Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Romance in Doctor Who

It's one of the most controversial issues of the New Who series. Should the Doctor be written in a romantic sense? Should his companions be allowed to fall in love with him? Could he ever fall in love in return? The fans are hotly divided on this issue.

In Old Who it wasn't an issue because the BBC had very strict rules on the subject. There were actually written guidelines for how the Doctor could and could not touch his companions, to avoid even a hint of anything happening behind the scenes (i.e. the bedroom).

However when the made for TV movie appeared, it featured a very prominent romantic subplot. So when it came time to revive the show in 2005, there was a whole new range of possibilities for the writers to play around with.

The question is... should they?

[SPOILER WARNING -- If you have not yet watched ALL 6 seasons of New Who, I can guarantee there will be spoilers.]

[...I did warn you about spoilers...]

[Still here? Okay, read at your own risk.]

To Romance or not to Romance, that is the question.

There are a lot of fans, probably not a majority, but a very vocal minority, who believe that the Doctor should absolutely always be asexual. These tend to be those who were introduced to Old Who first, and therefore have the idea of a non-romantically-inclined Doctor firmly in their heads. I understand this. If I'd watched a show for almost thirty years (or seen a good chunk of that) without any romance involving the title character, I'd be pretty thrown for a loop if he suddenly started snogging people.

However, what has really kept the show alive over the years is its ability to change and adapt to the times. I mean, the most iconic feature of the show is that the Doctor regenerates any time they need a new actor in the part. It's a show that is not afraid to change, and that change has lead it through 48 years of intense fan love.

On the other hand, should the show become entirely focused on Romance? I don't think that's a good direction either. After all if you change something too much, you lose the core essence that has drawn people in for too long. So some change is good, but not too much.

But some fans do think any romance is too much. Is it really? Is the Doctor really that incapable of romantic love and sexual desire?

Absolutely. Kind of hard to end up with a granddaughter if you aren't into those things. Let's not forget that the Doctor's very first companion was his granddaughter Susan, and later on he mentions that he once was married and a father.

(Yes, I know, the novels do posit the idea that Time Lords are grown to adulthood on looms... but this isn't official canon, and anyhow, the show itself shows the Doctor and the Master as small children on Gallifrey, so I think that kind of debunks that myth)

Russell T Davis, the head writer who oversaw the relaunch in 2005 was obviously in the romance camp. He created the young girl, Rose, who became the Doctor's companion and eventually fall in love with him.

Her first Doctor was Christopher Eccleston, who played the doctor with his traditional quirkyness. And more importantly, he was rather homely to look at, which helped keep him in the 'eccentric professor' category instead of becoming a sex icon.

Then David Tennant appeared and quickly became the most popular Doctor ever according to fan polling, besting out even Tom Baker. This is certainly largely because of his huge talent and charisma... but it's undeniable that his appealing looks were also part of the picture.

And right away the romantic element of the show started amping up. "The Girl in the Fireplace" by Steven Moffatt was the first Doctor-centered love story on the show. Coming close on the heels of "School Reunion" which featured much tension between Rose and Sarah Jane Smith (who was now revealed to have been in love with the Doctor), this solidified the Doctor's position as a dashing romantic (I here mean romantic in the classic sense, ironically).

Then we got the very climatic and intensely romantic ending of season 2, followed by season 3 which thematically centered very strongly around Martha's unrequited love for the Doctor. He is now a recognized desirable hero and does Martha ever know it!

After such a romance laden third season, everyone was ready for a return to a more classic approach. With Donna as his companion, the Doctor was once again able to fall more into the eccentric professor role, and surprisingly enough, the platonic chemistry between David Tennant and Catherine Tate resulted in the strongest Doctor/Companion bond of 10's run.

Not that season four lacked romance. Steven Moffat once again took the lead on the romantic front and introduced us to the mysterious River Song, a woman who seems in every way the Doctor's equal... from his future. Is she his wife? His friend? Something else entirely? Viewers went slightly insane trying to figure it out (See my Doctor Who archive in the Geek Portal for my own crazed ideas).

And of course the grand finale resolved Rose's love story, but creating a Doctor duplicate, a move that even RTD himself admitted might not have been the best idea. However it satisfied a lot of fans and properly closed that door.

So the Doctor is off to a clean start when he regenerates into Matt Smith.

There are fans who find Matt Smith hot. Kudos to you. I'm not saying a word against that. He's a fantastic actor. And as the Doctor I find him perfectly odd, eccentric and fun. Really not romantic. Which is really what the show needed at this point.

Romance didn't disappear, far from it. If anything it became more prominent with Amy and Rory, an engaged couple... with Amy having a thing for the Doctor. Sort of. For awhile. Actually after season 6 the whole "Amy in Love with the Doctor" thing doesn't seem nearly as prevalent to me. I mean, now that we know she's his mother-in-law and all. ;)

In season 6 we got the full scoop on River Song. And we also got what I think is really the perfect romance for the Doctor. The Doctor remained his odd, eccentric, not traditionally attractive self... and yet he fell in love and a woman fell in love with him in what I felt was a very believable and appropriate way. They became equals, and while their story is incredibly romantic, it didn't make the Doctor a 'romantic hero.'

(Okay, he and River have insane chemistry and their scenes are really incredibly hot, but they manage this without taking away from the Doctor's 'eccentric old professor' persona which I think is amazing. Alex Kingston and Matt Smith for the win.)

So I'd say there have been some solid wins and also some misses on the romantic front. I believe romance can work in Doctor Who, but I also think it's been used a bit too much in the New Series. I think, however, now that the Doctor is married to River, the dynamtic is going to change and that will be a good thing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Belle due to join 'Once Upon a Time'

A few weeks ago they announced that the character of 'Belle' would be joining OUaT. Today the first picture was released and it looks fantastic! Unfortunately we won't be seeing her on our screens until Valentine's Day... still, that'll be a lovely way to celebrate the day! (And it's only the cream on top that this princess will be played by the beautiful and talented Emilie de Ravin)

We've also learned that Aladdin will be popping into the show as well, which I think is fantastic. So far we've only seen characters from western fairy tales, so I'm delighted to know that the show plans to branch out!

You can read the full story here: http://www.hypable.com/once-upon-a-time/2011/11/28/first-look-at-emilie-de-ravin-as-belle-in-once-upon-a-time-aladdin-appearance-confirmed/

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I'm now on Tumblr!

So many times I run across pictures that I want to share with all of you... but it's much, much easier to post them on tumblr than on this blog. Besides, I like to keep the posting to less than seven posts a week here because that's what you all have indicated you prefer!

So my tumblr is going to be where I put pictures I find online that I think are worth sharing. Humor, art, beauty, mindboggling... they will all be there. The primary emphasis will be on my favorite fandoms, so things like X-Men and Doctor Who will probably show up the most.

Do you have a tumblr? Follow me and I'd love to check you out in return! :)

You can find me at elenatintil.tumblr.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy 48th Birthday, Doctor!

Today the British Show "Doctor Who" turns 48 years old. That's positively ancient by television standards and it's still growing strong. Just this year we saw a major explosion in U.S. growth. A year ago I could count on two hands the number of friends I had that even knew what Doctor Who was. Now? It seems like a third of the people I'm friends with on Facebook love it. (And I have 352 friends at last count, so that should give you a pretty good number).

If you haven't already, may I suggest celebrating the day by watching the mini-episodes that were released earlier this week? You can find them online by searching "First Night" "Last Night" "Bad Night" "Goodnight." Fans of River and the Doctor will not want to miss the first two, and those who love Amy and Rory will cheer over the second two. WARNING. Do not watch unless you  have seen all of seasons 5 & 6, as well as "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead."

So, Happy Birthday Doctor! May you stay around for another 48 wonderful years and more!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's a Fairy Tale Heroine Day

I don't mean "Happily Ever After" sort of fairy tale where you ride off with your prince into the sunset. I mean a day full of little trials, adventures and coincidences that are quite common to fairy tale heroines.

  • Left Skype at midnight telling my friends I had to do a Cinderella and leave. - Cinderella
  • Last dream of the night involved lots of little animals who were crazy about me. - Snow White 
  • Had trouble waking up. - Sleeping Beauty
  • Friend made a picture of me and her that unintentionally looked like "Snow White and Rose Red." - Rose Red (Which Disney needs to make a movie of. ASAP.)
  • Singing. Constantly. - Every Disney Heroine under the sun. 
  • Made quite the tasty breakfast. - Tiana
  • Completely unmanageable hair. - Rapunzel
  • Nose stuck in a book. - Belle/Beauty
  • Surveyed all of my stuff, and though I think it's quite a neat collection, my parents want to clean it out. - Little Mermaid
  • Cleaned up the ashes from the fireplace and got rather dirty. - Cinderella

And it's only 2:00 in the afternoon! I wonder what other escapades the rest of the day will hold...

And yes, okay, fine, these are all pretty ordinary occurrences, but a normal day seems so much more interesting when you look for the literary connections. 

Any fairy tale allusions in your life today?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hunger Games Trailer

Have you seen "The Hunger Games" trailer?

I have to say, it really doesn't matter whether you are a fan or not. This is one trailer you really do not want to miss.

Sadly, I didn't watch it the moment it came online. I waited. A few days even. And then I finally 'found the time' to look at it. And kicked myself furiously for not watching it sooner.

You see, it's rare that I see a trailer for a movie adaptation of a beloved book that so completely captures the story. And I don't just mean plot and lines, I mean casting and locations, and tempo and costumes. Oh my. Even the costumes were fantastic. Every single frame felt like it really was the book come to life.

Of course, a horrible movie can still be proceeded by a fantastic trailer... but I'd say right now the odds are that we're going to get a pretty fantastic film come March.

So go watch it. Even if you're not a fan. Fall in love with the story all over again. Read the books if you haven't. "The Hunger Games" as a movie is set to be just as fascinating and moving as the book.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Of Time and Adventure

Sometimes it feels like the older you get, the faster time flies. Has it seriously already been five days since I last posted? Has it been two weeks since my surgery? Has it been two months since I came home from school?

God's been challenging my heart a lot lately. I've been wrestling with hard questions and hopefully growing stronger because of that. This year has just been a year of growing in understanding in ways I never thought I'd have to. Funny how God works, isn't it?

And hard. I improve, but it's like two steps forwards one step back... and sometimes it feels like one step forwards and three steps back. I've learned that doctors really like my blood -- so much so that my new theory is that they're all vampires. I mean why else would they keep insisting on taking the red stuff? And by red stuff I don't mean the kool-aid.

I think it's really at the holidays that we notice how much we have - or haven't - changed. We compare ourselves to where we were a year ago. What bugged us? What didn't? What were our hopes then? What is the reality now? What has improved? What has gotten worse? Who has left our lives... and who has joined?

When I hit the holidays I normally always think at some point "I wonder what it'll be like a year from now." So it's only natural that the opposite is true as well.

I'm not at all where I thought I would be a year ago. All those plans went the way of the dodo bird. Well, maybe not all of them, but a lot. On the other hand, other people in my life are pretty much exactly where we would have predicted them a year ago. So what's different about me? Am I just too stubborn in my own plans? Or does God really have something that different and unusual planned for me?

Honestly? It wouldn't surprise me. I don't mean that I'm special or unique anymore than anyone else is... but I do seem to get my plans upset quite a bit more than average. It really makes life quite the...

...well, adventure.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A bouquet of my favorite comic book panels

Over the past three years I have come to immensely appreciate the talent and craft behind the comic book industry. From an under appreciated medium, it has come to the point where strong characters, deep and moving plots, and fantastic art make many graphic novels a sheer pleasure to read. 

That doesn't mean that there aren't bad apples. Like anything, there are some not so great pieces to weed out. But overall I've found a lot of joy and inspiration from delving into the comic book world.

As most of you, my dear readers, know, the past two months have been filled with a lot of personal hardship in the form of my health issues. God has sustained me in many ways, with a supportive family and amazing friends. However I believe he is also behind motivating me to join the tumblr roleplaying group that my friend Alicia had raved about all summer. I finally caved, joined the group... and have never regretted it. I've met some amazing people who have become very dear to me in a very short time, and I've also had the chance to share my love of comics and characters with those who appreciate them just as much as I do. 

Because we RP (short for roleplay) on Tumblr, we use a lot of graphics. I've started saving my favorite clips and panels, some humorous, some heartrending, and I thought it would be really fun to share some of my favorite pieces with all of you. 

First off is a gorgeous picture of one of my characters, Alison Blaire/Dazzler. She's a singer and channels sound into light/plasmabolts/serious stuff to be afraid of.  This particular picture is drawn by my absolute favorite artist, Sana Takeda, who makes every single page a gorgeous masterpiece. I think Ali just looks breathtaking here, and the rose is a gorgeous touch.

Next we get to see Ali's powers at work, aided by another favorite of mine, Theresa Cassedy/Siryn. These girls should always work in tandem.

The artwork for this cover is not my favorite, but I love it because of the emotion behind it. The most recent Marvel event has been the controversial SCHISM which has torn the X-Men right down the middle. One of my main characters, Rogue, must choose which side to join. Her two love interests, Magneto and Gambit, are on opposite sides. Which will she choose?

I'm a secret Rogue/Magneto shipper. For that reason I love the image of Magneto carrying Rogue off the battlefield. My Gambit utterly loathes this pairing and I have far, far too much fun teasing him about it... (Yes  Chris, this is here to tease you... ;) )

But I will forever remain a loyal Gambit/Rogue shipper, which I will prove by sharing one of my all time favorite pieces of art ever. Below is the cover to one of the only decent Ultimate X-Men comics ever. It's not just beautiful, it's breathtaking. My dream is to someday have a really nice large-sized version of this hung and framed in my home.

One of the reasons I love the X-Men is their willingness and ability to portray strong girls. I'm not in love with the art below (c'mon, you can't move in stuff that tight) but I do love the sentiment behind it.

Another kind of girl power below. The green haired woman is Lorna Dane/Polaris, youngest daughter of Magneto, and one of my main characters. Here she is seen spending some quality time with her niece, Luna (daughter of Quicksilver). We do have a Luna player on Tumblr who is absolutely adorable! 

I lovelovelove the ship of Lorna and Alex Summers/Havok (younger brother of Scott Summers). They're adorable and sweet and have a really long and enduring love story. One of the things I find utterly adorable about Lorna is how enthusiastic she always is about kissing Alex.


I love her priorities. XD

Moving away from the lovey-dovey stuff, this panel is sheer fun. Piotr Rasputin (Colossus) has been pining over his lost love (Kitty Pryde) and his friends are trying to distract him. A couple of the younger girls think Twitter might be an appropriate distraction. (The black-haired girl is a precog --- she can see the future. ;) )

Oh these Gambit/Rogue/Magneto pictures! I just can't get enough of them! Chris, I'm sorry. Shannon... join me in ALL THE ANGST EVER.

 Did you know there was a team of YOUNG Avengers? They are the children of the original Avengers and it's actually a pretty well written story. Two of them are Magneto's grandchildren, and he is helping them track down their missing mother, the Scarlet Witch. They are undercover in Germany... and Billy (the magical one providing the disguises) goes for a Sound of Music theme...

So that's an insight to why I love comics so much... and some of the moments that are worth reading again, and again, and again...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Date a Girl Who Reads

A friend of mine posted this quote on Facebook today and it is one of the most beautiful things I've read in a long, long time. For every girl who loves to read, and for every man who is in love with a girl who reads.

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”
- Rosemary Urquico

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let's examine "Snow White and the Huntsman"

I'm really torn about "Snow White and the Huntsman."

On the one hand
-Ultra Revisionist
-Kristen Stewart

On the other hand
-I love new twists on fairy tales
-Chris Hemsworth
-Awesome sauce costumes.

So far the pros are outweighing the cons. And this very cool poster with a good look into the art design is very intriguing. Could be a really interesting good film... or an utter bomb.

What do you think? Will you go see it? Does it interest you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hello Internet! (and all my dear readers)

Thank you all a hundred times over for your prayers and get well wishes. I know I had a LOT of heavenly intercession going on because things went very well. The surgery went even better than I expected, and the nausea was far less overwhelming than I dreaded. Staying horizontal for three days was really, really hard, but I became pretty adept at typing on my side. (I hope I never have to go on bedrest, but if I do, I'm all of the prepared!). I had so many friends making me smile and sending good well wishes --- I couldn't have asked for a more supportive time.

I can get up and walk now, although I am battling a low grade flu that is making recovery slower than I expected. Also there's just discomfort from the incisions that pop up from time to time and make life less fun.

However I'm not complaining. I am so thankful for the answers the surgery gave us and am looking forwards to hopeful future relief.

And I feel so blessed with all the love God has placed in my life. You all are amazing.