Category Archives: Entertainment

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2014

Just some quick hits from my experience last night at Horror nights. It’s usually one of my favorite places to go as I love the Terror Tram..

Parking: A nightmare. It took us over an hour to park. I had to bale once we got to the structure to pee and then once I got back, the car only moved 10 spots. Daniel and Windy then bailed and I finished parking the car. There has to be a better way to get into Universal parking – I think next year I’ll try coming from the Barham Blvd. side instead of Lankershim.

Construction: Once you get it, man is this place under construction. They are getting ready for there huge expansion and it shows. I’m actually quite excited to see how it comes out.

New rides: Finally rode Transformers and Despicable Me. I liked Transformers better than the original Spider Man ride it is based on in Florida. Just seemed sharper and better integrated. Still had no idea what the storyline was about though. I’ve only seen the first Transformers movie and that was a long time ago.. Despicable Me was cute, but since I didn’t make it past the first 20 minutes of the first movie, I think it was lost on me. The ride seemed like a mini version of the Simpsons/Back to the Future Ride and that one does not agree with me. I don’t like seeing the other vehicles – it takes you out of the story.

Terror Tram: Seems like it was a bit weak this year. Not really sure why but maybe the excitement has work off as it’s pretty much the same since the last few years. I chalked up to too much walking.

Mazes: Some good and some terrible! I think the Walking Dead and From Dusk till Dawn were my favorites, and the Clown one was just awful. I am glad we were with Windy and got the reservation times to come back because waiting three hours for a 2 minute maze just isn’t something I think is worth it. But everyone else seemed to enjoy themselves.

I hope the new Harry Potter land and the tram route expansion will add some new life into the park – will be interesting to see how these are integrated into the Halloween overlay.

One thing that sucks is that I have vivid nostalgic memories of Universal (and all of the other SoCal theme parks) that my modern viewpoint has trouble topping. In other words it seems like new visits can never top the memories of the old ones. Probably because I can never be a Klingon again. I look forward to a time when I can make that happen and have as good modern memories as nostalgic ones.

Thoughts on Deep Breath

Such a great episode of Doctor Who and I am so glad it is back. Regeneration episodes are not really my favorite as I have never really cared for the whole “getting to know the Doctor” plot line, although I understand it helps get people into the new character.

I thought Peter Capaldi was brilliant as the Doctor and Jenna Coleman shines as Clara. Capaldi’s Doctor just felt right. I think he has just the right balance of the character we know and love and still leaves the door wide open for whats new and what could possibly come. Reminds me of when Tennant took over in The Christmas Invasion. No idea where he was going to go from there.

I feel bad for the character of Clara as it was tough following the Ponds who were really popular and then having to deal with the whole “Impossible Girl” plot line which never let us truly see Clara and the Doctor interact. It wasn’t until the 50th plot lines of “Name of.., Day of.. and Time of the Doctor” that I felt Clara and the Doctor finally had real chemistry. Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) said it best in an interview that he wished he had another year with Clara as they were finally hitting their stride.

In Deep Breath, Clara is forced to interact with a new Doctor and at first her reaction puzzled me and didn’t sit right. After the events of “Name of the Doctor” and “Day of the Doctor” she should be pretty used to the idea of regeneration and that the Doctor becomes different people. I didn’t understand why she was having such a difficult time accepting the new Doctor and his new face. Then it hits me. Clara is really the on-screen representation of the Doctor Who fan who is experiencing the first change of “their” doctor. In a way, it is like Osgood in the Day of the Doctor who was a Doctor “superfan” just like those of us in the cinema watching on the anniversary with our scarves and sonic screwdrivers. As fans, we are used to the idea that the Doctor has changed and every time he does we have to get used to a new one. But when it comes to the Doctor that we really connect with and time for him to change, it can really affect us in ways we don’t anticipate.

On a personal level, this really hit me and now I totally get how she is and it’s a bold move by Moffat and Co. to call it out. Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor was always my favorite growing up but by the time I was really into the show he had long since regenerated into Peter Davison. I remember with Classic Who that Tom was my doctor and the rest just weren’t the same. There was not real emotional connection since this was all in the past. As much as I loved the Doctor, I really didn’t have to experience it since it already happened.

Flash forward to the reboot series and David Tennant’s 10th Doctor really connected a current Doctor to me for the first time. He really sold me on the character in the new series and made me appreciate the show more. So when he regenerated in 2009 it really hit me hard like how 11’s regeneration hit Clara. It felt like a part of me died (I know not really but in a small way) and I know I was in mourning for a while. Clara is asked to immediately recognize the new Doctor and doesn’t have the luxury of 3 months off like we got between End of Time and the Eleventh Hour. So after not getting it and not sitting well, I have a whole new appreciation for what Moffat was doing there and it has been interesting reading people’s tweets about the episode going through the same thing.

As far as the cameo goes, I still don’t know how I feel. It’s the first time we see a doctor so close to when he just regenerated. It almost feels like it robs Capaldi of the spotlight and deprives Clara of making the decision on her own to trust and help the new Doctor. She’s a strong character so relying on a phone call from the past seems like a weak way to get past a plot point. Random sidebar: this cameo reminds me of the movie Evita where Madonna is singing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” and instead of focusing on her and getting her an Oscar nomination, the director cuts to clips from earlier in the movie to completely take you out of the emotion of the scene. Probably the only scene that still doesn’t sit well in the premiere, but I hope like most of my nitpicks on Who episodes, it will fade over time and I will learn to love it.

So as far as Regeneration episodes go, it’s a pretty good one – I’d still give the edge to The Eleventh Hour as my favorite one (mainly due to the cameo in this one). All in all, again, this was a great start to the new series and I am glad the show is in great hands.

I can’t wait to see more.

New Doctor Tomorrow!!

Tomorrow is the launch of the new Doctor on the BBC’s long running show Doctor Who. I’ve been excited for Peter Capaldi’s Doctor since it was announced a year ago that he was taking over for Matt Smith. After all the hoopla for the 50th anniversary, which I enjoyed immensely, I have been looking forward to a new era. A new Doctor always gives the production team a chance to take the character in a new yet familiar direction (sometimes good, sometimes not so good – but even then they usually figure out what happened and make it right – see the Sixth Doctors evolution from the beginning of his series to the Big Finish Audio Dramas).

The BBC has been ramping up their promotion of the show – even taking it on a world tour and showing audiences the premiere episode and then doing Q&As with the stars. Despite the leak of the premiere and some scripts earlier this year, I have stayed relatively spoiler free. Daniel is in better shape as he has not even seen the previews and the official sneak peaks. Like going into the 50th, the less I know the better. That way I can have a genuine reaction as Moffat and Co want.

There is part of me that wants to film a reaction video, but I watch the show so intently, I tend to not react outwardly very much. Daniel suggests that we do a drunk reaction video, but I am so excited to see the show I don’t want to miss anything.

In the meantime, please enjoy Peter Capaldi’s first scene as the 12th Doctor and one of my favorite moments from the 50th special.

Visiting Twin Peaks Again

My Twin Peaks Media collection - VHS, books, and posters not included

My Twin Peaks Media collection – VHS, books, and posters not included

It’s Throwback Thursday and I am spending as much time as I can re-watching Twin Peaks. My Entire Mystery Blu-ray has arrived and I decided after watching a few of the missing pieces, that I would start at the beginning and re-watch the series before I watch Fire Walk With Me and the Missing Pieces. Trying to be disciplined!

So far I am up to Episode 6 and so far I think the Pilot and Episode 2 remain the best episodes of the series. Episode 2 is so great on many levels and ends with the fantastic dream sequence. I do also love the full version of the dream sequence that is on the European version of the pilot (reminds me I need to watch that too!).

More Twin Peaks thoughts coming soon!

New Doctor Who Series 8 Trailer

With Series 8 just around the corner next month, the BBC premiered a one minute trailer looking at the upcoming season. I am really looking forward to the Twelfth Doctor and from the trailer it looks like we are in for quite the epic ride. BTW – DUH! Spoilers!!

I think over the past few years, they have done a good job getting me excited about an upcoming series or special with these trailers. Some of my favorites of the last few years are below:

The 50th Anniversary Special
I was so excited for the 50th anniversary special, but after the first couple of teaser trailers I was not feeling it. This trailer, first shown at Comic Con, sealed the deal and put me into overdrive waiting for the episode.

Series 6
Featuring trailer music from Two Steps from Hell, this trailer had just the right amount of epic-ness to get me stoked for the season.

End of Time Part 2
Probably my all time favorite – after the finale of part one, this trailer was just stunning to behold and I probably watched it 100 times in the week between part 1 and 2.