Sunday, 23 November 2008


8 Out of 10 Cats
7x12 (20/11/08 edition)
Quite funny.

Have I Got News For You
36x05 (21/11/08 edition; extended repeat)
Extremely funny.

2x02 Episode 2
Very funny.

Russell Brand's Ponderland
2x04 Food
Moderately funny.

Top Gear
12x04 (23/11/08 edition)
Informatively funny.


Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert & Richard Isanove
Part Six
A mixed part -- the introduction of the Watchers drags it into an area of unwarranted complication & connection to the normal Marvel universe; the art and colouring begins to get a bit scrappy toward the end; at the same time, the plot is driven forward and the massive action set piece is a welcome change of pace.


Fall of the Rebel Angels: Poems 1996-2006 by Andy Brown
Part I (pages 1-13)


Day & Age by the Killers
My first listen of the Killers' new album, officially released tomorrow. More thoughts after another listen or two.

Articles: James Bond titles

Michael G. Wilson On Bond Titles: 'If we can get away with Quantum of Solace...' by Devin Zydel
"...we can get away with anything." And that sums up the whole article, really.

For those who are unaware, there are precisely four Ian Fleming-created James Bond titles that haven't been used as film titles...
  • All of the novels' names have been used -- Casino Royale was the last
  • Several film titles were taken from Bond-related paraphernalia -- GoldenEye being Fleming's Jamaican home, The World is Not Enough being the Bond family motto, and Licence to Kill being the character's famous, er, licence
  • And there have even been a couple of entirely original ones -- namely, Tomorrow Never Dies and Die Another Day.

  • The four that remain -- before they get into pilfering chapter titles or something -- are all short stories, and, for the most part, are perfectly reasonable titles for a series that includes such entires as Thunderball and The Spy Who Loved Me.

    "But what are they?" I hear you clamour. Well, there's...
  • Risico -- everyone who's read this seems to think it's a silly suggestion, so I presume the title must have a silly meaning within the story. In an of itself, there's nothing amiss about it, so why not?
  • The Hildebrand Rarity -- doesn't sound much like a Bond film, but then I'm sure some of the old titles didn't until they were. Makes the plot quite specific, unless they can come up with a very original meaning for that title.
  • The Property of a Lady -- very soppy, to be sure, but then so's The Spy Who Loved Me, and Bond's been a bit love-lorn of late anyhow.
  • 007 in New York -- no.

  • Bets begin here...

    Doctor Who: An Introduction

    As regular readers will be aware, a little while ago I introduced a friend to the many delights of classic Doctor Who. Luckily I was gifted to be introducing an open-minded friend, meaning I didn't have to choose stories that skirted around the show's (at times) obviously cheap production values, and instead could focus on adventures I either knew to be good or had heard good things about. As we went I posted my comments on these eight tales, and now, in celebration of the programme's 45th anniversary, I've compiled them here, along with very brief comments on why I chose each story.

    I tried to produce a variety of choices, the only rule being that there would be just one four-part story for each Doctor... a rule I broke for three of the eight! Not without reason, mind: for the 6th Doctor, his two-parters have the same running time as everyone else's four-parters; for the 7th Doctor, I have no excuse beyond I decided that was the most appropriate story; and for the 8th Doctor, there's literally only one choice.

    So here's my "Beginners Guide to Classic Who" (if you will), though it's obviously missing the contextualising comments I gave my friend before and after each viewing.

    The 1st Doctor: An Unearthly Child
    As the first-ever story it seemed a natural place to start, even though I'd never seen it before. We both enjoyed it immensely.

    The 2nd Doctor: The Tomb of the Cybermen
    A bona fide classic, with the series' best-ever monsters. Simple.

    The 3rd Doctor: Spearhead from Space
    The relative shortage of 3rd Doctor stories on DVD forced my hand a little, but this is another classic tale. The number of firsts seemed to make it an obvious choice.

    The 4th Doctor: City of Death
    Though I've never seen it, this is oft cited as an absolute classic. That, plus Tom and Lala, Paris, and a script co-written by Douglas Adams, made it seem a good choice.

    The 5th Doctor: Earthshock
    More Cybermen -- so much for variety. But I still think they're a great villain, even in the '80s, and Earthshock is unquestionably one of the 5th Doctor's finest.

    The 6th Doctor: Revelation of the Daleks
    A limited choice for the 6th Doctor in my DVD collection allows this to be the only Dalek story.

    The 7th Doctor: Survival
    One of the earliest classic Whos I saw, and an appropriate connection into the new series. Also ironically titled as it's the last 'classic series' story.

    The 8th Doctor: The TV Movie
    The only choice. Besides which, I actually think it's quite a fun romp.

    Celebratory Finale: The Five Doctors
    It may not be the best story ever, but it's bizarrely fun and seemed an appropriately celebratory way to conclude.

    Feel free to discuss whether these are good or bad choices for introducing a newbie, or post any ideas of your own, in the comments section.

    There's no 9th and 10th Doctors in the list because, quite simply, we've both seen all of those, so no introduction required. However, if one were to be introducing a friend to new Who too, here are my thoughts...

    The 9th Doctor: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances
    It has to be a two-parter to fit the same length as the other Doctors, and both of the other 9th Doctor two-parters are tied fairly heavily to the season's ongoing story. Well, the second one is; the first one's just a bit rubbish. More importantly, this is just one of the best stories ever. It's also worth considering Rose/The End of the World -- not a two-parter strictly, but they're a pairing specifically designed to introduce complete newbies. Of course, if you've already made your way through 13 hours of Classic Who, that's not quite as necessary.

    The 10th Doctor: The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit
    In my opinion you're spoilt for choice with the 10th Doctor, as almost any pairing of two individual episodes would work too. This one was an instant favourite for me though, and is a better example of standard new Who fare than his other great two-parter, Human Nature/The Family of Blood. Other major considerations should be The Christmas Invasion (best first story ever, to my mind); School Reunion (if you watched a Sarah Jane story during Classic Who); Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel (not necessarily that great, but big bonus points for having Cybermen, and when my Classic Who line-up included two Cybermen tales it's nice to continue their evolution); Smith and Jones/The Shakespeare Code (a great opening pair); and Voyage of the Damned (personally, I think it's big and fun). (While I liked most of season four, I think it might be a bit too involved to recommend as a starting point.) Oh, and Time Crash should definitely be watched.


    I'm sure you'll be pleased to know my friend wants to see more classic Who. Of course, from here on out, it's no longer an introduction -- now they're just great stories.