Tuesday, March 16, 2010

That Merril! She makes me sick! She'll put a bag in the bag but she won't put the bag in the book!

I'm finally getting around to writing this blog post I have been planning for ages. Maybe tomorrow I will write about the crazy awful week I had last week, but for now, here it is. I like a lot of pretty uncool stuff, and I am not one bit ashamed of that. Here are some of the totally uncool things I like:

Star Trek: The Next Generation

I'm by no means a Trekkie, I have no interest at all in watching any of the other serials, but I love Star Trek: TNG. I'm not even embarrassed about that, not one tiny bit. I think it's brilliant. I love the main cast, and I am a sucker for any ensemble drama. True, some of the stories are really silly but to some extent this is something that the show is aware of and even revels in a little bit. Some of the sillier episodes, for example the one where the enterprise crew end up as Robin Hood and his merry men, are some of the best. This one is one of my favourites, because it is hilarious.
I am NOT a merry man.

They are so obviously having fun, and you can always see this clearly in Patrick Stewart's acting. On a slightly more serious note, I think that another strength is the show's humanist vibe. So many episodes hinge on the idea of respecting life and the Enterprise's mission is exploratory, but the prime directive is not to interfere with alien cultures and civilisations. As I discussed in my earlier blog, empathy and understanding are prized. This can sometimes lead to clunky dialogue, but usually it means the episodes have a good mix of action and thoughtfulness. Mostly, though, I enjoy watching it because it is fun and it makes me happy.

Doctor Who
Okay, but I mean everything pre-Russell T. Davies. This seems even more uncool given the massive media love-in about RTD's departure and about David Tennant, but I have a real problem with this era of Who. I won't go into that here, though, but basically Tennant and Davies can BITE ME. Anyway, for reasons unknown to me, the least fashionable Doctor is my favourite - the third Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee. Structurally, the stories are radically different from the Who that has been on our screens recently. Inferno plays out over seven half hour episodes, and it needs every minute of those episodes to tell the story. The stories from this era are often quite serious and, as the Doctor has been confined to Earth a lot of the stories have to have more depth. Inferno and The Green Death are both about environmental and moral issues about the Earth's resources. Doctor Who and The Silurians is about clashes of civilisations and it ends on a very thoughtful note, prompting the audience to think about what it means to be a living creature. Jon Pertwee's Doctor is a scientist, as is his first companion, Liz Shaw. The Doctor is dashing and he is a bit of a dandy, but he is serious and has morals and I like that a lot. There are lots of excellent companions in the classic episodes of Doctor Who as well. The first Doctor's companions, Ian and Barbara, are teachers that he has abducted. They are among my favourite companions, they adapt to the challenge of travelling in the TARDIS with the unpredictable and often untrustworthy Doctor, and they always throw themselves into every adventure. Barbara is the most important character in the amazing serial The Aztecs.
Oh, don't you see? If I could start the destruction of everything that's evil here... then everything that is good would survive when Cortez lands.

Over the years the Doctor has had some fantastic companions, and I could spend an entire post talking about UNIT and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, but I won't just now. In short, despite all of the criticisms of Doctor Who, I like it a lot. Even the often criticised 80s Sylvester McCoy serials like Survival, which I think is great, even if it does have Hale and Pace in it.

The music of Kate Bush
Okay, clearly Kate Bush is not unfashionable because lots of people like her music. A fair few of my friends think she sucks, but I love Kate Bush. Listening to her records always makes me want to dance around, especially Wuthering Heights. Oh and also, The Hounds of Love. And let's not forget Cloudbusting which is so awesome it has Donald Sutherland in the video (Oh, and late 70s/early 80s Donald Sutherland = HOT, in my opinion.) I don't think I need to write a long defence of Kate Bush, but I love the drama in her music, and the strings, and even the 80s synth. And maybe sometimes when I'm feeling giddy I put Wuthering Heights on the stereo, mime along, and try to dance like she does in the video. I rock. Ooooh, let me have it, let me grab your soul....