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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat among yourselves.

So POTUS 45 has stated that he will declare a National Emergency to allow him to divert the money for his fershlugging Wall from other Government projects.

Sixteen States have now launched a legal action against him saying it's unconstitutional for him to do this.

There was a rather fun thread on Quora asking "Why do many British people not like Donald Trump?" which came up with some very creative, and very British, replies.

Also in the UK, seven Labour MPs have quit the party over a combination of disagreements with the current leadership over Brexit, and the handling of frequent accusations of anti-Semitism within the party. They will now stand as independents. They may be joined by more, and a few Conservatives too, as dissatisfaction with the Brexit "negotiations" continues to spread.

I'll gloss over the closing of a car plant in Swindon costing 3,500 jobs and the closure of an airline because apparently they were officially NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH BREXIT... though I think it might be more truthful to say that Brexit didn't exactly HELP the situation.

"The Simpsons" has been renewed for Seasons 31 and 32! "Supernatural" renewed for season 15. Make of those what you will.

"The Dragon Prince" season 2 arrived unexpectedly on Netflix last week. Some cracking moments in this, with the introduction of Queen Aanya being a highlight (as was the flashback featuring her parent's, the Queens' Annika and Neha of Duren (Yup, no King and Queen, but two Queens, and yes they were a couple). It might have been nicer if we didn't already know that both mum's were dead (since Aanya was now Queen), and the old "Kill your gays" trope raised it's head again, but it has to be said, if you're going to go down, going down fighting a giant dragon side by side with your wife to save two entire kingdoms, is kinda one of the most awesome options). Also more intriguing world-building and magic (and there MUST be more to Callum and Ezran's mother, since both of them have abilities that humans should NOT be able to have by the established rules)

Multiple episodes of Miraculous Ladybug aired, including a remarkably uninspired clip show episode (which did have a little gem of a scene in it, but boy was it a slog to get there). It's a long time since I saw a cartoon clip show episode.

TWO teams of misfit superheroes showed up on TV, DC's "Doom Patrol" was amazing, and Netflix's "Umbrella Academy" is as close to a live action adaption of a very weird series as we're likely to see, even improving on at least one aspect (Sorry, but the White Violin's costume was visually striking on the comic book page, but never looked like something anyone would actually wear, still less on TV)

Toy Fair happened in New York. Though some interesting things showed up, not sure there's anything particularly surprising (beyond Ectotron - a Transformer based on Ghostbusters Ecto-1) or anything which made me go "Oooh! Gimme!!"
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat among yourselves.

In the US, a notional deal has been signed by both parties to prevent another Government shutdown, which gives POTUS $1.4 billion of his demanded $5.7 billion for his wretched wall. Whether he'll sign it, it perhaps another matter.

A BBC cameraman was assaulted by a Trump supporter (in MAGA hat no less) after one of his typical rabble rousing, media blaming rants about things which pretty much aren't true at a rally in Texas.

Russia is apparently going to attempt to disconnect from the internet briefly, as part of a test of it's cyber-defences

Speaking of removing oneself from reality, Prime Minister May is still... being May, telling her own party to "hold their nerve" as the continues to believe she can gain something better out of the EU... God alone knows what or how.

A village in Russia has declared a state of emergency due to repeated visits by polar bears

Historians have discovered evidence of Joan of Leeds, who in the early 14th century nun who was so desperate to escape her life in her convent that she faked her own death and left a dummy for them to bury, while she popped off to enjoy life elsewhere. Go Joan!!

Star Trek Discovery finally "explained" why the USS Enterprise doesn't have all the whizzy comms tech that other ships seen in this mostly contemperaneous series have. Basically, Captain Pike got so sick of them, he ordered they all be removed and a proper good old fashioned viewscreen be installed, plus he doesn't like holo-comms since he fells like it's talking to a ghost. We also briefly saw Number One again, a recast sole who was Majel Barrett's first contribution to the Trek franchise, the Enterprise's first officer (whose real name was never mentioned) in series pilot "The Cage".

I just realised at the weekend that I'd never gotten around to watching Season 2 of "Agent Carter" and from "It's the flamingo, isn't it?" I remembered how much I'd missed this series.

This week sees the inevitable inundation of highly marketable romantic type stuff for Valentines Day. A friendly reminder that, chances are, not everyone in your life enjoys that day (or "Cheap Chocolate Eve" as some of us call it), so please try not to make life harder for people who might not enjoy such things.

And we've had first sight of Will Smith as the Genie (and a proper look at Jafar) in the live action Aladdin. Reaction has been... "mixed" is perhaps the politest summary, though anyone following on from a fully animated Robin Williams performance is going to find it a tough gig.
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat among yourselves.

First off, to those who celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year, a Happy New Year of the Pig! A little googling tells me that as the twelfth, and last, sign of the Chinese Zodiac, the pig is a symbol of wealth and good fortune. (Apparently he got last place on the Zodiac because he overslept and didn't make it to the Jade Emperors banquet until late... though other stories suggest he had to rebuild his house after a wolf destroyed it before setting out, which seems like a fairly justifiable reason to me but it wasn't my call)

Since last week, the US has been hit by a Twin Polar Vortex... which sounds like a video game special move, resulting in Hell freezing over (Hell, Michigan that is... their town council clearly has a sense of humour). Britain has hit -14 in some places, and Queesnland Australia has seen extraordinary levels of flooding, notably in in the memorably titled town of ummm... Townsville, where authorities are warning  residents about the risk of crocodiles and venomous snakes washing into town!

Theresa May is running around telling everyone that's SURE she can secure a better deal from the EU, to the bemusement of pretty much everyone else, including the EU.

She's not helped, though at this point I'm not sure what short of Divine Intervention could, by Nissan cancelling a multi-million pound investment in the UK, blaming a number of factors and including pointed reference to "The uncertainty caused by Brexit". This would be bad enough, but now a 2016 memo has been found in which, despite repeated claims to the contrary, the UK's Business Secretary promised Nissan £80 million pounds of taxpayers money to ensure they kept business in the UK. Oops!

The US has suspended its compliance with the 1978 INF Treaty with Russia, citing multiple violations by the Russians over the past several years (A stance supported by other countries). To the surprise of no-one Russia has now followed suit. Well, I feel SO much safer now, don't you?

Whilst promoting his new movie, in which his character is motivated by anger at the loss of a loved one Liam Neeson gave an interview which has sparked controversy on the topic of race as he outlined a story from his past, the details of which I won't go into on an Off Topic Tuesday post, but which can be found at the link above. NB Trigger warnings on the link for discussions of both racism and sexual assault.

I'm not even going to start on the Venezuelan situation, which gets more and more complicated with each passing day.

"Scandal in the world of Tennis match-fixing" is not a phrase I ever thought I'd type, but here we are.

The Superbowl happened and one team won, and the other didn't. That's all I know, and I won't pretend otherwise. If you wish to discuss it in more detail, go wild!

Kingdom Hearts 3 has come out to what seems to be a lot of ooh-ing and aah-ing from fans of the franchise.

Well, I finally remembered to finish all available episodes of "Seven Deadly Sins" at long last. Am now trying "Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign" which seems to be the usual combination of effete, but ultra violent, vampires, teen-angst ridden child soldiers and unspoken UST between two male leads.

I also finally got around to watching Venom. As a non-fan of the comic-book Venom, this was a surprisingly fun film! Somewhere between "The Mask", "All of Me" and Warlock's rough-around-the-edges country cousin coming for a visit to Earth. (Now I want to see Doug and Eddie go out for dinner to discuss the ups and downs of morphing alien symbiotes, which Warlock and Venom discuss the problems of just how squishy humans are)
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat among yourselves.

In the US, the Government shutdown has been averted for a few weeks, with POTUS 45 the self proclaimed "great deal-maker", facing the humiliation of not getting a single cent towards his wall and no one looking like they're going to be shifting. Join us again in February for the next exciting installment. (But here are some infographics about the first half of his Presidency, if you're interested.)

In the UK... we have puppies, and adorable chubby babies, and music. I have to focus on those things because if I start to drift into real-world things like politics I start screaming and clawing at my eyes.

In truth this is a slow motion nightmare, with the rabid right-wing exemplified by the success last night of the post-Brexit "Immigration Bill" which will officially end the freedom of movement across Europe that British people have enjoyed and benefitted from for over 40 years.

Elsewhere, John Malkovich has confirmed he will be appearing in a David Mamet play, "Bitter Wheat", a black farce based around a Harvey Weinstein like (VERY Harvey Weinstein like, the Characters name is "Barney Fine") movie producer facing his downfall. I can only imagine "black comedy" here means "beyond Vantablack" level of grimness.

My plan on doling out the newest episodes of Young Justice until June lasted less than an hour and a half, because boy this is a remarkable series. Between Cyborg getting an origin (and Halo getting an explanation), a truly bizarre headtrip inside Garfield Logan's brain (Seriously, I can't say what they are because I would hate to be the one to spoil some if it, but WOW!) to the usual array of characters appearing (Harper Row? HARPER ROW?) and a perhaps obvious, but definitely intriguing set up for the second half of the season, it has a LOT going for it.

I'm sure there are a number of major events I'm overlooking, but alas, real world obligations intrude, so away you go my pretties!
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat among yourselves.

Brex.... I can't even bring myself to say the whole word, it's just too ####ing depressing. Suffice to say after last weeks debacles, this week Prime Minster May presented her "Plan B" which looked suspiciously like her "Plan A" wearing a new hat.

A gamer by the name of hbomberguy has managed to raised over £260,000 for UK transgender and gender-diverse charity Mermaids, by livestreaming himself playing Donkey Kong 64 (and guaranteeing to pick up every single banana in the gams). This was done basically to rebuke singularly unpleasant chap named Graham Linehan, who may have written the brilliant sitcom "Father Ted" and "The IT Crowd", but who has repeatedly made deeply transphobic comments and objected to Mermaids getting funding from the National Lottery.. Never underestimate the motivating power of spite!

The American government shutdown continues, and the level of political action has included POTUS 45 denying use of a military plane to Nancy Pelosi, who replied rather neatly be NAMING the shutdown as "the Trump shutdown", which for the master of self branding is probably as close to a knee to the groin as can be imagined.

The new "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" dropped on Netflix. Never having seen the original (Though that theme sticks in your head) it held no nostalgia with me. I like it, and the character designs are terrific (and the villain "Paper Star" has every creepy psycho kid vibe going), but making her a teenager, even with a nifty backstory, appeals to me less than her being a grown woman. Still, it is what it is, and I enjoyed it.

Star Trek: Discovery also returned for a second season, with Anson Mount proving how badly he was served by his Inhumans role as Black Bolt, by turning in a great performance as Captain Pike.

Young Justice continues to impress, with a story based around Vandal Savage having to deal with the fact that the Light's plan to keep Earth's heroes out of action casues a problem when a BIGGER threat comes along. Also a LOT of backstory there. Plus Forager's idea of nudity is not the norm, Dick having to clarify that he did NOT get his codename from an 80s mullet rock band, and Forager finding the perfect use for a towel which led to the creation of one of the strangest Twitter accounts ever
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat among yourselves.

As has been the norm for a while, both sides of the Atlantic seem to be vying for who can be the least functional nominal democracy.

In the UK, today is the Parliamentary "Meaningful Vote" on Brexit, which is likely to overwhelmingly reject Theresa May's proposed deal in favour of... well, God only knows! It might lead to her holding on to power like a limpet to a side of the Titanic, a new General Election, a magical unicorn descending on a rainbow cloud with a brilliant new idea, or some sort of Civil Service advisory notice on where to buy canned food and shotguns, and which housepets are edible.

The chaos in the UK is perhaps balanced by the inertia in the US as the Government shutdown is now the longest in history (So POTUS 45 has at least one claim to fame... I guess?) with no sign of either side giving ground and even the GOP fanbase blaming POTUS for the shutdown rather than the Democrats he's tried to blame. It would appear that "Government by tantrum" is not a good look, but then neither is racism,and that's never stopped him yet.

The American Psychological Association has formally recognised that “Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health.” and as such can encourage homophobic and misogynistic behaviour.

The initial reaction to this may be "This is news?" or "Tell us something we don't know" but it's important to note that this is definite progress, as it is something which is ratified by a respected body and can be formally cited. (Heck, the APA didn't take homosexuality off the "Mental disorder" until 1987 and look what's been achieved in a mere 32 years (Okay, not enough, but it's better than it was I hope)).

Today would have been Dr Martin Luther King's 90th birthday. It may seem like he's from a time long past, but he was younger than say, Stan Lee and Dick Van Dyke.

Caught up on Young Justice Season 3 and darnit this show is just SO GOOD! I didn't realise how much I'd missed it. I love how the characters have grown and moved on (or not), the cameos and the new dynamic being set up, though I'm hoping we see repercussions from certain JLA members bullshit manouever in episode 1.

I really like Halo, and the whole Bowhunter Security team... and the two cameos in THAT scene on Infinity Island... Wow!.

I do wonder how open it is to new viewers though, since it tends to assume you know who everyone is and in a couple of cases even I had no clue (Turns out who I thought was Jinx was actually Traci Thirteen). Three episodes a week is just enough to engage me, but leave me wanting MORE! (But at least it's a 26 episode season!)

Michelle Yeoh has been announced as the lead in a new "Star Trek: Discovery" spin-off about Starfleets Section 31, their black ops and dirty trick department.. This along with Discovery itself, Sir Patrick Stewart returning in "Picard" and the as yet unnamed animated series with an adult tone about life below decks means there are four Star Trek series currently in the pipeline!
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat among yourselves.

Due to the timing of the festive season, it's been a couple of weeks since we've done of these, so hopefully you have a lot to talk about.

In the US, the Government Shutdown continues, with POTUS 45 determined to get his damn Wall built and everyone else saying "Nope", to the extent he is making a public address on the matter, .

(Apparently in order to build the wall,
a butterfly sanctuary will need to be built through. As others have noted, if you used this as a metaphor in fiction it would be called trite and heavy-handed, but welcome to reality.

In possibly the most adorable bit of politicking in quite a while, California Governor Gavin Newsom's inaugural speech was disrupted by his two year old son wandering sleepily on to the stage.

In the UK, after a brief lull over Christmas, we're back on the Brexit whirligig, with the pivotal "meaningful vote" that should have happened in December, now set for next Tuesday, but nothing has really changed in the options since then, so it all seems amazingly pointless.

"Into The Spider-Verse" won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature.

Doctor Who's New Years Day episode "Resolution" was worth the wait IMHO, as we finally saw the 13th Doctor face off against an old monster, and a Dalek at that. A little, and only a little, like 2005's "Dalek", the story managed to make a single Dalek (both out of its shell and in it's new, rough and ready DIY body) a lot creepier, nastier and more dangerous than subsequent stories where you have 30,000 of them CGI-ing about waiting for a deus ex machina to finish them in one fell swoop.

This really felt a lot more like a season finale than the actual season finale did. (I could have lived without quite so much about Ryan's Dad, to be honest, but I know a lot of people liked that part too). If we have to wait until 2020 for the next season, this was a good note to end on for now.

Gravel-voiced, character actor W Morgan Sheppard died after a long career covering.. well, pretty much EVERY genre show, animated or live action, in the past several decades. Everything from "Blank" Reg in Max Headroom, characters in multiple iterations of Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Doctor Who (Where he played the older version of the character played by his real life son Mark Sheppard) and.. well, see the list here.

Young Justice (And Mr Sheppard was in Season 1 of that too) Season 3 landed on DC's streaming service, and fan response seems to have been very positive.

Walmart has a new advert, featuring a few vehicles you might recognise. I can only salute the legal team who negotiated the rights to use all of these!!
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat among yourselves.

The British Government (using the term loosely) is now looking into increasing preparations (using the term even MORE loosely) for a no-deal Brexit as complete paralysis and confusion sets in. There's the deal the PM wants that no one else likes, the deal that others think they can get that the EU has said "Not happening" to, several times, and the no-deal that will likely cause unprecedented levels of chaos.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, POTUS45 is considering allowing the US Government to partially shut down this week if he doesn't get approval for a $5 billion allocation to build his border wall. Considering some of his comments about when that happened before one does realise, yet again that a primary failing of his is a serious irony deficiency.

Meanwhile, the US Senate has released a report that states categorically that Russian meddled in social media in the run up to the 2016 election, with a special focus on targetting conservatives with stories focussing on immigration, race and gun rights.

In what sounds more like a sitcom subplot than an actual thing, A hunter in Missouri has been sentenced to watch Bambi at least once a month whilst he's in prison for poaching "possibly several hundred" deer.

In more optimistic world news, because we could dowith some, a ceasefire in a key Yemen port seems to be holding.

And in Iraq, reconstruction of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri at Mosul, where Daesh declared their new "caliphate" in 2014, has begun.

Voltron: Legendary Defender came to an end after 8 seasons, I'll try to avoid spoilers since not everyone will have had a chance to view all thirteen episodes. Things maybe didn't end the way fans would have liked (though I was not on board at least one of the major ships, acres of delightful fanart to one side), but such is life. I did enjoy one particularly geeky Voltron easter egg in the final montage, and it ended with a final scene which would have been completely unthinkable a mere handful of years ago, so I'll give it some props for that.

Tumblr's new TOS start today, and have been greeted with an arctic level of warmth. I think I'll hang around there for a while yet, see how things go.

Late addendum: Caught up on the "Elseworlds" Arrowverse/Supergirl crossover, and that was a lot of fun, even if the nominal villain was a little underwhelming. On the other hand, we got to see the Flash of Earth-90, and Grant Gustin and Steve Amell in matching outfits with black leather jackets and cute little bandanas as "The Trigger Twins"? Woof! We might have just achieved maximum implied gayness here!)

Expect an an announcement shortly about our festive/anniversary theme.
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Brexit has lurched from "SNAFU", to "omni-shambles" to something way beyond either of those terms. We're in new and uncharted areas of f'd up here!

So Theresa May's Brexit deal, which was due to be voted on yesterday, and which pretty much no one who isn't named Theresa May thinks is viable, wasn't voted on because she pulled it from discussion, and is now running around the EU trying to get people who already told her no changes can be made, to make some changes. Insert Benny Hill theme here...

In an effort to cut down on people adopting pets for Christmas, which nearly always leads to a rise in discarded pets many animal shelters in Germany are refusing to allow adoption of animals in the run up to December 25th. That makes sense to me, if you really want a pet you probably won't mind waiting.

An area of Antarctica which was previous though to be stable in the face of global warming, is apparently not. Good thing Global Warming isn't real (/irony)

Barclays Bank in the UK is trialling the option to be able to switch of certain kinds of spending on your own bank cards, like gambling sites and premium rate phonecall and websites, so those with issues in that regard can, for want of a better term, self-regulate.

Catching up on some Titans episodes, and after the not as interesting as it should have been "Asylum" (I mean, we DID get Breton Thwaites Dick Grayson strapped down into a chair, so that was a start ;) ), we get "Donna Troy" which I thought was very good (mostly for the Dick and Donna scenes where the two actors had effortless chemistry, the scenes where Starfire casually appears to outright murder a bunch of police and government agents who are just doing their job in trying to apprehend a woman who is already wanted for murder, not so much)

And then we get "Hank and Dawn" which grinds the concept of Hawk and Dove even further into the depressing mire which is this take on the DCU, it throws in child molestation, randomly choosing vigilante-ism to appease Hank's anger management and drug issues, domestic abuse, and the death of the first Dove (and the motivaor for Dawn's eventual adoption of the name) is approaching the comedic in terms of "Really? THIS is where you're going with this?"). I want to like this show so much and the cast are generally very appealing in their roles, but the unrelenting grim-ness and violence is just so gratuitous that it's intolerable. These mostly do not seem to be superheroes, but people with serious and dangerous issues, which is probably true to life, but not particularly entertaining to watch.

At the other end of the scale, Doctor Who finished series 11, with a perhaps more traditionally Doctor Who-ish plot than most this season; evil alien with a sinister plan which the Doctor and her "fam" foils. This season has been an odd sort of a relaunch, feeling a lot fresher and less tied to complex backstories and continuity porn than previous series, but lacking a lot of the sparkling dialogue which RTD and Moffatt could do so well, though with much smaller scale stories and a Doctor Who isn't bombastic, it's been effective enough. Jodie has been a delight as the Doctor, Bradley Walsh as Graham has been exceptional, and Toison Cole very promising as Ryan (though he had the advantage of having a lot of scenes with Walsh), Mandeep Gill has been very good when allowed something to do, which sadly wasn't nearly often enough.

In some ways this has been very progressive, in others very safe. Alas, the BBC has announced that after the New Years Day Special, the next series won't be broadcast until "Early 2020" which seems a strangely long gap when you're trying to establish a feel for the a Doctor and era. 
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A Happy Channukah to those who observe it!

The awarding of the first Ballon D'Or for Women's Football to Lyon and Norway forward Ada Hegerberg was slightly spoiled when the host asked, for no readily apparent reason, if she knew how to twerk. To her credit she simply replied "No" and walked off. The host has apologised.

Former President of the USA, George H Bush, died at the age of 94. Like most people, his legacy is a mixture with some noting his presiding over the era when the Soviet Union broke up and signing the first laws requiring the recording of hate crime statistics, but others have a less nostalgic view, especially as regards his embracing of the Evangelical sector Reagan had appealed to, and the resulting treatment of the LGBTQ+ community and the impact of the AIDS epidemic in particular.

A little reminder for those in the US who want to sign up for healthcare, the closing date for the signup period is December 15th, which is not long now, and a than it has been previously (also advertising for it has been slashed, anyone would think the current administration didn't want it to succeed.

Speaking of POTUS 45, excitement builds as his former lawyer plead guilty to lying to Congress about Russian property deals and what the fallout from THAT might be.

France, and Paris in particular, has seen significant violence from those opposed to President Macron's planned reform of fuel tax (as well as other groups basically not liking his policies). Ironically, the group opposing him has largely co-ordinated through social media, the same unusual approach that Macron took to garner support when he was elected.

Tumblr has announced that, as of 17th December it will no longer host graphic adult content. If this was simply dealing with it's fairly massive porn-bot problem then it would probably have got cheers from users, but as it is, reaction has been... less than a ringing endorsement. Certainly barring child pornography and abuse is a laudable goal, though a low bar to set, but a blanket ban and trusting algorithms to decide whether an image is showing a depiction of human genitalia, “female-presenting nipples” or sex acts (including illustrations) seems a little naive perhaps? This may well be the end of the forum, which is a shame as it did provide a good platform for those with quirks and kinks, especially women, looking for a (mostly) non-judgemental environment, though it has to be said it has become home for some of the more toxic branches of certain fandoms.

Just when you thought Brexit couldn't descend into any more of a farce, six opposition parties have tabled a motion accusing the Government of breach of conduct in not releasing the entirety of the legal advice they had received as they were instructed to do. And this is before five solid days of debate on Theresa May's deall, but recent publication of a report that shows that every single version of Brexit that has been analysed will leave the country worse off probably isn't helping things. Sigh.....

Duck Tales had a delightful Christmas episode, which features an unexpected character showing up, a revelation about Della Duck's name which clears up some historical confusion, and explaining the not quite what you'd expect connection between Scrooge and three Ghosts of Christmas.

Miraculous Ladybug debuted Season 3 only two weeks after ending Season 2 which seems a it rapid, but let's enjoy the surprise.

Doctor Who's "It Takes You Away" was an odd one and no mistake. It looked beautiful, great music, and fine performances from Jodie and Bradley (as per usual) and guest Ellie Wallwork as Hanne (The unusual situation of a blind character actually played by a blind actress), however a viewer's reaction to it's finale might be decided by how they feel about frogs... which is not a sentence I thought I'd ever type.
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

For those who have ever wondered what Christmas at Castle Dracula might look like, check out the White house decorations for this year, with a parade of blood red trees adding that festively sinister touch.

And POTUS 45's Thanksgiving message was a little... egocentric perhaps? as it basically amounted to him giving thanks for himself.

Much more seriously, the use of tear gas by Agents from Customs and Border Protection, along the Mexican Border, against the South American "Migrant caravan" has caused condemnation from most, and celebration amongst certain reprehensible individuals on Twitter, but you can look those one's up yourself if you feel in the mood to reminded of what complete crapsacks human beings can be.

And speaking of things too depressing to cover, the UK political scene.... all of it... that is all.

In happier news, the InSight probe has landed safely on Mars and is sending back data and images!

Alan Cumming's gleeful guest shot as King James I of England (and James VI of Scotland, it's confusing) was a highlight of very enjoyable Doctor Who episode "The Witchfinders". Some interesting historical references, the sort of "proper" monsters that people have been complaining about the absence of this season, and the Doctor having to deal, perhaps for the first time, with being treated very differently in the early 17th Century because she's a woman. (This one had something of a Fifth Doctor vibe to it)

And a final note, on topic, that December will be Scans_Daily's 15th anniversary! We're not quite sure how we're going to celebrate it, but we'll think of something! :)
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The California wildfires are devastating on scale I can barely conceive of. Caught a radio interview with the one of the Firefighters Union representatives, and they mentioned that a lot of the firefighters in and around the former town of Paradise and environs mobilised early and some still don't know if their own homes and families are safe, but just keep working. Now that, gentlefolk, is what you call heroism.

In what might be described as exquisite irony if it weren't so serious, it's been discovered that Ivanka Trump used a personal e-mail account for hundreds of e-mails about official White house business. You know, that little thing her daddy dearest ranted about Hillary having done (Which she did) as if it were one stop short of using occupied orphanages for heavy ordinance practice.

Brexit is... well, shit got real last week. Theresa May presented a deal that had taken two years to reach and, to be blunt, no one remotely likes it. Her own party are split on it, Labour dislikes it on reflex (mostly) and the Democratic Unionist Party (A Northern Irish party whose ten votes are pretty much the only thing giving the current Government a majority, thanks to more or less outright bribery) loathe it. So it's chances of getting through Parliament are... not high, but she's ploughing on, pointing out that it's the ONLY deal which is available. The extremists in her own party are trying to get a vote of No Confidence and oust her, but even probable Sith Lord William Rees-Mogg can't get enough support for that.

Memorably, one Tory MP objected to May's Brexit deal because it meant Britain wouldn't have any MEP's at the end of it. I can't cope with that level of stupid anymore.

It's getting to the point my last hope is Sam Beckett Quantum Leaping in to someone to set things right.

In happier news, the new She-Ra series arrived on Netflix courtesy of "Lumberjanes" creator Noelle Stevenson and it's a blast IMHO. The character designs and motivations are varied and interesting, the plots are tight, there's some excellent world-building for future series to delve into, and if you think a single one of these characters is remotely 100% straight, you're deluding yourself! :)

There's been the usual moaning from the usual suspects with comments like; "They don't look like they did?" (Why should they? and that just means they look more like... y'know people, and less like designs based on action figures trying to use the same moulds as often as possible) or "There are no empowered straight white male role models" (As a more than slightly privileged, not-straight, white male let me be the first to invite those upset by that to cry me a river) or "She looks like a boy" (Because heaven forfend a girl of about 14 or 15 should look anything less than supermodel curvaceous and sultry) and, a personal favourite, "This show now has an agenda!".

Just for comparison I watched a episode of classic 80's She-Ra and after some very sincere and well-intentioned, if slightly heavy-handed, messages about teamwork and doing the right thing and a few rather witty one-liners from noted writer JM Strazynski (Who'd go on to write babylon 5 and some of my favourite Ghostbusters episodes too), the one I picked had a coda at the end little rainbow clad goblin guy (Loo-Kee?) literally do the fourth wall breaking "Hey kids, today I want to talk to you today about a real problem: drugs" speech (In his squeaky high pitched goblin voice). Yeah, the NEW show has an agenda. (Again, not wanting to chastise the old series too much for that, Lou Scheimer did some sterling work in the field of advancing non-white-male heroic leads in his series and there's a nice interview with him about his She-Ra work here.

Roll on Season 2!

This weeks Doctor Who was an odd one, on one level an amusing sort of RTD like romp inside "Kerblam!", the galactic equivalent of Amazon and a deadly threat from an unlikely source, but on the other hand it DID seem to suggest that the capitalist monopoly with a disturbing level of staff monitoring and exploitation levels of work for minimal pay, was the GOOD guy. Weird.

To end on a rather emotional, but lovely, moment, the Children in Need telethon was last week, and as often happens the Doctor Who cast got involved. Not only is this touching and heartfelt and just warms your heart but check out how great the TARDIS set looks when NOT shot from the odd angles the show keeps using.
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The loss of Stan Lee at the age of 95 (What's 95 years to an Eternal in waiting) has already been reported here, and is more of an on topic matter, but is such a loss to pop culture I think it's worth repeating. How many people make such a profound impact on not just one medium but, through constant embracing of new technology and willingness to reinvent concepts, so many different media? He was one of a kind, and the world will be a little dimmer and a little less interesting without his presence.

Back in that dimmer and less interesting plane, ceremonies were held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice that brought World War I to an end. World leaders gathered from all over the world in France though, understandably, it was Chancellor Merkel of Germany and President Macron of France whose standing joint tribute garnered most attention. And their separate messages denouncing Nationalism and anti-Semitism were timely and powerful.

In the UK, Queen Elizabeth, who served in WWII as a driver, and is now 93, attended the annual ceremony at the London Cenotaph as she does every year. Prince Phillip, at 97, missed it for the first time in 20 years.

POTUS 45, who notably DIDN'T serve anywhere, and is only 72, didn't attend a ceremony at a nearby US military cemetery in France because of "bad weather" grounding his helicopter which, given how many other world leaders in France were able to attend events, in the same weather, says either something very worrying about the durability of US helicopters, or something very obvious about POTUS 45. Social media has NOT been kind, to which I can only say, on this occasion, "Good for social media!" (Hell, he managed to piss off Tony Robinson. Warning for language on that link.)

On the plus side, congratulations to Democrats in the US for re-taking the House of Representatives, and making it a good deal more representative than it was before! Voting works, never forget that!

The wildfires in California are horrifying with the death toll now reaching 42 and many more missing. Any members in the vicinity, stay safe!

Doctor Who was another unusual episode this week, and it being the episode broadcast on Armistice Day was very deliberate I feel. Set during the Partition of India which split India and Pakistan in 1947 it could probably have been a true historical if they'd wanted, and the aliens seemed more of a diversionary tactic than anything. But it was still a very powerful and emotional story about how the Partition affected one (Yaz;s) family as a microcosm. Like "Rosa" it also replaced the usual end theme, this time with a vocal version of the theme, performed by Shahid Abbas Khan.

I am wishing they'd showcase the TARDIS console room better because until this episode I could not have told you the large crystal arms around the console move up and down in synch with the Time Rotor.

"Duck Tales" was not one of it's strongest this week which, given it was the introduction of The Three Caballeros into the series, is a bit of a shame. I liked that "The Three Caballeros" was actually the name of the band Donald, José Cariaca and Pancho Pistoles formed during their college days, but the whole was not quite the sum of it's part (Luckily we have the entire "Legend of the Three Caballeros" series to compensate)

The last two episodes of Season 2 of Miraculous Ladybug have aired, not in English yet though, only French AFAIK, and look very impressive, including that hero shot we've been waiting for!

I've just had an e-mail saying that Season 1 of the new She-Ra is now available on Netflix. I didn't think that was until later in the month... cool!)

The trailer for the Detective Pikachu movie has dropped and I am finding myself slightly stunned by just how good it looks.

To end on a positive note, November the 13th is World Kindness Day.
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Well, it's Mid-Term Election Day in the USA, so on behalf of the rest of the free world, please, if you are able to, VOTE!

In the UK, David Cameron, our former Prime Minister and well-known "lover of bacon" (If you have to ask, you're probably too young to know) has suggested he'd like to come back into political front bench. Given that he's the PM who called the sodding Brexit referendum in the first place (largely due to pressure from the Right-Wing nutcases in his own party, with just a hint of a feud with Boris Johnson that started back in their college days) and then when the vote didn't go the way he wanted immediately resigned (despite saying he wouldn't) that's not exactly filling many people's hearts with glee.

It IS fun to watch Aaron Banks, prominent Leave financier being investigated for irregularities in his funding of the campaign AND being fined £135,000 for breach of data protection laws.

Bullying and harassment in the field of Chemistry is so widespread that a special helpline has been set up by the Royal Society of Chemistry to tackle "a culture of secrecy" and the 'unchecked power of managers'.

"The Ballad of Duke Baloney", Duck Tales most recent episode, gave us the backstory we never knew we needed, as it tries to find out why Flintheart Glomgold in the show is Scottish, rather than the South African he was in the original comics.

I've tried, lord knows, I've tried, but even Shirley Milner coming back to Hexadecimal isn't enough to get me to finish season 2 or "ReBoot: The Guardian Code". It's just SOOOO BAAAAAAD!!!! I mean the cast seem pleasant enough given the roles they have to play, but the whole concept is just so wretchedly bad it's painful. Time to break out my classic ReBoot DVD's I think.

An excellent (IMHO) episode of Doctor Who this week. The adventures seem low key so far this year, but to be honest I'm thoroughly enjoying a Doctor who isn't someone the universe always revolves around. I mean, she has her history, and a bit of an ego (making sure that people knew her entry in the seemingly legendary "The Book of Celebrants", which she'd initially dismissed as "just a chapter" is "Well, more of a volume than a chapter") but she doesn't need to make everything about HER. She can also admit when she's being selfish, which is not something I could see 10, 11 or 12 doing easily. And I always love it when the Doctor starts listing things they're a Doctor of, in this case; "Medicine, Science, Engineering, Candyfloss... and LEGO, Music, Philosophy, People, Problems, Hope... mostly Hope."

And it's been confirmed we're getting a 5 1/2" action figure of the 13th Doctor to go with the others that Character Options have released since 2005.

If you're in the UK and you didn't see the Halloween episode of "Inside Number 9" do try and catch it on BBC iPlayer, it was an episode they recorded and broadcast live and is quite unlike anything they've done before. Even for a show with it's history of twists this is special. If you HAVE seen it, no spoilers please!

A trailer for the new "Saint Seiya" spin-off "Saintia Sho", based off the manga of the same name and featuring a female Saint as it's main character has been seen in Japan. Debuting in December!
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Brazil has elected a racist, homophobic, mysogynist Right Wing candidate to be their President.

Sri Lanka is close to a contiutional crisis

Between pipe bombs being sent to Democratic and left leaning public figures by a white guy in a Trump-sticker festooned van, eleven horrific hate-crime murders in a Pittsburgh Synagogue where a Shabbat service and a bris were taking place by, no surprise here, a white guy, and the White House denying that the Presidents abusive Right Wing rhetoric could have in any way contributed to the mindset of those who would feel empowered to do such things, I don't even know where to begin with the US this week.

We can perhaps take some solace in how every local place of worship of every denomination united to vehemently condemn the actions and took up collections for the families of the lost. (On a personal note, there was a Christening in my local Church this Sunday, a joyous and happy event, but I'm sure I wasn't the only one who looked around and felt a slight chill or recognition).

I hate to pile it on, but we should definitely address the current US Adminsitrations plan to, effectively, erase the concept of transgenderism in US society by defining gender as purely biological and immutable, and the suggestion that discrimination against transgender people is not in violation of civil rights, which makes me want to say in a loud, clear voice both as an S_D Mod and a basic-issue human being ; "Fuck that noise!"

We would also recommend that every single person in the US who is in a position, vote when the opportunity arises in the next couple of weeks. Given reports of irregularities in voting machines, check where your voting location is and the opening times.

Okay, shifting away from politics...

The first season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina aired on Netflix, by the same creative team as "Riverdale and the Sabrina comic by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. It's very, VERY dark (literally and metaphorically) and has a good cast Kiernan Shipka isgood as Sabrina, Ross Lynch makes Harvey an unproblematic fave and Lucy Davies and Miranda Otto as Aunts Hilda and Zelda are the definition of odd couple (in a Cain and Able sort of a way) but it's Michelle Gomez who steals every scene she's in as "Miss Wardwell" (without being as over top as "Missy" in Doctor Who) and it's refreshing that Sabrina make an awful lot of bad choices for what seem to be good reasons and the show isn't shying away from there being consequences to that. Witches defaulting to polygamous pansexuality is certainly something I don't remember in the Melissa Joan Hart series, but it might be fun to re-watch some episodes with that outlook in mind. :)

"Arachnids of London", the latest episode of Doctor Who, seemed a bit of a damp squib, partly because it had to follow up the extraordinary Rosa episode, and partly because it felt more like an abandoned Torchwood episode, relying too much on basic arachnophobia and a random semi-psychotic US presidential hopeful. Decent FX on the spiders mind you, and some nice character moments with Team TARDIS (Yaz finally getting a bit of focus), but the plot itself... not so much, alas.

The latest episode of Titans was something of an improvement, as some of our heroes meet for the first time, and we get more backstory on this version of Robin (Though I Was not overly impressed with the flashback scenes for narrative reasons I can't really go into without spoilers). There was fewer messy fight scenes, which probably helped, but I'd be hoping for more positive reasons for watching it than "Hey, Dick didn't kill anyone in THIS episode!"

And to end with mental images to offer some balance to the above; kittens, frolicing lambs, small children being adorable, and puppies... all drawn by Alan Davis. (I don't actually have those images, but just imagine what they'd be like! There, feel better now? :) )
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Those of you too young to remember the Cold War, good news! It appears that the US is going to start increasing it's nuclear wepaon stockpile to put pressure on Russia and China, by pulling out of a 1987 treaty which banned Intermediate Range Nuclear weapons, which it is claimed Russia as violated both in spirit and fact. Russia denies this and promises to retaliate in kind if the US does increase it's stockpile.

Saudi Arabia is in international trouble for it's probable involvement in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. For some reason their claim that the 60 year old journalist when into the consulate and started a fight with about 15 "rogue agents" (at least one of whom had a bone saw for some reason) which ended in his death is not seen as entirely plausible, nor is the Saudi agent wearing Mr Khashoggi's clothes and a fake beard who left the consulate on the same day and ensured he walked around in front of CCTV. Even POTUS 45 had to reverse his previous statements that he found the Saudi story convincing, and as
Turkey has promised to reveal more about this today, this is far from over.

Strangely, looking at the Brexit scene I'm reminded of Lord Vetinari in Terry Pratchett'd Discworld series, who retains his position as Tyrant of Ankh-Morpork by ensuring that every side believes that "He may be bad, but every possible alternative is at least a little bit worse" which is a very complex political manipulation to keep going. Theresa May seems to be the living embodiment of this much to everyone's surprise, including, I suspect, her own. Otherwise it's the usual morass, and getting morass-ier by the day.

In less apocalyptic news, NASA has listed some new constellations based on gamma ray star monitoring it's been doing. These new signs include the Hulk (of course), the Little Prince, the TARDIS and Godzilla. So go pick a new horoscpe!

Duck Tales Season 2 started and though it's not been away for long, I've missed it SO MUCH! The first episode is more of a scene-setter of this gloriously dysfunctional family than anything else, but for the last four minutes, where Scrooge has a heart to heart with one of the nephews (I won't say which one), I'll forgive it a lot.

Titans on the other hand, I'm this close to quitting already. The second episode was just... miserably gruesome. Gratuitous torture and violence all over the place from pretty much everyone, Hawk and Dove being chronically mishandled (IMHO), no Starfire or Beast Boy at all, and only Raven being adorable and scary and Dick attempting to bond with her being vaguely redeeming features. But the rest is so dark and violent and that it makes "Arrow" look like "Duck Tales" by comparison.

I'm also finding myself completely uninterested in the new Star Wars cartoon "Star Wars: Resistance". The fact no one is a Jedi is a plus I guess (or at least different) but I'm finding Kaz to be such a tediously dull protagonist and the stakes so small scale (The First Order may have a spy on a weirdly irrelevant base where fliers hang out), that I'm completely uninvolved in the story. (The the not remotely cliche "utterly literal alien sidekick who doesn't understand figures of speech" isn't helping either)

So the Rosa Parks episode of Doctor Who aired and, to the relief of everyone who remembers how flippant the series has been in some of it's historical stories in the past, was not just good, it was extraordinary!

The show has never exuded more disturbingly mundane menace than it's depiction of Alamaba in 1955, and the level of contempt (and acceptable violence) that was the public norm from white people to people of colour at the time, and that this was not the result of some alien influence, this was pure human behaviour. White privilege was addressed by having the Doctor and Graham act as a social "buffer" for Ryan (especially) and Yaz (Who locals tended to assume was Hispanic, much to her chagrin), but Ryan and Yaz dicuss the racism they have faced in the modern day too. It's not preachy, but it's brutally honest.

The baddies evil scheme was low key, "just" someone with an agenda seeking to nudge time down a different path, but that's all it needed because this was a character driven story and then some. Thankfully Rosa (an amazing performance from Vinette Robinson) was not "inspired" by the Doctor and her friends at any time because she never needed to be. The Doctor was almost a background character in this, doing her absolute best to ensure that events occur the way they have to, in order that Rosa Parks be the person she already was, and at the end she and Graham become part of the story in an subtly indirect way that appals them both.

At one level it's almost a drama about ensuring a bus runs on time, but DAMN if it wasn't some of the most powerful Doctor Who that has ever hit the screen. (And it should be noted that the principle writer and director are both poc, which probably helped)
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It's been a pretty breathtaking week from POTUS 45, he gave a 60 Minutes interview where, amongst other treats he;
  • Said he thought Dr. Ford was treated with great respect, including by himself, but when pressed on the insulting comments he'd made about her at a rally, that it didn't matter whether he had "because we won", and then, even worse said "Had I not made that speech, we would not have won."

International condemnation of the involvement of Saudi agents in the disappearance, and likely death, of Turkish journalist Jamal Khashoggi whilst visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul continues to grow. This could be a nasty diplomatic incident by anyone's standards.

Brexit continues to resemble a boa constrictor trying to strangle itself and getting more and more determined as it goes along. More than that you can look up for yourself because I'm already having to live with it and I can't take much more of this crap.

"Titans" launched (though not yet on Netflix in the UK), but I've managed to see it.

It has more of an "Arrow" feel to it than a "Supergirl" or a "The Flash", which seems a little jarring. I'm most put off so far by the overall darkness, both themtic and literal (Seriously, you couldn't shoot ANYTHING in sunshine?) and the unpleasant levels of gratuitous violence (Robin scraping a thugs face against the wall leaving a red trail and running a guys face across broken glass, and Kory laughing after she's just carbonised a couple of people).

That being said, the performances are pretty good, Brenton Thwaites is an engaing Detective Grayson, and Anna Diop is great fun (aside from aforementioned violent moments), Raven I'm warming to more than I expected (even if the "Carrie" vibes are a bit heavy-handed) and her coat having a hood with a little point to it like her old cloak was a nice subtle little thing. I also enjoyed the moments of someone noting that Dick has transferred in from Gotham and the other cops basically going "Shiiiiit!" in a combination of sympathy and awe, and making Dick's orphaning even MORE traumatic than before.

Doctor Who actually had a title sequence this week and it looks not bad, the new theme is a bit low key and I miss the sense of movement and journeying the last few openings have had, but it's a definite hark back to the early classic series titles and I can live with that.

Also, the new TARDIS interior has been seen the new TARDIS interior (the video is a Behind-the-Scenes thing about designing it). I rather like it, but I want to see more of it.

Fan reaction has been very, very positive, not just with stellar ratings, but winning over uncertain fans. I have some very hard core DW-fan friends who were... well, let's be charitable and say, "uninspired" by the idea of a female Doctor, but every single one of them has been won over by the Thirteenth Doctor almost immediately, which is heartening. I've also loved some of the podcasts reactions to it, the Verity Podcast spoke very movingly about how, in a week where the American President had mocked someone in public for coming forward about sexual assault and claiming how dangerous is was to be a young man these days, it was just so... significant to have this particular series launch.

Next week's episode is the first not written by Chris Chibnall, and given that it's a trip to the past to meet Rosa Parks, it's perhaps as well that it's been given to famed British YA author (and former Children's Laureate writer) and woman of colour, Malorie Blackman to write (Trust me, that is QUITE the coup for the show). I'm REALLY hoping we don't get a "Doctor inspires significant moment in human history" because that would feel very wrong, just have her be a fan... it might also happen AFTER Ms Parks involvement in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but we shall see.

Did anyone else watch Krypton? I found I rather enjoyed it as a piece of sci-fi, semi-space opera hokum, with some engaging performances (and not just because it's a largely British cast). It did a lot of things I wish Inhumans had managed.

And Duck Tales Season 2 launches this coming weekend! YAY!
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10th October is World Mental Health Day with the focus on "Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World"

In extraordinary scenes... actually, no I'm getting tired of using the word "extraordinary" in this context, so I'm going to go with my gut and use "abnormal".

In abnormal scenes at the White House, POTUS 45, and Legion of Doom farm team candidate, celebrated in frankly grotesque and completely partisan terms, the appointment of Brett Kavanagh to the US Supreme Court, stating that he had endured "a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception", adding that "under historic scrutiny", he had been "proven innocent". The former is dubious at best, the latter is categorically not the case.

It is perhaps worth noting that the woman who presented evidence, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, has, as yet, been unable to return to her home due to multiple death threats.

A minor, but completely surreal moment, as Kim Jong-Un invites the Pope to North Korea. It is seen as... unlikely, that the Pontiff will accept the invitation.

Brazil's General Election gave the extreme Right candidate nearly half the vote, but not enough for an outright win so there will be a run off election in a few weeks time.

The second Russian suspect in the Salisbury poisoning case, has likely been identified as a doctor working for the Russian intelligence service.

A major IPCC report on the effects of climate change have set the cat amongst the environmental pigeons.

Star Wars: Resistance launched at the weekend, not entirley sold on the main characters, and not that impressed by the animation style chose, but I have faith in Dave Filoni to make something interesting.

Ladybug's long awaited "Queen's Battle", a two part story which introduced Chloe as Queen Bee, aired and gosh, so much going on HERE. We meet Chloe's mother, a personality so toxic it should require a hazmat suit, find out some really messed-up Agreste family stuff, watch Chloe break every rule of the Miraculous in about four seconds, and learn Plagg's frankly terrifying history of destruction and... well, a whole heap more.

Jode Whittaker IS the Doctor, and did a sterling job selling that point on Sunday evening. A low key episode (with a memorably looking if perhaps not A-list, monster), with a different feel to it, what new music, new showrunner, new cast and so on but it did it's job well I think, introducing us to the new team, and giving the new Doctor a chance to sort her head out. Looking forward to the rest as there are a couple of major reveals which DIDN'T happen in this episode which everyone was expecting.

The Good Place launched Season 3, and though my first reaction is "But Season 2 had such a perfect ending, why continue?" I'm cautiously optimistic.

Oh, and NYCC debuted a number of trailers, including Good Omens, based on the Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman novel about Armageddon, the new Harley Quinn animated series (with Kaley Cuoco as Harley), Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 and Aquaman.
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The Indoneisan island of Sulawesi, which saw a 7.4 magnitude earthquake followed by a tsunami last Friday, has seen the death toll reach over 1,200. More information here, but it's pretty harrowing, just so you're aware if you click through.

The hearing over Brett Kavanagh's appointment to the US Supreme Court moves forward, despite the serious accusations made against him. The deposition by Dr Christine Blasey Ford last week was powerful, and Kavanagh did little to improve his own position, but though POTUS 45 has sanctioned an FBI investigation into matters arising, this will apparently, not be enough to stop a vote on the nomination, possibly this week.  At this point I think I give up trying to understand how the US system works, if works is even the operative word at the moment.

Speaking of POTUS 45, he gave one of his typically surreal speeches at a rally, so those in attendance were treated to the leader of the free world describing his relationship with Kim Jong-Un, one of the most despotic rulers on the planet, as "We fell in love... no, really, he wrote me beautiful letters". Look, I try not to be a vindictive person, but if I have to have that mental image in my head, SO DO THE REST OF YOU! (And if you go looking for the slashfic (which it terrifies me to realise probably exists), you're very much on your own)

But he DID get a laugh at his UN address when describing how his Presidency had “accomplished more than almost any ... in the history of our country”. I leave it to your own imagination whether you think they were laughing with him, or at him, but I will WILL just leave this here, because it's too good/ironic/sad/tragic not to.

For fans of bloodsports, it's the UK Conservative Party Conference this week, and despite their desperate attempts to shift the focus away from Brexit, well, what did they expect, really?  About the only positive notes amidst the backstabbing, front stabbing, blaming, deflecting and just general mayhem (Think WWF but with duller, more expensive, clothing), are moves to ban Managers from  pocketing tips left for staff, and that mixed sex civil partnerships (basically the legal equivalent of a marriage) are going to be a thing.

It's been a sad week for the creative side of the world, with Charles Aznavour, (Legendary French singer), Geoffrey Hayes (long time presenter of UK kids series Rainbow (That's a VERY UK thing, so don't worry if it's not one you're familiar with) and John Cunliffe (Who created Postman Pat) all passing away.

Staff at CERN were more than a little shocked when, at a workshop about "gender and high energy physics" intended to encourage more women to pursue careers in the scientists, the main speaker made comments like "Physics was invented and built by men, it's not by invitation", stated that he had proved that "physics is not sexist against women. However the truth does not matter, because it is part of a political battle coming from outside" and railed against the discrimination that men face in the field due to ideology.

The speaker, Prof Alessandro Strumia from Pisa University, has been suspended from working at CERN, the slides from his talk have been removed from their website, and CERN have stated categorically that his remarks were not just inappropriate but highly offensive.

And, by pure happy coincidence, today it was announced that the Nobel Prize for Physics will be awarded to a woman for only the third time in it's history (and for the first time since 1963);  Canadian "Laser jockey", Dr Donna Srickland for her contributions to the field of laser physics which have led to things like the development of laser eye surgery and laser treatment of cancers.

An Amazon management trainign video which is basically "Union Busting for beginners" has surfaced.

Elon Musk (which STILL sounds like an off brand aftershave to me) has stepped down as head of Tesla Inc, following a Securities Exchange Commission investigation about manipulating stock.

In happier news, those outside the US will be able to watch the Titans TV series via Netflix on October 12 (thanks to [personal profile] janegray for that snippet. New trailer here (well, some bits are new, some are recycled)

Oh, and why did no one tell me there was a musical episode of "Once Upon a Time"? I'm not even that big a fan of the show (though I've watched a fair deal of the earlier seasons) but this was FUN! Okay, it's not great, but it has some insanely catchy numbers, Josh Dallas has a lovely singing voice (and I love that even HE addresses that in the episode) and kudos to Colin O'Donoghue for even attempting a "Queen" styled number.

The "Sandboy" episode of Miraculous aired and as promised we did indeed get to see, if not be introduced to, the other Kwami living in their own little dimension within the box that Master Fu keeps. We do now know that the Snake Kwami is named Ssass, and that as we suspected, the Peahen Miraculous (an oddly specific name, since Peacocks are the fancy birds, not peahens) is not present and hasn't been seen by the others in a long time.  (Oh, and Hawkmoth is even more horrible than usual).

An oddly structured episode since it focuses on the Kwami's rather than the humans, but interesting to see the different nightmares that Marinette and Adrien have compared to Ladybug and Cat Noir (Oh, and there's a very cute moment between Plagg and Adrien at the end)

By the time the next Off Topic Tuesday rolls around well have had the first episode of Doctor Who with Jodie Whittaker in the lead role! Coming on Sunday 7th at 6:45pm BST. As a fanboy, I'm terribly pleased they've managed to keep so much of what we're going to see under wraps, I still don't know what the TARDIS console room will look like, and I'm really getting rather excited about the whole thing!

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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

The mire surrounding Brett Kavanaugh's likely appointment to the Supreme Court continues to get muddier and messier. A second woman has come forward with sexual assault allegations, and in the meantime POTUS 45 (and Angry Orange wannabe) managed to outdo even his own record for inappropriate tweeting (and in a week where he described Hurricane Florences as "one of the wettest we’ve ever had from the standpoint of water." that's really saying something), by publicly expressing disbelief about the first claim, using the "If it had been a big deal why didn't she report it earlier?" approach.

Even leaving aside the tastelessness and dubious legality of such a statement, it at the very least prompted a storm of replies from people explaining in painful, personal detail exactly why someone might not report a sexual assault. It makes for harrowing reading. (Kavanaugh also going on Fox News, with his wife, to protest his innocence is also a highly unusual move, suggesting desperation on someone's part). In a PURELY unrelated note, those in the US might want to make sure they are registered to vote in Novemeber's midterms.

Speaking of desperation, Brexit has been reaching new levels of ridiculousness. Theresa May presented her plans to the EU at Salzberg and, despite them having said that parts of it would be rejected for the last years or more, expressed her appalled outrage at their decision to do exactly what they've said they would do.

Meanwhile Labour are trying to cope with the fact that their vague musings about being both pro AND anti-Brexit, but more pro..-ish, in the right light, are facing calls at their national conference this week to actually back an option which would reverse Brexit. As someone put it, the Labour leadership makes a big deal about supporting the will of it's members, unless the members take a stand they don't like. It's all a bit of a mess, which is practically our national slogan at the moment.

I've watched a couple of episodes of  the anime "Dragon Pilot" (I think since Netflix saw I liked Dragon Prince, they thought "how different can they be?" Answer... a LOT). The plot appears to be "What if your dragon-type Pokemon was actually also a Transformer who has to swallow you in order to fly properly", and the main character, a young woman, is a bit like Shinji Ikari if he were prone to doing the healthy thing and occasionally letting rip and speaking up about all the crap that's building up around him because no one ever listens. Not sure I'm invested enough to watch much more, but it was worth a shot.

I DO thoroughly endorse the new Netflix series "Hilda", based on the series of graphic novels by Luke Pearson. A charming children's series, Hilda is a sensible, adventurous young girl who lives in a sort of alternate modern day Scandanavia where trolls and other creatures are just part of life and are usually fairly decent beings. We have beuraucratic elves, dragons with social anxiety, who are heavily into horticulutre, deer-fox as pets and and mountain trolls who don't always watch where they're going. I must see about posting some pages from this.

A new trailer for the Bumblebee movie dropped, and holy cow, they have the Gen 1 cast actually looking like the Gen 1 cast!!! Shockwave, Starscream and (joy of joys) Soundwave (Who is actually seen ejecting what looks to be Ravage!)

The trailer also arrived for "Stan and Ollie" starring John C Reilly and Steve Coogan, and looking at my favourite comedy double act of all time in their later years touring the UK and looking back on their careers. The performances look to be astonishing and I will judge this movie DAMN

Oh and Mary Poppins Returns has it's proper trailer too.


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