Friday, December 24, 2010

Captain's Log: Red Moon, President Spock Quotes Spidey, Freema's Triumph and "Live Merry and Prosper!"

This week saw the first total eclipse of the moon to coincide with the winter solstice in more than 300 years, plus a meteor shower. Though viewing conditions here weren't as pristine as some places (like the town in Pennsylvania where Kevin R. Whitman took that top photo), that I saw it at all in our rainy season was a minor miracle, and maybe a unique experience: I write about it in detail here at Dreaming Up Daily.

You've seen the doctored photos (here and elsewhere) of President Obama as Spock. He's an admitted Trek fan, and though while a Senator he posed as Superman in front of a Superman museum in Illinois, his favorite superhero is reportedly Spider-Man. So maybe it isn't so remarkable that in the midst of talking in a press conference about Republicans about to become the majority in the House, he threw in the most famous quote from Spider-Man (in the comic books and on screen), the words of Peter Parker's uncle: "With great power comes great responsibility." But that he did it without any indication of that quote's origin. A dog whistle for the hip and geeky? Anyway, it's also turnabout as fair play: that saying seems derived from the Biblical "To whom much is given, much is required," which President Kennedy quoted and brought into the political conversation.


Now we enter the Tardis of recent memory and the realm of Doctor Who and other Brit drama: As I'm sure I've mentioned, I've got the DVDs for the 3rd and 4th Doctor Who seasons and the Specials, and I have yet to see the Matt Smith eps. I'm waiting for those 5th season DVDs to come off the new rental shelf. I did have the chance to see parts of several episodes when BBC America ran the entire season as a Saturday marathon. I was visiting a sister in Pennsylvania at the time, and she has BBC America on her cable. But I was there for a niece's wedding, and the marathon was on her wedding day. Still, I saw some of it in the morning before we left, and I have to say I wasn't interested in seeing any more. I don't know how much of that had to do with the episodes themselves, but it certainly had a lot to do with BBC America. The slicing and dicing of the eps with commercials is bad enough--but they are the same commercials, mostly BBC America promos, over and over. It's unwatchable. Which makes the first U.S. appearance of the Christmas Special on Christmas (via BBC America) something that I am not going to miss missing.

But I was determined to watch as much BBC America as I could for a few days. Ironically, the show I watched most was Star Trek: The Next Generation reruns. They haven't gotten doing it sequentially just yet, though--they ran Part 1 of "Time's Arrow" one night but neglected to run Part 2 the next. Otherwise the BBC America shows seem to be the origins of some of American television's worst shows. Not exactly the "fine quality programming to which you are no longer accustomed."

But now we're apparently returning the favor: the Brit version of Law & Order. Yes, after about a century in the US, there's a London franchise. I saw two episodes--perhaps the first two. And there was one thing, and only one thing, good about them: Freema Agyeman. The former Martha Jones just popped off the screen in the first episode, and so it wasn't much of a stretch to make her the focus of the next. Though the story was pretty weird.

I mentioned having those Doctor Who DVDS not only because it's my favorite and actually only way to watch Doctor Who, but because I watch certain episodes over and over--usually the ones early in the season, before things get all suped up. I particularly like first episodes, when the Doctor and companion meet (or meet again.) Anyway, since I've been back I've re-watched several of the early season 3s with Freema--and she is just amazingly good. Such subtle great acting, appropriate to the moment and to defining the character. So I'm not surprised that her star continues to rise.

Otherwise, meaning Trekwise, all I've got is this interesting interview with Donna Murphy, who played Anij in Star Trek Insurrection. She talks about the movie and the character--especially interesting to me because I've always felt a special bond with that film (which also made me more frustrated with what I felt to be its problems.) Anyway, it reminds me that I'm way behind in writing about the TNG cast movies for this site. I haven't even done First Contact yet. But I will, and maybe once I'm started I'll move quickly through all three of them.

So that brings us to that little digital Trek Christmas card up there I made a very long time ago, as you can probably tell. But hey--tradition, that's what these holidays are all about. So have a Long-Lived Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

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