Archive for March, 2015

Mask of Tragedy

The cover of The Mask of Tragedy.

The Mask of Tragedy. Very funny.

If you take one thing away from Mask of Tragedy, remember this – do not mess with the really rubbish dancing girls.

 

Tony tried on the Mask of Tragedy for size.

It didn’t fit, but it was tremendous fun nontheless.

Read the piece here.

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Fortitude Episode Nine

A possible shooting in Fortitude episode nine.

A pivotal scene from Fortitude episode nine. Spoilers!

Damn you, Fortitude, episode nine. Damn you all the way to a frozen-over hell and back. You made me do something I swore I’d never, ever do. You made me agree with Jessica ‘Dead Eyes McNoSoul’ Raine.

This is not something I will forget in a hurry.

There’s a moment in episode nine where Jules Sutter, having apparently had the get-out clause of chemical infection snatched away from her, takes her utterly creepy child to the airport, only to discover it’s been shut down just moments earlier. When threatened by an armed deputy, Sutter, played by Raine, and presumably faaaaaairly close to a nervous breakdown, yells ‘Just shoot me then!’

Which, having come through nine of the eleven episodes of this snowblind Twin Peaks update, is sort of how we feel too.

Tony’s patience wore just a little thin with the shenanigans in Fortitude episode nine.

Read the piece here.

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On Soap and Soapification

Christopher Ecclestone and Billie PIper as the Ninth Doctor and Rose

Getting soapy – the essence of New Who.

Imagine you’re Russell T Davies in 2004.

You’ve won support for the most unlikely of projects – the revival of your favourite TV show from three ignominious sabbaticals – the Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann versions. You’ve got a budget, you’ve got some story ideas, you’re looking at potential Doctors and companions. The question is this: what tone do you take for the show?

Tony argues that bringing in some soap was a stroke of Russell T Davies genius.

Read the piece here.

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What Did RTD Ever Do For Us?

Russell T Davies in the Tardis

What did RTD ever do for us? Hmm…toughie.

As we celebrate ten years of New Who, and current showrunner Steven Moffat divides an expanded fandom, it’s important to remember that Russell T Davies was also roundly criticized – for his ‘soapification’ of the show, for the romantic storylines, for the ‘Deus Ex Machina’ solutions, and for a hundred other things. So as we celebrate what we have and what we’ve had for the last ten years, it’s probably time to ask, a la Monty Python, what has RTD ever done for us?

As the tenth anniversary celebrations for New Who continue, Tony asked: What did RTD ever do for us?

Read the piece here.

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The Entropy Plague

The cover of The Entropy Plague

The Entropy Plague, from Big Finish.

‘It is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done.

It is a far, far better rest I go to, than I have ever known.’

Sydney Carton, Dickens’ hero in A Tale of Two Cities, is often held up as a paragon of self-sacrifice for a greater cause, but god, he must have been a pain in the bum at parties. The Entropy Plague is, in a way, like being trapped for two hours in a party with a whole boatload of Cartons.  It’s also phenomenally difficult to review without giving away a massive CVE of a spoiler for a fact which runs through the whole story.

Tony catches up with the Fifth Doctor and crew as they try to find a way out of E-Space in The Entropy Plague.

Read the piece here.

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Into The Woods

Into The Woods

Into The Woods

Fairy tales have been the stuff of musical interpretation at least as long as Disney has been a big name – the studio may be known around the world as The House of Mouse, but its longevity has been built on the backs of a lot of singing princesses, handsome princes and comedy sidekicks. It’s fitting then that Disney should bring Stephen Sondheim’s story Into The Woods to the screen. What’s pleasingly brave is that the studio known for its sometimes sickly-sweet endings commits to bringing all of Sondheim’s story to the screen, rather than – as many theatrical productions do – ending on the happily ever after.

Tony went away with the fairies for a journey Into The Woods.

Read the piece here.

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Fortitude Episode Eight

A shot of Michael Gambom from Fortitude episode eight.

Fortitude episode 8 – perversely loopy?

As the residents of frozen hellhole Fortitude wise up to the fact that something deeply weird is happening to their town, there’s a sense of the drama developing into something akin to the Scopes Monkey Trial. Is there a demon loose in the town, turning otherwise reasonable human beings into psychotic, focused killers? Or is there a more rational, bio-chemical explanation?

Tony was grossed out by Fortitude episode eight, as attention turned to brain dissection.

Read the piece here.

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Rose Tyler

Billie Piper as Rose Tyler

Rose Tyler – a new bloom.

If the show was going to be a hit in the 21st century, that had to change, and that would depend on the companion. The companion had to be us, yes, absolutely – ordinary old us, swept away on the adventure of time and space and the wonder of it all – but she also had to be possessed of enough sense of self to tell the Doctor he was being unreasonable. To slap him down if need be, and to save him when it was necessary. She had to make the journey from ordinary old us to citizen of the universe, proving to us that time with the Doctor changed you – changed us – for the better.

As we began the week celebrating ten years of new Who, Tony paid tribute to the first new Who Girl – the wonder that was Rose Tyler.

Read the piece here.

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Requiem For The Rocket Men

Requiem For The Rocket Men

Requiem For The Rocket Men

The rocket men have always had a classic 50s movie-serial feel to them. Indeed, in a science fiction context, the very notion that men with weapons who simply strap rocket packs to their back could be an enormous threat seems vaguely laughable in the 21st century (though of course it’s true that we haven’t quite got ubiquitous rocket pack technology yet). The idea has that ‘Is it a bird? Is it a plane?’ sense of 50s over-excitement, and the two previous rocket men stories fitted into that vibe very well – they were Companion Chronicle stories, so most of the heavy lifting was done by companion narration, and they were tailored around the particular personalities and the particular dilemmas of two of the First Doctor’s finest male companions – Ian Chesterton and Steven Taylor. There was a theme to the narration too – ‘When do you know?’

Tony took a final flight, as a Requiem For The Rocket Men.

 

Read the piece here.

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