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No-One Ages Like the Doctor or Vampires No-One Ages Like the Doctor or Vampires

It was Tom Baker’s birthday to-day so I thought I’d listen to one of his recent Doctor Who audio plays for Big Finish. Well, relatively recent—I listened to The Labyrinth of Buda Castle from 2016, an entertaining short vampire adventure.

Pikes, Asteroids, and Spocks Pikes, Asteroids, and Spocks

One thing’s for sure, Star Trek: Discovery’s visual design is still top notch. The Alex Kurtzman directed season two première definitely wore its massive budget on its sleeve in an attempt to make up for a incredibly thin teleplay. Much like Kurtzman’s Transformers films, I was forced to wonder if the makers of the…

By the Will of Avis and Billy Joel By the Will of Avis and Billy Joel

In addition to some unexpectedly excellent use of music, last night’s new episode of The Orville also had that distinct Star Trek feel you can’t get from Star Trek anymore courtesy of writers Brannon Braga and Andre Bormanis. Both writers worked on previous Star Trek series beginning with The Next Generation,…

Grey City and the Countryside Grey City and the Countryside

An ordinary, bookish girl from the country moves to Dublin and falls for a man twice her age in 1964's Girl with Green Eyes. Not quite as bold as some of the other kitchen sink dramas of the time, it does have some very good performances from Rita Tushingham and Peter Finch. Its screenplay by Edna O’Brien is imbued…

The French Rose from Japan The French Rose from Japan

I’m twenty episodes in, now, watching the 1979-1980 classic shojo anime series Rose of Versailles; which is to say, halfway through. There are 40 episodes in total. Those familiar only with modern anime series may find this astonishing; nowadays it’s extraordinary for an anime series to get more than twelve episodes…

Detecting Truly as Ever Detecting Truly as Ever

We have new detectives and a new season but it’s still the old True Detective that premièred on HBO a couple nights ago. Even more the old True Detective than season two, really, as the disappointing reaction from viewers to the second season has seemingly led creator Nic Pizzolatto to codify aspects of season one as…

The Lingering Blood Sucker The Lingering Blood Sucker

A young woman dies suddenly but then keeps turning up, seemingly alive. One possible reason is suggested in the English title of 1970's The Vampire Doll, though its original title, 幽霊屋敷の恐怖 血を吸う人形, doesn’t so clearly categorise the phenomena, translating to something like “The Horror of a Haunted House with a Blood…

Never Forget Daleks Never Forget Daleks

I naturally continued my tour of Dalek episodes of Doctor Who recently added to BritBox’s collection by watching Remembrance of the Daleks this past week, a Seventh Doctor serial from 1988. This season première serial is when the Seventh Doctor really started to cook after his spotty first season and when his…

The Trade and the Story The Trade and the Story

Two reporters from rival papers try to expose a drug and sex trafficking cartel in 1960's Smashing the O-Line (密航0ライン, “Stowaway 0 Line”). It should be a pretty straight forward story but director Seijun Suzuki, as he often did, took this poor innocent pulp script for a bizarre ride, making for a tough, dizzying, and…

Alara Rides the Alien Horse Alara Rides the Alien Horse

Strength is relative, especially when you come from a planet with exceptionally strong gravity, like Alara on The Orville. Last night’s new episode found Alara forced to return home, and to the parents she has a turbulent relationship with. The Earth-like gravity on the Orville is starting to soften up her muscles.…

We Don't Have No Education We Don't Have No Education

The story of the underachieving delinquent who becomes a cruel despot is all too familiar. It was a life path that accelerated temporarily for Bart Simpson in the 1992 Simpsons episode “Separate Vocations” in which a career aptitude test pegs Bart as a future cop and Lisa as a homemaker, suggestions that have profound…

To Repay or to Requite To Repay or to Requite

When you intend to pay an assassin with money, sometimes it’s wise to make sure you both understand you’re not offering sex. Otherwise you might end up with a tragedy something like Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s 1622 play The Changeling, a play I last night watched a very good BBC production of from 1974.

The Robber and the Rabbi of the Old
West The Robber and the Rabbi of the Old West

In theory a Western comedy starring Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford doesn’t seem like necessarily a bad idea. But 1979's The Frisco Kid stumbles primarily on the conceptual level; it never finds a good tone for its initial idea. Mostly the ingredients are fine, particularly the stars, and I found myself liking the…

Comus at the Window Comus at the Window

A young woman moves into her new husband’s enormous ancestral estate and is almost immediately beset by a malevolent supernatural force. It’s 1973's And Now the Screaming Starts, and it certainly does, and recurs at every opportunity. Despite the cheesy title, director Roy Ward Baker establishes a wonderfully…

Truncation of the Daleks Truncation of the Daleks

After watching Resurrection of the Daleks last week, I thought I’d continue my tour of BritBox’s newly added Dalek episodes to its streaming Doctor Who collection by watching Revelation of the Daleks, the Sixth Doctor’s Dalek serial and the next Dalek serial after Resurrection. I started watching the first episode and…

Separating the Inseparable Separating the Inseparable

I’m more of a cat person, myself, but it seems like it would take a particularly mean person to be cruel to a dog. Certainly the seriously steadfast fellows in 2018's Isle of Dogs can’t help but inspire affection with their angelic, unselfconscious loyalty. Director Wes Anderson’s trademark self-consciously stylised…

About a Dying Planet and Masturbation About a Dying Planet and Masturbation

If there was any doubt the soul of Star Trek lives on in The Orville, last night’s new episode, “Primal Urges”, should have laid them to rest. Even as it went places Star Trek had never gone to—like masturbation in the Holodeck—it once again showed The Orville, for all its flaws, remains one of the few sci-fi series…

Books and Stories, Read and Read Books and Stories, Read and Read

On Sunday I read the new Sirenia Digest which contained an exceptionally beautiful story from Caitlin R. Kiernan, a story she wrote in 2009 for an anthology in tribute to Robert Silverberg and his novella Nightwings. I’ve never read Silverberg but if his work is anything like “The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics”,…

Daleks are So Metal Daleks are So Metal

So apparently Daleks rock. That’s the impression I got from the New Years Doctor Who special, “Resolution”. And I mean “rock” with electric guitars and drums, lots of drums. It wasn’t exactly bad but it was an odd fit, especially the drums. At one point I wondered if another file was playing on my computer on which I…

The Movies Until Recently New, Ranked The Movies Until Recently New, Ranked

Happy New Year, everyone. Time for my annual ranking of all the movies I saw in the recently deceased year. I didn’t see as many as I usually do. I really wanted to see Into the Spider-Verse but my schedule lately just won’t let me get to a movie theatre. Anyway, here’s what I did see, ranked from worst to best:

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