by Julian Spivey
On Monday, Nov. 25 hundreds of Whovians, hardcore “Doctor Who” fans, packed into multiple screenings of the long-running British science fiction series 50th anniversary special “The Day of The Doctor,” being shown for one night only in 3D and on the big screen at the Cinemark Towne Center in Conway, Ark.
They were welcomed with a life-size replica of the TARDIS, the time machine that the heroic Doctor uses to travel through time and space, which proved to be the hot spot in the theatre lobby for fans to take photos with. Many of these fans were dressed up or decorated as their favorite Doctors or characters from the series – complete with bow ties, fezzes, tweed jackets and sonic screwdrivers from a myriad of different Doctors. There were also a few dressed as the TARDIS itself smattered about the crowd.
It was a really special moment to be able to share such an incredible anniversary for a much beloved television series with over a hundred fans who feel just as passionate about it as you are. It’s clear there is something about these Doctors and their companions that really speak to the fans of this show and really become a big part of their life, even if it is on the surface about a weird alien traveling the universe doing good and defeating evil monsters in a 1950s British police call box.
It was delightful getting to share laughs and heartwarming moments with fellow Whovians for two hours as applause erupted no less than a dozen times through the special and sonic screwdrivers could be heard throughout the room.
It was also fun knowing that a good portion of the audience seemingly hadn’t opted to spoil the special by viewing it on BBC America two days prior, so the ones in the audience who had previously seen it could smile in delight in the first-time reaction from many of their Whovian brethren.
I previously reviewed the episode, which you can read here, but the theatre viewing added tenfold to the experience simply getting to see it on the larger than life big screen, as a show of this magnitude should be seen, and in exquisite 3D that really makes the heroics of the Doctors and the threat of the Daleks and Zygons come to life. It also took a second viewing of “The Day of The Doctor” for me to realize just how unbelievably hilarious it was – by far, one of the funniest episode of “Doctor Who” that I’ve seen. Also, adding to the wonderful theatre experience was the added features both before and after the screening, most notably our favorite Sontaran, Commander Strax, hilariously informing the audience of proper theatre etiquette before the main feature.
Art, like television series, really has a way of bringing people together to form their own unique community, where everybody can share in their love of one specific thing and not have to worry about anything else in the world for a while. The special showing of the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary special was an excellent opportunity for this community to get together and share some laughs and their passion for “Doctor Who.” There really should be more opportunities for fans of pop culture to do so.
by Julian Spivey
After barely two months as a television network FXX has canceled one of its three original programs, “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” which came over from his parent-network FX (along with the network’s other two original programs) when the new network debuted in September.
The show was the network’s foray into late night talk show land and was met with mixed results and mediocre ratings. It was a show that I watched frequently, but honestly won’t cry for its cancellation and likely won’t even miss it all that much, despite believing the network should not have canned it this early. Two months into a new network is not an appropriate time to cancel a show, especially one that people have a hard time finding because they can’t find your network or even know that it exists.
“Totally Biased” was certainly a mixed bag of a show, but what it did well it did very well. Host and creator W. Kamau Bell is genuinely likable and a comic genius when it comes to political humor. His opening monologues almost always seemed to contain numerous laughs and the show’s hard-biting political satire was right up my alley as a comedy fan. However, after a while these opening monologues would become the only segment of the show that I would watch.
The middle segment was usually given to another one of the shows contributors or writers, which featured the often annoying likes of Janine Brito, Hari Kondabolu and Guy Branum ranting and raving about something that typically offended them and was generally not that funny. Dwayne Kennedy was the only contributor that was almost always hilarious, but he walked a fine line of being funny and just being offensive. The final segment of the show was dedicated to an interview, conducted by Bell, with a guest. These interviews could be good depending on the guest, but I’ve always believed that interviews don’t fit well in a half hour late night talk show. Hence only about the first third of each episode was really worth watching. Maybe with the show still being in its early stages FXX could’ve given Bell time to retool his show and it likely could have worked.
The biggest con for the show was that it really pigeonholed itself. The show was really only geared for liberal viewers and not even just liberal viewers, but mostly African-American viewers. Sometimes the show’s humor could even be outright hateful and walk the thin line of actually being racist, which came off as highly hypocritical as much of its humor (even though I appreciated it) trashed others for being racist. Sometimes it seemed like Bell and his staff only felt like racism was something perpetrated by white people. It’s hard to find an audience, when you’re frequently insulting much of the available television audience.
“Totally Biased” and Bell had a lot of worthwhile things to say and did so in an often funny way, but the show’s cons just proved to be too much for the show to handle despite the hilarity it was capable of providing.