All posts by The Writer

Game of Thrones – 80s and 90s

French artist and graphic designer Mike Wrobel has given some of favorite and not so favorite Game of Thrones characters a 80s and 90s style makeover. It is amazing how well he captures the personalities of the characters bore out only in common style of the two decades. The Stark children are especially well done.

GOT Makeove - Ramsay Snow
Ramsay Snow
GOT Makeove - Robb Stark
Robb Stark
GOT Makeove - Sansa Stark
Sansa Stark
GOT Makeove - Ser Jorah Mormont
Ser Jorah Mormont
GOT Makeove - Stannis Baratheon
Stannis Baratheon
GOT Makeove - Theon Greyjoy
Theon Greyjoy
GOT Makeove - Ygritte
Ygritte
GOT Makeove - Brann Stark
Brann Stark
GOT Makeove - Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys Targaryen
GOT Makeove - Gendry
Gendry
GOT Makeove - Jaime Lannister
Jaime Lannister
GOT Makeove - Joffrey Baratheon
Joffrey Baratheon
GOT Makeove - Jon Snow
Jon Snow
GOT Makeover - Tyrion Lannister
Tyrion Lannister

The Twelth Doctor – Some Thoughts on the New Doctor and his Companion

We are now several episodes into the freshman season of the twelfth (or thirteenth) Doctor. Peter Capaldi certainly has some big shoes to fill. Although, much is new, such as the furnishings in the TARDIS and a sometimes bewildering accent, yet some things remain the same. His companion is still Clara Oswald and the sonic is still green.

Like so many times before it seems crucial to a smooth transition for a new Doctor to keep around the previous companion. It tends to soften the blow and if the new companion is on board, then the audience is “allowed” to be also. There has usually been some initial reluctance on shocked companions to accept a new face, but by the end of episode one usually they are totally on board. Rose’s transition from Nine to Ten is especially well done.

Clara OswaldClara’s transition was anything but smooth. She seemed utterly destroyed by the new face and personality. Which on the surface seems reasonable, she did have a deep connection with Eleven and his death was quite traumatic. However, given she has apparently been saving the Doctor all through history a Doctor with a different face should not seem all that shocking. Yet, it takes a call from the “grave” to convince her the new guy is legit.

While Clara is dealing or not dealing with a new Doctor, that new Doctor is trying out his new personality. He seems much more arrogant, sardonic and cold than any Doctor in recent years. Certainly, some similarities to the first Doctor there. Nine through Eleven were infatuated with humanity, and although they recognized our faults they also saw us as a great sense of hope. The First Doctor seemed reluctant to see humanity as much more than an annoying distraction. Twelve does not seem to have that extreme viewpoint, but falls somewhere in the middle leaning toward the First.

Twelfth_Doctor_Post-RegenerationOther major differences seem to be his calculating nature as opposed to a rush in and ask questions later recipe for life. The first three Doctors of the new series were generally so caught up in curiosity, they would blindly walk into situations without even the hint of a plan. This gave the former Doctors almost a childlike sense of wonder. In that way, it made them selfless and easily caught up in the plight of strangers. The new Doctor would seem to be much more selfish. He certainly is up to the task of helping strangers, but he is far more hesitant than his predecessors were.

Twelve’s relationship with his companion also seems outside the norm we have been accustomed. He seems to leave Clara alone more often than not. Only to show up at inopportune times and lead her off to life endangering romps. Given how visceral and intimate Clara’s relationship with Eleven was, she is downright chilly toward the new Doctor. So far, we have seen her much of the time away from the Doctor. Either attempting to live her “normal” life or even being left behind to fend for herself.

TARDISThis tendency to let the companions live “normal” lives is not new. Amy and Rory also had visits from the Doctor rather than being constant cohorts. Although prior to that, the Doctor’s companions lived solely on the TARDIS. Many of which would never see their own planet or time again. I believe that makes a much stronger link between Doctor and companion. It makes them like family, rather than just some acquaintance they hang out with from time to time.

It seems unlikely much will change between the Doctor and Clara, other than the fact Clara will move on. Most of the time the Doctor is forced to painfully leave companions behind, but I believe in Clara’s case she’ll be the one doing the leaving. Perhaps Clara’s replacement will fall into more classic companion routines.

It remains to be seen whether these differences will help or hurt Capaldi’s tenure as the Doctor, but I imagine we will be in for more un-Doctorly surprises.

An Essos Vacation – Game of Thrones Postcards

With summer coming to a close and the kids heading back to school it is nice to look back on the summer vacation. A cross country trip across Essos, to visit all nine of the Free Cities.

A postcard from each major city of Essos. You can even get your own to send.

Braavos
Braavos
Lorath
Lorath
Lys
Lys
Myr
Myr
Norvos
Norvos
Pentos
Pentos
Qohor
Qohor
Tyrosh
Tyrosh
Volantis
Volantis

Guardians of the ‘Verse

Guardians of the Galaxy is roughly about a ragtag team of outlaws who create a tenuous group to take on a greater threat to save the galaxy as a whole. This is by no means the first time we’ve seen essentially criminals on the side of good. It is a time honored American tradition that even our bad guys can be heroes. A tradition we presumable stole borrowed from the British and the tale of Robin Hood. Though, in that case I suppose he is a good guy turned outlaw and then back to good guy. But I digress, the point is the formula is not new and it still works.

There are many similarities one could draw between Guardians and films of the past. Star Wars is an obvious one, but not one I’m going to go in to. Although, quickly some example might be Rocket’s ability to decipher Groot’s limited lexis into full thought out sentences or Ronan’s Sith-ish outfit.

The one that sticks out most to me is Firefly. Firefly follows the exploits of a group of ragtag outlaws who have formed a tenuous trust in order to do a little bit of bad and a little bit of good. In addition to the premise, Guardians, like Firefly, has a bit of an Old West in space feel. However, the similarities don’t just stop at broad strokes. The characters themselves seem to fall neatly into place as well.

Petter Quill Star-Lord malcolm reynoldsPeter “Star-Lord” Quill and Captain Malcolm Reynolds. The comparison is obvious with these two. They each are the leader of their little troop, but not without a little constructive pushback. Trusty sidearm in tow they have a tendency to rush in guns blazing and figure things out as they go.

gamora zoeGamora and Zoe Alleyne Washburne. Both are the strong and levelheaded character who tries to keep her comrades on track. In addition, they both have unquestionable combat skills and an unending supply of confidence.

rocket washRocket and Hoban “Wash” Washburne. I will admit this not a perfect comparison, but there is no doubt Rocket and Wash our kindred spirits. Both can be easily caught up in the emotions of things and are fiercely loyal to those they care about.

groot jayne cobbGroot and Jayne Cobb. The strong silent type would be an effective description of both these characters. Although, Jayne’s vocabulary is a bit vaster than Groot’s it isn’t by much. Although, it must be said Groot is far more loyal that Jayne could ever be.

drax bookDrax the Destroyer and Derrial Book. At first glance, this comparison might be a stretch, but they both come from broken pasts and where Drax has put that pain into working out, Book has put his toward religion. In either case, they’ve taken the extreme route.

Now, you are probably asking what about Inara, River, Simon or Kaylee? The only thing I can say is maybe they’ll be in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

Behold the Trailers of Comic Con 2014

The 2014 San Diego Comic Con has packed up the panel tables, folding chairs and microphones, but they left behind a wealth of trailers. From big Hollywood to small screens, 2015 has some great things to look forward to;

The first of the last of the Hunger Games saga; The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

After leaving our ‘heroes’ in quite a predicament at the end of Season 4 The Walking Dead is back and taking charge of their destinies.

The final installment of the Hobbit is upon us; The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

What if “Doctor Who” was American?

We all know Doctor Who is brilliant British, but what if it wasn’t? Buzzfeed.com gives us an interesting “What If” take on the Doctor as an American produced TV show. No doubt an alternate version of Earth is proudly calling “Doctor Who” as American as apple pie.

If Doctor Who was American_Burgess Meredith the first doctor
First Doctor — Burgess Meredith
Known primarily for his roles as The Penguin in the 60s Batman series and Rocky Balboa’s trainer, Mickey Goldmill, in the first three Rocky films Meredith made for an irascible, curmudgeonly yet warm and protective Doctor.
If Doctor Who was American_Dick Van Dyke Second
Second Doctor — Dick Van Dyke
Faced with the impossible task of replacing its lead star, the show’s producer’s decide not to replicate the previous Doctor, but go in a different direction entirely. Van Dyke’s Second Doctor seems light and playful on the surface, but this masks a brilliantly inventive mind and an absolute abhorrence of injustice.
If Doctor Who was American_Vincent Price the third Doctor
Third Doctor — Vincent Price
The show débuts in colour (or should that be color?) for the first time as the Doctor is exiled to Earth; now in the form of horror icon Vincent Price. Price hams the role up as a scientific madman aiding the U.S military in their constant battle against alien invasion!
If Doctor Who was American_Gene Wilder the fourth doctor
Fourth Doctor — Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder’s weird and wonderful comedic talents made the Doctor both more alien and more popular than ever before, making the show a surprise break-out hit even with UK Audiences. Wilder still holds the record for longest tenure in the role and still occasionally refers to himself as The Doctor.
If Doctor Who was American_Kyle MacLachalan the Fifth Doctor
Fifth Doctor — Kyle MacLachlan
After Wilder’s definite incarnation the producers decided to cast a deliberately different actor. Kyle MacLachlan was the youngest actor ever to take the reigns to the TARDIS and proved himself over his three years creating a subtle and idealistic Doctor.
If Doctor Who was American_Christopher Walken the sixth doctor
Sixth Doctor — Christopher Walken
Production problems plagued Walken’s brief stint in the TARDIS and were not helped by the actor’s constant bizarre demands. Walken insisted on wearing a multi-coloured patchwork coat and have his Doctor attempt to strangle his Companion. Thankfully the producers opted not to take these ideas on board. Walken’s Doctor was cold, dark and brooding but after a brief two year stint, the actor left due to ‘creative differences.’
If Doctor Who was American_Tony Shalhoub the Seventh Doctor
Seventh Doctor — Tony Shalhoub
Tony Shalhoub’s brilliant take on the Time Lord as a devious, scheming chess-master couldn’t stave off the show’s imminent cancellation.
If Doctor Who was American_Jeff Goldblum the 8th Doctor
Eighth Doctor — Jeff Goldblum
The show was revived in 1996 by the UK’s BBC in attempt to revamp the show for British audiences. Viewers were worried that the essential Americanness would be lost but to assuage their fears an American actor was cast; Jeff Golblum’s neurotic, excitable Doctor was a perfect fit for 90s audiences. US fans’ fears of Britishification proved to be somewhat true when the Doctor controversially didn’t kiss his companion! Unfortunately the show was never picked up and Goldblum’s Doctor survived only in podcasts which, seeing as it was the mid-90s, nobody was able to download.
If Doctor Who was American_Nick Cage the ninth Doctor
Ninth Doctor — Nicolas Cage
The show was reborn in 2005 headed by head-writer Joss Whedon. To solidify the show in the minds of the public they needed to cast an established actor as the lead. Nicolas Cage approached Whedon and begged to be cast. He was a life-long fan of the show, even having the entire interior of the TARDIS tatooed on the inside of his left arm and naming his first daughter Romanadvoratrelundar. The show, and Cage, was a huge hit regenerating the programme for a new generation. Despite this, Cage opted not to return for a second series.
If Doctor Who was American_Sam Rockwell The Tenth Doctor
Tenth Doctor — Sam Rockwell
After his predecessor’s abrupt departure just as the show was taking off, Rockwell had to prove to new audiences the show could work without its’ lead. And prove it he did. Rockwell’s suave, light-footed, assured Doctor consistently rates as high as Wilder’s in opinion polls.
If Doctor Who was American_Donald Glover Eleventh Doctor
Eleventh Doctor — Donald Glover
Glover’s casting was controversial as the actor was only 25 at the time. The rapper and comedian immediately blew any worries out of the water playing a Doctor who was both joyously youthful and impossibly old.
If Doctor Who was American_Bryan Cranston 12th Doctor
Twelfth Doctor — Bryan Cranston
At 57, Bryan Cranston is one of the oldest people to be cast as the Doctor and also has the added task of having to differentiate his Doctor from his career defining role as Walter White in Breaking Bad. We have to wait til August to find out just how he’ll do it!
If Doctor Who was American_Harrison Ford The War Doctor 12
Harrison Ford as the War Doctor
71 year old screen icon Harrison Ford played a secret incarnation of The Doctor in the 50th Anniversary Special “Independence Day of the Doctor.” Ford brought a doleful, tragic gravitas to his Doctor, weighed down by centuries of war.

Who might be your American Doctor?

Originally posted on buzzfeed.com

The Walking Dead: Stuck On Repeat

walking dead season 4 5When “The Walking Dead” premiered on Halloween of 2010 it was a television revolution. A horror-based tv show, about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse, hardly seemed like a good bet. However, through complex and interesting characters, plus a good amount of gore the show rose in popularity. Critical acclaim accompanied a rabid and diverse fan base. Already renewed for its fifth season, the show does not seem to be winding down any time soon.

The question is how much longer can “the Walking Dead” stay upright and mobile. After the prison/Governor disaster finished, we not only lost a beloved character, but also lost the group’s sanctuary. Our core survivors are, once again, separated and on the run. With each smaller group trying to find one another and/or find a new place to call home. While this makes for suspense and unease for our survivors. It is nothing new for them or for us watching. In fact, it is had developed into quite a pattern.

Atlanta Camp, CDC, Hershel's farm, The Prison

We have been through this cycle, not once, but three times. The show started with Rick by himself separated from this family and safety. He finds both at the camp outside Atlanta. When the camp is abandoned, they arrive at the CDC and enjoy some short-lived shelter. Once the CDC literally goes up in flames, they stumble upon Hershel’s farm. Where mostly everyone is together and relatively safe. Then, the herd crashes the farm party and the group separated.

Most recently, they made the prison their makeshift base. Although, the prison stuck for a while the Governor rained all over that and once again, the group is scattered. If the pattern repeats like it should, the Sanctuary for All camp will be the new home. Everyone will be back together and, again, moderately safe. Until inevitable, they will have to flee and start the whole cycle again.

How many more times around can the survivors take? Or more importantly, how many more times can the viewing audience take?