Tis the Season! – or – Yule Be Sorry!

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[LEGAL USE OF THIS PHOTO LICENSED AND SECURED VIA DREAMSTIME - October 2014]

Wow, it feels like I just finished eating Thanksgiving dinner, and yet, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have also come and gone. And let’s not forget the other litany of pithy slogans for other days that give merchandisers another reason to draw you to their shops and websites for holiday promotions and discounts. There was Shop Local Saturday, for one. Did I leave any out? How about Tip-Toe-to-Our-Sale Tuesday? Or perhaps Sin-if-You-Miss-It Sunday? Wassailing Wednesday? Tinsel Thursday? Frosty Festival Friday? *shaking my head*

As for me, I’m keeping the holidays simple. Yes, I’m giving gifts to a number of people, though most likely it will be of the plastic gift card variety. Honestly, what can we all really need? And besides, who really knows what each other needs? In the end, I’d like to think that, health and food notwithstanding, most of us really only need the compassion, support, and fellowship of each other to make the holidays fulfilling and special. I’m planning get-togethers with family and friends to celebrate the holidays; time spent with those I care about is always a gift worth savoring, don’t you agree?

For many people, between the holiday sales, baking schedules, and preparing for social gatherings for relatives and friends, there’s not a lot of discretionary time left to really sit and bask in the warmth and magic of the season. And isn’t that really such a shame?

Well, not me, I tell you. I’m already relishing mugs of hot cocoa and hot tea, thanks to the unseasonably cool and drizzly weather conditions that we’ve had in recent days. I’ve started watching my favorite holiday films and specials, including the classic Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Oh, and I plan to re-watch each and every Doctor Who holiday special to date, all leading up to the Christmas Day Doctor Who special starring Peter Capaldi. This will be Capaldi’s first Christmas special as the 12th Doctor. Frankly, given how stoic Capaldi’s Doctor has been portrayed, I’m not sure how many warm fuzzies Steven Moffatt can believable sell in the script. As such, I’m not expecting many moments for either heartwarming dialogue or sentimental tears. *Suddenly missing David Tennant and Matt Smith*

Image Property of Puffin Publishers, All Rights Reserved, 2013.

Image Property of Puffin Publishers, All Rights Reserved, 2013.

Are you doing any reading right now? I recently finished reading a short novella by Neil Gaiman, Doctor Who: Nothing O'Clock: Eleventh Doctor. It involved Amy Pond and a mysterious entity called the Kin. It was highly satisfying and conveyed fantasy in a manner that is nearly magical for Mr. Gaiman. Suffice to say, I highly recommend it! You can read my review of it on Goodreads.com at <click here>

Well, best wishes on your holiday preparations and celebrations. I have some public events coming up later this month, so please check in on my website under EVENTS very soon. For now, I’m off to watch some college football while sipping some tasty hot cocoa. The weather outside is cool and overcast, as well as occasionally drizzly with rain. Ah, tis the season!

Oh, and Tabby my cat says, “Meow-lo!”

[Tabby Waving -- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 2014 BY JAZ PRIMO]     
  
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[Tabby Waving -- PHOTO COPYRIGHT 2014 BY JAZ PRIMO]

 

 

Doctor Jaz Speaks Out About Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor

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I am Doctor Jaz and I’m a Whovian.

I have been a dedicated – nay, rabid – Doctor Who fan since I was a just a kid. To me, the Doctor is the quintessential hero. He’s hyper-intelligent, resilient, humorous, off-beat, and tenacious. Yet, despite being a highly-evolved Time Lord, he still exhibits the believable features of being fallible, sometimes forgetful, occasionally egotistical, and often temperamental; thereby presenting him as a personality that most viewers can identify and sympathize with.

The 4th incarnation of the Doctor (expertly portrayed by Tom Baker) was who I was first introduced to as a kid. Since then, some incarnations of the Doctor have resonated to varying levels with me. The 5th Doctor was portrayed by Peter Davison, who I never quite warmed up to like the 4th but who had his appreciable moments. I completely disliked the 6th helmed by Colin Baker, though Sylvester McCoy’s 7th Doctor softened my sense of angst and longing for the days of Tom Baker. Then the Doctor went on extended holiday – termed hiatus in the television industry – until the 1996 film with Paul McGann, which was only a brief reappearance followed by almost ten years of silence. After that, the Doctor was merely a magical memory from my youth, leaving a longing for the good old days.

Then in 2005, Doctor Who returned with Christopher Eccleston expertly resurrecting the Doctor in the midst of his 9th incarnation. My spirits soared as the magic from my childhood returned brighter than before. The new series was filled with more adult characters and mature themes, story lines, and circumstances that mesmerized me. My elation with the Doctor grew when David Tennant took over as the 10th Doctor in 2005. Tennant’s Doctor was my favorite to date, leaving me happier than I’d ever been with the show. Add to that, the Doctor’s companions skyrocketed from charming and interesting to sexy and amazing. From the sexy and spirited Rose Tyler (who to this day I still crush on!) to the mysterious and alluring Amelia Pond, the Doctor’s companions rivaled him for screen time and audience affections. Never mind the emotional and sweeping soundtracks by the incomparable talents of Murray Gold, which renewed my fixation with listening to soundtracks while I wrote my own novels.

When Matt Smith took over as the 11th Doctor, it took a few episodes for him to grow on me, though he quickly tied David Tennant as my all-time favorite version of the Doctor. Between David and Matt, Doctor Who secured the highest placement in my eternal science fiction hall of fame. Fast forward to 2013 when Matt Smith stepped aside for Peter Capaldi, both a Doctor Who fan since his youth, as well as a talented and competent actor in his own right. I was tentatively optimistic as I waited for Capaldi’s tenure to begin.

The first full episode with Capaldi as the 12th Doctor, Deep Breath, was unexpectedly flighty and concerning. Not only was the Doctor seemingly emotionally and functionally unstable as had happened to the 6th Doctor under Colin Baker, he was much more colder, analytical, and less approachable than any recent incarnation. That worried me a bit, though it was more of a throwback to the Doctors from the original series of years gone by.

(Note from Jaz: We’re simply not going to get into semantics by discussing the conveniently-inserted War Doctor played by John Hurt…just accept it and move on already.)

Gradually, a tactful sense of acceptance blossomed inside me as I tried to metabolize and understand this new incarnation of the Doctor. Sadly, and with only one episode left in the two-part season finale, I’m still working on that.

While I’m still an avid Whovian, I must admit that my fervor for the show has waned slightly this season. The stories are engaging at times, but the Doctor’s personality isn’t as compelling or as enjoyable for me to identify with as in recent incarnations. To be honest, I miss the decidedly more thoughtful and endearing moments from the Tennant/Smith era. Though I don’t believe that the Doctor has to be cuddly and huggable all the time, I truly miss those heartfelt moments where you’re able to “feel” the conflicted emotions welling inside our hero. Granted, there have been brief all-too-fleeting moments this sesason, but they’re too few and far in between for my liking. I also miss the sweeping emotional soundtracks of prior seasons. This season, Murray Gold’s score is darker and much more subdued than previous seasons. Come to think of it, there’s much more conflict between Clara Oswald and the Doctor, though much of it could be the character’s own inability to adjust to the newest incarnation; perhaps reflecting many of us fans, come to think of it.

So, where do we go from here? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’d like to believe that the Capaldi incarnation might soften just a bit more, to which I’d not only appreciate but find myself better able better form a closer emotional bond with him. I remain cautiously optimistic.

How about you? What do you think of Capaldi’s brief tenure as the Doctor?

It's Doctor Jaz...forever a Whovian!&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; (Photo by Jaz Primo and Brandon Acree, 2014.)

It's Doctor Jaz...forever a Whovian!      (Photo by Jaz Primo and Brandon Acree, 2014.)