Monday, July 6, 2015

Aragon vs. Anderson: The Snowmen

Now that I have a few minutes free, I thought I'd go back to one of my great passions...bashing The Whorist (or as it's generally known, The Nerdist), in particular their Doctor Who reviews by one Kyle Anderson.

Mr. Anderson (now doesn't that sound sinister) in my view, has rarely if ever met a Doctor Who post-Rose story that he hasn't loved.  I don't mean liked.  I mean L-O-V-E-D, to where that particular episode is the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time...until the next episode when THAT becomes the Best Doctor Who Episode of All Time.  It's gotten to be almost a point of parody to see how Anderson rarely finds fault with a Doctor Who episode.  I don't mean just to nitpick on a few things.  I mean give a bona-fide negative review.  Even I, someone who has been vociferous in my condemnation for many NuWho episodes, do admit when I see a good one (like Flatline or Mummy on the Orient Express).  Anderson, however, will almost always find something to wax rhapsodic about, even on something as atrocious as In the Forest of the Night

I was intrigued by this, so a little research was required.  I went as far back as I could regarding Anderson's Doctor Who reviews, and the earliest one I could find was the Series/Season Six opener, The Impossible Astronaut.  What I've done is taken Kyle Anderson's review verbatim, and offered my own 'translation' to the text to see what Anderson is, in my view, really saying.  I also throw in my own thoughts as to what is being said.

I hope this will be a fun and informative journey into the strange mind of the Functioning Nerd.

I present Part 20 of The Nerdist as Whore: The Snowmen.  My 'translations' are in red.

Ah, the annual Doctor Who Christmas special; my favorite holiday tradition. And being with family and stuff too, sure.

Nothing about Midnight Mass if you're Catholic, or going to church, or acknowledging that Christmas is celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ, whom many people believe to be God?  I forget, Christ has nothing to do with Christmas. 

This year’s special, “The Snowmen,” brought us a mixture of very old, kind of old, relatively new, and very new, all within a very entertaining and intriguing hour-long adventure.

At the Anderson home, they don't drink Moon-nog, they drink Kool-Aid.

Unlike either of the previous two Matt Smith/Steven Moffat Christmas specials, this one directly impacts the continuity of the series, likely because it’s in the middle of one.

Does this mean that neither A Christmas Carol or The Doctor The Widow and The Wardrobe are part of Doctor Who's continuity?  So let it be written...

It saw the return of some great characters that I was very happy to see again

Love me some same-sex bestiality and idiot Sontarans.

and had an “iconic” villain or two, whatever that might mean.

We have no idea what The Snowmen was referencing too, but we had to do something so we had some nods to what came before Rose, just to keep Classic Who fans disgusted by just how bad Doctor Who has become under Moffat's reign of terror quiet.

It also had snow creatures with big, sharp teeth that make little brothers afraid and have to leave the room (I’m assuming that holds true for everybody, right?)

I'm sure a lot of people had to leave the room during The Snowmen, and more than a few walked out due to fear...fear of hurling something at the TV screens.

and a dead, terrifying governess made out of ice. All in all, a really great return that made me really excited to then have to wait four more months until it comes back…

Well, here we go again with another "this is the BEST Doctor Who episode of All Time until the next Doctor Who episode, which will THEN be the BESTEST Doctor Who episode of All Time" recap.

When we meet the Doctor this time (as with the prequels we’ve seen),

...which is not Canon...

he’s in London, circa 1892, living a hermit-like existence, more or less removed from society, only casually helping The Great Detective (and inspiration for Sherlock Holmes!) herself, Madame Vastra, her faithful assistant/wife Jenny, and the somehow-alive Sontaran Strax, who provides much of the comic relief in the episode.

This man has NOTHING to do with
Sherlock Holmes, who was created by
Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
How is Strax alive?  We don't know, we don't care, we just think he's funny (and gives Matt Smith a run for his money in the 'idiot department').  How exactly does Sir Arthur Conan Doyle come to know of Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint?  We don't know, we don't care, we just think Benedict Cumberbatch is dreamy (and, Jeremy Who?  Vasily What?  Basil Where?...never heard of them).  There were no actors who played Sherlock Holmes before Benny, and no actors will ever play Sherlock Holmes after Benny.

These characters, as you may remember, all appeared in Series 6’s “A Good Man Goes to War”

Kyle, as you may remember, stated that A Good Man Goes to War, "nothing really happened until the last few minutes", and that "was full of action and cool new characters, but there wasn't strictly, a 'plot'".  However, since you also wrote that a lack of plot wasn't "necessarily a bad thing", we know you aren't too particular about such matters, so you should love this episode.

as part of the Doctor’s army. I really love these characters and am very pleased to see them back,

I really loath these characters and am very horrified to see them back, sucking the life out of anything they touch.

and judging by the “Coming Soon” trailer for the rest of the series, we haven’t seen the last of them.

and judging by the "Coming Soon" trailer for the rest of the series, we won't be able to get rid of them, especially if we get another Victorian-era story;  in Doctor Who-Land, the only periods in British history are the Victorian Era and the Blitz.  Nothing happened before Queen Victoria took the throne, and nothing happened between her death and World War II, and nothing between that and the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II.

If there’s one thing at which Steven Moffat excels, it’s creating compelling secondary characters to be the allies of the Doctor.

If there's one thing at which Steven Moffat insists on, it's creating horrible secondary characters to supplant the Doctor as star of his eponymous television show.

Lest we forget, he created River Song

We can't forget Steven Moffat created River Song, and we certainly cannot forgive.

and, if not created, was the first person to write Captain Jack.

I won't argue whether Russell T or Moffat brought us the intergalactic nymphomaniac, but I'll side on the Moffat camp on this one.

I’m not the first to say this, nor will I be the last, but if they wanted to make a Vastra & Company show, I’d absolutely watch it.

I thought The Snowmen WAS a Vastra & Company show.  The whole thing played like a damn pilot for The Paternoster Gang.  If such a horror were unleashed on the public, I wonder what that 'very special episode' where one of the Mrs. Vastras tries to conceive a Silurian/human child.

The enemy in this story is Dr. Simeon, played by Richard E. Grant, who as a child became the play thing of the Great Intelligence, an enemy whom the Doctor has not faced since he was in his Second iteration back in the ‘60s.

And which most if not all NuWhovians can't be bothered with.

I love all the references to the Classic Series we’re getting this year. Might it be due to the 50th anniversary? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Enjoy them while you can, Kyle, because on the actual 50th anniversary special itself, you hear nary a word about anything that came pre-Rose.  You know, the way it was meant to be.

And who better to voice the Great Intelligence than Gandalf Magneto, aka Sir Ian McKellen?

What, Nicholas Briggs was unavailable?

Grant and McKellen are excellent choices, and they’re good enough actors to make do with what is probably the least fleshed-out part of the script.

Grant and McKellen are good enough actors to compensate for the total absence of an actual script.  However, did I mention how I'm not bothered that episodes don't have things like 'plot'?

Essentially, the Great Intelligence is using the minds of people to manifest the chompy alien snow as carnivorous beasts.

As far as goofy plans go, the one cooked up by the Not-So-Great Intelligence is up there in nuttiness.  Unless the Great Intelligence can control the Earth's weather, how will these chompy alien snow work in the American Southwest or the Amazon, where snow is virtually unheard of?

What it really needs, though, is a completely icy person to help it take human form.

Luckily for it, the former governess of a rich man’s children drowned in the house’s pond.

Which would in no way traumatize the rich man's children.  Now, if maybe they had pushed her in...

Luckily for the world, the rich man’s children have a new governess.

Just a spoonful of acid...
This brings us to Clara, a/k/a Miss Montague, aka Clara Oswin Oswald, aka SoufflĂ© Girl, played again by Jenna-Louise Coleman, the tavern wench SLASH prim and proper governess. I don’t think I’ve liked a companion this immediately in… ever. She’s absolutely fantastic.

I've never been as aroused by a Companion this immediately in...ever.  She's absolutely f...antastic. 

I thought I liked her in “Asylum of the Daleks,” but this absolutely solidified it. Like most of Moffat’s women, she’s savvy and smart and capable, which is great.

Like most of Moffat's women, she has no personality and is besotted by the main character.

We don’t need any shrieking whiners.

Then why did you like Rory so much?

I was very curious how it would be explained how a girl in the future who was inside a Dalek (who died) would be related to a girl in Victorian times.

(who died).

A few people thought that, like River Song, we saw the end of the character’s life and her time with the Doctor would be earlier in her life. I thought this seemed too easy, and too done-already.

Not that ever stopped the Moff.

My theory was that “Clara” would be some ancestor of “Oswin” who just happens to look exactly the same.

We both were wrong; leave it to the Moff to come up with a character who’s even more mysterious than Amelia Pond.

First, again, NEVER trust a reviewer who insists on such a chummy nickname for the subject he's reviewing.  Imagine if Roger Ebert kept referring to him as "Marty".  It suggests that reviewer and subject are too intertwined.  You can be a champion for a particular figure (as Ebert was of Scorsese) but when you insist on calling the object of your 'analytical critic's mind' by a nickname, it suggests you are far from impartial, which is what Anderson pretends to be. 

As for Amelia Pond being mysterious?  A little too much Moon-nog, Kyle?  Amelia Pond mysterious?! 

Turns out, she’s somehow recurring throughout history and has twice died helping the Doctor. So very interesting.

Turns out, the Moff can regurgitate the same plot points over and over and we won't care.  So very idiotic.

Her scene with Vastra is really great, too.

Jenna Louise Coleman worked great with the star of the show.  What, you thought Doctor Who was about the Doctor?  PERISH THE THOUGHT!

Matt Smith again proves himself to be my favorite Doctor.

There's no accounting for taste.

I loved seeing him sulking around, trying his hardest not to get involved, and slowly but surely reigniting his interest through a new companion.

I hate how we're suppose to care about all this because few things are as dull as dishwater than to see another potential Companion get the hots for the Doctor...again.

He goes out of his way not to wear a bow tie, not to engage with people, not to be the Doctor, but his gradual re-Doctoring was just dandy.

He goes out of his way not to be all about costumes and catchphrases, to make us give a damn, to be a character we can at least try to take seriously, but his gradual re-Doctoring was just agony.

He has this amazing ability to be at once youthful and a thousand years old, and you can see all of it here. At the beginning of the episode, he’s as old-acting as we’ve ever seen him,

You ain't seen nothing yet.

and as he regains his lust for adventuring, he seems suddenly younger.

And as I gain a gander at Coleman's legs and thighs and...other parts I'd like to take a bite out of, I seemed suddenly more aroused.

It’s an amazing feat. The new TARDIS interior is slick and cool and reflects the way the show’s been going this year.

Now, maybe I wasn't paying attention, but did we really get a recap of the actual plot?  I think what we got was a nice love-note to how cool Smith was, how hot Coleman was, and how fun it was to see three useless characters again.  Don't think he mentioned anything about the Doctor's role itself was or what the actual plot was.  Sorry, I forgot that you're not too keen on plots.

There’s a lot more to “The Snowmen” that a second or third viewing will undoubtedly awaken in my brain, but having only seen it once, amid the noise of family, I found it completely agreeable.

There's a lot more to "The Snowmen" that a second or third viewing will undoubtedly appall anyone with a brain, but having only seen it once, amid the noise of payoffs and ass-kissing, I found it completely agreeable.

Much more engaging than last year’s “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe,”

Which you said, and I quote, "succeeded in being a truly Christmassy and special Christmas special".

it continues the Series 7 tradition of being pretty much awesome.

Do you think this runs in Kyle Anderson's head whenever he writes his 'analytical' Doctor Who reviews?

SHOCKED that Kyle Anderson liked a
Doctor Who episode!

The Clara-Oswin storyline is really something I’m looking forward to uncovering.

The Clara-Oswin storyline is really something I'm sure will get dropped pretty quickly and not be spoken of again.  If we do uncover whatever the storyline is, it is sure not to make sense if you think about it.  Unless you have an analytical critic's mind, then Everything Is Awesome.

Until then I’ll probably watch “The Snowmen” a bunch more times.

Until then I'll probably go and kill my few remaining brain cells and let my integrity evaporate a bunch more times.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have ham to eat.

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I have ass to kiss.

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