Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Doctor Who Cares Anymore?

As regular readers of my blog (all six of you) know, I used to be a HUGE Doctor Who fan. I dutifully watched both the old and new series, and bought tons of merch from the show. 

That all ended in 2017, when the BBC made the boneheaded decision to cast actress Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. It was a stupid idea (in my opinion of course) and a blatant case of shameless pandering. 

As if that wasn't bad enough, it was also the point where the show ditched creative storytelling in favor of identity politics. How fun!

I wasn't the only one who felt this way, as the show's ratings plummeted after Whittaker entered the TARDIS (as I predicted they would). Audiences want to be entertained, not lectured!

Things got so dire that it honestly looked like the show might be canceled. In a desperate attempt to avoid that, the BBC announced it was bringing back David Tennant (arguably the most popular actor of the new era) as the Doctor, along with showrunner Russell T. Davies. 

Davies was the one who revived the show back in 2005, updating it for modern audiences. The show hit new heights of popularity with him at the helm, becoming a worldwide phenomenon. 

The news of his return actually gave me a small glimmer of hope, as I looked forward to him course-correcting the show and restoring it to its former glory.

Sadly, it doesn't look like that's gonna happen. In the years since he left, Davies has apparently hopped aboard the SJW train and is doubling down on the identity politics & pandering.

Case in point: Recently the BBC aired its annual Children In Need special (sort of the British equivalent to the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon). Each year the special features a Doctor Who mini episode, to lure in viewers and donors.

This year's mini-episode featured David Tennant's Fourteenth Doctor encountering his archenemies the Daleks, as well as a familiar old foe. Well, kind of familiar.

This is Davros— a deranged Kaled scientist who created the Daleks. Clearly something bad happened to poor Davros at some point, as he's blind, missing his left arm and has a bionic hand. He may also be legless as well, and rides around in a Dalek-like mobility unit.

Davros has sported this look since he first appeared during Tom Baker's run back in 1975's Genesis Of The Daleks. He instantly became one of the show's most popular villains, and has returned numerous times over the years.

Oddly enough, this new mini episode features an all-new Davros, played by actor Julian Bleach— who's played the character for a couple decades now. For some reason, this updated Davros now looks like a hawk-faced Nazi and has four perfectly functioning limbs. What the hell?

At first I thought maybe this was a prequel, set sometime before Davros' accident. Makes sense, right?

Nope! According to Russell T. Davies, this is how our boy Davros is gonna look from now on.

Said Davies:

"We had long conversations about bringing Davros back because he’s a fantastic character. Time and society and culture and taste has moved on, and there’s a problem with the Davros of old in that he’s a wheelchair user who is evil. And I had problems with that, and a lot of us on the production team had problems with that, of associating disability with evil, and trust me, there’s a very long tradition of this. I’m not blaming people in the past at all, but the world changes and when the world changes, Doctor Who has to change as well."

"So we made the choice to bring back Davros without the facial scarring, and without the wheelchair, or his support unit, which functions as a wheelchair. I say this is how we see Davros now. This is what he looks like. This is 2023. This is our lens. This is our eye. Things used to be black and white, they’re not in black and white anymore. And Davros used to look like that, and he looks like this now, and that we are absolutely standing by."

"I thought it was absolutely vital to do this, and I’m very, very, very proud of the fact that we have."

Jesus wept. Nearly FIFTY YEARS' worth of continuity flushed right down the shitter, all because Davies feels Davros "associates disabilities with evil." Are you fucking kidding me? 

So now one of the best villains in the history of the show is ruined, because... we can't have evil people in wheelchairs due to representation or some crap like that. I assure you, at no time in the history of the show did ANYONE ever take a look at Davros and think "wheelchair user." And they certainly never thought, "Say, that disabled chap is evil. That means ALL such people are monsters as well!"

Here's a thought— if Davros is truly that problematic now in our miserable society, then... DON'T USE HIM! There are a crap-ton of other villains Davies could have dredged up that wouldn't have given him icky bad feelings.

I wasn't the only one who hated this pointless change. Many disabled fans actually loved the old Davros, and were offended that Davies apparently thought they were too frail and sensitive to handle seeing a handicapped villain, and complained about it online. His response to them? "Tough" and "Oh poor baby." 

Wow. What an asshole. Attacking the fans of your work for its shortcomings is always a classy move.

This is without a doubt the absolute stupidest thing the show's ever done. Davies has proudly come up with a solution to a problem that never existed, and patted himself on the back for doing so.

I should also point out that the Doctor Who episodes Rise Of The Cybermen and The Age Of Steel featured a villain named John Lumic. Similarly to Davros, he was the creator of the Cyberman, and... was confined to a wheelchair!

Note that these episodes aired in 2006, when the showrunner was (checks notes)... one Russell T. Davies. Hmm...

If that wasn't strange enough, in 2008 The Stolen Earth and Journey's End aired, and both episodes featured Davros as the antagonist. A quick check of those episodes reveals they were written by... Russell T. Davies!

Apparently disabled villains were OK in the 2000s, but problematic here in the hellscape of 2023.

If villains are that upsetting for today's fragile audience, why bother having one on the show at all then? Why not just show the Doctor sipping tea with his companion for the entire season?

If Davros' physical appearance triggers Davies, wait'll he gets a load of the Cybermen. They're from a future where humans gradually replaced their limbs and organs with mechanical versions, until they were more machine than man. How long until Davies retcons all of them into less provocative Ryan Gosling clones?

I tell you, the day's coming when EVERY franchise devolves into the Porch Pals

So I'm out! When I heard the news that Davies was returning to run the show, I was cautiously optimistic that he might be able to save it. It's clear now that that isn't going to happen, and it's just gonna be more of the same crap we've gotten for the past five or six years. He's actually saving me a lot of time here, as I won't be bothering to check out the show again now.

I'll end here with a drawing I did of Davros, as a big "Screw You" to Russell T. Davies and his cockamamie ideas. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

"Ah, Just One More Thing..."

 This week I found out that back in 1974, there was apparently a Columbo board game, based on the popular TV show of the same name.

Presumably this was a Clue-like game, which involved one player assuming the titular detective's identity and solving a crime by relentlessly annoying the other participants until they confessed their guilt. 

Kids the world over couldn't get enough of Detective Columbo and his offbeat investigative style in his weekly series, so I'm sure this game was a huge bestseller! Fun!

By far my favorite thing about this game is the fact that the makers of it clearly couldn't afford the rights to use actor Peter Falk's likeness, so they just drew him from the back, knocked off early and spent the afternoon in the local bar!

The Shrink-O-Tron Strikes Again: Campbell's Homestyle Soups

Welp, it's back! As if our country's rampant inflation wasn't already bad enough, it seems the dreaded Shrink-O-Tron has struck the soup aisle.

I've been buying various types of Campbell's Homestyle soups for years and years now, and never had cause to complain about them. Until now.

On a recent trip to the grocery, I noticed the entire Homestyle line apparently got a makeover, as the labels had all been updated with a new design.

I also noticed the cans seemed physically different as well, but couldn't quite put my finger on what changed.

When I got home I compared the new cans to the old ones, and saw they've magically gone from 18.6 ounces down to a meager 16.1! Holy crap! It may not seem like it on paper, but that's a huge difference.

Of course as always happens when the Shrink-O-Tron strikes, the price didn't undergo a similar reduction.

When is this crap going to end? When will companies stop with this sneaky underhanded tactic and just raise the prices of their goddamned items? Why can't they just level with us and say, "Look guys, we're very sorry but due to increased production costs we're going to have to raise the price of the cereal by a few cents. We'll try not to do it again for a year or so." If they did that then consumers nationwide would understand and say, "Well that sounds just fine."

But no. Instead they keep the price the same but give us less product. And they surreptitiously put it in a smaller container, hoping we're all too busy worrying about The Marvels' shockingly low box office numbers to notice.

Screw you, Campbell's!
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