Monday, June 26, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x11: "World Enough And Time"


Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Rachel Talalay

The Master: "Hello Missy, I'm the Master. I'm very worried about my future. Give us a kiss."

After ten weeks of episodes that ranged from good to great to middling and an overwhelming that things were maybe coasting along a little too much until the next era, we finally got an episode where things actually happened in a big way and appropriately enough, it was the first part of the finale to boot.

For weeks we've had the hype of both Mondasian Cybermen and two Masters in the mix, so the anticipation for this particular finale was a little higher than usual. The good news is that this episode more than delivered. The bad news - Bill really got fucked over, big time here.

It's not unusual for companions to put in tricky fates and Moffat's penchant for doing that to his main players has been noteworthy throughout his reign on the show, River Song herself is now a data ghost after sacrificing herself for the Doctor while her parents Amy Pond and Rory Williams got sent back in time by Weeping Angels to live out their lives and never see the Doctor again.

Last series, Clara Oswald's own hubris became her undoing when a raven marked her for death and while there was a cheat of sorts with both her and Ashildr gallivanting in a TARDIS, the former's days were still pretty numbered though. Then there's Danny Pink.

He was hardly the most popular character on the show and yet he was given both a gruesome exit by being somewhat converted into a Cybermen for Missy's arm back in 2014 and then he sacrificed himself to save the world or Clara, depending on your stance in the matter. The reason why I bring up Danny is because thanks to this episode, Bill underwent a similar but somewhat horrifying fate.

The episode opened with the Doctor persuading Bill and Nardole to aid him in a test to see if Missy could be good after all by exploring a spaceship heading into a black hole and dealing with time dilation. This resulted in the blue skinned Jorj shooting Bill for being human and then Bill being dragged away by a group of bandaged patients in order to give her a new heart.

The focus of the episode then is on Bill stuck in the creepiest of hospitals with the most ill and dying of patients suffering the worst kinds of pain ever while befriending the offbeat caretaker Razor and waiting for the Doctor to come and get her. Despite knowing exactly who Razor was from the get go, I actually quite like the 'friendship' of sorts between him and Bill and when he handed her over to that surgeon and nurse from hell, I was a little bit shocked.

Having Bill converted into the first Cyberman ever was not something I expected the show to do. I knew that when she first appeared in the show that Bill was going to be a one series only companion but even I didn't think that Moffat would give her such a horrifying ending of sorts. Whether or not this fate sticks though is the other thing, considering Moffat's track record with death.

However horrible as Bill's current predicament, it's also a timely reminder of how dangerous the Master actually can be. Sure, Missy might be making some of the right noises about wanting to change but we all know that the Master can never be good. It's why this two parter has given us two of them, so that the former Master (Simm) can stop the current one (Gomez) from turning over a new leaf.

I've enjoyed Michelle Gomez's take as the Master/Missy immensely during Capaldi's era of the show but it was nice to see both her and John Simm finally meet and I'm genuinely surprised that it happened. While Simm was largely in disguise as Razor for most of the episode and worked well with Pearl Mackie, his brief scenes with Gomez and Capaldi at the end were the highlight of the episode.

As for the rest of the episode, it was delightful enough. I loved the use of flashbacks and a flash forward to an impending scene and bonus points for the Doctor giving Bill a summary of his complicated relationship with the Master to boot. Nardole didn't really have that much to do in this one though but that was hardly a bad thing.

- The episode opened with the start of the Twelfth Doctor regenerating on a snowy planet. Expect to see that scene again next episode but we still have him until Christmas.
- I had to laugh at Missy's meta commentary on the show's title as well as her dabbling. And then I laughed a little at the Master's accent while pretending to be Razor.
- We can thank Steven's son for the use of black holes and time dilation for this episode. I do think it worked rather well though.
- The Doctor and Bill have adventures on Saturdays? I guess not anymore though.
- Previous origin stories for the Cybermen have included the likes of Big Finish audio, Spare Parts as well as comics such as  The World Shapers and The Cybermen. There was a Genesis Of The Cybermen story planned but it never materialised.
- Chronology: Mondas for the most part, or specifically a ship that seemed to be connected to it. I'm not sure how long since The End Of Time it is for Missy's "ex" though.

World Enough And Time provided a thrilling punch to proceedings. The start of a regeneration, the death of a companion, the origins of the Cybermen and two Masters all in one episode? I don't know how the next episode will live up to this one but I definitely can't wait to find out though. It's just a shame the ratings are still not great this series though.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cucumber - US Remake For ABC With New Title

Well, it only took Showtime a year and a half to do their own version of Queer As Folk, so are we surprised that Cucumber too would be getting a US remix?


Produced by Shonda Rhimes company, Shondaland, the US version of Cucumber will now have the title of Adult Behavior and will be showrun by Allan Heinberg and air on ABC. Heinberg will be familiar to people in recent times as the writer of the current Wonder Woman movie but he's also the man responsible for The Catch and has written for shows such as Looking and Sex And The City to boot.

Adult Behavior, is described as “a sexy, multi-generational, comedic drama” and is based on the British gay comedy series Cucumber and Banana, which US viewers were able to see on Logo back in 2015. The show will be executive produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers along with Russell T Davies, the creator of the UK version of both shows.

While I'm wary of US remakes and with this show being on a network, there will be a limit to how much we can see, sex wise (though How To Get Away With Murder certainly pushes the boundaries), I'm cautiously optimistic for this show and I bet we'll see a few Shondaland alumni heading up some of the cast too and ABC do have a solid history with LGBT themed shows.

Press Release: http://tvline.com/2017/06/21/adult-behavior-abc-pilot-shonda-rhimes-allan-heinberg/

I'll post more details about Adult Behavior when it becomes available.

Dracula - Moffat/Gatiss To Write Miniseries For BBC

With his time on Doctor Who coming to a close this Christmas and Sherlock over for the foreseeable future, Steven Moffat along with Mark Gatiss will be bringing another icon to the BBC.


From the press release ....

The brains behind the BBC's Sherlock series are to make a new version of Dracula, the corporation has confirmed.
Talks are under way with Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss about a series of 90-minute films based on Bram Stoker's novel about the Transylvanian vampire.
No scripts have been written and the Count has yet to be cast. According to the Radio Times, though, the series is likely to air in 2019.
Moffat's wife Sue Vertue will produce the show for Hartswood Films.
According to Variety, it is unclear whether Dracula, like Sherlock, will have a modern-day British setting.


I have to admit, I'm a little mixed on this one. The last time the BBC adapted the most infamous of vampires, it was back in 2006 with Marc Warren and it wasn't particularly a riveting adaptation. I'm not also sure if a miniseries will work, although it has to fare a little better than NBC/SkyLiving's attempts of a series back in 2013 with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I'm also hoping that both Moffat and Gatiss resist the urge to make their version of the character into a Sherlock clone as well.  That said, I'm sure the casting for this will be exciting though.

Press Release: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-40347479

I'll post more information on Dracula as soon as it becomes available but hey, at least we know what Moffat and Gatiss's first Doctor Who/Sherlock project will be.

Monday, June 19, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x10: "The Eaters Of Light"


Written by Rona Munro
Directed by Charles Palmer

Bill (re Picts/Romans): "You're wrong, Doctor, it's their destiny, not yours."

Well, this felt very much like an episode that belonged in the Classic Series and with Rona Munro back at the helm after her last effort with Survival nearly thirty years ago, perhaps that was the intention.

Bill wanted to solve the mystery of the missing Ninth Roman Legion and the Doctor along with a bed wanting Nardole decided to placate her by going to Aberdeen at the very moment in order to see if they could put the mystery to bed. Cue scenes where Bill showed off her history knowledge and got separated from her mates at the same time.

For Bill, being split from the Doctor and Nardole meant that she got the honours of encountering the monster of the week first time round but she also got the honours of finding the missing Legion, which seemed to be comprised of fit gay and bisexual lads, led by Lucius who fell into the latter category. Seriously, some people really do have all the luck, don't they?

The Doctor and Nardole on the other hand, end up meeting up with the Picts, led by the headstrong Kar and I have to admit my attention dwindled a little there. It's not that I'm shallow or anything but I was slightly less interested in the Picts until Bill and the Legion reunited with them and the Doctor and then the last few minutes picked up a little.

The creature itself killed a few cast members but unlike the Cheetah People from Munro's previous story, there wasn't really much of a story here. Both the Picts and missing Ninth Legion decided to band together in order to stop the creature from rampaging and only after Bill had to stop the Doctor from doing something otherwise reckless.

If you're looking for a highlight (aside from one I mentioned earlier), then really it's the Missy scene that's it. The Doctor's let her out of the Vault and even trusted her in the TARDIS while they were off attending to the story this week. Missy picking up on Nardole and Bill's bemusement of her to one side, the last scene between the two Time Lords was certainly powerful.

In Munro's previous story, she really caught the Doctor/Master dynamic to perfection (part of the reason why it's one of my all time favourites) and here, she did it again. The scenes where Missy was affected by the Scottish music and the Doctor wondering if they could be friends again. You just know by next week's episode we're going to get the answer to that looming question.

- There was a talking crow in this episode and for a moment, I did think about a certain episode from the previous series. Just for a moment though.
- I had to laugh a little when Lucius commented on Bill liking girls and comparing her to Vitus, who liked men.
- The scenes with at Devil's Cairn gave me a bit of an Outlander vibe to be honest.
- Will we learn when the Doctor became a vestal virgin in a later story?
- The ratings for this episode really did dip badly this time around. Shame, considering this was a solid episode.
- Chronology: 2nd century Aberdeen.

The Eaters Of Light is a solid return episode for Rona Munro and after watching it, I wouldn't oppose to seeing her once again write for the show. That said, the pacing was a little slow in parts, maybe too much for it's own good at times and the creature itself wasn't that good or interesting in any way at all. Other than that, still a decent episode.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Let's Blow Up The Island

I was meant to post this last week but things got in the way, so here's a look at some of the more recent finales I've watched.


Arrow: I have to say that overall, the fifth season of this show has been something of an improvement compared to previous ones and finale wise, I definitely think this was one of the strongest we've had. Featuring so many returning characters (Deathstroke, Malcolm, Nyssa, Black Siren etc) and a fantastic battle of wits between Oliver and Prometheus (who really did turn out to be a great villain this season), the episode ended on a rather explosive cliffhanger. I have a feeling there won't be that many casualties going into the next season, but it definitely a good way to keep viewers in suspense though.


Once Upon A Time: Solid flashback episodes for Zelena and Black Fairy/Fiona to one side, the last three episodes really seemed to serve as a series finale and had ABC been smart, they would've ended the show end here. I know we're getting an older Henry next season with his own kid and Regina/Rumple/Hook are remaining, but this show is going to suffer without Emma, Snow and Charming and I'll miss Zelena and Belle a bit too. As for the last three episodes, I loved the musical episode and thought it was one of the best episodes the show has ever done while the two Final Battle really should've served as the series finale with the amount of stuff it resolved.


Prison Break: I have to admit that this revival hasn't been half as exciting as it could've been. Despite only being nine episodes long, the show did suffer from a bit of a mid series lull and keeping the action in Yemen for the majority of the season wasn't actually that great an idea in retrospect. Michael's reunions with Lincoln and Sara were great but Jake/Poseidon lacked as a villain, Whip was a bit annoying (and super contrived that he happened to be T-Bag's son), Sucre was underused and none of the other newer characters really stood out. That said, the last episode did serve more as a series finale than the one we were given back in 2009 and unless there's a better thought out story to tell, here would be a good place to end the series again.


Supergirl: The final few episodes of the show's sophomore season were pretty enjoyable to watch. As a villain, Rhea certainly upped the ante with her Daxamite on Earth antics and the returns of both Superman, M'Gann and Cat Grant added some momentum into the mix as well. While the show seems to have put both Kara and Mon El's relationship on hold (where did he end up?), it did give us a proposal for Alex and Maggie, gave Lena something interesting to do while Lillian made for a fun grudging ally for about five seconds. Oh and there's another pod to mull over for next season as well.


The Flash: Not going to lie - Savitar has been the weakest villain we've had in the show's three years on air and I beyond glad that next season's Big Bad won't be a speedster. On the other hand, I loved how the finale subverted things. While it was sad to lose HR (but not Tom Cavanagh, he's not going anywhere), it was better that we didn't lose Iris instead and the fact that she was the one to end Savitar's reign of destruction was also a nice twist along with Caitlin mapping out another destiny for herself as Killer Frost. Barry being trapped in the Speed Force provides a little obstacle for the start of next season but I imagine he won't be stuck there for too long though.


- Odette Annable has been cast as a series regular for Supergirl's third season. She will be playing the main antagonist, Reign while Floriana Lima will be recurring next season.
- Tala Ashe will be playing Muslim-American activist superhero Zari Adrianna Tomaz as a regular for the third season of Legends Of Tomorrow. The character will be from the year 2030.
- Gotham's fourth season premiere has the current title of Pax Penguina.
- UK viewers will be able to see Outlander once again as More4 have acquired the rights to the series and will be airing it soon.
- BBC1/BBCAmerica have announced that Luther will be coming back for four new episodes for 2018.
- Fargo's currently airing third season may be it's last.
- Midnight, Texas will air on SyFy for UK viewers shortly after it's US transmission on NBC.
- 24: Legacy has been cancelled by FOX.
- Freeform have ordered a pilot for a US version for Misfits. Casting has yet to be announced.
- Game Of Thrones eighth season will be six episodes (now confirmed by HBO) but it might not air until 2019.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x09: "Empress Of Mars"


Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Wayne Che Yip

Alpha Centauri: "This is Alpha Centauri. Welcome to the universe."

So, that cameo happened then and I wish for once, I had resisted my usual impulse for spoilers and remained blissfully ignorant of Alpha Centauri popping up for a few seconds to set up events from the Peladon stories in the Third Doctor's run but it was a nice little moment in an episode that's surprisingly better than expected.

Let's be honest about Mark Gatiss - the guy's a terrific writer and a decent actor but too often his efforts for Doctor Who have a tendency to be marred by his nostalgia fueled writing and this episode certainly had a fair chunk of this. On the other hand, why has it taken this long for an actual Ice Warriors on Mars episode?

The Doctor, Bill and Nardole start the episode with a trip to NASA and quickly realise there's a human colony on the red planet when the words 'God Save The Queen' appear on the surface so they go off to investigate and wouldn't you know it, a bunch of irritating Victorian soldier types are on the planet and they've got an Ice Warrior whom they've named Friday as their skivvy.

Another crucial flaw in some of Gatiss's scripts has been his tendency to waste guest actors and this episode is a bit hit and miss in that regard. The soldiers themselves are mainly red shirts, some of whom are killed in a rather daft way but at least two of them are given a bit of a personality during this episode.

The first one being Catchlove, played by Ferdinand Kingsley. The episode needed a bad guy and for once, it wasn't going to be the Ice Warriors of the piece, so Catchlove fulfilled that role by repeatedly ignoring the Doctor and Bill, undermining his fellow soldiers and declaring war on the Ice Warriors as well. Unfortunately he was a pretty one dimensional and dull baddie that his death was a blessed relief as well as a deserved comeuppance for him.

On the other hand, I do think Godsacre, played by Anthony Calf was more of a pleasant surprise. At first, he too seemed a little more generic though receptive to the Doctor and Bill but as the episode went on, his desertion was brought into play and worked on a thematic level when he attempted to sacrifice himself in order to appease the Ice Warrior Empress herself, Iraxxa.

Speaking of Iraxxa - it was nice to meet a female Ice Warrior on the show and for the most part, I think Adele Lynch was fine in the role, if a bit OTT at times. I did find it interesting that Iraxxa initially listened to Bill before attempting to declare war on the Victorian soldiers and I definitely liked that Friday (Richard Ashton) was pretty reasonable too.

As a story, it felt somewhat bigger than the previous Ice Warrior we had back in the seventh series but still reasonably small scale enough. Of course while the Doctor and Bill were in the thick of things, Nardole was relegated to a more shorter role this week. In fact, his only real contribution to the episode was that he let Missy out of the Vault and the look that was shared between herself and the Doctor really spoke volumes. Does Missy know that the Doctor is due another regeneration or what?

- There were a lot of movie references in this episode, courtesy of Bill but the best was the moment when the Doctor revealed that he had watched Frozen.
- Ysanne Churchman, who previously voiced the role of Alpha Centauri returned for this episode, which was a nice touch.
- There was a sly reference to Gatiss's last episode, the divisive, Sleep No More. We almost got a sequel to that story.
- Anyone notice the portrait of Queen Victoria from Tooth And Claw in this one? Ferdinand Kingsley is also a regular on ITV's Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman.
- Apparently there were plans for Ian McNeice to appear in this episode as Churchill. I don't think the episode really justified him at all.
- Chronology: 1881 on Mars.

Empress Of Mars might highlight some of Mark Gatiss's worser excesses (the man is very nostalgia bound) but compared to his previous efforts for this era alone, I actually think this was a strong episode. Godsacre was a surprisingly engaging character, both Friday and Iraxxa worked well enough, I loved the Alpha Centauri cameo, Mars looked great onscreen and that last scene with Missy also worked a treat.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sense8 - You Want A War?


Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Lana Wachowski

Will (to Whispers): "You want a war? We'll give you one!"

And the show ended there? Really, Netflix? I get that this series is super expensive to make and while I can understand if not approve of your reasons behind cancelling it, would it kill you to give us at least another Christmas special to tie up the remaining loose ends?

This episode itself though, whilst great, still felt very set up though. Lila made an unwelcome return and it turned out that Cannibal and Whispers are the same person and poor Wolfgang ended up being kidnapped and tortured by the guy with Kala's identity also being outed in the mix. Another reason for an extra episode should be Lila getting her just desserts too.

However the episode did take a more interesting twist when Kala worked on more blockers and Will managed to deceive Whispers into actually meeting him publicly for a change. I have to admit, the twist genuinely surprised but there was something joyous in seeing the tables turn on Whispers along with Jonas also having to suffer some consequences for his flip flopping ways too.

Of course though, we didn't actually see Wolfgang rescued and now we'll never know if he is (one assumes he would've been in another episode/season, Netflix) but when he wasn't being tortured, he was instrumental in Sun's storyline and things between him and Kala were also about to move forward in a big way too.

Speaking of Sun, her storyline took something of a mixed turn. On one hand, Mun showed up to the Gala to arrest her brother but he ended up being shot and while Sun came close to actually taking out her treacherous sibling, the police turned up to arrest her. On the plus side and with the grudging help from Puck, she did manage to escape them but at the same time, it seems like we're still back at square one with her being on the run from the law. Unless Mun succeeds in punishing her brother off screen of course.

As for the rest of the episode, Kala came close to telling Rajan that she had voices in her head but he sort of took the wind out of her sails with his own reveal. Anyone hoping that Rajan wouldn't become a villain, you'll be relieved to know that instead he's going to be informing on them instead (including on his mate that clearly fancies Kala and left that wedding gift a few episodes back). It's not a bad reveal and I bet had we more episodes/seasons to enjoy, then Rajan probably would've been a dead man walking because of this storyline.

- Nomi and Amanita both proposing to each other was pretty sweet and lovely. Another thing we won't get to see now.
- Another Cluster visited Capheus in this episode while Puck's infatuation with Riley has effected his hairstyle. We also saw another woman from his Cluster but no Old Man Of Hoy though. Not a lot of Hernando and Daniela in this one either.
- The fact that all of the gang (and Amanita) are actually together in London is fantastic. I loved that moment. Damn you, Netflix, I want more.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode left off.

You Want A War? is a great season finale, loaded with some brilliant action sequences, character moments and a promise of more to come. Except we're not going to get it and while I'm usually resigned to shows I love getting cancelled at times, this is one of those times where it stings a little. While I wasn't expecting the show to run for multiple seasons and get that it's expensive as hell to make, it's sad though that we won't get some resolution to what's ultimately been a very compelling two year arc with eight of the best characters I've seen in the last few years. A shame, Netflix.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, June 09, 2017

Sense8 - If All the World's A Stage, Identity Is Nothing But A Costume


Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Tom Tykwer

Hernando (to Lito): "So tell me, my love… If your dream isn’t worth the risk, what is?"

The penultimate episode of the season and unfortunately now, series (and yes, I will rant about Netflix's ill advised decision to cancel this wonderful show but that'll be for later though) but while things didn't progress on the BPO front aside from Whispers being a right C U next Tuesday about Will losing his father, other stuff of interest did happen in the episode.

For instance, Lito's Hollywood career is off to a bit of a flying start. Thanks to Sun's emotive skills, he managed to successfully bag that movie role that Daniela set up for him in the previous episode then sees Lito. Hernando and Daniela attending the type of vacuous Hollywood party that we've seen on countless US shows over and over again but on the plus side, at least Lito's soon to be co-star, Blake was playing by a familiar face. Extra points allotted for getting Cheyenne Jackson to appear in this series.

As for Hernando, once again he gave an inspired speech to a hesitant Lito and then we had a gorgeous sex scene between the pair of them on the beach. This is going to be another thing I am seriously going to miss about the show.

When Lito wasn't bagging movie roles though, things were a little more serious as Capheus's first public speech ended up in another riot and attempt on his life. The assassin bloke though from the last episode ended up saving Capheus's life in this one, which was a nice enough surprise. That said, Capheus's political storyline has gotten very dangerous very fast for him though.

Meanwhile, Sun was putting her own plan into action to get back at her brother. With Lito's cocktail making skills, she bagged a job at his gala and the last few minutes of the episode had the rest of the Clusters banding together to help Sun get justice for herself. However with one more episode, will she be able to achieve that or will she end up killing her sibling?

- Kala and Wolfgang were making some progress in order to get together properly. I did like Kala/Riley's conversation at the start of the episode.
- Angelica showed up to briefly comfort Will as a contrast to the sadistic pleasure that Whispers took in the death of Will's father.
- Very little of Nomi in this episode or was that just me? Nice to see Zakia again though and that Marc Jacobs cameo too.
- Chronology: A few days from where What Family Actually Means left off I think.

If All the World's A Stage, Identity Is Nothing But A Costume wins the award for longest episode title we've had on the show but as a penultimate, it didn't push anything BPO wise remotely forward but still won for all the lovely little moments throughout. I am now anticipating and dreading the finale just that little bit more though.

Rating: 8 out of 10