Friday, April 13, 2018

Marsupial, Our Puppy, One Year Later, R.I.P.

So, about 15 years ago, the SO and I were talking – JUST TALKING – about maybe getting a dog for the family. We both missed the dogs we used to have, and I think they’re good for kids to. So, one day, the phone rings, and the SO tells me that someone had some Boxer Beagle puppies, and she was in love with them and so then we had a dog.

He was an absolutely *adorable* little puppy. He was also a jerk with *tremendously* sharp teeth. How do I know his teeth were tremendously sharp? Because I still carry scars all over my lower legs from when he thought I was his chew toy, or he was trying to establish dominance over me. Still not sure what his goal was.

Now, the SO had more patience and discipline than I did, so she handled the primary training (sit, stay, etc.) which he took to pretty quick. He was a smart little puppy. I, on the other hand, was engaged in a one man, one dog war with him over who was boss and who got to chew on whose legs.

Eventually, I won that war.

I don’t think I did it the way the books say to do it, and don’t worry, I never beat or hit him (I did hold him by the scruff of his neck with my teeth once), but I did spend a lot of time on all fours acting like a bigger dog.

Me and him? We developed our own relationship, rough housing loving, like stereotypical boys for the most part.

One thing we couldn’t seem to train out of him was his primal need to bark at non-family members like he was a savage marauder who lived only to taste the blood of humans. That behavior, combined with people often mistaking him for a Pit Bull, eventually got us evicted from our townhouse apartment. Which lead to us renting a house, which was cool, because we finally had a back yard he could run around in.

He ended up smashing out two windows (on two different occasions) while fiercely letting people know he was in the house. He was a Boxer, so if there was a window or door in his way, he beat on it with his paws. Which proved to be stronger than glass.

We ended up moving into a house that we were buying, and for a couple more years, we had to put him in the back of the house or outside whenever company came over, because, again, jerk ass. I ran a weekly RPG so I had the same people coming over and *eventually* we got him to accept those guys, and then he was meek as could be with them, wanting the occasionally loving, and then ignoring him.

After a few years, when the game fell apart, he grew less used to people being over and started to revert a little but not much when people came in the house. However, he *never* stopped trying to be a fierce beast when he saw people walking outside or coming up onto the porch. I had to strategically place things in-between our annoyingly expansive front windows and him to stop him from smashing those out.

In his last couple of years, he got real sick one time (first time he was every actually ill), and stopped eating. We think he may have gotten into some chocolate, but were never quite sure. So, after more than a decade, we had to take him to the vet (we’re poor, so it was a big hit on our monthly income). They helped, and he started eating again, but he *never* forgot being sick, and became obsessed with food. Any food that was around was even less safe than before (you couldn’t leave anything unguarded), and he became far more bold when it came to getting in your face while you were eating, to the point where we had to put him up during dinner time.

But outside of food, he was still the same obnoxious jerk. Just with ever-dwindling energy. Then he started to have weird fugue spells. Those were creepy.

And then one day, he kept trying to burrow, hide? Under whatever furniture was nearby, with little energy.

And when we woke up the next morning, he was laying in the floor like normal, but when I went to pet him, he was unresponsive.

He had died sometime in the night.

I’m not prone to deluding myself, so of course, I always knew that he would eventually die. And towards the end, I think I knew it was coming up on the end. I tried to spend extra time with him because of that.

When I realized he wasn’t breathing, I called the SO to make sure (my brain isn’t 100% trustworthy). I put on my stoic face and with my middle child, wrapped him up in a blanket that we had possessed even longer than we had him, so that we could take him up to the vet so they could handle his body.

Moving him from house to car to vet to holding him while waiting was one of the most difficult mental things I’ve ever done.

When we got him, the SO agreed to let me name him, and I picked “Marsupial”, because when I was about 17-18, I lived with someone and we had one of the puppies that my family dog had given birth to. That puppy was named “Platypus”. He died early (worms, before we were able to get his vaccinations). When he died, I always knew I would name my next dog “Marsupial”. The SO added the middle name “Jones”.

They say that pets and owners come to resemble each other. I don’t think that ever happened with us, but Marsupial was undeniably one of us. When I say he was a loud, obnoxious, seemingly fierce but not really, jerk ass. . . well, I would largely apply that to myself as well. I don’t mean it as an insult, but rather a descriptor of myself and our dog.

He was ours, and we were his.

He died this day in 2017.

We miss him.

Rest in . . . peace? No, that’s not right. I’d rather think he’s barking at every intangible spirit that crosses his senses, letting them know that he’s there, watching them and they shouldn’t forget that.

I put together a little Flickr album with some pictures of him, spanning about 10 years or so.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" - Some Thoughts

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
(Daisy Ridley, John Boyega; PG-13; 152 min; 2017)

YAY! I finally got to watch this! Not in a cool theater like I hoped to do, but hey, WOOT anyway!

This is my least favorite Star Wars movie.

I AM JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!! That's still Rogue One.

I'm actually still processing this one, about 14 hours later. There was so much to take in. One of the most common of the few complaints I saw about The Force Awakens is that it was basically just A New Hope remake, and that's a fair cop. It was a wonderfully done remake that I loved.

The Last Jedi is not a remake of The Empire Strikes Back, which I know was something I thought might happen. Make no mistake; TLJ very much revisits situations and elements from both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but it takes those elements and twists or subverts them. It very much felt like what Rian Johnson (director, writer) would have liked to have seen in those originals, and it does it extremely well.

Visually, this film is just beautiful. The battle between Kylo, Rey, and the Praetorian Guard was terrific. It was vicious and brutal, while being done in more the style of the Original Trilogy saber fights. Don’t get me wrong, I absolute LOV* the saber fights in the prequels. Those will always be my favorites, but I also understand that those were Jedi who were immediately post-peak of power, so their fights would be different.

Luke, Kylo, Rey, none of these people had the full training of the Jedi Order, so they all had to learn to fight differently. I don’t think any of them ever made the full connection with the Force in melee combat that the Jedi of old had, so the battles in this new trilogy so far are exactly what they should be.

The battle on the salt plains was a brilliant choice. Not just in the vibrant contrast of the red earth against the glaring white salt, but in how the movements of the Rebel forces left delicate, almost artistic streaks and patterns, while the war machine of the First Order left what looked like swaths of smeared blood on the ground.

Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), who I wasn’t super impressed with in TFA, was much improved here. I think with this one, the actor has become a little more comfortable with the character, reflected nicely in the story telling, when he smashed his mask. Both Driver and Ren stopped trying to be Darth Vader 2.0 in this one, and embraced being Kylo Ren, Emo Asshole Supreme.

Young Daisy Ridley continues to impress. She manages to convey the best and worst qualities of the Jedi simultaneously.

The story of Finn and Rose was very compelling. Remember that this movie follows immediately on TFA, and so far, Finn’s not really a hero. Finn doesn’t know who he is yet. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago at all that he was a Stormtrooper. At this point, he’s impulsive and reactionary (a bit like, I don’t know, Luke Skywalker when he was young). And here’s this young fan girl (because, like Luke, Finn’s suddenly a hero to a lot of people), who finds herself suddenly disillusioned, then thrust into an adventure she probably never expected, and unintentionally teaching someone what it means to truly be a hero.

I was not impressed with Laura Dern. They could have put anyone in that part, she brought nothing special to the table.

Anyway. . .

From the time I first watched Star Wars back when I was, like, 4, Luke Skywalker has been my favorite character. And while I know people up to and including Mark Hamill don't necessarily agree with Johnson's choices for Luke in this movie, I thought it made perfect sense for the character's arc. In the original trilogy, we see Luke go from zero to hero, his Hero's Journey. But at the end of the day, he was still only a Jedi Master by default, by being the last of the Jedi. Through three movies, we see that despite his maturation, he still retains the impulsive nature that he has back on the dustball where he grew up.

Luke gained some wisdom over time, but always remained close to that edge, plagued by self-doubt. Recall that in RotJ, he nearly succumbed to the Dark Side, and while he pulled himself back, he couldn’t get the job done; that was Anakin Skywalker.

TLJ touches on the post-RotJ life of Skywalker, in which, as the Jedi who vanquished Vader and ended the Empire, he became a legend. And he essentially admits that he kind of bought into his own press, thinking that he could rebuild the Jedi order. And that makes perfect sense, because look at who trained him initially: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Who thought he had what it took to train Vader.

And we know how that turned out.

We learned that once again, Luke almost succumbed to the Dark Side, but pulled back. Because almost succumbing to the Dark Side is in Luke’s very nature as a person. And him retreating and hiding when everything goes catastrophically wrong is also in Luke’s nature. Because despite the passage of decades, he never stopped being that desert-dwelling angsty, self-pitying teenager who dreamed of something bigger, but had no idea of how to react when those dreams manifested differently.

In the books, Luke meets Mary Sue, I mean Mara Jade blah blah blah, but I never thought the character arc in the novels was appropriate. This arc? This is pretty much exactly what I always pictured for Luke, because Luke was always going to be a tragic hero at best. And in the end, he was still a hero. He pulled himself back one last time to do the right thing. Not the thing that fixed everything and saved the day, but the thing that helped others.

Now, Star Wars has always been the saga of the Skywalker family. So does this change with Ren’s “revelation” that Rey’s parents were nobodies? Certainly, it appears that she’s not a Skywalker, so is this still the saga of the Skywalkers?

Sure. Kylo Ren is a Skywalker.

And he’s also a manipulative, unreliable narrator. We never saw his alleged vision of Rey’s parents. It’s entirely possible that he made it up in order to help sway her to his side. It’s also entirely possible that he didn’t, knowing that she would sense the truth when he spoke it.

I’m not entirely sure that Rey’s parentage or ancestry is terrible important. Given her raw power level, one is inclined to think that she must have some connection to the Skywalker family, but do we need to know what that is? Heck if I know. For all I know, she was incubated from some remnant of Darth Vader’s DNA. We might find out, we might not, we might already have found out.

I enjoyed this so much (and am looking forward to re-watching it to see what I missed the first time around in my mesmerized state; same thing happened with TFA), that I’m disappointed to learn that Rian Johnson isn’t writing and directing the next one. In fact, I have some trepidation about the next one, since it’s being directed by Arbams and written by Abrams and Chris Terrio, co-writer of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (you all know how I feel about that film) and writer of Justice League (which I haven’t seen yet, and haven’t decided if I’m going to even bother with).

On the other hand, Rian Johnson is getting an entire Star Wars trilogy to play with, and after this, I’m pretty jazzed about that.

Overall, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an excellent ending to the story of Luke Skywalker (and ensures that his legend will live on in universe), and a very solid entry in the American Mythos that is Star Wars.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Protect Us From Tyranny? Wolverines!!!

Something that fascinates me is the mercurial perception of our military strength and forces depending on the conversation.

In general years, the Right talks about the American War Machine as if it's this vast, unstoppable juggernaut, except one that is underequipped and weak so we need to bolster it even more, but UNSTOPPABLE!!!!

And the Left rightfully laughs at this bullshit.

But when there is a mass shooting and the inevitable gun violence/control arguments start, the #Gundamentalists and #Ammosexuals start talking about how 2A is there to protect us from #GovernmentTyranny (it isn't) and that's why we'll only take their guns over their cold, dead bodies.

And suddenly the Left touts the American War Machine as this vast, unstoppable juggernaut with drones and satellites and low orbital death rays and shit.

And the Right is all like #Wolverines!!

It's another example of how Americans of all stripes are willing to use the military as propaganda while decrying the same actions by the other side.

And both sides are right *and* wrong.

The American War Machine is indisputably vast powerful. As it should be since we spend stupidly ridiculous amounts of money on it. Far more than is necessary (but apparently never enough).

At the same time, 50 god damn years of American warfare has shown us that underequipped, outnumbered, technologically inferior, insurgent style opponents can not only withstand our attempts to steamroll them, but can put up one hell of a fight.

We totally rolled over the enemy in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In a stand up, WWII style fight, there's only a very few nations on the planet that could go toe-to-toe with us.

But notice that in Operation Enduring Freedom (now Operation Freedom's Sentinel), we might be steamrolling over the enemy, but we're doing it at a snail's pace. I mean, we're now at 16 years, 5 months, and 3 weeks of CRUSHING OUR ENEMIES AND SEEING THEM DRIVEN BEFORE US!!!!

This war is almost as long as the entire Vietnam War. We've been fighting in this war longer than we fought (as in full troop commitment) in the Vietnam War.

Do we somehow think that a war on American soil, between American civilians and American military forces will be a stand up, toe-to-toe war? That's not how it would shake out. And people neglect to mention that should such a conflict break out, suddenly, a lot of those military personnel and a lot of that military might is going to find itself on the side of the civilians. It would be civil war, and that's what happens. Not to mention the side-taking of thousands of armed and kinda trained LEO.

The American War Machine just isn't very good at insurgent warfare. Period. We've *never* gone #TotalWar on someone and we sure as fuck wouldn't do it here, unless Greg Stillson was our POTUS.

Could the #Gundamentalist and #Ammosexuals *win* such a conflict? At the end of the day, probably not. But insurgent wars aren't really about achieving a straight up win condition. They're largely about making the conflict so costly, so troublesome, and so unpopular that the aggressive force has to end it. Could they achieve that?

I wouldn't rule it out.

So let's stop trying to use that as a talking point/counter-argument against the #GunNuts, m'kay?

P.S. Remember, COTUS doesn't actually mention "guns" or "firearms".


Sunday, March 18, 2018

"Thor: Ragnarok" - A Short Review

Thor: Ragnarok
(Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo; 130 min; PG-13; 2017)
First off, this is *easily* the best Thor movie they’ve made. Period.
There will be spoilers ahead.
Chris Hemsworth has frat boy Thor down to an art. Which sucks if you’re someone who doesn’t like frat boy Thor, but it is a pretty accurate modern interpretation of the mythological Thor. Myth Thor was kind of a douchebag sometimes. He has very solid comedic timing (which is also well-displayed in Ghostbusters: Answer the Call – in fact, he’s one of the best things about that movie), and if you’re into it, I’m assuming he’s pretty hot judging from the way Carrie’s breath catches when he’s shirtless.
Which brings me to one thing that got my attention in this one. He wasn’t big enough for my tastes. Hemsworth has never been big enough for Thor, even though I love him as the character. But it seemed like his workout routine for this one focused more on definition and bicep size than overall size, so he looked even smaller than in his previous portrayals. Not a huge deal (heh), but if you’ve read anything I’ve said about comic movies, you know physically matching the image in my head is a top priority. Physically, my preference is that they find someone about 3 inches shorter but with nearly the same physique as the most recent Mountain (Game of Thrones), Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson. That’s about how big Thor should be. But whatever.
This was an excellent mixture of the comic book mythological Thor with his weighty Asgardians concerns, but also the comic book Thor that often found himself mixed up in zany sci-fi adventures. It *looked* like a Thor comic from yesterwhen, which is something the previous two flicks failed to do. Someone finally remembered the contributions of Jack Kirby to Thor.
It was tremendously funny, which is no shock given that the director is the guy responsible for the Team Thor shorts (which tell us what Thor was doing during Civil War – go watch them if you haven’t), and Team Daryl (which is post-Ragnarok).
Honestly, it may have been a little bit *too* funny.
The best thing about Ragnarok, though, was that *finally* a Marvel movie showed us not the fear and torment of Bruce Banner, but the anguish, loneliness, and longing of Hulk. A lot of people think that you need the Banner character to properly do Hulk, but they forget that Hulk is a character in his own right. He’s just a bigger, angrier Frankenstein’s Monster. He has wants, needs, drives like anyone else, and like a lot of people, he doesn’t know how to deal with them. He’s got one tool in his emotional toolbox. It’s just that the one tool is the world’s biggest hammer, so every problem is a nail. That Hulk smash.
There’s something like *18* MCU movies now, and one of, if not the most, touching and heartbreaking scenes in them is when Thor goes to leave and Hulk cries out “Friend stay!”, chases Thor down crying for his friend to stay and freaks out, not wanting to change back into Banner. The movies tell us how much Banner loathes having this monster inside of him, but do little to tell us of Hulk’s imprisonment when Banner is dominant. When it’s Banner facing the world, Hulk is alone, trapped, and *powerless*. And that’s got to be something that genuinely makes Hulk afraid.
So, kudos for letting us actually meet Hulk finally.
Another thing I did *not* care for: Valkyrie. I don’t have a problem with the character of Valkyrie, nor one with casting a woman of color in the part. I just really dislike Tessa Thompson. She’s not a good actor. I’ve seen her in a few things, and “coming off as snotty” is acting. I guarantee there were dozens if not hundreds of more qualified women that auditioned for the part, and casting her was just a bad decision.
Cate Blanchett as Hela was effective, I thought (props for getting her headdress right). The whole time, I thought there was something kind of familiar about her, but it wasn’t until after the movie when I looked her up that I learned/realized that she was Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings flicks. I don’t know her other work, but she might be a pretty solid performer.
On one hand, YAY for including this character in the movie! On the other hand, BOO! Skurge needs more build up than he got. On the other other hand, YAY! Karl Urban! I love Karl Urban!! On the other other other hand, BOO! They kind of wasted Karl Urban!!!!
Seriously, I appreciate that they drew from a classic story that just about everyone my age who read comics is familiar with. And it’s great that we got to see him with the M-16s. But on the downside, it was *just* the visual. We didn’t get the story that gave us . . .
“They made a fool of me, Balder. They laughed at me. Everybody laughs at Skurge. Hela, Mordonna, even the Enchantress I love. They all laugh at me. Except you. Balder is too kind to laugh at Skurge. But whenever they laugh, I hurt inside. Maybe I die a little. Now I think I am dead already. And my axe was destroyed with Naglfar. So I will stay behind and the last laugh will be mine. ... I will hold the bridge myself.”
“And though the Executioner stands alone, and the warriors of Hel seem numberless, not one sets foot upon the bridge across the river Gjoll. They sing no songs in Hel... nor do they celebrate heroes... for silent is that dismal realm and cheerless... but the story of the Gjallerbru and the god who defended it is whispered across the Nine Worlds. And when a new arrival asks about the one to whom even Hela bows her head... the answer is always the same...
he stood alone at Gjallerbru...
and that answer is enough.”
I was 12 when that issue came out. It had a powerful impact on me, and I was *so* disappointed that Skurge didn’t get to hold Bifrost alone against the hordes of Hela.
So, mixed bag on that one.
Korg (the big rock gladiator) was pretty great. I hope beyond hope that in one of the next MCU flicks, we get an extended conversation between Korg and Luis from Ant-Man. Make it an extra if necessary, but the MCU *NEEDS* this conversation to happen. Doesn’t even matter what they’re talking about.
Anyway, this was a damned fun movie, and I hope we get some more adventures from Hemsworth and Taika Waititi.
Man, imagine what these people could do for the DC Cinematic Universe. . .

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" Short Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming
(Tom Holland, Michael Keaton; 133 min; PG-13; 2017)
Well, this was a lot of fun. It may be the most fun I’ve had watching a Spider-Man movie. I’ll have to go back and watch the Raimi ones to check. It’s also one of the more fun MCU flicks IMO (I enjoyed it at least as much as GotG).

Holland was excellent as a young, unsure of himself Peter, despite having faced down Captain America recently (I liked that Tony pointed out that if Cap had actually wanted to kick Peter’s ass, he would’ve done so).

Flash as a socioeconomic bully instead of a physical bully was a brilliant change.

Spidey trapped under the rubble and getting out is one of those “classic” images from the comics, but if any scene in the flick summed up Spider-Man, I think it was him sitting out on the fire escape eating a churro that a nice lady bought for him after he helped her. He’s your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man: he’s never going to get the big flashy rewards and recognition (especially while JJJ lives), but a small, simple bit of recognition from the people on the street is pretty great.

Thinking on it, I can only really think of two things that bothered me a bit:

1. Did I miss something in this and Captain America: Civil War or does this version of Spidey not have spider-sense? I guess maybe they’re going to have it slowly develop? Anyway, that grabbed my attention in both flicks.

2. Aunt May. Dag nab it. Aunt May is supposed to be *old*, not just 9 years older than me. I don’t have anything against Marisa Tomei, but Rosemary Harris from the Raimi trilogy is what Aunt May is supposed to look and sound should like. 

Overall, this was a pretty great movie. The director, Jon Watts, handled everything wonderfully. He had a fine grasp on both the large and small scales of the character and setting. The story and script were engaging and touching (bonus: not an origin story! Also, one of the story and script writers was John Frances Daley – Sam Weir on Freaks and Geeks and the terrific (and my fav char) Lance Sweets on Bones).

This is pretty much all I could want from a first Spider-Man flick and I am very much looking forward to the next one.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Another Day, Another Shooting

Hi everybody!

(Hi, Mister Nick!)
So, it's the day after another mass shooting. What does that mean? It means we're seeing the same things we see every time:

--> An overall lack of (re)action on the part of the GOP.

--> Talk but not much movement from the Dems.

--> Bang your head! du duh, Metal Health will drive you mad! No, wait, it's Mental health is the problem not the guns!

--> All the well-meaning but making things worse arguments from the Left ("Do what the UK/Australia/Whatever did, we're just like them" "Assault weapons ban!" "Militia, militia, militia!" - do that last one in Jan Brady's voice). I've explained the issues with this before, not going to do it again right now. 

--> All the not so well-meaning, terrible ideas from the Right (these largely boil down to "MOAR GUNZ PLZ!!!!", because they seem to follow the "Starship Troopers" maxim that an armed society is a polite society, like that bastion of politeness, Somalia).

The fact that we see *THE EXACT SAME REACTIONS* from both sides, every time is a significant part of the reason why nothing is getting done.

The only things that seem a bit different this time are

--> Actual footage and communications from inside the school at the time. Expect this to be the case going forward so long as everyone is equipped with an A/V streaming capable mini super computer.

--> More victim blaming from POTUS.

Things I'd like to see come about as a result of these inevitable shootings:

--> A ground level mass movement on the part of the people *demanding* that every last dollar, nickel, and cent donated to politicians and their PACS by the gun lobby (Hi NRA! Fuck you!) be returned, and if they don't return it, the voters guarantee those muthafuckers (thanks Ron Perlman!) will be voted right the fuck out of the office.

--> The politicians and the press actually talking about *gun violence* in this country. Not just the AR-15s, not just the bump stocks, not just the mass shootings, but the actual scourge of Americans; that treasured staple of Americana, the *fucking handgun*. Because things like the school shootings grab the press, but are still only a fraction of the gun violence in the nation.

--> A lot of the gun deaths in the US are suicides, typically male (we're more inclined to shoot ourselves than women, I guess we've been conditioned to think it's a more manly way to die). I'd like to see us start to have a genuine conversation about mental health and the related violence, because while the Right does try to use mental health as a deflection from the staggering availability of guns, it *is* a factor in many cases. Why? Because *depression* is a god damn mental health issue, and one that far too many of us deal with.

Nothing is really going to change until we get the gun lobby money out of the pockets of the politicians, and that’s not going to change until we start changing the minds of millions of Americans who have been culturally indoctrinated, and then hammered with repeated fears of The Others.

I honestly believe that this is a problem we’re going to have to address from the bottom up.

Remember, as you go through your day hopefully not being shot:

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Doctor Falls (spoilers)

When I heard that they were bringing Doctor Who back to TV, I was . . . hesitant. I hadn’t been fond of the people that came after Tom Baker, and I thought the TV movie was terrible. Seeing pictures of Christopher Eccleston in his simple black jacket and black shirt as The Doctor didn’t fill me with hope about the show either.

But I gave it a chance. By The End of the World, I was sold and hooked. When The Doctor regenerated into David Tennant at the end of The Parting of the Ways, I was tremendously disappointed, because Eccleston had surpassed even Tom Baker as my Doctor. But they had earned a lot of good faith with me through 9’s run. So I kept watching. And while I never liked him (or any other) as much as Eccleston, I did become a fan of Tennant, and I thought the stories during his run were largely even better than in 9’s.  It was during Tennant’s run that they introduced my all-time, bar none favorite companion, Donna Noble.

I didn’t love everything they did during 10’s run, but overall, it was successful in my mind (except for the heartbreaking rueful fate of Donna Noble – I’ve never forgiven The Doctor for ignoring her choice with regards to her fate).

When 10 regenerated at the end of The End of Time (a truly excellent two-part finale), I was as surprised and disappointed as I had been with 9 (while I liked 9 more, I had spent a lot more time with 10, so the attachment was almost as strong).

With the regeneration of 10, we were introduced to Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor, and the handing over of the show to Steven Moffat as showrunner. Now, Matt Smith was a pretty great Doctor. I like his performance as much as Tennant’s, if not more.

But with the change to 11, we also got Amy Pond and a dramatic increase in the appearances of River Song. And, frankly, I hate River Song. She never should have appeared in episodes beyond Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. She was a poorly written, terribly boring character. In today’s terms, she’d be a Mary Sue (because that term has been twisted far from its original meaning, but the current use is spot on for River).

Not only do I strongly dislike River, I also can’t really stand Amy Pond. So that was two big, relatively early strikes against Moffat as showrunner. But the biggest strike against him was the almost complete stripping of fun from Doctor Who.

There was some goofy, stupid shit done on the show under Russell T Davies, but under him, no matter how stupid it got, the show was fun as well as dark and dramatic. With Moffat, it’s like he wanted to go GRIMDARK, but couldn’t do that just like he couldn’t apparently do fun.

So, for the first time in years, I stopped enjoying Doctor Who as much. When a season was close to premiering, I no longer got that tingle of excitement and anticipation that I had through the runs of 9 and 10. It even went from being a “Family Watch” event to an “Eh, I’ll watch it when I get around to it and the family doesn’t even bother now” non-event.

And that’s pretty much all on Moffat.

After a while, we got 11 and Clara Oswald. Clara, while cute as a button, was also a mind-numbingly boring Super Special Magic Girl companion. And the lack of fun persisted.

Eventually, someone somewhere got tired of Matt Smith as The Doctor, and we got Peter Capaldi (having previously been seen as a different character in one of the best eps of the series, The Fires of Pompeii).

I have greatly enjoyed Capaldi as The Doctor. In fact, he might be my second favorite of them all, despite the fact that he’s been saddled with terrible stories and scripts. He’s just that damn good, and his older, sadder Doctor is nearly perfect.

For seven years, Steven Moffat seemingly did everything he could to suck the fun and enjoyment out of Doctor Who (just like he sucked it out of his creation, Sherlock, from the get go). Finally, the time came for Capaldi to step aside. And considering the crap he was expected to work with, I’m surprised he didn’t tap out sooner.

Capaldi’s normal run (i.e., excluding the 2017 Christmas Special), ended this month, with a two-parter consisting and World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls (both written by Moffat). And though not a direct part of the ending, those were preceded by The Eaters of Light (which was an outstanding episode, more so when compared to everything else in Moffat’s run).

And you know what?  

They were damned good episodes. The dialogue was sharp, snappy and witty. The story was compelling even when you could predict was going to happen (and if you remained unspoiled, MAN there was a YUGE surprise!)

They were so good that I was forced to ask why in the Hell did Moffat wait for SEVEN FUCKING YEARS to finally bring his A game to the table? If he had put into the previous years what he put into these two episodes, his run might have gone unsurpassed as the best in the show’s history.

Everyone delivered in these, from Capaldi to Pearl Mackie (who had largely been pretty dull to this point) to Michelle Gomez (Missy was absolutely terrific once they toned her down just a bit) to the extras and guest stars.

When 10 was regenerating, at one point he said “I don’t wanna go” and it was heartbreaking.

Capaldi’s Doctor fought like hell to not come back! He was done. He didn’t want to come back and do it all again as someone else. And his performance was equally, if not more heartbreaking than Tennant’s.

This also marks the passing of control from Steven Moffat to Chris Chibnall. And I won’t miss Moffat. Instead of bringing us the greatness that he clearly has inside, he brought us 7 years of meh. In the final analysis, he’s done far more harm to the show than good, and his drek was a huge disservice to what Capaldi brought to the table.

I hope the door hits him in the ass on his way out.

Peter Capaldi was a truly great Doctor and I’ll miss him.