Tuesday, December 25, 2012

[Caitlin] Fangirling: The Christmas Special

[JT's note: YAY!  Caitlin's back, and she's bringing her Fangirling series with her!  This time she's thrown in some holiday cheer with it.  Due to some special circumstances, I am going to leave this relatively unedited and without comment.  You'll see why in a second.  Just know that all numbers that look like this ---> [X], are placed there by me for a reason you will understand at the end.  I also just want to note that since Caitlin's love of Dr. Who has not yet infected me, I left out any spoiler tags that might be needed during editing since, well, I'm not sure what is a spoiler and what isn't.  Fair warning.  So without further ado...]

Merry Christmas to all my fellow nerds out there! If you hadn’t guessed already, I am a MAJOR Doctor Who fan. Christmas is a particularly special day for fans of this beloved series because of a British tradition known as “the Christmas Special.” I have been current with the series for only the past two Christmases, but I already know that it will be a personal tradition of mine to watch Doctor Who on Christmas day. Today has been an emotional roller coaster [1], as Christmas tends to be. There was the obligatory opening of presents, a lull in which sibling rivalry rears her ugly head, and then a wonderful day filled with friends, family, fun, and copious amount of alcohol [JT's note: Which is why I was so excited to see her write this ;) OK, I'm out for now.  See you at the end.].

Since this series is entitled “fangirling,” I suppose I should begin with the presents that made me fangirl, and made the rest of my family cringe. My favorite gift was Season One of Game of Thrones. Fortunately I was able to share my enthusiasm with my father; who has seen the first season and read the first 1.5 books (I have seen and read all of it, and this makes me very anxious because I have a compulsive need to share my obsessions (this explains why JT watches Bones). When present opening was done, however, no one would let me put on the special features. (even though my sister does it EVERY YEAR with any DVD that she recieves!! But I’m not bitter at all…) I had no one to share my excitement over Downton Abbey Season two, In fact, my entire family thinks I’m weird for that one… (I have an obsession with British Television and period dramas and I am not ashamed!!!)

This brings me to our afternoon festivities! My sister, who has recently been introduced to the world of musical theater (mostly thanks to Glee and shows like The Voice), actually wanted to go see Les Mis. Let me just say [1] that I have been looking forward to this for so long, and with every news update I wanted it even more! It was an emotional rollercoaster [2] to say the least [2]. To say [3] that I was anxious is an understatement; musical theater to film translations have not had the best track record.  The announcement that the actors were singing every track live was very promising, but out of context clips and the “highlights from the motion picture” soundtrack did not bode well. I have to say [4], that the wait for this film was an emotional rollercoaster [3] in and of its self; but the final product was well beyond anything that I could have imagined.

While I have never seen Les Miserables on stage, I can imagine that it lacks a sense of the personal connection necessary to capture the audience. On film this is absolutely not the case. Les Miserables pulled me in immediately, and did not let me go for three tearjerking hours. To say that [5] I was impressed would be an understatement. Initial critical reviews of the casting choices made me question my excitement, but I was not disappointed. While I wish that Amanda Seyfried’s voice had been more powerful in ensemble numbers, and that Russell Crowe’s delivery had been more powerful in general, this did not detract from the film’s emotional pull. On the other hand, Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen were perfectly cast for the precise amount of comic relief. It took a while for me to recover from the emotional toll of the film; which was both depressing and uplifting [4.5] at the same time.After all of that, the Doctor Who Christmas Special still remained. I made the mistake of watching the end of the Fall finale before the Special, which after the emotional rollercoaster [5.5] I had already ridden, was a horrible idea. At least it put me in the proper, I love to hate Steven Moffatt, mindset.

Since I have access to proper viewing equipment, (AKA a DVR) I am able to do a proper review (AKA I can rewatch it several times in one night and pause, rewind, and rewatch as many times as I want). The opening sequence is certainly different from recent years. I immediately picked up on the translucent image of the current doctor, and recognized that it was a throwback to the earlier incarnation of the series. The new opening sequence is such a glorious combination of old and new, that any long time fan of the series should be excited for what is yet to come (along with a few scattered allusions to the original series during the episode). This is particularly exciting since this is the beginning of the 50th anniversary year for the show, and it shows that Moffatt really cares about the legacy that was left for him.

One reason that I love Steven Moffatt is that he seems to personally have his fingers on the pulse of the Docto Who fandom. Since "A Good Man Goes to War," the fall finale of season 6, fans have been clamoring for the return of Madame Vastra (A member of the race Homo Reptilia, the first humanoid inhabitants of planet earth) and her female partner. It was widely speculated that these two were a romantic couple (and also that they might be future companions of the doctor's), and this was confirmed in this year’s Christmas Special; marking the first time that an openly lesbian couple has been featured on the show. Since this episode takes place in Victorian England, there are a few comedic moments where it is unclear whether characters are more unnerved by the fact That Vastra is a lizard-person or that she is married to another woman.

This episode also features Jenna Louise-Coleman, who was first introduced (to much fan dismay) in the premiere episode of the 7th season.  Since Jenna was known to be portraying the new companion to the doctor,to be introduced during the Christmas Special, and Moffatt, yet again, introduced a character shortly before their demise (think River Song), this was bound to be an emotionally and mentally taxing episode. There are several moments of Pond era nostalgia, and a few AHA! moments. In true Steven Moffatt fashion, this episode answers every question with another question, and will leave every fan utterly unsatisfied; with an insatiable hunger for the next episode.

[JT's final note:  ...and that's where she left it.  I don't know about you, but I kind of want to see more of this tipsy Caitlin's writing.  I think it could be fun.  Oh yeah.  The numbers?

"Emotional roller coaster" Count: 5.5 ([4.5] was basically an occurrence)
"To say"/"Let me just say"/etc. Count: 5

... all during the first half. -_-

Anyway, tune in next time for the next installment of Fangirling and see which version of Caitlin we get then ^_^

Happy Holidays!]

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