If the star of the first Big Finish War Doctor box set, Only the Monstrous, is the War (don’t call me) Doctor, then the star of their second, Infernal Devices, is probably the Time War itself. And while that centre stage has been a long time coming – for, which of us hasn’t yearned for the true stories of the likes of the Nightmare Child and the Neverweres? – let me tell you, it’s been worth the wait.
The first box set had a job to do in creating an introduction to the War Doctor for those who didn’t know him, and generating greater depth to him for those of us who did. And that job the boxset, and specifically the non-Doctor’s portrayer, John Hurt, did very well. But it left a gap: what exactly was this thing, this Time War, that had caused that man to stray so far from the morals of those who shared his body if not his name? What induced the Machiavellia, and all the self-loathing? It can’t just be any old war; it must be something special. (more…)
On board the Aquitaine life follows a familiar pattern for Hargreaves, the computer consciousness that runs the ship and most of its android staff. Water the plants, run the diagnostics, cook the Captain’s breakfast; then tidy the plates away, rotate the ship, clean the windows of the observation deck. When at last the day’s work is done, Hargreaves will dim the lights in the sleeping quarters. But no one will eat the meals. Or comment on the strange fauna growing in the halls. And tonight, like every other night, no one will sleep on the Aquitaine. The only greater mystery on this strange ship is why poor Hargreaves’s todo list keeps getting longer no matter how hard he works.
The Doctor and Romana’s holiday in Budapest isn’t going quite to plan. The historic city is great, but the vampires, vampire hunters and ongoing violent attacks don’t lend themselves to a relaxing city break.
Will they help Celia find Dracula? What does the nearby labyrinth of caves hide? And what is the dastardly scheme of the maniacal Zoltan Frid?
There’s something about the story of Victor Frankenstein and his creation that has endured particularly in film, which makes it somewhat ironic that several of the most recognised elements aren’t from Mary Shelley’s novel. Most notably, of course, the whole stitching of body parts, lightning and “It’s alive!” owe more to James Whale’s 1931 movie than Shelley’s writing.
Recently in particular the rate of Frankensteinian (yes it is a word!) films seems to have increased, and the first four months of 2016 alone are seeing three movies and a TV series released on UK DVD/BluRay – and that’s without including any rereleases (or Hotel Transylvania 2, because, well, just because!) – so it takes something a bit different to stand out.
Spies, DJs, modulated frequency wave cancellation signals: these are amongst the odder things awaiting the Doctor and Romana in 1960’s London. But perhaps the oddest is the cancellation signal’s inventor lying unconscious next to it… so what links the Professor, a catchy radio jingle and the British Secret service? Whatever it is, it’s connected to a risk far greater than they might have imagined, and a clandestine alien invasion. Can the Doctor defeat the Aliens? Can Romana survive a shopping trip? Can K-9 cope with his new job?
A second outing this season of BF-Torchwood for Gwen beckons, as she’s back in Cardiff (presumably) after the events of Forgotten Lives. Hope her diary is clear though as she’s in for a Manic Morning, not least of which involves arrangements relating to a new Hub. Forget The Committee, Torchwood must now face their greatest threat – a council planning department…
Some of Torchwood‘s best TV episodes were when the story scaled right back to just a couple of characters, and More Than This fits right in as Planning Officer Roger Pugh (Richard Nichols) gets to experience first hand a particularly busy day in the life of Gwen Cooper. There will be speeding, decapifenestration (if that isn’t a word it ought to be!), art criticism and a choice of salad ingredient – but will the right health and safety forms be filled in correctly?
“Ready for another adventure, Ms Carter?”
And finally, we’re back with Agent Peggy Carter. Last year’s first season proved to be one of the great highlights of the Marvel Universe’s output, with Hayley Atwell at last given the spotlight after the first Captain America movie and her one-shot DVD short. As such, Season Two has much to live up, and while these opening episodes hit the ground running, it also shows the show runners aren’t afraid to shake up the formula a little.
Warning: Contains mild spoilers for Agent Carter, Season Two, Episodes 1-4
A trip to Amsterdam’s famous Rijkmuseum to see a new exhibition of Rembrandt van Rijn’s masterpieces surprises both the Doctor and Tegan with unexpected drawings of ‘Vessels of the Stars’ and old flames respectively. Will the events of Tegan’s life during her year away from the Doctor prevent them from dealing with the strange creatures in the canals and the mysterious Countess? Or Tegan’s life catching up with her no mere coincidence? Someone is playing a very long game and the world may never be the same again.
4 tales for the price of 1!
You Are the Doctor by John Dorney
The fate of the Doctor is in your hands as the Time Lord’s adventures have morphed into a choose-your-own-adventure encounter. Chose wisely or choose death (again and again).
In many ways, this episode could almost have been dropped into the middle of season 1 without too much effort. Featuring a relatively low-tier villain (Tar Pit), it puts the episode’s focus onto the STAR Labs team and allows their interactions to come to the fore. With the team established halfway into their second year, this can often be the strongest part of the show. (more…)