Monthly Archives: March 2015

Every modern Doctor Who episode ranked from worst to best, part 2 of 4: “Are these good episodes?”

And we’re back for more fun with numbers as I continue ranking every modern Doctor Who episode from worst to best. I scraped the bottom of the barrel last week, so now we move on to the middling episodes. That sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? Even though I’m being critical here and these are flawed doses of the Doctor, they’re perfectly entertaining ways to indulge in 45-minute breaks from the world, but maybe only if you’ve grown tired of re-watching the best episodes too many times. I’d still take any of these over much else we find on television these days.

Now remember – Spoilers!

“Are These Good Episodes?”

Wokka wokka!

Wokka wokka!

#75 The Bells of St. John: The introduction of the “real” Clara (Clara Prime?) includes great bits, including nice scenes with the Doctor and his soon-to-be-companion plus a brief trip aboard a crashing plane. The sexism with the monks isn’t so great, nor is the idea of presenting Clara as a mystery to be solved rather than a fully formed character in her own right. And the plot about people getting trapped in wi-fi is pretty basic.

#74 The Name of the Doctor: Some cool ideas, like the Doctor visiting his own grave (the one place a time-traveler is never supposed to go—aside from pretty much anywhere in his or her own past, right?) and some incredibly poor payoff—namely, learning that Clara’s many lives existed just to keep the Doctor safe. The story feels like it needed more fleshing out for everything to work properly. Great final scene with River, though, that addresses the troubling end of “Forest of the Dead,” even if it doesn’t fix it.

#73 Gridlock: I have a heck of a time buying the premise that people would spend years in traffic traveling meters per day. A little more world-building could have clarified why they’re desperate enough to resort to travel that’s slower than walking. But the ending is wonderful, especially when the Doctor tells Martha about Gallifrey. And it is fun watching the Doctor jumping from car to car while trying not to choke on exhaust. Continue reading

Every modern Doctor Who episode ranked from worst to best, part 1 of 4: “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

doc10openingThe Internet likes a good list, doesn’t it? A nice comprehensive, frivolous ranking of a beloved something or other?

All right then. Let’s do this. Let’s rank every episode of modern Doctor Who from worst to best in four weekly installments: “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” “Are these good episodes?”, “These episodes are cool,” and “Fantastic!”

I tried not to agonize over the exact rankings, because I wanted to be done this century, so assume a margin of error of plus or minus a few. If I did this a year later, the order would likely turn out differently. It’s all just my opinion, and I respect that you’ll likely disagree. (I know—how dare I rank that episode that low and that episode that high?) This is just for fun, a way to reflect on what’s been a great science fiction series overall.

I love Doctor Who even though not every episode is a winner, and I appreciate how hard it is to write for television. Both showrunners, Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat, have given us brilliant episodes, and both have been guilty of failing to rein in their excesses. Nevertheless, the show remains great on the whole, and I’m thankful for the many wonderfully entertaining hours both writers and their teams have given us.

But none of us are perfect. So in this first part, let’s get the misfires out of the way:

(Spoilers!)

Allons-y!

“I’m Sorry. I’m So Sorry.”

The Doctor as you never wanted to see him.

The Doctor as you never wanted to see him.

#97 The Sound of Drums/The Last of the Time Lords: It would’ve been much higher if I hadn’t separated “Utopia” from this three-parter. But no. That wonderful first part doesn’t deserve to be saddled with this train wreck. Both Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat have been guilty of mythologizing the Doctor, which is the wrong approach, but RTD gives us the most egregious example here. Martha travels the world convincing people to Tinkerbell the Doctor back to health, which results in a Jesus-like resurrection. No, people. He’s a runaway from a race of haughty time-travelers, not a Christ figure. And the Master’s insanity could be subtler.

#96 Love & Monsters: It benefits from an ELO soundtrack. And pretty much nothing else as our guest protagonist stalks Rose’s mother and a needlessly icky alien kills some nice people. And that girl’s really okay living as a cement face? Continue reading

Meet Mighty-Woman, the world’s greatest superhero!

It’s easy to say Mighty-Woman is the world’s greatest protector, but the challenge of actually being the best and living up to ever-growing expectations never ends for Miranda Thomas. When her former mentor returns to Earth after a long, self-imposed exile and steals the world’s sunlight, Miranda reunites with her old teammates—and even older friends—as they band together in an adventure that forces her to confront not only her self-centered past but the reasons she continues to serve in the present.

I’m excited to begin talking about my current work-in-progress, Terrific, which will give us a world’s greatest superhero who happens to be a 30-something fully clothed woman. That’s something pop culture needs, but it would be counterproductive if her gender was the book’s defining quality. This is a story about perseverance, friendship, and striving to do right by those who consider you a role model.

So, here’s the first full chapter. It’s still a work-in-progress, so plenty of polishing remains to be done, but I hope you enjoy.

*****

Copyright 2015 Daniel R. Sherrier. Do not reproduce without permission.

Terrific

By Daniel Sherrier

Issue #1: Perfect

“I asked nicely, but the dummies insisted on being evil,” Miranda told the police while she stood atop a pile of clobbered super-villains who had apparently competed to see who could design the most garish costume.

Miranda wasn’t Miranda in that moment, not as far as anyone present knew. To all concerned, she was Mighty-Woman, and her costume did not offend any eyeballs, perhaps because the vast majority of the law-abiding populace was biased in her favor. The gentle breeze animated the yellow cape, which matched her thin belt, fashionable boots, and large letter “M” imprinted on her shirt in a stylish calligraphy that the best graphic designers wished they had thought of. The insignia and cape complemented the magenta spandex, blending everything into a distinctive streak of scarlet whenever she’d fly off at impossible speeds.

Right now, though, the costume was in less than perfect condition. Several minor tears dotted the long pants and sleeves, and the cape had been hole-punched by unconventional fists. Scorch marks tarnished portions of the insignia, and her golden brown hair was a disaster. A careful observer might have thought a bomb had blown up in her face and subsequent action had swept away most of the ashy residue—and such an observation wouldn’t have been too far off the mark. Continue reading

Super Comics: The Walking Dead #1-6 (2003-04)

New post over at Smash Cut Culture!

Walking-Dead-1You might have heard about this little show on AMC called The Walking Dead that’s based on a comic book series of the same name, which has been going strong for something like 138 issues now.

For now, let’s just look at those first six issues, which are collected in the Days Gone Bye trade paperback, and compare them to the first season of the AMC show, which also happened to number six episodes. SPOILERS ahead (but just for that first season/first TPB).

Though they are different beasts, the similarities don’t end there.

The comic was created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore. Kirkman has written every issue of series, though Moore left after issue #6, and Charlie Adlard has kept things going from then on. The television show was brought to life by Frank Darabont of Shawshank Redemption fame (though he’s no longer the showrunner), and Kirkman has written some of the episodes.

That short first season of television is a mixed bag. The pilot episode is masterful. The second episode has some great tension. And then it’s a steady slide into mediocrity from there. The comic is more consistent in its quality level, though reading the first issue after watching the pilot makes the source material feel like the abridged version. An hour-long television show simply has much more room to breathe than a 20-or-so-page comic.

Read the rest here, please…

“Blaming Bloman”

Free short story time! Here’s “Blaming Bloman,” which was first published in the premiere issue of Beyond Imagination Digital Literary Magazine (it’s permanently free on Amazon, FYI). This story was adapted from a short play I wrote in college, “Blaming Beckett,” which technically can never be performed (but that didn’t stop us in college).

Copyright 2014 Daniel R. Sherrier

“Blaming Bloman”

By Daniel Sherrier

The stage directions were clear.

Bathe the minimalist set in pink lights. Position character ‘A’ in a garbage can. ‘A’ must stand in the receptacle and raise her left arm at an eighty-point-four degree angle. The garbage can will be gray, will not exceed one-point-zero-three meters in height, and will under no circumstances surpass one-point-ninety-seven meters in circumference.

Position character ‘B’ upside-down in a second garbage can of identical dimensions, situated zero-point-two meters stage-right of ‘A’ and not one decimeter further. His legs will point forty-five degrees in opposite directions, forming a V.

‘A’ will face character ‘C,’ who will stand two-point-seven meters stage-left of ‘A’ and behind a branch measuring one-point-two meters in length. The branch must have two leaves still attached. No garbage can, but it is absolutely imperative that he wear a brown paper bag over his face. ‘C’ is not to breathe.

H. Bartholomew Bloman decreed all this and more in his latest masterpiece, “Shrug: A Play in One Act?”

The cast and crew followed the script to the greatest extent possible while staging the show’s world premiere at an off-Broadway establishment. Several states off. Three would-be accomplished actors now gave life to ‘A,’ ‘B,’ and ‘C’ on a creaky proscenium stage before an audience numbering in the tens. Lower tens. The box office sold twenty-seven tickets, and twenty-one patrons showed up for the eight o’clock curtain. Continue reading