Archive for December, 2013

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Must I really compare THIS two parter with the other one?

 

Well, after watching this two parter, I can easily say that it is the best episode(s) this show has done thus far, outranking both “Daleks” and “Father’s Day” for the most interesting, and entertaining episode. Although the first part was hindered a little bit by a few frustrating sections, the second part redeemed this two parter in a blaze of glory.

When the first part began, I was immediately taken by the setting, 1941. Which was somewhere I wanted the show to go, and I was also intrigued by the survival-horror aspect of the first episode as well. AND may I just say, the scenery and CGI has been improved tenfold over the schlock that was thrown at us in the first episode.

The first episode was wavered by a weak plot, and a downright stupid subplot. I didn’t like Jack, I didn’t like the entirety of his scenes with Rose, I hate the whole “She’s a girl with a good-looking guy, they MUST flirt!” cliché. However, the Doctor’s story was all-out fascinating. The entirety of it had me gripped, and I must reluctantly admit that I was in tears laughing at how the transformation occurred to the doctor, as he was babbling “mummy!”

However, I do believe that this strange disease was explained thoroughly, and I actually love how abnormal it was. So abnormal, that an explanation of “oh it was aliens!” wouldn’t have sufficed. The first part ended with them being surrounded, the two parter began with the doctor telling all of these infected people to go to their rooms, remarking that he’s glad that worked, cause if he didn’t, those would be some bad “last words”.

Que themesong! Oh boy was I laughing in this episode a lot, and do you know the best part about that? I was actually laughing at the JOKES! Instead of the crappy CGI (which it wasn’t), or the clichés/generic campiness. NO, these jokes were actually hysterical! Jack became totally likable in the second part, and the Doctor and his interactions were absolutely priceless. Especially as they try to escape the child whom is breaking through the wall, as jack remarks what an absolutely silly thing the Doctor’s “Screwdriver” is. Not only this, on the humor aspect, we also get fantastic lines delivered from Rose as she calls the Doctor “Spock” (from star trek) because he doesn’t have a real name. She asks him, “WHO are you?! Doctor WHO?!” Which made me giggle like some sort of school girl.

The second part also ramps up the pace, as the story with the orphan girl and her brother (actually her son) gets resolved in an understandable fashion. The nano-thingies healed everyone, and all is well. BUT, instead of having this cliché “everyone is ok as always” scene that can plague A LOT of shows. The Doctor (Spock) addresses this, yelling ecstatically how every single person is OK!

Now if I did have one thing to complain about, in this second part, was that the ending was a little bit TO perfect. Everyone truly DID survive! Fantastic!

Jack is a character I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing again, as his dialogue with the Doctor was damn-near perfect. I would like to see a little less flirting bullcrap that can infect a show like this and run it right into the ground. Less romanticism, more snappy/witty dialogue with intense scenes please!

In the end, this was my favorite episode of this show thus far, this was the best two parter of the show thus far, and it’s main flaw was a slightly underwhelming first half. Bring it on Dr.Who, show me what you can do!

P.S- That dialogue with the Doctor and Jack during their escape REALLY had me in stitches. And look! The Doctor CAN dance!

 

Grade:

Part 1: B

Part 2: A-

Overall: A- 

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Fathers Day arrives with a blast

 

When this show focuses on something, it delivers its best episodes without a shred of a doubt. For the most part, this episode ditched the cliché and campy humor for a very human that was both emotionally powerful, and fascinating.

When Rose’s emotions overcome her, and she saves her Father from dying in the intended car crash, she literally screws up time, and these strange beasts (reapers) appear in London (and apparently the rest of the world) to quite literally kill everyone, to correct this malfunction. There were a few issues with this episode, firstly, why do these creatures not like “old” things? And it never quite felt like the end of the world.

But apart from these two things, this episode was mostly solid. We saw an emotional storyline involving Rose’s father, who was played brilliantly played by Shaun Dingwall. I will say right away that I loved her father’s personality, he was quirky and not in the least bit sardonic. Both of these traits are a pleasure to see, and he really did deviate from my expectations. We also found out how much of an absolute bitch Rose’s mother used to be, it may have been for a reason, but quite honestly, she did not gain any sympathy from me for the plain fact that her reason for her anger was not explained in full detail.

We also see the TARDIS stop functioning (for whatever reason) and we see a wedding get crashed. Everyone who attended were hiding in a church, and although this episode did not have some epic feel to it, it did have a personal one. I will easily admit that a few scenes in this episode were heartwarming and well-enough acted that I could overlook some of the clichés.

In the end, Rose’s father sacrifices himself for the sake of humanity. I was originally not enjoying this episode too much, it was slow paced for the first twenty or so minutes, however, it quickly began picking up to be one of the best ones of the show so far (if not the best). So I will freely applaud it’s deviation from the Dr.Who norm and hope that it’s not the only one that’s like this.

Although there were a few things that weren’t explained properly, the entirety of it was a solid forty minutes of emotional, and character developing goodness that I just had to re-watch. Rose, or Billie Piper, I should say. Has come a long way acting wise, she was much too stiff in the first few episodes, but now she has truly started to show her range as she conveyed true emotions through some of these scenes.

I am not sure if I like “Daleks” more than this episode, or if I enjoy this episode more than “Daleks”… all I do know is that it was an entertaining half hour of TV that I shall remember for the future seasons to come.

P.S- But really… what’sup with the TARDIS just randomly failing? Did I miss why?

 

Grade: B+

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Fox news really advanced in 200,000 years…

 

In episode seven we see less character driven story, but an interesting setting that works for the most part. To my knowledge, this was a fully original episode, nothing was really bothered from previous doctor who’s or at least… nothing too important (correct me if I’m wrong). If you are wondering whether this episode was solid, in my opinion, I will definitely say yes. It was structurally sound, and some of the tech and ideas were cool.

Right off the bat I liked how the Doctor was somewhat wrong about where they landed, how the tech was ninety years behind. And why was this tech so behind? Because of corrupt news stations! I can’t help but feel that this episode was a small satire on how our world is being run now, how everyone doesn’t ask questions and just listens to the news. Which the Doctor pointed out (in a fantastic way).

In the end, they persevered after one of the workers began to disobey the news stations, and save them. Adding further satire to the already satirical situation, the head of the news station was some ugly fat bloated alien that expelled a lot of “hot air”… is this genius? Or am I just reading into things?

Where the episode faltered was in some of the storytelling aspects. The pacing was fine, but seemed to slow during the middle of the episode, following the insignificant third wheel of the Doctor and Rose. His blithering stupidity almost got himself and them killed, only to return back to present day with his strange brain-surgery-thing, and freak out his mother… I don’t know how I honestly felt about this story, all I know is that it was illogical. Especially for the Doctor to bring along some completely random stranger.

I can’t write this review without mentioning the elusive “floor 500”, where the “walls are made of gold”… This better be another satire, because if people are really stupid enough to believe that, then the media has their claws into society so much so, that after the Doctor killed the Alien-media leader, the world must have turned into complete chaos.

Also, Simon Pegg! He brought his great acting into Doctor Who, and it was a lot of fun to see him play the sarcastic lackey. It was obligatory to see Simon in at least ONE Doctor Who episode, and oh boy was I happy to see him here.

Overall, this episode wasn’t as intense and gripping as “Daleks” but it was more solid than the previous entries in the series, causing me to believe that this show can in fact be a weekly piece of solid entertainment rather than some rarely good show. Which is promising! Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I have become accustomed to the campiness of the show, but it seems to have significantly been dialed down, and this is nothing but good. The comedy and thrilling aspects of these episodes has been balanced very well, and I hope to see more episodes with this sort of structure.

P.S- So the Doctor allows anyone to really come with him? And what now? The mom knows her son implanted some messed up brain-chip thing that makes his brain visible with the snap of his fingers?

 

Grade: B

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EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE!!

 

Right from the moment I saw this… Dalek, I couldn’t help but shout “Blorgon! Inspector, watch out!” If you readers do not understand this reference, it is from my favorite TV show “Community”, which spoofed Dr.Who in a few episodes with its own version, “Inspector Spacetime”.

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Now is the episode “Dalek” silly? Yes, without a doubt. Is it more grim, intense, gripping, and concentrated? Yes! Although there were a few jokes in this episode, it was mostly a more serious and less contrived story which filled in some of the black and white background the Doctor has forged for himself. The good news is that the jokes in this episode were actually laugh-out-loud funny, and when the show wanted to switch to being intense? Almost like magic, I was leaning into my monitor, my heart racing.

Let me just say, this is hands down my favorite episode of the show thus far, it accomplishes a lot in the time given and is much more entertaining than previous episodes. This is the first GOOD episode of the show, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

The villain in this episode is the Dalek, the last of the Dalek’s, which are a genetically created alien race out to quite literally… exterminate. This episode draws a few parallels between the Dalek and the Doctor, whom are both the last of their species, and are out to kill each other. This was an intriguing way to introduce a villain, because before this the baddies were… well… just plain out baddies. They were evil for the hell of being evil, with hackneyed excuses as to why they are doing what they are doing. Here, although the Dalek was “bred to exterminate”, has a hatred of the Doctor as the Doctor has a hatred for him.

Needless to say, I very much enjoyed this development. We got a little backstory on the “Last time war” and we got to see what the weird deformed alien-Dalek looks like. A pretty interesting accomplishment within this universe the writers are attempting to create.

Also, may I just say that every main actor (there are only two) in this episode seemed to be on their A-game. I was actually VERY impressed by Eccleston’s performance in this episode. He delivered some fantastic emotional bits without coming off as too cheesy. Rose on the other hand, was much better but was a bit lacking in the emotional aspect of the episodes dialogue. But that’s understandable, this ain’t dr.who if it isn’t campy!

And this episode is somewhat campy, significantly less than the previous ones, but it was still there. The Dalek’s voice was silly, yet I liked it. The two generic side characters were silly, and the one villainous Van Statten was just a two dimensional caricature. BUT, he was the outlet for the Doctor to deliver just a killer speech to him over how he squanders his life collecting alien garbage.

Overall, this was a good episode, in fact, I’d say that it was very good. It was a significant and emotional upgrade over the previous silly departures, and I found great joy in re-watching it for a second time. Brava, Dr. Who, you have my attention…

P.S- So the Doctor has two hearts…

P.S #2- So they took that random “genius” with them?

Grade: B+

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Today’s installment brings world war three and farting aliens, what a combination…

 

Ever since I began watching this show it has teetered on the edge of being too goofy and absurd, and too cliché and campy… the shows two parter takes it both ways. We see WWIII break out over London, and we also see a bunch of aliens farting like crazy and laughing. Was this a comedy? Or a tragedy? Was it both?

No, this was Dr.Who. The show that seemingly has no idea what demographic it is being pitched to. At one point, I saw humor that was more childish than what I see in the other TV-show I review “My little pony: Friendship is Magic”, and at another point, I saw a badly animated missile blow up a building.

Now I know this isn’t the first (and probably isn’t the last) time I’ve complained about this shows inability to lock itself in to a set demographic, but in this episode it is most prevalent. Now I’m not saying the show’s humor is bad by any means, when the show wants to be witty, it is witty without a doubt. However, these fart-jokes and gags are almost cringe-worthy in the sense that they just don’t fit, and aren’t funny.

The first episode of this two-parter had me fairly uninterested, after the solid two episodes before this, full of diverse environments and characters, we return back to London. This was a somewhat bland location, and generally stayed indoors (probably due to the budget). And then low and behold, we see our first alien, which looks like a fat green baby with bug-eyes… but this isn’t before we see a pig-man-thing running through the halls only to be gunned down by a soldier.

All of this had me laughing, and I’m not sure if it was due to the shows humor, or due to how badly it was executed. Needless to say, the first episode was thoroughly underwhelming, neglecting to show true progression until the second part, where things ramped up in a much more entertaining fashion.

The aliens take an unexplained interest in Rose, micky/ricky, and her mother, and the Doctor needs to pretty much save the day with their help. However, we actually get a guest star whom I enjoyed quite a bit, as she was actually a good actress with an entertaining array of dialogue.

My favorite sequence comes in at around the twenty minute mark of the second episode, where an alien is busting through a door (funny enough, they didn’t have trouble breaking down government doors), and Ricky and Roses mother (pardon, I simply do not know her name for the life of me!) were on the phone with the Doctor as Rose and Ms.Guest star lady were listing off the features of the aliens, I found myself thoroughly impressed by the intense situation that was laid out before me. In fact, I noticed this midway through and had to tell myself that it was Dr.Who, and I shouldn’t be so caught up in the action!

The Doctor figured out they are from some hard to pronounce planet and said that they need to have vinegar thrown at them… and then that alien exploded. What a stupid grin I had on my face during that scene!

After that, they fired a missile at themselves, Micky proved himself useful, and the aliens got blown up. The story of this episode was pretty hackneyed, it didn’t make much sense and was too silly for its own good.

In the end, I think this two parter was brought back from the boring mediocrity by a fast paced and interesting second half of the second episode, which swiftly exterminated the non-threatening threat. Then we had a slightly emotional sequence involving Rose and her mother, and in the end, they end up climbing back in the TARDIS (yay) and leaving to wherever they are going to next!

P.S – The news reported said that the aliens (disguised as the prime minister etc.) provided evidence of the threat to humanity… yet the Doctor pointed out they were lying about the threat. How exactly did they point it out then?

P.S #2 – I thought the whole “zipper” thing was both silly and charming, who DOESN’T want a zipper on their forehead? How the hell did the zipper even get there? Did they have to spend a few minutes embroidering it into the forehead once they somehow take out all the bodily fluids, and organs?

 

Grade:

Part 1: C

Part 2: B-

Overall: C+ 

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WHAT THE DICKENS?!

We get Dickens! Man, did I laugh till my gut hurt at almost anything he said. If the show plans to make a lot of these sorts of… cameos? Appearances? Of dead “famous people” then I’m all for it! Seeing him was a refreshing blast in the past, and being a fan of his work, the references they put in were a lot of fun. Particularly the Doctor telling Dickens how he’s a massive fan of all his novels, great stuff!

However, I wish I could say the same for the rest of the episode. For the most part, it was inconsistent, full of highs and lows that I couldn’t really grasp. This wasn’t a scary episode, yet it tried to be? Right? It TRIED to be scary? If not, then I don’t understand the point, if so, it failed. This show seems to be both for adults and for kids, but instead of balancing itself on a tightrope. It sometimes slips and falls into complete goofiness territory, or goes overboard with the shocking more adult oriented humor. It’s not like subtle hints or anything either, anyone above the age of eight could guess what is happening, and it’s not for children.

However… I digress. Although the two supporting characters (apart from Dickens) were mediocre actors at best, they still did what they were there to do. To provide the story of… no not ghosts (thankfully) but alien creatures that were thrown out of their bodies after the “time war”. Now, that is most definitely the war we heard the Doctor refer to in the season premier, so perhaps we will soon hear more about such an occurrence?

I do hope so, because that little bit seemed to be more interesting than the actual story itself, which surrounded these aliens inhabiting deceased bodies for a short while just to randomly walk about and scare the living crap out of people. Why? WE. DON’T. KNOW. They randomly just do that, even when they know they can’t inhabit a body for more than an hour.

I generally have no problem with the show holding this “mystery of the week” platform to set up for a little bit of exposition and a whole lot of cool settings. Because honestly, I really do enjoy the areas where they are going to (so far). If they know how to diversify and not keep things boring, then I could totally see myself being sucked into the show through a setting alone.

Anyway, there wasn’t much substance in this episode, we had a decent storyline that treaded on all the cliché markings, had a few twists and turns, and some cheesy effects. That seems to be good enough for Doctor Who, and although it’s nothing remarkable, it’s good enough for me.

Grade: B-

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Posted: December 4, 2013 in Dr.Who-Reviews

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Well that is a bit more like it! I saw a little bit more life in this next episode, almost a hint… a hint at a living a breathing show under all that goofy silliness. This can be nothing but good news!

Today we looked five billion years in the future, and we saw the earth being destroyed by the supernova… let me just say, there are a LOT of logical errors and oddities in this episode, however, I will not get into them as they are quite nitpicky. I will say though, the grouping of aliens that came on by to watch the earth get obliterated was oddly disappointing. I mean… aren’t those the sorts of aliens you’d expect to see thousands of years in the future…? Not… BILLIONS?!

But maybe I’m just being harsh, I guess I was just totally thrown off by the half-CGI, half-makeup aspect of the “last human ever”. But I digress, this episode was definitely better than the cluster of nonsense that the previous episode was. It was a bit more structured, had some cool science-tech stuff, and even had some characterization (woohoo!)

Although the doctor is hands down the highlight of this show, and his character-developing bits were pretty decent… the highlight of characterization was the mediocre-ly acted Rose, whom went from a two dimensional stickfigure, to one with a chin! (Get it?)

She even got to have a nice meta-jab at the “last human ever”, where she expressed her disgust over how fake this “human” was… which made me think of the countless celebrities getting stupid nose-jobs and boob-jobs.

There were also some notably cheesy moments, full of frustrating clichés and daft dialogue, however, this was backed up with oddly directed shots that were just plain bad to look at. However, although the directing of the camera was a bit odd, the actual pacing was pretty good in this episode.

The doctor, whom as I said early, got the most character development in this episode, gets also a little relationship he forms with a tree… wow. Just saying that feels odd, but apparently now the trees have become a sentient race of humans in makeup.

I honestly don’t truly know what I think of it, but I do know that I was a LITTLE torn up overseeing the human-tree burning alive trying to help the doctor. I am honestly curious as to whether this show is for a young demographic or not, one moment we are getting treated to juvenile humor, and the next we have someone being burned alive.

In the end, the doctor saves the day (of course) with one second to spare, and ends up traveling back to what I must assume was modern day Britain to have a quick discussion on how everything has a place and time to die. But this wasn’t before we saw the hideous “last human ever” getting dried up with very cringe-inducingly bad voice acting.

But this episode was not bad, in fact, it was actually somewhat solid, it had decent pacing, good characterization, and was not as goofy and absurdly stupid as the previous one. So I think my hopes are up, I’m eager to see where they go to next!

P.S- what’s up with the tree-women hitting on the doctor right away? Is tree-sex a thing? But at least Rose had a fantastic “you go and pollinate” line. (Referring to the doctor and the tree-lady having sex!)

 

Grade: B-

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Let me just start off by saying that I have not seen the previous incarnations of the “Doctor Who” series, in fact, I haven’t heard much about it apart from the rabid fans and the crazy “blue box” that can be there one moment, and gone the next.

I will say this, this is the first episode I have ever seen, and I can already tell that this is inherently “Dr. Who”, no show that I’ve ever even heard of can get away with what this show did in this episode, and somehow receive some very good reviews. Now I know this show may get better (and I really hope it does), because right now, it appeals to the lowest common denominator.

This show is not, the following: Pretty, well directed, mind-boggling, intense, scary, fantastically acted, or even all too interesting. However, this is what the show is: Cliché, absurd, silly, campy, and pretty stupid. But hey, this is my opinion after I saw a trashcan eat a human.

Now I’m not too sure why exactly the writers chose to make the first episode have the most laughably silly threat I’ve ever seen in a, what is supposed to be, intense and mystifying TV-show. I mean… something that controls the plastic, too… take over the world? Out of all the ways this could have been done, let us rig slow-walking manikins with firearms and have them rampaging the streets.

Now wait, what am I doing? I’m reciting my thoughts after I first saw this, but upon second watch through it became abundantly clear that the show WANTED to do this. Its mission was to provide a healthy dollop of silliness. And I really hope I’m correct when I say that… because if not… then oh boy.

The laughably bad CGI and the not-so-intimidating monsters set the mood for a campy, cheesy, and corny TV-show that I think I gained some proper enjoyment out of, actually. Well… my enjoyment may have come from me laughing like a madman at all the silliness the show (hopefully intentionally) brings to the table. And I would be just a terribly cynical person if I didn’t enjoy a good amount of campiness.

Was this a riveting, exciting, thought-provoking, and engaging episode of TV? Of course not! This was absurdly silly, with the most intense moment occurring when Rose (apparently the new assistant of the Doctor?) knocked at the door of a stranger’s home.

Let me take a moment to talk about the characters. Rose, whom was established as the lead of the show in the beginning of the episode is… decent? She’s not interesting, deep, or too entertaining, but she does do her job to some extent (I guess). Her boyfriend? Yeah… I don’t even remember his name. Her mother, whom delivered some very cringe-worthy material is a two dimensional caricature. And finally, the Doctor, is a happy-go-lucky time traveling alien who is oddly charming in his own way. He’s clearly the most entertaining aspect of the show, making me giggle or laugh NOT at the shoddy CGI or mediocre acting, but at his well-delivered and way-to-happy-for-the-occasion lines.

There is not much to say plot wise, so I will say that I thought it was odd, the pacing was off-putting, and the badly animated alien was less intimidating than a wet cucumber. However, I have to say, I really did enjoy a few bits and pieces of this episode.

Whilst I’m alone, sitting on my couch, watching a tv-show, I very rarely laugh out loud. I will proudly say I cackled at this show more than once, and that alone provides a memorable and sort of fun experience, in a corky kind of way.

This is no masterpiece, hell, it’s not even high-class media… in fact, I’m not even too sure what it is. I do know one thing though, I’m eager to see on how this show improves, because despite all its glaring flaws, it’s an odd piece of entertaining ruckus.

P.S- So… I’m not too sure whether this show is rated PG-13… or… what’s up with that? Cause I’m pretty sure a father was brutally gunned down in front of his wife and children.

Grade: C