Starring: Peter O'Toole, Beatie Edney, Jane Lapotaire, Charlotte Coleman and Barbara Shelley Writers: Don MacPherson (based on Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu) Director: Peter Hammond Price: £14.99 (Amazon price: £11.20) Released: May 30th 2011
Sheridan Le Fanu is something of a neglected author. Although influential in his day with classics of the horror and gothic genres, such as Through a Glass Darkly, Carmilla and Uncle Silas, he's now overshadowed by the likes of Poe, Collins and Stoker. Movie and TV adaptations of his work are few and far between.
Back in 1987, the BBC adapted Uncle Silas as the three-part mini-series, The Dark Angel. Directed by Peter Hammond (who directed many of Granada's Sherlock Holmes episodes as well as 18 episodes of The Avengers and a whole lot more), it faithfully sticks to the book in seeing young Maud Ruthyn (Beatie Edney) having to live with her uncle Silas (Peter O'Toole), a noted wastrel and alleged murderer, even though if she should die, he would inherit from her one of the largest fortunes in England.
Did you know there's this tribe in Africa called the Dogon? There really is - this is true. What's particularly interesting about the Dogon is that they have this weird relationship with the star, Sirius - aka the Dog Star - which is the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere. Exciting astronomy fact of the day: Sirius is actually a binary star - there's a great big star and around it orbits a tiny white dwarf star that's impossible for the naked eye (and even most telescopes) to detect: its presence was only inferred mathematically in 1844.
And the Dogon knew that there was a second star there. In fact, they reckon there's a third star there, too. And in 1995, some evidence emerged that there might well be a brown dwarf in orbit around the two main stars.
Now there are various explanations for this that I won't go into, but back in in 1984, enterprising New Zealand TV station TVNZ created a six-part children's TV series, Children of the Dog Star, in which it was suggested the Dogon know all this because they were visited by an alien probe from Sirius thousands of years ago that told them all this. That wasn't the only probe, however, and out in a New Zealand swamp, the remains of another probe might still exist, waiting to be reactivated.
In the UK: Saturday 21st May, 6.45pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer In the US: Saturday 21st May, 9pm/8c, BBC America
Erm, yes. Doctor Who. It's running up and down corridors, while threatened by a bad special effects enemy generated through odd science and with poor motivation, isn't it?
Sigh. I wasn't expecting much from Matthew Graham after Fear Her, and given the last non-Moffat Moffat-years two-parter was the dreadful The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, I wasn't expecting too much from this either. And there were some nicely creepy bits, some decent direction, some decent acting and some good ideas underneath it all. Unsurprisingly, given this was Matthew Graham (co-creator of Life On Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus So I Won't Have Any Good Ones In My Show), Rory actually came out of this quite well and didn't come across as a total sponge for once – he didn't even die once – while Amy got precisely bugger all to do except scream.
But largely, this was an extremely boring episode where not much happened except people running up and down corridors in a slight homage to The Thing/The Clonus Horror. Worse still, come 20 minutes, I'm not just looking at the clock thinking "Oh, God, we've got another 25 minutes of this", I'm looking at it thinking "Oh, God, we've got another one of these next week as well."
However, your mileage may vary, so leave a comment or a link to a review on your own blog.
PS Is it just me or if you're going to have a story arc that runs across an entire season, it doesn't count having the same reference in every single week: yes, Amy is both pregnant and not pregnant; there's a woman with an eye-patch behind every wall; and the Doctor's going to die and Rory and Amy are wondering whether to tell him. We remember that from episodes 2, 3 and 4. Is anything else going to happen?
About the blog
A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
Add in film, theatre, art, books, events, competitions and even weekly reviews of Wonder Woman comics, and you've (hopefully) got officially the fourth best blog on the web for media lovers. Oh yes, and there's The Barrometer, the ultimate guide to quality TV.
Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.