Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Doctor Who 2010 Christmas Episode

I will preface this review by saying that I've been constantly underwhelmed by the Christmas episodes since they started back in 2005 with The Christmas Invasion. Oh, they have their moments but overall there's lots of sound and thunder signifying nothing. I even skipped the one with David Morrissey as "The Next Doctor" completely.

So, can Stephen Moffet succeed where Russel T Davis failed, i.e. make me happy on Christmas Day?

Yes he can.

The first bit of the episode, say the first 20 minutes, was just bizarre and weird and... bizarrely weird. Now I like weird, but this took the cake. There were flying fish and sharks on some alien planet. I still don't know what was up with that.

But the flying shark was just a "MacGuffin" to get Katherine Jenkins thawed out to sing.

You see there's this planet that Michael Gambon seems to control and if you owe him money then he has a family member frozen as collateral. He's a bit mean and Scrooge-like. Along comes the doctor to ask him to turn off his cloud machine so the space liner that Amy and Rory are on can land without crashing. Gambon refuses.

But the doctor knows he's not all bad so he recovers a video recording that Gambon made as a child. Gambon is unimpressed so the Doctor decides to change his mind. Literally.

With the black and white recording projected on the wall of the room the doctor exits through the door and moments later appears in the kid's room in the recording.


Cue adventures with flying sharks, one of which needs Katherine Jenkins to sing to it so they thaw her out. The Doctor and the young Gambon continue to thaw her out every Christmas Eve and have more adventures, meanwhile the audience notices that each time she goes back in the box a counter keeps subtracting 1. Eventually she tells young Gambon not to thaw her out anymore because she will only have one day left to live.

I don't want to regurgitate the whole plot but eventually the Doctor convinces older Gambon to help the space liner people and he is forced to thaw Katherine Jenkins out one last time, knowing it will be the last day they can spend together.


The only minus point is the paucity of Amy Pond content. She and Rory are hardly in the episode, although it does make sense to concentrate on the "Christmas Carol" story.

Then at the end of the episode we get a peek at the new series with lots of Arizona looking deserty stuff.

I smile.

Amy Pond in Police Uniform action figure

I got word of this via some Forbidden Planet emails a few weeks ago but now it's out in the shops. Doctor Who fans can buy an Amy Pond in police uniform! Here's the visual proof:

Unfortinately you can't buy the figure alone, you have to spend neary thirty quid on a (non-electronic) Tardis and an Eleventh Doctor as well. nothing wrong with that, but what about those of us who just want Amy? =Sigh=

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Upstairs Downstairs on BBC

Ah, two posts in one night. What's going on?

So tonight saw the third and final episode of the new Upstairs Downstairs. It was quite nice being able to watch the episodes on consecutive nights but, as with Sherlock, you do wonder why they only made three episodes.

The original was on back in the 1970s and frankly I can't remember seeing any of it. I didn't have high hopes for this one as some of the reviews I had read called it a disappointment after Downton Abbey. However I have to say I enjoyed it.

In particular I like the setting. The 1930s were turbulent to say the least and giving the series a background consisting of the abdication crisis as well as the rise of European fascism makes a change from the usual period drama fare.

In particular episode two stands out. One scene has the chauffeur enter the kitchen wearing his Black Shirt uniform and we see the reaction it provokes from the other staff including the Jewish woman who was forced to flee Germany.

There can be a fine line between drama and melodrama. While I liked Downton Abbey I do feel it strayed over to the melodrama side of the line from time to time. I didn't get the same vibe from Upstairs Downstairs quite as much.

Clair Foy (from Little Dorrit) I thought was particularly good as Percy, dissatisfied with her role in society and becoming drawn to 'national socialism' without comprehending the consequences.

I enjoyed it and will watch any more they make. Just tone down the music a little, please.

Rufus Sewell in BBC's Zen

I must not be paying attention to what's on TV lately. I was watching the last episode of Upstairs Downstairs tonight (more of which later) and a trailer came on for a new series that looked fairly interesting. Rufus Sewell is playing Michael Dibdin's Italian detective Zen in a series called, well, Zen.

It did give me a Quantum of Solace vibe for some reason. Hey, it even has Caterina Murino in it. (She played one of the girls in Casino Royale.)

In any event I like Rufus and I'll be checking out episode one on Sunday 2 January 2011.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ruth Wilson at the British Independent Film Awards

Ruth Wilson arriving at the British Independent Film Awards 2010 on 5 December 2010.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Ruth Wilson Satellite Awards nomination

Ruth has revieved a nomination for best "Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television" for her part in the BBC's Luther.

The nominations in that category are as follows:

Claire Danes - "Temple Grandin"
Hope Davis - "The Special Relationship"
Judi Dench - "Return to Cranford"
Naomie Harris - "Small Island"
Ellie Kendrick - "The Diary of Anne Frank"
Winona Ryder - "When Love is Not Enough"
Ruth Wilson - "Luther"

The winners will be revealed on 19 December 2010.