Tuesday, May 10, 2011

DOCTOR WHO: How I came late to yet another party

I didn't start watching "24" until its fifth season- and through the miracle of DVDs, I caught up on the entire series within a few weeks.  It was during that time that this blog was created-- five years ago almost to the day (5/2/06)!

Well, it's fitting that I show up late to another popular TV show-- one that I disliked for years out of complete ignorance, DOCTOR WHO. The show just appeared so... British, and inaccessible for its goofiness and very long history (nearly fifty years).  Imagine picking up STAR TREK today-- and having to go back through the entire run.  It's intimidating; it's a friggin' side job, in fact!

Nevertheless, it took one episode of the current series to draw me in- the Series 6 (in England they call seasons "series"-- see, really British!) premiere, which aired 4 weeks ago.  The show follows a time traveling being, The Doctor, who takes along a companion (or two) and engages the most offbeat and complicated aliens throughout the Universe.  The show hits almost every genre- horror, sci-fi, historical fiction, etc. It appeals to anyone with some degree of attention deficit disorder.  After a handful of episodes, I was hooked.

Thankfully, Netflix has a lot of the episodes available for streaming.  That means I get to watch nearly all 60 or so episodes starting from 2005 (this is the "modern" DOCTOR WHO era) before I roll up my sleeves and get into the old-school doctors from way back when (50 years of The Doctor... yeah, I have my summer TV planned out).

If any of you have watched the show, please jump in.  I'm considering doing episode reviews (at least the current episodes to start) and maybe retro reviews as my viewings mount up.  And if you've never watched the show before, I strongly recommend you give it a look.

New episodes air on BBC America Saturday nights.  This week, fantasy writer Neil Gaiman pens a special episode.  Advance reviews say new viewers will be able to join the series relatively easily this week.  So, who's interested?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Usama Bin Laden- Dead.

I don't think my personal views on Usama Bin Laden or September 11th are that noteworthy or novel- I'm like many of you in that I remember the day of the attacks vividly and have been absorbing the effects of such for many years thereafter.

My initial reaction to the terrorist attacks of 2001 was intense- a deep sense of sadness and loss of faith in the security of this country.  Living 15 miles away from NYC and having worked at the Twin Towers through November 2000, I had a connection to those events.  There was a hole created by Usama Bin Laden and his subordinates- time fills it in to an extent, but the crater's ridge will always remain visible.

Upon learning of his death today, I was mostly curious as to the details.  I certainly didn't feel patriotic or "proud to be an American."  I'm already proud of our history and its principles.  We live in an age of deconstructionism, pessimism and divisiveness.  The past ten years- where Bin Laden's legacy is its most concentrated-- only served to prove that fact.  Yes, we can find many faults in what we've done since September 11th, but do those mistakes negate the many great achievements from our larger history?  I've grown very tired of the negative piling-on. We can be a great people and we're also screwed up.  We're human-- get over it and move on.

I hope that, beyond the damage it would cause Al Qaeda, this day marks a psychological turning point for us- that we don't have to wonder if this person is still around to set in motion further attacks.  In terms of justice, killing him is a drop in the bucket towards putting things back into balance.  He's one guy- an innovator at his business, but no more important to his organization as Ray Kroc was to McDonald's.  The worldwide business of terrorism is not undone.

This doesn't mean we diminish the death of a criminal who caused great harm to citizens throughout the world.  We should take comfort in knowing that, despite many obstacles and leads going dead cold, we remained loyal to fulfilling the justice owed to this person.  Now, we should think about the bigger issue- does Bin Laden continue to define us or do we find a way to really bury the son-of-a-bitch by uniting to do bigger things again?