The Teresa Jusino Experience

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Tag: UK Television (Page 1 of 2)

COUNTDOWN TO BEACON: Pop Culture and Feminism

Hello all!

Today, as I count down to my campaign on Beacon (beginning March 3, I’m going to be offering subscriptions to my pop culture writing for $5/month), I thought I’d shine a spotlight on one of my more popular pieces over at Tor.com.

And when I say “popular,” I don’t necessarily mean in the best way.

In this piece, Moffat’s Women: Amy and her Skirt, I talk about how much I love the character of Amy Pond, and how much I hate the fact that in the Comic Relief videos, “Space” and “Time,” the TARDIS crashing is blamed on Amy’s choice to wear a short skirt (rather than on Rory’s lack of concentration while fixing it).

EXCERPT:

Rory being distracted by Amy in a short skirt (not to mention the idea of two of her) is understandable. After all, he knows what she looks like under the skirt, making it even more understandable in his case. This isn’t my problem with the minisodes. My problem is with the too-easy, dated, sexist humor they employ, especially in the second part. First, there’s the issue of Amy being a bad driver and Rory being allowed to “have a go” at driving the TARDIS. Bad woman driver, ha ha. Now, one of the things I love about Amy is the fact that she’s flawed. She’s a complex woman, so if being a bad driver is one of the many things that make her who she is, I can forgive that.

Less forgivable, however, is the final message at the end. Once the crisis is resolved, The Doctor says that they should be safe, but to prevent it from happening again, he says “Pond, put some trousers on.” So, let me get this straight: Rory gets distracted, Rory drops the coupling…and it’s Amy’s job to put some pants on? Yes, it’s just a joke. Yes, she rolls her eyes at The Doctor and gives Rory a glare…but the fact that Moffat chose to have The Doctor reprimand Amy at the end instead of, oh I don’t know, slapping Rory upside the head for not paying attention, soured the experience for me.

If you enjoy this piece, and want to see more like it, consider subscribing to me at Beacon, beginning March 3rd. I’d love to continue to bring you the in-depth pop culture discussion to which you’ve become accustomed! 🙂

The Doctor Who 50th: We're All Just Whovians

This past week was Who-tastic! The BBC pulled out all the stops when celebrating the 50th Anniversary of everyone’s favorite Time Lord.

First, there was a new prequel short called “The Last Day”:

Then, there was the most badass Doctor Who prequel short EVER, called “The Night of the Doctor” (starring Paul McGann!):

Then, there was an (by all accounts) amazing biopic about the beginnings of Doctor Who called An Adventure in Space and Time (I’ll be watching it soon, and will buy it on iTunes):

Then, there was the wonderful 50th Anniversary special itself, “The Day of the Doctor,” which was simulcast all over the world, and has just gotten into the Guinness Book of World Records for largest simulcast of a TV drama ever, being shown in over 96 countries on 6 continents:

But if THAT weren’t enough, Saturday also saw the release of a hilarious short film called “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot,” written and directed by the Fifth Doctor himself, Peter Davison, and starring him and too many other fabulous people to list (it’s half an hour long – and WELL worth the time, especially to discover John Barrowman’s secret shame).

I could talk about the joy of going to see a screening of the simulcast on Saturday morning, sitting in a room full of Whovians all dressed up and raring to go (I wore my K-9 shirt). I could talk about how fun the entire week was, as all of my friends did nothing but talk about Doctor Who for a good five days.

But what strikes me the most is the fact that Doctor Who has become a worldwide phenomenon in ways that would make Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert proud. Just looking at the sheer number of mediums used for the 50th Anniversary alone, it’s incredible to see how Doctor Who’s storytelling has evolved. It started on television, then there are the radio plays, audio plays, novels, the TV movie, then a new TV show, and stories from that series augmented by additional stories on the web. Oh, and the comics that never stopped.  And because of the genius premise of the show – that it takes place anywhere in space and time; that its main character regenerates and is centuries old – it’s a story that can go on and on and on and never get boring. It can expand forever, in any direction and in any medium, because there’s always something new to say, somewhere new to go, and some new angle at which to explore every facet of the universe. I can easily see Doctor Who going on another 50 years, and beyond!

And that fact made me think about the idea of “Classic” Who and “New” Who.

Whenever I’ve been asked to write or talk about Doctor Who, it’s always been from the perspective of my having started the show at the 2005 reboot. I didn’t grow up with the show the way many people did. Rather, I started watching the show on DVD in 2006-2007 and became immediately enraptured. Knowing that the show had a history going back to the 1960s, I sought out the older Doctors, and am still happily involved in watching all the old episodes with several Doctors and many companions yet unseen. However, I have friends who, when they’ve tried to watch the old episodes of the show don’t like them as much, and stick to the current incarnation.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

The beauty of a show with this kind of longevity is that there are always going to be new fans jumping onto the most current stories. They should definitely check out older stories if they can, as watching the evolution of the Doctor as played by twelve (soon thirteen!) different actors is a fascinating exercise.  There’s also the fact that, if you don’t like the older television stories, there might be something for you in the audio dramas, or the comics! However, sometimes you just want to stick with the stories that are most relevant to you, and that’s OK, too. Because fetishize them though many do, several of the older stories were downright BORING, with many of the six-part stories containing two parts devoted entirely to running (and nothing else). Then again, many of them aren’t, and you should treat the old show the way you treat any current show you enjoy – love the good episodes, bemoan the crappy ones, and keep watching.

Fifty years in, we’re all just Whovians. We each have our preferences in Doctors and companions and storylines, but the idea of being a “classic” Who fan vs a “new” Who fan is irrelevant. After all, many “classic” Who fans grew up with Tom Baker as “their” Doctor…but there are people who grew up with Hartnell and Troughton. There are people who grew up with Colin Baker. And there are people like me who never heard about Doctor Who until a friend lent me her DVDs of the Eccleston series and told me that this show would change my life.

It did.

Happy Anniversary, Doctor Who.  Here’s to many more!

Talking Doctor Who at Slate!

Doctor Who - The Bells of St. John

Hey there, kids!

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I did a chat with my friend, Mac Rogers, as part of a series of Doctor Who reviews he’ll be doing with prominent Whovians for Slate. Well, our chat about “The Bells of Saint John” has posted!

EXCERPT:

Mac: Fortunately the revelation of the identity of Miss Kizlet’s mysterious “client” was well within the episode proper. And how cool was it that the client was unveiled as the Great Intelligence, now having permanently assumed the always welcome appearance of Richard E. Grant? When it comes to recurring villains from the classic series, it’s hard to think of a deeper cut than the Great Intelligence, which menaced the Doctor in 1967’s “The Abominable Snowmen” and 1968’s “The Web of Fear” and made a surprise return in the this past December’s Christmas special, “The Snowmen.” It’s interesting, between Doctor Simeon in “The Snowmen” and now Miss Kizlet in “Saint John,” we’re seeing the Great Intelligence as an evil mirror of the Doctor, first visiting people in childhood and profoundly influencing the rest of their lives. What do you make of the often nostalgia-averse Moffat bringing back such an obscure villain? And do you think we’ll get to see some Yeti?

Teresa: I have to admit I rolled my eyes. Sorry! You say Moffat’s nostalgia-averse, and I’m like, “What?” All current Doctor Who seems to do (not just the Moffat era, but Davies, too) is rehash old villains from Classic Who: Daleks, Silurians, Sontarans, Cybermen. Moffat’s definitely been better about creating new threats: the Weeping Angels, the Vashta Nerada, the Silence, all genius and horribly frightening. But then he insists on going back to old stuff. For what? To appease the fans of Classic Who? It’s a huge universe. The Doctor could swing 50 cats and never hit another Cyberman again if he really didn’t want to. I long for one, just one season of Doctor Who with completely new aliens and monsters.

For the entire post, and to leave a comment, CLICK HERE.

And thanks, Mac, for a great chat! It was fun! (And if only people could read the stuff that was cut out! Hmmm….) 😉

DOCTOR WHO WEEK 2013: DOCTOR WHO WINS A PEABODY AWARD!

DOCTOR WHO SERIES 7 B

BREAKING NEWS! Doctor Who has been awarded an Institutional Peabody Award this year!

For those who don’t know, the Peabody is the world’s first and most prestigious award for broadcasting and electronic media. From the website:

The George Foster Peabody Awards recognize distinguished achievement and meritorious service by broadcasters, cable and Webcasters, producing organizations, and individuals. The awards program is administered by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. Selection is made each spring by the Peabody Board, a 16-member panel of distinguished academics, television critics, industry practitioners and experts in culture and the arts.

Doctor Who (and BBC/Cymru Wales) has apparently won the award because:

Seemingly immortal, 50-years-old and still running, this engaging, imaginative sci-fi/fantasy series is awarded an Institutional Peabody for evolving with technology and the times like nothing else in the known television universe.

Or, you know the WHOLE Universe! 😉 Yeah, that sounds about right.

CONGRATULATIONS to Doctor Who, as well as to all the other Peabody winners this year! (especially Girls!)

30 Days of Doctor Who – Day 15

DAY 15 – Favorite Rose Moment

Rose As Lady Cassandra

My favorite Rose moment technically wasn’t a Rose Moment at all. It was more of a Billie Piper moment. It was the moment I realized what a wonderful actress she actually is.  When Lady Cassandra, the “last human,” possesses Rose’s body in “New Earth,” we see the mousey, average Rose turn into a sultry, sarcastic version of herself; a version who’s funny and who gets to kiss The Doctor!

And then there’s the part where Cassandra (in Rose’s body), having temporarily occupied the body of a human plague victim and learned the error of her ways, agrees to finally die in the body of her aid, Chip, and we see an even deeper performance from Piper that impressed me greatly. “New Earth” was one of my favorite episodes, and Billie Piper as Rose was one of my favorite things about it.

Also, Rose kisses The Doctor. Hot, right?

30 Days of Doctor Who – Day 14

DAY 14 – Favorite Doctor Moment

“I’m The Doctor. Basically, run.”

Perhaps it’s because Series 5 was the first season I was able to start along with everyone else. Perhaps it’s because Matt Smith’s was the first regeneration I watched as it happened and not on DVD years after the fact. But my favorite Doctor moment, more than any time he’s ever been clever or funny, more than any time he’s saved the world or died tragically, is the moment at the end of “The Eleventh Hour” when the Eleventh Doctor chooses his clothes and fully becomes The Doctor.

My Doctor. Not the first Doctor I’d ever seen (that’d be Nine), but the first I got to experience in real-time. I think that’s one of the many reasons why I love Eleven so much. In addition to all the personality traits I enjoy – his ease with children, his seamless blend of wisdom and youth – I love the fact that I got in on the ground floor. He is the first Doctor about whom I got to form opinions without hearing anyone else’s first. And when he asks the Atraxi if the Earth is protected, and they replayed footage from each of the Doctors before him, it is as if they were reliving my experience with Doctor Who. All that previously recorded footage, and now here’s this new guy standing in front of me with all that history behind him and totally ready to kick ass.

Except I’m not running anywhere. 🙂

30 Days of Doctor Who – Day 13

DAY 13 – Favorite Era visited by The Doctor & Co.

This is a difficult one to answer! Is the meme asking about my favorite EARTH era that The Doctor has visited? Also, which timeline are we talking about?

Such a temporal/species-centric question! 🙂

For the sake of simplicity, I’ll stick to Earth history…

The Far Future

I’m more intrigued by the future than I am by the past, and what sealed the deal for me as far as being a Whovian was the second episode of New Who, “The End of the World,” where we get to see what it would be like to experience a time beyond human existence through Rose. It is such an enormous, yet exciting concept for me, which makes episodes like this one, “New Earth”, “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit”, or “Utopia”/”The Sound of Drums” fascinating to me. I’m much more interested in seeing the possibilities in where we’ll go as a species, rather than interacting with where we’ve already been.

I guess that’s why I’m more of an aliens/spaceships kind of a girl and less of a Hobbit/dragon/broadsword kind of a girl, because if I had a time machine, that’s where I’d want to go. Which is strange, because I’m not interested in my personal future – like, I wouldn’t want to know when/where/how I’m going to die – but I’m desperately interested in where humanity is going to be in a million years. If it exists at all.

So that’s my favorite Doctor Who era – Humanity’s Far Future. I think what I love most of all about science fiction is the idea that humanity will always be kicking and screaming somewhere in the universe (even if we have to be suspended on racks and moisturized, or pumped with every disease). I love the idea that we’re here to stay.

30 Days of Doctor Who – Day 12

DAY 12 – Scene/Moment That Makes You Giggle

The Doctor As a Woman

The idea of The Doctor being a woman doesn’t make me giggle, but the The Doctor playing a woman does, mostly because in the two times I’ve seen him do it (I’m only in the middle of Tom Baker now as far as Classic Who), he (rather, the actors) seem to be having so much fun!

The first time was Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor dressing up as a cleaning lady in order to hide in “The Green Death.” His outfit, in which he made a convincing older lady, coupled with the voice he did, amused me muchly.

However, there was nothing quite like the Tenth Doctor being possessed by Cassandra in “New Earth!” No drag required – just a really thin man in a well-tailored suit shaking his hips for all it was worth. His voice, too, was perfect, and the performance was EPIC. Comic gold. And “New Earth” is one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes for this, and many other reasons. The same goes for “The Green Death.”

But really, I guess I just have a thing for The Doctor playing with gender!

And now, here’s a picture of Matt Smith in drag. I can only hope that drag will be incorporated into his tenure as the Eleventh Doctor!

30 Days of Doctor Who – Day 11

DAY 11 – Scene/Moment That Makes You Cry

“The End of Time” – I don’t want to go!

I cried several times during David Tennant’s final episode of Doctor Who, but it was his final moment just before regenerating that made me bawl like a little girl. When he says “I don’t want to go!”, it is one of the purest moments of approaching death that I’ve ever seen. So often on television, people face death so bravely and with such acceptance that I can’t believe it after a while. If you love being alive – and Ten loved being alive, while I believed Nine was ready to go, because he wanted to save Rose – then knowing you’re going to die is a frightening, horrible thing. Yes, The Doctor regenerates, and yes, all of his incarnations are the same person. However, it makes sense that each personality would react to regeneration differently, and I thought it was very brave on Russell T. Davies’ part to really examine what the death of an incarnation means to The Doctor; to have The Doctor be not so accepting or brave for once.

To have him be really human.

I wrote about the episode immediately after it aired here at this blog and on Tor.com, and Ten’s final moment continues to be the moment that made me weep buckets. Vincent Van Gogh seeing his work at the Musee d’Orsay in “Vincent and The Doctor” came close…but “I don’t want to go!” still wins that contest.

30 Days of Doctor Who – Day 10

DAY 10 – Favorite Scene/Moment

The end of “The Doctor Dances”

The time from when The Doctor saves everyone, including Nancy’s son, to his celebratory dance with Rose on the TARDIS at the end of “The Doctor Dances,” is my favorite moment in Doctor Who, because it is such an earned happy moment.

The Ninth Doctor, who was my first, was a complicated character in that he is the first incarnation we meet after the Time War and the destruction of Time Lord civilization. For him, those events are excruciatingly recent, and it’s made this particular version of the Doctor dark. He is cautious and emotionally guarded a lot of the time. He’s become cynical, which is rare for The Doctor, who continues to save humanity because he has so much hope.

But then, in this episode, for the first time in a long time, “Everybody lives!” It was such a pure, joyful moment, precicely because the viewer feels that the Doctor deserves a victory. I loved Christopher Eccleston’s performance in this role, because he played it with such gravitas, so that whenever a smile bursts onto his face, it means something! And then, when he dances with Rose on the TARDIS, after having been reluctant about dancing earlier in the episode, we see that there’s been a fundamental shift in him. Rose, and this victory, have reminded him of the hopeful part of himself he thought was long gone. Also? The Doctor has moves! 🙂

So, yeah. The end of “The Doctor Dances” is my favorite moment in Doctor Who. I mean, come on. Look at The Doctor’s face:

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