Inhumans IMAX Premiere Review

Despite Marvel dominating the big screen while the current iteration of the comics said films are based on, are going down in a flaming nose dive under the egos, heavy political agendas and incompetence of their writing staff;

Want proof?

their works on TV has ranged from great like Daredevil and Agent Carter, to a complete time waste such as Iron Fist and Luke Cage as Marvel pushes the fans patience and time schedules given how much is produced nowadays. So does Inhumans become the now only great Network show on air for Marvel to justify the IMAX screening of its two-part pilot? ……kinda…not really.

For all the potential that adaptation of a series that amounts to Game of Thrones in space Marvel have surprising took the safe route to compensate for the fact that this production didn’t get the truck loads of Disney money it was supposed to get when featured as part of MCU Phase Four.

Not any more!

But the clearly scaled down scope that a project like this would’ve given you steams beyond setting large chunks of the story on earth. But to advertise a team of super powered aliens, and set up these powers as part of the shows status quo; just so you could cripple half the team and shove these guys far away from each other so the villain actually stands a chance. Well naturally, every Marvel show has always featured the characters in a constant schedule of running around the main city looking for shit and twiddling their thumbs figuring out how to save the day together.

What’s that? Our main lead can control her hair like additional arms? Have you seen how much we’ll have to pay the guy to animate that, after Tangled drain our backers wallet. Hey script guy! Let’s shave the bitch and save the call to the wig store. That’ll save us money, and like six pages of script done without the super powered hair. So what about the giant teleporting dog? “Ah just have him sedated and locked away somewhere, what? Infinity War needs another grand to animate Thanos’ left Ass cheek; why else do you think the main costumes look like something bought of cosplay Etsy page? I joke because the money clearly went into the varied locations and the IMAX cameras used to film these two episodes. Particularly when the outer space shots look better designed than the main city itself. Oh its cinematography is excellent, so is the CGI. But when the buildings of this intergalactic moon city looks like the graphic designer was given a tub of Lego and was told to go crazy with the several dozen brick pieces, and then spray painted the result grey; well its no wonder no one has ever found the damn space city when it blends on with the rest of the moon crater its hiding in.

But when the Inhumans do get to use their powers, they look great, particularly Karnak’s ability to reassess, change and calculate his way out of a fight like an episode of Sherlock staring Jackie Chan. Medusas actor was a good choice for the role and when there’s enough budget to use her tentacle hentai hair, the effects manages to capture the details. And while Lockjaws full body shots sends him into the uncanny valley due to being detailed and yet stick out from the live action sets in ideal lighting conditions. But hey, at least the animation more than made up for it. But even the better performances feel like they’re on auto pilot, especially when the mute Blackbolt’s facial acting amounts to expressing stubbornness and confused stubbornness. And yet given his body language, mannerisms and sign language without speaking; his probably the best character in these two epsiodes….no that is a joke about the dialogue.

https://pmctvline2.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/marvels-inhumans-review-abc.jpg?w=321&h=217And don’t even get me started on how under developed Loki…uh Maximus is. Oh sure his a human in a society where not having super powers puts you in working class mines, but outside of becoming Enjoras by preaching about how great things would be if I were in charge; in both scenes we see of said human under class. Was there really that little story in the pre-production notes from the now defunct Inhumans film, that the writers had to go full-blown Killing in the Name Of in terms starting an uprising scene in the first episode, just after establishing a status quo to break it in a time span so short it could be given the chance to direct The Flash movie; and to do so before the writers get bored with writing scenes in the moon palace?!

If these guys were any more desperate to get rid of the man in charge to focus extensibility on the aftermath, they would be reporting for CNN. This story feels like they skipped to the build up for the finale, and are just killing time until Blackbolt takes the throne back in the final episode. Look, I know that TV budget can’t exactly pay for Guardians of the Galaxy level effects every week, let alone for eight episodes in total. But I can’t say I’m surprised that the guy who botched Iron Fist to the point that the fighting was downgraded from Daredevils second season, and the usage of the particular Iron Fist could be counted on one glowing hand. I’ll say this much, at least I could remember the villains name this time. But you’ve established a group of heroes; and decided that the first plan of action was to separate them each on their own separate part of the continent, as they wander around and gripping about how much of a dipshit the guy currently on the throne is, until the plot paths connect at some point. Wow this is turning into an episode of Game of Thrones.

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And despite that, the problem isn’t the path taken by the writers, but rather the way it’s handled. The story is cliché and under development for something that’s meant to kick-start an ongoing story, with actors trying to work with their direction; and how they’re dealing with a cast of characters with little to do since the script is rushing to key plot points and keeping the characters somewhat occupied in the meantime; or is trying to work around moments that would actually need the super powers, that don’t involve the guy who can lever the building with a single belch. Either way you slice it, it’s sad to see that Agents of Shield found more use for the Inhumans as characters, and their abilities, than this show seems to be doing. I admit this could improve and last past the story’s current direction, but then I remembered I watched Iron Fist being made by the same guy who did this and the finale to Dexter……

5/10

Thank you for your time.

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Doctor Who: They Made A Woman Out of Him

Well it appears that the insanity of online reactions waits for no man, as this post is kinda late due to the fact that I sat on today’s topic to gather my thoughts; as well as the fact that I was on holiday.

But yes, as you most likely would’ve heard, Jodie Whittaker (from the excellent Attack the Block and Boradchurch) is announced as the 13th Doctor in a rather underwhelming way. BBC, you made me watch ten minutes of tennis, a sport no one likes, to watch a woman stroll in the woods! Much like Sony’s Ghostbusters reboot, the fact that a typical male character is replaced by a woman has split the fandom harder than Steven Moffat’s last few seasons. Some more over reactionary than others.

With many already proclaiming Whittaker to be the new Tom Baker despite only being the character for twenty seconds, with cosplays, fan art and custom figures already being made and hitting the web. And of course there would be some not so keen on this decision, and regardless of whether it’s people in satisfied with the particular woman chosen, or any other reason involved; but it doesn’t matter as they’re all dumped into the dumpster of negative views considered sexist because there’s a woman being criticised; I mean attacked.

In short, whether you love or hate the new cast choice, the reactions have been insane. This has become Ghostbusters (2016) again, in the sense that any disapproval is lumped with the actual sexism, while everyone showering praise for Jodie’s name being attached to the show is criticising others for being “reactionary” without a shred of irony.  To the point that any comment disagreeing is labelled as sexist, and attempts to remove, mock and block said views are celebrated. Tolerance. But let’s talk about said negative reactions, particularly as I’ve said in my ‘Doctor Who: I Can Make A Woman Out of You‘ blog my thoughts on the possibility of such an occasion. And since I said I wasn’t fussed about the matter; when it comes to the anti-SJW commenters who’ve already hopped on this story. Let’s go.

Many people on the political right and critics of SJWs have been throwing around the “diversity is killing entertainment industry, no one wants these characters to pander to the politically correct” line using Marvel Comics as an example of this. img_0999Specifically due to the recast of multiple heroes, scenes and dialogue made to reflect bs SJW talking points, all at the hands of writers who lash out against their critics and the fans they turned away due to their lack of skills and subtlety. I’ll let appabend explain. However, can all that really be blamed on the sole fact the Thor is now a woman, the Hulk is an Asian dude bro, and Iron Man is replaced by a black teenage girl; no of course not. They’re just examples of characters who suck due to poor writing.

So yes the obsession with identity politics is clearly there, due to the writers in charge of the sinking ship. And even if we excuse the unsubtle ‘social commentary’ the fact of the matter is the stories characters like Ri Ri Williams, Lady Thor and the like are headlining are not only bad, but are also WAY too numerous, with event comics crossing into every comic series currently out being announced and released every other weekend, and how multiple series get cancelled and relaunched under new titles for the same characters time after time. Just take Captian Marvel, X-Men and Rocket Raccoon for example. And yet it keeps failing for Marvel Comics because the stories they produce suck; despite the hollow lead characters made to replace the characters gaining Marvel money in cinemas. Just look a Captian America’s Hail Hydra moment as an example of fans forming lynch mobs over unpopular creative decisions.

At the time when DC’s New 52 was actually new in 2012, Marvel decided that ‘dark’ was a something to strive against as a response to negative feedback some of the stories DC were getting .  So Marvel decided to be light and humours as a response; and by light, I mean turn every character into Deadpool; with every story being a world saving adventure one issue, and a cheesy sitcom the next issue.

As Professor Thorgi says in his admittedly bias video on the matter, Marvel’s comic side of the company has become frustrating for life long readers without a weekly pay check in the triple digits, especially when big events shake the status quo every other month. It was the people in charge of story’s who are turning away readers, writers definitely involved under this bus.

Sourced 2014

The key example being Daredevil under the creative control of Mark Waid, who embraced everything that Marvel Comics was looking to do with their writing: pop culture references and poor attempts to be funny and edgy, etc. With fans being driven away by Waids creative direction that can basiclly be descrbied as everything the Netflix series is not.

And any of my readers who are Doctor Who fans would’ve had one name come into their head at the mention of a fans turned away from their favourite franchise’s change, due to its new creative direction; that name being Steven Moffat. A reoccurring writer during the first four seasons of the revived Doctor Who, to which after being loved for writing some of the beloved episodes of those seasons, he was then promoted to show runner for season five onwards in 2010; “genius choice, this will be best season ever!” And while admittedly he did start with a strong first series; things then took a deep decline when everyone noticed the serious flaws in his writing when left to his own devices. Overly complicated stories trying to show how much of a clever writer he is, underwhelming story arc reveals, cringey dialogue that either explains motivations or bad jokes, giving non stop attention to characters that fans don’t care about (cough, Ashildar) etc. While not all of his writing past five series was bad, these actions have slowly turned a lot of fans against Moffat, turning him from golden boy to a meme.

Series nine being a straw that broke the camels back with its season finale, Hell Bent, being one of the most detested episodes in the shows history; with it followed by a Christmas that also split the fandom upon release. You mean to tell that fans had to put up with this five years of inconsistency of talent, ending up with the as for mentioned Hell Bent; but it’s the fact that Moffat paid a black woman to kiss another woman was the reason his last season has reached a new low in terms of declined viewers?
Yeah when a popular, openly bisexual character like Captain Jack Harkness (played by the opening gay John Barrowman) gets his spin-off show revived by Big Finish; seems legit. As I’ve previously stated in the past: the Ghostbusters reboot (“oh god not again!”) didn’t flop due to the presence of the female cast; but as i explained, it was due to the fact Sony threw out their plans for Ghostbusters III just to please Paul Fieg and get him on board, because to hell with what fans wanted. And then once Sony released trailers for said reboot, and it was panned with every criticism and news from behind the scenes labelled as either sexist ramblings or a conspiracy theory.

Look I get the argument of how studios and creators recast popular/ well-known characters with different races/genders to give this new character a head start in the news by leaching of the originals success. But while celebrating a characters recasted gender solely because it’s a new gender is just as pointless as saying the show is dead for that same reason. Again check out Appabends excellent video on the matter. But until Chris Chibnall’s first episode as new show runner is released, then we can actually judge this new Doctor.

In short while changing a characters race and gender is an obvious marketing attempt for press coverage, no matter the result, but given what the audiences have put up with; the fact The Doctor or Thor now have boobs is the least of the fans problems if and when the inmates are running the asylum.

Thank you for your time.

Rebooting Hollywood Or The Effects of Hollywood’s Obsession with Remakes:

Image result for hollywood out of ideasAnyone that has been keeping track with mainstream movie news, will know that there is a new version of an already existing franchise or film being released every other month. I even surveyed multiple people, and 84% were aware of this.

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See it here

This brings up discussions of whether Hollywood are out of ideas, and are relying on the safe path of familiarity to fill the producer’s wallets. At the same time, it brings up interest in the relaunch of said popular brand, whether it’d be from the already existing fan base, or the newcomers who have only just heard about the brand. Regardless the modern movie industry has fallen into the habit of relaunching an already popular film or brand; with numerous remakes of popular films already in the works. In March this year, cinema goers had the choice of Kong: Skull Island (the third King Kong reboot) a remake of Beauty and the Beast by Disney, or the live action version of Ghost in the Shell. So what’s the harm? Well before we ask that, we need to know the other important question, what’s the reason for this?

Image result for movie franchisesWell firstly there’s the obvious reason of money. And said money being made through different means, mainly franchises. With a lot of projects being made to set up multiple sequels to be produced, after said film is released and hopefully makes a splash at the box office. Due to the success of Marvel Cinematic Universe by Disney – with the Avengers sealing that franchise’s success back in 2012 – many studios from Warner Brothers, Fox Studios and Sony Pictures have been trying to launch their own attempts of cinematic universe like franchises with multiple sequels and giving multiple characters’ spin offs and cross overs; with properties such Spider-man, X-Men, DC Comics and Ghostbusters being planned and already put in action, all of which are released with further projects in the pipe line. Hence why many of the remakes/ reboots released are of well-known properties that are loved by their fans, and have already been financially successful in the past. Because as the old saying goes: if works once, it’ll work again and again. Image result for spidermanSpider-Man is a good example of this, as Peter Parker is on this second reboot at Marvel Studios. Since 2002 Sony Pictures had made millions on the Spider-Man trilogy with Toby Maguire as the star, with his final putting earning a worldwide gross of $890 million. However due to numerous disagreements with director Sam Rami, the studio and Maguire himself; the franchise had ended, with Sony starting the franchise again with a new crew and cast in The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012 which earned around $262 million. You can see why Disney was keen to make deals with Sony for the character rights, the sequel under performed; making Disney’s version (as seen in Captain America Civil War) the third big screen version of Spider-Man. With Sony planning to produce a spin-off for Venom, a popular characters from the comics.

Hell this works for sequels as well, if there are two things Hollywood loves most, is money and familiarity. Hence why a lot of films that make bank at the box office earn sequels, whether they need/ require them or not. Why? Because the predecessor established an audience that gave the their money to see it in theatres, and buy the DVDs. So the logic goes: is that said audience will spend more money on a continuation of something they enjoyed once before. Anyone who knows about the workings of studios, will know that they’ll not put anything in production, unless they know it’ll get asses in seats. But with sequels, BOOM! Audience already established, so put this shit on our release schedule and give the team all our money!

Image result for merchandising spaceballsHowever, there is one other source of money from a big budget reboot of an established brand, merchandising. With the studios making deals with manufactures to make products to generate hype for said rebooted brand. If someone loves a film to the point that they have a shelf solely for the merchandise, then a new version will get said person to by the new products. Whether it’d be: t-shirts, special edition DVDs with hours of bonus features, dress up items, and action figures with almost perfect likenesses to the character they’re meant to portray. Companies such as Hasbro, Mattel, Neca, Lego and Side Show Collectibles have profited heavily on this. As Mark Litwak said on the matter of movie merchandising, it’s a second form of advertisement:

If McDonalds agrees to distribute millions of Roger Rabbit cups to its customers, and spend additional millions of dollars to advertise the promotion, the movie benefits from increased audience awareness. For distributors, promotional campaigns are often the most alluring aspect of a product placement deal”. Litwak M, 2013 ‘Movie Merchandising’.

And his not wrong about the allure of merchandising, especially when aiming to audiences of families, children included; with it also aiming towards adult collectors. With successful franchises such as Star Wars –with products by Kenner and Hasbro – making over $37 billion over the last 40 years before the release of The Force Awakens, the push for merchandising in shops and geek events such as Comic Con makes more sense. Especially when a CNBC article by Javier E. David says that the Comic Con event in San Diego brings in $700 million during the three days of the events.

So while yes, the established geek market is the key market to hit, as many of them will be aware of the relaunched franchise; there is still more demographics to reach. The first is young people, mainly because they would be having the most disposable income, and would be more keen to see a big popcorn blockbuster than a slower drama piece. Image result for remakesI say this as films such as Total Recall, Robocop and Poltergeist were well-respected films with hard R ratings (or 15 in the UK) only to be rebooted as PG-13 (12A in the UK) that meaning anyone around that age range could pay to see the film. The second audience to aim for, being everyone else. Because if a franchise is going to be re-established to the worldwide public, the more audiences viewing the better. It draws attention to something they might not have been aware of beforehand, and if they’re a fan of something in a similar genre; then they may like this. And I do mean the world wide public, going back to Robocop and Total Recall, by the US box office both of them under performed. As both of them struggled to make more than $60 million in the US. When it comes to the world wide audiences: Robocop (2014) made $139 million, while Total recall made $184 million. And these are only two examples in a recurring trend, as Robert Schovo says in his video ‘Too Many Hollywood Reboots? Here’s why’; countries like China only take a small amount of English-speaking films to put them in wide release across the country, and as Robert says:

“They’re (cinema distributors) going to go with something that doesn’t get lost in translation. If you ever wondered why the Fast and the Furious movies are so huge – it’s because: men drive car fast, works in any language.” Schovo R, 2016. ‘Too Many Hollywood Reboots? Here’s why’!

Hence why so many examples like this are big expensive action films with explosion filled, exciting, money shots for the trailers; instead of some deep heart-felt rom-com. While (insert franchise here) maybe new to someone else, even if they’ve heard good things about the original from a guy who knows a guy, who knows a guy’s cousin whose seen it. Which also explains the remakes of multiple foreign films such as Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Ring.

Now, we need to ask the important question; what is the effect of Hollywood and the movie industry? Well for one thing the is that there are loads of remakes of well-known films still being produced, with sources stating that between 107 and 116 remakes are in various stages of production by various studios. Screenshot (12).pngWhich shocked the participants in my survey, as 80% were unaware of this. But also Hollywood has fallen into the habit of making films in order to kick starter a franchise using popular characters, in the attempts of building a cinematic universe with sequels, spin offs and crossovers in the vain of making the same money Marvel did with the Avengers. Regardless of the quality of the output, studios will pour money into blockbusters with massive special effects, using recognizable characters. Which will be seen all other the place in terms advertisement: i.e. movie screens, movie news and the internet etc.

But does it work for the studios? Yes, and no. Image result for box officeI mean it has worked for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe due positive word of mouth, and even Warner Brothers’ DC franchise has managed to turn a profit due to successful marketing campaigns. But for the rest of the market, I can be a hit or miss venture. Because all the money in the world being spent on trailers and action figures can’t prevent a film sinking due to one crucial element that can grantee a film success in the world of fandoms and the internet, positive word of mouth. Whether it’d be from the critics on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, and the responses from audiences. The 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters is a good example, while the film rated well in terms of critical reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, when it came the audience scores, it was rated the lowest rated film within the franchise. I bring this up as the film failed at the box-office only making $128 million at the US box office on a budget of $145 million, with the film failing to break even. And what’s not helping is that smaller productions are given less attention due to being released days or so after a highly anticipated/ advertised film has hit theatres.

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Source: Box Office Mojo

For example, a Will Smith drama from 2015 called: Concussion; only made a total amount of $48 million, in a world where movies are expected to make double their profits, that’s bad enough. But do you know what has released a week before: Star Wars the Force Awakens. That being said, the Indie/ Independent side of the film industry has gained large amounts of attention and influence. With events such as the Sun Dance film festival giving multiple indie productions more attention. Films like Drive and Troll Hunter being good examples of films starting at similar events and earning cult followings in the process. Even directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson being directors that started on their own and working their way to fame with their own ideas or ones that haven’t been tried yet. With the former having two of his films (Inglorious Bastards and J’Dango Unchained) being nominated for best pictures at the Oscars. This brings a balance between what is being released in cinemas; especially when films like Room and Whiplash end up topping the box office charts when given the attention.

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So is this good or bad? Honestly it’s both, as despite it being 50/50 on the quality of the output on the Hollywood reboot craze; it will get new people into franchises they probably wouldn’t have known/ cared about. And of course, actors, writers, producers, manufactures, etc. will have money to put food on the table. Even if we the audiences, will have to put up with the repetition.

Thank you for your time.

Discussion on Penny Dreadful season three, episode two (spoilers)

So this will not be a usual review, instead its a dissuasion on my feelings towards the latest episode of Penny Dreadful, Predators Far and Near. Specifically it’s ending, so if you haven’t seen any of the show; it’s best to just go away and do something else. Because this will be spoiling this latest episode, as well as the last two seasons leading up to this one.  Either way it’s an excellently done episode of an amazing show, so fans of the show who are readying this, don’t worry I’m not going to rip into it and say how bad it is. In any case before i bring up some points towards this episode, let’s address the ending. Again you have been warned.

So after Vanessa Hives (the main character) won the battle against the demon that had possessed her throughout most of her life, she is now free, but miserable with her life; to the point where she’s now seeing a psychologist name Doctor Seward. During the times in between sessions, she meets a zoologist named Alexander Sweet. The two have started to form a friendship throughout the past two episodes; and most likely a romantic relationship. Meanwhile she has been followed by two unknown characters who later turn out to be vampires working for their mysterious master, Dracula a character who constantly remains hidden from the audience. And then we get to the ending, this is now the point of no return if you don’t want to know the ending. The episode ends with Seward’s assistant Renfield (now turned vampire) is begging Dracula for more blood to feed on, so Dracula cuts his arm for Renfield to drink for it. To which we find out that Sweet is actually….. Dracula, and is clearly hanging out with Vanessa in order to kill her; for what reason, we’ll find out soon.

So while this is a farther good twist with potential for great drama, my main complaint is this. This season is set to have nine episodes, and we’re currently on episode two; two! And they’ve already reveled the main villain’s identity. See in most shows that keep the identity of the villain a secret, you’d expected to find out who the master mind is until around the half way point of the series; maybe later. But here, we’re technically just out of the starting gate with this series’ new story lines, and yet they’ve already given the main twist of the story.  

An example of how to do this right would be season one of Flash. In which the main mystery is the identity of “the man in the yellow suit” who is then known as “The Reverse Flash”. In terms of the character that it’s revealed to be; the show takes it’s time establishing the both sides of the character, his back story that doesn’t revel his true origins, his relationship with the other characters, and how he fits into the main story before the mystery is revealed. In the meantime we’re given other possibilities of who this guy is, and any clues that could make the viewer suspect the real identity of the masked villain. But with Alexander Sweet, we have an understanding of his character and his relationship with Vanessa, but in the context of the story, the two have only known each other less than a week. So while it will the whole idea of him not being who she thought he was, it won’t exactly have the same impact to the viewer as the Reverse Flash arch; especially when everyone else trusted the guy before find out about their powers.

Of course the show will continue the romance between the two characters, it would’ve been so more shocking to see the two so happy together before we as the audience learn the horrible truth, about the man our main character has fallen for, and then get shocked about Vanessa being killed after seeing gain her hope again. But now while we watch the romance develop, we’re just left waiting for her and the other characters to catch on to Sweet’s plans. It’s like opening a Sherlock episode with crime taking place, with a full shot the criminal writing their name onto the wall of the scene;it’s done way too damn early is what I’m saying.

But that’s what I think about this otherwise excellent episode, what did you think? Did they rush the surprise of the Dracula reveal, or could there something bigger install for this season? Either way if you’ve seen this episode what did you think?

Thank you for your time.

The world of Big Finish: A introduction of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe for beginners

If you don’t know this, I have a YouTube channel called Filmmaker Kenny and i advertised this blog in one of my previous videos. To those people it’s no secret that I’m a fan of the show Doctor Who. However what they don’t know about me, is my opinions on the audio dramas produced by the company Big Finish Productions.

Big Finish is a British company that produces audio dramas, that was founded in 1996. They produce many different series such as: Blake’s 7, Dark Shadows and a series of Sherlock Holmes. However they’re mostly known for their Doctor Who audio dramas along with spin-off series to many different characters; this has gained the company a lot of popularity, mainly due to how many cast members of old and now new Who have been regularly featured; but also due to their success with fans and critics they’ve been so popular.

Since getting the rights to make stories using these classic characters (as New Who wasn’t out at the time) they’ve been writing stories featuring classic doctor’s since 1999 with the first story they made called ‘The Sirens of Time’; later they moved onto giving the Eighth Doctor Paul Mcgann his own series, with new companion Charely Pollard in 2001; along with multiple spin offs of other characters. They’ve been doing this mostly through their monthly range of Doctor Who stories. In which each month a classic Doctor and his companion (from the classics or original) would face an old or original monster, and would need to defeat it. With each month having a different Doctor and adventure.

While they were doing well throughout that time, they’ve gained more attention with the release of the new Doctor Who in 2005; since old and new fans were watching, people learned about Big Finish and their fame continued from there. Not to mention how ratings of the new series went higher when Matt Smith replaced David Tennant as The Doctor. More publicity for the company. Hell some fans even claim that Big Finish has produced some of the best Doctor Who stories ever written.

So how did i get introduced to Big Finish? Honestly the most that i knew about them, was from the publicity shots of their next upcoming story Dark Eyes back in 2012. See the Eighth Doctor series has been majorly successful; lasting to this day. Given the large amount of new viewers Matt Smith’s era brought to the show; Big Finish naturally pushed a new start for The Eighth Doctor in their new epic story line called the Dark Eyes series. A four volume Dalek story that marketed itself as an epic start for new listeners. New story, new companion, hell even his costume was different. Seriously look up Paul Mcgann’s costume from the Doctor Who TV Movie, then look at the costume of the cover of Dark Eyes. As interested as i was… i didn’t buy on release; mainly due to the cost of the four parts it featured (Four volumes, each a four-part story) which totaled to £40 per volume. Yeah given how i was in my mid teens and didn’t have that much money; £40 for something i didn’t know about, along with three other parts to get, seemed like a royal piss take.

So years later, I decided to look upon reviews of Big Finish’s catalog, and looked at which stories people seemed to like the most, and which ones sounded cool. My first story i listened to was a multi-doctor (a story featuring more than one established version of The Doctor) story The Light At The End; Big Finish’s way to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary. I wanted to check out Big Finish for ages, and given how some people have claimed this story to be better than Day of The Doctor (the show’s 50th anniversary special) And I was impressed; it was well acted, tense, dramatic and i highly recommend it to any fan of Doctor Who. Hearing these actors i grew up with watching the show, speaking new lines in a new adventure with all the classic doctor’s interacting with each other was such a thrill to listen to for the first time.

From there I’ve now brought quite a few Big Finish stories since then; not exactly a huge collection, but enough to say that i like their work. “OK” you may say, “but what makes them stand out in terms of being a franchises expanded universe?” Aside from the well written story’s, to put it bluntly; the stories felt like an episode of classic Doctor Who. I mentioned how many actors from the shows past have returned to retain their roles. Doctors, companions and even villains have had their actors come back to reprise the role. This has also happened for Big Finish other times as they’ve made dramas based on shows like Terra Hawks and The Prisoner.

What’s great about the returning actors is that the characters they play still feel like the ones from the show. It’s easy to hear that from the performance and the way their written, we as fans still identify that specific character. Plus the new (and often continuous) stories allow the characters to grow and develop further as characters. The Sixth Doctor as played by Colin Baker is an excellent example of this. Through out his short time as The Doctor he played him as smug, mean and self-centered; this has left fans split in opinions with some like myself being fine with that direction and thought Colin played the part well; while others claim Colin to be the worst TV doctor. What changed? Over time with many new companions acting as the person bring him back to reality and smack some sense into him. We’ve seen (or rather heard) a transition into a more humble and kinder person. That’s not to say a cynical character can be enjoyable, but Big Finish thankfully tamed the character to no long be a flat-out jerk. Stubagful on YouTube has made excellent video on the topic.

Along with the use of sounds and music from the old series and the length of the episodes in the monthly range, the overall experience feels like watching an episode of the classic series. Repeating an old formula is all well and good, but what new elements did they bring? Well given how it’s all done on audio there is no real limitations to what can be done; the writers can create what ever adventure they want, and won’t be tied down due to the lack of money in order to make real props. Thus the characters can face enemies in epic battles in extraordinary and surreal locations every month; with the details of such being left to your imagination. This has paved the way for any new monster and villains to be created as well as villains that never appeared much; such as the shape Shifting Viryons and The Eleven.

I’ve mentioned the developing characters; as many of the listeners are adults who watched the show when they were kids; the stories matured and yet darker to match the adult nature. Not to have the characters swear of the sorts. But rather the tone was darker and more adult themes were included along with often violent outcomes. Stories like Master, Protect and Survive and Live 34 show case this point with violent scenes and harsh out comes for the unlucky characters who don’t make it to the end.

There is also the new types of story’s they put out. Whether it’d be the pure historical stories, a typical Doctor Who time travel to historical event; only this time there’s no monsters or sci-fi elements. Just the two leads interacting with the people of the time and getting caught in some sort of problem. The Wrath of the Iceni being a good example of this; in which it’s a political drama queen Boudica in her fight against the Romans. One plot they like to use is the ‘two time lines plot’; let me explain. The story will feature two sets of characters in two different points in time; their actions will lead into the furthering of the other story, and then meet up again to finish the story. Many Big Finish adventures such as The Girl Who Never Was and The Last of the Cybermen used this plot in very clever ways in order to link both story’s into one narrative.

Experimenting is the word that can describe them best. There’s always something new with each adventure: multiple established characters meeting each other, new ways of tell the story. Which is a good thing as since they’re doing a new story each month, why not experiment with new things and see what works and what doesn’t.

So if I’ve interested you, you’re probably wondering,where do i start? Well where ever you want. There are many blogs and YouTube channels that talk about this stuff, so can find recommendations. However i find it best to look at Big Finish’s web site or any store that sells their content, read the back of the case of a story, and decide whether that sounds good, if you did that ad the plot sounds interesting; then you may be in for a good time.

So here are some of my favorite Big Finish dramas:

  1. Blood of the Daleks: Blood of the Daleks Part 1An excellent way to start the first of the 8th Doctor’s official series with his new companion Lucie Miller; one of my favorite companions. A very interesting mystery surrounding the events of the planet, great performances all around; and the chemistry between Lucie and The Doctor from absolutely having each other to getting along is just so fun to listen to.
  2. Spare PartsSpare Parts: Who would’ve thought a Cyberman prequel would work as well as it does. One of the best examples of Doctor Who doing dark and dramatic and nail the hammer on the head. You become very attached to the characters as they have to go through flat-out horrifying events in order to stay alive. A bleak story that will shock you and will keep you on the edge of your seat while listening.
  3. Live 34:Live 34 This political thriller is told from the perspective of a news show broadcasting to a human colony, as The Doctor and his friends take on a corrupt government.  This ingenious way of telling the story paints a well detailed picture of what our heroes are doing, while showing how bad the planet has gone. Showing what our leads are fighting for as we route for them to put things right again. Go buy this, if you’re a fan of political dramas like House of Cards you’ll love this.
  4. The Light in the End: What a perfect way to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary. As we see all eight classic Doctors take on The Master. The chemistry between the doctor’s is excellent as well as the pacing as each Doctor is given their own segment of the story before their paths meet; and yet none of it feels rushed to get to the next part. An epic adventure for anyone who loves these versions of the character.

Here are some more for you to look out for:

Dark Eyes, The Last Adventure, Terra Firma, the I, Davros series, Brave New Town, Human Resources and finally Lucie Miller/ To the Death.

If you’d like to buy any of these please visit their website here: http://www.bigfinish.com/

Have I missed any story you like, let me know.

Thank you for your time.

Doctor Who: I Can Make a Woman out of You

As a fan of Doctor Who this is a topic I was never going to get away from.

So for those not in the know about Doctor Who; the show features the main character of The Doctor. A Time Lord with the ability to change his face when faced with death; a complete body regeneration if you will. Since this element was introduced to the show in 1966, The Doctor has now regenerated thirteen times, with thirteen actors. Also to keep in mind is that this rule also applies to one of the shows reappearing enemies is The Master; a Time Lord whose main goal is to concur the universe and to gain immortality….as Time Lords can die if their body is too badly damaged; and a Time Lord only has thirteen lives. To fans like me, I know both The Doctor and The Master have now both cheated at this rule; but that’s besides the point.

We are currently in the era of the newest Doctor played by Peter Capaldi from The Thick of It fame. However at the end of his first series, it was revealed that The Master has returned; who was now played by Michelle Gomez. Since then this has sparked debates whether Capaldi’s replacement would or should be a woman; with some fans saying yes, others saying no. So what do i think? I’m split upon the issue, as there are good points and bad points made by both sides. Honestly this blog will most likely be me saying: “The Doctor MAY never be a woman” rather than “The Doctor should never be a woman”.

The first thing I’d like to mention is how many cast members and people from the show have been asked their views. Such as current show runner Steven Moffat expressing how he would pick a woman if she was the right choice. While former companion Catherine Tate to even former Doctor Sylvester McCoy agreeing on that, this may not happen. Speaking on Catherine Tate on the issue she mentioned her thoughts; i couldn’t find the source, so I’m paraphrasing here. Anyway she said: “The core audience of Doctor Who is children, they’re the largest market to appeal to in terms of selling toys and other merchandise”. This isn’t bashing the show at all; a children show can be smart and entertaining for adults to watch; look at examples like Adventure Time, Avatar The Last Air bender and Batman the Animated Series. Either way ” half of that audience is young boys, who want to be The Doctor. So the BBC would need to appeal to that target audience in order to keep the show a float, as that has been keeping the show popular for fifty years now”.

While yes Doctor Who has plenty of female fans; the child fan base of both genders idolize the character in different ways. The boys who want to be The Doctor; while the young girls fall in love with a powerful role model such as him; in the same way a One Direction fan cries in joy over fancying Harry Styles. And yes, this process can work in reverse if you apply it to a show like Kim Possible. Either way for both genders it’s going to be a very awkward transition for them to take. The childhood crush for the girls becomes a woman; while the hero the boys imagine themselves as changing that drastically. What I’m saying is, for a market stand point it’s too risky of a move, and the chances of this change are slim….at least while we still have Capaldi around; unless the BBC are certain that their audience will be fine with this choice; and the show still makes money once Capaldi’s out and the new lady is in. I mean if the show can go well transitioning from the young Matt Smith (Capaldi’s predecessor) to the old man that is Peter Capaldi.

Now all that was whether I feel if it WOULD happen; i looked at the situation from a marketing stand point and thought about it succeeding for the studio. This is my opinion on whether it SHOULD happen or not. My answer is…..sure. I wouldn’t mind the gender change as long as her first episode doesn’t bang this change over the head of the viewers; .e.g there will backlash on message forums if they make a joke over The Doctor now having boobs, or fail to give the actress some dignity without reaching the realms of being juvenile. If this does happen after Capaldi admits his leaving the show, the first question I’ll be asking is whether the new actress can act or not. It’s the same reason i didn’t complain about Smith’s and Capaldi’s ages (Matt Smith is the youngest actor to play the role, while Peter is the oldest Doctor in the new series reboot) I’ll live as long as the choice was right. And given how popular those two were and are; that seems to be the right approach.

I said about how the BBC needs assurance from the fans that this decision is the right one. And I believe recast of The Master (or Missy as she’s being called) is proving that. Many reviews of her first episode where she’s revealed as the character (Death in Heaven) have spoken positively of her performance. And i agree; she’s a fun to watch, charismatic character; who also performs the evil manipulative side very damn well. So why are we OK with Missy but nervous about a female Doctor? Well while she is fun to watch, she keeps the parts of The Master’s character that make him great villain. The Master has always been cruel, scheming and manipulative. All of these elements are present in Gomez’s performance. It’s the same reason why the show has survived with the main role being changed all the time. The Doctor is a person who cares about people, hates violence upon others, and saves people because it’s the right thing. And each actor keep that side of the character into account. It’s literally the same person with a new face; despite the personality changes, the morals and idea of the character is still there.

So why are some people still curious about the gender swap? I think the picture below explains it best.524374_535624756492220_713803353_n As fans we grow attached to the characters we like, but when we grow to like said character for so long, the announcement for the departure of the actor who brought said character life isn’t easy to move on from after so long. Hence why there’s so many people debating about the death of (spoiler alert) the death of Jon Snow in Game of Thrones; people got attached for so long they didn’t want him to leave. Naturally this will put pressure on the new actors of The Doctor, to bring new life to the character, while hoping the fans don’t tear you apart on message boards. And this will be felt on the first woman to take the role. Hell this sort of back lash happened when Matt Smith was announced as David Tennant’s replacement…ANNOUNCED! But as long as Moffat or whoever picks a woman who fits the role of The Doctor, we should be safe. In end that cycle will continue as it did when both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi were announced to play the role. And as long as this person is a good actress that plays the role right, then i and most fans will be happy that our beloved character is still entertaining us.

Now I want to discuss suggestions of women who i think should be The Doctor:

  1. Haley Atwell. As she’s shown on Agent Carter and the Captain America movies, she’s strong performer who shows her independence with great confidence. Not to mention where well spoken expressions in her performances makes her suitable for a smart character like this one. And she’s expressed interest in playing the role; so that’s a good start.
  2. Lana Parrilla. I know she’s an american actress in a discussion about a British character; but keep in mind this is who I’d like to play The Doctor, not who will. Anyway Lana uses the smartest person in room motivation in Once Upon A Time; and she handles it effortlessly. She’s confident, has a great screen presence, can handle smart ass remarks greatly. Which would work well if given the right companion to have banter with. I can easily see her as the female version of Capaldi’s Doctor.

  3. Helen Mirren
    . OK now  i maybe thinking unrealistically there. At Helen’s age she’ll be able to show the friendlier side of The Doctor, while the rest of acting range will allow the protective, tougher when needed and determined sides of the character. This has worked with the 3rd Doctor and his companion Jo Grant, along with the 6th Doctor in Big Finish’s audio dramas. Making the character a father like figure to the companions, helping them and those around them. They can do the same thing but reverse the genders. Helen has shown she to be a great actress, so she can pull of any one of The Doctor’s personalities easily.
  4. Lura Pulver. I’ve mentioned the confidence of these actors, not just in the way the perform, but how well their characters are. For those who saw Lura in Sherlock, she nails that on the head. She’s shown to portray the resourceful character whose three steps ahead of her enemies. And given how The Doctor isn’t an over powered superhero; this works well in Lura’s favor when playing a character who relies on his brains to live another day. If she can do that role as a villain; she can do it well as a hero.

But that’s may thoughts, what do you think?

If you liked this blog, here are two videos you may find interesting on the topic; both of which are for and against the subject.

Thank you for your time.