Saturday, July 24, 2010

HomeCast for July 22 and a Doctor Who Review

This week's HomeCast includes an update on what you will--and won't--find at The Mall, a recap of new game announcements and tips for new users on expressing yourself through typing.

Download HomeCast and listen at your leisure. (Right-click and "Save As.")

Music Players and Doctor Who
I discovered that the very basic player I'm using lacks a volume control and doesn't work on the PS3. I'm looking for something SIMPLE that will add these features. Tdarb was kind enough to suggest a Yahoo player, but the documentation scares me. Got a suggestion? Leave it in the Comments.

And with apologies to Home Community Specialist Locust_Star, I couldn't fit my Doctor Who commentary into this week's HomeCast, so I've decided to post it here. This contains very minor spoilers for the last epsiode, so don't read it until you've watched. You've been warned.

Spoliers down here. I'm not kidding.

Look, you've waited this long to watch it. Don't spoil it now.

Final warning.

Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat's decision to have The Doctor save himself from The Pandorica is a deus ex machina that doesn't sit well with some viewers, but it caps off a bold first season in which Moffat showed just how well he understands the mechanics of television.

For several weeks now, the idea has been building that every episode of Matt Smith's first outing as The Doctor has been connected; now we see that this was all part of Moffat's brilliant design.

When The Eleventh Hour debuted back in April, it was impossible to avoid comparisons between Smith's Doctor and David Tennant's. For many fans of the new series, Tenant is and will continue to be The Doctor, leaving Smith with a very difficult act to follow.

Every aspect of the first few episodes has been dissected, from the theme to the camera angles to the new iDaleks. Such short-term criticism can get in the way of long-term appreciation, and this is where Moffat's first season reveals its genius.

By taking us back to that first night when Amelia Pond met The Doctor, and by letting us know that there are telling details spread across the entire season, Moffat has invited us to go back and look again, not with a critical eye, but with an eye toward enjoying one of the more complex story arcs of the new Who series. Now that we know Smith's Doctor, we can see his character unfold across the season, bringing a new appreciation for those episodes that may have been lost in the early, post-Tennant and Russel T. Davies days.

Just as The Doctor saves himself from the trap laid by his most fearsome enemies, Moffat saves us, the audience, from the prison of our own expectations.

There have been some bumps along the way. The early episodes lack the drama and action that Davies and Tennant brought to the series, and the intimate camera angles that Davies favored certainly fit the pace and style of the show better than the wide, sometimes vacant shots that Moffat prefers.

Despite these flawas, the transition from one Doctor to the next has never been handled so well. Episodes like Vincent and The Doctor are instant classics, and Moffat and Smith have proven that they are the rightful heirs to the deeply entertaining universe that Tennant and Davies built.

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