Tag: Doctor Who

Week of Geek: VFC Fandom Countdown Part 4, our own British Invasion…

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Hi again Geeklings!  It’s week four of our Fandom Countdown.  We’re getting psyched for Vaughan Fan Con, which is just over 2 weeks away!  Click here, here and here to see parts 1, 2 and 3.

For this week we’re heading back to the UK (after our look at Harry Potter a couple weeks back).  For fandoms we sometimes have to do a little globetrotting, like with Japan last week.  But since two massive fandoms are from the UK I figured it’d be good to put them together and mention a few other favorite British exports while we’re at it.

First, let’s talk about one of the longest-running Sci Fi franchises of the modern era.  It predates Star Wars, Star Trek, and just about every other Sci Fi series you can name.  It had a bumpy start, premiering just the day after the Kennedy Assassination, and was often held back a bit by its low budget.  But, 54 years later, we still long for the time and space adventures of our favorite madman (and now madwoman) with a box.

Yup, the Doctor is in!

First airing on November 23rd, 1963, Doctor Who was meant to be a family-friendly educational program, mixing Sci Fi with history for younger viewers.  But over the last few decades it has grown into so much more.  With several doctors giving it a fresh look every few years, the show’s been able to reinvent itself while still keeping to it’s tried and true tropes; an alien travels through time and space defeating evils and setting things right while taking a few companions along for the ride.

Who has always had it’s fans, but when the show was rebooted in 2005 for a new generation it acquired quite the following.  The new series’ mix of drama, comedy, big ideas, action, adventure and much cooler special effects hit the marks for many viewers.  And even this late in the game, the show is about to hit another first, by making the 14th incarnation (if you count the War Doctor) of the Doctor a woman.

So check out our Doctor Who DVDs, Blu Rays and Books (including Graphic Novels).  All of time and space… where will you go?

Now let’s switch gears a bit to one of the other big geeky British exports, one that, in some ways, helped to define fandom as we know it and is one of the oldest examples of such a thing.  Let’s stop by Baker Street for our favorite consulting detective.

First appearing in the novel A Study in Scarlet all the way back in 1886, Sherlock Holmes has become one of the most well-known characters in history… so much so that some people don’t realize that he is a work of fiction and just assume he’s a real person.  Regardless, for most people if you ask them ‘Name a detective’ odds are they’ll say ‘Sherlock Holmes’.

He was popular back in the 19th century as well, so much so that when author Arthur Conan Doyle tried to kill him off in “The Adventure of the Final Problem”, a short story published in The Strand Magazine in 1893, there was a public outcry.  Had that happened today the outcry would likely form on the internet.  Back then fans made their disappointment known by writing letters and cancelling their subscriptions (that may seem almost quaint by our standards but it did get the message across).  Doyle would bring the character back a few years later with “The Adventure of the Empty House” but would marvel at how upset people got over a fictional character.  Clearly the power of fan outrage was still a new thing to the Victorians.  Also a new thing?  Some of the earliest examples of what we now know as fanfiction was written about Holmes.

Holmes has appeared in so many movies, TV shows and books (not all written by Doyle, some by many authors) he could have his own library.  But some would argue that what helped got modern fans back into the die-hard love was the show Sherlock.  First airing in July of 2010, this modern, smart and powerful update of the Sherlock Holmes story has earned a huge following worldwide.  And fans have had to learn to be patient, because the show only has four seasons and a special, and each season is only 3 EPISODES LONG!  Some seasons also aired up to a couple of years apart!

As much as I love shorter TV seasons, that’s a little low even for me.  Why?!

Fans have been split on how good the fourth season was, little bit on the third season too, but all agree the first two seasons are great!  Check em’ out.  And I’ve got a list of recommended reads for Sherlock and mystery fans in general.

I’ve noticed, and I’m sure other fans have noticed too, that there’s some common elements between Sherlock and Doctor Who.  Though Sherlock tends to steer clear of fantastical elements, both shows feature a hero (or sort-of-hero in Sherlock’s case) who value intellect over a lot of other things.  Both praise loyalty, friendship, curiosity and the idea that the world (or galaxy) is much bigger than one would suspect at first glance.  And both shows have delightfully bonkers villains (Moriarty and The Master).  And they share writers and show-runners too, so there’s that.  Good times.

And to wrap up, here’s a couple of other BBC or English-produced shows you may want to take a look at; Merlin, Downton Abbey (not Sci Fi or Fantasy, but man, does it have its fans), Orphan Black and Being Human (there’s an English and an American version of that show).  Anything I’ve missed?  Post in the comments!

I’ll leave you guys with this fan-made video of The Doctor and Sherlock finally meeting!  Be sure to check out our other teen programs, including Unleash Your Story and the Teen Writer’s Club, as well as our new photo contest.  Stay tuned for more Fan Con news, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: The New Doctor and Women in Genre Fiction

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Hiya Geeklings.

‘Member a while back when we had a new companion on Doctor Who?  Well, in perhaps even bigger news, we have a new Doctor.  Yep, the actor playing the Doctor changes from time to time, which on the show is explained as a process called regeneration.  And, for the first time, the latest Doctor incarnation will be played by a woman.

While there has been speculation for the last few years if a female actor would step into the part, we’re now seeing it happen.  Fellow Time Lord The Master regenerated into Missy in the 8th season, so there was precedence set.  And now we’ll finally see a woman, namely Jodie Whittaker, playing everyone’s favorite face-changing time-travelling world-saving alien.

So far the reaction from fans has been generally positive.  There have been some naysayers, as there always is with fandom news like this (remember when the last Ghostbusters came out?), and there have been some great sarcastic responses to said naysayers.  Personally I’m excited.  To me, the Doctor has never seemed overly masculine; he, and now she, just is.  Just The Doctor, and everything that entails.  So I have no trouble picturing a woman in the role, but what do you guys think?  Post away!

And the news seems to be indicative of a bit of a turn of the tide to see more women represented in genre fiction and fandoms.  And it’s about darn time if you ask me.

Though female fans have asked for more representation in their favorite shows/books/movies/games/everything for years and years and years now, there were a couple of incidents fairly recently that, I think, really highlighted that there were still changes that had to be made, and they involved two characters in particular; Black Widow and Rey.

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Back in 2015, when Avengers: Age of Ultron came out in theatres, fans quickly noticed that in all of the merchandise hitting store shelves, next to nothing featured Black Widow.  A few months later, when Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived and all of their merch was released, fans AGAIN noticed that very few things featured Rey, who is arguably the star of the film.  What heck?

Though the companies that sell these toys tried to tip toe around the issue, people have come out and said that, yes, many executives leapt to the conclusion that boys would not buy something if it had a girl on it.

And that leads to one reason many people don’t realize propelled Disney to buy the Star Wars and Marvel franchises to begin with.  There were a lot of reasons to buy both, but one big one was that they wanted to appeal to boys.  They figured they had girls down with the Disney Princess line, and they wanted more boys to buy their products.

Yes, it’s silly.  And it’s a line of reasoning clearly stuck several decades in the past, as they soon found out.  They didn’t count on the fact that a lot of girls LOVE Star Wars and Marvel, and always have.

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And when those hardcore fans could not find the characters that they loved on t-shirts or on toy shelves, they would not stand for it.

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DC certainly noticed the fan outrage, and decided to pounce.  Enter DC Super Hero Girls that same year, which was an attempt to highlight their roster of female heroes by putting them in a high school setting, creating lots of dolls and action figures (I have the Batgirl figure, natch) and animated shorts and films.  DC’s also had tremendous success with their digital series Bombshells, and will have an upcoming series called Gotham Garage, both of which heavily feature superheroines.

For their part, Disney seems to have learned it’s lesson the last couple of years, releasing more merchandise with Widow, Gamorra and the Scarlett Witch.  And just this year they launched Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, a series of animated shorts on YouTube, along with books, dolls, etc. that highlight the heroines of the franchise, from Rey to Leia to Ahsoka to Jyn and more.

So while more work still needs to be done, I think this is all very encouraging.  What do you guys think?  Post away in the comments or write your own thoughts on the WriteIt website.

If you’re looking for more books to add to your TSRC tally might I recommend Black Widow: Forever Red (and the sequel Red Vengeance)?  Or how about Ahsoka or Rebel Rising?  Get your heroine read on!

Keep your eyes peeled for more news, keep reading to run up that TSRC tally and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Food, glorious food!

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Hi again Geeklings!  How’s the summer going?  Reading those books for TSRC?  Make sure to register and log in to keep those pages coming and increase your chances to win that GoPro.  We believe in you!  And check out the WriteIt site while you’re at it.

So, you know what I like?  Food.  You know what a lot of people like?  Food.  You know what a lot of people also like?  Fandoms.  So a lot of fandoms feature food.  Specific food.  Special food.  Food that may not ever be completely and perfectly replicated in real life but that hasn’t stopped many fans from trying.

Let us count the ways…

Cookie Cat – He’s a pet for your tummy!  He’s super duper yummy!  *sad voice from out of nowhere* He left his family behind!  Now available at Gurgens off Route 109.  So the jingle goes in one of the first episodes of Steven Universe about the title character’s favorite treat; an ice cream sandwich shaped like a cat.  It’s one of those treats that give you that warm, happy feeling.  We could all of use a Cookie Cat every now and then.

Pork Cutlet Bowls – Known in Japan as Katsudon, this is Yuri Katsuki’s favorite dish on Yuri!!! on Ice, and the inspiration for his Eros skating routine.  Yes, really.  It even inspires the grandfather of fellow skater Yuri Plisentsky to create a katsudon-inspired pirozhki, which is a Russian staple.  Yay for fusion cuisine!

ALL THE FOOD featured in Miyazaki films – The movies of Studio Ghibli are famous for the various delicious edibles you see animated on the big screen.  Too many to list here, but here’s a helpful article from Buzzfeed that you can peruse, with links to recipes so you can try to cook them yourself.  Eat up!

Pie – Supernatural‘s Dean Winchester loves many things.  His family.  His friends.  His car.  But one true love that will never die is his love of pie.  A love we can all share.

Fish Fingers and Custard – Combining fish sticks with a dessert sauce.  A weird one, admittedly, but a big part of the 11th Doctor’s persona, as it was the first food he discovered after his regeneration that he liked (getting used to new taste buds is hard you guys).

Butterbeer and various pumpkin foods – Butterbeer is awesome, no matter what recipe you use, and it’s no surprise the wizards of Harry Potter all enjoy it.  But, a personal favorite of mine from the books is the pumpkin treats.  I LOVE using pumpkin in baking!  All-year-round but especially in the fall!  Pumpkin cookies are my favorite!  So kudos to wizardkind for apparently agreeing with me.

Lembas Bread – Hobbits from The Lord of the Rings all love their comfort foods.  But for the adventurer, Lembas bread is the way to go, as one bite can keep you full for a whole day, so you don’t need to bring much of it.  Travel light.

Turkish Delight – How often do YOU betray your family for something sweet?  Hopefully not often, but this sugary treat (which is a little obscure in our neck of the woods, and a bit more common in Europe) had Edmund Pevensie siding with the vicious White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeConfections have rarely been so devious.

Spiced Warm Milk – If you’re not lucky enough to live in one of the wealthier parts of the Hunger Games‘ Panem, your food options are scarce and simple.  Little milk, little spice, heat it up, surprisingly satisfying.  Gotta enjoy the little things.

So there’s a few examples.  What are some of your favorites?  Post away below!

And if you’re looking to try your hand at a few recipes I’ve got a list of nerdy-themed cookbooks.

But there’s more!  Here’s another list from our friend Sarah.

And one from our friend Michel for some good, old-fashioned comfort food.  It’s hard not to love comfort food.  It’s so comforting!

So eat up Geeklings!  (But don’t overdo it.  Too much of anything is never good.)  Keep having fun this summer and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: In honor of International Women’s Day, let’s go to Hillywood!

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Hiya Geeklings!  Happy International Women’s Day!  Whether a woman, a girl, or a fan of both, today’s the day to celebrate how far we’ve come and the strides we’ve made.  For a couple of books to take a look at click here and here.

Today, I thought I’d take the opportunity to focus on two sisters who, while they may not be changing the world per se, have taken something they love and have created a huge presence online with it.  Their YouTube page has almost 1.3 million followers and their latest video has almost that many views in just five days.

Who’m I talkin’ ’bout?  Hilly and Hannah Hindi and their channel The Hillywood Show.  What do they do?  Parodies of their favorite fandoms in the form of elaborate musical numbers based on popular songs and featuring seriously awesome cosplay and terrific production values.

Observe: Their latest video that combines Lady Gaga with Suicide Squad.

OH MY GOSH!  THE COSTUMES!  AND LOOK HOW MUCH EVERYONE LOOKS LIKE THEIR CHARACTERS!  AND THE DANCE NUMBERS!  You gotta hand it to them, they is talented, and for fans of these fandoms these videos are fun and squee worthy.

How about a few more examples?  A few of my favorites include a Taylor Swift ode to Supernatural with with MANY surprise guests at the end.

Or how about one where Middle Earth meets Frozen?

Here’s one where Hocus Pocus mashes with The Nightmare Before Christmas.

And the Doctor gets a little help from Rocky Horror.

And this last vid isn’t a parody, but I like it.  It’s the girls going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and fangirling all over the place.

You can find more of their videos on their YouTube page (parodying Potter, The Hunger Games, SherlockPirates of the Caribbean, etc), and you can read about how this whole thing came to be in this article at Geek and Sundry.

I guess the lesson to take away from the Hindi sisters and today in general is that women are, and always have been, capable of amazing things.  Whether it’s something as earth shattering as a new invention or something that creates as much joy as a musical parody, it’s always great to take a moment to realize that women, and people in general, can accomplish almost anything so long as the drive, the hard work and the love are there.

Stay awesome geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.