My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

13 Articles Tagged with “Doctor Who”

  1. Thoughts on The Day of the Doctor

    Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, marked by an anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. This special was simulcast in 94 countries and 15 languages, setting a new Guinness world record in the process. In many countries, including the UK, it was also shown in theatres in 3D. My roommate, her daughter, and I bought our tickets as soon as they went on sale. Last night we queued up to get into the theatre, which was packed full of fans waiting to see the three Doctors and learn the truth about John Hurt’s incarnation of the renegade Time Lord.

    Spoilers, of course.

    When Steven Moffat took over as the showrunner of Doctor Who, I was happy and optimistic. The episodes of the show that he had written were among the best of the new show. And, for the most part, I’ve enjoyed Moffat’s era of Doctor Who. Yet of late I’ve been disappointed with some of the story arcs, and in general I’ve found Moffat too keen on creating fascinating but inexplicable paradoxes, to the point where the resolutions of some of the stories seem trite and a little contrived.

    So when…

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  2. October is for thanksgiving, November for anticipation

    It’s Halloween, and it’s the half-term, and I realized I haven’t actually updated my blog in over a month.

    I’m sitting here with my head feel like a trainwreck for the second time this autumn. Colds are not my friend this year. Stress has run down my immune system to an unacceptable level, and between that and Twitter’s decision to stick large images in my feed, I am not happy.

    Having a week off to catch up on my reading and knitting? Now that, I’m happy about. My Australian teacher-friend Sam came over to watch a Star Wars marathon with my roommate and her daughter. Sam had never seen any of the Star Wars movies before! So we made her watch the original trilogy and closed that gap in her cultural education.

    Anyone who begrudges teachers these week-long breaks should think twice, if the large, heavy box of marking sitting in my room is anything to go by. I have been chipping away at it all week. Don’t get me started on planning.

    Rather than dwell on circumstances I can’t really control, here are some things I’m looking forward to:

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  3. Universal fat jokes, Doctor Who will be everywhere, and apparently the Internet is no longer for porn

    I’m comfortably ensconced (this is the correct word) in the well-worn couch in my grandparents’ basement. In a few hours I’ll be on an Air Canada flight to Thunder Bay, where I shall while away my summer in whatever manner pleases me (think coconut milkshakes, ninja dance parties, and suffocating under a massive pile of library books). Until then, though, things happen on the Internet.

    • We should be getting a Doctor Who 50th anniversary special trailer any time soon, because they screened it at Comic-Con. But apparently, according to the comments section, that isn’t going to happen. However, I am somewhat assuaged because the special will be simulcast around the world, which means I don’t have to worry about spoiling it for my dad (or Twitter spoiling it for anyone else).
    • Watch this “in memoriam” video for the myriad characters who have died during the first three seasons of Game of Thrones. Spoilers, obviously.
    • In an interesting spot of science news, evolution might be more predictable than we thought. It’s hard to get testable hypotheses out of macro-evolutionary theory, thanks to the time scales involved, but scientists are always finding ways around that.
    • Also, on the

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  4. Protest by reading seems about my speed

    It’s been a good week. On Friday night I went to the school’s Year 11 prom. I wore a suit and trainers, with a new bow tie and even some bracers. And somehow I ended up winning Best Dancer (no one could step to that).

    Meanwhile, on the Web this week, here’s what I found interesting:

    • I fondly remember watching Captain Planet as a kid. Looking back, it might seem cheesy (indeed, it probably seemed cheesy to me even then). But both the story and its pro-environmental message spoke to me. So I’m very excited and intrigued to learn that Sony has decided a Captain Planet move is in order. While we’re on the subject, does ayone else remember that one time Captain Planet turned people into trees?
    • Speaking of science and the environment, Bill Nye is one of my heroes. He’s one of the reasons I like to wear bow ties. Bill Nye the Science Guy was another favourite as a child. The New York Times has an excellent spotlight on him. Go read it!
    • Someone has put together an explanation of the various archetypes met during the Hero’s Journey (à la Campbell) using puppets

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  5. Things I wish I had done or seen

    I tweet a lot, and that includes links to interesting things I see on the Web. Twitter is an interesting medium with a lot of advantages—but one of those isn’t really permanence. It’s not easy to go back and look at one’s previous tweets, or to collect and categorize one’s tweets.

    Since I’d like to blog more, I thought I’d try sharing here some of those things (and other things) I’ve encountered over the week.

    • You can use math to become better at Monopoly. Well, you can use math to help you out with any game of chance, but Walter Hickey does an excellent job actually analyzing, step-by-step, the different probabilities involved. You don’t have to be well-versed in math to get something from the presentation, though familiarity with probability will definitely help.
    • I’m stoked that the Large Hadron Collider has detected what is most likely a Higgs boson. It would have been exciting to have to tweak the standard model even more, but now we have some interesting evidence in its favour (especially because it wasn’t quite the mass of Higgs we were looking for). That being said, discovering what you are looking for, instead of something entirely

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  6. This season of Doctor Who has disappointed

    I just watched “The Name of the Doctor”, the finale to this season of Doctor Who. My roommate and her daughter were in London yesterday to see Phantom of the Opera, so I waited until this morning to view the finale with them—we had a bacon breakfast party. Steven Moffat and the BBC have been promoting this episode for quite a while now, as part of their larger promotion for Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary and the accompanying special. We were promised some big reveals that “change everything.” At the very least, we were promised the secret behind Clara, the impossible girl. In my opinion, Moffat didn’t deliver on the former, but at least he explained the latter, in his usual self-fulfilling timey-wimey way.

    No spoilers about the finale, beyond what you might have seen in previews or trailers broadcast on TV.

    I feel bad for my roommate. I suppose I sound a bit like an Eeyore to her, with my constant, academic critiques of the new Star Trek franchise (we’re going to see Into Darkness in less than hour, but that’s another blog post) and now this season of Doctor Who. We all express our love…

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  7. Who’s running the Asylum (of the Daleks)?

    As foreshadowed, thoughts on Doctor Who! I’ve been very excited for the new season (aren’t I always), especially because I get to watch it properly on the BBC. (SPACE in Canada has been pretty good, to be fair, but they still get the BBC America cut.) After the Doctor’s “death” at the end of the last season, I was interested to see what kind of trouble he would get into next.

    Oh, spoiler alert for “Asylum of the Daleks”. And, I guess, all of last season. Sorry.

    I find myself, once again, ambivalent about Doctor Who. In the pacing department, “Asylum of the Daleks” works well. I also think it was a good choice of story for the season premiere, and I probably would have liked it less if it had been anywhere else in the season. It’s very similar to “The Eleventh Hour”, with the Doctor racing against time to find a solution that lets him and the Ponds live. The in media res opening and subsequent dearth of time for exposition about the shambles of Amy and Rory’s marriage would have annoyed me if this weren’t the season opener (and if we hadn’t seen the…

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  8. Torchwood Day One and Doctor Who Pics!

    Monday signalled the beginning of a week of mass mayhem, Scotland versus England humour, and alien threats to the security of our planet. Yes, I'm talking about the American and Canadian premiere of season 3 of Torchwood, aka Torchwood: Children of the Earth. If you've been living under a rock for the past year, this is a five-part miniseries format change to accompany Torchwood's move to BBC One.

    For those of you in Canada who missed the broadcast or who don't get Space, you're in luck! You can watch Torchwood online for up to seven days after it airs on television. Now, the CBC has also been good about making its television shows available online; they've shafted Doctor Who and Torchwood over and over, however, so I'm happy to see them finding a new home on Space. Space will also be showing the Easter Doctor Who special, Planet of the Dead, this Saturday.

    I must confess that I'm not in love with Torchwood the way I'm in love with Doctor Who. I watched the first two seasons sporadically. The only character who really fascinates me is Captain Jack, with his TARDIS-conferred immortality. Beyond that,…

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  9. Why yes, that is a sonic screwdriver in my pocket

    So what if it's plastic and doesn't actually unlock things (which would be ever so slightly illegal)? It still makes authentic noises, extends, and lights up. Plus it pulls double duty as a regular pen and a UV pen!

    Yes, I'm talking about the sonic screwdriver toy. It may be a simple toy, but it makes me happy. :D The sonic screwdriver is a brilliant little device from Doctor Who, so even a plastic replica is cool. However, this toy is slightly special because it isn't based off the prop--the prop is based off the toy. The producers were so impressed by the durability of the toy that they acquired the moulds and used it to make a newer, slightly larger sonic screwdriver. So that's neat.

    I ordered it online from Pixel Barrel, a Canadian company. Originally I saw the toy on Amazon UK, but they wouldn't ship to Canada. So it was a double stroke of luck, since the overall cost was cheaper, and the shipment only took 3 days to arrive. I also got a hardcover edition of Serenity: Those Left Behind. There's all sorts of tasty collectibles there from science fiction/fantasy series. However, I've…

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  10. Doomsday

    :'(

    That last scene between Rose and the Doctor was just so sad, but poignant. It wasn't the catharsis for which I was looking--not really--but it came close. I cried. I knew that the Doctor would run out of time before he could say it, but still, watching it happen.... Wow.

    The Tenth Doctor is my favourite television character bar none now. At the beginning of season 2 I was worried, I'll admit, that David Tennant would not make a good Doctor. However, he has shown himself to be a stupendous Doctor (not that I'm really qualified to judge, since I haven't seen any of the older episodes). The way that he captures the character of the Doctor--and the character of the Doctor himself, his actions--is why I love to write. I must admit that I am envious of Russel T. Davies and the other Doctor Who writers. Season 2 wasn't the best television I've watched, but the Doctor himself made it worth watching.

    The DVD set for season 2 is $113.96 on Amazon though, and I can't find it on the Future Shop website, so I don't think I'll be buying season 2 anytime soon, sadly--even though I am…

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  11. Well that's *brilliant*!

    The Ninth Doctor's catchphrase was "Fantastic!", but I think that the Tenth prefers to say variations of "That's brilliant!" I really like the Tenth Doctor; David Tennant is doing a brilliant job at portraying his character, and the writers have done a smashing job with the plot.

    I just finished watching "The Impossible Planet" tonight (yes, I know the CBC is behind on the shows...). Wow. Part of the reason I love the Doctor, of course, is because he's one of the last action heroes on TV who is fun for the entire family. He doesn't swear and spit as he shoots a massive laser gun into the hordes of rampaging aliens. In fact, when the chips are down, he is usually seen admiring the work of his enemy and attaching adjectives like "brilliant" and "stupendous" to things.

    Like in tonight's episode, the Doctor and Rose end up beyond the range of the TARDIS' knowledge--smack on a base on a planet that is orbiting a black hole (as opposed to being ripped apart by its gravity). And the Doctor, upon hearing the story of why this ship full of humans came to the planet, hugged the captain. He even…

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  12. More Doctor Who gushing

    //Doctor Who is coming along quite nicely. Although I think the character personalities are still somewhat quirky, they are believable*. Tonight was the third episode, I still prefer the second because it was more space-orientated, but this episode was kind of cool.

    I've been feeling rather under the weather for the past few days, it's just a cold though. And I discovered a great new webcomic, Irregular Webcomic!. It's absolutely brilliant, I strongly advise you read it regularly, especially the Death-themed ones. It's insane and humorous, and perfect combination!

  13. Doctor Who?

    I watched the CBC's premiere of the BBC's new Doctor Who series last night. Sadly, I've never had the opportunity to see any of the previous series, but I do think this one is . . . okay. I haven't really seen a lot of British television before, so it was a little surprising. But overall I did like the storyline, if the episode itself wasn't that great. The teaser for next week does look interesting, so I'll be watching that.

    Hmm . . . well, I got to borrow hair spray from my principal today. Indeed, that was first. I made a propaganda poster for history class, and because I used chalk my history teacher suggested I spray it with hair spray to prevent smudging. Thus, I borrowed someone's hairspray (and the poster didn't smudge!).