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1-20 of 34 items from 2011   « Prev | Next »

Doctor Who Christmas Special, “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” misses the mark with unearned sentamentalism

25 December 2011 9:08 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Doctor Who, 2011 Christmas Special, “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe”

Written by Steven Moffat

Directed by Farren Blackburn

Aired Christmas at 9pm (Et) on BBC America

This week, on Doctor Who: The Arwell family’s Christmas present from the Doctor goes predictably awry

Since its return in 2005, Doctor Who has established a tradition of its yearly Christmas specials. They’ve been varyingly successful over the years, with 2010’s excellent twist on A Christmas Carol the clear standout of the bunch. This year, showrunner Steven Moffat put a Whovian twist on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and, while certain elements work well, the episode’s lack of character development and unearned sentimentalism bring down its promising premise.

One of the biggest problems with the episode is its lack of focus or narrative throughlines. After a brief prologue establishing the family, both before and during the war, we shift to following the Doctor, »

- Kate Kulzick

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Doctor Who complete reviews: The Eleventh Hour

24 October 2011 12:21 PM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

Fish fingers and custard.

Now there's a combination you won't find in your average fine dining restaurant. Hordes of students up and down the country swear by this sort of food, especially when they find that the budget's plummeted to zero at the end of the month. Result? Raid the fridge and the food cupboards and fill your belly with unusual if unappetising recipes.

Bet it leaves a funny taste in the mouth though – in fact, hindsight leaves a bittersweet taste in the mouth too. Especially if you're a picky, over-perfectionist reviewer who's poring over past analyses of Doctor Who stories. In 2010, I reviewed the whole of Matt Smith's first season, and scribbling my thoughts pretty much on the trot and working on first impressions. Looking back at those reviews, you'd have thought that I'd have stumbled across a brand new Golden Age of Doctor Who. Yes, even stories such as The Beast Below, »

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Sci-Fi's Finest Vol. 1 review

13 October 2011 5:09 PM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

Compilation albums are usually aimed at collectors or fans of particular genres, be it musical styles, or in some cases, film genres. You can find all sorts of CDs containing various selections from soundtracks of films of any genre: romance, horror, or Sci-Fi / fantasy. BuySoundtrax Records gives us Sci-Fi’s Finest Volume 1, a collection of songs from some of the best – and some of the more obscure – Sci-Fi titles ever to grace the big or small screen. At times, the selections are winners, and others fall short of their intended mark.

The album has a somewhat promising beginning with the song “Science Fiction Double Feature” – the opening number from The Rocky Horror Picture Show – sung by Victoria DeMare, “Hollywood’s Hottest Scream Queen”. It is above all else a salute to all of the great old sci-fi pictures we grew up with. We then get the main theme from Battle: Los Angeles, »

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Doctor Who Review, Series 6, Episode 11: ‘The God Complex’

17 September 2011 9:38 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Doctor Who Review, Series 6, Episode 11: “The God Complex”

Written by Toby Whithouse

Directed by Nick Hurran

Airs Saturdays at 9pm (Et) on BBC America

This week, on Doctor Who: the Tardis crew check in to a creepy hotel and have trouble checking out and the Doctor makes a decision

This week, Doctor Who embraces high concept storytelling and, for the most part, it succeeds. It is a definite improvement over “Night Terrors”, but a few missteps towards the end of the episode stop it from reaching the heights of “The Girl Who Waited”. The concept is a great one- the Doctor, Amy, and Rory get lost in a labyrinthine hotel and are confronted with their fears. Throw in some strong references to Classic Who (“The Horns of Nimon” and “The Curse of Fenric” most specifically), the creepiest clown since “Greatest Show in the Galaxy”, and a few red shirts, »

- Kate Kulzick

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Doctor Who Review, Series 6, Episode 10: “The Girl Who Waited”

10 September 2011 8:27 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Doctor Who Review, Series 6, Episode 10: “The Girl Who Waited”

Written by Tom MacRae

Directed by Nick Hurran

Airs Saturdays at 9pm (Et) on BBC America

This week, on Doctor Who: Amy gets stuck in the whitest waiting room ever

Last week, Doctor Who had limited success with a standalone episode. This week, they went for it again and pretty much nailed it. The episode was helped by a strong premise and excellent dual performance from Karen Gillan, but the single biggest reason it succeeded when “Night Terrors” didn’t is that it focused primarily on character rather than twists, scares, or atmosphere. The best storytelling is derived from character; it doesn’t matter how strong the production values are if the audience isn’t invested in what’s going on. Not everything in the episode worked (Amy building a sonic probe? That interface must have one hell of »

- Kate Kulzick

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Doctor Who S6 Part 2 trailer analysis

25 August 2011 4:08 PM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

[This article contains spoilers for the first half of the season. If you haven’t seen it, then it’s well worth catching up on, especially the episodes written by showrunner Steven Moffat himself (‘The Impossible Astronaut’, ‘Day of the Moon’, ‘A Good Man Goes to War’). The last three episodes broadcast, including 'A Good Man Goes to War', are currently available on BBC iPlayer.]

With the second half of Doctor Who Season 6 set for broadcast from this coming Saturday, what better time to take an in-depth look at the thrilling Comic Con trailer?

This is a fantastic trailer, teasing plenty of exciting elements. The Doctor getting lost in a corridor! Winston Churchill with a gun! The Tardis crashing through a window! The Silence! Cybermen! Weeping Angels! Various creepy new monsters! Slow-motion! The Doctor saying “My. Time. Is. Running. Out.” one word at a time, which is a curiously non-time-efficient way to do so! Someone uttering the vague and mysterious declaration “Something has happened to time”! Metal eyepatch lady saying “An impossible astronaut will rise from the deep, and strike the Doctor dead”! The Doctor responding with “Haven’t you figured that out yet?” (offering a further hint that he may have somehow accepted his fate, as well as meta-textually teasing fans for not being »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: Midnight

19 August 2011 11:59 AM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

The summer of 2008 – happy days for Russell T Davies. Or should that be Lord Rusty Of Daviestown OBE, given that in mid-June it was announced that he would be joining the august ranks of Tim Henman, Bill Oddie and Sir James Of Savile by being appointed to the order of the British empire. Clearly whoever decides these things had not been watching New Earth that day.

Still, the cynics were out in force, given that at the time, Rusty's last written Who contribution was Partners In Crime , a story that's not regarded with the warmest welcome from fans (although I rather like it). So the day after the announcement of the OBE, his next writing assignment was due to be broadcast. Would this be another Last Of The Time Lords fiasco?

Well, as luck would have it, Davies, over the course of the next two weeks, would produce two of »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: Silence in the Library

17 August 2011 1:06 PM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

Libraries seem that much bigger when you're a kid. I remember my first visit to the library as part of the weekly school run – at which point I first stumbled across a pristine hardback copy of The Robots Of Death . Having become hooked on the TV series, I was intrigued by the book, but couldn't really understand it. Liked the front cover though. About two years later, I tried my luck again with better results. Having picked up Destiny Of The Daleks, I was amazed to find that there was a whole new world of Who books to delve into – complete with some of the grooviest cover illustrations you ever would see.

Now though, I'd be lucky to find a library, let alone look around one, given that chubby jowls posh boy Cameron seems hell-bent on closing them down. Maybe he's trying to save money. Maybe he's annoyed that it's »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: The Unicorn and the Wasp

14 August 2011 2:31 AM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

Wasps. What are they good for? Well, as the old song goes, absolutely nothing – apart from to irritate the hell out of you on a hot summer's day. And even worse, they'll sting you without a second thought. At least bees may think twice about this, given that they're committing suicide in the process. But the wasp has no such mechanism to make it as benign, and more to the point, they'll make you look a fool in the process. Whether you're freezing like a waxwork dummy or doing some sort of crazy war dance in a vain bid to get rid of the annoying bugger, they'll still sting you like no tomorrow.

So a giant wasp should scare the bejesus out of any living man, woman or child. No wonder the latest Doctor Who story makes a virtue out of this with a story called The Unicorn And The Wasp. »

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Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 4: ‘Escape to L.A.’

30 July 2011 7:12 AM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 4: “Escape to L.A.”

Written by Jim Gray & John Shiban

Directed by Billy Gierhart

Airs Fridays at 10pm (Et) on Starz

This week, on Torchwood: Esther has a crazy sister, the Torchwood crew each individually become the Worst Agent Ever (Esther by visiting her sister, Rex by calling Vera and telling her their location, Gwen by calling Rhys, and Jack by utterly missing the point of the Eliot line he quoted), they get tailed by the Most Conspicuous Agent Ever, Jilly gets a character makeover, the doctors of DC lose their ethics, Danes visits the hospital, Rex visits family, a Tea Partier leaves the party, the gang has a little heist-y fun, and the episode ends on a cliffhanger- the baddies have Gwen’s dad.

This episode is a mixed bag. Torchwood seems to have decided to in some ways throw away realism in »

- Kate Kulzick

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Doctor Who complete reviews: Planet of the Ood

27 July 2011 5:05 AM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

I guess it was only a matter of time before the Ood came back for another tussle with The Doctor. They had proven to be a big success in David Tennant's first season, thanks to their strikingly unusual appearance and the mystery of whether they were goodies or baddies. In the end, they got a rather sad exit in The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, after they were killed in explosions, having been possessed by the Beast. Even The Doctor couldn't save them this time, the scoundrel.

So he figures that he owes them one after arriving on the Planet Of The Ood. We'd seen how they were no more than shuffling servants to human beings in the far future, serving up drinks and food like badly mutated butlers. The concept of Ood slavery was briefly mentioned, but it's dwelt upon more heavily in Planet Of The Ood – which incidentally, »

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Torchwood S4E2 review

16 July 2011 1:43 AM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

“Miracle Day – Rendition

The second episode of the new season of Torchwood slows down a little, but still hands the viewer a lot to digest. Rex, who at the end of episode one had announced that he was extraditing the team to America, is being railroaded by a colleague and former lover, Lyn (played with effective evilness by Dichen Lachman), who is taking over the arrest. Rhys and Anwen are sent back home as Jack and Gwen are loaded on a plane for the states. Most of their time is spent on the flight, but even on a plane, a lot can happen.

Esther is suddenly making unwanted waves as she is trying to get more involved with the Torchwood investigation. Her inquiries and interest are catching the eye of someone that doesn’t want Torchwood to come out of this alive. However, the reasons for that are still a mystery. »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: Utopia

15 July 2011 1:56 PM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

Right now, I'm disturbed by a hubbub outside the window. A whopping great tractor is trying and failing to park in a cul-de-sac just over the road. No great surprise about that in theory – except that I've seen bigger cul-de-sacs in Trumpton. Tractor guy's already getting grief from a couple of creaky old codgers waving their fists aloft like he's just threatened to crush their cottages to rubble with his clunky vehicle.

What's this got to do with Doctor Who, I hear you cry. Well now, it just so happens that I've reached the last story of the 2007 season, no less: the equivalent of an old school six-parter. A big finale that brings back The Doctor's wretched nemesis, The Master, who's now wreaking havoc in two forms: an apparently genial old fossil on a futuristic planet and then in a younger version who's evidently been living on a crash diet of chocolates, »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: Blink

13 July 2011 11:35 AM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

Don't blink. How many times have I heard that during a near-lifetime of regular optician visits? Those hazy early days of getting to grips with contact lenses must have yielded more cries of “Don't blink” from the optician than the Doctor Who story called – er, I think, it's called, Blink.

You know – Blink. Also known as the one with the creepy statues. Or the one with the companion that never was. Or the one in which the Doctor Who team produce a Doctor-lite story that's to practically everyone's tastes, fans and casual viewers alike. It's another award winner for author Steven Moffat, who's luckily back on form after the so-so Girl In The Fireplace. Unlike the tale of the Fireplace Man, there's fortunately very little that's wrong with Blink. Thankfully the smugness has been toned down. The story's actually a lot more gripping and a lot more scary than Fireplace. »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: 42

5 July 2011 10:55 PM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

24. One of the mainstays of Noughties American TV and a resounding smash hit with viewers. I'll be brutally honest though – I've never seen an episode of 24: Not even one five-minute smidge. Jeez, Bensalhia, call yourself a TV reviewer?

In my defence, there's only so many in the hours in the day and just not enough time to sit in front of action-packed, frantic melées. However, I'd heard enough about the show to recognise that Doctor Who was gearing up to provide its own take on the show with an episode called 42. Ha! See how they did that? They just swapped the two and the four around to create a title of sheer genius.

Sarcasm's the last trick in the bag for any self-respecting reviewer, but nevertheless I'm inclined to use such cheap tricks when commenting on this episode. It happens to be written by Pip And Jane Baker scourge, »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: Daleks in Manhattan

30 June 2011 10:32 AM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

Somewhere, sometime, in a parallel universe, faded pop stars are attempting some sort of comeback in Doctor Who. In Fear Herman's Hermits, the roaring Honey Monster in Chloe's closet turns out to be an amalgamation of the twee 1960s crooners who are looking for a fresh supply of helium canisters. In Courtney Love And Monsters, the grungy one-time squeeze of Kurt Cobain joins forces with Linda to banish the Abzorbaloff to the mists of time. While a shocking revelation takes place during Daleks In Manhattan Transfer, as the evil pepperpots break out from the chirruping close-harmony quartet – a prospect nearly as terrifying as listening to 'Chanson D'Amour'.

There's a daft re-imagining of the first 2007 two-parter if ever there was one, but then the real Daleks In Manhattan/Evolution Of The Daleks isn't your average Who tale. It's an odd story of extremes, both in content and reception. The idea of »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: Army of Ghosts

19 June 2011 5:55 PM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

The problem with writing a review for Army Of Doomsday (as I call it) at the time of transmission is that it's not the finished article. Back in 2006, most commentators would have summed up the big season finale as follows: Doctor and Rose find that ghosts have taken over Earth; Ghosts turn out to be Cybermen; Cybermen then use Earth as a battleground for their war against the Daleks; Doctor stops the war but at a price because Rose gets trapped in a parallel universe forever; Too much weeping and wailing at the end.

Which is a fair summary. Now fast forward a couple of years, and you'll realise that the review's not quite complete. So how's about now, you can change the bit about Rose getting trapped forever to – well, actually, Rose gets temporarily trapped because she comes back a couple of seasons later, even though The Doctor said »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: The Runaway Bride

18 June 2011 7:18 AM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

Stale turkey sandwiches. That's one of the things I most link with Christmas. Forget your crackers and tinsel or your mince pies and Tunis Cakes, or even your Slades and Band Aids, no, it's the thought of the stale turkey sandwiches that lingers in the mind. Simply because the turkey's invariably so big, that it's enough to feed the family for those come-down days from December 26th. And so the family gets that familiar Déjà vu, to the point where summer can't come fast enough.

There's a similar sort of feeling among some of the Doctor Who fans when it comes to The Runaway Bride. For the uninitiated, I'm not talking about the screwball comedy starring Richard Gere, Julia Roberts and Julia Roberts' huge mouth – no, this is the second all-important Doctor Who Christmas special, which was now becoming the big festive treat of the season. A common complaint »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: The Idiot's Lantern

7 June 2011 3:00 AM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

TV – where would we be without it? Who would have thought that an electronic box of tricks could have the ability to instruct and entertain? Well, unless you tune into jaw-droppingly atrocious Oompa Loompa convention, The Only Way Is Essex. Without TV, we wouldn't have been able to see key events like the first man on the moon, the first ever Doctor Who story...

Oh, and I suppose some might say the coronation of Mrs Majesty way back in 1952. Judging by the 15 or so extras in the latest Doctor Who story, The Idiot's Lantern, interest must have been very high – a fact that will no doubt come home to roost next year when Mrs Maj celebrates 60 years on the throne in the only way that she knows how: with a gaudy, money-burning festival (Come on kids, we're all in this together, remember?) and that usual sour-faced expression that she always seems to pull. »

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Doctor Who complete reviews: Rise of the Cybermen

6 June 2011 2:26 AM, PDT | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? The NuWho episode or the Classic Doctor Who DVD release? There's a poser for dopey Professor Kerensky – maybe he should have devoted his time to organising a Doctor Who DVD schedule instead of building his infernal cellular accelerator contraption. At least, he wouldn't have ended up ageing to a skeleton.

So cast your minds back to 2006, when it was announced that Inferno and The Invasion would be out on brand spanking new shiny disc. Coincidence? Well, consider that the two-part Rise Of The Cybermen/The Age Of Steel (or Rise Of Steel as I like to call it) included the much-heralded return of the tinpot meanies, a reference to International Electromatics, a crazed entrepreneur with delusions of grandeur, and a doomy parallel universe. Which meant that the two DVDs would be popular choices for new generations of fans who had lapped up »

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