Smile

Smile

Language, like a living species, is an dynamic construct, ever evolving and subject to the influences of time. Certain rules and applications are introduced or are rendered obsolete as the populace drifts in or out of favor with them, either as a result of generational or regional usage and trend. (Look to the yearly addenda to the Oxford English Dictionary to see the brouhaha that erupts every time a new term is considered for inclusion.) Is it arguable that the emergence and exponential rise in popularity of emoji are a natural bend in the river of etymology?

Are we — as some critique — somehow ‘regressing’ to the age of hieroglyphs and simplified pictographic representation? Moreover, is this shift in communication a means of expanding and emphasizing the intended message to be conveyed, or rather, limiting the fuller phonemic language, and thus oversimplifying our word-set, leading to misinterpretation and lack of clarity? Are we becoming more emoji-eloquent, or at risk of nearing Orwell’s Newspeak?

If writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce is correct, just wait a little while longer, and ask your refrigerator or toaster. It’ll be happy to discuss the subject with you. [chin-scratchy-think-face]

This week, we share our emotions and reactions right out on the open to the Series 10 episode, “Smile”. We discuss the enjoyable performances from Capaldi and Mackie, the strange little prelude that gives Nardole the brush-off (and raises the “Oath” question again), and look painfully hard at the future-human-colony-meets-misguided-artificial-intelligence storyline that follows. We’d go into more detail here, but we’d rather you [ear] to the [speaker].

BONUS: We play a fast round of “The <BLANK> of the Daleks”, another mini-game we’re testing for future convention use in the greater hoopla that is the “Oh No, Who Didn’t!” game.

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The Pilot

S10E01 The Pilot

There are many different strategies Whovians take when trying to convince a new viewer to delve into the program that they love so dearly. From carefully selected and sequenced primer sets, to take-it-from-the-top viewing marathons, the unique and often fickle nature of each observer could react favorably or adversely to any one of them. We are a subjective species, and our personal experiences have a profound impact on our receptiveness to anything new. With that in mind, if the creators of that new material are openly trying to present something that can win the attention, hopefully admiration, and in a perfect world, the advocacy of a new audience, while still holding the passions of seasoned viewers, the task is a formidable one.

Somewhere, in a comfortably lit corner office in Cardiff, Steven Moffat smiles wanly to himself, rolls up his sleeves, and crouches over a keyboard. Challenge accepted.

This week, we celebrate an exceptional gift in the return of Doctor Who for Series 10, in “The Pilot”. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie’s rapport and chemistry are a delight, Matt Lucas surprises us all with his comedic reserve, Murray Gold continues to elate and wound us with his score, and we revel in the unanswered questions that make for a brilliant Whovian adventure. We draw conclusions as to the role of both companions as representatives of differing viewer categories, the dangers of unnecessary punchlines, and of course, the treasure trove of references the episode throws about like so many sidelong Movellan soldiers. TL:DR? We spacking loved it.

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