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Doctor Who: The Snowmen (2012)

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Spoilers below for Doctor Who Series 7 (2012-2013) through this episode.

This is the first episode in the Pond-less era of Doctor Who. As such, it devotes quite a lot of time to mourning the loss of the Doctor's last companions, particularly Amy.

The episode begins in Victorian England, where the Doctor's more or less retired. His friends, Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, and Strax are attempting to break him out of his depression, but not having much luck. Enter Clara Oswald, an energetic young woman with a dual identity as a barmaid and a governess.

Oh. There's also a curmudgeon who's being followed around by an army of evil snowmen from outer-space, but that's just the plot. Honestly, you could have cycled him out for just about anything without changing the core of the episode, which is about the Doctor coming to grips with the loss of Amy and Rory Pond.

Which is, frankly, a little silly. I understand that he cared deeply for these characters, but he's been arou…

Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1976)

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When we last left Rudolph, Christmas had been narrowly saved from destruction, and he was returning to the North Pole along with Santa and the other reindeer. Of course, when we last left Rudolph he also had a full set of antlers and was more or less grown up. Rudolph's Shiny New Year opens on the same Christmas Eve but with a younger version of Rudolph, presumably because the producers thought kids would have an easier time associating with a talking deer closer to their age.

Well, it turns out all is not right. Christmas may be saved, but they hear Santa's old friend, Father Time, is in trouble. That's right: now New Year's Day is in trouble. For some reason I can't fathom, they care. See, I get wanting to save Christmas: it's when we get presents. But New Year's? Who gives a damn? What's next? Are they going to risk their lives to make sure Arbor Day isn't ruined?

Okay, there's some lip service about how it'll be New Year's Eve forev…

Santa Claus Delivers Pornography to Minor

CNN is reporting that Santa Claus personally delivered a Nintendo 3DS to a child containing pornographic imagery. The 3DS was purchased - by Santa or one of his elves - from a GameStop. Against North Pole policy, the gaming system was purchased refurbished: the imagery had been installed by a previous owner.

GameStop has apologized for the mistake and has given a replacement system - along with additional merchandise - to the family.

The North Pole has yet to issue a statement.

So I've Been Thinking....

I know I said I'd see you next year, but that's days away, and... I missed you guys. Besides, I've got something to say.

When we started Mainlining Christmas, Lindsay and I discussed, among other things, what would and would not constitute a "Christmas movie." It's not as easy to delineate as you'd think. Originally, I excluded Die Hard, reasoning that an action movie wasn't a Christmas movie, regardless of when it was set. We went ahead with it this year for a few reasons, not the least of which being that we wanted to watch something good.

But there's more to it than that. As we've covered more and more classics, the line's gotten blurred. Holiday Inn is considered a Christmas classic: hell, it's where the song "White Christmas" originated. But Christmas actually only represents a small portion of the film's time and attention.

The rule of thumb I've been using so far has been that if something feels like it's q…

See You Next Year

Those of you hoping Christmas would be cancelled this year were once again disappointed: despite opposition to the holiday from both secular groups opposed to the fundamental religious nature of the holiday and religious groups angry about the fundamental pagan nature of the holiday (this is my personal favorite example), and the prophesied end of the world, Christmas came just the same.

Of course it did. Christmas is a cultural juggernaut ten-thousand years old. It's survived the fall of empires and religions. When early Christian leaders tried to destroy it, it ate their savior and took his name. It's the granddaddy of all holidays, the mother of all festivals, and the drunken, lecherous uncle of all celebrations. As long as the seasons change, Christmas isn't going anywhere.

Oh, and we're still here, too.

That's right: not VeggieTales nor Barney nor Adam Sandler could break our commitment to the true meaning of Christmas, whatever the hell that is. Mainlining Ch…

Lindsay's 2012 Wrap-up

I don’t have a ton to say about this year. I was very busy through most of the Thanksgiving-Christmas run, so getting all of the Mainlining done was more work than I remember it being in past years. I’m still getting used to our new home on the West Coast, so I couldn’t go to my normal shopping destinations, etc.

Anyway, this year we watched 92 separate things, which is a new high-water mark for this blog.

Breakdown:
Shorts: 3
Movies: 18
Episodes: 51
Specials: 20

Erin bought way more Christmas music than we have in past years, I reviewed more books and comics, and we posted more often overall.

I don’t know that we saw anything this year that I’d say belongs among the best of the best, but we did have some in the running for worst of the worst.

Some of my favorite new things from this year were:
Bump in the Night: T'was the Night Before Bumpy
Die Hard (okay, this could be best of the best)
Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned
Nature: Christmas in Yellowstone
Paddington: Christmas
The X…

25 Christmas Eves: A Retrospective

I wanted to say a few parting words about this series, both because I'm proud of it and because it was a pretty intense experience. I don't have exact notes on this, but this definitely felt like the vast majority of time I devoted to the blog this year.

By my calculations, I wrote more than 55,000 words of fiction for the blog this year. The total word count for the stories published is actually a little more (just shy of 58,500), but three of these stories were started last year, then finished and published this year. If you're interested, those were "Mistletoe", "One Night in Bethlehem", and "Tribes of Gypsies". Actually, Mistletoe's inclusion on that list is misleading: I had a version started but completely rewrote it from scratch. The first third of "One Night in Bethlehem" was already done and was basically unchanged. "Tribes of Gypsies" gets complicated. I had about a quarter of it done, but that got overhauled …