Posted in blog, Geeky Rants, Reviews

ūüöÄ Was #DoctorWho Season 11 Really. THAT. Bad? #Review

Hey guys! Welcome back! The hub for Planner Peeps, Cre8tives & Geeks! If you’re into the Planner Community, Writing Community or Geek Community be sure to hit that big friendly subscribe button to join Claire’s Cre8tive Club and ring my bell to catch me in the next Geeky episode! Right, so it was roughly a month ago that Dr. Who Season 11 first premiered and gave “fans” a plethora to complain about. And I decided to re-watch SE11 to see if my feelings about it have changed.
So today we’re asking the question: Was SE11 Really. That. Bad? Stay tuned, because the answer might surprise you!
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I am a HUGE, I mean a colossal fan of Doctor Who! I’m also a major supporter of Jodie Whittaker, and the new cast and crew of Team TARDIS after Capaldi & Moffat, & Jenna Coleman & Pearl Mackie said farewell and launched us into the new era of Chris Chibnall. But what I don’t broadcast as often, is how dissatisfied I was with Dr. Who SE11 as a whole. In fact, I deliberately avoided posting a video review about it because I didn’t want to sound like a complete Dalek in my review.
But, I thought it’s been about a year + now, so why not give it another go and see if it was bad as I remembered.
But first click subscribe so you don’t get left behind like Graham did when getting a spot of peanut butter for the Doc!
Now then, let’s talk about Doctor Who SE11 and see if I can without sounding like a Dalek. Because here’s the thing; even when an episode is not … not my favorite, it’s still Doctor Who! Hearing the theme song, seeing the BBC logo with that posh new logo with the pppsssphh effects still gets me very excited every time I play Doctor Who.
But with the last season specifically, I thought the acting was TOP NOTCH! I did wonder before the season started and the promo’s were hyping us up since early 2018, if having so many companions was going to be problematic. In some episodes, having four companions did prove to be too much for the writers. (More on that later) But the actors themselves were just incredible! They all truly took on the spirit of the show and ran with it. And then some!
And as soon as Jodie’s “Doctor” remembered who she was; I was Totes McGotes on board with her as the Doctor. That whole scene with her on the crane was just amazing and well done! But, to be honest I was even totally on board with Jodie as the Doctor since the “Glass Ceiling” advert way back in early 2018. Whoops! And funnily enough, the more “fans” got angry with the Doctor having a pair of boobs claiming SJW’s “ruined” the show; the more I really, really liked it!
But yeah, let’s talk a moment about how so many companions effected the show. At first I was super excited for the sheer diversity of the show. I mean they have a cute Indian girl who is a police officer wanting to prove herself as more than a ticket grunt. A cool black guy with a dexterity disability. A post-middle-aged white man grieving over the loss his adventurous black wife. And finally the Doctor who regenerated from an angry Scotsman to a posh lady who talks so fast you need the Closed Captions setting just to catch most of her brilliant quips and speeches.
So, I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a winning combination recipe for success in my cookbook. That combination of diversity in the Doctor’s new friends got me very excited for the new season after watching the first episode. So what happened? How could such a diverse group of companions whose love and trust for the Doctor is what brings them together go so very wrong?
Well, in my non-Dalek opinion; it wasn’t the acting, it wasn’t the new music composer (although some “fans” claim they hate the new music). It wasn’t even the new showrunner!
It was the stories themselves.
On paper, each story sounds pretty interesting.
But the execution is where things get bad. Or at least, not great.
Remember that Yaz was a police woman? Yeah, neither did I until I re-watched the pilot. Same with Ryan’s disability. The pilot set up so much darn potential for these characters that unfortunately the stories following after the pilot just didn’t deliver. But, here’s the kicker. Minus the finale, that spider episode ending and the conundrum of something; the stories themselves weren’t. That. Bad.
((Yes, Yaz, that’s how we ALL felt about the finale lol))
So maybe the problem … is in the fandom?
Here me out.
Now I don’t 110% blame the fandom per say, we’re simply used to the RTD & Moffat’s grand arc style. Think of Bad Wolf in series one. Harold Saxon in season three. And season 5 having a bit of a fairy tale style set up.¬† So the fandom is very, VERY used to series arcs. And there I believe lies the true problem. There wasn’t a sense of continuity in the episodes, or rather, there was no build up from one episode to the next i.e. an arc. Because the episodes didn’t have a feeling of being part of the same series, rather as individual stories, for many fans, myself included, it felt on the side of lame.
But after I re-watched the series and stopped comparing it to past seasons, I found myself rather enjoying the Doctor Who SE11 experience a lot!
I truly think this series was aimed at new fans. And you know what? I’m glad for it. I’m glad they got sexism & politics “out of the way”. I’m glad they played “the woman card” in the Witchfinders episode just to get it “out of the way”. And when I say “out of the way” I don’t mean for it as a negative context! But now that it’s been pointed out that the Doctor is now a woman, one of the companions is black and another of an Indian descent; we can focus on other areas of history.
But they did a REALLY good job in episodes like Rosa and Demons of the Punjab pointing out how the true demons are the racial dividers humans place on ourselves.
Because I think it’s important that Doctor Who embraces the SJW crowd as critics have claimed. That’s what I love, love, LOVE about sci-fi is that it takes out flaws of society like racism and sexism and purposely throws it in our faces. Personally, I think that’s what this season got right was showcasing the social injustice issues!
Where it got wrong, really wrong, was not exploring the companion’s of the new Team TARDIS and they need to work on giving all three of them something to do in EVERY episode. Not just having an episode that showcases a glimpse of the companion one at a time. One episode that did nail this, however, was Kerblam. Kerblam was my fave of the series aside from the pilot because it gave each of the companions something to do and each companion played a big part of the story.
I think that season 12 definitely needs to focus more on character development. We still don’t really know a lot of the companions; like their hobbies and things. Yeah Ryan does YouTube and Yaz has a family; but what about them really makes them tick? If we did have more character development, it might help have the stories feel more a sense of continuity.
Like in Series 7 part One, although the stories felt like Hollywood Blockbusters rather than a series with the lack of story arc, the consistency of exploring the Pond relationship was what kept that series strong. In series 11, however, I didn’t feel a really strong sense of connection between the two companions. Except Ryan and Graham, who were grandfather and grandson through marriage, although Ryan purposefully kept him at arms’ length. Although it was a VERY satisfying moment in the Witchfinders episode when Ryan finally does call him, endearingly, “Gramps”. I wish there was more interaction between Ryan and Yaz, because when they were on screen they both kind of were just there, minus that very powerful scene in “Rosa” when they were hiding from the white, racist sheriff.
I hope that in series 12, even if Chibnall didn’t want a fancy arc style to connect the series; that it’s the companion’s character development that helps make the series feel strong; instead of just individual stories.
Also in series 12, I would like stronger villains.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun – even if a bit predictable of a twist that the humans were actually the real villains; but Jodie’s doctor is just SO cool! It’d be great if she had a killer bad guy to match her bad-assery just like the other Doctor’s got to have.
While I’m still sad there is no new Who in 2019; I hope they are taking the break to create better stories.
And what did you think of the new shorter season structure? Did not having as many stories in a season actually help the season? Or did the shorter season just made you wanting more as it did for me? Let’s chat about it in the comments!
So I could literally talk about Doctor Who all day; and I practically do on Twitter @ClaireCre8tes, but that wraps it up for today on Claire Cre8tes!
Some final thoughts after watching this season a second time. I concluded it truly wasn’t as bad as I remembered and that the Internet is claiming. I think the extra enjoyment came from appreciating the stories as I was watching them, instead of feeling sad there wasn’t a connected story arc or master bad villain as we were used to. Yeah Tim Shaw as kind of cool, but he was also kind of lame compared to some baddies in the past. But by focusing on each story as I was watching them, they actually were very enjoyable. What surprised me was how much I enjoyed Witchfinders the second time around! I really hated it the first time, but the humor with King James and Ryan, plus Jodie pointing out how unfair it was she wouldn’t have been so undermined if she was still a man, actually made it a fun episode. Even if the ending was still not my fave, which was a theme for SE11 for me. My fave episodes were Kerblam, Demons of Punjab, Woman Who Fell from Earth, Rosa and the Witchfinders.
What was your fave episode in this season? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
I would rate the series as a whole a solid 3 out of 5 stars … but still declare it totally Binge-worthy! Just try to appreciate the stories themselves and not compare it to the other seasons. Because, it seems too different for a fair comparison. And maybe, that’s what makes this season very special was how different it really was.
Well, until next time, Cre8te often and be kind always! Don’t forget to hit the bell so I can see you in the next one! Cheers.
Posted in Geeky Rants, Monday Blogs, Uncategorized

#MondayBlogs: 20 Years of Hogwarts My Home. Thank You @JK_Rowling!

This weekend Twitter reminded us it was 20 years ago this past Saturday of the US book release that Harry Potter¬†first crossed the Great Lake (the Black Lake in the films) and Twitter was feeling extremely¬†nostalgic with many #BackToHogwarts posts. Barnes and Noble, Simon &¬†Schuster and the New York City Public Library (my novel¬†has a scene that takes place there, BTW!) and other news pages all were tweeting #HarryPotter20 fandom vibes. It made me reflect on how instrumental J.K. Rowling’s magical masterpiece really was in¬†my¬†life and I dedicate this post to Harry and the fans that made it a wonderful journey to be a part of.

But 20 years is still a very long time. I had been there since the beginning. It was back in middle school. Would have been the 7th grade. 13 years old I was. And I found it totally by accident.¬†Little did I know, my life would never be the same. I remember very clearly the day I found the Boy Who Lived. But it felt like, Harry and his extraordinary world, had found me. Let’s take a trip in my Pensive, a.k.a. memory lane, and see where my first steps into the most wonderful Potterhead fandom began…

So it was an English assignment, and it was one of the toughest ever. We had to pick out a BOOK in the¬†LIBRARY¬†in only THIRTY MINUTES! Now I’ve never been much of a reader. So this challenge was a great task for me. I remember scouring the stacks of this library looking for … sigh, a¬†book. Well, I browsed and browsed and browsed the children’s / MG books of 1998 and found nothing. Then I browsed the rest of the¬†library.¬†Teacher¬†was looking at me, so I pretended¬†to be interested in some of the spines of books so she thought I was busy. But I wasn’t busy, I was bored!

There was a strange book with a boy riding a broom on the cover. Huh. I walked by. I was frustrated when my friends found books with fifteen minutes to spare. They started to check out their books and even started reading already! I was running out of time. Teacher even reminded us our time was almost up.

I¬†sighed,¬†and snatched the spine of the book with the boy riding his broom. I stared at the title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. Uh, okay. I didn’t have time to read the back blurb. No¬†idea what it was about, but it was a book, I wasn’t going to get in trouble, and I was happy enough. I checked out the book and showed it to my friends. They LAUGHED at me and said that was a kids book. I stared at them: uh,¬†weren’t¬†WE¬†kids?

We headed back to the classroom just in time for the next period. I managed to complete the first part of that assignment, yay!

A couple of weeks into the assignment and I was really enjoying the book! Like really, really enjoying it! Loving a book that didn’t feel like a forced reading assignment was a new sensation to me. It flew by and it was fantastical. I remember sitting at our reading times during one English class, and actually set the book down on the table on¬†it’s¬†spine and¬†declared to myself loudly, proudly in my head: “I can do this.¬†I write a story like this.” and ever since then; it’s been my dream to be a writer!

I remember when the books started to REALLY take off. It was the third book in the series that the rest of the nation was starting to catch up to the ‘Potter-Mania’. But by then I was well obsessed with the series. I was already in some roleplaying forums online (back then I was obsessed with an RP site called¬†Twilight-Sky¬†before it became¬†a clique and full favoritism/cyberbullies), I was researching more about the Harry Potter world and Hogwarts. I even got in trouble with my family because my older brother caught me using the computer interacting with Harry Potter fans and saw the “Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry” and called my mom ASAP just to get me in trouble. “Mom, Mom, Claire wants to be a witch! Mom!”¬†That brat!

It was very hard before people knew what the books really were about to explain I was not interested in ‘goth’ or the ‘dark arts’. But I didn’t really care. Even though the argument led me¬†in¬†tears and made me feel strange for liking such a book, I knew it was worth it. Because with those books, I felt¬†apart¬†of something. I was part of an online community that was like no other. My real life friends also slowly picked up on the series and we formed our own ‘Hogwarts’ houses. Of course: I was in Hufflepuff.

At first, I was offended because I was chosen last for the house and got stuck with it, but then I came to love it. Keep in mind, this was before we knew about Newt Salamander and Cedric Diggory. Hufflepuff wasn’t cool yet. We formed our houses in book three. But I wore my literal badge we made with pride.

It was the third book when it slowly started to become an international sensation. And the fourth book when they made the first movie. And then no longer was I laughed at. No longer did my family think I had a secret interest in witchcraft. They understood. They finally got on the Harry Potter bandwagon and wow did that bandwagon explode!

One of my friends stopped liking Harry Potter when it took off. She didn’t want to ‘conform with the masses’ or whatever. I shrugged. I didn’t care if it was getting so popular — it made me love it more!

Dressing up for the midnight showings and midnight book releases. Getting anxious because the next book was taking¬†FOREVER¬†to be released! Roleplaying online what we thought was going to happen. Shipping Harry with Luna and Hermoine with Draco. Pretending we were going to the Yule Ball too and dreaming which side-character would ask us to the ball (I was practically in love with Lee Jordan and crushed he didn’t get hardly any screentime). Predicting what cruel trick Snape would do next before we knew his true backstory. Getting BLOWN AWAY by the twist at the last two books. And making new friends who shared a love for the fandom. Debating which house was the best, what our Quidditch position would be, and if we would be brave enough to sign up for Dumbledore’s Army or not.

My friends and I were also obsessed with the James Potter years, creating our own stories about their misadventures in Hogwarts. It was brilliant and even though we were well into high school, we felt like we were still kids. And with how popular Harry Potter had gotten, it became, cool. No longer did we feel like dorks. We can wear our passion with pride.

Yeah, the 90’s and early 00’s were a wonderful time to be alive as a Harry Potter fan. Granted, it still is! We’ve still got a massive fandom of almost three generations. We have the Harry Potter worlds. We have the movies that are immortal on the silver screen (and no¬†slaughtering unicorns required!) and plenty of Merch to make us feel like a real wizard, just like Harry. But it’s not quite like before the books finished. I suppose, though, that’s why they call it nostalgia.

To be honest I still haven’t seen the last two Harry Potter films. I haven’t read the Cursed Child. And I haven’t re-read the HP books in a very long time.

It’s not that I’m over Harry Potter. Not even close! And I still declare myself a Hufflepuff with pride, even on my Tinder profile! I know the reason I haven’t seen the last two HP films: I don’t want it to be over.

I know it’s silly. But I treasure my Harry Potter memories. There’s so many! It’s why I became a writer. It’s how I met so many wonderful folks online. Some of them I even met in person from other countries! But I just don’t want the journey to be over. I know it never will¬†be,¬†because I’ll always have those memories in my heart. But I worry that if I watch the last two films, that it’ll be like, growing up in a weird way. Saying goodbye to Hogwarts forever, somehow. And I’m not ready for that. But I know that’s a silly way of thinking. Because Hogwarts will always be there for me! No matter how old I get.

Because as JK Rowling herself said:

“Whether you’ve come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

I simply love how supportive Jo is of her fans. I adore how she recognizes how deeply impactful the books are to us, and she doesn’t mock us. She doesn’t tell us that it’s not real or we need to grow up. No. She welcomes us home. And if you’re a Harry Potter fan, no matter on what degree, we all¬†have shared that home together.

And that is where the true magic really lies. It lies within us.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to watch the last two Harry Potter films. Maybe it’s time to appreciate the gift that J.K. has given us, and move forward. Not grow up. I could never do that, not really. But onwards is a good place to start. Because as Dumbledore once wisely said:

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”
-Albus Dumbledore

Thank you, J.K. Rowling, to be brave enough to publish something so completely different back in the 90’s. Thank you for giving me the gift of an interest in writing and accepting my imagination instead of being ashamed or afraid of it. Thank you Harry Potter fans for 20 years of a magical journey. Thank you to the new generation who will love the books as much as we did. And thank you for reading this post today. It was an emotional one, but I felt like my #HarryPotter20 needed to be shared.

What about you? What’s YOUR #HarryPotter20 story? I know everyone has at least heard of Harry Potter – but have you ever felt a personal connection to it? Have you ever called Hogwarts your home? Share in the comments!

I hope you all have a magical journey back to Hogwarts this week!

Thanks, Potterheads! Stay Geeky!

~A Geek Named Claire

Posted in Geeky Rants

Editing Is a MOFO Chore! But It Is a Fun Chore! #amediting #mondayblogs

Greetings from the Editing Forest of Doom!

I have been lost in this Forest for months years now and cannot seem to find my way out.

Each word I transfer from present tense (the original way the story was told back in 2008) to the past tense (the right way it needs to be told because of REASONS and SPOILERS) and that’s what I’ve been working on.

It’s very rewarding to read the story get better and better but it is a MAJOR PAIN THE ASS to produce such shit into almost quality shit. No, it’s good. I’m just frustrating with this story.

This character, Charlie Vail, has been with me since 2008. I used to HATE New Years Eve (which is why my other main character Mimi Mockel in Quest of the Prodigy hates New Years Eve too); because every time a new year tolled on I felt like it was another year failed.

And now I”m working hard, including procrastinating because that’s part of the process, to GET IT DONE!

My DEADLINE was July. Probably most definitely happen. But my awesome Publishers Blue Harvest Creative are used to that right now. Like how it took 3 years to edit the Quest of the Prodigy.

But Editing DOES take me a long time. Probably longer than most authors.

Not just because I have a life outside of writing with a day job, being a friend, being a daughter, a sister and enjoying Netflix and such. But because I am a MOFO perfectionist when it comes to editing.

It’s hard for me to just let it go! Okay Elsa, but she has a point!

Like it’s hard to let go of the characters.

They’re apart of you for so long,¬† through the painful but passionate journey of writing a novel. And to just let them go and hand them off to a random editor you’re just supposed to trust because your publishers say they’re good?

It’s hard, okay!

It’s damn hard!

But it’s 2018. I think it’s time for me to let Charlie Vail go. It’s time to hand in In Need of Direction.

And while it’s a DAMN LONG novel (like for real!) I know I can do it if I just put aside the comfort of always being full (physically full, after eating) and the comfort of sleep.

So, as Hamlet says: that’s the rub.

We’re either comfortable. Or we move forward with progress.

I choose progress!


What about you? Comfort or progress? Unfortunately, life isn’t so kind to merit us both!

But it’s worth it. Probably.

Happy Writing!