Doctor Who series 11 episode 8 & 9 – reviews

MJG Doctor Who, Reviews Leave a Comment

The last couple of Doctor Who episodes haven’t had bleeding-heart Social Justice Warrior plots – the kind of stories that led someone on ‘Have I Got News For You’ to call the show ‘lectures in Social Justice’ – and I’ve been quite happy with that. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Social Justice stories. Rosa Parks stands as very powerful TV. But all that worthiness can be exhausting, and we needed a break. Episode 8 The ‘Witchfinders’ offered that very nicely. Yes, of course, abuse of witches is a social justice issue, but not a very current one. …

Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald – Review

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Saw The Crimes of Grindelwald today, and very much enjoyed it. J.K. Rowling certinaly knows what she is doing. It plays with such a different tone from the Harry Potter movies. Like a thriller, jumping around these exotic locations, with spies and spy agencies and grand, epoch-shaping forces in the mix. She’s remarkably good at inserting real stakes, and real hurt, into her characters and their backstories. She makes us feel it. The theory in back of the story is a little murky, though. In Harry Potter we had that with the Elder Wand and the two other Deathly Hallows, …

Doctor Who series 11 episode 6 – Kerblam! review

MJG Doctor Who, Reviews Leave a Comment

After five episodes of this new Doctor that were often heavily freighted with political overtones, moral messages and Social Justice Warrior battles, it was extremely refreshing to get episode 6, Kerblam, that had almost nothing political about it at all. Except it did. The political bit got snuck in during the last maybe 5 minutes, and provided a glorious reversal that I hadn’t seen coming. Also – despite it being set in the future – it echoed the historical appeal of Luddism beautifully. Plus it mocked/tore up/tipped its hat at Amazon. I enjoyed it very much. Image from BBC The …

Red Dead Redemption 2 Review – I feel guilty when I don’t play…

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Red Dead Redemption 2 has sucked me in. I’m a recent re-convert to console gaming. In my 20s I had an X-box and played Halo and Rock Band (see this post here for rocking-out awesomeness and me with hair) with friends round at my house with pizza and beers. Then I entered my 30s, coupled up, and the gaming largely stopped. A year ago I bought an X-Box wanting to play The Last of Us, the zombie epic. I played a little, but struggled with the 1st person controls and couldn’t kill the zombies. I also bought The Witcher, but …

Doctor Who series 11 episode 5 – Demons in the Punjab review

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I’ve seen some reviewers charging that Chris Chibnall’s Doctor Who is too fluffy and doesn’t engage with weighty issues. When I read that, I can’t help but scoff. What on Earth are they talking about? Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who is absolutely a Social Justice Warrior of the very best, foremost class. Thus far she has taken on the very real issues of: Racism and Jim Crow in the Rosa Parks era – as well as in the far future The evils and stupidity of guns The terrible cost of fascist dictatorships (destroying whole worlds) The very fact that she is …

Doctor Who series 11 episode 4 – Arachnids in the UK review

MJG Doctor Who, Life, Reviews, TV Leave a Comment

After the intense social commentary and emotional social justice warrior-ing of episode 3 Rosa Parks, Chris Chibnall’s Doctor Who goes for a simple ‘monster of the week’ episode – in this case, spiders. But this new Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) can’t leave PC politicking well enough alone. It’s everywhere you look, and I admire that enormously. The episode begins with the Doctor, Yaz, Ryan and Graham arriving back in Sheffield, and facing their imminent dissolution. The Doctor is about to go off on her own, the others back to their lives. It’s quite a sad moment, because sure, the Doctor leads …

Re-evaluating Peep Show – is it misogynistic?

MJG Life, Politics, Reviews, TV Leave a Comment

I have always loved Peep Show – the story of two lovable uber-losers Mark and Jeremy (Jezz) living in a flatshare in Croydon, struggling to make their way in the world today. The humor is almost entirely built on their pathetic, small-minded pettiness, often combined with their very English sense of embarrassment. It’s done knowingly, of course. I always wanted to cheer these affable sadsacks, even as you wince along with them. For example, Mark accidentally kills a person’s dog – but can’t ppossibly admit to that. He tries to dispose of the body by burning it, but fails. He …

Doctor Who series 11 episode 3 – Rosa Parks review

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Last night’s episode of Dr. Who, in which the Dr. and her merry band went back in time to meet and protect Rosa Parks from a time-traveling rogue white supremacist from the future, absolutely shattered TV boundaries and thoroughly nailed its unabashed, bold, and beautiful progressive colors to the mast. Image: BBC It blew my head off completely. I feel like I’ve never seen anything like this on TV before, and certainly not within the world of Dr.Who. Where before it was always frivolous, empty, frothy escapades with a pointlessly manic Doctor, whizz-popping like LSD balls in a tombola through …

Stephen King’s The Outsider is not good :(

MJG Book / Movie Reviews, Life, Reviews Leave a Comment

I have always had an up-down reader relationship with Stephen King. His best book in my view (and I have not read many of his classics, so they’re not in the running here), is The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. His worst was, hmm, maybe the Outsider? I liked much of Needful Things, and much of The Stand, and maybe Mr. Mercedes too though I have no real memory of it, but I didn’t get the appeal of The Dark Tower. I realize the following criticism is going to annoy King fans, so to speak to that: King is obviously …

Doctor Who series 11 episode 2 – The Ghost Monument review

MJG Doctor Who, Life, Reviews, TV 1 Comment

I am loving the new series of Dr. Who. Embedded in the stories, characters and setting so far are deep, meaningful comments on our current world from an unapologetic, muscular kind of liberalism. When one character suggests using a gun, the Doctor rounds on that unequivocally. That is a bad idea. It’s stupid. We have to use our brains. And because the show is bending to her will, the attempt to use a gun goes incredibly badly. It’s humiliating. And so it should be. In England we think guns are bad. People shouldn’t have them. We are right in this …