In the second episode of the seventh series of Doctor Who, there are dinosaurs on a spaceship, and it’s about as lovely as you might imagine it is. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to (finally) watch Doctor Who.
Hello, Doctor Who fandom! Let’s talk about some things.
It’s been nearly three months since I watched “Asylum of the Daleks.” That’s a very long time to completely fall off a wagon of a TV show that I enjoy, and I know it’s strange. I don’t normally do this, but the same thing happened with Fringe. I had every intention of watching this show, and then things happened. And I’d like to talk about those things.
So, I run Mark Watches. And Mark Reads. Oh, and now I do Mark Plays! It’s fun. It’s also a lot of work. It’s so much work that it’s now all I do, seven days a week, every week of the month, every month of the year. It’s the only way I can sustain a volume of 20,000+ words a week. I got laid off from my job in San Francisco in January of this year, so I used a shitty event to start something I’d dreamed of dong for a while: making Mark Does Stuff a full time gig for me. And at first, it wasn’t so bad! I had saved thousands upon thousands of dollars over the course of a year and a half from my shiny new job in San Francisco, I immediately booked two national tours in the US and Canada over the course of February, April, and the beginning of May. My sites continued to explode in activity, and I found I was busier and more popular than ever.
And then, just after I got back from tour the second week of May, the money ran out.
To be honest, it lasted way longer than I thought it would. My ebook/Lulu sales were okay, I had a couple hundred dollars a month coming in from AdSense, and I made enough money to eat and get a couple hotels on tour. (I mostly slept on floors and couches.) But I started to panic because I had a hosting bill to pay, spam blocker bills, my rent, and the terrifying prospect ofâ€¦ well, eating. So, on a whim, I came up with a new way to make money: video commissions! I now have a bustling YouTube and Vimeo presence, and I have a reason why I am still here today, writing for all of you for free. Make no mistake: If I had not started doing video commissions back in May/June, I would absolutely not be sitting here and writing this post. I would have panicked, I would have probably gotten a job to survive, and this would have been relegated to a small side project on nights and weekends. There’d be no double features, Mark Plays certainly wouldn’t exist, and the tour dates I’m working on for 2013? A distant pipe dream.
The past few months have not been easy to get through. Despite that I have a large audience, I’d say only 2-3% actually every buy or commission something from me, and it’s usually the same handful of 20 generous, fabulous, and incredible people who do the bulk of it. They have kept this going, so if you ever see their names attached to a YouTube or Vimeo video, thank them. I’m here because of them. Truthfully, this has been what’s kept me from binging on Fringe or keeping up with Doctor Who. When I was worrying about whether or not I could pay my rent the next month, I had to make a choice: do I complete a commissioned video that someone gave me $25 for, or do I go write about something else? Every time, I chose to make a quick turn around on a video in the hope that I’d get another one and stay afloat for another week or two. And then, gloriously, October was an incredible month, the first time I had money beyond my own bills since May, and I had nearly 25 commissions to complete in a short span of time. (Given that it takes me 3-4 days straight just to write all 15 reviews for my three sites.)
It was during this time (and up until a few days ago) that this started happening:
I have deleted over 100 angry, furious, and demanding inquiries on my Tumblr and Facebook. It got so bad that it just became a joke between my mods and I because we would see so many comments on random reviews demanding that I stop doing other things and write about Doctor Who. And then it became so stressful and irritating that for a few days, I actually entertained the notion of never writing about this show again just to spite the members of fandom who were so entitled they believed they were owed my time.
What changed my attitude about this was sitting down a week ago and finishing Mark Watches Doctor Who: Series 4. (It comes out ON CHRISTMAS EVE BE EXCITED.) I realized that I missed this show, that I missed talking meta about it, that I missed folks like FauxKaren and LastoftheTimeLadies talking about this show because jesus christ, I love and care about it so much. And I realized I was letting a vocal contingent of the fandom dictate how I felt about a show, and they were sucking the joy out of it.
I realize that we live in the world where the Internet lends immediacy to everything. I generally love that. I love putting up my writing day-to-day and getting feedback on it, and then responding to that feedback, and posting silly GIFs, and sobbing with thousands of other people because the folks running the shows we love are just so mean to their characters. (RIGHT???) But at the same time, people these days just expect to get things for free; they have imagined this weird social contract between them and (please excuse the ridiculously shitty term, but I can’t help my Community Manager side coming out here) the content producers online. And that’s what bummed me out about these people. None of them knew I was struggling every day to get my bills paid, none of them knew how busy I was, and none of them knew how their behavior made me feel like I was nothing more than a machine producing things for them to consume with nothing in return.
So I’m glad to blow them off, to publicly shame them for their behavior, and to finally watch these four episodes of Doctor Who. I love this show, and I refuse to let these people take it away from me. Also, I’m glad that this is starting off with “Dinosaurs On a Spaceship” because OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS EPISODE SO MUCH.
- The actress playing Nefertiti is GORGEOUS, y’all.
- I really do adore Rupert Graves, and Lestrade is one of my favorite parts of both Sherlock and the Sherlock fandom. It’s nice seeing him here playing a character that has nothing in common with Lestrade. Also, I’m not attracted to him, but doesn’t he have a nice face? Like it just seems so symmetrical and nice.
- Similar to this, it’s awesome that Mark Williams is Rory’s dad, but not just because you’re happy that Arthur Weasley is here. I think Williams plays Brian perfectly. For those people blessed to have met my mother, each of them have told me that they understand every aspect of my personality perfectly after meeting her. I just make sense. That’s the case with Brian Williams. He’s on screen for maybe two minutes, and you realize that Rory is now a complete character. This is what we’ve been missing the whole time. Rory makes total sense.
- I know it’s played for humor here, and I certainly found it funny, but Eleven might be the most inconsiderate and distracted Doctor yet. He doesn’t even consider that the Ponds might have someone over when he materializes the TARDIS around them.
- Is the Doctor so used to having a million companions around that he just forgets there’s someone new? Yes, yes he does.
- I mean, I guess I don’t what I expected, but I was so pleased when it was revealed that the title of this episode was 100% literal. There are dinosaurs on this spaceship drifting to earth. Literally!!!
- The triceratops plays fetch!!!! OH MY GOD. Well, wait, he doesn’t return the golf ball. Soâ€¦ yeah, I had a dog who played fetch like this.
- I love that Amy wasn’t frightened that Rory and his dad disappeared in a flash. She was just annoyed. She is so used to weird shit happening all the time with the Doctor that her immediate reaction is irritation.
- Brian always has a shovel with him. He is now my favorite character on the screen. Golf balls and shovels? Can we be friends already?
- Let’s talk about friends. I really adore how this episode deals with Nerfertiti and Amy. They both respect one another and have a mutual sense of trust. They’re friendly right off the bat, and I thought that was a fascinating dynamic that was also entertaining.
- HHAHAHA HOLY SHIT, FILCH IS SOLOMON. How many more Harry Potter veterans are going to show up on Doctor Who? Hopefully all of them because I love it.
- Oh, there are raptors on board. GREAT! There better be a Jurassic Park reference soon.
- I’m also pleased and totally intrigued by the choice to separate Amy and the Doctor. We get to watch how independent she is of the Doctor, taking control of the situation to determine what the hell happened on the ship. It’s seriously awesome, and it’s one of the best parts of this episode.
- Wow, those two robots are possibly the worst robots ever.
- Oh! This is like Noah’s Arc, only for the Silurians. That’s a cool idea!
- Okay, the Doctor, Rory, and Brian are riding a triceratops. Now this feels like a Doctor Who episode. It wasn’t ridiculous enough. The more implausible a plot line, the more I feel like I’m home.
- As much fun as this episode is, Solomon might be the one villain with the least depth out of anyone I’ve seen on this show in a while. I’m ultimately okay with it, though, because it allows for a scene where Brian and Rory pilot the Silurian ship. My life has meaning, y’all, I LOVE THIS SCENE SO MUCH.
- I’m guessing that the Doctor’s visits to Amy and Rory are becoming less frequent because he’s trying to distance himself from them. PREDICTION.
- Amy’s “gender politics” line is immensely distracting, and it feels like a potshot from the writers. I don’t like it. That being said, Amy is a badass in this episode, and I love how frequently she calls out Ridell.
- HAHAHA NEFERTITI TOOK OUT SOLOMON. I WILL GLADLY BE YOUR SUBJECT, MY QUEEN.
- Okay, I do have a serious complaint about this episode: The Doctor kills Solomon. What??? Butâ€¦ that’s not in the Doctor’s nature, to have someone so summarily executed! Granted, I don’t feel much sympathy for Solomon. But isn’t the Doctor known for his nonviolent solutions to crises? It’s just so casual that it’s distracting.
- I’m reminded of the scene where Amy drifts out in space from the TARDIS when Brian has his lunch sitting in the doorway of the TARDIS. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and it’s moments like these that remind me why I enjoy this show so much.
- Did no one think about the implications of Nerfetiti having sex with someone who likely colonized her country after she died? Yeah, what the fuck.
- This is a neat story, but it was the subplot involving Brian and Rory that really made it for me. Through this adventure, Brian learns to respect Rory, especially after Rory demonstrates his medical skills on his father’s laser injury. Plus, Brian faced his paralyzing fear of travel, and we learn this when Amy puts postcards on the fridge from Brian’s travels through time and spice. It’s an incredible bit of character development given to both Rory and Brian in the span of forty-five minutes. Damn, it’s just plain good writing! And now the Doctor has a new friend in Rory’s father, and it just makes me so happy.
Onwards I go!
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