The Sun's Shadow

Stumbling to find a light switch in the dark

The End of Time Part II and Long Death of the 10th Doctor

************* SPOILERS BELOW***************

 

This final episode of Doctor Who with the 10th Doctor feels more like 2 stories, the first 45 minutes being the conclusion of the end of time, and the last half hour being the long death of the 10th doctor. We’ve known this episode was coming for a long time, the expectation level was set supremely high, and to be honest it did not meet the expectation, however I have doubts that the expectation could have ever been met since I never really knew what my expectation was. I had re-watched all the regenerations of the previous Doctors over the course of this past year so there was just enormous build up to the final episodes of the 10th Doctor. 

The End of Time:  This seems RTD’s attempt to wrap up as many loose threads as possible. The Big focus is the time war, and what happened to the Time Lords and Gallifrey? The episode opens on Gallifrey the Citadel of the Time Lords smoldering in ruins, with smashed Dalek ships strewn about. The last day of the Time Lords. There is a lot play with prophecy, destiny, and coincidence.  The Time Lords we see here are not the Time Lords we have known, they are very different, I guess we did know that since they did decide to interfere and engage in the war with the Daleks. However they have become like the Daleks, they become the biggest threat to the Universe. In fact the plan to end time is very similar to Davros plan to wipe out reality in Journey’s End.  What happened to you Time Lords? War is brutal and must be even more so across all of time. I find this in one sense disconcerting, I do like that he did answer these questions and give us the insight in to what the Doctor has had to deal with and come to terms with, but to make the Time Lords in to the Big Bad…wow. The Doctor is clearly the one who has condemned his whole people for greater good. It basically comes down to the Doctor possibly having too much power as he is faced with multiple life and death moral dilemmas including ones on the scale of civilizations; The Master or the Human Race, The Master or Time Lords, Himself or Wilford… etc…life and death choices all of them. 

There is also this acknowledgement of the Doctor’s darker side, he may not use a gun, but he is clever, and manipulates people. This harkens back to the 7th Doctor when we began to see the longer perspective on events and people the Doctor has (Curse of Fenric). Then he hears the Time Lords are returning and grabs the gun, I guess there can be a direct approach with the Doctor too. I was reminded of the episode the Doctor’s Daughter where he teaches her that there is always a choice. 

I do think the Master was used a little too much as a plot device in the end, for a character who has such a long and rich history on the show, see again I am not going to pretend to know what to have done with the Master, only that it left me wanting. 

I did consider posting my rant about all the things I didn’t care for like the Star Wars, SG-1, and whatever bits from other sci-fi, but it’s all nonsense.  The only two real issues with this episode I have are: WHO IS THIS WOMAN? 

Who is she?

Clearly she is a Time Lady; Romanadvoratrelundar, Susan Foreman, the Doctor’s mother, who? Also there were two votes against not proceeding with Time Lords return, who is the other person? How was this Time Lady able to appear to Wilford, when it took 6 Billion copies of Master to make contact? This Time Lady appeared on TV’s and in person, the master had to be manipulated as a Time Lord his whole life to make contact, yet she appears to Wilford without much problem? That is all just left hanging out there in the end, and the question even gets asked!  It one of those things I have a feeling will just never be explained, unless Steven Moffatt asked for it to be included otherwise I fear it will be like the #’s on Lost

The other issue is the Doctor’s fall from the space craft, through the dome on to the stone floor and he gets up! The 4th Doctor fell from the radio tower on to the grass and that triggered the regeneration in to the 5th Doctor. The 10th Doctor seems considerably more durable considering he is 150 years older than he was at the end of the 4th Doctors time. 

From the end of time, we enter the Long Death of the 10th Doctor, In this two part event we have been witness to multiple one on one conversations between two old men, Wilford and Doctor and I enjoy juxtaposition of these two Characters and again playing with the prophecy & destiny are fulfilled or coincidence occurs, as the Doctor sacrifices himself to spare Wilford’s life and he goes on his farewell reward tour… My only real comment here is Martha quit Unit and married Mickey Smith really? Um ok well moving on…. It was a tough regeneration for how drawn out it was, the Doctor fighting the regeneration. I did feel for the character as I liked this 10th Doctor and didn’t want him to go either but such is the way of the show. 

I will hold judgment of Matt Smith as the new Doctor until he has a proper story of his own. 

To Sum up – Over all I liked it, but it sits uneasy and… 

WHO IS THIS TIME LADY? 

WHO IS THIS TIME LADY?

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January 2, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment, Opinion, Sci-Fi, TV, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The End of Time Part 1

***SPOILER ALERT****

The time of the 10th Doctor is drawing to a close and his old Nemesis the Master is back, but is that all or is there something more at play here? the time has come for the 2 Part finale which not only see’s David Tennant’s time as the Doctor come to an end but also Russel T Davies as writer and producer who brought Doctor Who back to TV in 2005. These episodes promise to be an exciting end to this chapter of long running British Sci-fi series. Here is a clip from part one:

Part 1 does not disappoint it is 60 minutes of a bigger than life Doctor Who action that we have come to expect from RTD. The folks over at the Gallifreyan Embassy have a saying “in Russel we trust” and with good cause, b/c the man can tell a story and whale of a tale it is.

The Master returns having cheated death once again and he is mad as ever! The drums the never ending drums in his mind are real. We also get insights in to the Doctor’s mind and childhood, the story establishes that the Master and the Doctor were childhood friends and that they use to play together. Their is history does go back a very long way.

We also see the return of Donna Noble not as a companion as she can never remember her past for fear of destroying her mind, but her family is part of the story the Doctor is aided  by Her grandfather Wilfred Mott, who like Donna is an ordinary person who has a huge part to play in the unfolding of the events around the Doctor, There is a scene between the Doctor and Wilfred in the coffee shop where we get insight in to the Doctor’s mind, his fear of death and how regeneration even feels like death to him, as that specific incarnation is gone forever. Great Stuff here!

There is another element to this story atypical for Doctor Who, there is a narrator voiced by Timothy Dalton that provides some exposition on the story and the events we are witnessing. It is not until the end that we see this  narrator and realize who or what he is. He is delivering a speech and as the camera pulls away, we see he is not just a Man but a Time Lord holding the staff of Rassilion! He is addressing the Time Lords and they are coming BACK!!!

I for one cannot wait for next week exciting 75 minute conclusion to this story, the Time Lords are coming back, what does this mean for the Doctor, for Galifrey, for the Universe, for next season!

I really enjoyed this story and feel it is building to something in the Russel T Davis style that will leave the Doctor Who fans eager and Ready for the 11 Doctor and adventures Steven Moffat will take us all on.

December 26, 2009 Posted by | Entertainment, Mythology, Sci-Fi, TV | , , | 1 Comment

Ah The Donner Cut

I have no idea why it took so long for me to see this movie, but I finally got around to seeing Superman II : The Richard Donner cut. Donner was the orginal director on the film and most of the movie was shot simultaneously with the first movie, apparently due to a dispute with the producers Richard Donner left the project prior to completion and another director was brought in to complete the movie, but there was also some significant story changes.

I had always grown up on the Richard Lester version and have loved the movie since I was small, seeing the Richard Donner cut was a real treat, it was like going back to that old classic movie you loved and instead of butchering it, they made it even better!  I do cut this movie a little slack for some continuity issues due to the necessary use of the actors screen tests being used in part of the story.

This re-edit tells a more complete story and to me strikes more of a Superman comic book feel. I feel in this version all the performances come up a notch somehow, plus  the inclusion of Marlon Brando who was editted out of the Richard Lester version, Jor-el play a much more significant part.  The conversation between Kal-el and Jor-el over his responsibility is tops. I also enjoy that the story now provides a more satisfying explanation for how Superman regains his powers after having given them up. Thank you for this… previously it went from irreversable to he has got them back.

This cut of the film also works well with the most recent Superman film, Superman: Returns, there is a theme that runs from this cut of the movie in to that film. The Kryptonian Prophecy: The Father Shall become the Son and the Son shall become the Father. I like how I enjoyed this movie so much it affects how I feel about another movie… that’s a good sign!

 I would like to point out no matter which version you like, one actor is supremely great in both the Lester Version and this newer cut; ladies and gentlemen Mr. Gene Hackman, his style, delivery, timing, facial expressions all great! but again I feel this newer cut on whole is just superior to the Lester Version and everyone’s performance somehow reflects this.

This was a real home run and finally a director’s cut worth watching!

Thank you Mr. Donner, your team, and all the good people who made this one happen.

December 26, 2009 Posted by | Entertainment, Movies, Nonsense, Opinion, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is The Rise of Skynet Inevitable

Skynet seems to think so. In Terminator 3 the T-800 Model Terminator informs John Connor that the events of T2: Judgement day did not prevent the creation of Skynet but only delayed it and that the creation of Skynet is invevitable. This one of the reasons I like the Terminator movies, the concepts of time travel that comes in to play and Predestination Paradoxes or Causality loops that are used in the story.

Is the creation of Skynet inevitable? Well according to the story it is the future that creates Skynet (oversimplification), Skynet is developed out of technology from the future. When the original T-800 is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor ( first Terminator movie) it is the parts that remained from that terminator that advanced the R&D at cyberdyne industries. In T2 these parts are destroyed and the creation of Skynet is delayed, but it does still happen (T3: Rise of the Machines.)

 Skynet creates itself essentially, by having sent the terminator back in time, this  is the crux of the Predestination Paradox. Well What if it doesn’t create itself? In Terminator Salvation Skynet has a kill list that is made evident early in the movie, top of the list Kyle Reese  a teenager in post apocalyptic LA. Why is he on the list, presumable if you kill Kyle Reese,  John Connor leader of the resistance will never have existed, b/c Kyle is the father of John Connor who sent him back in time to protect his mother Sarah Connor from the orginal Terminator (first movie) Predestination Paradox… DUN DUN DUUUUN. However if Skynet were to succeed and kill Kyle Reese does Skynet kill itself… or would its creation still be inevitable?

If skynet succeeded and killed Kyle Reese,  John Connor would never exist to lead the resistance, and skynet would not need to send a T-800 back in time trying to kill Sarah Connor. Since the T-800 does not travel back in time, cyberdyne advanced R&D does not gain access to future technology on which Skynet is designed.  This could lead to a possibility where Skynet is not created, but at the very least causing another delay it’s “inveitable” creation.

It would seem Skynet has a Kyle Reese problem.

Or rather the writer(s) of Terminator Salvation… since it’s all make-believe.

December 26, 2009 Posted by | Entertainment, Nonsense, Sci-Fi | , , , , | Leave a comment

V The Second Generation

Seems like I am on a Sci-Fi tear lately. I recently picked up V The Second Generation By Kenneth Johnson. Kenneth Johnson wrote and created the original mini-series. The book was published earlier this year as a sequel to the original NBC V Mini-series. The book disregards any events of V the Final Battle and the subsequent TV show (Johnson had nothing to do with either of these). Here are some excerpts from wikipedia to give you a reminder of the story.

Aliens arrive on Earth in a fleet of 50 huge, saucer-shaped motherships, which hover over key major cities. They reveal themselves on the roof of the United Nations building in New York City, and are human in appearance, but require special glasses to protect their eyes and have a distinctive low resonance to their voices. Simply referred to as the Visitors, they reach out in friendship, ostensibly seeking the help of humans to obtain chemicals needed to aid their ailing world. In return, the Visitors promise to share their advanced technology with humanity.

However, strange things are soon noted. Scientists find themselves facing increasing media hostility, and government restrictions on their activities and movements. Others, particularly those keen on examining the Visitors more closely, begin to disappear or are discredited

Journalist and TV cameraman Michael Donovan (Singer) sneaks aboard one of the Visitors’ motherships and discovers that beneath their human like facade, the aliens are reptilian in nature, and carnivorous – preferring to eat live food, like rodents and birds

A resistance movement is formed, determined to expose and oppose the Visitors as much as possible…The true purpose of the Visitors’ trip to Earth is to conquer and subdue the planet, steal all of the Earth’s water and harvest the human race as food, leaving only a few as slaves and soldiers/cannon fodder for the Visitors’ wars with other alien races.

 

The book picks the story up 20 years later the resistance has been badly crippled and earth is under total Visitor rule, 50% of the Earth’s water has already been taken by the Visitors and millions of people have disappeared. At the end of the mini-series one of the Resistance tactics is to transmit in to space a distress call in the hope that the visitors have enemies that will come and help. Well it took 20 years but the visitors do have enemies and they make contact with the resistance. As you can imagine not a moment too soon… in classic sci-fi drama they show up in humanities darkest hour.

The story and prose are both good for sci-fi, perhaps that is because its not so much sci-fi as it is a story about life under an oppressive fascist regime and people working in common cause for freedom. It brings back some of the characters both good and bad from the original mini-series and updates you what has transpired in the last 20 years.

This is an enjoyable summer read you certainly feel caught up in the cause. I do have doubts if this book can stand on its own… not that it is a constant reference to the original mini-series but having recently re-watched the mini-series it certainly added to my enjoyment of the novel and provides a stark contrast from the visitor take over to them being entrenched in dominion over the earth.

If you enjoyed V in the 80’s this book will likely not disappoint.

V is for Victory

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Books, Entertainment, Sci-Fi | , , | 2 Comments

STAR TREK Fan Productions

I must of lost my trekker licence years ago when I stopped going to conventions. I always enjoyed Star Trek unfortunately like many “at one point dedicated fans” I’ve seen every episode of anything to do with Star Trek probably multiple times. I have grown weary waiting for new series and want some new trek… which is not coming any time soon. Everyone should judge their own the level of fandom.

      The other day I remembered George Takei in his role as the announcer for the Howard Stern Show mention that he had recently filmed a new Star Trek episode (this is a memory from a long while ago)… not a Paramount production but one that was created for and by fans of the Star Trek… the comment on the show was only entertained briefly and was dismissed with out much discussion the idea can almost seem absurd… it actually did seem absurd until yesterday when I recalled this little nerd nugget in my head like a sleeping trek-bomb that explodes and I do a search for Star Trek Fan Productions and POW! There is a stunning amount of it. I was having mixed feelings but I trusted my gut, normally I punch it but I checked it out.

STAR TREK PHASE II (Formerly New Voyages) This picks up at what would be season 4 of the original series, obviously all the actors have been recast. The production value is high the effects are by far better than in TOS. The acting is weak… but that is alright I can see how tough stepping in to any of those characters would/could/should be. The Story is… not bad… in fact it is pretty decent. I won’t bother with a synopsis you can check the link for all the info on it. I did have a feeling of watching Star Trek maybe the college play version of it… but did I mention the Story and the CGI. Plus its fun, the idea of Kirk, Spock and McCoy had many further adventures together and we get to see more of them… sweet but alot to live up for a fan. They also have Walter Koenig and George Takei guest star as Chekov and Sulu in different episodes and that is sweet the really worked them back in to the story. Very enjoyable!

I also watched another of one of the fan film productions

Star Ship Exeter This show is also set during the time frame of TOS, however it centers around the USS Exeter NCC-1706 another Constitution Class Star Ship. You follow the adventures of the Exeter’s crew as they muddle their way through space on their mission of exploration and being the first guy to see or do something. The second episode has better overall production value than the first, however the first was a work in progress and they are clearly progressing. The Andorians antenna still needs to be in the front of his head… The CGI is excellent by mid 90’s standards. This concept I find exciting if they can develop the stories a little more and the acting… well I guess we will just live with that… but tales from other ships in the fleet and their perspective on events and interactions with elements already familiar to the audience could be appealing and make for some good Trek adventures.

This only scrapes the tip there are many others… apparently there is something called Star Trek Hidden Frontier that has produced 50 episodes which is set during the TNG post the Insurrection movie… I think… I haven’t watch any of these yet… but to make 50 of them their has to be some promise to them.

I don’t know who or how these are being made the clearly it takes time and effort by a lot of people and that is to be commended from what I have see so far the production values they are much higher than I imagined. Its a good feeling to be impressed by something like this mostly because I understand none of this is done for profit. This is just made by fans for fans and distributed freely to anyone. Paramount allows tolerates the use of the Star Trek Trademark….It is likely subtle and more complicated…but to who ever is putting up the money and to all who dedicate their time… THANK YOU!

If you were a fan of Star Trek… like me you once had the sickness of being obsessed with it,  maybe this is worth your time… OH BOY AM I LATE TO THIS DANCE

UPDATE:I have watched the first few seasons of Hidden frontier and this is closer to what I was expecting but still better than I originally thought it could be. These episodes are filmed entirely in front of a green screen and the CGIis more on the Video Game side. The green screen setting limits some of the actors interactions with their surroundings, for instance you won’t see a helmsman actual touch the helm… All and all not bad and gives me further hope for stories from fans that are set in the Trek universe.

I wonder if there are fans of other shows that have made the effort to produce this level of quality fan fiction?

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Personal, Sci-Fi | , , , , | 3 Comments

Time to Terraform Mars

Should the next mission to Mars include seed packets? The analysis of the soil from the phoenix lander showed it has the nutrients to grow plants

“We basically have found what appears to be the requirements, the nutrients, to support life whether past, present or future,” said Samuel P. Kounaves of Tufts University, who is leading the chemical analysis, during a telephone news conference on Thursday. “The sort of soil you have there is the type of soil you’d probably have in your backyard.”

Its like the soil in the back yard… well how do you do! We need to take Mars from red and make it green! Unfortunately even though the soil may have nutrients that could support plant life the rest of the planet is not so hospitable to life…

Mars today is cold and dry, and the surface is bombarded by ultraviolet radiation, making life unlikely, but conditions could have made the planet more habitable in the past.

There is hope because as they note life is unlikely but not impossible, it may have existed earlier in martian history and maybe with our intervention if can exist again in its future… The biggest issues is that Mars is a dead planet and what I mean by that is it has a solid iron core that has cooled and hardened, unlike the earth with a molten iron core. Mars could still be in the so called “goldilocks zone” as it has the conditions that could potentially support life. The problem is since the core is cold, there is no magnetic field to protect the planet which left it at the mercy of the solar wind the UV radiation. The magnetic field for Earth for comparison is generated by our molten iron core, which because of the size of the planet creates the internal pressure and heat to keep the core molten(note massive over simplification)… Mars was not so lucky it only has one tenth the density the of Earth does and half our equitoral diameter. Basically due to its small size the planet cooled too rapidly. 

How can we then terraform the planet, is it even possible on a theoretical level? Here are just some un-supported idea’s in the big sense not a practical one.

  • Total Recall type reaction to reactivate the core of Mars
  • Restore the magnetic field
  • Plant, Plant, Plant, Plant….

I know right now this is more science fiction than anything especially since my basis is a 1990 Sci-Fi classic, but just imagine if we could bring Mars back what it would be like to be able to go and walk about an alien world, and that world would be within our reach, not across the stars light years away but the very next planet in the solar system.

June 27, 2008 Posted by | Astronomy, Sci-Fi, Science | , , | Leave a comment