So, I adore The Sound of Music. I grew up on it. When I was three, I used to ride around my house on my tricycle yelling “They’re gone!” like the soldier did at the end of the festival scene when the Von Trapps escaped to the convent. I know most of the words to all of the songs by heart. So, I really adore the film. That being said, some… interesting changes were made when adapting the stage musical into the film. For some reason, the whole thing was made about an hour longer than it was on stage. Several songs were added to the film and a number were taken away. Herein lies my problem with the movie: two of the cut songs were integral to the plotline of the story and ridding the film of them damages the subplot of Captain Von Trapp and Baroness Elsa Schräder’s failed romance. (more…)
I wonder if people knew that the first Dark Eyes box set was the first in a series of four sets that explored the storyline. The first set isn’t really written like it’s supposed to be the first in a series of box sets; the real villains of the series aren’t even introduced until the 3rd episode of Dark Eyes 2, after all. Either way, Dark Eyes ended up being a pretty darn good start for the Dark Eyes series, so how does the second box set fare? From the Big Finish website: “When the Doctor (Paul McGann) defeated the Dalek Time Controller and its Time Lord ally, the timelines shifted and events changed… but the danger is far from over. And new threats to the continued safety of the universe are emerging. Molly O’Sullivan (Ruth Bradley) carried on with her life as a nursing assistant in World War One. She probably thought she would never see the Doctor in his ‘Tardy-box’ again… From the Dalek-occupied planet Nixyce VII through Earth’s history and to the very edge of the universe, the Doctor’s footprints across eternity are being tracked by foes old and new. But when did it all begin and when will it end? Living his life through the complexities of time travel, the Doctor can never be quite sure if he’s experiencing his life in the most helpful order. The only certainty appears to be the advance of the powers of evil and the oncoming threat of a fight to the death against forces that would destroy everything the Doctor holds dear.” (Spoilers follow; don’t read further if you haven’t listened to the box set!) (more…)
With Doctor Who off the air (I promise the review for the last two episodes of this season will be up soon!), it’s time to explore some of the audio offerings from Big Finish! After finally finishing the Eighth Doctor Adventures, I was finally ready to start Eight’s first series of box sets, Dark Eyes and oh boy am I happy with it. Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, Dark Eyes follows the Doctor directly after the events of the series 4 finale of The Eighth Doctor Adventures, To The Death. The Doctor (Paul McGann) is looking for hope. But instead, he finds himself on a mission. The Time Lords have uncovered terrifying fragments of an insane plot to destroy the universe. And somehow, at the center of that plot is one, random female in Earth’s history, Molly O’Sullivan. Soon, the Doctor and Molly find themselves thrown headlong into a series of dangerous and terrifying adventures, with the dreaded Daleks never far behind them. (Spoilers ahead!) (more…)
It’s just been announced that the 13th Doctor will be played by Jodie Whittaker, making this the first time in Doctor Who’s 54 year history that the role of the Time Lord has been played by a woman. Jodie Whittaker, amongst other things, is known for her role as Beth Latimer in ITV’s Broadchurch (coincidentally also written by the new showrunner for Doctor Who, Chris Chibnall). I am beyond excited by her casting! It’s about time the show did something besides cast another white male as the Doctor and Whittaker is a brilliant choice as the first female Doctor. She’s a superb actress and I really adored her performance in Broadchurch – the only thing to date that I’ve seen her in.
The little teaser video they announced her in was lots of fun too, and I know that the costume she was wearing in the video is almost definitely not her final costume, but I adore it anyway. It’s a nice blend of Twelve’s outfits – which I adore, possibly more than any other Doctor’s costume – and something new. Sure, the Doctor is now a woman, but she’s still the same character she’s always been and visually they should show that. While all the Doctors costumes have been radically different from each other, they’ve all also sort of looked similar enough, and the costume Whittaker wore in the video followed along the same lines. It’s similar to how they handled Missy’s costume when that character became a woman. It was different but also still in line with what came before.
I’m rambling about her costume now. Point is: she looks great, the teaser video was great, and I am excited. Also, all of you should watch Broadchurch. Just do it. It’s got David Tennant, Olivia Coleman, David Bradley, Arthur Darville, and Jodie Whittaker in it (plus more) and it’s just really good and it’ll give you a good sense of Chris Chibnall’s writing and Jodie Whittaker’s acting.
PS: Here’s the official press release: (more…)
Better late than never, I guess. So, series 10 of Doctor Who has come to an end, and boy, what an ending it was. There were Cybermen, explosions, black holes, spaceships, two Masters, and the beginning of the end of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor. It’s one hell of a two-part finale and the perfect icing on the cake that was this past series of the show. Written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay, World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls follows the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Bill (Pearl Mackie), and Nardole (Matt Lucas) as they arrive on a 400 mile long spaceship heading towards/away from a black hole (it’s sorta confusing). They’ve answered a distress signal the ship sent out and the Doctor has decided that this would be a great time for Missy (Michelle Gomez) to prove that she really has changed. Naturally, things don’t go according to plan at all. (There will be spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the two episodes, now is your chance to turn back. Also worth noting, this review is kind of all over the place. There’s a lot of elements to try and cover, so I’ll be jumping around quite a bit.) (more…)
Better late than never, I suppose. I meant to review the first volume of Jody Houser’s Mother Panic back when it came out a few weeks ago, but life gets in the way sometimes. So here we go. Mother Panic is one of the several new comics from the Young Animal line from DC, headed by Gerard Way.
Written by Jody Houser and illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards, Mother Panic: A Work in Progress tells the story of Violet Paige, a rich young celebutante with a bad attitude and a worse reputation. No one would ever suspect that this tabloid-fodder wild child has a secret hidden beneath her spoiled heiress exterior—a secret that has driven her to become the terrifying force of vengeance against her privileged peers known as Mother Panic! But even as Violet launches her all-out assault on the rich and twisted, her shaky allies threaten to betray her, and every one of Gotham’s guardians—from Batwoman to the Dark Knight himself—is hot on her trail. Will Mother Panic continue to strike terror into her enemies’ hearts? Or will her violent quest for justice reach an equally violent end?
I’ve been watching a lot of Classic Doctor Who lately in an effort to try and consume as much of the show’s history as possible, and I just finished the last serial of the 10th season of the show, The Green Death. I’m not sure if I’m gonna make reviewing Classic Who episodes a regular thing, but I had to review this one mostly as it contains the first time the Doctor really seems to get all melancholy about the departure of a companion. We’ll get to that later, though, because of spoilers. Written by Robert Sloman and directed by Michael Briant, The Green Death follows the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee), Jo Grant (his companion, played by Katy Manning), Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), and the rest of UNIT as they investigate a series of mining accidents at the site of Global Chemicals as they attempt to implement their plan to drill for more oil. As a mysterious virus breaks out and infects the miners and an array of odd and large maggots appear throughout the mine, it’s up to the Doctor and his friends to solve the mystery and avoid total disaster.
I can see why The Green Death tends to be considered one of the best Third Doctor stories. While the plotline itself is a bit rubbish, the way it’s executed is what makes it stand out. Much of the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the end, but it’s an incredibly fun journey and leads to some interesting character moments for both the Doctor and Jo. The serial begins with Jo finally standing up for what she wants and believes in, a theme that’s carried over from the ending of Planet of the Daleks, with her wanting to join a Professor Jones (Stewart Bevan) in protesting Global Chemicals’ latest drilling disaster. It’s this act of independence from Jo that begins the arc of her departure at the end of the serial. During this scene, the audience is shown the Doctor’s reaction. First, he doesn’t take her seriously. Second, he seems confused. Third, he quietly and sadly lets her do as she pleases. This happens a few times throughout the serial as Jo is allowed to make her own decisions (for once) repeatedly.
It culminates in the scene at the end of the serial where Jo and Professor Jones announce their intention to get married to the Doctor. The Doctor is happy for Jo, but he’s also sad. It’s bittersweet for him. Companions come and go, but for some reason, this is the first time that the Doctor has really shown a whole lot of emotion about the departure of a companion. Perhaps he really did view Jo as an equal. Perhaps he knows he’ll miss having her around. Perhaps, since she was the first companion he was really able to travel in the TARDIS with after being exiled to Earth, he has a special attachment to her and mourns the fact that it has to end. After all, the Doctor hates endings.
More than anything else, it’s this plot thread that made me want to review the episode. I don’t have much to say about the rest of it all. It’s a bit too long, the plot is forgettable, the motivations of the antagonist are never fully explored, etc. But it’s still really enjoyable. Michael Briant manages to create and maintain a really palpable atmosphere of dread, creepiness, and suspense. Add in the whole espionage element with Yates having infiltrated the company. And, finally, sprinkle on top the fun 70s style pro-environmental message poorly hidden in interesting science fiction. With all those ingredients, you have yourself an enjoyable, if somewhat forgettable and nonsensical, story. It’s a pretty good one for the Third Doctor. One of my favorites.
I give it three and a half out of five wands.
After last week’s less than stellar episode, American Gods is back with another strong, engaging episode. And just in time, too, as it’s the season finale. And, boy, it’s quite an epic one. All the various plot threads of the season come together in one big cluster as it all leads to the house of the goddess Easter. In Come to Jesus, written by Bekah Brunstetter, Bryan Fuller, and Michael Green and directed by Floria Sigismondi, it’s the eve of war and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) must recruit one more Old God: Ostara, ne Easter, Goddess of the Dawn (Kristen Chenoweth), but winning her over will require making a good impression, and that is where Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones) comes in. (As always, this review will contain spoilers, so read ahead at your own risk.) (more…)
The early previews for this episode made it sound a lot worse than it actually was. Is it the greatest episode of Doctor Who ever? No. But there is quite a bit to like, and on the whole, it’s rather good. Not the best episode this season, but still a very good one. In The Eaters of Light, written by Rona Munro and directed by Charles Palmer, A hunt for the lost Ninth Roman Legion leads the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole into the middle of an ancient battle that could cast humanity into the dark forever. What is inside the cairn? And how far will they have to go defeat the terrifying alien Eaters of Light? (As always, this review will contain spoilers. So, if you haven’t seen the episode, don’t read this until you have.) (more…)
Honestly, I think this season of Night Vale is probably my favorite season to date. Almost every episode is a really strong one, with a few exceptions, of course. This season continues the arc of Hiram McDaniels’ execution by introducing his sister, Hadassah McDaniels, and an array of other dragons who have come to Night Vale in order to secure the release of Hiram (as human laws should not apply to dragons, in their eyes). Unfortunately, this doesn’t exactly go as planned as Hiram breaks out of jail, his Violet head being killed by Sheriff Sam in the process. Hadassah, naturally, is enraged by this, and her and the dragons destroy much of Night Vale – but, let’s be real, how often is most of Night Vale destroyed only for it to not be destroyed again by the next episode? This is a fun plotline, but, really, all of the plotlines around Hiram are usually pretty fun, and this is no exception.
Meanwhile, Old Woman Josie’s health has continued to rapidly deteriorate. Her daughter, Alondra, reluctantly comes to town to take care of her. Throughout the first half of the season, we learn more about Old Woman Josie’s past, which makes her death later in the season all the more tragic. The worst part is how mundane it is. She doesn’t die by some odd supernatural event or anything; she just dies of old age. And it’s sad, and the episode when it happens is sad. Cecil sounds so defeated. From there on, the season follows the angels as they try to obtain legal recognition as beings from the government so they can inherit what Josie wanted to leave them. Alondra fights against this, though, as Josie left no will/nothing written stating that the angels were to get anything at all. This, too, is a fun plotline. It’s nice having the angels take a more active role in the story than they have in the past. It’s all too sad how realistic their struggle to gain recognition from the government is, and it’s a clever bit of social satire that Fink and Cranor deliver through it.
On the romance front, Cecil and Carlos finally get married! In the 100th episode of the series, fans were surprised by an episode that featured every voiced character that had ever appeared in Night Vale all gathering together to celebrate the wedding of Cecil and Carlos. Before this episode, the series had made no hints that a marriage was imminent. No announcement of a proposal from either character, no discussion about weddings at all. It was a wonderful surprise and a wonderful episode. There’s something so pure and joyful when Cecil refers to Carlos as his husband. I just love them both so much and I’m so happy the show decided to have them get married.
The other major plotline is the resolution of the Huntokar story. Huntokar was introduced in season 1 as the god of the civilization underneath the bowling alley. As season five progressed, Huntokar kept appearing in various episodes, leading up to the revelation that the civilization underneath the bowling alley was actually an alternate Night Vale, and Huntokar was the cause of its destruction. We learn that Huntokar actually created Night Vale – and she is a God, along with the Glow Cloud, the Distant Prince, and the Woman From Italy. In 1983, when Nulogorsk underwent that nuclear test, both the US and Nulogorsk thought it was real, and blew each other up. Huntokar wanted to protect Night Vale, her creation, so she pulled it out of the timeline, and in doing so caused all the timelines in Night Vale to collapse. For years, she was able to keep Night Vale mostly balanced and okay, but after the events of the past few years, the balance was off and all the Night Vales were combining into each other and falling apart, causing all of those timeline oddities (like Cecil having a brother yet not remembering said brother). I won’t spoil how it ends, but it’s pretty rad, and I’m really interested in seeing where Night Vale goes from here.
Overall, season five of Welcome to Night Vale was awesome. Fink and Cranor really pushed the boundaries on what the show is and what it could do, and it resulted in a really strong, cohesive, and enjoyable season of this podcast. Their characters continue to be interesting and unique and fully developed, and the world building that this season underwent brought both a sense of clarity and even more mystery to the town itself. It’s really just a wonderful season of a wonderful podcast and I’m looking forward to all that will happen next season.
I give Year Five of Welcome to Night Vale five out of five wands.