Posts from 24th December 2010

Dec 10

Why Blink?

FT13 comments • 1,428 views

Here’s a pair of quotes from online stuff I read recently. First, Kevin Fanning on the Buffy musical episode:

“I asked Twitter people to send me their recommendations for the best episodes and the response was overwhelmingly in favor of Once More With Feeling. Which is interesting! An important Buffy episode? Sure. A very memorable episode? Uh-Doy! One of the best? Hmmm!…. I don’t want to fight about it. I just thought it was interesting. Does “memorable” equal “good,” the way “skinny” came to mean “pretty,” or “famous” came to mean “important”?

And here’s Alex Macpherson on the new Jazmine Sullivan album:

R&B artists tend to receive most critical praise when they ostentatiously bust out of their genre – when they make a point of removing themselves from its formalism. Sullivan, though, proves how much more mileage there is in letting your ideas run riot while staying true to genre values – and has made the most creative R&B album of the year to prove it.

I have never seen the Buffy episode, and I haven’t (yet) heard the Sullivan album. But I recognise the dynamics these snippets outline – the privileging of the memorable over the merely good. Doesn’t sound so unreasonable when you put it like that, but Lex has a point too – doesn’t giving too much attention to mutations and boundary-pushers risk missing out on the core qualities something delivers? If the thing you like best breaks the rules of its genre, doesn’t that suggest a basic dissatisfaction with that genre?

Instead of an executive stress reliever this year I had a series of polls on the Livejournal Doctor Who community Diggerdydum, asking members which – of the 200+ stories broadcast since 1963 – was the best one? We’ve done it over a series of rounds and today I’m putting up the final poll, which unless there’s been a late turnaround in fortunes looks set to put two “new series” stories against one another, both written by current showrunner Steven Moffat. One is 2005’s The Empty Child two-parter (the one with the scary gas-mask kid). The other is 2007’s Blink (the one with the scary statues). Or I should say, the one with the scary statues and without much actual Doctor in it.