Archive for the ‘CRYSTAL BALL’ Category


Monday, October 12th, 2009

Let’s talk catch phrases! So far the Ninth Doctor has been “Fantastic!”, and who’s else authority do you need?

The Tenth Doctor is, of course, “Brilliant!”, again pretty much on his say so, but we’ll forgive him that.

What do you see for the Eleventh Doctor, the old man in a young man’s body? Will he be “Topping!”? Maybe “Well right!”? Possibly even “Wunderbar!”?

Suggestions sought!

The Family Jewels, part two

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

crystalballcapitolWe are, I think, in an envious position at this point in time for being a fan base granted the indulgence of looking wistfully into the future not only for Torchwood but also (if you insist) Sarah Jane Smith and Kidz or whatever it’s called and even K-9 and Kidz too for those that might be interested in that sort of thing. These spin-offs aside however, the main attraction in Who fandom’s stargazing must be the core series itself. 2010 has the be the most anticipated year for Doctor Who since 2005, a phrase which looks as absurd as it reads, but you get my drift. Next year we will have the most complete turnaround in personnel in six years, including a new TARDIS crew, Executive Producer, Producer and possibly composer to boot. It’s the end of the Gold-en Era, you might say. The show has already been primed for HDTV, but to address any concerns we have a new TARDIS prop and, we’re told, new insides as well. Less extrinsically the show may have a new ‘feel’ being the beginning of the post-RTD, Moffat Age. What that could mean varies widely – my impression of what we’re likely to see in the new series will differ from yours, his, hers, theirs and so on. The concensus is that we’re in safe hands, but it won’t be business as usual. The Moff has revealed little (and good on him), and despite the odd spoiler photo we’ve not much to go on. So what would you like to see in year one of the Matt Smith tenure (besides a strong case for there being a year two and so forth, obviously)? And what do you expect to see?

Here are some quotes to start the ball rolling:

[On returning friends and monsters]

“We’re not in the business of being nostalgic, we’re making nostalgia for the future, new monsters, new friends.”

[On who the show is aimed at]

Doctor Who is at its best when it’s brand new and you’ve always got to remember that there’s a new bunch of eight-year-olds watching every year and it has to be original – it has to belong to them.”

[and once more with feeling:]

“…fundamentally, the absolute paradigm of Doctor Who stories is — right from the TARDIS — is that everything you see is brand new. I always think there should be more new stuff than old stuff in Doctor Who. “

It’s the usual deal – likes, wants, expectations on your behalf. But has fandom’s collective and varied anticipation ever been so imperilled?

The Family Jewels, part one

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009


Okay, changes on a large scale took place over the course of Children of Earth and the Torchwood Cardiff we all knew and loved/dreaded and heckled is quite the different beast. Different line-up, different organisation, and most likely a different base. As you have probably guessed, I’m keeping things vague here so nobody’s spoiled, but for those of you who have seen the story and are in the know, what do YOU think the future of Torchwood is, given the enormous ratings success that it had and the potential for the series to continue?

There’s the immediate issue of what to do now – 2010 sees Eve Myles starting a family and John Barrowman’s dance card full, so that’s two core cast members unavailable for filming ’til 2011 at least. Time for a spin-off? Should the production team dare to bring in new team members to meet the regulars later? Or could the NEW Torchwood audience be satisfied with a step back in time to anoher team, perhaps one we’ve already seen (George and Harriet? The ones Queen Victoria would refuse to believe existed?). Is it time to go to Scottish Torchwood and meet Archie?

Should we dare a rest for the show after such a tremendous build-up?

Yours suggestions and predictions are, as ever, welcome!


The Remains of the Davies

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

crystalcapitolNow then. With the Kitschmas Special out of the way and the assurance that David Morrissey is just for Christmas and not for life, our attention must surely go to 2009′s pre-Moffat specials. The Latter Days of our Saintly David. The  last squirts of ink from Dame Russel’s nib, as it were.

Here at Zeus Blog Terraces we’ve assembled a crack team of three prognosticators to scry their way into the hours that lie ahead of us,  scattering the tea leaves, rummaging through the goat entrails, reading the clouds in order to divine what they think we’ll see before Great Rusty’s candle is snuffed in NuWholand. Here’s what they thought.

First up, here’s an urchin in the form of young Jamas, shivering in the snow and cradling a tiny coal in his blistering palms to stave death’s chill away. What have you for us, m’lad?

“1. Rose will be name checked, because it is still Rose Who.”

“2. The Daleks will be back, because everyone loves the ratings! …I mean, the Daleks!”

“3. There’ll be a proper future story that isn’t full of a broad range of English accents.”

“4. There’ll be the most amazing historic figure ever! (I’m thinking Mozart.)”

“5. There’ll be a returning monster that’ll be nothing like their own series counterpart, because why break with tradition there?”

Intriguing. Away with you, lad – for I see the callow figure of a gentleman – why, it’s Lord Alistair, leading another charge of workhouse trulls to the knacker’s yard. I’d wager Her Majesty’s spaniels will not go without a yuletide treat this year neither, but what’s this? More soothsaying?

“The Series 4 finale resolved a lot of Rusty-isms (Rose, her family and Mickey, Donna, the Doctor’s hand and even Martha to a lesser extent) leaving only a handful of elements to be tied up, if indeed that is his agenda…”
“1. I have a feeling that Captain Jack’s destiny will be dealt with in some way, as his Rose-induced immortality was completely ignored when they finally reunited last year.  Whether this involves Jack somehow regaining his mortality, or even dying in a camp blaze of glory remains to be seen.”

“2. The resurrection of classic villains is an easy one, and I’m tending to plump for the Ice Warriors (Mr Davies, I’ve got a design all ready for you!), Earth reptiles (aquatic or subterranean) or even everyone’s favourite one-off – the Zygons.”

“3. The destruction of Gallifrey is one of the major defining elements of Davies vision for the Doctor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is revisited somehow.  Surely they’ll want to re-use that lovely CGI Capitol?  Whether it’s a flashback, a re-set, alternate universe Timelords or some other concoction I won’t be surprised if we see those silly collars again next year.”

“4. Any talk of Gallifrey’s absence immediately leads to the Time War.  Yes, a flashback involving McGann and perhaps even Eccleston remains every fans’ dream – come on, you know you want to!  Please Mr McGann – you may have a good face for radio but we’d love to see it on the telly, too!”

“5. And that in return leads to talk of a multi-Doctor story.  But having already had Timecrash, the two Tennants and very soon a ‘next Doctor’ this may not seem as fresh as it once did, as much as I’d love to see the return of Eight and Nine.  So I’ll settle for what I’ve always wanted, a Quatermass, or even Hammer-inspired all-out horror movie.  Small rural village, ancient evil re-awakening, archaic mythology which might be extraterrestrial in origin – and not a sonic screwdriver in sight!”

Aha! Surely some touting for a role in the fate of us all there, Mr Hughes! Designs for His Rustliness to use, indeed! But here’s a queer fellow – that shady foreigner Peter A and his daemonic Ouija Board, fresh from a tour of the Orient. With a reedy voice he urges us near – what phantasms does he conjure from the growing winter mists?

“1. I foresee another Time Lord guest appearance. Will it be the Master again? I hope not – as much as I hope RTD has learned his lesson on resurrecting Rose to replay the whole separation angst thing all over again. Will it be the Rani? I hope not – Rusty doesn’t do cold and emotionless villainesses. Not in the long run, at least. Which leaves the only other returning temporal marauder – the Meddling Monk. He’d be perfect, too – no real baggage, not evil enough to be the Master Mk 2, and eminently disposable. Perfect guest star material.”

“2. England (and no other country) will be invaded again by aliens. I know! Call me impetuous, but a fool and his money, et cetera.”

“3. I’ll see Mister Hughes’ atmospheric Hammer-inspired tale and raise it one Gatiss, to wit, the next pre-series adaptation will be… Nightshade! Adapted by someone other than Mr Gatiss, of course.”

“4. That splendid and efficient Mister Gareth Roberts will produce for us a script that will have us falling about once more and slapping our thighs with merriment. And afterward, feeling a little confused and empty.”

“5. Enough dallying with Zygons and Sea Devils! We know one’s in the bag, for almost certain! No, the real money is on which less-loved Auld Series monster Arty Davies will reference in a tossed off non sequitur during one episode. So far we’ve had the Sensorites and the Macra, as well he’s wedded the Abzorbaloff to his own flatulent progeny the Slitheen. So who will it be? I suspect it’ll be one to please either himself, or his fans. And I’ll say only this: it will rhyme with ‘Spandrells’. No! You cannot press me further!”

He’s vanished. What a strange creature! Surely nothing more strange will pass our eyes to bedevil us with the Curse of Kassandra. And yet, do my eyes deceive me, or is this the form of the young artist Jonno, laden with a brace of bristles, some light canvas and surgeon’s blades?

“1. The Tenth Doctor’s last words will be ‘allons-y’”

“2. The Master will be back for the last special”

“3. A BIG name will star in one of the specials (bigger than Kylie)”

“4. A popular pop ditty will play over a hugely important plot development. £10 says it’s the Ting Tings.”

“5. Hugh Grant is the next doctor. Maybe.”

The Ting-Tings! Bless that young man and his fevered rantings. So what of you all, dear readers? Have you a predilection for prediction? Do you dare to look into the future? Cast the die – tell us what you foresee!

My Heart’s in Overdrive and You’re Behind the Steering Wheel…

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Right, now that pesky Eurovision thing is out of the way we’re mere hours from Silence in the Library, the episode that kicks off the rest of Series 4, and hopefully tells us that there’s still plenty of lead in the Moff’s pencil for 2010. The mid-season trailer aired of course, for the second year, to – well, mixed responses, it would seem. Here’s what we managed to freeze frame long enough to make a pretty picture from: (more…)

Series 4 Crystal Ball

Thursday, February 7th, 2008


Okay then. Screencaps from the series 4 cinema trailer have begun to appear online, so now’s as good a time as any to begin rummaging through the goat entrails to see what’s in store this year. The following is a little bit of confirmed stuff, a little bit of rumour, some speculation and, I hope, not a lone voice in this exercise. It would be great if Jono was here as he used to do this bit, but British Rocket Group have got their own problems, apparently.

Needless to say, after the break there are images and there may also be spoilers.

PA (more…)

Torchwood season 2 – the home stretch!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007


And here we are again, we brave, happy few, for this the final part of our TorchBall extravaganza. This time, we’re peering into the glass to see what we can expect on our screens once the new season begins. Vanessa Williams once sang ‘sometimes you save the best for last’. Well, dear, that’s as may be. On this blog however, the best you’ll get is a mixed bag!

Oh, but we’re a cynical lot, for if there’s one over-riding ‘vibe’ to our prognoses it’s that we’re likely to get… more of the same?

“One episode per person again” muttered Jamas darkly. “Lots of focus on Torchwood dealing with small things, making us wonder how they are so powerful… Getting an alien device and screwing up how to use it to create the problem.”Oh dear. “The return of the pterodactyl.” Yes. “More about Jack’s past, making strange references to being in the past that everyone blitherly ignores.” I see, and what’s this?“Far too much about the characters having sex with each other.”

Well it is what the folks in modern telly call ‘drama’, I think. Or is it ‘characterisation’? Or were they the Weevils again? Hang on, here’s Jon:

“More of what we got last year!” Er, and…?“The final episode will fail to live up to what the previous 12 had built up to (as per series one). Yet more bickering between the characters. They are supposed to be a professional organisation, but instead they sometimes act like spoilt kids on a school outing! If they kill someone off, then the follow-on effects of this must be dealt with across the whole season.” Oh Jon – sit down!

So for the moment we’ve ventured back into what we’d LIKE to see or SHOULD see (our previous installments). Jon continues:

“We know Jack can’t die, so they really need to stop putting him in close-death situations. Stick someone else (Ianto or Tosh) in that position instead.”

Dear me. Jon really has it in for Ianto and Tosh, doesn’t he? Maybe it doesn’t have to be this way? Maybe Jack will get to say “tonight – nobody dies!” in one epsode? Or will he just slink off with Ianto and a stopwatch again, being all enigmatic? We can’t know. Well, we’re told that Jack will be more ‘fun’ next year, but will this mean that last year’s dark stuff will be papered over? And will the fans like THAT? We’re a fickle bunch.


Torchwood Season 2 – what needs to happen…

Saturday, September 15th, 2007


Welcome back to our look into Torchwood‘s 2008! This time we ask our panel “What would you LIKE to see?”, in other words: what they think SHOULD be a feature of next season in terms of story, continuity, character development, tone, et cetera. We’ve a slightly shorter installment today, with Dave sitting this one out (but look out for his expanded comments in RTP 25)

In our first part you’ll recall that the character of Owen took some hits as something the panel would like to see attended to, improved, or just mutilated in some horrible way. Sadly, as a ‘need-to-have’ Owen doesn’t get off lightly today either. JE:”Owen has been infected by the Weevil, and starts turning into one. In fact, that’s how they are created!” and “Rhys will find out about Owen”. So, either way, a world of pain for Torchwood‘s resident wide-mouth frog. That said, the show’s signature alien race has clearly made an impression, with Al wishing to see “The origin of the Weevils dealt with (are they the slave race of another species?)” Perhaps Al will get his wish – who knows?

Origins were a key feature of our last panel of course, and this time our experts continue to express the urge to poke and pry into the wider world of Torchwood beyond The Hub. Jon suggested “The first episode needs to acknowledge and deal with the (world-wide shattering) ramifications following the violent deaths of both the US President and PM (as seen in Sound of the Last Time Lord Drums), rather than shrug if off with a ’X Months Later’ caption and no mention of it by the Torchwood team”. He’d also like to see “more revealed about the Rift and how it works. We don’t fully understand how it functions, or what it actually is – is it natural or ‘man-made’? (From the Time War?)”, which was also briefly (and more directly) covered by Jamas last time. Foo thought “Some history / background to Torchwood Cardiff itself, how it was built, when, and by whom?” would be a good place to go as well.


Torchwood Season 2

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007


 Greetings, and welcome to another instalment of Crystal Ball. This time looking at the curiously-anticipated forthcoming second series of Torchwood. I say curiously-anticipated because since last year’s run the show has had, to put it kindly, mixed reviews. Far beyond the ‘Marmite’ label, the series has issues – with common complaints of poor writing, a juvenile sense of what ‘adult’ drama actually entails, unsympathetic characters and uninspiring storylines. A lot was riding on this series, and one idea that came out of what eventuated was that too little preparation was given to the programme, resulting in a mish-mash of styles and treatments. The series is premiering in the USA, and Ain’t It Cool News caught wind of it. The talkback speaks for itself… Series two arrives early next year, so it’s time to ask our panel what they’d like to see.

In fact, we’ll be asking the panel three things – what they’d LIKE to see (their wish list where anything goes and indulgence of the fan is the order of the day); what they WANT to see (the things they think ought to return or be introduced to improve the series); and what they think we WILL see. Because the panel’s answers make for a lenghty article we’ve chooped this one up into three sections, with each section arriving on a different day. Today it’s LIKE’s turn. Our panel consists of: DR (David Ronayne), JP (Jon Preddle), AB (Alden Bates), AH (Alistair Hughes), JE (Jamas Enright) and SB (Stuart ‘Foo’ Brown). 

Q: ‘What Would You LIKE To See?’

Straight off the block on this one, our panel held very little back, some using this category to suggest improvements. Which, strictly speaking, can be a wish list in itself, so here goes. “Competence!” cried JE, while DR wanted Torchwood the series “To grow up”. Some of the storytelling got a fair whack as well, including: “No more deux ex machina solutions” (JP) and to expand from SB: “Well written stories which don’t have cop out or Deus Ex Machina endings”. Honestly, it’s like we’re on the same page here, people! “An episode free of annoying characters. (hmm… not sure who would still be around.)” – that was JE again, and “Plots that work – rather than the weekly alien thingee falls through the rift, stuffs some people up, the team shag, and Jack pulls a solution out of a hat.” from DR. JP was even more specific with “More care taken with internal continuity : date-wise, series 1 seemed to cover mid-2007 to mid-2008, which is nearly a whole year, and yet from a character development point of view, it seems to be only a few months.” Okay, enough negativity guys; what would you like to SEE?


Crystal Ball… REVISITED

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007


Last year, we did pretty well with predicting what would happen in Series 2. This year… well… it’s been interesting… and not entirely accurate. To revisit:

The Judoon will be the big surprise repeat monster of the last episode!

Erm… no. No big surprise monster at the end of the series (which frankly made a nice change!).

To everyone’s shock, there will be a commentary with RTD involved in which he won’t say “Hoo-ray!”

Can’t really vouch for this one as, we admit, we didn’t really listen to any of the commentaries, except for the last episode (where Russell may not have said Hooray, but he did take much glee in the fan reaction to the inclusion of the Scissor Sisters – fantastic!)

There WILL be a multi-Doctor story at the end of this season.

Erm… no again. We did see multi-Doctors in Human Nature, but in inked form only.

The season cliffhanger will be companion-centred. Think an abducted Martha (allowing a bridging Martha-less yuletide romp on ice).

No, but she did bugger off,  so we were partially correct.

Gallifrey will somehow be ret-conned back into existence.

Not yet, but it’s only a matter of time

A well publicised spoiler will actually be a massive misdirection up a garden path (we wish)

No chance – The Master was… well… The Master, Derek Jacobi did regenerate into John Simm and Kylie will appear. Note to self – never read the tabloids.

Captain Jack will return the happy-go-lucky character he left as, with no mention made of the dark and moody Torchwood version (or stopwatches please).

A big fat yes on this one – in fact, he was centre stage in one of the most heartwarming scenes of the series (Doctor Vs Jack in Radiation Chamber – Utopia)

Exodus Ark. Feel free to infer from that what you will…

We did infer. But we were wrong.

The series and spinoffs will encounter a backlash or scandal in the UK.

Not as yet… the only backlash that we can see has been from the TSV editor

Torchwood, SJS and K9 Adventures will all get name checked during Series 3.

Yes to Torchwood, and no to the others. Shame. We were sure Bubbleshock would make a comeback.

Despite a thousand rumours to the contrary, there won’t be an appearance by The Rani.

No Brad… she didn’t (though, the rouge-fingernailled vixen at the end of LOTTL could well have been her… though probably not). Shame really, as the prospect of Zoe Lucker turning up did hold some appeal.  

Gridlock and 42 will generally be seen as the weakest episodes of the season.

42 certainly wasn’t universally adored, but Gridlock surprised many. The weakest episodes of the season ended up being the Dalek two-parter (backlash to the lack of Art-Deco Daleks perhaps?) 

Two Christmas specials with mentions of Mars in them? In a row? You don’t fool us, Russell – Ice Warriors in December 07!

Well it all looked so positive when the Titanic turned up (iceberg = Ice Warriors), but given that (spoiler ahead!) the villain now seems to be a short spikey red bloke, the chances of Slaar returning are fast diminishing…