The manufactured hype over the 13th doctor

jodie whittaker

Yesterday it was apparently announced that the actor to succeed Peter Capaldi on Doctor Who will be Jodie Whittaker, meaning that for the first time ever, the role of The Doctor will be played be a woman. Being that I haven’t ban a fan for nearly a decade, I wouldn’t really care less, but apparently the progressives and social justice warriors have decided they want to rub their noses about it, and use it as an opportunity to virtue signal after a number of viewers took issue with it. Indeed, plenty of people on Facebook, including people I know personally, seem to have missed the point entirely.

First, Doctor Who hasn’t “broken the glass ceiling”. Not only is the “glass ceiling a myth invented by feminists to justify their authoritarian quota policies, but Doctor Who is also not the first sci-fi franchise to have a female lead. The Alien franchise did just that since 1979. Did everyone suddenly forget about Sigourney Weaver, or is she too old to even be a part of pop culture history at this point? Second of all, from what I can tell the reason some people don’t like the idea of a female Doctor Who isn’t because she’s a woman. It’s because the BBC has a very poor reputation as one of the most politically correct institutions in the UK. Naturally this would give rise to the idea that they only selected a female doctor to appease progressives.

And they would be right, but I think what we’re all missing the real reason they cast Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor – it’s basically a massive PR stunt. You might not believe me, but it will make perfect sense when you hear of the circumstances. You see, Doctor Who’s ratings are actually falling, to the point that it’s been suggest as a reason for Peter Capaldi’s departure from the show. I’m not sure how much further Jodie Whittaker could ruin Doctor Who, being that Steven Moffat had already done that since the start of the decade.

From what I’ve been hearing under his helm the show has become yet another mouthpiece for the BBC’s lefty social justice propaganda. Perhaps the most nakedly obvious expression of that agenda is the creation of Bill Potts, a black lesbian who looks like a near-exact caricature of a middle class social justice warrior type, who I have to assume was created solely to win praise from middle class lefty fans and media critics. The result? It won over the intended targets, with many media outlets heaping praise on the show and Bill Potts, at the cost of losing more and more regular viewers who are growing tired of the pernicious invasion of social justice in their TV.

They cast Jodie Whittaker with the same exact thing in mind, and I think it what happens next will look something like this. Right now the producers are busy congratulating themselves on how progressive they are, and generating hype by blowing the sexist comments out of proportion because it’s an easy way to get clicks from you. When they air the first episode with Jodie Whittaker, I predict that the show will enjoy a slight ratings increase on the next season premiere, only for ratings to continue plummeting further and further when people realise it’s the same boring show with the same declining quality in writing. After the producers realise that ratings haven’t gotten any better as a result of this publicity stunt, the producers will probably blame sexism for their declining ratings, and insist that the show needs to be more progressive, more political, all while they have to once again fight off speculation that the show will be cancelled, which will probably be more likely to happen if I’m proven right.

After that, the new doctor will be treated with the same fondness as the new all-female Ghostbusters did last year, as one of the most cringe-inducing symptoms of a time gone wrong, and even the producers will distance themselves from it. If you think about it the idea of the 13th Doctor is almost exactly like last year’s reboot of Ghostbusters. The producers shoehorned a female lead into the series for the sake of appealing to progressives and identity politicians, using her a conduit for some sort of feminist moralising, and they expect you to lap it all up, deeming anyone who criticises the new feminist icon to be a sexist. The problem was that by calling everyone sexist, you will alienated most of the fanbase, along with ordinary cinema goers. With Ghostbusters it lead to the film failing to turn a profit, killing off all hopes of a sequel and forcing the film to be given a subtitle on all home releases.

With Doctor Who, I think you will get exactly the same result. If Doctor Who doesn’t get cancelled, it will probably come back with a reduced budget, and the next season will have even lower ratings, so either way the show is doomed, and its reputation will be thrown down the garbage chute. This whole big to-do over the new Doctor Who star being a woman simply reeks of a manufactured controversy designed to sell a failing TV show. It’ll probably succeed temporarily, but once people realise that the show is still in its zombie years they’ll probably tune out. The people who wanted a female doctor probably won’t even care. They just want to celebrate the show “breaking muh glass ceiling” and insert their agenda as far as they can. They don’t care that they’re destroying a show that lots of people like. They only care about whether or not popular culture is progressive, and if you’re not in line with their agenda, then they’ll smear you as a backwards-thinking bigot or a misogynist until you either comply, or watch your career burn to the ground.

That’s what it’s all about in the end. The BBC, and indeed the entire mainstream entertainment industry, has been taken over by toxic ideologues who want nothing more than to control the way we think, and they want to use entertainment to influence us into accepting their way of thinking, and it’s not working anymore. They realise that they’re obsolete thanks to the Internet, and they don’t like it one bit. They’re probably wondering “why do people not like our totally progressive revolutionary TV show”, and of course nobody has even considered that TV is simply outdated, and so is Doctor Who.

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Why Dominion doesn’t make any sense

dominion syfy

Apparently the forces of Heaven now wear black trench coats. Does that make sense?

Two weeks ago, a new action fantasy TV show called “Dominion” came to Syfy in the UK (it already finished in America, with season 2 on the way). It’s central premise is that at some point in the future, mankind ends up fighting angels, who it turns out are their greatest enemy. This sounds like it makes absolutely no sense, but trust me. It gets much worse than that.

The story of Dominion goes something like this. Twenty-five years before the events of the story, God apparently disappeared, and the archangel Gabriel blamed mankind for it, so he decided to lead the other angels to exterminate mankind. That alone sounded like a good concept, but here’s where things got side-tracked. According to the story, very few “higher angels” fought in the war, while the “lower angels” joined Gabriel and descended to Earth and started possessing people. What? Some time after that, the archangel Michael rebels against Gabriel, and fights in the name of mankind. The story sees mankind surviving in fortified cities such as Vega (obviously a rebuilt Las Vegas) until a chosen saviour emerges to end the war for good.

I know that only three episodes have aired in the UK so far, but they’re all quite similar and unimpressive, so I’ll just talk about the show itself. In my opinion, the show had a decent concept, but it was executed rather poorly, and I have a few reasons why this is the case.

First, it shares its premise with the movie Legion, which isn’t bad by itself, except the guy who made Legion and directed the pilot episode of Dominion is Scott Stewart, who I know for making the unequivocally crappy comic book flick Priest, which I named and shamed as one the worst comic book films ever made. If that’s not a bad sign, then I don’t know what is.

Second, for a show that is supposed to be about angelic warfare, there’s an awful lot of time spent on exposition, and not a lot of it is really necessary. Also, Vega’s political system seems to act as though American democracy didn’t even exist to begin with, but then again, what about American values could realistically survive in a post-apocalyptic scenario? I mainly mentioned this because the terrible arranged marriage story arc, which is utter nonsense.

Third, let’s talk about the angels, because this is one of the major issues in the show. The lower angels in Dominion are nothing like angels at all. In fact, when they’re found in possessed humans, they act like stereotypical demons. This completely defeats the point of the show being about angelic warfare, and serves only to subvert the traditional Western view of angels, which has already been subverted many times before, and in better ways. My only conclusion is that the writers assume that we’re all idiots.

Finally, I’d like to talk about Gabriel, his army, and the so-called Black Acolytes. The Black Acolytes are essentially a cliché evil cult that worships the show’s version of Gabriel, who is completely unlike the Biblical Gabriel in every aspect. Where was the passage in the Bible where Gabriel killed one of his own? I doubt you’ll find it, because it doesn’t happen in the Bible. I also find the existence of the Black Acolytes in the story to be painfully unnecessary. The plot didn’t need more layers of complexity.The acting in Dominion isn’t good enough to keep me interested in the rest of the overly complex plot that may as well have been written by a hack director.

In conclusion, Dominion is a disappointment, but it’s more than that. It’s a confused mess written by people who, in all fairness, tried as hard as possible to make something good, but didn’t really know what they wanted. To enjoy it would require you to not so much suspend your disbelief, but to have it hanged, drawn and quartered.

Enough with the superheroes already!

guardians of the galaxy

Seriously, it’s out of control.

Since the year 2000, we’ve seen a tidal wave of superhero films, to the point that some of the highest grossing films of the past 10 years were superhero movies. This would be fine and dandy except for the fact that every superhero movie repeats the same formula, and they always feature established comic book characters in sequel after sequel, because apparently people will pay to see the same thing over and over again.

The superhero film has become one of the most repetitive genres in movie history, with almost no original ideas left, all because producers think they can only take ideas from comic books, the rights to which they’re always swarming to get their claws on. After X-Men became a box-office smash, every Hollywood studio wanted to cash in with their own superhero flick, throwing so much money at them that you’ll wonder where all that money comes from.

By the way, why aren’t there any original superheroes in cinemas? You know, brand new superheroes who haven’t had an established franchise yet? How about a new take on a genre that has gotten incredibly stale over the past five years? Will classic Superheroes like Batman, Superman, or Spider-man pass the torch to a new generation, or are the producers so scared of taking risks that originality is simply forbidden?

There are already so many superhero movies it could make your head spin, but what’s even more insane is that there are even more coming up, with each one seeming even more ridiculous. We even have a Batman vs. Superman movie coming out in 2016, which itself is set to be followed by a freaking Justice League movie with an unknown release date. I can’t help but think that by 2016, audiences will quickly grow tired of superhero movies. With cinemas set to be bombarded by big movies in 2015 alone, I kind of expect Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to fail, and be the thing that causes the superhero bubble to burst.

While some of these superhero movies are good, the superhero fad isn’t going to last long. Hopefully, when this fad dies out, the Hollywood producers will start having some sense. But then, even if the superhero craze dies out, something else will take its place, and then the whole pattern repeats itself.

What’s with all the gritty fairy tale reboots?

maleficent

Oh joy, it’s an Evanescence video.

With the release of Maleficent, Disney and Hollywood have basically continued the trend of gritty, dark movie interpretations of fairy tales in the world of cinema. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, the 2010’s have seen a rise in action-oriented reboots of old fairy tales, all of which had previously been processed as either saccharine children’s bedtime stories, or saccharine Disney films. In this new trend, however, Hollywood isn’t just removing the saccharinity induced by Disney. They also seem to be turning them into gothic action films.

The trend started back in 2011 with the release of Red Riding Hood, which was basically a gritty reboot of Little Red Riding Hood (which removes “little” from the title just to seem edgy). A cursory glance will reveal that Red Riding Hood was little more than a result of committee thinking, thought up of by producers who wanted a slice of the success enjoyed by the Twilight films. They must have tried to act pretty damn hard to mask the embarrassment of making that movie, unless it turns out they had no shame at all as long as they got paid to do it. It also misses the point, since Little Red Riding Hood was originally written as an allegory of a young girl entering maturity, a point which is repeatedly left out in most modern interpretations.

In 2012, we had Snow White and the Huntsman, which is basically what you get when you take Snow White and put her in a neutered Game of Thrones setting. Everything from the original Snow White movie is there, including the mirror and the dwarves, but in a significantly stupider way, mainly due to the fact that there are eight dwarves. Snow White wasn’t even conceived this way. Even Disney got what the original version was about, because the original tale was about an evil queen who wants to kill Snow White because she was more beautiful. In Snow White and the Huntsman, however, the story is about some war against a cliché sorceress.

Last year, we got the Joan Collins special, with Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a film so ridiculous that I don’t think any intelligent person would even think of going near it. Hansel and Gretel was originally a German fairy tale where two children were left in the woods whose mother leaves them in the woods. They eventually encounter a cannibalistic witch, who they eventually outwit. The film tries to continue from that tale, but in the form of a film so ridiculous it makes Van Helsing look like a masterpiece.

van helsing

It’ll take a lot of beers to top that.

This year’s gothic action flick, Maleficent, is basically Sleeping Beauty from the villain’s point of view. The entire point of the film misses the point of La Belle au bois dormant, the fairy tale that inspired Disney’s film. The tale was about a princess who was put to sleep via a spell from an evil fairy. I don’t think the character Maleficent shows up in the original tale, and may have first occurred in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. In either version, the film involves a brave hero seeking to save the princess. In Maleficent, however, the fairy curses the infant Princess Aurora (the same princess from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty), only to realize that she might be the only key to achieving peace between two warring kingdoms. Did that have anything to do with Sleeping Beauty at all?

I’m all for fantasy and all, but this is just ridiculously overdone. Am I to understand that not one Disney executive objected to this?

If there’s one thing that all of those films had in common, aside from the overall formula, it’s that they all have very high budgets (Maleficent alone costed $180 million to make), and many of them were box-office successes, no doubt thanks to the foreign markets Hollywood has been ever so comfortable about relying on.

Even though the earliest instance of this trend was in the 1997 made-for-TV film Snow White: A Tale of Terror, I think that this trend really started with the commercial success of the Twilight films, which for a brief moment made people think that emo was cool. It’s likely that Maleficent will succeed in the box office, but of course, these trends all die out at some point. I can only hope that this particular trend is no exception and will die out soon, because it takes fantasy and sucks the life right out of it.

Behold the new, heartless RoboCop

robocop 2014

It all looks so sleek, and so soulless.

Next Friday, the brand new version of RoboCop comes to cinemas all over the UK. This new film is basically a remake of the 1987 classic, which I loved seeing. Like everyone else in the UK, I haven’t seen it yet, but I certainly have one immediate criticism of the new RoboCop: it lacks the personality of the original film.

In the original RoboCop, you got to see a bleak vision of Detroit in the future, where violent crime devours the city everyday. I should also mention that in the film, Detroit is run by the fictional Omni Consumer Products (or OCP), who have effectively privatized the city’s police force. Enter Alex Murphy, a police officer who was killed, and later revived in a cybernetic body as RoboCop. He later learns of corruption within OCP, and sets out to destroy it.

In the new version, Alex Murphy is seriously injured by a car-bomb (where in the original, he was killed by Clarence Boddicker’s gang), and is given a cybernetic body by OmniCorp scientists. Yes, in this film. Omni Consumer Products gets its name changed to the decidedly less appealing “OmniCorp”.

The new version of the film seems to have missed the point of the old version. In the old version, Alex Murphy is killed, and later resurrected into RoboCop (please, don’t even start with the messianic connotations), but in this new version, he’s merely injured, as if Hollywood’s actually turning into a bunch of wusses.

Also, the original RoboCop only costed $13 million to make, and that film was an ultra-violent masterpiece of 80’s cinema that subtly satirized the nature of American culture, and took a jab at the power and corruption of the large corporations of the time.

The new Robocop, meanwhile, costed ten times the budget of the original film to make, but apparently all that money was spent on making the film look cutting edge, while apparently ignoring the themes that made the original RoboCop a clever sci-fi piece. Now, the new RoboCop looks like it’s going to be another dumb Hollywood CGI sci-fi action flick with very little meaning.

It’s also apparent that the new RoboCop has completely sold out to Hollywood and bowed down to Hollywood conventions. The old RoboCop was rated 18, while the new RoboCop appears to have the typical wussy 12A rating, which can only mean one thing: the new RoboCop will be heavily neutered.

To be completely honest, I still want to see the remake, if only to see how badly they could fuck it up, but my point remains valid. When all is said and done, will future generations remember the original, timeless RoboCop, or the soulless, wimpy remake churned out by the Hollywood machine?

On the Harry Potter film franchise

harry potter

As a kid, I was never a huge fan of the Harry Potter franchise, and I guess that’s true in the present day. However, as someone who reviews movies on Rotten Tomatoes, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see what the hype was all about. I’ve seen all eight movies, so I can safely discuss the film franchise in detail.

I’m sure everyone already knows that the films are based on the hot-selling novels by J.K. Rowling. I’m sure that at some point, Hollywood realized that Harry Potter was an incredibly lucrative cash cow, so Warner Bros. got to work capitalizing on the hype, and thus, the first Harry Potter film was born.

The whole film franchise started back in 1999, when Warner Bros. bought the rights to the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (which was released just two years earlier). Released in 2001, the film costed $125 million to make, and made nearly one billion dollars. Shortly afterwards, a crapload of merchandise started appearing as though it was out of nowhere. At that point, an entire franchise was born, and with every successful film series that everyone likes, there will invariably be a loads of hype from the media.

To be completely fair, I actually like the first Harry Potter film, even if it is overrated. However, I find that as the franchise goes on, the films become less and less enjoyable, especially as Harry progresses as a teenager.

One thing I tend to notice is that the UK media tends to worship the Harry Potter franchise, to the point that it seems like nobody criticizes it at all. In reality, there are people who don’t like Harry Potter (like me), but the media ignores them because they don’t agree with the millions who do.

The most common criticism that I have against the Harry Potter films is that the film-makers try as hard as possible to pan each film out to at least 135 minutes. Usually, they do this by jamming as much dialogue as possible, and by utilizing a near endless stream of plot twists. I’ve heard that the films are actually very faithful to the original novels, but this is about the films, and not the novels.

This, of course, leads to my next point problem. Because the films are more heavily promoted than the novels, the character of Harry Potter is known more for the films than the books, and the films have made more money than the novels (the film franchise alone made over $7 billion worldwide). Combined with all the merchandise, this makes J.K. Rowling one of the wealthiest women in the world, but it also means that her original novels had become overshadowed by the flashy Hollywood films.

The final point I want to make is about artistic integrity. I did some research, and it seems that J.K. Rowling had a lot of complex themes in mind for the novels. In the films, however, I don’t notice them, which makes me think that a lot of the themes and metaphors were either masked or dummied out in order to market the films to children.

Overall, in my view, the Harry Potter films are massively overrated, but they aren’t horribly bad films (even though I despise The Order of the Phoenix more than any other). In fact, if they given the chance, I would probably do something like it, but better. However, the Harry Potter universe really doesn’t suit me, so of course I wouldn’t enjoy the films very much.

My thoughts on Doctor Who

doctor who logo

The Doctor Who logo as I remember it.

Seeing as it’s now the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, I figured that it’s finally time for me to address a topic that I’ve been steering clear away from for so long, but have only become open about recently in college.

Sometimes I don’t like to think about it, but there was a time in my life when I liked the show. When I was 13, I felt there was pressure upon me to move away from the cartoons I loved so much as a kid. In my search, I found Doctor Who, which I felt had some interesting ideas.

At the time, I was willing to take idea from the show, and was rather patient of when I’d ever see the classic series (which lasted from 1963 until 1989). However, as soon as my Mom found out that I was watching the show, things went downhill quickly.

Apparently, my Mom thought I was a full-on fan of the show, and went around getting my Doctor Who merchandise. At first, I was just a little annoyed, but otherwise I was fine with it. However, the annoyance factor reached the tipping point when my Mom suggested that I go to a Doctor Who convention in Cardiff, in the summer of 2008. At that point, I stopped watching the show entirely, not because of any issues with the quality of the show, but because people had taken my interest in the show way too far.

Unfortunately, during David Tennant’s run as Doctor Who, the show became heavily commercialized to the point that after I had stopped watching the show, I came to view it as basically a mainstream, family-friendly sci-fi show that only a child could be frightened of.

When they replaced David Tennant with Matt Smith, however, things got exponentially worse. They changed the damn title (which didn’t even need to changed at all), and Smith’s companion was likely chosen just for sex appeal. Matt Smith himself just looks unappealing, and to me, he comes off as the 1Direction of all the incarnations of Doctor Who, mainly because they marketed the ever-loving crap out of him, knowing he was inferior to David Tennant. Not to mention, the show has gained the same cult status as football gets in this country. The tabloids love that show, and they make news out of the main star.

If that show has been around for 50 years, maybe it’s time to finally let it go. Times have changed dramatically since the “classic series” ended in 1989, sci-fi is not the same now as it was 24 years ago, and some things we thought were cool years ago now seem totally gay, especially with the amount of overacting in David Tennant’s run on the show (not to mention that the plotlines were getting ridiculous).

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that the show managed to survive as long as it did, but no TV show should ever last more than 5, 6, or even 7 years, because after around 100 episodes, the writing goes stale, and the episodes end up having ridiculous premises. Besides, the Simpsons has 25 seasons now, and that show’s been going down the crapper since The Simpsons Movie came out.

Overall, I haven’t really got a whole lot against the show, other than how out of hand it’s gotten. Will I watch the upcoming Peter Capaldi episodes? Absolutely not. Will I ever watch the Matt Smith episodes? Hell no. Will I watch the David Tennant episodes again? I highly doubt it. Will I watch the Christopher Eccleston episodes again? Maybe, maybe not. Will I ever watch the “classic series”? I’ll think about it. But one thing’s for sure, if we as a nation really love this show, we have to be willing to let it go. After all, it probably won’t be too long before the show runs out of ideas.