Archive for July, 2007

Fast Return – July 2007

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007



So Ms Minogue is in the Christmas Special and the world hasn’t ended! Maybe the news managed to be muffled under the roar of disapproval that occurred after LotTL, maybe fans just didn’t see it coming, but overall it seems that cool heads have prevailled, and we’re not heralding the apocalypse just yet. Come December 26 though…


Apart from Messers Preddle and Walker, who on EARTH would bother?


Watch out, Dr WhoPrimeval is here and it’s going to take your ass and kick your name! After revealing more oak in its lead performances than the entirety of Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood didn’t seem to last long as the top contender to supplant our favourite (okay, ONLY) Time Lord. But now here’s a new show with a modern British location, cutting-edge special effects, time-travel shenanigans and a female lead who was once a pop star! Yeah, that’s right Doctor Who – you should be scared! 



Oh yes. There’s a theory of Dave Ronayne’s out there that likens the current series to early years of the old series. But he’s got it all wrong! Surely the series is going backwards in its references. Not neatly and quickly like in LotTL, but more gradually and meandering, like a cat with its head stuck in a paper bag. Sort of interestingly backwards with the tantalising potential for comedy gold pratfalling near the end. And before you all write in and report us to the SPCA, look over this formula and tell us that we’re wrong:


It’s the return of the Eighties, I tell you! Time is reversing – everybody get down!!!


Good call to Alden this month on recognising that RTD has taken advantage of another great Welsh institution and used the Dery Mark II Title Generator for season 4′s episodes. But how cool is that title? So retro, so Seventies. Truly, We Are Living In a Gol- hang on, we’ve done that already, haven’t we?


Fans drooling everywhere in Wellington. You can’t make it up Courtenay Place these days without wading ankle-deep in squee juice. TheOneRing.Net are getting all wriggly over the return of Cyrian McKellan to Wellywood for the RSC production of Lear. Who fans are understandably excited at the prospect of Sylvester McCoy playing the Fool (like he didn’t for Inside the TARDIS…). But it’s just not right! All this fuss over a repeat appearance of Gandalf and the Doctor, when there’s a THIRD alumnus coming in tow to no advance fanfare or jetlagged reception at Wellington International by a consignment of furries and 17 stone elves. People – William Gaunt! Orcini is coming to see us! If he can work a bionic leg and self-destruct device into his role as Gloucester there’ll be no containing us.  


Finally, because under NZ law we are statutorally required to invoke the name of Jackson as soon as the word Gandalf is uttered, we segue as slick as squee juice to the Weta Collectibles. How cool are they? A Dalek exposing himself, a Cyberman sitting down – it’s all the boxes ticked for the sheer dynamism of the new show! And they look great. And they’ll cost a bomb. But to hell with it, it’s the culmination of years of hoping and speculating rendered in three loving dimensions. Who could say no?


Saturday, July 28th, 2007


Oh… it’s getting down to the nitty gritty now, isn’t it! 4 seasons battle it out for the title of Best. Season. Ever. Ooooh… the anticipation…..

On the face of it, Series 1 has the unfair advantage of being intact and ready for inspection, but it has that oft-claimed emotional depth, while Season 5′s quiet moments are far between in among a, to be fair, cracking set of stories. But in breaking it down further, the folly of youth is exposed - Series 1 had soap-opera moments between Doctor and companion, Season 5 did that first. Series 1 had big green monsters, Season 5 did that first. Series 1 had the Daleks, Season 5…didn’t. But where Doctor 9 stood back, Doctor 2 got stuck in, and presented us with the ultimate hobo hero. Season 5 is the winner on all counts.

Mighty Season 13 versus new kid Season 19! Baker settling into his role, Davison dipping his toe in the water, with squabbling kids all around him at the edge of the pool. Jump, Peter, Jump! Oh, no. This time Tom’s pool is deeper – pastiche so clever it runs several sources deep (Forbidden Planet meets Jekyll and Hyde? The Avengers meets The Quatermass Experiment), and there’s really only one dodgy old band-aid lurking at the bottom of it, courtesy of that Nation kid. Davison’s watering hole tastes refreshing to be sure, but there’s only one really good sweet spot, in the shade of Deva Loka and the sting of Adric’s death. Trust us – you’ll stay long enough in Tom’s billabong to have prunish Zygon-looking fingers and toes in comparison!

Wellington, Friday 13th July, 2007

Friday, July 27th, 2007


Let it be put on record, as suggested by Mister Tim Beverstock, that JJ Murphy’s outdo themselves with their bar menu. Oh sure, on laminated card it says “fish and chips’, or some variation thereof, but Foo will tell you that the resulting order will be vast and teeming with food, and that even a man with his constitution would find it hard to finish a plate (he did. Almost) without sinking like a chip-logged supertanker. With a turn out of 7 fans (not bad for Friday the 13th), there was enough conversation to keep us afloat. Topics included;

  • A little on series 3 but oddly enough not too much. While Tim loved Last of the Time Lords, Foo had felt that the episode let things down with the chanting of ‘Doctor’ and Alden preferred it to The Sound of Drums which he considered a bit too much running around . Other opinions… well, Jamas has his views here, and Peter opted out to let Jono speak for Zeus Plug. Foo had pretty much reached the conclusion that series three is his favourite even though it has three of the potentially worst episodes of the new series to contend with.
  • Soo… Who’s going to buy Timelash when it comes out? Much shuffling of feet and looking away followed. We predict that at least two present will cave in.
  • iPods and iPhones – yeah, they’re great but people do seem to go gaga over something that’s not really anything new.
  • Slight lamentation of no Zeus Blog to wipe up beer and tears (well blogs don’t tend to be that absorbent, Foo – Ed)
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures may be airing in September but are there going to be any returning monsters…there may be but we will only know in two months time. Foo had heard that a previous new series monster may give Sarah something to contend with…
  • Catherine Tate returning to Doctor Who (see: Timelash)
  • The appearance of Kelly (of Random Static) and friend Annie. Not a lot of faction Paradox gossip (for obvious reasons), but some discussion of the next years Sci-Fi con which will have Kate Orman and Jon Blum as guests
  • And finally the flicks – namely the Transformers movie – had both good bits and bad bits, it was a bit of fun but not a masterpiece – a very mediocre movie. General disapproval of Fantastic Four with far too much focus on the Invisible Woman’s impending wedding, and I think everyone was looking forward to the Simpsons movie and a couple the next Harry Potter as well.

 Er, and that’s it!

Foo, PA

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…


Saxon the Single Woman

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007



Funny how those four words are such an important element of the final episode of Series 3, and yet they’re also the words that have been escaping the lips of fans all over the world in its wake.

I went into Episode 13 spoiler free (to paraphrase Dilmah Tea… ‘Do Try It’), and maybe it’s for that reason and also that the episode was the first in a looong time to make me gasp out loud that I haven’t come to the same (some would say obvious) conclusion as the majority of fans. I actually really enjoyed it. There! I’ve said it! Strike me down! Strip me off my TSV subscription! BUT… hold fire for a moment. I have evidence.

I watched this episode with a not-we. She’s watched the entire third series, and she also had a great time watching this and the previous episode. She’s an intelligent one, and knows good TV when she sees it, so I almost feel a sense of vindication in knowing that she enjoyed the series finale. Maybe this episode has actually made me swap sides and become a viewer rather than a fan. Because if you watch it as a dedicated fan, you’d never get anything out of this except disappointment.

You see, I think you’re all being a bit hard on LOTTL (at the very least, its acronym sounds kinda cute!). Yes, it’s camped up to the hilt, yes there are things that don’t make sense (black hole converters? WHAT??), but come on… think about some of the things that it does very well, especially the surprises along the way. Who else got a jolt when we jumped a year ahead at the start of the episode? Or when the Doctor turned into Dobby (a bit leftfield yes, but completely unexpected)? Or when the Master was shot? Or when Martha left? Is all that negated by the fact that the Master sings? Come on…

You can go on all you want about the Scissor Sisters, the naff ‘Doctor!’ resolution (and yes, it was a bit naff), and the way that the TARDIS could NEVER have a ship smash into it because ‘they exist in different dimensions’ (geek!). But then, you’d be looking at it in completely the wrong way. This finale to a family TV show is entertaining, races along throwing caution and fandom to the wind, and do you know what… it may not be brilliant, but it’s fun Doctor Who.

And I’d have fun Doctor Who over fan Doctor Who any day.


Impatient to see ‘Ice’, it came to him…

Sunday, July 15th, 2007


Tragedy at Zeus Blog Terraces. ‘Parapangi’s Rose’ felled in home accident.

If reader/s of Zeus Blog thought things were slow to hit their plasma screens and pub laptops lately, then this weekend’s news will be harder yet to bear. Peter A, sometime logosmith, blogger and ‘zine botherer was the victim of ‘freak localised weather conditions’ at 5:45am Saturday morning when he slipped on a layer of frost on his back deck and broke his arm.  Although it was not his ‘creative’ arm affected, Adamson’s knowledge that the left side of his body is controlled by the ‘artistic’ right hemisphere of his brain has sent shockwaves of guilt through that portion of his already taxed and pre-Windows Vista cerebrum, and a general strike of all creative functions is currently in force throughout his entire nervous system. In good news for motorists, he is also out of action for driving for the next month.

A compulsive doodler and long-time acolyte, this has been a desperate blow to Adamson.

On the other hand (as it were), the blog will probably not be so vague and rambling for a considerable amount of time.   Over to you, Jono…

“What?… What??!”

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007


And so, it’s all over until Christmas for another year. Jono is away resting for the big review of episodes Twelve and Thirteen, but before he wakes up, let’s – just quietly – talk about the week that’s been. Shhh – he’s sleeping! He’ll need it.

Ah, look at him – so peaceful. You and I on the other hand may well have woken blinking in the bright glare of the triple-whammy of the season closing, the now-traditional Christmas Special lead-in scene, and news of who would be riding shotgun with the Doctor for 2008. Truth be told it’s been a funny last couple of weeks. That finale, eh? So much promise. Was Jack underused? Did you think the Toclafane were supposed to be something other than what they were revealed to be? Should Martha have taken the long walk? We’ll let Mr Park tell us what he thinks. For me, I was bewildered, a little disappointed, a fair bit nonplussed. To varying degrees it seems to be a common complaint, although I’ll stop short of invoking Divine Intervention. But that last scene. The Titanic, Russell? Really? I can’t decide whether the idea genuinely defies creativity, or whether an implied storyline of aliens/time meddling versus a real life catastrophe isn’t a bit… bleurgh. And not very Christmassy. But for the moment it’s just a scene and a few casting notes, not a storyline just yet. Ghostbusters 2 managed to have the Titanic in it without welding it to the main plot, and I may yet see those Ice Warriors I predicted for this year’s panto family special. Wait and see, I guess.

The other ‘wait and see’ of course is Ms Tate – Donna as a companion. When I heard that the place was open I suggested her to a mate as a joke. Not many people laughing, I see. Not good news for a comedienne, and again – what’s the plan Russell? Will she go serious? Will she be there to lighten up a Doctor who she first saw as cold and distant and who we’ve seen grow steadily so in recent stories? Or is it more of the same wakka-wakka until the mid-season kicks in and familiar faces are brought back? Ah again – wait and see. He’s playing a cruel game, this one.

So all we’re sure is, we’re none of us certain of where this is all going. Rusty may have calculated that such a combination of marmitey elements would keep tongues wagging for another six months and we’ll all come back clamouring for more. Or it might be enormous double-hulled hubris. We can’t know. It’s too soon.

Don’t send Mister Winkler out on those waterskis just yet, it’s just another round of waiting, debating, speculating. Really, the months ahead are the moments we’re really fans for. The young fans out there have their episode memories, the magazines, the playground games to tide them over; but our playground has just re-opened promising flights of fancy that could be on the ball or wildly off-target, mad, sad, delirious, irate or hilarious. Real fandom starts as soon as the show stops. Get in amongst it.


Fast Return – June 2007

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007



Sigh. We used to visit Outpost Gallifrey all the time for the news, casually ignoring its hemispherist promotional images for the next episode that hadn’t made it to NZ yet. It worked. Then this (June 15th 2007 for those of you playing at home) happened and we’ve been not that keen to go back. “Spoilerish” my arse! You’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do, Lyon!


Speaking of spoilers, is this any way to discuss them? And we thought we all got into fandom for the exciting lifestyle…


Some sad news to impart, but one which immediately raises the value of every issue of Zeus Plug out there in hard copy by – ooh, cents probably. Last month saw Jono’s laptop stolen, and with it, the proofs of every single Zeus Plug edition known to man. Layout, text, the lot. But here at Zeus Blog Terraces we aren’t negative Nellies, and so we should stress that Jono’s tragic loss is also the gain of every collector of ‘zines out there (that’s you Jon Preddle!) If our 5th form Economics teachers taught us anything (and it’s doubtful), that means that every issue out there is now rare and thus worth something more than the ‘free’ it originally went for and could be a tidy investment. Hang on to your copies and you could be rolling in it by Christmas. That’s better now Jono – isn’t it?


Here’s an idea Shaun: you might find it useful to provide some sort of colour-coded ‘visual’ to qualify just what ‘spoilerish‘ means and just how damaging said tidbits could be, sort of like what the President (not that president, I mean George W Bush) uses for when the polls are against him terrorists are about. Sort of like this:



Well, Neville could hook a brother up of course, but for the rest of us it’s a slightly sheepish skulk down to the local Ware-whare ‘y’know, just in case’. Watch out for those eight-year olds lads, they fight like tigers!

and finally, our funny from the Web…



Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007


The end of the Universe. We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

There’s a sense of deja vu that permeates Utopia, and yet despite its location, its familiar director (who, it must be said, does a reliably excellent job here), a quarry and the loaned cast of Duran Duran’s Wild Boys video, the story as it stands is fine. Serviceable, in fact, because like many near end-of-term RTD scripts, it’s not so much a story as a vehicle for bigger things to come: this is a story light on plot but heavy on continuity. Who’d have thought that three years into the new series we’d be experiencing flashbacks to The Parting of the Ways?

Utopia is that kind of event – not so much a big build, but one that necessitates a good deal of rib-jogging to recall various institutions of the series, both new and old. Rose’s departure, the Doctor’s regeneration (not to mention his hand), Captain Jack, and of course the fob watch device that renders both the Doctor and his mortal foe human (is it always a watch? Why?) So in a way Utopia is like a trip back into the bad old days of Eighties Who, where inter-story continuity was a given even if it wasn’t necessary, and inter-season continuity was both a given and something to be accepted. What’s curious about all of this then, is that of all the old elements brought back and explained in the story, the Master isn’t one of them.

But, as I’ve been told by fellow fan, what is there to know about the Master anyway? That he’s a Time Lord – sure; that he’s bad, probably mad and definitely dangerous to know, patently. But what else? That he and the Doctor were once old friends? Probably not necessary. That he was once known as Magnus/Koschei? So not necessary. Maybe it’s the lack of foreshadowing in this episode and previous to it that offers the best surprise, as even fans who recognised ‘the sound of drums’ during Yana’s delirious episodes might not have imagined that he of all people could be, well, him.

And so to him indeed. We get two for the price of one – a feat unseen in another Time Lord since Destiny of the Daleks (and even that was a cheat). And he even regenerates – that’s technically a new trick for him. Of the two versions on show Derek Jacobi’s is less hammy and does both sides of Yana’s coin justice. His successor on the other hand… we-ell, maybe it’s too early to tell. If there’s one thing that this story has cleared up, it’s that of all the buttons routinely flicked and teased by the Doctor in his daily lap around the TARDIS console and also punched by the newly-regenerated Master, the big flashing one marked CAMP is sure to be among them. Despite this, or to more than a few fans because of this, the last ten minutes of Utopia are genuine rewind moments. But for its clever build-up (those barmy drums like a vast kitchen’s worth of rattling pot lids, Jacobi’s tears – there’s a mash-up just waiting to be made out there with your choice of earworm ditty overdubbed – The Macarena, perhaps?) the duality of Master No. Six’s regeneration with the Tenth Doctor’s come across as just a bit obsequious. Do we really need to be shown that they’re polar opposites, when they really aren’t? Are they really just the same soul with opposing raisons d’etre? If that’s RTD’s intention then it’s a disappointing follow-up to the questionable Doctor of The Family of Blood. But then, at the eleventh hour, maybe Davies felt it more important to reinforce the Doctor’s heroism with some good traditional murderous and guffawing villainy, and fair enough.

So a fun episode with some great performances and John Simm’s valiant final push Over. The. Top. at the end. A marvellous channeling of the late Tony Ainley, some might say, and on that note who couldn’t admit they loved the inclusion of not just Ainley’s but Delgado’s voices coming from Yana’s mysterious fob? A lovely tribute. And poor Chantho, eh? We just knew she was doomed as soon as she confessed her unspoken love for her scientific friend to Martha. The more things change…


Hell’s Angels

Monday, July 2nd, 2007


Steven Moffat is a genius, and by now it must be very unlikely that anyone would dispute that.  His contributions to the last two years of Doctor Who have produced the very best stories which the new series has to offer.

So when it was announced that he would be handling the infamous ‘random’, budget and regulars–lite episode 10 spot this year, many of us might have thought that the programme’s ‘other Paisley star’ had met his match at last.  Without a lavish war-time two-parter or Sophia Myles and mirror-smashing equestrianism, could Moffat really make it a hat trick?

We needn’t have worried.  Not only does he once again come up with the series’ finest, but Blink is also the first story since new Who began which has genuinely scared me.  What Moffat did for gasmasks and ticking clocks he now does for statues, which were always kind of creepy, anyway.

Like last year’s under-rated Love and Monsters, Blink only features the regulars in the present narrative at the very end of the story, allowing us to get to know the story’s other characters without having them shoved into the background by Tennant’s ‘mouth-and trousers’ Tenth Doctor.  As much as I appreciate and enjoy all that he’s brought to the programme, I’m also aware that this is the second time this series that the Tenth Doctor ha been absent from a story until the very end – and I haven’t missed him.As Steven Moffat says, we get a ‘hot girl’ instead, so who cares? Sally Sparrow is a lovely creation, who’s courage and determination has already earned her Fan murmurings of ‘companion material’ and ‘own series’.  First seen wearing a slightly ‘Doctorish scarf’, later on she even has a ‘taking companion by the hand’ moment which echoes Rose and Smith and Jones.

Eventually charged with rescuing the Doctor and Martha in a plot which not only seems more ingenious every time you think about it but even appears to make sense, Sally must also face one of the programmes’ eeriest threats ever.  In the hands of clever Mr Moffat, we’re not risking your run-of-the-mill mutilation, possession or invasion here, but a ‘sudden change of circumstances’ which at least two victims make the very best of and might even be grateful for.  One of the wonderful aspects of Moffat’s Who is that no-one is ever killed by the menace, or not on-screen at least.  Despite images of WWII body horror, futuristic organ harvesting and a long list of unsolved disappearances, the only death he’s ever presented, Blink’s ex-DI Billy Shipton, is from natural causes and sensitively portrayed.

Unfortunately, an unnecessary two line sub-plot explaining why the Angels want the TARDIS seems out-of-step with the rest of the episode, perhaps clumsily inserted during script editing to make the episode seem a little more conventional? If so, it seems a shame. More than any other, this episode is unique and rather beautiful in it’s own right, outside of the context of the rest of the programme.  Blink can be frightening, but also most effective when giving us glimpses into the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.  A brave companion who never was, a woman who enjoys a long and happy life that she should never have had and a dying man who waits forty years for his first date with a girl he’s just met.

Blinkin’ marvellous!