The latest animated Doctor Who serial is yet another lost Troughton classic, significant for a number of reasons. Although The Faceless Ones is seemingly just a typical monster of the week narrative, this little known Season 4 story is notable for being the first script by Who legend Malcolm Hulke, who would go on to co-create the Time Lord mythos, the Silurians, Sea Devils and be responsible for many of Pertwee’s finest stories. The story was one of many lost casualties of the BBC purges, but in keeping with Power of the Daleks and Macra Terror we’ve had a full animated recreation to savour in all its glory.
Finally, I have read more Stephen King! Enough to finally have some consistency with this series! Turns out being stuck indoors is incredibly helpful when you need to get through 700 pages of killer cars (we’ll get to that) or 1,000 pages of a shape shifting clown (oh boy will we get to that), but for now, let’s look at what I’ve gathered is a relative deep cut in the King canon, which is odd considering it established a popular sci-fi trope. Stop me if you’ve heard this plot before-
One of my favourite filmmakers is Edgar Wright, director of the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy, the amazing TV show Spaced, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, 2017’s surprise hit Baby Driver and the upcoming horror film Last Night in Soho. Am I looking forward to that film? Do I need to answer that question? You had me at “new film”, Edgar, then you go cast my favourite Doctor in a lead role! Of course I’m excited!
There are so many reasons why I adore Wright’s work, and upon reflection a key part of why myself, and so many others, are attached to his filmography is because they are a reflection on who we are as people. And with so many of us changing lifestyles recently, it’s time to explore what that means. I’ll be exploring all five of Edgar Wright’s feature films (with spoilers, so if you by some miracle haven’t seen any of his films, you literally have no excuse so go do that) and study his protagonists, all of whom are brilliantly layered individuals.
No lockdown or virus was going to stop me getting my hands (after opening the box and ordering it online in keeping with social distancing, naturally) on the latest Skulduggery Pleasant book, Seasons of War. Serving as the start of a new trilogy, following the structure of the series in the past, this book is unlike any other in the series. I would’ve reviewed this sooner but time flies when you’re not doing much apart from reading, writing and studying. Besides, my new reading strategy of one chapter a day meant I could enjoy and absorb the book for a lot longer. As a result I will be discussing the plot and important aspects of the narrative as I’m going to assume everyone reading has finished the book.
After a long absence and a series of Doctor Who it’s time to bring back my past recurring blog posts, starting by picking up where we left off with the entire bibliography of Stephen King. Thankfully we don’t have to do The Stand and talk about a global pandemic sweeping the globe but instead we can talk about The Dead Zone, which raises the simple but brilliant question of “If you had the power to change the future, would you?”
Today’s the day. Today is the Doctor Who Series 12 finale. And whilst I did get overexcited and publish my Cyberman retrospective way too early, thankfully another major Doctor Who villain is going to be in The Timeless Children to discuss. Sacha Dhawan’s chaotic and brilliant incarnation of the Master is set to battle Jodie Whittaker and her companions once again, with the Cybermen, a ruined Gallifrey and so many other plot threads to resolve (for anyone curious, I don’t review multi-part stories until the story is finished, so I didn’t review Ascension of the Cybermen and will review the story as a whole tomorrow). On top of all that, it’s Roger Delgado’s birthday today, so to celebrate this wonderful character I’m going to do something a bit different and discuss Big Finish and what I believe to be the Best. Big. Finish. Story. Ever.
Mary Shelley needs no introduction. She’s essentially the mother of modern science fiction, and without Frankenstein science fiction may as well never exist. So a Doctor Who episode exploring her and the creation of Frankenstein is of course one Chibnall would love to tackle and… wait a minute, I know this premise! Big Finish did it first!
I’m kidding. The television show has contradicted expanded media before and I don’t expect it to now. Besides “Mary Shelley meeting the Cybermen” is such a good premise I don’t blame Chibnall for wanting to explore this plotline even if it’s technically blowing a massive hole in canon (and yes, Big Finish IS canon). Although in this episode the Doctor states time is in flux, so in one timeline the Eighth Doctor was in Villa Diodati but the Cybermen’s interference caused a split in the timeline. Oh whatever.
So… this was an… interesting episode. Yeah. We’re gonna need to talk about this one.
Why do I love Doctor Who? A lot of reasons, but I love it because it can do anything. Go anywhere, explore any ideas and tell any story. And some of the best of Doctor Who over the past 56 years has been when the show goes beyond the monster of the week, world at stake plot line that so many past episodes have used. Can You Hear Me (?) is one of those episodes. Yes, Nikola Tesla fighting scorpions and space rhinos in Gloucester are all fun and all, but Can You Hear Me (no I will not use the punctuation every time) is perhaps the most daring and interesting episode since the masterful It Takes You Away last series. Whilst I have some more mixed thoughts on this one compared to that one, I appreciate it so much. This is what I was saying last week- I can enjoy a sci fi romp like Praxeus or Kerblam, but the episodes that go above and beyond are the ones that stick in the memory.
How do you follow on from last week? It’s a question that other episodes in the past have tried to answer by following heavy, arc focused and mind shattering episodes with standalone, “breather” episodes that aim to break the ice. This hasn’t always worked as Curse of the Black Spot and Orphan 55 proved but for Praxeus, it worked slightly better. Serving as a direct follow on Fugitive of the Judoon’s cliffhanger ending helped but it was still odd literally having no discussions of the events of the last episode. But ignoring the fact that this was a follow-on from the dramatic and franchise shifting last episode, is Praxeus actually good?
Um, I think so?
Rewatching the episodes before writing these reviews have really helped with my thoughts. On first watch, I found Praxeus to be a bit light weight without much happening at all and a lack of forward momentum for the arc but on a rewatch there’s a lot to like, starting off with the premise.