30 September 2014

Doctor Who S8E6 "The Caretaker" takes care to be not rubbish

Doctor Who used to be a bi-polar TV show, providing it's fair share of good and bad episodes since the shows rebirth in 2005, until it settled into monotonous mediocrity when Stephen Moffat took over as show runner for the Matt Smith seasons onwards. But I'm trying to figure out if this mediocrity has been broken by the new season, that has gone from good episodes to bad episodes to disappointing episodes to episodes that exceed expectations. Is this a sign that Moffat is learning to take the same risks that Russell T. Davies did? I hope so. Anyway...

The plot for "The Caretaker" has a rogue piece of alien technology hiding near Clara's school, and as such The Doctor goes undercover as the school's caretaker in order to, well, take care of it, much to the chagrin of Clara, who is trying to take her relationship with Danny Pink more seriously. However, Clara is finding it difficult to balance her real life with her other life and is struggling to keep her double life secret, showcased by the excellent opening sequence that demonstrates the hectic nature of living a double life and the determination of Clara to continue to have her cake and eat it too.

28 September 2014

Agents of SHIELD S2E1 "Shadows" is the start of a much better show

Despite excellent fan buzz from the Marvel Studios brand and the Comic Con preview, Agents of SHIELD got off to a bad start, with the first half of the first season putting many people off the show entirely thanks to the mediocre writing and "monster of the week" style episodes. Agents of SHIELD was a procedural crime drama set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not a very good one at that. People switched off and never came back,. despite the second half of the first season being a significant improvement. The disbandment of SHIELD, the discovery of the TAHITI project and the Agent Ward reveal really helped the show find its feet and deliver a series that was worth watching, with the quality of the writing and the show itself improving as it progressed. Agents of SHIELD was given the green light for a second season, with show runners promising that this new found quality would continue. 

"Shadows" delivers on that promise. A common complaint that followed the first season of Agents of SHIELD was that it didn't feel like a Marvel film, a complaint that appears to have been both heard and dealt with. The villain of the week premise that haunted the previous season seems to have been scrapped, with "Shadows" seemingly setting up a long form plot for this season to follow, involving the ever present Hydra and a new villain, The Absorbing Man, who can take on the molecular properties of any material he touches. And our time isn't wasted with a 15 minute introduction to how he got his powers - he walks into the show fully formed, an entirely acceptable concept being as this is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

23 September 2014

Doctor Who S8E5 "Time Heist" is good enough, I suppose

It's taken 5 episodes, but the new series seems to have settled back into Moffats signature of being 'just good enough' with the latest episode, "Time Heist".

"Time Heist" has The Doctor and Clara robbing the most secure bank in the universe without actually knowing why, with the help of Psi, a technologically upgraded human, and Saibra, a shape shifter who can take on the form of any living thing she touches. The bank is guarded by a psychic alien who can sense guilt, and as such the group have to have their memories erased in order to enter undetected, forming the central mystery of the episode - who hired them?

14 September 2014

Doctor Who S8E4 "Listen" is all atmosphere, no weight

Aha. The scary episode. Monsters under the bed, in the reflection of the mirror, in the corner of your eye. Behind you. Sounds like good stuff. And it's written by Stephen Moffat, current show runner and writer of some really good episodes, including the infamous "Blink" and the excellent "Silence in the Library". After "Robot of Sherwood", this should be a refreshing change of pace, hopefully a call back to the scary episodes of the Tennant era which have been missing for some time now.

"Listen" is a hard episode to pin down. It opens with Clara on her belated (and eventually, disastrous) date with Danny Pink, before moving to The Doctor and Clara as they research a theory that The Doctor has about things that go bump in the night, the idea that evolution has never produced a creature that can hide perfectly - at least, not one that we know of. This research ends up involving a very young Danny Pink in the past and a descendant of Danny Pink in the future and (without giving too much away) a young child on a far away planet.

9 September 2014

Doctor Who S8E3 "Robot of Sherwood" is an unfortunate misstep

 "Robot of Sherwood" is the seventh episode that Mark Gatiss has written for Doctor Who since the show was modernised in 2005, and continues his streak of writing some of the most forgettable episodes that the show has to offer, with his last attmpt "Cold War" being the only episode of Doctor Who I have ever fell asleep during. In this episode we are taken to the time of Robin Hood at the behest of Clara, despite The Doctors insistence that Robin Hood isn't real. Lo and behold, he is real, and whimsical hi jinks with a very slight sci-fi flavour ensue.