Dracula, one episode in, a series review

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. I’m gonna talk to you guys about the new series Dracula. Or rather rant and scream and bitch about the first episode. Normally I try to wait at least 2 episodes before basing an opinion. But in this case, sorry, I can’t.

Dracula

Synopsis according to IMDB:

Series introduces Dracula as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier. There’s only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan: Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.

My thoughts.

I was really looking forward to the series adaptation of one of the biggest and most influential books in the vampire history. And boy was I disappointed. No scratch that, I was hurt. My vampire loving heart is bleeding of sadness.

Dracula is an American now. Renfield is sane, African American and looks like he took one too many steroid injections. The costumes are out of place and certainly not Victorian London. The conversations boring. And apparently Dracula invented Wi-Fi!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! The first episode is messy, too many character introductions, a lot of boobs. (Ok I don’t mind boobs, but I do if they are literally pushed in your face every other second.)

We get glimpses of flashbacks that don’t add a single bit of information about the story. Seriously, Bram Stoker turned in his grave when it aired. The whole 45 minutes felt like hours and me sitting on the couch cringing at what was being displayed on my TV.

I can honestly say I rather watch all twilight movies back to back than watch this first episode again. And those are bad!

The only good thing, and I do mean only! Is that Dracula has proper fangs. That’s it. I can’t say anything positive about this adaptation.

Watching this felt like someone was staking me in the heart and slowly twisting and splintering the stake inside my body. And be assured I watched some dodgy vampire movies over the years.

I mean, Dracula, a cult classic, no matter what adaptation, stays true to the story. This abomination doesn’t. No, just nope. I just can’t deal with this level of … I’m gonna stop writing now.

Seriously, avoid this as the plague!

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

PS: I really tried to be positive. But this feels like watching Elementary. And if you know me, you know how I feel about Elementary vs Sherlock. Just nope.

PPS: sorry for all the people who do love this new Dracula adaptation, I’m willing to try two more episodes but if it doesn’t get any better…

The Petrosian Invitation by T.P. Keating, a book review

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. The perks of running a book reviewing blog is that sometimes authors find your blog, contact you and ask you to read their books. Oh and in the process they actually provide you with a book to read. I love free books and I’m to Dutch to turn such an offer down 😉

That’s how you end up with this latest review. And just let me say, vampires, Russian Culture, cooking and a to die for Chocolate dessert? Oh yes please! Beware of some spoilers, although I try to keep them to a minimum.

About the book:

  • ASIN: B00DQ9JSGY
  • edition language: English
  • Author: T.P. Keating
  • Genre: vampire romance novel

add-to-goodreads

 

 

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

Oleg Petrosian, the self-made Russian Billionaire, wonders when his un-beating heart will experience a glimmer of love. On a business trip to London, to seal a gas deal, he meets Sam Latham, the chef at a swanky restaurant in South Kensington. After she caters for a business meeting at his nearby home, his private Learjet (flown by his cosmonaut sister) whisks Oleg, Sam and her younger actress sister to Oleg’s cliff top home in Russia’s Anapa, a health resort on the Black Sea. But can their fledgling romance survive Oleg’s deep, dark secret?

About the Author:

Hmm, I have to say this author seems to be as mysterious as Oleg. All I could find about the author was on Amazon:

I live for writing, and travel has always been an awesome source of inspiration for me. I love my cats – which mean I cannot travel so much nowadays. At home with 6 cats and my wife, I am never far from my keyboard. I was a former semi-pro musician; until my wife convinced me to switch to writing (she’s full of good ideas like that). You can contact me by email at keatingwrites@yahoo.com. Or drop by my website at www.tpkeating.com.

My thoughts:

The fact I read this book in just 2 days (and I had to work those 2 days) says enough about me that I really liked it. I mean, I’m a sucker for vampire novels, mix that with Russian culture (which I’m also interested in) and some cooking and I am sold.

And my biggest issue with this particular novel is that it’s too short. Now don’t worry I’m going into a bitching mode. But I like more elaborated books. Sometimes the story feels too rushed or things aren’t explained to properly. For example I would love to read more about Oleg’s background. And this is addressed in the book briefly I want more explanation. Or Sam going through the motions a bit more. I mean, she accepts Oleg’s invitation a bit too easy for my taste, dragging along her sister into a big adventure. Certainly towards the ending, which came way too early for my taste.

But Oleg’s Russian background is a relief for all the current American sparkling vampires walking around. Finally a bit more man instead of teenage boys swooping up the public.

I loved Sam’s no nonsense attitude and hard working attitude towards life. It gives it a ‘real’ feeling to the story. And the fact that she’s a female chef (where do I get the recipe for that Mousse au Chocolate Noir???) is a big bonus for me. She’s not some troubled young female in need of rescue. (Thank god for that one).

I like books that have a different outtake towards vampires instead of walking along the better known paths of vampire history. And T.P. Keating certainly delivers on that front.

I don’t know if this book is getting a second part or is going to be re-written into a longer novel or if it’s gonna stay the way it is. But I found it funny, well-written, new in its genre, a bit of romance, which is always good and it made me hunger for more.

Where to get your own copy:

buy-on-amazon.combuy-on-amazon.co.uk

 

 

My rating:

I rate this book 7 out of 10. And that’s just based of the fact I want more. So should you read it? Yes definitely. If you like strong female characters, handsome Russian vampires and a bit of romance added in the mix. So go get your own copy and leave a nice review on Goodreads for this author!

YouTube Sunday!!!

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Since we have an extra hour of weekend, this weekend, what better way to spend it watching geeky YouTube vids. Enjoy!

Honest trailer reviews of the Walking Dead: http://youtu.be/rNxvo8AcpQQ

Got stuck watching the BBC and stumbled upon the Sarah Millican show, interviewing some Game of Thrones cast members, ok sucky quality vid, but otherwise amazing: http://youtu.be/uVosT26sTaE

And we got a new teaser trailer for the 50th anniversary! Watch it: http://youtu.be/loGm3vT8EAQ

12 years a slave, starring Benedict Cumberbatch: http://youtu.be/4_Osiocesfg

Pretty much how my cat reacts to spiders (and myself for that matter, I hate spiders): http://youtu.be/19jaOSNibkU

John Green! Talking about Candy-mental floss: http://youtu.be/HrIk0lG8fso it’s awesome, watch it!

Some more Benedict, as Smaug, or rather, behind the scenes doing the voice of Smaug: http://youtu.be/Uz5ODLBC3j4

The Escape artist, starting next week with David Tennant: http://youtu.be/Yx1QaSIaTag

Benedict Cumberbatch and Harrison Ford at the Graham Norton Show: http://youtu.be/I3Og2CzpAFg

Even more Benedict: http://youtu.be/KiDpC4awPK4

Real life Carrie? http://youtu.be/VlOxlSOr3_M

The desolation of Smaug TV spot, yes please: http://youtu.be/JqdZGrgZPqI

Little Favour full trailer, not available for pre-order on I-Tunes, release date the 5th of November: http://youtu.be/11y3gcFxwog

I love Martin Freeman, here’s some: http://youtu.be/-08wp9CHNVY

Halloween is coming and don’t forget, All Hallows read as well. Neil Gaiman explains: http://youtu.be/1tYtLeWN5NQ (I do accept scary books)

Remember I went to a book signing with Neil Gaiman? And the interview that went with it. And how I screwed up not remembering the interviewer’s name? (Sorry Marcel, I remember now) Here’s the whole interview: http://youtu.be/xrWgHYVWlug Now the thing is, although the text below says this is the interview in Utrecht, it’s actually the one in Rotterdam. so I heard myself whooping and cheering on camera (lol) but you can’t see me (thank god for that one) But it’s still amazing to watch it again.

If you want to watch the whole playlist, click this link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkqAzbSKwpFBwxyVVrE1JzKnPoXla0rg4

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

Spore (Doctor Who 50th Anniversary E-Shorts #8) by Alex Scarrow, an e-book review

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks. Another Doctor Who 50th anniversary e-book review. This time, the 8th Doctor and book number 8. Spore, by Alex Scarrow. Be aware of spoilers!

Spore

About the book:

  • Kindle Edition, 40 pages
  • Published:  August 23rd 2013 by Puffin
  • Author: Alec Scarrow
  • ASIN: B00BLVO8WS
  • edition language: English
  • series: Doctor Who 50th Anniversary E-Shorts #8

add-to-goodreads

 

 

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

In a small town in the Nevada desert, an alien pathogen has reduced the entire population to a seething mass of black slime. When the Eighth Doctor arrives, he realises this latest threat to humanity is horrifyingly familiar – it is a virus which almost annihilated his entire race, the Time Lords…

Eleven Doctors, eleven months, eleven stories: a year-long celebration of Doctor Who! The most exciting names in children’s fiction each create their own unique adventure about the time-travelling Time Lord.

About the author:

I live a nomadic existence with my wife Frances, and son Jacob. For now we’re living in Norwich. I spent the first 10 years out of college in the music business chasing record deals and the next 12 years in the computer games business as a graphic artist and eventually a games designer. For those of you who like their computer games, here’s some of the titles I’ve worked on:
Waterworld, Evolva, The Thing, Spartan, Gates of Troy, Legion Arena
Since signing up as an author with Orion, I seem to spend most of my time hunched over my laptop in various cafes and coffee bars sipping lattes, tapping keys and watching the ebb and flow of shoppers outside on the street. As I write this, I’m awaiting the launch of my next book – the sequel to , LAST LI…more
I live a nomadic existence with my wife Frances, and son Jacob. For now we’re living in Norwich. I spent the first 10 years out of college in the music business chasing record deals and the next 12 years in the computer games business as a graphic artist and eventually a games designer. For those of you who like their computer games, here’s some of the titles I’ve worked on:
Waterworld, Evolva, The Thing, Spartan, Gates of Troy, Legion Arena
Since signing up as an author with Orion, I seem to spend most of my time hunched over my laptop in various cafes and coffee bars sipping lattes, tapping keys and watching the ebb and flow of shoppers outside on the street. As I write this, I’m awaiting the launch of my next book – the sequel to , LAST LIGHT, and getting ready to find a publisher for the first book in a separate series, ELLIE QUIN. Ahead of me, lies research work for my next thriller, and also some screenplays I’m looking forward to writing. Although I’m glad to be where I am now, I do occasionally kick myself for not having succumbed to the writing bug much earlier. But then we all just muddle along through life, don’t we? There’s rarely a plan.

My thoughts:

After finishing this book my first thoughts where, ok this is epic. I do love stories and movies about viruses and stuff like that. But this seems awfully a lot like a combination of the movie Outbreak and the Doctor Who episode Silence in the Library.

And although I think Silence in the Library with the Vastha Nerada is one of the most brilliant episodes. (I bow down to your epicness Mr. Moffat)And the movie Outbreak is a really good virus / the world is doomed movie. It doesn’t work all that well for this book.

And again I’m gonna complain about the ‘short’ in this series of e-books. All these writers have such good ideas about storylines and some would make even better episodes. They are just too short to tell a story properly.

And as far as children’s novels go, this one is kinda scary for children.

And although I’m not familiar with the Doctor Who classics and Paul McGann as the eight Doctor. This could have easily been a tenth Doctor Story, but I blame my feel of the whole Vastha Nerada thing to it.

But despite my comments about this book. I did like to read it. It’s short; it’s nice seeing the Doctor without a companion, a setting different from the UK is always a pleasure to read. And as I said before, I like the idea. Also, bring in the Time-Lords and Gallifrey and I’m sold.

Where to get it:

buy-on-amazon.combuy-on-amazon.co.uk

 

 

Ratings:

So I rate this book a 7 out of 10.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a couple of episodes in, a series review.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. So, another series review. This time Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

marvels-agents-of-shield

Synopsis according to IMDB:

The missions of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.

My thoughts.

Euhmmmm, so did everyone else like me thought we would get something like all those Marvel superhero movies in series form or am I the only one?

This series was on everyone’s radar, including mine and a big promise to get us some awesome stuff.

I watched the first couple of episodes and still whenever I watched one of the episodes I can’t but help being left with the feeling of what the hell did I just watch?

I mean, we have agent Coulson, which is epic. Although I’m getting really tired with the whole Tahiti was awesome thing.

Melinda May, the pilot is way too serious and has a serious stick up her … you get my drift.

Grant Ward reminds me a lot of the all American bloke with a square jaw, being super serious and not to happy with his missions and babysitting the rest.

Skye is not a hacker! Period. No matter what Joss Whedon is telling us, she is not a computer nerd!

Leo and Jemma, bless them. Are fun to watch, but as a none native English speaker, with all the different accents I need freaking subtitles to understand everyone.

SO why do I keep watching? I have no idea, there is something about this series that makes you keep watching and the sort of hope it does get better, because the original idea is very good. But there are a lot of plot holes, things seriously not possible, major screw-up’s and a lot of things nicked from other series / movies.

It’s like this series tries too hard. It wants to be an action series, a bit of sci-fi, comedy, some flirting romance stuff and everything else. I think they need to pick one main theme to go with. Joss can do so much better. Look at Buffy, which was brilliant mixing the supernatural with action and comedy and S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely failing at this.

I want more action heroes or mutants or alien tech and better scripts. The series is picked up to finish at least season 1, so I might stick to it till the end.

Let me know what you guys think.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy

Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb, a book review.

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Today I’ll review a book that has a special meaning for me. I’ll tell you all about it in a minute. And don’t worry; I’ll get back on those Doctor Who e-book reviews in a couple of days. But first, the Assassin’s Apprentice, the first part in the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb.

Robin Hobb

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

About the book:

  • original title: Assassin’s Apprentice
  • ISBN: 0006480098 (ISBN13: 9780006480099)
  • edition language: English
  • series: Farseer Trilogy #1, Realms of the Elderlings #1,
  • characters: Verity, Fool, Galen, FitzChivalry, Burrich
  • Author: Robin Hobb

add-to-goodreads

 

 

About the Author:RobinHobb

  • born: in California, The United States
  • gender: female
  • website: http://robinhobb.com/
  • twitter username: Robinhobb
  • genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, History, Mystery
  • influences: Every book I ever read, every song I ever heard, every dog that e…moreEvery book I ever read, every song I ever heard, every dog that ever walked with me, every cat that ever kicked my desk clean . . . life is an influence.

** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star ‘I liked it’ rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It’s a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 star from me means,yes, I liked the book, and I’d loan it to a friend and it went everywhere in my jacket pocket or purse until I finished it. A 3 star means that I’ve ignored friends to finish it and my sink is full of dirty dishes. A 4 star means I’m probably in trouble with my editor for missing a deadline because I was reading this book. But I wa…more ** I am shocked to find that some people think a 2 star ‘I liked it’ rating is a bad rating. What? I liked it. I LIKED it! That means I read the whole thing, to the last page, in spite of my life raining comets on me. It’s a good book that survives the reading process with me. If a book is so-so, it ends up under the bed somewhere, or maybe under a stinky judo bag in the back of the van. So a 2 star from me means,yes, I liked the book, and I’d loan it to a friend and it went everywhere in my jacket pocket or purse until I finished it. A 3 star means that I’ve ignored friends to finish it and my sink is full of dirty dishes. A 4 star means I’m probably in trouble with my editor for missing a deadline because I was reading this book. But I want you to know . . . I don’t finish books I don’t like. There’s too many good ones out there waiting to be found.

Robin Hobb is the author of three well-received fantasy trilogies: The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin’s Quest), The Liveship Traders Trilogy (Ship of Magic, Mad Ship and Ship of Destiny) and the Tawny Man Trilogy (Fool’s Errand, Golden Fool, and Fool’s Fate) Her current work in progress is entitled Shaman’s Crossing. Robin Hobb lives and works in Tacoma, Washington, and has been a professional writer for over 30 years.

In addition to writing, her interests include gardening, mushrooming, and beachcombing. She and her husband Fred have three grown children and one teenager, and three grand-children.

She also writes as Megan Lindholm, and works under that name have been finalists for the Hugo award, the Nebula Award, and the Endeavor award. She has twice won an Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers’ Award.

My thoughts.

Before I begin reviewing the book, I think I should tell you something about how I came into contact with these books and what they mean to me.

I had a pretty rough time growing up and going through puberty. A friend of mine introduced me to fantasy books and the fantasy book store in my town. And soon that fantasy store was something I used to escape to when things got, let’s just say, a bit not good at home. It was a second home from home sort to speak. I soon got to know the owner pretty well and we developed a sort of friendship. Or more like he was there for me when I needed someone to talk to, to cry, and to laugh with and so on.

He was one of the few people that kept me going, kept me sane and introduced me to a whole new world of fantastic books I could escape into when I wasn’t able to visit his shop. I don’t think he ever knew how much he meant to me, or how much he helped me and basically saved me from myself.

Early on he introduced me to the Liveship Traders series by Robin Hobb (the second trilogy in the series) and I absolutely loved them. After reading all three of them, I moved on to the Farseer trilogy and the Tawny Man trilogy as well. After that he unfortunately had to close his shop because of the recession and people ordering cheap books online.

But those books kept me sane, kept me going, kept me fantasizing about writing my own book. Kept me wishing I could live in that world. And I try to reread the series every other year (there are now in total 13 books). And although reading them over and over again reminds me of bad times. It also reminds me of how I have grown and learned over the years. How strong I am today and without that deep dark pit that was puberty for me, I would never be the person I am today, for which I am truly grateful.

That’s why I still keep on buying actual books, besides reading e-books. Because when I look at my bookcase I don’t only see pretty covers and stacks of paper, I also see memories of good and bad times. Things I shared with people now no long in my life. Where I was when reading a book. How I felt at that moment. The story that kept me going.

Each and every book I own has its own personal story. And if you don’t love books, you don’t get it. But for me, my books are more important than a new TV or a shiny laptop. They literally are the story of my life, told by other people. Worlds I escaped in. Where I wasn’t that depressed teenager but a dragon fighter or a magician. A queen of an outstretched world, or a vampire.  I learned about magic, friendship and companions. I learned about bravery and keep on going. I learned about not giving up even though it looked so dark, to just keep on going because there was a reward at the end. That it would get better, maybe not now but soon.

Oh wow, ok, enough personal stuff now. Let’s get on with the review before I start sobbing while writing this. Just one thing, because I started reading these books at the age of around 12-13 I think. I read them all in Dutch, so if I screw up with the translation of names and places I’m sorry for that.

The real review.

Needless to say this series and the books belonging to this series are my all-time favourite fantasy books. So how do you review a book you love so much? That you want to shove it into people’s hands and demand they read it. How to you put into words what this story is about so you can do it justice so people get interested in it to actually read it. How do you explain the story in a few short sentences what the story is about without spoiling it too much?

I don’t think I can’t to be honest. I think if you read the story above about what books and this series means to me should be enough for people to start reading it. I don’t think I can write a proper review and do the book justice.

And although I understand not everyone will love these kinds of fantasy books. I do urge people to read it, if you are a lover of fantasy like I am.

So I think for now this will be my review. A glimpse into my soul and rambling of a booklover. And who knows, maybe in a year or two, when I read the whole series again. I am able to write that review. But for now? Just read it, or not. But this is one of the few books who get a 10 out of 10.

Love, your own hot cute girly geek, Mendy.

Where to get your own copy:

buy-on-amazon.combuy-on-amazon.co.ukbuy-on-bol.com

 

The Fifth Estate, a movie review (with spoilers)

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. I rarely go to the cinema since it’s so expensive and I don’t have a lot of spare time. But when one of my DCC friends scored tickets to the Gent (Belgium) film festival to see the Fifth Estate, I couldn’t refuse. Also because we would meet up with fellow Benedict fans in Belgium and because this film was high on my to-watch list.

Before I begin, let me state this review contains spoilers. Since the movie isn’t released everywhere yet, if you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read it!

And now we begin.

FifthEstate

Synopsis according to IMDB:

A dramatic thriller based on real events that reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century’s most fiercely debated organization.

 

My thoughts.

Let me state first I absolutely love this movie. If you take out the whole based on a true story effect (according to the movie company, not according to Mr Assange himself), the story is something that peaks my interest a lot. I love films about hackers and computer stuff and everything, and although there aren’t many good movies about this subject, this one is definitely one I want to add to my collection when it’s out on DVD.

The main story tells the tale of Julian Assange and his (former) fellow friend Daniel Domscheit-Berg and how WikiLeaks started. One man with a vision to provide the world with free access of knowledge and to protect the whistleblowers behind it, providing said information. It tells the story about how they started out small, fighting for a good cause, but eventually ending up fighting against powerful governments and losing track of said cause to strife to get all the information published without editing. And eventually leading up to the situation today holds. With Julian staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, not being able to leave in fear of prosecution.

Julian Assange feared by this movie that he would be portrayed as the bad guy, some deranged hacker with no remorse. And although the movie lets us see a glimpse into his life and how he became the man he is today, I don’t think he has something to fear.

I think (basing my opinion about the fact the movie is true) that the circumstances pushed him into a path, combined with his strange upbringing. I think he had a brilliant idea and vision and he executed it to the best possible means he could with the limited resources he had. I think that the surrounding circumstances and his own nature pushed him beyond his limits and that he made the choices with only the best interest in heart. That doesn’t mean I agree with him.

I think his idea of free information and the public having a right to know are important, but not at the cost of lives. I mean, at the one hand he protects the whistleblowers by not revealing their personal information, but at the same time he publishes other peoples personal information? But I don’t want this review to turn into some political discussion.

I want to give credit to the people who made this movie possible. The scriptwriters, the actors, the director, producers and everybody else. This movie could have easily turned into one big blaming the bad guy scenario and I truly believe they did their best to try to be as objective as possible. I think Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed a brilliant role here. And even after having been in contact with Mr. Assange himself he continued making this movie only with the best intentions, is something admirable.

The movie itself, if you are not interested in the whole true story idea is still an interesting thriller/hacker movie to watch. The pace is high, the surrounding are beautiful. I loved how they filmed in different cities around the world and the more indebt computer stuff is brilliantly done, and reminded me sometimes of the movie Hackers.

This is a movie that leaves room for discussing when leaving the theatre. And although only the real people behind the story know all the facts I think everyone has an opinion when you have watched it. And I think that’s also the power of this movie. And I do recommend you should watch it.

So check it out in theatres near you and go watch it!

Love, your hot cute girly geek, Mendy

Letter from Julian Assange to Benedict Cumberbatch: http://wikileaks.org/First-Letter-from-Julian-Assange.html

Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Smaug writes open letter to Benedict Cumberbatch: http://celluloidheroes.co.uk/smaug-writes-open-letter-to-benedict-cumberbatch/

 

Doctor Who – The 50th Anniversary Trailer and Whovian anniversaries

Okay, did you watch it????   What do you mean “Watch what????”  I meant the new Doctor Who 50th anniversary trailer… I didn’t mean “Strictly Come Dancing”!!!!  (OK, I did catch the last few minutes to make sure I watched the trailer (ahem)).

If you didn’t see it and want to know what the fuss is about visit this YouTube page.

This teaser for the forthcoming 50th anniversary celebrations was a bit of a “moment” for me.  I watched “Doctor Who” during the classic era and although landmarks anniversaries were acknowledged, there was no real fuss made about them, well apart from “The Five Doctors” which was, to my mind the only REAL stab at an anniversary special.  (For the fans who put forward “The Three Doctors” as a special, I’m afraid that it doesn’t count as it started transmission in 1972 although it is a great multi-Doctor story).

The tenth and twentieth were acknowledged as above, the twenty-fifth got “Silver Nemesis” as it’s official celebration – a story which featured Cybermen, a group of men who want to bring about “The Fourth Reich”, a mad villainess from the times of the Stuart era of the British monarchy, a living statue and, unfortunately if you’ve watched the original version rather than the special edition released on VHS video in 1993, a plot that creaks, and in some respect falls apart, under the weight of all these elements and a need to edit the story down into three twenty-five minute episodes.  (In my opinion, the official story should have been “Remembrance Of The Daleks” by Ben Aaronovitch).

There was a little fuss made of the thirtieth as although the programme was not in production at the time, there was a special season which transmitted the 1973 story “Planet Of The Daleks” which included some mini documentaries prior to the transmission of each episode;  BBC radio commissioned and transmitted the audio drama “The Paradise Of Death” starring Jon Pertwee, Elisabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney; the brilliant documentary “Thirty Years In The TARDIS” which led on to the release on video (and earlier this year on DVD) “More Than Thirty Years In The TARDIS”; a special weekend on the satellite television station “UK Gold” where fans could select the stories they wanted to see… and then the Beeb went and ruined it by commissioning “Dimensions In Time” (aka “Five Doctors and their companions meet the cast of EastEnders because the Rani has a plot to keep them all in Albert Square” – a fate worse than death for any Time Lord or their companion) – granted it formed part of the annual “Children In Need” charity celebrations, but “Doctor Who” has had better acknowledgements in this particular evening (most notably the regeneration mini-episode in 2005 and “Time Crash” in 2007).  (I will qualify this though by saying it was also the thirtieth anniversary that prompted me to go to my first convention).

The fortieth anniversary heralded what could have been a fresh direction for the franchise as Richard E. Grant took up the mantle of the Doctor in the online story “The Scream Of The Shalka” (released last month on DVD), but any chance of a continuing online series of adventures for this Ninth Doctor was brought to a very swift conclusion with what was probably the best fortieth birthday present the fans wanted – the return of “Doctor Who” to our television screens.

As for the fiftieth, well I have to admit that in comparison to previous anniversaries, we’re being positively spoiled.  Two book ranges featuring an adventure for each of the Doctors with a third to start in December with some major writing talent such as Jenny Colgan, Cecelia Aherne and Trudi Canavan waiting in the wings ; a range of audio stories (“Destiny Of The Doctor”) featuring a loosely linked narrative for each of the Doctors; the special “1963” mini-series of Big Finish audios as part of the monthly range focussing on the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors plus the official audio anniversary celebration “The Light At The End” starring Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann, along with various companions from the history of the programme, facing off against Geoffrey Beevers reprising his role as The Master from the 1981 story “The Keeper Of Traken”; special magazines from the official “Doctor Who Magazine” (plus, I imagine, a special edition of the “Radio Times” in time for the anniversary itself); releases of classic soundtracks by Silva Screen alongside their regular releases of soundtracks by Murray Gold; and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg with the mass of t-shirts, books, fan events and other paraphernalia out there.  (Plus the big news of last week of the recovery of “The  Enemy Of The World” and the majority of “The Web Of Fear”).

As for the BBC itself, well.  BBC America were quick off the mark with “The Doctors Revisited” – a monthly series of documentaries focussing on each of the Doctors partnered with an iconic story from the programme’s history. In addition to this series, they have produced an overview of the programme as a whole and devoted a programme to the companions.  These programmes have been distributed across the world and commenced transmission last week on the UK’s “Watch” channel.

The BBC themselves have been a bit more measured in the build up and despite a bit of a fandom own goal with the whole Comic-Con “incident” (which I was miffed about, but then got a bit more philosophical about it and remembered that it’s more than what the Beeb did during the classic years), they’ve been careful to tease the collective Whovian fandom with the two mini-trailers alongside this new trailer.

Within this trailer, you get a one minute potted history tour of the Whoniverse with opening from the policeman and the Totter’s Lane gate from the opening episode “An Unearthly Child” right up to Matt announcing that it is “The Day Of The Doctor”, which indicated that Steven Moffat is going to start “Phase 2″/”Chapter 2” of the Doctor’s adventures from this adventure onwards.

The trailer itself is a mixture of TARDIS keys, sonic screwdrivers, jelly babies, the first representation of William Hartnell in HD quality colour, current companions and absent friends, Daleks and Autons and Angels (Oh my!!!), the third Doctor locked in combat with the Master, Bessie, The Shard, The Golden Gate Bridge, TARDIS consoles and voice overs alongside Matt Smith’s moody commentary.  I could go on and on and on.  I have to admit that I was like a fanboy who’s had too much caffeine mixed with a sugar high.

The BBC will, no doubt, ratchet up this sense of anticipation with the same level of care and attention that has been provided so far.  After all, it’s like waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Day or reading the last page of the mystery before reading the book, or as a certain Professor of the Doctor’s acquaintance regularly says, “Spoilers.”

As for the television related build up, there’s a “Monsters and Villains” weekend on BBC3, a “12 Again” special on the CBBC (Children’s BBC) channel featuring actors from the series and celebrity fans, a lecture by Professor Brian Cox on the Whoniverse, documentaries on the TV and radio on various aspects of the programme.  And then there are the two “tent-pole” programmes for the anniversary celebrations.  Although a lot of fans are excited about the prospect of Doctors Ten and Eleven encountering their “Secret” incarnation, a possible glimpse into the Time War and the return of Rose Tyler and the Zygons, I am equally as excited for the docudrama, “An Adventure in Space and Time”, written by Mark Gatiss and starring David Bradley (Argus Filch in the “Harry Potter” film series and Solomon in the “Doctor Who” episode “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”) in the role of William Hartnell, Jessica Raine (“Hide” and “Call The Midwife”) in the role of the programme’s first producer Verity Lambert and Brian Cox in the role of the “father” of the programme, Sydney Newman, along with other people who have been in the show itself such as Nicholas Briggs, Mark Eden, Jeff Rawle and, most notably, William Russell who portrayed Ian Chesterton from 1963 to 1965 and Carole Ann Ford who portrayed the Doctor’s grand-daughter, Susan.  For somebody like myself who likes all the extras on the Classic DVD releases about how episodes were conceived and made, this will feel like an insight into a hidden piece of “Doctor Who”‘s past.

So, whilst the trailer isn’t up to the anticipation levels of fans, and I would admit to wanting to see some more from this trailer, let’s think of it as the warm-up for the main act.  It’s been quite a while since there’s been a party like this in Whovian circles and I’m sure it’ll be a corker.

 

For an excellent breakdown of the trailer of the references, please check out this video, plus these features at the Kasterborous site and the Blogtor Who site.

 

Review – Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet (Writers: Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis)

For me, this was going to be THE “Doctor Who” DVD release of 2013 – that was until last week’s big story which announced the return of the Patrick Troughton story “The Enemy Of The World” along with the near complete return of “The Web Of Fear” to the BBC archive (I still get a fanboy thrill when lost episodes are returned).

Anyway – back to “The Tenth Planet”.  The word “iconic” is bandied around a heck of a lot in Whovian circles, but if ever a story deserves this tag, “The Tenth Planet” does.  I mean, first appearance of the Cybermen; it’s the prototype for the type of story known as the “Base Under Siege” story which was primarily synonymous with the Troughton era with stories such as “The Moonbase” or “The Ice Warriors” but which have also been seen in the show’s current incarnation of the show with stories such as “Dalek” and last season’s “Cold War” (to give newer Whovians a bit of context); the last episode is still, unfortunately, missing from the BBC archive… oh, and it features the first change of leading actor from William Hartnell into Patrick Troughton in a process then described as a rejuvination of the Doctor.  (The term “regeneration” wasn’t mentioned until Jon Pertwee’s final story, “Planet Of The Spiders”, in 1974).

The story itself is set in 1986 in the secret International Space Command base in the South Pole.  Following the arrival of the Doctor, along with his companions Ben and Polly (who joined “Team TARDIS” two stories previously in “The War Machines”), at the base, a mysterious planet is spotted near Earth which is draining the energy from an orbiting space capsule.  However, this a prelude to an invasion as the Cybermen seek to take all of the Earth’s energy for it’s dying twin, Mondas, and the humans for conversion into their own kind.

The first thing that fans of the new version of the series will notice is the pacing of the story.  The start is very low key with no immediate inkling of the threat to come – both from the Cybermen and for the Doctor.  What would be firmly kicked off in the pre-credits sequence of a “NuWho” story takes roughly ten minutes into episode one to even start to get going with the first mentioning of the energy drain on the space capsule and the appearance of Mondas.  However, this is just a pre-amble for the story “proper” – the Cybermen themselves don’t appear until the closing shot of Episode 1 and are only mentioned by name in Episode 2.

But for it’s difference in pacing, there are similarities.  Once the Doctor, Ben and Polly arrive at the base, they are treated with the same suspicion as the eleventh Doctor and Clara are treated to from the Soviets in “Cold War” – although “Eleven” and Clara are treated better by Captain Zhukov than the first Doctor and his companions are treated by the base’s commanding officer, General Cutler.

General Cutler, as portrayed by Robert Beatty (who has credits such as “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Blake’s 7”, “Captain Horatio Hornblower” and a couple of the Christopher Reeve “Superman” films in his CV), is, like the plot itself a prototype for the “Base Under Siege” commanding officer.  However, Cutler is hard-nosed, uncompromising and rails against, rather than accepts, the Doctor’s assistance and guidance.  This puts him at odds with other characters in his position such as Hobson in “The Moonbase” or Zhukov in “Cold War” who accepts the Doctor’s support.  However, to be fair to the character, this is understandable once he finds out that he has a personally emotional stake in the story.

The nearest person to be described as reasonable with the Doctor and his friends is the character of Barclay – the scientific “second in command”, as portrayed by David Dodimead.  Once the story shifts from the survival of Earth into the destruction of Mondas through Cutler’s interpretation of using all possible resources to destroy the Cybermen, he is prompted to help Ben and Polly into preventing the general from using the “Doomsday weapon” of the Z Bomb.

The Cybermen are on the one hand recognisable from what follows stylistically in the show’s history, right up to their most recent “upgrade” (sorry, couldn’t resist that) in “Nightmare In Silver”, but on the other hand, they display out in the open what must have been our fears in spare-part surgery, which was in it’s infancy in the 1960’s.  Like the best versions of the Cybermen, these are cunning strategic planners, with logic as their doctrine and their emotions removed to the point where they understand emotions, they just don’t have them to acknowledge.  However, these Cybermen have vestiges of their human form on display with human hands shown and dark, almost soulless eyes behind their masks.  (Yes, I understand that BBC budgets in 1966 for the programme were nowhere near as generous as into 2013 (even taking into account inflation), but the effect is still chilling).

As for this being the last First Doctor story, this is one where the Doctor takes a bit more of a back seat, with the Doctor himself not featuring for the majority of Episode Three.  This was due to William Hartnell falling ill prior to the recording of this episode.  However, this does allow his two companions to take more of the forefront.

Anneke Wills as Polly is given more than being the stereotypical screamer or following the fan myth of simply making the coffee (which she does in this story at one point) as she challenges the Cybermen about their inability to feel human emotion, much as Peter Davison’s Doctor does in 1982’s “Earthshock”, and to move Barclay into action by getting him to help Ben in sabotaging the launch of the Z Bomb in Episode 3.

But it’s Michael Craze in the role of Ben who really does get the acting laurels in the TARDIS crew, as the character becomes proactive in seeking to stop the Cybermen from when he threatens to kill the Cybermen with a machine gun, to his attempt to escape from the base’s projection room and, in the absence of the Doctor, taking on the role of the Doctor by seeking to stop Cutler from using the Z Bomb and working out the Cybermen’s lack of resistance to radiation which leads him to formulate a plan based on the impasse that this lack of resistance causes.  That said, Craze doesn’t portray Ben as a one-dimensional “man of action” by imbuing the role with humanity, such as when he regrets using the Cybermen’s own weaponry against them and then apologising for his actions later.

However, although Michael Craze gets the acting laurels, it’s ultimately the last real chance that we get to see William Hartnell (or an animated version of him with soundtrack to cover for the missing Episode 4) and how I like to remember his portrayal of the role.  Granted, we do see him in “The Three Doctors” in 1973, but ill health curtailed his participation into providing his dialogue on a monitor to his successors in the role and the Time Lords.  Even to his last regular episode, he provides an incarnation of the Doctor that is caring towards his companions (which seems a long way from his first story in 1963 where he basically kidnaps schoolteachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright once they discovered the secret of the TARDIS), but a spiky and fiercely intelligent opponent to his adversaries.  This though is tempered with the foreshadowings of what is to come with his references to this particular incarnation being old and on the point of failing.

With it’s oblique references to contemporary events such as the “Moon Race” and the previously mentioned fears in spare-part surgery and it’s setting up of a new race of villains which will go on to challenge, but not surpass, the popularity of the Daleks and the introduction of the dramatic device of regeneration, which has become as much as a staple to the Doctor as the TARDIS, the monsters and the companions, we as Whovians owe a great debt to this story.

The ripple effect by Malorie Blackman, an e-book review

Hi my hot cute girly geeks and boy geeks of course. Another Doctor Who 50th anniversary short novel e-book review. This time, the seventh in its series. The ripple effect by Malorie Blackman. Be aware of spoilers.

the ripple effect

About the book:

  • Kindle Edition
  • Author: Malorie Blackman
  • Published July 23rd 2013 by Puffin
  • ASIN: B00B5N35JY
  • edition language: English
  • series: Doctor Who 50th Anniversary E-Shorts #7

add-to-goodreads

 

 

Synopsis according to Goodreads:

When the TARDIS lands on Skaro, the Seventh Doctor and Ace are shocked to discover the planet has become the universal centre of learning, populated by a race of peace-loving Daleks. Ever suspicious of his archenemies’ motives, the Doctor learns of a threat that could literally tear the universe apart…

Eleven Doctors, eleven months, eleven stories: a year-long celebration of Doctor Who! The most exciting names in children’s fiction each create their own unique adventure about the time-travelling Time Lord.

My thoughts:

I loved this one. Again, although I’m not familiar with the seventh Doctor and his companion Ace, it wasn’t hard for me to imagine this story with the newer Doctors and companions I do know. Say like 10 and Rose.

The concept of this story about Skaro being a peace loving planet and the Daleks not evil any more is a brilliant idea and one I hope they turn into an episode if possible.

It has all the good components of a brilliant Doctor Who story, Daleks, Skaro, Time-Lords, paradox, the Tardis. This is one of my favourite Doctor Who short stories so far.

Although, and this is counts for all the other short stories as well. It’s too short. Because of the limited amount of pages you get the feeling the author wanted to tell us much more, explain more and give the story more dept, but instead it feels like a lot of it ended up in the thrash because of the amount of pages, which I think is a shame.

Where to get it:

buy-on-amazon.com buy-on-amazon.co.uk

 

 

Rating:

Oh, a definite 9 out of 10 for this one. I think it’s brilliant!