This Week in Geek (23-29/08/10)

BuysLookee here! Got myself action figures of all 11 Doctors! They're all in there, from Hartnell to Smith! Smith is particularly adorable with his awesome bow-leggedness. I've got a ton of Tennants already (he was in a number of sets), but this is the only one with, all at once, the brown coat, the blue suit, and the glasses. You can see how they mix and match variants there.


DVDs: My foray into the Buffyverse continues apace as I flipped Season 4 this week. It's an odd one, which Whedon acknowledges in the extras, that can be frustrating for viewers. I understand what they're trying to do with the first college year, with friends drifting apart, the clash of institutional philosophies (science) versus one's own (magic), and the alienation of going from top dog in high school to total noob in college. And while I think the arc is ultimately satisfying, it an be troubling to go through those things with the characters. Buffy is less empowered, the Scoobie gang is fragmented and the Initiative sits uneasily in Sunnydale. Xander and Giles are particularly aimless, but the season isn't. It does suffer from schizophrenia though, producing both the creepiest villains (the Gentlemen) and the lamest (Adam, which never worked for me). So yes, the show only awkwardly weathers the transition from teen to young adult, but that's kind of the point. There's some awesome stuff in there, from Hush to Superstar to the beautiful dreamy finale. I'm a fan. The DVD includes good commentaries on selected episodes and as usual, strong featurettes. It does bug me that they spoil major plot points for whatever season they're actually working on while being interviewed though. Think of the DVD-only public!

On Kung Fu Friday, we found Asian superstars Michelle Yeoh, Tony Leung and Donnie Yen somewhat wasted in Butterfly Sword, a dynamic, but awkwardly edited and shot, wuxia comedy. Not to be taken seriously, while it can be confusing, it at least doesn't overstay its welcome at less than an hour and a half. And the exploding bodies climax is genuinely funny. I mean, if you like that sort of thing. The print is not particularly clean. The DVD includes a commentary with the same experts as last week's Dragon Tiger Gate, but this time, they're rather positive, talking a lot more about kung fu cinema in general than the film specifically. But it's interesting.

Books: Gary Russell has a problem (some would say) with continuity. He enjoys it too much and liberally doses his stories with things most readers aren't even aware of, including elements from other novels, comic strips and audios. How does he fare in the New Series line, where continuity really isn't encouraged? Very well, actually! Beautiful Chaos DOES have a returning monster from the classic series, and there's a paragraph that mentions the monster's extra-canonical appearances, but it's fleeting. Though the plot is pretty standard possession/end of the world stuff (I've read it's almost the same as his Business Unusual), Russell shines through his character development of Donna and her family (Wilf and Sylvia). The affecting domestic scenes almost make it essential reading for New Series fans, as they act as something of a goodbye for Donna, and actually add detail to her family dynamics (though Sylvia's bits are repetitive). Russell's cheeky narration also helps make this a fun read. Color me pleasantly surprised.

RPGs: Just finished playing our first game of Savage Worlds/Evernight in two weeks and had the gall to end it on a cliffhanger. I felt this session hit the right balance of talking through situations, combat, discovery and looting. At one point, I did what I promised myself I would earlier this summer - if a fight was overwhelmingly going in the players' favor, I would skip to the end and say they won after hours of slaying. I just didn't think playing out each encounter in a veritable nest of spiders was going to do anything but kill precious time. Glad to see the players went with it, no problem. One thing that's taking an unusually strong role in the game is religion/faith. Not only has it become important to be in the good graces of the local temple, but the characters have been very good about burying the bodies of found victims, something which was rewarded with spirit reinforcements this week.

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: Started the Reality Unbound expansion with 9 cards from Battlefield. More to come during the week.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
I.v. Swearing Oaths - Fodor '07
I.v. Swearing Oaths - Tennant '09
I.v. Swearing Oaths - Classics Illustrated


Austin Gorton said...

As much as I love Hush, Restless is probably my favorite episode of season four. It's oddly prescient of things to come, too (both intentionally and unintentionally, in some cases).

After finishing each subsequent season, go back and watch Restless again. Each time, you'll find a new bit of foreshadowing in it. It's pretty nifty.


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