Sunday, 11 November 2018

My predictions for Season 11 of Doctor Who

All photos in this post courtesy of the BBC

After what many people are saying is the strongest episode of the series so far, Demons of the Punjab, there are theories flying around concerning the rest of the series. You should know by now that I love to analyse writing, especially writing for television shows that I'm a fan of, so I wanted to get in on this and put out a few theories of my own:

1. We were told there wasn't going to be an arc for the season, and that there were going to be 10 stand-alone episodes. However, with talk of a "Timeless Child" arc coming into play, who could be the timeless child, and in what context? The timeless child could obviously be the Doctor, but with the family theme playing heavily in every episode so far, perhaps we'll see more of the Doctor's family at the end of the season, or hints of them for the next season. Maybe even Yasmin or Ryan could be the timeless child?

2. There are rumours that Ryan and Graham are not coming back for season 12, but there has been no news of Yasmin leaving the show. Yasmin has been the companion spending the most time with the Doctor so far, so it would make sense that their bond would be stronger and she would have a harder time letting go at the end of the series. Will Yasmin be the sole companion of season 12? I think there's a strong chance she will be.

3. If Yasmin stays on for season 12, and the timeless child arc doesn't get resolved in season 11, there is a chance for lots of ideas to be explored. If the timeless child is one of the Doctor's family, then Yasmin meeting the Doctor's family would make a really good comparison to when the Doctor met Yasmin's family in Arachnids in the UK. This would be a huge leap in character development for her, and it would further strengthen their bond. On the other hand, if the timeless child is Yasmin, it makes sense for the arc to be stretched out and for her to carry on travelling with the Doctor, as it would make for a brilliant surprise in season 12.

4. I have talked a lot about the Doctor and Yasmin's bond. If they were to leave Ryan and Graham behind at the end of season 11, and carry on travelling on their own in season 12, this would accelerate the strength of that bond. We have had hints that the Doctor is a little bit smitten with Yasmin (and vice versa) in season 11 already, so if their chemistry grows stronger, it could make for a really nice romantic storyline in season 12. Or, for angst if they decide to have a 'skinny love' situation. Skinny love, meaning that the two of them are in love with each other, but there isn't enough communication to ensure that they both know it, and they are both too embarrassed or scared to share those feelings. I think there's evidence of this already happening (Najia's questioning in Arachnids, the end scene in Demons) and those feelings could strengthen if they travelled alone.

5. We have not seen the end of Tim Shaw. Or Robertson. They both do not feel like throwaway characters. I do, however, think we've seen the last of the Pting... don't worry, you'll probably be able to buy the plushie version soon enough. I can't say the same for Tim Shaw.

What do you think is going to happen? Let me know!

It will be interesting to see if I get any of this right. If I do, brilliant. If I don't, then it goes to show that just when you think Doctor Who can't surprise you anymore, it goes and does it anyway. 

Saturday, 10 November 2018

The Rockefeller Review: SNL Season 44 Episode 3 (Host Seth Meyers)

Of all the hosts announced so far for season 44, I was most excited for Seth Meyers.

If you didn't know already, Seth Meyers is a previous cast member, but is known for being a part of Weekend Update and being a head writer for over 12 years. As someone who loves and appreciates great writing, I was really excited to see what SNL could do with Seth this week.

If I'm honest, I don't think they made him the focus of the sketches, but that doesn't mean he was any less brilliant. I want to focus on his monologue first:

I am going to assume that Seth's monologue was written by the current head writers with input from himself, seeing as he used to write the monologues for other hosts. I couldn't find any evidence that he wrote it, but I'm going to take a leap of faith and assume.

Some monologues don't tend to make much of an impact, but this was a perfect monologue and I miss him on the show SO MUCH. I loved the anecdote about Kanye and the little twist at the end of the story - also, I loved the Friends joke:

The Late Night studio is one hundred yards THAT WAY. I had an emotional breakdown and then basically moved from Rachel and Monica's apartment to Joey and Chandler's apartment. 

I find Seth quite a 'sweet' comedian - meaning that he delivers his jokes in such a way that you feel as if you're amongst friends, and even some of his 'shadier' lines don't come off as shady at all. Whoever you are, you want to listen to Seth Meyers. This sweetness worked really well for Weekend Update when he was a cast member and it carries him through his guest spots too.

Now lets move onto my favourite sketch of the night - Thirsty Cops:

It is sketches like this that remind me why this show is so iconic. THIRSTY COPS WAS SO GOOD. Ego and Leslie are a perfect team and I hope this sketch becomes a series. Ego has now made her mark on the show which I am so glad of, because with SNL you have to get in there early or you won't be there next season. 

It reminded me a lot of Dyke and Fats but more modern-day, because you're not watching the sketch for the story... you're watching for the characters. Leslie Jones and Ego Nwodem made a great team, and there was a nice little cameo from Kate McKinnon. 

Overall, this episode didn't use the entire cast to their full potential, but it boosted some of the profiles that needed (and deserved) to be boosted. There were a good range of sketches that would appeal to different target groups, and they are the episodes that do the best out of each season.

Did you like Seth's episode? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Review: The Sealwoman's Gift by Sally Magnusson

Photo from the Waterstones website
Title: The Sealwoman's Gift
Author: Sally Magnusson
Cover Artist: Joe Wilson 
Publisher: Two Roads
Release Date: 8th February 2018
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Page Count: 364 pages
Original Language: English
Format Read: Paperback
Other books in series: N/A
Movie Adaptation: N/A 

BUY HERE: Waterstones, Amazon, The Book Depository

Add to Goodreads

*Warning: this review contains limited spoilers concerning the plot*

I tend to trust the Zoe Ball Book Club when choosing my books. I don't make every purchase decision based on her book club, but she usually chooses really interesting books that suit my taste. 

As soon as I saw that this book contained 17th century pirates, I knew I had to have it.

I'll admit, I picked this book up for the pirates. But the pirates were only a tiny part, and I am so glad they were. Instead, we focus on an Icelandic woman called Asta, and her family as they are all captured by pirates and taken to a new land, which we discover is the Algiers. Asta's husband, pastor Olafur, is sent on a ship to the king in order to get a ransom for the Icelandic people who have now become slaves, whilst Asta and the children are taken in by the upper class Cilleby, who takes her on as a seamstress.

In a twist that is very reminiscent of 1001 Arabian Nights, Asta is sent up to Cilleby's chambers one night to sleep with him. Being a woman of God, she refuses, and instead offers to tell him some sagas. Cilleby ends up liking these stories, and whilst Asta is too feisty for a slave and always talks back to him, he ends up falling in love with her. She doesn't know it, but she falls for him too.

I absolutely adored this book. I don't read many adult novels, and certainly not historical novels - I often find them too difficult to fully immerse myself into. However, Sally Magnusson writes effortlessly about a period of time that is not taught in British schools, and most importantly, she makes Icelandic history accessible to readers. This is the first historical adult novel that I have been able to complete, and Sally has got me hooked.

This wasn't a tale of epic romance - another thing I liked about it. In fact, our main character Asta has so much going on that we find it impossible to think about how she could ever be happy again. I won't spoil everything, but her children all have difficult fates, and Cilleby is the cause of those fates.

As she is falling in love with him, she is torn between her feelings for the man she knows when she shares her stories during their private meetings, and the version of him who is keeping her as a slave and tearing her children away from her. This, combined with her internal struggle to keep her religion when she is trapped in a place where Islam is the majority, makes for a story that has everyone's heart racing. 

I knew nothing about Icelandic history, yet Sally has managed to make me understand and care about these characters who have to deal with the physical and mental struggles of being taken from everything they know.  I will have a hard time leaving this book, but I will carry Asta and her family in my heart for quite some time, and that is the mark of a good book.

Overall, I would say that because its an adult novel it requires more work than a young adult historical novel, but it is very accessible to teens. Sally has provided imagery with a clarity that I have never encountered with the historical genre before, and it is definitely one of my favourite books I have read in 2018.

Obviously, I had to give this book 5 stars on Goodreads!

About the Author:

Sally is usually a non-fiction writer, having written 10 books previously, one of her most famous being Where Memories Go about her mother's dementia. She is half-Icelandic and half-Scottish, so she has inherited a rich talent for storytelling. The Sealwoman's Gift is her first work of fiction.