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October 3, 2011

Review: Doctor Who - 6x13 - The Wedding of River Song

Posted on October 3, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Wedding of River Song

In the UK: Saturday 1st October, 7.15pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday 1st October, 9pm/8c ET/PT, BBC America

Erm, yes. Another crazy bit of Stevieness. How does he stop himself from going mad with thoughts like that?

I largely enjoyed that one. Full of fun moments. Good to see quite a big chunk of questions answered - River's timeline, how the Doctor avoids dying, what's up with the eyepatches - as well as a few new ones asked, such as Doctor Who? Could have done with knowing why the TARDIS blew up at the end of last season, but maybe we'll find out next year. The Silence were a little under-powered. Rory was a bit of a letdown. The Doctor's escape clause felt like a bit of a cheat. But pretty enjoyable and the tribute to Nicholas Courtney was tear-jerking.

But it didn't feel like a season finale, if you know what I mean. There was spectacle but no real sense of danger or of energy. Perhaps the supposed inevitability of it all robbed the story of that energy, since it felt like it was walking to its doom, Sydney Carton style. And putting out a message to the universe saying "Come help the Doctor" and getting a series of polite responses in return did rob the story of a potential bit of fun.

On the whole, in fact, a slightly less impressive two-part season than Stevie's first. Amy was a shadow of her former self. A lot of the non-Stevie episodes felt like filler. Maybe a little too complicated for its own good and not as emotional or grounded as Rusty's era, either. But Matt Smith's very good, isn't he?

On the whole, in fact, Doctor Who is starting to feel "interesting" in the same way as a puzzle rather than as drama. For me, it's hard to feel enthusiasm for it, rather than waiting for another piece of the puzzle to be added to the mix. Not so much fun as homework, if you see what I mean. And a lot of the time, I'm not sure I desperately want to know the answers to the questions being asked. The Silence need to be a bit more threatening if they're going to be a big bad. The companion(s), if they go through danger, need to change rather than be reset as a result of their adventures.

Although I won't miss the complete absence of logic and sensible plotting from the Rusty era, he did at least know how to make you care about the companions and the Doctor and the current run is a little too distant from them at the moment.

But what do you think?

September 29, 2011

Review: Suburgatory 1x1 (US: ABC)

Posted on September 29, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Suburgatory

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30/7.30c, ABC

If there's one big surprise this season, apart from the sheer amount of dollars wasted on obviously bad shows, it's that there are a few good ones out there, even on ABC. And it's largely been the one's that you didn't think were going to be any cop that have turned out to be the surprises.

Suburbagatory is one of these shows. It sees Manhattan single father Jeremy Sisto (unrecognisable after his stint in Kidnapped as an action hero) discovering his teenage daughter has condoms, decides he wants her to grow up wholesome, so moves her upstate to the suburbs.

Here, their jaded, cynical Manhattan selves discover a realm of happy, smiling people of overwhelming, horrifying, oppressive normality. Are they prisoners, surrounded by Stepford husbands and wives? Or are the inmates of Suburgatory just as much prisoners of convention as they are?

Here's a trailer.

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September 28, 2011

Review: Terra Nova 1x1

Posted on September 28, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Terra Nova 

In the US: Mondays, 8/7c, Fox
In the UK: Monday, 8pm, Sky 1 HD. Starts 3rd October

A true scientific law about TV: while having the name 'Steven Spielberg' attached to a movie is almost always a blessing, with a TV show, unless it's an historical drama about the US military, it's almost certain that that TV show will suck collossally and usually feature various men agonising about the responsibilities of being a father.

Another true scientific law about TV: if your script is written by former Star Trek producers René Echevarria and Brannon Braga, it will almost invariably involve time travel and temporal paradoxes.

The final true scientific law about TV: it's almost impossible to go wrong with dinosaurs on a TV show. Almost.

You can imagine the thought processes involved in the making of Terra Nova. "You can't go wrong with dinosaurs. Remember Jurassic Park? Let's have a TV show about dinosaurs."

"Dinosaurs are millions of years in the past. How do we have have a show about dinosaurs?"

"Can we just make new dinosaurs?"

"Jurassic Park – we'll get sued."

"Can we bring the dinosaurs from the past to now?"

"Primeval – we'll get sued."

"Dinosaurs on another planet?"

"Why would there be dinosaurs on another planet? How about we go into the past? I do like time travel and timey-wimey paradoxes."

"Why would we go into the past to meet dinosaurs?"

"Maybe the whole world is falling apart from environmental catastrophe and the only way to escape it is to go back into the past."

"That makes no sense, but it would mean we could pretend to do Blade Runner for 20 minutes. Then what?"

"Well, we could tell a story involving lots of kids and really dangerous dinosaurs about how hard it is to survive millions of years in the past with only the bare essentials."

"Where's the fun in that? How about we create a show in which people go 'glamping' - that's glamorous camping – in the past to escape from the terrible future and have mildly exciting adventures in which they're surrounded by inhospitable but only marginally threatening outsiders, while a bunch of guys worry about how hard it is to be dads?"

"Cool. And even though it's set in the year 2149, do you think we could have minimal changes in technology and social order, while reinforcing every single possible modern-day stereotype imaginable?"

"Sure. Although it's going to sound a bit like Earth 2, isn't it?"

"Meh. Who remembers you even did that show, Steven? Falling Skies is the one everyone will be reminded of because it's on TV right now."

"This has got dinosaurs in it though."

"Big difference…"

"You can't go wrong with dinosaurs, Steven."

"Fine. Let's do it."

Here's a trailer.

Continue reading "Review: Terra Nova 1x1"

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