First Trailer For Marvel’s Civil War Released!


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First Trailer For Marvel’s Civil War Released!

Civil War Poster

Marvel studios have released the first awesome trailer for Marvel’s Civil War!

Check it out!

Doctor Who Face The Raven Review


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Face The Raven

Review by Paul Bowler

[Contains Spoilers]

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Face The Raven sees the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) reunited with their old friend Rigsy (Jovian Wade), and he desperately needs their help after being sentenced to death for a murder he has no memory of committing. Together they must find a secret street in London, where alien refugees have been living unnoticed in plain sight – and here they meet the immortal Ashildr (Maisie Williams) once again! A sinister countdown has begun; its time to discover what it means to face the raven, but not everyone is going to survive…

This darkly mesmerising adventure, written by Doctor Who newcomer Sarah Dollard, and directed by Justin Molotnikov (Da Vincis Demons / Atlantis / Merlin), heralds a major turning point for the Doctor and Clara in series nine!

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When the Doctor and Clara respond to Rigsy’s telephone phone call to the TARDIS, they learn their friend has no memory of the previous day, his mobile phone has been damaged and wiped, and a bizarre tattoo has appeared on his neck. Determined to save him, their quest brings them to a hidden “trap street” in the city of London concealed by a misdirection circuit where alien refugees have taken sanctuary, there are many answers that must be found in this mysterious place, and what exactly is the chronolock? The Doctor and Clara must solve the bizarre murder mystery that Rigsy has inadvertently become embroiled in, which has left him sentenced to death for the murder of a Janus female (a dual faced alien species) that he cannot recall having any part of. The immortal Ashildr is also here in this secret street, she is now the self proclaimed Mayor “Me” of this alien refuge camp, and her motives are not quite what they first seem. As the tattoo formed of numbers begins counting down on the back of Rigsy’s neck, it’s almost time to face the raven!

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This incredible episode marks the return of the popular character Rigsy, the character played by Jovian Wade, who helped the Doctor and Clara defeat the Bonless in the brilliant series eight story Flatline (2014). We get a chance to catch up what’s been happening with Rigsy in this episode, he’s getting his life back on track, he also has a baby daughter, Lucy, now as well, which makes the plight he now faces especially moving, and its great to see the character reunited with the Doctor and Clara for an adventure were they all work together. Maisie Williams also returns as Ashildr / Me (The Girl Who Died and The Woman Who Lived). This time Ashildr has a decidedly sinister agenda of her own, Maisie Williams is excellent in this episode as the troubled immortal Ashildr / Mayor Me of the hidden trap street for alien refugees, the quantum shade which she uses to enforce the law manifests itself as a spooky Raven that is in turn drawn to the chronolock tattoo on a condemned persons neck – and it’s a terrifying fate from which there is absolutely no escape…

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When Clara tries to help Rigsy, volunteering to accept the chronolock as Clara thinks she is safe because she is under Ashildr’s personal protection, the tattoo moves to her neck, but Clara has no idea of the terrible consequences this selfless act will ultimately mean for her. After they visit Anahson (Letitia Wright), the daughter of the murdered alien Anah, they learn Anahson has been dressing as a male to protect herself and hide her ability to see into the past and the future. The Doctor, Clara, and Rigsy return to where the murdered Janus woman’s body is being held, whereby the full extent of Ashildr’s plan to lure the Doctor to the street is finally revealed. Ashildr might have trapped the Doctor, but she is devastated to learn what Clara has done, she never expected something like this to happen, and nothing can save Clara from facing the Raven.

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This is a terrific episode; Sarah Dollard has woven an intriguing mystery together with some particularly challenging issues, to make this one of the most emotionally charged and game-changing episodes of series nine. Director Justin Molotnikov really excels here, the secret trap street is populated by a wealth of disguised aliens, including the Judoon, Sontarans, Cybermen, Ood, and Silurians and the set design is fittingly dark and atmospheric to match the tone of the episode. The Doctor’s prompt cards from Under The Lake are used again, and his confession dial from The Magician’s and The Witch’s Familiar also returns.

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman give, quite possibly, their best performances ever in Face The Raven. What starts out as something as a quirky adventure soon becomes much bolder, darker, and unsettling, and the heartbreaking consequences of Clara facing the raven is sure to reverberate across all of time and space! The Raven is often associated as a portent of doom and death, the symbolism of how the raven is uses her is especially powerful. This story is also the first to feature the Doctor wearing his red jacket, a color that also symbolises this episodes themes of rage and death, another portent of things to come perhaps?

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Clara’s sad farewell to the Doctor is undoubtedly one of this series’ finest moments. It manages to be powerful, moving, and heartbreaking all at the same time. As the time draws near, those final moments between Capaldi’s Time Lord and the Colemna’s Impossible Girl are brilliantly acted, and what we perceived as Cara’s recklessness throughout this season couldn’t have been further from the truth… I know that Clara has sometimes been a character that has often divided opinion, personally I liked the character, and I also thought Jenna Coleman was really good in role, and found Clara’s death in this episode especially moving – particularly when we glimpse the beautiful memorial Rigsy has painted on the TARDIS at the end…

Doctor Who Face The Raven (Clara)

Face The Raven would effectively appear to be the first episode of three part season finale that will eventually culminate with Heaven Sent and Hell Bent. With Ashildr now in possession of the Doctor’s confession dial, the Doctor alone, and trapped in a strange land, series nine looks all set for a thrilling conclusion!

And here’s a clip where Jenna Coleman reflects on her time working on Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi.


Doctor Who Sleep No More Review


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Sleep No More

Review by Paul Bowler

[Contains Spoilers]

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The Doctor and Clara must investigate strange events in the thirty-eighth century in recorded footage is gathered from a rescue mission in space. The footage reveals a disturbing account of inexplicably horrifying events. But there is something evil lurking in this recording, something that is a danger to us all. So, if you value your sanity, the future of your species, your life, and everything that you hold dear, whatever you do, do not watch it…

Sleep No More, the ninth story from Series 9, finds the Doctor and Clara faced with a dark mystery, where the events now unfold in the frightening footage discovered from the deep space rescue mission. This chilling adventure written by Mark Gatiss (The writer of many Doctor Who episodes, including The Unquiet Dead (2005), the Idiot’s Lantern (2006), Victory of the Daleks (2010), as well as two episodes from 2013’s seventh season, Cold War and The Crimson Horror, and Robot of Sherwood (2014) from series eight), brings us a suspenseful found-footage tale, directed by Justin Molotnikov (Da Vinci’s Demons / Atlantis / Merlin).

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The recorded events from the Le Verrier Space Station orbiting Neptune holds details of a terrifying story after the data is assembled. But once it has been watched you can never unsee it! Its been about 24 hours since the station went silent, a team from Triton led by Nagata (Elaine Tan) has been sent to investigate, but when the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) also get caught up in events they must work together to figure out what happened to the crew on board the orbiting laboratory. After encountering frightening creatures made of sand they gets separated from Deep-Ando, the Doctor, Clara, and the rest of the team find shelter, where Clara becomes trapped briefly inside one of the Morpheus pods before the Doctor rescues her.

It seems the Morpheus machine invented by Professor Rassumussen (Reece Shearsmith), pod-like devices that concentrate nocturnal experiences to enable humanoids to go a whole month without sleep, has the potential to revolutionise the labour force of humanity – but with dire consequences! The Doctor confronts Rassumussen after he’s found hiding in one of the Morpheus pods, his machine might have conquered nature, but in doing so the Professor has also created nightmarish abominations, the Sandmen, and the creatures seem almost unstoppable!

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Mark Gatiss exploit’s the “found footage” horror format to the full in Sleep No More, in an episode boasting shocks and scares around every shadowy corner, a sinister take on the 50’s pop song Mr Sandman, and the hideously misshapen Sandmen monsters, this is undoubtedly one of series nines darkest episodes so far. As well as strong performances from Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coelman, Sleep No More also breaks new ground by not having any conventional title sequence (Although some text and letters do flash across the screen early on that momentarily spell the words Doctor Who) whatsoever – a first for Doctor Who – and director Justin Molotnikov uses spooky camerawork and eerily unsettling sounds to great effect over the course of this fabulously tense, atmospheric, and creepy episode. The way the action in this episode is intercut with Rassumussen’s narration to camera is handled well, there are lots of creepy deaths when the Sandmen attack, the sequence where the gravity shields initially fail is also really exciting, and the scenes where the Doctor, Clara, and Commander Nagata hide in the cold store from the Sandmen are especially nerve wracking – especially when the Doctor realises the Sandmen are blind as he leads the escape from the freezer.

Rassumussen is played by Mark Gatiss’ League of Gentlemen pal, Reece Shearsmith, who is excellent in his role as the ambitiously foolish scientist, and there is far more to Rassmussen’s story than meets the eye… Although this is his first appearance in a Doctor Who episode, Reece Shearsmith did play the role of the 2nd Doctor briefly for the 2013 drama about the programmes origins, An Adventure in Space and Time, which was also written by Mark Gatiss. Sleep No More features a great mix of characters, including Nagata (Elaine Tan), Chopra (Neet Mohan), the clone 477 (Bethany Black), Deep Ando (Paul Courtenary Hyu), the Morpheus Presenter (Zina Badran), and Natasha Patel, Elizabeth Chong, Nikkita Chadha, and Gracie La as the group of hologram singers. Having also played a Zygon in The Zygon Invasion & The Zygon Inversion in Series 9, Tom Wilton returns again, this time making an appearance as one of the Sandmen.

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It is a time of great prosperity for the galaxy, the Morpheus machine has made sleep virtually obsolete, thus increasing productivity. Time is money after all! Rassumussen has effectively changed the nature of human existence, but the true cost of his experiments with the latest model of his Morpheus machines on the Le Verrier Space Station are quickly becoming apparent. With the help of the sonic specs the Doctor is eventually able to discern a frightening connection between the sleep dust in the atmosphere and the how the footage is being relayed, it makes what actually happened to the crew of the station seem even more horrible, as those using the Morpheus machines, even for a short time, become infected and consumed from the inside, but the Doctor is confident he can reverse the process in Clara and Nagata once they reach the TARDIS.

The creepy new monsters “The Sandmen” are great hulking creatures, terrifyingly powerful, and they seem virtually unstoppable. Essentially they are life forms created from the sentient acumination of human sleep dust, a side effect of using the Morpheus machines on the station. The Sandmen consumed their human hosts who were using the pods, before hunting down the rest of the crew, and then later the rescue team from Triton. The creatures are immensely strong, but they are also blind, and deactivating the stations gravity shielding can severely affect the cohesion of their bodies. Indeed, with their grotesque form and horrific nature, the Sandmen are a powerful reminder of the sleep that all humans need to save them from the monsters lurking inside.

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Mark Gatiss has entwined a number of references from past Doctor Who stories into Sleep No More, Nagata mention of the Space Prates, in a clear not to the 1969 Doctor Who story The Space Pirates, the 12th Doctor also speaks of the great catastrophe which loosely alludes to Frontios (1984), when Clara names the creatures in Sleep No More as Sandmen, which the Doctor initially contests, it alludes to a similar issue where the Doctor didn’t name the Earth-based reptile species in The Silurians (1970), and their name – presumably it was a human that named them as Silurians – turned out to be somewhat misleading and technically inaccurate. There are links to Greek mythology, specifically Morpheus god of dreams, and some key lines of dialogue from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

In a frenetic showdown, the Doctor, Clara, and Nagata discover the Sandmen’s creator, Gagen Rassmussen, is actually assisting them! He intends to escape from the Le Verrier station, together with the Morpheus pod containing Patient Zero – the individual that’s been exposed to the Morpheus process the longest – and return to Triton to spread the spores of dust – thus infecting everyone on Triton and eventually all humanity… Fortunately the Doctor, Clara, and Nagata manage to evade the Sandman from the pod that Rassmussen locked them in with, Nagata shoots Rassmussen, and when the Doctor deactivates the gravity shields again they are finally able to reach the TARDIS and escape. However, it seems the story is not quite over, as the final piece of footage from the station holds a chilling message from Rassmussen that reveals the horrifying truth…

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Sleep No More uses all the familiar tropes of the “found footage” genre, Mark Gatiss has crafted a highly disturbing concept for this story, and there are moments that genuinely scary. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are on excellent form, Reece Shearsmith is great as Rassmussen, and the supporting cast – especially Elaine Tan as Nagata, all get a good share of the spooky action. Director Justin Molotnikov builds the brooding menace throughout, and there are plenty of surprises to keep you guessing about what will happen next. While I’m not a big fan of found footage films, I found Sleep No More to be a bold experiment with the format of Doctor Who, and one that actually proved to be a lot more successful than I was expecting it to be.

Here’s a Doctor Who Series 9 Extra where Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and the cast discuss creepy new monsters, The Sandmen!

New Star Wars The Force Awakens 60 Second TV Spot


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New Star Wars The Force Awakens 60 Second TV Spot

Star Wars Force Awakens (Poster)

    Check out the new Star Wars The Force Awakens 60 Second TV Spot! Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is released in the UK on December 17th 2015 & in the USA on December 18th 2015!

Batman #46 Review


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Batman #46

Review by Paul Bowler

Jim Gordon faces his toughest battle yet in Batman #46, with his future as the new corporate funded Robo-Suited Batman in doubt, the former Police Commissioner and Marine must show this city he is the Batman they need as he confronts Mr Bloom – the new super-villain in Gotham that’s been selling seed-like implants to criminals to give them super-powers. Batman’s mission to stop Mr Bloom will take him to the darkest corners of Gotham City, but it could prove a risky move against such an unpredictable adversary…

Batman #46 sees the fate of the new Batman hanging in the balance. However, it wont be the corporate big-wigs that will decide Jim Gordon‘s future, but instead the outcome of Batman’s battle with Mr Bloom – who has just spectacularly gate crashed the press conference at the Powers Building! Scott Snyders and Greg Capullos new Superheavy story-arc kicks into high gear in Batman #46 as Batman finally gets to square off against Mr Bloom!

Batman #46 Cover

The fight between Batman and Mr Bloom in this issue has been a long time coming, but it certainly proves to be worth the wait! Mr Bloom seems to relish using his extraordinary powers, the meticulous precision of his attacks is shockingly graphic, cultivating a swath of terror across the rich lawn of Gotham’s high society, and his contribution to the fundraiser ensures that even Geri Powers gets to look evil right in the eye. Fortunately for the Powers CEO, Gordon, in his black-yellow EVA Bat-Suit, still has “rookie” mode and Julia to watch his back at a crucial moment, but the outcome of this tense encounter proves as insightful as it does unexpected.

Scott Snyder orchestrates the slick action and character moments in this issue to perfection, making this easily one of the most impressively structured issues in the Superheavy arc so far. Having survived Endgame, Bruce Wayne’s life is no longer overshadowed by the legacy of the Bat. Bruce is deeply committed to his new role at the Lucius Fox Center for Gotham Youth, where he is working tirelessly to help the deprived areas of Gotham after the horror and destruction caused by the Joker virus, and he’s also in a relationship now with his former sweetheart Julie Madison. Scott Snyder continues to explore this brand new era for Bruce’s character in Batman #46 with an especially moving scene between Bruce and Julie, where we learn more about the uncanny connection from the past that has subsequently entwined their fates to bring them together in the present, which culminates in a beautifully romantic moment between them.

Greg Capullo’s artwork for this issue is as exceptional as ever, his work on this series never ceases to amaze me, and there are some spectacular pages and layouts in Batman #46 that will simply leave you in awe of Capullo’s artistic talents. From the unflinching violence of the opening moments as Mr Bloom and Batman slug it out, though to the steamy interlude between Bruce and Julie, there’s also the imaginative birds eye view which oversees Duke’s mission at the new Iceberg Lounge where ice breaks the ice in the most poignant way imaginable, and the “prototypes” of the Batman Programme whose names alone will send your imagination stomping all over Gotham City are just a few of the many highlights in this issue of Batman. Danny Miki’s inks hone the fine details and nuances of Greg Capullo’s work to perfection, while FCO Plascencia’s exquisite color palette matches the tone, emotion, and atmosphere of ever scene magnificently.

Superheavy Part Six finds Jim and his allies facing the most difficult of decisions in the aftermath of Mr Bloom’s attack on the Powers Building. The full extent of Powers Batman Programme becomes clear as a result, danger strikers at the Iceberg Lounge, and Batman goes all Daryl Dixon on us with a new Batmobile as he races to a showdown in a long forgotten pathway in the Narrows…

Batman #46 is another superb issue from Scott Snyder, together with outstanding artwork by Greg Capullo; it takes the Superheavy arc to a whole new level. There’s a few surprise plot twists thrown into the mix to keep us on our toes, and the gripping conclusion is sure to keep us all hanging in suspense until the next issue!

Publisher DC Comics

Writer: Scott Snyder

Art: Greg Capullo

Inks: Danny Miki

Colors: FCO

Letters: Steve Wands


Doctor Who The Zygon Inversion Review


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The Zygon Inversion

Review by Paul Bowler

[Contains Spoilers]

The Zygon Inversion 1

20 million Zygons were granted asylum on Earth by UNIT, they have lived peacefully alongside humanity, unnoticed, but now a breakaway Zygon faction wants to take over the world. The Zygon revolution has begun! The fate of the Earth is sealed inside a Box in the Black Archive, but only the Doctor knows what’s inside. Now with UNIT neutralised and the Zygons in control, Clara cocooned in a Zygon pod and her evil Zygon doppelganger “Bonnie” on the loose, the Doctor and Osgood must reach London at all costs, but nobody can be trusted now. However, there is one last hope, because the box in the Black Archive is a very special box, its Osgood’s Box, and it will decided the fate of this conflict once and for all…

The Zygon Inversion concludes this exciting two-part story from Series 9, written by Peter Harness (Kill The Moon) and Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat, and directed by Daniel Netteim (Line of Duty / Humans), finds the Doctor, Clara, Kate Stewart, Osgood, and UNIT all in peril as the Zygon revolution begins in earnest.

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The Zygon Inversion brilliantly resolves the cliff-hanger from The Zygon Invasion, where Clara’s Zygon double, Bonnie, fired a rocket launcher at the Presidential Aircraft just as the Doctor and Osgood where returning to the UK from Turmezistan. An ingenious plot twist wrong foots us right from the outset, using Clara’s unsettling experience as a “live feed” for her Zygon double to provide us with an entirely different perspective of the events leading up to the cliff-hanger. Following their mid-air escape, the Doctor (whose parachute is remarkably patriotic!) and Osgood (the Zygon “sister” of the human Osgood murdered by Missy in the 2014 series finale Death In Heaven) become fugitives as Bonnie searches the UNIT safe house for the location of the Osgood Box. But when the Doctor receives a surprise text message, Osgood realises the real Clara is “awake”, and the subsequent phone conversation between Dr John Disco and Zygella allows Clara to use a non verbal form of communication to tell the Doctor she’s trapped amongst the Zygon pods in the tunnels beneath the streets of London – where the missing civilians are also being held.

The Doctor and Osgood make a fantastic team in The Zygon Inversion, brilliantly played by Peter Capaldi and Ingrid Oliver, these characters work so well together. The chemistry between them is magical and their banter is sure to bring a wry smile to your face, especially when Osgood gets to wear the Sonic Specs after her own glasses were broken, and it soon become clear that Osgood is undoubtedly a big fan of the Doctor! Kate Stewart also has a key role to play in events in this episode, her character has some fantastic scenes, and Jemma Redgrave gives a strong performance as Kate Stewart faces the most challenging decision of all. Jenna Coleman is also fabulous in her roles as both the real Clara Oswald and her villainous Zygon / human duplicate Bonnie. She gets some great scenes when Clara’s consciousness is in the bizarre dream-like reality of her flat while her body is trapped inside the Zygon pod, particularly when Clara has to find a way to endure Bonnie’s interrogation about the Osgood Box to stay alive, and Coleman is also wickedly evil as Bonnie in her quest to use the Osgood Box to end the ceasefire – no matter what the price of victory.

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Bonnie’s sinister plan to unmask her fellow Zygons – whether they want it or not – to provoke fear, paranoia, and ultimately war, becomes even more disturbing when the Doctor and Osgood reach the Fleet Estate Centre, and the tragic fate of Etoine (Nicholas Asbury) makes for some of the episodes most emotive and deeply moving scenes. As Bonnie enters the Black Archive with her Zygon guards and Clara’s pod in tow, the Doctor and Osgood are surprised at the Fleet Estate Centre by the unexpected return of Kate Stewart from New Mexico, and accompanied by two UNIT troops they set out to reach the Zygon Command Centre in the tunnels beneath London, where it soon becomes clear not everyone is quite who they seem…

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Ever since the Zygons first appeared in the 4th Doctor story Terror of the Zygons (1975), they have been amongst the series’ most popular monsters, and their long awaited return in The Day of the Doctor (2013) led to the fragile peace between Zygons and Humans that is now under threat in The Zygon Inversion. The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion has made the new Zygons (Played by Aidan Cook, Tom Wilton, and Jack Parker and brilliantly voiced by Nicholas Briggs) even more menacing than ever before, and the Zygon transformation in The Zygon Inversion are especially graphic. Their shape-changing abilities no longer require the original body print to refresh the Zygons disguise, they can even adopt the form of your nearest and dearest directly from your mind to use against you, and their hands can emit a lethal electric sting. However, as we see with Clara and Bonnie in this episode, Zygon live links can work both ways and be used against them. The differences between Zygons who want to live in peace on Earth and the splinter Zygon faction from the younger brood that wants to conquer the world are thrown into sharp contrast in The Zygon Inversion, just as Kate’s views and Bonnie’s stance on the Zygon revolution are also called into question, and the powerful script by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat unflinchingly tackles these challenging issues.

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The Zygon Inversion builds towards an exciting finale, as the Doctor, Osgood, Kate, and Clara, find themselves locked in a tense stand-off against Bonnie and the Zygons in the Black Archive, where the mystery of the Osgood Box – which the Doctor left on Earth as the final sanction should the Nightmare Scenario occur – and the reason why both the Zygon and Human Osgood’s were needed is finally revealed at last. It sets in motion a deadly game of truth or consequences. Peter Capaldi’s powerful speech here, to break the cycle and broker peace once more between Zygons and Humans, is sure to be heralded one of this series’ defining moments, it’s a truly momentous scene, and Peter Capaldi’s performance is utterly magnificent!

There are a number of nostalgic references in The Zygon Inversion. The 1st Doctor’s (William Hartnell) portrait is seen again in the UNIT safe house, and we also get another mention of the Z67 Sullivan Gas – a clear link to the 4th Doctor’s (Tom Baker) companion Naval Surgeon Harry Sullivan (played by Ian Marter). Kate Stewart also gets to use the line “Five rounds rapid!”, a line forever associated with Kate’s father, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) in the classic 3rd Doctor story The Daemons (1971). The Doctor also reflects on a time when he was going to press a button in another box, The Moment, during the Time War in The Day of the Doctor. UNIT’s Black Archive also returns, the secret facility played a major role in that story, and eagle eyed viewers will also spot a Mire helmet from The Girl Who Died in the background. The Doctor is also surprised when Osgood admits she doesn’t know what TARDIS stands for as she’s heard there are a couple of different versions of this anachronism. The “D” has been referred to as both “dimension” and “dimensions” at different points in both the classic series and the new series, in An Unearthly Child (1963) the Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan (Carol Ann Ford), claimed she’s made up the name “time and relative dimension in space”, but the Doctor would later go on to tell people the “D” stands for dimensions, when the series returned in 2005 the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) explained the name of the TARDIS to Rose (Billie Piper) in her debut adventure but reverted back to “time and relative dimension in space”, and the 12th Doctor’s ridiculously OTT explanation to Osgood in The Zygon Inversion about what TARDIS really stands for is a fun acknowledgment of Doctor Who’s most unusual quirk in continuity.

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With peace finally declared, along with a somewhat convenient mind-wiping re-set switch to restore the post Day of the Doctor status quo between the Zygons and Humans, the wonderful closing scenes with Osgood await us, and what marvellously scripted scenes they are. There are so many fan-pleasing moments in the conclusion of The Zygon Inversion its sure to leave you seeing double, Osgood’s outfit here also takes several elements from seventh Doctor’s (Sylvester McCoy) costume from The Curse of Fenric (1989), and I’m sure that I probably wont be the only one hoping Osgood accepts the Doctor’s offer to travel in the TARDIS one day. Some questions are left unanswered for now, there’s a fun play on first names, and a poignant closing TARDIS interior scene that beautifully judges emotion and time as one and the same.

Proving itself to be anything but the same old same old, The Zygon Inversion is Doctor Who at its very best, and this episode provides an exciting and tense conclusion to this two-part story. The taut script by Peter Harness and Steven Moffat skilfully plays on the issues of identity, trust, and paranoia, while the stories deep philosophical core enables director Daniel Netteim to gradually build this though-provoking episode to a thrilling conclusion. With its strong cast, excellent performances from Peter Capaldi, Ingrid Oliver, Jemma Redgrave, together with Jenna Coleman’s brilliantly acted dual role as Clara and her evil counterpart, and the return of the Zygons for this story, The Zygon Invasion & The Zygon Inversion have all the hallmarks of classic Doctor Who and is without a doubt one of the best two-part stories from Series 9 so far!

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And just for fun here’s a clip where actress Ingrid Oliver explains why Osgood turns down the chance of a lifetime at the end of The Zygon Inversion!

Images & Clip Belong: BBC

International Star Wars The Force Awakens Trailer Reveals New Footage!


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International Star Wars The Force Awakens Trailer Reveals New Footage!

Star Wars Force Awakens (Poster)

Check out the new International Star Wars The Force Awakens Trailer! While not that different from the last trailer, it does feature a few new scenes! Can’t wait to see this film! Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens is released in the UK on December 17th 2015 & in the USA on December 18th 2015!

Doctor Who The Underwater Menace DVD Review


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Doctor Who The Underwater Menace

Review by Paul Bowler

The Underwater Menace (Fish People)

The TARDIS materialises on an extinct volcanic island, where the Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Polly (Anneke Wills), Ben (Michael Craze), and Jamie (Frazer Hines) are soon captured and taken below the surface of the Earth, where they discover a hidden civilisation and the lost city of Atlantis! In their culture, the Atlanteans worship the goddess Amdo, they also use Fish People – civilians who have been surgically altered to enable them to breath under the sea and farm their plankton-based food source. The crazed scientist Professor Zaroff (Joseph Furst) has convinced everyone that he can raise Atlantis from the sea, but he also secretly plans to drain the ocean into the Earth’s molten core, where the extreme superheated steam subsequently generated by his cataclysmic scheme will cause the entire world to explode!

The TARDIS crew meet two shipwreck survivors, Sean (P.G. Stephens) and Jacko (Paul Anil), and they get the fish people to revolt and stop working, but can the Doctor find a way to foil Zaroff’s mad plot in time?

The Underwater Menace is the 1967 four-part adventure from Season Four of the classic series, Directed by Julia Smith, it was also the third story to feature Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, together with Anneke Wills as Polly, Michael Craze as Ben Jackson, and Frazer Hines as Jamie as the Doctor’s travelling companions. The last known prints of this story – all save Episode 3 – were destroyed in 1974, but in 2011 the news broke that Episode 2 has been returned to the BBC by a private collector (Terry Burnett), and preparations commenced to release the Under Water Menace on DVD in early 2013. Sadly the Doctor’s old enemy of cancellation struck again – due to a number of circumstances – and the stories release on DVD didn’t take place. But, with fan pressure building, together with a petition of 2,761 signatures, BBC Worldwide eventually reversed its decision and The Underwater Menace is now finally available on DVD, with a wealth of extra features, documentaries, and commentaries to bring the Doctor Who DVD classic range to a close in fine style.

The Underwater Menace 4

The opening TARDIS scene is a wonderful moment, where we hear Polly, Ben, and the Doctor “thinking” about where they would like to arrive next – done by prerecording the actors’ voices and playing them back while making the episode. Patrick Troughton, in only his third adventure as the Doctor, is still finding his way in the lead role, some of the early eccentricities of his incarnation, particularly the 2nd Doctor’s initial trait for disguises and hats (He’s also the first to wear Ray Bans too!) feature prominently during this story, he also intriguingly sings himself as “Dr W” on the note he sends to Zaroff, but overall Troughton’s performance is still excellent. Ben and Jamie don’t initially get a great lot to do in this story; perhaps as a result of it having being rewritten because of the last minute inclusion of new companion Jamie who joined the TARDIS crew at the end of The Highlanders (1966-7), and Frazer Hines proves a great addition to the cast as Jamie. Michael Craze and Frazer Hines do have some good scenes, Anneke Wills is also good as Polly, but its a great shame that Polly is reduced to just screaming, crying, and whimpering for much of the story though.

The Underwater Menace was a story originally rejected for Season Four, but then eventually made as an emergency measure because its replacement – The Imps by William Emms – fell though. Geoffrey Orme’s scripts do feel a little cluttered at times, which is probably why the Doctor’s companions don’t get that well served by the story, but he does give the characters in his scripts some fun lines of dialogue. The Underwater Menace had some good location scenes filmed in Winspit on the Dorset coast for the opening and closing scenes of the story, the music by Dudley Simpson is quite effective, the costumes by Sandra Reid, Juanita Waterson, and make up by Gillian Games are also good, and Jack Robinson’s sets are fairly impressive in scale given the budget.

The Underwater Menace 3

However, it’s the crazily over-the-top performance of the Austrian born film and TV actor Joseph Furst as Professor Zaroff, that really makes The Underwater Menace so memorable – and Zaroff even has a pet octopus! Zaroff’s madcap scheme is totally bonkers, the Doctor tentatively asks him at one point why he wants to blow up the world, to which the maniac replies: “The achievement my dear Doctor. The destruction of the world! The scientist’s dream of supreme power!” As bizarre as it sounds, Furst’s performance is pitched perfectly, and it’s insanely hilarious as well. The only problem is having such a maniacal pantomime villain causes the stories underlying themes of science vs. religion to be completely overshadowed by Zaroff’s hackneyed dialogue, and even the Doctor’s plan to defeat Zaroff – by flooding the lower levels of Atlantis – seems just as equally OTT when compared to the threat he’s trying to vanquish.

The Fish People are a peculiar monster to say the least. Doctor Who has always done body horror very effectively, the Fish People are civilians that have been operated on to enable them to breath underwater, and the whole idea of people being transformed into one of them is actually quite unsettling. As we see when Polly is taken to the lab where Damon (Colin Jeavons) menacingly approaches her with a syringe to begin her “operation”, and we pan over to a monitor where one of the Fish People slowly drifts into view on the screen. Fortunately, Ara (Catherine Howe) is around to warn the Doctor and help Polly escape. In many ways the Fish People are a tragically horrific creation; their humanity has been stripped away, leaving them condemned to a life of complete servitude. While not the most memorable or exciting monster to ever appear in Doctor Who, the Fish People are relatively well realised on screen, especially considering the shoestring budget, and their strange underwater “ballet” in Episode 3 is quite haunting – if a little superfluous.

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The Underwater Menace also features Colin Jeavons, who is excellent – if somewhat underused – in the role of Damon, Tom Watson appears as Ramo, who has always instinctively mistrusted Professor Zaroff, and King Thous is played by Noel Johnson, also well known as the voice of Dick Barton in the famous radio serial Dick Barton: Special Agent, and he would later play Grover the Season 11 story Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

Of course, it is Episode 2, the oldest surviving episode from Patrick Troughton’s era of Doctor Who that is the star attraction of this release, and what a delight it is to finally enjoy this episode in all its glory on DVD! Nothing, absolutely nothing, can beat the great thrill of seeing a long-lost episode of Doctor Who. The Underwater Menace might not be one of the best adventures from Season Four, but to actually watch Episode 2 at last on DVD is a truly magical moment to savour and enjoy, it’s actually a really good episode as well, and it provides us with the opportunity to form a more rounded impression of the story as a whole.

“Nothing in the world can stop me now!” or you for that matter, enjoying the wealth of extras on this DVD release. Unlike previous incomplete classic Doctor Who releases, The Underwater Menace doesn’t use animation techniques to recreate its missing episodes. Instead Episode 1 and 4 are represented by telesnap montages; together with the restored audio soundtrack, to give us a fair approximation of what these episodes might’ve been like. These reconstructions have been handled by producer John Kelly, a contributor to the Doctor Who DVD’s since 2001, he also used a similar method for the recreation of The Web of Fear Episode 3 for its DVD release in 2014, and his work on The Underwater Menace reconstructed episodes makes them seem every bit as good as if they’d been animated. It is little disappointing there’s no full opening titles or credits for these partial reconstructions of Episodes 1 and 4, as it does spoil the effect somewhat, but at least the brief surviving footage from those episodes – censored clips which were edited out for broadcast in Australia – are still included as part of the extra features on the DVD.

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There are two specially made documentaries as well. A Fishy Tale offers a delightful look back at the making of The Underwater Menace, narrated by Peter Davison, it features actors Frazer Hines, Anneke Wills, and Catherine Howe, assistant floor manager Gareth Gwenlan, production assistant Berry Butler, and Dalek (2005) writer Robert Shearman. The Television Centre of the Universe Part 2 – nostalgically looks back at the studios where Doctor Who was made, and features Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, with Sue Hedden (AFM), Jane Ashford (Production Assistant), Alec Wheal (Senior Camera Operator), former Blue Peter producer Richard Marson, Bob Richardson (Exhibitions Assistant), and Simon Anthony (VT Engineer), and is presented by Yvette Fielding.

The audio commentaries are another big highlight of this DVD release: the commentary for Episode 1 features Patrick Troughton’s son Michael, Episodes 2 and 3 are covered by Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines, and Catherine Howe (ARA), Floor Assistant Quentin Mann and Special Sounds Supervisor Brian Hodgson, there’s also a superb archive commentary track featuring the late actor Patrick Troughton on Episode 4, which also features directors Julia Smith and Hugh David, and producer Innes Lloyd. The commentaries are all presented and moderated by Toby Hadoke. These commentaries make The Underwater Menace DVD seem even more special, and they are busting with wonderful anecdotes and nostalgic stories about the series.

The Doctor finally defeats Zaroff, but only after the sea walls have to be broken down and the city flooded. Zaroff drowns in the flood, but everyone else manages to escape. The Doctor, Polly, Ben, and Jamie are reunited on the surface and return to the TARDIS. Later, when Jamie asks the Doctor if its true that he cannot really control the TARDIS, the Doctor says he can, he’s just never wanted to, and as the Doctor attempts to prove it by choosing their next destination – the planet Mars – the TARDIS suddenly goes out of control…

Although its clichéd plot makes it one of the weaker stories from the 2nd Doctor’s era, The Underwater Menace is still a fascinating glimpse into the transitional period of Doctor Who in the 60’s following the change of lead actor from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, there are glimmers of the greatness to come, and you can see how Troughton is beginning to refine his performance during his early scenes with Furst’s Professor Zaroff – by gradually toning down the 2nd Doctor’s eccentricities. If anything, the unashamedly low-budget B-Movie feel actually feels entirely appropriate for this story. Indeed, while it might be one of the most madcap Doctor Who stories ever made – the whole scene were the Doctor and his companions suspended over a shark pit is unashamedly ludicrous – there’s still a lot to enjoy here, Patrick Troughton, Anneke Wills, Michael Craze, and Frazer Hines make a terrific TARDIS team, it’s wonderful to see Episode 2 at long last, and the great extra features make it a worthy addition to the DVD range.

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Seeing how no more incomplete classic stories are planned for release, The Underwater Menace will indeed bring the Classic Doctor Who DVD range to an end. Although there are still other partially existing stories such as The Crusaders (1965) and The Wheel in Space (1968), it seems doubtful they will get individual releases – especially as their surviving episodes are already available on the Lost In Time DVD (2004). Still, it would have been nice to have seen them released in some form individually; perhaps if The Underwater Menace sells well, maybe those final incomplete stories could get released as well one day?

Well, every surviving Classic Doctor Who episode known to exist has been released, and now we reach the final end… The Underwater Menace has got its well deserved place in our DVD collections at last! With its great cast, the inclusion Episode 2, along with a host of extra features to enjoy, The Underwater Menace concludes the excellent Doctor Who Classic Series DVD range – which itself has become a benchmark in terms of restoration, picture quality, and excellent special features – on a far happier note than we might otherwise have had without it, and we are left with a legacy of classic adventures that we can all enjoy forevermore.


Doctor Who The Bodysnatchers Book Review


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The Bodysnatchers

Review by Paul Bowler

Seeing how the Zygons are back on our screen in Series 9 of Doctor Who in The Zygon Invasion and the Zygon Inversion, I thought it might be fun to revisit one of my favourite 8th Doctor novels from the old BBC books range, in a story that also featured the return of the Zygons in The Bodysnatchers by Mark Morris.

When the TARDIS materialises in London, 1894, the Doctor and Sam discover a terrifying mystery lurking in the fog shrouded streets near a factory, where the owner – Nathaniel Seers – has begun to behave very strangely indeed. The bodies of the dead have started to go missing, stolen from their graves, and some unspeakable horror prowls the banks of the Thames – ready to rise up from the filthy waters to feast on human flesh.

The Doctor is reunited with his old friend, the pathologist George Lightfoot, and together with Sam and Nathaniel Seer’s daughter, Emmaline, they help him to investigate the recent state of horrible occurrences. They uncover the truth behind grave robbing after they find the entrance to a living space ship, where the Zygons have been using the human remains to feed a monstrous hoard of Skarasen, which they intend to use to wipe out the human race and make a new home for the Zygons.


With the help of Sam and Lightfoot, the Doctor must find a way to defeat the Zygons before they can unleash their Skarasen army on the world…

The Bodysnatchers is an intensely gritty and dark story by Mark Morris. While the story may be a bit thin on the ground plot wise, the macabre setting and grisly scenes of death and mutilation more than makes up for any failings. The character of the eighth Doctor feels right a home here, exploring the foggy streets of Victorian London, Sam also gets plenty to do, and she is turning out to be a very resourceful companion.

This story also features the return of Professor Lightfoot, who appeared in the classic Dr Who adventure The Talons of Weng- Chaing written by Robert Holmes. Mark Morris has captured the essence of the character brilliantly, Lightfoot has some great scenes with the eighth Doctor, and they work really well together as they face the menace of the Zygons.

We also get to learn a lot more about the Zygons in The Bodysnatchers. Having only appeared in one television story, Terror of the Zygons (1975), writer Mark Morris takes the opportunity to really explore the history of the Zygon race. We discover more about their culture, the intricate technology of their spaceships, their warrior castes, and we are given an even greater insight into the circumstances that brought them to Earth.

The Bodysnatches is a brilliant adventure for the eighth Doctor and Sam, it’s a devilishly gruesome story, and the return of Professor Lightfoot and the Zygons makes it all the more special. Its one of my favourite Doctor Who books from the 8th Doctor’s range, well worth tracking down a copy, a really enjoyable read and highly recommended.


Tales To Admonish Vol. 1 Trade Paperback


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TALES TO ADMONISH Vol. 1 Trade Paperback

The landmark Australian anthology title ‘Tales to Admonish’ kick-started IF? Commix the day after Jack Kirby’s birthday in 2013, and the Melbourne-based publisher unleashed three issues of pulp-noir (and a penchant for sci-fi and horror) with a sting in the tail. This trade paperback collection brings together those first 3 issues by Andrez Bergen (writer) and Matt Kyme (artist), along with the unpublished #4 featuring a who’s who of other Australian artists.

Tales to Admonish_Vol 1_cover_IF COMMIX

Catch up with iconic characters Roy & Suzie staking out vampires and haranguing wannabe zombies, along with shoo-ins by Bullet Gal, the Big O, and ace WWI pilot ‘Wilks’ Wilkinson, in stories that bounce around influences like Kolchak, Buffy, Biggles, and The Twilight Zone.

Tales to Admonish Vol I Tradepaperback PUBLISHER: IF? COMMIX


Available now, HARD COPY $15, DIGITAL $2



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