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Doctor Who - TV Shows
There are three points where I think they should have ended Classic Who, before it got really bad- 1. Horns of Nimon- a way to end the show on a masquerade party, with the Fourth Doctor and Romana flying off into the Skonnon Sunset for centuries more adventures together, all whilst the Daleks are stuck in stalemate with the Movellans and the Master's still decaying on his last life. 2. Logopolis- the most likely ending as Tom Baker left to dismal ratings. The story of Doctor Who could have continued from there in a novels range, beginning with the novelisation of Castrovalva tying up Logopolis' loose ends. In that novels range, the pretentious high concept 80's direction of the show could have worked, the companion dynamic of Tegan Nyssa and Adric could have worked in a Famous Five style, and they could have been fleshed out as characters rather than being the plastic one note ciphers they were on screen. The writing would be less spectacle reliant, and more meticulous, ergo more crafted and coherent, with decent plots and no scenes of characters being forced to commit ridiculous actions or act upon false, contrived motives, out of the blue. Better still neither JNT or Eric Saward would be able to have any creative interference or blacklist good writers. 3. The Five Doctors- probably the most ideal way of ending it. A 20 year run, a celebration of the show's history, ending with the final line "Why not, after all thats how it all started." Also the show's monsters would retain their sense of intrigue and danger, before the JNT excesses completely diminished them through overuse. The New Adventure novels could chronicle the dark secrets of Gallifrey, they could develop Turlough and Kamelion as companions, depict that final reckoning between the Doctor and Master that Rassilon predicted, the Fifth Doctor could even take a cue from the First Doctor's tricking of Borusa and become more like the dark, manipulatuive Doctor of the NAs. Big Finish could still do Fifth Doctor-Nyssa audios, as well as the Dalek Empire, Gallifrey and Unbound spin-offs. Better still the show would have ended on a note of celebration rather than disgrace, the Doctor would have remained fully in character (thanks to Terrance Dicks nailing the character), rather than Warriors of the Deep and Twin Dilemma completely character assassinating him, turning him into a delusional bad risk, cowardly turncoat and forcing false motives upon him and outright disgracing him (that's what happens when a control freak like JNT is producer- even the free spirited, strong willed Doctor becomes reduced to a puppet, and to a gross parody of the producer's own volatile nature). In terms of the RTD era where the show was revived, I think with the possible exception of the first 2005 season, it was best forgotten. RTD should have just done the one season and then let Moffat take over. Moffat has finally got the show back on track with class stories like Time of Angels and Amy's Choice. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 9, 2010, 9:13 pm

That Guy with the Glasses - Websites
Nostalgia Critic used to be one of my favourite video reviewers. But in retrospect I think his last really good review was Superman 4: The Quest for Peace (mainly because he had an interesting competitive rapport with Linkara). His Star Wars Holiday Special review seemed to catch him at a downer where he just didn't have the passionate enthusiasm that makes his reviews inventive and satisfying. Then this January he did the Arnold marathon, and he picked some of the least inspiring films to review, and would even give up halfway through Junior to do a music video rather than review the film. It was like he was just running out the clock now and didn't actually have anything to say. There was the odd pick up, like his review on Conan or Battlefield Earth but finally he reviewed Drop Dead Fred and didn't even seem to 'get' the film, seemed to pad the review out with ridiculous assertions that seemed to almost deliberately be missing the point, and ended up doing a review that was dumber and shallower than the film he was slating, and I just knew he had lost it. It was quite simply his worst review ever. Gone was the sense of heart and passion, of this being a therapeutic exercise for him, the sense of genuinely sharing the viewing experience. Instead he just felt like a superficial trademark version of himself, corporate, routine and depressingly conservative. It's a shame but he used to be so good. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on May 8, 2010, 7:44 pm

Simpsons, The - TV Shows
Recently Channel 4 did the 20 Greatest TV Shows of the Noughties... and The Simpsons was in the top ten, and yet the various Z-list celebrities and talking heads kept saying how the quality has declined but the better earlier stuff ensures its place on the list. The funny thing is The Simpsons seem to be keeping a tight reign on their copyrights (hence episodes deleted from youtube), and it might not have helped that the interviews were pretty negative about the show, but they didn't seem to be allowed to use any actual footage to demonstrate either points about the quality of the golden age, or the current creative slump. All they could show was clips from the Bartman music video. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on January 12, 2010, 5:20 pm

Dawson's Creek - TV Shows
Series 3. Up to that point Dawson's Creek had been one of those shows that even if you were ambivalent about teen dramas it could win you over. The characters had an ingrained history and whilst their capacity for articulation was a stretch, the feelings they emoted about felt very real. It could have done with more subtlety- how much more surprising and wonderful would it be if Dawson and Joey hadn't discussed the changes that were happening to them so that when they finally got together it really wasn't something you'd expect (but would feel very natural and believable all the same). Series Two i'd say was the most refined season, and then with Series Three it just seemed like there was someone new in charge who just didn't really like or respect the show, and turned it into a contrived, desperate sex comedy and transformed the characters beyond recognition. Something of my respect for the show died when that happened and despite things picking up afterwards I just didn't feel the trust towards the show that I used to. It stopped being special to me, it stopped having a firm place in my heart because it seemed to have lost its own heart. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on November 25, 2009, 8:17 pm

Television Without Pity - Websites
From looking on the forums it seems it used to be the case that anyone could post, whether they were members or lurking guests. Boy things seem to have changed now. Then I tried to register from my Yahoo account and the number/letter verification thing took about three goes before it worked, then I got no confirmation email, clicked to request another one numerous times and still nothing, so I tried from a different email. Got verified and yet now I've been waiting almost a day before my account can be approved by some administrator when he/she can be bothered before I can post anything. I just feel inherently that any site that so dictated by shadowy admin approval is bad news and likely to be very elitist. The fact that it specifies on usernames 'no annoying fanboy names' is so petty a rule it hints that someone on there has gotten far too much power to idulge. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on November 15, 2009, 11:56 am

JumptheShark.com - Websites
The worst, most infuriating and frustrating thing about the TV Guide replacement is that in place of the wonderfully interactive JTS site, it wasn't possible to even send a message to those snobs who ran the site to ask where the old site went. It just seemed like complete cowardice, as if they knew they'd get a hostile reaction and didn't care one bit, and so closed the door on and dismissed anyone who wanted their say on the matter. It disgusts me to be honest. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on November 13, 2009, 5:54 pm

Star Wars - Movie Series
The prequels had so many weaknesses. The first one I remember being really suspenseful and action driven and impressive on a big screen, but it was let down by the daft comedy of Jar Jar Binks and how annoying young Anakin was. Attack of the Clones was something of a drawn out mish-mash collection of sub-plots that mostly go nowhere, and Anakin was just as annoying, although the scene in the gladiator pit with the savage giant cats was really good. Revenge of the Sith I think was the best of the three of course, very effective and really got under my skin, and even featured a good performance from Hayden as Anakin, and Emperor Palpatine really stole the film for me, but even then the dialogue had its shaky, clunky and irksome moments. It's strange because I don't actively hate the prequels but I don't think they did the film series any favours and I don't really count them. My personal canon is simply the first three films making up the trilogy. The prequels just don't have that something that made the original three Star Wars films what they were. They don't have the magic, the organic humanness, the believability, or even the sense of a just cause, hence they don't feel like real Star Wars to me. Some people lump Return of the Jedi with the prequels as being just as bad, but I completely disagree. Return of the Jedi had the old likeable gang, rather than the new unlikeable characters, it moved the overall story forwards rather than backwards. its certainly the reason why I'd take Superman 4 over Superman Returns). Besides it still had the old school feel- no CGI, a very Earthy feel, done with the old spirited frivolity and elan as opposed to the politicking po-facedness of the prequels except when Jar Jar Binks is on screen and turns it into a kid's slapstick film- as if the makers can now only do comedy if its really overt and patronising, or can only do rogueness in the characters if its really adolescent and obnoxious. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on November 12, 2009, 6:33 pm

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - TV Shows
Actually I've just remembered what the final straw was for me. It was another one of those awful episodes after Buffy's resurrection (where she seems just really ridiculously bitter that her friends brought her back for the dead) that ends with everyone depressed and avoiding each other, which was bad enough, and then in a final twist we just see her making out with Spike out of the blue. Suddenly Buffy just wasn't the character she used to be, now she was someone who'd make out even with a psychotic vampire she was normally instinctively pledged to destroy and certainly never had no sexual feelings towards before. It was a degrading character assassination too far. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on November 12, 2009, 1:29 pm

Twilight - Movie Series
I don't understand the hate this film gets. There have been far worse chick flicks and I think it was very faithful to the mood of adolescence- the whole thing of the main female character feeling clumsy and awkward and like she doesn't measure up, and then introducing the vampire characters- the perfect charming, agile superhumans and thus reinforcing that its the fallibilities and frailties of an adolescent that make us human. I thought it was beautifully done. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on November 2, 2009, 10:56 am

Buffy The Vampire Slayer - TV Shows
Season 3 is where it jumped the shark for me, right from the beginning. Season 2 had been the show's peak but after that it seemed to believe its own hype and importance, with a tendency for horrible, melodramatic, heavy handed moralising like "Beauty and the Beast" and "Consequences", and a lot of the stories just felt half hearted and weak, as if the writers felt they had the formula down pat and didn't even need to try anymore. Case in point being when Buffy finally tells Giles and Willow that Angel was cured when she killed him and simply says in conclusion "it felt good to let it out", instead of saying something more cathartic about how the spell at least afforded her the chance to say goodbye one last time to the man she loved- its a small thing but it indicated to me that things had gotten lazy. There were some good, strong and thrilling episodes that season like "The Wish", "Helpless" and "Earshot" and the odd guilty pleasure a la "The Zeppo", but even then the show was taking a turn for the worse with the 'Scooby Gang' becoming a rather obnoxious, cliquey and vindictive bunch. In later seasons though we became burdened with dull, humourless and obnoxious characters like Dawn and Riley that the show kept demanding we care about, the show became more and more horribly man bashing "Beer Bad" and the arc leading to where a much put upon Spike tries to rape Buffy, and the series just became more melodramatic, shrill, heavy-handed and depressing in a way that just left a hollow shell to the show, and Buffy became less and less like someone you could admire or respect or even want to know. In some ways it was worth it for "The Body", which was a fantastic episode, but otherwise it seemed like the show would have been better ending with the "Becoming" finale. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 8:08 pm

Saw - Movie Series
Infact the closest thing Saw III had to a redeeming feature was a sense of finality in bringing Jigsaw to his final end (even if typically this meant the villain having to have a bridge dropped on him). But even that became invalidated when they carried it on with the next three Saw films in what looks to be a depressingly dragged out, never ending film franchise that should have just been a one off. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 7:49 pm

Saw - Movie Series
Saw III is where it really jumped. The second film wasn't that good to be honest (and the twist was an absolute cheat) but at least it had some wit and had some sense that it was about something more than just torture and misery and cruelty. But Saw III is to my mind just a nasty, reprehensible film that has to render its characters really inept and stupid in doing things to get themselves killed in the most horribly contrived and nasty way possible. When this happens there's no way it works as horror because there's no suspense anymore, because the character didn't have a chance of surviving because the writing has limited them and there's no way of empathising on a primal level with their survival instinct. I think the suggestion that Saw became too much like the Hostel flims really does the Hostel films a disservice, because Hostel at least does what it does right without ever seeming contrived about it or like its trying too hard, and honestly is unpredictable, spontaneous and has the essence of life at its most primal about it. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 7:46 pm

Cloverfield - Movie Series
I thought it was a very impressive, tense and memorable film with by likeable people in a relentless and thrilling predicament. It's one of the few films of recent times (aside from The Orphanage and Watchmen) to really leave a deep and memorable impression on me afterwards. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 7:36 pm

Superman - Movie Series
I voted Superman IV- The Quest for Peace. The first two films were solid of course. The third film had its flaws (a not very memorable villain, rather random plotting, and a supercomputer in the ending that seems to have been pulled out of the writer's hat) but it also had its charms, particularly in regards to the Smallville scenes and Superman turning bad and having that metaphysical fight with himself, and I'm willing to overlook the comical edge and slapstick since it gives the film the nostalgic feel of a 1940's film. But Superman IV- The Quest for Peace, it wasn't good. It didn't quite have the humour of the previous films, Superman wasn't up against anything really threatening, the film seemed to be a string of contrived set-pieces that went nowhere (the recap of the Superman and Lois flying together, and the bit where Nuclear Man decides to fly around the world causing random chaos and Superman keeps cleaning up after him to the point where it becomes so predictable it becomes boring and really makes you miss when the Superman films really were inspired and spontaneous stuff). But all that said, I would take Superman IV over the more recent Superman Returns anyday. At least Superman IV actually felt like a Superman film and had some hints of the old spirit and enthusiasm, rather than being some dour, grey, depressing, numbingly overstylised and lifeless film that Superman and Lois seem to have stumbled into by mistake. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 7:28 pm

Battlestar Galactica 2004 - TV Shows
Jumped at the beginning of Series Three. The show had been mostly good up until that point. A bit po faced, pretentious and macho with a tendency for sound and fury melodrama but it was mostly a solid show that held up and was worth a watch, and the Pegasus episodes were the show's best. Then in Season 3 things turned really mean spirited, with Conoel Tigh having his eye gouged out for no good reason, and his wife sleeping with a Cylon (there'd been a horrible whiff of misogyny in how the show presented Tigh's wife but here it just went too far), and then when Tigh found out he killed her. It was just completely out of character for Tigh to do that to his wife, and it was forced in a very brutal way. After that we got the episode Collaborators which was more of the same kind of character assasination where suddenly the cast of characters lost all conscience or genuine sense of will and motivation and simply became pawns for a wrtiting team that loved to make them commit amoral and murderous actions for sensationalist purposes. The whole thing became impenetrably pretentious and devoid of any humanity. Everything about that season was just mean spirited, depressing, meandering, self-involved rubbish that destroyed all good will I had to the show and left me completely unable to care about what would happen next to the characters. The only redeeming aspects of the third season were the interrogation and trial of Baltar with Adama making a brilliant speech about the madness of the lynch mob that Galactica had become. But other than that I did not watch beyond the third season and have no desire to in the future. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 5:39 pm

Battlestar Galactica 2004 - TV Shows
I voted the New Caprica business. I think it was a pretty good sci-fi show up to that point, even despite a tendency towards just loud sound and fury (I thought the scene in Season 1 where Cally is held hostage on the prison ship and is nearly raped was needlessly nasty and sensationalist). But all the same the Pegasus episodes in Season 2 were the best of the bunch. Then come Season 3 it went downhill. I'd always felt quite uncomfortable with the misogynistic portrayal of Conoel Tigh's wife, but here it went into nasty extremes with her sleeping with Cyclons to gain her husband's release only for Tigh to find out and poison her to death. This just seemed so out of character for him and forced in a very brutal way. From that point on the show just became impenetrably pretentious and nasty with no genuine humanity to it, characters simply became subservient pawns for the writers when they wanted them to do something amoral or sensationalist and to have no conscience about it. The whole season from there was just so depressing and meandering and mean spirited that it destroyed all good will I had for the show, and I ceased to care what happened to the characters anymore. Only the lead up to Baltar's trial (particularly Adama's brilliant speech about how 'we're not a civilisation anymore, we're a gang') made it just about worthwhile watching. But other than that I haven't bothered with it since Season 3. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 5:22 pm

Terminator - Movie Series
In some ways the franchise would have been better leaving it with Terminator 2- Judgement Day, but actually I thought Terminator 3 was an impressive and kick ass film- the only trouble is that it meant there had to be a fourth film to show what the future war would be like, and it was something I'd always wanted to see, but Terminator Salvation was such a disappointment. It was a vacuous, ramshackle, plotless and forgettable film with no real heart to it- the scene where one soldier is told about his brother's death and he couldn't react with any less emotion if he tried sums it up. The first three films and the TV show (which I actually thought was alright) had a raw sense of heart and of making a difference and the human spirit, and had been building up the future John Connor as this mythic, superhuman heroic figure who inspires confidence, respect and hope in everyone. As it happens Terminator Salvation finally showed us this figure, only for the film to not even be interested in him. There was no centre or focus to the film and it ended with a sense of nothing achieved or learned. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 4:24 pm

Alien Movies - Movie Series
Alien 3 is where it jumped. Yeah I'd agree the whole arbitary killing off of Newt and Hicks was a horrible start, but overall I think the problem with Alien 3 is that it just isn't engaging or involving. The first two films sucked you in and held your attention. This one just feels like a tedious and utterly depressing time-killing exercise. There's nothing sympathetic about the characters, nothing enticing about its environment, nothing thrilling about the predicament because you don't care what the alien does anymore, it won't be anything new. Its like the makers knew they'd have an assured audience of fans on the strength of the previous films and didn't feel the need to make it involving or engaging. The Alien vs Predator films are much the same and Alien Resurrection just felt incoherent, and like Alien 3 it was populated by nasty characters and a repellently mean spirited tone. Should have ended it with Aliens. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 4:07 pm

Star Trek - Movie Series
Star Trek V- The Final Frontier. Up till this point the Star Trek films were on the up. Even The Motion Picture had its chilling moments, but Star Trek II- Wrath of Khan was a big step up, then Star Trek III was a transitionary film and Star Trek IV- The Voyage Home was the best of the lot. With the series on the up and featuring characters that for twenty years had honed their magic and charm, for some unexplained reason Star Trek V- The Final Frontier suddenly made the franchise feel desperate. Gone was the organic storytelling and naturally spontaneous characters and in its place was this embarrasing, undignified and contrived display of cheap slapstick jokes at the expense of the characters. Still it had its moments. Star Trek VI- The Undiscovered Country was a great return to form, Generations I actually thought was a very powerful, haunting film. First Contact was fun to watch the first few times but it was ultimately a rather shallow 'greatest hits' shopping list package. Insurrection was terrible, Nemesis was quite good in my opinion, and the new Star Trek film was mostly impressive but marred by the odd need to rewrite the canon rather than just declare it an unconnected remake, and as ConfusedMatthew pointed out the villain had no decent motivation and the Kobayashi Maru scene just made Kirk look like he was having a laugh rather than proving an intellectual point. -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 4:02 pm

Red Dwarf - TV Shows
Series 7. Even in the first two episodes with Rimmer the show was becoming overblown, gratuitous and nasty, for example the AR scene where Lister cheats his way into the queen's pants. But when Rimmer left and Kochanski took over they tried to force the same kind of antagonistic dynamic there'd been between Rimmer and Lister, except this time with Kochanski and Kryten. But there was nothing natural or sympathetic about this rivalry. It was forced in a way that made Kryten behave extremely out of character in being jealous and hostile towards Kochanski and neurotically trying to highlight every petty problem he had with her slightest faults or habits, which proved problematic because Kochanski didn't have much of a character to pick realistic fault with. It was just unpleasant and mind-numbingly unrelenting and vindictive and there was no way to relate to it, suddenly the Dwarfers no longer seemed like a group of people you'd want to hang out with. Duct Soup was nothing but a needless, mean spirited parade of misery and from beginning to end it was just the crew being nasty to each other with nothing achieved or understood at the end. The final laughs also started to become extremely cheap. Series 8 was something of a pick up but the solid plotting wasn't really there anymore, and comedy scenes became random and no longer evolved naturally from the story or plot. The final episode bordered on incoherent. Back to Earth was pretty unfunny and unsatisfying. Ideally the show should have ended with either Back to Reality, or the Out of Time cliffhanger (in which case end it with the 'To Be Continued' caption removed so that its clear this is the end) -- Submitted By: (Tanlee) on October 28, 2009, 9:57 am


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