Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Watching Things Other than Doctor Who Pt. 3: TRASH! SMUT! BETTY WHITE!

Pink Flamingos
Say what you will about John Waters but this film has aged quite well. I wasn't sure it would. Anything about "the most shocking person alive" seems doomed on paper. A 14 year old cracked jokes about scat porn at me the other day. Last time I partied with a college kid, the "highlight" discussing the most obscure fetishes we knew of then scouring the Internet for video. Yet, Pink Flamingos presents its world well enough to still be dirty and shocking. Give it another ten years, though, and I figure people will say "Huh. She's eating dog shit! It's so weird to eat non-human feces!"

Mommie Dearest
This one is nowhere near as bad as people have assured me over the years. Yeah, there are bits that go way over the top. However, most of it is a competently made bio-pic with a couple great performances from the leads. According to the commentary track, the studio heard people were laughing at the really extreme bits and planted drag queens in the audience to scream along. Decades later, they continued trying to position the film as campy trash by having John Waters record a commentary track. It's like they really, really want something that isn't wretched to be god awful in the quest for more money. Ah well. Hollywood.

Rochard PS3
It's weird. The Dig is a notorious turd. It helped accelerate the death of point and click adventures. Yet, Rochard seems to hark to it in art style and plot. Gameplay wise, it's a different animal though. One must fight off enemies while solving puzzles using a variety of tools and skills. It's enjoyable enough right up until the crashes start. Maybe it's my copy but if I screw up and die a lot, the thing keeps hanging on a load screen. Shame, really. I was enjoying it but now seem to have forcibly quit the thing once per room.

Surrender the Pink Carrie Fisher
I liked Postcards From the Edge well enough but found myself skimming this one a bit. It felt like more of a typical romance novel for most of the book. The "twist" was that the female lead grew as a person instead of simply remarrying and lording it over her ex. Had some nice turns of phrase and Carrie Fisher-isms throughout.

Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters John Waters
This one feels a bit like a series of magazine articles whose only real connection is the author. Which it is. I much prefer the unity of Role Models  but this one isn't crap by any stretch.

If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) Betty White
Pretty much what you'd expect from a Betty White memoir: high levels of likability, no cynicism, and a nice dash of humor. Not sure I'd pay cover price for this but it's pretty enjoyable.

The Loved One Evelyn Waugh
Take the average author to Hollywood to discuss an ill-advised movie adaptation and you get a shit movie. Do it with Evelyn Waugh, however, and there's a downright hysterical mockery of American culture. I laughed. I cried (mostly because the particular copy I acquired as full of printing errors with lines getting cut off by the right margin and letters near the left being partially cropped). A delightful romp!


89 The Face of Evil
Leela's introductory story wasn't too bad. Baker shattering the fourth wall to talk at the camera explained a bit why they forced a new companion on him. Just wish it was someone with a bit more style and pinache than Leela. Things moved along, characters  interacted in realistic fashions, and a bunch of grown men had to wear tea cosies. I've seen worse.

96 Underworld
That "seen worse" comment above? It refers to this. Clunky. Boring to the point of nausea. What a mess. Fell asleep by 7:00 pm with this turkey. I mean really the dudes pull back their goofy black sack full of grommets to reveal hideous gold foam domes? Gah. Fuck this show.

147 Dragonfire
This one made me kind of okay with having missed a good 1.75 series due to slowness in the library ordering system. Ace was fun. Mel needed to be shot. Production values and horrid puns finally hit a point where I flinched. I mean the ice statue of that gorgeous woman who melted the heart of the ice king? Looked like some sort of poorly molded popsicle. And a cliffhanger that was literally The Doctor hanging on a cliff for no real reason? Ouch. Ah well. Guess if the BBC is pushing to kill your show you should try to maximize the amount of hind wind you suck?

148 Remembrance of the Daleks
Much more like it! Some actual character development. References for the fan-boys. Daleks as a fairly credible threat again. I mean yeah the cobblestone work was a bit goofy but hey... THEY LEVITATED! Also really liked McCoy's performance. Gave the Doctor enough of a dark edge to counteract that wonky costume.

150 Silver Nemesis
Fun show. Jacobite satanists! Nazis! Cybermen! Not sure I agree with the whole "let's hint The Doctor is God for the 25th anniversary" thing that went on but there were some great lines, fab performances, and only a couple cringe-worthy moments.

151 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
CLOWNS! CLOOOOOWNS! CLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWNS! And some really awkward rap. Could do without that latter bit but otherwise, nicely paced engaging story.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Doing Things Other Than Watching Doctor Who Pt. 2: Wrath of Khan

John Gardner Grendel
Years ago, I heard Neil Gaiman worked on the script for Beowulf  and immediately invested in tickets to witness this cinematic triumph in IMAX 3D. Surely, someone that imaginative must have riffed on the original story in some seriously exciting ways. While he failed me miserably, John Gardner didn't. Grendel is a triumph. Beautiful, mad, tragic, triumphant, human, monstrous, complicated, witty, and all in all a delightful read.

John Waters Role Models
Some folks write about influences and worry entirely too much about being cool. Waters, however, shares his views on pornographers, Johnny Mathis, releasing a member of the Manson family, Baltimore bars, fashion, modern art, and everything else without fear. The man comes across as intensely comfortable in his own skin and provides wit, wisdom, and humor in spades.

Carrie Fisher Postcards From the Edge
I grabbed this book as part of my "anjoyable guest on Craig Fegurson" reading series. Postcards . . . has always been on the peripheral of my pop-culture awareness but never sounded appealing. People always told me it was the story of a mother and daughter tandem in Hollywood. That may well be true of the movie but the book is more the story of a likable young woman who tries to come to terms with her life after hitting bottom before age 30. That might sound a bit shit but Carrie Fisher is as engaging an author as she is guest on a talk show. There are some great turns of phrase and an easily read pace.

A delightfully depraved satire of suburbia chock full of fantastic lines, disgusting people, and a (sadly near-death) Scratch N Sniff card. I love John Waters. Well, his work. Don't personally know the man. Got to cuddle him a bit at a really awkward meet and greet but that doesn't count for much. Of course, I'm told that getting a re-tweet from a celeb is somehow equivalent to being buddies with a person so by that standard, maybe me and John are a couple? Shit. Now I remember why I enjoy being a crazy cat-lady/recluse so much.

Shakespeare Retold - Taming of the Shrew
Sometimes, the BBC depresses me. This adaptation is pretty great with fantastic casting. However, I just sat through another round of trailers for the epic television movie event Liz & Dick. I get that the BBC can go down to the Royal Shakespeare Company and say "sup?" far more easily but really... Lindsay Lohan as Liz Taylor vs the actress who played Moaning Myrtle as Kate in a fun take on Taming of the Shrew? Gah. Fuck it. I feel a beer review coming on. Possibly some bourbon.

Carrie Fisher Wishful Drinking
Facebook pisses me off. People feel obliged to overshare their piddling little problems. That's one thing but why can't they at least do it with the panache of Carrie Fisher? Sure, Cary Grant never called them to talk about hallucinogens but even the more mundane stuff in her life is addressed with style. Not that there's much mundane stuff in here. That's one lovably messed up lady.

Desperate Living
I came into the cult of Waters with Serial Mom then followed it up with Hairspray. So, the whole "pope of filth" thing didn't really make much sense to me. I mean both movies showed a fairly ugly world, sure, but neither was that dirty. Then there's this one. Very raw, very dirty with some memorable lines and characters.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Story 136 The Twin Dilemma
Yeah that show killing thing... I was kidding. However, I think JNT heard me and comissioned this mess. The core plot was utter shite. That baddie looked cuter than the catepillar in Disney's Alice in Wonderland. Then there's the awful downright pathetic "writing" to bring Colin Baker on board. He's so unstable after regeneration that he STRANGLES PERI! He's so different than Peter Davison that he BASHES HIS PREDECESSOR AT EVERY CHANCE! Shit. I think I'll just stop listing what's wrong with this episode and do something that goes quicker like reading War and Peace.

Story 137 Attack of the Cybermen
The last Dalek story was a triumph! So on top of unecesairily bringing back the Cybermen LET'S BRING BACK A RANDOM CHARACTER FROM THAT! Oh and the TARDIS has a working chameleon circuit! So the most iconic image of the series is going away in favor of random, awful prop jokes. And that time The Doctor accused Ice Warriors of being evil then had to eat major crow then quietly learned his lesson with a bit of unstated chagrin? Yeah. That never happened because thinking Litton is evil just because he is a double agent and implies he robs banks is stated as much, much worse. Gah. Writing. Please let some occur soon!

Story 138 Vengeance on Varos
Thank you for surprising me! Here's some of that writing! Score! YES! YES! YES! I'm so happy I will just go roll in some mana of joy! Yay!

Story 139 The Mark of the Rani
Yeah. That thing  I said about misuse of The Master... it gets worse. There's this new time lady. She can't work on her own, despite being written as more than strong enough to do so. So The Master gets the privilege of cackling a lot and serving no apparent purpose. She's pretty awesome though. Shame her debut was screwed up by overpopulation.

Story 140 The Two Doctors
Yay. I love Troughton. And Baker isn't given anything really vile or over-stated to do! I mean the worst of it is Elton John as a baddie. Hmm this stuff was written and not just phoned in. Why? Robert Holmes! Instead of some guy! Yay! Robert! When Colin Baker episodes aren't utter shit, they're kind of awesome.

Story 141 Timelash
The Doctor meets H. G. Wells! What a great concept! Oh shit. It was written by some random clueless newbie. Nooooooooooo! Good concept mediocre execution. Damn it. BE AWESOME MORE THAN ONE EPISODE AT A TIME!

Story 142 Revelation of the Daleks
The last episode was crap so this one must be... is it based on a book by Evelyn Waugh or something? NEAT! Oh! Fun! Nice! I like this! Nice! Nice baby! Word to your mother, I'm going to crank it up!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Doing Things Other Than Watching Doctor Who Pt. 1: Wrath of Khan

Beer blogging was cool for but simply cost too much. Thanks to my local library, Who Watch 2012 is much cheaper. However, it also makes for extremely repetitive entries. So here we go with round 1 of quick reviews of things other than Who I experienced in the past week.

A John Waters Christmas @ Lupo's 
John Pinette ruined stand-up comedy for me. He's a good, oftentimes funny, guy. However, I grew up next door to members of his extended family. They'd talk about their amazingly talented  cousin and put on Simon Sez or the third Revenge of the Nerds movieThis forged a link in my head between painfully horrid films and his real job during my formative years. I've found over the years that the solution to learning to appreciate something in my extreme-discomfort zone is to look at it through a lens controlled by John Waters. I mean Serial Mom made Barry Manilow awesome. His Christmas show continued that streak and made stand-up-as well as the holiday itself- downright magical.
Only part of it that sucked as much as Junior was the venue-side of the meet and greet. For more than double the cost of a regular ticket, you got to get yelled at about having the right class of stub to be herded into a line. Then someone bellowed at us about making damn sure our cameras were ready or we would get NOTHING. By the time I got the phrase "thank you for your work" out of my mouth, security had me 3/4 of the way through the door. It was like a book signing run by illiterate people who were hell-bent on punishing anyone who could read.

Cabin in the Woods Blu-Ray
I remember being a teenager and getting told how Scream was this staggering work of genius which totally reinvented the wheel then seeing it and wondering if the film was intended as a parody. Similar things occur when I watch most modern horror movies. Things generally seem to be done to some sort of formula which renders it all fairly un-horrific in my eyes. Leave it to Joss Whedon to play with that and co-create a pithy little romp of a film. This is one of two movies I liked enough in the theater to purchase later in 2012.

Stephen Fry Making History
I always loved the What If... comicbook series from Marvel. Some creepy dude with a huge head called The Watcher peered through the curtains of established continuity and asked what if certain key events happened differently. Yet, alternative history novels aren't my thing. I have the attention span of a kitten and they tend to be a bit dull. So I decided to take a chance on Stephen Fry, figuring he would at least break any potential monotony with some humor. Wound up devouring this one whole over two days. Engaging characters, engrossing universe, good read.

Tree House Brewing Co. Snowtober
It's rare for me to do a joyful jig over beer. However, the pour on this badboy was that damned exciting. A perfect head. Beautiful toasty aroma. Astoundingly rich flavor profile. Felt like perfection on every surface as it went down. These guys make me glad I'm broke because I could see myself drinking my liver to death damn quick just because the beers are that damned enjoyable.

THQ WWE '13 (Wii)
Why I keep playing these is beyond me. They've been the same basic title since the N64 days. Yet, I get giddy for about a week then realize the redundancy and give up. Not total  shit but also far from unique.

A Boy and his Blob (Wii)
Nice modernization of one of my more beloved NES titles. Not sure why I liked the original so much. Rarely made it past the first couple of screens without dying. Guess it was something in the premise. Feed a blob jellybeans to solve puzzles. Worked for me then and works for me now. Only real issue lies with the fact my copy keeps crashing and glitching out. Ah well. 

Rayman Origins (Wii)
Nice to see a solid 2D platformer once in awhile. Actually has some difficulty to it. Intuitive controls. Nothing that new going on here but it's quite playable.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Who Watch Part 15: Screw you, John Nathan Turner

Story 127 Enlightenment
Ham! Ham! Ham everywhere! Ham on pirate ships! Ham on yachts! Not so much with the guardians. They held back as much as the script allowed. How, I do not know. If I saw the White Guardian's headpiece, I'd either turn into a Vriginia Backed Ham to pretend it was okay or die laughing. Fun story about him... there's a fanclub out this way called Knights of the White Guardian. It's happened on multiple ocassions that outsider think "white dragon" and thus mistake a Doctor Who fanclub for a KKK orginization.

Story 128 The King's Demons
If I was into drugs, I'd do some research as to what John Nathan Turner was on when he decided that Kamelion would be a good idea. Okay maybe for one episode but a barely mobile mess joining the TARDIS crew? And The Master wanting to stop the Magna Carta? What's next? The Master steals sugar from a supermarket on Christmas Eve? Shit. It just keeps getting worse.

Story 131 The Awakening
Crap. Just crap. I mean... crap. At least the lovable little urchin you want to strangle didn't get to ride along.

Story 132 Frontios
Not a bad oncept I guess. Execution though. Yeah. Production value cesspool. I am apparently reviewing drunk and angry or something. Everything is pissing me off.

Story 133 Resurrection of the Daleks
Now this I can get behind. The Daleks, even riddled by disease, are a viable threat. Davros is a suitably evil scumbag. There's the right amount of inexcusable wholesale slaughter. Plus Teagan goes away. Great story!

Story 134 Planet of Fire
JNT-era Master + Kamelion in a single story? Yeah. This hurts. Oh and Peri makes me miss Teagan. The voice. The senseless T&A. The complete and utter uselessness and reliance upon The Doctor. She needs to be drowned or something. Hey at least no one would be stupid enough to keep her around for more than a couple episodes, right?

Story 135 The Caves of Androzani
I dig Davison as The Doctor. Just wish he got some better material to work with. More time passes, more shitty ideas, awful companions, bad scripts. I get that there was a whole lot of pressure and very little money. However, I don't get why funds can be sunk into crap like Kamelion and not walking more than five feet to find a companion superior to Peri. At least she's useless against an interesting baddie this time. Ah well. GO JNT GO! KILL THE SHOW SLOWLY! Also, not so sure about Colin Baker he looked a bit ... arch for the role. 

Who Watch Part 14: Davison Davison everywhere! And a bit of Baker I, too

Story 80 Terror of the Zygons
The costumes look pretty cool. However, it's pretty clear the actors can't move in them. Nice to see the Brig again. Much prefer his interactions with Troughton and Pertwee. Of course, I prefer them to Tom Baker in some ways. The others are aware that they're superior but not so bloody nasty about it. Interesting explanation of Loch Ness, though.

Story 121 Earthshock
Dear Cybermen,
As you seem to be granting my fondest wishes, do you think maybe you could release Teagan into space and persuade Sarah Jane to return to the TARDIS for a couple weeks while someone other than John Nathan Turner picks a companion? He did a great job with Nyssa and Teagan does have some moments here and there. However, I don't trust him. 
Thankfully yours,

Story 122 Time-Flight
Yeah. The more Ainley-as-Master I see, the less I like it. Delgado was ultimately inept and I'm hard pressed to think of a plan that didn't bite him in the ass. However, the way this regeneration is written The Master comes across as a bloody idiot. He throws on a crappy mask, tosses it off to gloat over the easily tricked fool of a Doctor, then is seemingly killed or stranded. I think it's less Ainley and more the writers not having a clue how to handle more than one developed character at a time. Oh and this episode... it's a bit shit.

Story 123 Arc of Infinity
Omega was a great, effective villain in The Three Doctors. Here, he's far from terrible and written far more effectively than The Master of this period. Actually quite liked the story. Made me a bit excited for the rest of the season.

Story 124 Snakedance
Ah. The Kinda. They are an argument for going against JNT's trend of senselessly recycling old favorites. Legitimately frightening in concept and execution. Don't have a physical form to explode and must be defeated in new ways. So naturally, they were utterly destroyed on their second outing. I mean this is Doctor Who. The Cybermen are defeated forever on every outing. Same with the Daleks. Part of me just vomitted a bit when I pictured Moffat's regime bringing back The Kinda. The trvilization of history into harmless myth that society partakes in within the episode? Yeah. The show would do the same. I mean come on... the new avacado Silurians. Anyhow, it was nice to see them have a real use for Teagan other than shouting a lot and stressing that the episode was made in  the 80's. 

Story 125 Mawdryn Undead
Interesting afaptation of the ole Flying Dutchman myth to a sci-fi context. Nice to see the Brig again. Less than nice to see Nyssa be a dumbass and mistake Mawdryn for a regeneration. Teagan looking stupid at this point in JNT's quest for T&A is inevitable. Nyssa though... they almost write for her! Oh great. They can't leave things trimmed for any length of time! A new third wheel! Doesn't JNT ever learn? Oh man and that headdress on the Black Guardian! IT'S THE EVIL LIBERACE!

Story 126 Terminus
This one ruined Black Metal for me. Garm of Ulver was named after the same Norse pantheon member as the large scottie dog thing. That aside, I miss Nyssa already but it all seemed okay. Except the young male space pirate. Dear lord. Scream overly much? Ouch. 

Who Watch Pt. 13: Davison ist... not that bad really.

Story 118 Kinda
Nice to see them going scary after years of overly goofy repetition. There was some actual malevolence. Slight bonus over the earlier Davison episodes I've seen of late wherein higher concept stuff is actually pulled off. Not really sure WTF they were doing with the companions though. It was as though the producers felt this immense sense of relief at having an actor who could work well with others and just piled them into the TARDIS. Then for this episode someone realized there were too many around, had one go off camera for a flimsy reason, another pass out, and the last of them get trapped. Rather than go the logical route and have The Doctor strike out on his own a 4th companion- who only sticks around for this story- comes in. Otherwise, far fewer glaring issues than the rest. Hoping they kill off or otherwise remove a companion soon. They clearly overstuffed the TARDIS and need to resolve it. Really awesome supporting cast here. Managed to portray madness convincingly instead of just chewing scenery loudly. Already don't miss Baker!

Story 120 Black Orchid
Nice to see a historically set story that doesn't need an alien to maintain interest. Got a fairly simple but engaging murder mystery/mistaken identity thing going on. Very refreshing after seeing Bidmead's overly convoluted messes recently.

Story 56 The Mind of Evil
I'm sort of glad that the BBC lost the color version of this episode. Somehow, a machine with a blinky light on top seems much more effective in black and white. I mean the idea of something storing then releasing ultimate evil and subsequent anarchy is scary. However, it looks to be housed in a rather tacky 70's lamp. Ah well. If one wants high production values, seeking them on Classic Who is beyond stupid. Loved the story but that's a given when Delgado is involved.

Story 59 The Dæmons
Dig the concept, daddio. Mankind is an experiment run by what we came to call demons, who have given us sporadic assistance to progress the species. The Master calls them back to demand power as the clearly superior being. Lucifer is a lie. The priest is fake. The Witch has it wrong too. Religion is stupid! SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE. Sorry, the story is honestly a bit more subtle than all that.  I just woke up. This is one of the goodies.

Story 61 The Curse of Peladon
Interesting to see The Doctor be an idiot. Ice Warriors cannot change! They are remorseless warriors! They... just saved his ass. Nice story, deftly told and well acted.

Story ??? Shada
I got my hands on the VHS edition with linking narraration by Tom Baker. What's left is pretty middle of the road. There's an egomanical genius seeking ultimate power. He does so in a convoluted, mildly confusing way. It's got some nice bits. Particularly dug the ship that fell in love with The Doctor. Also nice to see someone else who went on to be a part of Waiting for God. Sadly, he's no Saldeen and just flounces around being confused. 

Story 117  Four to Doomsday
The Doctor saves the day from a megalomaniac who wishes to do us all the favor of ending our lives since flesh is ever so flawed by TOSSING A CRICKET BALL! Yeah. I get that Davison's Doctor wore a stylized cricket outfit but Black Orchid had enough of the game to convince me I can't care about the sport. No fault of their's really. Now Adric being an annoying brat... that I can blame them for. Sure the kid is an idealist but nearly getting Nyssa killed because he can't see through an extremely transparent villain? I HEREBY SENTENCE ADRIC TO DEATH!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Who Watch Part 12: OMG I totally should've planned this so there were 13 parts and called each one a regeneration so Whovians got pissed and invoked the 12 regenerations rule. Easier than promoting properly!

Story 106 The Creature from the Pit
Never thought I'd welcome the voice of K-9. However, the swap in this season . . . it hurts. New dude  is even more annoying when doing a robo-voice. OH MAN! Erato is awesome! They really robbed us in Frontier of Space by panning away from the amorphous blob of a monster but here it has more lines than some of  the humanoids. Special features tell me that the show-runners got in trouble for how poorly it was executed. Honestly, the person who conceived Erato was to blame. Something of that scale on a budget that size just isn't going to happen. Anyhow, I'm liking this season better than the last. Baker has better chemistry with Ward so the viewer suffers less. Of course, the previous  Romana started as an equal then became another damsel tied to the tracks so I'm guessing she got a bit pissed and stormed off. Fun episode, all told.

Story 108 The Horns of Nimon
I'm not sure if the design of the Nimon was caused by budget or done semi-deliberately. It crossed a beetle with a minotaur. The first one hid in a labyrinth and it was revealed they acted like locusts. So, the horns and the headpiece make sense. However, why they need to wear platform shoes is beyond me. It makes them extra stumbly. 
That aside, who can care about them as villains when there's Graham Crowden doing a Johnathan Pryce impression attacking every bit of scenery in sight? He skipped down hallways holding a shower curtain rod with a crystal doorknob on top, laughed maniacally, and held on just long enough at the end to squeeze out the final word in "you're all doomed, DOOMED." Honestly, I didn't notice much else besides him. Just such a brilliant un-nuanced performance!

Story 109 The Leisure Hive
It's kind of funny. Live action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Cat in the Hat had large budgets and managed to turn Seuss' artwork into monstrosities. Yet, here's a show with notoriously low budgets which managed to make an alien race look about twenty times closer. Of course, one of them is supposed to be the heavy so his recalling the type of Who down in Whoville wasn't desirable. Luckily, Pangol is convincing enough to overcome his wacky hair and candy colored skin a bit and convey a bit of genocidal maniac. Fairly interesting post-apocalyptic madman story with some non-intrusive pseudo science and decent old age makeup. Nothing really struck me as groundbreaking or momentum generating but by this point in Baker's run, I'm pretty okay with the show not descending into goofy whackadoodle exploits full of The Doctor openly resenting everyone around him. 

Story 110 Meglos
Nice to see an episode not  marred by inadequate effects. Some of the doomsday device shots were a bit model-y but Baker vs. Baker looked decent and I liked the prickly cactus man makeup. It was also great to see Jacqueline Hill again. Didn't realize how much I missed Barbara until the actress showed up playing someone else. All in all, a jolly good romp.

Story 114 The Keeper of Traken
Yay! The Master is back! Wasn't initially sold on Ainsley because I loved Delgado so much. However, something in that smirk after stealing some new flesh made me giddy for the possibilities. That's not to undersell the pre-skin version. He behaved a bit less classy than the Master, IMO, should be. As the story progressed, it became apparent that this was a result of his physical state. The portrayal held things together nicely. Shame in a way that Geoffrey Beevers by default got overshadowed by the re-debut of a full-flesh master. Looking forward to the next couple stories to see how they handled things. Very hopeful that it works out so maybe the reliance on Daleks can reduce.

Story 115 Logopolis
There's a TARDIS within a TARDIS within a TARDIS! The auton with a feather boa HE'S THE 5TH DOCTOR WITHIN THE LIFE OF THE 4TH DOCTOR! MATH SHALL DEFEAT ENTROPY! Yeah. Writer got a bit big for his britches here. Shame that Tom went out on this turkey.

Story 116 Castrovalva
Ah but that time two days ago when I was all excited for the return of The Master! That was before  I knew that "written by Christopher Bidmead" meant "full of interesting ideas which a fair portion of the episode will be dedicated to fairly confusing exposition of." Ainsley I can be a bit more forgiving of. Delgado set the bar ridiculously high and had astounding chemistry with Pertwee. Anyhow, I think Davison did a decent job filling the shoes placed before him. His Hartnell impression was a bit shrill but it was refreshing to see someone be professional enough  he didn't need to be in love with an actress to work well with her. Don't get me wrong; I liked Baker overall. There were just times where his being a bitch hurt the show. Anyhow, I can see myself watching this one again whereas I'd probably stick to reading a summary of Logopolis to get the elements necessary for coherency.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Who Watch Part 11: That K-9 Does Stack the Deck a Bit, Eh?

Story 097  The Invasion of Time
They sure did like those invasion story lines, eh? A few worked quite well.  The challenge is that the Dalek and Cybermen versions early on were quite effective. Writers seemed aware of this and tried to spice things up a bit. This time, they shifted things to Gallifrey, added a false enemy, and gave us a look inside the TARDIS. Part of me wishes they'd opted out of the last part of the plan. Budgets led to their using the same hallways of the same hospital over and over and over and over. In my head, the old girl had so much more variety. Nice to see Leela leave. Hopefully, that'll put a stop to the open contempt/nastiness of Tom Baker for awhile. Got to love how he says goodbye off camera so she can't respond to being called a savage one last time.

Story 098 The Ribos Operation
This one made me wish I watched the show during its original airing. For whatever reason, the White Guardian reminded me of the machine leader from Matrix: Revolutions. Memories of that turkey made me want the Doctor to defy him and skip the whole Key to Time business. Then in came Romana with her annoying psycho-analysis of everything. Shit. What a horrible start. At least Graff  Vynda-K thinks this is Shakespeare and can't shut off his high drama voice. Quite like Garron. Also feels quite theatrical. Good presence. Not the worst thing  ever, quite enjoyable really.

Story 099 The Pirate Planet
I liked the Captain. Dude bellowed daftly like some sort of cybernetic Vogon guard. Oh wait. Douglas Adams wrote this. That explains it. Terrifying, disturbing, concept  at the core but offset by humor well enough that people may have missed that bit. Nice to see Baker having some legitimate fun for a change. That guy put so much of himself into the role that if he was having a bad day it showed. As did his contempt for Leela. Part of the reason I prefer Pertwee, honestly. Nice writing, good to see it not killed by Baker knowing better or being a gargantuan douche.

Story 100 The Stones of Blood
Interesting  concept. An alien war criminal set up a stone circle as a teleportation point and means of hiding some living rocks. Love the archaeologist, Professor Rumford. You can't count on The Doctor because he's a MAN. Vivian can't be an ancient evil in disguise seemingly because she was delightful to live with. Not sure if she's a woman or a lesbian. Either way, lots of fun to watch. Also nice to see an enemy K-9 can't simply turn around and zap. Feels like some writers just started throwing every bad thing at the Doctor, getting him trapped in a corner, then having the tin dog blast evil away.
Story 101 The Androids of Tara
Tom Baker as Errol Flynn with electric swords? This sort of thing is why I take pains to not do research ahead of watching the episode. It sounds like a fairly bad idea on paper. Yet, it's fun if you just shut off the "but but but...."s in the ole noggin. I'd freaking love this is I was a wee bairn upon the first viewing.

Story 102 The Power of Kroll
Half-assed. The Swampies dance of worship was an un-choreographed shuffle. Their drums were blatant stock loops. Performances... ugh. It felt as though someone got something kind of decent, hacked it to pieces, then decided to rely on the awe inspiring sight of Kroll for all tension. Mind you, he looks even worse than the fake Kroll the swampies sacrifice to in his stead. Then there's the ending. K-9 couldn't roll through a swamp so rather than have him mysteriously increase power for gargantuan squid zapping, they just make the leap to having Kroll be part of the Key of Time. So he gets tapped, turns into part of a cube, and everything is fine. I'd normally call it a tension killer but there really wasn't any due to failure to engage the viewer on a level beyond "I care about the Doctor because of previous adventures."

Story 103 The Armageddon Factor
So here comes the end of the Key to Time saga. And it's... about two episodes too long, honestly. The Shadow should've been played by Brian Blessed. At least his cliched lines could've been delivered with some gusto then. Dude just came across as a week and wheezy little tool. Should've known it would all prove anti-climactic when the Black and White Guardian reminded me of Matrix Revolutions so severely. Also really hope episode 104 is in the next batch from the library so I can watch them try to explain how Romana regenerates into Princess Astra from this episode. At least the arc is over. Some sort of episode-linking quest sounds like a great idea on paper but the way they seemed to just cram the idea into unrelated scripts hurt.

Story 104 Destiny of the Daleks
I got my wish! The explanation is... she though Astra was pretty and can choose what form she regenerates into. Okay. Baker could only choose between costumes during his. Time ladies get to pick their own bodies? I don't know. Let's just turn on our kid powers and focus on the action.! OOOH DALEKS! WTF Davros lived? Great. Didn't he serve his storyline purpose? Oh wait they want to teach us a lesson about how machines can never win due to a lack of imagination. I like coloring books! CRAYONS RULE! GIRLS ARE GROSS! YAY IMAGINATION! Sorry. Hard to shut that off. Guess the episode was okay. Really hope they don't go too far down Davros road. His makes the Dalek's seem insincere about their xenophobia.  and overarching mission statement.

Who Watch Pt. 10: Still going! Nothing outlasts my capacity for watching Doctor Who. It keeps going nd going and going and going...

Story 090 The Robots of Death
Needlessly ornate robots condemned to a "life" of servitude for arrogant, greedy, unlikable humanoids with rather stupid clothing and makeup decide to slaughter them all in the name of good taste. The end. Well, it should be. I mean Zelda pretty much deserved to be strangled for wearing that odd winged silver monstrosity of a hat without a trace of irony. But nooooooooo they just had to include a guy in even goofier makeup who was raised by robots and therefore corrupted Asimov's robot laws. Actually wanted to bail on this episode part way through to go read some Asimov. Word of advice to writers: don't invoke material superior to your own too loudly if you want to keep an audience.

Story 091 The Talons of Weng-Chiang
It amazes me how something like this can immediately follow up a clumsy turd like The Robots of Death. Set design was majorly stepped up. Outside of some giant rats on wheels, no effects pulled me out of the story. The villain was actually credible and managed to portray insanity with a minimum of scenery nibbling. Hell, they even had a musical number which wasn't hauntingly terrible. Also dug the supporting cast a bit. Not sure I need the Jago/Litefoot audiodramas but will probably try them out as the idea isn't repugnant. Heck, even Leela was tolerable. Didn't get the feeling The Doctor brought her along solely to tell her she was stupid for once. Nicely done, all around.

Story 093 The Invisible Enemy
If any aspect of this show stresses how inherently stupid it is to apply adult standards for programming to Doctor Who, it has to be K-9. There is no explanation for bringing the character in other than the kiddies would like him. Making him and Leela companions for a season despite the clear lack of chemistry with The Doctor are fine examples of what I refer to as "blatant bad seams moments." I'm totally fine with spotting zippers on costumes or wires on flying creatures. Those add charm in my eyes. However, it can really suck when behind-the-scenes issues with red-tape or personality conflicts intrude on the viewing experience. Even with the great pains I take to avoid knowing such things, it's very clear Baker thought he deserved better than the new staff was giving him.
Also what in the hell were the writers doing? They seemed to spend a lot of time on how Leela was immune because her instinctual drive overriding brains finally served some redeeming purpose. She could contribute something other than eye candy! Hooray! Oh wait... let's have the overly cute robotic dog explain something in terms I'm pretty sure a 12 year old who paid any attention in science class whatsoever could understand then mock her for not getting it. Oh oh oh AND have her welcome further degradation by insisting the Doctor bring K-9 along in the TARDIS. Did anyone involved with the show respect Louise Jameson for something other than her "one for the dads" charms? I guess the money must've been good.
Oh sorry. Yeah... this one doesn't make me hold high hopes for the Graham Williams era of Doctor Who. First off, I really don't like that fact I'm so aware that the show changed hands just from watching. Hinchcliffe and Co. tried things, took some stories down unusual paths, pushed the envelope once in awhile. The overall message of this episode seems to be "we're a safe show! Honest! There's even a cute robot dog and ha ha HE MIGHT BE TARDIS TRAINED! *SNORT*" Fuck you, Graham Williams.

Story 094 Image of the Fendahl
Okay. This is a slight improvement. There's a well-intentioned scientist who accidentally awakens something so evil those stodgy old bastard Timelords broke their own rules just to lock it up. A cult forms. Charismatic megalomaniac exploits them, sees all consumed by evil because of his quest for power, and blows his head off after the camera pans away. Unlike the dark moments in the previous serial, none of the resultant tension is starkly offset because K-9 makes the bare minimum number of appearances to preserve continuity. After that clusterfuck of his introduction, I'm thinking The Dominators would look pretty good so I'm hesitant to say positive things about this episode but I ultimately enjoyed it.

Story 095 The Sun Makers
Fuck you, Graham Williams. That may well become my second catchphrase from this watch-through. I'm not entirely sure the grating flaws in this episode were his fault. The script had to have something to do with the fact a squeaky munchkin with green lipstick became some sort of bureaucratic wizard of a severely corrupted Oz. However, I avoided the making of documentary and commentary track largely because my mental image of Graham going "no no no the only thing the kiddies would love more than a robotic dog is a little person with goofy eyebrows and lip liner" could be the only thing to get me through when episodes get worse than this. I mean Adric is yet to come so it clearly gets worse and I can't blame Graham Williams for that apparently so FUCK YOU, GRAHAM WILLIAMS! THE MELTING ACCOUNTANT WITCH IS ALL YOUR FAULT! Oh and thank you for keeping the show running. I'm not seriously blaming you for everything. Your name is just there and I'm too lazy to sift through material to figure out the precise names of the asshats who couldn't take the pressure of Hinchcliffe's "edgy" direction. I do understand that your orders in this direction had much to do with Bob Holmes' attempts at political satire getting excised and the resultant directionless nature of the plot at times. Hell, maybe it even explains why it was okay for the Gatherer to be flung from a building but not for Cordo to jump from the same. Still, you've got to admit that if someone had enough love/affection for the show to not only spend hours watching it but to then spend additional hours documenting said watching for a non-existent audience the person might see reason to create a bad guy based on the blatant decline after Hinchcliffe was forced out.

K-9 & Company A Girl's Best Friend
The kiddies loved K9! Everyone adored Sarah Jane! Let's have the Doctor send the former to the latter as a present and call it a show! There have been worse premises for spin-off series. K-9 may epitomize what I semi-mockingly hated in the first few episodes of Williams-run Who but Sarah Jane is awesome. Plus, give the faux-pooch his own show and it would free Doctor Who to boldly go exactly where it had gone before the BBC ordered Graham Williams to drive the franchise a bit into the ground. Part of me wonders if the creative team behind Murder, She Wrote saw this and said "hmmm idyllic little village, writer, intrigue and murder from within... remove that distracting robot dog, move things to Maine, and no one will ever notice we ripped this baby off!" Honestly, if the writers on K-9 . . . had gone a bit less "human sacrifice" and a bit more "surprisingly innocuous considering the whole murder thing" like Murder, She Wrote then maybe this spin-off would have stood a better chance at survival.

Story 053 The Ambassadors of Death
Interesting story. False invasion. Could've fallen flat quite easily. However, General Carrington and Reegan played their parts quite well. Plus, Pertwee was the Doctor. More I see him more I marvel at how he can work with anyone no matter the script or issues with production values.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Who Watch Pt. 9: Some lovely person decided to spoil series seven for me and let slip something about Amy Pond dying. Think I'll still avoid it and continue kickin' it old school

Story 078 Genesis of the Daleks
When I started watching the show, the idea of the Daleks as an intimidating entity didn't work for me. I think that has a lot to do with Eccleston being my first Doctor. He turned in a great performance but Davies really dropped the ball with that whole Emo-Dalek fiasco. At least he didn't try to make a Dalek human hybri... oh wait. Maybe this generation of producers "cheated" by bringing in Terry Nation but Genesis . . . was simply a more effective and engaging way of introducing someone the signature villains to someone relatively new to the role. Hell, I love Tennant but his debate with the clone for genocide had much less tension than Baker standing there holding two wires. Something tells me I'll get sick of Davros rather quickly as I'm not really sure he's necessary outside of an origin story but it was interesting to formally meet him.

Story 081 Planet of Evil
All in all, a fairly decent episode. Set design deserves mention. The jungle looked endless and had some downright orgranic-appearing structures that had to be foam. Also dug the red-line crackly things as villains right up until they were revealed to be anti-matter. Could've done without the cliche know-it-all commander who struck me as an offshoot of the Dominators at times. Plus revealing the aforementioned etheral lines were cavemen was bad form. Not the best episode ever, but far from bad.

Story 083 The Android Invasion
This one starts off okay. There's some major suspense built by the Stig-like figures with the shooty hands the the re-appearance of a UNIT soldier who dove off a cliff. What is happening in this village? I must know! OMG OMG oh wait. Kraals? Look like over-cooked/exploded Sontarans? Can't so much move? Chew scenery and spout the usual remorseless baddie cliches at the typical pace? Okay. Tension killed. Baker is fun. Sarah Jane is awesome. Amazing chemistry here. Still miss Pertwee. Ouch. Ending on this is just shit. Gardner believes in the power of the exploded potato heads so much he forgets his eye works? All the androids except The Doctor's are shutdown? Even distracted by an Oberon belly, my mind screams "BULLSHIT." Decent try at spicing up the oft-recycled invasion storyline with some chilling moments but all in all it needed better baddies and an ending which didn't require multiple severe leaps of faith.

Story 084 The Brain of Morbius
Fun story. Sisters of Karn are a nice take on the whole "archaic cult" motif. Solon chews the right amount of scenery for a mad scientist. Condo is a decent Igor. They showed a downright parade of faces in that Mind Test scene. Didn't seem like they were supposed to be Morbius at the time but seeing as they introduce the 12 regenerations "rule" shortly afterward, I'm guessing they became such? Who knows? I had fun watching this.

Story 085 The Seeds of Doom
When trying to terrify people, making everyday objects we instinctively trust into baddies is perfectly logical. A problem with doing that on a show like Doctor Who which I never realized is they apparently need a spokes-being to ensure proper levels of scenery munching. Silly me thinking that a gigantic Krynoid with telepathic powers should consume a leather gloved cliche like Mr. Chase just because that was exactly the sort of creature the species was introduced as. Maybe it was cunning to have an agent inside the house but just crushing the place seemed more in keeping with the nature of the beast. Of course, a big booming voice just wouldn't have done for those great soloquies on how vegetarians needed to die. Momentum-derailing cheese aside, a pretty effective story with a moderate level of creepiness.

Story 87 The Hand of Fear
Eldrad fast became one of my favorite villains. Firstly, it possessed Sarah Jane and got some great "creepy doll" line delivery of "Eldrad must live." That line is my new catchphrase for social situations where an answer to an unanswerable query simply must be given and "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD" just seems dickish. Then there's the dichtomy between the female and male regenerations. The former is sly, manipulative, and remarkably subtle for this era of the show. Then in comes the latter striking every cliche pose, doing every predictable bit of sinister lumbering due to awkward costuming the other missed and screaming "MUHUHAHAHAHAHA." Sometimes, I love how damned clumsy Doctor Who gets.

Story 088 The Deadly Assassin
The Time Lords think they are so vastly superior to us with their fancy robes of office, caste system, and ability to travel through time with subsequent rules. Yet here they are squabbling for power like they do in Washington D. C. and getting manipulated by Dick Cheney without the mask oh. That's the Master. Gotcha. Shit. These social metaphor stories can be a bit forced sometimes. However, at least this one provides some insight as to why The Doctor would leave his life here behind. The ideals of the Time Lords may well  sound nice but it's ultimately a decayed, corrupted society which would cast him out largely for living up to what they claim to be. Or that's how it looks to me, not having scene War Games where the race made its debut. I'm pretty okay with demystifying Gallifrey like this. Don't need them to be more alien as the fallability honestly makes The Doctor more relatable, understable, and worthy of some cuddles. Well okay that last one has to do with the awesome pug sleeping next to me more than the show but who cares about anything when you've got pug belly?

Who Watch Pt. 8: Baker May Grow on Me but I Will Always Miss Pertwee

Story 063 The Mutants
The opening of this episode rather confused me. I thought that Palin's "IT'S" man was running at the camera. Then some dude who looked like Biff from Back to the Future threw off an "oxy-mask" and delighted in slaughtering him. Eventually, it all  resolved into a well-paced exploration of colonialism, race relations, and the horrors of genocide. About the only thing I didn't like was the way Ky's evolved form strongly resembled a psychedelic Prince Valiant/Tinkerbell hybrid. It just felt like a bit of a cop-out after the fairly excellent job on the Mutts.

Story 076 The Ark in Space
This story nearly turned me off classic Who twice. Not entirely sure why. Maybe it was a refusal to believe painted bubble wrap evolved into carved foam. Perhaps Eccleston and Tennant didn't adequately prepare me for Baker. All I really know is third time around with a decent exposure to previous Doctors, this serial clicked for me. I rather enjoyed the interchange between the Doctor and his companions and found Noah's decision to die rather than destroy Vira resonant.

Story 077 The Sontaran Experiment
Part of me wishes they'd use the Sontarans more often. The Time Warrior was a great step forward for the series, simultaneously introducing a credible new menace along with Sarah Jane and also establishing a new type of story for the series. The Sontaran Experiment further developed the titular species and established them as far beyond ruthless. My guess is their next appearance will be the invasion of Earth and its colonies introduced here and it will be downright thrilling to watch.

Story 079 Revenge of the Cybermen
Yeah. Cybermen fear gold. There's a whole planet of it run by the cliche wise leader who has the equally cliche overzealous military commander. An even more cliche double (or triple or quad... whatever) agent is employed so the good guys can prevent genocide by committing it against their enemies. I get that the new Doctor needed to face the classic villainy of the Cybermen but maybe they should have held out for a less clunky script. Rather enjoyed Baker in it though. And Sladen. Hell, even Harry looked awesome next to the Vogans.

Story 033 The Moonbase
I prefer the Loose Cannons approach to reconstruction. Yes, seeing the same still of Teagana in Marco Polo every 5 minutes got annoying. However, at least the images changed to try and tell the viewer who or what they should be seeing. For half the episodes in this serial, I had to infer that. It wasn't all bad though. In my head, the workers of the titular station didn't all wear overly tight t-shirts with huge plastic name tags in the center. Nor did one of the actors wear a neckerchief to remind you he was French in case the stereotypical accent got dropped for half a scene. Plus, my mental Cybermen are a bit more menacing than the  blatant thrift store cobbling variety found in early serials. Still, Troughton and Hines were magical together so even if it was ultimately just average so as a Cyberman story goes, it was often delightful to watch/listen to.

Story 058 Colony in Space
This one proved how much George Lucas sucked. It deals with mineral rights and other Galactic trade issues and was geared towards children but the characters' performances and story pacing prevented it from becoming utter garbage. Sure, I love Roger Delgado and think he was the perfect foil for Pertwee's Doctor. However, Lucas' ineptitude managed to make Christopher Lee forgettable. So three cheers to Disney for buying out Star Wars before my childhood started freebasing to forget its love for the franchise and an infinite number to the producers of Doctor Who for casting Pertwee and Delgado.

Story 60 Day of the Daleks
I think the Daleks really need to leave time alone. In this story, they figured it out and used it to seize control of Earth after a devastating war. Why not just go back to the time-frame of one of their previous narrowly thwarted conquests and exterminate the Doctor? I mean yeah it would make for a shitty episode and end the series but the bastards are ruthless and wouldn't care about such concerns. Plus, they had discovered it during Hartnell's era and it took them this long to figure it out again? That made them look even more inept than insisting on hiring an Ogron army or their apparent case of laryngitis for this serial. All told, this story served to stress the idea of the Doctor as one of the few folks wise enough to be trusted with time travel and Pertwee was delightful so it was only in the aftermath that my brain kicked in and raised a bit of a protest.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Who Watch Pt 7: Tonsillectomies Suck

Story 055 Terror of the Autons
Ah sweet, sweet, Delgado. I enjoyed The Sound of Drums and End of Time version of The Master well enough. However, this one just has so much more class. He comes across as a Moriarty instead of a spoiled sadistic club kid. Autons also worked well in the classic episodes because they were supposed to be made of plastic. So a few unclean edges or blatantly fake facial appliances make perfect sense. Such well executed villains + Pertwee + Brigadier = awesomesauce.

Story 057 The Claws of Axos
Creepy statuesque angelic beings offer man a quick way to attain ultimate power which turns out to be a deadly world-eating poison. This one made me consider getting Amazon Prime to reliably stream classic episodes. The library's copy was covered in oil and scratched to hell. By the time I got it working, I was too tired to watch the special features that make the DVDs so worthwhile. Probably need to rewatch this sans technical glitches to fully appreciate.

Story 072 Death to the Daleks
Interesting to see the Daleks unarmed and outmatched. Didn't lead to character development persay. Just revealed they were the same old arrogant killing machines. Cool serial all told.

Story 129 The Five Doctors
Sometimes, I want to punch Tom Baker. Richard Hurndall did a decent Hartnell impression. However, stepping up his role when Tom bailed served to drive home everything he got wrong. Ainley wasn't bad as The Master but did make me miss Delgado. All in all, the whole thing felt insanely clumsy and made me miss The Three Doctors.

Story 045 The Mind Robber
Not really sure how I feel about this serial. Whenever Jamie and Zoe went missing, Troughton became a whiny little emo bitch. The first couple episodes were kinda crap then the plot took a nice little twist. By the end, it was a joyous romp. Right up until the robots got a "destructa-beam." Then it got cringeworthy.

Story 046 The Invasion
Well done. Troughton is quirky and awesome. Despite having eight parts, there's minimal drag to the story. The animation is remarkably effective for recreation of lost episodes. Hell, even the features were informative and watchable. Plus this may be the first Cyberman story to make me understand why they recur so much. Only had one "heeey it's silver Doc Martens" moment. Otherwise, I was on the edge of my seat hoping Jamie would make it. Nice up-the-kilt-shot obscuring on the ladder too.

Story 044 The Dominators
There are times where the depth of storytelling, characterization, performances, etc. obscure the fact Doctor Who began geared towards children. Then there are things like the Quarks. Holy attempt at a second Dalek Mania, Batman! Thing is Quarks manage to be even less frightening than when Daleks couldn't leave specially charged panels in one location. They're so grade-school arts and crafts in design and their voices are "aww lookit the little mechanized bear" Sci-Fi pap. Plus, Quarks only kill if guys wearing mudflap shirts and sea shell shoulder pads look at the camera and scream "DESTROY" while doing a gleeful little jig. I guess The Doctor helping people who wouldn't help themselves aspect of the story was nice for the character but everything else hurt. Maybe four parts worth of material here, but barely.

The Swell LOST (as in no one actually reads this blog and I've got the pageview stats to prove it) DOCTOR WHO SERIAL WALKTHROUGH PT. 4: And Coincidentally, the first one to cover any Tom Baker

Publishing a few days early in case Sandy punches me in the nuts.

Story 075 - Robot
I initially tried starting this initiative here. After all, Tom Baker was the one whom my few friends seemingly aware the show existed to 2005 fawned over. That attempt failed because Robot struck me as insanely clunky at the time. After a complete watching with some more perspective, I think that was another argument for the hypocrisy of this blog. I really need to experience entertainments with a bare minimum of pre-conception to enjoy them. Being told a daft yet intelligent man with this epic scarf would sweep me off to the stars and make me never wish to return home for so many years didn't mesh so well with meeting number 4 while he was regenerating and establishing himself as different from 3 yet still The Doctor. It did a nice job establishing what Baker was going to do with the character and effectively told a decent story. Not an instant favorite but far from Adric-bad.

Story 105 - City of Death
Okay. Now I get it. Baker was positively sublime in this one. He struck this amazing balance between insane and insanely gifted. It was just a delight to watch from start to finish. Of course, I adored lead writer Douglas Adams' novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and saying he borrowed from this storyline for it would be an understatement. Only real blight on my enjoyment of this one was the wish the third Dirk book got completed because the lead of that and the lead of this had so very many parallels. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Story 092 - Horror of Fang Rock
Horror . . . simply didn't work for me. After City of Death I wasn't prepared for Baker scowling into the mist a lot. Plus, Leela: Warrior Princess made my head hurt. It was neat meeting the sworn enemy of the baked space potat.. er Sontarans though. Also nice of it to eviscerate some really cloying rich d-bag stereotypes.

Story 051 Spearhead from Space
After the rewatch of Robot, I wanted to try out the debut of another actor in the role. Pertwee was fun in The Three Doctors so I opted for this episode. The Nestene Conciousness scared the crap out of me. They introduced the possibility of my Masters of the Universe Collection strangling me and setting fire to the house while I slept. Jon Pertwee handled them with proper gravitas and made me want to be #13 if only to have access to his wardrobe in the TARDIS.

Story 069 - The Green Death
I'm glad Dad couldn't stand Doctor Who when I was growing up. There was this bucket outside which he dropped garbage into to feed a large colony of maggots. I thought of them quite fondly right up until seeing this serial. I guess so long as we didn't upgrade the Apple //e to B. O. S. S. levels with a Transwarp card. OH WAIT! WE DID! I AM DEAD!

Story 052 - Doctor Who and the Silurians
 I had some interest in Silurians because of Moffat's ninja avocado warrior episodes. Got to say I prefer the original version with the funky multipurpose headlights. Sure the costumes are a bit cheesier but there's no random Kill Bill posing. Instead, there's a rather stylish yellow car named Bessie. Loved it!

Story 062 The Sea Devils
The Silurians have some cousins who wear stylish blue netting and live under the ocean. Fortunately, they were manipulated by The Master. I love me some Robert Delgado and Jon Pertwee pairing. The two complemented each other perfectly. Even with historical perspective telling me The Doctor can't los, The Master is a credible enough threat to cause some serious nailbiting.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Watch So Much Doctor Who It's Amazing My Cats Still Purr At Me Pt 3: The Third Week???????? YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!! GO TV TAN!

Serial 015 - The Space Museum
Some intriguing sci-fi and political metaphors here. Still, Hartnell steals the show with a brilliant bit of comedy. The titular museum contains an empty Dalek shell so The Doctor hops in and mocks his deadliest enemy. The character was in danger, had to go into hiding from an enemy after catching a glimpse of future mortal peril, and still had fun with the situation. Gah. I love me daft Doctor.

Serial 016 - The Chase
People assured me this episode was pointless. However, I found it pretty solid all around. Daleks get pissed at The Doctor for thwarting their plans. They build their own time ship (!) and hunt his ass across time and space. Sure the haunted house and that "AW SHUCKS" Texan are awful. However, the idea that Daleks can and will do that is haunting and makes for a fun episode.

Serial 017 - The Time Meddler
Maybe the idea of an anti-Doctor who was hellbent on using his TARDIS  to tamper with history was a bit cliche. I absolutely do not deny the need to invent The Master as an arch-nemesis and am glad the Meddler gets stuck, never to be seen again. However, I had a great time watching this one unfold.

Serial 018 - Galaxy 4
Cute warrior babes with cuter robots. What could go wrong? I mean other than pretty much everything. There aren't many episodes which make me wonder if they even tried but this is one of them. To be fair, I haven't seen the serial with "Airlock" restored.

Serial 019 - "Mission to the Unknown"
This one was all about setting up a later episode, of which nearly all episodes were lost. I'm fairly convinced said serial would rock my world so my inclination towards this was angry boredom. Not honestly sure if it was good or not. Time to jump ahead to something fully intact.

Serial 065 - The Three Doctors
Opted to try and stick within my comfort zone by keeping to a story featuring Hartnell while also introducing myself to a couple other Doctors. It turned out to be a rather smashing idea. Watching Pertwee and Troughton as side by side with the aforementioned Doctor as his health allow made me downright giddy. Omega could hold all of Gallifrey hostage but didn't stand a chance against the combined wit, charm, intelligence, and general awesomesauce of the Doctors. Plus, it was nice seeing how three quality actors could play a part so differently yet still clearly be the same person. I honestly think that of all I've seen so far, this would be where I refer people in a position similar to my own where they are curious about previous Doctors due to nuances in the performances of current ones. A right ripping good time, old chap!

Serial 119 - The Visitation
I really don't know how to feel about Davison after this. Guess he's okay but those companions . . . ouch. Nyssa would probably be okay on her own but I found myself disliking her simply for not smacking Adric around. That kid reminded me of every kid thrown into every show for no reason other than making it readable to a younger audience all at once. So he was responsible for that weird dog thing on the original Battlestar Galactica and Daniel's horrible lines in Transformers: The Movie as well as the on screen sucking in the serial. My instant hatred for him was such that I couldn't enjoy the story due to feeling bad for cheering on evil anytime it posed a threat to Adric. I feel a need to see if Teagan exists without him around. Her loud-mouthed 80's girl vibe would normally turn me off. However, the idea of his no longer being around due to being dead holds a lot of appeal. Oh and I guess the story was decent? I was too busy thinking of ways to make Adric die slowly to really take notes.

Watchin' the Who Part 5: Almost up to Real Time, Bitches

Story 130 - Warriors of the Deep
On paper, this episode wasn't a bad idea. The Sea Devils introduced the idea of a team-up with Silurians which could pose a nearly unparalleled threat to Earth. Add to that a writer with love for Alien and this should have been one of the most terrifying Who stories ever told. Sadly, almost nothing went right. It was too well lit to have anything approximating atmosphere or character. The equivalent of the Xenomorph became a bearded pantomime horse shedding green paint on cast and sets. Sea Devils put on goofy samurai outfits concealing 3/4 of their distinctive features. Words like "pacing" or "storytelling" didn't apply at all. Davison did an admirable job trying to lend the story an iota of merit but I am not sure Olivier could carry something this bad. Only way it could've been worse was if  they added a flock of Adric clones who hugged Ewoks non-stop for a full episode.

 Story 082 - Pyramids of Mars
An Egyptian god was part an alien race hellbent on universal conquest and can only be stopped by some rather clever people with a pervasive love for Earth. With a bit of adaptation the premise of this episode sounds quite a bit like Stargate. It's a bit awesomer with a scarf and some downright witty writing.

Story 066 - Carnival of Monsters
As a kid, I would sometimes wonder what would happen if my Viewmaster was a microscope and little people were embedded in the reels. According to this episode, Pertwee would cause a marsh to explode with a sonic screwdriver and kick the asses of monsters whose asses everyone knows cannot be kicked. I adore that man. He is just pure class. Absolutely brilliant Doctor.

Story 067 - Frontier in Space
Apparently, what man will most fear in the future are dudes with rubbery facial polyps, uniform beards, and outfits borrowed from Oz. Little shall they know that The Master pulls their strings! Bwahahahaha. About the only thing about this story that sucks is Delgado died afterwards. Otherwise, it has great pacing and twists only foreseeable if one reads some spoilers. I guess the Oz-ian Draconians are a bit cheesy/grating but Delgado and Pertwee together is pure magic.

Story 068 - Planet of the Daleks
Gargh. Thalls. Ick. At least some of them die horribly. Plus, there is some great model work going on. Not so sure why an invisible race would decide to use the fur of Grimace. Sure the planet gets cold but Snuffleupagus would blend in better with trees. All kidding aside, Pertwee is fairly brilliant even managing to play off the dull, monotonous of the Thall race.

Story 070 - The Time Warrior
I was pretty much destined to love this story. It introduced Sarah Jane Smith. I loved that character so much I named a puppy after her. As a bonus, it was a fun tale. A Sontaran lands in medieval times and sets about arming a robber baron anachronistically. By the third or fourth straight-up history story during the Hartnell era they started to become an exercise in endurance. This one had a story beyond "a man from the future and his companions get captured by ignorant savages then escape last second." Plus, Pertwee brought the kungfu poses which look absolutely smashing with his stylish jackets.

Story 071 - 025 The Gunfighters
Oh man. This one was an exceptionally awkward historical piece with multiple musical numbers. About the only thing approximating a highlight was when the Doctor introduced himself as Dr. Caligari instead of using the Smith alias. Otherwise, a real snoozer.

Who Watch 2012 pt. 6: Lots and Lots of CHEESE

Story 037 The Tomb of the Cybermen
It's really a shame that so few full Troughton stories survived. I could see him becoming a favorite. Yes, the audio is around. However, his mannerisms and facial expressions are pretty awesome. A man needs everything at his disposal to sell a story this heavy on the really dated effects. It's difficult to be scared of dudes in silver jumpsuits with holey plastic balls glued on at key joints. Instead of mechanized walking sounds, the Cybermen tend to produce their own vocal effects and sound a bit like an oncoming toy train.  Then there are the cybermats who look like silverfish with spray painted ping pong balls and a scrubby brush. My first encounter with them was at the local Doctor Who emporium when I saw a package of six silver plastic lumps. I only looked as I thought Cyberman poo might get a few yucks at a Shindig. That said, I think Troughton manages to sell everything as credible threats to human life. 

Story 074 - Planet of the Spiders
AIYEEEEEEEEEE MUTANT NOVELTY-STORE RUBBER SPIDERS!!!! RUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNN! Well, unless you're a man like Pertwee's Doctor. That guy could teach Gary Busey a thing or two about wrestling wildlife. He lived like a man, died like a man, and dressed like a queen. The end made me curious about how previous regenerations were handled. They introduced this super-soothing blatantly English imitation of a Tibetan wiseman and had him hold the audiences' hands. Felt like they really could've used the writers who handled the death of Mr. Hooper.

Story 086 - The Masque of Mandragora
When faced with powerful evil, The Doctor should always sit upon its altar and play with a yo-yo. Really digging Tom Baker's performance in this one. Great balance between man of action and crazy bastard. Eccentricities nicely cover for the fact I'm watching a guy who looks like Filthy Luca run around in tights as though he owns the world for half the serial despite the fact it's very clear he's going to be slaughtered by Mandragora energy in under 10 seconds.

Story 023 - The Ark
I really want the Monoids to return.Their awkward shuffling, their awful wigs, their blatant ping-pong-ball-in-mouth costumes, the throwing of vases against the ground to teach your enemies a lesson... such amazingly awesome villainy is rare!

 Story 027 - The War Machines
I think my favorite part of this one was the disposal of Dodo as a companion. She gets hypnotized, walks off, then is casually mentioned at the end of the serial. Also really dig the titular robots. They're this awesome unstoppable force which kills using limited range smoke and knocks over lots of boxes. They're so clunky it's hard to see them as a threat unless you're planning to move house. That said, it's interesting to see an OMG THE COMPUTERS WILL TAKE OVER tale from the early days of computing.

Story 048 - The Seeds of Death
All man kind must fear BUBBLE BATH ... at least until they find some water. Really try to not be a bitch about effects but the deadly fungus was so blatantly soap it was severely distracting. Troughton was pretty awesome though.

Story 054 - Inferno
I've always enjoyed evil alternate dimension storylines. Add/remove facial hair, scars, and eyepatches then hold a session of opposite day! This one was beautifully paced. Unlike most of the seven parters I've encountered Inferno didn't drag so bad I needed to take a break.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Overwhelmingly Mediocre Doctor Who Watching Festival Pt. 2: HARTHARTNELL (see what I did there? Timelords have two... YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF MY VISION!)

Serial  008 - The Reign of Terror
The French Revolution gave us some great Mel Brooks material, a very common misquote, and a rather enjoyable card game. The Reign of Terror is one of those periods that's so fascinating it'd be hard to make a dull serial out of it. This and The Aztecs are my favorite historical ones so far. Great pacing on them both.

Serial 009 -  Planet of Giants
The TARDIS lands on a strange world with insects larger than people! Everything is dead! Then some dude gets murdered and we discover that a more accurate title would be Honey! The TARDIS Shrunk the Hardy Boys. Nice combo of murder mystery and sci-fi. Quite enjoyable and non-draggy.

Serial 010 - The Dalek Invasion of Earth
This one made me grateful to Steven Moffat for introducing me to the idea of a couch as cover from Daleks. Daleks seized control of Earth and ,despite the notoriously limited effects of the series, it's more believable than pretty much any post-apocalyptic scenario I've ever seen. Terrifying. Harrowing. Just really great television.

Serial 011 - The Rescue
The main purpose of this serial is introducing Susan's replacement, Vicki. While I liked the idea of annoying-shriek-face going away, this particular girl didn't strike me as much of an improvement. She was just another wide-eyed teenager with an apparent tendency to stand back so men could assist her. Some dude wears a goofy costume, convinces her it's some evil cult whom said dude actually tried to kill, and pretty effectively keeps her stranded until The Doctor fixes everything and takes Vicki off to the stars. The End. Not something I see myself going back to.

Serial 012 - The Romans
Cute. And it's neat how The Doctor talked Nero into burning Rome. Nothing much to say about this one, honestly.

Serial 013 - The Web Planet
When I was wee and small, it occurred to me that Buzz-off was by far the lamest Masters of the Universe design. The only way he could be less convincing of a bad ass was if he was really fuzzy and walked like a Geisha. So in other words, if he was one of the main aliens from this Doctor Who Serial, that's the only way he could have been lamer. I barely remember the plot of this one due to laughing every time the fuzzy bees did something new. This and The Dalek Invasion of Earth are on the re-watch list for very different reasons.

Serial 014 - The Crusade
Yes, Oberon. You rock kitty. I'll let you comment on this episode if you let me rub your belly. Good boy. 

The Not-so-Great-or-Organized Doctor Who Watch Through Vol. 1: It's all about the Hartnell YEAH! The Hartnell! YEAH! Give me a piece of that... bacon?

One day, the ex decided we needed to follow up our first watch-through of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with James Marsters kissing another dude. A kindly friend of hers informed us the relevant episode of Torchwood was awesome but we needed to contextualize it with at least the first series of the revived Doctor Who. Russel T. Davies' sci-fi/soap opera/Whedon-worship formula worked well for me. Then I went through a couple regenerations and curiosity about the character really set in. So now through the wonder of Blogspot, you get to read my inane ramblings as I try to watch every surviving episode and in some cases reconstructions of the lost ones!
So here are a few things you should probably know:
 1) I'm using the numbering numbering scheme found on Wikipedia's List of Doctor Who Serials.
 2) My sources are a combination of the C/W Mars library network, Netflix, and the kindness of fellow Whovians. As such, I've got minimal control over what's available to me when and will jump around.
3) This initiative started a good two years ago but got derailed by multiple deaths in my family. There were some notes made most of which I will endeavor to parse and make readable. Other times, I will find myself bemused by their oddity and just leave them be.

Serial 001 - An Unearthly Child
I was very pleasantly surprised by this serial. People kept talking about how dated everything was. However, the establishing shots of the TARDIS were timeless. I went in knowing why a police box warranted so much screen time and still wanted them to tell me why. Susan spouting science beyond her years/era and her teachers subsequent curiosity felt quite natural. The whole "The Doctor=Grandfather" thing threw me for a bit of a loop at first but I wished Hartnell's Doctor was my own grandfather soon enough and got over my initial shock.
While I wanted to hop in the TARDIS with Grampa Doctor and suffer his awesome brand of contemptuous verbal abuse fairly quickly, that desire faded a smidge once the story kicked into overdrive. I prefer my quests for fire full of dueling guitars and soaring  vocals. Still, Hartnell was fun to watch. Started hoping fairly early on that the man-of-science/man-of-action combination I knew from later Doctors would kick in quickly so they could ditch Ian Chesterton. Dig the actor and all but if there's a spare adult around, part of me wants them put solely on "stop Susan from letting off that bloody piercing shriek" duty. All in all, not bad and I'll happily watch some more.

Serial 002 - The Daleks
Part of my sporadic desire to be a British kid in the 1960's stems from the first Dalek experience being 2005's "Dalek." I get that it had a nice long shot establishing stairs were no longer terrifying but when the first unstoppable, remorseless, brutal, supreme killing machine you ever see goes emo seemingly to give The Doctor another reason to want to smooch Rose, it's sort of natural to feel a bit robbed. At least in this episode, the only thing approximating a "human moment" for the Daleks is the fact they want to kill the Thalls. Personally, if I had to deal with a bunch of melodramatic pretty boys prancing around in the forest with their perfect pecs and blond-haired blue-eyed beauty giving soliloquise about peace, I'd want to kill the bastards pretty hard too. There's some serious silly going on in the form of the ultimate enemy being limited to moving on specially treated metal plates but they're still bad ass enough that I had to hide an eye while a toilet plunger was thrust at Barbara. All in all, a very worthwhile viewing experience.

Serial 003 - The Edge of Destruction
The first serial established the "history book" approach and the second did the same for sci-fi stories. This one was all about character development. Ian is shown to be more than just brawn and The Doctor displays a bit of heart. Feel much of what this one accomplished could've been done through subplots woven into "proper" episodes but honestly it's the first season so I can understand some clunking in  the gears.

Serial 004 - Marco Polo
When I heard 108 episodes were lost but I needn't fear as geeks who made my charity fundraising in honor of a dead TV show crew look a but south of diehard had done some reconstructions, I was a bit unsure about attempting a watch through. The Loose Cannons crew honestly did a very nice job on this one. They had an amazing variety of stills at their disposal and the audio quality only became an issue on a commuter train once or twice. As for the episodes themselves, I felt the pacing was somewhat shit. If I tried to summarize seven episodes here, it would take one paragraph. So much of what was going on involved showing off set dressing and teaching a bit of history. Perhaps if the video still existed, things wouldn't drag so much. All in all, a bit dry but not too shabby.

Serial 005 - The Keys of Marinus
Interesting approach to storytelling on this one. The TARDIS  crew need to gather multiple keys and episodes become little quests to do so. Weird BDSM bikers who I somehow got the impression were reptilian try to stop them. Much "look at science and technology gone awry and BEWARE" and narrow escapery ensue. The plant episode in particular shows a lot of thought went into this serial so I don't want to be flip but it really didn't grab me.

Serial 006 - The Aztecs
This one was a lot more fun than I expected. There was an obvious desire to educate the kids about Aztec culture. However, they approached it in some enjoyable ways. Barbara is mistaken for a god, decides the prime directive is for wimps, and nearly gets her friends killed. Ian winds up in period costumes wrestling another burly man. The Doctor arrogantly professes he understands the meaning of cocoa and winds up accidentally marrying someone. It felt like there was less lecturing about how history worked and more history teaching those who tried to tell it how things were a lesson in this serial. For me, that made things a bit less dry and a lot easier to watch.

Serial 007 - The Sensorites
Conspiracy! Intrigue! Diplomacy! Funky looking aliens! Fairly effective suspense! Important life lessons for our political leaders! (You know those raw, unedited notes I said I might share at some point? Enjoy!)!
p, s, !!!!!!!!

next up: It's still all about Hartnell, Alfie.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Geekwear Volume 1: Teefury

One day, I as folding laundry and realized my wardrobe was downright depressing. Every top was black. 3/4 of my shirts professed allegiance to bands that split up several years prior. All but two of the active bands had a member who at some point cut out on a conversation to avoid being seen with a geek (here's looking at you Acaro and Shroud of Bereavement) despite taking his money. Plus, it looked like I lived in denial of my body type since any band not featuring Gene Hoglan apparently wanted portly gents with long torsos to wear tube tops. So I set out to broaden my color palate, stick to referencing things that didn't ditch me for decreasing poon-tang probability (here's looking at you, Thundercats), and didn't scream "EVERYTHING YOU LOVE IS DEAD" quite so loud. 
My wife steered me towards shirt of the day sites. Some were graphic-design centric. Others provided shirts with flair in that area but more of a pop culture than "cool lines" focus. Plus, a site that peddled Trek related wares by definition needed to understand how to clothe a round belly. As a bonus, I could continue supporting the work of artists I liked.
Teefury first seduced me with Lion-ow. As Beantown Bullies sold me a very sweet pup with multiple congenital defects, we spent a lot of time dealing with post-op e-collars. That dejected look perfectly caught her side and made me chuckle fondly. Only real problem I had was the scratch atop the bandages. It looked rather half-assed. He clearly wasn't bleeding through nor had he torn the bandages apart. Otherwise, the design rocked.
 I also dug the blank used. My build comes from the "brick shithouse" side of the family. So those great fitted shirts some folks choose look ludicrous on me as the sleeves don't even cover my tattoo. This was more of a standard fit with plenty of room for my manly chesticles, broad shoulders, and bitch tits. As a bonus, it had some length and stayed  tucked into a kilt without issue. My only real problem was the print itself. It was one of those gummy-to-the-touch super-thick jobs which rarely lasts. In fact, a minor error in the first wash resulted in Lion-o sporting a few premature age lines. In Teefury's defense, I've gotten a half dozen or so shirts from them since and they're printed just fine.
Customer service is something I won't comment on. There has yet to be any problem for them to address Every order ships and arrives well within the stated time frame. Prints come fully intact and are generally good quality. When a competitor told me every printer was massively behind due to summertime difficulties, my Teefury orders actually took 3 days less than usual. My average order costs $13.27 shipped. Other sites with similar base prices are $15.00 to $17.00 after all the upsizing and handling charges are computed so it's really not bad.

Score: 89/100

Monday, July 30, 2012

ResidualVm ist Krieg

A few years back, my iMac G5 died its fifth and final death. Some of the unit's unique, proprietary parts were plagued with bad transistors which lasted maybe eighteen months at a time. Thanks to my ludicrous commute eating most financial resources, I snagged a fairly weak Dell a friend cast aside. Sure, the "futuristic" case looked cool but it required a custom-molded motherboard with on board CPU and sound. So I maxed out the RAM for $40.00 and settled down with XP since the idea of going 64-bit with something that permanently weak was pretty ludicrous. My major consolation for this was the fact I had Windows98 compatibility mode and could attempt playing Grim Fandango.
Of all the Lucasarts adventure games, that one achieved the greatest mystique. Many hyped it as the best game of its genre ever made. Few were able to get it running with the sort of stability needed for a complete play through. By the time my copy became un-lost, even the aforementioned weak P. (O. S.) C. was a bit too powerful and experienced game killing graphical bugs. Thankfully, some dedicated folks have made major progress with ResidualVM and GF is completable with some minor bugs.
For some folks out there, the major "bug" in the game is the control scheme. While still an adventure game with all the puzzles that moniker implies, Grim Fandango isn't point and click. If you want to try stuffing a balloon into something, you need to pull it out of your pocket, walk over to the desired vessel, and issue the command. The game helps a bit by automatically inclining main character Manuel Calavera's head towards usable objects. However, you've still got the standard early-3D gaming tank-like molasses movement to contend with. I found things a bit clunky but intuitive enough to not skip game play in favor of watching the cut scenes online.
A nice part of having some semblance of stability back is the fact one can pause to admire the art direction. Characters and scenery are an amazing combination of Calaca figures, other Aztec afterlife-inspired traditions, and film-noir. Voice acting is so well done you can feel Manny's pain as a friend dies while still admiring the beauty of the flowers sprouting through their skeletal forms which signal their second deaths. In my experience, it's rare to find a videogame world that's beautiful, immersive, witty, strange, yet fairly logical. I'd love to not be one of those moderately annoying Tim Schafer fan boys. However, this game explains why he's their Jesus and then some.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Treehouse Brewing Co: Making it Hard to be a Cynical Douche Since 2012

It's easy to become a cynical douche if you like craft beer. There are entirely too many people in the scene likely to feel intense pride in making a Hill Farmstead bottle release event even at the price of stealing the family car before dawn thus forcing their first born to miss dialysis. Shaun makes some great brews. It's a rare treat for me to get them. However, it feels wrong to not call my brother and share the "wealth" when it happens. For me, beer should enhance life not completely dominate it.Semi-sadly (for my liver at least), annoyance at the idiocy and elitism are over ridden by places like Treehouse Brewing Co. in Brimfield, MA.

The passion Nate, Damien, and Dean have for what they're doing over there is as refreshing as their Berry Water beer. I tried the brew to be polite. Even after tripping over and spilling a flask, the dudes still let me observe their brewing operations and go "ooooh what's this" every couple of minutes. So even though I swore off fruit beers years ago, I felt obliged to try theirs. Unlike most I've had, the nose was pure fruit and not some high fructose sludge. Taste-wise, it was a revelation. Instead of overly sweet slime, I met a delightful, refreshing blonde with just the right level of fresh strawberry goodness. It reminded me of going out back at my parent's house and gobbling down all the red goodies next to the magnolia tree. Just... gah. Sublime? Yeah. We'll go with that.
A fortunate side effect of Berry Water was it finished cleansing my palate so I could experience Nate's Citra. This one is in the same league as the hop-centric brews The Cult of Vermont so enjoys lording over me. At first whiff, it's clear you're dealing with Citra hops thanks to that intoxicating tropical, fruity aroma. Then the glass tilts back and wow. Such amazing balance between fruitiness and bitterness with an absolutely perfect mouthfeel. I am glad they were a bit short on growlers because my coworker gave me the plague and although 6.5% ABV is a bit above what I will session, my taste buds could feasibly win out on this one.
My hope is Dean's Spawn lasts until the next visit. My sample didn't pop as much as the other two. However, I think that's Nate's doing. It wasn't until an hour's worth of hydration and some pot roast sampling that I stopped tasting Citra. So jury's out on that one.

Treehouse made me feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Great beers crafted by passionate people at a picturesque spot less than an hour from home? Only way I wouldn't hype these guys through the roof is personal greed. Given current supplies at the brewery, even my one lone reader could feasibly cause me to go without what I hope is a monthly fix of Treehouse. Still, please make the trek to 63 St. Clair Road in Brimfield. I'd rather be dry for a few months than deny someone the opportunity for this level of greatness.