Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Apple: Using the News for Advertising

So, the story on many news sites today is the alleged excitement building over the new Apple product that will be announced today. The BBC article does its best to summarise all of the rumours and suggestions that have been zooming around the internet, while the Guardian goes one better, encouraging you (the reader of the Guardian, not the reader of this blog necessarily. Unless you are a Guardian reader as well, in which case it's ideal for you, isn't it) to "crowdsource" the details of this new product, allowing you to choose what you think the name, weight, price, etc. of this new product will be.

Personally I hope it'll be called the iHype (which is a good joke, but I stole it from somewhere, and I don't remember where, so I can't credit the person who thought of it. So consider it mine. :P) and that it'll consist of a single white box with a screen that just randomly displays the words "Thanks for paying for my new house. Steve Jobs."

As you may be able to tell, I'm not the biggest fan of Apple products. Don't get me wrong, they're well designed, and do the job required of them, but I don't see them as the big renaissance that people treat them as. The only item of Apple I would actually like is the iPhone, simply because it is well designed and helpful, but then you reach the other problem.

The cost.

Apple products are just so DAMN expensive!

So I have no plans to migrate to an Apple for a computer, or an Mp3 player, or a phone any time soon, and the launch of this "iTablet/iSlate/iPad/iWhatever they're going to call it" isn't going to have any effect on me whatsoever.

But what annoys me is that if any other major technology company was having a press conference to announce something, it might be considered worth one small article hidden away on a technology page, but when Apple does it, it's front page news... They don't need to advertise now, the news and hype is doing it for them. And that just seems wrong to me...

But anyway. I am now going to declare my hatred for this new product before it's even been launched.

*Deep Breath*

It's an over-hyped, pointless, over-expensive, overly-shiny piece of crappy technology with at least one major flaw in it.

I wonder if I'll be proved right? ...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Most Dangerous, Corrupting, Mind-Warping Book of ALL TIME!

OK, I don't want to sound like Noel Edmonds on "Noel's HQ" (A suitably demented TV program that I only became aware of thanks to Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, where Noel Edmonds basically tells everyone that we should be happy and that if councils or other authority figures do anything to stop us we should RISE UP AND KILL THEM (He doesn't actually say that, although it would be funnier if he did, instead he just complains about things like a council making a decision to not allow an ex-soldier to build a bungalow, without knowing any of the reasons why, implying that since he fought for us he should be able to build whatever he wants wherever he wants) ) but I just read a news story that is both hysterical and ridiculous.

This is a story about a high school in the U.S. who have banned a certain book from classrooms. Now stop for a second and try and think of a book that couldn't possibly be banned...

The Bible? No, that's not banned

The U.S. Constitution? Nope. They can still read that.

The book that has caused most offence is.. *drum roll*.... THE DICTIONARY!

If you are too lazy to click on the link I so conveniently provided (and if you didn't then how do you expect to get the maximum satisfaction and entertainment from this blog? I mean, if you're not going to take the time to do auxiliary reading, then maybe I just won't tell you what it says, so that you have to look. Except if I do that, then I can't carry on. Oh OK, this time I'll let you off. But next time, click on it!) then you won't have read the funniest bit of this story yet, which is as follows:

"This was because a child had found the definition of "oral sex" in the book (I'd guess it's there along with a lot of other "bad" words)."

Shock horror, there's a definition of Oral Sex in the dictionary?? (If I was a trend-setter, I'd use the new SarcMarc on this sentence, but I'm not. Plus you have to pay to download it, and frankly I was using sarcasm in the written word long before they invented it, so they can bugger off! :P ) Of course there is. I remember spending many happy English lessons looking up rude words in dictionaries, isn't that what they're there for?

This does make me laugh. Then there's the assumption written at the bottom of the article that says

"I'd guess they don't let children near the internet then"

I wonder if they do? I hope so, because you can find MUCH worse things than a definition of "Oral Sex" on the internet. (This blog for instance. Or BBC iPlayer, which is a brilliant way of wasting time. Or such simple things as a hamster in a wok (I dare you to watch that and not laugh)).

But my question is, what will they ban next? The story of King Arthur due to its incest, black magics and violence? Romeo and Juliet because "impressionable" students might attempt to copy the double suicide at the end? But of course we know what it is they'll ban next. It's the only logical step.

The Thesaurus. Because not only would they be able to look up the definition of "Oral Sex", they'd learn it can also be called going down, licking out, blow job, giving head, muff diving, sucking off, carpet munching and many many more....

On a scale of one to ridiculous, this banning of the dictionary is so far off the ridiculous end of the scale that it's entered a whole other dimension of ridiculousness. And that's a fact.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Angry Heroes Rant - SPOILERS!!

OK, I warned you in the title... this is angry, ranty and very spoiler-heavy, so if you don't like this, I suggest you back away quietly...


I mean it. Don't read on if you don't want to know...

I just watched Heroes Episode 16 (It's called Episode 15 on screen, because they counted the two hour premiere as one episode.. so maybe it's episode 15. This doesn't really bother me.) It's the one that aired in the US yesterday. And I would just like to say that the last ten minutes of it have just completely RUINED all the good that the episode did.

Started watching it, it's a pretty average episode, but it picks up. Sylar and Claire actually have some form of interesting conversation, Mohinder (who has been missing for about 11 of the previous episodes) decides to fuck off back to India again (which is always a good thing), and Hiro becomes the defendant in a wierd, tumor-based hallucinatiory trial, where he is tried for using his powers for his own personal gain.

By far the best thing in this episode is the return of Adam Monroe (granted, as a figment of Hiro's imagination, but anyway...) who gets all the best lines, and reminds me of why he was the only thing worth watching in Season Two. His best being, while Hiro is defending his decisions "Objection your honour, he's reciting the opening to Quantum Leap"..."

Sadly, we also get a plot about Samuel and his lost love, Vanessa, which takes us exactly nowhere new, because she leaves him at the end of the episode, so there's been bugger all in the way of development between that and the end of the previous episode, where she wants to go home.

But what is this ending that's got you so angry? I hear you ask...


Hiro, after being found guilty of using his power for personal gain, walks down a corridor towards a white light. Then he gets challenged to sword fight Adam. Then he wins. (Bear in mind that this is all IN HIS OWN HEAD). Then his mother appears, he says he's ready to go, she says "There are some things more important than science, like destiny", and cures his INOPERABLE brain tumour with a kiss.

Yes, that's right. A kiss from a figment of his imagination has cured his inoperable brain tumor.

Even for Heroes, who I know are reluctant to actually kill anyone, that's a new low.

Oh, and now Samuel's really angry and has made a town collapse (because Vanessa doesn't want him) and Sylar has turned up at Matt Parkman's house for no reason other than they need to bring Matt Parkman back into the story.

Seriously, this is ridiculous. And I wish I could say I would have no part in any more of the season, but I know I'll watch it. Just to see if it can get better. Or alternatively, to see if it gets even worse .... I just hope there aren't many episodes left...

Silent Truths

This is a blog detailing my opinion of Silent Truths, the facts that we all know are true, but no-one ever risks saying in real life, so we cover them with lies. But I'll take that risk (Please don't all lynch me at once). So listen, learn, and silently agree (Or disagree. Or agree but loudly. Or loudly disagree. You have lots of options really, and I apologise for appearing to limit your options in this, my opening paragraph).

The Lie (As perpetrated by anyone who sees a friend or relatives baby) : Your baby is so beautiful!

The Silent Truth: Babies are not (usually) Beautiful

Most babies look the same to most of us (And yes, by "us" I suppose I am generalising to men, as I am a man so I can't speak on behalf of women. I bet it's true to them as well though.) And if they all look the same, then it's very rare you'll see one that is "beautiful", as that would imply it looked better than the rest. (By that nature, you're also very unlikely to see one which is "ugly" either). Yes I understand that if it is your baby then you think he or she is beautiful and unique, that's great, that's what you are supposed to think. To many of us (and I'm not being sexist, but this particularly applies to men, and mostly men without any children of their own) your baby looks just like any other baby. Or occasionally, it looks like an alien. (Incidentally, this is not a good thing to say to someone who asks your opinion of their baby... ) When children grow, then they develop features and individuality, but as newborn babies, they are all very similar. (Or maybe I just don't understand because I haven't had a child. This is also possible)

The Lie (As perpetrated by parents) : Fast Food chips are all the same

The Silent Truth: There is something addictive in the coating on Burger King's chips

I swear this has to be true. The weird coating makes the chips taste good, even though they are greasy, and whenever I've finished a portion of them, I want more. Even if it's a Super Size Portion. (Or, alternatively, I'm just a pig who can't stop eating junk food)

The Lie (As perpetrated by your girlfriend/boyfriend/fiance/fiancee/husband/wife/partner (I could have just used partner as a description, I know, but I don't really like using that word, it sounds clinical and cold. However, it would have meant that this heading didn't take up masses of space. OK, you win, in future I'll use the term partner. Happy now??) : I don't get jealous

The Silent Truth: Everyone gets jealous.

Of course we get jealous. We all do. The only differences are to what extent it bothers you, and whether you admit it or not. If I see a guy I don't know chatting to my girlfriend (and if I consider him to be a better looking guy than me (which is pretty likely, although I know that my girlfriend probably wouldn't, unless it's Ewan McGregor, because for some reason she finds me attractive, for which I am eternally grateful) ) then I will get a little jealous. If I see him attempting to make contact with her, or he touches her arm, or he starts attempting to do any of those things that sleazy "How to get girls" articles tells you to do, then I'd go over and introduce myself (and probably give my girlfriend a long, lingering kiss) because that way any chance for flirting he has goes out the window. But this isn't a bad thing. The only reason it's a bad thing is if it's so out of control that you don't let your girlfriend go out with her friends without you in case she meets someone who flirts with her, or if you insist that you don't get jealous to her while simultaneously judging every man she comes into contact with.

Just relax, and be truthful. I freely admit I'm a jealous man, and I do my best to control it. I think it's a good thing, because I feel that the same pool of feelings that causes jealousy also causes other traits such as defending your girlfriend when someone is mean to her. It's all part of the same coin. I know it's different for different people, but my point is this.

Everyone gets jealous. Learn to deal with it.

The Lie (As perpetrated by schools and the government) : Science and Maths are cool

The Silent Truth: Maths and Science will never be "Cool"

This comes to be courtesy of an advert I just heard on the radio, in which a sound engineer for a big rock band is insisting that he got into acoustics in science and maths at school, and that led him to his career. Regardless of how true this is (99% of sound engineers I know got into the music first, and then learnt about acoustics from there) it is still not going to make science and maths cool. So stop trying government, it's a waste of the taxpayers money.

The Lie (As perpetrated by the government, lawyers and angry feminists) : Women are equal to men

The Silent Truth :
Women are not equal to men... and they don't want to be.

As I said at the start of this blog process, please don't lynch me. Allow me to clarify my statement. I do believe that women should have equal RIGHTS to men, so I don't think they should get paid less, or not considered for jobs, or discriminated against in ANY WAY. However, I don't think women are equal to men, and I don't think they want to be. I can't imagine any women would want to live in a society where it is deemed as acceptable for a man to punch a woman as it is for a man to punch another man, for starters. I also believe that women like some of the perks of being a woman, such as men doing gentlemanly acts such as holding the door open for you, or opening hard-to-open jars or whatever...

Plus, we all know that women are better than men, they can multi-task, they can usually keep people under control much better, and they look FAR better naked than men do... (Or is it just me who thinks that?) Plus, and let's be honest here guys, they are much better at reasonable arguments than we are...

*Prepares self for barrage of criticisms and insults from both sexes regarding this Silent Truth. Once the barrage has finished, moves on*

The Lie (As perpetrated by the partner invoking the dissolution of a relationship): It's not you, it's me

The Silent Truth: It's Blatantly You

At the end of a relationship there are often lots of lies and Silent Truths floating around, but this is the biggie. From my limited experience and knowledge, anyone who says "It's not you, it's me" is basically just trying to say "I don't like you anymore. Now please, go away and leave me alone", and it should never be taken as truth by the partner it is being said to, as thinking about it and wondering what you could have done differently will end up eating at you for absolutely ages. So if there are any of my readers who were unaware of this Silent Truth, please, if you take nothing else from this blog, take this. This sentence is never true.

So that's my take on some Silent Truths that we all face. Anyone have any suggestions for any more? Feel free to leave them in the comments below...

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Music Today...

OK, I appear to be accumulating material for blogs faster than I have time to write them, so there may well be a glut of blogs appearing from me..

What do I want to talk about today? Music. Now, before I carry on, I should explain that I am probably not the best person to speak to regarding popular music, as I've never been a big fan, and I've got worse as I've got older, barely ever buying or listening to new music, preferring instead to listen to old bands I know and love (or new albums from the same bands). However, I saw this and it quite frankly depressed me.

The Brit awards shortlist. Which reveals to us that Lady Gaga, Pixie Lott, Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen and JLS have all been nominated for three awards.

Is this hell?

Seriously. Did the world go to hell and we didn't notice? It's not that I don't like these artists (although I don't), it's that they are all so generic, so dull, and so vapid. I know the Brit awards is all about Pop music, but seriously, if you look at the top 40 from this week alone, there's a significant number of more interesting artists than the aforementioned five. (And, on a side-note, you can see how well the TV series Glee has been received, due to the number of songs by it's cast that have made their way into the top 100. No I haven't watched it yet, but people tell me it's good).

Also, there's a rumour that after the shock of Iron Maiden winning Best Live Act last year, they've decided not to do that category anymore, so that there aren't any surprises. But this isn't the worst piece of Brit award news. The list of nominees for Best Single is the worst piece of news. Seriously, it's dire. Completely awful. And to prove this, in an unbiased way, I shall actually listen to each song right now on Spotify, and offer you my opinion on each...

Alesha Dixon - Breathe - Opens like it's a 90's dance tune (maybe by Sash), but when you expect the beat to kick in and drag it up to a good speed... the rest of the instruments (and by instruments, I mean samples) arrive and you realise that it's staying at this tedious pace for the whole song...and there's nothing that even pretends to be a hook or memorable chorus...

Time until I had to stop it - 1:48... but I'm guessing nothing else exciting happened through the rest of the song...

Rating - 2/10 - Very little to recommend it

Alexandra Burke Ft Flo Rida - Bad Boys - Well it has at least got some production on it... and it moves at a decent pace. I did find myself nodding along subconsciously, and the chorus sticks in the memory a little. It's no masterpiece, but I can see why "the youth of today" like it. Never thought I'd say something this positive about an X-Factor winner, but there you go...

Time until I had to stop it -2:26 - I actually wanted to check if it would do anything different in the middle, sadly it did, it had a generic rap interlude in the middle...

Rating - 5/10 - It was the pure definition of average/OK, but given the competition that surrounds it, it stands out so far...

Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love - Feels like it's almost the same as the Alesha Dixon song, except a tiny bit faster and in a different key... And that's it. Seriously, can no-one write a memorable chorus anymore?

Time until I had to stop it -1:49

Rating - 2/10 - Seriously, who'd buy this.

Joe McElderry - The Climb - Slow, dull piano and strings to start. Annoying voice. Generic chord structure. I couldn't tell you what I think of the lyrics, because no matter how hard I try to listen to them, the song is so dull that my mind wanders off and my brain stops processing words...

Time until I had to stop it -1:02 - I couldn't bear anymore. I'm guessing that the arrangement has some guitar and drums that kick in at the start of the second verse, there's an uplifting middle eight and then it goes up a key for the final chorus. Am I close?

Rating - 1/10 - Shit. Pure shit.

JLS - Beat Again - Again, not my kind of music, but like the Alexandra Burke track, at least it has some form of production so it feels like effort has been put in. No memorable chorus though. Although it does sound like a LARGE majority of chart music I've been forced to listen to in the last five years (to the point where I could fit the lyrics of one onto the music of this. Not accusing anyone of plagiarism, I'm just saying..)

Time until I had to stop it -1:58

Rating - 4/10 - Generic. Bland. Background noise, but I wouldn't bother to turn it off if I was in mid-conversation and had to get out of a comfy chair to do so.

La Roux - In For The Kill -First thought - are we back in the 80s? Then, after a moment, I realise I have actually heard this before, which means that somewhen, somewhere on a radio, this has made an impression on my brain, which none of the previous songs have. Again, a memorable chorus, and for a change, a memorable voice, rather than one of the bland identikit ones we've had so far.

Time until I had to stop it -I listened to it all... and this was rewarded by the fact it has a middle 8 that does something mildly different!

Rating - 6/10 - I still wouldn't listen to it out of choice, but for pop music it's not bad.

Lily Allen - The Fear - I shall do my best to be fair, but I absolutely hate Lily Allen's voice. Production's nice, bit of a retro vibe with the synths, but the song itself feels like filler... the kind of track where if you were listening to an album you'd skip this particular one if you can be bothered but if not, you'd just sit there and entertain your brain for three minutes rather than listen to it. No chorus of any kind that I can hear, and I would say the bass guitarist must get bored, but they've just looped him. Oh and there's some generic swearing (although not on the version on Spotify I'm listening to, but it's easy to work out what she's saying).

Time until I had to stop it -2:02

Rating - 5/10 - Mildly better than Alexandra Burke or JLS, this is still generic background pap.

Pixie Lott - Mama Do - Does she want to be Christina Aguilera? I mean she does the voice wobbling thing, she's a blond girl, and she's trying to sound like she has a big voice, but only sounding big when backed up with a chorus of backing singers? (Or herself, multi-tracked to oblivion). Again, 80's synths all over the place, and generic song. Although the chorus does irritatingly stay in your mind.

Time until I had to stop it -1:41

Rating - 4/10 - Yet more background pap. I can't imagine why anyone would choose to release this song as a single...

Taio Cruz - Break Your Heart - Again, this starts off sounding like a 90's dance tune, complete with synthed finger clicks/hand claps... but it follows through, and the whole thing sounds like that. And it's once again, completely generic. It's OK though, probably one of the better I've had to listen to. And again, it has a singable/hummable chorus.

Time until I had to stop it -2:53 - I would have stopped earlier, but I wanted to see if it did the traditional 90's dance tune thing of dropping out all the bass and drums for the second to last chorus before dropping them back in for the finale... which it does.

Rating - 6/10 - If you'd tied me down in a chair and made me listen to all of these songs in a row, this'd be the one I remember as being "not awful."

Tinchy Stryder Ft N-Dubz - Number 1 - I was worried my opinion of this would be coloured because it's the last one I had to listen to, therefore I'd be sort of looking forward to it. Don't worry, it wasn't. This one lasted the least amount of time, and I can't comment on most of it. Why? Any song that feels the urge to state the names of the artists in the song itself deserves to get thrown in the bin and set fire to, and then pissed on by tramps to put it out, and then thrown in a landfill where it gets eaten by rats. Consequentially, I didn't get far into it.

Time until I had to stop it -0:16, for reasons detailed above.

Rating - 0/10 - If I'd listened to the actual song, it may not have been the worst on this list (because I'm sure it can't be worse than The fucking Climb), but since I only heard the intro and cut it off in anger, that is how it shall remain.

This is the best of British Pop? Oh dear god... seriously?? Ignoring the fact that four of those "artists" (A term I use in it's very loosest sense) are direct results of X-Factor (And yes I'm counting Cheryl Cole amongst those, because without X-Factor she wouldn't have a solo career, she'd simply be known as "That one from Girls Aloud who married the footballer") it's still appalling. They're all either ballads or R&B of some kind, and just... no. They're rubbish.

So in conclusion, which would I pick for Best Single?

Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine... :) Or is it too late to start a petition?

P.S. On a sad side-note, it was announced today that Boyzone are releasing a new single with Stephen Gately's vocals on it (Obviously recorded before he died, they didn't get a medium to contact him from beyond the grave....) While I think it's sad that he died, this really does seem like such an insensetive cash-in. I mean really, Boyzone didn't reform for artistic reasons, they re-formed for money and someone (be it the band themselves, or someone within their management/record company structure) has decided that they'll make a fortune by releasing something now. And the sad thing is? They're probably right...

Monday, 18 January 2010

An Overreaction to Twitdiculous Twaddle!

OK, this wasn't the post I planned on writing today, but this news story made me jump up and down with both hilarity and anger, so I felt I should write about it.

For those of you who read the news story I linked to, you can ignore this quick summary of the story, but for those of you too lazy to do so, it is as follows: Man got angry with airport closure due to snow, man posted anger in form of a sarcastic threat on Twitter, man got arrested, interrogated, bailed and suspended from his job.

Hmm... Can you say overreaction??

The thing that bemuses me is the following paragraph:

"Mr Chambers said the police seemed unable to comprehend the intended humour in his online comment. "I had to explain Twitter to them in its entirety because they'd never heard of it," he said. "Then they asked all about my home life, and how work was going, and other personal things. The lead investigator kept asking, 'Do you understand why this is happening?' and saying, 'It is the world we live in'.""

Now, to me, the weird thing is not that the policemen involved had never heard of Twitter (As I am aware that there are people who do not keep up to date in the world of the internet and social networking, either through choice or ignorance) but it's the fact they seemed "Unable to comprehend the intended humour in his online comment". Had none of them ever had a bad day? Sworn at a driver? Sarcastically threatened someone in a vague way, without that person being anywhere near?

And as for the bit about "The lead investigator kept asking, 'Do you understand why this is happening?' and saying, 'It is the world we live in'."" Do you really think that terrorists, proper terrorists, would post a message on their own page on Twitter, threatening an airport that they'll blow it up in a WEEK AND A HALF'S time???

As far as I understand terrorists (and I am no expert mark you) they either want to blow stuff up and injure lots of people - so they give no warning, or they want to blow something up and not kill people, so they give like an hours warning. Not over a week.

And the most ridiculous thing about this story? "He has been bailed until 11 February, when he will be told whether or not he will be charged with conspiring to create a bomb hoax. In the interim, detectives have confiscated his iPhone, laptop and home computer. "

Firstly, Charged with Conspiring to create a bomb hoax?? Conspiring with who?? He offered the information on a two-way conversational medium, where anyone could have asked him whether he was serious... and secondly, they've confiscated all his stuff, presumably so he doesn't do it again, but why?? Who seriously thinks this is a good use of public funds to prosecute him??

It's a worrying state of affairs when you can't express yourself through sarcasm without being arrested... looks like I'm screwed!

Next time on Brawny's blog - A dramatically revealing article... (Well, sort of. It's not that dramatic. Or that revealing. But I'm hoping it's good...)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Raising Awareness of... something...

OK, just before I start, I'd like to point out that I know this is the second Facebook-based rant that I have posted in two days, but it happens to be things that are bugging me....

So anyway, I was on Facebook a few days ago, when women started changing their status' to a colour. This intrigued me, especially as if you asked any of the women in particular then they'd send you a private message if you were another woman, but if you were a man (like I am) then they just wouldn't tell you. After a little investigation (one of the many situations where Google is your friend), I discovered that the colours being listed were bra colours.

OK, fine. True, this gave me information about some people I didn't really want, but fine.

Then I read this, and got thoroughly confused. So this was all part of a scheme to promote breast cancer awareness? Surely the fatal flaw with this plan is that it didn't post awareness, because unless you googled it (or alternatively until the press picked up on it) you had NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON!

Seriously, isn't the point of promoting awareness to, you know, promote AWARENESS, not confusion?

And now, there appear to be other status' bouncing around Facebook. In the last two days I've seen people putting up things like "Soft and Slow", "8", or "3 1/2 inches :(".

And in all these cases I have absolutely no idea what is going on.

I don't care that much, but the strangest thing is that I find it sexist. I don't like being excluded from things because I'm a guy. I don't mind being excluded because I don't know what's going on, or I don't understand, or I don't care, but this "Women only" attitude is irritating.

What, may I ask, is the point in not telling us men? Would it have had a knock-on effect where less people would have had awareness raised of your bra colour? No. It's just stupid.

Having just spent a few minutes on google I've uncovered this which tells me that the three things that have been posted so far are Bra Colour, Shoe Size (with inches written after it), and Hair style.

I'm not knocking the approach, I'm all for new methods of advertising / information (just look back at viral marketing campaigns for films such as the Dark Knight), but surely if I have to go and dig up the information, then it's not so much raising awareness as TYPING IN RANDOM CRAP.

I'm done now.

Oh and in case you're wondering... Red.


Monday, 11 January 2010

Seriously - are people stupid???

OK, today I'm going to have a bit of a rant about an old favourite with a new twist...

Chain Letters

Now I am aware that these are as old as the hills, being as I used to receive them regularly by e-mail (and still do very occasionally), and I'm told that they used to be sent on real paper back in the pre-internet days (which of course I don't remember, being too young... honest :P ) but this weekend, whilst browsing around Facebook, I've discovered them popping up in comments all over the place. And they're hilarious. And stupid. People would need to be really messed up in the head to believe in these things.

So I thought I'd look at one in detail, and see how stupid it could be...

"In 1997 a girl named Lauren was walking in a forest and suddenlydisappeared; she hadn't been discovered untill 2000 when a young girlnamed Mary found Lauren's body which had chest markings that said, "Iwasn't pretty enough.""

So this is the opening, the setup if you will, attempting to tell you a scary story to freak you out. Except it's not particularly scary. Forgive my jaded 21st Century mind, but while girls vanish while out walking more often than we would like, it's not a rare occurrence. And there have been much more disturbing things found carved into corpses than "I wasn't pretty enough." Also, the lack of specificity in this example is breathtaking. No place, surnames or any hint as to where this happened. Also, you will notice that the person typing this has a specific lack of skills as far as spelling, grammar and use of the space bar is concerned. Moving on...

"Lauren's ghost will appear in your mirror,telling you that you're not pretty enough and ................................. See More... See More... See More... See More... See More... See More... See More... See More... See More... See More... See More... See More... See More... See MoreSee More"

OK, firstly (and I hate to ruin this for anyone) GHOSTS DON'T EXIST! Secondly, even if they did, I'm damn sure that the ghost of a murder victim would have better things to do than appear in mirrors to random girls (and I'm not being sexist here, this specific chain letter appears to be targeted towards girls as I can't think of many boys who would care that they were "not pretty enough". Except maybe Carl :P), and I like the fact that the first part of this threat is so lame. Oh, she's going to appear and say "You're not pretty enough?" I'd turn round and reply "At least I'm not dead!" And what's with the repetition of "See More"? It's to fill up the comment box because, on Facebook, if you write more than a certain number of lines, (I think it's four or five) then you have to click on a "See More" button to reveal the rest. It's basically the same dramatic effect as they used to achieve by putting loads of line spaces in an e-mail. Let us read on...

"she will kill you. She'll will repeatedly tell you, "See more,see more, see more.." The same happened to Mary, and she died shortlyafter."

This seems like an awfully stupid plan to me. She'll kill you and THEN tell you "See More?" or she'll tell you "See More" first? It seems awfully strange that she'd say it anyway, being as she was murdered in a time before Facebook, so the phrase would mean NOTHING to her!! This section ends the story, as Mary, our inquisitive non-specific young lady has been killed. So what can we do to avoid this terrible fate?

"To save yourself, copy and paste this into five other band'scomment boxes. THIS IS TRUE! Since you have started reading this, donot stop. Keep in mind that you need to send this to five other bandsin 143 minutes."

This is where what little reality was left is torn up, stuffed in a box and casually tossed out of the window of common sense and run over by the dustbin cart of fantasy. Firstly, the page I found this on was NOT a band's comment box, so that girl's dead anyway... Secondly, anyone who feels the urge to state "THIS IS TRUE!" in capital letters is overcompensating. It's not true, it's bollocks. And why 143 minutes? They could at least have used some number that corresponded to something in the original story... Also, on a purely logical note, how on earth did this story get out if Mary died without posting? (Which she can't have done, because Facebook didn't exist at that time) And does this ghost have a giant server permanently tracking every iteration of this message to check everyone's doing it correctly? Sounds like a lot of work to me...

"When you're finished, press "F6" and your crush's namewill appear on your computer screen in big letters as a "reward" forpreventing yourself from being killed."

Oh dear god. Where to start? Press "F6" and your crush's name will appear? What kind of programming whiz is this ghost? And why would she want to tell you something YOU ALREADY KNOW?? Are you seriously suggesting that she is floating around in her ghostly way, checking everyone who's posted it, reading their mind and then reprogramming the source code of Facebook with a specific name so that when you press F6 you can see it? And what kind of reward is that anyway?? I'd much rather she programmed next weeks winning lottery numbers into my computer so that when I pressed F6 i could see that instead! Why do I want to see something I already know?

"This is scary because itactually works"

No it isn't. Because no, it doesn't. You bunch of fucking retards.

End Rant.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Top Ten TV Shows of the Noughties - Brawnystyle! Part Two - May Contain Spoilers....

So I'm back, and this time it's with the second half of my Top Ten TV shows of the Noughties. If you didn't enjoy the last one, then you probably won't enjoy this! In order to mess it about a bit, before I start on with the top five proper, I'm going to throw in two more extras who don't qualify because they started before the year 2000.

Vampires, Demons and Street Gangs, Oh My!

What it is: Spin-off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, featuring good vampire Angel as he moves to L.A. and forms what is basically a crime-fighting team. But it's not as cheesy as it sounds.

Why I like it: Well crafted storylines, no fear of developing complex serial plot arcs, and it's ability to change the team / motivations / entire scenarios often enough to keep it fresh, but not so often it's confusing. It's funny, it's tragic, it's incredibly well-written, and most of all, it retains all the good elements of Buffy without having to put up with the bad bits (such as, well, the actress playing the titular character herself. Seriously. I know a lot of people find her hot, but I just find Sarah Michelle Gellar to be irritating, whiny and only capable of acting with three facial expressions (Angry, Sad and Smiling (And even when she smiles she looks dead behind the eyes))!! Dawn (aka Michelle Trachtenburg) was less annoying! Rant Over.) And also, Angel's final episode? Superb.

What I don't like: It's got a few filler episodes, and ones that just don't grip me (I am particularly reminded of Waiting in the Wings from Season Three, I don't know why). And some of the character hook-ups are strange to say the least (Angel and Cordelia? Really?).

Favourite Character: Angel. Or Spike (who doesn't stay with the show until Season Five I grant you, but his Season One guest spot is hilarious)

Family Guy
Shut up Meg.

What it is: You all know what Family Guy is, right? Surreal, stupid, animated show about a Rhode Island family including the maniac baby and the talking dog?

Why I like it: It is frankly hilarious. Not always, I grant you, but they follow the same comedic principle that drove films like Airplane! (Throw enough jokes at the screen and a good number of them will stick) and it works for them. They can do a wide range of stories, and, judging from creator Seth MacFarlane's ridiculously profitable deal with the FOX network, they will continue to make episodes for many years.

What I don't like: As I said, there are occasional jokes that do nothing for me, and references to (usually U.S. based) pop culture/entertainment that I don't understand, but none of that spoils my enjoyment.

Favourite Character?: Brian. Cos who doesn't love an alcoholic talking dog who likes to sing?

And now - back to the countdown... I can feel the tension as you read this...

05 - Torchwood
We fight aliens. In Cardiff.

What it is: Dr Who spin-off that follows the adventures of Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper and the rest of the Torchwood team as they defend the earth from aliens all the while being based in Cardiff.

Why I like it: Because it's one half Dr Who, one half cheesy 90's Sci-Fi, and one half crazy ideas and action sequences (and yes, I know that adds up to one and a half, but I think that's a very suitable description for Torchwood!) It doesn't feel that it has to sit in one place, and consequentially it can do whatever kind of stories it wants, from the crazy and stupid (such as Cyberwoman in Series One, where you get the wonderful visual of a half converted cyberwoman. In metal stilettos), through horror film (Series One's Countrycide) through to a serious thriller (most of Series 3 - the wonderful Children of Earth). Oh, and they have a cool base, and a pterodactyl. What's not to like?

What I don't like: Well, it's hard to say really. The first series was a little... variable in quality, but I enjoyed most of it nonetheless. And since then it's only gone up, until the frankly fantastic Children of Earth. It's one of the few TV shows that I have absolutely no idea where it'll go next... and that's exciting!

Favourite Character?: Captain Jack Harkness.

04 - Chuck
If he has a computer in his head, does it need virus checking?

What it is: Chuck, a college drop-out who works at the local supermarket's technical support section, gets an e-mail from his old college room-mate, which, when opened, fills his brain with NSA secrets and turns him into a walking supercomputer called "The Intersect"

Why I like it: Action, Comedy and Adam Baldwin all combine to make this an absolutely hilarious series. Again, it's a series with a formula, but that isn't afraid to throw in true game-changing twists to shake up the status quo. It has story arcs and ongoing threads, but not to the extent of you having to have seen every previous episode, and it just WORKS. It's great. Plus the central three performances from Zachary Levi (Chuck), Adam Baldwin (Casey) and Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah) are absolutely fabulous. And Scott Bakula plays Chuck's Dad!

What I don't like: There's not a lot really! It does, like most U.S. series' have a few filler episodes, but on the whole it's excellent.

Favourite Character: John Casey.

03 - Lost
Once upon a time, there was an island...

What is it: Seriously? You've never heard of Lost? OK, some people crash on a desert island, and weird stuff starts to happen...

Why I like it: It's an intricately plotted series, incorporating a large amount of science fiction and mythological elements, with (mostly) brilliant characters, and it's not afraid to pose question after question and to change the rules when required, but always sticking to it's own internal logic. Plus, it has BRILLIANT cliffhangers...

What don't I like: There were several filler / dull episodes in Seasons 2 and 3, but it's clawed it's way back from them and now it is essential viewing week in and week out. As I said above, most of the characters are brilliant, although Jack does spend far too much time moaning for my liking. Oh, and for some reason, no-one ever seems to tell anyone about things they've seen! And in some episodes, they do seem to be better at writing cliffhangers than the actual episode...

Favourite Character: Desmond Hume.

02 - House M.D.
The Doctor is in. But you might not want to see him.

What it is: Medical drama based around Dr Gregory House, a diagnostic specialist with a brilliant deductive mind and no interpersonal skills whatsoever.

Why I like it: What appears to be at first glance a bog-standard medical procedural show is actually a master-class in how to keep a long-running series interesting. The characters are fabulous, and sometimes the medical story takes precedent, and sometimes the character-driven stuff does instead. It's so well balanced, and not afraid of taking risks (for example, the end of Season Three / start of Season Four where Houses' fellows all quit/get fired, so he replaces them... and in a shocking moment for a television series, he KEEPS the new team, while the old team work in other parts of the hospital...) But all in all, I like it because of Hugh Laurie's performance. Very few actors could actively make you root for House while all the time doing things as mean as House does. I bow down to Mr Laurie.

What I don't like: It does occasionally segue into schmaltz, the way American dramas can do, and I'm a little worried that the current slight softening of House will end up making it just a standard show rather than the extra-special one it is at the moment. But that hasn't happened yet...

Favourite Character: Dr Gregory House. And Wilson obviously!

01 - Doctor Who
One Man, One Police Box, it's time to save the Universe!

What is it: It's Dr Who. The longest-running science fiction series ever. Watched by millions every episode (at the moment). What do you mean you still don't know what I'm talking about? It's the one with the police box and the guy with two hearts who can change his face... ringing any bells?

Why I like it: It's brilliant. And I am of the opinion that it has always been brilliant. Regardless of wobbly sets, unconvincing aliens and Colin Baker's costume, it has always had greatness within it. Sure it's been through phases, starting as a children's show, before graduating to Science Fiction, then going through periods of Horror and overt Comedy before returning to it's family show position it is in now. However, I suppose I ought to specify what bits of NuHu (i.e. Dr Who that re-launched in 2005) I like, being as that's the reason it's in this list. Well, I just think they nailed it. Both Doctors (Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant) played the part to perfection, and while they had some brilliant episodes and some average ones, some fabulous companions and some average, there's been nothing that I think has done any damage to the long existence of this character.

What I don't like: Again, it's had a couple of rubbish episodes (my own personal worst being Fear Her from Series 2) but other than that it's been brilliant. Except I don't really like Rose with the Tenth Doctor - just feels like there's no chemistry there and they tried to force it.

Favourite Character: The Doctor. Of course.

Well, good blog readers, that's it for my Top Ten TV shows of the Noughties. The Doctor won (of course he did, I would imagine that was a surprise to exactly NONE of you) but I just wanted to re-emphasise how much I've enjoyed it. Bring on Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor (Spring 2010).

Next time on my blog..... well I don't know what will be on here next time, because I'm not psychic. So wait and see...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Top Ten TV Shows of the Noughties - Brawnystyle! PART ONE: From Ten to Six...

So, being as we've entered a brand new decade, and being as I've watched an AWFUL lot of television over the last ten years, I thought I'd make my list of the best TV shows of the naughties. (I hate that name for the decade, but sadly, it appears to have stuck.) My own personal rules for this state that the TV show has to have premièred within the decade, so any show that aired before 01 Jan 2000 is out. Even if it had only shown one episode before then.

So here we are, in traditional reverse order, my top 10:

10 - Scrubs
The hospitable hospital comedy

What it is: The odds of one of my blog readers having never seen Scrubs is ridiculous, unless you have purposely squirrelled yourself away from it, it is, after all, on E4 almost as much as Friends is. A half-hour sitcom shot on single camera about a group of young (and to start with at least, not very good) doctors, this series manages to get more laughs per minute than 90% of other U.S. comedies.

Why I like it: Plain and Simple. I like it because it is funny. The laughs range from the mild grin of amusement all the way up to the gut-busting roar of mirth. Not a weak link in the cast, and for the most part, the writing is smart and idiotic at the same time - which tends to be how I like my comedy! Also, especially in the earlier seasons, they had a nice balance of comic and tragic, which felt like the show gained some extra depth, and they allowed the characters to grow and evolve from their original creation.

What don't I like?: Well, the new (only aired in the U.S. so far) Season 9, in which most of the original regulars have left is patchy, but seems to be getting better, and Seasons 6 & 7 felt a little sterile, with too much left-field humour and too little serious (or medical) plot lines, but Season 8 went some way to re-dressing that balance.

Favourite Character?: Janitor. Or Dr Cox. It's a tough call between the two of them.

09 - Q.I.
The pub quiz connoisseur's program of choice

What it is: A panel show hosted by the "Nicest Man in the Universe"TM - Mr Stephen Fry, with the regular panellist being the "Curly Haired Man who knows he's going to be proven wrong"TM Mr Alan Davies, in which we learn that every important pub quiz fact we thought we knew, was wrong.

Why I like it: Because, once again, it's funny, and also it's genuinely interesting. Plus it provides you with useful information to impress your mates / family / girlfriend with. (This is less effective now that it's on BBC One and approximately 7 billion people watch it (this may be an over exaggeration, I'm sure that the exact figure is available somewhere, but since my idea of research is to pick a number from the sky and claim it to be true, that's the method I'm utilising here)).

What I don't like?: Being a panel show, there are some guests that are much more entertaining than others, but that is just the way the cookie crumbles...

Favourite Person: Mr Stephen Fry. For his dry wit. And occasional sodomy jokes.

08 - The Middleman
It's about a man, right, and he's in the middle of stuff...

What it is: Now this one is hard to describe, mostly because it's never aired in the U.K., so many of you will never have seen it. Based on the comic series, it's the story of Wendy Watson, an art school graduate, who ends up working as The Middleman-in-training for a shadowy organisation who fight super villains. Her boss is the Middleman, an ex-marine who swears like he's from the 50's. Oh and there's a cranky old woman who's actually a computer called Ida. Confused yet?

Why I like it: It's flat out brilliant. Hysterical, surreal and just plain strange. It only ran for twelve episodes (which is a crying shame) and these episodes contained things like tentacled monsters, terracotta warriors, trout-craving zombies, alien boy bands and cursed Tubas. And that was just the first seven episodes....

What don't I like?: It only ran for twelve episodes! And there wasn't enough Sensei Ping.

Favourite Character: The Middleman. Or Nozer.

Here's a trailer for the first episode. Watch as much Middleman as you can. Or better still buy the DVD set. It's great!

07 - Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Behind the Scenes of a fictitious comedy program

What it is: A drama series documenting the behind the scenes running of a Saturday Night Live-type show, starring Chandler off Friends (aka Matthew Perry) and Josh off West Wing (aka BradleyWhitford) and written by Aaron Sorkin (who wrote West Wing)

Why I like it: It's so incredibly well-written, that I actively want to be Matthew Perry's character (writing a 90 minute sketch show every week? That's a challenge I'd take!) Beautifully shot and well acted, the whole thing just feels glossy and wonderful and deals with relationships, work and touches on broader subjects too.

What don't I like?: It only ran for one season, and the last four episodes are a four parter, which I think is good ideas extended too far - it could have been a two parter and two other episodes... Plus it occasionally wanders slightly into a didactic arena, telling you how bad the war in Afghanistan is, for example...

Favourite Character?: Matt Albie

Again, here's a short clip for you, feel free to search YouTube for more!

06 - Black Books
Makes you laugh black comedy tears of despair

What it is: A sitcom starring the wonderful trio of Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey and Tamsin Grieg, about a drunk Irishman who owns a second hand book shop.

Why I like it: It's amazingly funny, tightly plotted and the performances are out of this world. Episodes can veer from black sarcasm to slapstick in the blink of an eye, and the whole thing is so addictive that one episode is rarely enough!

What don't I like?: Well, there's only eighteen episodes of it. And I didn't find series three quite as good as the other two. But it's still immense.

Favourite Character: Manny. For reasons why, find a copy of the first episode of season two where he plays the piano, and enjoy.....

Well, that's the end of part one of this list, part two shall be up in the next few days...

But as a bonus feature for you (or VAM as they now refer to it in the DVD industry, which stands for Value Added Materials, which is kind of a poncy name for it I think!) here are two of my favourite TV shows that didn't make the cut, because they both started in 1999.

Bizarreness of the highest order.

What it is: Sitcom which is both realistic of my generation, while at the same time being infamously surreal

Why I like it: Because, once again, it's hilariously funny. It stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Jessica Stevenson, and it's so much better than other sitcoms that try to be true to life, because it's true enough while still being amazingly bizarre!

What I don't like: Only two series' were ever made.

Favourite Character?: Probably Brian. *Throws paint at canvas*

West Wing
If only politics was really like this

What it is: Long-running drama about working in the White House. Sounds boring, but it isn't.

Why I like it: It's gripping, right from the start. The pilot has one of the best entrances for a cast member ever (as Martin Sheen's President Bartlett enters the room, having been referred to for most of the episode), and it just got better from there. The first four seasons particularly are gripping, beautifully written and well-acted all round.

What don't I like?: Well, seasons 5 and 6 lost their way a little, but Season 7 brought it back by completely changing the format of the show, and making it all the stronger for it.

Favourite Character?: Joshua Lyman.

So that's it for now... numbers 5 to 1 following soon! So stay tuned...

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The most unlikely of substitutions

OK, I just read about this, and I felt the urge to rant.

So ITV are looking to revive The Crystal Maze? I'm sure many of you, as I do, have a fond nostalgia for the original, and spent many hours creating your own Crystal Maze puzzles in your own room, then obviously being able to do it really easily, not realising that this was because you had created the puzzle and ergo the answer was already in your head. (Or was that just me? It was fun though...)

So do I want them to bring it back? Yes, I'd love them to bring it back. But not in the format that they are allegedly considering (Admittedly, I can't find any more reliable original source for the story than the Guardian Media Monkey Blog, who say it was in the Sun, so not massively reliable!) Apparently, they're considering offering the role of host to...

Amanda Holden. AKA The Charisma-Vacuum who somehow still manages to get regular acting and presenting work even though no-one I've ever met enjoys her performances.

To use her as the host of any bog-standard game show would beggar belief, but The Crystal Maze? Do they think that she could get anywhere close to the wonderful insanity of Richard O'Brien? Even Ed Tudor-Pole couldn't manage that (and he seems to have spent a career attempting to be Richard O'Brien as if unaware that the job was already taken)


Oh, but it gets worse. Remember all those days when you longed to be on the Crystal Maze? Knowing that they were all regular people like you (if often nerdier and with bigger glasses/hair than ever thought possible?) so you might have a chance?

Those days are over.

Apparently, and according to Digital Spy (who I know often just make stuff up, so I'm praying this isn't true) “It is also thought that celebrity contestants will tackle the difficult puzzles and physical challenges rather than members of the public.”

Is it just me, or are they running out of celebrities willing to be on shows to embarrass themselves anyway? What with the crop of shows such as I'm a Celebrity, Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Total Wipeout, Celebrity Face Slapping, Family Fortunes Celebrity and more, (yes I made up one of those) aren't we getting fed up of seeing celebrities doing things? Especially those who now appear to make a living by appearing in Celebrity reality shows, then in the tabloids, then in celebrity reality shows, then on some kind of documentary about their lives on ITV2?

What's wrong with using members of the public for this new Crystal Maze? (Not least because I'd blatantly apply!)

So I'm incredibly unhappy about this. Bring it back, sure, but use someone with a modicum of talent and weirdness to host it. Can you imagine Amanda Holden playing a Harmonica and talking about Mumsy while hanging around in a castle? No.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The End of Time or just the End of an Era? - DR WHO SPOILERS

Pulls up in my Internet-based-vehicle (ideally some sort of Harley-style motorbike) singing

"'Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la....."

Tails off and looks around. Notices that there is complete silence from the collective blogging community, checks watch and sighs.

OK, so I'm a bit late to wish everyone Merry Christmas and the like, but consider it done anyway. If you feel I'm too late for Christmas '09, simply save my best wishes for Christmas '10, as I am sure I will iterate them to you once again then.

Sadly, due to the demands of Christmas / New Year as well as the onset of the dreaded Lurgi (Ah, my dear Dr Seagoon. Allow Me. My Card, My Card, SNAP!) , I haven't done any blogging for the last few weeks. But this shall change.

Expect more articles from me over the next few days and weeks, but for now, to welcome in my first blog of 2010 (seriously, it's 2010! That's a date I only ever used to see stamped under the words "Best Before" on cans of Beans!) it is one of our old favourites...

A Dr Who Review!

Listens for applause. Is surprised to hear some. Mental note - must go and see psychiatrist due to being able to hear applause in my head.

Well here we go...

DR WHO - THE END OF TIME (Yes, this covers both parts)

In Which - The Doctor gets told by the Ood that some bad stuff will happen. The Master is infecting everyone's dreams, before rudely getting resurrected, James Bond turns out to be a Time Lord and David Tennant finally passes the mantle to Matt Smith.

What did I think - Well, it was big. The reason I'm writing this review of both parts together, is that I really didn't feel that part one stood up well on it's own, simply because it felt very strange, structurally. But as a whole, I really enjoyed it.

The return of the Master, while not really a surprise for this program (Dr Who does love to resurrect dead / extinct life forms at every opportunity) felt strange and weird, being as it seemed to utilise magic rather than anything else, which is an area Dr Who normally steers away from, but it did the job and returned him. With Jedi powers. Which was strange.

Speaking of which, there was quite a lot of obvious Star Wars influences across the two parter (The Master's lightning, the high council of time lords (which looked just like the council from the Star Wars prequels) and the gun turrets on the Vivocci ship to name but three), but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Seriously, who didn't love watching Bernard Cribbins dogfighting with lasers? It was fab.

So yeah, the Master's powers were a bit strange, and barely explained (although there was a line about his botched regeneration, which, if you watch Confidential/Listen to the commentaries such as I do, you realise that he has that energy because his cells are ripping apart, but it should possibly have been clearer in the actual program), but on the whole John Simm worked wonders, starting properly manic, and then calming down to be the Master we all know and despise.

The trouble with Part One though, was that most of it seemed to be Doctor chases Master, Doctor talks to Wilf, Doctor finds and talks to Master, Doctor talks to Wilf... oh wait, we've got ten minutes left, we'd best build up to a (admittedly fantastic) cliffhanger.

But then, once it grabbed and didn't let go, it was superb. The Vivocci, while appearing to be pointless comedy aliens, actually served a purpose to the plot (for a change), and the explanation for the Time Lords return made sense.

Yes, it was a bit deus ex machina that the Doctor returns them to the Time War by shooting the diamond, but the Master having vanished with them leaves ample possibilities for a return from either or both of them, so I like that. Uncertainty is good.

And then, in a completely unexpected move, first the person who causes the Doctors death is Wilf (which I didn't see coming, and yes, I know he didn't really cause the death, he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but still...), and then, the Doctor takes half an hour to regenerate, with just enough time to go and see his former companions....

This, for me, is the most divisive area of the episode. It felt, in many ways, as if it was done solely to say "This is the end of the RTD / Tennant era, so let's go back and see everyone we can." But it was done well. No speeches, no hugs, just little moments, and the prospect of Donna becoming a multi-millionaire. So yeah, I think I liked it. Also it seemed like a reflection of the real world, where the public has been aware Tennant is leaving for over a year, so it's felt all drawn out. Plus I can see how it's the only way they'd have got the Doctor alone in the TARDIS to regenerate, and he needed to be alone for the start of the new series.

But Martha married Mickey? REALLY?

The Good - Once again (as with Waters of Mars, and indeed most of the new Dr Who), I felt that the performances were exceptional across the board, the Time Lords were used sparingly and well, the plot made some sense, and we got a resolution (of the bad guys) where they're not utterly defeated, so bringing them back is easy. Oh, and how good was Bernard Cribbins? What a lovely man!

The Bad - I hate to say it, but Donna was underused and pointless. It's almost as if RTD came up with the episode assuming they wouldn't be able to get Catherine Tate, but then they did so he had to shoehorn her in. Her only purpose was to provide a third cliffhanger, which was then solved quickly, and then she lay unconscious in a street for the rest of part two. Also, the Naismiths were sorely underwritten and appeared to have no proper plan, but they worked as plot devices, so it wasn't too bad. Also, as I've previously mentioned, the pacing for Part One seemed very strange.

Conclusion - 9/10. It was a brilliant finale for David Tennant, and regardless of my Donna issues and the small pacing problems, it was a wonderful piece of televisual entertainment. Bravo RTD.

On a side note - who saw the trailer for the new series? Was the Dr really hitting an old-style Grey Dalek with it's own plunger?? - Bring it on :)