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Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Everything Ends This Sunday...


Here's some behind-the-scenes intel on the sontarans in case you're not up to speed ahead of this weekend's grand finale of Doctor Who: Flux:


And let's not forget how we got here:

Can The Dark City's Lost Clock Key Be Found Before Time Runs Out?

When an orphaned young girl is adopted by a writer and an artist, she feels like her life is finally going well.

But a tragedy sends her to the Dark City, where, along with her magical assistant Paramon, she must find the lost Time Key, overcome the evil that is threatening her world, and rewind the city’s clock.

With time running out and a powerful witch on her trail, she is determined to save her new family and become what she was always meant to be … a Time Guardian!
Stateside, Alexey Telnov's The Time Guardians will be available digitally on January 25, and on DVD a month later. The disc will offers the choice of viewing the movie either in English or its original Russian language.

Kate Stewart and The Return of U.N.I.T. To The Whoniverse...

Go behind the scenes as Jemma Redgrave talks about her return as Kate Stewart.
Read about five iconic U.N.I.T. adventures over on Blogtor Who.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Musical Monday: You’ve Got A Friend in Me (Pixar's Virtual Choir)

Boba Fett Has A Message For You...

Doctor Who: Flux Concludes Next Sunday! And Thoughts on This Week's Episode...


I'm trying to withhold any definitive judgements on Doctor Who: Flux until after next week’s finale, but after watching Survivors of The Flux a couple of times it feels as though the wheels are starting to come off.

My previous conviction that showrunner Chris Chibnall could stick the landing is being severely tested.

After one of the greatest cliffhangers in Who history (with The Doctor being transformed into a Weeping Angel), it’s all undone in the first minute, depositing the 13th Doctor into a plot strand where she does nothing for the entire episode except stand around and be fed exposition.

I'm still yet to be convinced that The Doctor needs this “secret backstory” (The Timeless Child) that Chibnall has forced upon her.

Except for the return of the imagery of a 'fob watch full of memories' this whole sequence landed with a dull thud.

Hopefully there's enough wiggle room that far better writers than I will be able to unpick this mess in future iterations of the show.


It should come as a surprise to no-one that those pipes we got a glimpse of the other week weren't part of any "looms" - although I'm still holding out hope that the floating back and white old building is Lungbarrow-related - but to give us the return of Tecteun (Barbara Flynn), just to have to her killed off at the end of the episode, was rather frustrating... and underwhelming.

Multiverse seems to be the word - and genre concept - of the year, but many of the new ideas being thrown into the Who-mix give the impression that Chibnall is turning The Doctor into a comic book superhero.

Now, I love my superheroes, but The Doctor is something else. She's not a Superman or Captain America, she's the enigmatic Doctor.

Then we had Yaz, Dan, and Professor Jericho (sadly now reduced to a largely comic relief role) skipping around the globe in 1904, chasing after some nebulous prophecy about when the world will end (or something), for reasons.

Karvanista (Craige Els)

Ignoring the question of how they have financing all this and the many other logistical questions this scenario raises, their plan to contact Karvanista (who is in 2021) by painting a message on the ground around The Great Wall of China makes no sense whatsoever.

Why did they have to travel to China? How is the paint still there over a 100 years later? Or was Karvanista (who admits he has no access to time travel technology) somehow scanning all of Earth's history for mentions of his name, or Dan's?

Then we have the situation of the drifting Lupari ship that opened a crack in the shield around the Earth, and so Karvanista had to take remote control of Bel's stolen craft and bring that back to patch the hole.

Come on, if the Lupari have that remote control facility why not simply take control of the ship that had drifted away?


On the other hand, it was cool to see the return of the wandering Victorian tunneller Joseph Williamson (Steve Oram), now with some context and explanation as to what he is up.

Do you think there's any correlation between his twelve doors/portals and the twelve previous incarnations of The Doctor (with the deadly ninth door equating to The War Doctor)? 

Probably not as that number is being seriously called into question by Chibnall's wanton rewriting of The Doctor's personal mythology.

Also, am I the only one who is starting to find Bel (Thaddea Graham) a bit irritating? I really hope there's a point to her character and it's important enough to justify all the time devoted to her through this series (as she has yet to have had any interaction with any of the show's main cast).

I've got to say, I'm quite taken by the fan theory that Bel and Vinder are pre-Hartnell incarnations of The Master and The Doctor (which is which doesn't really matter).

I'd definitely prefer that to them being The Doctor's parents, which would just be such a bland, and cliché revelation.


Of course, the most interesting aspect of Survivors of The Flux was the return of U.N.I.T., although its infiltration from conception by The Grand Serpent (Craig Parkinson) was very reminiscent of Hydra's corruption of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But there has to be more to The Great Serpent's plans that simply selling out the Earth to the sontarans, right? I mean, where was he during the whole Atmos shindig?

And how did The Great Serpent end up in 1950's Earth anyway? What's his time travel secret?

The U.N.I.T. stuff was generally great, and it was nice to have a convincing explanation of why the organisation was phased out "for financial reasons" in 2017... opening the door for a dramatic comeback, led by Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) in next week's episode.

The audio cameo by The Brigadier was nice, even if it throws more fuel on the fandom fire of the great "U.N.I.T. dating controversy".

The oblique reference to the events in the First Doctor story, The War Machines, was a nice touch.

However, if Jodie Whittaker's Doctor doesn't - somehow - retrieve her TARDIS (recovered from the site of The Village of The Angels) from U.N.I.T. before the arrival of The Third Doctor there's going to have be a lot of explaining.

Given how desperate the exiled The Third Doctor was to leave Earth, don't you think he would have been able to track down a "spare" TARDIS on Earth, even if U.N.I.T. had hidden it away somewhere else?

As if there weren't enough questions being asked already, sliding U.N.I.T. into the mix as well only adds more plot threads that will need tying up in Sunday's season finale.

There's a lot that needs resolving in The Vanquishers. I hope the resolution of Flux is mind-blowing, but Survivors of The Flux has rattled my conviction that we're in for a satisfying finale.

Musical Monday: Save The City (Rogers: The Musical)

Musical Monday: Man or Muppet (The Muppets)

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Today's The Day - All Being Well - That U.N.I.T. Returns to The Whoniverse...


Doctor Who has many iconic elements - such as The TARDIS and the daleks - but when it comes to contemporary Earth-bound adventures, The Doctor has the best time when U.N.I.T. (UNified Intelligence Taskforce - formerly United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) is involved.

You can read a potted backstory of this seminal organisation here.

All being well, this wonderful group will make its return to the Whoniverse in this evening's episode of Doctor Who: Flux, Survivors of The Flux.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Disney Will Ensure That 2021 Goes Out In Style... With The Return of Boba Fett!

Trailer for Supernatural Atmospheric Aussie Horror Movie Witches of Blackwood...

Following her mother’s death, a young woman returns home, only to find the town overshadowed by a mysterious darkness and steeped in rumours of a soul-stealing entity. A confrontation with a coven of witches is the only way to survive.

Hercules and The Masked Rider (1963)

In 16th Century Spain, Don Francisco reluctantly betroths his daughter, Blanca, to the arrogant Don Ramiro in order to preserve the lands in the family estate. Then Don Juan, Don Francisco's nephew and Blanca's true love, returns from the war in Flanders. Don Juan dons a mask and joins with a gypsy band led by Estella to fight against the forces of Don Ramiro. In this effort he's aided by a bare-chested muscleman and also by Captain Blasco who works for Don Ramiro but whose sympathies lie elsewhere.
More vintage swordplay goodness from the excellent Peplum TV.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Buy These Action Figures - It Is The Law!

Judge Dredd

Marking the character's 45th anniversary in March, Rebellion - publishers of 2000AD - and Hiya Toys are launching a range of 4" Judge Dredd action figures.

Judge Dredd and Judge Death will be available first, with Judge Death's compadres, Judge Fear and Judge Mortis, being released later in the year.

In July, Judge Dredd's iconic Lawmaster motorcycle is also due to hit shelves.

Judge Death

You can read more about this range over on 2000AD's website, as well as some details of 6" versions of the characters that will also be available in due course.

Another Classic Doctor Who 'Lost Story' Will Live Again Through Animation...


This week, the BBC announced that another of the deleted Classic era Doctor Who stories - Patrick Troughton's The Abominable Snowmen from 1967 - has been regenerated via animation and will be available to fans, both digitally or on disc, next year.
Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen follows the Doctor as he returns to the Himalayas 300 years after his first visit to the Holy Ganta, an ancient relic he was given many centuries ago by the grateful monks at Det-Sen Monastery.

On arriving, the Doctor is blamed for a series of brutal murders in the area, however companions Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield discover the true culprits – the previously peaceful Yeti that live in seclusion on the mountainside have apparently turned violent.

The Doctor must convince the monks that not only is he not their enemy, but the real foe is living amongst them. Their ancient Master, Padmasambhava, is being controlled by an alien entity known only as the Great Intelligence.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Rogue One's Riz Ahmed Protects His Kids From Alien Bugs in Amazon's Encounter...

A decorated Marine goes on a rescue mission to save his two young sons from an unhuman threat. As their journey takes them in increasingly dangerous directions, the boys will need to leave their childhoods behind.

Tom Hardy's Venom: Let There Be Carnage Comes Home In The UK On January 3...


While you wait for the home video release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, enjoy the first seven minutes of the movie (above) as a bit of a taster.

Below, we have a short vignette with Visual Effects Supervisor Sheena Duggal talking about the inspirational art behind the design of Carnage:

It's Gazpacho Soup Day!!!

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

An Animated DC Movie I Can Get Behind...


The animated antics of DC League of Super-Pets is due to arrive in cinemas on May 20, with Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson voicing Krypto, Kevin Hart as Ace the Bat-Hound, and John Krasinski as Clark Kent/Superman.

The cast also includes Kate McKinnon and Keanu Reeves.

Weird Wednesday...

 

Weird drink can submitted by Paul, who actually got me a copy of A Weasel In My Meatsafe for my birthday!


Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Even When Looking Back The Doctor Is Always Moving Forward...


It looks like U.N.I.T. is making a comeback in Survivors of The Flux, this Sunday's episode of Doctor Who.

Unless, of course, the glimpse of Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) in the teaser (above) and the official still below are cruel fake-outs by Chris Chibnall and the BBC!



Here's a short feature on the return of the Weeping Angels to the show:


And here's your chance to relive the stunning - and petrifying - conclusion of last weekend's Village of The Angels:


The BBC has recently released some details of the Doctor Who New Year's Day Special, which will continue the adventures of Jodie Whittaker's Doctor alongside Dan and Yaz.

The official synopsis for the - as yet untitled - episode is:
"Sarah (Aisling Bea) owns and runs ELF storage, and Nick (Adjani Salmon) is a customer who visits his unit every year on New Year’s Eve. This year, however, their night turns out to be a little different than planned…"
The cast also includes Father Ted's Pauline McLynn.

The BBC's media centre run-down of its forthcoming seasonal programming adds that this:
"...is the first of three Doctor Who Specials airing in 2022. The second Special airs in Spring and Jodie’s final feature-length Special (in which the Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate), will transmit in Autumn 2022 as part of the BBC’s Centenary celebrations".
Jodie prepares to hand over the keys of The TARDIS to a new face next Autumn

Two Episodes of Hawkeye Tomorrow - An Early Christmas Present From Marvel...

Happy 58th Birthday, Doctor Who!


Fifty-eight years ago, at 5.16pm on Saturday, November 23, 1963, the BBC broadcast the first ever episode of Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child.

And the rest, as they say, is history!

The TV listing in November 23's issue of the Daily Mirror.
NB. The actual broadcast was slightly delayed because of
the assassination of President Kennedy the day before.

Meanwhile, the incredible musical creations of Delia Derbyshire - who gave us the original, iconic, Doctor Who theme - are being celebrated in a series of online events today, which can be found here.

To mark the Doctor's anniversary - which really should be a national holiday - here are a small selection of special online episodes from the show:


And this fan documentary about the return of Doctor Who after its extended hiatus through the "dark times":

Monday, 22 November 2021

Musical Monday: Puppet Aid (Children in Need)

Next Time on Doctor Who: Flux, And Some Thoughts on Village of The Angels...



That's a most intriguing "coming next time" trailer, after the best episode of the Chris Chibnall era and an incredible cliffhanger.

Could Survivors of The Flux possibly not feature Jodie Whittaker's Doctor (in the flesh) at all?

Also great to see Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) again. Hopefully this bodes well for the return of U.N.I.T. after its off-hand and cavalier removal from the Whoniverse by Chibnall. 

There's been a suggestion that The Grand Serpent (Craig Parkinson) has somehow inserted himself himself into British politics (akin to John Simm's Master as John Saxon) and he's responsible for the mothballing of U.N.I.T.

At least that would make some kind of sense in the story.


It's pretty safe to say that Village of The Angels was the strongest episode of the show during Jodie Whittaker's tenure as The Doctor.

Writing with Maxine Alderton, Chibnall found a way to re-established the Weeping Angels as genuinely frightening and unnerving foes - after the farcical Statue of Liberty incident in The Angels Take Manhattan.

There were some delightful expansions and clarifications of the creatures' powers, but never undermining their inherent creepiness.

Although the set-up of the village population historically disappearing on the day the TARDIS materialised there came to nothing, and the 1901 clearance of the village was equally mentioned but not dealt with, director Jamie Magnus Stone gave those village scenes such a brooding atmosphere that it truly didn't matter (and could probably be handwaved away as "something to do with The Flux").

Professor Eustacius Jericho (Kevin McNally)

With his DIY Quatermass-at-home basement research lab, Kevin McNally's Professor Eustacius Jericho was a superb addition to the story, and I'm glad to see he's sticking around for some further adventures with Yaz and Dan, back in the early 1900s. Perhaps we'll learn more about the vanishing population in that storyline next week?

I also loved all the stuff with the Angel taking over Claire Brown (Annabel Scholey) and the classic "base under siege" sequence of Claire, The Doctor, and Jericho trapped in the house, surrounded by an unrelenting horde of Angels.

There was so much good material in this episode (such as the gorgeous trip inside Claire's mindscape and the petrifying final moments of the climax) that it helped me to forget some of the awful writing that Jodie and co. have been saddled with in the last couple of seasons.

Claire Brown (Annabel Scholey) 

To be honest the only bits of Village of The Angels that didn't work for me, and yanked me out of the old school rural horror vibe of the main story, were the cutaways to Bel and Vinder.

These told us nothing new except for where Passenger was hoovering up its thousands of prisoners.

Worryingly the longer the show persists with these otherwise pointless scenes of characters we have no emotional connection with and who have no engagement with the main protagonists of Doctor Who, the more the jaded scriptwriter/film critic in me becomes convinced that Chibnall is recycling the whole "Ponds as River Song's parents" plotline, but with Bel and Vinder as the parents of The Doctor.

Boy, I hope I'm wrong.

But there has to be some plot relevance to Bel's "as yet unborn" child (as opposed to simply an "unborn" child, as a normal person would say!) or else why are we devoting so much time and energy to them?

I'm slightly concerned that there do seem to be an insanely complex spaghetti junction of interweaving plot threads in Doctor Who: Flux, with new developments and character arcs seemingly being added every week … and only two episodes left to wrap everything up.

I can only hope Chibnall has a solid plan to bring them all home in style and not leave too many threads dangling or simply forgotten.

More of this, please!

Musical Monday: Falling (Marita)

Sunday, 21 November 2021

What An Exhausting Rollercoaster Of Highs and Lows This Weekend...

Highlight of The Weekend: Obi came for a play date with Alice!

These last few days have been a wild ride of highs and lows, knocking me down, then rocketing me back up.

It all started when I got my booster jab (my third shot against the dread Covid-19) on Thursday.


I felt totally fine afterwards and wasn't even contemplating possible side-effects until that evening - about 13 hours after my jab - when my arm started to hurt.

Suddenly I was wracked by a tidal wave of knockout flu-like symptoms, and the pain in my arm just got worse.


However, after 12 hours of feeling sorry for myself, moaning and groaning, and worrying that I wouldn't be fit for what I knew we had planned for Saturday, the symptoms magically faded almost as quickly as they had appeared the night before.


Not only was I delighted to feel "normal" again, but also extremely happy that nothing was going to stand in the way of Rachel and I "puppy sitting" for friends (who were off to Essex for a family meal).

Named for the Star Wars character (of course), Obi, the eight-month-old cavapoochon, has met Alice before and they play-fought the whole time, so little Alice could establish her dominance over this new arrival on her turf.

Yesterday's play date started off much the same, but they gradually settled down... although they never really stopped moving for too long as there was always something else for this gorgeous pair to get up to.

Rachel and I took them out for a walk in an attempt to tire them out, but I think it only really tired us out!

Hopefully, though, it won't be too long until Obi comes to visit again. We all had such a magnificent - if exhausting - time being a two dog family for a while.
With one thing and another, however, I have rather lost my HeroPress posting momentum, but hopefully I'll be back in the swing of things next week.

I'm pretty much zonked out at present, but it's now that satisfying, post-exercise, kind of tiredness, rather than the "oh my god, I'm about to die" man-flu kind that took me out of circulation on Friday.

In the meantime, here are a sampling of doggie pix from Alice's page:

Thor: Love & Thunder (2022) + Dr Who (2022)

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