Category Archives: Television

Night of The Doctor Review (9/10) WATCH

SPOILERY SPOILERS OF A SPOILING NATURE.

 

Well the score may be suffering from a slight bias because Paul motherf**cking McGann is finally back playing The Doctor on our screens. A moment I have waited for since 1996 personally.

While five minutes isn’t nearly enough for McGann (a web series will do nicely, thank you) he still manages to exude a charm and exuberance, now topped off with a massive dollop of cool because he isn’t stuck with a ridiculous costume or stupid wig.

Clearly tired and changed by whatever’s happened with the Time War so far, we’re afforded a nice insight into how awful things are. The Doctor’s would be companion claiming there’s no difference between Daleks and Time Lords anymore sums it up and justifies why The Doctor would essentially give up being The Doctor (a very unsettling moment).

There’s also a handful of nice references to McGann’s Big Finish adventures (rightly so) as he namedrops Charlie and Lucy, among other companions.

And of course we finally have an official name for Hurt’s Doctor; The War Doctor. The glimpse of him here shows him to be a much younger man. I imagine the implication is that he’s been in that incarnation for a long old time.

Night of The Doctor sets up the 50th anniversary bash in an intriguing way, but most importantly, it let the 8th Doctor have another hard earned crack at the whip. About time.

Watch it here, baby.

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Five Things To Do With Your Life Now Breaking Bad’s Over

The greatest TV show of the last few years (maybe ever) is over. For many people, myself included, waiting for a new episode of Breaking Bad was like waiting for Christmas day (only better, because you didn’t have to pretend to be happy or spend time with distant family).

So much time and effort was put into waiting and speculating over the finale that now it’s passed us by, we feel dazed. Confused, even. Many of us have stepped outside for the first time in months, blinking in the bright, harsh sunlight and wondering if Breaking Bad was even real to begin with, or if we collectively willed the perfect TV show from the ether and beamed it right into our subconscious.

So as we question our very perceptions of reality and the world around us, here are five things we can do to help ease the pain of  PBBD (Post Breaking Bad Depression).

Watch The Sopranos

If you like Breaking Bad, you will like The Sopranos. Fact. Vince Gilligan has cited the hit mobster drama as a major influence on more than one occasion. The story of a mafia boss who suffers from deep set emotional anxiety issues and depression is a little slower and a lot more talky than Breaking Bad, but by God it’s got a fucking cool theme tune, stellar actors and unparalleled writing. Six seasons is more than enough to stave off the PBBD.

Cook Meth

If Breaking Bad taught us anything, it’s how to build a successful drugs empire. All you need to do is shave your head, kill a lot of people, posion a kid, blow up a nursing home, emotionally maim your partner till he’s a shell of man, machine gun down a load of nazis and finally die on the floor of your grubby meth lab from a bullet wound. Should keep you busy.

Start a Jigsaw

Make it a big one. A thousand pieces at least, that should help keep your mind of things. Just make sure it isn’t anything that could associated with Breaking Bad, like a blue crystal, a fedora or Hule.

And remember kids, only a prick doesn’t start with the corners.

Rewatch Breaking Bad

It’ll never have quite the same impact as it did the first time around but come on; Breaking Bad is still and incredible, entertaining show that definitely deserves a number of repeat viewings.

By watching again, we might pick up on foreshadowing or details we never would have got the first time and If nothing else, we can point at Gus every time he comes onscreen and laugh knowingly.

Listen to Baby Blue, alone, in the dark and cry

Every day for the rest of your sad miserable life. Because Breaking Bad is gone and it is never, ever coming back. Let’s all just lie down and give up, eh?

Breaking Bad: Felina Review (9/10)

(More spoilers than a tin of hot fried spoilers)

Well then, that’s that. No abrupt cut to black, no twist “it was all a dream” ending and thankfully no surprise Malcolm in the Middle reveal at the very last minute. Breaking Bad is finally over after five seasons of near perfect television and by God, it was the most satisfying finale since Rachel got off the plane.

We weren’t left wondering, we weren’t left hanging and nobody thought that anything should be left open to interpretation. It was uncompromising, tense and packed full of punch the air f**k yeah moments from Badger and Skinny P’s surprise appearance to Jesse throttling Todd to death (the most satisfying moment of anything, ever).

Of course, a lot of it was predictable, but that is by no means a bad thing. The seeds of this episode have been sown since the start of series five. Walt had a rather large machine gun, some ricin and death in his eyes. How else was that gonna end? Of course no one can say they saw Walt using the machine gun in quite the way he did and it was fantastic to see Walt proving once again that he is one smart bastard.

Everyone got their closure. Skylar and Walt’s scene in the kitchen, where he finally admits that he did it all for himself and no one else… stellar acting from Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston. If you didn’t well up even a little as Walt says goodbye to Holly and watches Junior through the window then you have a small black rock where your soul should be.

Walt giving Skylar the location of Hank’s body was also a tidy move that allows Skylar leverage with the DA and a way out, while also giving Marie the closure of a proper burial for poor old Hank (who I still expected to pop up and save everything at some point by the way).

My only real problem with the “goodbye half” of this episode was Walt Jr’s lack of closure. I suppose after everything Walt did, he shouldn’t get off so easily that everyone suddenly understands and forgives him. His actions, all supposedly for his family should cost him his son. There was a fitting irony to this, although it still didn’t sit entirely right with me.

Of course what can I really say about Walt’s spontaneous Grey Matter reunion, other than that it was beyond beautiful to see him make them piss their pants and finally find a way to get his hard earned money to his family.

And then, Walt kills people. A lot of people. Getting Lydia with the Ricin (thank God they finally used it), gunning down a gang of armed nazis, saving Jesse and finally lying down to die in the (metaphorical) arms of the one thing he truly loved in the end. His meth lab.

Everything Walt did in this episode proved what we all knew from the start. You do not mess with Heisenberg. He finally got to take the credit by dying in the lab and he finally regained a modicum of humanity through saving Jesse and avenging Hank.

Considering everything that has happened over the course of this phenomenal series, I really do not think anyone could have asked for more from the way it was all wrapped up.

Breaking Bad was one of the greats. A truly special, one of a kind show that never once wavered in it’s impeccable quality. Brilliant written, astonishingly acted and as addictive as a rock of the old blue meth we all love so much… The only question is, what on Earth do we do with our lives now?

Does Breaking Bad Deserve a Happy Ending?

There’s a little known show that used to be on a while back about a mafia boss, called The Sopranos (that description is more than a little oversimplified by the way). As you might expect from a show about a mafia boss, it’s not exactly chuckles from start to finish.

Our main hero, Tony Soprano kills and maims and tortures and yet we cheer him on through it all because this is television, these things aren’t really happening and hey, he’s a pretty charming guy when he isn’t cheating on his wife or doing any of the aforementioned maiming or killing.

But of course this show comes to an end, as all things do (except Doctor Who, which will no doubt outlive even time itself). Just in case you ever plan on watching The Sopranos, and you should by the way because it is absolutely fantastic television, MILD SPOILER; the last ever episode very famously just cuts to black partway through the last scene.

In so many ways, this was the only real way a show of this ilk could end. Tony Soprano was a sociopath and the FBI was apparently closing in on him and people wanted him dead. The cut to black offers no judgement and takes no sides in the end. Tony could have been shot, he could have spotted the feds coming for him, he could just have seen his daughter coming in late for a family dinner.

With Breaking Bad’s final episode looming, I find myself thinking about The Sopranos’ solution more and more and how much sense it made, as confused and annoyed as I was at the time.

Walter White is hands down a bigger monster than Tony Soprano could have ever been in his worst dreams. The mafia has a code of honour, twisted though it is. White is in the game for one person and one person alone, and that is himself. He has poisoned children, disposed of children’s bodies, watched people die, killed in cold blood and he blew up a motherf***ing old folks home and all just to save his skin.

We have people on both sides of the fence when it comes to the fate of Walter White. Heisenberg apologists who believe he should get in, kill uncle Jack and run away with Jesse to start their own brand of hats and there are those who want Walt to rot for his crimes.

There are more than a few similarities in Breaking Bad with The Sopranos and Vince Gilligan himself has said that without Tony Soprano, Walter White would never have existed. So just how will things go for Walt, Jesse and co? The stakes are so high that a fade to black might just cause heart attacks worldwide, but does anyone actually deserve to get out alive?

No matter what, Breaking Bad’s finale will be divisive and it will be talked about for years to come. That’s just what good TV is about.

Of course, there are those we all want to see put down, like that creepy little bastard Todd, and loveable nazi uncle Jack. But looking to the main characters, who deserves to get away? Jesse was a heroin junkie, meth dealer and murdered a man at point blank in cold blood.

He feels bad about it, sure, but does that change anything? For all of his brooding and his stance on keeping kids out of it, how does he know where the meth he makes goes? He doesn’t know for sure that kids aren’t ODing on his product somewhere out there, does he? As far as I’m concerned, his getting out was too little, too late.

Then there’s Skylar. She paints herself as a victim and of course, to an extent she was. However, even before she was caught up in laundering Walt’s meth empire, she was quite happy to cook books for Ted. She too, had so many chances to just get out but was simply too afraid of strapping on a pair and facing the consequences.

Now, here’s the big one. Hank deserved to die. As much as I shouted at the TV screen when it happened and as much as I am still in denial about it, his death was on him. Why didn’t he have back up? Because he was too prideful. He was obsessed with being the one to take down his brother in law so he could at least get fired a hero but going after the head of a giant meth empire with an ex meth head and one other cop is plain frickin’ stupid. End of story.

Walt Jr is the only decent chap left in town and as a result I am sure that he’s about to bite the big one. Gilligan seems to be a bit sadistic like that. But then again, isn’t that what Walt deserves? All the suffering he has caused in the name of his family, for it all to have been for nothing and to maybe even be directly responsible for his own sons death seems appropriate.

A show like Breaking Bad can elicit so many different opinions however, that everyone will have a different view of who should make it out and who shouldn’t. At the end of the day, does the show itself deserve a happy ending?

After everything, Jane, Andrea, Mike, Hank, plane crashes, explosions, misery addiction and mourning I don’t think it would be at all for feasible for Breaking Bad to have a happy ending. It can only have an ending.

On Finally Watching Breaking Bad

Don’t pelt me with soft balls of cheese or run me out of the village with pitchforks and flaming torches, but I only last week began watching Breaking Bad after finally succumbing to the many, many fervent recommendations of friends, reviews and the nagging voice at the back of my head that kept insisting I had to watch it.

I don’t know why it took me so long really. Maybe it’s because I’m powering through in my first watch through of The Sopranos with a friend (which is absolutely bloody brilliant by the way) and that alone is almost too much quality for me to take.

Maybe it’s because when I start a new TV series I know that I’m committing hours of my life, especially when it’s really good telly. I can happily dip in and out of Buffy or Doctor Who, in fact, re watching old episodes of other shows has a certain comfortable feel, whereas starting a brand new show takes a strange degree of effort that I really can’t put my finger on.

Of course everyone and their mums have been telling me that is one of the best television series of all time so I was certain that when I finally started, I could say goodbye to doing anything of any real use for a very long time. Especially since I’m four and a half series behind at this point.

At the time of finally tearing myself away to write this up, I have just witnessed a severed head on a turtle that then proceeded to explode. I did have to go back and rewatch just to make sure I had actually seen what I thought I saw. Breaking Bad is batshit mental and completely, utterly genius all at the same time.

The chemistry (just let it go) between the leading men is a joy to watch, the writing and the entire premise of the show is inspired and above all, the best thing about this program is that it is absolutely unpredictable. From the start of one episode to the end credits, something has shifted or twisted in a big, unexpected way and I love it. Case in point; a severed head on a turtle threw me enough, the fact it exploded made me want to go and lie down for a while.

I feel properly ashamed that it’s taken me so long to buckle down and get to grips with Breaking Bad, but now I’m here I’m loving every single second of this show. The fact that I already think this is a near perfect show and I’m only on season two scares me somewhat. Everybody who is up to speed insists that it just gets better, and that is frankly quite far beyond the limits of my comprehension.

Closing note; people are insisting that there are scarier folk than Tuco to come. If true please send help.

Peter Capaldi: The Right Choice For Doctor Who?

 

When it was announced that Matt Smith would be leaving Doctor Who a few months back, I was wary. Smith has been an effortlessly charismatic and entertaining Doctor, always a joy to watch and for my money, stolen every scene he’s been in from the moment he climbed out of the TARDIS and asked a young Amy Pond for an apple.

So how was I supposed to forget the man who made me forget David Tennant? Easy. You cast Peter Capaldi.

The moment he came strutting out on Sunday I was literally punching the air, my dad cheered so hard that my baby sister thought something was wrong and proceeded to cry.

Peter Capaldi is someone who I didn’t even realise I wanted to be The Doctor until he was stood there, twiddling his lapels Hartnell style and beaming away at the rapturous applause. Matt who?

90% of my Facebook feed seemed to agree. Sure, there were some who are obviously only pleased because they think Malcolm Tucker is going to be taking the keys to the TARDIS and throwing f bombs at the Cybermen but for the most part people really seemed to be on board with it.

But the law of the internet does state that if you have a ridiculous and pointless opinion you must state it in a way that is as loud and belligerent as possible, starting with “but he’s too old”.

I really need someone who thinks this to explain to me their logic. What does “too old” mean? William Hartnell (The First Doctor) was 55 when he took on the role. It seems to me a canny choice that after Matt Smith (the youngest actor to play the part) they cast someone who is now the joint oldest Doctor.

The concept of Regeneration is to breathe new life into the show, the changes should be radical quite frankly. Can you imagine watching some unknown young actor simply doing a bad cover of Matt Smith?

Besides that, the character of the Doctor is pushing 1200 now I think. 55 is a positively spry age to be taking on a role like that.

I won’t even waste much breath on the folk who have complained that 12 is not attractive. To judge someone based solely on looks is disgusting enough as it is and if the casting of Capaldi weeds out the shallow few who only watched because they fancied Tennant and Smith, that is fine with me.

If you don’t think Peter Capaldi will blow everyone away as the 12th Doctor, go and watch him in The Thick of it. Granted, his Doctor won’t be very much like Malcolm Tucker at all but you get a sense of his immense energy, madness and downright capacity to be terrifying.  If you think he hasn’t got the emotional chops, check him out in Torchwood: Children of Earth.

And even if after all that, you aren’t convinced, you can just sit out Doctor Who until they cast some good looking young bloke again. You’ll just be missing out on what I am already convinced are going to be some of the shows best years.

Peter Capaldi is The 12th Doctor!

In what can only be described as a piece of spot on casting, Peter Capaldi has today been unveiled as the 12th Doctor, set to take over from Matt Smith this Christmas.

Capaldi is no stranger to Doctor Who, having appeared in David Tennant story Fires of Pompei (which strangely enough also featured Karen Gillain before she was Amy Pond) and the brilliant Torchwood: Children of Earth. 

After the youthful Matt Smith, it should make a refreshing change to see an older gent in the TARDIS, although you can already smell the Tennant/Smith fangirls’ tears hitting their diaries. On top of all of this, Capaldi is a bloody fantastic actor and I for one can’t wait to see what he brings to one of the most iconic roles in television.

Now let the costume speculation commence!

Retrospective – Batman: The Animated Series

Forgive the burgeoning bat bias that’s been creeping into this blog as of late, but I’ve just finished playing the brilliant Arkham City (finally) and I have to indulge my reignited love for Batman in any way possible.

Batman: The Animated Series is the greatest superhero cartoon ever. This is fact. This is scientifically proven. To even call it a cartoon does it a disservice. It was a dark, intelligent and brooding show that had just as much for grown ups as it did for kids (at least that’s what I tell myself since I still watch it every now and again).

Not only did the show pick up a boat load of awards and recognition, but it refined and even created characters that have gone on to be fan favorites within the actual comics continuity. Harley Quinn, the Joker’s main squeeze originated in TAS and the hugely popular Batman Beyond was an original idea spinning off from TAS.

The casting was always spot on. To my mind, Kevin Conroy will always be Batman and Mark Hamill will always be the definitive Joker (all due respect to Heath Ledger). If any proof were needed of this, the two were asked to reprise their roles for the Arkham games, years after TAS wound to a close.

It was a beautifully written show that never shied away from the fact that The Joker kills people, or even that Batman is in fact actually a bit of a mental case himself. Previously one dimensional characters like Mr Freeze were given deep and fairly tragic back stories that again got picked up in the comic books.

While a cartoon can have all these factors, it’s nothing if it doesn’t look good. Thankfully, TAS had a gorgeous, 1950s art deco style that made Gotham feel like it had a personality all of it’s own. The character designs were simple yet effective and the action sequences were always engaging and well executed.

If you’re the sort of person that doesn’t feel embarrassed to watch old cartoons from back in t’day, (and why should you?) you could do a lot worse than Batman: TAS. It’s the purest and most enjoyable form of Batman you’re ever likely to find. And I haven’t even mentioned that glorious motherfucking theme tune.

5 Things The Daleks Could Do In the 50th

 

We all saw it coming. it was at Comic Con when it was confirmed that The Daleks (those metal bastards) will be making an appearance in the much anticipated Doctor Who 50th anniversary bash.

One may express concern that with this on top of Zygons, the tenth Doctor, Rose, Queen Elizabeth and John Hurt as some super nasty prick Doctor, that the 50th may collapse under its own weight.

The Daleks need to be used smartly to avoid such crushing dissapointment. Here are five things those pepperpots could be up to. I’ll leave you to decide which ones are legit. 

Plumbing

Because after 50 years of watching the Doctor do battle with the Daleks, it would be nice to see them finally use their plungers to unclog a toilet or something. 

Cameo

Because after all this hype, there would be nothing better than seeing the iconic villains sidelined or only shown for a few seconds. There’s nothing funnier (or easier) than annoying internet fanboys.

Save The Doctor

Celebrating half a century deserves a twist and if anyone could predict The Daleks cutting in to save the day, I’ll eat my hat. I’d have to buy one first mind. Of course, it’d never happen because it would just ruin what makes Daleks Daleks. 

Grow Legs

Imagine a Dalek with long, smooth lady legs. That image is worth tuning in alone, surely?

Flashback

Probably what is going to happen. Going from the pictures we’ve seen, it looks like a flashback to the Time War. Something Whovians have been foaming at the mouth to see since the idea came up in 2005

This has been a pointless post borne of a lack of imagination or anything worthwhile to say. Cheers for reading 

Ten Actors Who Should Play The 12th Doctor

The fateful day has come. Matt Smith has announced he is leaving Doctor Who, giving Steven Moffat the chance to ruin Christmas for a nation. A task he will no doubt relish.

So here is a list, in no particular order, of ten actors who could replace him, or should play the part somewhere down the line for the show. If you disagree feel free to comment with your name and address so I can come over and slap you across the face for not seeing things my way (that was a joke, I’m a pussy).

Oh and just to clarify, if you’re the sort of person who expects to see Russel Brand or Noel Fielding on this list, you shouldn’t be watching Doctor Who. Seriously, just stop.

Ten: John Hurt (Harry Potter, Alien, Doctor Who, Much more)

I always wanted John Hurt to play The Doctor before the big reveal at the end of the recent series (honestly). As such, as soon as I heard he’d been cast for the 50th I kinda had the feeling there was only one part he could possibly be playing and I nailed it. Although, I nailed it at the expense of spoiling for myself what was meant to be a brilliant reveal during The Name of The Doctor.

In any case, since the show came back I’ve wanted to see an older man playing The Doctor again, if only because if they carry on the way they’re going the 13th Doctor will be a ten year old.

John Hurt just seems to look the part in a way few actors do. In Harry Potter he had the whole mysterious “I know more than you Harry lololol” thing going on which The Doctor should always have. He can also let deadly larval aliens burst out of his chest like no other actor on the planet, which is a bonus. On the other hand, if we can’t have an old Doctor…

Nine: Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider Man, The Social Network, Doctor Who… again)

This one has nothing to do with my worryingly powerful man crash on him, or the fact that his hair rivals David Tennant’s in the so good it must be alien category. From what I’ve seen of him, I just genuinely believe he has the potential to be a truly mad, eccentric Doctor full of energy.

On top of that, we know he can do the whole “acting” lark quite well and cleary has a good range. Something that is probably helpful when you’re playing a batshit crazy alien. Again, you may call me shallow, but it mostly boils down to me thinking he has the right “look” about him. I can’t put my finger on it. I guess I just fancy him a bit too much.

Eight: Thomas Sangster (Nowhere Boy, Doctor Who… sorry)

I will admit that in the case of this chap, we’re gonna need to give it a few more years, but I think he’s got the potential to make a cracking Doctor.

It’s mostly his appearance in Doctor Who (Human Nature/Family of Blood) that got me thinking about him for the role. It’s not that he does anything particularly Doctorish, but the way he delivers some of his lines remind me so much of third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) that I think he could play the role in a similar way. Stern yet stylish with a penchant for Velvet. Maybe not the velvet thing.

Seven: Paterson Joseph (Neverwhere, Doctor Who, oops)

I know what you’re thinking when you look at the picture. How could they cast the Doctor as… someone without hair? P J was actually strongly rumoured for the role after David Tennant announced he was leaving and I for one thought it would have been a brilliant call.

You only need to watch him as the smarmy and eccentric Marquis de Carabas in Neil Gaiman’s excellent Neverwhere TV series to see why he would make a fantastic Doctor.

Six: Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Hobbit, Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy)

Hold onto your panties fan girls of Tumblr, but I don’t think that Benedict “Sherlock” Cumberpatch should ever play The Doctor. He is a terriffic actor, but I think for the most part his characters are just a little too graceful, cold and in control. If there’s one thing The Doctor should never be, it’s completely in control… and very rarely cold.

Freeman on the otherhand is immensely likeable and can play the bumbling adventurer very well. In Sherlock, The Hobbit and Hitch Hikers, he is a character who is unwillingly pulled into an adventure. Of course the Doctor is always looking for adventure, but never trouble. Freeman would make a cracking unwilling, bumbling and perhaps quite hapless Doctor.

Five: Alan Rickman (Harry Potter, Dogma)

Perhaps not these days, as most people would have a hard time getting Professor Snape out of their heads. However, in Kevin Smith’s Dogma he played a brilliantly smarmy, sarcastic dick that – if toned down a little -would have made quite a good Doctor.

Of course, we’d have to see a little more than smarminess or we’d get pretty bored of him before long.

Four: Richard E. Grant (Withnail & I Surprise… Doctor Who)

Annoyingly, this will never happen now as he recently played the big bad of Series 7 as the revived Great Intelligence. It’s a shame since on two occasions he played the Doctor during the Series’ state of flux. Once in a kind of forgettable animated format. The other occasion was for about thirty seconds but much more memorable…

Steven Moffat (whoever that guy is) wrote a spoof skit for Comic Relief in the 90s featuring Rowan Atkinson as the 9th Doctor. He regenerates into some well known actors several times in the spoof but by far the best performance was Grant’s. It was only a sketch and only a few seconds but he just nailed the part. A shame we’ll never see him do it again.

You can check him (and some other big names) out as The Doctor here:

Three: Paul Mgann (Withnail & I, Doctor Who)

GIVE ME BACK THE EIGHTH DOCTOR. GIVE MGANN MORE SCREEN TIME NOW.  Sorry.

Two: Dylan Moran (Black Books, Shaun of the Dead)

I’m not really sure if this is because I think his eccentric bastard Bernard Black character would make a good Doctor, or if it’s just because I want to see him and Manny travelling together in the TARDIS. Either way I think I’d be sold on this one.

One: Andrew Gower: (Being Human)

Sadly, I’m only aware of Gower from Being Human, but it was one of those rare moments for a picky bastard like me where I just knew I wanted to see him as The Doctor.

He just has something of The Doctor about him. The Tennant/Baker wide eyes, the madness… just a general air of Doctorishness. Gower is my top choice for Doctor number 12.

But that’s the thing with a new Doctor at the end of the day. I can almost guarantee it won’t be anyone we’re expecting. You can ignore all the odds involving Rupert Grint and James Nesbitt and the names that come up everywhere. If any one person on the planet can tell me they were expecting Matt Smith to be the 11th Doctor, they’re a liar.

One thing’s for sure. Whoever they pick, they’re gonna have one hell of a job replacing the man who made me forget David Tennant in less than five minutes.