I’d absolutely watch that: A quick thought on M*A*S*H

So I’m at the bar and staring at a few gin bottles and for some reason my mind wandered across to the show M*A*S*H (possibly because of all the recent talk about North Korea and Kim Jong-Un’s continued testing of bigger and better missiles and talk of a possible US military response, possibly because we’ve got a Korean bartender and two Korean cooks who are just awesome, and make the best fucking fried chicken you’ll ever taste). My mind goes to weird places sometimes. Anyway, I’ve had to explain to someone recently about how gin is grain alcohol that’s had juniper berries added somehow (generally infused). That without juniper berries it’s just not gin, it’s vodka. At this point I remembered Hawkeye and Trapper (later B.J Hunnicut) had a love of dry gin martinis, going so far as to keep a gin still in their tent, and a question occurred to me: where were they getting their juniper berries?

Seriously, where were they getting their juniper berries from? They’re in an army hospital a few miles from the frontlines of what was a massive fucking war, often struggling to get supplies and equipment even through the black market (in fact that was the theme of a couple of episodes if I remember correctly), and juniper berries are not native to the Korean peninsula. But they clearly say they are drinking gin martinis and, as I’ve already mentioned, without juniper it’s just not gin. It’s vodka.

What I’m getting to is that I would totally watch a show about a Korean black market juniper dealer braving snipers and shelling to ensure that US army doctors can enjoy their dry martinis without having to resort to using vodka (like peasants). We can call it SM*A*S*Hed, or something less stupid and copyright-infringing, and it can be about more than just juniper. Maybe he also smuggles peat to a Scottish tank crew? Maybe he’s struggling to fill and then transport a big order of sugarcane to an Australian warship with a monopoly over the supply of rum to the rest of the allied fleets. There’s a lot you could do with this. Give him a dark yet hilarious past and a sassy cockney lesbian business partner and I reckon you’ve got television gold.

There you go Alan Alda, I’ve done the hard work for you. Now make it happen. ‘Cause I’d watch the hell out of that.

First impressions of the new Doctor Who

Tardis sketch 2:8:14 Edited

It’s that time of the… year? Has it been a year since the end or beginning of the last season of Doctor Who? Hold on a second, I’m gonna check… Season 7 started in September 2012 and ended December 2013. Christ almighty, even if you don’t include both the Christmas specials and 50th anniversary thing it didn’t end til May 2013. That’s ten months to air 13 goddamn episodes! Did they plan to string it out for almost a year or was it just good luck? How long does it take to make one episode? What, did they spend four months arguing over exactly what shade of red his bloody bow tie was? Deep breath (topical). Moving on, starting with: Spoiler warnings.

The stars have aligned properly and the new season of Doctor Who has started. We’ve had two episodes thus far with Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor so I figure it’s a decent time to give some highly opinionated first impressions. I’m liking his performance so far, which seems understated yet animated, and I yet live in hope he’ll go all Malcolm Tucker (NSFW) on some poor bastard. Probably make a Cyberman cry. That would be awesome.

As for the episodes themselves? Well the first one (Deep Breath) didn’t blow me away and the second one (Into the Dalek) was better, but still not spectacular. Perhaps the biggest flaw for both was that they’d already been done better in previous seasons with The Christmas Invasion (S2E1, the introduction of David Tenant) and Dalek (S1E6, an episode about a crippled Dalek and the Doctor’s hatred of the species being overcome) respectively.

But I’m hopeful. While Deep Breath didn’t grab me aside from the best description of facial features I’ve heard in a while (“These are attack eyebrows!”) and the always chuckle-worthy Strax (I can’t stand Madame Vastra and Jenny anymore), Into the Dalek was a little more interesting and his attempt to bring the Dalek to the light side at the end felt a lot less contrived then some of the pseudo-philosophical monologues that poor Matt Smith had to deliver. They also seem to be going back to more self-contained ‘monster of the week’ stories with an underlying narrative that I’ll guess will come together in the last episodes of the season (like the appearance of the words “Bad Wolf” were for David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston’s Doctors), instead of the extended story-arcs of Matt Smith’s tenure (and thank God for that).

So yeah, hopeful enough to keep me watching for at least the first half of the season. I am praying that they get past the whole ‘Is the Doctor a good man?’ moralising that they seem to be leaning towards. Because it’s Doctor Who. The people who care about that kind of unnecessary characterisation (including myself) need less free time, and the target audience is too young to care.