The Potential for the Zombie Virus, Part 5: The Impact of the Zombie Virus on Society, Its Aftermath and Recovery

Presently, this is science fiction although the presence of flesh-eating bacteria and the media flood regarding avian flu and mad cow disease has brought paranoia with companies issuing hand sanitizer and disposable sanitizing towels.  But things have settled down tremendously since then.

History has already shown us what happens when a pandemic outbreak occurs within the human population.  But those were earlier times and things have changed tremendously. We have better medical facilities and equipment and protocols are in place at hospitals.  The Centers for Disease Control responds in their “timely” manner.

The Walking Dead television series has shown how society adapts to a zombie virus — the good, the bad and the in-between.  The competition for resources such as food and water often lead to disastrous results.  The Governor and the Wolves are prime examples of greed and self-interest dominating over human empathy.

Transforming Science Fiction into Science Fact

All it takes is one mutation of a rabies virus to transform from science fiction to science fact.  The zombie virus can evolve naturally — or rushed along by man as the Umbrella Corporation in the Resident Evil movies.  We shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the latter.  With the worldwide economy in an unstable state, all a zombie pandemic takes is one disgruntled scientist one step from downsizing or a greedy CEO of a science company attempting to boost the company’s stock to the shareholders to turn the world sour in a mere instant.

Social Impact

In a society on the downward spiral, society will ultimately fracture.  Some will resort to spirituality and such to hold society together in its waning days.  Others will resort to more primal means of “might means right” and steal and loot their way to survival.  Some will be the lone wolf, like Jim in 28 Days Later, and pick up people along his journey;  There will be cells of communities everywhere with different ideas in the means of survival and treatment of other humans, whether infected or not. Depending on the length of the pandemic and the devastation it causes, the cells may dwindle to a few, and humanity will be even fewer in number.

Social Impact Afterward

With society in recovery, will caste systems exist?  Will hierarchy be a necessity like nowadays?  Those are questions to ponder.  For those on the optimistic end, society will be a commune where every body has a say.  The Second Coming will bring the world together. However, those on the pessimistic and decisively realistic end, racism, sexism and hatred will revive itself in full force, and history will repeat itself once again until the next apocalypse. Unlike nowadays, where such isms are masked in bureaucracy and feigned political correctness, society will resort once again to blatant hatred.  How times change, how times remain the same.

Scientific Impact

Whether the mutation is naturally occurring or not, the Centers for Disease Control and worldwide centers will be attempting to develop a cure.  However, with restriction on time and sudden upsurge in use of resources, these centers may encounter some difficulties.  Furthermore, there will be significant drain on available doctors and scientists as they will be employed in hospitals worldwide as the pandemic spreads.  Sanitizers will be deemed useless in the overall picture.

Scientific Impact Afterward

In an ideal world, these centers will employ health protocols to prevent and contain the outbreak from ever happening again.  But will there be enough people, even those in healthcare and science fields left, to deploy such a strategy?  Fringe Fiction does not believe that is the case. Small bergs of scientists will gather eventually to prevent the problem, but they may resolve the problem locally within the areas they have gathered rather than globally.  These bergs will be precious commodities in a society trying to rebuild itself from a worldwide pandemic.  Some parts of humanity will find these bergs in disdain and attempt to destroy these.  Ultimately, these bergs will have developments that will have ripple effects throughout society  — that is, trickle-down scientific endeavors.

Religious Impact

Religion, whether Christianity, Muslim or whatever religion, will still exist and be used as a source of hope for some.  Hope will help build some communities as the pandemic spreads.  Fringe Fiction believes there may be a transformation into a global religion or spiritualism.  Even splinter religions such as Gnosticism may gain popularity once again in a devastated world.

Religious Impact Afterward

Communities will still exist where religion proliferated.  In a broken world, however, those with extreme notions of the religion may create their own rebellion and it will be bloody.  Those on the moderate side will fight for survival and ultimately should prevail in the long run.  In the short term, however, it will be the Wild West for religions and religious communities everywhere while society recovers.

Economic Impact

With society in disorder, money as an entity will mean nothing.  However, bartering may become extremely favorable as a means of trade between person to person, group to group. A more primal resort would be to slaughter and take wholesale. Those with the weapons and the tools for primacy will do so with efficiency and take goods as necessary.  Currency will have no value in a broken society.

Economic Impact Afterward

People will resort to bartering as the preferred method of obtaining goods and supplies.  Slowly, once people begin developing jobs, particularly farming jobs, currency will find a way back into human society as most people will need to find a standard that they can depend on.  In fact, there may develop a global currency, a universal dollar so to speak.  That wouldn’t be out of the question, but it would lead to intriguing financial outcomes down the road.

Political Impact

Governments would fall soon after the zombie virus pandemic occurs.  True, some political leaders will be able to hide in their shelters and possibly give national mandates.  High-ranking politicians will at some point be negligible as a source of leadership, national or otherwise.  And at that point, national governments will transition to city-states, and at some point, it will be communes.

Political Impact Afterward

As society rebuilds, local communities will rebuild themselves quickly and quite possibly recreate city-states.  Again, Fringe Fiction does not see national government as a priority in light of the global devastation.  How many people would put faith in the national government after seeing the government’s response?  Fringe Fiction does not see that happening. Eventually, in due time, perhaps, there will be a national government or even a global one, but it is not a necessity.

Conclusion

Where do you see the world going after the zombie virus devastation?

The Potential Evolution of a Zombie Virus, Part 4: Bacterial-Viral Symbiotic Relationship and Its Correlation to a Zombie Virus Outbreak

Continuing the exploration of the potential of the zombie virus, Fringe Fiction has discussed previously that rabies is the most probable form to mutate into the zombie virus, given its biochemical structure, method of transmission, symptoms and vectors.  Since a zombie’s bite on human flesh, if the virus doesn’t change the individual, the bacteria from the saliva can assist in viral transmission.

Bacteria

Bacteria are microorganisms that are all around us.  Most are generally harmless but some can pose potential health risks, even fatal health risks.

Bacterial/Zombie Viral Transmission Through Skin Breaks and Lesions

This is similar to the spread of rabies from a dog to a human when the dog bites the human’s flesh, thus releasing the rabies virus through the saliva and the bacteria within it.  Given enough time, gangrene can occur, but with an even somewhat potent zombie virus, gangrene will be the least of the victim’s concerns.

Exchange of Body Fluids (Blood and Saliva)

Most likely transmission method particularly the first outbreak whether from dogs to humans or humans to humans.  It will probably be from a bite but not withstanding, from a human already infested with the bacteria or virus, it can be passed via accidental or intentional intravenous transmission.

With a bite, the skin is pierced with the host’s teeth, whether canine, human or other vector.  With that, the skin and the lesion are exposed to bacteria and viruses.  The zombie virus would first enter the human victim’s bloodstream and begin its journey of transforming the victim into another host zombie.

The question remains whether the zombie virus would allow white blood cells and platelets to seal the initial wound or wounds.  What benefits would the virus for doing so?  It would allow more competition from other viruses and bacteria.  The leading question to that would be whether the competing viruses and bacteria would be beneficial to the zombie virus in its transmission and growth.

Competition or Co-Habitation: Other Bacteria and Viruses

With the competition route, the zombie virus would permit the white blood cells and platelets to seal the wound.  That would minimize competition on the zombie virus part.  It would only encounter problems with the white blood cells and the bacteria in the intestinal tract.  In this situation, as the sole virus, it would have a monopoly on the human host.

With the co-habitation route, maybe the zombie virus would allow synergistic competitors into the fray.  The other competitors wouldn’t be quite as lethal but more of a distraction.  Perhaps to either attack the incoming white blood cells and platelets while the virus does its work on the human host.  Fringe Fiction imagines that bacteria would join in as well.  Again, not quite as lethal as the zombie virus but doing their part.

Conclusion

The Potential Evolution of the Zombie Virus concludes in its sociological, economical and political impacts throughout the world.

Borderlands 3: Vault Hunters 2.0, the Alliance and the Claptrap Robolution 2.0 [Spoilers]

Claptrap in The Claptastic Voyage

With the last of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2 completed in the Handsome Collection, it now comes to Borderlands 3.  Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel had some fun parts and some really difficult parts.  Eclipse and Eos Raw Code were no joke in the Claptastic Voyage (on Normal).  Meanwhile, the Holodome’s Badass Round and the Guardian end boss weren’t too difficult.  It was a matter of having enough transfusion grenades and special skill at the right moment.  It was all a matter of timing.

Now onto the fun stuff…Here’s what Fringe Fiction wants for Borderlands 3:

Vault Hunter 2.0

  • Keep on improving the character skill sets.  The Baroness and the Doppelganger were absolute best.  The Doppelganger improved upon Axton’s turrets, and the Baroness makes Hunter Mordecai and his pet Bloodwing look like absolute rookies The Lawbringer improved upon the Gunzerker somewhat by making it more automatic.  Well, the Enforcer looks good on paper but lacks the firepower of the Mechromancer and her Deathtrap.
  • Not to give the story away, but it looks like there will be an alliance between Handsome Jack and Hyperion and Lilith and her Bandits in Borderlands 3.  Since there are counterparts on each time, Fringe Fiction would imagine they would pair up in the upcoming war (against the Guardians?)  The Baroness and the Hunter, the Gunzerker and Lawbringer, the Mechromancer and a revived Wilhelm (maybe), Claptrap and Shadowtrap and so on and so forth…That would be badass indeed.

Claptrap and Shadowtrap Robolution

  • Shadowtrap still exists within Claptrap despite being destroyed initially.  Fringe Fiction thinks Shadowtrap will return in Borderlands 3 probably as his own entity and work alongside Claptrap in the upcoming war.  Claptrap and Shadowtrap will rule the other TP/TRP units like Data and Lore in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Raid Bosses

  • Fringe Fiction is gambling that Borderlands 3 will take the Raid quests from Destiny and make it their own.  It will be part of the story instead of a separate quest after the main story like Gearbox has been doing.  Shadowtrap, Eclipse and Eos are examples.

The Guardians and the Vaults

  • Does a conflict exist within the Guardians?  Is there more to these Vaults than meets the eye? With the Warrior, the Destroyer and the Empyrean Sentinel gone, how many more Guardians of the Vaults are there?  Fringe Fiction thinks the Vaults have more of a story to tell.  Like Janey Springs said in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, if you tell the story often enough, it becomes true.

Zer0 Origins

  • Fringe Fiction believes Zer0 may be a fallen Guardian, much like Castiel in Supernatural television series.  He brandishes a sword and can close in quickly like some of the Guardians.

Handsome Jack Death (Or was it Timonthy’s?)

  • Quite a conundrum we have here.  Did Lilith really kill Handsome Jack or did she kill Timonthy Lawrence the Doppelganger at the finale of Borderlands 2?  Handsome Jack already had a body double as a low-level programmer.  Who says he might have multiple Jack doppelgangers running around?

The Big Picture for Borderlands 3

  • Fringe Fiction believes it may be time for Borderworlds at some time in the future, ideally Borderlands 3.  Whether the Playstation 4 or XBox One can handle such a large program begs to be seen.  Just producing the land alone will take lots of programming code, much less the enemies and the co-op players all at the same time with each planet. If it is the case, it may run on multiple discs like the good old days with FInal Fantasy, Parasite Eve, etc.

Your Take

Where do you want Borderlands 3 to go?  To go further into outer space?  Fight more Guardians?  Whose side are you on?

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection (PS4) Video Game Review

Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in one package is a significant deal in light of retail video games being delayed in the next few months.  It is worth a purchase, but it’s not without its problems.  Most notably, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel still has glitches and sometimes does not save or work properly.

Gameplay (Out of 10)

The gameplay is still very much first-person shooter and still an enjoyable first-person shooter with great game mechanics.  The shooting is fluid, and the cooperative gameplay is great.  While Borderlands 2 is generally fluid and functional, the Pre-Sequel is sometimes not.  It will not allow the Vault Hunter to complete the quests, despite completing them.  And sometimes, some of the missions are needlessly more difficult than they need to be.  The four classes, the Gladiator, the Enforcer, the Lawbringer and Fragtrap are each enjoyable in their own right.  The DLC classes, the Doppleganger and the Baroness, are also fun although the Doppleganger is pretty much a land-based version of the Enforcer class.  With all the glitches, the gameplay takes a hit.  It gets a Fringe Fiction 8 out of 10 as in the the Pre-Sequel is not without its problems.

Graphics (Out of 10)

The cel-shaded graphics is still top-notch with the particle explosions. Not much has changed since the original Borderlands besides smoother gameplay. It gets a 10 out of 10.

Sound (Out of 10)

The game sounds amazing with the characters.  It gets a 9 out 10.

Overall (Out of 10)

Overall, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection gets a Fringe Fiction 9 out 10.  It is worthy of a purchase, but Borderlands 2 functions and plays better overall than the Pre-Sequel.

Top 10 American Horror Movie Rules: The Millennial Generation

The Most Recent Horror Movie Premiered October 11, 2013

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

With Wes Craven being the last classic horror movie maker to go for the X-Generation, the next generation of horror movie makers, the Milleniums, have arrived.  However, these film makers rely on cheap scares, cheap sex and cheap nudity to bring in the viewers, and bad acting and mediocre script to force them away.

Here are 10 tips on surviving the next generation of horror movies:

  • Bring your camera. With this generation, whether a digital camera or camera phone, they love to film their exploits.
  • Dumb blondes aren’t so dumb anymore.  With this generation, unlike the previous one, blondes are a force to be reckoned with.  Be careful around them.  They can’t be trusted when the hammer falls.
  • Leave your  cell and/or smart phone at home.  I don’t know why.  Nowadays, cell phones are left at home or locked away.  With crazy people  chasing after you, this isn’t so smart.
  • Survive the reboots. Chucky, Freddy Kreuger and Jason all have been revived, but the well seems to have run dry. For now.
  • Survive the derivatives. Every villain is now a derivative of the previous villain, without much creativity, aside from a couple of exceptions that came out of the United Kingdom.
  • Enjoy the T & A. Without acting, most of the current generation horror movies is leaning on T & A.  Although exciting for its brief moments, it’s not all that scary. Really.
  • Survive the villain’s bad costumes. Insidious topped it off with their ridiculous demon villain costume.  Paranormal Activity was no better.
  • Survive the mediocre to bad CGI. Mama topped it off with its ghost from the 1980s. Compared to the ghost in MamaGhostbusters‘ librarian ghost  was much better. Chucky’s revival in Curse of Chucky was only slightly better than the animatronic Chucky doll.
  • Have either Tony Todd or Danny Trejo by your side.  These two have become the stars of horror movies.
  • Say it with feeling. More and more “horror” movies are independent.  Even more so, they are attempting to convey messages, often moral, sometimes not.

The horror movies of the Millennial Generation have ultimately become very derivative and not at all scary.  Compared to horror movies of days gone by, survival will be far easier.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Legendary Ships: Tips and Tactics on Becoming the Devil of the Caribbean [SPOILERS AHEAD]

Ubisoft made a masterpiece of a game in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.  The video game wasn’t as ham-fisted in history as with Assassin’s Creed III, and Edward Kenway was about as engaging an assassin as Ezio Audiotore in Assassin’s Creed II.  It’s a pretty amazing game when it can create sympathy for Edward “Blackbeard” Thatch and a villain of Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts.

Unlike the previous Assassin’s Creed video games, this one is heavily focused on naval combat as to exploring the cities themselves.  And with naval combat, there comes focused on the Spanish and British fleets and warships as well as civilian ships.  Included with the naval combat are four Legendary Ships with one consisting of tandem of two British man o’ wars.  These Legendary Ships will test the skills and patience of even the best of naval captains.

So here are some tips on Preparation for the Legendary Ships:

  • I highly suggest that you have fully upgraded the Jackdaw, including all the Elite design plans.  This may take some time and well near the end of the video game.
  • Conquer all forts.  The last thing you need is to have two-sided war going on with the Legendary Ship and  a roaming fleet.
  • It goes without saying that you should rearm and have a full stock of ammunition for the ship.
  • It also goes without saying that you should know where the Legendary Ships are.

Here are some General Strategies for the Legendary Ships: 

  • Master controlling the Jackdaw using half-mast and full-mast.
  • Broadside cannons are the Jackdaw’s best friend, next to the mortars and chain cannons.
  • Learn to PIT maneuver the Legendary Ships. It will give you an opportunity to fire your broadside cannons and chain cannons.
  • Facing perpendicular (for El Impoluto in particular), behind and aside the Legendary Ships are integral maneuvers for the Jackdaw.
  • Learn to tag the Legendary Ships with the scope and/or map.  Know the relative distance they are to the Jackdaw.  Generally below 700 nm means the Legendary Ship is coming your way, and 500 nm is mortar range.
  • After the cinematic ends introducing the particular Legendary ship, deploy full-mast on the Jackdaw immediately.

The Four Legendary Ships are:

  • HMS Prince (Navassa Zone). Otherwise, known as the Ghost Ship.
  • La Dama Negra (Serranilla Zone)
  • HMS Fearless And Royal Sovereign (Eleuthera Zone). These are two British man o’ wars working as one. Perhaps one of the hardest.
  • El Impoluto (Dry Tortuga). Perhaps the hardest because of its aggressiveness and the damage it can cause.

The Strategies for each of the following is below.  It is done in a chess format — as dealing with these Legendary Ships is essentially a chess game filled with tactics.

HMS Fearless And Royal Sovereign (Eleuthera Zone)

HMS Fearless And Royal Sovereign (Eleuthera Zone)

Opening Maneuver: Fire mortars once at both ships HMS Fearless and Royal Sovereign after the formal introduction immediately and when the ships separate, target one and attempt to PIT maneuver at full mast. Once done, fire your broadside cannons as frequently as possible on that single ship.

Mid-Game: This naval battle is similar to facing the Katayanagi Twins in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World video game (or movie).  You have to fight both, but treat them as a single opponent.  Both should be similarly damaged by the Jackdaw throughout the naval battle.  Each ship can only fire two volleys of broadside cannons at the Jackdaw prior to reloading and regrouping.  As you PIT maneuver  the ships, they have a chance of firing upon each other which makes taking them down that much easier.

End-Game: One or the other ship is sunk.  While one or the other ship is retreating, fire mortars and chain cannons to slow it down. Finally, when it attempts to ram you once last time, fire your broadside cannons and end it.

El Impoluto (Dry Tortuga)

El Impoluto (Dry Tortuga)

Opening Maneuver: Unlike what your instincts tell you, turn the Jackdaw directly at El Impoluto and head directly at El Impoluto at full mast, facing its ram.  As El Impoluto gets fairly close, veer off to the left or right and fire your broadside cannons immediately. Again, you should be able to get two volleys off as you get near the back end of the ship. Then attempt to PIT maneuver  and fire your chain cannons on the backside of the ship.  Deploy at half-mast and attempt to follow right behind El Impoluto at full-mast or half-mast, as necessary.

Mid-Game: El Impoluto is fast, aggressive and maneuverable for being a large ship.  Like in chess, you have to think at least two steps ahead. The main tactic of El Impoluto is fear in that it wants the Jackdaw to run away, but don’t.  When El Impoluto attempts to turn around to face you, face it and veer off and then fire your broadside cannons.  The Jackdaw should be able to get two volleys off. Follow behind it, if possible, firing your chain cannons and broadside cannons. Rinse and repeat.  If it follows behind you, launch your fire barrels and turn sharply right or left so that the Jackdaw is perpendicular to El Impoluto, firing your broadside cannons, if possible, and make your way around to the side or back of El Impoluto.

End-Game: El Impoluto should be charging you one last time as it hits the fire barrels and the volleys of your regular and heavy broadside cannons.  It should have sunken by now.

HMS Prince (Navassa Zone)

HMS Prince (Navassa Zone)

Opening Maneuver: Turn the ship directly toward the HMS Prince and avoid the mortar fire.  Attempt to PIT maneuver the ship and fire the chain cannons.  Proceed to follow behind the Prince and fire your chain cannons and broadside cannons as much as possible.

Mid-Game: Not exactly one of the most agile ships out there, but as long as you trail behind it, the Jackdaw should be fine.  This is not a a particularly complicated ship as the mortars area of effect can clearly be seen and avoided with evasive maneuvers. Basically treat it as a giant man o’ war, and you should aptly survive this battle.

End-Game: With repeated assaults by your chain cannons and broadside cannons and the occasional mortar, the ship should well be with Davy Jones’ locker by now.

La Dama Negra (Serranilla Zone)

La Dama Negra (Serranilla Zone)

Opening Maneuver: Turn the ship directly toward La Dama Negra and avoid the mortar fire.  Attempt to PIT maneuver  the ship and fire the chain cannons.  Proceed to follow behind the Prince and fire your chain cannons and broadside cannons as much as possible. Basically rinse and repeat of HMS Prince.

Mid-Game: Not exactly one of the most agile ships out there with the HMS Prince, but as long as you trail behind it, the Jackdaw should be fine.  This is not a a particularly complicated ship as the mortars area of effect can clearly be seen firing from the ship.  Although you can’t see the area of effect of the mortar fire, they can be avoided with patience and evasive maneuvers.

End-Game: With repeated assaults by your chain cannons and broadside cannons and the occasional mortar, La Dama Negra should be well sunk.

 

The Amazon Locker in Philadelphia: Nice, Not Necessary

With the introduction of the Amazon Locker in the Philadelphia area finally, I decided to give it a go.  I ordered something that’s small and relatively inexpensive so if it does get lost, I won’t be out more than I put in.  It will be shipped to a 7-11 nearby, which the lockers are appropriately stationed beside the sodas and the Slurpees.  The 7-11 is stationed near a SEPTA train station, a couple of SEPTA bus stops and both University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University are close.  With business magazines touting the lockers’ appropriateness for college students, this place seems ideal.

From a business standpoint, I still fail to understand why Staples or Radio Shack decided to undertake Amazon’s Locker program in the first place.  Neither retailer would particularly benefit and would lose real estate space.  It’s like the cooperation between UPS, DHL and FedEx and the US Post Office in their Surepost, Global Mail and Smartpost programs. Why involve two companies when USPS is the lesser of all four — and redundant for redundancy’s sake?

The delivery went off without a hitch. The Amazon Locker is nice.  I picked it up, and it was delivered safe and sound.  Old technology in a new form.  On the bright side, Lasership actually worked with the Amazon Locker.  For students, it will work out well.  Perhaps if Amazon wrapped it with their Amazon Students program, it will be a nice addition.  Again, the Locker may be redundant for redundancy’s sake.

What do you think?  Have you used the Amazon Locker?  Is it truly as a necessity on Amazon’s part or a redundant convenience?

The Following: Season 1: Episode 14: The End is Near Review

With the first season of The Following drawing to a close, Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy, is on edge.  After being stabbed by Claire Matthews, he retreats to alcohol — and with Ryan Hardy and the FBI closing in, Joe Carroll plays his final aces up his sleeve.  Carroll asks some of his followers to commit suicide as a statement of their loyalty to him.  When Ryan Hardy finds the boarding house where Carroll resided, Joe Carroll left a message for him — a bookmark for Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death, a gothic story about the inevitability of death.  Carroll’s white horses come in his followers as they lay seige publicly, killing several in the process, including a news reporter.  A young woman, declaring herself “Annabelle Lee” from The Masque of the Red Death, declares that the Red Death is coming.  With the message delivered to Carroll’s followers, a public onslaught occurs, and several innocent civilians and police officers are killed or seriously injured in the process. Meanwhile, Joe Carroll, Claire Matthews, Jacob Wells and Emma Hill retreat to an occupied house, and Joe Carroll and Emma Hill vent their differences to Claire Matthews and Jacob Wells respectively in their own ways.

The body count has seriously jumped up in this episode.  The Final Chapter comes next, but it won’t be the end of this fine series. It is one of the better episodes as we see Joe Carroll’s charisma strewn in his cult.

Doctor Who and Clara Oswin Oswald: Season 7: Part 2 Impressions So Far

With the departure of Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) from the last part of Season 7 of Doctor Who, here comes a new companion for the Doctor, the Impossible Girl, Clara Oswin Oswald.  Although her deaths are fixed, she continually exists throughout time.   In a way, she is much like the Doctor minus the transforming part.  With the Christmas special The Snowmen and the episodes The Bells of Saint JohnThe Rings of Akhaten, and Cold War under our belts, this new season has started out with a roar and a whimper.

Matt Smith has excelled in his role as The Doctor after the departure of David Tennant from the show.  He plays it with liveliness and childfulness unlike the sometimes somber David Tennant and mostly somber Christoper Eccleston.  Matt Smith definitely has an appeal — for those long-time viewers and for the next generation of viewers.  Despite his great acting skills, the scripts have been mediocre mostly.  With the most recent  The Rings of Akhaten being one of the better episodes so far, this season has been lackluster.  The aliens have been boring at best and a snoozer at worst, even through the funny parts.  By the way, the music in The Rings of Akhaten has to be one of the best ever in Doctor Who.

Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara Oswin Oswald has the potential to become one of the better companions.  So far, she has demonstrated the intellect of Martha Jones with the beauty and charm of Rose Tyler.  However, again, the scripts so far have her playing the helpless maiden in distress most of the time.  In my opinion, she should be one of the stronger characters in the Doctor Who universe, but so far, she hasn’t been portrayed as one.  Maybe it will take a full season before Clara Oswin Oswald will take the reigns much like Rose Tyler did in the second season of Doctor Who.  In all honesty, Clara should play the lioness instead of the lamb.

Perhaps in the future, they need to interject some real humor back into Doctor Who.  John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness would be a great choice, if he wasn’t otherwise preoccupied with Arrow as Malcolm Merle.  Or some intrigue in the form of Harkness’ companion, Captain John Hart, played by James Marsters. This series need a rejuvenation of its own pretty soon.  Otherwise, it may lose viewers gradually, including myself.

What do you think of the seventh season of Doctor Who so far?

The Following: Season 1: Episode 13: Havenport Review

What’s been building up to this point came into fruition in this episode of The Following.  Joe Carroll’s followers are unraveling much like he is — and egos are coming into play.  With Roderick compromised by Agent Mike Weston, Roderick resorts to the unexpected — the kidnapping of Joey Matthews, Joe Carroll’s and Claire Matthews’ son.  This places Roderick between a rock and a hard place as both the FBI and Joe Carroll’s followers pursue him.  With Jacob Wells unhinged already, he pursues Roderick with Joe Carroll’s blessing.  All goes as planned for Jacob Wells minus a few casualties of the war between him and Ryan Hardy (via Joe Carroll).  Agent Mike Weston demonstrates his toughness, and Ryan Hardy finds solace.  However, Joe Carroll has become unhinged as his followers are beginning to dissent.  Not a pretty picture over the next couple of episodes to conclude this first season of The Following.

This episode is the start of the beginning of the end.  How far Joe Carroll is willing to go to see things through will be something to watch.  How far Ryan Hardy and Claire Matthews will go to rebuild their lives even for a few moments will be more interesting to watch.

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