So where to begin? Season 8 started really promisingly, I even felt inclined to review it, but then, with the exception of almost two episodes it just died on the way to a truly bad finale (The Brigadier? Really?). Which is a real shame because Peter Capaldi is a great Doctor.
So what’s the problem? In short, it’s Clara Oswald. Jenna Coleman has been doing what she can but the character just isn’t interesting and her boyfriend, Danny Pink, is worse. He’s a character that you could only describe as a teacher, a soldier or ‘a bit sad’ or tall. But it’s not his fault, he’s only here because this Doctor is not Clara’s pseudo boyfriend any more so that dynamic had to be shoehorned in elsewhere; presumably women are only allowed on telly if they are available to someone or girls will only watch if there is a romantic sub-plot.
Maybe I’m just miserable. Maybe the sight of a mother riding a bicycle through the forest in her BBC mandated bike helmet just tipped me over the edge.
Ho-hum. Roll on Season 9 and my nerdy and masochistic dedication to watching home-grown sci-fi on TV.
Highly Recommended – Recommended – Meh – Shoot Me
So, Doctor Who is back and we’re already three episodes in. I’ve always been a fan of the Doctor and the past few years have been a bit uneven to say the least. Christopher Eccleston was something of a high point, David Tennant had some great episodes but was over-whelmed by the show’s new found insistence on recurring characters and having everything linked up wazoo, plus his whole zany shtick got very tired very quickly. Matt Smith was fantastic, classic even, but tied to mostly terrible episodes. In all, although I’ve kept watching because there were moments and people that made the work worthwhile, the whole thing was convoluted where it should have been complex and ‘wacky’ when fun is much more fun…
…but now we have Peter Capaldi, and things are looking really good. The opener was a bit stretched (too much getting to know you stuff but it’s all about ‘jumping on’ so I get the point and the Paternoster Gang are eye-rollingly bad), the second, Dalek meets Fantastic Voyage (1966), was excellent, so please bring back Ben Wheatley for some more directing, and Robot of Sherwood was just as good despite being wildly different and clearly labelled ‘disposable’.
This is how I like my Doctor Who. Different each week with a Doctor who is just enough of a dick to give the character some dimension. Think I might start reviewing the episodes properly if they carry on in this interesting vein.
Ben Wheatley is like a secret treasure. He’s not a household name (yet) but he’s been quietly building a collection of macabre and uniquely British movies. Horror can be found in all these films, the bloody family implosion of Down Terrace, the mushroom induced mania of A Field in England, but perhaps the most overt is Kill List, an unsettling tale of hitmen and, well I won’t spoil it. Kill List works because it spirals into a dreamlike state without ever becoming overly stylized. It’s an oppressive, suffocating film with some genuinely tough violence but, like Martyrs, rewards perseverance. Kill List is possibly the best British film of the past decade and this is the guy who’ll be kicking off Peter Capaldi’s turn as Dr Who… ‘excited’ doesn’t really cover it.