Saturday, 31 May 2008


Doctor Who [new]
4x08 Silence in the Library

Gilmore Girls
4x07 The Festival of Living Art
Despite the title, the event featured in the episode is actually called 'The Festival of Living Pictures'.

Have I Got News For You
30/5/08 edition (extended repeat)

I'd Do Anything
1x23 (Final)
1x24 (Final Results)


Die Hard (1988)
[3rd watch]

Friday, 30 May 2008


Babylon 5
1x07 The War Prayer
1x08 And the Sky Full of Stars

Doctor Who [classic]
1x01 An Unearthly Child
1x02 The Cave of Skulls
1x03 The Forest of Fear
1x04 The Firemaker
See here for my thoughts on this story.


The Fountain (2006)
[#37 in 100 Films in a Year 2008]


Allan and the Sundered Veil by Alan Moore
Chapter V
(from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 1)

Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child

45 years ago this November, Doctor Who began... and was almost ignored thanks to the world-changing events in Dallas that same weekend. Thankfully things would pick up in the show's second week, and it would come to have a thorough impact on British culture by the time of its sixth.

Despite having been a Who fan myself for well over a decade now, I've never actually seen the first ever four-part story (though I have seen the originally unbroadcast pilot episode, which greatly resembles episode one as broadcast). But I'm now coming to introduce a friend to classic Who, and to begin their education we're intending to watch one noteworthy four-part story from each Doctor's era. While most are ones I've seen and can vouch for, it seemed silly to begin with anything other than the first ever adventure for the good (or, in this case, highly ambiguous) Doctor.

Perhaps the most striking thing about this first story (unless you're a new fan who struggles with black & white / the slow pace / an old Doctor / so many companions / etc) is how brutal it is. This is especially evident in the Doctor's personality and morals. He's not the cheery happy fun-loving Doctor of David Tennant or Tom Baker -- or even Christopher Eccleston, who tried (and failed) to hide his dark, brooding typecasting behind a thin veil of implausible lightness. The Doctor here is a grumpy old man -- he doesn't want these humans interfering, and when they've seen too much he kidnaps them; when he doesn't get his own way, he strops; when caring for an injured caveman is delaying their escape, he picks up a stone to kill him... and he doesn't stop himself (only Ian's interference achieves that). Elsewhere, an old cavewoman is slain for helping the TARDIS crew escape... and by the only apparently likable caveman too! Later, he gets his head smashed in with a giant rock. Not as violently, at the end of the story the whole tribe murderously chase the Doctor & co back into the TARDIS. There's no neat resolution and no good characters left behind here.

And you know what? It's great! Maybe it wouldn't send a positive moral message to children, and perhaps the cavemen are stereotypes and oversimplified, but it's actually a fairly decent adventure that doesn't succumb too much to the usual four-parter problem of Lots Of Running Around To Kill Time. Of course, it's aided by the fact that it's really a three-parter -- part one, An Unearthly Child itself, stands almost entirely separate as a pitch-perfect start to the series. It begins surprisingly quickly, introducing schoolteachers Ian and Barbara, and they take the audience with them into a fantastical world of humming Police Boxes that are bigger on the inside and travel in time and space. It's hard to imagine a more perfect start to the series -- it might not work word-for-word if made today, but the same basic story would be the one to copy (indeed, new-Who supremo Russell T Davies used basically the same tactic when he launched the new series with Rose, which leads the viewer into the Doctor's crazy alien world via a modern-day teenager).

A fantastic start to the longest-running science-fiction TV series, then, and one that still seems to hold up all these years later.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Welcome to My Cultural Experience!

The aim of this blog is simple: as the title may suggest, it is a catalogue of my cultural experience. But what does this actually mean?

Well, by "cultural experience" I mean the things most of us are exposed to every day: the things we read, we listen to, we watch on TV, and so on. This covers a massive range of things, obviously, and it would probably consume all of my time if I were to attempt to list it all. So, in practice, this blog will be slightly less ambitious. I will aim to catalogue primary cultural experiences -- effectively, list TV shows, films, music, radio programmes, games, books and magazines I watch/listen to/play/read -- which may sound totally meritless to anyone but me. However, when I have the desire to express an opinion on any of these, I will. And if I wish to write about anything else culturally relevant -- a particular article, perhaps, or an advert -- then this is a forum for doing so.

As well as being a chance to espouse my thoughts on almost anything I fancy (the point of many blogs, I'm sure), it gives readers (should I find any...) a chance to also comment on things, be it in reaction to a longer piece I've written or just to something that's popped up on one of my lists. As such, comments are heartily encouraged, though I suspect I'll be lucky if I find any readers.

On the more technical side of things, updates will be anywhere from daily to... well, less frequently. I watch some TV every day, watch movies somewhat regularly, and follow a fair degree of news that could lead to some extra commentary there. I won't be attempting to catalogue every news article / review / etc I read, nor will my TV list be truly extensive -- if I happen to catch 10 minutes of the news it won't make the list, for example, but if for some reason I felt compelled to waste my life watching an episode of EastEnders I'd admit to it. By a similar token, the music list won't go through every single song I happen to hear every day, but will list any notable events -- e.g. if I listen to a particular album, or a particular selection of songs, or, as with articles/adverts/etc, if I want to comment on a particular song for some reason. And as for games, if you haven't guessed yet... well, I'm not going to be mentioning every minute I waste on Tetris and the like! If I'm not reviewing something, or if I intend to review it sometime later, I'll try to link the post to a relevant site -- for example, the standard IMDb for films, or a TV series' official site (or more likely, and so forth. All viewings/listenings/readings should be assumed to be my first unless otherwise noted, in which case I'll do my best to give a number, though obviously that's not always possible.

Hopefully that covers what I intend to do here. How long it'll last, I don't know. I've attempted a variety of blogs in the past -- most of them here on Blogger. Some have lasted no more than an introductory post, others are running strong after 17 months with no signs of letting up, even if they're now hosted elsewhere. Speaking of which, please check out my blog, 100 Films in a Year. Hopefully the title is to some degree self explanatory, and that blog's existence will also explain a probable shortage of specific film reviews here (though any posted there will be linked to).

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


Babylon 5
1x05 The Parliament of Dreams
1x06 Mind War

This is a back-dated post, designed to completely list the dates I watched Babylon 5. For an introduction to this blog, please see here.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


Babylon 5
1x04 Infection

This is a back-dated post, designed to completely list the dates I watched Babylon 5. For an introduction to this blog, please see here.