Saturday, May 03, 2008

Since I've seen every Sontaran appearance in Doctor Who except for their first, I watched it a few days ago. From 1973, "The Time Warrior" has a lot of good stuff to offer: the Third Doctor, the first appearance of the Sontarans, the debut of Sarah Jane Smith as the Doctor's companion, and the first time the Doctor's home planet is identified as Gallifrey. All that and more in a well-written teleplay by Robert Holmes, who went on to serve as the show's story editor during some of its best years (1974-77). In fact, I'd say the 1970s as a whole were the best years of Classic Who.

I also decided to re-watch the final appearance of the Sontarans in Classic Who, 1985's "The Two Doctors", also written by Holmes. I have a particular fondness for serials/episodes where different regenerations of the Doctor team up. In this one, it's the Second Doctor and the Sixth Doctor, who I like to call Doctor Moe and Doctor Bozo. The best fun here is watching Two and Six interact, but there's not enough of it. The serial's over two hour total running time spread over three episodes is excessive and the story could easily be reduced to two parts. Jacqueline Pearce as the villainous Chessene is a nice bonus. It's also nice to see Jamie again.


Review: Doctor Who, Episode 4.5, "The Poison Sky"

The conclusion of Helen Raynor's two-part Sontaran story is entertaining enough, but it loses points for a few plot holes and the Doctor's deus ex machina solution to a very big problem. It's more like Raynor's solid but unspectacular Dalek two-parter from last season than the first part or the two really good Torchwood episodes she wrote.

Warning: spoilers below, please highlight the white space with your mouse to read them.

Donna's mother proves that sometimes brute force is quite an effective solution.

Oh no, Clone!Martha helps the Sontarans steal the TARDIS! And Donna is inside!

Rose appears on the TARDIS' monitor!

Nice to hear the Brigadier is still alive and is Sir Alistair these days, but we really need to see him again, even if only a small cameo appearance.

Oh no, Ross is dead!

Donna and a mallet for the win!

Donna braves the dangers of Sontaran ship to help the Doctor.

"Are you my mummy?" Heh.

Yay, the Valiant to the rescue!

Clone!Martha couldn't fool the Doctor.

"You'll face me, sir!"

"Wonderful". Now that's the Sontaran spirit!

Aw, Clone!Martha died.

The sky's on fire! Um, how exactly does that work without killing everyone?

Rattigan finally redeems himself.

Boom go the Sontarans.

Donna's grandfather is still awesome.

Uh oh. The TARDIS just kidnapped the Doctor, Donna, and Martha.

Next week: OMG!


Friday, May 02, 2008

Reviews: Supernatural & Smallville

Review: Supernatural, Episode 3.13, "Ghostfacers"

Writer Ben Edlund knows funny. After all, he created The Tick and wrote the "Life of the Party" and "Smile Time" episodes of Angel, so it's no surprise that this episode is all about the funny. You know all those 'reality' shows about ghost hunters? Edlund mocks their conventions within the parameters of the Supernatural universe, meaning hapless ghost hunters get thrown together with professional demon fighters Dean and Sam to face a murderous ghost. Hilarity and chills ensue. Also, the "Ghostfacers" song is made of awesome.

Review: Supernatural, Episode 3.14, "Long Distance Call"

After the humorous interlude of the previous episode, lead writer Sera Gamble puts the season's story arc back on the front burner. With only two episodes left in the strike-shortened season, there's a certain urgency to Dean's quest to save his own life and spare his soul from Hell, and Gamble keys into his willingness to take a leap of faith if it could save him.

Review: Smallville, Episode 3.18, "Apocalypse"

What would the Earth be like if Kal-El had never arrived here? Would it be better or worse? Writers Al Septien and Turi Meyer explore this idea while serving up some fun nods to comic book continuity. Star Tom Welling sits in the director's chair for the third time and does quite a good job of it, while James Marsters returns as Brainiac.

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