Monday, January 4, 2010

Allons y!

I missed the turn of the year and decade* here on the old blog, so best to dispense with the year in review (you're welcome) and look to the year ahead (sorry).

Another Day, Another Doctor:


First off, big props to BBC America for not making us wait to say goodbye to David Tennant as The Doctor. Both episodes of The End of Time aired Stateside the day after each did in the UK. It was a fitting sendoff, taking a darker turn than usual as The Doctor grappled with his mortality right up until the very end. Tennant's last words as the Doctor took the form of a haunting final plea: "I don't want to go."

Heavy stuff, and a hard act for the new Doctor, Matt Smith, to follow. Mercifully, the slate seems to have been wiped clean for his new incarnation, Tennant's Doctor having given his goodbyes to every major supporting character from Sarah Jane Smith to Rose Tyler. Thus we might be spared another unwieldy "Companions Assemble!"-style mashup in the style of The Stolen Earth/Journey's End.

The BBC has also posted a preview of Smith's upcoming turn as The Doctor to YouTube:

My first take is that I really, really hope there's a Plan B after "hit the Dalek with a stick." The Doctor looks like a tweedy college professor (even with the gun; remind me to introduce you to some of my old professors), and that seems to work for him. After all, call yourself "The Doctor" and eventually I suppose you can expect an occasional academic turn.

As with all Doctors before him, fandom seems to be taking a "wait and see" attitude for Smith's following Tennant's wildly successful run. I'm eagerly awaiting it myself.

More Human than Makehuman:

My favorite piece of software still under development, Makehuman, seems to be back on track after two setbacks in 2009. The first came from without, as their original site was attacked by hackers, necessitating a time-consuming move to Blogspot. The second was self-imposed, as the original mesh model was replaced with a newer one. The alpha 4 release just came out a couple of days ago.

According to the road map, alpha 5, originally planned as the final alpha release and including the pose engine, has been bumped down the hierarchy, with the pose engine and transition to beta now set to follow alpha 6. Perhaps wisely given the events of last year, Makehuman has declined to set a date for future updates. But barring disaster the end of the year should find us, if not at, then at least much closer to the final release version of an open source alternative to Poser and DAZ3D Studio.

Comic Relief:

More and more I feel like it's time to explore alternative outlets for my favorite medium, comics. As I get older, big crossovers in superhero books feel less like events and more like attempts to pick my pocket. Don't get me started (again) on the meaninglessness of a character dying. At least The Doctor has a built-in "out" for that.

More and more it looks like the only thing I have to look forward to in the comics realm this year is another visit to Wizard World Philadelphia, which seems to have learned its lesson from last year's fiasco and looks to be putting a good show together this time. Of course, given the current financial realities, I can't say if I'm actually going just yet.

Still, a guy can hope.

Here's to 2010. May we all see 2011.

UPDATE: Forgot something else planned for the year ahead, assuming the principals can stop fighting in court and take it to the ring where it belongs. My call for Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is Pacquiao. He's got the speed, and I don't think Mayweather has the tools to counter him. Hopefully they'll take their corners on March 13th and we'll see.

* - I know, I know, math purists, but what can I say? People like watching multiple digits roll over (cf. the Millennium).