“Night Terrors”, by Mark Gatiss, is a run-of-the-mill romp, right? Silly, positively rubbish villains…
Check! River Song-less, angst-free, and seemingly random plot concerning alien kids, Doccy as a Social Services man, and a companion detour?
Checkity-check! Guy being eaten by his carpet?
In every respect, it seems that Night Terrors is a silly, throwaway rompity-romp. Not terrible, but certainly not necessary. Right?
Indeedy-do, fellahs, enjoying summer ain’t easy… but someone’s gotta do it. During the past few days, we have watched Farscape, the science fiction show that my parents are way more into than me, David Tennant and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet, and an episode of the interesting Batman spin-offish thing Batman Beyond (well, me at least). We have also eaten sliders of many flavors.
Farscape first, then. The show is basically about an American Arthur Dent fellow named John Crichton who crash-lands during an experimental flight into a living ship named Moya. (Moya and the TARDIS have quite a few similarities, but I’ll talk about that later.)
Moya carries a few passengers as well. We have the second main protagonist, Aeryn Sun, who is an ex-Peacekeeper, a semi-corrupt group of authorities who, though they may keep the peace, they sure as hell don’t do it peacefully. Aeryn is initially very cold and unforgiving towards Crichty (read: she often kicks his butt), but later she warms to him (read: becomes his girlfriend). Crichty is forced to choose his priorities. What is more important to him, a way out or a girlfriend?
Also on the ship are D’Argo (or, as I call him, swordy beardy guy… I’ve never been good with names) and his (blue) girlfriend, Zhaan. D’Argo is rather moody, good with his snazzy sword/gun, and has a dark n’ mysterious past.
Zhaan is pretty darn awesome. She’s psychic, is the only one who actually comforts Crichty early on, also has a dark and mysterious past, and has all kinds of special powers, like painting someone’s “soul painting”. She’s a priest, which can get annoying when she starts preaching (example: episode four, in which she tells us that drugs are bad), but she can also kick butt. I think she’s my favorite character so far, but keep in mind I’ve only watched five episodes.
On to Rygel. The puppet. Everyone hates him, and I agree. Well, I love to hate him, and I think that’s intentional. He eats all the ship’s food. He steals an essential part of the ship to use as a jewel on his scepter. He farts helium. He seems to be the one character who will never change, and I suppose it’s nice to have a constant. Even if that constant is one of the the most annoying, bothersome pests in the known galaxy.
Moya and her Pilot bear quite a few similarities to the TARDIS and hers. Moya has a similar interior to the 9th and 10th Doctors’ TARDIS; amber, aquamarine/green, and some black.
Something I need to do right about now: Fan-fic about Moya and the TARDIS meeting and bragging about their respective pilots. I love them both.
And now, some semi-lucid commentary about each episode, up to “PK Tech Girl.”
Episode 1 (Premiere):
“Whoa, that’s big.” – John Crichton
Evil dude (Crais) has a goatee and a stiff ponytail, so he must be evil! Also, this charming comment from him shows his character well: “I don’t care about casualties!”
Future Doctor Who plotline, inspired by Crichty and Aeryn’s interactions: River Song beats the Doctor the hell up.
On the soundtrack: OMG, it’s Katherine Jenkins!
Seriously, how did Aeryn and Crichty get out with a FORK?
Things that are important to Mr. Crichton: hot chicks, getting back to earth, cool big things.
Things that are not important to Mr. Crichton: “Science”, fellahs with swords, blue bald chicks.
Crais has an evil black fez!
Episode 2 (Exodus From Genesis):
“It’s kinda minty.” – Another brilliant observation from John.
Crichton is Winnie-the-Pooh… but I doubt there’s anyone in the Hundred Acre Wood who beats the crap out of Pooh.
*BONK* *BONK* *BONK* *BONK* Now that’s how you kill a bug.
Crichty – “OMG she’s not beating the crap out of me, something is terribly wrong!”
CLONEY TIME! You know, last time I saw cloney time it didn’t involve the clone and clonee brawling like this. Just a bit of tortured screaming.
The puppet gets an epic speech.
CLONES OF CRICHTY, AND THEY’RE ALL SO STUDMUFFIN-Y!
“You picked the wrong species to screw around with.” – hell yeah, even though he’s totally wrong.
Episode 3 (Back And Back And Back To The Future):
Oh great, says Crichty, it’s the third episode and I’m already a Time Lord.
eww. eww. eww. eww. eww. eww. eww.
Stop. Talking. Like. That, Anything That Moves lady. Are you Captain Jack? Seriously, stop.
“What’s wrong with Crichton?” (I’m paraphrasing) “He is Crichton.” – Crowning Moment Of Awesomeness
Oh noes, female Captain Jack is trying to seduce my girlfriend!
IT’S GROUNDHOG DAY! Except executed well and with 100% more puppets.
What was a nightmare for the rest of the crew was merely “dinner” for Rygel.
Episode 4 (Throne For A Loss):
Drugs are bad! No, yeah, but they’re kinda necessary. Also: *preach* *preach* [1 1/2 hours later] Oh, I guess we’re a bit preachy. Sorry about that.
Episode 5 (PK Tech Girl):
PK Tech Girl == Rory’s girlfriend from The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People. I wonder if she’ll get killed, cloned, or mutated into a giant thingie?
“I try to save a life a day.” What lofty goals you have, Crichty!
Hot Peacekeeper vs. Tepid Peacekeeper… this is a tricky one.
Well. Someone had fun with his literary terms book.
Yay! Clooooooney time! And what a nice time it was, eh? I squeed (oh, Doctor, you met your best friend ever), I wibbled a bit (cloney Scottish fellow and his kid – aww, for lack of a better word), oh yeah, and my jaw dropped (spoilers).
Rory becomes evil, after the jump! (Okay, not really. But his girlfriend is evil!)
Victoria had a secret, a royal secret – Albert wasn’t right in the head…
Oh my dear giddy aunt. Holmes And Watson Save The Empire, a Oregon Cabaret production, (book and lyrics by Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner, music by Malcolm Hillgartner) might be one of the most brilliant Holmsian plays, books, or what-have-you I’ve seen in a long, long time. Now, sure, a musical of this dynamic duo may sound rather silly … and silly is what it is, that is true, but blimey, it still packs a lot of emotional and intellectual punch.
Its silly parts alone are quite amusing and brilliant. The running joke – Holmes is looking for something, can’t find it, “Watson, did you move the ___?” “No, I didn’t touch it.” “You must have, I can’t find it!” “I didn’t!” “You di-” [silence] “Oh, here it is!” – is pretty good in itself, but it’s not just a running joke for the sake of having a running joke – it shows that “The Connoisseur of Crime”, as he calls himself here is, as ever, not perfect at all. [Steven Moffat did something similar with his Sherlock and the “we’re out of milk” running joke.] The costumes – some of the best parts of the gags – are a girl (or boy) playing dress-up’s perfect dream. The disguises for Holmes include his “Mortimer Chips” look (a classic cabaret raunchy joke man; curly red wig, outrageously flamboyant suit, and a nice flower just to top it all off), the “Hookah” look (FEZZES ARE COOL, and a very stylish one too; he’s Holmes, he even does drugs with style), and the “Queen Victoria” look (It’s better than it sounds. Well, only a little bit… extra legs, that’s all I’m gonna say). Oh, and naturally, they got Watson in a dress. Good old reliable Watson, he just had a little trouble with the zipper. (He’s really not the sort of guy you see and think “Yeah, a dress would be a great idea on him!”)
AAAANYWAYS, the bromance was cranked up higher than 11 here, muuuch, muuuch higher. Look, even the Director’s Notes include the word bromance in them. (“Our current film industry has coined a new word, and even though it refers to the current crop of movies depicting American males as eternal adolescents who fear commitment, tell “hooter jokes”, and smoke far too much weed, it’s a great word – and it certainly applies to “Holmes And Watson”: It is a ‘bro-mance’.” – Director Michael J. Hume) Think about it like this; They. Danced. The. Tango. OH YEAH. (I added this to my list of most adorable things in the universe). And at the end, there was a hug… aww, wibble. One true friend indeed.
And besides the bromance, well… it was just one song, but it was amazing. I’ve never been a Sherlock/Irene Adler shipper, but I suppose “Into My Arms, A Dream Comes” just about changed that! Brrr. About what he’s given up for the life of intellectual stimulation [hint: Irene], (well, until Watson comes in, harping on about his Mary. I can’t ship them at all, though, because Mary isn’t really a character, just something that pushes Watson in and out of Holmes’ life. I don’t even know her last name!) the song was ever so slightly unexpected after the fun that was “The Science Of Deduction” and the funny little scene that set up the mystery.
Just BAM, and suddenly we have a large plate of angst, surprising but sublime. A note: I could see slight, brilliant touches of the Eleventh Doctor in this Holmes, such as his slight embarrassment over affairs of the heart. In a very Eleven-ish way, it was adorable how he completed the obvious rhyme with ‘miss’, breaking the song and saying it quietly, nearly reddening like a schoolboy. (Actually, as a rule, I loved how he emphasized certain words by saying them. The other time it happened was the end of “One True Friend”, he sang “One true … friend,” like he just discovered that, well, HE’S MY FRIEND, MY ONLY FRIEND, I HAVE A BEST FRIEND, I JUST GOT THAT!) Then, BAM, we’re back to the mystery, what ho old chap, right sticky wicket we’ve gotten ourselves into this time. Never mentioned again. But it was very chilling stuff, a great song vocally too, just beautiful. Rather like “The Doctor’s Wife,” it changed what I thought of Holmes, this version of him anyway.
The mystery itself was certainly intriguing, but still had a high dose of humor. The plotline is scandalous – Prince Albert isn’t dead! Instead, he had a nasty carriage ride, got a bump on the head and suffered a few mental problems. Side effects may include enjoying the theatre – and cross-dressing. So Queen Victoria locked ‘im up in a castle – but he got out and sung at various bars as a German woman (since he always had a woman’s singing voice). To keep a tab on him, the Queen pretended to be his manager – a man.
After figuring this out, the duo prevent an assassination attempt, make rather a mess in the study (MRS. HUUUUDSON?), meet Mortiary (a rubbish, Watson-ish Mortiary – well, it is a two-man show), have a few ridiculously quick costume changes (again, a two-man show) and get shot in the foot. Well, just Watson for that one. Holmes has one last good angst to go with a nice little fake death for Dr. John. Good angst, rubbish “death”. Violin solo, it’s sweet. So when Watson walks back in with a limp and a bandage, joining in with the song, it’s another adorable moment – Holmes tries to hide it all. It doesn’t work. Hug time!
The casting of Holmes And Watson is quite strong as well; I like this Sherlock quite a bit, played by Robin Downward, with his overdramatic nature, his (much more than others) obviously caring nature, his penchant for disguises, more than ever, and all the other usual things that make up a good Holmes. Naturally, his Holmes was very, very different from Moffat’s Sherlock, who is uncaring, (seemingly) emotionally unattached, and, in sum, just an utter jerk. This Holmes, in contrast, seems a splendid fellow, passionate about basically everything. (Also, BLACKBOARD FOR THE WIN.)
Watson was good too, played by Jason Marks, although (as my mom said) played a bit too extra-gay. Flamboyantly so. It wasn’t my favorite portrayal of him, but the bromance was still solidly adorable.
The set was also brilliant, as it felt lived-in and even had a few little nods to the book series, such as the bullet holes spelling “V. R.”
Finally, the violin player as Mrs. Hudson was one last awesome thing that showed the theater’s attention to detail. She had approximately one line, but it was worth it. Her violin playing also added a lot, as did the piano. It sounded like a full band back there!
In conclusion, Holmes And Watson Save The Empire is a rather brilliant musical, and in the hands of the Oregon Cabaret a truly fantastic one. Sadly, its run at the Oregon Cabaret is over today, so I can only say that if you ever see it at another theatre, give it a try. It’ll likely be deliriously fun and certainly silly, but I suppose it all depends on the actors.
Continuation to the fan-fic series. Subtitled “Well, Hello, Mr. President”. Crossposted to A Teaspoon And An Open Mind.
The Doctor came into the room sonicking everything he saw. Just to be safe. Engrossed in his work, he didn’t turn around until the President cleared his throat. Seeing him, the Doctor sat down awkwardly, trying to maintain a sense of dignity.
“Well, hello, Mr. President. What can I do for you in particular? Any pigs with feet been running around? Blue men about,” he made a motion, “this high in space suits? Trash bins with plungers and whisks? Giant wasps? Really big bats? Space fish? Giant spiders? Green people underground? Witches?”
The President cleared his throat, clearly convinced he had a bit of a nut job on his hands. He was reading a file.
This is a little Eleventh Doctor fan-fic, cross-posted to A Teaspoon and an Open Mind. Note that this was written a couple days after the announcement of S6 and the Doctor going to America. My version is very, very, very different from the real version. Hopefully. *ahem*
The Doctor was peacefully operating the TARDIS when something seemed to come to his mind. He puffed up his chest, cleared his throat, and adressed Amy and Rory.
“Ponds, we’re going to America.” He went back to flipping strange switches, as if he expected them both to understand this message perfectly and have no questions.
Amy was rather less than overjoyed. “America?” she said, crossing her arms. “All of time and space, and you’re taking us somewhere we could have gone for 500 pounds on a plane?”