Monday, April 30, 2007

Daleks! Daleks! Daleks!

Okay, let me lay my cards on the table so you all know where I'm coming from. I love Doctor Who. I have been enjoying the programme since childhood - like so many of us - and I probably see myself as straddling both classic Whovian fandom and NewWho fandom.

[Of course, I could also see myself straddling the TARDIS's current incumbent but perhaps the less said about that the better, eh? For one, Marie would possibly kick me out the way first..., glasses flying off centre-right...]

Anyway, it's probably fair to say I love the entertainment of it and being a child at heart I'm prepared to overlook most of its worst failings from both the past and the present. (It's far too easy to see one or the other as somehow the perfect world, whether that's the days of black and white shuddery cameras and model effects, the more confident shift to colour filming and slightly less miniscule budgets with a long-term doctor to boot, the Eccles-cake return with budgets ahoy and a more mid-evening family slot, or the rising romance of Ten/Rose last season: each have ardent fans and their loathers who see one or more of the more recent incarnations coming after their own personal favourite - even if that was just the last series - as 'the end of Who' as they know and love it).

Which brings me to the latest two-parter and the latest season. So far the series has not yet failed to give me enjoyment and despite accusations of dullness, I have found it still thrilling and pleasurable. Mock me all you like, tell me I'm wrong (I know you think it), but I have enjoyed all the current series, including the most recent and largely reviled two-parter. I'm no slave to the concept of RTD is perfect and that New Who is perfect. I absolutely accept that there are flaws, some quite major and needing resolution fast, and that it has had some horrid frustrating weaknesses - made all the more infuriating by any sense of either history or love for its high points so far.

Neil accuses me of often living in a 'permanent present': he usually means in relation to food since I can rarely think beyond "what do I want to eat now?" But the idea possibly transfers to other consumption. Perhaps it comes from me having made my academic subject career out of being acutely and seriously critically analytical of culture. Explore strengths and weaknesses; make a case using evidence to back it up; take nothing for granted; be questioning at all times: all of these are laudable ideals. But somehow along the way I learnt a lesson from some of my colleagues and peers. They found that they could too easily lose their facility to just enjoy a text in the here and now for what it was (not what it could or should have been, or what it all signified). I think this reinforced me watching films and TV with a greater sense of trying to be entertained (if that was the appropriate response - although there is perhaps a whole different post developing Neil Postman's argument that TV is at its most dangerous when it takes itself seriously: see his still fascinating book "Amusing Ourselves to Death").


Back to Daleks.

I think that the internal dialogue of Stuart Ian Burns with 'Martha' over at Behind the Sofa summed up several of my points: we're all just a little bit over-Whoed. Even though actually we really LIKE being over-Whoed, our critical faculties are just a tad jaded by it all. All the information, the discussion, the expectations, the awareness of the past and the spoilers of the future. It's all just too much.

What worked: I liked the idea of going to New York, and - with their Deco-esque construction/visuals - the Cult of Skaro worked in that environment: shiny Daleks in that setting certainly worked for me. I liked the time link thing with Caan being, possibly, the lone Dalek survivor for the NewWho season 1 museum of Van Statten. I liked Martha doing the pig-electrocution thang, and I even liked the non-Dalek humans turning to say 'why'. I especially liked Daleks conspiring against each other. I liked brain-thingies being found on the floor, green and abandoned. And even if the resolution was specious non-science nonsense, I actually liked that the Doctor didn't immediately know what green brain jelly thang was. I liked that the Doctor took Martha somewhere he hadn't took Rose and I liked his (unintentionally?) wounding retort of 'maybe' (I'm torn between thinking he's just blind to Martha's interest or that he's deliberately retreated into himself to not make the same connection again. As if the writers/producers think that way). I also liked the Dalekanium references. I thought Mr Diagoras in his human state was fascinatingly more scary than in his Dalek state: more Dalek-like when fully human than when combined with Dalek Sec, so maybe something went more interestingly wrong when the two were added together? - a kinda double negative ending up creating a more positive, self-critical hybrid...?

Areas of forgiveness: I can forgive wobbly sets (jeez, when I think back...) and I can forgive even wobblier accents/dialects/verbals (sorry Talllluhhhhallejuah, or whatever the hell she was called) because Who isn't coming fresh to either of those. (And those who point out that the show has bigger, fabby budgets nowadays simply can't have it both ways on how money is used/not used and reliance on imagination is diminished these days). I can also forgive some of the weird leaps of events - like the 'lost' scene of resolving Laszlo's pig heart failure - because it clearly jars more obviously nowadays due to the shorter episode lengths. Meandering multi-part episodes, and let's be honest some of the FOUR-part stories felt like drawn out crucifixtions, never help a story and some of the jumps and narrative leaps here were at least intended to keep the story moving (even if they ended up making some of the story make no sense). I think there could have been a tight single 45 min episode in here, though it would probably have needed a different writer, and a different team not driven to the 'early series two-part requirement'.

Which brings me to ...

What annoyed: this list could end up being longer than either of the above. And I don't want that. Others have put their comments in and have said it far more wittily and eloquently than I ever could. As I have often said, I can read a bad review that is written with wit and panache and even if I totally disagree, I can still enjoy and respect it for what it is. I can totally see where much of the criticism is coming from (and I especially thought that Ian Hocking's comment in Marie's post on DiM that as a kid's show the audience is more forgiving than it was for Torchwood was very telling. It probably also says something again about my mentality being immaturedly prepared to 'go-with-the-flow')

Still. First off, let's say that the Radio Times cover really didn't help. I wasn't entirely against it by the end of the DinM episode, but by the conclusion of the EoftD, I safely believed it had meant the show shot its bolt.
Music - what in parts has been a delight in the new series (the Xmas Invasion song remains the pinnacle of Murray Gold's work for me) has now become such a parody, it's hard not to believe that the National Orchestra of Wales are not intent on multi-handedly bringing Who into disrepute. One more choral over-drive of 'Daleks' and I may be forced to find a way to listen to the dialogue and special effects sounds without the bloody music channel kicking in.
Dialogue - there was some clunking lines that the cast had to deliver. They're well documented elsewhere. I prefer non-shouty Doctor direction/dialogue and I'm sorry but DT is capable of more than fun versus shouty. But he has to have both the words and the direction to make that possible. More crucially though, if Martha keeps being given little more than mopey dialogue about the Doctor not noticing her then someone will be getting a sharp letter. I know they probably think her quick (sonic speed?) falling for the Doctor reflects how quickly some people fell for Le Tennant, but really that's just lazy. Pay attention to the character you're working with: Rose's intense feelings for the Doctor at least took some time to develop. At first Rose was just travelling for the heck of it. And anyway, you can't displace mopiness onto a new character just because you're tetchy about the Doctor being seen to be missing Rose. And Martha might be training to be a Doctor, but that least means some A level sciences: the conducting of electricity aside, we've scarcely seen recognition of her education and training. Use it please!

An aside point: I know it's not going to happen but I wish this was being broadcast in the winter months. A dark bleak winter's evening as opposed to - literally - the glare of summer sun - would provide a much more conducive backdrop for watching this programme, even in its full-on faults zone.

So that's my remarks. Again, like my feminism rant below it possibly wasn't worth waiting for. I'm knackered from writing and I STILL owe a serious amount of writing up to lovely Chrissie. And each day I keep thinking of new posts I want to write. I'll try and get onto them asap folks, really I will try. But you're all doing such a good job without me.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Daleks to come - honest

Keep the faith folks: you ask for a Dalek post, I will give you a Dalek post (what was that I was saying about saying yes/no?)

But it's 10.45pm and I still have posts in stages of completion and writing as well on our trip to Derby, springtime, dyslexia, why I hate Garry Richardson, and that aforementioned Dalek post.

I will try and promise the Daleks are next. I mean, I'm not still frightened of the last one left...

(Like that will ever be the case...)

And for the record and a hint, I'm STILL not as negative as many others have been. So there.

Gig review: Death Vessel / Low at the Rescue Rooms 25 April 2007

Although lovely Mike has already remarked on this event, and provided his own review of the gig, it's still worth me putting my two-penneth in, right?

Anyway, bearing in mind that Cloud and I were in a spirit of despair at the philistines of the East Midlands rejecting the chance to see Einstürzende Neubauten at Rock City, 'low' was probably a good way to describe our mood as we went to see the maestros of Minnesotan slowcore. At first we got in a muddle over the venue - we were convinced it was the delightful Rescue Rooms but then we realised the tickets said Rock City, only to find it WAS the Rescue Rooms as Maximo Park were filling the larger venue. [In light of the EN cancellation, that would have been weird to find Low selling out Rock City!] Still, after that minor hiccup, we got ourselves in the right venue and settled in a corner with a good view of the stage.

First up was Death Vessel. Now I have to admit I knew nothing of this artiste prior to the gig (even that this was the support act). So when a lithe, but delicately muscular figure with long dark hair came to the stage with just a mandolin-esque shaped guitar I wasn't sure what I was expecting. As the powerful folksy, bluegrass guitar work began, so did an incredible falsetto pitched vocal that seemed defy the usual physics of singing. This, it turned out, was the stipped down Death Vessel, since the band is effectively driven by Joel Thibodeau. That's right, Joel. As one bloke said when eagerly buying up their album from the cd stand at the end of the support set, "that was a guy? I just spent the whole set convinced it was a girl... I kept thinking PJ Harvey...".

It wasn't hard to understand why he had not spotted this (though why it perhaps mattered is another story); certainly, Cloud and I had had the benefit of our location in the venue to make it easier to see or at least read it was a male vocalist. But what an amazing voice. Joel never spoke until right at the end of the set, where his infintesimally lower pitched spoken voice just about gave the game away: his delight at the reception he'd stirred reflected genuine surprise and his humility drew even more raptuous cheers. Listening back to the album "Stay Close" with its built up band sound might have been too much of a contrast to his solo performance at the Rescue Rooms. Actually, barring some obvious moments that could not be replicated (a duet track - Mandan Dink), the gig gave a very accurate reflection of the album. And it was particularly wonderful to hear such a clear and unfuzzy performance where the subtleties of lyrics - even if abstruse in construction - could be heard. A worthwhile and rather stunning support.

And so to Low.

We have to acknowledge the George for our introduction to Low. It was his championing of "(That's How You Sing) Amazing Grace" that first turned us on to the band:

What can we say? We were suckers for the lo-fi, post-rock beauty of their vocals and music. Even as the band upped the gears for more recent albums, they have retained all the power and magic of their earlier works. We were really chuffed to be getting the chance to see them live.

It was, as we hoped, a delight. From Sandinista, Belarus, Dragonfly, Murderer and Violent Past from the new album, through Sunflower, Two-Step and Dinosaur Act plus more from the past: there was active guitars and subtle percussion, delicate harmonies and powerful vocal deliveries.

And what more could we have wanted on a hot April evening than for a band to half-begrudgingly, if ultimately beautifully, succumb to a recklessly time-of-year-inappropriate request for "Just Like Christmas"? With the inclusion of "...Amazing Grace" as a hymn of romance for the room to well up in tears to, it was a stunning evening.

One bloke near us asked his friend how it compared to him seeing the band previously: "the best" he proclaimed without hesitation, and that's just as it should be. All that and a 'bloggers corner' too! Brilliant.

Feminism, blogging and the art of saying no

Here's the thing: some weeks ago - and thanks to the vagaries of net provision, working hours and sheer idle ineptitude on my part it has been weeks - I wrote a forward hinting post regarding feminist blogging. It was prompted by Amanda at Pandagon's thoughts on the topic and was subsequently reinforced by Ilyka's Pandagon post about women saying no. Back then, I indicated that these had spurred some thoughts in me and, whilst they're probably no longer that interesting, I thought I had better post them. It's not as if they can become irrelevant or out-of-date, but merely that events have overtaken things somewhat and other topics are pushing to be written about (not least of which, Daleks. Go figure my logic in that prioritising...).

Anyway, here I am presenting the musings that were originally pondered some weeks ago, first written some weeks ago, had a troubled gestation period during which Joe prompted for its posting, needed some serious editing for coherance, and which - in a neat twist - found an interesting echo in Lynsey Thomas's piece in the Guardian for Saturday 28 April 2007. So, with some updating, here are my thoughts:


The original prompt for Amanda's post was a male blogger writing about his response to and wish to engage with the feminist blogosphere [scroll to second part of his post]. And yes, I know, that term 'blogosphere' isn't well liked or accepted, but lets let that one go for the moment. Anyway, his gist came down to him wanting to read more personal narratives, the day-to-day engagement with feminism, rather than more theoretical, ideological, distant analyses in the vein of political writing. The strict binary that his remarks suggested exists is problematic in itself of course since rarely are sites an either/or. Amanda Marcotte's valid risposte was that whilst there was some legitimacy in seeing personal narratives as more engaging and illustrative of contemporary women's relationship, debate and their living with feminism, writing about issues from the personal perspective presents its own difficulties. One of these comes with the perils of blogging, its openness to comments from all and sundry and how certain topics can be almost guaranteed to set off some vile commentators. The example Amanda talked through was around pornography, but it could easily have been around any number of other topics. I'm a pretty small scale blog, but sometimes - as any trawl of site visits and searches can reveal - you can easily draw the ire and some seriously nasty comments on all manner of subjects.

In such an overheated atmosphere, even presenting the personal angle around particular debates such as porn can spur barbs and torments that overshadow the positive responses. Seasoned blog veterans may be able to brush the worst vileness away - or at least convince themselves they are unhurt by it. But smaller-scale blogs may find themselves stung. It can be less painful to be less contentious, to be less emotionally open about issues affecting our lives as women. How often do we hear phrases like "you're taking this too personally" in response to a criticism or comment made, especially when the implied or explicit suggestion is that any expression of feeling is clearly too much feeling?

As Amanda goes on:
... the thing to realize is that when we're intimidated away from telling our stories by the abuse and sexist stereotypes, we've been deprived of feminism's best rhetorical weapon. Stories are how people link the personal and the political, which is why our political enemies are hell bent on depriving us of those stories.
Of course, as she concludes, "... the telling stories thing is easier said than done". Perhaps this is why a number of explicitly feminist blogs do focus on commentary on current events, activism and/or ideology; to engage otherwise leaves them open to (accusations of) vulnerability or the dangers of writing purely personal confessionals that do little other than lay out the difficulties of life without considering the tangled motivations - both social and personal - as to how and why those difficulties arise.

The thing is that whilst I read several collective and feminist orientated blogs (Pandagon is just one of them), I am personally drawn to those blogs which rarely explicitly cite the concept of feminism but which are inherantly engaged with feminism. The very issues that challenge women in day to day existence; that force the politics of daily life to the foreground; that demand feminist awareness even if the word is not used.

Interestingly, something I have occasionally done is go through posts I have enjoyed reading and save the text, annotating it where it engages with debates key to feminism and its discourses. Whether it is around how we dress, how we work, our responses to representations of women on TV, our relationship to our bodies, our ways of dealing with emotions (bereavement, pregnancy, being single, being in a relationship, being angry, being happy) --- all of these engage with core debates from feminism. Dressing for whom? For the pleasure of whom? are you comfortable, or agonisedly on display? Can we get the time off we need to deal with family crises, caring duties? Why are the caring duties largely women's anyway? What about how work deals with male involvment with caring? How seriously are workers taken if alongside caring they also want to advance a career? What if we do/do not want to advance our careers? What should our relationship to work be? How do we deal with the behaviour of those above us? [I'm noting here the age-old debates about female dominated work environments and female bosses being rarely devoid of the same difficulties as mixed-sex ones - including why women bosses are often seen as harder, often more unsympathetic, or unable to be heard over male voices]. And that list just raises issues arising from the first two topics. But what those questions highlight is that it doesn't have to be an overtly feminist blog to be engaging with feminism or usefully contributing to feminist discourses. The debates of feminism are everywhere in the lives of women (and that also goes for those who actively disavow feminism as irrelevant to them - sadly, that would include many of the students I encounter).

Anyway, in a round-about way, thinking about what feminist blogging would, should or does like, also drew me to Ilyka's aforementioned post on 'saying no'. For surely one of the ideas underpinning both Amanda's post and the responses it drew in the comments box centres on the socialised difficulty of women saying 'no'? To be able to say 'no', to be able to express our discomfort - with porn for example - involves dealing with so many ingrained attitudes which historically have been socialised into many women that it can hurt to even confront the possibility of saying no. To be able to recognise our own feelings as ones which need us to say no, and then to actually say it.

Ilyka wrote:
I’ve been caught in the first trap, the fear of saying “no,” dozens of times–someone close to me asks for something they don’t particularly need (or don’t particularly need from me, specifically); I hesitate just a second too long; having hesitated, I then get anxious, because now it looks like (dear heavens!) I might have been thinking of saying That Word; and so to cover up for it, I shower the other person in an effusive “yes.” Yes, of course! I only paused for a second because [some bullshit reason].

But I’ve been caught in the second trap even more often, where I unthinkingly say “yes,” and only afterwards let my real feelings bubble up to the surface, and realize, “I don’t want to do this. I should have said ‘no.’”

I wouldn’t be too surprised if incidents like that help shore up the women-can’t-make-up-their-minds trope, either, because there have been occasions on which I’ve reversed myself just in time, just at the last minute, to say, “Wait–I meant ‘no’.” What looks like indecision or flightiness to an outside observer, though, is actually delayed recognition of feeling on my part. It isn’t that I have suddenly and arbitrarily changed my mind; it’s that I didn’t bother to consult my mind in the first place.
I think this is a powerful demonstration of why we need feminist debates, feminist ideas, experiences, to be presented and explored and considered. But it is not without difficulty, and it is one I feel quite powerfully. Emily Jane writing in the comments to Ilyka's post remarked that "socialization... teaches us to undervalue women's time and commitment". In being 'giving' of her time, in saying 'yes' to every event and activity, she actually made herself undervalued by colleagues; now she does none of the extra activities or tasks, even those she previously enjoyed doing to help others, but she has now got the respect of her (new) colleagues.

Whilst part of me wants to cheer for her new-found respect in having learnt to say no, there is another part of me whose heart sinks at how this perpetuates the need to be ruthless in order to be taken seriously. Is there not a way in which we can learn to say 'no' sometimes without abandoning others to their fate, usually failure (who the hell would read exams to a blind student if someone doesn't say 'yes'?). Perhaps part of my desire to engage with the debate of 'saying no/yes' comes from my own struggles with the action. It's a contradiction born from the fact that saying 'yes' can often mean not being taken seriously whilst saying 'no' can sometimes cut us off from the very positive actions with which institutions and individuals should engage. Can there really only be one way to 'be' successful in the world? Does it have to always mean trampling, not accommodating, not helping others?

Ultimately of course one of the reasons why the 'saying no' debates is important to feminism is that often it is bound up with subjugating what we want to please other people: the idea of 'everyone else ahead of ourselves'. Whether we like it or not it is often perceived as a feminine trait; correspondingly it then becomes a feminist debate. Lynsey Thomas doesn't mention feminism in her piece in yesterday's Guardian Work supplement, but when she writes about her deep-seated and life-long (destructive) desire to please others and make then happy, I not only recognise something of myself but also mentally added my usual feminist debate annotations to the article. For the crux is that in saying 'yes' we often succeed only in making others happy: whilst that can provide second-hand happiness to us, the effect it can have on our self-esteem and therefore on our ability to ever say 'no' can be immense. Once the habit of saying yes is there, how can we achieve a comparable happiness in saying no since that at least suggests the probability of making someone unhappy? For women to learn to say no successfully is hard, and part of that is around how saying no is perceived. Responses to a woman saying no often fall into either "that's hard", as in unfeminine [negative sense] or a desexed sense of respecting being "appropriately tough on others" [positive sense]. Can there only be self-sacrifice or the sacrifice of others?

What we have to do is learn to live with ourselves, but also recognise that we have to fight to change the systems that rely on us saying yes and exploit our guilt when we say no. That means challenging assumptions that a well-placed 'no' does not make us arrogant and mean (pace Alix's comments in Ilyka's post) and that systems of work which demand, say, unreasonable flexibility need to change for the good of everyone (not just the person put under pressure to say 'yes').

And it also means we have to think about why saying 'yes' rarely stimulates the need to expand on why we say yes, but saying 'no' will almost always demand an explanation as to why, an unburdening and justifying of the action (as per thinking girl's comment in Ilyka's post). What we have to learn is to be comfortable in our saying no as well as yes, and to recognise where the difference between the two may demand changes not just in ourselves but also in the world around us.

I'm done. I can't even think straight to edit this damn post no more. Was it worth the wait?

[Apologies for typos, blogger spell-checker keeps wibbling]

Friday, April 27, 2007

Blogs to come: yes, yes, I know some of these are long promised but bear with me

My computer has been giving me gip.

Blogger has been giving me gip.

Work has been seriously giving me gip. [On which front there's a post in that: mostly positive in terms of me still actually having work.]


Feminism [I need to update, polish and upload - subject to comp/blog problems]

Death Vessel/Low review

Daleks [I'm holding fire until after I see tomorrow. Suffice to say I'm no where near as negative as some have been, but it still needs to convince]

Dyslexia and Julie Burchill

And lots more I have forgotten because fatally I did NOT make a note on my phone reminder system to nudge me and keep a record. Doh.

There's a reason you all come here, right? I mean, seriously, you could read Anna, Rob and Marie and have MUCH more fun...

Tomorrow I'm off to Derby

to walk the Silk Mill Workers procession with Neil and our friend Nick. [Note: that wouldn't be my first choice of link but I'm in a rush to eat and Google won't give me a better option!]

Monday, April 23, 2007

Gig disappointment: Einsturzende Neubauten cancelled...


At least we still have Low.

Back (kinda)

Well, I'm just back into the swing of things at work and grateful for a lighter day of appointments given the number of emails waiting. Lots of stuff to field.

BAAS was, to put it mildly, an absolute BLAST. I had a great time - against a certain degree of expectation as our usual social catalyst wasn't going to be there much. Thanks to everyone who made it such a great time. Scarily someone said they knew I had a blog (they had found me via Norm) so will expect suitable chastisement for the frothiness of my blog as/when they may next drop by.

A special thanks also to lovely Matt_C (currently mostly busy at Fisking Central) who was an absolute dear when I wibbled just prior to going to conference.

Lots of stuff to potentially look forward to here: a post on feminist blogging as long promised (still subject to getting my own computer happy), updates on the TV that thanks to Neil's videoing I managed to catch up on, and some particular thoughts on Google and Wikipedia in terms of scholarship/research and teaching (spurred by an especially fascinating and heated debate from BAAS).

See you on the other side: it may take me a while to catch up with you all!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My computer is FUBAR with Blogger and now I can't load my files here either...

I hate to say this, but feminism is going to have to wait...

Anyone else having blogger problems?

I'm having difficulty unless I use HTML coding writing up posts with links and/or pictures.

And "Happy Birthday"....

... to this guy.

UPDATE: and this girl... AND Marie's nephew Sebastian...

"Striking looking, isn't he?"

Anyone else want to quote this line back at me?

Last night's McX-Files was sheer nonsense but for the brilliance of Robert Dunbar I'd have watched anything.

Video set for tomorrow. Will watch on my return from BAAS...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"And if you're as sorry as you say, Why didn't you just say no?"

Wow, if I ever needed a prompt to write that afore-mentioned post in response to Amanda's musings on feminist blogging, then having The Wedding Present's excellent track "No" come up on shuffle as I read Ilyka's Pandagon post on women saying no from the end of March must surely be it.

Feminist blogging

A really fascinating post from Amanda over at Pandagon on feminist blogging. The debate in the comments afterwards is worth reading too.

It's the sort of thing I really should come back to (since at the moment I have a head that feels like its been shot through with a drill - not alcohol induced I assure you), so I'm going to tag this for myself somewhere and try and write my own response/comment on it.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

TV BAFTAs 2007: Where's Who?

Don't get me wrong, I loved Life on Mars and am delighted to see John Simm getting a nomination nod for his glorious turn in the series (though why Glenister misses out is a bafflement: it's hardly his staple style performance of a role whereas you could say that Simm was doing what he does best: witty / angsty emotion).

But why no nod for Who in Drama Series?

Last year it was nominated and won; fine, no objections to that since the show had been fabulously reinvigorated by the arrival of RTD and Eccleston's Doctor/Piper's Rose. But those nominations were for NewWho Series one and were announced prior to the second series launching.

Now I know that NewWho season two was inconsistent (possibly no less so than the first, but it perhaps felt more inconsistent), but heavens to betsy. NOTHING this year in the acting categories (not even the Pioneer Audience Award) and scarcely a decent nod in even the BAFTA Craft awards?! Come on, Editing (fine), even Visual Effects (for The Mill): but really - was this not the series that gave us "The Girl in the Fireplace"?! I'm not asking for "Fear Her" to be rewarded as an individual episode (though it did have some nice hand and oral fixation moments alongside the briefly wonderful scribble monster). But surely something for writing, directing, could have been found, not least for GitF? They don't even get a nod for costumes or make-up! I mean, love or loath 'em, but surely the Cat Nuns deserved something for their pains?

After last year's hoopla success, is this really the proof RTD would hope to ignore that the backlash has well and truly started, or is it simply business as usual for the TV BAFTAs, returning to form after last year's glitch praised genre TV?

Life on Mars: finale thoughts (Spoilers for non-UK, non-illegal downloading readers)

Oh man, that was pretty darn fine.

And in case the blog post title didn't alert you, if you haven't watched the final episode of Life on Mars, and don't care to be spoilered, stop reading now.

There appear to be two trains of thought about Life on Mars: the first focuses on it being excellent drama with well-constructed characters and an incoherantly believable plotline (it makes no sense, but it is so beautifully internally in/consistent that we don't care). The second acknowledges a lot of the first POV, but gets exceedingly nostalgic for the bad old times, usually generating delight, longing and praise for Hunt et al's sexist, racist and homophobic humour (as Tyler pithely winced a couple of episode ago after one of Hunt's tirades, "haven't you forgotten the Jews?")

So what was it by its conclusion, and did the ending make either opinion more convincing? I guess John Harris on Radio 4 this morning said it best when he fretted that it appeared that "...heaven was Manchester in 1973" - and that that didn't seem quite right at all (it's a view which chimes with Robert Hanks in today's Independent who wrote: "Are we really supposed to go along with the notion that heaven is an episode of The Sweeney that never ends?"). Certainly, Nancy Banks-Smith believed "Life On Mars spoke of nostalgia for a time when PC did not mean politically correct and detectives were seldom mistaken, even in a poor light, for social workers." (And there is a similar, if slightly more obliquely phrased sentiment in Andrew Billen's review for The Times.)

Of course, it has to be admitted that chief series writer Matthew Graham has remarked that having a 21st century figure there to roll their eyes "Somehow ... lets us off the hook" for using Sweeney-esque dramatic strokes. But, even so, for me the show was much more nuanced, more subtle and ultimately warmer than that.

And perhaps that is best seen in the show overall and not just last night's crowd-pleasing finale (though as Hanks put it, "Cake has rarely been so completely had and eaten"). I don't believe that it did clearly say that life was better than, more feeling, or more alive in 1973 because you could say and do all manner of things no longer permissable in today's society (and rightly so that we have moved on - any invocation of the phrase 'political correctness' and I'm liable to get very Gene Hunt on them and kick seven shades of shit from their arses*). I think instead what the show allowed us to see, to re-explore, to re-configure, was the whole way in which we mythologise exactly those sort of attitudes and those moments in time. Remember, when Hunt finds himself a murder suspect he does turn to Tyler and his modern sleuthing techniques (even though the resolution comes via a complex combination of Tyler working through both the evidence and his feelings in a highly ambivalent way).

Maybe its core appeal was that it was craftily self-referential: TV about TV. Some really critise this (there's a lot of moaning on the Guardian's 'Organgrinder' blog today), but I liked it, right down to the Test Card girl 'turning off the TV' at the end. I almost don't care about the 'explanation' as to what was 'reality' because I loved the cross-references to then and now (the cultural pleasures that 1973 didn't yet have, and those it did: the outdated and the predictive colliding). And that issue of 'reality' ultimately takes me back to what I wrote last year about the season one finale. Season One saw Sam reviewing memory, the (2006?) present and the (1973?) past as criss-crossing - an idea that spurred recollections of NewWho's Father's Day and La Jetee/Twelve Monkeys and their time-loop paradoxes. His feelings are split between places and times: does he really recall Annie's red dress and 'murder' from his childhood or has a fragmented recollection of his last encounter with his flawed father worked its way into his coma-world, drawing his love for Annie with it? Did he, could he, have changed 2006 by his actions in 1973? The implication in the S1 finale was a qualified 'possibly' (well, for me at least). Here though, at the end of season 2, we supposedly had clear resolution: 1973 was all a dream, albeit a complex one with his mind keenly employing all the best loved fantasy/sci-fi tropes of double-bluff herrings (Tyler being not 'Tyler' but rather Williams, for whom Tyler was an all-too well constructed 'character' to allow him to bring about change in the police-force - one he had adopted after a crash as his 'real' identity. Yes, it made my head hurt too.)

But whatever the programme makers may say, is reading 1973 as a dream world the only explanation? And why should we be hung up on one world or the other being 'real' when we've quite happily consumed this confectionary of clashing cultures for two series? Sam never relinquishes his belief and righteousness for positive 21st century attitudes or policing - for all that he finds himself 'unfeeling' at the post-coma 2006 ethics meeting. He goes right back to rolling his eyes, taking to task and generally not forgetting who he is/was once he heads back to 1973. He recognises the contentment he can find there is greater than in 2006 but he doesn't obliterate 2006 from his identity.

So why does he go there? What takes him back and makes it a more 'feeling' place for him to be? Why love of course. To invoke Twelve Monkeys again, of course he goes back for love. Who wouldn't? And for all I loved the ambivalent sci-fi time-travelling, coma-fragmented, identity-crisis realities of Tyler's worlds, what I wanted was resolution for his heart.

My friend watched it with one eye on the clock apparantly, but I couldn't do that last night. I watched it, unblinkingly attentive, with nary a glance to a watch (or even my Tardis Clock - now moved to our living room). So I cheered with a stifled choke of tears when he triumphantly ran off the roof into freedom, his future/past, his suicide (thanks Scott Matthewman who twigged me the Abre les Ojos (Open Your Eyes)/Vanilla Sky reference). And I cheered - and choked - even more when he and Annie kissed afer she'd asked him to stay. Shucks, I'm just a big softy.

Ultimately then, it was all heart, all emotion, all fire and response that took him 'back'. Sam and Annie: be happy.

* BTW on the subject of political correctness, did anyone else listen to the most recent Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation? He had a priceless tirade about the non-existent and/or completely pointless and misguided PC actions so well promoted by the Express and Mail. Nothing radically new - he's been doing this schtick for years - but nicely put all the same.

A year of belonging?

EineKleineRob's back. Seems he's a 1959 boy.

Seems that I am 1970.

That become relevent for my next post...

Anyway, here's the thing.

You Belong in 1970

If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

Marie's page at Crockatt and Powell

Don't tell me you were thinking of ordering your copies of Marie's book from any bookseller OTHER than C&P? Get yourselves over to Marie's page at the fine purveyors of bound volumes of writing that is Crockatt and Powell.

You know it makes sense.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Doctor Who delay...?


Seems that the football may well delay Doctor Who by a week if the match goes to extra-time/penalties.

Anyone with me pleading for a quick resolution to the match or else prepared to offer some serious kicking to the players concerned? I'd normally have sympathy for underdog scraps to the last minute possible but in this instance I want a clean win within 90 mins. Or there's gonna be real trouble.

Not least because I would already have to watch the following week on tape anyway as I will be at BAAS 21 April.

And, oh yeah, how ironic that DWM swapped its publication dates to make sure it wasn't coming out at the wrong time, avoiding talking about episodes before they air, and then this happens! Another change of publication date on the cards???

Blog Rules?

Via The Poor Mouth, I found out about the latest topic of concern amongst some bloggers: yes, someone has dared to propose that we manage the borders of blogging to discourage the nasties in our midst.

I'm not sure how workable the idea is, but really, certain comments against this seem to be legitimising some of the vile behaviour that has led to stalking convictions. And I fail to see how that can be positive.

Food for thought.

Sea of Souls: or how TV is making me a very happy woman

New year: so far we have had:

  • Primeval (swoon - come back soon Cutter!)

  • the return of Life on Mars (last one tonight! Argh! I need 'resolution' of a sort!)

  • the return of NCIS and Law and Order: Criminal Intent (hilariously, Five is best loved in our home for its quality US imports - what did they drop when they celebrated being 10 a couple of weeks ago? Yep, the Friday night dose of what makes the channel good)

  • the return of House (it may be cliche, but it's a well done cliche. What can I say? I like smart, flawed characters)

  • and of course just to avoid me getting Paisley Boy withdrawal symptoms, the lovely, lovely, lovely Doctor Who came back.

And now, as if things weren't lovely enough already, next week I get another dose of Dougie! Sea of Souls takes up the post-Life on Mars slot with a two-parter featuring lovely Mr Henshall. Someone is clearing making these schedules for me.

Warm feelings of happiness. Hee.

Okay people, I'm going to stop faffing with tags on old posts (so here's a catch up of what you may have missed)

Realising that my 'work' yesterday on randomly tagging old posts with labels has probably caused irreparable damage to those checking me through an RSS feed I will try and fix things by giving you a run down on the new posts you may have missed as I tagged multiple oldies.

And we're done.

Next post will be on how TV is making me very happy....

Monday, April 09, 2007

SciFi Now and other Sci-Fi magazines

It's probably not a shock to discover I buy Sci-Fi magazines. I'm not a consistent buyer - heck, I don't even have Doctor Who magazine on subscription - but I do buy a large and random number of magazines on a regular basis. In fact, apart from rare forays into "In Style" (I like the occasional bit of fashion lusting), if I'm in a magazine store I'm most likely to purchase Sci-Fi magazine above anything else: Cult Times, Buffy/Angel magazine, SFX, Starburst, the late lamented (print edition) DreamWatch, and of course DWM - all have walked through my door in my sticky paws, eagerly allowing me to devour opinion and information on this world.

But here's the thing.

I often end up not reading whole sections until several months after purchase.


'Cos I've retained a desire to avoid spoilers.

Stupid isn't it, in this age of mega-internet spoilerage at every turn, that I should still take a "la-la-la, I'm not listening!" approach (even when it's well signposted at some of my favourite spaces it can be hard to completely avoid). But it is true... and it can lead to some strange reading practices such as trying to glance only at pictures and ignore text (and sometimes even captions); spotting the paragraphs that look 'safe' and only reading those; or skipping whole articles even though I'm desparate to read them.

So why buy another sci-fi magazine: SciFi Now? Sure, it has that nice spiffy Ten/Martha picture on the front cover that's doing the rounds on all the mags at the moment, but I can scarcely bring myself to read the Who article as it identifies the best episodes for scares etc. Remember, if I could manage it, I'd keep myself from even knowing the damn episode titles! So why was I still tempted? Well I have to say I dis quite like the TimeWarp section with its overviews of past series and films serials; and the Fanboys* section had a neat collation of convention news plus a nice summary of the history of sci-fi literature. Additionally, the overall layout is very plush and readable. And it is the first issue. So of course I had to try it out. Will it last in this now somewhat busy marketplace for this material? Who knows? Especially if it wants to maintain its scale (140+ pages), it will need to pull in considerable and comparable readership. What may work in its favour is that unlike some areas of magazines, this is one that lends itself to multiple buying regardless of overlap (in that respect I'm probably fairly typical).

Watch this space to see how it fares long-term.

*sic - please, I know its an accepted stereotype but could you at least acknowledge the existence of equally geeky female fans?!

Random Re-labellings

Apologies for bloglines or other site-feeding folks: I'm doing some re-labelling of past posts. It may feel a little odd.

"Where is she?": a rare moment when Grey's Anatomy worked

Let me make one thing quite clear: I'm no big fan of Grey's Anatomy. I sometimes watch out of laziness (a horrible habit I occasionally get with TV), but mostly I don't watch because I generally do not care enough about any of the people in it.

So what of that cast of characters: well, I quite like the perpetually-tearing-a-strip-off-them Miranda Bailey. She's a take-no-shit kinda gal and I like that. I also, for opposite reasons, quite like hapless George O'Malley whose doe-eyed helplessness and unrequited love, his good heart and his gentle demeanour sometimes pushed to action in a crisis touches me.

But the girls: blurgh. Christina is perhaps the most tolerable but she's a bit of a cranky-by-numbers with a soft centre; Izzy riles for her 'so-sexy-but-wants-to-be-taken-seriously quirks; and as for Meredith Grey herself... well the phrase 'wet-fish' comes to mind whenever I see her permanently blank face. How the hell did this character get off the ground? Are they actually thinking of her as a blank canvas? 'Cos if so, please someone paint something on it because that girl just brings out the urge to slap in me.

Most of the males aren't much better. The Guardian Guide has frequently joked about the shows focus on the two doctors with pretty hair not quite getting it together. And whilst I am known for a love of good hair, Dempsey as McDreamy just doesn't really do it for me.

So why am I writing about Grey's Anatomy today?

SPOILER WARNING: if you haven't watched the last third of season 2 of Grey's Anatomy stop here.

You stopped reading?


You sure?


Well, you see I'm always easily seduced into watching fill-the-screen-with-sharks, we-need-some-action double bill episodes of a drama. And Five have been plugging this once all week. So that 'Code Black' double episode - each episode neatly entitled "It's the end of the World" and "(As We Know It)" [see what they did there? I hope Stipe got royalties] - inevitably drew us in.

And you know what, maybe it was the hyper-cued music, or the uber-dramatic action, or the presence of actual decent actors (Christina Ricci), but it worked. We did our usual routine for these occasions (last seen when we could be bothered to follow E.R.'s nigh annual re-use of this ratings tactic) and we climbed the sofa. At one point I was so far backed into the back/corner of the sofa I thought I would end up going up the wall and hanging off the picture rail in our living room.

But the moment I loved best came near the end when McDreamy re-emerges from the chaos and starts to look around the crowds of his colleagues. You know who he's looking for, in much the same way as you knew that once Christina fessed up about it being now Meredith (and not special-guest-star Ricci as Hannah the newbie paramedic) holding onto the UXB in the patient's chest, that McDreamy would stop his surgery for a crucial second in sheer blind love-struck panic.

So here's the thing where I have to pass it over to the always admirable crew of recappers at television without pity (and may I recommend you read their caps for these episodes anyway):

McDreamy makes his way through the crowd with a panicked look on his face. The Chief sees him and walks over. "Where is she?" asks McDreamy, obviously distressed. "You had to be a cowboy," snarks the Chief. "Wh-where is she?" demands McDreamy again. Mrs. Chief is watching their interaction very carefully. "She's right here," says the Chief as…Addison comes careening around the corner and worriedly throws herself into her husband's arms. McDreamy's face visibly drops and it's quite clear that, even though he's not throwing Addison to the ground and walking over her crumpled body in order to go off in search of Meredith, Addison's not the "she" he was looking for. Mrs. Chief picks up on this too and pointedly remarks to the Chief that Addison wasn't who Derek was looking for. The "you dumb-ass" is implied.
Now that's a cracking recap, but for me it was more subtle than that. You see, that moment, that moment when Addison rushes from behind the Chief to McDreamy, his face didn't fall: it froze. From a glance of possible hope and relief to a moment when he knew he could not demonstrably show his disappointment and yet could not fully hide it. The deceptive belief that his boss would have described Meredith as his "she" immediately transformed into the recognition that she would never be described that way to him. And in his embrace of his wife, tight, falsely affectionate in response to her relief at having him with her, safely returned from the explosive danger, a paralysis of his emotions, briefly - so briefly - flickering in his eyes. And that's what the Chief's wife picks up, the hollowness in his eyes even as his physical actions respond to the presence of 'the wrong she'.

And that's when it really tugged at my heart. That's Grey's Anatomy's rare moment of success for me.

The Twang: channelling the spirit of Northside

Anyone else thinking that when they hear The Twang they are transported back to the dying days of baggy and the sound of Northside?

You know, you remember Northside? They were the band who were famously described by Anthony H Wilson as "destined to fill stadiums..." but of whom even more famously (or at least in our house, where a tape-recording of the remark is regularly and fondly recalled) Mark and Lard continued AHW's remark to say "...with unsold records".

There's even more on the pre-Radio years of Scrawn and Lard here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


I like it better already. Not least because of how it presents the information.

Go StatCounter!

Although I better take me off its tracking, or it looks like the stats equivalent of grad inflation.

I've said it before: Whedon's Buffy Episode "The Body" gets me every time

I was belatedly reading Jayne Nelson's piece for SFX's April edition and have to say it struck a chord.

Not for the first time, not even for the second time, I end up writing about how bloody fantastic "The Body" is as an episode of TV drama.

Nelson was writing about moments when TV makes us sob: there was plenty to recognise, not least when she said "The new series of Doctor Who also seems to know how to press my weepy buttons". But she knows who really could draw out the tears...

However... the number one, top dog, undisputed king of heart-rippage is.... Joss Whedon.
Goddamn it, she is so right. Not least for remarking that it is "an episode so rooted in primal anguish that even just hearing its name has me reaching for a tissue". Blub. And I thought it was just me. I could feel the tears welling up as I stood and read Nelson's piece: that's how powerful an effect this episode still has on me. And she's right too that watching Anya's speech (yes, THAT one) demonstrates how in this instance it's way beyond therapeutic, because as Nelson writes - and you can almost feel her choking as you read the article - Anya's "words should come with a health warning because they honest-to-God physically hurt you to watch."

I need a cuppa tea having just been thinking about all that. And masochist that I am, I may just have to rewatch the episode over the next week. With a large box of hankies to hand.

Shakespeare: "57 academics just punched the air..."

Well, this one certainly did!

What a cracking episode that was: a fair bit scary, very funny in places, Tennant's Doctor being suitably Doctor-ish, and Martha proving herself to be savvy again. And the cross references - not just to Shakespeare - were very well handled... especially in the link back to Ten's first adventure. So far even the hard-to-please reviewers at Behind the Sofa have been charmed by the episodes of NewWHo season 3 (who in the past have hilariously - and sometimes rightly - torn both classic and NewWho several strips).

Of course, I do feel a slight tinge of "grr" but that solely relates to the matter of them filming in Coventry. Dammit, I had to live in that hole for 4 years. You couldn't have bought back Who then to make life there a little more tolerable?!

But that's a small niggle. Mind, I could get quite cranky next week as some footie delays transmission till 7.40pm (and hopefully not any bloody later). Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-footie (though supporting Forest doesn't do any heart any good...), but I am Pro-Who. They better finish the match on time, because I for one will not be happy at the schedule pushing Who out for a week...

Friday, April 06, 2007

I'm only amazed it took me this long to start looking...


Sigh. Am still enjoying the recollections of watching the series, am still enjoying re-watching it on DVD (and will be doing a full run-through one day next week when Cloud has returned to work!), and now I find...

... yes folks, despite all the criticisms and mixed reviews, and as proof that almost nothing can get past either fan-fiction or even slash-fiction writers, I find that Primeval has garnered its own little collections and musings of each. I'm particularly enjoying Learning Curve at the moment (it's up to part three at present) after really getting into their earlier fan-fiction for the series.

Whilst on the slash front, this gem of an overview from bigtitch at livejournal (where else) totally had me in stiches (and not a little delighted at those nice screen caps). Hee.

Comments and haloscan

Hmm... well for a trial run you may get better access (minus the sfxhytfadg style comments checker).

But here's the rub. Recently I have had some horrid problems with placing comments on blogs using halo-scan. Ironically, one of the sites giving me most difficulty has been the lovely Joe.

The problem keeps occurring AFTER I have typed in my comment. I press "post" and....

.... nothing.

I get a screen which says I do not have Javascript enabled and to "click here" to return to the comments page (it never allows me to - it just crashes)

I also get a pop up from my security virus protector saying haloscan is trying to attack me.

And then when I try again (usually after closing the browser and re-entering the site) I can't even get the blogs using HaloScan to open properly: there is always a 'crash' on when the blog page loads as it automatically tries to open a haloscan related .gif file.

Any solutions? Reasons?

Cloud was bewildered by Joe's bubbles and wondered if they had anything to do with it - but the bubbles have been on Joe's blog for ages and have never previously caused problems.

Cloud got me a patch from Haloscan. Turns out that when some of the last updates were done there was a problem which occurred for haloscan.

Seems to be fixed now. Phew.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

George and his Munros

Ah, bless. A nice thing about new blogger adding tags and such is that you get reminders of old posts. They come up all fresh, like new laundry.

So, if you haven't already been and you want to know where it all started for George and his munro climbing obsession keen interest, then check out G's first munro.

And then take some very entertaining trips along with him to several of his other early climbs.

As you would expect, there's the usual entertaining prose, and some early photography (even if it is sometimes misty, as here!).


Hmmm... I'm going to reconsider the issue of word verification. I originally adopted it because I was getting beleaguered by spam comments from pointless non-blogs for drugs etc...

I may give it a trial run and see what happens without it. It won't be immediately, but let's see how it goes.

Cheers folks, and apologies for those who have been struggling.

Bless you Joe for your persistence!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Friends of Harold

I should really leave this to Cloud since it was HIS idea, but it's in my mind so I'll write a version.

Anyone else want to join the "Friends of Harold" group? You know who that little guy is, he's the hero:

"Harold," (speaketh the bloke who sounds frighteningly like a bad impression of John Barrowman) "why are you pretending to listen to music even though your headphones aren't plugged in?"


Virgin Money? I think the phrase should read, give all your money to Virgin...

Two things: firstly, apologies to the Barrowmanesque-voiced smug git - he's just the one who first tries to get Harold involved in their pointlessly smug conversation. Secondly, it seems Cloud and I are not alone!

Harold is Cool. The campaign to recognise this starts here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bye Bye Sitemeter

Thanks for the tip Mike...

now all I need to do is work out how Google Analytics works...

Choc Chip Update

Lakeland thought we were mad (to say the woman on the door was rude would just about cover it: she fair dropped her jaw at the suggestion/question of "do you stock chocolate chips for biscuits?" and if she had cried "WHAAAT?!!!!" a la Kate Ashfield I would have been less surprised). And that's supposed to be a welcome...

Mind, Cloud still thinks they sell 'em so we may have another look. We just have to get past Mrs Rude on the door.

We also tried Lidl, you know, just in case, since they do stock all manner of strange extra stuff. Sadly no bags of plain choc chips. Plenty of strangely named handwash products though. And very large chorizo sausages (we bought the latter).

You can order 1kg bags online in the UK from a choc specialist (but it costs about 12GPB including postage)

Otherwise, most supermarkets only seem to sell bags of about 150gms at about one pound 20 pence per bag. insufficient and costly

Grrr... I will NOT be defeated. I also will not stoop to beg more from Joe. Damn it, this is England, surely a baking capital in Europe!? We must be able to source more plain (or "semi-sweet" to use US parlance) choc chips without resorting to importation?!

In other news, we did buy two small bags and they have gone into the new batch of biscuits/cookies.

They now keep their shape.


Who reviews

Two - sorry THREE! - more reviews from my favourite people. Sorry that you're having to wait so long on these episodes getting to the USA Joe...

Rosby is back (even if it is just distraction from her essay)! She's now 16 you know, so big happy birthdays to the lovely Rosbyness.

Marie has also written a class-act piece of reviewing and an "I've been good" request surely only the hardest of hearts could denounce:
I'd like to see the Doctor lick something please, and a contrived scenario where he gets wet. Definitely need more glasses action, the hair should continue as is, and if the Doctor isn't going to be Martha's love interest, could you bring in someone sublimely attractive for her to flirt with instead? And for those viewers who don't fancy DT (straight men, young children and the blind) I want some seriously scary villains and please, please, please a storyline that runs over more than two episodes. And more Daleks. Thanks Russell. I have been *very* good this year.
Oh yeah.

And MediumRob of course... even if he was confused by St. Thomas's hospital...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I want a genetic transfer please!

Warm contented feeling.

It must be spring.

Doctor Who must be back.

Now with added ruffle.


And can I just say, I just LOVE YouTube!

Overall, last night's episode was just what I could have hoped for. The rain went up; the baddies got fried; humans were ridiculously hysterical; the moon/earth looked fabulous; there was blood-sucking; there was scanning; and there was the expected - but brilliant - voicing (and mouthing) of the classic line "but it's bigger on the inside". Martha was suitably demanded to stand her ground and run a lot as well; she was also neatly prepared to josh against the Doctor whilst also accepting what she observed. We couldn't hope - nor would many of us want - to forget Rose, but Martha makes for a potentially cracking companion.

I hope sweet FA realises what she has just woken up to today.

Life is going to be VERY different.

Update: there's a nice review at Dreamwatch SciFi, but you'll mostly want to know that Anna is won over...