Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Into the Dalek

August 30, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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After a bit of a mixed bag last week we go into our second full episode with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, incidentally we also go into a Dalek. So that’s the general premise of the episode, the Doctor is shrunk down to size and enters a Dalek. A bit like the classic story The Invisible Enemy except this time we’re going somewhere far more dangerous than the Doctor’s brain. This is a very original and intriguing premise and one I find to be the most original idea for a Dalek story since the show got rebooted. So no problem there right? Well unfortunately there is as it lacks a good, solid reason as the why they need to go inside it. Another thing that I like about the premise of the episode (which is also carried over to the execution) is that we have a Dalek story not set on Earth (something that all of the Dalek stories of RTD’s era weren’t) that has a good roundup of supporting characters (something that Asylum of the Daleks lacked) so it’s also got that going for it. The realisation of this is very well done with some very impressive CGI, especially in the opening scene.

Now lets again talk about Peter Capaldi playing the new Doctor, and there is one scene in particular that we really need to talk about. That is of course the scene with Ross’ death and the Doctor’s reaction to it. I’m sure for some this will go down the same route as the Sixth Doctor’s acid bath scene in Vengeance on Varos but for me it was suitably well done. We are once again seeing the darker side of the Doctor that was present in the Seventh and a bit of the Fourth. I’d also like to say that (unlike Matt Smith’s Doctor) it isn’t just Peter Capaldi’s acting ability that’s holding his Doctor up but he also getting the right lines to say as well which is great. This story also introduces Danny Pink but unfortunately it spends too much time doing so in a story that has nothing really to do with him. While I like his character I just wish that had been done in another episode as it took valuable time away from this one which it desperately needed, more on that in a bit. Clara was great and is once again showing signs of developing as a character, something that is long overdue. However, the slap was slightly unnecessary in my opinion and some strong dialogue would’ve been much more effective in its place.

The direction in this is once again amazing and Ben Wheatley really has done a great job with what he was given. There is some good Dalek action in this and there were some nicely done pieces of Dalek destruction, the likes of which we’ve never seen before and they go beyond the convention explosions which we’ve had before. There is only one main Dalek to focus on in this and that is ”Rusty” who the Doctor has so aptly named. The look of the inside of it is nicely done but the bit with the star being born is a bit of a flimsy reason. It also seems a bit far fetched that this one damaged Dalek was able to wipe out an entire platoon of fully battle ready Daleks, but I digress. We then get onto the ending which is unfortunately rushed and this goes back to what I said earlier about the Danny Pink stuff wasting too much time. If that was taken out then we’d have enough time to round it off properly rather than ending it with them suddenly being out of the Dalek and it simply going off to kill more of its kind. However, the stuff with the Doctor hating the Daleks and that carrying over to Rusty is very powerful stuff and is probably the main point of the episode, is he as good man? Capaldi does a great job playing that stuff and his disappointment at the Dalek only seeing his hatred feels totally genuine. We also get that nice call back to the Ninth Doctor episode Dalek where Rusty calls the Doctor a good Dalek, great stuff.

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Overall, a definite improvement over last week and this could very well be the best Dalek story since Dalek. So this time it goes up to an eight-out-of-ten which means so far so good with series eight. Next week we’re going to Sherwood forest and meeting Robin Hood in a story which looks to be quite promising but until then, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Losing Time

August 30, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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After passing through a magnetic cluster, the crew experiences strange blackouts and periods of lost time. They discover that Pilot has been possessed by a being who is pursuing an evil ‘Energy Rider’. The being inside Pilot warns our crew that the Rider inhabits one of them, and if that person isn’t found – and the Rider extracted – the crew will all die.

Synopsis

Back to Moya this week for another game of who’s infected/possessed.

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Alternating with that are visits to Scorpius who is trying unsuccessfully to extract the wormhole technology from the neural chip that was in Crichton’s head.

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The energy being in Pilot gets what it wants, killing the evil ‘Energy Rider’ but unfortunately it then turns evil too and refuses to leave. The crew pull a trick with the starburst engines and manage to kill it.

Felt like a bit of a filler episode with not a great deal of progress on the main story except we know now how high the stakes are for Scorpius and the Peacekeepers and that they’ll do pretty much anything to get their hands on wormhole technology.

Star Trek : The Cloud Minders

August 25, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star trek episode is The Cloud Minders. A botanical plague has broken out on Merak II and the Enterprise is sent to Ardana for zenite the only element that can stop the plague before it destroys all life on the planet. Arriving at Ardana Kirk is thrust between the two sides of the planet the Startos City Dwellers who occupy the cloud city and rule over the planet and the Troglytes who live and work in the mines. The Troglytes have hidden the zenite and are demanding they be given equal status with the people of Stratos. Kirk must find a diplomatic solution to the conflict in order to obtain the zenite and save Merak II before time runs out.

Another so-so season three episode. The original story by David Gerrold was changed quite a bit. In the original version Kirk was stuck between three different sides. The Stratos dwellers and two factions of the miners one following a militant leader and one a Martin Luther King type leader. The planet was a main supplier of Dilithium crystals in this version and Kirk’s solution was to get the sides to the negotiation table in order to continue the supply of crystals. In the end he accomplishes this and tells McCoy that they are talking and it will soon come to an agreement but Bones is concerned how many people will continue to suffer and die till then.

In the course of doing research on this episode I read that had Star Trek Enterprise went on to a fifth season they were going to do a prequel story to this episode. Now that would have been interesting throw in that they were going to do the Earth/Romulan war and that fifth season could have been very compelling. Like all my favorite shows though it gets canceled.

Why is everything cured by some rare mineral from one specific planet you would think they could make the stuff?

“That’s their cloud city…” was George Lucas watching this in the sixties?

Stratos looks too small for a cloud city more like a cloud apartment complex.

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The dry river basin is the Hadramawt Plateau dry river basin in southern Yemen, taken by astronauts on the Gemini IV mission in 1965.

How did they get Droxine’s costume by the censors of the time?

The Sentinel’s costumes are really, well they look like bed sheets with funny hats.

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A one of a kind internal Spock monologue.

Spock seems a little too interested in Droxine.

Droxine: “Intellectually Vulcans are as highly evolved as Stratos City dwellers.” Well someone thinks awful highly of themselves don’t we now.

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Vanna the troglyte leader tries to take Kirk hostage and Kirk is Kirk after disarming her. “What is it with you anyway?” and does anyone on this planet, I mean in the clouds wear a full dress?

Wait how does Droxine know about Vulcan biology and why is Spock talking about it with her when he didn’t even want to tell Kirk about it in Amok Time? Continuity people.

I’d rather have seen them dealing with the plague. Another episode where the background story would seem more interesting. The Enterprise battling a planet wide plague with time running out now that would be dramatic.

Droxine is quite naive and quite annoying.

With the way the High Advisor and the Stratos city dwellers run the planet how did Ardana get in the Federation in the first place?

For a people who claim to be so enlightened the Stratos city dwellers sure are ignorant.

Kill Kirk. How would Plasus explain that his sentinels killed a Starship captain really how did Ardana get in the Federation?

Wait, how did McCoy get Zenite so easily after Plasus threw Kirk off planet?

No one else figured out that Zenite gas was dangerous but McCoy just comes up with it in a couple of hours.

Nobody could figure out that masks may help the miners even just from regular dust and debris or did the Ardanans know all along and just let their prejudice blind them.

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Is Kirk really violating Starfleet or Federation law trying to help the Troglytes? Shouldn’t the Federation demand that Plasus institute reforms or lose Ardana’s Federation membership.

When Kirk and Vanna escape why do they walk to the transport pad why not just have the Enterprise beam them down?

The re-mastered shots of Stratos are a nice addition.

Plasus really is a tyrant.

How does Spock single out Plasus from all the other Stratos City Dwellers?

Well I guess Droxine has a tad bit of sense asking Plasus why they don’t question their methods.

With all the technology like I don’t know shovels they still dig Zenite by hand and is the whole planet made of Zenite since they dig anywhere and if so why not just send down some red shirts scope up some zenite and off to Merak II.

Those are rubbery rocks. You can tell when Kirk pushes Plasus into the wall and they bounce.

Kirk under the effects of the gas acts like his evil half from The Enemy Within.

So Kirk can’t take some old guy with bushy eyebrows?

Kirk did the Picard maneuver before it was cool.

That’s not a lot of Zenite to cure a whole planet and don’t they have to refine it.

After all that Plasus is still a jerk.

Well at least Droxine seems to have gotten the point sort of.

Geek moment I like that they made the impulse engines glow in the re-masters.

No red shirts were harmed during this episode.

Doctor Who: Initial Reactions to Deep Breath

August 24, 2014 in Dr Who, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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So, it’s finally here. It’s been over a year since Peter Capaldi was announced as the next Doctor and after a brief glimpse in Day of the Doctor and then a full thirty seconds in Time of the Doctor, we finally have our first full episode with him. And not your average forty-five minute piece, this one’s a feature length episode at seventy-five minutes. And I’ll tell you this now, it didn’t feel like seventy-five minutes. But at the same time, it wasn’t at all rushed and felt like a suitable length. To be honest Time of the Doctor felt way longer but I guess that says something about how little I enjoyed that one and just wanted it over and done with. We also have new titles and theme music and it defiantly feels slower, almost as a call back to the classic series but at the same time it just felt odd. I just hope we stick with this rather than have it change once again. Now apparently when writing this Steven Moffat looked at Robot (the Fourth Doctor’s first full story) as a template and what he means by this is that instead of completely starting again in terms of tone he decided to make it a gradual transition between the old style and the new style. So we get a story which has the style of Matt Smith’s era mixed in with what’s to come from Peter Capaldi’s. Unfortunately it makes this story feel rather disjointed but hopefully that’ll disappear next week.

Now onto the elephant in the room and that is of course the Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi. Now during the first twenty minutes or so it feels like Moffat was writing for Matt Smith as he has loads of quick and witty lines which would’ve worked for the previous Doctor but with Capaldi’s accent simply come across as muffled. It’s during the second half that the new Doctor is allowed to shine and it’s from the tramp scene specifically where I think the episode kicked into the right gear. The Doctor’s interaction with Clara is great, especially during the restaurant scene and I must say that so far I really am liking Capaldi as the Doctor. As for Clara, well this episode felt more like her episode than the new Doctor’s. She gets a lot to do and the first half of this episode is mainly spent following her coping with the new Doctor. And she finally gets to develop properly as a character. That stuff with Vastra at the start is very good and Moffat has deliberately given Jenna Coleman some challenging stuff to work with but she manages to pull it off well. Speaking of Vastra, we also got to see the Paternoster Gang again in this episode. Again to do with Moffat trying to ease us into a new era by giving us loads of familiar faces, they get a fair amount to do in this episode but practically disappear half-way through and don’t serve anything beyond that point. They feel more like they’re there to give Clara someone to talk to during the first half and while they work in that sense I feel like they’re just left out in the second half.

The monsters in this story were interesting enough and the scenes in the restaurant were very creepy, probably the scariest thing we’ve seen since Moffat took over. The link to The Girl in the Fireplace was nice without being too in your face. The face-off between the Doctor and the main clockwork droid was well done and nicely ambiguous as to whether the Doctor pushed him or he killed himself. Despite him only being a droid with some human parts it’s still quite dark. Then we have the ending which is setting up what’s probably going to be the main overarching plot for this series. I guess it’s interesting but at this point it feels simply unnecessary and I wish we could go a series without any arcs hanging over our heads and they just diminish the ordinary episodes. The tone of it also sticks out like a sore thumb when compared with the rest of the episode and feels far too much like fantasy which is something which I’d hoped we’d left behind with Matt Smith’s era. What we need is a series full of much more hard science and maybe an arc more like the Bad Wolf one just to bring the series back down to Earth before it starts doing anything fantastical again. I did, however, like that they are at last addressing that throwaway “woman in the shop” line from The Bells of Saint John but I’m not so happy about the stuff about the Doctor’s face being similar as that’s something that doesn’t need to be addressed really. We have had many different characters played by the same actor before and they had no need to be address so why does this? But anyway, I digress.

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Overall, it was an enjoyable enough start for the new Doctor but one which left me wanting more from it. I think seven-out-of-ten is a fair rating for this story and I’m looking forward to Into the Dalek next week but until then, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

Farscape : Green Eyed Monster

August 23, 2014 in Farscape by Firebird

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When Talyn is swallowed by a giant space creature, a Budong, Crais’s neural connection to Talyn malfunctions, and he asks Aeryn to accept the ‘Hand of Friendship’ to help him control the hybrid gunship. Warily avoiding the Budong in a Transport Pod, Stark and Rygel come up with a way for Talyn to escape, but Crichton’s jealousy complicates the plan…

Synopsis

“That’s no moon …. that’s a Budong”

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You’d think from the description above that it’s Crichton’s jealousy that’s the big problem but really it’s Talyn who is trying to remove a rival for Aeryn. He’s now controlling Crais as much as the other way around and he’s getting more and more unstable. In the end Aeryn does choose Crichton and Talyn relents but you’ve got to think that the Leviathan warship hybrid experiment isn’t working out too well.

The Rygel and Stark team-up continues to be entertaining.

LonCon3 – Day 5

August 18, 2014 in Uncategorized by Firebird

When I got back to my room on Sunday night and read The Pigeon Post #11 I found a little note saying that the Library in the fan village was basically going begging. Free books?! Oh my! So naturally my first port of call on day 5 was the fan village. Seems Orion/Gollancz really didn’t want to take any books home so I’m afraid I got a little bit carried away.

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I decided to weigh my new books, the freebees and the two I’d purchased and the total was 21.5lb (9.75Kg). Luckily I had friends in the dealers’ area who let me leave the books and my new painting with them while I went off to catch two last things before 2pm. A panel “The Bugs Are Coming Back” and a talk “Science Fact and Science Fiction”. After that it really was time to go so I said my goodbyes and staggered off to the DLR and the journey home.

Goodbye LonCon3, it was fun!

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Star Trek : The Way To Eden

August 18, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid

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This week’s classic Star Trek episode is The Way to Eden. A group of space hippies steal a spaceship and try to find the mythical planet of Eden. The Enterprise intercepts the ship and beams the hippies on board. The group is led by Doctor Sevrin a once great scientist who has gone insane. Also in the group is the son of the Catuallan ambassador which is in a delicate relationship with the Federation and Starfleet orders Kirk to handle the group with kid gloves not wishing to cause a problem. After finding out that Sevrin is a carrier of a deadly disease Kirk has him quarantined. His followers distract the crew with a jam session (Yeah I know) and free Sevrin who then takes over auxiliary control and sets course for a planet that Spock after doing some research believes to be Eden. Eden also happens to be in Romulan space.

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Upon arriving at the planet Sevrin activates a sonic weapon to immobilize the crew. Sevrin and his followers escape to the planet in a shuttle craft and Kirk deactivates the sonic weapon before it can kill the crew. Spock scans the planet and finds no evidence of animal life on the planet. Upon beaming down to the planet the landing party finds Adam dead and that the planets plant life has high levels of acid and the fruit is deadly. Eden is no paradise. The remaining hippies are rescued from the shuttlecraft but Sevrin in his insane state refuses to believe that Eden is deadly and escapes from the landing party climbs a tree and eats some of the deadly fruit killing himself.

This was not one of the best episodes and it just seems that somebody decided that they needed to do a hippie episode. This is another of those episodes in which the backgrounds of the characters and the planets are more interesting and would have made for a better episode especially Doctor Sevrin. How can they give him those ears and say he is a scientist in acoustics then not explain it or his background further. I think focusing more on his background story and what lead him to this point could have been more interesting. Catualla is another of those alien worlds I wish we could have actually seen.

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Seems Chekov takes Kirk’s place in getting the girl of the week. Actually Irina was supposed to be Joanna Doctor McCoy’s daughter in the original script and Kirk was supposed to take his usual spot in falling in love with the girl of the week. The episode was rewritten so much that D.C. Fontana who penned the original draft requested that they use her pseudonym “Michael Richards” in the credits.

I like the re-mastered Aurora nice little ship.

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Why drag the Aurora with the tractor beam till it explodes when they could easily get closer and stop it.

Lieutenant Palmer from The Doomsday Machine on communications.

The re-mastered space shots in this one are really cool too bad the episode isn’t as good.

Herbert Herbert Herbert oh shut up.

Why do they all have a hardboiled eggs on their shirts?

Pavel Andreievich Chekov well at least we get Chekov’s full name here.

Can we just hit the annoying space hippies with Phaser stun and be done with it? Oh right the one is an ambassadors son.

Okay we get it Sevrin is insane but I wish we would have gotten to know the character before this episode and why he became insane that seems like a much more interesting story.

The Vulcan harp is really a cool prop.

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Way to go Chekov give up the ships secrets to the pretty girl.

I keep thinking Irina is going to say new-clear-ar wessels.

What is it with you any way Chekov?

They came up with twenty third century hippie slang.

That’s got to be the lamest red shirt guarding Sevrin that he was so easily dispatched.

I guess Eden had to be in Romulan space to make this episode at least a little dramatic.

Nice re-mastered shot of Eden with the double moon.

I really wish some Romulans would have appeared it would have made this episode watchable.

Chekov is always the one who gets injured. Walter Koenig has that great scream.

The dead guy’s finger moved. Oops.

Galileo II nice touch now Galileo Seven that was a great episode.

I don’t think any red shirts were killed in this episode just stunned. The one guarding Sevrin should have been killed for zoning out so easily to the music.

LonCon3 – Day 4

August 17, 2014 in Uncategorized by Firebird

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Rather than kicking off with a panel at 10am today I went to the art show to place a bid and then took a look at the creepy crawlies and generally pootled around for an hour.

11am “Reluctant, or Just Not Interested?” focused on kids who can read but don’t want to and came up with plenty of reasons why but no good solutions.

Heading back over to the dealer/art show area I sat in the fan village and was lured over to the bandstand for a reading of “The Last Moonicorn” (a tale of dark whimsy, and pies, by Christopher Graeme). A story in rhyme which is probably about as weird as you’re imagining. It’s not been published yet and although he’d like it to be illustrated the first version probably won’t be. The words certainly conjured up loads of images in my head, I hope he finds someone with the skill to do it justice because it would be a great kids’ book.

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1:30 was one of those annoying slots when there were three panels on at the same time that I’d like to have seen. Not getting there early enough to queue means that the decision was made for me, “I can’t do that, Dave: Artificial intelligence, imagination and fear” and “The Wrong Apocalypse” were both full, so “Secrecy in Science” it was.

At 3 I went to “You Don’t Like Me When I’m Angry” but honestly I was hoping for the panel described in the programme, not the panelists telling us about their personal anger issues so that one I left early and decided to see if I’d won the painting I’d bid on.

BTW this is the nearest you’re going to get to a photo of me, I was inside the TARDIS (I hope the others on my friend’s camera were better, I moved the bear down to floor level and a kid came over to high-five him).

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The sharp eyed may spot that this is not the TARDIS that I photographed on day 1. LonCon3 has TWO TARDISes (or just TARDIS? definitely not TARDI because it’s not a latin word, TARDISes sounds right).

Getting back on track OMG … another queue. First a medium sized queue that moved, and then a longer queue that did not, or at least did not most of the time. I finally escaped at 6pm! The painting was worth it though.

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Another case of multiple panels, and again (thanks to the queueing) I was too late for a seat in “These Are Not the Elves You’re Looking For” or “Botanical Conquistadors”. So I took my painting back to the hotel, returned to the Excel and feeling a little light-headed decided that food was probably a very good idea. Then a little more killing time before the Hugo Awards Ceremony.

What can I say, the Retro Hugos had spoiled me. By comparison the 2014 ones were … dull. No band, no Martian invasion, very little fun. I expected more. Anyway, incase you’re interested here are the results.

John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer – Sofia Samatar

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Best Fan Artist – Sarah Webb
Best Fan Writer – Kameron Hurley
Best Fancast – SF Signal Podcast by Patrick Hester
Best Fanzine – “A Dribble of Ink” edited by Aidan Moher
Best Semiprozine – Lightspeed Magazine – John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki
Best Professional Artist – Julie Dillon
Best Editor (Long Form) – Ginjer Buchanan
Best Editor (Short Form) – Ellen Datlow
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) – Game of Thrones: The Rains of Castamere
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) – Gravity
Best Graphic Story – “Time” by Randall Munroe
Best Related Work – “We Have Always Fought” by Kameron Hurley
Best Short Story – “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu
Best Novelette – “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal
Best Novella – “Equoid” by Charles Stross
Best Novel – “Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie

You can see the full stats for the Hugo votes HERE (PDF file).

I was seriously relieved that the novel and movie that I did NOT want to see win, didn’t win, but more than a little concerned that one got second place. I know Sci Fi and Fantasy can be argued to include fairy tails but a Disney Princess movie, SERIOUSLY?!

Oh and what the heck, David Tennant was at the Hugo Awards?!

In slightly related news my Dr Who/Dr Seuss mash-up t-shirt got a lot of smiles and a few comments through the day (it took a while before I figured out why total strangers kept smiling at me).

And so another day ends and back to my room.

Quatermass: Quatermass II

August 17, 2014 in Cult TV, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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Following the success of The Quatermass Experiment and the launch of the ITV Network in the UK, the BBC commissioned Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale to write a sequel to his previous adult sci-fi thriller. Quatermass had already broken onto the big screen earlier that year with the release of Hammer’s movie adaptation of The Quatermass Experiment (titled The Creeping Unkown in the US) in August 1955. Inspired by the contemporary fears of secret research facilities set up by the Ministry of Defence, Kneale set to work writing the six part thriller which would once again captivate audiences and empty the streets. The story sees the title character, Professor Bernard Quatermass, investigating into strange meteorites which are hollow and appear to of been manufactured. His investigations lead him to a strange industrial plant where he is ordered away by guards. Irritated by all the official secrets surrounding the plant, Quatermass once again faces the threat of an alien invasion and must find out what’s happening in the plant before it’s too late.

With a bigger budget to work with, this story was able to do much more location work than the last one, which also means much less done live in studio and therefor less tiring work for the actors. Unlike the last one the whole of this story was telerecorded (so they could be repeated the following Monday night) which means we have the all six parts available to us this time round. Reginald Tate, was set to reprise the role of Quatermass in this sequel but just weeks before location filming was scheduled to start a tragedy happened. He had collapsed and died at the age of 58 which lead to a necessary recast of the role at short notice, with actor John Robinson filling in the big shoes left by Tate. Alongside Robinson was Hugh Griffith as Quatermass’s chief assistant, Doctor Leo Pugh, and Monica Grey as Quatermass’s daughter, Paula. Monica had to learn Griffith’s lines as well as her own as he (like Robinson) was having trouble learning the technical dialogue so if need be she could assist him if anything went wrong during the live performance. Rounding off the main cast John Stone as Johnny Dillon, a captain in the army and fiancée to Paula Quatermass. Finally for the casting side of things we have something that may be of interest to some cult TV fans, actor Roger Delgado appears here a journalist who helps Quatermass investigate into the industrial plant. Delgado would later find fame in Doctor Who as the first actor to play the villainous Master opposite Jon Pertwee as the Doctor.

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Here we begin the spoiler free section of the review, so those of you who have not seen it yet can read this with no risk of having major plot points spoiled for them. Now as far as atmosphere goes, this story’s got a lot of it. Without going into detail, the most atmospheric scenes are the ones within the plant and you really do get the feeling of isolation and that there is evil all around you. There is a very mature story line in this, even more so than the last one and there are some scenes which are not for the faint of heart. Not necessarily because of the visuals (although there is some good stuff in that department) but because of the implications and the places you imagination runs to with the material it’s given here. The plot is solid and in true Nigel Kneale style has lots of mystery in it that makes you want to know more. However, it does fall apart a bit in the last part which feels out of place and sags a lot. It is nevertheless enjoyable but doesn’t live up to the expectations created by the first five parts. As for performances, John Robinson does a good job as Quatermass despite often being accused by critics not learning the technical lines properly. While seemingly a bit out-of-place next to other actors to of played the role, Robinson sells it as the same character in his performance and comes across as undeniably the same character that Tate played. The other actors do their bit but the only real standout performances from the supporting cast are Hugh Griffith and Roger Delgado, although arguably I’m bias because I like him so much in Doctor Who.

Now we move deep into spoiler territory so if you’re nervous about spoilers then you have been warned. So probably the best place to start would be what are probably the two most horrific scenes. The first of which is when Ward stumbles out of the dome covered in corrosive slime. It’s probably the most visually horrific of the two made all the more effective simply by it being in black-and-white. The second of these is not nearly as visual but far more sickening. I am of course referring to the men being used to clog up the gas pipes. Just the thought of this make your mind go mad with different gruesome thoughts and the execution is perfect. It really is far more effective not showing it as it leaves your mind to fill in the blanks and they often come up with even worse ideas. Also aided by black-and-white as you can see a liquid dripping down but because there’s no colour you can’t tell what it is until the characters on screen confirm your worst thoughts that it is blood. Moving onto the plot I must say that it’s a solid one but falls to bits during the last episode. I do like the genre of political thrillers and it’s got that going strong throughout the first half of this serial. The cliff-hanger to episode two really sums up that side of it. The cliff-hanger to episode one is also a particularly strong one and the follow up to it with the men from the plant coming along to take him away is suitably creepy and obviously playing of the very contemporary (and slightly more American) idea of servants of the government taking people away from their family and friends, and then when they return there’s something different about them. Finishing off by discussing the ending, I think it’s rather poor in comparison to what had come before it and it is one of the few things I feel that the Hammer movie version did better. The twist with Leo being possessed was good but the rest was too rushed I’m afraid and just lacked the impact it should’ve had.

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Overall, it’s an amazing story and from episodes one to five it really is one of the best things ever shown on television. Episode six, while not leaving up to the exceptions of the first five, is still good enough to watch and the whole thing is defiantly worth a look for anyone interested in sci-fi. As for where I’d put this story, it may just be my second favourite of the four. What beat it? Well we’ll take a look at that one next time with the review of the TV version of Quatermass and the Pit, one of the few things truly worthy of being called a classic.

LonCon3 – Day 3

August 16, 2014 in Uncategorized by Firebird

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After a better night’s sleep, on account of being too tired to notice where I was sleeping, I set out for Day 3. Session 1 at 10am was “Sense of Wonder in Children’s SF”. Between the panel members and other people attending I came out with a LONG list of authors to check out for Youngling. Result!

Unfortunately by the time I got to suite 15 all the seats were filled for “Moving Shelves: Famous Adult Writers Who Have Written YA” so a leisurely stroll downstairs, stopping off to buy a sound activated tribble, got me to “Fresh Perspectives: Comic Books for Young People” with time spare. I now have another handy list of possibilities.

1:30 saw me back upstairs for the “Girl Scientists” panel and then I took a panel break to look around the art show. Unfortunately I can’t show you anything as photography is strictly forbidden but outside it was OK to take snaps of the amazing Wasp Factory … sculpture I guess you’d call it? or totally awesome object of wonder.

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Click on the images for a full sized view and marvel at the teeny tiny skeletal fairies! I love this thing and wish I could take it home.

Sitting by the fan village green I wasn’t expecting a melee (you thought I was going to say Spanish Inquisition didn’t you?), but the Society for Creative Anachronism turned up and that’s just what there was.

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And then “Bridging the Gap: Genre and the Mainsteam” was another interesting panel providing food for thought. I left a little early to be back at the dealers’ area before it closed as I’d arranged to go out to dinner with some friends. We got back just in time for the Masquerade to actually start. Watching people with passes taking photos of all the entries afterwards was *not* much fun and I joined the exodus before the winners were announced so you’ll need to look elsewhere for that info and photos. And so at 9:30 I had a quick look around the fan village and then set off back to my hotel.

Tomorrow, more panels, more stuff and the big question. Will I spend a stack of cash on some original art? There’s this really gorgeous painting of a dragon which I am sorely tempted by.