Monthly Archives: October 2011

Grimm Can Be Great

It’s usually not a good idea to judge a show based solely on the first episode. Few shows premiere with zero kinks and many shows can take an entire season to find their footing. Taking that into consideration, I think Grimm has the potential to be pretty damn good.

The set-up is a simple one: Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is a homicide detective in Portland, Oregon. While investigating the disappearance–and subsequent dismemberment–of a co-ed, Nick learns from his Aunt Marie that he comes from a long line of “Grimms.” Grimms are profilers, of sorts, keeping tabs on the supernatural whatchamacallits that plague humanity. Of course, Nick has to keep his secret from his fiance (played by Bitsie Tulloch) and his partner (Russell Hornsby), luckily he’ll be able to call on his supernatural informant, a reformed Big Bad Wolf (Silas Weir Mitchell).

If this sounds a bit familiar, there’s a good reason for that. Two of the men responsible for Grimm, David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, come to us from Buffy and Angel. In fact, Grimm feels a little bit like a blending of the two shows: you have the Chosen One of Buffy and the sleuthing of (early) Angel. I’d also argue that the “family of hunters” angle ties Grimm to Supernatural, which makes the fact that the two shows are airing against each other kind of annoying. Given Grimm‘s Whedon-y pedigree, I wasn’t the least bit surprised by Mitchell’s reformed Big Bad Wolf (0r Blutbad, if you will). The feeb-demon–a noticeably un-demonic and comically humanized demon–was a hallmark of Angel and, later, Buffy. Grimm‘s Eddie Monroe is a Blutbad who has given up on his bestial tendencies, which allows him to tag along on Nick’s cases and offer exposition with a healthy dose of wry asides. Clem would be proud.

I think the biggest hurdle Grimm has to overcome is how people will ultimately compare it to Once Upon A Time, despite the fact that the two shows could not be more different. In Once…, the characters are actual fairy tale characters who now live in the real world. In other words, Snow White is real. Grimm goes down a different road. Here, the Brothers Grimm were criminal profilers of the supernatural. So, while there is no actual Big Bad Wolf, there are Blutbaden, wolf-like creatures who appear to be attracted to the color red. Folklorists tell us that fairy tales, like those collected by the Brothers Grimm, were used as teaching tools, showing people how to behave and that acting incorrectly had consequences. Grimm takes this and runs with it, claiming that the dangers depicted in fairy tales aren’t metaphors: if you leave the path in the woods, something will eat you. I love this hidden world aspect of Grimm and, if you enjoy the occasional urban fantasy novel, you might love it, too.

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Top 10 Companions in All of Time and Space

Since I just did a countdown (sorta) of my favorite incarnations of the Doctor–one I am sure you all read–I figured that I should give equal time to the Doctor’s companions. This was not an easy task; while there are only eleven Doctors to sort through, there are (without doing an accurate count) about five or six times as many companions.

10. Zoe Heriot and Jamie McCrimmon (Second Doctor)

  

I can’t really think about Zoe without also thinking about Jamie, and vice versa. The math whiz from the 21st century and the 18th century Scottish Highlander are inextricably linked with my memories of the Second Doctor.

9. Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (various, although primarily the Third Doctor)

The Brig was the perfect foil for the Doctor during his exile on Earth. As a military man, Lethbridge-Stewart had a very rigid view of the world that was often at odds with the weird crap that goes on when the Doctor is in the room. Also, the Brig kinda reminds me of a Monty Python sketch.

8. Rose Tyler (Ninth Doctor and Tenth Doctor)

I love the concept of Rose Tyler much more than I do the execution. The fact that this regular working-class girl can grow to become a hero is amazing. The fact that she was kinda reduced to the Doctor’s “OMG! greatest love of all the times!!!!!11!!!!” is kinda lame.

7. Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Shaw (Third Doctor)

I blame The X-Files for the fact that I love me some scientist–I call it Scully-osis–and Liz Shaw certainly qualifies. Liz was a civilian member of UNIT during the Third Doctor’s exile on Earth and, as his lab assistant, frequently aided him in his adventures.

6. Dr. Martha Jones (Tenth Doctor)

Poor Martha had the misfortune of following the aforementioned “OMG! greatest love blah blah whatever.” Martha is probably the only character to be more awesome when she’s not with the Doctor. (Seriously, Martha on Torchwood is a-mah-zing!)

5. K-9 (Fourth Doctor)

A robot dog. I’ll say that again, in case you missed it: A. Robot. Dog.

4. Sarah Jane Smith (Third Doctor and Fourth Doctor)

  

What can be said about Sarah Jane that hasn’t been said by hundreds of other people before? Not much. She is, without question, the Doctor’s “best friend” and the best example we have of what happens to companions after their time with the Doctor comes to an end.

3. Amy Pond and Rory Williams (Eleventh Doctor)

The pirate and the centurion. The greatest married couple in all of time and space.

2. Romana (Fourth Doctor)

People keep saying that River Song is the Doctor’s equal. I guess…if by “equal” you mean “someone whose entire existence is tied to the Doctor and therefore isn’t really an individual.” As a fellow Time Lord, Romana was an equal to the Doctor.

1. Ace McShane (Seventh Doctor)

Not only is Ace afraid of clowns, but she makes her own explosives and knows how to handle an RPG launcher and a slingshot. If Ace were any more awesome, all of existence would unravel.

The Doctor Is In: A Countdown of the Eleven Incarnations of Everyone’s Favorite Renegade Time Lord

Everyone has a favorite incarnation of the Doctor. Some people have two or three. It’s only natural to gravitate towards the peculiar quirks of one or two of the eleven versions of the Doctor who have traveled through the time vortex for almost 50 years.

Personally, I like most of the Doctors for different reasons (the Sixth Doctor is just creepy, if you ask me). Where does each incarnation fall on the spectrum? Well, read on, gentle reader, and find out for yourself.

11. Sixth Doctor

Remember the first time you watched Willy Wonka and realized that, despite the garish wardrobe and frizzy blond ‘fro, Gene Wilder’s candy tsar was a certifiable sociopath? I give you the Sixth Doctor. He looks ridiculous, but he was the most arrogant, petulant, and egoistic incarnation of the Time Lord to date.

10. Eighth Doctor

I really have nothing against the Doctor’s Byronic eighth incarnation–except that bit about the grabassery in the TARDIS. THERE IS NO GRABASSERY IN THE TARDIS! The Eighth Doctor’s position at #10 has more to do with a lack of familiarity. (Side note: I really should check out the Eighth Doctor audio dramas.)

9. First Doctor

Frail yet tough. Cantankerous yet fatherly. Brilliant yet forgetful. Everything about the Doctor’s first incarnation screams “cranky wizard” and, as such, I consider him one of the least interesting Doctors.

8. Fourth Doctor

Prior to 2005, if you asked your average American about Doctor Who, odds are the scarf-wearing Fourth Doctor would have been what they thought of. He’s often considered the most “alien” of the Doctors and has a certain bohemian quality about him. At times, I find him unnecessarily standoffish and, I’m afraid, a little dull.

7. Fifth Doctor

The youngest of the Doctor’s classic incarnations, there was a reason the Fifth Doctor wore an Edwardian cricket uniform: he was youthful and energetic. The Doctor’s fifth incarnation was also compassionate, sensitive, and vulnerable. Perhaps as a result of his youthful appearance, the Fifth Doctor viewed his companions as equals, rather than as assistants.

6. Ninth Doctor

Guilt-ridden and alone, the Doctor’s ninth incarnation was devoid of most of the personality quirks of his previous selves: no gaudy colors or anachronistic outfits for the Ninth Doctor. He could be quick to anger, but also had a self-deprecating sense of humor. This incarnation was grittier and more down-to-earth, making him the perfect Doctor to reintroduce the series to a new generation.

5. Tenth Doctor

The Doctor’s tenth incarnation started as a welcome change from the broodier Ninth Doctor. The Tenth Doctor was witty and talkative, friendly and easy-going, at least until he went into an emo nosedive towards the end of his life. But, when the Tenth Doctor was fun, he was a blast.

4. Third Doctor

The Third Doctor was more physically active than his previous two incarnations, going so far as using martial arts to disarm his opponents. Exiled to Earth, this incarnation of the Doctor was a dapper man of action, not unlike John Steed of The Avengers. The Third Doctor loved gadgets and automobiles, and had a genuinely paternal attitude towards his companions.

3. Eleventh Doctor

The Doctor’s eleventh incarnation is twitchy and daft. While no less brilliant than his previous selves, the Eleventh Doctor could easily get distracted by a cool hat or a shiny doorknob. Like his earlier incarnations, the Doctor’s goofy demeanor hides a dark side and he’s not above deceit or manipulation. The Eleventh Doctor may appear to be the youngest Doctor yet, but at times he carries himself like someone three times his age.

2. Second Doctor

The Doctor’s second incarnation was a goofy little clown in baggy pants, a crooked bow tie, and a Moe Howard haircut. The Second Doctor was a clever manipulator who used his bumbling behavior to lull his adversaries into a false sense of security.  Also, unlike the First Doctor, whose main goal was escaping danger with his companions safely in tow, the Second Doctor was the first to decide to actively face evil: There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought.”

1. Seventh Doctor

Maybe it’s the Scottish burr. Or the fact that his hat and umbrella make him look like a carnival barker. Or maybe it’s that question mark jumper. Whatever the reason, the Doctor’s seventh incarnation is, no doubt, my favorite. The Seventh Doctor was affable, charming, and a tad bumbling, but he could also be a manipulative, deceitful chess master, willing to lie to his companions without a second thought for the greater good.