Doctor Who Fugitive of the Judoon Review

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Doctor Who Fugitive of the Judoon

Review by Paul Bowler.

The Judoon are back! Stomping their way into Series 12 of Doctor and present-day Gloucester, in Fugitive of the Judoon. This time the Judoon are hunting someone on the run. So the Doctor and her friends arrive amidst the chaos caused by the intergalactic police forces presence on Earth, and must act quickly to bring the situation under control. But who is the mysterious fugitive and why are the Judoon so intent on finding them?

Fugitive of the Judoon marks the welcome return of the Judoon, first introduced to Doctor Who back in 2007’s Smith and Jones, and seen most recently in 2015’s Face The Raven. Written by Vinay Patel (Demons of the Punjab, 2018), her second story for Doctor Who makes excellent use of the Judoon‘s return to the series, its filled with fun moments, whilst also brining some new aspects to the creatures and their motives. With location filming in Gloucester, Fugitive of the Judoon is probably the most contemporary story so far in Series 12, and director Nida Manzoor strikes just the right balances between the episodes lighter tone, humour and action.

Indeed, the Judoon make a surprisingly effective challenge for Jodie Whittakers 13th incarnation of the Time Lord, Whittaker’s Doctor shines with strength and warmth throughout this episode as she tackles the aliens rampage, and there’s also some great confrontations with Judoon Captain Pol-Kon-Don (Paul Kasey) – voiced by Nick Briggs.

The Doctor and companions Ryan (Tosin Coyle), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) continue to show what a great and resourceful TARDIS team they make in Fugitive of the Judoon. Prior to the TARDIS intercepting the Judoon’s warning signal, the Doctor’s “fam” notice how preoccupied she’s become, and when they confront her the Time Lord confesses that she’s been trying to locate the Master. The Doctor believes he may have escaped the Kasaavin’s dimension because of the personal nature of the message he left – although she still doesn’t tell her companions that her homeworld of Gallifrey has been destroyed. Fugitive of the Judoon also leads to a surprising blast from the past for the Doctor’s new companions when first Graham, followed later by Ryan and Yaz, are unexpectedly teleported to a spaceship piloted none other than Captain Jack Harkness!

Yes that’s right Captain Jack, played by the brilliant John Barrowman, returns to Doctor Who after nearly a decade in Fugitive of the Judoon having commandeered a space vessel complete with a Quantum Scoop, and an important message for the Doctor. Seeing John Barrowman return as Captain Jack was a great surprise and made for some of the episodes standout moments, especially when Jack thinks that Graham is the Doctor! But with naoprobes set to bring Captain Jack’s mission to an impromptu end, he quickly informs the Doctor’s companions they must warn the Time Lord to beware of the lone Cyberman. It seems an Alliance of some kind has virtually annihilated the Cybermen, using something they sent back through time and space to destroy them, all save for one!

The guest cast features Jo Martin as Ruth Clayton, a Gloucester tour guide, and Neil Stuke as Lee, Ruth’s husband, an interesting everyday couple living seemingly ordinary lives in the cathedral city of Gloucester. The Juddon are not here for a tour of the local attractions though. At first everything points towards Lee being the alien fugitive the Judoon are after, and it seems they will stop at nothing to apprehend him. However, when the mysterious alien woman who hired the Judoon, Gat (Ritu Arya), intervenes and Lee is killed it becomes clear that Ruth is the one the trigger the happy rhino-faced space police are actually looking for.

Although the Judoon have featured a few times in Doctor Who, Fugitive of the Judoon is the first time they’ve really played a major role in a story for a while, and Vinay Patel‘s wittily crafted script brilliantly showcases these gruff alien space police as their mission causes them to lock horns with the Doctor. The scene when the Judoon corner the Doctor and Ruth in the cathedral is another highlight. Their scans see through the tour guides biological cloaking field, fortunately Ruth is beginning to remember her true identity at this point, and spectacularly turns the tables on the Judoon.

From here Fugitive of the Judoon plunges down the rabbet hole and the pace hardly lets up for a moment. A journey to a lighthouse and a blank grave, where a buried TARDIS with a rather classic looking interior is discovered, which all leads to a tense showdown on the Judoon spaceship, and the shocking revelation that not only is Gat a Gallifreyan, but that Ruth was actually a Time Lord in hiding is and really another incarnation of the Doctor! To say that Doctor Who continuity just got turned inside out during this moment is something of an understatement here, there were countless time twistingly referential nuances woven into the story, and I’m still not sure how I feel about all these jaw-dropping surprises. It was fun, if a little bewildering, to have so many unexpected surprises in Fugitive of the Judoon. No doubt Chris Chibnall will probably deliver some Moffat style temporal twist that will ensure that everything in Fugitive of the Judoon eventually makes sense, but until then there are lots of questions that will remain unanswered – for now at least.

I thought Jo Martin was great casting as Ruth /The Doctor though. Her dual roles in this story were cleverly scripted, and her performance as another incarnation of the Doctor alongside Jodie Whittaker’s startled 13th Doctor was riveting! Quite how Jo Martin’s incarnation of the Doctor fits into the series’ extensive web of continuity remains to be seen. Fugitive of the Judoon seems to hint that she’s an earlier version of the Doctor, possibly earlier than any we’ve seen before! I still think this is unlikely. Could this second female Doctor in fact really be the first female Doctor, and how could the 13th Doctor have forgotten about her? Could it be that Ruth is a secretly unacknowledged version of the Doctor like John Hurt’s War Doctor from the 50th Anniversary story The Day of the Doctor (2013), or is she bizarrely linked somehow to the unknown Doctor’s we briefly glimpsed in The Brain of Morbius (1976)? We never actually saw the 2nd Doctor, Patrick Troughton, regenerate on screen in The War Games (1969) either, so maybe Ruth existed before we saw Jon Pertwee’s 3rd Doctor begin his exile on Earth in Spearhead From Space (1970)? My money is on Ruth being from some other dimension, especially with the return of the Master, Jack and now Ruth’s debut as a hitherto unknown version of the Doctor, it really does seems that time is indeed swirling and closing in around the 13th Doctor and her friends. Blimey, I could speculate about this all day, and don’t even get me started about the unexpected return of Captain Jack Harkness – heaven only knows where he fits into all this!?

With the Judoon menace eventually sent packing, the Doctor is reunited with her companions and I really liked how everyone compared notes back on board the TARDIS. The Doctor is still reeling just as much as Ryan, Yaz, and Graham are about Ruth’s real identity, but the bond between this TARDIS team feels stronger than ever now as they set off to investigate multiple alerts detected across three continents on Earth.

I was expecting Fugitive of the Judoon to be a fun and frivolous story, nothing more. Instead this marvellous adventure by Vinay Patel and director Nida Manzoor turned out to be a riotous mid-season roller coaster ride that had me hanging on every word. Fugitive of the Judoon has given Series 12 of Doctor Who a thrilling boost with its game changing shocks, surprises and Judoon near the Moon.

It was wonderful to see John Barrowman as Captain Jack again as well. My only gripe was that he didn’t actually meet the 13th Doctor, so fingers crossed he will be back at some point in Series 12 to team-up with Jodie Whittaker’s incarnation of the Time Lord.

As you all probably know, I’m a big fan of the Cybermen, they are my favourite Doctor Who monster. So you can imagine the references in Fugitive of the Judoon to the fate of the Cybermen and Jack’s dire warning about the universe being in peril, insisting that that the Doctor mustn’t give the lone Cyberman what it wants, has me considerably intrigued – even more so than all the shenanigans involving Ruth’s incarnation of the Doctor and her place in the grand scheme of things. Fugitive of the Judoon was a fun, mind-bending episode for sure, Series 12 really seems to be hitting its stride now, and I can’t wait to see what dangers await the Doctor and her companions when they eventually face the lone Cyberman!

Images Belong BBC

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Doctor Who Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror Review

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Doctor Who Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror

Review by Paul Bowler

The Doctor and her companions travel to 1903 in Series 12‘s fourth episode, Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror, at the edge of Niagara Falls where something is going very wrong with Nikola Tesla’s generator plant. It seems someone, or something has been sabotaging the inventors work. So has Tesla actually received a message from Mars, and how does his rival, Thomas Edison fit into such a bizarre series of inexplicable events? With the world facing imminent peril the Doctor, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham have no choice but to team-up with one of histories most maverick inventors if they are to save him and planet Earth!

Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror is an engaging and exciting addition to Series 12 written by Nina Metivier and directed Nida Manzoor – who are both newcomers to Doctor Who. Indeed, Doctor Who’s historical adventures are often at their most captivating when they are focusing on the somewhat lesser known, though still eminently significant historical figures. So this episode featuring the inventor and “Father of Electricity” Nikola Tesla is a terrific showcase for a man that has sometimes seemed overlooked by the history of science.

This story really gives Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor a chance to shine as the Time Lord gets to meet Nikola Tesla, brilliantly played by ER’s Goran Visnjic, who is in competition with his famed rival Thomas Edison (played by Robert Glenister who first appeared in The Caves of Androzani as Salateen in 1984), and the episode also features Canadian writer and actor Haley McGee as Nikola Tesla’s assistant, Dorothy Skerritt. Nina Metivier’s excellent script cleverly captures the rivalry between these two enigmatic inventors, and it skilfully weaves it into an exciting Doctor Who adventure bursting with insightful and exciting moments.

Tesla’s struggles to gain investors for his Wardenclyffe Project and an accident at his generator plant at Niagara Falls leads to the discovery of a strange floating orb, and with the Doctor’s impromptu arrival its not long before the sparks really begin to fly! When an alien using a human image and brandishing a Silurian weapon strikes, the Doctor, Tesla and Dorothy Skerritt flee with the Time Lord and her companions to New York where the orbs secret is soon revealed. Built by an ancient race of inventors and explores, the Orb of Thassor was created to share their vast legacy of knowledge and discoveries throughout the entire cosmos. Now the orb has been hacked and reprogrammed by the aliens disguised in stolen human images for their own nefarious reasons.

Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror gives the Time Lord’s companions plenty to do as well, and its nice to see Tosin Coyle, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh getting a good share of the action in this episode as Ryan, Yaz and Graham take in the period setting of this adventure. The Doctor and her friends investigation leads to Tesla’s rival, Thomas Edison getting caught up in the action. The scenes involving Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison are a joy to behold, especially when they get to travel in the TARDIS and Tesla is quick to grasp the concept of the time machines startling interior dimensions; unlike his rival who just sees an opportunity to make a quick buck from the experience. Fortunately Graham is on hand to quickly put Edison in his place!

Filming for this episode took place on the New York City set at Nu Boyane Film Studios in Bulgaria, with the set suitably dressed for the period, it further heightens the smoky industrial tone of the story. The setting of the golden age of New York provides a stunning backdrop for this adventure to play out against, the cast deliver great performances all round, and Nida Manzoor’s terrific direction perfectly balances the high-stakes drama and action.

It seems Tesla has been targeted by the scorpion-like Skithra, a species that have a nasty habit of stealing tech and faces. When Tesla and Yaz are teleported to the cloaked Skithra Throne Ship hovering over New York they are confronted by Queen Skithra, played by Bodyguard’s Anjli Mohindra. The monstrous scorpion creature believes Tesla is an engineer with superior intelligence because he responded to the Skithra’s signal (which inadvertently made Tesla think he’d received a message from Mars), and she intends to force him to use his knowledge to repair her ships stolen technology. Using a handy portable teleport device the Doctor rescues them and returns to Wardenclyffe for an electrifying showdown with Queen Skithra!

As historical Doctor Who stories go this one is right up there with some of the best the modern series has produced. Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror is a superlative mix of bold ideas, exquisite costumes, great special effects, and music. Jodie Whittaker is on fine form as the Doctor, she has some wonderful scenes with Goran Visnjic who is superbly cast as Nikola Tesla, and Robert Glenister is also excellent as Thomas Edison. I really liked the interaction between the characters in this episode, especially during the build up to the face-off with Queen Skithra at Wardenclyffe with everyone splitting up into three teams to complete essential tasks, and there’s a great moment where the scorpion-like Skithra chase Yaz and Edison through the streets.

There’s also a great confrontation between the Doctor and Queen Skithra, where the scorpion Queen asks the Doctor if she’s ever seen a dead planet, an especially pertinent aside from the alien in light of what has recently happened to Gallifrey and the Time Lord is visibly moved as she briefly reflects on what has happened to her homeworld.

Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror felt like a very traditional kind of Doctor Who story. It was full of exciting action, had a great period setting, and boasted some of the finest characterisation we’ve seen in far in Series 12. Queen Skithra was dispatched in a rather predictable way at the end, but that’s only a minor quibble in what was otherwise a superbly written and directed episode. Indeed, Tesla’s own story forms a poignant epilogue for the episode, and it’s a moving, beautifully uplifting closing scene. Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror was an electrifyingly good Doctor Who adventure, it ticked all the right boxes, and is easily the biggest highlight of Series 12 so far!

Images Belong BBC

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Doctor Who Orphan 55 Review

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Doctor Who Orphan 55

Review by Paul Bowler

Deciding its time for a holiday as the third episode of Doctor Who Series 12, Orphan 55, gets underway the Doctor and her companions get whisked away – thanks to a handy teleport cube – for a break and some much needed R&R at Tranquillity Spar. Naturally being Doctor Who it’s not long before it becomes clear this luxury resort is hiding some deadly secrets. The mystery of Tranquillity Spa crumbles as savagely ferocious monsters begin to attack, placing the Doctor and her friends in dire peril…

After the startling return of the Master and the revelations about Gallifrey’s demise in the two-part opening story Spyfall, Series 12 heads into somewhat more formulaic base under siege territory with Orphan 55, written by Ed Hime (who also scripted 2018’s It Takes You Away) and directed by Lee Haven Jones.

Jodie Whittaker continues to excel as the 13th incarnation of the Doctor, giving a fun and at times steely performances in this episode as the Time Lord goes on holiday with companions Ryan (Tosin Coyle), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) to the beautiful Tranquillity Spar leisure resort. Its nice to see Whittaker and Co exploring the fun side of their characters while they soak up the sun and enjoy some down time from their adventures, but they soon uncover there’s more to this planets luxury facility than meets the eye.

In reality the idyllic location of Tranquillity Spar is nothing more than an illusion. Beyond its walls this fake resort for cheap off-world holidays is actually based on an Orphan planet, a toxic uninhabitable world plagued by savage monsters.

Guest staring Breaking Bad’s Laura Fraser as Kane and The Inbetweeners’James Buckley as Nevi, along with Col Farrell as Benni and Julia Elizabeth Fogle as Vilma, and Gia Ree as Bela, Orphan 55 writer Ed Hime skilfully utilises the ensemble cast to build the air of brooding menace as the Doctor and her companions holiday is thrown into chaos. The early sunshine and jokes soon beings to fade, along with Tranquillity Spars façade, as the reality of why a holiday spar needs defending with an Ionic Membrane becomes apparent when the TARDIS team are faced with some of the scariest monsters to have appeared in the series in recent years.

Orphan 55 does indeed have some fearsomely scary new monsters, the Dregs, a native species that survived the fallout. The creatures are adaptive, apex predators, able to survive a nuclear winter. Once they break into Tranquillity Spar and begin attacking, Benni gets captured by the Dregs, so the Doctor, her friends and the surviving guest set out across the barren surface of Orphan 55 in an armoured vehicle to try and rescue him. The Dregs themselves look stunning, the great combination practical and animatronic effects used for the creatures are really impressive, and their bellowing roar also heightens their menacing presence.

Filming for Orphan 55 took the cast and crew to Tenerife, providing the perfect setting for the all-inclusive holiday resort of Tranquillity Spar, and director Lee Haven Jones captures some stunning scenery for this episode. The scenes where the Dregs attack the vehicle and the Doctor has to lead the group across the surface as the monsters close in are especially effective. Although there’s a large cast of characters to accommodate in Orphan 55, scenes never feel over cluttered, and everyone is key to driving the plot forward.

Jodie Whittaker is on especially fine form as the Doctor in Orphan 55. The Time Lord has to face some extremely challenging situations over the course of the episode while also trying to keep everyone safe at the same time. There’s a great underground chase though a Dreg nest as well which brings Whittaker’s Doctor face to face – quite literally – with the Dregs leader, and it’s a great moment that simultaneously showcases the 13th Doctor’s unflinching bravery and ingenuity. Tosin Coyle also gets a good share of the action as well when Ryan’s bravery is severely tested to the limit after he briefly becomes separated from the rest of the group and teams up with Bela (Gia Ree) – a guest that has come to Tranquillity Spar with very personal score to settle.

With a frenetic final race against time to hold off the Dregs long enough for the survivors to teleport away from Tranquillity Spar, Orphan 55 sees the Doctor and her companions transported back to inside the TARDIS. It is here that Ed Hime’s script and Jodie Whittaker‘s performance meld compellingly as the gang reflect on this adventure and the frightening realisation that the world they were on was actually Earth. Jodie Whittaker’s speech here as the Doctor clarifies the horror of the potential future they’ve narrowly escaped from, and its clear the stark environmental message it represents has shaken this TARDIS team to the core.

So, does this mean Orphan 55 is a return to the Preachy Who style of storytelling for which Series 11 was so heavily criticized, or were Orphan 55’s poignant final scenes a commendable and timely reminder for our own worlds current environmental crisis?

I thought Orphan 55 turned out to be a fairly enjoyable Doctor Who adventure for the most part. Sure, the script was a little clunky in places at times, the Doctor’s eventual means for escaping Tranquillity Spar and the Dregs were a tad convoluted, but the episode also boasted some exceptionally tense action sequences and the monsters were really superb. In fact I think the Dregs will probably be the main thing that Orphan 55 will be best remembered for. No doubt closing out this episode with a strong environmental message about global warming was intended to resonate powerfully, instead it was shoehorned in so quickly at the end that everything seemed a bit forced, and sadly the end result felt more like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Images Belong BBC

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Batman #86 Review

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Batman #86

Review by Paul Bowler.

A new era begins in Batman #86, but the Dark Knight’s world has changed forever. Bane is defeated and one of Batman’s oldest allies is dead. Now as Batman begins to rebuild his life and embarks on his bold new vision for Gotham, Deathstroke arrives in town, hired under a deadly new contract that threatens everything Batman is striving to achieve…

New series writer James Tynion IV takes the helm of DC Comics flagship Batman title for this next chapter in the life of the Dark Knight, together with the epic new art team of Tony S. Daniel and Danny Miki, for a story that instantly sets the tone for an entirely new directions as Batman starts to pick up the pieces after Alfred’s death. Their Dark Designs Part 1 gives us poignant insight into Batman’s radical new approach towards Gotham, indeed Alfred Pennyworth’s untimely demise in City of Bane inevitably hangs heavily over this issue, and consequently because of these opening scenes it also resonates just as powerfully in the wake of Batman’s confrontation with Deathstroke as well.

Batman has other allies though who will seem to be just as crucial to the Dark Knight’s designs during Tynion’s run. So, with Catwoman undercover and working a room full of Gotham’s high-fliers at the New Wayne Campus and Lucius Fox crafting Batman new and ever more wonderful toys in an immense subbasement workshop, Batman is free to deal with the lethal contract killers he’s been monitoring. Tynion is clearly going all-out with some new, and inventive technological innovations for the Dark Knight’s arsenal, and this issue sees the debut of the perhaps Batman’s most fearsome vehicle to date – the Nightclimber!

Needless to say the artwork that graces the pages of Batman #86 is little short of phenomenal. The pencils by Tony S. Daniel combined with Danny Miki’s inks are like a match made in heaven, and together with the vibrant colors by Tomeu Morey this issue is a veritable feast for the senses. From the opening rain-swept scenes over Gotham with a contemplative Batman, to witnessing the hired killers gathering in secret, and the deft inter-cutting between Batman’s conversations, first with Catwoman and then Lucius, there is a rich fluidity and consistency to the art that is staggeringly beautiful. Of course, Deathstroke is the one who has been brought in to lead this band of hired killers and the showdown with Slade Wilson – though brief – is still impressively depicted.

Closing things out with an intriguing mystery, a night sky full of memories, and a dark epilogue Batman #86 gets the new creative teams run off to a pretty good start. However, Batman #86 follows what has arguably been one of the most divisive runs in recent times for Batman comics. So is Batman #86 a bold new era or damage control? I honestly cannot decide as this issue felt like a little of both to me. I still feel that Tom King’s run has done immeasurable harm to the legacy of the Dark Knight, but, if anyone can fix things I’m sure James Tynion IV is the man to do it. Fingers crossed, eh?

Publisher: DC Comics Writer: James Tynion IV

Pencils: Tony S. Daniel Inks: Danny Miki Colors: Tomeu Morey

Letterer: Clayton Cowles Cover Tony S Daniel & Tomeu Morey

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Doctor Who Spyfall Part 2 Review

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Doctor Who Spyfall Part 2

Review by Paul Bowler.

Following the epic cliffhanging season premier Series 12 of Doctor Who continues with Spyfall Part 2, where a terrifying plot to destroy humanity is about to be unleashed! The Master (Sacha Dhawan) has returned, and he’s more dangerous than ever! In the second half of this sci-fi spy thriller, written by Showrunner Chris Chibnall and Directed by Lee Haven Jones, the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her friends must escape a plethora of deadly traps in their mission to foil the insidious alliance now threatening the universe.

Spyfall Part 2 certainly has quite an act to follow as it left us wondering how on earth the 13th Doctor and her “fam” of companions Ryan (Tosin Coyle), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) could possibly escape their combined plight – with the Time Lord spirited away to a strange otherworldly realm and her friends about to face certain death on a plane rigged to crash by the Master! Yet that’s exactly what they do as Jodie Whittaker’s ever resourceful incarnation of the Doctor and her team bounce back to take on the fiendish alliance endangering multiple dimensions in their race against time to save humanity from the Master‘s diabolical scheme.

But escaping the unknown dimension of the Kasaavin and the plummeting aeroplane are just the start of the TARDIS team’s adventures. So, as Ryan, Yaz and Graham to land the plane in Essex (thanks to some Blink style prearranged help from the Doctor) and set off to figure out Daniel Barton’s (Lenny Henry) plans, the Master pursues the Doctor across time, first to an exhibition in 1834, and then to German occupied Paris in 1943. Jodie Whittaker gives one of her best performances so far as the Doctor in this episode, and she seems totally sure of herself in the role of the Time Lord now. Its also fun to see Tosin Coyle get to save his friends by piloting the plane, Mandip Gill sadly still feel a bit like a third wheel as Yaz, and Bradley Walsh hilariously steals everyone’s thunder when he puts some nifty 007 gadgets to good use!

This episode also features a strong guest cast who play the three key historical figures that team-up with the Doctor, with Aurora Marion as Women‘s Auxiliary Air Force, SOE agent and wireless operator Noor Inyat, Mark Dexter as mathematician, philosopher, inventor, and engineer Charles Babbage, and Sylvie Briggs as mathematician and writer Ada Lovelace. Chibnall keeps the Doctor separated from her companions for much of the episode, this actually works to Spyfall’s advantage to further expand the scope of the story, and it’s also interesting to see the 13th Doctor working alone and alongside these three historical characters as well.

In having the Master return Chris Chibnall has pulled something of a masterstroke – no pun intended – by launching this new series of Doctor Who with such a brilliant surprise that nobody saw coming. This latest incarnation of the renegade Time Lord is played by Sacha Dhawan (An Adventure in Space and Time, Sherlock, Iron Fist), and he brings a real sense of maniacal glee to the role. Of course last time we saw the renegade as Missy (Michelle Gomez) in 2017’s The Doctor Falls she’d apparently perished while confronting her former self, played by John Simm, so Sacha Dhawan’s latest incarnation heralds a new era for the Doctor’s greatest adversary. The beauty is that we never actually saw Missy regenerate, so the origins of Dhawan’s Master still remains full of intriguing possibilities that have yet to be fully explored.

The Master’s alliance with the Kasaavin, the shimmering aliens with the uncanny ability phase through matter and technology company CEO Daniel Barton (Lenny Henry) is finally revealed during this episode. The Kasaavin are cosmic spies that move through time collecting data, together with Barton their aim is to reformat humanity‘s DNA into biological hard drives, but it seems the Master has been playing them both off against each other simply to orchestrate a trap for the Doctor. The Master dominates much of the action when it comes to this trio of threats in Spyfall. Sacha Dhawan’s incarnation of the Master furiously chases the Doctor through time once she escapes the Kasaavin‘s dimension with Ada Lovelace, he gets very trigger happy with his favourite weapon, the Tissue Compression Eliminator, at times too, and there’s a number of riveting face-offs with the Doctor that become increasingly dangerous and unpredictable as the episode unfolds.

The resolution of the Kasaavin’s involvement in Spyfall Part 2 is handled quite well, although we still don’t get to know that much about these mysterious creatures apart from their name or scant details about the bizarre dimension they inhabit. Lenny Henry is ok as company CEO Daniel Barton, but his character seems a little sidelined, especially towards the end of the episode. Ironically it’s the Master’s own TARDIS (still disguised as O’s house from the Australian outback) that’s instrumental in getting the Doctor back to the present day UK in time to turn the tables on the Master and reunite with her friends.

It’s also no surprise that the Master’s double crossing ways see the Kasaavin turn against him and imprison him in their domain. The brief scenes which see the returning of Noor Inyat and Ada Lovelace to their proper place in time also provides good codas to their part in the story, and they each have some nice parting moments with the Doctor.

After the glitzy action-packed Series 12 premier things take a much darker turn in this second episode, the tone and visuals are far more atmospheric, and that’s thanks to the impressive direction from The Bay’s Lee Haven Jones who stylishly embellishes every ounce of drama from Chibnalll’s engagingly paced script. Despite cramming a plot bursting with action, time travel, along with the Doctor battling Nazis, a technological menace, together with an alien invasion across multiple dimensions and timelines, Spyfall Part 2 cleverly splices its complexities with a strong character driven narrative to deliver a highly satisfying adventure. If all that wasn’t enough there’s also wealth of Doctor Who themed Easter Eggs in this episode for fans to enjoy, both new, and classic old school Doctor Who as well – my favourite being the “contact” telepathic conference between the 13th Doctor and the Master, something which we first saw the Doctor do when the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee) teamed up with his previous incarnations in The Three Doctors (1972/73).

There are also hints of a wider story arc bubbling away under the surface as Spyfall draws to a close, especially when the Doctor returns to Gallifrey following the Master’s cryptic remark about their homeworld to her in Paris at the Eiffel Tower, only to find it in ruins. The Master’s holographic message in the Doctor’s TARDIS potentially calls into question everything that he and the Doctor knows and stands for. But what could the Time Lords of Gallifrey have done that could have possibly horrified the Master so much that he’d unleash such carnage on his homeworld, and who or what is the significance of The Timeless Child (first mentioned in 2018’s The Ghost Monument) that is now clearly part of the main story arc Chibnall is setting up for the rest of the season?

Spyfall Part 2 provided an ambitious and exciting conclusion to this opening two-parter. It was an excellent episode, the confrontations between the Doctor and the Master were brilliant, and the ending set up major plot elements for the rest of Series 12. Most notably though, before the credits roll the Doctor does find she has some explaining to do, seeing as her companions point out how she hasn’t been that forthcoming until now about her past or previous selves, but her companions unwavering faith in her reinforces the bond between them as the Time Lord humbly brings her team up to speed and they rally to her side to face the new adventures ahead.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

 

Detective Comics #1018 Review

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Batman Detective Comics #1018

Review by Paul Bowler

A chill wind blows over Gotham in the aftermath of City of Bane. Detective Comics #1018 finds the Dark Knight in a dark, lonely place, as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. But there is little time to mourn his greatest loss as a series of gruesome ritualistic killings have been happening across the city. It would seem that supernatural forces have unleashed a monstrous pagan spirit. Batman must quell his personal demons for now and stop the killings, or Gotham’s festive season will be irrevocably tainted with blood and death…

For me Peter J. Tomasi’s run, after such a strong start, felt like it had been curtailed somewhat because of the Year of the Villain tie-in (something which I feel also spoiled a lot of my favourite comics, including Hawkman, Supergirl, and The Flash), although it has to be said that Tomasi’s story with Mr Freeze didn’t feel shoehorned into the umbrella style narrative of that ‘event’ like so many others did, if anything he was one of the few writers that really seemed to embrace the concept to really run with it and make anything even remotely cohesive from it as a result.

Now with Detective Comics #1018 Tomasi begins getting things back on track with Dead of Winter Part 1, however, there is no escaping the grim cloud of Tom King’s run (no, I wasn’t as fan of King either) and that hangs heavily over this issue. From the blood-soaked opening scenes we find the Dark Knight dealing with a minor crime by comparison to the one we‘ve just witnessed. From here Tomasi quickly immerse us in Batman’s ongoing investigation into the series of deaths that have recently struck the city, but now that Alfred Pennyworth is dead and Jim Gordon is unavailable, Batman only has Bullock to assist him, and not even making it home in time for a game of catch with pooches Ace and Titus affords Bruce little solace from his grief and isolation.

Employing a series of bold, sometimes overlapping page layouts, artist Scott Godlewski brings this sombre and powerful issue to life in the most stylish of ways. Sweeping snow swept vistas of Gotham blend seamlessly with the street level action with Batman. The Batmbile is a fan boy delight to behold with its gorgeous mix of crisp animated series lines, Burtonesque undertones, and classic retro flourishes. Colorist David Baron further heightens the atmosphere with vivid tones and hues alongside swarthy deep shadows, Bruce’s attempt to cast of the winter blues with a game of catch with the dogs poignantly conveys the Dark Knight’s melancholy, while Bullock’s office seems darker than the Batcave itself. The scene of the latest killing at the botanical gardens is another visual highlight of this issue, as it looks so bizarre, a twisted nightmare decked out in tinsel and baubles more akin to something like you’d have seen in the Hannibal TV series back in its heyday.

The issue ends with a dramatic cliffhanger and the stage is now set to bring the Dark Knight face to face with the stories monstrous protagonist… So, Detective Comics #1018 is a good return to form for this series, with a strong story, and reasonable enough artwork. The ramifications of City of Bane dose mean that there’s still very much a sense of picking up the pieces to this issue of Detective Comics. I can only hope that now the recent storylines and events involving Batman elsewhere are over Peter J. Tomasi’s run on Detective Comics can now really begin to stretch its wings and finally get its time to shine in the spotlight.

Publisher: DC Comics Writer: Peter J. Tomasi / Artist: Scott Godlewski

Colorist: David Baron / Letterer: Rob Leigh

Cover: Rafael Samdoval, Jordi Tarrago , & John Kalise

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Doctor Who Spyfall Part 1 Review

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Doctor Who Spyfall Part 1

Review by Paul Bowler

Jodie Whittaker’s second year of adventures as the 13th Doctor begins as Doctor Who series 12 gets under way with Spyfall, the first episode of a blockbusting action packed two-part story written by show runner Chris Chibnall and Directed by Jamie Magnus Stoneas.

Spyfall kicks off this new season of adventures with a bang! Secret intelligence agents from all around the world have come under attack by mysterious alien forces. The victims have been left in a coma and their DNA corrupted. MI6 seek help from the Doctor and her companions Ryan (Tosin Coyle), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh) as the crisis spreads. The Time Lord and her friends scour the globe for answers as threats strike from all sides, Earth’s security now rests on the TARDIS team’s shoulders, but where will this world-endangering conspiracy finally lead them?

In true series premier fashion, Spyfall hit’s the ground running, and the pace hardly falters for a moment. The opening attacks, especially on the aeroplane cleverly introduces a nameless menace of deadly shimmering beings that can phase through matter. With the alien threat quickly established, the Doctor, Ryan, Yaz and Graham are soon thrown right into the heart of the action. As the name suggests, Chibnall’s script for Spyfall is a wry spin on James Bond. The Doctor even swaps her usual trademark rainbow t-shirt for a tuxedo and a darker version of her flowing coat as the Time Lord becomes embroiled in this sci-fi spy-caper. Indeed, the whole gangs attire gets a spy themed makeover. Spyfall also features some impressive guest stars, with Stephen Fry as suave spy boss C, and Lenny Henry as the shady technology company CEO Daniel Barton.

The security of this entire planet is at stake. Can we rely upon you?

The action in this hour-long opening episode is spread across several countries and locations; there are lots of big Bond style action-set pieces to enjoy, including a thrilling chase with the Doctor riding a motorbike, and hints of underlying themes to come as the high stakes builds towards a rather momentous cliffhanger. To fully achieve the globe trotting scale of this story filming for the first part of Spyfall took place in South Africa, the stylish direction by Jamie Magnus Stoneas takes full advantage of this, and the result ensures Spyfall boasts a slick blend of frenetic action with stunning panoramic visuals to launch the new season in fine style.

Jodie Whittaker continues to refine her performance as the 13th Doctor, infusing a genuine sense of fun and warmth to her role as the adventure unfolds. Series regulars Tosin Coyle, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh are also on fine form as the Doctor’s companions, and collectively the TARDIS team get some great moments to shine in Spyfall. The episode shows the Doctor’s companions catching up with their lives in Sheffield as the everyday reality of their adventures begin to hit home, Yaz is getting into trouble with her superiors because of her frequent secondments, Ryan’s friends are feeling neglected, and Graham also finds time to fit in his latest medical check-up. Perhaps most intriguingly Spyfall also reveals how the Doctor hasn’t been quite as forthright about her Time Lord past and former incarnations with her friends as we thought; potentially sowing a hint of conflict as the series progresses.

The new crystalline TARDIS interior has also been tweaked slightly for the new series. Most notably the roof has been raised slightly, giving a greater sense of scale to the set. Then we have the addition of hexagon style steps leading up to another level, and the screens now utilise an ethereally holographic means to convey information.

Decked out by C with a complement of nifty Bond style gadgets, the Doctor and her companions split up into two teams to carry out their mission. Ryan and Yaz investigate the ruthless tech CEO Barton while the Doctor and Graham try to uncover the truth about the aliens with help from the Doctor’s old friend O (Sacha Dhawan) from MI6. It is interesting to see a simple plot device like this being used to capitalise on using the four person cast to the full to tell a much bigger story than if it were just the Doctor and one companion, and it shows just how good the new TARDIS team can be when its done so well like this.

The name’s Doctor, the Doctor!

The aliens prove to be a palpable threat, one seemingly capable of even getting into the TARDIS, and to make things worse for the Doctor they don’t even give a reading on the sonic screwdriver! Her conversation with one of the beings mind-way through the episode is equally chilling. Lenny Henry’s character, Daniel Barton, also has a secret, namely that he’s only 93% human! As for that extraordinary cliffhanger that we’ve all been teased about so much, well it certainly blindsides you. It also works on several levels, the end result is dramatic, potentially game changing, and ‘masterfully’ executed! Yes the Doctor’s greatest foe, The Master, brilliantly played by Sacha Dhawan, is back with a vengeance! It was a great surprise, and nice to enjoy the start of a two-part story with a proper cliffhanger again too, as this was something that Series 11 sadly lacked.

Overall then part one of Spyfall gets this new series of Doctor Who off to a relatively strong and confident start. Although the blend of familiar Doctor Who and Bond tropes does make the episode feel a little uneven in places, they even squeezed in a nod to the X-Files infamous catchphrase, there’s still a fairly good balance between the action and humour. Characterisation is also strong, and the epic cliffhanger sets up some exciting prospects for the second half of the story. It was lovely to see the dedication to the late Terrance Dicks at the end of the credits as well, especially as the former script editor, author and writing legend who died last autumn co-created and named the Master back in the 1970’s. Much like the 13th Doctor’s debut season, Series 12 begins promisingly enough with Spyfall. Let’s just hope that this early momentum can be built on in Spyfall Part 2 and sustained as the series progresses.

Images Belong BBC

What did you think of this Doctor Who episode? Let me know in the comments

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook

Happy Christmas, On The Mend & Looking Foward to 2020!

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On The Mend and Looking Forward to 2020!

Well, first I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone for supporting me and Sci-Fi Jubilee in 2019 while I’ve been off recovering from my recent operation. Its been a long, tough few months, but I’m well on the mend now.

At times its was a bit frustrating not being well enough to focus on my blog or YouTube Channel, but I had to follow Doctor’s orders and rest. Sadly I did miss several of the comic books I was looking forward to reading, and there were films like Joker and Terminator Dark Fate that I never got around to seeing. On the plus side I had plenty of time to relax and enjoy lots of my favourite classic TV shows, especially Doctor Who and Star Trek, and lots of classic movies, Sci-Fi and Horror, that I haven’t watched in ages either.

Now it’s time to look forward to the end of the year and everything that 2020 has to offer! First off there’s Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker, so will be sure to see that over the holidays. Doctor Who returns on New Year’s Day as Series 12 begins. I’m glad  to see the Cybermen return as well as they are my favourite Doctor Who monster. Also excited for The Witcher, Lost In Space Season 2, and Star Trek Picard! There’s lots of movies I’m looking forward to in 2020, including Black Widow, No Time To Die, and Wonder Woman 1984, to name just a few, and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of comic books to enjoy as well.

Most of all though I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you for all the get well messages you’ve sent me here on Sci-Fi Jubilee and on Twitter. I was totally bowled over by your kind words and good wishes while I was recovering, you helped me keep my spirits up through the tough times after my surgery, and for that I truly cannot thank you all enough.

So, here’s to a very merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all as the festive season approaches, and I look forward to an exciting New Year in 2020 with Sci-Fi Jubilee!

Cheers everyone, and see you soon.

Paul.

 

Been In Hospital For An Operation.

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Been In Hospital for an Operation

Hi everyone! Sorry been a lack of posts recently. I’ve been in hospital for an operation for a longstanding condition that’s been giving me a bit of trouble for a while now. As I have a somewhat weaker lung function as well (you may recall I spent time in hospital last November because of a bad chest infection), I was also advised to have a spinal for my operation as it would be safer for me than a general anaesthetic.

It was a bit of a scary experience being awake while I was being operated on, but the staff were all really nice and looked after me. Its been just over a week since my operation. I’m home now and recovering well. Obviously I’m going to have to take things easy for a bit. So that’ll mean lots of binge watching box sets and movies for me while I recover – just what the doctor ordered!

Take care and I’ll see you all soon.

Paul.

Terminator Dark Fate New Official Trailer!

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Terminator Dark Fate New Official Trailer!

Welcome to the day after Judgment Day! Check out the new the official trailer for Terminator Dark Fate, in theatres 11.1.19.

Linda Hamilton (“Sarah Connor”) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (“T-800”) return in their iconic roles in Terminator: Dark Fate, directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool) and produced by visionary filmmaker James Cameron and David Ellison. Following the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator: Dark Fate also stars Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, and Diego Boneta.

And here’s the new official poster as well!