Doctor Who The Snowmen

I thought this Christmas episode was a bit more substantial than the previous Christmas episodes, most likely due to it being part of an ongoing story rather than the usual twee and glib nonsense that usually appears.

Spoilers follow.

So it’s Victorian times and the Doctor is retired and generally stalks about Pondless and unhappy. He meets sassy barmaid Clara who catches his attention with the alien snowmen she encounters. She follows the Doctor to a park and sees him disappear up a ladder. This leads to an entertaining sequence involving a spiral staircase that takes her up to the Tardis sitting on a magic cloud.

Now that I have typed that it makes it sound a bit, well, naff. But it was a magical little sequence. Doesn’t make a blind bit of sense but something about it appealed to me.

In Clara’s other guise as a posh governess we discover a frozen pond that is of interest to Richard E Grant’s doctor Simeon, a man who hears the voice of Ian McKellen when he talks to a big snow-globe.

The Doctor investigates Simeon in the guise of Sherlock Holmes. Expect a Doctor Who in-joke in the next series of Sherlock when it returns in 2019 for a one episode run.

Silurian Madam Vastra and her chums reappear from series 6. There’s a nice scene between Vasra and Clara where Clara has to answer every question with one word.

And here’s the spoiler.

While helping Clara escape from an ice creature, the Doctor – too busy showing off his new Tardis control room (well, it is very nice) – gets distracted enough to forget the door is open and allows said ice creature to pull Clara off his magic cloud and plummet to her doom. I did spend a good chunk of the episode wondering if it was the shortest run of a companion ever.

Eventually the Doctor makes the connection between Clara and soufflĂ©-making Oswin from Asylum of the Daleks. The same girl has died twice. Impossible? A coda shows us another modern day Clara. So there are multiple Clara’s trout time and space and the doctor has to solve the mystery and give his new companion her key to the Tardis.

My theory, which will be wrong, is that she’s like Julian Glover’s character in City of Death, shattered through time and trying to get back together. You know, the Tom Baker story set in Paris? Except Clara won’t be a green alien with just one eye. Probably.

And in another interesting development it seems that Simons big snow-globe is actually the Great Intelligence from ye olde Patrick Troughton Abominable Snowmen/Yeti days.

So overall an enjoyable way to spend an hour and watching the spiral staircase bit again on the iPlayer.

Christmas telly watching 2012

These days I don’t watch a lot of live tv, instead preferring to pick up a DVD or blu ray and watch something when it is convenient to me. However looking at the TV listings I’ve picked out a few things to watch over the week.

Monday 24 December

Merlin BBC1 8:15 pm
Ok, so it’s last night, but it’s still on the iPlayer. This was the last episode of Merlin. I’d not got into the previous series but did find myself watching this darker last series and it was pretty decent. And Katie McGrath was pretty.

Tuesday 25 December

Doctor Who BBC1 5:15pm
Obviously. This one introduces Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new companion. Or reintroduces her, seeing as she was in that Dalek episode in September. And I think there’s a new Tardis control room. And Richard E Grant is in it.

Wednesday 26 December

The Girl BBC2 9pm

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This is a drama about Hitchcock (Toby Jones) making The Birds and his obsession with Tippi Hedren, played by Sienna Miller.

Thursday 27 December

Restless Part 1 BBC1 9pm
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Part one of a two-part spy drama based on the novel by William Boyd. Hayley Atwell is in it. I like Hayley, she’s pretty.

The Birds ITV3 11pm
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And this was good timing, a night after the drama about the making of the movie they’re showing the actual Hitchcock movie.

Friday 28 December

Holby City BBC1 8pm
I watch this anyway but I’m mentioning it here because right afterwards is…

Restless Part 2 BBC1 9pm
See above.

Saturday 29 December

Bag of Bones Channel Five 9:15 pm
Based on a Stephen King novel and staring Pierce Brosnan.

New Tardis set

Ah! A new Tardis control room set. And one that finally looks like a Tardis control room should. And roundels on the walls. Well, hexagonal roundels. And the Doctor in Victorian era garb.

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Now, just give him a recorder and a 500 year diary and have done with it.

Star Trek Into Darkness trailer 2

And another trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness has turned up, mainly showing new stuff and managing to not give away the plot.

Oh, it turns out The Batch is not playing Khan or Gary Mitchell. He’s playing a character called John Harrison. Who ends up in the brig. Which means he wants to be captured by Kirk, it’s all part of his plan. Yes, I’ve seen The Dark Knight, The Avengers and Skyfall.

Star Trek Into Darkness trailer and poster

Has it really been four years? I guess it has. The second instalment of the rebooted Star Trek franchise is here. At least the teaser poster and trailer are anyway.

Trailer first of all…

The speculation is that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing either (a) genetic superman Khan from original series episode Space Seed and of course the original second movie The Wrath of Khan, or (b) Gary Mitchell (Starfleet chum of Kirk who gets God Like Powers) from the original second pilot episode Where No Man Has Gone Before.

If those are the only two options then I’m going for Gary Mitchell because we see The Batch in a Starfleet uniform and we also see Alice Eve in the trailer looking like this:

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While in Where No Man Has Gone Before we see Sally Kellerman playing Dr Elizabeth Dehner looking like this:

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Notice The Similar Hair-Dos!

Of course it could all be misdirection and Alice Eve could be playing Carol Marcus from The Wrath of Khan. But hey, speculating is fun.

Elsewhere in the trailer we see what appears to be the Enterprise rising out of the sea, and not actually doing much actual spacey stuff.

Meanwhile the teaser poster seems to portray future London and The Batch again.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

This summer in the midst of the whole Avengers/Dark Knight excitement I found I couldn’t really be bothered to actually go and see the new rebooted Spider-man. After all, the Toby Maguire movies did such a great job. Well two of them did anyway. Plus I am unapologetically a fan of Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane.

The blu ray of The Amazing Spider-Man was released last week and I found I was interested enough to take a chance on it and I bought it.

The first thing I noticed was how different the tone of the movie was. There has been a real effort on the part of the film-makers to make the movie seem more grounded in reality. In contrast the other Spider-man movies were a little more colourful and comic-booky.

There’s an interesting prologue with Peter’s scientist parents taking off and leaving him in the care of his aunt and uncle. There is the implication that someone is looking for Peter’s father’s research materials but that plot thread isn’t really followed up.

Then we get a retelling of the origin story, i.e. being bitten by a spider, uncle Ben getting shot and Peter designing a costume and and learning to use his powers. Andrew Garfield plays Peter as more of an outsider than a studious nerd type.

The love interest in this one is Gwen Stacey who in the comics was the love of Peter’s life before Mary Jane was the love of Peter’s life. It’s nice to the story in the correct order ths time around. Meanwhile there is no sign of Mary Jane or Harry Osborn in this movie.

I’m not familiar with Emma Stone but I liked her Gwen Stacey. I’m very interested to see where the writers take this and if they stick to her fate in the comics. Also nice to see her father ‘captain’ Stacey taking a large role in the movie.

And finally we get Doctor Curt Conners aka the Lizard. The one-armed Connors got a mention in the first Toby Maguire movie before actually appearing in episodes 2 and 3 so it’s nice to see him finally take center stage. As in he comics he is trying to grow back his missing arm by using reptilian DNA.

Watching the blu ray extras confirmed that a lot of the spider stunts were actually performed by stuntment and not cgi. Quite refreshing in this day and age.

Overall I was quite impressed with the reboot. It does have to retread familiar ground but does it in a fresh way.

And I think that next time around I may just bother to go and see the next movie in the cinema.