Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Doctor Who: Series Six, Part One

Since they only represent the first half of a season, it’s difficult to give any kind of fair review to this block of seven episodes. They begin strong, with loads of promise, but then slowly peter away into utter mediocrity. At the end of the semi-revelatory seventh episode, it’s still only mid-season, so it’s entirely probable the series will redeem itself later this year in the final six installments. It needs to, because if it doesn’t, Season Six could go down as the weakest since the series re-started in 2005.

But who would’ve thought such thoughts upon broadcast, given the way this block starts out? The opening United States-set and partially lensed two-parter – comprised of “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon” – is gloriously near-perfect; a tale of Richard Nixon, Neil Armstrong’s left foot, and the most unsettling aliens the series has unveiled since the Weeping Angels. The Silence were seeded throughout Season Five, and hence had a lot to live up to, and while there’s no question they’re creepy looking, what really sells them is the premise: beings that edit themselves from your memory the moment you stop looking at them. With the Angels you at least knew they were there, so there was something to fight against. The Silence make the battle considerably trickier and disturbing. The goings-on are helmed by the great Toby Haynes (“The Big Bang,” “A Christmas Carol”), who once again proves that he’s the ideal director for bringing Steven Moffat’s words to life. Even if there’s a bit of rubbish in the script, Haynes is able to convincingly gloss over it so viewers barely notice. Further, these two episodes set up the season with a handful of different mysterious complexities that promise greatness to come. But will it?

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

Torchwood: The Complete Original U.K. Series

If you’re currently digging Torchwood: Miracle Day on Starz, and it’s your first exposure to Torchwood as a concept, then boy do I have a Blu-ray for you. This box set collects together all the episodes of Torchwood that were created prior to Miracle Day, so if you aren’t caught up and would like to delve into all that came before, buy the ticket and take this ride.

Torchwood was designed to be something of an adult spin-off of Doctor Who, and in order to kick things off, producer Russell T. Davies brought the slick con-man character of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) over from the parent series to the new show, and in doing so, Jack was reenvisioned as a begrudgingly heroic central figure cursed with immortality. Although there were subtle nods for hardcore Who devotees, Torchwood quickly became its own dog. Whereas Doctor Who was very much about finding the good in humanity, Torchwood seemed hell-bent on showcasing the flaws. Its exploration of the selfish, darker sides of being human through the lens of science fiction became its hallmark.

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