Saturday, February 23, 2008

Dangerous Woman: A Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman

Dangerous Woman is a graphic novel about the life of anarchist Emma Goldman. It’s an accurate title for a book about someone who was thoroughly committed to upending the social order of her time, and there’s plenty to admire about what she did in her time. Reading about her life made me wonder, what am I doing? I’m not making much of an impact on the world, while she was out there changing the world. However, admiring a woman does not necessarily make Sharon Rudahl’s graphic biopic a successful work.

Reading the book, it feels like you’re listening to her breathlessly run through a list of this woman’s accomplishments, like “She spoke at this rally, and then she got arrested, and then she organized the prison into a factory, and then she got out and she’s so awesome.” The book is the equivalent of a 30s Hollywood “great man” biopic, a work devoted to showing us why a historical figure is worthy of admiration. I always felt like the book was telling me about her, it wasn’t showing her story. In the rush to cram many years of life into the slim volume, we lose any sense of the woman herself and who she was. We just get the facts of her life, and though they’re pretty impressive, it’s hard to say what this book gave me that just, say, reading her Wikipedia entry didn’t.

There’s two approaches in biopic, one is to stay in reality and one is to go into subjectivity. Subjective biopics, like Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There don’t necessarily convey what actually happened in a person’s life, but they can convey the essence of the person’s spirit in a way that a simple rote depiction of events can’t. Reading this work, I never felt in the moment of her life. There’s no drama or emotional attachment because the people in the book aren’t really characters, they’re just names. It may be sad that her lover is in prison, but their whole relationship is summed up in one sentence, and I’m not emotionally invested in.

Emotions are what matters in a work, hook a reader emotionally and you’ll engage them throughout the work. However, this work is more about informing the reader than making them feel anything. The back of the book features a blurb lauding this book over the “boy’s club of superhero comics,” but this book feels like it’s missed the past twenty years of development in comic narrative form. I haven’t seen this many captions outside of a Stan Lee comic, this is a graphic medium, and I feel like you could take the pictures out of this book and it wouldn’t affect your understanding of it. To me, form is as important as content, and in this case, the form is such that I’m locked out of the present moment of these characters’ lives.

Now, that’s not to say that the book has no merits. The art is really nice, and I wish Rudahl would let it tell the story more. The book should either have been longer, and really delved into her mind and explored what drove her, or shorter and cut out a lot of the details of her life and focused more on exploring the emotions of her life.

But, this clearly wasn’t the agenda of Rudahl. Her motivation seems to be, I really like this woman and think her story is important, so let me tell you about her. That’s a valid choice, but it’s not one that particularly interests me. I think her total admiration of her subject removes some of the potential ambiguities from the book. She was fighting a good fight, but in our post sixties world, the heavy idealism of her movement is hard to deal with. She comes off as a bit shrill at times, speaking about what the movement does or does not stand for. I think her perspective is very Manichean, there’s the people and the power, and they never cross over. It’s a totally different perspective than something like Morrison’s The Invisibles, which relishes the complexity of human power structures and realizes that no one sets out to do bad things, they just get caught up in selfishness and greed.

But, this was a different time. Things were so bad for people, maybe that radicalism was needed. But, where’s the line? Reading the book, I was thinking about my reaction to her, what I supported, what I didn’t, and the sort of shakeup she made to her society. What role could anarchists have in our society today? These are interesting issues, but I don’t think the book really deals with them.

Ultimately, I found the book’s storytelling style prohibitive to emotional engagement with the narrative. I think it’s important to keep in mind when telling a real person’s story that we have no intrinsic reason to care. It’s a shortcut to use historical events as a device to build our sympathy. When constructing a history-based work, it’s best to think about whether this story would be of interest to anyone if it was based on a fictional character. In this case, I don’t think it would. If you want to learn about Emma Goldman, this book is a fantastic resource, if you want to experience her life, this book doesn’t do it for you.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Dark Knight Returns

The Dark Knight Returns is one of those works that’s so canonized, it can be tough to look at it with fresh eyes, to react in a way that goes beyond either “It’s a classic” or “It’s overrated.” The Casablanca to Watchmen’s Citizen Kane, it changed comics forever, but the first time I read the book, I didn’t love it.

On the same day in 2000, I went to the library and checked out Watchmen and Dark Knight. I read Watchmen first and totally loved the book. It was reading Watchmen that hooked me on comics, and for the next few years, I was hoping that every book I picked up would have the impact that Watchmen did. So, when I read The Dark Knight, I enjoyed it, but didn’t fully appreciate what it was. I read the book again over the past week and got it a lot more. This is a truly fantastic, manic and riveting book that taps into the zeitgeist of its time just as powerfully as Watchmen did.

Reading the book today, what jumps out is both how different the worldview is, with its decrepit cities and cold war paranoia, and how similar it is, you could recast Miller’s Reagan with Bush and not miss a beat. I’d argue that what makes the book so good is not the much vaunted grim and grittiness, it’s the political aspect of the book. This is a work about societal issues and ideas, the darkness and violence is all about creating a world in which to explore those issues. People think it’s all about Batman attacking people, that’s not what matters, but the thing the imitators don’t realize is that without the political content, all that violence comes off as empty posturing.

Structurally, the book spends as much, if not more time, showing the media’s reaction to Batman as it does on Batman himself. The pages are divided into many small panels, recreating the feel of TV news. This immerses you in the world of Gotham, and puts you in a better place to analyze the morality of what Batman is doing. That’s the key question of the work, is Batman right? It’s a tough question to answer, Miller puts you in a place where Batman’s actions are good, where he saves lives and doesn’t destroy them, but many of his arguments run counter to the sort of laws I’d like to see in the real world.

The aspect of Miller’s philosophy that I can agree with is the focus on individual action in pursuit of a better world. Over the course of the book, Batman ‘converts’ the mutant gang to his cause, and turns them in to the Sons of Batman. He takes their violent impulses and turns them towards the pursuit of something positive. Superman in the work is a servant of the power structure, rather than changing the world for the better, he’s fighting the battles of a government that could care less about him. Bruce frequently talks about us and them, and he seems sad at the fact that Clark has chosen to side with the normals rather than the heroes like him. At the end of the work, we see the failure of Clark’s choice, he brings about the nuclear destruction, and it’s only Bruce who can save the city from chaos.

In the work, it’s precisely Batman’s ordinariness that makes him a powerful symbol. No one else can be Superman, but anyone could be Batman, Carrie Kelly could be Batman, the mutant gang could be Batman, it’s just a matter of committing to doing the right thing. However, the dangerous thing about the work is that they create a world in which Batman is needed. Cities today, at least New York, is very different from what we see here? Walking around at night, I don’t feel scared, and I don’t know that someone like Batman is needed.

But, what about in a city like Baltimore? How would Batman fit into The Wire? Someone like Batman could stop some innocent people being robbed, but crime is such a systemic problem, it’s a bit too complex for one man to solve. Batman can protect the streets, but it’s harder to change the world. That’s what he does with the mutant gang, but they are only a viable alternative in a world like the end of the book, where things are in total chaos. Batman and the mutant gang are a bit like gunslingers of the old West, they’re there to civilize cities, but once the cities are saved, they have no purpose anymore, and will have to move on.

As I mentioned before, the depiction of Reagan in the book really jumps out. The man is so canonized now, with Republican candidates falling over each other to be the next Reagan, here, it’s clear that we’ve already got the next Reagan and he’s the worst president of all time. Reagan here is never depicted without an American flag, and is always going on about defending the cause of freedom and God and all that good stuff. He’s this obnoxious, faux populist idiot, with all the same appeal as our current president.

For all its political dimension, this is still on some level an action story, and in that respect, it really is the ultimate Batman story, spinning the character through a really intense distillation of everything that makes him interesting. It’s the template for countless Batman stories since, and I don’t think it’s been eclipsed since in comics. The core of any Batman story, for me, is that there’s a slight psychosis to the character. He’s got to be unstable, he may have a point, but there’s also a level of joy that comes from fighting crime. The beauty of Batman Returns is the way it points out the thin line between him and his foes. He gets the same rush from fighting crime that they do from being criminals, and if he wasn’t already wealthy, it’s quite possible he’d be on the other side of the law.

So, next up will be the controversial sequel to this legend, The Dark Knight Strikes Again. The book got a lot of criticism, but I’ve heard it takes things further over the top, and I’m eager to see that. One of things I hated about Batman Begins is how under the top is, it’s a dire, boring Batman film. Dark Knight Returns takes things to some crazy places, and I’m eager to see Miller go further off the rails. And, in June, I’m eagerly awaiting the TPB drop of this Dark Knight character’s backstory in the apparently totally insane ‘The Goddamn Batman.’

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Wire: 'Clarifications' (5x08)

When you get near the end of the series, the ‘rules’ of the show become looser. This is a show that was never particularly bound by convention, but we’re at the point now where anyone could die, anything could happen. And, the first casualty of that is Omar, who goes out in a blaze of ordariness.

Watching Omar limp through the streets at the beginning of the episode, you’re watching a man who’s been broken. As he approaches the police car, he looks more like a homeless man than a menacing legend of the streets. Over the first four years of the show, I got more and more comfortable with the street environment, hanging out on Bodie’s corner, I knew everyone and it felt safe in a way that the early days of the show, or The Corner didn’t. That’s an inevitable consequence of a longform story, you become accustomed to things.

Here, that safety, that community is all wiped away. For the first time in a while, the corners once again feel like an alien environment, a dangerous, anarchic place. I can think of few scenes sadder than Omar walking past the vacants, calling out to Marlo. Somebody throws out some drugs, but I still get the feeling he’s just yelling at no one in particular, he’s lost it completely and is just wandering the streets. One of the things that contributes to this anarchic feel is Omar passing Kenard and his gang torturing a cat.

Kenard in season four was a character who was so absurd he became, almost by necessity comedic. This kid was about four feet tall, ten years old, and he’s running drug operations for Namond. There, he showed how pathetic a drug dealer Namond was, that he can’t even boss this kid around. Kenard clearly had a knack for the game that all the older kids in that season lacked. He’s more reminiscent of Marlo, someone who only knows the streets, has been there his whole life, and knows how to play the game.

I got a bad feeling when we saw him again, the cat scene coming after “That’s Omar?” last week did not bode well. But, still, I was not expecting Omar to die so abruptly. That was a totally shocking moment, perhaps inevitable, but at the same time totally out of nowhere. If Omar is as much about the legend as the man, then once the legend dies, and people see him for what he is, a guy limping around on a crutch, the man’s death won’t be far behind.

One of the issues I have with this season is the seeming desire to punish the audience for ever liking these characters, to tear them the mythology around everyone down and expose the cold, petty people beneath. Omar kills people and is reduced to an inefficient, babbling, hobbling, broken man. It’s hard to watch him brought to that place, where what Kenard does is almost a mercy killing.

Lester and McNulty are the other characters who are getting torn down over the course of the season, to the point where very little of what made them likable in the first place remains. Lester’s actions this season have been tough to deal with because we don’t have access to a lot of what’s going on in his life. With McNulty, it’s easier to understand his frustrations, the fact that he gave up a potentially happy life with Beattie to work these murders, and after he gets back to the old ‘McNutty’ place, they pull his funding and leave him broken, and alone. He’s got a very clear desire to stick it to the bosses, and we understand why he’d go to such an extreme place.

I suppose Lester has just been pushed too far, as he said, he reached the point where he no longer views the decisions of the bosses as legitimate. But, this is the same guy who was saying that it’s Clay Davis who matters, not people like Marlo. Part of his frustration comes from Bond choosing to try Davis himself and not go federal, so there is narrative justification, but emotionally, it’s hard to see why he’s totally destroying himself over this case. Maybe it is as simple as his behavior is illogical, but that doesn’t make for the most relatable story.

It’s almost like there’s two Lesters. I can see the guy from previous seasons going to Clay Davis like he did here, but I’m not so sure old Lester would risk going to prison himself to catch Marlo. The major scene that jars with me on this is the end of season three when he sees how self destructive McNulty is, and tells him he’s got to have more in his life than just police work. He wouldn’t be the first person to not heed his own advice, but it makes for a frustratingly inconsistent arc. Maybe everything will tie together in the end, but either way, it’s hard to watch Lester, the paragon of virtue on the series, go so off the rails.

We’ve got a better idea of what made McNulty do his thing, and his whole arc is summed up wonderfully when he says he started out as the hero of the story, and now he doesn’t know what he is. The scene with Beattie at the end of the episode is one of the first times he’s made to really assess what he’s been doing and, unlike Lester, he realizes how totally off the rails it’s gone.

But, in a game like that, a conscience is a danger. He tells Kima, who disapproves like Bunk did, and while I doubt she’d rat him out, the more people who know, the more likely something’s going to leak. Plus, we’ve got Donald still out there, and if the national media profile on this case is as high as it seems to be, McNulty could soon find himself face to face with his old pal once again, presenting a really uncomfortable choice for the higher ups.

Elsewhere, Marlo’s organization seems to spiraling off into a strange place. I’m not sure what’s up with Chris and Snoop in this episode. Why is she so defensive about killing Junebug? There’s definitely something going on with them, which seems weird to pop up all of a sudden. They’ve always seemed like loyal soldiers, what is it that’s changed over these past few episodes? I feel like it might be that Marlo’s got everything he wants, so he doesn’t have as much need for Snoop and Chris. They failed to kill Omar, and if the streets are supporting Omar, what role do they have? Or maybe, it’s simply that they feared Omar and didn’t want to go after him. Hopefully this’ll be addressed in the next few episodes, it seems like something is up.

Either way, things seem like they’re about to fall for Marlo. Chris has got a murder wrap that’ll be hard to beat, and if Lester can connect it to the vacant murders, they’re all going to fall. Of course, the shady acquisition of evidence in the vacant murders could help them beat all the charges coming at them. It would be great irony if McNulty’s plan to capture Marlo winds up undermining Bunk’s good policework, and lets Marlo walk.

Elsewhere, Dukie finally gets a job, working for a junk man. It was great to see Poot again, though he appeared to have shrunk several feet. I like the idea that he just got tired of the game, I’m guessing Bodie’s death and the Marlo takeover were just too much for him to deal with. At a certain point, the work just got too much and he decided to walk. What’s particularly telling about this scene is the notion that Dukie can’t work even if he wants to. He’s got to do his time on the corners to support himself before society lets him work.

Perhaps it would be smarter to go back to school. But, that’s not for him, it’s hard to go back to something once you’ve walked away, and I don’t think people in that position understand what school can do for them. He has no notion of college, or going away from that world, it’s only about the money you’ve got at the end of the day. That’s why the corners are so attractive, you don’t need a degree, you just need the desire to work. Right now, Dukie is looking like he’s destined to be someone like Bubbles, someone who isn’t a dealer, but lives on the streets, hustling out a living. I hope he finds a better way, but realistically, it’s near impossible to escape. Maybe getting off the corner before he got killed was the best we can hope for.

The other major plot strand of the episode was Carcetti going back down the path he walked at the end of season four, coming up with justifications for the compromises he’ll have to make on the road to governor. Once again, we see that the bigger the chair, the more shit you’ve got to eat. Will Baltimore ever be helped? Not likely. One of the things that’s interesting is the contrast between Carcetti’s fiery, riveting rhetoric and the childish, petty way he behaves in private. It’s the same thing we see with Clay Davis. When these guys are ‘on,’ they’re compelling and inspiring, but we know the lies under it all. I love how Carcetti’s egotism manifests itself when his wife is talking, but all he’s seeing is himself on CNN.

And, along with this the Scott the liar story rages on. I don’t have too much to add on this, as I said last week, it’s not that it’s bad, it’s a good, interesting story, but when it’s surrounded by great ones, anything less than great stands out. Last year, when every story was hitting at a really high level, the episodes become exponentially more emotional. Think of the season finale when we went from Namond breaking down to Bodie dying to Carver breaking down to Michael killing someone to the final montage, with a ton of other great scenes in there. Every scene was so good, you just got more and more emotionally drawn into the story. Here, the newspaper storyline doesn’t particularly engage me emotionally, so it becomes kind of a break every time it’s on.

There’s some other really strong scenes, I loved the reborn Clay Davis meeting Carcetti, smile back on his face. And, Bunk’s final moments with Omar are great too. I like the idea that at least Omar’s investigative work can play a part in bringing down Marlo. Cheese looks like the weak link, perhaps he’ll take down Marlo like he took down Joe.

After all that, we’re left with only two episodes. In some ways, the show does feel like it’s wrapping up, but I also feel like the story is just starting. There’s more pieces of these characters’ lives yet to happen, I’d love to see more of Carcetti, more of Dukie and Michael and Carver. But, there’s two left, and we’re left with two major questions. Will Marlo fall, and if so, how? And, will McNulty be found out, and if so, will he fall for his crimes, and will that fall be a trip back to the boat, or a trip to prison?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Doctor Who: 'Parting of the Ways' (1x13)

After “Father’s Day,” I was really feeling Doctor Who, the show had hit the right mixture of sci-fi concepts and emotion. But, the series finale kicks everything up to an amazing level, the episode is a chaotic, frenetic rush of ideas and emotions. There’s some works that just hit me so strongly, like they were made just for me, and at the moment Rose walked out of the TARDIS with the power of the timestream in her, I was like, this was made for me.

The episode is fantastic on so many levels, one of the most impressive is the way it fuses together so many of the ideas we’d seen over the course of the series. In these last three episodes, we see pieces of everything coming back, and that gives a feeling of unity to the series. Rather than just being a bunch of standalone episodes, the Satellite Five episode did matter, the Slitheen did matter, it’s all laying the groundwork for what we reach here.

The previous episode, “Bad Wolf,” is actually one of the weaker ones in the series. The reality show parody isn’t that fresh, and seems particularly derivative coming shortly after I watched the Extras series finale. However, it’s really all about getting us to that moment where Rose is on the Dalek ship, and we find out that the entire universe is in jeopardy from this new Dalek threat. I love the stakes of things here, the entire universe in imminent danger,

I love the craziness of the Daleks as villains. In the first Dalek episode, I knew that this guy was important to the series’ mythology, but I didn’t totally feel the menace of him. There was a slight goofiness to the guy, I loved the voice effect, and the end was emotional, but I wasn’t scared of them. However, this finale does a good job of making them menacing. The Emperor Dalek is great, with his delusions of godhood. Visually, I’m totally on board for them now, they’re menacing, relentless.

One of the things I love most in fiction is to really back the characters against a wall, go Empire Strikes Back on them. Here, we reach that point about midway through the episode. The Doctor is confronted with the impossible choice of either eliminating humanity or letting them fall to the Daleks. The various human characters are all dying, Jack is backed up against a wall, literally, and killed. Things are looking dire.

But, it’s not just the war that’s going poorly, down on Earth, Rose has plunged into deep despair. I really like the fact that we did return to Mickey and Jackie Tyler for this last episode. To me, they are integral parts of the series, giving complexity to Rose’s choices. She wants to run away with the Doctor, but doing so really hurts those she’s left behind. There’s a reason Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen get killed in Star Wars, it makes things more complex when the hero leaves something behind.

The restaurant scene is one of the most effective in the episode because it shows how much Rose has changed, and also how much her perspective hurts those she’s left behind. She tells Mickey that she can’t live a boring routine, which really wounds him, that she’s too good for the rest of them now. The thing is, once you see a larger world, it is hard to go back to once was. There’s something missing you weren’t even aware of before. Rose’s total despair hit me really hard, and I think that’s because the show has so much to say about what we all go through in the real world. Good sci-fi makes us look at our own lives from a different perspective, and for Rose, this episode is all about the desire we all have for something more in our lives. Most of us aren’t going to die fighting for something we believe, we’re more likely to miss out on the chance to fight for it at all.

Pretty much any scene in the episode is fantastic, but one of my particular favorites is Rose and Jackie’s discussion about Rose’s father. At this point, they’ve pushed the characters to a point where the emotion is totally on the surface. I’m right there with them, so it doesn’t feel melodramatic at all, it’s very real. Watching the show, I was wondering, why is it that this hits me so much emotionally? This episode got to me as much as the last couple of season four episodes of The Wire, or the heights of Buffy. A lot of it actually has to do with the sci-fi content. In Babylon 5, the bombing of Narn really got to me, I think it’s because sci-fi is so huge, it turns one person’s conflict into an entire worlds. It represents the emotions in a way that better captures their enormity than anything in the real world.

Jackie finally helping out Rose and bringing her the truck is another great moment. We’ve watched Jackie evolve a lot over the course of the series, she understands what this means to Rose, and even though it hurts her to do it, she’s willing to send her off back to save the Doctor. It’s hard for Mickey, but he goes along with it too. He’s so sad, he loves Rose so much, but he just can’t compete with the Doctor. She appreciates him, but also feels bad for him in a lot of ways. There’s a slight arrogance to her attitude, but she’s earned it through her adventures. She’s not an ordinary person any more, she’s become more like the Doctor than she can know.

This all builds up to the absolutely fucking amazing moment of Rose’s return to the future. She walked out of the Tardis, light buzzing around her, possessed by the time vortex. I don’t know that Chris Claremont invented it, but with the Phoenix Saga, he created an archetypal character who’s recurred throughout science fiction ever since. Willow in Buffy, Lyta in Babylon 5, and now Rose here, they’re all powerful women in touch with some cosmic light essence, empowered and sharing their consciousness with something beyond humanity. I love the idea, the communion with something beyond humanity.

Here, Rose gets in touch with the essence of space-time and is able to rewrite reality to fulfill a time loop and ensure that she reaches this point. I just love this stuff, it’s similar to what appeared in my own film Universal Traveler, and I think the fact that it’s so close to the kind of stories I like to tell is part of what makes me love it so much. These are the concepts that have a hold on my imagination, and seeing them dramatized so wonderfully here is awe inspiring. I love the visual of Rose with the energy flowing through her, and the moment where she scatters the atoms of the Dalek across the universe. I love that there’s a show dealing with these kinds of concepts.

It’s amazing how they manage to anchor the show in very real emotion, even as things go crazier and crazier. A scene like Lynda watching the Daleks progress, then getting blown away when they float up and shoot out the spaceship’s window is something that’s full of genre conceits, but is at its core terrifying. The production values on this episode are astounding, if this can be done on TV, what’s left for blockbuster movies to do? The past five years have seen a series of sci-fi shows that are stronger than virtually everything in sci-fi film history. Other than Blade Runner, Star Wars and 2001, I can’t think of any sci-fi movies that top what this show and Battlestar Galactica have been doing.

One of the things I like that this show does is ditch the heavy seriousness of Battlestar. That has its place, it works for the story they’re telling, but it’s refreshing to find something that is about the joy of space travel and exploring the universe. Obviously things go wrong sometimes, but at their core, both the Doctor and Rose are all about discovering new things and experiencing what life has to offer. There’s virtually no cynicism in the show, and that makes it easier to engage with the characters. You are right there with them, no artificial distancing devices in the narrative.

So, Rose channels the TARDIS and saves the universe, then the Doctor gets to save her. A kiss transferring cosmic energy is another motif that popped up in Universal Traveler, I swear I didn’t see this episode before making it. This leads us to the end of the Ninth Doctor. I had heard this was coming, but it was still a great moment. I love the visual of his head seemingly being blown off and reshaped in the fire. It’s hard to lose Eccleston at this point, I think his energy was a lot of what drove the show and made it great.

But, it’s really about Rose. She’s the central character, the audience surrogate and now the one with access to cosmic power. I do hope that returns, I know the Doctor took it out of her, but if she was the one who made Bad Wolf, surely it’s all part of some larger plan. I’m not really sure how the transformation process works, but it would be interesting to flip the dynamic and present Rose as the more confident one, showing the Doctor the universe. Either way, I’m guessing this will make them more like equals than they were before.

So, that episode really nailed it for me. Maybe it’s just the high coming off an episode that was so fucking good, but right now, I’m feeling like that’s one of the all time best TV episodes. It did so much I loved, emotionally and intellectually. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

But, let me take a quick backtrack to some earlier stuff. “The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances” seems to be a huge fan favorite, and knowing that going in may have affected my opinion a bit. I thought it was really strong, certainly the Rose dangling off blimp and subsequent Captain Jack scene was fantastic, but it didn’t quite hit me in the same way as “Father’s Day” or “Parting of the Ways.” What it did do was make me think about what it must have been like to have lived through the war. As an American, I think of it as a foreign war, where soldiers went over there and died, and people died in the Holocaust, but you don’t really think about how much it affected every single person in Europe at the time. Looking at that kind of bombing makes it clear just how lucky we are.

“Boomtown” is a pretty strong episode, most notable for the way it segues from really happy times at the beginning to a total dissolution by the end. It has some great stuff with Mickey, who’s in a darker and darker place as the series goes on. The switch of perspective on the Slitheen is nice too, particularly the idea that a person can have some redeemable characteristics, but still be evil. We’re made to think that her sparing the pregnant reporter could redeem her, but it takes a lot more than not killing someone to redeem you.

As I mentioned before, the reality show parodies on “Bad Wolf” felt a bit derivative, but that episode was all about getting the Daleks anyway. And the payoff was absolutely fantastic.

I was totally impressed by this first season. The end is spectacular, and does a great job of uniting all the plot threads from the entire series. Eccleston will be missed, but I’m eager to see what year two brings us. I just love the idea of a show where literally anything could happen, but within those huge possibilities, the show manages to keep a unified feeling from week to week.