Doctor Who The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos Review

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Doctor Who the Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

Review by Paul Bowler

A reckoning awaits the Time Lord and her companions in The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos, as the The 13th Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) Graham (Bradley Walsh) , Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole ) must answer nine separate distress calls on a remote battle ravaged planet with a perception altering psychic field. On this strange world were swirling mists enshroud dark secrets, a military commander has lost his memory, and who, or what, are the mysterious Ux?

The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos, written by show runner Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Childs, is the concluding episode of series 11 (before the special episode on New Years Day), and as season finales go it offers a decidedly unusual, sombre and rather emotional note to round off this years adventures in time and space for the new Doctor and her companions.

Team TARDIS are certainly put through the wringer in this episode as they face their deadliest challenge yet, Its also something of a roller coaster ride of emotions for them too. Furthermore it’s intriguing to note how Chibnall’s scrip focuses on how much the Doctor, Graham, Yaz, and Ryan’s adventures together have forged a strong bond between them. They are all very different people now than when they first met the Doctor, and The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos really challenges the new dynamic that has emerged between them.

Along with the endearing genuine warmth and sense of fun which Jodie Whittaker brings to her incarnation of the Time Lord, she also gets a chance to showcase her Doctor’s powerful inner strength as well. Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole also give exceptional performances in this episode as the Time Lord’s ever dependable team of Graham, Yaz and Ryan. With each of their characters getting a chance to shine as they unite against the threat they face.

This season finale also features a strong guest cast that includes Phyllis Logan (Downton Abby) as Andlinio, Percelle Ascott from Wizards and Aliens as Delph, along with Game of Thrones actor Mark Addy as the amnesiac commander Paltraki, and Jan Le as Umsang.

Following their discovery of a wrecked space-ship on the planet Ranskoor Av Kolos, the Doctor and her companions help commander Paltraki regain his memory (using the same neurobalancers that allow them to resist the psychic field), and together they set out to rescue his crew who have been imprisoned by a familiar foe… the Stenza warrior T’zim-Sha (or Tim Shaw as the Doctor calls him) who was vanquished by the Time Lord and her friends in the series premier: The Woman Who Fell to Earth. But on this world known as “disintegrator of the soul” in its native language the Doctor learns T’zim-Sha has manipulated the Ux, faith driven dimensional engineers of which only two can ever exist at any one time, into believing he is their god and the Stenza intends to use their ability to meld reality with the power of their minds to get revenge on the Doctor by destroying the planet Earth.

I have to say I wasn’t all that surprised to see the warrior T’zim-Sha return for the series finale. It was a tad disappointing to see this toothy alien menace make a comeback, as I don’t think he was that great a monster or threat in the first place, and his scheme to destroy Earth in planet The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos does echo concepts from The Pirate Planet (1978) a bit too much for my liking. That said The Battle Ranskoor Av Kolos did turn out to be a better finale than I was expecting in the end. I especially liked the conflict between the Doctor and Graham that this episode served up. Bradley Walsh once again gave an amazing performance, with his character remaining true to himself, his late wife Grace, and his new friends as good old Graham ends up being the better man for the choices he ultimately makes in the final battle with the Stenza warrior T’zim-Sha.

Chris Chibnall’s script certainly delivered some strong character moments once again for the Doctor and her companions, the plot however did feel a little bit like Sci-Fi by numbers at times, so not quite the epic finale we are used to for Doctor Who really, but the stylish direction by Jamie Childs just about managed to hold everything together – even if resolution bamboozled you with techno-babble and threw all logic out the window to get the job done. So, now that Doctor Who series 11 has concluded and The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos proved to be a relatively good – if somewhat unremarkable – season finale, I guess its time to look back at this series and ask ourselves… was it any good?

One thing’s for sure is that Jodie Whittaker has been a revelation as the 13th Doctor, her performance has been exceptionally good, and she’s no doubt proved a lot of the naysayers wrong who’d dismissed the very notion of having a female Doctor outright. Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole have also been good as Yaz and Ryan, although I’d have liked to have seen Yaz get a bit more character development. Ryan’s growing confidence as he coped with his Dispraxia on his adventures with the Doctor and the others was also handled well throughout the series. For me though, it was Bradley Walsh as Graham who really gave the standout performance of this series. His portrayal of Graham as he coped with his grief over the death of his wife, Grace, along with joining the TARDIS crew and his subsequent adventures in time and space, and being a granddad to Ryan were all brilliantly played by Bradley Walsh.

Chris Chibnall has been ok as show runner, but some of the scripts for this season have at times been a bit hit and miss. For me, this season’s highlights have been Rosa, The Demons of Punjab, The Witchfinders and It Takes You Away. My least favourite story was Kerblam! I think because I had to go into hospital for a couple of weeks mid-way through this series, my interest in this season obviously waned a bit, but despite this no matter how well I thought the regular cast worked together and how different each episode was in tone and style I still can’t shake the feeling that series 11 could have been a lot better than it ultimately was.

The longer episode length did allow a bit more room for plot development, but I really missed not having the two-part stories this year, and the lack of any obvious season-wide story arc coupled with series 11 only being comprised of ten episodes also made it feel like this new season was done and dusted just as it began to hit its stride. I really liked the new theme and title sequence though, although I think it just needs either the Doctor’s face or the TARDIS added to give it that added Doctor Who magic and the new crystalline TARDIS interior was also visually striking and refreshingly different from anything we’ve seen before.

I guess in hindsight Doctor Who series 11 will be probably be regarded as innovative, game changing even, despite being a little too PC and preachy at times, but overall I think series 11 held together quite well. It’s just a shame that the scripts for this season weren’t always as consistently good as they could, and really should have been for the beginning of a new era like this – especially considering the strong performances given by Jodie Whittaker and the rest of the regular cast.

Although sadly the Doctor and her companions wont be back in time for Christmas this year, we’ve still got the New Year’s Day special episode Resolution to look forward too where a terrifying evil from history rises to face the Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan as they return to Earth! While a new adventure with the Doctor should certainly get 2019 off to a great start, the announcement that Series 12 (staring Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, along with Bradley Walsh as Graham), Mandip Gill as Yaz and Tosin Cole as Ryan) won’t arrive until 2020 will no doubt come as a disappointment for many fans, and perhaps cloud expectation for the New Year’s Day Special a little because we know there’s going to be rather a long wait for the next series of Doctor Who…

Images and Video Belongs BBC

Advertisements

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Official Trailer 2 Released!

Tags

, , , ,

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Official Trailer 2 Released!

Its time for the giant monsters to slug it out as Warner Bros. Pictures releases the second official trailer for their upcoming MonsterVerse movie Godzilla: King of Monsters!

Following the global success of “Godzilla” and “Kong: Skull Island” comes the next chapter in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ cinematic MonsterVerse, an epic action adventure that pits Godzilla against some of the most popular monsters in pop culture history. The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.

Godzilla: King of Monsters arrives in theaters on May 31st 2019.

 

Avengers Endgame Trailer Released!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Avengers Endgame Trailer Released!

Following the an epic decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to reach a major turning point with Avengers: Endgame! Yes, after weeks of rumours that a trailer for Avengers 4 was on the way, today is the day we’ve all been waiting for.. our first glimpse at the trailer and title for the fourth Avengers Movie: Avengers Endgame!

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Endgame looks set to resolve the Avengers: Infinity War’s shattering cliff-hanger that saw fifty per cent of the MUC’s heroes turned to dust by Josh Brolin’s Thanos..

The trailer for Avengers Endgame shows how Tony Stark is coping in the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War – and we also get a few hints about what and who we will see in Avengers: Endgame…

Its great to finally have a look at what Avengers Endgame will be like, really excited for this movie! What did you all think of the trailer for Avengers Endgame?

Avengers: End Game is set to land in UK cinemas on 26 April 2019.

And here’s the new Avengers Endgame poster!

 

Doctor Who Kerblam! , The Witchfinders, & It Takes You Away Reviews

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Doctor Who Kerblam, The Witchfinders, & It Takes You Away

Review by Paul Bowler

As you probably know from my last few posts, I’ve recently spent some time in hospital after I fell ill with a chest infection again. Obviously this threw my review schedule out the window. Fortunately my review of The Tsuranqa Conundrum was almost completed before I went into hospital, but even though I’m home resting and recovering now I’m still under Doctor’s orders to take things easy. So, after completing a short Demons of Punjab review I decided to surmise my thoughts on Kerblam!, The Witchfinders, and It Takes You Away in a somewhat more truncated form for this post, and then do a more detailed review of the Series 11 finale The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos afterwards in a separate review.

Kerblam!

When the Doctor receives a mysterious message in a package delivered to the TARDIS, it leads the Time Lord and her companions Graham, Yaz and Ryan to a moon base warehouse HQ of the galaxies largest retailer – Kerblam! But as the Doctor and her friends investigate the facility they uncover a much wider, and far-reaching conspiracy than they could’ve possibly imagined…

Kerblam! , written by Peter McTighe and directed by Jennifer Perrott, may have a grammatical first in its title for such a long running series like Doctor Who, but sadly that’s probably just about the only remarkable thing I can think of to say about this episode.

The episode started promisingly enough, considering the high jinks when the Doctor received the fez at the start. Indeed, the Time Lord and her companions investigation into discovering who sent the message for help from the Kerblam! facility had great potential. Sadly the plot revolving around this intergalactic answer to Amazon quickly ran out of steam.

The regular cast do their best with the mundane script, but guest stars Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street, Boradchurch) and Lee Mack (Not Going Out) seemed wasted in their sketchily developed roles. Even the revelation of who was behind everything that’d been happening at Kerblam! , along with their motives, was signposted a mile off and hardly a big surprise either.

Kerblam! was the second episode I watched during my recent stay in hospital. Perhaps it was because I was really looking forward to going home the following week more than I was about watching Doctor Who that Sunday night, I’m not sure, but I really struggled to like anything about Kerblam!. Cheap and tacky looking, Kerblam! has little to commend it, so I must consign it to mediocrity, bubble wrap and all…

The Witchfinders

The TARDIS brings the Doctor and her companions to 17th century Lancashire, where, in the shadow of Pendle Hill, the nearby townsfolk of Bilehurst Cragg is in the grip of the infamous Witchtrials. The Doctor becomes embroiled in a frightening mystery when they are unable to prevent young Willa Twiston’s (Tilly Steel) grandmother being condemned as a witch, as sinister magic grips the land, and the sudden arrival of King James I only serves to increase the fervour of the witch hunt!

Now this is more like it! The Witchfinders, written by Joy Wilkinson and directed by Sallie Aprahamian, is my kind of Doctor Who story. Grim, brooding themes, a creepy historical setting and a cleverly thought out alien mystery for the Doctor and her friends to solve. Jodie Whittaker continues to impress as the 13th Doctor on every level in this story.

For the first time in this series the Doctor’s gender also becomes an issue of sorts for her to contend with, further highlighting the discrimination and prejudices of this era. Even the sonic and psychic paper are used sparingly in this episode; and actually cause more problems for the Doctor than they help solve. There are good scenes for Ryan, Yaz, and Graham as well and I really like how team TARDIS is meshing together so well as a team now as they help the Doctor uncover the truth behind what has reanimated the victims of the trials that now stalk the land.

The Bafta winning, Golden Globe nominated actor, and star of Hollywood and Broadway, Alan Cunningham totally steals the show as King James in the Withcfinders. His performances as the witch-fearing King is deliciously wicked and fun. The King’s initial attitude towards the Doctor is priceless, especially when he appoints Graham as Witchfinder General over her, and King James’ flirting with Ryan is also hilarious. Slobhan Flnneran (Downton Abby, Happy Valley, Clocking Off) also guest stars as the ruthless Becka Savage, a character whose uncompromising zeal for the witch trials ultimately proves her undoing.

Complementing the story perfectly is this weeks monster of the week, the Morax! An ancient alien species imprisoned on Earth for war crimes, these disembodied entities were inadvertently released from their high-tech prison within Pendle Hill when Becka damaged a tree connected to its locking systems. The Morax possessed mud-caked victims of the trials are without doubt one of series 11’s most effective monster yet, and they provide plenty of nightmarish chills throughout the episode.

Sure, the episode got a little bit carried away by its own ambition, but the script and direction were bang on the money. I really enjoyed The Witchfinders. It was a thrillingly dark, atmospheric story, the main cast were all on fine form, the monsters were frighteningly realized on screen, and Alan Cummings was great as King James. Easily my favourite story of series 11 so far!

It Takes You Away

In the penultimate episode of Series 11, The Doctor, Graham, Yaz, and Ryan embark on a decidedly sombre adventure when Team TARDIS arrives in the present day on the edge of Norwegian fjord. In true Scandinavian fashion, the Time Lord and her friends quickly uncover a mystery surrounding an old boarded up cottage, where a young girl desperately needs their help, and a powerful danger will soon strike at them all.

It Takes You Away, written by Ed Hime and directed by Jamie Childs, is a brooding, atmospheric episode. It tells the story of Hanne (played by the blind actress Elle Wallwork, her scary predicament blends chills and sci-fi themes in equal measure, and the path the Doctor and her companions must take in order to save her.

Jodie Whittaker seems to have really settled into her role as the Doctor now. This story gives her, along with Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole and especially Bradley Walsh some terrific character moments – further highlighting just how well this regular cast work collectively as a whole. Elle Wallwork is outstanding as Hanne too. The guest cast also features the actor and comedian, Kevin Eldon, with Christian Rubeck as Erik, and Lisa Stokke as Trine.

Naturally, together with the underlying question of what really happened here, there’s also a monster lurking in the woods near the cottage, and soon the Doctor must confront a terrifying threat. But who, or what, is the frightening Ribbons?

The answers come soon enough as the Scandi-Noir tone of It Takes You Away spins off into Sci-Fi thrills and chills. With the discovery of a mirror without a reflection that leads to an Anti-Zone (a realm created by the universe as a buffer against a catastrophic event) , the Doctor and her friends encounter the treacherous creature known as Ribbons (chillingly portrayed by Kevin Eldon), face deadly flesh eating moths, and eventually flee through another portal back to the house.

It is here where Ed Hime’s script really hits it stride, juggling big concepts, and powerful emotional themes as the Doctor realizes they are in is a parallel dimension (the visual subtleties of its reverse reflective state are also a great touch) created by a sentient universe called The Solitract. It has used its power to construct this environment along with a duplicate of Hanne’s mother Trine to lure her father, Erick, back to this place and keep him there. I love how the direction here by Jamie Childs brings a dream-like quickly to these scenes, especially when Graham’s late wife, Grace (Sharon D Clarke), also appears, and Bradley Walsh’s subsequent performance as the grief stricken Graham proves truly moving when he is almost overwhelmed at seemingly being reunited with her again.

The Doctor also puts everything on the line to save Hanne, her father, and her companions from the unstable dimension. Jodie Whittaker is sublime here as the Doctor faces the uncanny face-off with the true frog form of The Solitact in its own universe. The ensuing meeting of minds here is a wonderful scene and its beautiful played by Whittaker.

There’s even a fun nod to the Pertwee era in this episode as well when Yaz suggests at one point that the Doctor should try reversing the polarity! Having Ryan finally call Graham granddad at the end of the story was also a nice way close the episode. With its great story, beautiful direction, and strong performances from the cast, this one had it all for me. Eerie, bizarre, and more than a little surreal, It Takes You Away was one of the most enjoyable and satisfying episodes of this new series so far!

Sorry to be so short and to the point, but hopefully I got my views across ok, and it was fun to play around with the format of reviewing Doctor Who stories a bit. Let me know, do you like this way of reviewing a whole TV series, more like an overview say, or do you prefer the more detailed, individual episode approach I tend to use, or a mix of both?

Well, I’m all caught up with Doctor Who series 11 now and really looking forward to seeing what the season finale The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos will bring!

Check out the trailer for the series 11 finale!

Images and Video Belongs BBC

Demons of the Punjab Review

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Doctor Who Demons of the Punjab

Review by Paul Bowler

The adventures of the new TARDIS team continue as the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Graham (Bradley Walsh), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) arrive in Punjab in 1947, just as Partition is declared in India. Yaz resolves to discover more about her grandmother’s history and the events that led her into keeping a tragic secret; meanwhile the Doctor sets out to confront the sinister demons that have been mysteriously appearing across the land…

Demons of the Punjab, written by Vinay Patel (Murdered by my Fahter) and directed by Jamie Childs, is a deeply moving and tragically dark story. Yaz wants to lean about her families past, so having a friend with a time machine comes in handy, and she persuades the Doctor to take her back in time to the day when her grandmother got married.

It’s not long before the Doctor realises the significance of the world changing events they have inadvertently become involved in. Partition would herald stark divides; the displacement of millions of people, and terrible violence that would change lives forever, and now the Doctor and her fiends must tread softly in the past and let events transpire – despite their foreknowledge of the heartbreaking tragedy Yaz’s nanni with face.

Jodie Whittaker gives one of her finest performances to date as the Doctor. Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole also acquit themselves well as Graham and Ryan, but it is Mandip Gill as Yaz who really takes centre stage in this episode about her gan’s past. The extensive guest cast which features Leena Dhingra as Nani Umbreen, Amita Suman as Umbreen, Shane Zaza as Prem, Hamza Jeetooa as Manish, Shaheen Khan as Hasna, Shobna Gulati as Najia Khan, Ravin J Gantra as Hakim Khan, Bhavnisa Pramar as Sonya Khanm, and Barbara Fadden as Almak all give strong performances.

Doing history on such a human scale is what Doctor Who does best, never more so than when the drama plays out against the backdrop of such powerful themes and personal issues like this. Obviously being a family show, Partition isn’t realised in a graphic way on screen, but the emotional fallout and sombre tone that builds throughout the episode actually makes the depiction of these events and the way it would shape the life which Yaz’s gran would lead ultimately feels a lot more powerful and poignant as a result.

Naturally, being Doctor Who there are monsters for the Doctor to contend with. Initially thought of as demons by those who’d seen them, these creatures which have been glimpsed as people are about to die alone, are the Thjarians. Once know and feared as the deadliest assassins in the universe, the Thjarians civilization is now gone, and these two lone survivors of their kind now travel endlessly to witness those who will perish alone because they themselves were not there to witness or honour the destruction of their own civilization.

The location filming in Spain gives this episode added scope and scale to bring the story to life as well. I actually watched Demons of Punjab while I was hospital recently. Although I was on a drip at the time and not feeling too good, I thought it was an excellent episode, and one of the most emotional and moving Doctor Who stories I’ve seen in a long time.

I really liked how the sci-fi and historical elements seamlessly merged and that the monsters were not quite what they seemed either. The resolution of the episode was also handled well. There are times when everything in Doctor Who seems to click together just right, Demons of Punjab is a thought-provoking tale, and one of the standout episodes of the 13th Doctor’s new adventures.

Images & Video Belongs BBC

Captain Marvel Official Trailer Two Released!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Captain Marvel Official Trailer 2 Released!

Check out the brand new trailer for Marvel Studios Captain Marvel, it looks awesome! The films charts the story of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when the Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two powerful alien races. Set in the 1990s, “Captain Marvel” is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Algenis Perez Soto, Rune Temte, Mckenna Grace, Clark Gregg and Jude Law, the film will be released in theaters on March 8, 2019

Doctor Who The Tsuranga Conundrum Review

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Doctor Who The Tsuranga Conundrum

Review by Paul Bowler

The new adventures of Team TARDIS become fraught with danger in The Tsuranqa Conundrum, as the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Graham (Bradley Walsh), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) find themselves injured and marooned in a distant galaxy. But to survive this crisis they must team up with a group of strangers against one of the most bizarre and powerful monsters in the entire universe…

The Tsuranqa Conundrum, written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Jennifer Perrott, finds the Doctor and her new companions stranded in a futuristic medical facility after one of their adventures has gone disastrously wrong on a junkyard planet. Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor is at the heart of the action, quickly discovering they are on board an automated spaceship bound for a medical space-station, but she’s far from the only hero here, and she inspires Graham, Yaz and Ryan to be as resourceful as ever to deal with their current predicament.

Of course, the other patients with them in the facility also have a key role to play. The extensive guest cast for this episode includes Brett Goldstein and Lois Chimimba as the medics Astos and Mabli, actor and stand up comedian Ben Bailley Smith plays Durkas Cicero, and Casualty star Suzanne Packer is Eve Cicero.

Chris Chibnall’s fast paced script hardly pauses for a moment, further heightening the danger faced by the Doctor, her friends, and the other patients in the facility. After the Earth based stories The Tsuranqa Conundrum is a welcome voyage into full on science fiction territory, boasting a glittering universe of sleek spaceships, new cultures, there’s a physics lesson veiled in anitmatter technobabble, and the Doctor and co even get to meet a pregnant male alien. Australian director Jennifer Perrott and director of photography Simon Chapman (who is also Australian), have stylishly crafted this episodes vividly futuristic setting, the scope of it all is highly impressive, and the result is a truly remarkable looking Doctor Who adventure!

The medical space-ships course soon takes the vessel into disputed territory. Before long a dangerous alien threat gets on board, a ferocious Pting (created and named by Tim Price room during series 11‘s early development), and its this diminutive monster that the Doctor encounters in this episode which presents a very new and different kind of threat for the Time Lord and her companions. The Ptng is a tiny, incredibly strong, speedy little beast with razor sharp teeth, toxic skin, and well known throughout the galaxy because of its voracious appetite for devouring all non-organic matter – including energy!

Now… here’s where this review goes off on a slight tangent, because this is the point while preparing this review that I fell ill and got rushed into hospital. It feels a bit strange now, after just over two weeks, looking back over what I’d written about The Tsuranqa Conundrum while trying to gather my thoughts and opinions together in summing up this episode. To be honest my memory of it’s all a bit hazy, so I really need to see it again to judge it properly, but for now I’ll stick with the initial notes I made.

Although exciting and fast paced, I felt that The Tsuranqa Conundrum was crammed almost to bursting point with a lot of good ideas, but sadly few of them were either developed successfully or worked collectively as a whole. The episode certainly put the Doctor and her companions though their paces, delivering strong character moments, but the supporting cast and frenetic plot made The Tsuranqa Conundrum feel overstuffed – a bit like the Pting at the end of the episode! The little Pting was actually The Tsuranqa Conundrum’s saving grace, the monster was a really fun and dangerous menace, and it thankfully brought the scripts lazy fix-all overuse of the Sonic Screwdriver to an abrupt halt – for a little while anyway.

The Tsuranqa Conundrum is far from Chris Chibnall’s strongest script to date in series 11, however, the solid performances from the main cast, together with Jennifer Perrott’s stylish direction, and of course the insanely cute Pting do make up for some of the scripts failings.

Reflecting on seeing The Tsuranqa Conundrum now feels very bizarre to me, especially considering the paradox of actually going into hospital myself after watching this episode. I will probably revisit this story again at some point, but strangely, just like any stay in hospital (no matter how well they look after you, and believe me they certainly did and I‘m immensely grateful for the care I received), its not necessarily something that I want to do again any time soon; and I think that sums up exactly how I feel about The Tsuranqa Conundrum as well. An above average Doctor Who story – but one that oddly felt like it was still a couple of drafts away from reaching its full potential.

Images and Video Belongs BBC

Not Been Feeling Very Well

Tags

, ,

Not Been Feeling Very Well.

Hi everyone! Sorry not been here for a little while. I fell ill with another nasty chest infection and got rushed into hospital two weeks ago. Fortunately after a course of IV antibiotics I’m home now and well on the mend. I’ll be back writing, reviewing and posting videos over on my YouTube Channel again once I’ve recovered a bit more. For now though I’m looking forward to catching up with some of the TV shows that I missed while I was in hospital, namely The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, as well as finishing my binge watch of the brilliant Daredevil season 3, and finally getting the chance to enjoy playing some of Red Dead Redemption 2 while I take things easy for a bit.

Thank you for all your support & see you soon.

Paul.

 

Doctor Who Arachnids in the UK Review

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Doctor Who Arachnids in the UK

Review by Paul Bowler.

Doctor Who goes all eight legged and freaky in Arachnids in the UK as The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Graham (Bradley Walsh), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole ) return to present day Sheffield after their recent adventures. But after everything they’ve been through together, can life back home ever really be the same again? Some big decisions await, but first there’s a creepy infestation of dangerous spiders in Sheffield to deal with…

Continuing the ongoing trend of placing markedly different stories next to one another, the fourth episode of Doctor Who’s eleventh series Arachnids in the UK, written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Sallie Aprahamin, is pure B-Movie fun.

Returning to the present after the modern historical of previous the episode, Rosa, Arachnids in the UK gives the Doctor’s companions a chance to touch base back home and contemplate everything that’s happened to them since the Doctor whisked them away on their adventures in time and space. There’s also more focus on Yaz’s family, and we gain a bit more insight about her home life

Jodie Whittaker continues to impress on every level as the Doctor, Mandip Gill gets more time in the spotlight as Yaz, while Tosin Cole and the brilliant Bradley Walsh also deliver strong performances as Ryan and Graham. Arachnids in the UK also features an impressive guest cast including Chris Noth (famed for his staring roles in Sex and the City and The Good Wife) as hotel the mogul Robertson who is dealing with a very pressing spider problem, Shobana Gulati (Dinnerladies and Coronation Street) plays Yaz’s mum, Najia, and Tanya Fear as the zoologist Dr Jade Mclntyre.

From the spectacular sight of the TARDIS travelling through the time, space vortex, to the beautiful scene where Yaz invites the Doctor and her new friends home for tea, and the emotional scenes as Graham returns home this episode hit’s the ground running and hardly lets up for a moment. Bradley Walsh continues to knock it out the park in this episode, delivering an especially moving performance as Graham confronts his grief, and these moving scenes are made all the more poignant as Sharon D Clarke also reprises her role briefly as Grace O’Brien.

Its only when the Doctor and Ryan meet Dr Jade McIntyre, a zoologist from an arachnid research centre in Sheffield, and discover something nasty under the bed in the flat next door but one to Yaz’s home that the full extent of what’s been happening to the spiders begins to emerge.

After an arachnid encounter at his house, Graham rejoins them, and the Doctor and the gang set off to find Yaz who has gone to meet her mother who has just been fired from her job at the newly constructed luxury hotel by its American owner Jack Robertson – a hotel which the Doctor has identified as the source of the infestation

Naturally the spiders in this episode provide the monster-of-the-week factor. Brining enough scares, chills, and downright ickyness to make your skin craws while providing the Doctor and her companions with a suitably challenging menace for them to deal with. Chibnall’s tautly paced scrip cleverly toys with all the familiar B-Movie tropes, along with our fears, and preconceptions of arachnids to make the eight legged critters – which are also effectively realized – in this episode feel all the more menacing as a result

It transpires that spiders are in fact giant domestic spiders that grew from the offspring of a spider specimen from Dr McIntyre’s lab that was believe to be dead when it was disposed of. Only trouble is, the company put it with the rest of the toxic waste they’ve been dumping in the mining tunnels beneath which Robertson’s new hotel has been built on.

With the creepy crawlies webbed presence cunningly hinted at right from the outset, Arachnids in the UK has spiders under the bed, spider scuttling down dark corridors, and even a giant spider bursting out through a bathtub (my favourite bit in the episode) to snare a hapless victim!

Its not long before the Doctor and her companions, along with Najia, Dr Jade McIntyre and slimy Trumpesque business man Robertson find a way to deal with the bulk of the spider horde, but I wasn’t expecting the tragic fate of the giant spider, and Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor really drives home the powerful themes surrounding the creatures demise with the utmost conviction.

Although I though the plot was a bit sketchy in places, Arachnids in the UK was still a fun, action packed adventure. Chris Chibnall continues to build the bond between the Doctor and her new companions, and the dramatic direction by Sallie Aprahamin makes ensures the scenes with the giant spiders are really exciting. With its distinct Pertwee era vibe, especially The Green Death (1973), and its dash of modern political satire Arachnids in the UK is certainly an eventful episode. Sure, the resolution to the spider menace does get wrapped up a bit too quickly and conveniently, but the final scenes in the TARDIS more than make up for any unresolved plot threads as Graham, Yaz and Ryan decide to continue travelling with the Doctor despite the dangers they might face, and its a wonderful moment for this new “team TARDIS” as they set off to see the universe. together!

Images and Video belongs BBC

Watch the trailer for the fifth episode of series 11, The Tsuranga Conundrum!

Doctor Who Rosa Review

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Doctor Who Rosa

Review by Paul Bowler

Rosa, the third episode of series 11, sees the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions Graham (Bradley Walsh), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole ) take their first sojourn into the past when the TARDIS arrives in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955 where they encounter someone attempting to rewrite the history of the black civil rights movement.

Written by Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall, Rosa is a very new and bold style of historical adventure for Doctor Who. Indeed, this is a powerful, even harrowing, return to Earth for the Doctor’s new companions as they visit the Deep South in 1955 and find themselves in a very different era from the one they live in…

The seamstress, Rosa Parks, superbly played in this episode by Vinette Robinson, became a key figure in the civil rights moment on the day she refused to give up her seat on a buss for a white person. It set in motion a chain of events whereby the actions of this one woman would become a major turning point in history and result in brining far reaching change for the good.

There are strong performances all round in this episode, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole all brining even grater range to their characters over the course of this story. Jodie Whittaker has an empowering presence here as the Doctor too. You see, someone wants to prevent this monumental moment from happening, someone is determined to alter time to ensure that everything bad stays just the way it, and there’s no what in a million years the Doctor is ever going to let that happen!

That someone is Krasko (Joshua Bowman) a recently paroled convict from Stormcage who has used a vortex manipulator and a temporal weapon to travel back in time and alter history by preventing Rosa Parks from having to give up her seat on the bus. Fortunately Krasko’s actions in this time have left a trail of artron energy, which enables the time travellers to track him to his lair in the bus works. Krasko’s scheme is a significant threat, but the Doctor soon discovers the ex-con has a mental restrictor in his mind preventing him from actually harming anyone – at least directly. So it’s up to the Doctor and her friends to become involved, each playing their own part in events to thwart Krasko’s plan and that ensure history and Rosa’s pivotal moment in time unfolds as it should.

Like the Ghost Monument, Rosa also had location filming in South Africa, and this time Mark Tonderal brings a very different approach to the look and tone of the episode. The challenge of shooting in South Africa and recreating the period setting of the USA 1955 is brilliantly handled. From the clothes, setting, and vehicles the production and design clearly pulled out all the stops to give the episode a distinct quality all its own for series 11’s first voyage into the past.

Featuring great character moments for the ensemble cast along with the assured direction of Mark Tonderal, Rosa marks a dramatic change of pace after the quirky fun of the first two episodes of series 11, and indeed historical stories in Doctor Who as a whole. Co writers Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall have taken the task of brining issues of racism, segregation, and the Montgomery buss boycott together in the format of Doctor Who incredibly well.

Rosa builds towards a resounding finale as the closing moments draw near, and the TARDIS crew realize that by thwarting Krasko’s plot they themselves have inadvertently become integral to events on the bus as they witness Rosa Parks getting arrested for violating the segregation laws. With the rousing soundtrack at the end called Rise Up by singer-songwriter Andrea Day, together with the coda where the Doctor takes her companions in the TARDIS to show them how much Rosa Parks actions would influence the future, and become an icon for freedom. Rosa is an emotional and challenging episode that stays with you long after the credits have rolled.

Obviously, the subject matter makes for a powerfully themed episode, but even though Rosa doesn’t have quite the same Doctor Who sci-fi sparkle as previous historically based New Who episodes it’s a resoundingly better story for it. Unflinching, heartrending, and empowering, Rosa is a magnificent addition to this new series, and I for one cant think of any other episode of Doctor Who that has moved me quite as much as this one.

Images and Video Belongs BBC

Here’s the trailer for Episode 4, Arachnids In The UK | Doctor Who