The Dark Side of Emojis: A Review

Spoiler-Free Synopsis of Doctor Who, Season 10, Episode 2, “Smile”:
Bill’s first TARDIS trip is to the future, around the 29th century. Humans have colonized a new Garden of Eden. But where are the people? What are the robots up to? And is there food sexism in the future?
The Doctor says he doesn’t fly around looking for trouble to fix, not anymore…but since he’s in the area.

Most of Doctor Who horror is based on jump scares and atmosphere. This one has the atmosphere of a futuristic story. The monsters chase you slowly because they don’t need to run. And when it’s not scary, it’s fun. Swarms of AI robots! Mood readers! It’s all so pretty…except for the bones. The dissonance makes it even scarier.
Meanwhile, Bill is still asking the right questions, much like Donna on her first trip (I loved that episode). But unlike Pompeii, this time the Doctor was right (as far as he knew), and Bill understood that. She loves learning from him; she’s in awe of him more than any companion in a long time. It’ll be interesting when she ends up disagreeing with him about something.
The plot was a lot of fun, too. Interestingly, viewers probably solved the mystery before the Doctor and Bill did, and we get to see them figure it out. But no spoilers!

The episode’s problem is the rushed pacing, especially toward the end. The Doctor comes to his brilliant solution way too quickly, and executes it too easily. If the story had been stretched into two episodes, there would have been more time to explore a couple of plot points that they blurred through, which I don’t want to spoil.

The “moral” of this episode was about robot slaves. Remember what I said a while back about Toy Story and Wall-E? Just because robot servants are smart doesn’t mean they’re slaves in need of being freed. They might just be smart robot servants and therefore effective robot servants. Of course, if the humans are in danger then something needs to change. But stop calling them slaves. You’re just asking for ethical subtext that doesn’t need to be there, not in an episode like this.

8/10 wishes on a magic fish.

What did you think of this episode? Let’s Connect!

@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

The Girl with the Freak Optical Effect in her Eye

Spoiler-Free Synopsis of Doctor Who, Season 10, Episode 1, “The Pilot”:
Bill Potts’ life just got real interesting. Her tutor, a strange man called the Doctor, has a mysterious blue box in his office and a mysterious vault beneath it. She has a crush on a girl with a discolored iris who seems obsessed with a strange puddle. And something is chasing Bill; it might be the girl. It might be the puddle. Bill has a lot of questions, but she loves learning new things, and the Doctor likes showing people new things.
Let’s talk about Doctor Who. (I always want to talk about Doctor Who.)
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Not since the Davies era have we had a companion as genuinely human as Bill Potts. She asks the right questions, kind of like Donna Noble. Her mum seems remarkably like Rose Tyler’s. And for the first time since Smith & Jones we got a companion introduction from the human perspective. We get to see the Doctor as an intergalactic man of mystery, as he should be.
Speaking of him, I love Capaldi’s Doctor. Chris Eck’s version is “my Doctor,” but Capaldi’s is the best. He’s even showing character development, getting better at caring for people. And that lecture about Time! I love this show.
To add to the air of mystery, this season’s Bad Wolf Plotline is unlike any other since the show’s reboot. The Doctor knows more than he’s saying, and the little clues will probably come from him rather than random graffiti or prophecies from strangers. That will keep me interested.
And this time the threat came from a human connection. Not an alien with a long history with the Doctor, not a monstrous thing intent on destroying the Earth. Just a girl with hopes and dreams and a little crush. (But no spoilers.)

Bill Potts is gay. That’s big news, apparently. Captain Jack was omnisexual, Canton Everett Delaware III was gay, Clara Oswald thought Jane Austen was a good kisser. But stop the presses: Bill Potts is gay and this time it matters to the plot!
I’ve already said my piece about LGBT’s. God doesn’t exist in the Doctor Who universe, so let your freak flag fly. My only problem would be if gay was all there is to Bill, and that’s clearly not the case.

Seriously, that lecture about Time. I love this show.

9/10 extra servings of chips.

What did you think of this episode? Let’s Connect! With Isaac on hiatus, I need someone to talk to about this.
P.S. I intend to review every episode, which means I have a little catching up to do. Stay tuned.

@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

Well…this is awkward.

So, you may have noticed that I did not post anything last week. That is because my schedule has been an absolute mess lately. I’m fine. I’m alive. I am healthy. But at the same time I have homework and projects coming at me from all sides, and no back-up posts to help.

That said, I will be taking a few weeks off. I finish my classes and projects on May 11th, so I will probably start posting again after that. At the earliest, I will post again on May 10th.

Projects and homework aside, I will also be using some of the time to research an upcoming post. I plan on continuing the “How the Media Portrays…” series with “How the Media Portrays Hell.” This ended up being a bigger task than I thought, so I’ll need a little time to do some research on the subject–both how Hell appears in the Bible and how Hell appears in the media. Hopefully, that will be the post I upload when I get back, and (as the post stands) it may be a two-part article.

And lastly, Noah, I’m fine with you talking about Lovecraft. Again, my chief grievance against him was more against his fandom than anything else. I mean, I respect Lovecraft as a writer. To his credit, he basically started a religion. (Then again…he basically started a religion, so that’s also a mark against him.)

I, for one, treat Lovecraft the same way I treat Dan Brown, Stephanie Meyer, and E.L. James; I recognize the fact that they are published writers, though I do not appreciate what has become of their writing.

To be fair, I also kind of like (and occasionally reference) “Welcome to Night Vale.” It’s a decent podcast–and this coming from the guy who doesn’t really like podcasts.

So, yeah. I will see you all, readers and co-writer, in a few weeks.

 

Isaac’s Twitter: @Isaac_Trenti

Correlation’s Twitter: @CorrelationBlog

H.P. Lovecraft Hits Radio News

A friend recommended I listen to the “Welcome to Night Vale” podcast because, as he says, “Jason Fink is this generation’s H.P. Lovecraft.” (I can hear Isaac’s retching noises from 80 miles away. Bear with me, dude.)
Having listened to a few episodes, I’d say Jason Fink is in the same group as Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and yes, H.P. Lovecraft. That’s not necessarily a quality statement. I’m saying that what Adams is to sci-fi tropes, what Pratchett is to fantasy tropes, and what Lovecraft is to fear of the void, Fink is to local news broadcasts.
The podcast is made to sound like a radio news show reporting on the local happenings in Night Vale, a fictional town in the middle of a Southwestern US desert. One of Night Vale’s newest residents calls it “by far the most scientifically interesting community in the U.S.” For example, it is home for a short time to a Glow Cloud that threatens to incinerate anyone who acknowledges its existence. And everyone is okay with it.
My research tells me “Welcome to Night Vale” is classified as Deadpan Surrealism, Magical Realism, and Paranormal Horror. A couple of creative minds ask “What if…?” and follow that thread to its most magical-yet-realistic, horrific-yet-funny, funny-yet-horrific place. The deadpan part refers to the podcast narrator, who reports on things like the Glow Cloud, angel sightings, and mysterious helicopters monitoring the town like they’re perfectly normal.
When my friend recommended the show, he said Fink, as well as Lovecraft, had the potential to break a person down and make them question what they believed. Christians are called to work out their own faith with fear and trembling. Doing this with fictional mythos that may cause literal fear and trembling seems weird, but it’s safer than stories like the Da Vinci Code or the Shack. Someone without a strong foundation in the truth can be seriously messed up by those stories that claim to be “real.” Yeah, fiction can also mess you up, but the mythos is a constant reminder that it’s fiction. We talk about this here at the Correlation all the time.

So, it looks like I disagree with Isaac on the value in Lovecraft’s works. “Howard” may have written philosophies more than stories, but reading only what we agree with is a good way to get our faith squashed in the “real world.”

 

What do you think of Welcome to Night Vale? Let’s Connect!

 

@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog

This Guy Came In Second to a Talking Chimpanzee

Not every CW superhero show is wildly popular. “Constantine” got one season (or less) before it was cancelled. But reportedly it’s coming back in some form later this year – maybe animated, maybe live action, maybe both. Nerds know that doesn’t happen often. So, what are we in for this time?
Constantine is a bit like Supernatural turned superhero show (maybe that’s why it didn’t last long on the CW). Unlike the Winchesters, Constantine’s titular hero is upfront and honest from the get-go about demons, ghosts, and other things that go bump in the night. He doesn’t care if people believe him because he’s usually set on working alone anyway. In other words, he’d be classified as an anti-hero.
When the show begins, Constantine is “retired” because one of his cases went wrong and someone died. Also, his soul is destined for eternal torment in hell because of some demon contract or something, so he figures he might as well try not to die. But then he finds out that there’s a slight chance of saving his soul if he does the superhero thing well enough.

Yay, Judeo-Christian mythology again. The thing about shows like this is, for the most part, they’re not exactly blasphemous or sacrilegious. Some of the stuff they reference, like magic and certain monsters, are clearly fiction. But real demons can pull off things that look like voodoo and whatnot. The thing these stories get wrong is the extensive influence of these evil powers. It’s like the only thing stopping demons, witches, and voodoo lords is a hard-drinking, hard-smoking Irish detective in a trench coat or two plaid-clad brothers in a Chevy who can only be in one place at once.
And then there’s the whole “save my soul” thing. It’s one thing to work with the common misconception that bad people go to hell and good people go to Heaven. But the concept of selling your soul to the Devil does more than ignore the prospect of Jesus and salvation; it directly undermines Him. The Devil technically already has a claim on your soul. The only one you can sell it to is Jesus, and he already bought it with his sacrifice on Good Friday two thousand years ago. You don’t need to be a superhero to get in on that deal. In fact, the only thing that will work is simply accepting salvation.

Happy Easter, folks. Let’s Connect.

@noahspud

@CorrelationBlog

Breath of the Wild…a big breath at that.

Don’t worry. I’m still alive. I just needed to take a week off to process through a couple things. I’m not yet at liberty to talk about what it is, but it’s nothing detrimental. I’m still processing these things, but I’m doing better now.

That, and I needed some time to put some hours into Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild before I review it. Because, good gravy, this game is massive!

[For perspective, I bought it for the WiiU.]

Even after playing it for about eleven days now, I still don’t know what to say about it. Sure, it’s a fantastic game, but I was hoping I’d find some kind of deeper Christian meaning in it. At this point, it’s still too early to tell. The only Christian influence I could see in this game was in the Temple of Time, and how it looks like a cathedral.

That, and I think the game is finally monotheistic. They’re referring to a singular goddess rather than three goddesses. It could be a misunderstanding of the lore, though.

And, since it’s too early in the game, I can’t speak for the story. I’ve taken down the first “Divine Beast” (giant robot animal thing), explored two more sections of the map, and I still feel like I’m only in Act I of the story.

So, what is there to say about it?

It’s a good game. I would easily call Breath of the Wild game of the year, despite it only coming out in March. To be fair, it will probably take until the end of this year to finish playing through the game.

If I could summarize how the game plays, it feels less like a Legend of Zelda game and more like a hybrid of Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed. Not that I’m complaining. Both games are good, and the best parts of each, with the best parts of Legend of Zelda, come together quite nicely.

As for how this game compares to other Zelda games, this one feels the most like Wind Waker to me, probably because of the massive, open world, free for the player to explore. And the presence of the Koroks. And Beedle. And camera controls.

Seriously. Camera controls. I liked Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time, but camera controls would have made the games a thousand times better.

In summary, I like Breath of the Wild a lot, but I haven’t finished it yet. My opinions may change, but I’m hopeful for this title.

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

Today in Geek-dom: Ragnarok (the original)

Part of being a young nerd is your “phases” don’t go away when you move on to a new obsession. Before my Doctor Who phase, I had a Norse mythology phase and a Marvel phase. So Young Noah is really excited about Thor: Ragnarok.
I don’t know anything about the Marvel version of Ragnarok, but I know how the mythological one is supposed to go down. Pardon me while I nerd out about it. Spoilers…maybe?
The Asgardians and the Frost Giants have at it once and for all. Loki, infamous triple agent for both sides, shows up on a ship built out of the fingernails and toenails of the dead (no, seriously). He brings his kids: a wolf that famously bit off war god Tyr’s hand and a serpent that usually acts as the Earth’s equator.
Tyr and Odin work together to kill the wolf. Loki and Heimdall turn into leopard seals (no, seriously) and tear each other to shreds. Thor kills the serpent but gets poison drool on his face, so he dies, and then a dead frost giant lands on top of him. When the smoke clears, only the obscure Norse gods are left, plus all the women who stayed home. They all roll up the rainbow bridge and play chess for the rest of eternity.
Meanwhile, the world ends. The sun and the moon get eaten by wolves. The World Tree falls on the Norns of Destiny (think the Three Fates from Hercules). And all the people are dead except a guy named Life and a woman named The Stubborn Will to Live. A new god comes down from the Highest Heaven and restarts the world.
That last part was probably tacked onto the myth by Christians trying to convert the Norse people. But that was only possible because the Norse gods are unlike any other gods: they’re not immortal. There are no stories of heroes like Hercules in Norse myths because the gods themselves, like Thor, are vulnerable enough to be the subject of their own heroic stories. The Marvel comics and movies get that right, at least.
I like to think I’m free to enjoy the Norse myths and Marvel’s Thor without compromising my faith because there’s room for monotheism in there.
“There’s only one God, ma’am. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.”

What childhood phase do you still remember? Let’s Connect!

@noahspud
@CorrelationBlog