Lots of Fetchland readers already subscribe to services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, or even Marvel Unlimited.
… Which begs the question: When you have access to an almost limitless plethora of entertainment options, which ones should you pick?
“What’s Free Wednesday” is a weekly Fetchland feature spotlighting something great to read or watch available on one or more entertainment services. “Free” once you’ve paid for it, if you grok 🙂
“Blink” (Doctor Who)
Blink People are mysteriously vanishing in 2007 England while the Doctor is stranded in 1969, forcing him to send codes to a stranger in order to escape.
Note that I just picked the episode “Blink” (the 11th episode of the third series of the 2005 reboot) and not the entire span of Doctor Who available on Netflix and other formats.
Because “Blink” is just one episode; it’s just one hour — nay forty-three minutes — of your life. Just the current incarnation of Doctor Who — the re-launch post-2005 — is nine
seasons series of commitment already, and that doesn’t count the spin-offs like Torchwood or Sarah Jane Adventures.
But what about those forty-three minutes?
They will be forty-three minutes well-spent.
“Blink” is hands-down the best episode of Doctor Who, and one of the finest single episodes of any television show, ever. It is scary, inventive, constantly surprising, and defies every trope of a long-established television formula.
Doctor Who is a show driven by a very peculiar character with a very specific set of abilities, his travels, and his companions.
That character is barely in the episode.
The Doctor is a time traveler, you see, and, off-camera somehow got stuck in 1969. He is able to communicate with the episode’s protagonist Sally Sparrow in 2007… Because he knows where she is going to be and what is going to happen later thanks to his mastery, and very long view of, time. He leaves her notes to duck because he knows that right after she reads the note a projectile will be flying towards her head. He leaves her Easter Eggs and half-conversations in old video clips because he knows when and where she will end up watching them, and even paces so she can have the other half of the conversation with him.
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear / non-subjective viewpoint it’s more like a big ball of wibbley-wobbly timey-wimey… stuff.”
“Blink”‘s communication strategies encompass some of the most inventive uses of “time travel” in the history of the series, and allow Sally Sparrow — played by the widely celebrated Carey Mulligan — to both draw on the Doctor’s superior knowledge and stumble through the adventure like the neophyte she is… Almost as if writer Stephen Moffat cast the average viewer as one of the Doctor’s companions.
Sally, a seemingly unremarkable girl, is tasked with outmaneuvering the Weeping Angels in their first chronological appearance in the series. The Weeping Angels have since become maybe the most compelling, creepiest, villains on the show; and “Blink” and its elements were instrumental in cementing Moffat as the A-Plus-Number-One writer of the relaunched television program.
As “Blink” is only forty-three minutes I don’t want to give away too much of it, so instead I’ve conscripted Wizards of the Coast R&D member Gavin Verhey to talk about “Blink” (which I first recommended on my Five With Flores back in 2010). Here’s what Gavin had to say:
“‘Blink’ changed my life.
“Years ago, I watched some of the Doctor Who reissue… and it just didn’t stick. I had essentially written the show off.
“Then, after much convincing, my friends convinced me to watch ‘Blink’.
“I was blown away.
“The fun writing! The creative monsters! The clever use of time travel!
“And the most brilliant part: The titular character was barely involved so literally anybody could watch it out of context.
“It singlehandedly got me into the show, which in turn led to many new friends, experiences, and, of course, hours of entertainment then I would have ever had otherwise. If, like drivers ed, you had to take a class to get your permit for watching television, ‘Blink’ would be part of the syllabus. ‘Blink’ is as close as it comes to required-television-watching: you don’t have to watch Doctor Who, but you do need to watch ‘Blink’.
Out there is some universe where Gavin Verhey never watched ‘Blink’ and stayed away from the show — and I’m glad the Doctor showed up with a dose of time travel to correct this timeline… Even if it means I’ll never look at statues the same way again.”
This episode is jam-paked with awesome. If you look away you might miss something.