Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Nimon Be Praised! - Seasons of Fear

Finally back with Eight, where Big Finish prove that there's no such thing as a bad character, just a bad writer.

As I said last week 'The Horns of Nimon' is quite possibly the worst Doctor Who I've ever seen. It was a train wreck, and I was only watching it because of this audio, 'Seasons of Fear'. It was worth it. Big Finish take the Nimon, a race of minotaur locusts and make them a decent bad guy. They even make the Minotaur reference make sense.

Friday, December 26, 2014

I Gave You My Heart - Last Christmas

There were two big questions going into 2014's Christmas special. Was it going to be the farewell for Clara, and is Santa real? It also keeps both of them going for awhile. Tellingly it's the Santa one that's answered first, and we're left guessing about the other right up until just before the credits roll.

“Last Christmas” also happens to be one of the better Christmas specials.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Thing I Do for Big Finish - Horns of Nimon

"Horns of Nimon" is the exact serial I made the jump to the Fourth Doctor instead of heading back to the First. I have hit the point in the Eighth Doctor audios where the next one in the sequence is a sequel to "The Horns of Nimon", a serial most people don't talk kindly of, and from all the sources I've pulled recommendations from, "The Horns of Nimon" has never appeared. But since the Eighth Doctor heads back there, I thought it best to go in fore-armed.

I'm not sure it was enough.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Destiny of the Daleks part 2 - the actual episodes

I said before, we're back with Tom Baker. Despite Baker generally being regarded as the best of the old Doctors, I can't quite get behind it. But more immediately, it's bloody weird jumping from mid Pertwee to late Baker, a very big difference in style. Not just in that the TARDIS is working again, but the Doctor and Romana are very different to the Doctor and Jo, in fact the roles are almost reversed.

We already covered the Regeneration and how she stands in Doctor Who. It's that last part I mentioned, the 'she's his equal' that really comes into play for the rest of the episode.

Oh, the episode. It's alright, I guess. Pretty sub-standard Dalek affair.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Talking 'bout Regeneration - Destiny of the Daleks part 1

Once again we're back with Tom Baker. The Doctor who had the longest stint in the role, and the one I've probably watched the least of up to know. Maybe second after Sylvester McCoy. There's no real reason to it, just how my choices have fallen.

However, before we look at 'Destiny of the Daleks' as a whole, I'm going to look at the first five minutes of the first episode. Romana's regeneration. Which is just bizarre. It seems to go against everything we've ever known about the process. Clearly Douglas Adams was playing it for laughs, as so much of this era is about (something I click with as I watched the following serial). However, some fans can't just leave it like that. These things need explaining. So I'm going to live up to that part about wanting to be a writer and try to provide one.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Back to Earth,One Last Time - Mind of Evil

Finally, after Big Finish eventually managed to get my spirits back up about Doctor Who I dived into what would be me final Pertwee for a while. When I left Hartnell along with Susan I said I would venture up to the previously watched The Daemons before heading back. Now we're there, and I'm not. I'm going to keep jumping forward.

Unlike the previous skip, this one is more out of necessity then choice, and far larger. This time I'm jumping all the way towards the end of Tom Baker's time as the Doctor, to where Romana II debuted. This is because of the other side of Who I'm writing about, the Big Finish audio adventures. Romana's regeneration is slightly earlier than I need to go, but like I used the previous jump to connect disparate viewings of War Games and The Daemons, I'm doing the same here, tying in the brilliant City of Death. I'm also going to watch the Four/Five Regeneration, because they were the main reason I started my second jaunt through Time and Space.

But anyway, The Mind of Evil. Thank God we get to finish on a high.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Who Thoughts

Welcome to the Friday blog. Like everything else at the minute this was written long before Capaldi's first season. But because of the backlog (and therefore lead time) I'm bringing back the Friday blog. Right now they're going to be random, but come the Hartnell restart Friday's will be audio day.

As I've written these posts on Doctor Who, I've never been quite sure what I was doing. Am I writing reviews of them? The people most likely to read them are way more up on Who then I'll ever be. But that's what I did, because that's what I thought I should do. I did try and go a bit deeper, with my own take on it, coming from a person who jumped onto Classic Who because of New Who (as I guess most new fans that look further back than Christopher Eccleston) but the niggling sensation of 'am I doing this right?' stayed there.

Monday, December 01, 2014

It's All About the Audio - Whispers of Terror

Emboldened by my success with I.D. I decided to press my luck further, and dive into Six and Peri territory. I mean “Whispers of Terror” is the third ever Big Finish serial, how much trouble could I get into? Besides, I'm now at ten hours of just treading audio water, I think I might have just been better diving into the Fifth Doctor and Peri. This seems like a good compromise, and if there's any BF continuity to worry about, getting the third entry out of the way seems like a clever move.

The first thing I noticed was an obvious difference between this and “I.D.” I didn't say anything above because I thought I just had realised relatively late on and was just being simple. But “I.D.” uses the theme song from Colin Baker's time as the Doctor, making it feel that little bit more of the series it's meant to fit. Yet being Big Finish's third episode, “Whispers of Terror” doesn't do that. It has the very original theme that everyone knows. That later change is a clever move by Big Finish.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Sixth Doctor, The Redeemer? - I.D.

Feeling a little bit let down by the Cyberman trilogy, and neither series really satisfying my itch to get Doctor Who outside of the Pertwee/UNIT trappings, I decided to listen to another audio play. Rather than turn to the Companion Chronicles, I dived back into the main range, but with a carefully selected and targeted approach.

For this I chose the Sixth Doctor. I'm pretty sure this has come across already but I actually rather like the Sixth Doctor. Weird I know. But I think the fact I introduced myself to the Big Finish version the same time I was trying to cope with the TV version has helped him immensely. And this serial is another reason why.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Return to Audio - Cyberman 2?

With Capaldi's first season now wrapped up we have an idea of just who the Twelfth Doctor is. Which seems to be an amalgamation of Three and Six. So far I like him, but for some reason I'm not hundred percent sure yet. It certainly one of the most consistently good seasons we've ever seen from New Who though.

Now it's time to return to Classic Who, and I'm taking the opportunity to dive back to Hartnell and start a third march through Space and Time. However, the articles are only up to Pertwee, and I managed a bit of Baker the First and a lot more of McGann, so you've got that next week. But first, Big Finish's Cyberman 2?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gender bends and farewell - Dark Water and Death in Heaven

Well, that wasn't the most explosive finale we've had. Well, apart from the obvious... Sorry. Too soon?

One of the things about New Who has been trying to separate the Cybermen ever further from feeling like discount Daleks they became in later Classic Who. Russell T. Davies did it be introducing the body horror to the show, but Moffat takes that idea and goes even further, with not just body harvesting, but harvesting the dead.

Which is quite a big thing. Has this taken them too far for any future Cyber stories, or was this a one off deal because of the uploads? But anyway, we're getting away from the important stuff. The dark water and the Cybermen was a great concept, fantastically hinted at in vague terms before the reveal. Unfortunately it was completely ruined by promotional material, but that's a rant for another day. My flatmate barely watches any TV or follows stuff on the net, and he got to enjoy the Cybermen reveal in all it's glory, and it worked amazingly on him. I'm sorta jealous.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Case for the Coming and Going Companions

Since this week's episode was part 1 of the Season finale, I won't be posting a review of it. Yet. I'll be saving it and reviewing the both parts as one episode, just like the serials of yore. So this week I'm going to chat about the companions.

I stated early in Capaldi's run that I like how Moffat, and before him RTD, gave room for lots of adventures that we don't see on screen. Yet one of the complaints being thrown at Moffat by long standing Whovians is how he treats companions. I'm not talking about the raising of them to focus points of the show. Russell T Davies did that, Moffat just kept it going, and really it's what the show has to do to keep the interest of a modern TV audience.

No, the complaint is those companions that don't stay on the TARDIS, but merely treat it as something they can jump on occasionally when they fancy an adventure. Clara personifies this, having barely spent any time just living on board, but latter day Amy and Rory were just as guilty. But this is a symptom of a Doctor that has great control of his ship. Something that wasn't always the case.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Straight out of child's book - In the Forest of the Night

There's been a lot of talk this season of Doctor Who maybe starting to not be for kids any more. Mostly because of its later time slot. It's the sort of topic I'd avoid, it not really fitting into the whole narrative approach I'm interested in, except 'In the Forest of the Night' shuts all those critics up.

An episode about a forest springing up over night just to protect us, while also managing to fit in a missing sister and a bunch of escaped animals from the zoo is perfect kid fodder. Not to mention we set the whole thing up as a school trip. If there was ever a more kid-friendly episode of Who, I think we'd all be diabetics after it.

Besides Who’s reputation has always been scaring the bejesus out of kids and them watching behind a sofa.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Clara plays at being the Doctor - Flatline

Again we've got another episode with the focus firmly on Clara. I had a friend moan to me about this recently, feeling that while Coleman is doing an amazing job, the show perhaps needs a bit more focus on the new Doctor. And I can certainly agree with that. Even after last week which was a Doctor heavy episode I don't feel like we've spent quite enough time with Capaldi as Moffat has a very clear idea of his Clara/Danny storyline.

That said, this episode was a great way to focus on the Clara without losing the Doctor. The Doctor stuck in the TARDIS while the companion has to do the work is one of those tropes that seems incredibly obvious but doesn't get trotted that often. The only other example I can think of is 'The Horns of Nimon' and the less we talk about that the better – partly because that review isn't out yet.

I think 'Flatline' is a spectacular concept. The 2D aliens is a great idea, and the visuals to accompany them were fantastic. The shrinking TARDIS was fun, and the Doctor's frustration at not understanding how someone could do that was well played, and his realisation worked brilliantly. I felt there was more talking to himself with impersonations too, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The community workers being those that needed saving was an interesting twist, and it was brave that one of the survivors was clearly the 'evil' one, and for the Doctor to quietly admit that maybe he shouldn't have.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Mummy only the victim can see! - Mummy on the Orient Express

A Mummy on the Orient Express. In Space. That's a concept only Doctor Who could get away with. But by embracing the very epitome of an Agatha Christie story (yet again), and having the train and its occupants act like they're in the twenties or thirties, this episode absolutely sings.

The use of a jazz version of Don't Stop Me Now alone is absolutely genius. It's one of those touches that settle it in the future, yet still have it feel like a time past, just like BioShock Infinite did with it's cover of Tears for Fears. But the song choice isn't a throwaway choice either. Don't Stop Me Now could almost be a rallying cry for this episode's endgame.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Clara learns that you can't always trust the Doctor - Kill the Moon

The Doctor's been a bit of a dick to Courtney Woods, a school girl that has appeared multiple times throughout this season of Who, and even got a ride in the TARDIS at the end of 'The Caretaker'. Where she promptly puked because she couldn't handle it, and proved she wasn't special and not companion material in the slightest. The Doctor told her that, and Clara is not impressed, so he decides to take them both to the moon at the time of First Woman to land there. And then they have to decide whether they're going to blow up the moon or not.

I like that in the end it was a story about the Doctor not getting involved and leaving it to Humanity to make the decision, and also his absolute trust in Clara in what she would do. Unfortunately he's a bit of a dick about it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Taking care of Who? - The Caretaker review

Let's face it, the stop motion model of an alien killer robot is window dressing to what's really going in this episode, as the Danny/Doctor problems for Clara come to a head. Finally the two men in her life come crashing together and she has to deal with how unalike they are.

This is all set up by having a montage of her trying to juggle them, running from one appointment to another like some nineties teenage sitcom. That said I liked the vague hints at various adventures the Doctor and Clara go on that we don't get to see, and what that means for the extended universe. At some point I'll probably do a post about how Moffat has done this, and just why it's so handy for the future of the series.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Doctor's Seven... I mean Four – Time Heist

Doctor Who does Ocean's Eleven. It's one of those concepts that just sounds like it was designed exactly for me. But the execution seemed off. The Doctor allows himself to be mind wiped and is following another person's instructions. It just doesn't work. Especially for this new Doctor.

But things belt along quickly enough that you don't really have to worry too much about it either. Before you question just what someone could offer the Doctor to do this, armed guards are battering on the door all while we're still being introduced to the other two bank robbers, both human, which could seem lazy for Who, but then one's cybernetic and the other is a mutant, which more than makes up for it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Time Heist review Delayed

Due to two whole days of travelling, and a very drunken wedding of a good friend, my review of Time Heist is delayed till tomorrow. It's half written, but I really don't trust myself to edit properly today.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Listen - A Clever Little Moffat

Since I've mostly covered Classic and Audio Who up till now, something won't be that clear. That I'm not one of the fans that complains about Moffat's tenure as Showrunner. However, I do think he's a brilliant episode writer, but I'm just not sure he should be in the big seat for much longer.

I wasn't a big fan of 'The Pandorica Opens',* but I loved Clara's debut, and the revelations in 'The Name of the Doctor'. But in 'Listen' Stephen Moffat manages to makes us believe he's pulling off another 'Blink'. And he does a brilliant job of it. The monster you can't see. The thing that has you talking out loud despite no one else being there. The reason you never feel alone. It's genius storytelling, and it has all the hallmarks of the man that brought us the Weeping Angels and the Silence. It's possibly the scariest Who Moffat's ever done too. It was so easy to just accept he was doing it again.

Except he wasn't. He wasn't doing anything of the sort.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Who Robs from the Rich to Give to the Poor? - The Doctor meets Robin Hood

A light hearted episode. It shouldn't be that much of a surprise for New Who. A light hearted episode always slides in there early on. Yet I can't help feel it was a mistake. We're going for a darker Doctor, it feels way too soon to be throwing an episode like this around.

Then again it does manage to tell us a bit about our new Doctor. By teaming him up with Robin Hood, a man who as far as history is concerned doesn't exist, and having the Doctor spend most of his time refusing to believe he was real, we get to see a more cynical Doctor. Tennant and Smith would have both gone along with the Robin Hood ruse with smiles on their faces. The reveal that it was a robot would be the twist for their version of this story. That Capaldi refused to admit it, and the twist being Robin is real, sets him very much apart from his two big predecessors.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Into the Dalek - the Dark Doctor

It’d be easy to look at 'Into The Dalek' and think “Oh, a new Doctor, radically different to any since the restart, let’s keep them watching by bringing out the Daleks. Everyone loves the Daleks.” Yet it’s decidedly cleverer than that. We’ve already seen that this is a new Doctor trying to figure out exactly who he is. Who better to find that out against, than his greatest enemy?

This is the enemy who Davison picked up a gun against without even thinking. That Tom Baker nearly wiped out as they were created. That Sylvester McCoy did something massive about, like maybe blowing up their planet, I think, I still haven’t watched Revelation of the Daleks.

The Daleks bring out the worst in the Doctor, so who better than Twelve to have his identity crisis with than the one enemy who will show him how bad he can be? And for a Doctor who is struggling to figure out just who he is, we do see his terrible decision-making when it comes to Daleks. While he doubted it would work, he really hoped that he could save Rusty, but on learning that the only thing that had made Rusty ‘good’ was radiation poisoning, he gave up at the fact all Daleks are evil, and he was right all along. It takes Clara to knock him back on course, just like she did at the Moment, to get on with things and actually think of another way.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Take A Deep Breath: It's a New Doctor

This weekend brought us the Twelfth Doctor, and since today is Doctor Who day, I'll be taking a look at Peter Capaldi's first proper time out with the role.

My Classic Who and Big Finish lookbacks are pretty far advanced compared to what's been published – I've actually got about eleven already to go - but they're going on hiatus while we have all new Who to worry about. If there's any two parters then I'll wait until they're finished and do them in a oner. When I look at a Classic story I do the whole thing at once, so it's only fair New Who gets the same treatment. So on those one or two occasions during the new series you might get a Classic Who article instead.

Well, except for Cyberman 2. I'll put that out Friday. My Maths went wrong.

Anyway. Capaldi.

Friday, August 22, 2014

No Friday Blogs

Well, not ever. But definitely more sporadic. Which probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who reads this place regularly as they've already been a bit spotty. Basically while I was a full-time writer, I had this place to take a break and write about sci-fi and games I wasn't being paid to write about, and everything was great. But bills were getting harder to pay and I had to get a job. This meant less time for writing, and I ended up using all that time just keeping here up to date. Which is the exact opposite of what this place is meant to be. This is meant to be me waxing lyrical about stuff I have to write about, not grinding an article for a deadline. More to the point I feel I wasn't doing a brilliant job of those I did publish. Not just missing posts, but the writing of some of them hasn't been up to the standard I expect of myself.

There's also one rather important fact, the one that really got me thinking. I haven't been finding the time to write fiction. The stuff I really want to write. So I sat down, and decided something had to give. It was the random Friday posts or Doctor Who that was on the chopping block. I'm keeping my jaunts through Time and Space because I'm really enjoying writing those, and there's very little chance of me falling behind as I've got so many banked. Plus Capaldi launches tomorrow night :D

So Friday becomes a non-update day. Or at least not a regular one. I'll still write about the big stuff like when the next Marvel movie comes out. But it's when the mood hits me now. Or at least till the writing starts paying the bills again.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Doctor gets his Doctor Doom - Terror of the Autons

We start the second series with Pertwee in the main role with the same bad guy as the first, The Autons. This would strike me as a really odd decision except they've added Master, who sees his debut here and proceeds to be the bad guy for the entire season.

We also meet Jo Grant, the Doctor's new companion after Liz Shaw's one and only series. Liz is not even given a decent goodbye, but is written out between seasons because she went back to Cambridge. But at least the Brigadier gets the decent line of “what you need, Doctor, as Miss Shaw herself so often remarked, is someone to pass you your test tubes, and to tell you how brilliant you are.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Road to Spider-Verse

I make no secret of my love for Spider-Man, in fact I practically wrote a love letter to him a few months ago. Since then I have actually managed to read some Superior with Doc Ock web-slinging. But now Peter's back in charge of his own body, Miguel has his own comic again, and Kaine's title might have ended, but he got to join the New Warriors by the same writer, so it's cheat continuation. All in all it's a great time to be Spider-Man.

Yet that's not all. For you see Dan Slott is building towards a giant Spider Event called Spider-Verse. It's been a long time since I've got all fanboyie about a big crossover but Spider-Verse has sent me back to that way of thinking.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cyberman - Big Finish without the Doctor

Faced with a full day of driving, and with all of the audio series I'd already started currently on hold as I try and patch up my Classic Who knowledge, I was presented with a problem. What do I actually listen to? One idea was to carry on with the Fifth Doctor and Peri after Mission to the Viyrans, but since I'd already hit one major spoiler with that, and I figured going to the start of that period would probably be better anyway. And too big of a undertaking for today.

Or more Companion Chronicles since Rise and Fall was so enjoyable? Especially considering they're so standalone. Maybe one of the spin-offs? After loving Sword of Orion, I was intrigued by more tales of the Cyberwar in the Orion sector, especially after discovering it was an audio only conflict. It's just a shame I haven't pushed the Daleks far enough along.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Doctor Who burns up in Inferno

After a full season of Earth based, UNIT centric episodes I have to say, I'm not a fan. I don't mind the occasional visit to our own planet, The Troughton episode Invasion - which gave so much to this era of the show - was great, but after three stories I was ready to go somewhere else, never mind after the fourth.

Yes I know. I'm almost contradicting everything I said at the end of The Ambassadors of Death, but Inferno was everything that was wrong with the shift to Earth, and has properly put me off.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Guarding the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is awesome. It's fun. It felt like someone had finally managed to create a new Star Wars. The ending was a little cheesy though. That's pretty much it. I had a lot of fun.

I said it before with Captain America, but Marvel are really showing that just because their films have superheroes they don't have to rely on the tired Hollywood formula so many of the opposition's films use. The Winter Soldier was a super spy film just like any Mission Impossible, even though it's predecessor was pulpy-fun. Guardians is a sci-fi action comedy. I forsee Daredevil the TV series something like Law and Order with extra fisticuffs, and Luke Cage is hopefully going to be something akin to The Wire, with extra fisticuffs.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Doctor and the Ambassadors

Last time I wondered how the trapped Doctor coped with Brigadier's destruction of the Silurians. It's the exact antithesis of how the Doctor operates, and under normal circumstances he wouldn't stand for it. As this serial opens not only is he trying to fix the TARDIS so he can do his usual of running away, but he's not happy with The Brig either, coming across outwardly hostile as Liz brings him up. That this comes after some rather awkwardly acted comic relief is weird, and it is soon forgotten as they throw themselves into the case of the missing astronauts by Mars.

But then it could be argued that unlike normal circumstances where the Doctor announces his displeasure at such an act and then departs, he's having to learn to live with it. He can't do his usual tactic of legging it, and like a normal person he is forced to interact with The Brigadier due to their job. That he then discovers that The Brig isn't the monster that one act made it seem, but the same person he came to respect. Yes, he did commit the act of atrocity against the Silurians, and it is something to keep in mind, but it doesn't change the character completely.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wolf Among Us - Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

The first season of The Walking Dead was my game of 2012. What Telltale did with that game was astounding, and put a whole new spin on the adventure game that helped bring that beloved genre back to the mainstream of PC gaming. Combined with the fact I love the comics, and the TV show is pretty decent too, I was one happy chappy.

When Season 2 was announced I couldn't have been happier. The continuing story of Clementine was something I was looking forward to exploring. But we're over halfway through it, and while good, it's doesn't quite match up to the original season. Many could point at the fact that because it's a sequel it no longer has that freshness, and under normal circumstances I'd probably agree with them. Except we have one piece of evidence that says otherwise. The Wolf Among Us.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Silurians - Somehow the Doctor forgives genocide

With the new Doctor fully introduced, and now joined UNIT we step into an adventure he can get his teeth into right from the very beginning. The Silurians is also one of those stories a lot of people talk about as being monumental to the history of the show. Also I love the redesign and reintroduction to them in New Who, so I've been looking forward to this.

Technically I think this falls somewhere in my earliest watching of Doctor Who. In the late 90s BBC2 started showing Pertwee episodes, I missed a bunch of them, but I think I caught a few of Spearhead, and a few from this serial. However, I can't remember any of it. So it's also a nice little flagpole moment for me.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose Time Paradoxes. Choose Doctor Who - Audio 6

I know I said I'd try and have Doctor Who for Mondays and talk about other stuff on Fridays, but I also just started a full time job, and I'm struggling to find time to write a full article. There's quite a few on the boil though, and hopefully next Friday won't be Who. For now, it's time for more Eighth Doctor.

Invaders from Mars has an absolutely genius concept, yet also incredibly simple. What if aliens turned up at the same time as Orson Welles was doing his War of the Worlds broadcast? It's perfect fodder for any science fiction, not just Doctor Who.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Two More Trips with the 8th Doctor - Who Audio 5

Now that I've finally started the Eighth Doctor's audio adventures I wasn't messing about. Thankfully hitting a point I could listen to them as I went to visit the folks meant I had a whole lot of time to get some listening in. Which means that Storm Warning and Sword of Orion were on the drive down, while the drive back had time for another two.

The Stones of Venice is possibly the most confused serial I've listened, or even watched, ever. The time frame makes no sense. Everything about it makes it feel like medieval or renaissance period, with Lords and Dukes, evil cults, and people worried about curses. Except the dialogue specifically states the 23rd century, Venice is finally falling to its fate beneath the waves and the gondoliers are now a race of amphibious men.

I have no problem saying that Italy, or at the very least Venice, resorts back to a more feudal system in the future. But it doesn't hold up to any sort of scrutiny. Early on, the Doctor offers use of his ship to save artwork that is to be abandoned, the curator is confused as all ships have left, and vessels that aren't water-based are beyond him. Calling in helicopters to help evacuate people right down to the last minute would be done today, but in 300 hundred years if you're not out 24 hours before it collapses you're written off? Nonsense.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Adventuring with the Eighth Doctor - Who Audio 4

Three entries ago I said my aim was the Eighth Doctor, yet I've managed to do a good job of avoiding him so far. Well know we finally get on with it. There may be the odd deviation occasionally, but I'm sticking with Eight right through to the end of Charley. Don't worry we'll get to what that means.

Storm Warning is the first proper Eighth adventure we get to go on with Paul McGann. Yes okay, there was the film. But we all know how I feel about that one. This here, is a proper Doctor Who serial, with the Doctor who to date only really has his two regenerations on screen. Big Finish are letting this Doctor stretch his legs. And boy does he stretch them.

Friday, July 04, 2014

So I'm making let's plays now

Anyone paying attention to most of my social media channels may have noticed that I've launched a Let's Play Channel under the name GeekGasms.org. That's right, the name of our old site. It's not the only thing that planned, but for now I'm keeping my mouth shut, because I learnt the hard way what happens why I start speaking excitedly about things before I should (Sorry Danny).

However, thanks to all the work I've been putting in, and the fact my car f'ed up royally on Monday night, I've not had a great deal of time to write a new blog for this friday. So instead here's the three vids of each of the series I've started:

Space Hulk

Prison Architect

Game Dev Tycoon

Monday, June 30, 2014

Spearhead From Space: It's a whole new Who era

When we watched The Daemons last year, the guy who organised the 50th lookback argued that it felt like this was where Doctor Who became a much more modern programme. Despite the change to colour I disagreed. Having now watched Jon Pertwee's entrance, I can totally see where he's coming from.

It feels like it's moving a hell of a lot quicker, though compared to Troughton I'm not sure that's true, it just gives the impression that things are pretty swift these days and there's a lot of moving parts that slowly intertwine to form what is a bloody good debut for a Doctor.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pirate Love: Assassin's Creed gets it's groove back with Black Flag

I don't know how much this has come across – though I guess a fair amount considering the amount of articles I've wrote about how bad Assassin's Creed became – but I lost my love of that franchise. It wasn't like Halo where the fire slowly dwindled as things evolved in a way that didn't quite work for me and now only embers remain, to occasionally flare up when we bump into each other in the right circumstances. This was outright hatred of what it became. Like a girlfriend who,

after being fantastic in bed, started doing weird shit you just can't understand or appreciate, and no matter what you say she insists they're fun and you like them, and you can't get back to what you like. You're not against new things, but she just seems to be doing stuff for the sake of it. You just can't seem to work out how remote control airplanes can be used in the bedroom. The relationship just deteriorates as you both want something different between the sheets.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sixth Doctor's New Old Companion - Who Audio 3

AKA Where I name them serials because that's how Big Finish try and package them, and it's more convenient than audio drama

The Marian Conspiracy

The Doctor solves the issue of the disappearance of Marty McFly. Okay that's a little bit of a stretch, but Evelyn's problem of being erased from history immediately brought to mind that awesome scene in Back to the Future of Marty fading from view on stage as it looks like George and Lorraine won't get together. Evelyn also happens to be the sole reason I listened to this serial, being that she's not only the first audio companion Big Finish introduced, but also plays a part in the Sixth's edition of the Dalek Empire series.

Evelyn's fascinating because she's something the TV series would never do. An old lady companion. Well 55. The closest we've got is a forty year old Catherine Tate, who after Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman was a bit of step upwards in the years. Also amusing is how strong of a lady she is, not willing to back down when giving a bit of a lecture. Same with Queen Mary in this serial. It makes the fact this is a Sixth Doctor story even better, as he's not one to usually be talked over.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Invasion aka The Proto-UNIT Serial

It's that latter part of the title that had me do this minor detour into Troughton – not that I need an excuse to watch more of the Second Doctor – as this is the BBC testing out the formula that was to serve as the basis of the majority of Jon Pertwee's stint. It's the first appearance of UNIT and Sgt Benton, the second of Lethbridge-Stewart (and now promoted from Colonel to the moniker he'll forever be known as, The Brigadier).

I called these two Second Doctor adventures a minor detour, but Invasion happens to be the second biggest serial I've watched, coming in at two shorter than War Games' 10. Yes there is Trial of a Timelord. But I count that as four serials. The trial is an overarching story for that series. Individually it is four distinct adventures. That's almost the case with Invasion. It's almost two serials hiding as one. Unlike most Doctor Who adventures, we get to see the build up here. The first four form the Doctor trying to figure out Tobias Vaughn and just what evilness the (rather brilliantly acted) megalomaniac is up to. The fourth episode ends with the appearance of the Cybermen, and then we have the Doctor and UNIT struggling to stave off an invasion. There's a definite through-line all eight episodes, it's not as split as something like Trial, but there is a definite switch from espionage to all-out war.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Tour of Who Audio

After The Sirens of Time it was quite a while before I got round to listening to anymore. In fact it was the drive back up to Dundee when I moved that I found the time, and I did three of them almost back to back, and I got properly stuck into the audio plays Big Finish gave away for the 50th Anniversary.

Mission of the Viyrans is probably the one that got me well and truly hooked. It was bizarre. It was a little mind bendy, and it left a lot of questions. Admittedly it's mostly a Peri story, with the Fifth Doctor taking a bit of a backseat, but Nicole Bryant does a better job here than the show ever really let her. Now I know there's sequels to this, my plans to only really listen to the Eighth Doctor has faltered, and those Doctors who actually had TV adventures has blossomed. This isn't going to end up cheap!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Vampirella: The interestingly dressed vampire slayer

It's been a long time since I read Vampirella. I tried back in my teenage years because of out of control hormones and Millar and Morrison having a stab at the vampire princess. It was good, but a second dip into older material felt almost at odds what the two Scots had done, and made their run seem like it was good thanks to the calibre of the writers.

This is the start of Dynamite's attempt to reinvent the character, although the plot seems very much a continuation of a previous series. I recognised quite a few of the references even from my very minor exposure to the character, which is an interesting choice.

Monday, June 09, 2014

The Doctor's Big Finish

As I said when I tried my little dance around Doctor Who, the audio plays by Big Finish had always intrigued me. I don't know why. I have had a vague interest in them going as far back as before New Who started. I think it was just the fact that the franchise was being kept alive in such a way. For someone who became a big Star Wars fan in the early 90s, it held a certain romanticism.

I've investigated starting them a couple of times since New Who, but considering they deal with four (actually five now, but Tom Baker is a recent addition to their output) Doctors across multiple series makes it pretty bloody dense to get into. However, with a new understanding of Classic Who I finally felt ready to dive in. The fact Big Finish gave ten shows away for free as part of the 50th Anniversary last year helped a little.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Garfield No More. Who could replace Spider-Man?

With Amazing Spider-Man 2 out of the way now – and see last Friday's blog for my thoughts there – thoughts turn to the future of the franchise. In the build up to the release Sony announced they had plans for not only ASM 3, but 4 as well. This brought comments from Andrew Garfield that he's only contracted for one more, and he's not had any discussions about anything after that. You couldn't help get the distinct impression that he wanted out. We're not going to be getting any Hugh Jackman type love affairs with his character and still playing him fifteen years later.

In another interview Garfield quickly brings up the possibility of relative newcomer to comics Miles Morales taking centre stage of a future movie. It's an interesting idea handing the film franchise over to the Spider-Man who replaced Peter Parker in the Ultimate comics. Garfield is clearly laying the groundwork for him leaving, but is Morales the best idea?

Monday, June 02, 2014

Jaunting around time and space with The Mind Robber

Remember all that advice about not jumping about and watching Doctor Who consequentially? Yeah? Well, sod it. The Doctor didn't bother with such nonsense, why should I?

Okay, the truth is that as much as I'm enjoying them, too much Hartnell is a bit of a slog. With Susan having left the TARDIS this felt like the perfect point to go for a jaunt elsewhere in the show's history. So I'm going to make a minor jump to the end of the Troughton era. With War Games already under my belt I'm going to watch the only two serials in my list that feature Zoe, and then move onto Pertwee. From there I'll watch up to Daemons, another serial I covered last year. After that, well my plan right now is to pop back and do more Hartnell, but we'll wait and see.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Amazing Spider-Man 2 does whatever a Spider can. But not much else.

The more time there is between now and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, the more I find wrong with it. But nothing more so than Spider-Man 3. For all the minor things the two predecessors got wrong, the third film just went whole hog and fucked up everything, with the minor exception of Sandman. Venom was wasted, and Harry as Goblin was rubbish. Then Sony rebooted the series, and Amazing Spider-Man seemed to be on a much better track. Except we had to watch that bloody spider biting Peter again.

So it's quite shocking that the very next film, Amazing Spider-Man 2, makes a lot of the same mistakes as Spider-Man 3. Oh it doesn't do anything so bad as the dance number, and the one thing Mark Webb's second foray has going for it is that it absolutely nails Peter and Gwen, and is possibly the greatest live-action portrayal of Spider-Man in existence. This little Spider-Fan may have incredibly geeked out at just how Spidey moved during combat and quipped the whole time. But it does get the villains completely wrong again.

Monday, May 26, 2014

X-Men Days of Future Past is hopefully a shade of things to come

No proper X-Men Days of Future Past review from me. I watched it in an extremely tired frame of mind after my flatmate's rather drunken surprise birthday party. However, I'm going old school and just summing up my thoughts instead.

Mainly that Days of Future Past was rather brilliant. I was pretty worried about it because of the number of mutants that were said to be featuring, but Brian Singer does what he did so well back for X1 and 2, and that's keep the story focus very much on the core characters. In fact with only five characters sharing the limelight this feels like one of the tightest X-films ever.

McAvoy was amazing, his first scene was utterly tremendous. I'm glad Apocalypse will be based in the 80s and we get him back for more. So was Quicksilver, I expected him to be the worst, especially with that costume, but the opposite was true. For me, Joss Whedon and Avengers had the upper hand when it came to Pietro Maximoff, but now they have a lot to live up to.

There is one slight problem. The future timeline is made clear to be a result of all the movies we've seen to date, yet the film clearly states that Mystique is captured by the US Government in 1973 moments after killing Trask. So how was Mystique running around in X's 1-3? From the explanation we got of how the Sentinels operate they killed over two decades before? Big plot hole in a very minor line of dialogue. I can only assume that it was a quick change for ease of filming that no one caught the ramifications of.

Also Kitty's ability to project people into the past was never explained, but then that would mean introducing yet another telepath, and since it was Kitty sent backwards in the comics, I can forgive the mistake for homage.

Oh and if the Stryker at the end was Mystique, does that mean new timeline Wolverine is left with bone claws?

Days of Future Past is good. Almost First Class good, but not quite. It's up there, probably above both of Singer's previous two films. It does what Avengers did so well and no one else seems to have nailed, which is use everything before it to feel like a proper universe. Bring on Apocalypse.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Arrow Hits The Target With Its Second Season

Agents of SHIELD wasn't the only comics based TV series to finish its season last week, as Arrow pulled the curtain on its second, with a rather explosive ending. Also this season saw it take a much more obvious step towards it's superhero source material than the more crime drama filled debut. Mostly because of the villain Deathstroke.

As soon as Slade Wilson was introduced I was intrigued. We'd already met Deathstroke, yet here was the man behind the mask as a separate identity. It seemed like only a matter of time before he swapped sides. Yet he was originally presented as the man who made Oliver Queen into the man who donned the hood. And they eventually became brothers-in-arms. It got to a point where the two facing off against each other was unthinkable.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? Season 1 comes to a close in an epic way

It has come to my attention that I haven't wrote a blog on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the upheaval post The Winter Soldier, which is shocking, because it finally turned the show into something amazing.

I'd stuck with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. simply because I'm a comic nerd and it had ties to the films Marvel are putting out. But one movie completely turned the show on its head. The big reveal that Hydra has long operated within the confines of S.H.I.E.L.D. changed the landscape of the entire Marvel cinematic universe, but it was really felt by the show that is actually all about that very organisation.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth

Being as the version I watched featured a 'Dalek Invasion of Earth' title card complete with appearing text and wobbly flying saucers that looked straight out of a b-movie I figured this might just be the hokey type of 60s sci-fi I promised myself I wouldn't let bother me. The Daleks flying saucers see their introduction here, and to say they're hokey is an understatement. Obviously I'm used to the design now, having seen numerous redesigns to make them look better. But here they are at their worst. The first shot of them is bobbing along on a string, and it brings to mind every joke about old science fiction ever made.

However, apart from the spaceships and a monster that appears for ten minutes in the closing parts, this isn't that hokey a story at all. In fact it's fairly horrific, with a pretty damn high body count and tension filled street chases. Not to mention the rather strong imagery of Daleks patrolling around London. I mean the opening shot of the entire serial is a man staggering alone, screaming, and then drowning himself in a river in front of a sign that says body dumping isn't allowed. Doctor Who isn't holding back on the darkness here.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse gets unbroken

Finally it feels like a Broken Sword game. This is very much a continuation of the first part of The Serpent's Curse, properly digging into the history of the Gnostics and the usual jet setting the series is known for. It's everything I hoped for. Yet at the same time everything I feared when Revolution cut it down the middle.

This second part seems short too, which is part of the problem Revolution have created by splitting it in half. I know they wanted to make their original release date, and Double Fine did it so it made it 'okay', and they probably needed the cash injection, but releasing in halves has severely reduced my enjoyment of The Serpent's Curse. The first half felt not Broken Sword enough staying too much with the modern crime, while the second doesn't feel long enough. Put them together and I can see the whole package being up there with The Smoking Mirror, but having played them as two games I've got too much of a disconnect.

Monday, May 05, 2014

From Dusk till Dawn: The 7 Hour shift

I love From Dusk Till Dawn. The original Tarantino/Rodriguez team-up movie. Tarantino wrote it. Rodriguez directed it. For me it's a classic. The shift that for half the film you think you're watching a typical Tarantino crime drama only for vampires to appear out of nowhere and it turn into a monster flick. Genius left turn.

But I was kinda surprised to see it had rebooted it as a TV series. Didn't it really work in that form? Did it even need it? What if it was some shoddy remake by people who got hold of the franchise? After all, the sequels weren't meant to be much cop. Turns out that wasn't that much of a worry, because it was Robert Rodriguez that was in charge here and he's made it much more of his thing that the original.

Friday, May 02, 2014

No proper post today

Morning. It's Friday, which I always promised myself would be the main update post, with the Monday one being the one to fall over if I needed to. And I've failed. I've got a few different blogs percolating right now, and none of them are ready, except for more Doctor Who, and I don't want to flood this place with that.

Obviously one of the percolating blogs is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after the epic Turn, Turn, Turn episode. S.H.I.E.L.D. has seriously upped its game post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but I didn't find time to write about it until a few episodes had aired, and because we're only two episodes away from the end, I figured I'd do it as one big column. Otherwise Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will take this place over nearly as much as Doctor Who has.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Aztecs: Doctor Who meets a lovely lady

After skipping over a number of missing episodes we reach The Aztecs, a serial I actually got recommended to me from a few sources. I can see why. It's pretty good.

After arriving in South America a hundred years before the Spanish turn up, Barbara is mistaken for a reincarnation of one of their Gods, and she sees this opportunity to switch them away sacrificing people since that's why the Spanish wiped them out. Obviously the Doctor's against this, but Barbara's determined, but no matter how much she tries things keep springing back to the way history is remembered. And the Doctor again points out that you can't change history. Not One Line!

Friday, April 25, 2014

FTL: The Next Generation

My thoughts on the FTL: Advanced Edition. Honestly, it's more FTL. If you enjoyed the game but had gotten tired of the same old encounters you're well served as there's plenty to spice things up. Though you're mental for thinking that in the first place.

Everything added is great. It feels like they've filled the game out a little more. Drones no longer feel quite so much like the short cousins to weapons with the massive array of extra stuff they add. The new beacon paths is damn handy, allowing you to plan a lot more. The extra systems that just offer so many more options. It's all little tweaks that improve the game even more. It feels like exactly the same game I dumped over forty hours into, but better. Since it's free, anyone who owns FTL needs little excuse to try it out, if you still haven't, then now you have even more reason, not that you should have needed it. If you still haven't bought FTL yet, this gives you even more reason.

Which pretty much sums it up unless I waste time going into detail at what those changes are. So instead I'm going to do another Captain's log, this time from the new Lanius ship.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Back to the Beginning: The very start of Doctor Who

After my dance around parts of Doctor Who, I decided to go back to the beginning, and have plotted a course through fifty years of TV. The list is an interesting mix of recommendations – either quality or lore based I don't know going in – plus the regenerations and the coming and going of companions. One of my Whovian experts said that last one wasn't needed except for those that fell into the examples of lore based, such as Earthshock, but I figured it'd make for easier viewing seeing how these people come and go from the Doctor's life.

And when I say I'm going back to the beginning, I mean the actual beginning. The very first Hartnell story, An Unearthly Child. And yes, I'm including the 10,000BC episodes as part of that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Continuum continues

Continuum was one of those programmes I started watching on Sy-Fy because new sci-fi. Also it had a cool time travel concept, and Rachel Nichols. It helped that at the time I didn't have a whole lot to watch. Unfortunately, the first season quickly devolved into a police procedural with some cool future tech, and not much else. But because I tend to quite like police procedurals I stuck around.

Continuum tells the tale of Keira Cameron, a CPS protector – that's future corporate cop in normal language – who gets pulled from 2077 to modern day while trying to stop a bunch of anti-corporate Liber8 terrorists from escaping their execution via time travel. Once here she integrates herself with the Vancouver PD – yes, a show filmed in Vancouver that actually admits it – and does every thing she can to stop Liber8 from altering the future.

Monday, April 07, 2014

FTL: These are the Voyages

As FTL: Advanced Edition came out last week, I present FTL The Captain's Log. It started out as an idea for BeefJack, but we weren't entirely sure how sustainable it was. Plus I was pretty late to the FTL party so it was also no longer that relevant. Enter DLC, and I finally get to release it. This was actually my second playthrough of the original game. I might do another for the Advanced Edition, which I still haven't found time to play. At the very least I'll post up some thoughts in a few days.

Blackbox recording of NCC-7625, The Kestrel-A discovered in Rock controlled sector of space.
Captain's Log Stardate 9130113.15
I have been assigned the important task of carrying plans for the stolen plans for the Rebel's capital ship to what remains of Federation Command. My mission is clear, I have to get this information delivered as quickly as possible.

First jump and already my honour is already is putting me at odds with my duty, but civilians being attacked by an unmanned rebel scout ship wasn't exactly a problem for my crew.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Back to Who: A jaunt through Time and Space

It should come as a surprise to no one who followed this blog in late 2013 that I've dived back into Classic Doctor Who. Not just Enemy of the World I got for Christmas but a whole lot more.

Of course that's where I started. A little bit of time left in 2013 I watched Enemy of the World and got to see Doctor Who does James Bond from a caravan. And honestly, it was kind of brilliant.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Future of Marvel Movies part 2

About ten minutes after posting my Captain America review and look at Marvel's Cinematic Universe I was struck by a thought as I saw the leaked image of Hawkeye's new coat (comic fans will really get excited about anything). That thought was, are Marvel going to start putting out more Avenger films post Age of Ultron?

Obviously there's going to be more. But I mean Disney cutting down the time between each instalment, and cash-in on the one of the biggest names in Box Office. Step away from the core team of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Widow, Hawkeye and Hulk. Not in a cranking them out just for the money way. But in a not using all the actors and raising the lesser members to more prominent roles.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - co-starring the Black Widow

This is going to end up part review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and part a look at the state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that we're only one film away from Avengers: Age of Ultron, because to say that Winter Soldier upsets the cart a little is underselling just what the films does. As such I step away from my usual spoiler-free as possible stance, and here I'm incredibly spoiler heavy.

I make no bones about the fact that I loved Captain America: The First Avenger. I felt it pulled the period piece of brilliant. It was as exactly as pulpy as a Cap War film should be. And that's something Marvel have done really well. They don't just make superhero movies, but superheroes in other genres, which most of the best comics do as well. This time Cap was shifting away from pulp to my one of my most favourite genres. That of super spies. This film has a lot to live up to.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shadowrun Returns Again: Dragonfall

Remember a few months ago, when I got all crazy about Shadowrun Returns being the first big Kickstarter to get a release, and how I thought it was amazing? That was more or less the general consensus, but there was a contingent within the RPG community that had a few problems with it. Those problems were mostly about its linearity, lack of side quests, no save system and non-existent companions. Basically, things that you expect from an RPG.

Now we're in a post Broken Age and Broken Sword Part 1s world, and both left me feeling a little underwhelmed. They're great, but they're part of a bigger game, and what we have just feels undernourished. That wasn't the case with Shadowrun Returns. Except that maybe it is. As Harebrained Studios have released the first DLC, Dragonfall, and it was funded by the Kickstarter money too. More importantly, Dragonfall feels like the game that Shadowrun Returns was always meant to be.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Agents of SHIELD - T.A.H.I.T.I. review

Spoilers for episodes T.R.A.C.K.S. And T.A.H.I.T.I.

After apparent reveals of how Coulson's resurrection took place, a revelation that barely answered anything, suddenly we get a proper answer. And it's a rather horrifying one. In an episode that seemed to be about something else much more pressing. It seems Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally getting itself sorted. But this all came about because after last month's (bloody hell, four weeks between episodes? Fox's schedulers just hate Whedon, don't they.) action packed revelation of Deathlok and Skye getting a couple of bullets in the stomach.

Monday, March 03, 2014

The Last Phantom: My First Phantom comic

I've been a fan of The Phantom for who knows how long. I'm not even sure why. He was pretty boring in Defenders of the Earth. The Billy Zane film was campy fun, but not amazing by any stretch. I think it might be solely down Phantom 2040, the 90s show in the animated style of Aeon Flux. It was pretty epic. For all the love I have for The Ghost Who Walks, that's pretty much my entire exposure to the character. I've not even touched a comic, which for me is practically a sin. So it's about time I fixed that with The Last Phantom.

For those that don't know, The Last Phantom was a reboot by Dynamite Entertainment in a more modern setting (worryingly we're getting kinda close to someone doing that and it actually being 2040, and no crazy near future tech). The story of the Phantom always revolves around the Kit Walker, the latest Phantom, who takes over the mantle after the death of his father. But in The Last Phantom, that isn't what happens at all.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Arrow: Sharp and on point

Apparently I've not written about Arrow on here yet. Which I find amazing because it's probably the best moving picture* content DC is putting out right now. Over the last two years Arrow has become one of the my favourite programmes currently running. So I'm gonna spew random thoughts on the series to date, so I can look more closely in the future.

Ever since Kevin Smith rebooted him, and more explicitly Brad Meltzer did a run straight after, Green Arrow has been a one of the DC heroes I really enjoy. I've always liked the characters that have no powers, but hang with the big names. Batman sort of exemplifies that, but he's The God Damn Batman. He almost doesn't count. But Oliver Queen most certainly does**. Partly because of his social politics, and that they moved him so far away from just a Batman clone who uses a bow and arrow. So it's a little odd then that I love a show that puts him right back under the shadow of the Bat.

Monday, February 24, 2014

For The Greater Good, Spooks was rather bloody brilliant

As I said on Saturday, after three years I finally finished watching Spooks. Which I feel took me far too long for silly OCD collecting reasons (it involves the sizes of DVD cases). Ignoring that, Spooks might just be one of the best espionage programmes that has ever existed. At the very least, it was topped off by an absolute genius final season.

I'll admit I was kind of worried it wasn't going to be. While the first only had six episodes, proceeding series quickly jumped to ten. After five of them, it slipped back to eight because of ratings, and the final series was back down to six. I remember thinking at the time series 10 was announced as the final – I was probably into second or third season at that point – that less episodes and the lead female spy being swapped between seasons sounded like it was being given a slow death, despite all the claims it “was going out on top.” It would be a sad death for a show that had been amazing.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

It's Been A Long Time

Wow it's been a long time since I wrote anything here. Sorry about that. Life's been pretty busy and the blog slipped through the cracks. Mainly because at the end of January I moved back to Dundee. Which is awesome. And my renewed social life is one of the factors.

Unfortunately, my mostly hermit lifestyle in Scunthorpe resulted in my return to hanging out with people giving me one all mighty cold that knocked me on my arse for most of a week. There's also the flat has needed a fair bit of DIY and various other things have needed sorting now I live here. The little time I have found for writing has gone on stories or a part time gig I've got. Also, it's pretty great having easy access to a comic shop again.

Apart from the Hawkeye - which I never stopped picking up and is still immensely brilliant - I'm also getting the new X-Factor because PAD. Black Widow as the art is gorgeous and Nathan Edmondson knows how to do super-spies, but I've only managed to get the first issue so far because I arrived too late and having to pick up second printings. Also New Warriors for more standard superheroics, and it basically being a continuation of Scarlet Spider. As I get into more of them I'll probably have a post about them individually.

TV wise, especially during my cold, has carried on as normal, except I finally finished Spooks. But that definitely gets it's own post. I started King & Maxwell, a series cancelled after ten episodes. But so was Firefly and that was amazing, and I love David Baldacci's King & Maxwell series so I at least needed to try. So far, after the first episode, I can see why it was cancelled. And that one was an adaptation of The Sixth Man, which was great.

Gameswise I've been mostly grabbing the odd half hour in Forza Horizon, which is a fantastic racing game and makes up for Need For Speed: Most Wanted. The one time I have sat down properly with a game was Resonance, a Wadjet Eye published point and click which was bloody genius. While a slow start I hit the halfway point and couldn't stop playing. Easily one of the best point and clicks I've ever played. I feel a bit guilty that has sat in my Steam library for so long untouched.

I also have various plans in the fire for new projects, or returns to old ones. But more news as and when they happen.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Strategy Informer: Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD review

There's not a lot I can say about Assassin's Creed: Liberation here that I didn't say in the review, other than reiterate I am no ready to play Black Flag as soon as possible. Which will make more sense when you go read the review.

Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD review

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Agents of SHIELD and Disney's fear of big heroes

We're now into the back half of the first season of Agents of SHIELD, and everyone is still complaining that the show just isn't matching up to expectations or the movies that gave the series a chance to exist. The cast and crew are going all over the place for interviews to assure fans and viewers that they've listened, and that they have plans to address a lot of the worries. Though part of the problem is the producers are seeing "It doesn't live up to the movies" as that the audience expects movie style special effects or Captain America to join Coulson's team. That's not the problem at all. Just go look at Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. They're gripping drama on TV. Meanwhile Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels like a program that is stuck to the old approach to television.

I'll give the producers some credit. The mythology is starting to firm up a lot more now. Remember that first throwaway episode where Skye goes undercover with an arms dealer to rescue a scientist. That seemed to have no connection to ongoing plot, didn't it? Well now that arms dealer has been tied to the season's big bad, and that mad scientist is obviously going to return. Not to mention the episode with the exploding eyes also tying to Centipede. Though I still say you could make Centipede just a division of A.I.M. and not lose a single thing. In fact you'd be making the villainous organisation of Iron Man 3 look that little more badass and all encompassing. But that's not the problem I feel Agents of SHIELD really has. The main problem is that the producers are scared of wasting Marvel's catalogue.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How BeefJack changed my gaming

FTL was my last article for BeefJack as an regular writer. No doubt the odd article will still appear there. I already had a conversation with an editor about pitch or two. But as a regular contributor I'm done. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and would like to thank those I worked alongside, and I've made some pretty good friends along the way. As well as really improve my writing style, my time at BeefJack has also effected the way I appreciate games.

I've already covered how I switched from Console back to PC. I honestly thought I was straddling the fence, because writing about games means playing everything, but as the new generation launched, I look at what's available, and what's coming up and there's barely anything that really gets me excited on either platform. My inner Halo Fan-boy seems to have died, and my reaction to Xbox One was pretty much “:( now I'll miss out on Halo 5.”

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Spider-Man: Does What Ever a Parker Can!

If you ask my friends who my favourite superhero is, I think you'd get a lot of different answers. Nightwing was prominent for a long time. One has told me his theory of Cyclops or Captain America because of my whole 'leadership' thing. However, there's one, and only one, who I consider to be my ultimate Superhero. He has been my favourite for as long as I can remember. His was the first comic I ever bought, as well as the first American comic I bought. If I got offered super powers tomorrow, I'd pick his without a seconds thought. It is, of course, Spider-Man.

By Mauricio Herrera

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pizza and Camping

Since I'm in the middle of a review and don't have time for a blog, I figured I'd share a quick short story I wrote. This one was done for writing class with “story dice”. Three dice have various objects on them and you have to write a story about whatever comes up for you. Two of mine were pizza and camping. The third sealed the rest of the story...

Nobody was quite sure why Sullivan had brought pizzas on a camping trip. Actually, nobody was quite sure who had invited him along in the first place. He was considered to be a bit of an odd sort by most of his classmates. Which is putting it politely.

Either way, everyone figured they'd at least get a decent laugh when he insisted on cooking them on the campfire. A small crowd appeared to watch the spectacle, and join in the subsequent laughing.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Assassin's Creed - The problem with Desmond

As I prepare myself to once again dive into the Animus, I'm reminded of all the problems I've had with this series. Assassin's Creed is probably the one game I can find a different subject every day of the week to rant about. Mainly because I loved the series so much, and Ubisoft just screwed it right up. So today it's Desmond's turn.

I actually started out as a fan of Desmond. I loved the puzzle aspect and sneaking around the Abstergo office in AC1. But then I'm an adventure gamer at heart, and I love a good conspiracy. Huge spoilers from this point forward.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Game of the Year 2013

I seem to have lost a week there. Sorry about that. Things may be changing a bit here, and I lost sight of the blog in the middle of all that.

So before it get way past too late, My game of 2013. Now those who paid attention will have noticed that there was one big game of last year I failed to mention in my run up, so the winner is obvious. Grand Theft Auto 5.