You Need To Be Watching Crazyhead

crazyhead

It’s the winter hiatus for most of our favorite shows right now, so it is the perfect time to pick up a new television obsession. So if you’re busy missing Supernatural, if you’ve never recovered from losing Being Human UK or US, or if you just want to see a show about two women kicking demon ass and taking names, you’ve got to check out Crazyhead. For now, there’s only one season (and a mere six episodes) of this spectacular show, but it’s six episodes of supernatural hunting fun. It’s streaming on Netflix so you can binge the whole thing over your winter break. Don’t worry, this whole post is spoiler-free, so if you haven’t checked out Crazyhead just yet, you can read on without fear!

Fans of Supernatural will definitely notice some…well…some differences in things like exorcism rites (it’s a bit more…personal and, well, flat out gross than simply shouting out some words in Latin), and the mythology and lore surrounding demons has a unique and interesting twist from what I’ve seen before (I’d go into it more here, but it’s a HUGE spoiler for the show). Still, it’s got that fun, other-wordly vibe that made us all fall in love with watching Sam and Dean kick monster butt. The show’s heroines, Amy and Raquel, are so much fun to watch together. The two meet for the first time in the show’s premiere, but by the season finale, you can’t help but want to be in Amy and Raquel’s squad.

The two are hilarious together, and Raquel is a perfect mix of tough, crass, and lovable. Amy is quieter with a more skittish and awkward nature, and watching the two women try to protect the earth from demonic threats is like watching two friends. Unlike Sam and Dean Winchester, Amy and Raquel didn’t grow up as trained warriors, and are both relatively new and uninformed about the dealings of demonic ways. So we get to learn right alongside the women as they get to know the underworld a bit more, and figure out the best way to get rid of demons once and for all.

One of the biggest complaints of Supernatural fans has been the lack of women hunters who aren’t killed off in some horrific fashion (read: Charlie, Jo, Ellen, and the OG, Mary Winchester). So it’s awesome to find such a cool, engaging show about two awesome women going up against the darkness. And without getting into any spoilers, they’ve set us up to explore a supernatural world outside of demons alone. So I cannot wait to see what exciting stories and frightening monsters we get to see Raquel and Amy fight in season two.

Have you watched Crazyhead on Netflix yet? What did you think of it? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Image credit: E4/Netflix

Ways the Supernatural Family Is Really Saving People

Part of what makes the Supernatural fandom so special is the huge emphasis that gets placed on helping people. For a show about killing monsters, we do a lot of good, and really look out for one another.familyUnsurprisingly, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles launched a new Always Keep Fighting hoodie campaign just in time for Supernatural Day. Here’s a video of Jared and Jensen introducing the new campaign:


I’ve talked before about how important I think Always Keep Fighting is. Mental illness gets such a terrible stigma, and as someone who has anxiety and depression themselves, I am so happy to see my favorite fandom do so much good  and offer so much help to those who need it. The fandom and the #AlwaysKeepFighting movement meant so much to me, I got a tattoo reminding me to always keep fighting:

I did a thing… #AlwaysKeepFighting @jaredpadalecki

A photo posted by Kendall Ashley (@kendallashley_0128) on Aug 3, 2016 at 6:48pm PDT

Of course you don’t have to go and ink yourself if you want to participate in the AKF campaign. Instead, you can just scoop up your own hoodie from the latest campaign by heading over to the Represent page to order your hoodie and get your special 12 pin. But don’t wait too long, the campaign ends on September 27th!

But of course AKF isn’t the only way that Supernatural looks out for its own. If you haven’t heard yet, Supernatural and Random Acts have also created an actual crisis hotline, and they have people working on the hotline 24/7 and at Supernatural conventions.

And Sheriffs Jody and Donna (Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster) have also started the Wayward Daughters Academy, which is a tee-shirt campaign that raises money to help homeless and at-risk women and girls. Not only that, but it’s become a bit of a supportive community among Supernatural‘s fans, allowing a place for them to really be themselves,  to help others, and to find others who love them for just being themselves.

Of course Wayward Daughters and several of Osric Chau‘s campaigns all fall under the BEHEMOTH that is Random Acts, a huge charity started by Misha Collins. You’ve probably heard of Random Act’s big event, the giant and crazy scavenger hunt known as GISHWHES. However, there is so much more to the organization that just that. Random Acts is working all over the globe to help those that need it most, promote kindness and generosity, and even do huge things like raising money to build schools and homes in areas that need it.

This is what makes the fandom so special–how connected we are, and how important it is that we help others. You can joke around about the show running for too many years, you can say you think the various Supernatural shippers are weird, and you can get confused at how meta the show can get sometimes, but at the core of all that, the fandom is just trying to do good in the world. That’s what makes this group and this show special, and it’s why we’re still talking about the show after all these years.

What’s your favorite charity or cause that the Supernatural fandom has rallied around? Tell me about it in the comments! 

Welcome to Supernatural Week and the Season 12 Teaser

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On September 13, 2005, Supernatural first hit televisions. It’s been over a decade since the pilot episode aired, and to celebrate the show’s unusually long life the 13th has been officially deemed “Supernatural Day”. Well, the thing is, I didn’t feel like allowing one day for Supernatural appreciation was right. So here at Distracted Blogger, we’re going to be celebrating Supernatural Week.  I’ll be talking about the new season, the bomb Jared and Jensen dropped in the EW article (I won’t spoil that in this post), Always Keep Fighting, and more. I have been re-watching the entire season this hellatus, so I can’t wait to talk about All the Supernatural Things with you this week!

So let’s start this week off right with a first look at what’s in store for us in season 12. Take a peek. Season 11 spoilers ahead, obviously:

You guys, I have really mixed feelings about the UK branch of the Men of Letters. Sure, Sam and Dean have created (accidentally or not) quite a lot of problems for people on earth, but I feel like capturing Sam and torturing him is kind of an extreme reaction. It also feels like far too brutish a reaction for a group of people known for being chronically stuck between the pages of the book while they save the elbow grease for hunters. I really loved the idea of Sam becoming a full-time Man of Letters, but seeing some of the people that would be his UK colleagues has got me wondering if that’s a good idea.

Also: MARY WINCHESTER, YOU GUYS! I am so incredibly excited to see Mary back in action, and back in pants. I’m a bit worried about Sam and Dean spending actual, real time with their mom since she’s become this ethereal, perfect creature in their minds. Seeing a real woman with real flaws could be really hard for the boys, and put a rift in their relationship that doesn’t need to be there. We don’t know if Mary’s return is something that will stick, so I’d hate for her to be sent back through the veil (or worse, for her to be killed again) and the boys have this John-style relationship with her. Of course, things won’t just be hard for the boys. We know that Mary never wanted her children to be hunters, so it will have to be heartbreaking and infuriating for Mary to see her boys living the exact kind of life that she never, ever wanted for them. If the boys let slip too much about their childhood, you know Mary is going to be absolutely furious with John.

What do you think of the teaser? What are you most excited about in season 12? What do you hope to see this season? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Denver Comic Con 2016: Sunday Panels

Over the weekend of Denver Comic Con 2016, I loved, loved, loved, spending Friday on the exhibition floor and freaking out over my panel, and I loved spending Saturday with the likes of John Barrowman, Cary Elwes, and Hayley Atwell. However, the Sunday panels were hands down my favorites. In DCCs past, Sunday was always more of a slow day to help you wind down from the con craziness. Not this year though. Sunday had people from Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Marvel, Doctor Who, and my favorite internet ladies, The Hillywood Show. It was a great day, but by the end of the day I was EXHAUSTED! Here’s how the day shook out:

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

JDM

I was soooo thrilled to hear that Jeffrey Dean Morgan was coming to Comic Con this year. His appearance was a bit of a late announcement, so it made me even more excited to see him at the con. I didn’t have time to save up to get a photo op with him, unfortunately, but getting to see his panel was treat enough. So what did he have to say about Negan’s role on The Walking Dead? Nothing. He said that he gets to laugh a lot as Negan, which in turn upsets Andrew Lincoln, which makes him laugh more, and he said that waiting for an answer to “who met Lucille” isn’t the worst thing in the world. But apart from telling us how much fun it is to play such a twisted bad guy, we didn’t really learn too much–which is unsurprising. What I really loved was hearing him talk about Supernatural, and his feelings towards Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. He talked about how seeing them “all grown up” made him feel incredibly proud, and he liked to think he had a small part in that–even though he’s only ten years older than Jensen Ackles. He also mentioned that he’d love to come back to the show, especially if it was for the series finale, and if Jensen directed. I’m all for that. He was also asked a question by a girl in genderbent Comedian cosplay, which he thought was so rad that he brought her onstage.

JDM and Comedian

JDM hasn’t been doing the convention circuit for long, but he seemed to be pretty comfortable onstage (his wife–who he met through Jensen Ackles, btw–and adorable son were in the front row, which I’m sure helped him out) and he put on a super fun panel. He was funny, sweet, sincere, and you could tell how much of a genuinely fun time he has working on and talking about the shows he’s a part of. Papa Winchester didn’t disappoint, you guys.

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Of course that was only a fraction of the day. Next, we took things over to the Marvel ‘verse…

Clark Gregg

Clark Gregg

What makes a Clark Gregg panel so fun is how much of a fanboy he is IRL. If you didn’t know, this guy is essentially Coulson himself. He loves comics and the heroes from Marvel just as much (though I don’t think he has vintage cards like Coulson–although Coulson doesn’t even have his cards anymore), and when asked if he was Team Cap or Team Iron Man, he full Coulsoned everyone, calling the question-asker “young lady” and asking how the Sokovia Accords would affect the Inhumans in his charge. It was THE BEST. He also spoke about life after Coulson died in Avengers. He happened to see the #CoulsonLives Twitter campaign while running his wife’s (Jennifer Grey) Twitter while she was on Dancing with the Stars. After that crazy campaign and seeing the Marvel fans flock to bringing Coulson back, we got a living, breathing Coulson and the amazing show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. So can we expect to see him back on the MCU? Or what about his feelings of bringing in some of the other Marvel TV characters into the MCU? Coulson–I mean Clark is game, but he’s okay with waiting. Obviously, he’s got to figure out a gentle way to let the Avengers know he’s still alive. You know, in a way that won’t make any of them so mad they kill him…but more than that he’d love to see the Marvel shows (he named Matt Murdock specifically) mix with the MCU, but in the right way. He thought having some brief, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo wouldn’t be the best, but if they could blend the worlds in a natural and awesome way, he’d love to see that. So we can hope our future will hold some rad crossovers.

Alex Kingston and Jenna Coleman

Alex Kingston and Jenna Coleman

I wasn’t able to stick around for this entire panel, but I did enjoy getting to see these two together. The biggest thing I felt from this panel is that when Jenna originally took the job as Clara on Doctor Who, she had no. idea. how much this would change her life. To this day, I feel like she’s still trying to understand Whovians, convention culture, and why the heck a bunch of randos are paying upwards of a hundred bucks to take a picture with her. Still, it’s obvious she loved the show, the characters, and her fellow actors, which I always love seeing. Alex Kingston, on the other hand, is ALL ABOUT this kinda thing. She totally seemed to feed off the crowd, and was a lot more vocal than Jenna (introvert vs. extrovert, basically). When Jenna asked if she would be coming back to Who–especially after Peter Capaldi made some cryptic remarks about her–she shrugged it off as Peter being Peter and trying to create buzz. She also said that she’d only just left, and Pearl Mackie was starting her run as companion that very day. So even though she seemed to make the answer seem like a solid “no, I’m done”, she never officially said her days in the TARDIS were over. She just didn’t want to take the spotlight from Pearl. Alex Kingston also made some controversial remarks saying that she wasn’t on board with turning the Doctor into a woman in a future regeneration. We’ve seen with two other Gallifreyans that a gender change in a regeneration is possible–The Master/Missy being the most notable–Alex thought that since he’s always been a guy, he should stay that way. I love you, Alex, but we’re gonna have to agree to disagree there.

The Hillywood Show

Hillywood

I actually got to interview Hannah and Hilly (an interview that will be coming out on Geek & Sundry, so stay tuned for that), but I also couldn’t wait to attend their panel. While I’m pretty sure they were in Hilly!Dean and Hannah!Cas cosplay the day before, their Sunday panel was in Dean and Cas casual cosplay (sporting their Hillywood Supernatural parody beanies, obvs). These girls are so sweet and just a ton of fun. They were encouraging to members of the audience who wanted to start their own show on YouTube, and they were so grateful that they had the opportunity to create the show thanks to their Patreon supporters (you can support the show here if you are so inclined). They also watched some of their parodies with the audience, namely their Lord of the Rings Parody, the Walking Dead Parody, the Doctor Who Parody, and their Supernatural Parody.

Hillywood Shake It off.jpg

When I first saw the Supernatural parody, I was by myself and had to fangirl with friends online. So it was really fun to get to watch it in a room FULL of other fans and Hannah and Hilly themselves. Their biggest encouragement to the audience was create something original and don’t try to copy what someone else is doing. You’ll only gain a following and stand out from other YouTubers if you are providing something that only you can give an audience–that’s what people want to see, not a knock-off. These girls are amazing. I was so impressed that they not only did zillions of panels and took the time to not only do photo ops, but they also manned a booth and spent individual time–and the occasional selfie–with each fan who came through to buy some merch.

Of course the unsung hero of the convention is also the lovely Clare Kramer, who was the moderator/interviewer for most of the mainstage panels. She was busy the ENTIRE weekend, and helped make every single panel awesome. I have no idea how she was able to stay energized for it all, but she did a great job. If you haven’t checked out her or GeekNation, you totally should do that. She’s fantastic, and helped make all of the panels amazing. She’s hosted mainstage panels for a while at Denver Comic Con, and I’m always impressed at how she handles the panels–even as they’ve grown significantly over the years. Seriously, Denver Comic Con had record attendance this year, and I know that a huge part of that is because they put on some truly impressive panels. I’m already getting excited for the adventures in store next year!

Have you seen any of these folks at a convention? What question would you like to ask them if you could? Tell me about it in the comments!

Supernatural Hellatus Re-Watch: Am I Becoming a Sam Girl?

It’s been a while since I’ve re-watched the entire series of Supernatural (I think I’ve actually only done it twice, which is shocking to me since I’ve watched the entirety of shows like Arrested Development, The IT Crowd, and Bob’s Burgers like…seven thousand times). Since we’re on the summer hellatus, I figured this would be the perfect time to start over from the very beginning.

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I just have to say that I love, love, love the first season. It’s full of urban legends, MOTW episodes, and it’s way before the boys had to worry about stuff like the apocalypse, The Cage, crossroad demon deals, The Darkness, and all the craziness. It was a simpler time, wasn’t it? In fact, in the episode “Phantom Traveler,” Dean says that dealing with demons is way out of their league. Of course that’s hilarious since these days exorcising demons is so second nature that they’ve literally made a voice note on their phones to exorcise demons for them.

But apart from being reminded of how green the boys were when it comes to hunting really nasty monsters back in the early days, I’m starting to see something else: I might be morphing into a Sam girl. I’ve never had any animosity towards Sam, but out of the two Winchester boys, I’ve always related to Dean more than Sam. Dean’s super protective of his little brother like I am…of course, with both Winchesters any point that you “relate” to them is super amplified on the Winchester’s side of things. For instance, I’d say I’m protective and worry too much about my little brother, and Dean would say, “Yes, I too am protective and worry too much about my brother which is why I SOLD MY SOUL TO A CROSSROADS DEMON AND ROTTED IN HELL FOR 30 HELL-YEARS TO BRING HIM BACK FROM THE DEAD.”

…I just…I just like…worry a lot about my brother making good choices and not dying in car crashes, but yeah, Dean, I totally get you. Hashtag Older Sibling Problems, amirite?

But I love how much of a mother hen-type Dean is. He looks out for Sam–often to his own detriment, but whatevs–he looks out for Cas, and don’t even get me started on his relationship with Charlie and Kevin…

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But as I’ve gone through the first five episodes of the series again, I’ve really tried to watch the show with fresh eyes. Sure I know what’s going to happen, but it’s been forever since I’ve seen those early seasons of the show, so it’s a lot easier than I expected for me to leave my Supernatural baggage at the door and try to watch the show with a clean slate. As I’ve done this, I noticed that I’m starting to get some major Sam feels…and like, zero Dean feels. There’s really not much to Dean in those first few episodes, is there? Now don’t jump down my throat, I know the character develops, but I had forgotten how much time they spend developing Sam as a character. Really the most we get of Dean in those episodes is, well, this:

dean flying

Meanwhile, we see Sam build a life with someone he wholly relies on and loves…

sam jess

…he loses her (spoiler alert I guess, but it’s been literally over a decade so it’s your own fault)…

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…blames himself because he had dreams of Jess’ death days before she died (also giving us a first look into his psychic abilities)…

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…and then completely uproots his entire life to avenge the death of his true love (and his mom, but mainly Jess).

we've got work to do

Sometimes it’s easy for me to forget where Sam has been on “the road so far”. For me, the stuff that have always stuck in my mind about Sam’s journey were things like his demon blood addiction, his Dean and John-less heaven, starting the apocalypse, not looking for Dean while he was in Purgatory, losing his soul, and the lack of bro-ments after Sam realized Dean let Gadreel use Sam as a vessel. Typical things for a Dean girl to cling to, but as I’m re-watching the early episodes, the giant train wreck of Sam’s life prior to learning about being “chosen” by Azazel, his horrible childhood, his terrible relationship with his father, essentially being kicked out when he went to college, then losing the only person in his life that anchored him to a safe life…Sam’s just got a shaky foundation all around. Really the only constant in his life is Dean, and Dean doesn’t always live up to that role.

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Don’t get me started on where the Samulet has been since Dean trashed it (I won’t say since it’s an actual spoiler from this season)…

Sam has been through quite a lot, and he hasn’t always made the best choices, but getting to go through his journey again is showing me so much to Sam I’ve never noticed before. I’m also seeing HUGE ways that Sam is basically a shaggy-haired version of John Winchester. I know they say Sam is like John in the series, but I hadn’t picked up on the similarities my first watch through (which makes sense since all we really get of John for most of the first season is coordinates and sketchy voicemails). Sam starts the series with that monomaniacal drive to get Jess’ killer that John had, and we see him continue that singular focus throughout the series (though I’d argue that Sam loses John’s less desirable qualities as the series continues). Obviously, I’m only five episodes into my re-watch, but I can’t wait to see what else I see for the first time.

Have you re-watched Supernatural recently? What new things are you learning? Are you a Sam girl or a Dean girl, and why? Let’s talk about it in the comments! 

Interview with Cat Staggs

When Supergirl came to TV, I think we all knew it was only a matter of time before they re-introduced us to Kara in the comic book world. The Adventures of Supergirl has been rocking the comics world since January of this year, and I had the opportunity to chat a bit with Cat Staggs, the artist behind the amazing cover, who’ll be providing the interior art for the latest chapter of the book, which releases digitally TODAY.

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Image credit: DC Comics

What I love about Cat’s work is how beautifully and realistically she’s able to recreate faces that we’ve seen in real life (you can head to her website to see some of the art she’s done for the Smallville and Orphan Black comics), so I couldn’t wait to talk to her about her work on The Adventures of Supergirl! Take a peek into our conversation!

Kendall: How does your process differ between working on an interior and working on the cover? 

Cat: They’re two different things. In one I’m working closely with the writer to create the interior art, and when I’m working on a cover I’m trying to tell a story without giving too much away.

K: I’m always just blown away when I see how well you’re able to not only create original art, but also draw the faces of real people like you’ve done with The Adventures of Supergirl as well as stuff like Smallville and Orphan Black. Do you prefer drawing real people over creating something from scratch?

C: I don’t really prefer one over the other. Regardless of what I’m drawing, I like to draw people to look realistic. I like to focus on conveying emotions rather than drawing these stiff-looking figures. I really work hard understanding what the character is feeling so when I draw someone it looks emotional rather than someone just opening their mouths or something like that.

K: How did you get into comics to begin with? 

C: I did a lot of knocking on doors after getting laid off from another job! No, but really it was all about meeting people and getting the my work out there. I went to a lot of cons to get my stuff seen, working on trading card art, as well as working with Lucasfilm on a lot of Star Wars art. Then one day Jim Lee offered to give me a shot, and that was Phantom Lady.

K: The Adventures of Supergirl isn’t your first run with Supergirl. You also got to redesign her costume in 2013. How do you feel about the costume she wears on the show (and, by extension, the comic)? 

C: I love the costume in the series! Honestly, I think it’s one of the better Supergirl costumes that we’ve seen in a live-action adaptation. It really holds on to the source material.

K: How do you feel about the Supergirl you worked on in 2013 versus the current Supergirl?

C: I mean, they’re from different worlds, and really almost different characters. One is more defiant and rebellious than the character we see in the show, but I think they’re both awesome characters. I don’t know, put them together, maybe? Then I guess you’d get Wonder Woman, though…

K: Do you have any advice for people looking to get into comics?

C: Ultimately you’ve got to get your work out there. There are so many ways for people to get exposure these days. Getting on Twitter alone can be a great way to showcase your work and reach out to people in the industry. Going to shows and conventions is so helpful to get your work in front of people’s faces and to get the opportunity to do some face-to-face networking. You’ve just got to make it and get it out there! I mean, you definitely have to put in the time and the work, but there are so many great tools to help you get yourself and your work in front of real people.

K: Any last words on what we can expect from the latest installment of The Adventures of Supergirl?

C: I just really hope people like it. It’s a pretty emotional chapter.

Thanks so much to Cat for taking the time to chat with me. Be sure to grab yourself a copy of Chapter 10 of The Adventures of Supergirl. The chapter is available for download Monday, today, via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus. Here are a few images from the interior to whet your appetite for new Supergirl content!

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Also, if you’re heading to Denver Comic Con this year, you’re in luck, because Cat Staggs is going to be one of the fabulous artists in attendance! Be sure to check out her Twitter and the Denver Comic Con page to see what she’ll be up to at the con. And be sure to let me know your thoughts about the The Adventures of Supergirl in the comments!

3 Things I Want For the New Doctor Who Companion

Unless you’ve been trapped in solitude all weekend, chances are solid that you heard a new companion has officially been named. The companion is called Bill, and she’s played by the actress Pearl Mackie. I wrote about her a bit on Geek & Sundry over the weekend.

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Image credit: BBC

Even though we’ve got to wait until 2017 for the new season of Doctor Who (though there will be a Christmas special this year, so maybe we’ll see Bill there), all of our Whovian brains are racing as we imagine what kind of a companion Bill will be, and what adventures she and the Doctor will have together. While I don’t share the Clara-hate that a lot of Whovians had, I will admit that she had a tumultuous run with the Doctor. That original “Impossible Girl” story line made her more of a weird anomaly throughout the Doctor’s timeline rather than an actual character, and it wasn’t until her final season that I really started to love her. Jenna Coleman is a great actor, and I think she could have sealed herself a higher ranking in the “favorite companion” leaderboard had she started her run as companion as more than just a puzzle for the Doctor to solve. Clara, once she was fleshed out as a character, was reckless, she was caring, she was brave, she was snarky, she was loving, she was sarcastic, and she was everything I love in companions.

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It kind of frustrated me, actually, because I felt like so much time was wasted on guessing who–or WHAT–Clara could be. The awkward crush she had on Eleven, the Impossible Girl thing, feeling weird about Twelve because he was old, all of that got in the way of what turned out to be a really fun Doctor/Companion run there at the end. I don’t want that for Bill. Here’s what I hope we see once she officially boards the TARDIS:

No Romance

Eleven and Clara

I loved watching Nine/Ten and Rose’s romance. It was sweet, even though we all knew that it would ultimately end in heartbreak. However, that gooey romance has sort of tainted the Doctor and Companion romance thing for me. Martha’s run as companion got lost, I felt, because there was that awkward “rebound companion” behind everything they did together. When she left the TARDIS on her own accord, I cheered her on because frankly, the Doctor was kind of stringing her along. Then with companions like Donna and the Ponds, we saw how fun–yet still highly meaningful–it can be to watch the Doctor travel with someone who is just a friend and nothing romantic. I got why Clara crushed on Eleven. I get it dude, Matt Smith’s adorable, easy on the eyes, endearing, and he can pull off short pants and “delicate” eyebrows better than anyone. But we all knew the Doctor didn’t fully return Clara’s affections–after all, this was still the age of River Song. Then when Eleven regenerated, everything was weird between Clara and Twelve for a bit because of that crush. The Doctor–especially this Doctor–needs a friend, needs family, far more than he needs a girlfriend. It can get awkward when the Doctor has to navigate a companion crush, so I hope Bill and Twelve are just mates. Plus, I’m not really ready to see him with anyone but River just yet.

She’s Just a Regular Human

important

In the Doctor Who universe, it gets repeated over and over again how important the Doctor finds each individual he meets. That’s part of the show’s appeal: everyone’s important. Rose loved the Doctor, Martha was his friend who pushed him from heartbreak, Donna was simultaneously the best temp in Chiswick/the most important woman in the universe/and the Doctor’s best mate, and the Ponds were the Doctor’s family. So taking Clara and making her something more than a human who works her way into the Doctor’s hearts felt…unnecessary. The Doctor doesn’t pick companions because they have some secret identity or skill. The Doctor finds his companions special and important because he thinks everyone is important and special–which leaves room for the companions to grow and develop as characters, and ultimately help the Doctor grow. I want Bill to be a regular human, and not a puzzle or problem for the Doctor to solve. I want to see her evolve during her time with the Doctor like an actual human, to see how her presence changes the Doctor, and not for the Doctor to simply work his way to a solution with her.

No Fearing the Doctor

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I’ve really grown to love Twelve, but a huge difference between Eleven and Twelve is how rough Twelve is around the edges. Everyone wanted to go up and give Eleven a hug. The dude invented a dance called “the drunk giraffe”, and we refer to him as Raggedy Man. That’s SO not Twelve. Twelve doesn’t do hugging (except with Clara), he doesn’t tolerate most people,  he’s got biting sarcasm (one of the reasons I love him), he’s not even consistently nice to those he’s closest with (like Clara), and he’s even had to give himself cards to react appropriately in delicate emotional situations. Clara and Twelve’s first season was tough to watch sometimes because Clara would treat Twelve like she did Eleven. She let him get away with a lot, she let him treat her terribly, and she didn’t really stand up for herself. After all, Twelve can be a bit intimidating. The relationship felt a bit toxic, and not fun at all. However,  once Clara finally stepped up and stopped allowing Twelve to do whatever the hell he wanted whenever the hell he wanted, everything got better. He treated her respectfully, she pushed him to be better, and they were fun to follow on adventures. Bill needs to not be afraid of the Doctor (who may still be emotionally raw as he’s mending broken hearts after losing Clara), and not be afraid to call him out when he’s being crazy. The Doctor’s companions keep him good, and Bill needs writing that lets her keep him good.

It can take some time for the Doctor and his new companion to find their groove together, and I’m excited to watch Bill and the Doctor become friends. I can’t wait to see what kind of a character she’ll be, how she’ll evolve during her run in the TARDIS, and what kind of an impact she’ll have on the Doctor and the universe. New episodes of Doctor Who cannot get here soon enough! What do you think of Bill? What are you looking forward to seeing in the new season? What do you hope to see with this new companion? Let me know in the comments!

What You Actually Experience at the Doctor Who Experience

I’m writing again about my time in Europe (I previously wrote a post with a few European travel tips, and I also wrote a post about geeky UK travel on Geek & Sundry). I’ve put a couple of my pictures here on the blog, but you can see LOADS more photos from my European adventure on my Instagram. The hashtag is #KenInEurope.

While I got to see a TON of amazing bits of European history, architecture, and culture, I made sure to get a solid dose of geekery into my travels. One of the places I had to be SURE to hit was the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales. Honestly, you guys, I was so excited to take part in the Experience, actually setting foot into the building bordered on emotional for me–though that could have just been a result of the exhaustion/jetlag and gnarly blisters that were forming on my feet. Either way, it was so fantastic when I saw the giant building looming overhead.

DWE Building

I had bought my tickets ahead of time (which I recommend you do, though they have several tours leaving throughout the day, I’d hate to travel all the way to Wales only to fine they’re sold out. Plus, it’s 16 pounds at the door versus 14 pounds ahead of time). I backpacked my way through Europe, so I was thrilled to find that they let me in and through the experience with my backpack (which is good–I would have had literally nowhere else to put it had it been against the rules). All in all, the experience was magical and highly timey-wimey. So what can you expect when you immerse yourself in the Experience?

You will assume you can walk to the Experience from the train station, and soon realize you cannot–at least, it would be a walk that is WAY longer than you’re okay with.

If you’ve got yourself a rental car or you’re cool with taking a taxi everywhere, you’re set. However, if you’re relying on Uber, don’t. They don’t have it yet. If you’re thinking you’ll walk from the train station (we traveled to Cardiff via train from London), you also probably shouldn’t do that either. It’s a bit of a hike, and if it’s raining, the rain will likely be intense.

You will discover they have a bus that runs from the train station to the Experience–the Number 6 bus. You will scrounge through your pockets to find 1 pound 80 because the bus stop sign says it takes exact change only.

And no, they don’t take credit cards.

Then, you will notice a sign that says to flag the driver down if you wish to board the bus. You will think this is meant for those wishing to board the bus in between stops, and that obviously the bus will stop at its designated stops. You will be wrong.

Seriously, FLAG THE DRIVER DOWN. Turns out that, though you are standing at the bus stop, the bus doesn’t automatically stop at its designated stops. It only stops if there are people signaling that they’d like to get on the bus. Make sure you signal him so he has enough time to see you, register you need the bus, and safely stop at the bus stop.

Once aboard the bus, you’ll see that the bus has one of those “pull to stop the bus” ropes. In your experience, those are for emergency stops only, so you don’t pull it. Mercifully, others on the bus know better and will pull the cord at your desired stop.

It makes sense now. If the bus wasn’t stopping at bus stops without a future passenger waving the bus down, why would he stop without a current passenger letting him know they wanted to get off the bus? When you’ve reached your stop (or really, a bit before arriving at your stop), pull the cord.

As you’re nearing the Experience, you’ll notice that you pass the BBC Cymru|Wales building. You will wonder what the hell “Cymru” means.

First of all, Cymru is Wales in Welsh. Though Wales is an English speaking country, they are working hard to preserve the Welsh language as it came very close to becoming extinct. So, in addition to teaching Welsh in schools there, just about every sign you see in Wales has Welsh and English printed on it. #TheMoreYouKnow Also,  I don’t know if you can tour the BBC office. I don’t even know if there’s anything to see in there. I just noticed it as we passed and was like, “Oh, hey look at that.” I was too nervous to explore for too long after our run at the Experience since we took the last Experience of the day. I wasn’t sure how long the bus would run to that area after the Experience closed, and I didn’t want to risk missing my train back to London.

The lobby of the Experience will literally take your breath away.

DW Experience Lobby.jpg

Okay,  let me back track a bit. The lobby is by far not the most outstanding part of the experience. Really, the lobby is just a lobby, it’s just that the lobby contains loads of authentic Whovian props. Being that close to a TARDIS, a smiler, Daleks, Handles, and other authentic props will make you simultaneously want to squeal and cry a little.

The lobby–where they have a waiting area and a small cafe–is where you’ll find the big guns like a TARDIS, Daleks, and the Smiler. But when you’re ready to queue up for the Experience, they make you wait in a line prior to letting in, and that room is also filled with a variety of props like the Time Lord costumes, Handles, and the Time Lord Hypercubes.

You won’t be able to take pictures in the Experience, and they’ll ask you to keep the Experience itself a secret.

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They want you to keep the adventure under your hat so everyone comes in to the Experience and it’s a new adventure for them. So I’m not going to tell you what I experienced specifically. Suffice it to say, you go on an interactive adventure with the Doctor. I don’t know how many times they make a new adventure, but I’m guessing at least one for every new Doctor, as mine was with Twelve.

You’ll quickly realize the Experience is designed to delight children. However, you’ll still have a blast, and feel a bit emotional that you’re actually in Cardiff, Wales, at THE Doctor Who Experience.

Yeah, the adventure is fully for kids, but it’s still loads of fun. Cheesy? Maybe, but it’s such a unique experience and I was so happy to simply be there, that everything delighted me to pieces. There’s even a part where we got to “drive” the TARDIS, and the Doctor instructed us to allow “small humans” to be in the front (so: Kendall, move back so the kids can have a turn). Mercifully, there were more TARDIS controls than children in my group, so I got to help drive. #TimeLordWin

Despite enjoying the adventure, you will be a bit disappointed that Peter Capaldi didn’t leap out at some point to surprise your group.

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I did NOT miss a bit, Doctor. You just weren’t physically there. And yes, I know it wasn’t a realistic thing to hope for, especially since I don’t think they’ll be filming new episodes of Who for quite a while, but how awesome would that have been?!? But hey, maybe he’ll surprise your group when you go…

Despite the campy fun of the Experience, you’ll think the Doctor Who Exhibit after the experience is just THE BEST

Once you leave the interactive experience, you’ll enter the “museum” where they store costumes and props from Who over the years. They had awesome stuff like the actual Moment that the Doctor used in the 50th special to end the Time War, they had the War Doctor’s actual TARDIS, the interior of the One’s TARDIS as well as Nine and Ten’s TARDIS, they had an exhibit (that I didn’t get a picture of) showing the evolution of Cybermen on Who, and various costumes actually worn by characters. It was just brilliant.

 You’ll soon realize that though there are a couple of TARDIS interiors to explore, you can’t enter any of the phone boxes. You’ll assume there are two reasons for this.

me and TARDIS

The first reason being that the TARDISes are just props, and it could be slightly devastating for fans to enter a TARDIS and realize it’s just a small, dark box. I mean, can you imagine sending this crazed fan into a fake TARDIS? That’s the smile of a chick hardcore fangirling over all the Who stuff around her, tired from walking with her dang backpack, and feet aching from the blisters she got from her stupid (but oh-so adorable) boots. She looks unstable enough that a disappointment like a fake TARDIS might just send her over the edge…

Of course, the other reason they may not have let us into any of the phone boxes (and there were several–the one pictured is from the lobby, but the museum itself had quite a few of the different phone boxes we’ve seen over the years) is because they are actual, functioning TARDISes. The reason the Doctor didn’t jump into my Experience was because he had merely parked his TARDIS at the museum and was off saving the world. Of course, it all makes sense now.

You will find that, unsurprisingly, the museum exit is through the gift shop. You will want to buy everything, and this will not surprise you either. What will surprise you is that you will not be able to afford any of the pretty things.

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Everything is wonderful and beautiful, but hella expensive. If you want to buy something from the gift shop, save up. It makes it a bit worse because, at least when I was there, the US dollar was worth less than the pound making everything doubly expensive for me. Lame.

You will think the entrance to Torchwood/Ianto’s Door/Millennium Centre will be right behind the Experience. It isn’t, and because you aren’t feeling great, you’ll resign yourself to not seeing it and hop on the Number 6 bus to return to the train station. Literally the very next stop (or two stops, I can’t recall now) will be at the Millennium Centre and Mermaid Quay. Frustrated but ultimately too tired to leave the bus (and lacking another 1 pound 80 to get back on the bus), you will simply snap a picture from your seat.

Torchwood Pic

I call this picture: Good Enough.

Really though, this whole area isn’t too far from the Experience if you’re walking, and it’s even shorter if you’re taking the bus. This building is called the Millennium Centre, which you can find in Roald Dahl’s Pass. Apparently there are various Doctor Who/Torchwood things all around here. Ianto’s door (which is now apparently a bit of a Torchwood shrine to Ianto and others who died on the show) is near the location where the speedboats land on Mermaid Quay. Also, you might have picked this up from your viewings of Doctor Who/Torchwood, but just in case: quay is pronounced “key”, not “kway”.

Ultimately, it will be one of your favorite moments from the trip.

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Seriously, the entire thing will be a giant celebration of Doctor Who with other people who love the series just as much as you do. It was, without a doubt, one of my favorite moments from the trip.

Have you been to the Doctor Who Experience? What did you think of it? Are you planning a trip to go out there sometime soon? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Everyday Cosplay: Ygritte and Jon Snow

One of my favorite couples on Game of Thrones was Ygritte the Wilding and Jon Snow, a member of the Night’s Watch. I loved those two so much together. I mean, look at these two adorable kiddos (caution, spoilers after the gif):

ygritte jon snow

There chemistry is electric whenever the two are onscreen (I guess they’re actually dating IRL again, which makes me happy). Even in the Game of Thrones musical, the parts that had these two were some of my favorites (SERIOUSLY. Spoilers are coming. Last chance to leave).

So naturally, I was simply heartbroken when Ygritte was killed. And now that Jon Snow may also be dead too (I’m 99% sure he is), I just had to commemorate two of my faves from Game of Thrones with some everyday cosplay. Plus, it’s been snowing like crazy where I live (we get April snow showers here), so I’m feeling the cold weather vibes.

Everyday Ygritte

 

You’ll notice I included a “you know nothing, Jon Snow” tank with Ygritte’s look. Even though it’s a bit meta, I am 100% confident that if those tanks were a thing beyond the wall, Ygritte would wear one every damn day. 

Everyday Jon Snow

 

Obviously this look includes a cell phone cover with question marks. You know, because Jon Snow knows nothing? 

Who is your favorite couple from Game of Thrones? How about your favorite character? Do you think Jon Snow is dead or not? Let me know what you think in the comments! 

 

Everyday Cosplay: Negan

By now, I’m betting that most of you have seen the season finale of The Walking Dead (and don’t freak out if not, no spoilers in this post), and I’m assuming Negan captivated you as quickly as he captivated me. I mean, it wasn’t a pleasant captivated, not by a long shot.

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Negan is hella terrifying, and a SUPER bad guy–but he’s a bad guy that you just can’t forget. I think he’s the most formidable foe that the group has faced since the Governor. Plus, he’s played by Poppa Winchester, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, happily bringing the Supernatural universe together with the Walking Dead universe.

While this season may have ended on a CRAZY cliffhanger, I just couldn’t manage to shake Negan. Since I couldn’t get him out of my subconscious, I decided I’d commemorate his part in my stress dreams by creating a Negan-inspired everyday cosplay look. Take a peek:

Everyday Negan

 

 

What did you think of Negan? Do you think he’s the toughest enemy Rick and the gang have faced yet, or do you think someone else is? Let me know in the comments!