Outlander Meets Doctor Who

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“The Two Jamies”

I promise, I won’t say “all roads lead back to…” Ooops!

But here is a great photo of Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser in Outlander), author Diana Gabaldon (the lucky lady pictured in the middle) and Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon in Doctor Who). Frazer Hines was Diana’s inspiration for her book Outlander.

Frazer will be appearing in Episode 15 of Outlander as Sir Fletcher Gordon, governor of Wentworth Prison. Can’t wait to see him grace our screens again.

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Taking In Doctor Who: Deep Breath

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“He’s the doctor. He has walked this Universe for centuries untold. He has seen stars fall to dust… You might as well FLIRT with a mountain range.” – Madame Vastra

Before diving into the Doctor Who Series 8 opener Deep Breathlet me get this declaration out of the way — Peter Capaldi IS The Doctor and I will tell you why.

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FAMILIAR FACES

Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax all make their welcome return in Deep Breath, Peter Capladi’s debut episode as the 12th (or is it 13th?) Doctor, to help ease companion Clara (and the fans) through The Doctor’s transition from The 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). As many of us remember, The Doctor in a regeneration crisis can be quite a predicament.

WHERE’S A ZERO ROOM WHEN YOU NEED ONE?

I can’t recall even one time when The Doctor had an easy time of it post-regeneration (unlike Romana in Destiny of the Daleks). It takes time for him to stabilize both mentally and physically. As the Fifth Doctor  (Peter Davison) tells his companions, it takes a little time for his “dendrites to heal”. And of course, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is no exception. He struggles with everything — his memories of his friends, how they look, how they speak, their appalling accents! That’s right… because apparently, not only do most planets have a North, but they have a Scotland too (picture me saying it with a Scottish accent, far more amusing that way).

“You’ve redecorated… I don’t like it…” – Clara Oswald

Even though a regeneration can be seen as a renewal, poor, traumatized Clara (Jenna Coleman) seems quite skeptical this is her Doctor (in spite of meeting his earlier incarnations – including John Hurt’s War Doctor). Her assumption is, The Doctor should start out young. Had she met the first four Doctors, she wouldn’t have been in such shock (but then she had met them, when she was splintered across time and couldn’t remember those encounters).

As Madame Vastra (played by Neve McIntosh) points out, The Doctor is not a young man. He’s lived for centuries, millennia, in fact.  The Gallifreyan is over 2,000 years old (if he even remembers his age correctly by this point) by the time we see him in Deep Breath. He has lived many lives and has worn many faces. It is fair to say The Doctor is far from young.

Still, Clara needs convincing… but that’s not The Doctor’s only problem…
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Frazer Hines Returns To The Scottish Highlands In Outlander

Ok, now I feel vindicated when I say “all roads lead back to Doctor Who“. For those who haven’t guessed by now, the longest-running British science fiction series Doctor Who, happens to be my all-time favorite TV series. Further evidence supporting my “all roads” claim came today in the form of the latest casting news for the time travel drama Outlander.

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A FAN FAVORITE RETURNS

I was excited to hear that Frazer Hines, best known for his enduring portrayal as Jamie McCrimmon on Doctor Who, was cast on the new Starz series Outlander, as Sir Gordon Fletcher, the English warden of Wentworth Prison in Scotland.

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YOU CAN’T KEEP A GOOD SCOT DOWN

James Robert McCrimmon (Jamie to his friends) joined The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) on board the TARDIS after the Battle of Culloden in 1746.  Jamie valiantly fought Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti and Ice Warriors alongside the Time Lord – when he and co-stars Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield) and later, Wendy Padbury (Zoe Herriot), weren’t running for their lives that is.

One of the few male companions to grace the TARDIS, Jamie endeared himself to fans as the brave, kilt-wearing young Highlander. Inquisitive, fiercely loyal and devoted to The Doctor, to this day, Jamie is considered one of Doctor Who’s most popular companions.

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Frazer left the series in 1969 in the ten part story The War Games, which introduced the Time Lords, on The Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey. It also saw the departures of Wendy Padbury and Patrick Troughton. The Doctor, placed on trial by the High Council of the Time Lords, was forced to regenerate (into Third  Doctor Jon Pertwee) and exiled to Earth in the 1970’s – his sentence for contravening the First Law of Time. Sadly, Jamie and Zoe were returned to their respective timelines and their memories were wiped. They would no longer remember the adventures they had shared with The Doctor (almost, but not quite as heart-breaking as Donna Noble’s memory wipe, but I digress…).

Jamie was so beloved that Frazer returned to Doctor Who nearly two decades later. He had an all-too-brief cameo in The Five Doctors 20th Anniversary Special (1983), during the Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor) era, and he was reunited with Patrick Troughton in The Two Doctors (1986), during the Colin Baker (The Sixth Doctor) era.  The 10th Doctor (David Tennant) even uses Jamie’s name in Tooth and Claw (2006).

ALL ROADS LEAD BACK

Author Diana Gabaldon revealed her Outlander books were inspired by Frazer’s portrayal on Doctor Who, and that makes this casting news even sweeter.

As a long-time fan of Doctor Who (and a fan of Jamie’s), I keep hoping for an on-screen reunion between Jamie and the current Doctor. We know how The Doctor hates goodbyes and Jamie isn’t supposed to remember him, but come on, there has to a be remedy for the Gallifreyan Memory Wipe surely?

Jamie does make a welcome return in the BBC sanctioned Doctor Who Big Finish Audios, but, like Sarah Jane Smith (played by the late Elisabeth Sladen), he’s one of those companions we keep hoping will crop back up again in the current series.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing Frazer Hines in future episodes of Outlander.

RECOMMENDED LINKS

For more on the Outlander series of books, visit Diana Gabaldon’s site.

For more on the Big Finish line of audios, please visit their site.

Outlander airs Saturdays at 9pm on Starz.

Doctor Who returns to our screens on August 23rd.

Celebrity Sci-Fi Hotties Take The ALS Challenge!

Social media is buzzing with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The goal is to raise awareness and money for research into Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). ALS is a devastating illness, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no cure for the disease. Truthfully, I knew very little about it myself, that is until I heard about this campaign.

FAN FAVORITES TAKE THE PLUNGE

Thanks to celebrities like Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Robert Downey Jr. (The Avengers), subjecting themselves to buckets of ice water poured over their heads, news is spreading like wildfire, and donations are literally pouring in.

Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Serenity, Castle) then went on to challenge Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, Thor). Stephen Amell (Arrow) challenged co-star John Barrowan (Arrow, Torchwood, Doctor Who), to take the plunge (insert evil laughter here).

It’s brilliant to watch some of my favorites take up the cause. Not to mention, it’s a great opportunity to see them in wet t-shirts… but I digress…

TAG! YOU’RE IT! 

Then Hiddleston went on to challenge Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness), Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter, Dark Shadows) and Luke Evans (The Hobbit).

Next up, Barrowman challenged co-star Colton Haynes (Arrow, Teen Wolf), Misha Collins (Castiel in Supernatural) and David Tennant (The 10th Doctor – Doctor Who). I knew that was coming! I can’t wait to see Tennant’s reaction.

This is getting interesting…

RECOMMENDED LINKS

So far, the campaign has raised more than $15.6 million to raise awareness about this disease and it is building even more momentum – exactly as it was designed to do.

To learn more about ALS and The Ice Bucket Challenge  please visit The ALS Association Website. 

To follow the campaign on social media type in the hashtag #icebucketchallenge.

Doctor Who Trailer & Start Time for Series 8 Premiere Announced!

Hold onto your seats, fellow Whovians, we’re only 10 days away from Peter Capaldi’s debut (post-regeneration) as the 12th (or is it 13th?) Doctor.

SERIES 8 OF DOCTOR WHO

That’s right, the Paternoster Gang – Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax (I love them!) – are back, along with dinosaurs (Doctor Who loves dinosaurs going back to the 70’s with Jon Pertwee’s 3rd Doctor) to join the 12th Doctor and Clara (Jenna Coleman) in the series opener Deep Breath!

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Capaldi, Coleman and producer Steven Moffat, have been on a world tour promoting Series 8, kicking off in Cardiff, and hitting major cities around the world.

Tomorrow, Thursday, August 14th, they’ll be here in New York City, for a fan screening at the Ziegfeld Theater from 7:30pm to 10pm.

TAKING IN DEEP BREATH

Though I have some insights into the episode Deep Breath, I won’t say what I know at this point, after all, I don’t do spoilers, sweeties. I will say that it offers a marked departure from the Doctor we’ve seen in recent years, and yet brings something familiar to the landscape as well. And with 50+ years of history and 11 actors in the title role before him, Capaldi is certainly skilled enough to fill those awesomely big shoes.

FIRST LOOK

Here’s the official trailer for Deep Breath, airing at 7:50pm on Saturday, August 23rd on BBC One (UK) and at 8 pm (US Eastern Time) on BBC America. Deep Breath will also be screened in select theaters.

Mental Illness and Awakening the Bodhisattva…

I originally wrote this as a Facebook post. More of a rant – a personal reaction. Outrage and sadness driving me.

I was only going to “say it once”, but after receiving so much positive feedback and encouragement from my friends, I realized this may be worth repeating…

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THE DEATH OF ROBIN WILLIAMS

I was deeply saddened to hear of Robin Williams’ passing yesterday. A man who, for many of us, felt like a favorite uncle growing up. Someone who encouraged us to be our most authentic selves – always weird and wonderful. Somehow, we think our childhood heroes are indestructible. That they’ll live forever. Alas, they’re just as human and frail as the rest of us.

Most of the world is mourning and celebrating the life of the late Robin Williams today. But I’ve also read some comments which deeply disturbed me.

Speculation on his mental state at the time of his death, and his history of depression and drug use – said with contempt and skepticism – angered me. I am dismayed and deeply disappointed by some of the things I’ve read. While mostly positive in nature, I’ve seen some very unkind, even cruel comments, some questioning his illness and his acts.

Robin had a history of illicit drug use. It was known. Some would say he brought his pain onto himself. I can’t conscience that. Sometimes drugs can cause permanent neurological damage, yes, but more often, they are a symptom, a way of self-medicating and masking the pain. Some say he committed a selfish act.

Regardless of the circumstances, if a man in pain took his life, mourn him, honor his good deeds and good works, and have compassion for him and his family. It isn’t for us to judge.

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

MENTAL ILLNESS… WHAT IT IS

Depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are physiological disorders. They can cause behavioral, or emotional symptoms, yes, but one can not simply be talked out of having the symptoms, or feelings, associated with these very real physical illnesses.

Just because you cannot see the physical landscape of a person’s brain, and the neurological circuitry that is damaged, with the naked eye, does not make it any less real. You can see someone has a broken arm. You can’t see someone has a broken brain (for lack of a better way of putting it).

What causes mental illness? Most often a genetic predisposition (or physical vulnerability, if you will) often triggered later in life (teens, 20’s, or later) by physical and emotional trauma. It is not a “choice.” In some circumstances, direct injury to the brain, as seen with head trauma from a motor vehicle accident, is the cause.

While talk therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy, can be helpful, it is best in combination with a regimen of medication, to help stabilize the patient’s brain chemistry, and can offer the most effective course of treatment.

Therefore, think carefully before judging someone struggling with a mental illness.

MY PERSONAL JOURNEY

How do I know so much about mental illness? I’ve done the research.

Why? I’ve been a caregiver to my mentally ill mother since I was 15 years old. She didn’t choose it. I didn’t choose to be born into a family with a person afflicted. But there it is. It is a daily struggle. For both the person with the illness and those closest to them. That is if most people haven’t abandoned them, as I’ve experienced all too often is the case.

How do you reason, or know to get help, when you don’t know how sick you truly are? If the very neural pathways and structures of the brain that involve reasoning, logic and self awareness or self reflection are compromised? Poor insight, as stated in Xavier Amador’s book, I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone With Mental Illness Accept Help, is quite common among those identified with psychiatric disorders.

I’m not ashamed of my situation. I used to be. I never told anyone about my mother growing up. It was too embarrassing and painful. I feared I would be judged poorly, or mistreated and rejected (sadly, I wasn’t always wrong). I don’t hide it anymore. It’s part of who I am. I won’t be ashamed, and for my part, I won’t propagate the stigma.

“In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is an enlightened (bodhi) being (sattva). Traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone who is motivated by great compassion…”

AWAKEN THE BODHISATTVA

Mental illness is real. It is a condition. An illness. Like cancer. Or heart disease. It can be treated and it needs to be fully understood. Healthcare and government agencies need to catch up and deal with it.

As a community, we need to break the stigma and deal with it.

It’s time people educated themselves and learned to have some compassion. Think before you speak. The anonymous nature of the internet gives people a false sense of security to spout off without censoring themselves; things they’d never say in public during a face to face confrontation.

Learn from this. 

Those who live in glass houses should never throw stones. If you’ve ever experienced that abyss, then turn to someone in pain and HELP them — don’t judge or berate them. Don’t tell them to simply “snap out of it.”

Lastly, thank you for taking the time to read this and letting me share something so personal in the wake of something so tragic.

Brightest Blessings,
SylverWhisper

 

RECOMMEND LINKS

I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment by Xavier Amador

Surviving Schizophrenia: A Family Manual by E. Fuller Torrey

NAMI – National Alliance for the Mentally Ill 

Suicide is NOT a Selfish Act  by Kevin Caruso

 

Hunky Highlanders, Time Travellers & Fair Ladies, Oh My!

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Ron Moore (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica) is back again, this time as the Executive Producer for the Starz Original Series Outlander, starring Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan.

WHAT IT IS 

Outlander (not be confused with the 2008 movie of the same name) is based on the series of (currently 8) novels by Diana Gabaldon. Outlander follows the adventures of Claire Randall (Balfe), a World War II combat nurse. While on a trip to Scotland (near Inverness) with her husband Frank (an academic, played by Tobias Menzies), with whom she has only just been reunited after a 5 year absence, Claire manages to fall through time, 200 hundred years into the past. Right place, wrong timezone. That’ll teach her to roam about an ancient mystical site (stone circle and everything), where only hours before a Samhain ritual had been performed.

Sadly for Claire, she ends up smack dab in the middle of the conflict between the British Redcoats and the Scots in 1743 (one of many leading up to the famous and bloody Battle of Culloden in 1746).

Lost and confused, Claire dodges musket fire and an attempted rape at the hands of Captain Black Jack Randall, a British soldier and nasty piece of work, who happens to look a good deal like someone from Claire’s past (or is it future?) life… hmmm… (having a Dark Shadows flashback, but I digress).

KILTS and BODICE RIPPERS

Twice injured and twice saved by Claire, Jamie Fraser (Heughan), a Scottish rebel, is more than just a little grateful. Luckily in helping Jamie, Claire proves herself useful to his clan, saving her own skin in the process. She can use all the allies she can get in this wilderness. Claire is a rational person, but she knows she’s not in 1945 anymore.

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Sparks fly from the word go between Claire and Jamie (for some reason the words bodice-ripping come to mind whenever he’s on screen) and one can only hope for some steamy scenes involving the pair (hopefully sooner rather than later, please…).

IMPRESSIONS

I found the pace of the first half of the opening episode a bit sluggish. Thankfully, things pick right up once we’re in 1743. Though I found Claire’s voiceover as a plot device, a bit overused, and even jarring at times, I can forgive it. Hopefully, as the series progresses, there’ll be less of a need to telegraph her thoughts in this manner. I did enjoy the references to Celtic magic and pagan rituals, and hope we’ll be seeing more of that as time goes on.

Outlander has all the makings of a successful drama – romance, conflict, beautiful locations, and a strong heroine in Claire. She’s a woman ahead of her time – in both worlds. Even by today’s standards, Claire is intelligent, skilled, passionate, tough, and outspoken. A formidable woman indeed.

From what I’ve heard, fans of the books can rest easy, as the television adaptation (thus far) seems rather faithful.

For more on the Outlander series of books, visit Diana Gabaldon’s site.

For a look at the TV series, check out the official Starz trailer below.

Outlander airs Saturdays at 9pm on Starz.