Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spara reviews The Caretaker!

Well, it had to happen - after five episodes of pass marks or higher, the Emperor Fishface has finally snapped and gone apeshit with more passion and eloquence than most of his fiction put together!

Last week's episode was very good, a decent sci fi story with a nice ethical twist. Felt a little like Torchwood. Then they go and follow it with shite like this. One minute they are trying to make the series 'darker' and the next its back to the relationship drama and mild threat aliens in school. And they go and schedule the least dark, most child-friendly episode in the latest slot....
1/10. Childish, wafer-thin plotted trash. Boring to watch. All of the characters acting like obnoxious children and writers believing (wrongly) that young people will identify with these 'real' characters. Where was it? Oh yes, a school, a robot, the robot gets shut off. Wow. Really intelligent... not. Boyfriend resents girl going off with the Doctor. Doctor a bit 'off' with boyfriend until he proves himself. Very similar stuff.  Its the same old song played on a different guitar. Soap rides again.
The episode was very badly conceived and realised. Who cares about Clara's two lives? What the viewers want is thrilling, intelligent sci fi that both kids and adults can enjoy. Putting aside the relationship drama, the sci fi elements in 'The Caretaker' were just crass. The robot felt bolted on to the plot not an integral part of it. Dreadful writing. All Gareth Roberts achieved with that episode is to prove what a poor, overrated, sub-season 17 writer he is. Some complain about my writing, but it does not revolve around the themes of rent boys, alcohol abuse and male rape to the exclusion of all else. I think you will find that my play "A Rose for Miss Farnley" reflects very accurately the character interplay within a typical suburban family in contemporary England, so I understand characterisation and relationships.

My point is that the plot of that episode was so thin it could have written itself. After the confusing and muddled pre-credits sequence it became a simplistic 'robot in a school' romp with emotional relationship pap thrown in. It was about 85% emotional relationship drama pitched at a female audience and about 15% wafer-thin sci fi tosh. Rubbish on both counts. I suggest anyone who thinks otherwise does some basic research and talk to people involved in making and marketing television. Anyone in the business will tell you that soap drama - which the relationships of a range of ordinary mundane characters are played out with overdone emotional scenes and sometimes sensationalist melodrama - is pitched at a predominantly female audience whereas Doctor Who should be pitched at 5- 105 year olds. This was like an episode of SJA, although crossed with 'Rose' and not in a good way. RTD turned it into a kids show!

The frightening bit? That was probably the best-written review on the forum, given others consisted of "totes emotes" or the phrase "I hate Danny Pink!" repeated 48 times in a single post.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Spara reviews Robots of Sherwood!

OK, Mark Gatiss is not the first writer to pen a Doctor Who/Robin Hood crossover story. I wrote mine several years ago and I am more than happy for Gatiss to attempt his own version and I'd be interested to know how people think his version compares to mine.

(Miles "Balls of Steel" Reid-Lobatto says: "It'll have less disgusting and misogynistic references to rape, that's for damn certain. But then again, finding a Sparacus penned story which doesn't portray women in an utterly disgusting fashion is rare indeed. You'd find better treatment of women in a Gor novel." while many more wisely conclude I have said all there is to say on the subect.)

I am a credible Doctor Who writer. My work is well researched and largely serious in tone. 

(Not touching that one. As many others have no doubt said about Mr. Goacher.)

If it is true that this episode is a comedy, then it is a mistake. This kind of episode has no place in Doctor Who. It can make us laugh occasionally, but the laughter should be through the clever, witty line or intelligent gallows humour quip. We have had enough of silly comedy episodes and silly comedy characters such as Vastra, Jenny & Strax. The show needs to maintain its credibility or it will continue to go downhill.

(Interestingly, spara suggests it is impossible for the show to improve, only stop getting any worse.)

6/10. That was watchable but very very silly.

(I refer the dishonorable member to the lack of Catweazle, Johnny Vegas, canned laughter or adding random consonants to the villain's names to stop Eric Saward suing.)

What was the need for the sci fi plot? Given that the sci fi elements were both predictable and rather silly. Why didn't Gatiss just make it an historical.

(Perhaps because a child audience enjoys the idea of Robin Hood fighting robots?)

Kids love ice cream but I wouldn't expect an ice cream van to turn up in medieval England.

(But he does expect gold-obssessed fundamentalist robot insurgents?!?)

How about actually educating children as well as entertaining them.

(Again. Catweazle. Texting. Shooting alien voles through the eyeball for shits and giggles.)

My story featured characterisation that was edgier and more developed.

(Well, admittedly, ROS didn't have Clara tell Robin to forget Marion because she'd probably already been raped and thus be no good for sex...)

'Lord of the Reedy River' had some very clear comedy moments. Friar Tuck was used for hilarious comic relief.

(Everyone called him a "fat cunt" and there was canned laughter.)

I find it odd that I should be criticised for using canned audience laughter when at the same time Robots of Sherwood is being praised for its use of humour.

(Do you? Seriously, do you?)

I don't understand the resentment towards canned laughter. It lightens the mood and worked perfectly well in classic comedies such as 'On the Buses'. It would not be suitable for all Doctor Who episodes, just the lighter ones.

(So what's wrong with Robots of Sherwood being a light-hearted story?)

I find it odd that I should be criticised for using canned audience laughter when at the same time Robots of Sherwood is being praised for its use of humour.

That take on the legend had little to offer other than a collection of stereotypes and a comedic romp. No attempt to develop the theme of Norman oppression of the peasants or the mythological subtexts present in the Richard Carpenter series. No real robbing of the rich to give to the poor either.

(Or a lengthy scene of the merry men nude bathing while Adam Rickitt masturbates uncontrollably.)

The point is that the Robin Hood legends offer the potential for far more than a light romp, even in a 45 min episode

(Though this is the first light romp since The Crimson Terror, by... what a coincidence!)

In the original medieval ballads Robin was a rather dark and violent character. Later he became a wronged dispossessed Saxon robbing the rich to give to the poor and fighting injustice. Later still he was the son of the spirit of the forest. None of these elements were really explored.

(Indeed. When Robin headbutted the guard he should have screamed "WHAT A POOF!")

You've never heard of the Murdrum Fine then. Or the Frankpledge. Or the Forest Laws and all the other ways the Normans oppressed the peasants...

(You still love Capaldi, don't you?)

Capaldi's Doctor has become a stubborn boy! Refusing to accept that Robin could be a real person, behaving like a squabbling boy with Robin and Clara having to step in and remind him that he is an adult..... All of this after the previous episodes promised a more convincing, adult Doctor!

(Who cares? It's a bit of fun!)

Life is not fun. It is a difficult journey through a range of disappointments and crises, followed by old age and death.

(Jesus Christ, dude, lighten up!)

Or in other words:
"I can't cope with people having a different opinion from myself."

(Couldn't have put it better myself.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Doctor Who - Break the Bank

At last, finished the trailer for Time Hiest which impresses main because it deliberately avoids being the nihlistic depression Sawardish death fetish stuff it could quite easily be (and do it well, I might add). Interesting that all the episodes so far have actually ended with happier endings than beginnings without having to rely on reset buttons or having Story Arc loom over every scene. Yeah. Not bad.

Even spara loves the series and bigs it up better than ever before!

Cool, huh? And this ep really rams home how utterly awful Alex Drake was to hide Keeley Hawes' natural charisma. Does anyone know how the "shag Thatcherite wanker" revenge ploy was supposed to work, or is it like "How is a raven like a writing desk?" and will remain an eternal mystery?

I speak of this because once again self-destruction has seeped into my work. There I am, trying to do some nice fluffy stuff about the YOA gang stuck in the Williamsberg Diner and then, next thing you know, Dave's committing suicide. I've never been one for this "the characters surprise the author" shite, but it just seemed to fit together. Dave was getting crap from the others, he was overseas, he'd seen people living their lives to a moral and ethical standard he'd never achieve and suddenly all the whacky jokes about Nigel trying to seduce a random Polish woman through his total ignorance of anything Polish or Andrew taking over a kitchen to make his own food because the menu doesn't appeal turns into suicide!

Dave wandered back into the main diner area. There still didn't seem to be anyone else in he diner. Trust their luck to arrive in Brooklyn on the slowest night of the year and have to leave before anything started happening.

Why bother?

It was a question that often plagued Dave. After all, he had nothing to go back to at the end of the day - a family he'd all-but-cut-himself-off and were undoubtedly better off without him. The love of his life was in Prague enjoying an existence he couldn't have ever given her. Andrew and Nigel had often made it clear that he was at best a hinderance to their fascinating and demented lives as a jack-of-all trades part-time DI exorcist and celebrity nymphomaniac respectively.

He had nowhere to go, no one to turn to. Nineteen years of wasted potential and disappointment to all those he cared about. And he'd tried to be a good person and a competent student, only to lose it all. It occured to Dave that life got better for people the more he wasn't around. He was like pluntonium, with his absence doing nothing but improving things. What was it his old Turkish neighbor told him was written in the Qur'an?

Everyone in the world does things for a reason. But the best reason is to be good to other people.

The only good he could achieve was to get the hell out of Dodge.

"Heh," he chuckled out aloud. "Five minutes in New York and I've gone native."

"What's that, son?" asked Earl, tugging an earphone away to hear better.

"Sorry, sir," Dave apologized. He looked at Earl. The man was clearly very old, but there was a youthfulness to him that made him ageless. "Can I ask how old you are?"

"Seven decades and change, brother," Earl replied.

"So... in your experience... do things get better?"

Earl gazed at him, as if unsure if this was a joke. "Well, it certainly started well with the abolition of slavery but it's not been going anywhere fast."

Dave felt the last gasp of oxygen burn away in his lungs. He smiled again. "Thanks, sir," he said and then turned and went back to his booth. He got out his signal-free mobile phone and started to draft out a text message.

Suicide note by text was probably a bit lame, but there was no one he could talk to face to ace, so this was the way it would have to go. Besides, he'd just made sure those two girls wouldn't get in trouble for what happened with the others.

Best to go out on a high, right?

Even my readers on asked me if everything was all right at home. But what with flirty abuse from Ttellam Noryk, spam companies trying to comment on my blog 57 times a day, the browsers playing up, the internet slowed to damn near nothing, my relapse into the awesomeness of caffinated drinks, the fact no one seems to do avis of NuWho, the endless wait till the next series of 2BG (actually, it's only a couple of months, but then it'll be a whole year, god dammit) or the fact my medicated rest cure is at an end it all just puts me in a right mood.

Oh, if only I was a comic-shop-owning social embarrassment with a forum full of illiterate sychophants constantly telling me how I was so right and the rest of the human race was wrong and that I definitely fucked my wife twelve times a night, maybe then, THEN I might achieve some psychological closure.

Or not.


Hey, what are you - perfect?!