The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

Television

Television Vs. The Internet

Written By: Liam Walters

Over the past decade, the internet has grown faster than anyone would imagine. One of the many things that the internet is used for nowadays is to watch Television shows, with the ability to watch Live Tv with BBC, or watch a selection of shows that have recently aired, such as with 4oD, the internet has become an extra asset for television broadcasters to reach a wider audience.

So is the computer slowly going to take over the television. Well, the simple answer is no… Or maybe yes, one day in the far far future. For the moment, there are far too many people who watch shows on their Tv, rather than on their computer. Though there is definitely some connectivity between television and the internet… But which one will end up on top in the end? Television, a view into many different informative, dramatic, heart-warming and funny worlds, or the internet, and which is able to provide the services that the television does, and much, much, more. (more…)

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Doctor Who – A Christmas Carol

So as per tradition since its revival in 2005, this christmas day featured a Doctor Who christmas special. But it was different from the others, possibly because it was penned by new executive producer, Steven Moffat, who took over after Russell T Davies (along with David Tennant who played the 10th Doctor) left in the 2009 Christmas special.

So with a new head writer and a new Doctor, series 5 launched in 2010. It was different from what most had expected, but I can personally say it had the best penultimate series finale as of yet. And then, some months later when December rolls around, we got Doctor Who ‘A Christmas Carol’, which is, obviously, a Doctor Who take on the much-loved Dickens story of the same name.

So I’m going to tell you a secret… Well, it’s not that much of a secret really, but I was never the biggest fan of Matt Smith as The Doctor. I loved David Tennant as the Doctor. He just had such raw power and emotion, he played the part perfectly… But then he left. And I wasnt like the masses of Tennant obsessed fans who didn’t like Smith before he even appeared in an episode. He was alright in my books… But never anything more. He just seemed… Zaney. And he seemed more at home on the Sarah Jane Adventures than he did in Doctor Who (he seems to be an actor that works well with children…) and I think that’s why I found it hard to like him. All that darkness and mystery seemed to vanish, it was hard to take him seriously (which was a shame, because he showed some seriousness and emotion in Episode 2, but it slowly started sliding away).

But after watching the christmas special… My faith has been somewhat restored. Matt Smith, what ever he’s decided to do differently, really stepped up his game. He still got the wacky side of him, but he just seems more at home as The Doctor in this episode than some of the others. This is actually my second favourite christmas special, falling short of ‘The End of Time’ (Christmas/New Year 2009).

I think the most prominent factor of this christmas special is that it is really Christmassy. When RTD (Russell T Davies) was penning Doctor Who, he always seemed to miss the major aspects of Christmas from the christmas Specials. This was somewhat later on, as Voyage of the Damned had quite a few references to christmas, but the others had hardly any apart from a tiny bit of non-snow at the end and a reference to Christmas Dinner. Oh… And the fact that it is set at Christmas (not that you would realise with our clear, sunny christmas days that we have here in England…)

Lets look at this seriously. The Christmas Invasion was a little C, but christmas didn’t really come into it all that often. The robots are dressed as Santa’s and attack using a christmas tree… And that’s about it. Oh, and Rose and Mickey get attacked whilst doing Christmas Shopping, but in all seriousness, you could take out all the christmas references and it would still be the same story…

The Runaway Bride was even worse with this. It had a few Santa Robots and a ship that looked like a Christmas Star (or as Donna points out in ‘Turn Left’ a Web). Luckily, Voyage of the damned is a bit more Christmassy… But even still the plot isn’t all that centered around Christmas, and would still be very feasible if you took out the christmas references. Luckily, as Voyage of the Damned is set on a space ship, you don’t really realise that it was filmed in the middle of summer.

Next up is ‘The Next Doctor’. This time they make it seem more Christmassy by having it snow throughout the show. But once again, if you took out the references to Christmas, it would still be the same basic story. This is, unfortunately, true for ‘The End of Time’ as well, as we once again return to the sunny days of Christmas time England.

It seems that Steven Moffat knows how to write a Christmas Special, as it is, truly, a Christmas Special. Just a jolly, if somewhat dark, Christmas Tale to get you in the festive mood… And I will look forward to many more Christmas Specials as long as Steven Moffat rides the helm.


Review: Doctor Who Series 2

[ Review Written By: Liam Walters ]

[Originally posted: August 26th 2010]

So series 1 of the revived BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who, ended with quite the bang. No, not an explosion, but a regeneration, as we saw Christopher Eccleston glow orange and turn into geek chic heart-throb David Tennant.

Over the course of the Christmas special, we don’t get to see much of the ’10th Doctor’ as he is indisposed due to the regeneration. So as the Doctor sleep, it’s up to the rag-bag team of Rose, Mickey and Harriet Jones to try to defend the world from the evil Sycorax.

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Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Soon enough though, the Doctor comes to and wakes up, after smelling some tea, because remember kids, were British, so we drink tea.

The Doctor is able to kill the Sycorax leader, send the rest of them back home and get everyone to safety without a scratch… Well, apart from an arm being cut off, but he grows that back… I wonder what else he can grow back?

Harriet Jones orders Torchwood to blow the Sycorax ship, enraging the Doctor to say the 6 words to take down her government… ‘I heard she was a man’… Or maybe its ‘Don’t you think she looks tired’… Probably the latter.

So after what is quite literally a wardrobe montage, we see the Doctor having Christmas dinner with Rose, Mickey and Jackie, before going outside to go play in the ash of the spaceship, as they decide to go off and see the universe together again, setting up the series to come.

Over the course of the series, they do many things, meeting many different aliens.

They meet cat nuns in New Earth, who are farm growing masses amounts of humans to experiment on. We also see the return of the only women in the history of the universe to be skinnier than posh spice, Cassandra.

They meet a werewolf, evil monks and Queen Victoria in Tooth and Claw, set in the Torchwood estate, which serves as the back story to events of the finale. Now, as far as I know, I can’t actually see why the monks are helping the wolf. I think its implied they worship the wolf, but still keep it locked in a cage. I dunno, Maybe the monks owe it some money, or the wolf is just a bit kinky and likes cages.

The Doctor has a blast from the past in School Reunion, where he meets an old companion from 6 life times ago, Sarah Jane Smith. Of course, there’s some tension between Sarah Jane and Rose, who have little squabbles and take cheap shots at each other, before finally making peace, because sometimes you just want generic drama like that. The monsters in this are the Krillitanes, who look like bat like demons, although quite frankly, they could be giant caterpillars for all that the story is worth.

The Girl In The Fireplace does not in-fact involve roasting small girls on an open fire, but in fact is time travelling love story, where the doctor meets a girl when she is very young, and then see’s her for short moments in different stages of her life. There are many connections between this story and The Time Travellers Wife. Well… Apart from the time machine, the two time travelling companions exploring a spaceship in the year 3000, and clockwork droids out to take the head of a French aristocrat.

Episodes 5 and 6 are The Rise of The Cybermen and The Age of Steel.

When the Doctor, Rose and Mickey get stuck of a parallel world, with the Tardis taking one day to recharge, Rose decides to go look for her father, and Mickey decides to go off on his own, having a tantrum at how the Doctor and Rose don’t pay any attention to him, because he’s an emo in this story.

The Cybermen return in these episodes, but they’re not the old plastic/tinfoil Cybermen from the 80’s, but sleek, shiny, steel Cybermen of the parallel world, created by trigger from Only Fools and Horses. They defeat Cyber-Trigger and Mickey decides to stay behind to help stop the rest of the Cybermen.

In The Idiots Lantern, the Doctor and Rose take on the greatest threat to children of all time. The most deadly evil in all of the world… They have to take on Television. Not because of bad programming, or giving kids square eyes. It’s because TV is stealing people’s faces!

In The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit, the Doctor takes on possibly the biggest enemy he has ever thought. Something that is even worse than Television… The devil! Yes. The Doctor vs The Devil. In this two parter, we see mind control and ancient lettering, dinner lady aliens and black holes, and some foreshadowing for future events…

Love & Monsters is the series 2 Doctor/Companion light episode, something that was mimicked in the following series’, but not one from the previous series. I’m not sure if it’s because its the first attempt at writing a Doctor/Companion light episode, but this episode is one of the worst in the series. I stars a young lad named Elton, as he and his friends look for the doctor, and who are being manipulated by an absorbing alien in disguise as Peter Kay… Garlic Bread.

Fear Her is also another episode which I’m not to fond of, although that seems more my own opinion since I’ve had friends who have said they like it. The Doctor lands in London 2012, ready for the Olympics. But something is taking the children in a local neighbourhood, and its up to the Doctor and Rose to find out what, or more who, is taking them.

The series finale story, Army of Ghosts and Doomsday, are quite a fitting end to the series. The Doctor finally finds out about Torchwood, and all they’re doing. But there is something else. Ghosts are appearing around the world, and a giant metal ball is hovering in the lower depths of Torchwood. Two of the Doctors most deadliest enemies are about to break into war… The Prize… The Earth.

So that is the episodic review of Doctor Who Series 2. I would not say Series 2 was the best series, but it was defiantly quite interesting, and brought to life the best Doctor that has ever been. And I shall leave it there.

Feel free to leave comments below, and thank you for reading.


Review: Doctor Who Series 1 DVD Boxset

[ Review Written By: Liam Walters ]

[Originally posted: July 18th 2010]

8.3 / 10

[Minor Spoilers]

Introduction:

Doctor Who is a science-fiction television show that ran on the BBC from 1963 to 1989. A television movie was then created 1996.
The series was revived by Russell T Davies (whom had previously created the TV show ‘Queer as Folk’), who became the executive producer. The revival launched in March 2005 in the UK, and the show is still currently running, although with new executive producers as of starting 2010.

Synopsis (Taken from Tardis.Wikia.com):

The show is about the adventures of a mysterious time-traveller known only as the Doctor. The Doctor travels through space and time in a craft known as the TARDIS, an acronym for “Time and Relative Dimension in Space”. The Doctor is usually accompanied by one or more companions, who are often females.

Characters:

The new series of Doctor Who changed some of the aspects of what the show once was. This was evident in characters, as unlike in the shows original run, the revived series also looks into the companions family and friends, adding some drama plot elements.

The Doctor is a 900 year old Time Lord, from the planet Gallifrey. When a Time Lord begins to die, they can regenerate, changing every cell in their body, but still retaining their memories. In the first series of the revival, the Doctor is in his 9th form, as is played by the actor Christopher Eccleston.

Rose Tyler is a 19 year old cockney chav girl. She lives a pretty normal life up until one night, when strange happenings are going on in the basement of the shop where she works. As she starts getting attacked by living plastic dummys, she meets a man, who takes her hand, and tells her to run. Shortly after he blows up the shop she works at, thereby making her unemployed.

Mickey Smith is the boyfriend of Rose Tyler, and in for all intents and purpose, is basically the whipping boy of the show. He is often referred to by the doctor as ‘Mickey the idiot’, and during the first series, is shown to just want a normal peaceful life with Rose. Despite being a bumbling idiot, it should be noted that he has mad hacking skills, and is able to hack into most, if not all government computers.

Jackie Tyler is the typical cockney mother of Rose. Her husband Pete died when Rose was a baby, and so raised Rose by herself. She has a loud mouth of her, and is not afraid to start shouting at anyone, including the Doctor.

Soundtrack:

The soundtrack to for the new series was composed by Murry Gold. The music is a big part of what makes the show so thrilling and entertaining. Nearly all of the music uses a big, orchestra band. This is most notable in the opening theme, which is an orchestral remix of the original theme.

Cinematography:

The cinematography is great. There was a wide mix of lots of different camera angles, and with 6 directors taking certain episodes throughout the series, you get to see a lot of variety in the way it is shot and the lighting used. The inside shots look like inside shots, like the outside shots look like outside shots, and the other-world shots look otherworldly.

DVD Extras:

The DVD comes with a lot of extra features to keep you entertained long after you have watched all of the episodes. The DVD box boasts about over 2 hours of special features, which of these include a host of different interviews, behind the scenes footage, videos diary’s by Billie Piper and Russell T Davies, and many more. There are also audio commentaries for every episode, although some of these can be hit or miss, depending the episodes you watch.

[Major Spoilers For Episodes 4 & 5]

A Quick Note: Alright, the in-depth part of last weeks review went on for way too long, and that was just for a 90 minute movie. I am now reviewing a whole series, which is 13, 49 minute long episodes.

So what Ive opted for instead is to focus on the the worst story, which happen to be the first mid series 2-parter. Originally I was going to do the best story as well, which is the second mid series two-parter called The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances, although I decided to cut this out for length. I may go back and do a follow up, reviewing these two episodes if it is requested.

The (Not So) Whole Story:

Episodes 4 & 5: Aliens of London and World War Three.

This may be two episodes, but its part of the same story so I’ll be counting them together.

So we start off with a look back of the first episode clips, before we see the TARDIS materialise on the local council estate… Yeah, because that’s not going to get gratified at all. Anyway, the doctor tells Rose that its only been 12 hours, and so she goes off to say hi to her mother.

As the Doctor walks around the estate, he see’s something that troubles him, as he goes off running. Meanwhile, Rose walks into her home, acting casual as you do after youve stayed out for 12 hours. Her mother looks in shock as we find out. Rose has been gone 12 months, not 12 hours. Ahahahaha, what is that Doctor like, eh. Always getting stuff wrong.

So after a brief talk with a police officer, who asks if the Doctor chose Rose so he could get some… lets say ‘Poontang’. The Doctor denies this, although Jackie isnt convinced, going as far to bitch slap the doctor… Yeah, I’m sorry… What was that? The Doctor, one of the most feared men in the universe, so much so that the Daleks even fear the Doctor. The Doctor, who in later series’ only has to tell a species his name for them to back off… And he just got totally owned by a middle aged cockney woman… Oh wait, that’s suppose to be the joke… Ha ha ha.

Anyway…

The Doctor and Rose go to the roof to have a nice little chin waggle… As you do, when they see a giant spaceship crash through Big Ben and lands in the River Thames… Damn Aliens, don’t they know your not suppose to drink and drive!

Anyway, the Doctor decides to do like everyone else, and see it on TV, as he watches with glee (Watches with glee, he doesn’t actually watch Glee… That hasn’t been invented yet, though I’m sure the doctor probably has every episode on DVD)

Since for some reason the Tylers are now having a party… Maybe to welcome Rose back, I don’t know, the Doctor is finding it hard to listen to the TV, and so decides to, even though he said earlier that he should use the TARDIS, because there’s already been one Alien spaceship today… He figures to ignore himself and go take the TARDIS anyway… Oh, and he lies to Rose about doing this as well… For what ever reason.

Anyway, as the Doctor and the TARDIS goes bye bye, Mickey Smith runs out and tries to stop the doctor, but instead the TARDIS de-materialises and he runs into the shutters behind it… Because you know… That’s funny right?

Oh, I forgot to mention. The TARDIS got tagged by some street punk saying ‘Bad Wolf’

So whilst all this hilarity is going on, serious business is going on else where. The government is having meetings about what has happened, and are planning on gathering all of the worlds experts together to discuss what it could all mean. Also, Harriet Jones backbench MP for Flydale North is buzzing around doing something or other.

Meanwhile, in a hospital which was closed down to have a look at the Alien, we see Tosh from Torchwood, ah I mean a unnamed woman doctor, as she starts to hear strange banging. In an act of utter coincidence, the Doctor steps out of the TARDIS, in the very same building. He goes through a door to be met by arm soldiers, although then when they hear a scream and he starts shouting random pattern formations, they all fall in line behind the mysterious stranger WHO APPEARED FROM NOWHERE AND FOLLOW HIS EVERY ORDER… THIS IS THE MILLITERY!

We see that the alien is actually some kind of pig creature, and one of the armed soldiers shoot it dead as they see it running towards them… And the Doctor shouts at them, saying the pig as scared… Right… So a pig alien starts running towards you, and your a normal human solider who’s never seen a alien before… You may think its trying to attack you if its running towards you like that.

Anyway, we go back to Downing Street where we see the government isn’t actually what they say they are. Wow, a government with secrets and a hidden agenda… I hope you like this plot line as Davies makes sure that we all soon learn that Governments are BAD!

The Doctor explains to the woman that we don’t know as Tosh that the pig isn’t the real Alien, but a decoy. The real aliens strapped the pig alien into their spaceship and have it crash into Big Ben to gather attention.

Anyway, we haven’t had an episode of Eastenders for a while, so we go back to the Tyler’s flat, where Mickey bursts in on the party and confronts Rose. Apparently Jackie was blaming Mickey for Rose’s disappearance, and he was questioned by the police. To be honest, I think he’s just upset that she left him for an Alien who over 800 years older than he is.

Mickey tells Rose that he saw the Doctor leave, and she runs off to see for herself, annoyed that this man who she barely knows and who’s put her life in danger quite a few times since they met has now lied to her.

Rose, Mickey and Jackie all go outside to have a nice friendly argument as the TARDIS re-appears. As they all go inside, Jackie sees that its bigger on the inside, frightening old Jackie and making her run away. The Doctor, Rose and Mickey all go inside to natter as Jackie phones the government to tell them her daughter is travelling around with one of them aliens.

They all hear commotion outside as it seems as though the government have tracked the Doctor, and are bringing him to Downing Street. Mickey, misunderstanding the situation runs away, not wanting to get arrested, and the army fail to catch him… WHAT! Your fucking kidding me. The British Army cant catch one guy who they have basically surrounded!

Its lucky that in Doctor Who there are no wars, well, only with Aliens but we get the Doctor’s help with that. I mean, it just seems like the British military cant do anything.

Anyway, the Doctor is taken to , is gathered with the other experts and then they all start getting electrocuted, as the Aliens begin to reveal their true form.

Oh, and a one of the aliens has gone after Jackie, and another has gone chasing

And that’s our cliff hanger for the episode… Yes, we are only half way through this crap-fest.

Of course, any climax that had build up is automatic destroyed because of the next time trailer playing STRAIGHT AFTER.

Anyway, lets jump into the next episode.

The Doctor manages to survive the no so deadly electricity because he isn’t human, and somehow reverses it to electrify the aliens instead. It some how effects all of them, even the one going after Jackie, and the one whose after Rose and Harriet. Mickey walks in on Jackie and the electrifying Alien, and I have no idea what his first thought was when walking in, but he decides to take her back to his place.

Anyway, the Doctor runs into the soldiers, telling them that the government people are the real aliens and of course they don’t believe him, and they start chasing him believing him to be the one who killed everyone earlier.

Meanwhile the aliens keep up the chase after Rose and Harriet, but they out-whit the aliens and manage to find the doctor. They are cornered in a room as the Doctor tries to fight them off using his sonic screwdriver and a bottle of port… Wow, I have so gotta try that one day.

So Mickey gets Jackie back to his place and makes her a steaming hot cup of tea, as they chat a bit. We then see the aliens chat a bit, before Rose, Harriet and the Doctor chat a bit. The Doctor the chats with Mickey on the phone and he tells him to hack the government, as they see that the aliens are trying to cause a nuclear war to go off. The doorbell rings and its Mr. Alien again, and he’s coming to get them.

The Doctor figures out that the Aliens, who call themselves the Slitheen, although that’s their family name, are from a planet called Raxacoricofallapatorius. I remenber about a year ago I was going to go make an doctor who a-capella band with me and 3 of my friends. We were going to do a-capella versions of Doctor Who music, and we were called The Raxacoricofallapatorius Experience. Fortunately for the world of music, we never even met up to sing once, still, we designed a t-shirt…

Well anyway, apparently they don’t like anything with vinegar in. Maybe that means I’m a Raxacoricofallapatorian, because I absolutely hate vinegar. I mean, I don’t explode when it touches me, but I just don’t have it on my chips is all.

Anyway, a lot more talking goes on as the Slitheens plan starts coming together. The Doctor eventually finds a way to win by firing a normal missile, getting Mickey to send it to Downing Street to kill all the Slitheen. Luckily the room the Doctor and co happen to be in is a bunker of some sort, and is one of the safest places in the whole of Great Britain.

Anyway, lets wrap this up.

The Doctors plan works and all the Slitheen die, or at least he believes so. Him, Rose and Harriet are all fine, as Harriet goes off to talk to the media. The Doctor retires back to the TARDIS as Rose returns home. She speaks with her mum and tells her she going to keep travelling with the Doctor, because she wants to see the universe for all its worth or something like that. I don’t know, at this point I cant pay that much attention.

After the Doctor gets the punk who gratified on his TARDIS to wash it off, he asks Mickey to come along, but Mickey refuses because… I dunno, maybe he wants to see how it goes with Jackie. Anyway, Mickey and Jackie see the two of them off as the TARDIS fades away.

Roll next week trailer and credits!

Average Episode Plot Scores:

Episode 1: 8/10
Episode 2: 8/10
Episode 3: 7/10
Episode 4: 5/10
Episode 5: 5/10
Episode 6: 8/10
Episode 7: 7/10
Episode 8: 9/10
Episode 9: 9/10
Episode 10: 9/10
Episode 11: 8/10
Episode 12: 8/10
Episode 13: 8/10

Average: 7.6

Summary:

In essence, Doctor Who is what it is. Whether you grew up with the old series, or started with this new series, it is still a great show with lots of laughs and adventure along the way. Although this series may not have some of the best episodes of the show, which would come with later series, it also does not have some of the worst episodes, despite the episodes I reviewed.. With an alright Doctor and a good companion, this is a great place to start if you have never seen the show before, or a great pick up if you loved the old series.

Episode Plots: 7.6 / 10
Characters: 8 / 10
Soundtrack: 9 / 10
Cinematography: 8 / 10
DVD Extras: 9 / 10

Final Score: 8.3 / 10