looks a little better than its reputation, though I'm gonna read some non-Who fiction before getting to it. Just got a pile of Couplands today...

 

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