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December 15 2009

Paul Cornell blogs about this year's favourite things. Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell discusses his favourite new books, films and TV shows, including Dollhouse.

That's so great. And the best explained rational for why I most love the show why it's so incredibly difficult for me to make the case to people who haven't seen it.
Whilst I can't condone anyone bigging up Rusty Davies, he does like Little Boots and the Duckworth Lewis Method, so maybe we should listen. Oh, and Dollhouse.
Jesus, he's so spot on about 'Dollhouse' my head almost fell off from nodding and
(yeah, right, Russell T. Davies is 'a homophobe' because he killed your favourite character, I hope he kills your next three favourite characters too, and that you thus realise that accusations of sexism and homophobia aren't yours to throw around when all that's happened to you is that you've been asked to feel something)

made me smile. Partly sticking up for his mate of course but that doesn't make it any less true IMO.

Basically i'm now wondering if i'm actually Paul Cornell except for some reason I disagree with myself about 'Stargate: Universe' (he's right about 'Time' though - that and 'Light' are my favourite episodes so far - and the beauty/curse of the episode is, you don't know how nicely done it was until the following week). That's one of the reasons I like the Stargates, they feature old school sci-fi stories quite a lot, stories where the science isn't just an excuse to tell stories, it creates the story.

Wonder if he's right about 'Flash Forward'. I thought it was a beautifully uplifting, heroic moment (even though it may not sound it on paper) but has it devalued the very idea of the flashforwards themselves ? Have they taken away the suspense about that aspect too early ? I think the human dramas (and the who/why/how mystery) are compelling enough but I can see his point even if I don't agree (thought we wouldn't find out until Dimitry's story resolved itself but nope, 3+ months earlier).
Loved this:

You see, this is why Joss Whedon is a genius, because, like Russell Davies, he sees that he's got a parade following him, and instead of doing tricks for them and getting applause, leads them into a dark forest where things may hurt them.


Regarding SG:U, I personally don't think he's wrong at all. It definitely has a few flaws to it, but I find many of the loftier criticisms are a bit lacking. A whole other topic there. But I can see that show becoming unwatchable very quickly. That said, I DO think it is a very specific flavor of storytelling. So dislike seems just as logical, I guess I can see a poll of people going, "Hate it", "Love it", "'Eh...", "Great", "Sucks" and on and on.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-15 16:54 ]
Yes, I did agree with him re the FF 'spoiler', but on the other hand the ramifications of that had to be true anyway, otherwise everyone's ff would have been them standing waiting for it to happen (i.e. if you knew the parrot was going to be flung at the window, you wouldn't be so engrossed in the case, or surprised when it happened). On the third hand, it's hard to believe the (no spoilers) guy didn't work that out for himself and wait a few episodes. I think something has to happen before then to make it all work out. It'd better!

Still, lots of British actors.

On the other hand, nobody with D Monaghan's ears could ever be evil.

Yeah, actually those FF guys don't have a clue. It's rubbish!
I always say Doctor Who isn't a show, but a lifestyle choice


Damn straight. ;)

I do like his statements about Torchwood. Until this year, I've never seen a fandom implode quite like that one did. But that goes to show how well done the season was. It hit everyone on an emotional level, and I have to commend all involved for that (even if I do still occasionally weep over Ianto's death).

I also appreciate his statements about Dollhouse. I think if more people understood the necessity of considering the show from more than a black and white perspective, it might have more supporters. It's just more fun being able to revile and sympathize with the bad guys at the same time.

On the other hand, nobody with D Monaghan's ears could ever be evil.


Definitely. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the concept of Merry Brandybuck being evil. Does not compute.
I like what he says about Dollhouse, but I think I'm watching a different Stargate Universe than him. I hate that show so much I recommended that my husband and I quit watching it (but we'll probably finish the season). I don't read much about it, but I wonder if it has gotten as much hate about the consent issue as Dollhouse has? At least with Dollhouse the sex in another person's body is run by a shady evil corporation and not the US government. The other Stargates portrayed the military positively and now we get a show where they are whiny brats and some (such as Young) are evil.
He's acting for the greater good as he sees it just like Rush may be, it's a means/ends question just as with 'Angel' season 5 (for me the Young/Rush dynamic was one of the best bits of the first 10 episodes). And though the consent issue could be interesting, as far as I know we only ever see sex between (and then allowed to decide how to proceed). None of the people that haven't been cleared are shown doing anything against their will or under false pretences (IIRC).

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the concept of Merry Brandybuck being evil. Does not compute.

Clearly whatever was in that pipe is a gateway drug to both evil and quantum field theory ;).

It definitely has a few flaws to it, but I find many of the loftier criticisms are a bit lacking. A whole other topic there. But I can see that show becoming unwatchable very quickly. That said, I DO think it is a very specific flavor of storytelling.

My issue with it isn't particularly lofty, just that it's trying to be "Battlestar Galactica" but also maintain the "sense of wonder", exploration and the idea that the world is "solvable" from the Stargates (and more traditional sci-fi) and (IMO) often falls between those two stools with too little of both to work as either. I'm still watching though, it's got a largely good cast and buckets of potential, glimpsed most strongly in 'Light', 'Time' and 'Justice' so far for me. On balance it's getting better, which is the right direction.

Yes, I did agree with him re the FF 'spoiler', but on the other hand the ramifications of that had to be true anyway, otherwise everyone's ff would have been them standing waiting for it to happen...

Yeah the "Hey, it's my flashforward, I love this bit !" paradox ;). But that's an objection IMO, not an explicit (and I think we can all agree quite, err, emphatic ;) re-affirmation of free-will (i.e. that could maybe be fan-wanked around).
Clearly whatever was in that pipe is a gateway drug to both evil and quantum field theory ;).


Yes. Also "Rock and Roll".
No, by loftier am talking about trying to take the criticism in sensationalism, sexism, objectionable content, etc. directions which tends to happen with that show. Essentially, criticisms that have more to do with what you're bringing to the show than the show itself.

Personally I agree with your criticism that SG:U itself has been hit or miss and does come up short on both aspects semi-regularly or at least more often than Cornell suggests. But I see glimpses of the ability to be brilliant and a few episodes that flat out were. I get the impression that they're still learning how to tell the story they want to tell on the fly. Still, that "hit or miss" tag could be put on every television show he brings up in that list.
Yeah, very true, it's extremely rare for a show to have all its ducks lined up within the first 10 episodes (*waves at 'Firefly'* ;) and it's arguably going to be even harder for the Stargate creators to adapt with 15 seasons of telling lighter, more adventure oriented stories under their belt.

No, by loftier am talking about trying to take the criticism in sensationalism, sexism, objectionable content, etc. directions which tends to happen with that show.

Ah right, didn't realise that (I don't often read reviews of TV shows). In that vein, I will say I thought the lesbian relationship we see towards the end was handled really nicely - they could've gone down the "Look, two hot women making out !" route much more but instead of showing us sex, they showed us intimacy and that was much more powerful and touching IMO.

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