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In Favour of a Certain Type

I don’t have many celebrity crushes. I think I’m too aware of not always getting what you see, especially with actors. Characters on the other hand… yeah, I crush on plenty of imaginary people. And they tend to have certain things in common.

RogerDelgadoThe earliest crush I remember having is the Master. The perfect foil to Who’s Doctor, he was clever and witty, with a serving of snark for good measure. He was also a good antidote to the Doctor’s sometimes sanctimonious attitude. Because I’m Old School Who, my favourite incarnation of the Master is Roger Delgado, the first actor to portray him. Roger’s performances are fabulous, mixing charm with icy determination to create a villain audiences love to hate.

SpikeMoving on from the Master and Doctor Who, I was a fan of Buffy. My level of fan cranked up with the arrival of Spike. Though bleached blond hair doesn’t usually do anything for me, Spike’s blunt Britishness definitely appealed. He was almost constantly irritated and I loved that. Then there was the snark and a penchant for a long leather coat.

I don’t know why, but those things combined make my lady parts fizz.

craisWhich leads me onto my next crush, and boy was this a biggun. Captain Bialar Crais. From the moment he stalked onto the bridge of his ship, I was a gonner. And then he spoke. Dear heaven, but that accent is sexy. He’d a lot of the things I liked going on actually – coat, accent, attitude, darkly exotic looks. And then the writers gave Crais a Tragic Backstory. His arc is probably one of the best in sci fi. He goes from manic villain through calculating ally to redeemed hero. Twelve years on and I’m still not over his rude exit.

Crais was the first character to interest me enough to write about. Doing that involved reading interviews with actor Lani Tupu, and the more I read, the more my crush grew to encompass him as well as the character. When there was a chance to meet him, I dived at it, even though it meant travelling all the way to Los Angeles. On my own. But it also meant having the opportunity to chat and he was as lovely as I expected him to be. I still follow him on Facebook.

The other sci fi show I was into at the same time as Farscape, was Stargate SG-1. Not having the same emotional attachment (I was in love with Crais and have never watched beyond his death), I’ve rewatched the whole thing over and over. I guess that’s how it started. The clue should have been in finding the later episodes more appealing, but it literally didn’t hit me until Samantha Carter hit him. I can’t even tell you how many times I’d seen The Quest before, but this one day, watching Baal sprawl in the dirt with a bloodied nose, something clicked.

cms3Going back over older episodes, there were indicators as to why – he fitted the Certain Type. Heck, Baal embodied the Certain Type. Darkly handsome, witty, intelligent, snarky as hell, penchant for leather and destruction. When I caught Ex Deus Machina for the first time, with the building that was actually a bomb (literally – the walls were imbued with explosives), I was lost.

Baal is a really fun villain to watch. He has moments of utter genius (see above) and ones where I wonder what the heck he’s thinking. As he becomes a sort of ally to SG-1, he develops a skewed sense of humour and the ability to go about the right thing completely the wrong way. Trying to unify the Jaffa by brainwashing members sticks out fairly well as an example. Even in the post-series movie Continuum, his main reason for subjegating Earth was to save it from the rest of the Goa’uld System Lords.

The way Cliff Simon played him is incredible. I rewatch and rewatch and still find new layers. EDM was on just the other day and I realised the Baal clone goads the Jaffa into killing him because that was always going to be the end result and that way he’s not being tortured into giving answers.

That clearly indicates I’m not over this crush yet. I doubt I ever will be.

Under the Misa’ltoe

mistletoe-sprig1What?

So we’re blogging about Christmas traditions. As a family of seven (yes, shut up) we’ve adapted our traditions as the years have gone by and the children have gotten older. A few things have stayed the same, like I’ll do the dinner at midday, before they have chance to gorge themselves on chocolate. But we tend to forgo the normal Christmas food – last year was the first we got anywhere close to eating turkey, as we had four bird roast.

Christmas mornings start later, thank goodness. We get up and first order of the day is presents. My OH and myself haven’t really bought for each other, but Christmas is about children and not adults in my opinion. Once the living room resembles an explosion in a wrapping paper factory, I’ll ring my parents and have a natter. Then it’s organising lunch and fielding questions on how the new toys work.

Afternoons are for chilling – Christmas television and wine, eventually thinking about what to eat later. Since 2005, roughly six o’clock means a Doctor Who special, which is pretty much my highlight. It will be this year, as I say a tearful ‘goodbye’ to Matt Smith and welcome Peter Capaldi (woot!)

Then it’s more TV and buffet food. I decided many years ago that I’d go for easy options rather than trying to stick to the usual traditions, and as a whole that tactic has worked. We have a quiet family day with very little stress. And I think that’s exactly as it should be.


Misa Buckley is a sci fi geek who escapes the crazy of raising five children by creating imaginary characters who experience adventure, romance and really hot sex on their way to a happily-ever-after. You can keep up to date with Misa’s latest news by following her on Twitter or at her website.

Hiding Behind the Sofa

keep-calm-hide*stands up* Hello, my name is Misa, and I’m a complete wuss. I hate horror, and that is going to make talking about it very hard.

I’ve never been one for frights. Doctor Who used to scare me (still does on occasion – Weeping Angels, anyone?) and I’ve never seen a horror movie in my life. Oh, except Final Destination, but that’s so preposterous I spent more time giggling than being remotely scared.

Jurassic Park, on the other hand, terrified the willies out of me.

All this leaves me casting about for a subject. My favourite “scary” movies are The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Corpse Bride and Coraline. I’m currently listening to the audio version of Neverwhere (easily my favourite Gaiman book).

Not, you have to admit, stuff that’s going to keep you awake at night.

I think my problem with modern horror is that it seems to equate to blood and guts. I don’t find that scary, just disgusting. The things that creep me out are subtler, more ordinary. An unlit street is frightening because of what lies unseen in the shadows. Masks hide faces and therefore intentions (make up also does this to an extent, which is why I’m terrified of clowns). Things that seem to move when you’re not looking, like stone angels or store window dummies.

I do like being creeped out rather than outright terrified. I like being able to sleep at night. So, no, you won’t find me queuing for the latest shock-horror-gore fest opening at the theatre, but you will find me watching the Doctor battle normal every-day objects turned bad by the twisted imagination of the writers.

Even if that is from behind the sofa.

The Dichotomy of Misa

If I could live in another time… well, you’d think it’d be the future and in a way you’d be right.

As a Trekker, I think the place to live would be Deep Space Nine (it’d be Babylon 5, except for the Shadows). There are planets to explore, a wormhole on the doorstep and, when I was feeling flush, Quark’s casino.

Plus I’d absolutely love to meet all the varying aliens and learning about their cultures. Not sure I’d try any gagh though!

But I’m a tricky beast and the future isn’t the only time that fascinates me. Part of me is drawn to the past, to the adventure of the Wild West, but there’s also the lure of Victorian England, with its smog-bound cities and huge leaps in industrial technology.

pnpYet scratch not all that deep and you’ll find the heart of a romantic raised on Jane Austin and the Bronte sisters. Perhaps not the best period for a forward-thinking woman that sucks at being ladylike, but the idea of being wooed, of balls and horse-drawn carriages appeals mightily.

But I suppose that, if I had to choose…

Between the past…

And the future…

Then I simply wouldn’t choose at all.

My Sarah Jane

elisabeth-sladen-jon-pertweeI grew up watching Doctor Who and Sarah Jane Smith was my hero. Therefore writing this article is bittersweet, bringing back happy memories of watching Sarah Jane’s adventures and the sad knowledge there’ll be no more (actress Elisabeth Sladen died April 2011, after a short battle with cancer

For those who are new Whovians, Sarah Jane was a feisty, independent young woman who didn’t fall in love with the Doctor. In fact she was his best friend before Donna, and the two characters are very similar in that both stood up to the him.

Given Sarah Jane was around in the early ’70s, this was a pretty big deal. Gone were the stereotypical helpless damsel in distress – Sarah Jane often got herself and the Doctor out of danger.

Of course, Elisabeth appeared in the new series alongside David Tennant and Matt Smith, as well as having her own show. Here, Sarah Jane investigated alien threats while raising an adopted son. She was shown to be nurturing and loving, and she always gave the aliens an “out”. However, if they didn’t accept this (which was more often than not

she wouldn’t hesitate to remove the threat by any means possible.

Like her character, Elisabeth was a strong woman. Few knew about her cancer and she gave no sign of suffering on-screen. That made her death a sudden shock that rippled beyond the Who fandom, making news headlines. I was greatly saddened and part of me still cannot believe she’s gone. Then again, in a very real way she’s still with us.

forever

The poignient end title of the last Sarah Jane’s Adventures

My favorite sidekick… Donna Noble

It’s sidekick time, so we get to talk about our favorites! I know that Sabrina just talked about Doctor Who, but while Martha is her favorite companion, I’ve got to give that particular crown to my favorite companion…

Donna Noble

 

Donna Noble.

 

She’s not the youngest companion, or the prettiest. But I’ve got several big reasons why she is the PERFECT companion for the Doctor.

1. Zero Romantic Entanglement.

She’s a woman, he’s a Time Lord shaped like a man. But Donna NEVER had any particular attraction for him. That made their relationship as a team SO much more enjoyable. With Rose, I was always waiting for him to admit how he felt about her. With Martha, I was waiting for her to get over him. But Donna was his friend. His BEST friend. The only companion I’ve seen who could interact with him without giving a shit about how SHE felt. It was such a relief after the angst of Rose and Martha.

2. Backbone

“I just want a mate,” he said, an earnestly worried expression on his face.

“You want… TO MATE?” She dropped her jaw in protest while her eyebrows winged to her hairline. “Oi, you’re not mating with ME, space man!”

She walloped him, she corrected him, she said NO. She did things that no other companion would, or could. She was tough and she didn’t mind standing up to what amounts to the most feared being in the Universe. I LOVED that about her.

3. Empathy

In “Forest of the Dead” (which is the second part of “Silence in the Library”… Vashta Nerata anyone?) Donna was saved and provided a family by CAL. She had a husband, and children, and while she KNEW something was off about the whole situation, she couldn’t help falling in love with the whole idea. And then, all that was ripped away from her. After that episode, you got the sense that Donna knew a little bit about how the Doctor must feel, having lost so much. They comforted each other, not as potential lovers, but as FRIENDS.

 

It’s entirely possible for women and Time Lords to just be FRIENDS. And I think that the series is really missing that now. I never bought that Amy Pond lost her hero-worship type love of the Doctor, and I spent so much time wondering if Clara was some kind of regeneration of River or somehow one of the Doctor’s children that I never got a good sense that they were friends, either.

Like Sabrina, I love romance. Heck, I’m trying to make my living off just that! But Doctor Who works better when it’s an adventure between mates, not a soap opera.

So, Mr. Moffat, if you can hear me, BRING ME THE ONE THEY CALL NOBLE!

Pleasure Planets in Sci Fi

When it comes to science fiction, it seems that the human race does two things. The first is explore and discover new life. The second is to, in the words of the Doctor, dance with it. Almost every sci fi TV show (and a fair few novels) include the existence of a pleasure planet, though there is often a rotten core beneath the glossy exterior.

Risa-Star-TrekStar Trek’s Risa is probably the most famous pleasure planet going. Introduced in The Next Generation series, it was visited several times by the Enterprise crew and also inhabitants of Deep Space 9.

The planet orbits several stars and its climate is controlled by a weather modification network, with the natural climate being extremely violent. Risians are extremely open and will freely share their planet, and even themselves (again with the dancing), with visitors; a practice known as “Jamaharon”.

Carillon-BSGThe original series of Battlestar Galactica had Carillon as its pleasure planet, and was the first series to hint that pleasure didn’t always equal perfect. Beneath the casino with its scantily-clad girls and free-flowing alcohol were mines staffed by enslaved aliens.

The management of Carillon were also in the back pocket of the Cylons, with both staff and visitors often going “missing”. Not that nice a place after all, then.

TheLight-Stargate-SG1In Stargate SG-1’s The Light, the team are sent to a planet to investigate the death of another team’s member and discover a pleasure temple. One room contains a mesmerizing light display that induces narcotic pleasure.

The problems start when they leave – their brain physiology has been affected, with the result that withdrawal symptoms leave them suicidal. Worse, the changes affect the brain directly and Daniel Jackson ends up dead. Again.

Midnight-Doctor-WhoAnd finally, since I started with a mention of Doctor Who, I’m ending on an episode. Midnight (both name of the planet and episode title) is a world with an atmosphere of lethal radiation that kills humans instantly. But it’s made of diamonds and has several sites of natural beauty, so the obvious thing to do is build a spa there. Of course.

On a trip to see the Sapphire Waterfall, the shuttle is waylaid by a malevolent presence which takes over one of the passengers and results in four people dying. The events on Midnight are one of the few the Doctor cannot explain, nor does the viewer discover what attacked the ship or why. It’s unclear if the spa continued to run or if Midnight was then abandoned, but something evil waits out in the beautiful diamond fields so perhaps they should.

So pleasure planets… great on paper, but not always all they’re advertised to be. Feel free to explore new worlds and discover new civilisations, feel free to dance, but be careful of what lies beneath… sometimes they’re only pretty on the outside *cue creepy music*


Misa Buckley is a sci fi geek who escapes the crazy of raising five children by creating imaginary characters who experience adventure, romance and really hot sex on their way to a happily-ever-after. You can keep up to date with Misa’s latest news by following her on Twitter or at her website.

Dark Heroes: The Doctor

As a child of the Seventy’s, I grew up watching Doctor Who. I loved it; this story of a man with two hearts, who stole a time ship and ran away, who could regenerate into a new body, who chose human companions and showed them the universe. It was a television show that defied the boundaries of time and space and possibility. It was also a show that could be (and still is) very dark at times.

My earliest memory, aside from hiding from Cyberman, is the episode Genesis of the Daleks. Daleks were once humans but adapted for war by Davros, becoming a xenophobic race that wanted to exterminate every other species in existence in a purge of “impurity” that would put Hitler to shame.

When the Doctor finds himself back at the point of their creation, he’s faced with a moral dilemma – allow the most destructive race in the history of the universe to come into being, or become the very thing he wants to stop.

Eventually he decides to walk away, but it was interesting as a child to be presented with that decision and think, for a moment, that the Doctor would kill hundreds to save thousands more. That was the episode that I realised that for all the wonder of the universe, there were still evil things and hard decisions.

When Russell T Davies brought Doctor Who back in 2005, he recreated the Doctor as the survivor of a long and bitter battle – the Time War – which had seen the rest of the Time Lords die. Now the last of his kind, the new Doctor was a harder, angrier hero and his scars ran deep. In episode The End of the World, he brings back the murderous Cassandra and issues his own form of justice – allowing her to dry out and die. This is the regeneration who would, quite possibly, have put those two wires together and wiped out the Daleks.

Things got no better with his next regeneration.

In The Christmas Invasion, the Tenth Doctor’s very first appearance, he battles the Sycorax and, when the leader tries to stab him in the back, he dispatches him with “No second chances. I’m that sort of a man.” Gone is the Doctor with infinite patience, though companion Rose manages to mellow him a little. But when Rose is trapped in an alternative universe, the Doctor – aware that his time is growing short – becomes something else entirely. Breaking the rules for which he’s always stood, he interferes in a “fixed point in time” and saves the first manned mission to Mars (The Waters of Mars), recreating himself as The Time Lord Victorious. After saving three and returning them to Earth, he faces leader Adelaide Brooke and boasts at how good he is, which leads to this exchange

Adelaide: Is there nothing you can’t do?
the Doctor: Not any more.

This defiance only lasts as long as it takes for Adelaide to take control, killing herself and restoring the time line, after which the Doctor realises that he’s gone too far. But Mars is his darkest hour, when he becomes more than a hero. He is the Lonely God, capable of tweaking time itself as he sees fit. When Adelaide shoots herself, he lets go of that terrifying persona, but that darker side is already revealed.

The Tenth Doctor has regenerated again, but the Eleventh, while initially seeming a lighter Doctor, has already suffered a loss. In the recently aired Children In Need special he claims to have “retired” and point blank refuses to help. And in the promotional photos of upcoming Christmas episode, The Snowmen, he appears very much as a Scrooge-like character, lonely and bitter. It’ll be interesting to see if he can be redeemed once more.


Misa Buckley is a sci fi geek who escapes the crazy of raising five children by creating imaginary characters who experience adventure, romance and really hot sex on their way to a happily-ever-after. You can keep up to date with Misa’s latest news by following her on Twitter or at her website.

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