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Tuesday
Nov172015

Buffy: Once More With Feeling. Best TV Episode Ever.

I don’t watch reruns much. If there is a TV show I really love I might watch it every ten years but even then I tend to skip a lot of episodes. It’s largely the same with movies. I don’t believe I’ve ever watched a movie more than ten times and there are very few I’ve watched more than twice. That begins to explain why I think that Buffy: Once More with Feeling is, at least for me, the best episode of TV ever written. The first time I saw it I watched it straight through three times and I’ve watched it many times since. The fact that it’s a musical helps of course because it is far easier to have in the background. But catchy music isn’t what makes this the best episode it’s that it’s a music episode that not only isn’t a throwaway but is one of the most central episodes on the series.


First, the music is great. There is a variety of tunes and it is catchy. But just like all the best musicals it’s more than just that. The songs reveal what is going on in the characters minds and at times mean different things to different characters. And in the case of this episode it forces them to confront all of their problems. And that leads into the second reason it’s such a great episode.


This episode has more character development and discusses more important issues than most seasons on other shows. Among the things that the characters in this episode are going through is fear of commitment, guilt, difficulty in moving on, drugs and depression. And that’s just off the top of my head. 


I won’t touch on all of those, but I will say that Buffy does the best job of discussing depression of anything I have ever seen. And whether you have clinical depression or just are feeling down it’s great to see a character that is a hero that is doing the same. (some spoilers ahead). In this case Buffy is depressed because she was in heaven and brought back to life. She is going through the motions of life, but isn’t feeling any of them. And this episode is the most important part of this arc of the character because it is the episode where Buffy finally tells her friends the truth. 


Finally it deals with one of the most annoying things on TV. No one telling anyone anything. This is perhaps the most common way that plots are dragged out in modern TV as each of the characters hides things from the others. This episode removes that crutch and makes the rest of the season better because they actually have to deal with what happened.


I understand why so many other episodes of TV are often higher on lists than this one. Series finales often feel more important because they are final and it’s easy to assume that the musical episode of a TV show just can’t be all that important. But in the hands of a master this episode moves from laughter to tears, deals with important personal issues for every major character and still fits in several excellent songs. 

Thursday
Oct222015

Jaws 19

I went to the theater and watched Back to the Future today. It was a lot of fun, but then I knew it would be having seen the movies a few dozen times each. But this trailer was a great suprize. Hope you enjoy it.

Thursday
Oct012015

Book Review: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

I think Neil Stephenson is a good writer. I’m not sure if he’s a great writer and Seveneves is a perfect example of why. This isn’t a book I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t read Neil Stephenson before. He simply has better work, but it isn’t something I’d warn anyone away from if they find the idea interesting either. It’s an interesting narrative and a lot of technical information that can sometimes bury the narrative. It’s hard science fiction that from time to time seems to make decisions based on what’s best for the story rather than what is most likely to happen. All that is to say it’s a mixed bag of a book.
The basic premise of Seveneves is one of my favorite parts of the book. At its most basic something has fractured the moon into a number of pieces. At first this is odd but not a major problem, but soon they recognize the true issue. The pieces of the moon are breaking into smaller pieces and each time they break up there are more pieces to collide. Thanks to exponential growth they figure out that in only a few years they will have become a cloud of rocks that will begin to hit the earth at a rate high enough to superheat the atmosphere and kill everyone on the planet.
From there the remainder of the story is simply about humanity trying to survive. There are a couple of possibilities and this focus on sending people into space. And it doesn’t shy away from pointing out how difficult this would be. From the massive engineering project it would be to send any significant about of people and supplies into orbit to the problems of radiation and of course moon rocks. 
All of this is interesting, but at points there is simply too much detail. He spends many pages describing different types of spacesuit, the mechanics of links in a chain, orbital mechanics and a lot of other things that while interesting are often in a bit too much detail and if you don’t like detail oriented hard science fiction it’s going to be a problem for you. In addition about two thirds of the way through the story there is a major shift that could bother some people while other people have said that they get a bonus story. I’m about halfway in the middle of that. The last part of the book is important but it has some weaknesses as well. 
Overall I enjoyed Seveneves and if you’ve read a lot of Neil Stephenson and enjoyed his other stories you know what you’re getting probably going to enjoy it as well. But if you have read Diamond Age or Snow Crash and didn’t really enjoy those you’re unlikely to like Seveneves because as interesting as it is it isn’t as good as those.

I think Neil Stephenson is a good writer. I’m not sure if he’s a great writer and Seveneves is a perfect example of why. This isn’t a book I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t read Neil Stephenson before. He simply has better work, but it isn’t something I’d warn anyone away from if they find the idea interesting either. It’s an interesting narrative and a lot of technical information that can sometimes bury the narrative. It’s hard science fiction that from time to time seems to make decisions based on what’s best for the story rather than what is most likely to happen. All that is to say it’s a mixed bag of a book.
The basic premise of Seveneves is one of my favorite parts of the book. At its most basic something has fractured the moon into a number of pieces. At first this is odd but not a major problem, but soon they recognize the true issue. The pieces of the moon are breaking into smaller pieces and each time they break up there are more pieces to collide. Thanks to exponential growth they figure out that in only a few years they will have become a cloud of rocks that will begin to hit the earth at a rate high enough to superheat the atmosphere and kill everyone on the planet.
From there the remainder of the story is simply about humanity trying to survive. There are a couple of possibilities and this focus on sending people into space. And it doesn’t shy away from pointing out how difficult this would be. From the massive engineering project it would be to send any significant about of people and supplies into orbit to the problems of radiation and of course moon rocks. 
All of this is interesting, but at points there is simply too much detail. He spends many pages describing different types of spacesuit, the mechanics of links in a chain, orbital mechanics and a lot of other things that while interesting are often in a bit too much detail and if you don’t like detail oriented hard science fiction it’s going to be a problem for you. In addition about two thirds of the way through the story there is a major shift that could bother some people while other people have said that they get a bonus story. I’m about halfway in the middle of that. The last part of the book is important but it has some weaknesses as well. 
Overall I enjoyed Seveneves and if you’ve read a lot of Neil Stephenson and enjoyed his other stories you know what you’re getting probably going to enjoy it as well. But if you have read Diamond Age or Snow Crash and didn’t really enjoy those you’re unlikely to like Seveneves because as interesting as it is it isn’t as good as those.

Friday
Sep252015

Heroes Reborn: Episode 1

I was as big a fan of heroes as anyone. I didn’t give up in the second or third season and I would have kept watching if it had kept going then. But when I heard it was coming back, while excited, I was a bit unsure. Some of the biggest draws of the best parts of heroes were unlikely to be returning at all and the show had always had some problems. But having watched the webisodes and now the first episode(s) it seems like they recognized some of the problems in the show and addressed them.
The webisodes bridge the gap between the time that Heroes went off the air and now. Clair Bennett has revealed to the world that the Evos(or evolved) exist and many others came forward telling of their powers as well. This had the predictable results. People were scared, but the show doesn’t just assume that people are awful. It presents a real explanation of the fear in the  form of a terrorist attack by Evos
And that’s where the series basically starts. Due to the attack the mutant registration act has been passed and the Evos are being discriminated against. What is worse for them they are being hunted by Chuck and his partner who are intent on killing them. There are also some bigger things hinted at in the first episodes but beyond the Evos being needed for something we don’t get much information on it.
I really enjoyed the first episodes. They did a fairly good job of mixing real life and superpowers which was also one of the draws of Heroes. They also did a far better job of giving the main characters abilities that don’t immediatly break the show. So far as I could tell there was no one able to stop time, gather everyone else’s abilities, become immortal, or the other absurdly powerful things that certain characters in earlier seasons did. This is important because as the show went on that was one of its major problems. It’s hard to keep a show grounded while you have people who can do almost anything. Instead it largely focuses on the best character in any season of heroes Noah Bennett who has no abilities but is more capable than almost anyone. 
That isn’t to say that the powers in the show aren’t impressive or useful. We see a number of cool abilities. The two that are best explored are teleportation and the ability to enter a massively multi-player online game. There are also others that will likely show up more and be explained better in the future. But so far as I can see they all have limit and won’t solve every problem. All of the new characters also seemed well thought out and interesting which is important because that was one of the major problems before. 
I won’t say I’m hooked on Heroes Reborn, or even completely convinced that it will be good. But if it can continue to take what was good from Heroes and leave behind some of the weaknesses, and weave in a few more of the old characters just for fun, then I think it has the potential to do what’s written on the tin and help heroes to be reborn.

I was as big a fan of heroes as anyone. I didn’t give up in the second or third season and I would have kept watching if it had kept going then. But when I heard it was coming back, while excited, I was a bit unsure. Some of the biggest draws of the best parts of heroes were unlikely to be returning at all and the show had always had some problems. But having watched the webisodes and now the first episode(s) it seems like they recognized some of the problems in the show and addressed them.
The webisodes bridge the gap between the time that Heroes went off the air and now. Clair Bennett has revealed to the world that the Evos(or evolved) exist and many others came forward telling of their powers as well. This had the predictable results. People were scared, but the show doesn’t just assume that people are awful. It presents a real explanation of the fear in the  form of a terrorist attack by Evos
And that’s where the series basically starts. Due to the attack the mutant registration act has been passed and the Evos are being discriminated against. What is worse for them they are being hunted by Chuck and his partner who are intent on killing them. There are also some bigger things hinted at in the first episodes but beyond the Evos being needed for something we don’t get much information on it.
I really enjoyed the first episodes. They did a fairly good job of mixing real life and superpowers which was also one of the draws of Heroes. They also did a far better job of giving the main characters abilities that don’t immediatly break the show. So far as I could tell there was no one able to stop time, gather everyone else’s abilities, become immortal, or the other absurdly powerful things that certain characters in earlier seasons did. This is important because as the show went on that was one of its major problems. It’s hard to keep a show grounded while you have people who can do almost anything. Instead it largely focuses on the best character in any season of heroes Noah Bennett who has no abilities but is more capable than almost anyone. 
That isn’t to say that the powers in the show aren’t impressive or useful. We see a number of cool abilities. The two that are best explored are teleportation and the ability to enter a massively multi-player online game. There are also others that will likely show up more and be explained better in the future. But so far as I can see they all have limit and won’t solve every problem. All of the new characters also seemed well thought out and interesting which is important because that was one of the major problems before. 

That isn't to say that there are no problems. A couple of the characters need serious development and I felt like the Katana Girl not only had nothing to do with the rest of the episode but was generally just not all that interesting and some of the characters felt a bit too much like comic relief. But these are minor problems that can easily be fixed in future episodes. 


I won’t say I’m hooked on Heroes Reborn, or even completely convinced that it will be good. But if it can continue to take what was good from Heroes and leave behind some of the weaknesses, and weave in a few more of the old characters just for fun, then I think it has the potential to do what’s written on the tin and help heroes to be reborn.

Monday
Sep212015

Dr Who Season Primer: The Magician's Apprentice 

One of the things I love about science fiction is it’s ability to surprise me. This doesn’t happen as much as I would like even in the great shows, but it’s great when it does. One of the shows that does that the best is Dr. Who. A show that can be truly funny one week and deadly serious the next. It has a history of decades and yet isn’t afraid to try new things. And the season premiere of Dr. Who was great because it really did surprise me.
At the beginning of the episode you have the doctor appearing to save a young boy who has wandered into a handmine field. (The exact type of oddity that shouldn’t work but that Dr. Who manages to make feel scary). It immediatly puts The Doctor in a nearly impossible situation, because he learns quickly that this isn’t just a young boy. He’s a young boy who grows up to be one of the doctor’s greatest enemies.
The show then leaves the doctor’s for some time allowing Missy and Clara to carry much of the heart of the episode. Someone is looking for The Doctor and they need to find him but even Missy can’t. They do a fairly good job of keeping things going. Still, this search for the doctor felt a bit unnecessary for the episode, though it allowed The Master’s (Mistress) character some time to grow. 
The show ended with a cliffhanger. One that could be very interesting. He has the chance to kill an enemy before he is an enemy. But not only does that threaten the morality of the doctor (which has been threatened before) but to change the entire history of the doctor who universe. (More specific spoilers ahead). 
That boy is of course Davros the creator of the Dalek. It seems hard to believe that his life wouldn’t be a fixed point in time. But then the rules of Dr. Who are never all that hard and fast and I like the possibilities that this creates. But assuming he can it leads to a truly interesting point in the show. Everything in the new seasons of Dr. Who has been centered around the time war between the Timelords and the Dalek. If Davros didn’t create them then the timelords wouldn’t have been in a war, the doctor wouldn’t have time locked them and he wouldn’t be the last timelord. 
On a more personal note it could actually alter the doctor’s time-line fairly substantially. Without the war there would have been no war doctor. From there it’s hard to imagine that anything is the same. Would he even have regenerated into the same forms. Almost certainly not at the same time. He might have had different companions or even not felt as much need for them since he would be less alone. 
All of which is why I hope that they had the courage to actually surprise everyone and have the courage to change everything.  I wouldn’t expect this to be a permanent change. But I would love to watch an entire season of Dr. Who where things are different than we have known. There are timelords and no Dalek, many of the old threats are gone but there are new dangers. Of course the actors in the show wouldn’t change and the ultimate arc of the season would almost certainly be the doctor realizing the mistake he made and change things back. But that could be interesting not only because it would mean his own people returning to being time locked but also because it would potentially lead to the death of Clara and Missy.
Overall this was an entertaining episode that set up a lot of possibilities but whether it is just another interesting episode or something that will be memorable is largely going dependent on the next episode. If they are willing to examine what would happen if The Doctor changed time even for an episode or two this could be very interesting.

One of the things I love about science fiction is it’s ability to surprise me. This doesn’t happen as much as I would like even in the great shows, but it’s great when it does. One of the shows that does that the best is Dr. Who. A show that can be truly funny one week and deadly serious the next. It has a history of decades and yet isn’t afraid to try new things. And the season premiere of Dr. Who was great because it really did surprise me.
At the beginning of the episode you have the doctor appearing to save a young boy who has wandered into a handmine field. (The exact type of oddity that shouldn’t work but that Dr. Who manages to make feel scary). It immediatly puts The Doctor in a nearly impossible situation, because he learns quickly that this isn’t just a young boy. He’s a young boy who grows up to be one of the doctor’s greatest enemies.
The show then leaves the doctor’s for some time allowing Missy and Clara to carry much of the heart of the episode. Someone is looking for The Doctor and they need to find him but even Missy can’t. They do a fairly good job of keeping things going. Still, this search for the doctor felt a bit unnecessary for the episode, though it allowed The Master’s (Mistress) character some time to grow. 
The show ended with a cliffhanger. One that could be very interesting. He has the chance to kill an enemy before he is an enemy. But not only does that threaten the morality of the doctor (which has been threatened before) but to change the entire history of the doctor who universe. (More specific spoilers ahead). 
That boy is of course Davros the creator of the Dalek. It seems hard to believe that his life wouldn’t be a fixed point in time. But then the rules of Dr. Who are never all that hard and fast and I like the possibilities that this creates. But assuming he can it leads to a truly interesting point in the show. Everything in the new seasons of Dr. Who has been centered around the time war between the Timelords and the Dalek. If Davros didn’t create them then the timelords wouldn’t have been in a war, the doctor wouldn’t have time locked them and he wouldn’t be the last timelord. 
On a more personal note it could actually alter the doctor’s time-line fairly substantially. Without the war there would have been no war doctor. From there it’s hard to imagine that anything is the same. Would he even have regenerated into the same forms. Almost certainly not at the same time. He might have had different companions or even not felt as much need for them since he would be less alone. 
All of which is why I hope that they had the courage to actually surprise everyone and have the courage to change everything.  I wouldn’t expect this to be a permanent change. But I would love to watch an entire season of Dr. Who where things are different than we have known. There are timelords and no Dalek, many of the old threats are gone but there are new dangers. Of course the actors in the show wouldn’t change and the ultimate arc of the season would almost certainly be the doctor realizing the mistake he made and change things back. But that could be interesting not only because it would mean his own people returning to being time locked but also because it would potentially lead to the death of Clara and Missy.
Overall this was an entertaining episode that set up a lot of possibilities but whether it is just another interesting episode or something that will be memorable is largely going dependent on the next episode. If they are willing to examine what would happen if The Doctor changed time even for an episode or two this could be very interesting.

Monday
Sep072015

YouTube Spotlight: Numberphile

One of the things that I like about YouTube is the many changes to watch things that are educational. I don’t take advantage of that as often as I should, but one of the shows that I watch fairly often is Numberphile. Numberphile is as the name implies is about numbers and math and it isn’t a softball show. This is one of the few things I have ever watched that I feel like I should understand but still goes over my head the first time and there are a few of the episodes I have watched a number of times and while I believe them I’m still not sure I really understand.

 

Don’t let that scare you away though. Not all of the episodes are that difficult and even those that are explained from a point that doesn’t require all that much skill in math and even if you’re not all that interested in math the people doing the videos are excited enough about what they talk about that it is still interesting. It’s also a great way to learn about different mathematical concepts.

 

The show is a bit difficult to explain beyond simply saying that it’s very smart people talking about things that they are excited about. But I also want to try to explain one of my favorite of their videos. That is an explanation of something that seems truly bazaar, largely because it is dealing with infinity.

 

The video is explaining the sum of the sequence of all natural numbers. That is to say that it answers the question, if you add 1 + 2 +3 +4 … etc forever. The problem, of course, is that you can’t actually add all of them because they go on forever. But they can find the sum of some infinite sequences. For example, if you have a sequence of -1 + 1 -1 forever. The other that they use in the example is 1 -2 +3 -4 forever. 

 

They can get the answer for the first which is 1/2 and they explain why well. Next they find the 1 -2 +3 ect. by using some very interesting math, they can find a way to change those numbers to the  -1, +1 sequence. They explain it far better in the video below, but the point is that you can find the sequence of natural number is - 1/12. And if nothing else if you tell one of your friends that is true you’re going to win the argument when they say you’re insane.

 

There are a ton of other great videos of the Numberphile channel, including the ho to win at let’s make a deal, the problem in good will hunting and many others. But don’t take my word for it, check out their channel here or watch someone smarter than me explain the sum of the sequence of whole numbers below.

Saturday
Sep052015

YouTube Spotlight: Death Battle

There are plenty of places where you can listen to people who would win in a fight and a lot of them are good, but I’ve never found anyone who is as entertaining as the people at ScrewAttack who make Death Battle. That is because Death Battle is more than just an argument about who would win in a fight. It’s a real exploration of the characters followed by an animated battle that uses what they just showed you.

 

The character that they have fight are widely varied but each battle is typically between two characters who are of a roughly similar archetype. They have had battles such as Superman Vs Goku, Boba Fett Vs Samus Aran and Chuck Norris Vs Sagata Sanshiro. And if you don’t know who all of those characters are that’s just fine because they give you all the information before they show the fight.

 

What makes this truly entertaining is that they use the most powerful versions of the characters. For example in the case of Chuck Norris his abilities include a number of Chuck Norris facts as well as all the abilities from his movies and even cartoon.

 

The actual battles are the real topper. They generally look like a side scrolling video game fighting game or Saturday morning cartoon with a very minor story and then a fight in which they demonstrate the abilities that they discussed previously. These battles always end with the death of one of the characters and then a final explanation of why the battle went the way that it did.

 

It’s hard to explain Death Battle except to say that it is able to mix excellent research, humor and production quality. It’s a brilliant show and the only real weakness is that there just isn’t enough of it. But if you haven’t seen Death Battle it’s worth working and you can find ScrewAttack’s channel here or just watch one of my favorites below.

 

 

Thursday
Sep032015

YouTube Spotlight: Emergency Awesome 

I’ve found myself recently watching more YouTube. Some of that is the time of the year, but there is also a ton of great stuff on YouTube so I wanted to focus on a few of my favorite creators. In this case I wanted to discuss Emergency Awesome. It’s a good channel with one of the best names on YouTube.

 

At its most basic Emergency Awesome discusses the episodes of geeky TV and movies. He usually is covering a few shows at once. He covers Marvel movies including agents of shield, Game of Thrones, the Flash and Arrow TV shows, Sherlock, and other excellent shows.

 

What makes this worth watching is that Charlie really knows his stuff and understands both the geeky part of the shows and how television and movies work. It is from times aimed at people who know a bit less than I do but it’s always entertaining and far faster than a lot of other discussions of the same shows. So if you’re watching any of pop culture that Charlie discusses you should really check out his videos which are the next best thing to sitting down with your super nerdy friend and discussing your favorite shows.

 

Check it out here

Saturday
Aug292015

Defiance: It's worth watching

I wasn’t convinced by Defiance at first. I like big science fiction and the trend towards trying to make it small bugs me. I liked the K-files as much as anyone but I also love Star Trek because it can do things other shows can’t. Defiance was never the X-files but it took time to convince me that it had real scope. Beyond that trying to run a video game and a TV show at the same time seemed a bit too ambitious.
In the third season I’ve been convinced. Not that the first two seasons were in anyway bad. The show always had interesting characters and wasn’t afraid to make them complex, but it also had some misses. I didn’t understand the aliens as well as I would have liked and at times it felt disjointed. 
Season two had a more connected storyline and continued to make the characters more interesting but while the enemy was interesting it had a few issues. Mostly that some of the most interesting characters weren’t themselves and it wasn’t always clear what was going on. It also felt as if they stretched out some of the points just a bit too far.
Season three fixed these all. It started by having an interesting antagonist that was a lot of fun to hate, but who you could understand in some ways. This made the stories more connected to the central plot but it still had plenty of room for character development. But where it really worked was not stretching that out. At the first conflict of the season was beginning to grow stale they changed things up making for a far more interesting and bigger season. One that left the characters with important and difficult choices not just of what they could do but what they should do.
Defiance still isn’t my favorite show. It’s not even my favorite show that’s currently still on the air. But it’s one of the handful of shows that make me excited every time I see there is a new episode and after the season three finale I want to see more immediately. 

I wasn’t convinced by Defiance at first. I like big science fiction and the trend towards trying to make it small bugs me. I liked the x-files as much as anyone but I also love Star Trek because it can do things other shows can’t. Defiance was never the x-files but it took time to convince me that it had real scope. Beyond that trying to run a video game and a TV show at the same time seemed a bit too ambitious.
In the third season I’ve been convinced. Not that the first two seasons were in anyway bad. The show always had interesting characters and wasn’t afraid to make them complex but it also had some misses. I didn’t understand the aliens as well as I would have liked and at times it felt disjointed. 
Season two had a more connected storyline and continued to make the characters more interesting but while the enemy was interesting it had a few issues. Mostly that some of the most interesting characters weren’t themselves and it wasn’t always clear what was going on. It also felt as if they stretched out some of the points just a bit too far.
Season three fixed these all. It started by having an interesting antagonist that was a lot of fun to hate, but who you could understand in some ways. This made the stories more connected to the central plot but it still had plenty of room for character development. But where it really worked was not stretching that out. At the first conflict of the season was beginning to grow stale they changed things up making for a far more interesting and bigger season. One that left the characters with important and difficult choices not just of what they could do but what they should do.
Defiance still isn’t my favorite show. It’s not even my favorite show that’s currently still on the air. But it’s one of the handful of shows that make me excited every time I see there is a new episode and after the season three finale I want to see more now. 

Monday
Jun012015

What are the Whitewalkers in Game of Thrones?

I recently got thinking about the Whitewalkers from Game of Thrones again for some reason  and I wanted to consider what they are and why they are now appearing. Of course most of this is speculation but we know a few things that might hint at the bigger picture.
The first thing we know is that they are in some way necromancers. For those of you not well versed in fantasy a necromancer is a wizard who controls the dead. The most common way they do this is raising bodies from the grave and uses them as soldiers. But there is a subcategory of necromancer that seems to fit the whitewalkers better and that is a lich. A lich is a powerful necromancer who effectively kills himself and rises as an undead creature to gain immortality and power. This explains why the whitewalkers look dead themselves. The cold aspect of them is sperate from this but cold, darkness and death are often connected so it’s not a stretch.
The other thing that I think we can deduce is that they are enemies of the valyarians or the dragons. This is because the two things we know can hurt them are both connected to Valyria and dragons. Dragonglass and Valyrian steel. This seems too big of a coincidence to be simple chance. But beyond that there is a third reason to believe that they have some connection valyria which is the timing of their return.
According to everything we know the Whitewalkers have been dormant or gone for thousands of years. That suggests they have returned at this time for a reason. The biggest change we know of that has happened is the destruction of house Targaryan. This has happened a while ago in the books, but if you consider the way that things work in this world it makes a bit more sense.
In the game of thrones world seasons are far longer. Summer in the game of thrones can last for seven years and winter potentially even longer. So assuming that the Whitewalkers are strongest in the winter then it might take them a bit of time to gain their strength. If Roberts Rebellion happened about 16 to 14 years before the beginning of the books. Perhaps a bit longer in the TV series since the children tend to be a bit older. But since winter is on its way we can assume there was probably only one winter between the rebellion and the coming winter. Assuming the whitewalkers used the first winter to gather power this would be the first real chance they had to attack since the rebellion and the destruction of the last people they were really afraid of. This timing is why I think it might actually be the Targaryans rather than the dragons, though both are connected. 
This is where I get into a bit wilder theory. People generally think of the whitewalkers as a different race, or a race at all. I suspect it may be something a bit different. First because we seem more than one of the riders people tend to assume they are the same, but there are some suggestions that there is a head whitewalker and that he is the only one who can create other whitewalkers. To me this seems to fit the personality of the whitewalkers more because while they act differently than the zombies they really don’t show all that much more independent thought.
So what does this lead me to. That perhaps the whitewalkers really are a singular enemy. A lich with the power to raise armies of the dead. Beyond this I suspect he might be from Old Valyria. I think it’s even possible that this character might be connected in some way to the Doom of Valyria, though it seems likely not entirely directly since the destruction of Valyria seems to be different than the way the whitewalkers work. That said, we do know that much of the magic of Old Valyria was lost which would make those who still knew that magic far more powerful in comparison afterward. It also leads to a potential point at which we could compare the current game of thrones with houses  fighting for the throne of Westeros to the battle between the houses of Old Valarya which would also be a sort of game of thrones but on a far different scale and giving the last member or members of house Targaryan a true enemy to fight. Also who doesn’t want to see dragons fighting the whitewalkers at some point. 

I recently got thinking about the Whitewalkers from Game of Thrones again for some reason  and I wanted to consider what they are and why they are now appearing. Of course most of this is speculation but we know a few things that might hint at the bigger picture.
The first thing we know is that they are in some way necromancers. For those of you not well versed in fantasy a necromancer is a wizard who controls the dead. The most common way they do this is raising bodies from the grave and uses them as soldiers. But there is a subcategory of necromancer that seems to fit the whitewalkers better and that is a lich. A lich is a powerful necromancer who effectively kills himself and rises as an undead creature to gain immortality and power. This explains why the whitewalkers look dead themselves. The cold aspect of them is sperate from this but cold, darkness and death are often connected so it’s not a stretch.
The other thing that I think we can deduce is that they are enemies of the valyarians or the dragons. This is because the two things we know can hurt them are both connected to Valyria and dragons. Dragonglass and Valyrian steel. This seems too big of a coincidence to be simple chance. But beyond that there is a third reason to believe that they have some connection valyria which is the timing of their return.
According to everything we know the Whitewalkers have been dormant or gone for thousands of years. That suggests they have returned at this time for a reason. The biggest change we know of that has happened is the destruction of house Targaryan. This has happened a while ago in the books, but if you consider the way that things work in this world it makes a bit more sense.
In the game of thrones world seasons are far longer. Summer in the game of thrones can last for seven years and winter potentially even longer. So assuming that the Whitewalkers are strongest in the winter then it might take them a bit of time to gain their strength. If Roberts Rebellion happened about 16 to 14 years before the beginning of the books. Perhaps a bit longer in the TV series since the children tend to be a bit older. But since winter is on its way we can assume there was probably only one winter between the rebellion and the coming winter. Assuming the whitewalkers used the first winter to gather power this would be the first real chance they had to attack since the rebellion and the destruction of the last people they were really afraid of. This timing is why I think it might actually be the Targaryans rather than the dragons, though both are connected. 
This is where I get into a bit wilder theory. People generally think of the whitewalkers as a different race, or a race at all. I suspect it may be something a bit different. First because we seem more than one of the riders people tend to assume they are the same, but there are some suggestions that there is a head whitewalker and that he is the only one who can create other whitewalkers. To me this seems to fit the personality of the whitewalkers more because while they act differently than the zombies they really don’t show all that much more independent thought. 
So what does this lead me to. That perhaps the whitewalkers really are a singular enemy. A lich with the power to raise armies of the dead. Beyond this I suspect he might be from Old Valyria. I think it’s even possible that this character might be connected in some way to the Doom of Valyria, though it seems likely not entirely directly since the destruction of Valyria seems to be different than the way the whitewalkers work. That said, we do know that much of the magic of Old Valyria was lost which would make those who still knew that magic far more powerful in comparison afterward. It also leads to a potential point at which we could compare the current game of thrones with houses  fighting for the throne of Westeros to the battle between the houses of Old Valarya which would also be a sort of game of thrones but on a far different scale and giving the last member or members of house Targaryan a true enemy to fight. Also who doesn’t want to see dragons fighting the whitewalkers at some point.