Mixed Reactions: Tim told me yesterday that he has written the last-ever episode of Sidewards - again. This time, I'm told, it really is the end, and there are only a few weeks left before the final instalment of the strange but hugely enjoyable sandwich-assassin-fuelled weirdness is published online. I'm really looking forward to finding out how the plot resolves, but there'll be a little sandwich-shaped hole in my internet life for months afterwards.
Mixed Media: speaking of webcomics, yesterday I finished illustrating Fort Paradox episodes 67 to 70, using a technically complex art style that gives a parchmenty look (appropriate, considering the subject matter - you'll see what I mean when I publish the strips in a few weeks' time), which involved hybridising pencil sketches, an ink drawing, a failed attempt to incorporate oil pastels, and quite a lot of digital manipulation and arty-farty typography.
As a random side note, the new episodes are the longest consecutive run of FP strips to use the Candara font - the previous record being three, for strips 26 to 28.
Mixed Shades of Green: remember that pencil-on-canvas sketch of a kingfisher in action, which I mentioned a couple of posts back? I said in my last post that I'd painted the sky in, and this morning I've done a second, rather more involved round of painting, this time focussing on the vegetation. It took five different tubes of paint (only one of which was green) and five different brushes to create what could be described, in a reductionist analysis, as a big blob of green. But I'm quite pleased with my big blob of green, so I've decided it's time to take another photo and show you my progress:
Untitled Kingfisher Painting (still a work in progress... but this time with more progress!)
Mixed Quality: I saw the Doctor Who 'mid-series finale' A Good Man Goes to War the other day, and I feel compelled to comment on it. I'm amazed that a certain sheep-liking ginger person hasn't blogged on this topic yet, what with her well-documented obsession with all things Whovian, but that's beside the point.
The point is that for me, AGMGTW was a very mixed bag, brilliant and depressing in equal measure. It had some excellent lines (I found Rory's final remark before the title sequence particularly funny), and lots of lovely VFX stuff, and so on and so forth, and in several places it showcased the usual Steve Moffat cleverness. And that Sontaran was hilarious. But there were problems, on a scale I haven't seen before in a Moffat-scripted episode. Spoilers follow, so if you haven't seen it yet, you might want to skip the rest of this post - if you're going, then take a biscuit, and I'll see you next time. Otherwise, you're in for some ranting and railing.
Moffat, like Davies before him, seems to have something against the Church. Yes, I know, that's common enough, but it does get depressing when one's favourite science-fantasy telly show feels it has to join in the bashing. Granted, Moffat's bizarre depiction of the 51st-century 'Church', as a pseudo-faith-based interplanetary military organisation, seems to be stabbing mainly at Roman Catholicism (what with a reference to 'the Papal Mainframe') and high-church Anglicanism rather than the smaller, more down-to-earth Baptist congregations like the one I belong to, but it still irks a bit.
Some of the supporting characters were frankly unnecessary. Lorna came across (IMO, anyway) as an insipid example of the 'person who is in awe of the Doctor and desperate to meet him' archetype, and I really couldn't work out for the life of me why 'Thin One' and 'Fat One' had been included at all. I don't think they added anything interesting to the plot whatsoever, and they should have been cut from the script before the episode got anywhere near the filming stage. I've written some screenplays, and I know a thing or two about writing out unnecessary side characters, and I'm sure AGMGTW would have been better off without those two.
So, that's the thematic and narrative problems whinged about. And finally: anatomy. Yes, you read that right. The thing is, I'm a great stickler for basic anatomical plausibility in fictional creatures. I can accept the hypothetical existence of a faun, a unicorn (provided you assume the horn doesn't grow until after birth, so the baby doesn't rip the mother apart from the inside), a dragon, and many other things, but there are some fantasy critters out there whose anatomy just doesn't make any sense. As I explained in this post back here, I dislike centaurs on the grounds of their badly-thought-out physiology. You try to figure out the skeletal structure or the position of the major organs, and you'll quickly find out that they just don't fit! Which is where the Headless Monks go wrong as well. The phrase 'Headless Monks' does sound rather funky, but the literally-headless chaps in AGMGTW have a few fundamental anatomical glitches. You've got to wonder: how do they eat, drink, taste, breathe, smell, hear or see? Most known higher life-forms do all those things with their heads, and if the Monks don't have a head then they could face some serious difficulties. Well, not 'face' the difficulties as such, since the face is part of the head and they therefore don't have one, but you know what I meant. My suspension of disbelief can stretch to cover the Weeping Angels, the Vashta Nerada, the Star Whale, the Pandorica, Sardick's sky machine, the Silence, and many other things, but people who stay alive without heads? Sorry, Steve, you've lost me.
Here's hoping the monsters in the next few episodes make a bit more sense.
And, for those who are still reading: sorry about the whinyness.
Have a biscuit.
- The Colclough