Archive for February, 2008

A Stitch in Time

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008


The worlds of Doctor Who and knitting don’t often collide, it has to be said; but when they do you know you’re in for something quite magnificent. The Fourth Doctor’s scarf is an obvious candidate, but we forget the other lesser-known additions to this shared canon that are owed their rightful place, like the appearance of the Clangers in The Sea Devils - those wonderful pink-yarned creatures clearly coveted by the Master. And rightly so.

When Doctor Who fandom (even casual fandom) and Craft 2.0 collide in the real world it’s even more fun, because it’s a good example of creativity meeting imagination, and something we can appeciate in three dimensions; it’s tactile, it’s irresistably domestic, and when you combine the velvety goodness of wool with the angular worlds of Doctor Who’s TARDIS, you get something as cool as this:


Isn’t it a beauty? Click here to see more views of this creation by Christchurch’s crafty Pixelbrid. Better still, if you register with you can vote for the TARDIS in the current competition and pass a few more virtual props on to its creator. Don’ be swayed by the Princess Leia hair helmet – this is the real deal!


The Weevil Dead

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Dead Mand Walking
So in this episode Toby… I mean, Owen is taken over by Satan… I mean, Death and gains control over the Ood… I mean, Weevils. This is an entirely original episode with no links from any other episodes (*cough* Killed by Death *cough*), and the little girl doesn’t remind us of a certain creepy girl in Wolfram&Hart at all. Completely… 100%… original…

Expect for Owen, of course, as we’ve never seen anyone come back from Death before… *d’oh*! He’s peered into the darkness and seen something waiting… I really hope that that weeny Death wasn’t the real “big bad” that Jack saw (which was probably Abaddon anyway) as, as I said, that Death is really weeny and not worth the effort. Although points for spouting words from Thomas Covenant! (Shout out to Stephen Donaldson, best writer ever… although I didn’t recognise the words myself, it’s been a while since I read the books.) At least RTD… I mean, Matt Jones has taste in where he rips things from.

And this Death can intimidate the Weevils! Or was in Owen, following on from Fight Club… I mean, Combatand now coming to the fore again? Probably the writer was just trying to make DeathOwen impressive, by going up against a lot of Weevil. A really big lot of Weevil. All with their own outfits… which come from where, exactly? Do they have their own denim supply store back in their own dimension? Are the Weevils fashion conscious? And presumably there’s the matter of laundry… these questions must be answered! Or not thought about, that works too…

Aside from bringing Owen back, the rest of the episode is a lot of a fizzler. Here’s hoping the arc can only get better.


Martha Knows Best

Friday, February 22nd, 2008


Torchwood is currently also being screen in a “family friendly” format, in which all the icky bits are cut out, but it’s looking like not many shots will be missing from this episode (maybe some of the woman carking it) as Marsha brings not only a touch of pure British ak-sent but also associated Doctor Who values of family-niceness. At least visually, there is still the more mental horror of various races being exploited for medical purposes and random experimentation. I’m sure that’s what the producers are hoping families are sitting around and talking about (which is a serious topic – medical malpractice – see recent Stuff articles…). (That all said, consider that most Torchwood watches are sourcing the original episodes via ‘mad l33t skillz’, there is the proposal that safening the series is as an aide to not horrifying the kids. Or for wider appeal and more ratings. It’s a complex process.)

But… visually, yes, it’s now a safer series. Although I largely mean metaphorically as Martha-cam was really annoying to watch (and a lot steadier than her own vision would have been). I’m not sure who’s idea that was, but the directory should be shot for implementing it that way. At least the cgi-nteraction was better this episode. And a reference to UNIT (Considering Martha works for UNIT, does that make her the 21st Liz Shaw?)! And we all know that UNIT is really big in NuWho… only it isn’t. In fact, why bother? (Just a reminder for DW series 4?) Clearly UNIT aren’t that memorable in Wales, so either they’ve fallen on hard times (important people were wiped out by the Slitheen) or there are plenty of other societies. Better not be, ‘cos I’m sure Torchwood wouldn’t measure up well against them, and then we’ll be asking ‘where’s their spin off series?’ Better go for it being a series 4 reminder then.

Anyway back to Martha and her boyfriend. Yeah, like that’s not a reference to the Doctor. Poor Tom, not much in it for him. (Or is there…? Is that a ring on Martha’s finger in the new series preview?) Oh the character development! Speaking of, poor Tosh being set up by those heartless writers. Bet she was gutted at the end! (Oh wait, wrong one!) They keep saying Torchwood is a dangerous place to work, so Owen does a Gan… nice one, mate!

This could be (yet another) turn around in the life of Torchwood, and one, as long as Martha is there, that I like. It can’t last…


About a Boy

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008


It’s all about Jack. This whole episode is a setup to explore Jack’s past, Boeshane Penisula and explain about Gray (the same Gray Captain John mentioned). Almost a shame they have to include the other people really. But at least we get whacky Torchwood in which people have been reimagined courtesy of Adam… well, in which Tosh and Owen have been reimagined… well, in which Tosh and Owen have had their personalities swapped. Yeah, thanks Adam. At least Owen had the balls to actually ask Tosh out. I did like “assertive Tosh”, but “geek Owen” deserved a good slapping (even more so after he reverted back to normal).

I do have to inquire as to how Adam managed to infiltrate Torchwood: if he came from the Void, he still had to touch them to get into their minds, but he wasn’t Adam then, so… clearly Tregenna just wanted to get to Jack’s past and didn’t stop to think about important things like ‘coherency’. Adam himself was suspicious from early on, as soon as you have “this chap the audience has never seen” you are looking at Adam shiftily. Fortunately, the writer and director manage to flatten this impression into mere “probably, not definitely, evil” as the episode goes on until the Ianto moment. From then on, it was all downhill, but props to Tregenna for using the obvious camera footage. (Touches like that might suggest Tregenna should give Who a go.)

It all gets very religious at the end, with Jack (the episode is about him, after all) becoming the team’s saviour. He takes their deepest confession and hands out the Eucharist… I mean, retcon, and forgives them their sins. (But it does raise a point that if Gwen didn’t remember Rhys, and professes love for Jack, why didn’t she make a move on Jack?) However, one wonders what Rhys will spill when he gets his normal Gwen back. (Although he can only explain “there was this guy Adam” that probably won’t cause too much trouble.)

In many ways, this episode is an excuse for Jack’s backstory to come out (the Time Agent stuff might have to wait until Captain John returns, oh what fun the production team will have then). Clearly the production team are going all-out for the character stories, although I would like to see a decent plot-based episode. So far, series two has been superior (for most episodes) to series one. I wouldn’t mind if series one disappeared, but we aren’t done yet, and the series may yet completely fall over…


The Offal Truth

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008


Rhys finally finds out there are aliens! Er, didn’t the rest of the world find that out during The Christmas Invasion and the like? Or was that only London? Well, I suppose in order to a) keep the Torchwood series at least nominally independent, and b) make it a dramatic moment (and the drama level was high), it was best to play it as something innovative. This is, after all, what the episode is all about. Yeah, it’s another character piece, as Rhys essentially makes his Series 2 debut. There was a dangerous moment at the end which nearly pushed the reset button (as episodes are so want to do), as the expected retcon drug makes it reappearance (they are nominally a “secret” organisation after all – ha!), but the writer/producers make a brave decision and leave that plot point open to screw things up down the line. (One wonders if Gwen and Rhys split up, would the retcon be retcon-sidered? (Boo!))

Ah, Gwen and Rhys… this episode does bring up the many love “relationships”. Gwen and Jack look set to get hot and heavy, and once again we are reminded that Tosh has a thing for Owen… which is really getting boring. Either move that relationship on, or give it up, people! As for Gwen and Owen… that seemed to disappear around the time of Out of Time, and we haven’t missed it since. At least there’s still Jack and Ianto, with Ianto slipping from comedy fumbler to action hero with merely a scene change… which really smacks of inconsistency. One or the other, people, and preferably not the slapstick version, as that’s really not working.

But what the episode is really about is Peter Davison. Or rather, the Space Whale episode that never happened, as we now know what Space Whales are just whopping huge hunks of meat! Which can be readily carved out, tossed in a wheelbarrow, carried and shoved with bare hands, without any need of refrigeration, and still be fit for human consumption. Ew. The lack of hygiene was one of the more disgusting aspects of the episode. Oh, and there was probably something about feeding off a living being, but the Declassified shows that the point really was the Space Whale, not what was done with it (and also highlighting a huge continuity blunder by showing Rhys throwing his hands out when getting shot then quickly shoving them behind his back where they are supposed to be tied, which they show again and again… and again). Eh, who needs morality lessons when you’ve got a huge CGI Space Whale! (And what obvious CGI it was…)

A decent episode from the character point of view, a bit of a fizzler from the point of view of actual plot. I can’t entirely decide if this is a good episode yet or not, that will have to wait until we can see if there is impact from the Rhys decision.


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…)

Ice Warrior

Monday, February 4th, 2008


Helen Raynor delivers a smashing script that demonstrates the changes brought to season 2 Torchwood. Although there is still no sign of the humour of the first episode (perhaps when Captain John comes back), but we are treated to a far more mature team of Torchwood crew than we ever saw in season 1. In particular, this is a Toshiko episode, and she has grown up a lot since Greeks Bearing Gifts. This is something we have definitely needed. As yet, we can’t tell is Owen has developed that much (he certainly seems more adult, but I’m waiting for the inevitable Owen-centric episode), but there is plenty to see for Tosh. Jack comes across as rather harsh to her (especially considering the more usual ‘soft-touch’ approach), but I like that. Jack is being the team-leader, and these are the kind of hard decisions a leader should be making. This could easily lead to the team fracturing, but hopefully this more mature grouping will recognise (and I do think Tosh did acknowledge, if not like, Jack’s reasons) as a necessity.

Helen Raynor (and, frankly, I might be inclined to see Evolution of the Daleks in Manhattan as a hideous, hideous aberration) also treats us to early Torchwood, with two incredibly English characters of George and Harriet. Fine, we only see them briefly (and at first I thought of them as local Ghost Hunters, although quickly realised they were Torchwood), but they do come across as more competent that our own Torchwood team. It’ll be nice to explore the wider Torchwood universe (and, yes, there is still that missing Torchwood haunting fan-obsessers’ dreams), so wouldn’t turn down another chance to see that pair in action (although I don’t think we could manage another Torchwood spin-off).

But not everything can be about the characters (although even the Declassified is forced to talk about the characters and not rave on about the effects for the entire episode), so we must look at the plot sometime. What there is of it keeps moving along (although I notice that only Gwen gets the “scary ghost” moments, have to pick on some woman, I suppose, and Tosh is otherwise occupied), but there are a few deus ex machina plot elements dropped clunkily into the episode. The rift manipulator springs immediately to mind (I hope Torchwood retrieved that!), and Owen’s fridge makes a second appearance this season as the hold-all of useful items. Considering all the alien-tech Torchwood has (and already has proven prone to using this season despite earlier protestations), must it all come down to the blood? Is this some extended metaphor for bringing the team together or just a sign of co-incidental plotting? Time will tell (ObQuote: it always does).

Three episodes down, and only one forgettable episode so far. Torchwood is off to a good start, although we have yet to see real evidence of a lighter atmosphere. Still, as they say, keep watching the skis!


A very sneaky peek

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Behold the Season Four trailer, in all its phone-cam goodness!

S4 trailer

Fast Return: January 2008

Friday, February 1st, 2008


News highlights of the past month – now with click-along-a-pictureness!