Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Doctor Who: Terror of the Autons / Planet of the Spiders

This month sees a noteworthy pair of classic Who stories hitting the silver platter, including Jon Pertwee’s swansong, “Planet of the Spiders.” But before getting there, let’s first travel back to 1971.

Though “Terror of the Autons” kicked off producer Barry Letts’s second season, it was the first story he had a solid hand in guiding. (The previous year had been crafted in large part by outgoing producer Derrick Sherwin.) Letts wanted to bring a warmer feel to the show, so out went the Doctor’s scientist companion Liz Shaw, and in came the bubbly Jo Grant (Katy Manning), as well as the dashing Captain Mike Yates (Richard Franklin). The pair, along with the Doctor (Jon Pertwee), the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) and Sergeant Benton (John Levene), helped Letts bring the “family” to UNIT. But there was one piece of the puzzle missing, and Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks surmised that the relationship between the Doctor and the Brigadier had grown into a Holmes/Watson dynamic, so they felt the show needed a Moriarty, as well. Enter the Master.

Letts claims that Roger Delgado was always his first and only choice for the Doctor’s arch-nemesis, and from the moment he appears onscreen, it’s easy to see why. Right off the bat Delgado is, in the words of Frank Booth, “one suave fucker.” He looks like he’s been playing the part for years rather than minutes, and as a viewer you immediately understand him and get where he’s coming from. Yet the Doctor doesn’t seem to view him as an immediate threat, and frequently in the story it’s almost as if he’s looking forward to sparring with someone who’s an equal.

Read the rest of the DVD review for "Terror of the Autons," as well as "Planet of the Spiders" by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Being Human: Season Three

Of the Season Two finale of Being Human, I wrote that it “sets up a third season that will either be brilliant or a disaster.” Well, I’m both sad and happy to report that it is neither. Much happened in the last two episodes of the second season – the Box Tunnel massacre led by Mitchell (Aidan Turner), the resurrection of Herrick (Jason Watkins), and most importantly, Annie (Lenora Crichlow) being forced to go through the door into Purgatory, and Mitchell vowing to retrieve her. All of these elements play heavily into Season Three to varying degrees of success.

Now, Mitchell’s trip to Purgatory sure seemed like it would make for great television and the series wastes no time getting him there. It turns out to be nothing more than a drab house full of strange rooms that recall moments of Mitchell’s checkered past, and a slightly annoying woman called Lia (Lacey Turner), who foretells that the vampire will be killed by a “wolf-shaped bullet.” Oh, and she also happens to be the ghost of one of Mitchell’s Box Tunnel victims. When he finally finds Annie, it doesn’t take much to get her back to the corporeal world, and given how bland Purgatory was, one wonders what all of her fuss was about in the first place. Based on the images we saw of her screaming through the TV, you’d have thought she was burning in Hell.

Meanwhile, back in Wales (yes, Wales – the group has moved from Bristol into an empty Welsh B & B), George (Russell Tovey) and Nina (Sinead Keenan) appear to be doing just fine, and dealing with the complexities of being a werewolf couple without too much trouble. Until the full moon comes along, that is, and they end up in the same cell together for the night, and the werewolves get jiggy, and next thing you know, Nina is preggers. Perhaps their baby will come out looking like Eddie Munster, but that may be asking too much. And it would be too much, but not outside the realm of possibility, because if there’s one problem with the first few episodes of Season Three, it’s that the show appears to have lost its fine balance of horror and humor.

Read the rest of this Blu-ray review by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Doctor Who Recaps for Season Six

Hey readers -

If you've come here looking for recaps (or links to recaps) of Season Six of Doctor Who, I'm afraid to say that I won't be doing them regularly this season. Really, after writing up nearly every episode since the show first (re)started back in 2005, I need a good long break from doing it. If you've ever tried to recap a series on and on, year after year, it becomes a drag after a while, and takes a big part of the fun out of the show for the person doing the writing.

However, I will very likely do a lengthy piece for Bullz-Eye after the mid season break, in which I'll ramble on and on about what I thought of the season so far. There will, of course, be a link to the piece here at the Rued Morgue, so please check in around that time.

Thanks for your interest!