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Brilliant Moments and Tedious Half-Hours - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
qatsi
qatsi
Brilliant Moments and Tedious Half-Hours
I don't really feel that I have achieved anything much, it's just been a lazy long weekend. That isn't entirely true, of course: for one thing, I've painted the coving in the kitchen so that looks much better and things like stepladders can return to their rightful place in the garage.

I popped in to town on Saturday morning. It had been my intention to have a look at TVs in John Lewis and get a Dyson from the same. Unfortunately the Dyson bit got completely forgotten. The TV has been OK since last week's little incidents, so it is not on the must fix NOW list. I made the mistake of mentioning it to my parents, as I know they have been thinking about TVs for a while too. Unfortunately Kendal is one of the places that can't get Freeview, although it is in the Border ITV region, which is the first to have its analogue signal terminated, in two years' time. No-one seems to be able to give them any clear information on what to do in the mean time, as they are most certainly not paying any money to Mr Murdoch, and they're keen not even to pick up the free channels from Sky. Anyhow it looks like what I want, when the time comes, is a 26" LCD HD-ready IDTV that can also receive the analogue signal (because my Freeview is a bit flaky). At the moment these seem to be mostly in the £800-£1000 price range, which is a bit ouchy. More bizarrely, there seemed to be quite a variation in picture quality and no correlation between that and the price. Still, there did seem to be some good models from Panasonic, JVC and Philips.

New Earth was OK; not brilliant, certainly not as good as Rose as a way of kicking things off, but not bad either. Having rewatched it, I confirmed my initial thought that you can make out the erased "BAD WOLF" grafitti on the concrete ground in the opening scene, which was a clever touch.

Visually, I thought it was quite impressive. I laughed to myself at my first thought on seeing the hospital building, which was that it was a lighthouse of some sort ("ah, I seem to have missed the opening of Brighton Pavilion again!").

Unlike The End of the World, which had lots of visual effects but a rather threadbare plot, this story had too much plot squeezed in to it, and it would have been improved by being longer. Resurrecting Cassandra turned out to be a good idea, though I wasn't sure of that to begin with; the body-swapping got a bit farcical at times. The remedy for "the flesh" was simplistic, but there wasn't time for anything more complex. I can't really decide whether I liked the ending: Cassandra's narcissistic end was quite clever, but it seemed a bit like a repeat of the Boom Town plot closure, where no-one is really bad and the Doctor can redeem them.

I liked the Sisters of Plenitude, and I hope we will see them again. Cats have been farming humans for years.

One other thing: I am surprised that there haven't been any references to Captain Jack. I'm not expecting him to appear in this series, but you'd think they would have noticed he was missing. After all, as the Doctor said, Rose would care. And Mickey would have spotted the absence too.

I was quite unnerved by Tennant's real voice in Confidential - quite a contrast. From the trailer, it seems he may be using that in next week's episode. Personally, I can't wait for the return of Sarah Jane SqueeSmith.

On Sunday I went into the garden and was removing the roots of an unwanted shrub when there was a loud splintering sound. Initially I thought this was the root, as the spade moved much more freely. However, it turned out to be the spade that had broken. It had been my grandmother's, and it certainly didn't owe me anything - for all I know it could have "dug for victory" years ago. Nevertheless it was annoying for it to break on one of the few days of the year when everywhere is closed, and replacing it on Easter Monday didn't look like a barrel of laughs.

Fortunately on Monday I got to the garden centre before 10am and it wasn't too bad. I also went into town again and remembered to get the Dyson, which is doing sterling stuff so far. Intermittently I was listening to The Ring in A Day, including most of Götterdämmerung in the evening.

And finally, it seems I have been lying all along: apparently I have been stealing uitlander's Premium Bond winnings. This is the only rational explanation for the £50 cheque that arrived this morning, following one for the same amount only last month.

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magic_wanderer From: magic_wanderer Date: April 18th, 2006 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Tennant and TVs

You didn't know Tennant was Scottish? You have to see 'Blackpool' with him and David Morrissey. It's magnificent, best thing he's done, and he speaks in his natural accent.

If it helps, TVs in TV shops usually have completely cocked-up picture settings, so there's no way you can get a proper idea of what picture quality you get short of demanding the remote and having a play. They always over-saturate and sharpen (why? What in Tom's name is the point of having "sharpen" on a telly?). The official line is "it draws your eye to that model" but I expect it's more a case of "we have no idea how they work, we just sell them, mate."

I bought a 17 inch LCD from a friend last year, and was hugely disappointed when it fired up - but half an hour later, and a couple minutes from choice DVDs, videos and TV programmes played through it to help, I had a beautiful image that didn't need adjusting every time I switched medias.

Or maybe it still is rubbish, but my eyes are used to it now... :)
qatsi From: qatsi Date: April 18th, 2006 01:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Tennant and TVs

I knew he was Scottish, but I'd never heard the voice. Seems a bit odd to use a different voice when the Doctor could have any accent.
uitlander From: uitlander Date: April 18th, 2006 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
apparently I have been stealing uitlander's Premium Bond winnings

Riiiiiiight. By my reckoning thats at leat £48,000,000 you owe me. I'll be round in about 10 minutes to collect, and then we can discuss the compound interest ;-)
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