Category Archives: tv reviews

Way Back Wednesday: Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks by Ben Aaronovich

waybackwednesday

We’re halfway to the weekend and that means it’s time for Way Back Wednesday hosted by A Well Read Woman.   The purpose of this meme is to look back on those books that made a special impact on you and that you love to read.

This week’s entry comes from the Target line of Doctor Who novelizations.   In the days before we could collect Doctor Who on VHS or DVD, there were the Target books, which adapted just about every broadcast Doctor Who story for the printed page.   A majority of these were written by one-time script-editor Terrance Dicks (and I’ll probably get to at least one or two of those adaptations in a future installment), but there were other writers in the range.   As the books caught up to the stories airing on our screens, there were times that the original script writer would adapt his or her work for the printed page, often adding in scenes that didn’t make the broadcast due to time or budgetary reason or giving deeper background to scenes or character development.

Remembrance of the Daleks Novelisation Cover“Remembrance of the Daleks” falls into the category of a script adapted by the original writer and one that expanded on an already great story and made it even better.

Featuring the seventh (and my favorite) Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, “Remembrance of the Daleks” aired during the show’s twenty-fifth season and celebrated the anniversary of the long-running show.    The Doctor and Ace are back in 1963, just days after the original TARDIS crew began their adventures together and find themselves helping a para-military group that is caught between two warring factions of Daleks.  Both sides want the mysterious Hand of Omega, a Time Lord artifact that each side believes will give them the upper hand in their civil war and their drive to conquer the universe.    Continue reading

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All Good Things: A Star Trek Podcast, Episode 30: The Game

agt30

This week, Barry and I discuss some of the Star Trek video games we’ve played over the years.  And no, we haven’t played them all.

Take a trip down memory lane with us as we share our thoughts, memories and frustration with just a few of the games including the Vectrex game based on TMP, to the Promethian Prophecy, the Kobyashi Alternative and the infamous 25th Anniversary Game.

And don’t forget to let us know if we’ve missed your favorite!

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/wyeq6-53cf0f/initByJs/1/auto/1

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Comic Book Friday: Star Trek: The Q Gambit

Star Trek: Ongoing, Volume 9: The Q Gambit

IDW’s re-imagining of classic Star Trek installments in the rebooted timeline takes a break for a couple of issues with the ninth collection, “The Q Gambit.”

After debating with Picard about the reality of a “no-win” scenario, Q decides to put the one man who didn’t believe in the “no-win” scenario to the test. Q arrives on the Enterprise in the rebooted universe and after some spirited debate with Kirk, Spock and others sends the ship and crew forward in time to the Deep Space Nine era and a very different outcome to the Dominion War.

Seems that the Enterprise‘s vanishing threw the time line in an entirely different direction — one where the Federation fell and the Dominion had an easy time conquering the Alpha Quadrant.

On paper, this seems like it should be a fun, entertaining little “what if” story. But I found the story overstayed its welcome a bit as it worked a bit too hard to make sure we got a check-in with every character from DS9 and got to see them pair off with various members of the rebooted original series crew.

An interesting little twist comes late in the narrative, but by this point my interest had really waned.

I’ve enjoyed much of what IDW’s done in re-imaging some of the original episodes in the rebooted universe and their lead-up stories to both movies really offered some new and interesting shadings for the two films. “The Q Gambit” represents the first significant mis-step I’ve seen in this series. Hopefully the series will get back to the elements I enjoy in future installments and the next collection.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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All Good Things, A Star Trek Podcast, Episode 29: Utopia?

agt On this week’s installment of the All Good Things: A Star Trek podcast, Barry and I discuss the whether or not Gene Roddenberry’s vision for the future still holds true today.

We also discuss the latest Trek related news and even have a bit of trivia for you.

You can listen at the link above or right here!

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/uv5sm-539f21/initByJs/1/auto/1?skin=109

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Review: Doctor Who: The Masters of Earth & The Rani Elite

Doctor Who: Masters of EarthDoctor Who: Masters of Earth by Cavan Scott

One of the problems with an audio drama featuring the Daleks is they aren’t exactly the most exciting aliens to listen to for any length of time. Or heaven forbid you have two or even three Daleks carrying on a lengthy conversation that includes plot details or developments.

It’s not to say that I don’t like the Daleks. They’re my favorite Doctor Who adversary, but I think that in order to do them right in the audio dramas, you have to be a bit more creative than you would on TV.

Give props to Masters of Earth for at least trying to do something creative with the Daleks in the realm of Big Finish audio dramas. Arriving on Earth during the Dalek occupation, the sixth Doctor is ready to jump back into the TARDIS and leave to prevent himself or Peri contaminating his own personal time line. Seems he’s arrived a couple of years before his first incarnation will help overthrow the Daleks and liberate the planet.

But before you say “Exterminate,” the TARDIS sinks into a bog and the Doctor and Peri are caught up with the resistance on a cross-country trip that will include encounters with RoboMen, Varga plants and the Slyther. If you’re a fan of 60’s Who and in particular the Dalek stories from those early days, there are a lot of nice homages to that era.

But homages to an era do not a story make and it’s in the story that Masters of Earth really feels like it let me down. Because the Doctor can’t affect any change, there’s not a lot for he and Peri to do, besides avoid changing history and letting the Daleks know he’s on the scene. There are some interesting chases involving Daleks on gliders (an homage to the 60’s comics), but overall I can’t help but feel the story had more potential than was realized in what we got here. Continue reading

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Review: Doctor Who: Revenge of the Swarm, The Widow’s Assassin

Doctor Who: Revenge of the Swarm

Revenge of the Swarm

If you were to poll classic Doctor Who fans on which adversaries from the original run they’d like to see back, odds are the Swarm wouldn’t make the top ten. Nor the top twenty or thirty.

A poorly realized (visually anyway) adversary from the 70’s story, “The Invisible Enemy,” the Swarm isn’t the most threatening, interesting or even well regarded foe the Doctor ever faced. But maybe freed of the limitations of the television series and with the virtually unlimited special effects showcase of the imagination, maybe the Swarm could flourish in the world of audio.

Unfortunately, not so much.

Leaning heavily on the catch phrase from the original story, “Revenge of the Swarm” is a tale of two halves. The first half finds the Swam has hidden itself inside the TARDIS all these years, waiting just the right opportunity to show itself again. That opportunity comes with Hex/Hector, who has recently become (literally) a new man. (If you’re a bit lost here, you’re not alone. I hadn’t listened to any of the stories leading up to this one and I’m sure I’m missing some of the nuances of Hex/Hector’s story.) Continue reading

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Doctor Who: Dark Water

darkwater2In many ways, I feel like whoever edited the preview seen at the end of “In the Forest of the Night” did a huge disservice to the two-part season finale by including footage from both episodes in the preview.   I get that it’s hard for the BBC to not publicize the return of an old monster like the Daleks or (in this case) the Cybermen, but I felt like a lot of the tension that “Dark Water” was trying to achieve was undermined by the preview and SPOILER photos that had leaked through various tabloids before the season began.

But I still felt like “Dark Water” kept a lot of its cards close to the vest and still had a few surprises along the way.

The most enjoyable was how much it felt like an homage to the Patrick Troughton era Cybermen stories.   In most second Doctor Cybermen stories, the Cybermen are a threat for the first half of the story, but really don’t emerge in force and en mass until the mid-point cliffhanger.   And that’s what happened here, even if the Doctor doesn’t necessarily realize that the Cybermen are behind the Nethersphere and using it as a way to harvest new humans to convert into Cybermen.   The feel of the tanks, running side by side and stacked up several deep, brought to mind visions of “The Tomb of the Cybermen” while the Cybermen emerging into modern day London and among iconic landmarks felt like it was a page right out of “The Invasion.”  At one point, I fully expected to see a sewer cap thrown aside and a Cybermen emerge.    Continue reading

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