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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Doctor’s Exit, Stage Left

As we eagerly await the premiere of Series 10, news comes to us from the BBC that hits us like the proverbial ton of bricks: Peter Capaldi will be leaving at the end of this season, exiting alongside showrunner Steven Moffat.

This week, Haley and Jay spend time discussing this and other Whovian news, and then wildly speculate about what’s to come in light of it all.

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The Return of Doctor Mysterio

The Return of Doctor Mysterio

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…and with a year like we’ve had, the lyric could not be more apropos. We’ve been (figuratively) starved for new Doctor Who since this time last year, and so with reckless aplomb, and a massive suspension of disbelief, we point one fist to the skies, leap upward in defiance of gravitational pull, and…pick up where the last Christmas special left off.

This week, we find out once again how the Doctor is coping with grief during the holidays, in “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”. Moffat promised us a fun-filled tribute to his comic book fascination in the 1970s and 1980s, and certainly delivers on that note. How does the story hold up against previous holiday offerings? Does it have enough heart to balance the heroism? Does the humour make up for the unfamiliarity of these companions? Were we expecting something more, or different, from a showrunner who has left us wanting for a calendar year? Press on, intrepid listeners…if you dare!

Bonus Segment: Our annual birthday chat with none other than the Eighth Doctor himself, Paul McGann, live from L.I. Who 4!

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Live from L.I. Who 4

Live from LI Who 4

We’ve had returns to alien worlds last seen when humans only perceived the world in black and white, scaly monsters thawed from the icy depths, and accoutrements on the TARDIS console that haven’t had hands jammed into them in over a generation. There’s something magical in realizing that a new episode of Doctor Who is actually using something from the “classic” era. (And hey, with the news today that Rona Munro is coming back to write an episode for Series 10, that counts, right? DARN RIGHT, it does.)

This week, live from Program Room C of the Long Island Doctor Who Con (or #liwho for everyone on the inside), we invite our audience in on the cast to discuss “Classic Renovations”. With the successful reintroduction of villains like the Ice Warriors and Great Intelligence, as well as conventions like the TARDIS Telepathic Interface and HADS, which other aspects of “classic” Doctor Who could see a successful return to the “modern” series? From characters, to locations, to technology, Keir and Haley sit back with more than a few drinks, and invite con attendees to hypothesize what could be brought into the current program, with varying degrees of update or rejuvenation.

Huge thanks to Ken, Billy, Amanda, Katie, Andre, Chris, and the entire L.I. Who team for yet another fantastic year. Our warmest dual-hearted hugs to all the GPR listeners who joined us, as well, and kept the conversation lively, light, and energized. 

“Give me pigeon headgear, or give me death.” Oh, yeah.

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