TV Reviews

The Girl Who Died, Review by Eddie McGuigan

The Girl Who Died

review by Eddie McGuigan

eddie mcguigan

Doctor Who, we know, has to be everything to everyone. It has to be a space adventure, it has to be historical drama, it has to be a romance, a horror story and it has to reflect its past with a nostalgic glow.

Of course, there are people out there, feral, skitter people who live on The Internet, who will tell you that Doctor Who better not be a bloody romance/horror story/soap opera. They’ll tell you it hasn’t been the same since Dicks/Saward/RTD left and they’ll tell you, without a doubt, that You Are Wrong. Then they’ll throw a teddy at you and stomp out.

The Girl Who Died is going to scatter these Internet Dwellers like skittles on a Friday night in France. It’s going to make others punch the air in excitement and it’s going to make others scratch their head a bit and go “Really? OK then…” (more…)

Before The Flood, review by Eddie McGuigan

 

Before The Flood

review by Eddie McGuigan

eddie mcguigan

The Doctor, O’Donnell and Bennett go back in time…

Under the Lake has to be one of the most formulaic Doctor Who adventures in a long time – and more power to it for being that way. It’s a traditional story with a traditional Doctor/Companion dynamic and throws a punch directly into the face of the viewer for being so. It is, without a doubt, superb.

As a second part of the same adventure, Before The Flood couldn’t begin more differently and, indeed, continue to push against the traditionalness of Part One. It begins with a direct to camera monologue by the Doctor – some might say this is for the fan who doesn’t understand or like temporal shenanigans or paradoxes – but it allows Capaldi to showboat and talk directly to us about the story ahead – indeed, the scene itself has no plot drivers at all – but it is nonetheless a clever conceit which leads straight into a theme tune played, it seems, by the Doctor himself.

After those titles, we are we are treated – and treated is the word – to another type of Whovian trope – the mysterious village, so ably portrayed in The Android Invasion, for instance – as the Doctor and his friends search out the truth behind the Ghosts in the Drum and their reason to exist – a search which will bring the Doctor face to face with the Fisher King and his own mortality.

eddie mcguigan

Ghost Doctor… but what’ he saying?

Whilst still giving us the action adventure of Under The Lake with echoes of Alien³, and the creepiness of not just a haunted house but a terrifyingly ghostly Doctor, we also get the backstory to the spaceship and the Trivoli undertaker, which enhances the story with rich layers of plot.

So the story is split in two parts – inside the Drum and before the flood – and each intertwine with themselves as the stasis chamber discovered in Under The Lake slowly begins to open.

It’s fair to say that whilst the Drum sequences allow Clara more space to take charge, she’s not entirely separated from the Doctor thanks to some timey wimey skyping, whose presence is felt in both the past and the presence as Capaldi continues to dominate this story with aplomb. The base under siege story is continued whilst the mystery behind it unfolds in a time travelling paradox cleverly realised by Whithouse’s intelligent use of the device. It’s a little bit Sapphire and Steel and a little bit Bill And Ted. To say more would ruin the surprises.

Guest star wise, Paul Kaye channels David Walliams as the now alive Trivoli undertaker and does a great if fleeting job. Sophie Stone as Cass is impressive too, and the fact that she is deaf isn’t ignored either. It’s great that her deafness isn’t seen as a disability at all, but used to great effect in this episode in a creepy scene which will have everyone on the edge of their seats. Morven Christie continues to audition for the role of companion with a great turn as the likeable, somewhat cooky O’Donnell for the most part, with Arsher Ali’s Bennett being the other stand out, scared but unafraid to call out the Doctor when required. Peter Serafinowicz is creepy as the confident Fisher King as well, and, as its body, Neil Fingleton is terrifying.

Again though it’s Capaldi’s Doctor who dominates this episode in everything that he does – as his ghost in the present or the rebel Time Lord in the past. He controls every scene he’s in as he scampers through the adventure – ably scored it has to be said by Murray Gold, who’s now less melodic than before but has begun to channel the operatic of Hans Zimmer – and is capable of showing a traditional Doctor but one still capable of seeing the bigger picture, and making alien decisions for the greater good, again an echo of Mummy on the Orient Express.

I can’t fault this episode – although I do think its more divisive than Under The Lake and perhaps less traditional – but I loved it, and would have Doctor Who like this two parter all the time. Again, there were no arcs, no old enemies, nothing to link it along, but with fan pleasing nods and plenty of comedy to counteract the drama and horror, this is exactly what Who should be.

Bravo, Toby, bravo.

eddie mcguigan

just before the flood…

 

The Flash 1×22 – Rogue Air

cold

With one episode to go to the finale, The Flash serves up a real fan pleaser that not only allows familiar faces from throughout the first season to make a reappearance, but also works nicely to continue building up Barry’s character as he finds his way as a hero.

Indeed it’s Barry’s story that forms the meat of the episode. The spectre of the Reverse Flash looms large as Barry allows his inability to defeat Wells to make him doubt himself. As Wells activates the particle accelerator Barry is determined to save the Metahumans they’ve got locked up in it, but finds himself up against obstacles and bad choices at every turn. (more…)

The Skaro Review Death In Heaven Reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

The Skaro Review

Death In Heaven

Reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

 BEWARE: SLIGHT SPOILERS

 Death in Heaven

In part one of the finale, the theme was death and the afterlife, and this is taken to the nth degree here with the Master’s evil machinations in full flight… although her actual motives are not what you think. A CyberArmy is released on the world… and the world takes selfies. “We have to warn everyone!” UNIT cries “The world just went weee…,” the Doctor informs it.

 

So with the dead rising in newly upgraded bodies, much to Seb’s glee, and the Master’s plan unfolding, we find out more about the afterlife in general and the beliefs in it through out Man’s history. “She’s a Time Lord. She must have a TARDIS somewhere… so a LONG time…” the Doctor tells Kate. (more…)

The Skaro Review: Dark Water, Reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

Dark Water

Reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

Clara needs the Doctor, but the Doctor is busy. When they DO meet, it’s Volcano Day!

Doctor & Missy

Dark Water is a sprawling, epic, head spinning finale episode that starts to pull in all the parts of the series to date and, more than anything takes a Doctor and a companion and gets them adventuring.

It’s very good to see the Doctor and Clara in a situation like this, landing the TARDIS with no control and investigating. It doesn’t happen near enough.

But there is much more to this episode than that. It begins with the most gritty, realistic piece of drama you will ever have seen in Doctor Who and it will jar you as much with its eyewatering reality as any magical forest did with its fairytale nonsense. This realism continues with some crystal clear flashbacks to Danny Pink’s time in the army and the realisation of what exactly he did when he was there. And it continues further with Clara’s reaction to events which are raw, real, desperate and sore. (more…)

The Skaro Review: In the Forest of the Night, by Eddie McGuigan

In The Forest of the Night

 

Reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

 In the Forest of the Night

 

If you go down to the woods today…

 

…you’re sure for a big surprise. Because London – and, indeed, The World™, has been transformed into the Planet of the Bushes as, overnight (in a world where no one works nightshift or goes out after bed time it seems), a forest has sprung up globally. What the hey!? I hear you ask. For lots of reasons.

 

If you go down to the woods today…

 

…you’ll never believe your eyes. Because the Doctor just happens to be in Trafalgar Square just as Clara and Danny are having a museum sleepover five minutes away with a bunch of bratty first years, one of whom has managed to sneak away, whilst no one notices, out of the museum and across the forest strewn terrain when, ten minutes later, Danny has to force his way out because the door is covered in foliage. So what the hey!? I hear you ask. For lots of reasons. (more…)

The Skaro Review: Flatline, by Eddie McGuigan

The Skaro Review
Flatline
Reviewed by Eddie McGuigan

 Doctor Who Flatline

The problem with Flatline is that it is SO much. It’s a study in what it means to be the Doctor, on what his life is like in a mirror. It’s a conceit about the companion, where they go when they’re with the Doctor, psychologically speaking, and what being with him changes them into. It’s an urban mystery. It’s a gritty horror. It’s the most terrifying Doctor Who episode I can actually remember. It’s funny, clever, thought provoking, honest, punch the air superb and look away horrible.

 

Yep, all at half eight on a Saturday night.

 

Whether Jamie Mathieson, the new saviour of Doctor Who, knew this episode was going out later than is normal for Who, I don’t know, but there’s no getting away with the fact that the episode benefits from less nervous censorship than it no doubt would have suffered if it had gone out two hours earlier. (more…)

The Skaro Review – Gotham 01×02: Selina Kyle

Gotham Season 1 Episode 2

Selina Kyle

Reviewed by Alan

Gotham CatwomanWith this second episode, Gotham quickly moves to build on the strengths of its pilot with Gordon’s position as the one honest cop in the precinct quickly starting to wear on him (possibly even quicker than I might have expected, thanks to the events towards the end of the pilot).  Key elements that were put in place continue to get attention, as lots of different plot strands get their time to shine in the episode, and we’re given much more focus on the young Catwoman who was glimpsed last week.

Of course, given the episode title, its no surprise that we see a lot more of Selina Kyle this week.  While only a teenager, she’s still recognisable as the future Catwoman, thanks to her tendency to climb high places, and her goggles that evoke the ears she’ll wear in years to come (while also being a nice visual nod to some of the more recent Catwoman outfits in the comics).  And she seems pretty well served here, with a plot designed to showcase her resourcefulness while also bringing her onto Gordon’s radar and establishing a relationship between the two characters while moving on the main story. (more…)

The Skaro Review: Gotham – Pilot

Gotham
Pilot
Reviewed by Alan

Gotham

Hot on the heels of the success of Arrow, DC were quick to start bringing their properties to the small screen.   Direct Arrow spinoff The Flash will be coming up next month, but our first visit is to Batman’s stomping grounds, in Gotham.

The premise is pretty straight-forward.  This is Gotham before there was a Batman.  Focusing on the newly arrived Jim Gordon, the series takes us through the gangland struggles and Police corruption that are familiar to anyone that’s followed the Batman mythos, or even just seen Batman Begins. (more…)

Outpost Skaro © 2014 Frontier Theme