dc: The Doctor looking out from Laurel & Hardy film (fez)

A couple of health problems which enforced some rest gave an opportunity to watch Series 13 in fairly short order. It generally feels like an organic continuation of the Doctor as we'd seen him in Series 12. Doctor Who continues its tradition of drawing inspiration from any sources it can lay its hands on, and often to very good effect. This series, there's more than a touch of Hammer, some Forbidden Planet, a hint of Westworld, an enormous dollop of Frankenstein, and it finishes with a mélange of Quatermass, The Thing, and an Avengers episode*. It also features the last appearances of U.N.I.T. for many years (oddly, in three out of six stories, though I never remember this series like that).

It's a lot of fun. Quality seems more even, on the whole, and if nothing is quite at the peak of Genesis, Pyramids is pretty close. Only the U.N.I.T. stuff feels a little out of place, out of time perhaps, and if there's a really weak story it is The Android Invasion; it really feels like well-trodden ground. Particularly odd is the way the Doctor enters the action in Seeds - almost as though he's his predecessor, basically stuck on Earth (and it's quite an odd continuity slip that the Tardis takes them “back” to Antarctica at the end when it didn't take them there in the first place). Tom Baker is fully inhabiting the role, which is no surprise, really. because he pretty much did that from Robot. Elisabeth Sladen is very settled in as Sarah and the two play off each other beautifully. Some of the guest cast do particularly well, notably Tony Beckley as the completley unhinged Harrison Chase, Sylvia Coleridge as the eccentric but sharp artist Amelia Ducat, and the lovely Michael Sheard as Laurence Scarman, tortured by what has happened to his brother and unable to accept it. As always, effects and sets could be the weak link (no one mention the Skarasen!), but the jungle set for Planet of Evil is exceptionally good, a beautifully atmospheric set.

What I always remember about watching Who back then was that it wasn't always good, there were disappointing stories or even episodes, but there was always the expectation, each week, that the next episode would be good. This season pretty much bears that up, even the poorer episodes are entertaining, and the Doctor and Sarah work very well together. As when it was broadcast, I finished looking forward to seeing the next series; unlike then, I'm slightly sad that Series 14 will (already!) be Philip Hinchlciffe's final as producer.

*The Man-Eater of Surrey Green

dc: QR Code (QR code)
One of the things which made Eastercon go very smoothly for me was not having to worry too much about what I ate. I did have to be wary of anything with too much fibre, which to be honest isn't that difficult in a hotel like that, but I picked up some lactase pills in Birmingham and made good use of them over the weekend. It made a huge difference to how well I felt over the course of the weekend, since getting completely lactose-free food in a hotel is not usually easy. This is something I shall do again at future cons.

I think I mentioned before that Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London was a good read, urban fantasy with a very well-presented London sense of humour (in particular, he's nailed the way policemen talk, it's beautifully done); the sequel, Moon Over Soho, is just as good. Can't wait for the next book in the series, which I think should be published in November, if I recall correctly.

I am not sure whether I should be excited or nervous about the discovery that a film of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is in the works. On the whole, I think nervous, especially since it's apparently going to star George Clooney (I am assuming as Napoleon Solo, though I don't know for sure; wonder who would be Ilya Kuryakin...).

Back to books, and another rather good read is S.M. Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers. It's 2025, and a dastardly plot is under way to destabilise the British Raj... which is ruled from Delhi. In this world, a cometary impact took out chunks of the northern hemisphere and caused major climatic upsets. The Raj is the major power in the world, its main competitors Greater Nippon and a deeply unpleasant Russian Empire. France outre-mer is a potential ally. There's no real surprises in the way the story is resolved, it is pretty much a straightforward, old-fashioned adventure with no pretensions to being deeply thought provoking, but it is well-told (in particular, the action sequences are well-done). Plus, analytical engines and dirigibles!

There's just been an ad on TV mentioning a luxury weekend break in a converted jail... I don't think I've eaten any strange mushrooms...
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Sideways)
I'd thought of going out today, possibly to the cinema (The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Illusionist looking interesting), certainly to Biblo, but my calves this morning were twitchy so taking it easy seemed sensible since tomorrow I am taking my mother to the optician. I'll need a decent sleep tonight too, I think. I have plenty to keep myself amused, anyway.

Fairly random thoughts:

1) I wish there would be a box set release of the Yellow Bird Wallander series. It is so good... so good, actually, I have still not watched the recordings of the BBC series. It's not logical, but I'm so used to Krister Henriksson in the role...

2) Have you seen any of the old programmes being repeated on Yesterday? Some of them look as though they are being broadcast from VHS tapes. Seriously, look at blocks of red on the screen — or what should be blocks of red.

3) It would probably not be good for me, but I have this urge to order pizza. NOT going to, though. Really not going to.

4) Did you know you can get ground coffee from Amazon?

5) Not going to talk about the Labour leadership contest, it is too depressing.

6) So is the popping up of Tony Blair again, but this article is worth reading: Fisking Blair's chapter on Iraq.

7) Caledonia Books (Gt. Western Rd.) has had an influx of SF books recently. Admittedly some of us have had a damn good pick through them for the choice bits, but still worth checking out.

Not going to order pizza. No, definitely not.
dc: (Doctor)
...You might want to watch The Daily Show on More4 at half eight tonight.

Two things

Dec. 6th, 2006 10:11 pm
dc: (Doctor)
1. For those who want to see it, Doctor Who shall be shown on BBC1 at 7pm on Christmas Day. I know this because [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks posted the link to the yuletide schedules. Cheered me up no end. Not because of the programmes, which I have not really looked at, but because... Well, put it this way: would you think How many hours are there in a day? was a trick question? Go look at the schedules...

2. Pagans in Glasgow: tomorrow night is the Glasgow City Centre moot. Because of the pissing around from the previous venue (the accursed Blackfriars), we took the precaution of making this a purely social moot, and anyone from the other moots in the city is welcome to come and join us for a bit of social chit-chat before the Yule insanity gets really going.
dc: (Doctor)
Former United Nations commander and negotiator Colonel Bob Stewart tries to settle neighbourly disputes. In the opening programme he heads to Dartford in Kent, where two couples living next door to each otherhave been arguing for so long the cause of the feud now seems irrelevant.

No it isn't one of [livejournal.com profile] loveandgarbage's amusing fake programme ideas. That's the Radio Times blurb for a program that is actually being broadcast tomorrow night on a major terrestrial channel. Well, all right, Five. But even so...
dc: (Doctor)
At 8pm tonight, BBC4 is showing the classic 1980 play The Flipside of Dominick Hyde, about a time traveller from 2130 who is supposed to be studying the London transport system without getting involved with the “locals.” (VideoPlus no. 9571681)

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