BBC

Longbourn Showdown: Which Pride and Prejudice Version is Better?

Today in my Jane Austen confessional, I admit that I love both recent modern adaptations of Pride and Prejudice–that is to say, both the 1995 BBC version, and the 2005 Keira Knightley version. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, particularly when it comes to casting. I was recently mulling over a glass of gin, watching the lime wedge twirl around inside of it and muttering about what would make the perfect adaptation if only I could breed the two versions and add my own bits. There was a lot of wild gesturing, especially when I got to the bits about the Darcy performances. And since that seemed to keep me distracted for a couple hours, I figure it’s probably time that I put fingers to keyboard and organized my thoughts on the matter, sans gin.

Just to make this fun, let us do this in true showdown fashion. Like Thunderdome, but with more ribbons and carriages.

Elizabeth Bennet

Lizzie BennetsJennifer Ehle vs. Keira Knightley

Neither are the perfect Lizzie whom I pictured while reading the book. Ehle’s take on Lizzie is a little too sweet and coy. What is supposed to be a slightly cutting and wry wit is softened maybe just a tad too much. Whereas, Knightley goes too far in the opposite direction, making Lizzie a bit too moody and angry, and worst of all, not terribly clever. Appearance-wise, Knightley is almost entirely wrong. I do love her wardrobe immensely, but she is far, far too skinny for this role and would have been considered sickly looking for the time. In contrast, Ehle is much more fitting. It is only a shame that they did not allow her looks to be a little less formal. I wanted my Lizzie to have a just slightly feral look to her–not quite as buttoned up and pinned as her peers. Still, though I loved Knightley’s chemistry with her Darcy, this one hands down goes to Ehle!

Winner: Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet

Best Elizabeth Bennet


Jane Bennet

The Better Jane Bennet

Susannah Harker vs. Rosamund Pike

Sweet, shy Jane. This is not a terribly challenging role, I imagine, but it is nevertheless important to pull off the perfect tone. Lean the wrong way, and Jane acts like a simple fool, or worse, a simpering lump of clay. And this is where Harker treads ever so slightly. Both Janes are all sweetness and humility, but Harker fails to demonstrate even the mildest passion, even when Jane is hushed away in a bedchamber with her little sister. Too sedate. Pike, on the other hand, was able to achieve the coyness and gentleness of spirit, while still seeming ensnared by the idea of romance. That extra breath of life gives Pike the edge. Plus…you know. Come on, let’s just out with it: There were some beauty issues with Harker. Allow me to declare firmly that Susannah Harker is a true beauty. But the 1995 styling did her no favors–especially in the hair department–and her pregnancy during filming altered her delicate facial features into a more mannish appearance. Trust me, she has my utmost sympathies on this count. While I dislike neither Jane, I must choose but one, so here it is.

(more…)

Every Doctor Who Episode Ranked

Ah, the modern Doctor Who episodes. So many handsome Doctors, so many companions, so many catchphrases! Oh, how can one glorious human attempt to rank each and every (modern) episode of the arguably greatest show in television history? Basically with a lot of coffee, maybe some wine, and an incredibly patient spouse.

Be forewarned that while I do not exact judgement against specific writers or directors (ahem, Moff), I do have a lot of affection for light-hearted romps and historical / literary episodes.

Oh, and I play favorites with certain companions. It’s no secret that I simply adore Rose  and Doctor Donna with every beat of my single human heart. And while I have a gentle fondness for Mickey, Rory, Craig, and Clara, and a meager tolerance for Amy and her narcissism, there is no quibbling about how much I loathe Martha.

Yes, I said it. Love her as you will, Marthites! But the woman couldn’t keep her mouth closed most of the time and spent most of her episodes bumbling in confusion and requiring rescue. Her puppy dog crush was just pathetic to watch, and Freema Agyeman’s acting skills were cringe-worthy (please, learn to look terrified with your mouth closed, woman!).  In fact, the only time I even begin to understand the Marthites’ affection for the character is when the writers get her away from the Doctor! All of a sudden, she becomes sharp, commanding, autonomous, and a little kick-ass. The Doctor is her stupid-juice.

Anyway, where was I? Is it hot in here? Yes, I’m sweating. Stupid Martha.

Well, what I have achieved is, quite humbly, magnificent perfection and probably the final word on the subject. Right? I’m sure no one can disagree with me. And should you feel tempted to allow outrage to course through your veins, remember that your cup of tea may not be mine. Maybe you’re a Marthite, or a confused Donna Hater. And if you haven’t invested the hours in organizing your thoughts on the matter into a very thoughtful list that was endlessly tinkered with, then your opinion should be shushed! This project was a lot harder than it looked at the outset.

Allons-y!

106. “Daleks in Manhatten” / “Evolution of the Daleks” (season 3, episode 4/5)

image

Pig-men. Vapid caricatures of 1930s New Yorkers. One ridiculous Dalek in a pin-stripe suit. More pig-men. Love story. Martha. More pig-men. I’ll confess to you right now that I really love nearly every Dalek episode, mostly because I find their angry tin voices and quizzical eye stalks just adorable. But also because, respect. But these two episodes sullied the name of Dalek with this insultingly ridiculous beauty-and-the-beast style plot cloaked in a forced thematic setting. There was so much ripe fruit in the 1930s era for the writers to pick from–serious topics that would do justice to all of the economic turmoil, innovation, bravery, and terrifying warfare. And this is what they gave us. And worst of all, they made us sit through it in two agonizing long parts. With Martha Jones. Almost unwatchable.

(more…)

Doctor Who: River Song’s Timeline Put in Order

Leave it to Moff to take an fun and dynamic Doctor Who character like River Song and make her backstory gobsmackingly confusing. After re-watching the series many times, I still twist my arms around each other pointing to an invisible air timeline when trying to sort out where River’s been and when. To help sort out the jumble of Melody Pond’s life, below is a reconstructed chronology.

(Do I really need to say “Spoilers”!?)

Liquid Baby

image

Melody Pond was born to Amy Pond and Rory Williams on an asteroid called Demon’s Run, where Amy was being held captive. The baby was named for Amy’s childhood pal, Mels. Shortly after her birth, Melody was spirited away by Madame Kovarian, leaving a baby ganger in her place, unbeknownst to Amy (well, at least until the ganger liquified). Before the baby ganger went to goo, baby Melody was able to meet the Eleventh Doctor for the first time through her link with the ganger.

Orphanage of the Damned

image

Melody was kidnapped by Madame Kovarian and The Silence in order to train her to assassinate The Doctor. Because she had been conceived in the Time Vortex (though how Madame Kovarian knew that for sure is a little creepy, amiright?), The Silence believe she has special Time Lordy abilities, including regeneration, cleverness, etc.

So what do they do with her? The Silence dump her in the Graystark Hall Orphanage in 1960s Florida ( Oh THANKS, The Silence!), presumably while keeping very close tabs on her and continuing her training / wiping her memory repeatedly.
(more…)