Monday, 26 April 2010

Whatever you do, DON'T BLINK

So, the return of the Weeping Angels...if you read my last post, you'd know that I've been foaming at the mouth of their return and overall, it certainly didn't disappoint!

Beginning the episode by reuniting the Doctor with the excellent River Song, we are then quickly thrown headfirst into a mission where the Doctor once again crosses paths with the galaxy's deadliest lifeform, the Weeping Angels themselves. They can't move if someone is looking at them, turn your back and they're on you in a flash: Moffat has managed to create a monster that could very well stand the test of time as the Daleks have. The 'don't blink' mechanic at play throughout the episode keeps the tension running, spiking at opportune moments to scare you behind your sofa.

The interaction between River Song is also another high point in the episode, she seems to be the only character who can put the Doctor off balance, which is fun to watch. Amy was Amy some more this week, which puts her at her usual best. I will never love another ever again.

On a last point, it's nice to see that this episode is a two parter. The previous episodes have suffered from pacing issues, especially Victory of the Daleks, and it's nice to see a story spread out across two episodes like the Doctor Who of old. More of that please.

See, now here's the problem when it's a good episode: I can't really write much. Other than to say everything worked and it was good, and tune in next week. Like you weren't going to :P


Captain Mark

Monday, 19 April 2010

The United Colours of Dalek

I won't be presumptious and expect anybody to be waiting for this, but I won't be rude either, so apologies if you have. I'm just a lazy writer in all honesty. Anyways, Episode Three!

The first episode of the new series in the hands of another writer (in this case, former League of Gentlemen member Mark Gatiss, who's not my favourite Who writer, but oh well!) and as it result, it suffered a little, just as the early non-RTD Tennant episodes did. It's the head writer who's responsible for crafting the Doctor and for other writers to come in and adapt to this new version after only two episodes (and at the time of writing, having never seen the new Doctor on screen at all) is difficult. Props for trying, Gatiss did well, but just fell a little short. Not enough super intelligent Doctor moments, and the pacing felt a little off, as if the episode was over too quickly.

Now, on to the Daleks. The bloody Daleks. Or these new super Daleks. The only difference is they're now multi-ethnic and bigger. If you think about a Dalek's skill set (inability to whisper, big laser and more recently, flight) being smaller probably made them more effective. When these new ones were unveiled, I couldn't help but breathe a sigh of indifference. I really hope they're not the ones behind the cracks that keep appearing. The other WTF moment worthy of note: Spitfires in space. Yes, it's a cool idea, but I feel it was a little rushed and reeked of something they couldn't find justification for, but wanted to do anyways because it looked cool.

On to the good bits. When he got screen time, Matt Smith was consistent once again this week. I await the final few episodes to see him really explore the depths of his characterisation of Eleven. The best moment of the episode goes to Amy though (who is fast securing her place as My Favourite Redhead Ever) at the end with the line: "Ever fancied someone you shouldn't?" Yes, Amy, you. Because you are a fictional character and it cannot be :(

The real star of the episode however, was good ol' Churchill. Long time British stalwart thespian Ian McNiece absolutely nails it, stealing the episode (although only due to chronic Doctor screentime shortage) and the interplay between him and Amy throughout was brilliantly done. I for one would love to see him again in a future episode.

Speaking of recurring characters, there's only one thing left to address: THE WEEPING ANGELS ARE BACK NEXT EPISODE!!!! If you missed the Moffat penned, BAFTA award winning Season Three episode Blink, find some way to watch it RIGHT NOW. I mean it. Stop reading this and go watch. Not just the best New Who episode ever, it was the best episode of any television show I'd seen for a long time. To say I've been giddy with anticipation ever since Moffat announced that they would return this season is an understatement, although I didn't expect them so soon. Another interesting point is that the episode also promises further development of the River Song (played by the excellent Alex Kingston) storyline that began in the Season Four two parter Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead. And by the looks of things, this week's is the first half of a two parter. Thank IMDB for that.

Anyways, remember to catch Blink and if you're new to Who and want to follow through the River Song plotline, the aforemention Season Four two parter. It's intriguing that, at that point, Moffat would have known he was taking over and thus began to sow the seeds for what could be this season's main plot arc, if IMDB is correct (I won't give too much away, but go on IMDB and check the episode history for the character River Song. This isn't her last appearence this season.)

Until next time, sports fans!

Captain Mark ;)

Monday, 12 April 2010

Download preview

So, about 45 minutes ago, the festival organisers announced the last of what could be considered the major bands for Download and it looks bloody exciting this year. I'll take the time here to break it down into groups and tell you who I think the bands to watch out for are. So without further ado...

Main Stage

Headliners: AC/DC (Friday) Rage Against The Machine (Saturday) Aerosmith (Sunday)
My pick: Rage Against The Machine
This was a tough one to judge actually. This is the strongest string of headliners Download have had pretty much ever, but playing their first ever set at Download (LONG OVERDUE!!!) and riding off the back of their celebratory free gig at Finsbury Park the previous week (which moi will be attending, expect a full review) Rage should be on unstoppable form.

My pick of the rest
Friday: Them Crooked Vultures. Dave Grohl. Josh Homme. John Paul fucking Jones. Considering by all appearences it's them and Wolfmother as the only other main stage bands on Friday who don't have writing credits for Back In Black, the choice is pretty obvious. Go buy the album before you go and you'll see why.

Saturday: Megadeth. They're one of the Big Four ferchristsakes! And if you haven't heard new album Endgame yet, you won't know that they haven't slowed down since the 80's...*cough*METALLICA*cough* I defy you not to sing along to the last minute and a half of Peace Sells!

Sunday: Slash. This was tight between him and Billy Idol, but it'll be interesting to see how well the admittedly awesome solo album holds up live. Just as long as he doesn't make Fergie sing Sweet Child O'Mine!

Second Stage

Headliners: Bullet For My Valentine (Friday) 30 Seconds To Mars (Saturday) Stone Sour (Sunday)
My pick: Stone Sour. Maybe it's my eversion to whiny vocals, but Stone Sour steal this one. Corey Taylor is the finest damn vocalist of our generation and perhaps more importantly when it comes to a festival, he knows how to put on a show. If you're scared Aerosmith might stumble and fall over their zimmer frames, head over to the Second Stage and you shan't be disappointed.

My pick of the rest:
Friday: 36 Crazyfists. These guys do what bands like Killswitch Engage and God Forbid do, but a zillion times better. And Killswitch are awesome, so imagine what the Fists are like in full flight? Having seen them live, this writer can testify that the group understand atmosphere. Putting them on the Second Stage, playing to a closer, smaller crowd was the best move the head honchos at Download could have made. This band will seriously kickstart your weekend.

Saturday: Cancer Bats. Although as an almost lifelong fan, I was going to give this to the mighty HIM (Still seriously, check them out, I for one find Deftones boring to the point of sleep!) Cancer Bats have now swiped this one away. Remember the last time an upcoming angry-ish hardcor-y punk-y metal-y band played a midday slot on the Second Stage? That was Gallows. And they exploded. Make sure to catch the Bats, if only to say that you were there when they finally made their lasting mark.

Sunday: Dillinger Escape Plan. I was going to give this to Steel Panther, but they clash with the ever reliable and bollockbreakingly awesome Motorhead, so that would be counter productive. So DEP have walked away with this one. If you're a NIN fan, you'll love it. Even if you're not, go see, they're refreshingly different

That's where I'll stop if I'm honest, I can't claim to know many of the bands on the Third Stage, as usual, and with all the awesomeness on the first two stages, I think you'd be hard pressed to find time. As I Lay Dying are a pretty good band but the rest of the Third Stage bands look mostly overly shouty.

In any case, that's just my humble opinion, feel free to disagree. Although if you do, you're pretty much wrong. And this is MY piece of interwebs. So ner.

Until next time Crypt Kiddies!

Captain Mark ;)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Trying to stay out of trouble...badly

My neck hurts. I blame the Brush. And friends who guilt trip me into selling part of my games collection so I can afford to go out last night. Well, it was alright anyways, so I can't really complain. Except I just did. Oh yeah, that's me, rule breaker extraordinaire.

Annnnnnnnyyyyways, Doctor Who. And thankfully this episode did not suffer from second episode syndrome i.e. being too early in the series for anything overly exciting to happen, but having to follow an exciting first episode. Which is allowed to be exciting on the merit of being the first episode. So yeah, I think I'm falling in love with Amy Pond. Amy Pond the character of course, not Karen Gillan, the actress who portrays her. That'd just be weird. But kudos to her for presenting a genuinely equal companion almost right away. And kudos to Steven Moffat for letting Amy hold her own within the first two episodes.

So Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor is like an onion. A really interesting onion made of gold. We're going to get to see layers of this new Doctor as the episodes go by, starting with his brand new short fuse it seems. Still, it makes for a more unpredictable Doctor, the Doctors of the past would just shake their heads and mutter sarcastically. Not Eleven. He flies right off the handle ("Nobody human speak to me right now!") when presented with an impossible choice. Which leads to the episode itself, a showcase as to why Steven Moffat is the new head writer. The Doctor has always been a certain shade of grey, a man seeking to atone, but in the past the circumstances he would find himself in rarely reflected that. Now, only two episodes in and he's willing to turn the last of an alien race into a vegtable to save mankind. Crikey. Soooo, roll on Episode Three. Churchill and Daleks!!!!!

Keep on rockin' in the free world!

Captain Mark ;)

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Eleventh Doctor

So after holding my metaphorical breath for about three months, the first episode starring Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor (yes, that get capital letters) finished airing about five minutes before I started writing this. So, can I breath out in relief? In short: Yes. In long: YEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Matt Smith is a bit of a revelation really. Although it's too early to see exactly what minute character aspects he's going to bring to the Doctor (think Eccelston's rather brisque abruptness with people, or Tennant's happy go lucky manner) it seems he's got the continuing aspect of what makes the Doctor down rather well. The most apparent and refreshing change however, is in the writing. As good as Russell T. Davies was, his need for the occasional bit of cheese sometimes lead to stuffing up the proceedings. That seems to be gone with new head writer Steven Moffat (who, FYI, wrote some of my favourite episode of Doctor Who in the past, including the legendary Blink) who doesn't even seem to mind throwing in the occasional smutty joke ("Oh and delete your browser history!") With him as the writing overlord of Doctor Who from now on, I think we can expect to see some more intelligent writing and some more intricate story arcs.

But what of the new companion? Well, she's gorgeous, but that's a given, aside from Catherine Tate (whose drawing attraction was her scene stealing performances rather than her looks) all companions are, male or female (Billy Piper and John Barrowman anyone?) As far as companions go however, I'm thinking she'll be one to remember. Assertative without coming across as arrogant or overly loud and annoying, she strikes the perfect balance of girly gorgeousness and powerful femininity ("Are you going to turn around then?" "")

Overall then, exciting first episode. Villian wasn't particularly memorable, but then again, this episode was never about the monster of the week. It was about Matt Smith getting his claws into the Doctor and giving us a Doctor that would make the Tennant fans happy and still give us something different. There's going to be a fair share of whiners ("Wah wah, we want our David back!) but honestly, you can never please everyone. Although this time, I think this new team of Matt Smith and Steven Moffat should please the majority

Until next time, I bid you adieu!

Captain Mark