7 December 2016

The Original #3 The Forest of Fear

People have complained lately that Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was too angry and unfriendly in his first season or that David Tennant’s Doctor acted out of character by imprisoning the Family at the end of `Family of Blood` but what do they know? You only have to travel three episodes into the entire series to find the Doctor at his most unforgiving in a manner that makes his later incarnations seem like big softies by comparison. This episode is a tautly staged, powerful spin on how people react in extreme situations and really deserves as many plaudits at `An Unearthly Child` which it is the equal of.

3 December 2016

Class - The Lost

This is a finale solely aimed at those who have watched the previous seven episodes and as such works towards an emotional climax that contains no easy answers. By the cliffhanger ending not all of the characters have survived and some of the fatalities have been brutally despatched in a shocking manner. It’s almost too much stuff in what really needed to be a 2 parter if only to allow us and the characters to take it all in because like the characters we’re wondering what on earth will happen next!

2 December 2016

Good Times! #11 Nebula 91

Photo Special! Snaps from the acclaimed  September 1991 convention held in Liverpool and featuring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Anthony Ainley, John Nathan-Turner, Mary Tamm, Frazer Hines, Nick Courtney, David Banks and even a couple of people from Blake's 7! 

30 November 2016

The Original #2 The Cave of Skulls

In which our newly minted time travellers encounter a Stone Age tribe engaged in a power struggle over who should be the leader setting the tone for all tribes ad infinitum. The line to be balanced with this kind of thing is how the portrayal of cavemen is achieved. There is much potential for over acting here and while occasionally this does happen, on the whole the production manages to achieve a believable take on such an ancient culture. While the tribe speak English they do so with enough linguistic skill to make the dialogue engaging enough. There’s a bit of grunting, usually when someone’s annoyed but only one occasion where things go right over the top. Poor old Za, trying his best to make fire fails in his goal and yells his head off. I suppose this is the Stone Age equivalent of clearing the air.

26 November 2016

Class - The Metaphysical Engine or What Quill Did

For those who have felt that Class lent too far towards Young Adult fiction here’s an episode that would not be out of place in shows aimed at an older audience. It pivots on the concept of belief becoming real and courtesy of what seems to be a mini TARDIS that provides a far less smooth ride, Miss Quill is taken on a mind bending journey to several of these metaphysical domains as she tries to get the troublesome Arn out of her head as promised by the new Headmistress. Suffice to say it’s a tad more traumatic than a trip to Tesco.

23 November 2016

NEW SERIES The Original # 1 An Unearthly Child

53 years ago today the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast and I’m re-watching the first story once a week to see if I can recapture the magic. 
It is impossible to imagine just what an impact this episode had on anyone watching it in 1963 but equally impossible to imagine that anybody would not want to watch the next episode. This really is a textbook example of how to set up a new series in any genre. Keep it simple, tease mysteries, focus on a handful of characters and make it visually stunning. `An Unearthly Child` does all this and never puts a foot wrong. Years back I remember older fans who’d seen the original broadcast talking in hushed tones about its magnificence and even though I’ve seen it lots of times I’m now not sure I have ever actually watched it. That is to say allowed its contents to reveal themselves without the accumulated narrative weight of 53 more years of Doctor Who swimming about my head. When you do that there is something compelling about every minute of this.

20 November 2016

Class Episode 6 - Detained

If you’ve been following and enjoying the series so far `Detained` is a treat, if not then you may find this more character based episode heavy going as it relies on the developments we’ve so far seen to bring more conflict to the group. It’s something of an homage to seminal 1980s film The Breakfast Club though older eagle eyed viewers may also note some similarities with a 1970s episode of The Ghosts of Motley Hall. You can be fairly sure though that it is the only drama in which someone has been called a giraffe as an insult!