Tuesday, 15 November 2011

My life of love of Red Dwarf, and a week of sweating.

Okay, so I'm quite a big Doctor Who fan. But that's nothing compared to my love of Red Dwarf.

I've been a Red Dwarf fan for over 20 years. I first saw it at some point in 1988. I know this because I recognised the character of Kryten when he became a regular character in the third series because of his single appearance in an episode of series II. And I had memories of Norman Lovett's original Holly, as well.
It was one day in December 1989 that I can say I had my Dwarfian 'outing'. The 10-year-old me ran around the Intake First & Middle School playground, shouting, "What the Smeggin' Smeg's 'e Smeggin' done? He's Smeggin' killed me!" in a screechy Scouse accent, doing a very poor impersonation of Dave Lister, having seen the fourth episode of Series III, Bodyswap, the night before.

Red Dwarf III, Byte One: Backwards was the very first VHS videotape I ever bought. Red Dwarf I was the very first DVD I ever bought (I didn't even have a DVD Player at the time, I just needed to own it). The very first Blu-Ray I ever bought? Well, actually, It was a Back To The Future Trilogy Collector's Edition boxset. I don't have Back To Earth on Blu-Ray yet. I don't have a Blu-Ray Player - or a decent enough TV to warrant getting one - yet. My brother has the BtE Blu-Ray, though - I educate my siblings well.

Anyway, my point...do I have one? Probably, somewhere. I'll get to it sooner or later.
Oh yes - Red Dwarf is my favourite...thing...ever.

In March 1992, I was in a newsagent's with my Dad, when I saw a magazine, with Holly on the front. It was issue four of the Red Dwarf Smegazine. I had to have it. And I loved it. I've still got that magazine somewhere. Even the newsagents has long since disappeared - it's now a Chinese takeaway. I was a massive Red Dwarf fan. At school, everyone would ask me for the latest Red Dwarf news. This, of course, was before our lives were run by the internet. I read the Smegazine, so I knew. I was the biggest Red Dwarf fan I knew.

Yet, somehow, I managed to never attend a studio recording of the show. In 1993, when series VI was made, I was only 14, so I imagine I'd've been too young to attend a live recording. By the time Series VII was made, in 1996, it wasn't being made in front of a studio audience. But I'd written fan letters (from, ahem, "Simon '2X4B' Bromley") to Grant Naylor Productions, and got an invite to go to a special screening of a couple of episodes of Red Dwarf VII, and be part of the laugh-track recording! Alas, my mum wouldn't let me go down to London or wherever it was, so that was that.
1998 arrived, a new series was being made - in front of an audience - but I had absolutely no idea how to get tickets, so settled down to watch Series VIII on TV in February 1999, having now reached my twenties.

Then, all went quiet. Sure, the DVDs were released, and I finally managed to attend a couple of Dimension Jump conventions, meeting cast members, and others with the same affliction (stupidity) as myself.

Back To Earth was unleashed upon the public, thanks to digital channel Dave - BBC2 weren't interested in the kind of audience Red Dwarf used to attract - for Easter 2009 - a fair while since the previous series - but once again, there was no studio audience, not even a laugh track. It looked like that was it. I'd never see Red Dwarf live (Hey, I'm getting ahead of myself - at the time of writing, there's still a good chance that that might still be the case).

It was confirmed earlier this year (after a year of rumours, mostly started by Craig Charles not being able to keep his mouth shut) that a brand new, full, six part series would be recorded, for transmission in 2012.

Cue a few months of bombarding assorted sites - Red Dwarf, Dave, cast members - with ticket requests...

Then, on November 4th, the official Red Dwarf website announced that there would be an announcement about the new series the following week. Us loonies had a pretty fair idea (slash hope) what the anouncement would be. Then co-creator/writer/director Doug Naylor confirmed via Twitter on November 10th that, yes, the announcement would be about tickets, and even teased us with a few recording dates. That night, I was ridiculously excited about the coming events. I woke up during the night - 4:41am - checked the time, and Tweeted:
*yawn* What time is it? *checks* Oh. Less than seven hours til Red Dwarf fandom breaks the internet...

So. Friday 11th November. 11.30am, update time. The site wouldn't update. It seemed to take forever to appear(in fact, I think it was actually only about seven minutes late), but it was an announcement alright.

I drove my mum mad last friday. I booked my sister's laptop from around 11am. Opened several tabs - my email, the Red Dwarf site, Red Dwarf fansite Ganymede & Titan, my Twitter feed, Doug Naylor's Twitter feed...I was all over the place. I remember the phone rang at half past eleven exactly, and my mum asked me to pass it to her. I nearly exploded...

So, the announcement - a little after 11.30am -
We're very pleased to announce that in December 2011 and January 2012, all six episodes of Red Dwarf X will be filmed at Shepperton Studios in front of a live audience.

We were to register with Lost In TV Audience Services, and then, from 2pm, we could apply for free audience tickets for RED DWARF X.

So, after registering with the site (I think I was all done by twenty to twelve), spending a little while getting our breath back, and posting on Twitter and assorted internet forums about how excited we were, we could all dare to relax for a couple of hours.

So. Approximately 1:45pm. I've got the laptop again, and all the assorted tabs open. Red Dwarf, Lost In TV (homepage), Lost In TV (Red Dwarf page),email, G&T, my Twitter, Doug's Twitter, Robert Llewellyn's Twitter, Danny John Jules's Twitter, the RD Fan Club's Twitter, Lost In TV's Twitter, Lost In TV's Facebook page, my Facebook page... I was almost a gibbering wreck.

And we, the assembled hordes of Red Dwarf fans, broke the internet.

The Lost in TV site couldn't handle it. It crashed almost immediately. We refreshed and refreshed, it wasn't having any of it. We shared our woes with everyone else in the same boat over on the forums, then went back and refreshed the Lost In TV site. Then, some fifteen minutes since I'd pressed the refresh button for the first time,I noticed a Tweet from Lost In TV:
Red Dwarfers: you can book for tickets by sending an e-mail instead[...]

So that was it. My e-mail application for a pair of tickets to the 20th January 2012 recording of Red Dwarf X (it's my 33rd birthday on Jan 19th - I figured this would be a great gift to myself), enclosing my name and newly acquired Lost In TV membership number, was sent at eighteen minutes past two, last Friday afternoon.

Since then, not a great deal. I've had a couple of Tweets from Lost In TV (who've treated applicants brilliantly this week, from what I've seen), one replying to a Tweet of mine checking that I'd included enough info in my e-mail (I had), and another stating that they thought 2:18pm would be early enough to have bagged myself a couple of tickets. Here's hoping.

News has broken today that tomorrow will see the first batch of confirmation emails being sent from Lost In TV. Rather brilliantly, they will e-mail everyone who has applied over the course of the week, letting us poor saps know if we've been successful, or if, regretfully, we haven't.

I am, of course, going to go mad, whatever happens, tomorrow. Having signed up for Lost In TV's mailing list when I registered, I received an email from them today, and nearly wet myself, only to find that it was merely information about The Mad Bad Ad Show on Channel Four.

It's been a mad week to be a Red Dwarf fanatic. But it's been rather brilliant, in it's odd little way. Roll on that e-mail...

UPDATE: Wednesday, November 16th 2011, 11:36am.

The e-mail arrived this morning at 9:48am, a good couple of hours before I was expecting it. Ridiculously, it took me twenty minutes before I saw it.

Dear Simon,

Thank you for your application for 2 ticket(s) for the recording of RED DWARF

We're very pleased to let you know that you have been successful in getting tickets for Fri 20 January

So there. I do so love a happy ending.

EXTRA: You can read about my resulting Night At The Dwarf here.

The Doctor Who Movie - a few thoughts...

Okay, we've read the reports about the proposed Doctor Who Movie, helmed by David Yates.

I don't think it'll happen anytime soon, but I'm not particularly keen on the idea, to be honest.

I mean, I don't really have an idea with it being seperate from the TV series. But if Yates wants this to be a reboot or reimagining or whatever he said - I don't have the article to hand, I'm hurrying up - then that means that at least a third of the movie will need to be backstory - a cinema audience isn't content just to know that he's a time-travelling alien, it wants to know a bit about him. I'm not saying that everything we've learnt over the past 48 years will need to go into a movie, but it needs a bit of a set-up.

Also - the TARDIS. If this is seperate from the TV show, with no links whatsoever, there is absolutely no need for the TARDIS to be a Police Box. But, to us at least, the TARDIS is a Blue Box, that's a simple fact. There's far too much stuff to think about for me to go into here, but I just think there's a lot of stuff for a single movie to cover.

Will be back later...

EDIT: 7:16pm - Right, I'm back. Not much to add, really, but here are the actual news reports.

First, the original piece, from Variety: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118046098

then, reports from Den of Geek: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/1131244/doctor_who_movie_pressing_ahead_david_yates_directing.html

And, finally, from the BBC itself: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15730665

So, at least you can read them and make your own mind up...

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Did I really used to live like this?

I've been looking for stuff that's scattered through the information super highway that's got my name attached in some way.
At various points, though I'm no tech-head (as proven by my use of the term 'tech-head'), I've been online in various guises, set up websites, blogs etc, written and drawn stuff (mostly involving Red Dwarf or Doctor Who) and then forgotten all about them, and the web addresses have been lost and everything's been lost/ignored/scrapped etc.

I was looking for them as I wanted to somehow archive them here. I even found an old Ganymede & Titan article where Ian thanks me a couple of times, but here's an old 'home' website of mine. Nothing too grand, but there's a nice page of links there, most of which are worth a look (such as the "Doctor Who?" site from 'Rose'), some of them even still work.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Twenty Twelve.

That's not the BBC Four comedy (though it is very good), I merely refer to next year.

I want to do something next year. Properly do something. People I know do things. Good things. They have decent jobs and enjoy themselves. They have nice lives and go to nice places. I, on the other hand, live off a sick note, have epileptic seizures and diabetic hypos at regular intervals (last fit - last friday night), and haven't had a girlfriend since January 2000.

So, as I've no money for christmas presents, New Year's Day 2012 seems a good time to try and sort something out with my life. Trying to sort this blog out would be a nice start. I'd like to update it more regularly, and make it...I don't know. Witty? Informative? I'd certainly like to do something with mycyberself. So, I may as well do it here. Try and redesign this blog, set out a kind of mission statement, that kind of thing.

We'll see. This is step one. Hopefully...

Sunday, 16 October 2011


Started watching all 2005+ episodes of Doctor Who back in January, and Tweeted my thoughts about them. I then took all those Tweets and posted them in their own thread on the Doctor Who Magazine Facebook Discussion board. As Facebook are getting rid of Discussion boards, I thought I'd transfer the whole thread here, with no editing, so it may well look a mess...

Topic: "#c21who" - Doctor Who (2005-present) Watchathon (of possible interest to Time Team?)Reply to topic
Displaying posts 1 – 30 out of 46.12Next

Simon Keith Bromley
I'm currently watching all the 'NuWho' episodes, 2005-present, one per day. I started on 25th January with Rose, and the plan is that I should reach A Christmas Carol on April 8th, which should (hopefully) be the day before the new series starts. I'm Tweeting about it (@bromley001) and tagging the Tweets with #c21who. Then, after each episode I simply write a single Tweet with my thoughts.Not a full review,but just a few words.
Feel free to join in (I've no set time for each episode, I just try to squeeze it in each day).

I'll post my 'comments' Tweets here, and update them every day (Feel free to use any of them in future issues, Time Team!)

So. #DoctorWho #c21who - Rose. That was nice.Watched it with commentary a couple of months ago,but not just watched it properly for a while.

The End Of The World:
#c21who Really enjoyed that.I think of TEotW as 'meh',but this is Roses 1st trip,&seeing the start of her personal journey's fab. #DoctorWho

The Unquiet Dead:
#c21who Ah,The Unquiet Dead.Always been a favourite,it's just been a good while since I sat and watched it.Quality. :) #DoctorWho

Aliens Of London:
#c21who AoL.Silly,yes,but not bad at all.Nice pace,the spaceship looks great,tho some ropey CG with the 1st Slitheen appearance. #DoctorWho

World War Three:
#c21who So,WW3.Not as good as AoL.Seems twice as long as it should be,and an oddly downbeat ending.Not great. #DoctorWho

#c21who So,Dalek.Not seen that for a while.A really nice story,the Dalek's death surprisingly touching.Good stuff. #DoctorWho

The Long Game:
#c21who TLG.Still no fave,average at best.Adam&Cathica aren't likable at all.It goes downhill after 'He's Your Boyfriend'. #DoctorWho

Father's Day:
#c21who Fathers Day.Nice ep,but one Ive never liked as much as everyone else seems to.Dr says he's no plan,which makes me think'why bother?'

Gonna watch The Empty Child later. will post Tweet here (and on Twitter, of course). Hope you don't mind.
about 8 months ago

Simon Keith Bromley
The Empty Child:
#c21who TEC.What's not to like?Spooky kid!Catchphrases!John Barrowman!Victor Meldrew!Heather from EastEnders!Brilliant. #DoctorWho
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Simon Keith Bromley
The Doctor Dances:
#c21who TDD.Good action,nice tension(Typewriter sc.-great,despite only being written to pad out the ep!).Funny,scary&touching. #DoctorWho

Boom Town:
#DoctorWho A #c21who first-multiTweet! Boom Town has such a bad rep,and it's actually a great episode!Brilliant comic touches-silly,never...
...stupid-and some particularly good acting,especially @noelclarke-Boom Town is a real turning point for Mickey... #DoctorWho #c21who
...I've not watched Boom Town for a good while,but I'm really glad I've watched it again today. #DoctorWho #c21who
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Simon Keith Bromley
Bad Wolf:
#c21who BW.The main thing about this is that it *feels* like a first half,it's building towards something BIG.Witty,but tense. #DoctorWho
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Simon Keith Bromley
The Parting Of The Ways:

(The end of the season brings ten Tweets, edited together as follows:)

#DoctorWho #c21who TPOTW.A mini-epic in itself.The Dalek Religion idea is a little OTT-RTD isn't afraid to handle religion,despite being an Atheist,but this didn't sit quite right.Rose's dislike of Lynda is nicely played.Jack,Mickey & Jackie all play important parts this ep,and the resolution(?) of the Bad Wolf arc is interesting. The Doctor's actions in sending Rose home are heartbreaking.His face as he steps out of the TARDIS and makes it vanish let us know he has no hope of victory.As for the resolution,Billie gives an excellent performance,portraying Rose as a determined but ultimately naive young girl, leaving the Doctor with very little choice.As for the regeneration itself-well,it's a shame we knew all about it for 3mths,but it was nicely realised,and must've been amazing for kids who'd never seen one before. Chris Eccleston was a great Doctor,and it was a shame we only had him for 13weeks.As for the new fella - ...well,I can't see him being as popular.David Tennant?Who's this skinny piece of piss?He won't last long... ;) #DoctorWho #c21who TPOTW
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about 8 months ago

Simon Keith Bromley
Right, I have been watching, and I have been Tweeting. Discovered TwitLonger a week or two ago, so the Tweets are now a bit longer and a bit more detailed. If you're interested...enjoy!

Children in Need:
#DoctorWho #c21who So,CiN to start with.Nice little intro to David Tennant's Doctor.Shame about the sound cock-up on the DVD,mind.

The Christmas Invasion:
#DoctorWho #c21who TCI.A wonderful way to introduce the 10th Doctor,by only giving him 20mins of action!Plus a Pre-titles 'Doctor Who?'

New Earth:
#c21who NE.OK,but the 'spreading the cure' thing never quite worked for me.The Cat makeup is great,DT&BP show flair for comedy. #DoctorWho

Tooth and Claw:
#c21who TaC.What a great ep.Tense story,great scares,& some nice wit too.Plus Torchwood!DT has really settled into the role now. #DoctorWho

School Reunion:
#c21who SR.Not a great story,but there's a lot to love.The magic of The Doctor being introduced to Sarah Jane,the genuine thrill of Sarah Jane seeing the TARDIS.Tony Head is a delight,&I shed a tear as the Doctor bade farewell.However, the montage of the kids typing away:1 was unnecessary,but 2?!But Sarah&K9-give that girl a spinoff!Hell,*and* the dog! #c21who #DoctorWho
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Simon Keith Bromley
The Girl In The Fireplace:
#DoctorWho #c21who TGITF.A lovely story,with lovely performances by the leads.The mechanical creatures are beautifully realised,and the script is peppered with real wit and a nice(if a little hard to comprehend)love story.There are also real scares-when we are first introduced to the creature under Reinette's bed,I jumped a mile!-and Mickey's sense of wonder on his first journey is great.Interesting though to note,after reading of the similarities between The Eleventh Hour and A Christmas Carol,how similar again this story is (The Doctor meets a child,returns a short time later to find the child grown up).A good episode,with a nice ending,yet,despite being 99% better than most crap on the TV,not @steven_moffat's best Who episode.
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Simon Keith Bromley
Rise of the Cybermen:
#DoctorWho #c21who So,ROTC.I'll be honest,not one of my favourites.The writing's not *that* bad,but there's just so much that's,well,a bit crap.Lumic is just something of a Davrosalike,and Roger Lloyd Pack is awful in this.There's some dodgy acting(not from my Uni classmate Rachel,of course,who gets a close up of her own,bless),and the episode drags.I looked at the clock to see if it had nearly finished,it was only halfway through.There a couple of nice touches-Mickey(who,conveniently has had a haircut-there must be a barber-s on the TARDIS)has a nice story,and The Lion Sleeps Tonight has never sounded so sinister.Overall though,not a great episode.

The Age of Steel:
#DoctorWho #c21who So,TAoS. Sorry, not great. Lloyd-Pack's still hamming it up,The Cyberman remembering that it was Jackie is awful,and other certain developments,like the fact that Mickey has gone from being half decent with computers to a technical whizz, and the TARDIS dropping off at the Tylers' flat at the end- well,it's really very cheesy in a lot of places. I don't particularly like Jake,but maybe that's just me,and it's a shame Mrs Moore had to die. Likewise,it's a shame Mickey stays behind-it seems a bit of a waste after only three episodes as a 'proper' companion, and his decision to stop there seems very odd and unexpected,although his goodbye scene is nicely handled.The CG of the Upgrade station is very good too, but as a whole, not one of my favourite stories.
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Simon Keith Bromley
The Idiot's Lantern:
#DoctorWho #c21who TIL.A difficult one this.It's an entertaining enough episode,but(much as I adore @markgatiss)it's also a very *average* episode.The Wire is a very annoying villain,and Eddie Connolly is a very cartoony character.The threat doesn't feel real enough,and the resolution...meh.There are some good points - Rose - when she has her face - has some great lines, and this new Doctor and Rose have now got a great partnership going.It has the feel of a classic series story at times - one can imagine the seventh Doctor and Ace running around in this story - but it lacks a little of the 'umph' of other new episodes. Oh, and sorry, but David Tennant's hair looks awful.
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Simon Keith Bromley
The Impossible Planet:
#DoctorWho #c21who TIP is criminally underrated.An excellent story,very well written with likable and believable characters.In The Ood,we have arguably the best,most imaginitive and well realised creatures in Doctor Who ever,certainly since it's return.The setting and situation of the Sanctuary Base is belivable and tense,with a real feeling that these people *do* live and work together.Some great lines in the script,too-'the best Christmas Walford's ever had' is a particular favourite.The threat feels real,yet different and dark.The Doctor and Rose's relationship is at it's strongest here,and one of the strongest instances of an attraction between the two.I can't praise this story enough.The only real tragedy is the death of Scooti,because she was *fit*... ;)

The Satan Pit:
#DoctorWho #c21who TSP.A great conclusion to the story.And Rose is on cracking form this episode.She's so different to the shop girl we met when the series started-that's not because she's been written badly,to behave in a way that the character shouldn-t.It's because she's really grown as a character,as a *person*.She's been around a bit now,and travelling with The Doctor has made her grow up.See how she takes charge as the Ood advance-not barking orders,but thinking outside the box(excuse the pun) and making everyone think, just as the Doctor would.It's episodes like this when you see just what a great companion Rose is, and how good an actress Billie is. David Tennant, meanwhile, is in his element as The Doctor, down in the pit with the titular demon. The fact that the beast exists through myth,legend and belief,and that the question of who or what it really is is never really answered by the Doctor,but left vague is not simply lazy storytelling - any writer attempting to explain away The Devil would have to be a fool. Indeed, this is a brilliantly written story by Matt Jones - brave,too - and it's a shame we've not had more from him. Some great moments - when a red eyed Toby turns to the Ood in the tunnels, it is a bit of a shock - and The Doctor referring to himself and Rose as 'The stuff of legend' after they've spent the whole of the episode working to get each other back is wonderful. Not even the Doctor's bit-too-handy discovery of the TARDIS is a problem.It's great.A brilliant story.
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Simon Keith Bromley
Love & Monsters:
#DoctorWho #c21who L&M,then.Not that bad an episode,really-as the first example of a double-banked episode,it necessitates a format change,and the video diary/flashback works well enough.Flashbacks to the events of previous episodes work well,and are very funny,and for little more than a cameo appearance,The Hoix is a great monster (and the ensuing scene is great). I think Peter Kay is great as a rule, but here he just doesn't work-Mr Kennedy looks too fake,and the Abzorbaloff...well,it's a nice enough idea,and well done to the kid who designed it,but the costume looks a bit,well,crap.Camille Coduri probably saves the episode-Jackie's scenes with Elton are sweet and Funny,and ultimately sad,but always well performed.We find out a lot about Jackie this episode,and it's interesting to see her at home while Rose and the Doctor are away.And while we feel for her when tells Elton to leave,it's a shame because we know that Elton does genuinely like her.Not the best Doctor-lite episode - Turn Left and,of course,Blink were a lot better - but certainly not a bad Doctor Who episode. Shame about the 'love life' (read: blow job) gag at the end, though.
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Simon Keith Bromley
Fear Her:
#DoctorWho #c21who FH.I don't like this episode very much,and I don't really know why.It contains one of my favourite sight gags ever (the TARDIS having to reland because The Doctor can't get out), and there are some brilliant lines and interplay between Dfoctor and Rose.The writer is Matthew Graham,who brought us Life On Mars,yet there are certain things that just don't work. I don't like Chloe Webber very much,though I can see that she's clearly a good little actress. Huw Edwards' commentary is corny as hell.The whole idea regarding the drawings is good,but ultimately,not realised quite as well as it could be.The threat of Chloe's Dad is built up,but then resolved rather too easily,and his threats sound comical rather than scary.We get a sense of the dark events to come in the finale at the end (as well as Freema Agyeman's first appearance,in the Next Time trailer!), and I don't think there can be a single Whovian who *doesn't* want David Tennant to light the Olympic Flame next year. :) An alright episode,but one that screams filler.
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Simon Keith Bromley
Army Of Ghosts:
#DoctorWho #c21who AoG.As the start of a two part finale,this is an excellent episode.It starts with Rose's prologue - "This is the story of how I died" which draws you in immediately (especially as most people knew Billie was leaving, then we've got of comedy back home with Jackie (though the Ghostbusters bit in the TARDIS is awful-David Tennant sounds like Scooby Doo),then a bit of mystery with the 'Ghosts' and the introduction proper of Torchwood (note the use of the Torchwood series theme). DT has a good episode here - he utters 'Allons-y!' For the first time, and The Doctor is at his wild best inside Torchwood - although his accent does become a little 'cockney barrow boy' at times. The reveal of The Daleks at the end is great (although the Void Ship always did look a bit Dalekesque if you ask me), as is the return of Mickey - a real surprise, and one that is met with a cheer,which it certainly wouldn't have been 15 months earlier. So, a great first half, bring on part two! (Doomsday tomorrow - better stock up on the tissues...)

#DoctorWho #c21who Doomsday. *sobs*

#DoctorWho #c21who Doomsday.What a finale.This episode has everything.Daleks v Cybermen - what's not to like? When the two are having a good old bitch-off with each other,it's brilliant,even though-perhaps even because-the dialogue is a little cheesy ("You are better at dying!"). Again, the pretitle sequence reminds us not only of what's gone before, but that this is Rose's story of Torchwood, and of how she died, letting us know what's at stake. Billie plays a blinder in this episode, from her glee at telling the Daleks of how she destroyed the Emperor,through her sheer bloody mindedness in refusing to leave the Doctor,and finally the sense of devestation she-and the viewer-feels when she realises she'll never see the Doctor again. There are some great moments in this episode though. I defy anyone to watch the scene where Jackie and Pete meet without a huge grin on their face. (I love Mickey's and The Doctor's faces as Jackie tells Pete that there was never anyone else...) @Murraygold's music is outstanding this episode - I still find it difficult to listen to the 'Doomsday' theme (OST s1/2,Track 27,music fans) without welling up-a beautiful piece of music. In fact,almost the whole of the final ten minutes has you in tears-the sense of loss felt by both Rose and The Doctor is so believable, you can feel it yourself. The Doctor's reaction to Rose telling him she loves him - "Quite right, too" - is beautifully delivered by David Tennant, who has an outstanding first season in the role, a part he seems destined to have played. Add to this Donna's surprise appearance (genuinely surprising-how many of us knew about Catherine Tate's involvement with the show at this point?If only they'd managed to keep the same level of secrecy about the new face on board the TARDIS the year before...) and The Doctor's first "What?What??WHAT???" ending, and I think we have ourselves a classic, and one that Kleenex shareholders adore. Beautiful. Did I mention that?
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Simon Keith Bromley
The Runaway Bride:
#DoctorWho #c21who TRB. I like this episode. It's not brilliant, or the greatest piece of drama ever written, but I like it. It's *fun*. It's a bit of silly,fun,entertaintainment for Christmas Day evening. Donna is a funny character, and her partnership with the Doctor is great - the two characters (and actors, for that matter) bounce off each other to great effect. However, the actual storyline involving the Racnoss is a bit weak to my mind - the Empress, despite looking great, is a bit Panto Villain. Catherine Tate proves herself to be a great actress, which I imagine surprised many people who thought her to be stunt casting. A nice runaround for Christmas, and, while giving a marvellous performance throughout, David Tennant's delivery of that final line is just heartbreaking.
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Simon Keith Bromley
Right, I'm back. The first few episodes of season three:

Smith and Jones:
#DoctorWho #c21who SaJ.A Nice season opener.A good introduction to the new companion - and her family - all in one scene,some great looking new aliens in The Judoon,and an amusing "cheap trick" involving Time Travel. Interesting that Martha *really* becomes a companion when the Doctor grabs her hand and says "run!" just like when he met Rose.Nothing too complicated,but we meet Martha, and, as Martha meets The Doctor, so do any latecomers to the party, learning that he's an Alien, He's a Time Lord, he has two hearts, has a Time/SpaceShip called the TARDIS (which is bigger on the inside) and has recently lost his friend Rose. Also,the last few years have seen Alien activity,including a spaceship crashing into Big Ben, Cybermen, and odd occurrences over Christmas. There-who needs the last two years? Not outstanding,but a good little runaround of a season opener that does it's job.
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Simon Keith Bromley
The Shakespeare Code:
#DoctorWho #c21who TSC. Another likable enough adventure, but one that's only 'okay'. While it's 'weaning' Martha in, in both episodes so far, The Doctor is at pains to point out that Martha is not a replacement for Rose, sometimes blindly ignoring or insulting Martha in the process. The idea of magic and witchcraft is nice enough, and the Shakespearean setting is well realised, both physically and in the script. Shakespeare is played well, shown as both a ladies' man (and mans man too), and a genius of some esteem - this latter point perhaps being overplayed at times, especially in his knowledge of who the Doctor and Martha really are. There are some nice things here though - I perticularly like the use of Back to the Future as an explanation of how the past can change, and Harry Potter references throughout, eventually ridding The Globe of the Carrionites/wicked Witches. A fun explanation as to what really happened to Love Labour's Won, but not the greatest episode. I fancy, too, that Martha won't have quite won *everybody* over yet(except my dad, who's quite the Freema fan...).
about 8 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
#DoctorWho #c21who Gridlock.I remember being rather nonplussed by this episode upon it's first transmission.Although that was because I'd had a fit that morning and spent the afternoon in an A&E department in Rotherham,desperately wanting to be home in time for Doctor Who.Home in time I was,but was rather too groggy to comprehend what was actually going on.Anyway, enough about me, what of the episode? Well, just like with Rose, The Doctor starts by giving Martha a trip each way, past and future. The fact that he's taking her to places he's been with Rose grates with Martha a little,and is nicely played.In fact, there are a few similarities - just as in Rose's first trip to the future, here Martha realises that she knows nothing about The Doctor, and she's billions of years from home,and her family have no idea where she is. The Moods are an interesting idea, though Forget, Sleep and Honesty are hardly moods are they? And Bliss? Also the name of a designer drug in the Red Dwarf novel almost 20 years earlier... But it's a decent enough episode, some nice supporting Characters, a monster from the sixties, and a turn from the Face of Boe that would turn out to be a season changing revalation. Not bad, but we still haven't had a stand out episode this series yet.
about 8 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Daleks In Manhattan:
#DoctorWho #c21who DiM. *sigh* So much of this series so far has been Doctor Who by numbers. Quirky adventure to introduce new companion? Check. Trip to the past to meet famous historical figure? Check. Trip to the future, meeting some old acquaintances along the way? Check. Now it's the Daleks' turn. I'll get this off my chest straightaway - I hate this story. And Russell T Bloody Davies - of whom I am a massive fan - has made me feel guilty for doing so, after comments he makes in The Writer's Tale of how writer Helen Raynor made the mistake of visiting chatrooms following the broadcast and was faced with the wrath of diehard Whovians who thought it was ****. She took it badly and cried a lot. Well, I'm sorry, I'm sure she's a very good writer, but I can't stand it. I wouldn't be watching it again if I wasn't doing this daily viewing project, that's for sure. To be fair, if I was looking at the script, I don't know if I'd think it was that bad. It's just in practice, this story is horrible. The accents - some of them are awful, and the ones that are real American accents tend to grate. And the pigs? The make up is very good, but in the end, they're pigs, and look ****ing stupid. You look at the guy playing Laszlo - he seems a decent, handsome guy. Add Uber Spock ears, a snout and tusklike teeth, and he doesn't look monstrous, he looks ridiculous. While watching this, I knew I had to find something decent about it to make this Tweet vaguely subjective, and not just a rant about why I hate it. So: that thing with the motif on the lift doors being like the Dalek eyestalk? Well that looks nice, I like that. And the coming together of Diagoras and Sec - the effect looks awful, and the final 'evolved' Human-Dalek Sec is laughable. I'm sorry. I just can't stand it. And now I've got to watch the second part, so as not to prolong the agony for too long.

Evolution of the Daleks:
#DoctorWho #c21who EotD. To be fair, the second half of this story isn't as bad as the first. Ouch, that hurt. No, there are actually some interesting ideas in this episode. Sec embracing his new human attributes is different to the self loathing experienced by the titular creature in Dalek, when it began to experience the effect of humanity. The fact that The Doctor begins to trust Sec and believe that he can change the nature of the Dalek race means that the viewer has an idea of where their loyalties should lie. Interesting too is the mutany by Daleks Caan, Thay and Jast. The way that when the two Daleks dicuss their doubts about Sec,one of them looks all around to check they are alone (you almost expect to hear "psst-listen...") is actually a really nice touch. Also interesting is the fact thatan although the Doctor knows that the bolt passing through him will throw Time Lord DNA into the mix, he doesn't dream of trying to recreate *his* own race.So, all in all, still not brilliant - the Sec headpiece isn't too magnificent, and makes it difficult for the character to portray any real emotion.The new series' first *real* stinker - and that's coming after Fear Her. A Dalek story to forget. (One final nitpick-A Dalek tells the pigslaves to take the lift.They're in Manhattan-surely that should be 'elevator'?
about 8 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Eek, it's been a month since I posted here. That's cos I'm usually on my mobile and can't access discussion boards. I had a holiday, so I'm up to The Doctor's Daughter now. Not gonna post all my postings now, but here's a few to catch up:

The Lazarus Experiment:
#DoctorWho #c21who TLE. Not a bad episode. Again we have similarities with Rose's journey - Back home, approximately 12 hours after leaving (even though the Doctor was a bit out last time). This is where elements which will shape the rest of the series are placed - more mentions of Harold Saxon, Martha's mother and the mysterious men (and women) in black... and more importantly - to the viewer - this is where the season picks up a little. We have @markgatiss making an appearance (in Dr Chinnery's wig) and though the old man make up isn't great, and the CGI involving putting Gatiss' face on the monster is a waste of time - you can't tell it's him - it's still a nice story. Nice nod to Pertwee with the 'reverse the polarity' line, this is a good little runaround, and though no masterpiece, probably the best of this series so far.

#DoctorWho #c21who 42. I really like this episode. It seems to be quite overlooked, but it's got a nice gimmick in being in'real time' (more or less-hence the titular tribute to '24'[and possibly Douglas Adams]), and the danger - falling into a sun- is there for us all to see, and feels very real because of it. There are similarities to The Satan Pit (losing access to the TARDIS, for example), but it stands as a good bitesized piece of 21st Century Doctor Who. Without a doubt, the greatest thing about this story is when the Doctor gets infected - the fact that he is so scared himself provides the viewer with a genuine fright, and it's a brilliant performance from David Tennant. Martha too has a good episode, and keeps a reasonably clear head in a crisis - still, that's doctors for you. Graeme Harper helms the episode superbly, and Chris Chibnall -whose contribution to series five I hated - has written a great episode here, nailing the Doctor's character and speech patterns. Good stuff.
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Human Nature:
#DoctorWho #c21who HN. Okay, get ready for a gushing. This is simply an outstanding episode. Not only a brilliant episode of Doctor Who, but an outstanding piece of Drama, full stop. Marvellous performances from Tennant, Agyeman and Jessica Hynes, and Paul Cornell has adapted his novel (which I *still* haven't read) so well-the story is so well plotted, moving at exactly the correct pace. The blossoming romance between Smith and Joan is played beautifully, and Martha's helplessness in having to watch events unfold around is wonderfully sad. The scene where we find out what the Doctor has done to himself, told in snatches of flashback is so well done, and, as in 42, seeing the Doctor scared and in pain instills in the viewer an unnerving sense of the threat and the seriousness of the situation. The Journal is a wonderful thing for the fanboys - glimpses of stories, aliens, *Doctors* past is a visual treat not dared dreamt of. Everything about this episode is superb. The only small problem, for me, if I'm going to nitpick, is that the first mention of Nurse Redfearn's late husband's death is a little clumsy. But the rest of the episode more than makes up for for that. The tributes to Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert, for example - small but brilliant details. I can't praise this enough - I shall have to stop now before I run out of superlatives.

The Family Of Blood:
#DoctorWho #c21who TFoB. Another fabulous 45 minutes. So much of this story is aliens, scarecrows and tales of the Doctor. Yet it is so very much a human story, about human feelings, about love and war. It is the human side to this story that is compelling, and ultimately heartbreaking. Smith's sheer terror of The Doctor, of this alien being is so real. When Martha and Latimer tell Smith about the Doctor, he doesn't want to believe it, he wants to be John Smith. And though we, naturally, want The Doctor to save the day - and know that, of course, The Doctor *has* to return by the end of the episode - when Smith 'becomes' the Doctor on board The Family's ship, it is both brilliant and heartbreaking, because the man - John Smith - has given up his life and his love in order to save the day. The moment he stands in the kitchen, holding the watch, and he 'slips into' The Dfoctor is one of despair for Smith as he realises that the stories in his Journal are true, and in the scene 'afterwards', between The Doctor and Joan, your heart lies with Joan, and you get a sense of how selfish she thinks The Doctor has been. Minor flaws - namely the "all those years ago" line in the trenches, when the boys look, well, like boys - cannot stop this from being one of the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time. Simply brilliant.
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
#DoctorWho #c21who Blink. When Love & Monsters aired in 2006 we (mostly) forgave it's...inadequacies...because it was a cost-cutting, 'double-banked', 'Doctor-lite' episode, a one-off where the focus was on an entirely new character, not The Doctor, who barely featured at all. Fast forward a year, and we get Blink. *This* is how it's done.
Steven Moffat gets the premise of this story from his own short story about Sally Sparrow, from the 2006 Doctor Who annual (I've just reread it-it's great). As he's proved with series 5, Moffat really knows how to use time paradoxes that leave the viewer saying "that's brilliant" as opposed to "that's stupid and makes no sense". The one-sided conversation is brilliantly worked out, so that the lines which we hear more than once work in more than one situation. What could be a silly little runaround works because of a clever, *funny* writer.
And then there's The Weeping Angels. Surely the most memorable of all 'new series' Who monsters, destined to become classics, up there with nasties like Daleks and Cybermen, Yetis and Bonnie Langford. Their defence system, of turning to stone when seen (and free to strike when unobserved) is simple yet so effective, and so *scary*.It works.And I'm sure I can't be the only one who watches scenes like the one with the Angels advancing on Larry in the house with an unflinching stare.
The Doctor's limited appearances in this story are worked in so well, and after a slow start to series 3, we've now just had *two* classic stories back to back.
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
#DoctorWho #c21who Utopia. I like this episode. Even though it's primary function is to act as a prologue to the season finale, reintroducing Jack and The Master, it begins as a nice tale of hope. Even the infodumps - Jack telling Martha about his adventures with The Doctor, The Doctor telling Jack what happened to Rose - don't feel intrusive. And the way elements from the past few episodes (The Face of Boe's final words, TheChamelion Arch and The Watch) are linked to the episode is really well written. Derek Jacobi's turn as Yana is great, as he plays a tired old man, but his brief stint as The Master makes an immediate impact. The Master's return may have been a badly kept secret, but it doesn't lessen the impact.
And of course, there's Jack. Barrowman! *shakes fist* JB obviously loves being here, and, thankfully, has left the brooding Captain Jack of Torchwood in Cardiff. Despite this being his first episode with David Tennant's Doctor, the Tenth Doctor and Jack have an immediate rapport, and a great instance of where you really can believe that the 2 different Doctors Jack has met are the same man. With Jack's return, and talk of Rose, Martha's integration to the TARDIS crew over the last few episodes comes undone, and as she finds out more about The Doctor and Rose, she feels, once again, like an outsider. Excellent performances all round (special praise for John Bell, who won his part as Creet in a Blue Peter competition, and gives an assured performance), and a lovely script, with some genuine tension and some nice laughs along the way. A shame that the futurekind don't come out quite as threatening and scary as I'm sure they were meant to, but, with a great cliffhanger, this is a great start to what turns out to be the new series' first three parter.

The Sound Of Drums:
#DoctorWho #c21who TSoD. A great opener to what promises to be an explosive finale. John Simm is brilliant as The Master - this man is a complete maniac, and Simm plays it so convincingly. He's allowed to behave OTT, but never out of character. This isn't The Master of old - he's been resurrected, been thrown into the most ferocious war ever, run away, lived a lifetime not knowing who he was, all the while being driven mad by the drumbeat in his head. He is MAD. The Master is a scheming, technically brilliant Genius, but with sinister plans, yet can play the fool with the flick of a switch - the screaming drowned out by the door in Downing Street is both terrible and hilarious. His acceptance of his insanity as he gases the Cabinet is mind blowing. He has a politician's demeanour, with the grin of a madman. And it is great.
The coming together of assorted strands from across the series - Professor Lazarus, The Master's sinister workers, who have being tracking The Doctor and Martha through her Mother these past few weeks, as well as Torchwood - it's handled really well. The explosion which destroys Martha's flat, as well as the car scene which follows is spectacular, and the nods to the classic series - the Master's coat and his cape of old, and the scenes recreating the Time Lords and Gallifrey - are beautifully done. Dear Lucy Saxon - naïve little Lucy - dancing as the Earth is destroyed (Voodoo Child is an inspired choice), and the Doctor aged - the make-up looks great (in most shots, at least) and as the world faces an impending doom, we are left with not just a cliffhanger - a proper "how the Hell are they gonna get out of *this*?" Cliffhanger, but a final cut to a black screen. A breathtaking episode, with a great villain, and an excellent way to begin the end...

Last Of The Time Lords:
#DoctorWho #c21who LotTL. Series 3 has been a very strange thing. The first six episodes weren't really up to much. Things improved with the next six, including two classic stories, to be talked about in Doctor Who fandom for decades to come. Then came Utopia, and the return of the Master, leading into the penultimate episode, full of devestation and a truly cliffhanging cliffhanger...then this starts with 'One Year Later'. Hardly a resolution. We're halfway through seeing it resolved. Modern Doctor Who series finales are generally something spectacular. And though this has the invasion and destruction of Earth, with The Doctor powerless to do anything, it just doesn't achieve. It tries too hard and ends up as something of a mess. The dialogue between Martha and Tom, as well as the Professor, though - in part, at least - integral to the plot, just feels like a massive infodump, and is so clumsy. And then there's The Doctor. It was bad enough ageing him like that in the last episode, but here he becomes a CG Dobbyalike for 20 minutes or so, and it just looks ridiculous. At no point, even to a SF/Fantasy mind, does the audience believe that The Doctor has been aged to look his 900 years. It thinks, "Oh,David Tennant has become a computer generated creature, he must have been unavailable for shooting." It doesn't even serve any real purpose. The Master could've just shoved Old Man Tennant into a cage and the rejuvenation scene would've had the same effect. Oh, the rejuvenation scene. Where The Doctor seems to become the embodiment of Christ, is resurrected because of the faith of his followers (even The Master refers to 'a prayer'), hovers over to The Master, embraces him, forgives him and saves the day, before tragedy strikes. Sorry, it's just too much. The scene where The Master dies and The Doctor sobs is where The sombre Doctor of the specials was born. David Tennant is a brilliant actor, and while there's no doubt that he is capable of expressing real raw powerful emotions, there's no need to pile it all on The Doctor.
There are some great moments, though - John Simm is still being maniacal brilliantly - The 'I Can't Decide' scene is wonderful, and his wild hair and crazy eyes as he creeps in to see The Doctor in the middle of the night is great - and he plays insane so well, staying *just* the right side of Panto villainy. Martha's goodbye, too, is nice. While not everyone, myself included, was a big fan of Martha, Freema has given her all this season - it was always going to be challenge following Rose, both as a character, and in the public's eyes. So, that's the end of a somewhat hit and miss season, and a bit of a disappointing season closer.
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Time Crash:
#DoctorWho #c21who Time Crash. Oh, Time Crash. A fan-boy's fantasy! I love this, a marvellous little piece from that man Moffat. The Tenth Doctor meets The Fifth Doctor. 'NuWho' meets the 'Classic' series. David Tennant meets the prospective Father-in-Law. No, this is lovely. Steven Moffat knows how to set a Whovian's heart racing. Two Doctors, references to classic characters, even 80s style incidental music. All the hallmarks of a script from The Moff - lots of witty, 'Timey-Wimey' references... Absolutely wonderful.
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Voyage Of The Damned:
#DoctorWho #c21who VotD. For some reason, I really didn't fancy watching this again. You get the idea that RTD had a whale of a time writing this, his take on the Christmas Disaster Movie. He threw everything into the mix, but didn't know where to stop. So, although it's undeniably entertaining, it *is* far too long, and I think that's why I delayed my planned "c21who" viewing by a week. There are nice things - the way Kylie's first appearance as Astrid isn't a big thing, she just goes about her business in an establishing shot. And the pre-title cliffhanger resolution is nice, too. But at times, it's a little oversentimental - Astrid's death and the montage after it is spoilt by just *too much* slo-mo - it really isn't necessary. Having the fall in slow motion would've been enough. And The Doctor's speech as the survivors embark on their journey - the stuff he says is great - fanboys rejoice at the mention of Gallifrey and Kasterborous - but it's delivered in something of an overly dramatic way. Having said that though, David Tennant's performance is great, as ever, as is Kylie Minogue, who shows she hasn't lost touch with her acting roots. And the always brilliant Russell Tovey puts in a good turn, though his somewhat speedy recovery in the final scenes *is* a little silly. But there's fun to be had too - Bernard Cribbins makes his first appearance as Wilf, and as the Queen flees the Palace...well,yes,it may be silly,but it brings a smile to your face. Astrid's final 'stardust' appearance may be a little twee, but it's a decent enough episode, and in context - as Christmas Day viewing - it does it's job as a festive special. The dedication to Verity Lambert is a lovely touch, and the trailer for Series Four (including our first glimpse of Karen Gillan - who knew?) Looks great. Ultimately then, a reasonable, if overlong, Christmas Who.
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Partners In Crime:
#DoctorWho #c21who PiC. I do enjoy series four. This opener is funny little runaround - nothing too taxing, but a nice little alen plot, with nice little aliens. The fact that we already know Donna works in the episode's favour, and means that we can follow both our leads independently, and it doesn't matter that they don't meet up until halfway through the episode - indeed, it's the near misses that are so entertaining. Miss Foster is a good example of a Doctor Who family baddie, and her diet plan - where the fat just walks away - is a nice, clever little plot. (One wonders if the producers/director are a fan of Little Britain's own FatFighter Marjorie Dawes - is it really just coincidence that as Miss Foster discusses weight loss in front of the large Adipose Industries, her head is perfectly framed with the word 'DUST' behind her?)
A wonderful wide shot of the TARDIS,empty but for The Doctor,reminds us how lonely he is,while Donna's chat with Grandad Wilf (the ever wonderful Bernard Cribbins - give that man a knighthood!) fills us in on Donna's recent history, and what she's been up to since she last met The Doctor.
The scene where they silently greet each other is comedy gold, and one really gets a sense that this Partnership is going to be a lot more equal than those of The Doctor's other recent companions. The truly amazing cameo by Rose (how many of us saw that coming? That wasn't even shown in the press screenings!) Is a wonderful surprise, and is a great end to a fun start to, I think, David Tennant's best season. (Interesting to note that the trailer for this season features Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Catherine Tate *and* Karen Gillan. Well, *I* think it's interesting...)
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The Fires Of Pompeii:
#DoctorWho #c21who TFoP. If I'm honest, I wasn't that taken with this episode the first time I saw it. However, I've since warmed to it (no pun intended). There are some great lines in this script - the Welsh references are nice ("There's Lovely!"), and I still love the TK Maxximus gag. We also get to see a more sensitive side to Donna, fleshing her out a little. The Pyroviles are wonderfully realised, and Lucius' prophecies are brilliantly foreboding, pointing towards events to come in the coming episodes. A nice story, some good effects, amusing dialogue and good characters. Good stuff.

Plus that Ginger Soothsayer - she's a bit of alright. Keep an eye on her...etc, etc.
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Planet Of The Ood:
#DoctorWho #c21who PotO. An interesting episode, but one I really need to be in the m-ood to watch (sorry, won't happen again). The episode starts out nicely, with Donna's first experience of an alien world, and the rapport between Donna and The Doctor is developing nicely, and we can see that they are becoming good friends. The visuals in these opening scenes are lovely, and beautifully realised. I think the reason I'm not a big fan of the story is that nobody seems remotely likable - Halpen and Solana especially. Yes, I know they're the baddies, but, as humans, they should have *some* kind of quality. The Ood are brilliant to look at, an imaginative design as I've said before (love the idea that they originate in the same system as the Sensorites, a nice little fanboy reference), but this episode seems very dark, with the slavery and the armed security. However, playing that against such a bright, white, crisp snowy backdrop is effective. Tennant and Tate both play comedy very well - Tate, obviously - and while showing how impressive both are at dealing with the more emotive, sensitive drama - Donna's reaction to the song of Captivity, for example - one feels that she is being given stuff that says "yes, she *can* act, she's not just stunt casting", and sometimes there's a bit much of that over the course of the series. Having said that, there are still some nice light touches during the episode. But as I said before, it is a dark episode, with a lot of death. Lots of Ood are killed, soldiers and businessmen are killed by Redeye Ood, and the bad guys - Halpern, Solana and Kess - all die (okay, Halpern doesn't die, but good as). There's only one good guy - Ryder - and he gets murdered. And though we end with The Song of Freedom, and a feeling of hope, Sigma's comment that the Doctor's song will soon end is again an ominous note to end on. And then we have the preview of the next episode, full of soldiers and Sontarans, bred for war. It's a bit much, and a wee bit depressing.
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The Sontaran Strategem:
#DoctorWho #c21who TSS. If I'm honest, I don't give this episode much of a second thought - I'm a bit 'meh' about it. But sitting down to watch it, it's actually really rather good. It's a nice update of a traditional UNIT story in a way - something unusual is going on, The Doctor is called in to help the investigation - but it's told in a modern style. The Sontarans too have a 21st century makeover, while managing to remain faithful to the traditional design. Donna has a great episode, managing to 'be Donna' but revealing her resourcefulness in a realistic way, not just as a handy add-on characteristic as an aid to further the plot. Martha too makes a return. She's stronger willed thanks to her time in the TARDIS, and now that she's got over her unrequited love for The Doctor, she's better for it. There's only Luke who's not quite a fully formed character, but still you get the sense that he's simply a misguided young man rather than evil, and the story is infinitely better than Helen Raynor's last script, the awful Season three Dalek two-parter. Entertaining stuff - The Doctor's farewell speech to Donna, before realising she's just nipping home for a visit, is well written and performed, and a good cliffhanger, plus a nice trailer for what looks to be a tense conclusion - overall, this is better than you think.

The Poison Sky:
#DoctorWho #c21who TPS. Hmm. If I'm honest, not quite as good a conclusion as the first half promised. While there's plenty going on, with Martha's clone and UNIT's fight against the Sontarans, there's a lot of overly sentimental stuff with Donna's family, the death of the second Martha and the impending doom facing the Earth. Luke is a bit annoying, but does, of course die a hero. There are some nice sequences - Donna on the Sontaran ship, for example - and the cliffhanger leading into the next episode is nice, too. So, though not as sa tisfying as part one, as a whole, this is a decent story.
about 7 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The Doctor's Daughter:
#DoctorWho #c21who TDD. The Doctor's Daughter is a strange beast. A great set-up, and a concept that's been teasing the die-hards for a few weeks (was this The Doctor's *actual* daughter? Susan's mother, perhaps?). Maybe the answer was a bit of an anticlimax, but it made for a nice semi-cliffhanger (although I find the "Hello, Dad" line extremely cringeworthy). As I said, a great set-up, an interesting situation, and a fascinating second race in The Hath, yet somehow, this episode doesn't work quite as well as it should for me. There are some things that just feel a bit awkward or forced. I don't quite understand why The Doctor is so forcibly distant (is that the right term?) With Jenny. I know he explains to Donna about the loss of his people has severed any connection to any family-oriented feelings he may have had, but he just seems too hard on her. Meanwhile, stuck with The Hath, Martha has an interesting episode. The problem is that she's the only one we can understand, and so she has one-sided conversations against a few gurgles, which we can't believe she learns even a basic understanding of. And her sobs as she loses her Hath friend on the surface are a little over the top.
The character of Jenny though is a great concept, and it would be a shame if she didn't resurface (in one shape or another) some time in the future. The idea that the war has only been going on for a week is probably this story's greatest point, very well executed, and once again, it's Donna using her brains and working it out. A nice touch. Lots going on, but not quite coming together as well as it could have done.

Topic: "#c21who" - Doctor Who (2005-present) Watchathon (of possible interest to Time Team?)Reply to topic
Displaying posts 31 – 46 out of 46.Prev12

Simon Keith Bromley
So I watch The Doctor's Daughter, then find out that David Tennant and Georgia Moffett have had a little girl! So that makes her The Doctor's Daughter, The Doctor's Daughter's Daughter, "The Doctor's Daughter"'s Daughter, plus The Doctor's grand-daughter (in which case it's a shame she's not been named Susan...).
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The Unicorn And The Wasp:
#DoctorWho #c21who TUatW. I really love this episode. It's clever and it's silly. There's a great little plot, and there's lots of fun. In the same way that The Unquiet Dead included Dickens and his works (and gets a knowing nod here), as well as The Shakespeare Code, so too Agatha Christie and her novels here. A great guest cast - Felicity Kendal still looking fabulous - and a nice, witty script from Gareth Roberts. Lots of accidental future references and titles of Christie novels dotted around the dialogue, plus some great moments of outright comedy (the scene following the Doctor's poisoning being a particular favourite). Okay, the idea of the Lady and the Wasp £ay be a little hard to swallow, and the Vespiform's demise may be a little too easy (as is it's releasing Agatha from it's grasp at the very end), but this is good clean fun, enjoyable Saturday evening fare, and a nice way to unwind before the tense second half of the season kicks off...
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Silence In The Library:
#DoctorWho #c21who SitL. This manages to be a great story, yet, because my brain refuses to lie down and just accept things, bewildering and annoying as well. First off, we have some excelling writing, as per, from @steven_moffat. The usual dose of timey-wimey complexity, with a liberal helping of wit thrown in. Some genuine scares as well - there are at least three points where, despite the fact that I know what's going to happen next, I leap out of my skin - and some lovely touching scenes - Donna's discomfort while trying to reassure the ghosting Miss Evangelista is beautifully played. Again, The Moff takes everyday things - the fear of the dark, shadows, the dust in sunbeams - and makes them terrifying. Wonderful performances too - Alex Kingston's debut as River, and a great performance from young Eve Newton as 'The Girl'.
The things that annoy me now are things that puzzled me before, but with hindsight are more annoying than ever: River should know that the Tenth Doctor never sees her again, so why is she surprised that he doesn't know her (if the events of The Time Of Angels had been played out during David Tennant's tenure, *then* it would have been fascinating)? And River's Sonic Screwdriver is a modified version of the Doctor's - yet the Doctor hasn't given it to her yet, and he's got a different one now! Oh, Steven Moffat! Your timey-wimey stuff is going to be the death of me. (The resolution of the River Song story had better be something bloody spectacular...). Some brilliant direction and camerawork too this episode, really creates a tense atmosphere. Roll on part two...

Forest Of The Dead:
#DoctorWho #c21who FotD. Another great episode, with some more scenes to make your head explode. The way 'The Real World' is revealed to be a dream state to Donna is brilliant, and the scene with the children in the playground really is chilling. The way that time skips by is a really simple but effective idea. So many things are beginning to be seeded here for the Doctor's future (will we see him giving the screwdriver to River this year, with his new haircut and suit?), you have to admire Steven Moffat for his sheer bloody mindedness - 'so what if the audience's heads explode, it's an exciting story!'. And once again, despite the fact that all bar one - the least likable one, at that - of the supporting characters dies (no reflection on the always brilliant Steve Pemberton), in amongst the scares is some brilliant funny dialogue (Donna's disappointment that she's not really in that world is confounded by the fact that she's been dieting!). A great story which sets up a whole little branch of Doctor Who mythology (with The Doctor and River) all on it's own. Cracking stuff.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
#DoctorWho #c21who Midnight. Wow. Just...wow. I think Midnight may be the best Doctor Who script Russell T Davies has ever written. A spellbinding episode, and a phenomenal piece of drama. It's so powerful, and the mix of characters, the dialogue, the feel, the threat...everything in this story is just about perfect. It starts out nice and jokey, and a bit of fun, with the multiple simultaneous entertainment, and the Doctor getting rid of them so he can have a chat with his fellow passengers. Even the music is fun. But by the time 'it' gets into Sky, the tone changes completely, and we have a compelling piece of drama. For what is, essentially, 'the cheap episode', this is just outstanding, with brilliant performances from all involved, but especially Lesley Dunlop and David Tennant.
As shown in episodes like '42', Doctor Who is scariest when the Doctor is scared, and when Mrs Silvestri 'takes' his voice, The Doctor's fear, and so the audience's fear *for* the Doctor, is at it's height, and wonderfully played.
I can't praise this episode enough.Wonderful drama, wonderful science fiction, tense and scary...wonderful. God, I'd love to see this adapted as a one act play.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Turn Left:
#DoctorWho #c21who TL. Of the three 'Doctor-lite' episodes so far, this is the best by far. The flashes of familar scenes from the last couple of years worth of episodes mean the audience get a good feel of Doctor Who, even if The Doctor's not around. Plus, of course, we have Rose. Seeing Billie Piper's name in the opening credits is a thrill in itself, and she proves a nice Doctor substitute (although she seems to look and speak as though her teeth are too big for her mouth). Seeing Rose and Donna together though is a nice pairing. It's quite a dark episode, a somewhat distopian parallel world, and there are some great performances from Catherine Tate, playing centre stage, and a lovely turn from Bernard Cribbins (his face as the trucks to the 'Labour Camps' set off is beautifully sad), but there is still the odd smile to be had - as Donna enters the TARDIS and catches her own wide mouthed wonder is marvellously played). The Doctor's reappearance at the end is nice and refreshing, and the Bad Wolf cliffhanger is a great ending to set up the finale.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
A friend pointed out that by saying " Of the three 'Doctor-lite' episodes so far, this is the best by far" in the above post, I'm saying that it's better than Blink. Sorry, it's not better than Blink. I wrote my thoughts on Turn Left last night while watching my football team lose on TV. I guess I forgot about Blink because it's *so* Doctor-lite.

So there. Just saying. ;)
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The Stolen Earth:
#DoctorWho #c21who TSE. My God, this is something bloody spectacular, alright. It really is like "an outer space Facebook". We get everyone appearing in that pre-titles teaser, and then those titles, with *everyone* in them! You know you're in for a treat. As far as full on alien invasions go, this looks amazing. Those ships zooming through the skies, the destruction of Market Street, Pontypridd, South Wales CF37...(sorry, I was down there a couple of weeks ago, I showed my sister all the sites of the Dalek invasion - I went to university down there,I lived just down the road,and got quite emotional when that first aired...anyway:) There's no doubt that this episode looks fantastic - with the possible exception of The Shadow Proclamation, which looks rather small, empty and boring. But! Minor quibble. Rose is great this episode, a lot more like her old self than in Turn Left, and it's fun to have her interacting with Donna's family. Great too to see the Torchwood team - possibly the first time younger viewers will have met Ianto and Gwen. And then, if that wasn't enough, we have Davros, marvellously played by Julian Bleach. The fact that we don't actually see him properly until near the end just adds to the sense of evil-brilliant. But for all the returns, and the 'coming home' of the Spin-offs, it is, of course, "The Reunion" that we wanted to see, and, by golly, how special is it? I'm not ashamed to admit that,the moment Donna said "Why don't you ask her yourself?" I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes - the sheer joy on David Tennant's face is just beautiful,as The Doctor runs, full pelt, speeding as fast he can, trying to get to Rose...then that bloody Dalek! And the cliffhanger! "I'm regenerating!" "TO! BE' CONTINUED!" My god, I remember that 'regeneration' being on the news that week! The speculation! But anyway, back to the episode itself - a veritable banquet for the eyes, and a wonderful start to the finale. Now for part two...

Journey's End:
#DoctorWho #c21who JE. Cracking stuff. The look on Rose's, Jack's and Donna's faces at the beginning of this episode is a picture, and almost sums up what the audience is thinking. "You what?!" While the non-regeneration is hardly a disappointment - who seriously wanted the Doctor to regenerate? - or even (to us die-hards at least) a surprise, the fact that it's dealt with so quickly is so much of, I suppose, an anticlimax that it's actually hilarious. The fact that,after featuring on the news all week, the big cliffhanger is resolved so simply is wonderful, but must have been a little infuriating for any first-timers tuning in just to see event TV. Still, no complaints here. A wonderful finale - full of action, if, admittedly, a little silly at times (talk of metacrises and towing the Earth through space), but hugely enjoyable nonetheless. And more names to add to the roll-call - Mickey! Jackie! K-9! As usual, in amongst the drama and the action, there's some humour - the birth of the 'other' Doctor, and Donna's transformation to the DoctorDonna sees David Tennant give a wonderful impersonation of Catherine Tate (both give magnificent performances throughout). And the feeling of elation as the planet is returned to it's rightful place in the galaxy feels very real, and is very uplifting. To my mind, probably the best finale so far (and yes, that includes Doomsday), certainly better than series three's, which promised so much, but failed to deliver. And, indeed, the best series so far - the Doctor-Donna partnership is great, and, whether you saw it as stunt casting or not, Catherine Tate proved herself to be one of the best companions the Doctor has ever had. And such a sad end, for Donna, her family (why hasn't Bernard Cribbins got a Knighthood yet?), and, of course, The Doctor (and a *lot* better than the proposed - and filmed - "What? What?! WHAT?!" Ending with the Cybermen). A truly worthy series finale.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The Next Doctor:
#DoctorWho #c21who TND. The Next Doctor is a nice,Christmassy romp. Plenty of action, an interesting notion, given that David Tennant had recently announced his departure, and the story of Jackson is a very interesting one. However, once we've firmly established that Jackson is not The Doctor (and that beautiful infostamp sequence featuring, for the first time during the revival, all the Doctors in flashback form), the story involving Miss Hartigan and The Cybermen is...well,maybe not boring or disappointing, but certainly a little mundane.
I'm not the greatest fan of The Cybermen - I sometimes find them a little hard to understand, and they never seem as overwhelmingly evil as The Daleks - and making them the threat in the Christmas episode, which these last few years have been relatively self-contained affairs, jars a little for me. However, great performances from the two Davids, and some nice little scenes - the opening CyberShade chase is a nice bit of fun. At the start of the episode, it's nice to see a Doctor who's clearly had a bit of time to get over the events of the series four finale, and is fresh and ready for a new adventure. The CG effects with The Cyberking are nicely realised, even if the CyberKing itself looks like it's been knocked up in Wallace and Gromit's workshop. Still, a enjoyable enough way to entertain the family on Christmas Day.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Planet Of The Dead:
#DoctorWho #c21who PotD. This episode is a bit odd. It's not a *bad* story, it's just that, as the start of a year of Specials, it's just not very, well, Special. It plays like an extended season filler. We get the odd back-reference, a returning character who wasn't really that great the first time round, and a nice little group of passengers on the 200 (so named because it was the 200th story, which I'm sure we all knew) who aren't really that interesting, or even that believable. Lee Evans as Malcolm may be an overly comic character, but he's probably one of the better things about the episode. Even the great things we usually take for granted, like the effects and the music, are a little off their game here. The swarm flying through the desert doesn't look great, and neither does the flying bus. Likewise the music - especially when the bus arrives home - is a little cheesy. In fact, the whole thing is a bit cheesy to be honest. It feels too much like a kid's thing - yes, I know it's a 'kid's show', but this is a bit too CBBC at times. There are definitely some annoying details - like why do a race with heads of flies have internal comms devices to fit a human ear? And just handily lying around too! And then there's Michelle Ryan. I tried desperately to like her, but, and I know this sounds stupid, she just feels like she's only playing a part. Like she's putting on a posh voice. With David Tennant, no matter what nonsense he's given to play with, you absolutely believe that this man *is* The Doctor. But Lady Christina, and one or two of the supporting cast, just wasn't that believable. No, this could fit nicely into the 'mid-season dip' slot, but as an Easter special, it's not that great, I'm afraid.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The Waters Of Mars:
#DoctorWho #c21who TWoM. Another interesting episode, more adult in tone, I feel, and certainly a lot more depressing. That's not to say depressing is bad, but since the closing scenes of PoTD, The Doctor has been more downcast - he knows the end is coming, and in this episode, he decides he's not going to play by the rules anymore. He's done that for years, and lost everything along the way. Hearing the demise of the crew of the base, he's had enough. By the time he declares himself the Time Lord Victorious, we can see he's gone too far, and seeing him so arrogant is actually a little disturbing, and a little frightening. There's a little bit of madness there, reminiscent of The Master, and the viewer isn't quite sure what to make of it - is this how it's going to be now? Of course, then Sigma shows up, and the Doctor realises what he's done, and we're left with an exciting lead in to the finale of finales.
The tone of the story is certainly less...fun, and DT's Doctor has lost his joie de vivre, and is much more world(s) weary.
Far from perfect,but a lot better than the previous story. There are a few little niggles - Maggie's obituary clearly states that she was born and educated in Sheffield. Well, so was I, and I don't sound like that! There are nice touches as well - the Dalek cameo is a nice surprise, and the references to events of Series Four, as well as to The Ice Warriors, are nice, too.
The set-up is good - the Base under threat is a classic scenario and it makes a change to see a modern take on it. It felt odd, too, at the time, though, this episode being on a sunday, I remember. Dark, but entertaining.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The End Of Time, Part One:
#DoctorWho #c21who TEoT1. At last, we get a special that's reasonably special. This episode has a lot to do - it's got to set us up for the ultimate finale, have plenty of excitement, but it also has to suit a Christmas Day audience. Not easy when you've got The End of Time as a title, and you're leading up to the effective death of the main character.
TEoT Part One isn't perfect - The Naismiths aren't really remotely *interesting*, never mind threatening, and The Master's resurrection at the top of the episode is all a bit much - a bit Harry Potter with it's potions and shouting. However, as the Doctor appears on the OodSphere, he has, at least, managed to inject a bit of life into himself - he was something of a broken figure at the end of Waters of Mars, and at least he arrives with a smile on his face, even if it's not there for long. These scenes fill in enough of the backstory - Lucy Saxon, Donna and Wilf etc - but there is still a smile or two to be had - The Doctor describing his escapades of the last few weeks, and locking the TARDIS.
Then there's Wilfred. Who doesn't feel a warm glow seeing Bernard Cribbins' name in the titles? Wilf's Silver Cloak provides some cheer in this Christmas episode, and it's fun enough. June Whitfield squeezing David Tennant's bottom isn't something you tend to think of when you talk Christmas telly, but the Doctor's awkwardness while posing for photos is nicely played.
The scene in the cafe with Wilf is lovely, and seeing Donna, just in the background is both touching and sad.
John Simm's madman of a Master is great, and this is a good introduction to The End. It suffers occasionally from trying to be too grand, but the ending - with 'The Master Race' (subtle, Russell) and The Return Of The Time Lords is a great cliffhanger. Now, pass me the tissues - I'm moving on to Part Two...

The End Of Time, Part Two:
#DoctorWho #c21who TEoT2. Phew. It was surprising for me, considering what happens this episode, how much lighter this episode is than Part One. For all the drama of the return of Gallifrey, and The Doctor's fight against both The Master and The Time Lords, there's also a lot of lighter touches - the "Worst. Rescue. Ever!" Scene is great, for example, and Bernard Cribbins has some fantastic scenes on the spaceship (which to me, still looks like a smaller version of Starbug) - when he's gazing in wonder at the Earth below, and when he's manning the lasers - great stuff. And, of course, another beautiful two-hander between Wilf and The Doctor, similar in some ways to the cafe scene in Part One. I defy anyone not to get a little teary eyed whenever Wilf gets upset.
But of course, after all the action, and The Master and Gallifrey are disposed of, it's the final 25 minutes of the episode that are really what people speak of.
When The Doctor finds himself alive, the way his joy is crushed as we hear Wilfred knocking four times on the door. I remember my reaction at the time - I think my chin hit the floor. Such a brilliant way of fulfilling the prophecy after everyone thought it'd be The Master. David Tennant can say more with the look on his face than other actors can with an entire movie script. I'll admit that, despite there being another Twenty minutes of the episode (though I wasn't clock-watching, so didn't realise), and ignoring the fact that didn't fit to the established pattern, I was certain that as The Doctor lay in the bottom of the cubicle, curled in a foetal position, he'd regenerated! But no, he strode out and healed his scars, but it (the longest Regeneration in history but who cares) had started.
The next fifteen minutes were beautiful. Martha and Mickey (That was such a surprise, I remember Tweeting Noel Clarke saying 'Mickey Smith! You sly old dog!'), then Luke and Sarah Jane, Verity (a lovely touch), then Donna's wedding. This is where the first tear trickles down my cheek, as the Doctor reveals he borrowed a pound from Geoffrey Noble. Then as Wilf tearfully salutes and blows a kiss - well, that's just so wonderfully sad. And then...
Back to the Powell Estate. Rose and Jackie Tyler, 2005. Back where this story began. Marvellous. And then The Doctor makes his back to the TARDIS, and the regeneration starts proper.
"I don't wanna go." And my eyes start leaking some more.
The Regeration may have taken some time, but it was brilliant. And David Tennant (and Russell T Davies) has done so much for a new generation of Whovians. This really is the end of an era.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The Eleventh Hour:
#DoctorWho #c21who TEH. This is great. It may not be truly perfect - there are a couple of irritating things which I'll come to later - but it's certainly the best season opener of the Twenty First Century, and I can't help but watch this with a great big, stupid, smile plastered across my face. And it has absolutely nothing to do with Karen Gillan's legs. Mostly.
Some of the really nice things are the nods back to RTD-era Who (Eek! Talking about RTD in the past tense! That's scary!) - The opening shot, zooming into Earth, just like Rose,The Christmas Invasion and assorted other David Tennant episodes. The "WhatWhatWhat" moment, even early bits of dialogue that could easily fit the Tenth Doctor's speech pattern...but this is The Eleventh Doctor, and Matt Smith rises to the challenge of replacing such a magnificent Doctor superbly. His face as he just misses Big Ben, and then the moment he pops his head out of the TARDIS and asks for an apple - BANG! We're sold completely. The Fish Custard scene with little Amelia - played so brilliantly by little Caitlin Blackwood - is excellent stuff, funny and endearing both characters to us. The whole Prisoner Zero story isn't too complicated - we've got a completely new cast here, we haven't the brain capacity to concentrate on a *story* as well - but is a nice little runaround. The fairytale feel is a welcome change from the darker feel of the Tenth Doctor's final settings - this is bright and breezy, and I've no doubt that the kids loved it.
So, Amy. All grown up, 12 years later, and she's quirky, and a kissogram, but she's great companion material.
The annoying things? Just little things, but irritating nevertheless. The doors on the landing - it's not until Prisoner Zero appears that we actually see the door on the left at the top of the stairs-prior to that,the 'extra' door didn't *seem* extra. Then there's Rory's car. When Amy slams The Doctor's tie in the cardoor, Rory's car is parked just behind. It stays there until the Atraxi appear, then when Amy and Rory jump into it, it's suddenly parked itself in front of the pub! We'll ignore the date on Rory's ID card (a genuine mistake, by all accounts, and not the enormous plot detail we all speculated about on the internet!), although I will wonder how The Doctor made it back to the TARDIS so quickly on foot, when he got to the hospital by Fire Engine (without a seatbelt and using a mobile phone!), and he beat Amy and Rory back home, when presumably they were driving...
The new TARDIS looks beautiful, and the story as a whole, does a wonderful job of introducing these three new characters - so much so, we really feel like Amy and The Doctor *have* known each other for 14 years! I know there are some people w weren't keen on the new look, but I think this is wonderful.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Meanwhile In The TARDIS, scene 1:
#DoctorWho #c21who MitT1. The first 'Meanwhile In The TARDIS' scene slots inbetween the first two episodes, so it's only right that I watch it before The Beast Below.
A nice little scene that further explores Amy's sense of wonder and bewilderment. These scenes were obviously filmed after the rest, and benefits a little as Matt and Karen are obviously more settled into their roles. Some lovely dialogue fro£ Steven Moffat here - Amy gabbling away, coming back to the BowTie, and The Doctor's explanation of how the Chamelion Circuit works...and the fact that it doesn't. Amy finding out that the Doctor is an alien ("A tiny little slug in a human suit? Is that why you walk like that?!") is nicely written, but makes a later 'Human/Time Lord' scene in The Beast Below a little nonsensical as a result. There's one tiny little shot as well which has been flipped, which *really* annoys me! But it's a fun little DVD extra, which is nice.

The Beast Below:
#DoctorWho #c21who TBB. It's an odd one, this. At the beginning, we get some lovely little character pieces, with Amy's first trip and her first off-world experience. She gets an idea of the kind of thing The Doctor gets up to, and the scenes with the water - 'escaped fish' - and the friendly bickering - "What I always 'dooo'..." Are nice. The story...well, it's not quite up there. The Smilers aren't really that creepy, although the character and Family History of Liz 10 is nice. The scene in the Voting Booth is good - the graphics on the screen are delightfully retro - and Karen Gillan gives a great performance in this and the preceding 'Keep Out sign' scene. However, overall it's only an average story, and Steven Moffat spoils us so much as a rule, it's a bit of a surprise to see him serve up an episode which would only rate a six or seven out of ten, instead of his usual Fifteen.
The conclusion is a bit much - The Doctor seems to get *too* angry, and Amy seems to suddenly become almost *too* insightful, picking up on things like the Doctor's loneliness and the fate of his people from a single sentence. At times, the scene in the Tower almost feels like it could have been written for a generic Doctor/Companion pairing (I get a sense of the Ninth Doctor and Rose, actually), and it's a little unsatisfying, though the tease with Churchill and the Dalek serves as a nice little cliffhanger.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Victory Of The Daleks:
#DoctorWho #c21who VotD. Now here's a thing. For all the stick this story gets, *it's actually not that bad*. I'll admit that the first time I saw it, it hardly leapt to the top of my 'Favourite Episodes Ever' chart, but after a few viewings, I've come to quite like it. It's the Companion's annual first brush with history (Dickens, Shakespeare, Pompeii, Churchill), plus it's the new Doctor's first clash with the Daleks! It's got a lot going for it. The khaki 'Ironsides' work a treat and manage to be both menacing and funny at the same time. The opening teaser has a wonderful image to take us into the titles, and the idea of the Daleks potentially being 'on our side' is a fascinating one, given their decidedly Nazi inspired 'Genesis'. The Doctor facing off against them on their ship, armed with his Jammie Dodger ("I was promised Tea!") is a wonderful glimpse of the new Doctor, and the New Dalek Paradigm is quite a spectacle.
Of course, this is where it gets complicated: The New Daleks. Well, there are a couple of things about the design that aren't great - the hump, obviously, the hatch at the back (I like the idea of interchangable weaponry, but it might've been better if we'd seen it in action), and I personally don't like the small details on the panels of the skirt. But the eyestalk looks fantastic, and, having been lucky enough to meet some of these Daleks in person at a promotional event last year, I can tell you that they look sensational (and fearsome) in the, er, flesh, as it were. The sheer size of these beasts is amazing.
The Spitfires in Space is silly, of course, but great to look at. In fact, the only thing I really don't like is Bracewell the Robot. When his chest opens up, he appears to be Iron Man. The happy memories save the day, which is a bit twee, but a satisfactory resolution - I suppose - for a single part story. The last scene regarding Bracewell's 'deactivation' is unnecessary for me, it could've been covered in his previous scene. Likewise, the storyline involving Breen isn't needed - if it had been a multi-part story, we could've got more emotionally attched to her, and the story would've meant more to us. But depite these quibbles, this is *not* a bad story!
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
The Time Of Angels:
#DoctorWho #c21who TToA. My word, Mr Moffat, that was something special. This is a great episode - The return of River Song *and* The Weeping Angels? How could it not be? To say it was their first story, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan are bang in form here, absolutely nailling their characters. This has all the little things that go towards making a classic Who story, not least a really *threatening* threat.
First, though, we have the pre-title sequence, which is fabulous within itself - both River's section, and the delightful piece with The Doctor and Amy discovering the Home Box. River's bit plays a bit like an introduction to an Indiana Jones movie to my mind (although my brain still struggles with the question of how River isn't affected when applying the Hallucinagenic Lipstick..?) and the mini-cliffhanger leading into the titles is great. The later stuff with the video loop of the Angel is cracking stuff, too, and it's a great scene for Amy.
There are some nice scares here too, and some real chills - the murders of the Clerics, and Angel Bob over the radio, for example. And as always in a Moff script, some lovely humour, too. The Doctor's impression of the TARDIS, and biting Amy's hand with his 'space teeth'. An excellent start to a brilliant story.

Flesh And Stone:
#DoctorWho #c21who FaS. A great conclusion, although, if I'm honest, not quite as good as the first part. The resolution is nice, although I'm sure it couldn't have happened so fast that Amy and co wouldn't have noticed the scenery flashing past them as they floated/fell upwards.
Amy's count down is nicely unsettling (incidentally, I can't believe I forgot to mention Amy rubbing her eye during my musings on the first part-that looked brilliant, and so creepy), and, once they're in the forest, the image of the Angel in her eye looks great.
The 'crack' motif of the season gets a kickstart here as The Doctor deduces that Time is 'running out' and that scene, and Octavian's Death Scene, works really well, as do the scenes with Amy and the Clerics (although, just before he leaves her, the Doctor clearly has his jacket on - that's *got* to be some kind of major continuity error, surely..? ;) *)
The Clerics disappearing from existence as they enter the light is brilliantly done, as Amy is desperate to know why she's the only one who can remember them. However, her 'escape' is one of the few things that falls flat for me with this episode. The idea that the Angels 'presume' she can see them is a bit of a cop-out - if that's the case, why don't they presume that people. Who are blinking can see them? Also, although seeing the Angels move is suitably creepy, I thought that, when unseen, the Angels were no longer stone? So really, we should see them transorm into 'real people' and back into statues when somebody looks.
Speaking of 'falling flat' - Amy's trip: not very convincing!
But I'm nitpicking - this is a great story, and has a Classic 70s Who vibe to it at times. A good resolution, and the first mention of The Pandorica, and still plenty of mystery surrounding River.

*Yes, that *is* sarcasm, by the way.
about 6 months ago · Delete Post

Simon Keith Bromley
Meanwhile In The TARDIS, scene 2:
#DoctorWho #c21who MitT2. The second Meanwhile In The TARDIS slots in here, and slots in nicely. It carries on perfectly from the end of Flesh and Stone, and the overly amorous Amy. A nice little comedic scene, we have Amy realising she's not the first to have travelled with 'Space Gandalf' (something it took Rose 17 episodes to find out), and with snapshots of most of the Doctor's companions (minus Males and metal dogs: here we see Rose, Sarah Jane, Romana 1, Liz, Martha, Donna, Polly, Jo, Zoë, Victoria, Romana 2, Leela, Barbara, Tegan and Peri) it's a nice fanboy tribute to Classic Who, while still setting up the next episode nicely.

Notice that, although I did watch them, obviously, I didn't Tweet about Vampires Of Venice onwards. I may remedy this at some point...

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Doctor Who: At home with The Ponds...

Thoroughly enjoyed the Doctor Who Series 6 finale, The Wedding Of River Song, last night. Not going to say too much, I know there are still people who haven't seen it yet - though I doubt they'll be reading this. However, if there are, slight spoilers contained herein...

I was Tweeting earlier, as I was pondering Amy and Rory's living arrangements. Where and When are they living? This is what I Tweeted to @BlogtorWho (), all edited together, and filled out where applicable...

"Amy and Rory's house. They were living in a nice little place in April, when they're invited to see The Doctor in Utah, after which, they stay with the Doctor for a while, before being left with a new house and car, date unknown. However, at the end of The Wedding Of River Song, which is (presumably) shortly after The Doctor has died (in April), they live in a house (which may or may not be the one given to them in The God Complex, but is certainly not where they were living at the start of The Impossible Astronaut). So: my question is where and when is the scene with Amy, Rory and River at the end of The Wedding Of River Song set? April? Present day? Some other timeline? Because I'm fucked if I know."

It's still puzzling me a little. I sent a Tweet to Steven Moffat (@Steven_Moffat) himself. Not heard back yet - don't really expect to - but this is what I asked him...

"Much as I loved last night's #DoctorWho, I need something answering, and I *do* apologise in advance… Where and *when* are Amy and Rory living at A)The start of The Impossible Astronaut? B)The end of The God Complex? And C)The end of The Wedding Of River Song? Cause I can't quite work it out. I'm awkward like that. :) Roll on Christmas. ;)"

Still. This is just my pedantic head at work...

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Me and me comics...

Got into a little discussion about comics on Twitter earlier today. And when I say comics, I mean 'proper' comics. I've never really gone in for those American super-hero type comic books, or the big graphic novels, to be honest. I've always preferred the traditional, British stuff.
Now, when I was growing up in the 80's, I got The Dandy and The Beano every week, and most of the other stuff coming out of the DC Thomson and IPC/Fleetway stables. I was a member of the Dennis The Menace and Desperate Dan fan clubs (and Gnasher's Fang Club, of course). And my over-riding memory of my childhood would probably be the summer that Gnasher went missing.
I haven't bought comics for years now. I toyed with 2000AD for a short time in 1995 - I'd left school, and was studying Art A Level at College, and thought I ought to 'grow up' a bit. I had young siblings (born in 1990,1992 and 1995), and my Mum and Dad still bought them The Dandy and The Beano every week for a few years yet, but once I hit 16, I didn't bother so much. And I regret that *so* much now.
I started buying The Dandy again when it relaunched in October 2010. I admit, I was alarmed at the new looks for classic characters, but I'd seen 'Dandy Xtreme' on the shelves, and been a little alarmed - The new look of Cuddles and Dimples, for example, just wasn't to my taste (although I think Nigel Parkinson is a great artist) - I hankered for those heady days of the mid-late 80s. It's like Doctor Who: the Doctor you grow up with is '*your* Doctor'. Well, the mid-late eighties was '*my** era of comics.
But The Dandy relaunch caught my eye. It was a return to silly strips and memerable characters. I understand that sales have fallen recently, and some of the artists (who, I'm pleased to say, I've become quite friendly with via Twitter and Facebook) have had their say on their blogs - there really are some awful people out there, raging war against individual artists and slagging off The Dandy...
Anyway, the relaunch also made me want some of my old comics back. Sadly, my younger brothers and sister had long since scribbled on and destroyed the comics I used to have in my own collection 15-20 years ago. God knows what happened to all the Oink! Comics I adored (though I'm pleased to say I have both sides of the flexi-disc on my MP3 Player). I'd love to find some of them at the second hand market I frequent, picking up bundles of my childhood favourites, half a dozen or so comics for just a pound at a time (all of the Nuttys below were in one bundle. A quid for ten Nuttys!). I've bought a few on eBay as well, but that costs a fortune.
I've now managed to pick up about 60 old comics - 1970s-1990s - which may not sound many, but when I only manage to get some every two or three months, it's quite an acheivement.
Anyway, because I'm a boring bastard, here's a list of what I've got at present...

(Presented as: Comic title; Issue number; Issue date)
LATEST UPDATE: 15/6/12 - total of 98 'old' comics
UPDATED UPDATE: 17/6/12! While adding my new additions from this week to 'The Pile', I noticed a few comics from the last trip to Chesterfield that hadn't been updated to the list, which gives me a total of 109 'old comics!
ANOTHER UPDATE: 27/6/12 -  I'm updating this list every week now as I get the new Dandys and Beanos, but I figured that it was worth noting that my brilliant little sister surprised me with four issues of Oink! that she'd bought for me on eBay. I adored Oink! as a kid, so having some of those is pretty special. So that's 113 old 'uns. As I haven't bought today's issues yet, that's exactly half of my collection...
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: 23/8/12 - The sad news broke on the 16th August 2012 that The Dandy will be ending it's printed run at the end of the year. The final issue will be released on the comic's 75th Anniversary, 4th December 2012, and will include a facsimile of issue one from 1937. Such a shame, as, in my humble opinion, The Dandy is in the best form it's been in for years. There are plans for it to continue in some form online at www.Dandy.com.
Meanwhile, I managed to get hold of some great Fleetway classics from Chesterfield Market recently - some 1970s Whizzer and Chips...es (plural?), and whilst investigating some old bags in cupboards, I found some Dandys and a Beano, all from 2003. With the addition of this week's issues, I now have over 250 comics.
SEPTEMBER UPDATE: 1/9/12 (NB: from now on, all 'update' posts, including this one, will be posted on my new Wordpress Blog. I'll carry on updating the list below, but the long, wordy bits like this, will be found there. This September update can be found at  http://bromley001.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/my-semi-regular-comics-blog/) - On Thursday, my Dad and sister went to Chesterfield Market and promised to get me some more comics. I was fearing that, with the print run of The Dandy nearing it's end, prices may go up. And while they hadn't gone up, they had gone. No Dandys available at all, and certainly none of the 80s comics I'd requested (I always ask them to keep a look out for some Beanos from the Summer Gnasher disappeared). So, I was brought a dozen or so Beanos from the early noughties, plus some annuals from the early eighties. Meanwhile...THE PARENT TRAP: Also, three or four weeks ago, The Beano had a slight redesign. Gone were the recent 'retro-esque' covers of recent months, to be replaced with a bright, almost fluorescent, cover with a BeanoMax feel to it. The last couple of weeks also featured no issue number on the cover, something I'm glad to see has been resolved with this week's issue. However, I've noticed that they've started 'youthing' the character's parents. It started with Roger The Dodger's parents a few weeks ago. His mum was younger, different, certainly, but it was his Dad which was a fairly drastic makeover job. Gone was the moustache and the grey hair, and Roger's younger looking Dad had the same Roger-y hairstyle, but it was black, and he was clean-shaven. However, I thought it could be reasonably explained away by him simply having a shave, and buying a bottle of Just For Men.But a couple of weeks ago, Gok Wan popped up in Dennis's strip, and took away Dennis's Mum and Dad. They reappeared last week with drastic new looks.These changes were one of the subjects in a questionnaire in the issue, which I thought was a good idea with regard to letting The Beano gage how much their young readers are actually bothered about the strip characters' parents. But then, this week, Minnie The Minx's Dad, who last week had been as thread-bare up top as ever, is suddenly younger and has a full head of ginger hair! Now, I realise, given the way I've moaned about people complaining that The Dandy's changed too much, hence it's closure, that I could come across as something of a hypocrite. But all these changes in less than a month just seems a bit much to me. I'm still hoping for a big end-of-year strip, where it turns out all the kids have had their minds altered while aliens have kidnapped their real parents... If that doesn't happen, I can deal with it, but if I turn to The Bash Street Kids next week, and Teacher's suddenly 20 years younger, I'm not going to be happy...

The full list can now be found on The Brog, where it's regularly - and more easily - updated...