Just Die, Dammit!!


Moseying around Uptown Waterloo today, Erin and I stop by at a Starbucks and notice a young woman sitting by herself, with four or five issues of Joss Whedon’s new Angel comic, After the Fall. Just as Buffy: the Vampire Slayer has returned in a comic format for season eight, Joss seems intent to pick up where the very Blake’s 7 finale left off.

“Oh!” says Erin. “A new Angel comic! Not everybody died!”

“Well,” says I, “You wouldn’t have much of a comic otherwise.”

“Yeah,” says Erin. “Otherwise, it would be: ‘Angel: the Wake’, and then ‘Angel: the funeral arrangements’, and then ‘Angel: oh, wait! One person lived!”

Laughing, I add, “‘Unfortunately, it’s Harmony!”

“What happened to Harmony, anyway?” asks Erin.

“Angel let her go,” I reply. “He said something like: ‘I have your last pay and letter of reference, no go’, and she says something like, ‘Thanks, boss!’”

“Yeah, I remember,” says Erin.

“The only people we know for sure lived are Lorne and Harmony and Connor.”

“Oh, yeah, Connor!” says Erin.

“And you have to figure Angel and Spike would probably survive,” I add. “Especially if the monsters wanted to capture the two and make their lives living hells. And Illyria could hold her own. But Gunn was given about ten minutes to live.”

“And Wesley died pretty definitively, on screen, right?” asks Erin.

“Yeah. Try and get out of that one.”

Of course, the joke is that death really doesn’t have the staying power in television fantasy the way it does in, you know, real life. Just because we happen to see Wesley die in Illyria’s arms doesn’t mean a thing in the Whedonverse. We never did see how Illyria disposed of the body, after all. Maybe Illyria ate him, and he’ll spontaneously burst from her mouth in a case of spontaneous cellular fission. Anything is possible with Joss Whedon.

And it holds true for Doctor Who as well. How many times has the Master ‘died’ and come back? They didn’t even try to give us a decent explanation for his resurrection in Mark of the Rani. I remember that, at one point in the development of the Trenchcoat/Ninth Aspect series, when we were considering Ninth Aspect 3, we envisioned a tale that ended the Master-alters-the-present storyline we’d been working on the issue before, where the Master, after doing something heroic to save the Doctor, would have to die. But how could make it look like the Master was really dead, honest and truly?

Having him do something heroic to save the Doctor would help. When a villain does that to a hero, he basically has to die. But I figured that the only way we could do this visually would be to have the Master thrown through a window at the top story of a skyscraper, and then follow his descent alllllllllllllll the way down, until the last minute when the music would give a bit of a thump! and we’d quick cut to the Doctor’s wince. That was about the only way we could think of doing that.

Companion: “Do you think the Master’s really dead this time, Doctor?”

Doctor: “Oh, yeah. I saw mops.”

Doctor Who, Season 4, Starts Soon

It has been announced that the first episode of the fourth season of the Doctor Who revival will debut on BBC1 on Saturday, April 5. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing it and, given that there has been no word yet on when the episodes will debut on the CBC (over and above the CBC’s uneven treatment of the program, it probably won’t debut at least until the hockey playoffs are over), I will probably be downloading my copies and getting my Who hit early.

I didn’t have to do this with the first season, as the CBC showed the episodes a week behind the BBC (one of the greatest benefits of the NHL strike). Season two was delayed until the following fall, and I waited until each episode’s debut on the CBC before reviewing it. That didn’t stop my friend Dan from breaking radio silence, however, so with season three, I reviewed the episodes almost immediately following their debut (plus time for the bittorrent).

Some of my readers have complained that they can’t read these spoiler heavy reviews because they, well, contain spoilers, and they want to see the episodes first before seeing my reviews. They don’t have access to bittorrents, so they have to avert their eyes from my posts for several weeks at a time. But by waiting, I end up missing the debate over each episode that takes place as they debut in the United Kingdom. Then again, Battlestar Galactica is due to debut in April as well, so perhaps I’d have too many television shows to review if I reviewed Doctor Who right away.

So, as season four approaches, how do you feel? I hope you’ll take the time to vote in the web poll I’ve posted. I’ll be interested in seeing the results.

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