Broadchurch Season 2: How does Chris Chibnall do it?

I watched Season 1 of Broadchurch in 1 day and in 1 sitting. Although it goes against the traditional police procedural, this drama series is as compelling as early season CSI episodes. I would not want to compare it with another British police drama, The Fall, but then I think I need to. The Fall was an extremely slow burn series. Both are intelligent but I found Broadchurch to be more accessible with all the back stories of each character very intriguing almost verging on soap opera tropes but holding itself back with incredibly powerful performances and smart writing.

It’s also visually stunning. I wouldn’t mind moving into that idyllic town with a cliff on the beach, rustic cottages, and small town charm where everyone knows everyone else’s business. The production really took advantage of the location in Dorset. I love the cinematography and how they compose the shots. The place itself adds another layer of character to the story.

I’ve seen up to Episode 3 and so far, I love the new series. It continues from where the first season left off – the trial of Joe Miller, the suspect in the death of Daniel Latimer. We see what happened to the characters after the shocking reveal. It seems the intrigue continues and no one has moved on.

I think the main strength of the story lies in the relationship dynamic of the characters. Some of their relationships are rarely portrayed. Example is the prosecutor and the defence (or defense) lawyers (or barristers). The retired prosecutor (Jocelyn Knight played by Charlotte Rampling) used to be the defence attorney’s (Sharon Bishop played by Marianne-Jean Baptise) mentor and professor. It’s revealed and implied that Sharon Bishop asked Jocelyn’s help for her son who was now incarcerated for an unknown (yet) reason but her mentor refused. It appears to be the main motivation for the character to help out the accused.

And of course, the Mulder-Scully (at least in the TV series) esque relationship of DI Alec Hardy and now, PC Ellie Miller. So rare is this platonic friendship based on mutual respect ever explored with a man and a woman. Somehow, TV and movie executives always mess things up with sexual chemistry, as if friendship between a man and a woman is not possible.

The former best friends Beth Latimer and Ellie Miller are also explored in the wake of the tragedy. It’s interesting how each character react with the other. Will their friendship ever be mended?

I can’t wait for the next episodes. Chris Chibnall certainly can deliver another great season of Broadchurch. Makes me wish he’ll be Steven Moffat’s replacement for Doctor Who (you know, when time comes). I know he’ll give us a Doctor Who we’ve never seen before.

 

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Doctor Who: Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor

This season of Doctor Who will the first time I will be seeing episodes as they air, instead of bingeing on series after series of new and classic Who.

Let me tell you, I’m one of those fans that don’t necessarily have a problem with Matt Smith. I enjoy re-watching his episodes. They are fun and pure escapism for me. It’s only when you think about it with a bit of seriousness when you realize how silly some of the stories actually were. I was ready for the next regeneration. Although, I know I will miss the bow-tie wearing 11th.

Peter Capaldi reminds me of House, a character so vastly different from the playful Eleventh Doctor, they could be night and day. Watching Capaldi deliver lines, I can still imagine how 11th would say it and the context definitely changes. Am I loving Capaldi as the Doctor then?

After this third episode, The Robots of Sherwood, I can definitely say, I’m warming up to the new doctor. I do have a major concern though. In the first and second episode, I could hardly understand some of what he’s saying. The fast delivery combined with the Scottish accent is probably what’s throwing me off. I could still follow the story but some of the punchlines were lost on me. ‘Tis the sad fate of a non-native English speaker, I suppose.

So how do I like the new episodes? Not my favorites but I’m still hoping for more interesting stories to come.

Deep Breath is trying to recapture some of the magic from Don’t Blink, obviously, but it only partially succeeded. Impressive entrance with the spat TARDIS, though.

Into the Dalek, I felt, was just a rehash of previous episodes and did not interest me much. (I’m indifferent about Daleks. Sorry!) I am intrigued by Danny Pink though and what sort of conflict he will carry with him to the TARDIS.

So far, Robots of Sherwood is the one I enjoyed the most. I love the comedy and the very swashbuckle-y scenes. And did anyone notice where the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver went? Is he getting a new one?

As with any Steven Moffat Doctor Who, there’s a story arc that ties all the episodes in the series. The Promised Land and Missy. Call me intrigued and hooked. I know a lot of fans have theories but I refuse to speculate and be spoiled!

 

Can’t have The Doctor? Take Diego Buñuel instead

Okay, so no matter how desperate a die-hard female Whovian is, The Doctor is never ever going to ask you to be his companion. For the simple fact that the guy is a fictional character.

So if we can’t have The Doctor, who’s the next best substitute? Ladies, may I nominate the charming, tall, handsome, and moled NatGeo host of Don’t Tell my Mother… Diego Buñuel!

Let me count the ways why he reminds me of The Doctor so much:

  • He travels. (well, duh!)
  • He’s not afraid of dangerous places (hence the title of his show)
  • He charms the pants out of everyone he meets (that smile! *dies*)
  • He’s multilingual (no need for a Tardis translation thinggy)
  • He’s multiracial (almost as good as an alien with 2 hearts)
  • He’s very comfortable around people I would run from if I met them in a dark alley. ( I mean people with nasty looking guns and looks like they’d happily stick an axe in your head when you turn your back)
  • He’s open minded and democratic. (If World War 3 ever happens, I’d want him for a mediator in the negotiating table.)

As far as I know, he’s never had a travelling companion before. But when that position opens up, well…

Doctor Who Series 5, 6, & 7: How do you get over The Doctor?

I’m trying for the last couple of weeks to put The Doctor behind me. I seem to be failing… A lot. I mean I’ve got work to do, other stuff to write, books to read, and a life to live. Seriously, someone tell me how to move on! I keep googling news about the new series, I keep re-watching episodes. Even if I’m not sure about the new older-looking doctor, I can’t help but get into debates about the what would happen in the next series. I congratulate myself if I get through the whole day without inserting Doctor Who into conversations with friends.

Series 5 & 6: 11th Doctor and The Ponds

Before I watched Moffat’s era of Doctor Who, Matt Smith looked kind of weird to me. I supposed Benedict Cumberbatch did too. This is, I think, what they had in common. They are not the typical sexy and attractive guy. Both are tall, yes, but lanky and had weird long faces. That’s before they open their mouths and start getting into character, of course. Brainy is the new sexy, indeed!

Personally, I’ve always been attracted to brains before the looks. Even as a kid. I’ve fallen in love with fictional characters and never real people. I think that’s because they never measure up to the fantasy. And let me tell you, I’ve fallen in love all over again with Matt Smith’s Doctor. And then he’s gone… again…sigh.

I’m starting to get it. Recognizing the Doctor as one character with a different face in every new regeneration. The major differences and nuances in personality. This doctor is more child-like, a little lot more immature compared to the tenth doctor (who’s more emo, now that I think about it).

Matt Smith, in the beginning, was not as spectacular as what he became in the 7th series. In the 5th series, he’s still trying to grasp the role. Understandable, of course, but I still missed Tenant, then. But then, he started owning the doctor and suddenly, there he was. The Doctor, at last.

In Moffat’s Doctor Who, I felt the production’s higher budget – with the new sets, and better effects. There’s a feeling of lightness there, compared to Russel T. Davies’ era.

The Model Companion

And may I just say, I envied Amy Pond’s legs and hair! I loved the fact that the Doctor met Amy as a little girl before an adult. Loved that first episode! The touch of Sherlock is a bit disconcerting though. I see this Doctor as very eerily similar to Sherlock making deductions. (not surprising of course, as they have the same executive producer/writer).

I love the relationship between Rory and Amy. I thought it was so believable and it’s very refreshing not to see the Doctor playing the Romeo to the companion but rather like the doting fairy godmother. Oh I’m forgetting River Song… But that’s different. She’s his wife!

River Song’s Melody

As someone who comes from a family with couples with large age discrepancies, I was not bothered by the fact that Matt Smith is actually 26 and Alex Kingston’s 40-ish. I though their relationship was lovely, beautiful, and poignant. I’ve read Audrey Niffeneger’s Time Traveler’s Wife and I saw where Moffat got the idea and inspiration from.

There were a lot of plot holes still, but your suspension of disbelief just have to tolerate it all when watching Doctor Who.  Anyway, I don’t watch this series for the sci fi, anyway but the characters.

My favorite episodes: The Lodger, Vincent Van Gogh episode, A Good Man Goes to War, and Wedding of River Song (of course, though I still don’t get why the doctor need to marry River? and does that marriage even count?)

Series 7: 11th Doctor and The Ponds, and Clara Oswald

So apparently, there are 2 parts to this series. First part are still with the Ponds, while the second is the proper episodes with the new companion, Clara. Loved, Asylum of the Daleks and though I normally hate overly perky people, I love geniuses and I thought that Oswin Oswald was gonna make onehelluva companion. (spoiler: she dies!)

I don’t get the plot holes in Angels in Manhattan though – when we say goodbye to Amy and Rory. If this weren’t a TV show, in a more “realistic” Who-niverse, I’m sure The Doctor could’ve saved the Ponds with a wave of his magical sonic screw driver. I thought the writer could’ve made something more poignant than that scene.

As for Clara, I loved her Victorian saucy version as well. She’s properly coquettish which I suspect annoys some of the more hardcore fans but makes us, shippers, positively gleeful.

The real Clara or the original copy in the contemporary world has been described as a more tame and normal version of the other two. I see what they mean. I really would’ve liked the more extreme versions but what can I say.

I feel that we barely know her but that would change, of course, with the next series with Capaldi. I would’ve liked to see Clara spend a bit more time with River Song but I suspect, we’ll also see those two interact more in the coming episodes.

As for the explanation of why Clara keeps on appearing and dying in different times, I’m satisfied with that. Jumping on the Doctor’s time stream…Sure, why not? It’s interesting to see her in the classic eras. Almost made me want to watch the 60s-80s episodes. (I bet my co-worker, I’d watch them only if he can procure all the episodes himself.)

Matt Smith’s speech in the Christmas special was heartbreaking and perfect. This is how a Doctor should say goodbye. Although I love Tenant’s Doctor with all my one heart, the overly long goodbye took away some of the poignancy.

So what’s next, Peter Capaldi?

My prediction is that we haven’t seen the last of River Song. I read news that Matt Smith wants to keep the character with the 11th but fat chance, as Moffat have other plans, apparently.  It would be interesting to see an older looking doctor with the comparatively younger looking River.

So shipping Clara and the Doctor would come to an end, me thinks. I know Clara said she fancies the Doctor in the Christmas episode but that would be an overly crowded Tardis with River Song in the mix.

Matt Smith’s Doctor did a lot of jumping, running, and other physical stunts. Would Capaldi be up to this very physically demanding role? Or would he be a more intellectual and subdued Doctor?

I really can’t wait for Series 8. In the meantime, I’ll continue converting everyone to Who-vism. They really don’t know what they’ve been missing ;)

Sherlock Series 3: The Empty Hearse and The Sign of Three

SPOILER ALERT!

I’m a little apprehensive after watching the second episode.

This is one of my problems – placing so much expectation to the next album from an artist, the next book in a series, the next season of a TV show, the next movie in a franchise etc. etc. after putting the previous ones in a pedestal and obsessing about it for months even years. I need a life. Seriously.

So this season or series (as the Brits call it) of Sherlock may not be my favorite so far. After waiting 2 years (only 1 for me – as a late comer) the fandom has grown so big (and apparently so influential) that Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat had to take notice. Talk about Great Expectations! Well, extremely high is an understatement. In my opinion, Sherlock rivals one of my most favorite TV shows of all times – The  X-Files. Unfortunately, I fear if Sherlock follows my perceived trajectory (from the 2 episodes I’ve seen), it might follow the same fate of the X-Files towards the end when it died slowly without anybody caring except for die-hard fans.

The Empty Hearse

I liked the first episode and forgave it’s flaws (unnecessary and super jazzed-up mind palace sequence, Moriarty-Sherlock shipping, and the disappointing explanation of how he survived). I thought the whole episode was hilarious! I did missed some of the more complex plot that leads to the mystery. In the previous episodes, I had to watch and re-watch the episodes to fully comprehend every detail that leads to the case. I didn’t mind doing this, I actually liked that every time I watched, I gained another insight or detail I missed the first time.

Being a Molly fan, I was thrilled with the imagined kiss, of course! But I was thoroughly disappointed at Molly for her choice of fiance. Oh come on, Molly! Really? A cheap version of Sherlock??? (I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that Tom proves he’s actually the better man for Molly. Even after the second episode when he opens his big mouth.)

The best part of this episode is the reunion. I thought it was sheer perfection. Drama and comedy blended right in just like it always did in seasons past. I also liked Sherlock and Mycroft’s repartee and would have liked to see  more of how the brothers interact with their parents.

I didn’t like the bomb scene, though. I thought that was just mean of Sherlock to put John through that! John should have head-butted him again, in my humble opinion.

The Sign of Three

In the next episode, the focus is on John and Mary’s wedding. To nobody’s surprise (except Sherlock’s), the detective was chosen to be the best man. The concept of Sherlock being a best friend seems so foreign to him that the detective slightly short-circuited trying to comprehend what John just said. That.was.funny.

There was so much hilarity all over this episode, it might’ve been mistaken for a sitcom. That’s where, I think, the problem lies and also the long meandering Best Man speech which I deduced could’ve been tightened and edited making more room for the actual mystery. Again, this episode is such a departure from the past Sherlock episodes from the last 2 seasons.

Don’t get me wrong, I laughed at the Drunk Sherlock, for sure. But what I loved about this series (aside from Benedict Cumberbatch) is the fact that the writers usually blend comedy, drama, and suspense with such perfect balance and precision it leaves everyone’s jaw on the floor.

The balance was thrown off and the mystery of the locked room killer really is head scratching – in a bad way.

But there’s still hope! I’ve seen the 3rd episode’s (His Last Vow) preview and it looks as if we are finally getting a proper look at the new villain, Charles Augustus Magnussen (formerly Charles Augustus Milverton – from the books). We can all pray that Steven Moffat is finished catering to the fandom and stopped stealing ideas from fanfics and finally give us the Sherlock we were all craving for!

Doctor Who Series 3 & 4: Rebound Girl and Sassy Girl

When Matt Smith auditioned for the role of Watson is Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ version of Sherlock, he was turned down because he fits better as Sherlock rather than the companion…I mean, Watson. It doesn’t take an extraordinarily perceptive person to see the similarities between The Doctor and Sherlock. While one describes himself as simply clever, the other is a high-functioning sociopath. Let’s see what else? Both are skinny, tall, and white with a penchant for wearing the same clothes (and coats) everyday. They both have their preferred gadgets: a sonic screw driver, the other, his mobile.

What sets them apart, other than all that time-travel thing and the general ‘arsehole’ personality, is their choice of companions. While Sherlock prefers a monogamous relationship with his Dr. Watson, The Doctor prefers to line them up and go through each one until he leaves them heartbroken one by one. Okay, maybe I was judging too harshly… I have not seen every Doctor Who episode yet!

Still… Doctor? 3 little words! Oh come on! Rose Tyler, I…  yes?… yes? The fandom is left as frustrated as Martha Jones.

Series  3: Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones

Oh, Martha! I feel your pain! I loved Martha Jones as the next companion after Rose and the story was riveting and heartbreaking as well in the finale of the 3rd Series. There were glaring differences between Martha and Rose (aside from the obvious). While Rose was just a naive teenager, Martha was already 23 years old working on her medical degree. Martha seems smart because she’s highly educated but that doesn’t mean Rose was not just as smart. Rose’s education came from experience and instinct rather than academic.

Before the 2005 reboot, I was unfamiliar with the series so I wasn’t exactly sure how the whole companion thing works. I thought the doctor would just fall in love over and over again with his companions. I’m glad Rose was a bit more special because even if he didn’t say it, we all knew the doctor loved her.

I applaud how Martha decided to give up on her unrequited feelings for the Doctor and go for the right decision which is to stay with her family and resume her life. This level of maturity have yet to be achieved by Rose as she values her feelings more than what her mind is telling her.

Series 4: Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble

Donna Noble is freaking hilarious. Just what the Doctor needed after feeling a bit guilty for breaking Martha’s heart. I’ve watched a few clips of Catherine Tate’s Lauren Cooper sketches and I laughed so hard the neighbors probably think I’m crazy. Take a look at this classic sketch with the Doctor, himself.

Many fans love Donna Noble and for good reason. Although they are strictly just friends, they have amazing’s chemistry that’s a breathe of fresh air from the previous companions’ longing looks at the doctor.

She’s the perfect representation of an everyday woman. I know I can relate to her, feeling like your life is headed nowhere and almost believing the people’s negative opinion of you that you begin to doubt yourself and the choices you make.

In the end though, Donna mattered so much she can’t even to begin to imagine how much. It’s just sad and tragic to see that the doctor had to erase any traces of memory that included him and their adventures together.

What I feel about Rose and the Duplicate Doctor

One part of me actually wanted the Series 2 finale to be the final time we see Rose Tyler but shipper part of me is glad to see her have a happy ending although he’s just a duplicate semi-human doctor. If only we could’ve heard what the Doctor whispered. I know… everyone knows what it is, but still. You never thought those 3 simple words could be as powerful as it is even on just a TV show.

Dr. Who, Series 1 and 2: I Volunteer as Companion!

I stayed away from watching Dr. Who for the longest time for such stupid reasons like “I’m really not into sci-fi, I’m more of a fantasy kind of nerd”… (Although my fave tv series included: The X-Files, Star-Trek (TNG), and Sea Quest (admittedly because of Lucas – Jonathan Brandis!)), “I might not get it, I’m intimidated!” (although I’m currently watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus – esoteric humor galore), and “I so don’t want to be labeled a hipster.” (This will never apply to me as hipsters will never… ever… ever… admit to reading and liking the Twilight Series un-ironically.)

Series 1: Ninth Doctor with Rose Tyler

I started with the reboot in 2005 starring Christopher Eccleston, as the doctor and Billie Piper as Rose, the companion. I was kindda hoping I wouldn’t like it since there are 8 series or seasons in all with 13 episodes each. 8 series x 13 episodes x 45 mins divided by 60 equals 78 hours of my life devoted to this. Although I’ve done marathons of TV shows before (South Park, Alias, 24, CSI, etc.), that was before I had a regular job with corporate bosses. (This is why I keep away from never-ending animes.)

Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your point of view), I discovered a new drug in the form of The Doctor, flying on a silly blue police box with a slightly masochistic blonde “companion”. I was hooked, plot holes, “cost-effective” effects, and all.

What I Liked

Series 1 with the Ninth Doctor was the perfect place to start for a non-fan of Dr. Who. You don’t have to go through the 1960s ones. I’m not that hard-core! You don’t get lost in the universe because they explain all you need to know – the story of the Time Lords, the regeneration, the concept of the companion, how the Tardis generally works, and the arch enemy with a plunger for arms – Daleks (although, why you need a sink plunger in space is bonkers to me!).

I thought that the series will be all about the sci-fi side of things but the core is really about the characters and how they develop through their experiences and adventures.

I felt that the relationship between Rose and the Doctor began as a friendship and somewhat of a paternal love. Since Rose Tyler lost her dad, she bonded quickly with the relatively older version of the Doctor.

Is the Rose character believable as a girl willing to leave her planet and family to travel with a total stranger through time and space? If you’re 19 and full of wanderlust, the answer is yes! I may not be a Rose Tyler but I’ve met these girls before. I totally understand and wish I had the same drive when I was a teenager. Christopher Eccleston is a bit more subdued compared to the next doctor but he really does give the vibe that everything is going to be okay in the end because he’s dependable and intelligent.

What I Didn’t Like

What my feminist side disagreed with is the constant need to protect Rose when things get a bit too scary. It seems she has to prove herself time and time again that she’s capable of taking care of herself. But this is really just a minor issue.

The major ones are the effects and a few plot holes. It seems the budget was a bit tight considering this was 2005, technology was so advanced, George Lucas just can’t stop ruining his franchise with Star Wars 3: Revenge of the Sith. As for plot holes, I just don’t buy the plausible science of it sometimes. It seems so convenient that all their travels don’t OFTEN cause a rift in the time-space continuum, only when the plot calls for it to be. In the end though, it doesn’t really matter. What matters most are the characters and their motivations.

Series 2: Tenth Doctor with Rose Tyler

The Doctor and Rose kiss in the final episode of Series 1 but the blossoming relationship briefly hit a snag as it was revealed that the Doctor was dying and he needed to regenerate in order to survive. So goodbye Christopher Eccleston and hello David Tennant!

This younger version of the doctor looks a bit more appropriate as a love interest to Rose Tyler. they don’t go too far with that aspect though. It reminds of the earlier seasons of the X-files. In an interview, Gillian Anderson said that the fact that Mulder and Scully barely acknowledges the attraction makes each hug and show of concern that much sweeter. I think the same is true for The Doctor and Rose Tyler. Believe me, I was crying my eyes out at the end of the finale.

I may have a crush on David Tennant now and I’m glad he’s on 2 more series! I will miss Rose Tyler and I hope the next companion would be lovely as well.  Will the doctor mourn Rose for awhile? Or like a jackass, be getting another companion at the  first opportunity and concentrate all his devilish charm on her until she’s looking all puppy-eyed in love with him? Hmp!

I’ve noticed that they had better effects for this season. The writing and the witty dialogue was still solid but I can’t wait for the Steven Moffat 2010 series!