What's going on with Digitiser over the coming year? Will I appear on your podcast? Will there be a live show in 2020? Check out the brand new FAQ for the answers to all these questions - and many more!
Biffo and Gannon play the not-for-children card game Game Off, in which they attempt to come up with the best pick-up lines, create the most annoying song, and find out who has the hairiest arms! Also featuring... Virtual Ashens!
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I'm not sure I've ever written about Doctor Who on here. Growing up, it was in many ways the one nerdy genre thing it wasn't remotely acceptable to like. I never got any stick for being a Star Wars fan, but liking Doctor Who was akin to admitting you were in an unrequited relationship with a drain.
In short: being a Doctor Who fan was profoundly embarrassing.
I get it. I mean, I've always been acutely aware of the show's flaws. Doctor Who - in its original 1963 - 1989 incarnation - was largely terrible; impenetrable storytelling, slow-paced stories, homespun production values, flat characterisation. It's almost impossible to defend loving something so, frankly, bad. Yet love it I did, for reasons I actually struggle to put into words, but can best liken to adopting a badly damaged orphan.
Don't get me wrong; some of the stories it told were near perfect - I'll defend City of Death, Remembrance of the Daleks, and An Unearthly Child until I'm blue in the groin - but alongside that you got Timelash, Delta And The Bannermen, and The Trial of a Timelord.
Weirdly, I somehow have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the show despite struggling to make it through an entire serial since the original broadcast. You can put that down to being a subscriber to Doctor Who Magazine for as long as I can remember, reading the novels and associated reference books, and listening to Big Finish audio dramas.
When I bought the DVDs, it would be the special features I'd turn to first. How they made the show - with such limited resources - was often more fascinating to me than the actual show itself. I wanted to know how they'd conjure an entire universe from a sprinkle of imagination, a couple of washing-up bottles, and some bubblewrap. I probably wouldn't be doing the job I do now if it wasn't for DWM's behind-the-scenes articles. It was one of the only publications that managed to demystify screenwriting and TV production, and democratised it for all.
I think, perhaps, like many Doctor Who fans, I mostly loved the show's potential. As an idea, it's brilliant. Its mythos is equally genius and bonkers. Its visuals are iconic. And when it came back with Russell T. Davies at the helm, we finally got a show that lived up to the promise of its original run; it understood how ridiculous Doctor Who was and should be, but imbued it with more heart than it ever had in the entirety of its first incarnation.
What's more, when Moffat took over, I loved the intricacy of the storytelling and his wit, the cleverness of his ideas, and Matt Smith remains my favourite Doctor. It felt simultaneously right and wrong to have a version of Doctor Who that was consistently good, and enjoyed by almost everyone.
Well, I'm ready for Christmas. Are you ready for Christmas? I am ready for Christmas, and I am ready to say goodbye to 2019. In all honesty, I've had a year with a higher than average share of low points, but overall - looking back - it has had plenty of highs too, and most of those were to do with Digitiser.
One of the absolute highlights was Digi Live, and the success of it has convinced me that going forward I'm going to focus more on the things I love doing most. And that will, hopefully, include more live stuff. We're still working out what exactly that'll be, though, but watch this space. One way or another we'll find a way to get everyone together again, and bring some new people along.
Of course, this was also the year that the Digi Minis began - spilling out of Digitiser The Show - and I've loved doing them. I'm kind of in love with doing them, and I think it shows in the episodes. Gannon, Sanya and I have no plans to stop - it feels like we're just getting going - and next year I want us to build on what's already a very solid foundation.
There's so much I do want to do - and at my age, I feel like I'm making up for lost time somewhat - but it has to become a question of being able to take the time to afford to do it all. I'll work it out somehow.
Anyhow, just a reminder that Beanus Likes Christmas Beans is available now on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. There's no chance of us getting in the Christmas charts, but please buy it if you can, as all proceeds go to Mind. Plus, it's a great song! I'm not bothering with a link. You can work it out. You're not stupid, probably.
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I don't want to do a review discussing the relative merits - or not - of The Rise of Skywalker. I'm not going to spend a thousand words or more getting into whether I think it's a well-made movie.
I mean, what's the point? Maybe you've read the reviews and the gleeful way in which it's being kicked around on Twitter and YouTube like a dead pigeon, and made up your own mind already. Maybe you've seen it and liked it or didn't like it, so nothing I can say is going to change your mind regardless.
I've established I've got a personal connection to Star Wars - albeit not so indoctrinated that I universally, unconditionally, love everything to do with it - and my reasons for why I may or may not have enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker will be different to yours. I know these aren't just films for me. They're something more important now. There's no better evidence of that than how embarrassingly crushed I was by The Last Jedi.
Even so, did I get angry when others liked that film more than I did? No. Did I get angry at the way some were driven to attack members of the cast and drive them offline? Yes. Did I get irritated that the furore around it has failed to die down, that it has continued to be stoked by opposing camps? Absolutely. I wish all that shiz would just go away, and the fandom can hold onto what unites them, rather than what divides.
But these are strange times in which we live. It's a vain hope.
Suffice to say... with my Star Wars space baggage clutched to my chest... I liked The Rise of Skywalker a lot - maybe even loved it. Might that be a result of lowered expectations? Maybe. The reviews have been brutal - I went into the cinema expecting this to be a film that was fundamentally broken, that nobody could enjoy on any level.
But... I don't think it was just that. I liked it because it felt like Star Wars. It was fun and funny and creepy and weird. It did new things. It felt fresh and classic at the same time. I liked it because - controversial - I enjoyed it.
In fact, I think this might be my favourite of the entire sequel trilogy. And I say that as somebody who thought The Force Awakens was great.
Maybe my feelings will change a bit over time, or when I've seen it again, but I tend to stay liking stuff that I like (though I have been known to have things grow on me... specifically: fungus under my moobs).
In fact, this won't be a review so much as it is going to be a rant. Because one thing I did feel in the wake of watching this is anger, unbridled and engorged. It took a couple of minutes for it to surface, but man... soon enough, I was wheezing like a bassoon! There'll be a video at the end where you can see this terrifying rage in full effect.
"But wait, Mr Biffo - I thought you said you liked it?"
Stick around, kid.
It's Christmas - the most magical time of the year! Biffo and Gannon bring you a very special episode, featuring a disastrous Gingerbread House Challenge, plenty of festive surprises, a host of guest appearances, including Eli Silverman (him off of Barshens and Cheapshow), the crew of Did You Know Gaming?, Ashens, Larry Bundy Jr, Nostalgia Nerd, Fat Sow, Beanus - and much, much more!
A very special thank you to all our guests, and especially the genius Chris Jerden-Cooke for writing and performing Beanus Likes Christmas Beans, and David Heslop (https://twitter.com/dtHeslop) for getting Sting on board once again
Beanus Likes Christmas Beans is available at Amazon, Spotify and iTunes (US store only - worldwide release to follow). All proceeds go to Mind, in support of mental health.
Buy it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beanus-Likes...
There has been a lot of Star Wars on this site in the past few months, and I didn't really want to go there again, but... unnnnhhh... those Rise of Skywalker reviews are not good. They're not good at all. My hope that Disney and JJ Abrams would hit a home run appears not to have happened. I can't not talk about this. I've got anxiety. I need to process it.
I need to go into the cinema tomorrow prepared for the possibility that this may be another bad Star Wars movie, even if I'm hanging onto the fact that I've disagreed with reviews before. Notably for The Last Jedi, which critics raved about almost universally. Before I can face The Rise of Skywalker, I need to be honest finally, and own my emotions surrounding The Last Jedi.
I came out of the cinema after that film feeling... confused, bordering on bereft. More so even than the prequels. There was a weird disconnect for me; it was a well-made Star Wars film - I could see that - so why did it leave me feeling so empty and annoyed?
It's a question I've spent two years trying to answer, when I haven't been trying to make the film click for me. It's time to admit that I've failed. Reading the early reactions to The Rise of Skywalker last night, my wife tried to make me feel better by saying "Maybe you'll just get an average film... it's not like you hated The Last Jedi..."
And then she saw the conflict in my face. It was the first time I'd considered that I might actually, truly, hate The Last Jedi.
I'm not that guy though... am I?
I don't hate on films, because what's the point? I don't want to be one of Those People. I don't attack actors online, I don't spread hate, I don't hide away on Reddit slagging things off. I don't just hate for the sake of hating... I mean, let it go. It doesn't matter. That would be pathetic! I love Star Wars. How can I possibly hate a film anyway? It's just a film... it's just a film...
But... maybe - all those things aside - maybe I do love Star Wars, but hate The Last Jedi...
God, I actually do hate The Last Jedi.
I literally hate The Last Jedi. And - Jesus! - I don't even hate the Prequels.
It's Beeeeanmus! In what is undoubtedly a future Holiday classic, and this year's Christmas Number One single, Beanus presents his first festive record: Beanus Likes Christmas Beans!
Available at Amazon, Spotify and iTunes (US store only - worldwide release to follow). All proceeds go to Mind, in support of mental health.
Buy it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beanus-Likes...
Subscribe for regular videos, and support Digitiser on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/digitiser2000
Remember Tomy's Furby, Zoids, Kongman and Screwball Scramble? These are just some of the classic toys and games we're not looking at in this episode!
However, Biffo, Gannon and funny Eli from Barshens and Cheapshow do take a look at Aaaargh!, Wow!, and Pocketeers!
Also, in arguably our most poor taste segment yet, Biffo ponders what is and isn't acceptable to eat.
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Aaaaaaand... that's democracy, kids. Be miserable if you need to. Celebrate if you want to. But let's not all keep tearing one another apart. Be gracious whether it's in loss or your victory.
And let us all hope for the best.
Moving on... there's a brand new Digi video coming this Sunday, and Eli Silverman will once again be joining Gannon and I, this time to look at a bunch of vintage Tomy games. I think it's a good 'un. Then next week... there won't be a video on Sunday. Instead, you'll be getting our bumper-length Christmas episode early, possibly Wednesday or Thursday, depending on when I get it finished.
Then I'll most likely take a break over Christmas.
Basically, it has been an enormous amount of work to the episode put together - far more than a regular episode, and it has taken far more work than I probably should've invested in it - but I want you all to have the chance to revel in its bounteous Christmassy nonsense before the big day. It has a bit of everything; the Beanus song! Fat Sow! Guest appearances! Found Footage! Retching!
Now, though... it's our penultimate Friday Letters Page before Christmas. Let's make next week's one a true festive jamboree.
If you'd like to appear here, or you've something you'd like me to give some attention to in our occasional Plug Zone, or you've got a picture of a bin you wish to share, please send your filthy emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
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