Thursday, October 09, 2008

This Week's Comics

Ferryman #1, Walking Dead #53, The Goon #29, B.P.R.D.: The Warning #4, 100 Bullets #96, X-Men: Magneto Testament #2, X-Men: Original Sin #1, X-Men: Manifest Destiny #2, Action Comics #870, Final Crisis: Revelations #3, Detective Comics #849, Batman Confidential #22, Green Arrow and Black Canary #13, Green Lantern #35, Secret Six #2, Wonder Woman #25, Trinity #19, Avengers/Invaders #5, Invincible Iron Man #6, Amazing Spider-Girl #25.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Review: Sanctuary, Episode 1.1, “Sanctuary for All”

To be honest, I found the premiere episode lacking and a little disappointing. The premise sounds similar to Torchwood--a team with a mysterious leader and a secret base who deal with strange creatures and unexplained phenomena--but it's no Torchwood. It lacks the style and the originality of that show. That said, it offers some entertainment value, especially for fans of star Amanda Tapping like myself.

Sanctuary is the creation of former Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis staff writer Damian Kindler, and began life as a series of eight webisodes. While it was initially reported that the webisodes would be edited together to make the two hour premiere episode, instead it appears that the first four webisodes were re-written and re-shot, with much less use of CGI backgrounds and sets, to make this episode, which was directed by Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis veteran Martin Wood.

It's refreshing to see Tapping take on a full-time character other than Captain-turned-Major-turned-Colonel Samantha Carter, the character she's played on Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis since 1997. She's well-suited to the role of mysterious team leader Dr. Helen Magnus, without making you think you're watching a Carter clone. My only complaint is the English accent she uses, which seems to come and go, and is shaky even at the best of times.

The cast also includes Robin Dunne as Dr. Will Zimmerman, a brilliant forensic psychiatrist (this character reminds me of Stargate SG-1's Dr. Daniel Jackson); Emilie Ullerup as Dr. Magnus' daughter Ashley (this pretty young blonde woman with super fighting skills and a penchant for quips seems derivative of one Buffy Summers); Ryan Robbins as Henry, Dr. Magnus' assistant; and Christopher Heyerdahl (Todd the Wraith on Stargate Atlantis and Zor-El on Smallville) as a dangerous man who shares a past with Dr. Magnus. Guest stars in this episode include Stargate Atlantis' Kavan Smith and Battlestar Galactica's Kandyse McClure.

Verdict: Sanctuary is an adequate genre show, but no more than that at this point. It has the potential to put together an interesting mythology, but it's held back so far by a predictable story and under-developed characters. It's not a bad show, it just needs some work. Time will tell if it improves. The presence of Tapping is enough to keep me watching for now.


Review: The Sarah Jane Adventures, Serial 2.1, "The Last Sontaran"

Former Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith returns for a second season of her spinoff series, beginning with facing off against a Sontaran left behind after an attempted invasion of Earth that was thwarted by the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who earlier this year.

Sontarans are no strangers to Sarah Jane. She encountered one in her very first appearance as the Third Doctor's companion in the 1973 serial, "The Time Warrior," then again with the Fourth Doctor in 1975's "The Sontaran Experiment."

Head writer Phil Ford delivers another solidly entertaining two-part serial, although the first part is the stronger of the two. The Sarah Jane Adventures skews toward the youngest audience of the three Whoniverse shows (including Doctor Who and Torchwood), and that's important to keep in mind when viewing it.

Elisabeth Sladen is in her usual fine form as Sarah Jane, while guest star Anthony O'Donnell makes a very good Sontaran warrior. Some cast changes are afoot this season, and this episode also sets them up.