Westworld

This past weekend I turned on my HBO subscription in order to watch Game of Thrones. It gave me the opportunity to binge-watch another HBO series, Westworld.

I have mixed feelings about the series. As I’d heard, the show has a narrative complexity and messes around with the viewers’ perceptions in an intriguing way. This sustained the show all the way until the ending of the final episode of the first (and so-far-only season), where it dropped the ball and became annoying conventional.

I’ll eventually watch another season of Westworld if they make another one, but I’m not going to activate an HBO subscription just to watch it.

No spoilers, sweetie

My take on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” matches that of most of the reviews I’ve seen: this isn’t the best of the series (I’d pick The Empire Strikes Back); this isn’t the worst of the series (tie between The Phantom Menace and The Return of the Jedi). This is a Star Wars movie, picking up the beats from thirty-odd years ago. My main complaint about the film is that J.J. Abrams pushed the “homage” button a bit too often. Otherwise, fans of the series and a general audience will get what they expect from a Star Wars movie: action, adventure, dueling spaceships, lightsaber battles. And, of course, heroes with enough pluck to bite the ears off a Gundaar. The film fulfills expectations and gives room for the series to grow in the future. Now that we’ve got the homages out of the way, we’re ready to go forward with Star Wars VIII.

20th-century Doctor Who

Many of my friends are just getting into Doctor Who. This poses a problem for those of them who want become Doctor Who geeks. The newer series, started in 2005, makes frequent references to events and characters in the “classic” Doctor Who series that ran from 1963 to 1989.

Depending on how you count them, there are 157 serials in “20th-century” Doctor Who (it seems so strange to say that). Each serial typically ran between 4-6 half-hour episodes, which works out to roughly 400 hours; it’s actually less than that, since many early serials were destroyed. That’s a lot of time to invest on geekery, especially since some of those serials are pretty awful.

To ease my friends’ entry into Doctor Who geekdom, I offer my list of the key episodes in the saga of the earlier series. Since the quality of the serial often does not correlate with its significance in the development of Doctor Who, I offer a rating of one to four stars for quality, along with the reason why I feel the serial is worth watching.

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