Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

A lot of Doctor Who related reading this year, what with it being the 50th anniversary and everything there was a lot available to read.

Available as a poll over on Live Journal (you don’t need an LJ account to vote, just an OpenID account which means an account from, Google, Yahoo, Blogger, etc.)

The Doctor's Monsters

Doctor Who

  • Dark Horizons by J.T. Colgan
  • Devil in the Smoke by Justin Richards
  • About Time Volume 7: 2005-2006 Series 1 & 2 by Tat Wood
  • TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 2: Patrick Troughton by Philip Sandifer
  • TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 3: Jon Pertwee by Philip Sandifer
  • The Doctor’s Monsters by Graham Sleight
  • Who-ology by Cavan Scott
  • Time & Space Visualiser by Paul Smith
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2 Volume 1
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation 2 Volume 2
  • Nemesis of the Daleks

Nemo: Heart of Ice

Graphic Novels

  • Nemo: Heart of Ice by Alan Moore
  • Fables Volume 18: Cubs in Toyland
  • Fables Volume 19: Snow White
  • The Invincible Iron Man: The Five Nightmares
  • John Constantine Hellblazer: Death and Cigarettes
  • Justice League Volume 1: Origin
  • Demon Knights Volume 2: The Avalon Trap
  • Stormwatch Volume 2: Enemies of Earth
  • Stormwatch Volume 3: Betrayal
  • Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor
  • Willow Volume 1: Wonderland
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 3: Guarded
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volume 4: Welcome to the Team
  • Weasels by Elys Dolan



  • Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
  • Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
  • Stonemouth by Iain Banks
  • Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
  • The Other Hand by Chris Cleave
  • London Falling by Paul Cornell
  • 1356 by Bernard Cornwell
  • The Iron King by Maurice Druon
  • Flashman and the Angel of the Lord by George MacDonald Fraser


  • Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram by Iain Banks
  • Prime Minister Boris… and other things that never happened by Duncan Brack and Iain Dale
  • All the Countries We’ve Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To by Stuart Laycock
  • Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero by Grant Morrison
  • A Radical History of Britain by Edward Vallance

I spent a day helping my parents start clearing out their loft. In a box marked games I found this little haul.

That’s more or less every weekend and school holiday from the mid to late 1980s right there.

Geek nostalgia heaven.

I’m really not sure that the script writers for Season 7 of Rugby World Cup have done a very good job.

They’ve continued the habit from previous seasons of writing out fan favourite characters such as Tonga or Wales before the finale, and have decided that the season finale would be a rematch of the one from season one. So what have they added that’s new?

Well, in terms of character development, previous seasons have hinted towards France’s mental instability but this season the writers flirted with pushing them over the edge into insanity. But then the went and bottled it and failed to follow through on this development in the finale itself.

Deciding the make the England character the focus of multi-media spin-offs rather than a core part of the series itself was an odd way to treat a character with such a large fan base and which had been such an integral part of previous seasons.

The running gag about New Zealand fly halves is in rather poor taste and is just ripping off Spinal Tap anyway. And the gag about no one at all being able to kick straight is rather clumsy attempt on the writers’ part to counter criticism of too much kicking in previous seasons.

The finale itself was a rather scrappy affair, almost as if there wasn’t enough budget left for any spectacular special effects sequences. I can’t tell whether having the teams play in black and white was supposed to be some sort of post-modernist statement or not.

All in all not a classic season, but I kept on watching anyway so they must have done something right. I just hope the writing team has some fresh ideas for Season 8.

Today I went to the new Doctor Who Experience at Olympia. It’s a two part exhibition, starting with an interactive walkthrough and then a more normal array of props and costumes to gawp at.

After being swallowed by a crack in time we’re taken to a museum on Starship UK (crammed full of all sorts of props – I spotted the ‘Schlechter Wolf’ bomb, a life belt from the SS Bernice, Yeti control spheres and a Dalek trooper helmet as well as the headline items pointed out in the dialogue). Whilst in the museum the Doctor contacts us, in specially recorded Matt Smith video clips, and reveals that he’s been trapped in the Pandorica again and needs our help to escape.

The TARDIS materialises and we (or rather any children in the group – once again, little blighters get all the best things) pilot it to the Doctor’s rescue. Until we crash on a Dalek ship. Ooops. Surrounded by new paradigm Daleks ready to exterminate us all. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of some old style Daleks – “The Children of Davros” – which may point at a new Dalek civil war in the forthcoming series.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire as the escape from the Dalek ship takes us through a corridor (lots of corridors in this, which is very appropriate) containing Weeping Angels. Rushing onwards we reach the Pandorica itself and the Doctor does something sonic to teleport himself into the TARDIS. There’s a cool 3D sequence of Daleks, Cybermen and Angels flying at us from the time vortex before the Doctor saves the day.

The second half is more conventional and packed with more goodies than any previous Doctor Who exhibit (certainly more than Earls Court a few years ago or Longleat a lot of years ago) – costumes from all eleven Doctors and all the twenty first century companions. 1980s and 2010 TARDIS exteriors, 1980s and 2005 TARDIS control rooms, six different models of Daleks from 1963 to 2010, three different Sontarans, the Giant Robot, the Face of Boe, and more and more.

It’s not cheap, £20 for adult tickets  and an eye watering £12 for a photo of yourself in the Pandorica chair (I passed on that), but if you’re as much of a Doctor Who fan as me you’ll love every moment of it.

He-Who-Kills from Khurasan Miniatures

It’s been a while since my last dinosaur miniatures roundup, so what’s new and exciting?

15mm is where it’s at. Khurasan Miniatures have continued to expand their Mystri Island range including the very nice T. rex “He-Who-Kills” pictured on the right. Also in 15mm, there are a few new additions to the M.Y.Miniatures Ice Age range. Splintered Light have blogged the greens for some raptors and sabre tooth tigers. Finally, Acheson Creations / Primaeval Designs will also be moving into this scale and have posted some photos of greens to their Facebook and Yahoo! Groups pages.

Speaking of Primaeval they now have a UK distributor in the form of Magister Militum. The prices are high as you would expect for imports but at least you don’t get stung by customs and post office charges on top of that. I picked up a few figures (Plateosaurus, Protoceratops, Feathered Utahraptor, Mastodon and both Megaloceros) from their stands at SELWG and Warfare. Now I just need to review them for Ragnarok and get my painting desk set up (ha ha, fat chance, my computer is still on the floor five months after we moved).

And in related news, the new season of Primeval airs on ITV on New Year’s Day. 🙂

Yesterday, I tweeted "According to my LibraryThing records I’ve read 141 books this year: 26 novels, 7 non-fiction, 102 graphic novels and 6 ‘other’."

Then I went out and bought another two graphic novels… But it must be said that most of the comics I’ve read this year came from West Norwood library, and now that I’ve exhausted most of their good ones, and some of their bad ones, I think 2010 may be slightly less weighted towards graphic novels.

How many of my 2009 books have you read?

Available as a poll over on Live Journal (you don’t need an LJ account to vote, just an OpenID account which means an account from, Google, Yahoo, Blogger, etc.)

Read the rest of this very true thing…

Doctor Who on Christmas Day, that was a bit of splendid nonsense, wasn’t it? And not long now until we find out how it all ends.

I’ve been passing the time between parts one and two by dipping into the festering mire of DW fandom to see what crackpot speculation people have come up.

Timothy Dalton’s character, “The Narrator”, is the Lord President of Gallifrey according to the preview scene on the BBC web site. He’s also clearly a bit of a nutter, vapourising a member of the high council and screaming “I will not die!”.

So some fans have decided that he must be Borusa. Because Borusa was, at one point, Lord President and, at one point, sought the secret of eternal life. I think this is rubbish. Borusa only went bad in his final appearance, before that he was cunning and sometimes ruthless, but basically a good guy. Many long term fans don’t like what happened to Borusa’s personality in “The Five Doctors” and even Terrence Dicks, writer of that story, has tried to redeem Borusa in a novel. RTD is more a fan of the 70s rather than the 80s so I think that he’d be unlikely to bring back the crazy Borusa from The Five Doctors.

Okay, time for my crackpot idea… Do you want to know who “The Narrator” reminds me of? Morbius. Warmongering psychopathic timelord obsessed with immortality – gotcha. Of course the timeline would be really screwed up if he was, but why not? In the middle of the Time War the Time Lords (willing to resurrect the Master after all) reach back in time and bring in a wartime leader.

(Of course, he’s also a version of the War King from the Faction Paradox encyclopaedia/novel “The Book of the War” but as the War King is actually the Master, this parallel probably won’t be followed through. Shame as we’ve had multi-Doctor stories in the past so why not a multi-Master story some day? As in multiple regenerations of the Master, not multiple copies of the same regeneration as we have as of the cliffhanger.)

Claire Bloom’s character, “The Woman”, is according to fans either Romana, the Rani or the White Guardian. Based on the facts that, in turn, she’s a woman, ditto, and where’s white. Every female character in the new series has at some point been claimed to be really Romana or the Rani. The White Guardian is definitely possible but having the White without the Black would be unbalanced, both in terms of mythology and storytelling.

My crackpot idea… (assuming for the moment that she’s far too po-faced and serious to be Iris Wildthyme) She’s Rose. An older Rose from many years hence who reaches back in time and across universes to help the Doctor one last time. It has a distressing ring of plausibility about it.

Wilf is a Time Lord who’s been transformed into a human and his real personality is inside his unfired service revolver. At the end, he will go off in his own TARDIS with his granddaughter Donna thus recreating the very start of the series. Except that this has already been done, and with better justification, in the novel “Sometime Never” where an alien empowered with some of the Doctor’s life force and the Doctor’s not-really but really really (don’t ask) granddaughter end up semi-amnesiac in a malfunctioning time machine in a junkyard with a superweapon thus providing an origin story for the Doctor, Susan, the TARDIS and the Hand of Omega in universe where the Time Lords never existed.

Having Wilf and/or Donna turn out to be another Time Lord would be heartbreaking. They are such wonderful, lovely characters and killing them to bring some Gallifreyan back to life is just tragic. I hope that Wilf turns out to be Wilf because there’s no one better he could be. RTD has shown in Torchwood that he’s not sentimental (except Rose…) about much loved characters so I’m somewhat prepared to be heartbroken.

Many people have speculated that the Time Lords are, in some way, stashed away inside the Master’s head, and there does seem to be some evidence pointing towards this. If this is the case, then RTD owes Lance Parkin, author of the novel “The Gallifrey Chronicles”, a large sum of money; because after the last time that Gallifrey was destroyed the Time Lords ended up stashed away inside the Doctor’s head (thus causing the longest lasting of the Eighth Doctor’s several bouts of amnesia). If the Time War in the TV series does happen “after” the Time War in the novels then maybe the Time Lords resurrected the Master for the sole purpose of using his talent for self-preservation in exactly the same way that the Doctor had used his own last time around.

So there you go, I’ve proved that almost everything that could happen in part two has already been done in the novels, and that I’m as anal and crackpot as any other fan.

I suspect that the reality of part two will be even more sane/crazy, predictable/unpredictable, clichéd/original than the above.

I’ve just finished watching the finale of Battlestar Galactica. Yes, I’m behind the times (oh I am talking about the new series, not the original one, that would be really behind the times). It’s been hard to avoid spoilers for the ending because of the very strong opinions it’s generated, hence I was watching it with one eye on the telly and one eye on my reaction: would I hate the ending as much as some people did?

Um, no. I have no problem with the ending per se. I thought it was rushed, but only to the degree that the last four episodes needed to be six or seven episodes (it struck me that characters like Tyrol and Helo jumped in and out of the storyline over the last few episodes).

The “Golgafrinchan B-Ark” part of the ending is fine by me. It fits in with the overall themes of both the new series and the original. A little more time might have helped to show how the fleet agreed to this solution so readily. One line about “blank slates” doesn’t really cut it but that doesn’t detract from the basic concept.

The Mitochondrial Eve part of the ending is worrying but in line with general “Hollywood Dumb”. The very concept of Mitochondrial Eve is merely the application of statistics in hindsight. Given a long enough period of time, such a person is likely to exist, but they were, in all probability, not at all special at the time. (And there’s no way that anything resembling modern science could tell whether a given fossil belonged to Mitochondrial Eve.)

The Head Ghosts/Angels part of the ending is obvious tosh. The coyness about God (“You know he doesn’t like that name”) means that we’re left with half an answer and personally I prefer the less than half an answer we got for the Starbuck story.

I don’t mind stories with mystical or supernatural elements, such stories are an important part of our culture, even if some people take them literally and apply mystical or supernatural explanations to the real world. BSG managed the tightrope between both the rational and the mystical over is run. It decided that both were part of its world. I don’t think it could have ended with a rational explanation for the visions, and prophecies that had filled the past four years.

It was one of the best pieces of television that we’ve had. Possibly the best ever in the SF genre. For all its faults, in the ending or in any part, I can’t think any less of it. If you haven’t watched it, do so; if you have, I hoped you enjoyed it as much as I did.

November has arrived accompanied by wind and rain and cold (and indeed a cold). How to spend the month?

Well mostly Lettice and I will be spending it buying a house. Or trying to. The other day we took a tame civil engineer to have a look round the place we’re hoping to buy (in a sort of “look for the massive faults before paying a surveyor” kind of way) and he could only see one potential problem. Fingers crossed that it isn’t.

Like last year, I’ll be taking part in NaBloPoMo as a form of half-hearted solidarity with the people who are attempting NoNoWriMo.

And I’ll be growing a moustache. Some banter in the office on Friday has somehow led to me agreeing at the last minute to take part in Movember. Now, despite having a silly name and being an Australian import, this is a very good cause so please make a donation. I promise to only post very occasional photos of the mo’s progress.

Finally I’ll be hiding from the bad weather and watching telly, not least Doctor Who which is back for a special on the 15th.


To describe someone as “the best actor in TNG” obviously falls into the category of damning with faint praise. 😉

What prompted my previous post was going to see Waiting for Godot on Wednesday, this production has a very impressive cast list: Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Ronald Pickup and Simon Callow. And it struck me that Patrick Stewart looked a little uncomfortable and stiff, in particular with the physical comedy aspects of the production.

Basically, what Linnie said.

I would sit down and watch Patrick Stewart in almost anything (but I gave up on Eleventh Hour after one episode ‘cos it was just dull) but there’s a certain type of part he does very, very well and outside of that he’s still good but not the greatest.