Tagged: Torchwood

A Doctor A Day – “Tooth and Claw”

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen.

Kung-Fu Monks, a werewolf, and Queen Victoria.  Rest assured that when someone threatens his friends, The Doctor will fight them…

TOOTH AND CLAW
by Russell T Davies
Directed by Euros Lyn

“Am I being rude again?”

Aiming for 1979 and an Ian Dury concert, The Doctor lands in 1879, and in Scotland.  The TARDIS lands in the course of Queen Victoria, who is on the way to have the Koh-I-Noor, the prize diamond of the crown jewels, recut.  Quickly presenting his psychic paper, he and Rose join the party as it stops off at Torchwood House, home of Sir Robert MacLeish and his family.  What the royal coterie don’t know is that the house has been taken over by a band of monks who are in possession of a honest to Harry werewolf.  They plan to have the beast bite the Queen, infect her, and through her, take over the nation, and the Empire.  Sir Robert is forced to cooperate as the monks have taken his wife and most of the female house staff hostage, and if he disobeys they will be slaughtered,

It’s revealed that Prince Albert and Sir Robert’s father were friends for years, and shared an affinity for both science and folktales.  Sir Robert’s father had designed what appears to be a massive telescope, but The Doctor quickly notices it’s oddly designed – too many mirrors and prisms.  As the evening proceeds, Sir Robert desperately tries to clue the party to the danger, and over dinner, as he tells the tale of the werewolf that’s been haunting the moors for almost 300 years does the Doctor make the connection.  As the full moon rises overhead, the werewolf begins his transformation, and the monks, posing as the staff, overpower the soldiers.

It turns out that the house has been prepared for this assault.  The library has been warded with the oil of the mistletoe plant, which the werewolf cannot bear to touch.  And the telescope is just the opposite – it’s a light cannon, powered by moonlight, and the Koh-I-Noor is the focusing device.  So with the help of the planning of Prince Albert and Sir Robert’s father, the monster is defeated.  Queen Victoria is happy to have been saved, but is horrified at The Doctor and the life he leads. She banishes The Doctor from England, and founds the Torchwood Institute to study the stars and defend the Empire from its threats… including The Doctor.

As opposed to last season where the arc plot was barely mentioned, just nearly subliminal mentions of the “Bad Wolf” phrase, this season the concept is in plain sight. Torchwood was mentioned as a plot point in The Christmas Invasion, and now we see its inception.  Not a bad start for a word that was nothing more than an anagram to disguise the tapes going back to the BBC.

Of COURSE when The Doctor has to pick a Scottish name, he’s going to pick Jamie McCrimmon. Jamie was a Companion during the Troughton years, and came back for both the twentieth anniversary adventure, and the Colin Baker adventure The Two Doctors.  The other half of the joke is not as obvious to American viewers – “Balamory” is a BBC children’s show set in the titular town, on an island off the coast of Scotland.  And of course, David Tennant is Scots, so we actually hear his proper accent in this episode when The Doctor is “affecting” one.

This is the second time that a diamond was used as the focus of a light weapon, as opposed to a more scientifically accurate ruby.  The Horror of Fang Rock featured a cruse laser cannon made from a lighthouse and a diamond by the fourth Doctor.

That mad crazy Crouching Tiger stunt near the beginning of the episode took a full day to film.  Quite an extravagance for a TV show, but well worth it for the moment.

A Doctor A Day – “The Christmas Invasion”

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen.

A new tradition, a new series, a new Doctor, a new threat, a new Prime Minister, and all happening just in time for…

THE CHRISTMAS INVASION
by Russell T Davies
Directed by James Hawes

“What about Torchwood?”

After being forced to regenerate, The Doctor returns Rose home to Britain.  Jackie and Mickey both here the TARDIS’ wheezing engines, and race outside to meet it as it comes crashing down in the center of the plaza.  The Doctor comes barreling out, raving and dazed, collapsing in a heap at Jackie and Mickey’s feet.  Rose has to explain what little she knows about the regeneration process, and they bring The Doctor back to their flat, changing him into pajamas (lucky girls…) and making him as comfortable as possible.

While Rose has been away, people have moved on. Harriet Jones, former MP of Flydale North was voted Prime Minister after her stirring speeches after the events of the Slitheen “hoax”.  She spearheaded Britain’s first solo space probe, Guinevere One, which will soon be broadcasting pictures of Mars.  Or it would do, if it wasn’t for the Sycorax spaceship that grabs it, analyzes its contents, and uses it as a Michelin Guide to the Earth.  They hie hither to our blue marble, and by using a biological sample included on the ship, take control of everyone on Earth with Type A-positive blood and effectively hold them hostage.

While that’s happening, the aliens are also trying to make sure The Doctor can’t stop them, and attack him and his friends with yuletide-themed weapons – robot Father Christmases with 44 caliber trombones, rotating killer Christmas trees…you know, as aliens do.

More than a few changes going on here. First off, this is the first of the series’ Christmas specials.  Save for a moment where William Hartnell broke the fourth wall and wished the readers Merry Christmas, the show’s never done a Christmas special, something quite common on British television.  But the new show proved so popular, the BBC asked they write one.  Russell T Davies was in the process of writing this script while they were recording the commentary tracks for the First Season DVD, so he talked quite a bit about what he had planned for everyone.  Also part of a new tradition was the prequel scene they recorded for the annual Children In Need appeal.  It was the first opportunity viewers had to see the chemistry between Tennant and Piper, and didn’t it just sparkle.  The scene, readily available on YouTube, is of course included with the DVD set.

It’s always a risk when you change actors in a role. The folks who do the Bond films can tell you all sorts of stories.  Just recently, a TV station in India elected to cancel an outrageously popular soap opera when the male lead elected to leave – they decided any new actor would generate outrage from the fans.  So to have to bring in a new Doctor after only one season back on the air was a risk indeed.  Luckily, David Tennant took the part and ran with it.  The whole tone of the series got lighter with him at the helm. Eccleston’s Doctor was dark and brooding, often angry, while David is much more positive and happy. Judging from the way the popularity of the show skyrocketed, it was clearly successful.  And the fun part is, he’s barely in the episode.  It’s much more an opportunity for the backup cast to step forward and shine.  Tennant gets a delightful scene in the early part of the episode, and shows up at the end, in rather a nice parallel to Rose’s last-minute save in The Parting of the Ways.  In a dressing gown, yet.

We get to see U.N.I.T. back in full strength this episode, a position they’ll keep more than a few times in the next few seasons.  Originally the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, it was quietly updated to “Unified Intelligence Taskforce” after a request not to connect it to the proper U.N.  One must assume requests to update the name of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. went unanswered.

Penelope Wilton is a treasure.  The flibbertigibbet back-bencher she played in Aliens of London / World War Three is now a sure of herself Prime Minister, and the performance she gives changes just a shade, while still keeping that seam of daftness that made Harriet Jones such a glorious creation the first time around.  And at the end of the episode, when she takes the step The Doctor forbade, she actually takes a heel turn in his eyes.  Don’t worry, she gets a chance to redeem herself in a season or two, and quite right, too.

And speaking of the events of the earlier episode, there’s a very nice bit of continuity in this adventure – as they cut to a shot of London, Big Ben it surrounded by scaffolding, still under repair from the crashing spaceship from that past event.

While most people think this is the first mention of Torchwood, it’s the second.  The Torchwood Institute was the answer to one of the questions from Anne Droid in last episode’s Weakest Link game.  Nobody was listening for it, so it went right over everyone’s heads.

A Doctor a Day – “Boom Town”

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen.

A recent enemy returns, as does a recent friend, and Cardiff’s new Mayor is determined to turn it into a…

BOOM TOWN
by Russell T Davies
Directed by Joe Ahearne

“They were French – It’s not my fault that ‘Danger – Explosives” was only written in Welsh.”
Six months after the events of Aliens of London / World War Three, the TARDIS lands in Cardiff, last seen in the past on Christmas Eve.  The rift under the Sneed Mortuary is still there, sealed, but still leaking energy, perfect for refueling the TARDIS.  Of course, the chance of a do-nothing holiday on Cardiff Bay is out of the question. Margaret Blaine, former MI5 higher-up, liaison to the Prime Minister, and one of the few survivors of the destruction of Number 10 Downing Street, has become lord Mayor of Cardiff, and has pushed through plans for a massive nuclear power station to be built in the center of town.  Margaret is also Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen, last survivor of the alien family who had planned to destroy the earth and sell it for scrap in the aforementioned adventure.  Cardiff is Plan B.  A nuclear meltdown right over the Rift would work like hitting the flaw of a diamond with a chisel – it will, in short, end badly.  Her plan was to use the resulting energy to power a stolen teleporter, to get off the planet, and not care much about the danger in her wake.

The plan now is to take her back to Raxacoricofallapatorius, but when they learn that the family Slitheen were all sentenced in absentia to the death penalty, their resolve is shaken.  Over a long evening of re-charging the TARDIS, Margaret talks The Doctor into taking her to a local restaurant for a last meal.  She pleads her case that she’s changed…in between attempts to kill him, of course.  Just as she begins to weaken his resolve, her trap is sprung – the teleporter starts to feed off the power in the TARDIS, resulting in the same getaway and end of the world scenario.  Only one thing can stop her, the TARDIS itself.

(Witty tmblr-pics via expelliarmus.tumblr.com)

Davies does a good job of showing the softer side of a Slitheen (obvious physical attributes aside, of course) – the scene where she chose to spare the young reporter who’s learned about the danger of the project once she learns she’s with child is rather touching.  And it’s that hesitation that affords her a second chance at the end, as opposed to the fate of her brothers.

The rift in Cardiff makes a number of reappearances in the series, including being a recurring plot device in Torchwood.  Timeline-wise,  Captain Jack Harkness is likely right under the current one’s feet – Torchwood Three is hidden directly under the Millennium Center, and Jack has (will be…has been…) been the head of it since 2000.  At this point in history, the events we’ve seen in the spin-off series have yet to occur, but Jack’s down there, making trouble. and secretly saving lives. It’s fair to assume they stayed out of the way of these events, Jack already knowing it’ll get sorted by his earlier self.

It’s become somewhat common for the episode before the season finale to be more light-hearted, sort of as a sorbet before the last course.  Even with the threat of massive death, this episode is packed with laughs, from the witty dialogue to the wonderful slapstick of Noel Clarke as Mickey.  It’s also the opportunity to bring the “Bad Wolf” theme out into the open.  “Blaidd Drwg”, the name of the project, is Welsh for “Bad Wolf”, and while The Doctor waves it off, it’s clearly mentioned to bring it into the light for the audience’s sake. It’s also our first exposure (not directly, thankfully) to the heart/soul of the TARDIS, who we’ll meet in a much more personal form in a few seasons.  So even thought it’s not obvious, this episode does a good job of setting up the info needed for the finale.  It’s also the last time we won’t know what the pattern is.  With the next season, the search began for clues to the Big Bad theme before it even began.  Details are now pored over as to what they could mean, and the Internet’s desire to know everything right now becomes harder and harder to fight.  the latest season has tried to buck the tradition by not featuring a carry-through theme, but rumors are already circulating that the Christmas episode will feature an enemy that will carry through the rest of the season.  We’ll know in a couple week’s time, but till then, it’s fun to just enjoy the episodes one by one, not worrying about how the story will be carried through weeks away, just enjoying this one.

A Doctor a Day – “The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances”

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen.

It’s mauve, and dangerous, and thirty seconds from the center of London.  The London of the Blitz, where one more metal canister falling from the sky barely got noticed.  But this one is a bit special, as it creates..

THE EMPTY CHILD / THE DOCTOR DANCES
by Steven Moffat
Directed by James Hawes

“Gimme some Spock, for once! Would it kill ya?”

Chasing a mysterious drone ship through time and space, the TARDIS lands in London during a German attack in the Blitz.  A band of homeless children are sneaking into homes during raids and eating people’s dinners, Rose meets up with a staggeringly handsome time agent from the 51st century (I know, what are the odds?) and a young boy in a gas mask is looking for his “Mummy”.

The drone ship is a mobile alien ambulance, the young boy is transforming people into empty zombielike creatures like himself, and the head of the homeless children has quite a secret to hide. Captain Jack Harkness has grabbed the remains of what he claims is a Chula warship, and dropped it into the timestream to attract the attention of a passing Time Agent. His plan is to sell it to them, but before they can inspect it, he’s placed in a spot where it’ll be blown up by a German bomb.  It’s basically a con job, to get back at the Time Agency for deleting two years of his memories.  Problem is, the ship wasn’t empty; it was filled with nanogenes, programmed to repair living beings.  the first one they found on earth, a small boy killed in the crash of the ship, was badly damaged, and once they fixed him, thought he was the proper template for the rest of humanity.  Only by showing the nanogenes how humans actually work can they fix things, and there’s only one person who can do it, if she makes a very brave choice.  And for once, nobody dies.

An absolutely chilling pair of episodes.  Using the darkness of a blacked-out London in an air raid, the mood of the story is dark and tense. The transformation of the victims of the child is one of the scariest bits of work the series has had. They actually edited out some additional sound effects of cracking and groaning flesh, because they thought it went too far.

Steven Moffat first offered his services to the BBC as a writer for Doctor Who at the age of eight. His entire career has been aiming toward the chance to finally do so, and this was his official shot, and he brought his A-game.  I say “official”, because as most fans know, he got to write the Comic Relief sketch “The Curse of Fatal Death”, starring Rowan Atkinson (et al) as The Doctor.  Moffat was able to keep to a promise The Doctor made in all of the episodes he wrote before taking over the series – “Everybody lives”.  For a show with a surprisingly high casualty rate for children’s entertainment, Moffat kept his death toll to zero for his entire series of episodes. Not something he was able to do once he took over; indeed, some say he made up for lost time.

This two-parter also features the first appearances of what may be the most popular new character of the new series, the inimitable Captain Jack Harkness. Jack Harkness plays a perfect foil to The Doctor, with plenty of tension and pissing contests for all. Russell took him and ran, bringing him on as a Companion, making him immortal, and then over to Torchwood, where he had quite a run indeed.  John Barrowman fit the role like a glove, and he gained the popularity an actor of his ability deserves.  In addition to being a host and presenter for many British TV shows, he’s made it to these shores on Desperate Housewives, and currently on Arrow as Malcolm Merlyn.  He is also firmly on my “‘I’m not gay, but” list.

A Doctor A Day – “The Unquiet Dead”

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen. This is not a mere shadow play.

If you want to get picky, this is a Christmas episode before they started doing them officially.  On Christmas Eve in 1869 Wales, The Doctor, Rose and of all people, Charles Dickens, join together to fight…

THE UNQUIET DEAD
By Mark Gatiss
Directed by Euros Lyn

“In what way do you resemble a means of  keeping oneself cool?”

Having shown her the future, The Doctor plans to show Rose the past.  Aiming for 1860 Naples, they land in 1869 Cardiff. Now, as a rule, the TARDIS doesn’t land where there’s nothing going on, and this was no exception.  At a local funeral home, the dead are rising again, and at an increasing rate.  This evening, an old woman rises and continues on with her planned events of the day, which included a trip to the theater to see Chares Dickens live.  This causes some consternation at the theater, which draws the attention of The Doctor.

Apparently it’s been happening from some time.  But they’re not ghosts, but aliens, known as the Gelth, a gaseous lifeform who inhabit the bodies of the dead as temporary accommodations.  Falling through a rift in spacetime, conveniently located in the basement of the funeral home, their request is simple – let them use the bodies of the recent dead so they can survive.  But like so many times before, the aliens beg for an inch, and they want to take over.  A simple chambermaid is the key to both their arrival, and their stopping.

Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Second only to Moffat (who will be joining us in a day or two), Mark Gatiss is the writer who is the closest to being genetically bred to write Doctor Who.  Writing for many fan productions and acting in a couple as well, he brought decades of love for the series to the table, and his story is both a great Victorian adventure as well as a solid and emotional Doctor Who script.  It’s peppered with tips of the hat as well, from the Dickensian name of the mortician, Sneed, and the door knocker that takes on a ghostly visage as the Gelth pass through it.  And not to mention the idea that after seeing a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve, he’s inspired to change his life. One of the extra’s on the disc is a video blog of Gatiss talking about the process of writing the script, from the first meeting on.  It’s interesting to hear about early ideas for the story, not to mention how seriously he’s taking the idea of bringing back a show he loves so much.  A big moment includes a gang of four including Rob Shearman, Paul Cornell, and Steven Moffat, before and after the first readthrough. The level of suppressed glee among the four is priceless.

Simon Callow, the prominent stage and screen actor, is possibly more associated with Charles Dickens than any living performer.  Appearing as the writer in several different works and media, he hesitated at playing the character in Doctor Who, fearing it’s be a simple cameo or camp parody. Only after reading Gatiss’ script did he agree, realizing he’d done a stellar job of getting Dickens’ character right.

This is also the second episode in a row where Rose talks to the service class folks, as equals.  She has a nice conversation with a plumber in Platform One, and with Gwyneth here.  In both cases, she gets them to open up a bit about themselves, and both seem quite appreciative to get a chance to just chat.  Interesting that things don’t change much in five billion years – people don’t notice the help.

Once again we see that this is a very different Doctor from before.  While everyone sees the idea of “spirits” taking over corpses as anything from shocking to blasphemous, The Doctor sees as perfectly reasonable, an extreme form of recycling.  His practicality is…well, alien. Of course, the emotional response when he hears that once again, this is a race almost destroyed by the Time War, named for the first time here, colored that choice. And once again, he makes the wrong choice, and as a result, people die.  That takes some getting used to.

Three episodes in, and we’re already starting to see the beginnings of the spinoff series, Torchwood.  Eve Myles plays Gwyneth, the maid and assistant to the funeral home.  Centuries later, her descendent (well, not HER descendant, clearly) Gwen Cooper will become a policewoman and become involved with the mysterious organization.  Russell T Davies referred to Myles as Wales greatest hidden treasure, and begorrah, he’s not far wrong.  This episode also introduces the rift under Cardiff, a source of extradimensional energy that will return as a plot point for both series, a fuel source for the TARDIS and a source of McGuffins for Torchwood.

James Bond theme songs, from worst to first

Cover of "Thunderball: Original Motion Pi...The James Bond films are a part of the American pop culture landscape.  Like another British perennial, Doctor Who, you have your favorite, but you never forget your first Bond.  And almost more so than the films’ effect on us are the film’s theme songs.  Each one is memorable in its own way, some are standards, and some are positively iconic, recognizable after only two or three notes.

With the new film, Skyfall, out this weekend, I’ve taken a listen to them all.  And after much debate and shifting about, The Management has compiled a list of fifty years of James Bond theme songs, ranking them from bottom to top.

As is true of any list like this, there will be more than a little dissent.  We invite you to use the comments section to express your opinions.  Comparisons of the author’s intelligence and/or musical taste to various species of flora and fauna will not be conducive to a spirited argument.

Hall of Fame

Certain songs, as a result of being used in numerous Bond films, or simply because they’re so awesome as they’d take up place in the top of the list, have been accorded the honor of being placed on a dais above the competition, looking down upon the battleground in the way royalty watches a fine joust with detached satisfaction.

James Bond Theme – Rather an obvious one here.  technically it is the theme from the first Bond film, Dr. No (1962), but became almost synonymous with the character. It’s appeared in every film since, and rightly so. Monty Norman could have laid his pencil down and never composed again, and he still would get to go straight to Heaven.

007 Theme – First appearing in From Russia With Love and appearing in several films since, usually as background to a chase or fight scene, it’s another John Barry masterpiece, with its high brass and percussion.

Honorable Mention

These songs are either not from the official Bond series, or in one case, was not used, but are so thematically tied to the films that they deserve mention.

Casino Royale – Not the recent Daniel Craig film, but the screwball comedy with David Niven, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Daliah Lavi, and in that order. With a score and main theme by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and the classic “The Look of Love” by Mr. Burt Bacharach, it’s a chaotic jumboort of a film, as memorable as any of the main series.

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – This theme song was originally intended to be the theme for Thunderball, but after versions were recorded by both Dionne Warwick and the grande dame of Bond, Shirley Bassey, the song was scrapped for the Tom Jones number with which we are all acquainted.  The decision was that the song needed to incorporate the title (a rule that fell by the wayside in later years, as you shall see.  Recent releases of the film’s soundtrack feature both recordings. There’s an urban legend that maintains that “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is the Japanese name for 007. It is from this song that both the 2005 film and the first episode of Torchwood got their name.

Never Say Never Again – The history of Kevin McClory is a long one. To summarize, he was the first person to have the film rights to Bond, helped write the screenplay that eventually became the novel Thunderball, and got writer’s credit on the novel (after a court case) and held the film rights to Thunderball until his death.  He also held the film rights to SPECTRE, which is why the organization stopped appearing in the films after that one.  He tried many times to use his filmrights, but the only successful attempt was this film, in which they got Sean Connery to trturn to the role that made him world-famous.  The song is quite good, incorporates the theme well, and come on, it’s Sean Connery as Bond again, I refuse to give anything in the film a serious dig.  Yes, EVEN the hologrammy-shocky video game.

Spy Hard – The film was one of a long series of film spoofs in the Airplane! mold, starring Leslie Nielsen.  But it’s the theme song by “Weird Al” Yankovic that we honor here.  An original song, in the style of Bond themes, particularly Thunderball (with an obvious nod to the end of Goldfinger), sung by Al, over a Bond-esque title sequence, also directed by him, his first foray into directing.

Dr. Evil theme – from the second Austin powers film, The Spy Who Shagged Me, the song, by Brooklyn’s ambassadors of love, They Might Be Giants, and performed by John Flansburgh’s wife Robin Goldwasser, is a note-perfect sendup of the “villain song” that many Bond films have featured as their main theme.

Goodbye, Mr. Bond – by Buffalo-based rock band Blotto, the song was the last tune on their third album, Combo Akimbo. Singer Bowtie Blotto took the role of the baddie who had the joy of welcoming the superspy to his “fortress retreat”.  It features a number of original but very 007-reminiscent motifs, as well as witty lyrics that you could easily hear come from any Bond villain, and probably have.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbKNwEVF3Wo[/youtube]

John Barrowman Joining CW’s ‘Arrow’

John Barrowman Joining CW’s ‘Arrow’

Even though our reaction to the CW’s upcoming Arrow has been a bit mixed (we’re reserving judgement), we’ve now got at least one new reason to check out the show. According to ET, Torchwood star John Barrowman has joined the cast of Arrow in a recurring role.

The character is somewhat of a mystery at the moment, with Producers only saying Barrowman will play a “well-dressed man” who is “as mysterious as he is wealthy … he is an acquaintance of the Queen family and a prominent figure in Starling City.” Huh, that fits a few people in the world of Green Arrow. Or, it could be a completely new character.

Anyway, as you may know, the upcoming show centers around Oliver Queen, a wealthy young bad boy who, after spending five years shipwrecked on an island, returns to Starling City with a mastery of the bow and a determination to make a difference.

Arrow stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn, Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance.

Arrow premieres Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 8PM on the CW.

Primeval Volume Three

primeval_vol3_bd-300x348-1169642Thank goodness the wicked Helen did not bring about the end of mankind and civilization as we knew it. This meant the characters of ITV’s Primeval could come back for a fresh go-round. The show took a breather after the third season ended in 2009 and came back in seven and six episode arcs, making for abbreviated fourth and fifth seasons respectively and they are now available as a combined third volume in either standard DVD or, for the first time, as a Blu-ray option from BBC Video.

I find myself enjoying the series more for the characters than the writing, which either leaves holes as big as the anomalies the heroes deal with or are overly convoluted, leaving me wishing for a happy middle ground.

primeval_s_4_cast-300x205-3423973Season three ended with three of our heroes – Connor Temple (Andrew Lee Potts), Abby Maitland (Hannah Spearritt), and Danny Quinn (Jason Flemyng) – trapped in different eras of the past while life back at the ARC continued, presuming them lost but not dead. Still, the near destruction of reality meant a rethinking of the operation which allowed the creators – Adrian Hodges and Tim Haines – to retool the show a bit, mostly for the better. (more…)

Doctor Who’s Russell T Davies Quits Hollywood

Russell T. Davies, the man responsible for the highly successful resurrection of Doctor Who and its spin-offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, last left his Hollywood career to return to Manchester, England to take care of his ailing partner.

This summer, Andrew Smith was diagnosed with brain cancer. As matters progressed, Smith and Davies decided they wanted to be closer to their friends and family. As of this writing, Smith’s prognosis has remained private.

Davies, whose many credits also include creating and writing Queer As Folk, Casanova (starring David Tenant) and The Second Coming (starring Chris Eccleston), is expected to resume his entertainment industry career at some point in the future.

JOHN OSTRANDER: Doctor Whose?

Doctor Who returned to TV last night and my household is thrilled. Big fans of the Doctor here; I once wrote and tried to produce a Doctor Who stage play with the idea that this was the only way I would ever get to play the Doctor. The play never got to production and, despite being the writer and the producer, I couldn’t get cast as the Doctor which tells you, right there, one of the big reasons I gave up acting.

There’s a lot to be done in this new series of episodes, including explaining how the Doctor, who was shot dead in the first episode of this season’s series of episodes, escapes (the Doctor who was killed was from 200 years down the time stream; did I mention that Doctor Who is about time travel?). If the show does not explain that by this end of this season, I will personally hunt down the show’s brilliant writer and show-runner, Stephen Moffat, and throw him into a Pandorica until he tells. (If you haven’t seen the show, don’t bother trying to understand the reference. In show in-joke.)

However, that’s not the point of this rant. When last seen, the current Doctor (Matt Smith) went to war to recover his companion, Amy Pond, and her newborn child who would grow up to become River Song who would become the Doctor’s wife at some point later in the time stream. The adult River is along for the adventure, by the way. Sound confusing, perhaps, I know; it’s a timey-wimey-wivey thing. It works. Trust me.

However, towards the end of the episode, River gives the Doctor crap about how his life is going, how he is becoming too much the warrior, and some such bilge. Excuse me? The Doctor goes up against nasty horrible bad guys that are trying to take over the Earth and/or destroy/enslave humanity and/or destroy the universe or time itself and the Doctor time and again defeats them armed with nothing but his wits and a sonic screwdriver.

This has happened before. The previous incarnation of the Doctor – David Tennant (The Doctor regenerates from time to time when they need to change the lead actor and it’s a wonderful idea that keeps the series fresh) – got taken to task by one of the worst of his enemies, a fiend called Davros who invented the Daleks who go around killing anything that isn’t a Dalek. Said fiend accuses the Doctor of manipulating his companions so that they do the dirty work so the Doctor doesn’t have to. And the Doctor appears to take him seriously! Where does the creator of the Daleks have any moral ground against the hero who has saved the universe time and again from the product of Davros’ invention?

Is the Doctor supposed to feel bad about being the hero? Am I supposed to think the Doctor is not the hero me thinks him is? The Doctor is the good guy here, folks; I don’t want him all angsty and doubting his own motives. I mean, c’mon – the next thing you know, he’ll be doubting that bow ties are cool!

I know bow ties are cool. The Doctor told me so. And I trust the Doctor.

 

MONDAY (Hurricane willing): Mindy Newell