Science-Fiction

01 “The Magician’s Apprentice” (Doctor Who series 9) [SPOILERS]


doctor who peter capaldi

So the Doctor is back. Thank goodness for that.

The previous season, Peter Capaldi’s first in the leading role, was a hit and miss affair, but it did rather end on a high note with Michelle Gomez’s fantastic “Missy” (The Mistress… As in, The Master, but female. Geddit? -Ed) as the perfect villainous counterpoint for Capaldi’s mad Scotsman. One of the finest climaxes, in fact, since the BBC resurrected the series.

This, though, is the difficult second album of the Twelfth Doctor. In some ways a little more hopeful that it might be a little smoother this time around, given that the episodes here have all been specifically written for the Capaldi, rather than Matt Smith’s leftovers.

And, having had a glance down the episode list, it looks to me like the episodes are actually structured as a series of two-part stories. Which, from my perspective, sounds great. What we need from this new Doctor is some exploration of the particular character of this incarnation. And Capaldi is just crying out for a darker, grittier sort of Doctor.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

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07 “The Beauty of Our Weapons” (Defiance season 3) [SPOILERS]


defiance

So I’m liking this season of Defiance.

It’s very different in tone to the previous offerings, lacking the impenetrable mystery of the whole Irzu saga, but having a very clear trajectory. It’s a refreshing change, showing a capacity for risk, and a bit more faith in the basic premise of its storyline, now established after two seasons.

As ever, it’s not perfect, but it’s making a real effort to plough more than just the “same old” storyline. It’s also showing a confidence in its cast and the characters they have developed which goes beyond most examples with its still inexplicably understated profile can pull off.

It is on a knife-edge, though. Brave is good, but brave can also go wrong. And we still have half a season for it to all go tits up.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

06 “Where the Apples Fell” (Defiance season 3) [SPOILERS]


defiance

At about the midway point, I’m still undecided on where this season of Defiance will place, alongside the first and second. There’s a lot going on here, and whilst some elements need to be truncated or dropped entirely, there’s a lot of good going on.

I’m reminded that when this series originally started, it launched alongside a video game which was supposed to tie in with the story. That isn’t something with an illustrious history (Remember Enter the Matrix? No, of course you don’t -Ed), and indeed it seems to be the TV series which has better stood up to the passage of time.

I haven’t actually played the game, as I like my games single player and MMORPGs have far too much of other people, so when something obviously game-related crops up, I’m forced to resort to Google. But it is, I suppose, worth remembering every so often that the video game does also exist.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

Jurassic World – A Review


jurassic world

I’m of about the age that means the original Jurassic Park film was formative of my affection for films and dinosaurs. It is a pretty key piece of my cinematic education and psyche.

I’m also a bit odd, in that I don’t regard the sequel, The Lost Word as a complete catastrophe as everyone else thinks it was. Yes, it could definitely have done without the gymnastics, and it was weird that the back end of a Godzilla film got caught up at the end. But there was still a good film in there somewhere.

Jurassic Park III, mind, was an unadulterated disaster, start to finish.

So that’s the pantheon of Jurassic Park films. That is the scale on which Jurassic World be judged, but this blogger at least.

Read on…

03 “Broken Bough” (Defiance season 3) [SPOILERS]


defiance

The third season started, without wanting to include any spoilers, with a bang.

It’s odd that a series which is so good has somehow managed to evade popular awareness so far. It’s perhaps a bit niche, but post-apocalypse has a fairly widespread appeal. And Defiance has (For this viewer at least -Ed) managed to hit the nail pretty precisely on the head.

Maybe the third season will be where it finally breaks into the mainstream?

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

01 “The World We Seize” & 02 “The Last Unicorns” (Defiance season 3) [SPOILERS]


defiance

So Defiance is back for a third season, and enters that select club of series not put down after the second.

As regular readers will recall, I’ve quite enjoyed the first couple of seasons. They haven’t been flawless, but any series which blends Farscape with Fallout is onto a winner from the start.

Where it runs into a slight problem here is that at the end of season 2, the grand threat and story arc which had sustained it over the first 25 episodes came to something of a conclusion. The question, then, which this presents is how to move forward. Bringing back the original big bad seems shortsighted and lazy, so I would hope that Defiance wouldn’t choose that point. But then does it craft out of what it had already mentioned but not explored, or does it introduce something completely new.

See, I’m getting into it already.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

Interstellar – A Review


interstellar

So it’s taken me rather a while to get around to seeing Interstellar.

I missed it when it was in the cinemas, mainly due to it being a stonking (Unnecessary? -Ed) 170 minutes long and simply being unable to find the time to spare to go and see it. But thanks to the wonders of home DVD, that has now been rectified.

When it came out I recall competing voices branding it either the triumph of modern science fiction cinema, or a waste of time. In my experience, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

But who knows? Maybe it is the best thing since 2001

Read on…

10 “Divine Move” (12 Monkeys season 1) [SPOILERS]


12 monkeys

 

It’s a nice thing when a TV series isn’t predictable. A good twist can redefine the story and keep the audience guessing.

12 Monkeys, though, takes it to another level. This isn’t just the occasional twist, or even the end-of-epiosde cliffhanger. I genuinely have very little clue where this is going, and each new episode seems to invalidate my predictions born out of its predecessors.

It’s a good thing. But as I’ve said before, it’s a bit concerning. I don’t mind not knowing where it’s going, but the thing that does and which would worry me is if the writers don’t.

That, after all, was what turned me off Lost; the sense that the title was a description of the writers.

I’m not feeling that way yet with 12 Monkeys. It has the film to guide it, and it’s fast-paced, take no prisoners attitude to the story is a big plus in my book. With the end of the season on the horizon, though, and with a second confirmed, I will be wondering a little if a grander idea for a longer series is going to emerge soon.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

09 “Tomorrow” (12 Monkeys season 1) [SPOILERS]


12 monkeys

12 Monkeys has secured it’s renewal for a second series then. I’m glad, of course, but I do have some issues around how this story has been pacing itself. It seems in an unseemly hurry for a time travel show.

Not that the pacing is a bad thing, but for a series with a second season on the horizon (and hopefully more to follow) I do wonder quite what knots it will end up tying itself in. Things are already getting pretty convoluted.

It could, I suppose, go full Fringe and completely reset the timeline.

I’m sure that they can find something to do with the extra room, but I do hope they have an endgame in mind. They are adapting a single film, and the dangers of cramming too much ancillary “stuff” in with it is surely plain to see.

Surely?

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

08 “Yesterday” (12 Monkeys season 1) [SPOILERS]


12 monkeys
12 Monkeys first season being thirteen episodes long (A good length for a series -Ed), with the eighth episode we are approaching the closing act. It has, on the whole, been a remarkably well-paced piece of work.

My concerns around the conversion of a feature film into a TV series have evaporated as far as the story to showtime ratio is concerned. They have stretched the story without treading on the core of the original story.

The choice to primarily do this through the future setting was a good one, I feel. It’s left untapped in Gilliam’s film, and the series has created a world as real, vibrant and tense as the story in the past. It has also made very good use of supporting characters, fleshing them out into a real and believable chorus.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers)