Saturday, June 21, 2008

Review: Doctor Who, Episode 4.11, "Turn Left"

Departing showrunner Russell T Davies goes from strength to strength as a writer as the fourth season nears its end. Paired with last week's episode ("Midnight"), these are the best back to back episodes he's written since the end of the second season. Coming to the end of his final full season as showrunner, we're beginning to see a summation of his entire run.

If last week's episode could be compared to The Twilight Zone, this one plays out more like the Whoniverse version of It's a Wonderful Life. Well done all around, with kudos to veteran director Graeme Harper (the only person to direct episodes of both Classic Who and New Who) and actress Catherine Tate, whose performance as companion Donna is highly effective.

Judging from the preview, the final two episodes of this three-part season finale is going to be huge. I can't wait to see how it all unfolds.

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

I know some people aren't happy with how Donna returns to being a harridan in this episode, but I think it works particularly well in demonstrating how the influence of the Doctor has changed her for the better as a person. We see her here as she would have been if she'd never met him.

Rose is back! w00t! Some fans might not be pleased, but Rose is one of my all-time favorite companions.

Bad Wolf! Everywhere! That gets the Doctor's attention.

Uh oh, the TARDIS' cloister bell sounds at the end. Big trouble is coming.

It looks like the season finale will be a Doctor Who/Torchwood/Sarah Jane Adventures crossover! I can sum up my feelings in one word: squee!


I'm going to have a Doctor Who evening. I downloaded this week's episode of New Who to watch, and then the PBS station in Tacoma is doing a Fifth Doctor marathon from 6pm to 10pm featuring the serials "Enlightenment" and "The King's Demons."


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This week's comics: Angel: After the Fall #9, Ex Machina #37, Hellblazer #245, Trinity #3, Justice League of America #22, The Flash #241, Catwoman #80, Birds of Prey #119, Ultimate Fantastic Four #55, The Brave and the Bold #14, Wolverine #66, X-Factor #32, The Goon #25, and Iron Man: Director of SHIELD #30.

I also picked up two DC Comics Pocket Super Heroes action figures: Dr. Mid-Nite and the Golden Age Atom.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Review: The Middleman, Episode 1.1, "The Pilot Episode Sanction"

This tongue-in-cheek adventure show debuted tonight on the ABC Family network. It was developed by former Lost staff writer/producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach based on his comic book series of the same name.

The story concerns one Wendy Watson (played by a rather spunky Natalie Morales), an artist and temp worker who witnesses something incredible and soon finds herself recruited by the mysterious Middleman (played by the wonderfully deadpan Matt Keeslar) to be his sidekick in clandestinely fighting various menaces.

Creator/showrunner Grillo-Marxuach wrote this episode and it was directed by supervising producer Jeremiah Chechik (director of Benny and Joon and The Avengers). It's a clever and amusing send-up of the conventions of the genre, and the actors (including 24's Mary Lynn Rajskub as a guest star) get right into the spirit of it. It's an enjoyable way to spend an hour.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's been confirmed that the third season of Torchwood will consist of only five episodes, at least one of which will be written by creator Russell T Davies. The episodes will form one big story arc. They're expected to air on consecutive nights in early 2009 on BBC One (the first two seasons were aired on BBC Two and BBC Three). John Barrowman is the only cast member confirmed to be returning, although season two guest star James Marsters has said he'll also return.