Game Review: Doctor Who – City of the Daleks

Here is a review I did for VGchartz on the game!

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TV Review: Doctor Who – Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone

Note: I try to keep these as spoiler free as possible to avoid ruining the episodes for folks.

River Song returns for all the fun.

Many people rank Steven Moffat’s Blink as one of the best standalone episodes of Doctor Who.  This is quite a bold statement considering the episode actually contains very little interaction with the Doctor and his companion at the time Martha Jones.  The main draw for many fans was the chilling introduction of a new race of villains called the Weeping Angels, so called because of their resemblance to the creepy cemetery statues of the same name.  Of all of the villains introduced in new Doctor Who, the Weeping Angels are pretty close to the only ones I would consider classic in a strict sense, as most of the others are definitely better for one-time appearances.  This two-parter also features the Weeping Angels, and as such has large shoes to fill.

These episodes also mark the second appearance of a character that many assume is the Doctor’s future wife – River Song.  In fact this episode is foreshadowed in Moffat’s last televised episodes Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead as River Song asks if they have “survived the crash of the Byzantium yet?”  In typical Moffat Style, The Doctor and River have once again met “out of order” of each other, and River is as sassy as ever if not a bit more.  A bit of light is shone on their relationship that almost leads me to believe that simply understanding the character as “the Doctor’s future wife” is far too easy, and is probably a red herring to their true relationship.

A group of military clerics is there to assist including the awesome Father Octavian pictured here.

The story follows the Doctor and Amy as they take a bit of a break from all the adventuring by visiting a museum.  Pretty soon the Doctor discovers an odd artifact amongst all of the other typical museum findings – a flight recorder box with ancient Galiifreyan text written on it.  This prompts the Doctor to do what anyone would do, steal the item from the museum.  The black box, as it turns out, is a set of directions for the Doctor to Find River Song as she is pursued on a large ship called the Byzantium.  The ship crashes and a very sensitive bit of “cargo” is let loose in a cave full of catacombs.

What follows is a two-parter, that I would say is one of the best, scariest episodes since the shows return in 2005.  As with many Moffat episodes, it was very well done.  The Angels are scarier than they were, as they have new abilities due to the unlimited power of the ship that crashed.  This helps take a creepy villain, which would probably only appear in a few episodes, and makes it a villain that will last.

Now you can’t blink, look the angels in the eye, act like you can’t see them, and a laundry list of other things that make them creepy.

There are a lot of things I love about this episode, but talking about them would give far more spoilers than I like to do on this blog, maybe I’ll touch on it in an editorial later on.  Even if the rest of the season sucks, and we look back at this episode, the season would be a classic.

My Rating 5 out of 5

 

TV Review – Hyperdrive Season 1 Episode 3

I guess my annoyances were heard, as we finally get to find out a little bit about the “window dressing” members of the HMS Camden Lock crew.  On one hand we see that this episode essentially revolves around Navigation Officer Vine who spends all of his life savings on a bit of real estate, and by real estate I mean a huge uninhabitable planet made of ice and poisonous gas.  He decides to take Jeffers with him, against Jeffers actual desires.  The rest of the episode is based around Diplomatic Officer Teal using all sorts of methods to “get rid of” the rest of the cast in various ways so that a candlelit supper with the officers turns into a dinner for two with Henderson.

Sandstrom finally gets some character time

“Vineworld” Vine’s ever so catchy name for his new home world is realized pretty well in the great 19470’s Doctor Who tradition of filming in a rock quarry with weird film filters over the lenses.  Much of the comedy comes from Jeffers and his annoyance with vine due to a lack of preparation for the trip.  He decided not to bring food or water, as it would have been too heavy, and forces them to look around for crashed ships to scavenge on.  On the ship we almost get to see the unrequited love of Henderson and Teal pay off….almost.

We also get to see the ship’s navigational “enhanced” a.k.a. android get a little bit of character, something that the character has been lacking from the beginning.  Apparently she was once a human, until she ran into serious money trouble.  She agreed to have her body and mind modified in exchange for the Space Force paying off her student loan, assuming the offer would not be made if the procedure was not safe. Her personality was then overwritten, but we see shards of her true mind begin to appear as she is given a piece of chocolate by Teal.  I still think that this character is a waste of space, and adds nothing to the show, but we’ll see if that changes.

Vine and Jeffers on “Vineworld”

All in all episode three was good, and shows that the sub-par first episode was hopefully a fluke as the writers and actors come into their own here.

My Rating 3.3 out of 5

 

TV Review – Hyperdrive: Season 1 Episode 2

The second episode of Hyperdrive shows great improvement over the first, as we see a better presented storyline, some better jokes, and better use of special effects.  The show as a whole seems to be a typical BBC low budget sitcom affair, but as we see our first alien world in this episode it all seems to come together.  The story follows a trip to the planet Queppu for an attempt at diplomatic relations, but as Mike Henderson always seems to guarantee, the trip goes awry.  Against the better judgment of Mike, Jeffers is placed in charge of the ship while the top brass is gone, which spells disaster.

The costumes are very creative, but not as good as some I’ve seen in shows like Farscape or Doctor Who.

I was impressed by the costume designs of the Queppu, as they did not suffer from the typical Star Trek “different foreheads” syndrome.  This race  actually looked like a bizarre pre-industrialized race that happens to wear gaudy latex hats, and pretentious jewelry.  Most of the other costumes in this show are pretty bland, so anything like this stands out a lot.  Mike falls in love with the daughter of the crazed ruler of the planet, much to the chagrin of Teal, who harbors feelings for Mike.  We get to see York at his sleazy finest in this episode, as he attempts to nuke the planet before they even visit, and nearly ends up killing the crew in a knife fight.

Jeffers uses his new found power to get the ship into a drag race, almost destroying the ship in the process.

With all the good of the episode, there is still some bad things going on here that leave it average at best.  The jokes are usually good, but not always consistent, making certain scenes seem dragged out.  There are also a few characters like Vine and the ship’s android computer that really seem to serve no purpose to the story other than exist to be an analogue of a Star trek character.  I’ll rate this episode better than the last, but only so much.

May Rating 3.1 out of 5

 

TV Review: Hyperdrive Season 1 Episode 1

I actually downloaded Hyperdrive around the time it originally aired due to a piqued interest in movies and television shows by Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright.  For some reason that I honestly can’t recall, I never watched it, and it sat on my hard drive collecting digital dust.  Going through my files this week, I stumbled upon it, and decided to finally check it out.

The HMS Camden Lock is basically a ship shaped like London’s BT Tower

Hyperdrive is a science fiction based sitcom, a genre hybrid that I can only think of a handful of instances of.  The story follows a crew of inept space voyagers trying to expand the British Empire in the year 2151.  I was drawn to the show due to Nick Frost’s starring role to be quite honest, but was pleasantly surprised to see a few actors I really like such as Patterson Joseph (Survivors, Mitchell and Webb Look) and Kevin Eldon (Big Train, Hot Fuzz) and even guest appearances by notable actors and acresses including Montserrat Lombard of Ashes to Ashes fame.

Frost plays pace Commander Michael Henderson, a misguided man who admires the idealism of space travel ala cheesy science fiction shows, but has no real credentials to back it up.  Imagine every bad thing that Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk ever did and add a bit of sincere stupidity, and you basically have Henderson in a nutshell.  His first officer (Eldon) Eduardo York, is a nice contrast to Henderson in that he seems to secretly want to be an evil galactic overlord like Ming the Merciless, but is held down by federation guidelines and other forms of “red tape”.  Add in a slacker technical officer named Jeffers, a quiet navigations officer named Vine, and the straight man, or lady for that matter, in the whole ordeal Diplomatic Officer Chloe Teal, and you have the principal cast in a nutshell.


(L to R) Teal, Henderson, York

Hyperdrive has its pros and cons that I can even see based solely on this first episode.  The show is a total farce in the style of Star Trek, but that almost leads it to try too hard to be like its “big brother” rather than stand on its own.  While this works most of the time, some of the goofy gags fall flat, and this isn’t helped by a lack of a laugh track.  The jokes are generally pretty funny when they are original, and rely more on gross out humor and dry wit than anything else.  One running gag that I really liked is when Henderson tries to relay his “knowledge” of historical facts to his crewmates, which always come out as a mishandled jumble of nonsense.

One episode in, and I enjoy Hyperdrive, but hope that the story takes off in future episodes, stay tuned for my opinion on the rest of the show!

May rating: 3 out of 5