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.