Category Archives: TV

Sixth Time’s a Charm

I watched Doctor Who on TV religiously as a child. As a consequence this means that I’m more familiar with Colin Baker than Tom Baker, but it hasn’t stopped me from venturing backwards and forwards along The Doctor’s timeline over the years. It was a shame that Colin wasn’t willing/able to film his regeneration scene at the time, so I’m glad to hear that Big Finish will be producing an audio adventure in order to fill in the gaps leading up to Sylvester McCoy grasping the reins.

I don’t mind that it’s taken so long for this retrospective bit of story telling to be told. After all, I waited patiently to see Paul McGann become John Hurt so long gaps between points of continuity aren’t exactly new to the world of this time travelling face changer.

The Big Finish stories provide very high quality fan service, creating long story arcs and a focus on minutia that a 45 minute, prime time TV show isn’t really geared up for. Nowadays the personality of the grumpy Peter Capaldi isn’t all that different from the brash, arrogant Sixth Doctor but hopefully the show will keep it’s mainstream appeal. However, when I want to geek-out for a few hours, I can always pop my headphones on.

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Posted by on February 5, 2015 in Sci Fi, TV


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Say My Name, Say My Name

As the BBC drip feed their audience with further information about upcoming episodes of Dr Who, they’ve been using these rather cool movie posters. It’s very simple but it does give the series more of an epic feel. Even if recent stories have been a little short on ‘big reveals’ they do help to build up the anticipation during the gaps leading up to each Saturday night’s tea time viewing.

It seems as though we’re going to be given The Doctor’s real name this year, but I must admit to feeling a bit underwhelmed by that. He might have a made up alien name like Kal-El, which could just sound silly (notice that even Superman never uses his real name much). He might have a very normal sounding name, maybe he’s been calling himself John Smith all these years because it’s true.

Then again, it could all be leading to a swerve. Just as ‘The Wedding of River Song’ and ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ didn’t really deliver what their titles suggested. I think this would leave viewers feeling cheated, so I’m guessing that the writers have something particular clever up their sleeves. Once it’s been revealed, there must be some terrible consequences for our time traveller, or why else would he have kept it to himself – and maybe River – all these years?

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Posted by on April 21, 2013 in Movies, Sci Fi, TV


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Reverse The Polarity

As we hurtle into the 50th year of Doctor Who, excitement levels amongst geeks like me are high and the expectancy for something special is even higher. The second half of the current series returned to British screens 3 weeks ago and I’m still waiting to see that something special arrive.

‘The Bells of St. John’ was the comeback episode and the idea that people could be beamed up into their WiFi connections struck me as something thought up by a writer who had never used a computer before. Maybe I found it hard to swallow as a tech geek, more than the sci fi nerd in me should have.

‘The Rings of Akhaten’ was hard to pronounce but looked better, with dozens of new alien races featured. Where it fell down for me was the reliance on the power of positive thinking to save the day. I’ve had my share of pseudo science and technobabble from The Doctor over the years, but it was particularly unconvincing for me here.

Last weekend we had ‘Cold War’ which saw the return of The Ice Warriors, well… an Ice Warrior really. It had many of the right components – dark corridors to run down, locals who are strangely accepting of blue boxes that appear out of thin air etc. Maybe I was spoilt by the previous Matt Smith episodes that were bridged together by a longer overarching story. Maybe the origin of his assistant isn’t compelling enough for me. Maybe I want to know the answer to the question, Doctor who?’ Maybe I’m still waiting to find out why and when the Tardis explodes.

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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Monsters, Sci Fi, Technology, TV


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News Of The World

Like an ever increasing number of people, I don’t buy a daily newspaper. Between the internet, 24 hr news channels and mobile apps, I don’t really have the need to thumb through the same stories in a paper-based format.

Online I tend to gravitate towards the BBC. If I’m on holiday the World Service is pretty essential, though France 24 will do admirably well as an alternative. I use the Sky and CNN mobile apps, the latter being great for international breaking news.

I read The Spectator on my Kindle for some broader commentary, which is also very reasonably priced in its electronic format. I will also flick through The Metro on the bus/train whenever I see it, but then it does have the best cartoons 🙂

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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Holidays, Technology, TV


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A Big Hand For The Doctor

I’ve just finished the Doctor Who ebook, ‘A Big Hand For The Doctor,’ by Eoin Colfer. As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the TV show a series of short stories are being released, with this being the first. Eleven stories over eleven months with eleven different authors covering the eleven different lives of The Doctor.

This book is set before or at least around the time of, ‘An Unearthly Child’ where Susan is the sole companion of her grandfather. We begin the story with William Hartnell’s characterisation of the timelord attempting to buy a new left hand. He lost it in a sword fight with a Soul Pirate and rather than wasting a regeneration he decides to have one grown/engineered for him. Until it’s ready though he has a claw-like bio-hybrid replacement grafted on.

I’ve never read any of Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books but I really enjoyed his interpretation of the first doctor. His internal monologues reflect the grumpy nature of his personality but most interesting was when he flashed back (forward?) to his eleventh, dicky bow wearing self, wishing he was more athletic. I’m hugely excited about following this series throughout the coming months, if this is a sign of things to come then The Doctor is going to have a great 50th anniversary.

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Books, Sci Fi, TV


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2012 – 2013

Another year over, another Doctor Who Christmas special out of the way. Probably not everybody’s chosen milestone for the passage of time but it’s as good as any really. I liked everything about this year’s festive episode, from Richard E. Grant’s villain to the potato-comedy from Strax. Love the new/old style TARDIS interior though I would have liked Matt Smith to wink in the opening credits like McCoy used to.

I’m the same as most people in that I’ll head into the new year with optimism. There will be more good than bad in 2013, despite what the television news says. The year will be filled with scientific discoveries, the success of human ingenuity and the occasional tribulation that we can all bounce back from as a collective. All we need to do is make it happen!

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Inspiration, Sci Fi, TV


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Where’s My Helmet?

Having grown up in the 80s and through the 90s, I still feel aggrieved for not having a virtual reality helmet yet. I know there are headsets that you can plug into your PC and motion tracking devices like Kinect, but they don’t quite live up to the image that was pitched to me as a kid.

I was raised on films like Tron and Lawnmower Man, which depicted virtual digital worlds that could be stepped into. The Matrix went even further and suggested that we might already be inside the machine. That level of fantasy was always going to take more than a quad core processor and some clever software. However, what I expected to have by now was a VR helmet.

I played on an old Virtuality machine at a seaside arcade about 20 years ago. The helmet was heavy and the graphics could have been built out of Duplo Lego bricks. Despite that, it worked! The display was in stereoscopic 3D and despite its limitations, it was an immersive experience. 3D movies and TVs are more common now and Nintendo 3DS offers gaming with depth on-the-go. As good as they are though, none of them shut out the real world as well as a VR helmet would.

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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Gaming, Movies, Sci Fi, Technology, TV


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