Category Archives: TV

Soothing Addiction: Time Team

time-team
I’m not an easy sell when it comes T.V.  I have a short attention span that leaves me unable to stand commercials without wandering away and losing the thread of the program.  At the same time, if I’m going to watch television in the evening it has to be pretty mellow (or at least not disturbing) or I’ll end up hyped up and won’t be able to get to sleep.  There’s only so much Doctor Who out there so I generally either watch Paul playing PS3 games while reading or watch PBS.

Recently, Paul turned me on to a great British show that has the perfect blend of mellow and interesting.  It’s Time Team, produced by Channel 4.  Time Team’s premise is an archeological dig, generally done somewhere in the UK.  It’s hosted by Tony Robinson (who I remember best from Black Adder). Part of what makes Time Team such good television is the archeological team has only three days to dig the site.

What makes the show work for me? There’s very little at stake on a global level, but the people involved, whether local archeological buffs or the team themselves, care passionately about both the dig itself and history / archeology in general.  Tony Robinson is both an enthusiast and experienced at making good television. The team is made of characters who are engaging without being parodies. The locations are generally beautiful and interesting.  And I’m still always impressed and dazzled at the specialists ability to tell a bit of Roman pottery from a shard of modern flower pot.

Look for it.

How many days ’til Gallifrey?

 A Man in a Blue Box

Getting together with Paul brought a lot of great things into my life (or, as in the case of gaming, back into my life).  One of those things was Doctor Who.

I did watch re-runs of Doctor Who on KCET when I was growing up.  Not consistently or in any order (though my memory is that most were Tom Baker episodes) but enough so that 6 years ago or so when Paul told me the series was being restarted I at least knew what show he meant and remembered that there was a space ship that looked like a blue box. I confess I was slightly less excited than he was, but remember being pleased he’d be able to download the show and watch episodes the same day (or nearly) the day they were broadcast in Britain.  For a number of reasons he could speak to better than me, TV, specifically British TV, is very important to Paul and one of the things he misses most living here in the US.

Suffice to say I loved the new series from the moment it aired. It captured me completely and I watched and re-watched each episode from “Rose” forward with great enthusiasm. I can’t ever remember feeling that way about anything on television.

O Doctor, My Doctor

ecclestonThis was, of course, 2005 —  Christopher Eccleston’s first and only series. I fell in love with his tall, dark, awkward northern-ness. For the first time after years of watching random episodes of Doctor Who, rather than thinking about “a” doctor or even “The” Doctor, I began to think of “My Doctor.” There are those who fault his performances as dark or his comedy as clumsy but though I hear them, I see none of it.  For him I was, for the first time probably in my life, a true fangirl.

I didn’t follow the news however and, though Paul tried to warn me, couldn’t really believe the lead actor in a show was going to leave after only 13 episodes (I say again, my experience was largely with US tv and not much of that).  How could such a thing be allowed to happen? When he regenerated in “Parting of the Ways,” my heart broke and I wept with disbelief.  So much so that I’ve only recently re-watched that final episode.

I watched the second series like a pouting child. This new Doctor was a usurper, could never be anything to me other than a new body into which my Doctor had somehow been forced. Paul tried to explain (and more than once) that part of what the show is about is the notion that everything changes.  He also said (more than once) that your first Doctor is always special.  But even so, even through Rose’s final heart-rending episode, I still didn’t fully take David Tennant on board. I would spend part of each viewing imagining how that episode could have, would have, been better with Eccleston in the role.

It was only in series three, “Family of Blood,” that I took to the 10th Doctor.  Some might say it was the Edwardian school setting (complete with school cane prop)  that won me over.  That’s probably partly true — it was made for me in that sense. But I think it also showed up Tennant’s acting.  More importantly, it was a version of the Doctor that I couldn’t imagine Eccleston (or anyone else for that matter) doing better. I enjoyed the rest of Tennant’s episodes and was sorry to see him go.

I’d become a Doctor Who fangirl.

Gallifrey 2009

In recognition of my new found fangirl status, last year Paul suggested we spend Valentine’s weekend at Gallifrey One (the Los Angeles Doctor Who convention, the oldest and largest in the United States).  I was nervous, but agreed with great excitement.  It was amazing good fun with amazing good people.  The high point for me was getting to see the first US performance of Toby Hadoke’s amazing “Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf” which we’d been unable to see the previous summer when at the Edinburgh Festival.  We really only attended Gallifrey one day — Saturday — but it was enough to convince me that this wasn’t an event I wanted to miss the following year.

The following year is almost here. GallifreyOne, number 21, starts February 26th.  Not very many days from now.

Squee!

So What About You?

After reading some of my reviews of Snape fanfic, someone wrote and asked me if I’d ever written any of my own. 

The short answer is "no".  I don’t write fanfics in the Potter-verse, much as I love reading it.  Or maybe because, I’m not sure.  In fact, I’ve really not written any fanfic.  Well, except this one.

It was written as an entry for the soc.sexuality.spanking Short Story contest in the Summer of 2004.  Although it was written as a contest entry, the story was one I’d been planning in my head for a while.  As the author notes indicate, it’s based on a BBC gardening program called "Ground Force" which I’d watched daily for months and months. 

Anyway, it’s just a fun little story, but I’m oddly proud of it. 

Ground Forced
by Mija

[Background: I discovered BBC America shortly after 9/11. Maybe it was the insecurity of those days that caused me to take comfort in a program unlike any I’d ever been addicted to before. Maybe it was my missing Pablo/Britain (the two are very linked in my imagination). Or maybe it’s just that they’re very good. At any rate, I became hooked on Ground Force, watching it daily for about 19 months.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, it’s a 1/2 hour gardening show, where a garden is given a makeover in 2 days while the owner is away (and always very surprised by the outcome). Here’s a link in case you want to know more about the main characters:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/tv_and_radio/gforce_index.shtml

Most of the time, family members and friends of the person being surprised work very hard on the project. But just occasionally that’s not the case.

The following never (to my knowledge) happened. But it should have . . .]

FROM A PRIVATE OUTTAKE REEL

[A large builder does the final smoothing on a newly-laid concrete slab. He surveys it proudly, just as a small, yapping dog runs across it.]

TOMMY: Oh, DOG! That was freshly laid!

[He looks into the camera as one injured and exasperated.]

[Charlie looks at Tommy, laughing and throwing her red tresses back.]

TOMMY: [pointing at Charlie] You can just keep quiet.

CHARLIE: [mock innocent] I said nothing!

[Giggles from a dark-haired, fair-skinned attractive teen. We later learn her name is "Amanda". Her father is having this makeover done for her stepmother.]

AMANDA: [scooping up the dog] I’ll just look after him then, shall I?

[Alan comes over to the group, leaning on his spade.]

ALAN: Young lady, isn’t that what you promised last time?

AMANDA: [still giggling] Yes, but he got away from me. Sorry. I was, um, painting the shed, like you asked.

[Cut to the shed shows it to be remarkably unpainted.]

ALAN: Which shed would that be?

[A look, not unlike guilt, struggles with defiance on Amanda’s young face.]

TOMMY: [in mocking tones] Whatever should we do with you?

[She shrugs.]

CHARLIE: Indeed. That telephone call really was a bit much . . . A bit of corrective persuasion may be in order.

[A check of earlier footage shows a call to the house with Amanda pretending to be her mother, about to arrive home.]

ALAN: [nodding and flexing a fiberglass garden stake into an arc] Time for a sharp attitude change, as me old dad would say. [He looks at the girl’s father, as if for permission.]

FATHER: I’ll just be painting the fence, if you don’t mind.

TOMMY: [looking between Alan, Charlie and the painting father] Well, my dad would have said it was past time for a good hiding!

CHARLIE: Right-o! [she grabs Amanda’s hands and quickly bends her across the as-yet-unpainted bench at the side of the shed.]

ALAN: This’ll be me then! Lights! Camera! Action!

[The garden stake swishes through the air, landing three swift cuts on the seat of the girl’s jeans before she yanks her hands away from Charlie, stands and lands a stinging slap to the red-head.]

AMANDA: B*tch! Let me up or there’ll be trouble.

[Camera shows Alan looking quite unconcerned.]

TOMMY: I’m not sure why you should have all the fun, Alan. It’s my concrete that’s spoilt.

[Cut to paw-printed concrete and Willy on all fours smoothing it.]

ALAN: So plant your size 13 on the bench and take your turn!

[The teen is upended across Tommy’s bent knee, feet dangling above the ground as his large heavy hand smacks into her bottom with hard, sharp spanks. Tears of pain and frustration shine on her face.]

ALAN: [looking around] Charlie? Charlotte? Mr. Tommy here is defending your honour! The least you can do is watch!!

CHARLIE: [off-camera, over a muffled sound of running water] Sorry Alan!

[She reappears, holding something rubber.]

CHARLIE: I just thought we might try and fit a water feature in after all!

[REEL ENDS]