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Showing posts from November, 2018

Doctor Who: The Witchfinders (2018) - Review

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Just give Alan Cumming his BAFTA now. I mean, no wonder he spent most of the episode outside - there probably wasn't much scenery left to chew after his first scene!
I was initially very apprehensive about 'The Witchfinders'. The trailer made it look very confined with an emphasis on a very human threat, and very much exactly what the series has been delivering most weeks since 7th October. I wanted monsters, dammit! Proper scary monsters! The early reviews weren't too favourable either, questioning the episode's tonal decisions, which didn't encourage me very much either.
Teaches me to judge a book by its cover. 'The Witchfinders' is my favourite episode of Series 11 so far, so much so that I just had to re-watch it this morning to double-check - and yeah, it's pretty darn good. There was action! Suspense! Drama! Horror! Scary monsters! Hammy dialogue! Oh, and Jodie Whittaker mastering her way through the whole thing like a pro. I think this might…

Doctor Who: Kerblam! (2018) - Review

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A distinct criticism of this current series of Doctor Who has been that each episode has been lacking in a strong villain, and instead focuses on characters going up against less black-and-white antagonists or antagonistic forces. Sure, we had Tim Shaw in the very first episode, and Krasko in 'Rosa', but neither left much of an impression. The best alien so far has been the Pting, but that's not exactly a villain. Part of the problem manifests in the stories being told: Episode 1 needs a one-dimensional villain to flesh-out the heroes, 'Rosa' and 'Demons of the Punjab' tread potentially difficult ground in creating proper villains, and 'The Tsuranga Conundrum' tries to play on expectations with a more cute-and-cuddly monster. Ultimately I feel that 'The Ghost Monument' and 'Arachnids in the UK' needed definitive villains or monsters for the Doctor and co to fight off, and I'm slightly disappointed to say that 'Kerblam!' …

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) - Review

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At the very beginning of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the new logo for JK Rowling's Wizarding World appears - a reminder (or perhaps threat) of the fact that the Harry Potter series no longer consists of just Harry's story, but now that of a variety of other characters. A spin-off series was inevitable, but Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a lovely little film in itself: a quirky little adventure film with likable characters, jokes and monsters. It may not have been up there with the likes of the Harry Potter series, but it was never going to be. It didn't feel like an awkward franchise-starter, first-and-foremost, with references to Grindelwald and Dumbledore kept somewhat at arm's length. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, however, very clearly establishes itself as a franchise film, the follow-up to the previous Fantastic Beasts entry and a prequel to the Harry Potter series, and ultimately falls apart because of it.

No longer i…

Doctor Who: Demons of the Punjab (2018) - Review

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One of the many benefits of having a diverse range of writers working on Doctor Who is that each writer can bring a completely different perspective, and from that a completely new set of ideas for the show that no other writers could really contribute. This week's guest writer Vinay Patel has clearly decided to make his episode of Doctor Who with 'Demons of the Punjab', exploring a culture and history that is rarely approached in mainstream media in this country. I knew next-to-nothing about the partition of India prior to watching this episode, but Patel's script presented a wonderfully-realised look at a real historical event.

Unlike 'Rosa', which I felt took a huge topic and never quite managed to simplify it to fifty minutes of television, 'Demons of the Punjab' re-contextualises a historical event from the perspective of one family, and a small one at that. Each character brings a differing perspective on these real-life events in the episode, an…

Doctor Who: The Tsuranga Conundrum (2018) - Review

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This week on Doctor Who, a medical freighter gets attacked by a little green Stitch who fancies a snack, and a grown man gives birth to a baby called Avacado. In many ways, it's not surprising that a large number of Doctor Who fans have voiced their outrage at such a silly episode - I just find it a little disappointing to hear so much about how 'The Tsuranga Conundrum' is "the worst episode since [X]". On the plus side though, I quite enjoyed it.

The Pting is probably the best monster we've seen so far this series, being a wonderful blend of freaky, adorable and inadvertently menacing. The final shot of it floating off into space with a bright orange belly and a grin on it's face really made me smile, and I can't see that as anything other than a point in its favour. Ultimately though, the Pting reminded me of how lackluster Series 11's monsters have been so far: the Stenza were average, the robots uninteresting, the Remnants a bit silly and the…