Geek Stuff · TV Stuff

Changing faces

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium, waiting to go and take our seats to watch the Para Athletics (more on that tomorrow when I've got my thoughts in order) when this video finally went live

While I was waiting for the video to load I felt so nervous, there had been so much discussion about the fact that this time might actually be the time when we got a female cast in the role of Doctor but I couldn't bring myself to believe that might be the case. I was so delighted when it started playing and it became clearer and clearer that the Doctor was indeed being played by a woman and the reveal that the lucky lady who gets to write history is Jodie Whittaker.

As expected there are choruses of disappointment and anger over the move to cast a female in the role. I'm choosing to focus instead on the many voices saying that this development is going to bring them back to the show, or is going to be the step that makes them finally start watching it after years of disinterest. With regards to those negative voices though I love this post by excellent author Susie Day that is aimed at young people but speaks really to fans of any age.

I'm really looking forward to seeing where this next regeneration of The Doctor takes the story. With every new Doctor comes a shift of everything, a new beginning nestled inside the richest of histories, this 13th (or 14th or 15th depending on your personal take on the show's canon) face of The Doctor is surely going to take us on yet another incredible adventure.

TV Stuff

Happy 20th Buffy!

Today is the 2oth anniversary of the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer airing. That seems like such a huge amount of time ago, I can’t believe it. And yet I was a teenager when I first started watching so clearly it is. It seemed like I couldn’t let today go without mentioning Buffy, it was such a huge love of mine from as soon as I started watching.

Buffy was one of my first, properly geeky loves. It was one of my gateways to fandom, one of the first things that I truly loved in a more than mildly obsessive manner. It was my first proper introduction to the joys of the expanded universe:


Buffy was also my first introduction to the wonder that is an ensemble cast – while the show was about her it was also about the people around her. To this day so many of my favourite things involve teams or groups of people working together, finding their way through whatever they’re facing together, finding family even where there is no blood connection.

Better people than me have written wonderful posts about Buffy and what the show means. This one by Sarra Manning and this one from Giles himself are just two of the many I’ve read today and enjoyed.

Buffy made me jump, made me laugh, made me cry. There are far too many moments that mean something to be able to start listing them and have the list even scratch the surface. That said, I have to mention Anya’s speech in The Body – the whole episode is incredible but that moment is something else. I wanted to include something lighter though, so here’s a scene from Hush, one that still ranks up there as one of my favourites.

TV Stuff

I’m back home tonight after a wonderful few days in Dorset visiting some of my absolute, most favourite people. I’m entirely worn out now, but very happy and content. Part of being worn out means I don’t have anything particular to blog about tonight so instead a video I saw for the first time (I think) this weekend while watching Sesame Street with my friends’ boys – it made me laugh loads.

TV Stuff

Favourite for a Friday.

Today feels like the sort of day where I should be saying something bigger than I feel I can coherently manage. World news, the beginning of a new era, I genuinely don’t feel like I have the words for everything I’m feeling and thinking.

Instead, I thought I’d think happy thoughts and share a new favourite with you. Friends had been recommending One Day at a Time to me – it’s a Netflix remake of an American sitcom from the 70s/80s. It follows three generations of a Cuban-American family; a single mother, her children and her mother. 

Last night’s Netflix viewing was back to back episodes.

It’s super funny, it’s poignant and emotional, it’s sharp and it’s thought provoking. Rita Moreno steals many a scene as Lydia, the grandmother, but all of the core cast are brilliant. I’m a little over halfway through the series and torn between wanting to watch all of the rest of it immediately and wanting to save it and make it last.

Music · TV Stuff

A Life That’s Good.

I’m a huge fan of the NBC drama Nashville – anything that gives me a weekly dose of country music is a good thing in my book. The various albums of music from the show are regularly my background music of choice, today I spotted one on Spotify that I hadn’t seen before – Nashville – On the Record. I clicked onto it and seeing it was all live tracks started listening.

Other than enjoying the fact the tracks were live versions of songs I loved I didn’t give it too much thought until it reached track 8 – A Life That’s Good. I loved this song the first time it appeared in the show, and was very pleased to see it pop back up again and again in different episodes. The different voices that featured singing this song made me wonder if there was a video from the performance, I wanted to see exactly who was included. A quick search showed that yes indeed there was video:

I also noticed there are a number of videos of the entire broadcast, Nashville – On the Record was a special devoted to the music from the show. I haven’t watched it yet but will be doing so in the next couple of days, sadly I can’t find any information to suggest that the special will be shown here in the UK so YouTube will have to be the next best thing. In the mean time I have more to do so might just hit play again on the album!

Geek Stuff · TV Stuff

A pair of pilots.

Over the weekend I watched two pilot episodes for genre shows from The CW. I already watch a few genre series made by The CW – Supernatural, Arrow, and The Tomorrow People. I did watch the first season of The Vampire Diaries and a few seasons of Smallville, though looking at the list of dramas both past and present I’ve never watched anything non- genre. I always look with interest at the list of new shows coming from The CW, both Star-Crossed and The 100 sounded like they might be my sort of shows. Having now watched both pilots I thought I’d talk about what I thought of them.

Here’s a bit about both shows:

StarCrossedSet in the near-future, the series follows a romance between a human girl and an alien boy when he and six others of his kind are integrated into a suburban high school.

The 100
The100The series is set 97 years after a devastating nuclear war. The only survivors were residents of several space stations that were orbiting the Earth at the onset of the war. These space stations banded together to form a massive one called “The Ark”. Resources are scarce and all crimes are punishable by death unless the one who committed the crime was under 18 years of age. Despite this, a hundred juvenile residents, convicted of what would have been relatively minor crimes and misdemeanors on pre-war Earth, are now considered “expendable” and are sent on a mission to test if Earth’s surface has become habitable again.

So when are they?
Both shows start with the inevitable exposition, letting us learn that both stories are set in the future, Star-Crossed in 2024 and The 100 an undefined 97 years after a nuclear war (so likely to be 2111 or later). I wasn’t entirely convinced by the near future setting of Star-Crossed but the much more futuristic time frame for The 100 worked pretty well.

Who hates who?
There is clear conflict established in both shows. Star-Crossed is giving us the Romeo and Juliet -esque “us and them” with the humans and aliens in direct opposition, whilst The 100 favors a more dystopian approach with shady seeming adults trying to worm their way into political control and the teens the potential victims of a generally poor situation.

And the love?
From the pilots Star-Crossed is definitely taking the lead romantically. Human girl Emery and alien boy Roman have a past, and it looks like they’re destined for one another. So of course that’s not going to go well.The 100 pilot is much lighter on the love side of things, we have a minor character trying to become a ladies man but our female lead Eliza isn’t too obviously keen on any of the boys she’s surrounded by.

Are they pretty?
It’s The CW. I think it’s written into their constitution that they have to cast pretty girls and pretty boys. The ensemble size means The 100 might just have the edge in this respect, but I did find there were just a couple too many boys with floppy dark hair and got confused about which one was which.

Any diversity going on?
Both shows actually have cast members with either a disability or major health issue, though my gut is telling me that at least one of these characters isn’t going to last very long. There are characters of colour in both shows but it’s not clear yet whether there are any non-straight characters.

Worth continuing with?
Of the two shows Star-Crossed has the edge for me so far, purely because it ticks a few more of the boxes on my “Things I love in TV series” boxes. Both pilots though did plenty to make me tune in again, The CW hasn’t always been particularly good at hooking me in with pilots so I’m hoping this is a good sign for what’s to come.

What about everyone else?
I asked Liz to have a little look at this post, I know she’s watched both pilots too. She made a couple of really interesting points she’s happy for me to share. Firstly she’s seen plenty of chatter about Star-Crossed on Tumblr but not much for The 100, once she pointed this out I realised my online experience was the same. Twice as many episodes of Star-Crossed have aired so far, this may have something to do with it – I get the idea The 100 bit be a slightly slower burner too.

She also commented on the different focus – Star-Crossed looks like it will have a smaller cast and focus on the teens whilst The 100 has a bigger ensemble and is focusing on the full age range of society. I think this is an interesting point, within a few episodes I think the two shows may well fall into very different camps and will appeal to quite different groups of viewers.

I’m looking forward to seeing how both shows unfold. I have a definite preference at the moment but I am interested to see how I’ll feel by the end of the season. Both have 13 episode runs, plenty of time for my feelings to change completely!

Geek Stuff · TV Stuff

TV Boyfriends – the update.

Last February I took part in Fluttering Butterflies’ Love Month, writing a post about my various TV boyfriends – the men I love most of all in my favourite tv shows, the ones I wish would appear in real life and whisk me away to somewhere nice. It was a real joy to write, and it was well received – always pleasing. When I was at the Asylum convention (this focuses on Supernatural) the subject came up, and I decided I ought to update the post in light of the number of new TV shows I was watching. The original 2012 list contained 6 names, I’m afraid this new list is a little longer… a nice round 10 to be precise.

In no particular order (I decided to write this post in May, if I’d had to order it then it would have been next May before I’d have written it), here’s the list. All of these characters are included based on their appearance in the 2012/13 season of their respective shows.

To start off with, we have the returners.

Eliot Spencer (Leverage, played by Christian Kane)
Former military man turned mercenary turned good guy, Eliot provides the physical power behind the Leverage team. A true southern gent with a big heart, there’s nothing Eliot won’t do for his nearest and dearest.

Dean Winchester (Supernatural, played by Jensen Ackles)
Dean evolves with every season of Supernatural, season 8 saw yet more growth and character rounding (with no physical rounding going on). The core of Dean Winchester remains the same – he’s a gruff exteriored, warm, loyal to a fault man prepared to put himself on the line to save his nearest and dearest.

Steve McGarrett (Hawaii Five-0, played by Alex O’Loughlin)
Steve heads up the specialist police task force, using the skills he developed as a Navy SEAL. He has only a cursory care for doing things the right way, he’s far more focused on doing the right thing. He’s snarky and strong minded but has a mellower, softer side when it’s most important.

Neal Caffrey (White Collar, played by Matt Bomer)
Art forger and con man turned FBI confidential informant there’s much to love about the vintage tailoring clad Neal Caffrey. Whilst he’s gone good he hasn’t turned that leaf over entirely – he uses his smarts both for good and for his own gain.

And then we get onto the newbies.

Jon Snow (Game of Thrones, played by Kit Harrington)
“You know nothing Jon Snow”. Well he may know nothing but that doesn’t stop Jon from standing up for what is right. After a difficult start his move north has allowed him to find his feet, and of course as this is Game of Thrones find himself in perilous situation after perilous situation. Jon is loyal to a fault, fighting for his family and friends whenever needed.

John Diggle (Arrow, played by David Ramsey)
Acting publicly as bodyguard to Oliver Queen and secretly as right hand man to the Arrow, Diggle is kept busy and faces down danger on a day to day basis. He’s a voice of reason and willing confidante whenever he’s needed to be, and as a bonus he’s always willing to take part in training montages.

Tim Gutterson (Justified, played by Jacob Pitts)
I have a real weakness for smart mouthed sharp shooters and Deputy Marshall Tim Gutterson certainly fits the bill. Whilst many would choose Timothy Oliphant’s Raylan Givens I, far more interested in the quiet, snarky blonde. After 4 seasons we still don’t know much about Tim, but each glimpse we get into this former Army Ranger sniper makes me want to know more and more.

Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead, played by Norman Reedus)
What a difference a zombie apocalypse makes! Daryl Dixon has emerged from the shadow of uber bigoted big brother Merle to become an integral part of Rick Grimes’ group of survivors. This motorbike riding, crossbow wielding, quiet man is reliable, focused and exactly the kind of person you want fighting in your corner when it all goes wrong.

Derek Hale (Teen Wolf, played by Tyler Hoechlin)
Ah, Derek Hale. Brooding, sad, growly werewolf Derek Hale. Teen Wolf has no shortage of attractive actors but as most of them are portraying high school students it would be entirely inappropriate to consider them for this list (but I’ll happily mention they exist). Derek has made some really poor decisions over the first 2 and a half seasons, but generally they’ve been for the best of decisions. If only he could master the art of using his words a little more… as long as it didn’t cut the number of brooding stares we get to see.

Kelly Severide (Chicago Fire, played by Taylor Kinney)
Lieutenant of a rescue squad in the Chicago Fire Department (and yet another former Army Ranger – that’s three former members of elite armed forces and a couple whose military history is a little less clear on the list) Kelly Severide is, on the face of things, the quintessential ladies man. Underneath it though we get to see a far more thoughtful, respectful man. His father was the love ’em and leave ’em rogue and Kelly is determined not to be like him. He’s a wonderful friend, and always tries to do the best by everyone.

So there’s the 2013 update to my list, it’s interesting (to me at least) to see that whilst the 10 characters are all very different there are many similar traits amongst them. They may all look and behave differently (though yes there are many pairs of very attractive arms on this list… and many characters who don’t wear shirts as often as they maybe should…) but they share a number of characteristics I valour most highly.

With many of the series already into their 2013/14 seasons I know already there are going to be a couple of changes coming to the list – I’ll try and do it a little earlier next year. I may even ask a couple of friends to contribute their lists.

Book Stuff · Geek Stuff · TV Stuff

Lost in Space.

I’ve been trying to blog for over a week now, I went last Saturday to see The Effect at the National Theatre and it was just so good that every time I try to blog about it I get completely and utterly stuck. So I’m going to put that off until at least tomorrow and instead ask you lovely people a question.

I’m going to Starfury’s Serenity Forever convention in September, a 10th anniversary celebration of Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. I really love both shows so am looking forward to the convention, and am getting myself organised to rewatch both series over the next few months. I had this gorgeous book


as a birthday present, it’s over 500 pages of scripts and facts and stories, so that will add lots to my preparation.

It’s left me thinking though about the fiction I read. I can’t remember the last book I read that was set in space, and this is something I want to change. This is where you come in – I’d love recommendations of books set in space, whether wholly or partly set on spaceships, it doesn’t matter whether they’re new books or classics, MG (aimed at 8 – 12 year olds), YA or adult, I just want to pull together a list of books I can read and enjoy. So please leave me a comment with your suggestion.

Book Stuff · Films · TV Stuff

My 2012 Favourites.

I thought this year instead of doing seperate best of 2012 list posts I’d do one consolidated post – my favourite books that I’ve read, films and tv shows I’ve watched this year. Each list is in no particular order, I’m afraid I’m not prepared to spend the next week arguing with myself about ranking the list entries! It’s been a pretty wonderful year for all of these things, there were so many that nearly made the list but had to give way for something I simply couldn’t omit.

My Books of 2012.

1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

2. Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne

3. Hollow Pike by James Dawson

4. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (Hounded, Hexed and Hammered)

5. Department 19 and Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill

6. Kiss, Date, Love, Hate by Luisa Plaja

7. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

8. Saving June by Hannah Harrington

9. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

10. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

My Films of 2012.

1. Avengers Assemble

2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

3. Dark Knight Rises

4. The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists

5. Magic Mike

6. Lawless

7. Premium Rush

8. 21 Jump Street
9. Looper
10. The Intouchables

My TV Shows of 2012.

1. The Walking Dead

2. Doctor Who

3. Sons of Anarchy


4. Leverage

5. Chicago Fire

6. Merlin

7. Southland


8. Sherlock

9. Castle

10. Elementary

What were your favourites this year?