Saturday, 31 August 2013

TV

Friends
1x06 The One with the Butt [goodness-knows-what-th watch]

Veronica Mars
2x21 Happy Go Lucky
2x22 Not Pictured [season finale]
An awful lot of plot threads to wrap up this season, especially as they resurrected a lot of those from season one too, so they did a pretty fair and thorough job across these two episodes. All set up for a fresh-start season three? We'll see...

DVD Extras

Special Features on Veronica Mars: Season Two

A couple of brief featurettes, a ton of deleted scenes from across the season, and a surprisingly amusing gag reel, which is a nice change.

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Just two new titles this week, though between them they've created rises in every statistic here. With Bank Holiday and pay-day sales in the past week, there could have been a lot more here... but that's all going to turn up next week, just in time for the monthly running time update.

It would been even more if WOW HD didn't let you order stuff cheap then almost immediately turn around and say it's not in stock so your order's cancelled. Wankers.

Number of titles in collection: 1,596 [up 2]
Of which DVDs: 1,174 [up 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 422 [up 1]

Number of discs in collection: 3,986 [up 3]
Number of films in collection: 1,703 [up 1]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,879 [up 6]
Number of short films in collection: 391 [up 7]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 30 August 2013

TV

Doctor Who
6x26 The Seeds of Death Episode Four
Fallen a little off course due to an unexpected trip away... but only one episode behind, so hardly a problem. Aside from some silly running around (six-parters, eh?) I like this story.

Friends
1x05 The One with the East German Laundry Detergent [goodness-knows-what-th watch]

Veronica Mars
2x20 Look Who's Stalking
Trip also meant a longer-than-usual break from Veronica. Only two episodes left this season and it doesn't feel like there's so few to go. I guess the final stages in the season-long mysteries will be really rattled through, then.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

TV

Friends
1x04 The One with George Stephanopoulos [goodness-knows-what-th watch]

Articles

15 greatest single location-thrillers of the last decade
by Caroline Preece (from Den of Geek!)
Or "single-location thrillers", which I like, so good list.

Chris Chapman on Doctor Who, The Ice Warriors, missing episodes, Matt Smith & more...
by Cameron K McEwan (from Den of Geek!)
One of classic Who's regular DVD special feature producers, Chapman here chats about some of the features he's made down the years and what he might like to do in the future, as well as the animated episodes of The Ice Warriors that he was involved with.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

TV

Friends
1x03 The One with the Thumb [goodness-knows-what-th watch]
The break-up scene in this episode (where Monica has to tell the friends that she's breaking up with Alan, who they all love, and they respond with all the stock break-up clich├ęs) is one of the entire series' best bits.

The Last Leg
3x04 (21/8/13 edition)
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Articles

Doug Naylor: The Anniversary Interview
(from Red Dwarf: The Official Website)

Long interview from back in February with Red Dwarf's co-creator, looking back over the series' history and a little into its future (very non-specifically, I'm afraid to say).

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Monday, 26 August 2013

TV

Death in Paradise
2x05 Episode 5 [2nd watch]
Sometimes you just have to watch something again as appropriate-for-everyone time-filler.

Comics

Batman '66 #2 by Jeff Parker & Jonathan Case

Really didn't mean to leave it so long since issue one, but there we are. My comments on that still stand: it's good fun, and manages to both evoke the TV series and subtly post-modern-ly riff off it. Marvellous.

I also like the semi-animated "DC2" format. It looks like they've not bothered with that beyond the end of this first three-part story, though, which is a shame if so.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

TV

Veronica Mars
2x19 Nevermind the Buttocks

Films

Speed (1994)
[2nd watch]

I think I appreciated this more second time round. Sure, Keanu Reeves can't act -- but he's not as bad as I remembered, mainly because only one or two scenes really require Acting. What it is, however, is fantastically directed and edited, a proper rollercoaster ride that is both exciting and tense as required. Fantastic job by Jan de Bont & co.

this week on 100 Films

Three new reviews were published to 100 Films in a Year this week, including the first from What Do You Mean You Haven't Seen...?

And that's up first...


City Lights (1931)
Though the film is mostly comedic and the romantic plot is a little thin, Chaplin also manages to construct moments that are affectingly emotional. The most notable is the ending, which remains a striking example of subtle acting yielding huge rewards.
Read more here.


The Imposter (2012)
There’s no doubting The Imposter tells a bizarre and fascinating tale, but at times I felt it was one that might be better served through a solid Sunday supplement article than a feature-length documentary film.
Read more here.


It Happened One Night (1934)
it’s the archetypal rom-com: two mismatched people are forced together, initially hate each other, fall in love. I don’t know if it was such a well-known set of events back then, but today it’s a formula we’ve seen repeated a thousand times in cinema. Despite that, its execution here feels fresh.
Read more here.


And new to the new blog...


Babel (2006)
The quickest way to assess Babel is to say that it is about something — or, About Something. The plots, such as they are, aren’t really the point; nor is how they connect, or what chronology they actually occurred in... Naturally, because it is About Something, the Something it is About isn’t made blindingly clear
Read more here.


St. Trinian's (2007)
it has a pleasantly wicked sense of humour, which must be pushing that 12 certificate on moral grounds... There’s a number of good, brief, visual gags too, such as the RE department having a Practical Study of the Easter Story with a girl strung up like Jesus on the cross (Christian bating is always funny).
Read more here.


While You Were Sleeping (1995)
It’s not a laugh-out-loud comedy and it is (of course) heavy on the sentiment, but it does have a lovely Christmasiness that is perfect for [that] time of year.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

TV

Veronica Mars
2x18 I Am God

Films

The Falcon Out West (1944)
[#71 in 100 Films in a Year 2013]

Jack Reacher (2012)
[#70 in 100 Films in a Year 2013]

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Number of titles in collection: 1,594 [up 3]
Of which DVDs: 1,173 [no change]
Of which Blu-rays: 421 [up 3]

Number of discs in collection: 3,983 [up 4]
Number of films in collection: 1,702 [up 3]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,873 [no change]
Number of short films in collection: 384 [up 1]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 23 August 2013

TV

Doctor Who
6x24 The Seeds of Death Episode Two

Starlings
2x06 Episode Six

Suburgatory
2x06 Friendship Fish
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Films

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Extended Cut) (2013)
[#69 in 100 Films in a Year 2013]

DVD Extras

Special Features on Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

A whole half-hour of material across three featurettes. Most of it is press kit-level fluff about how great it was and how deep the characters are and so on, but there's some slight insight into the designing of the witch make-up and the creation of the animatronic troll. A bigger movie could've added all sorts about the weapons and other special effects, but I guess it isn't that big a movie.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

TV

The Great British Bake Off
4x01 Cake
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Law & Order: UK
7x06 Dependent [season finale]
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Veronica Mars
2x17 Plan B

Films

The Imposter (2012)
[#68 in 100 Films in a Year 2013]
Read my review here.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

TV

Archer
4x04 Midnight Ron
For some reason, 5USA haven't scheduled any episodes beyond this. First they dump it in the middle of the night, then they just stop after only showing five episodes? What gives, C5?!
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]


Doctor Who
6x23 The Seeds of Death Episode One

My Doctor Who 'season' (Twitter hashtag: #bbbDW50) progresses to the Second Doctor.

As I mentioned at the start, each of these stories has been chosen for a reason. My original choice for the 2nd Doctor was The Ice Warriors, because I've not seen it for years and when I last did I really enjoyed it; plus, with the Martians finally being re-introduced in the last series of nuWho, I thought it'd be nice for my co-viewer to see how they began. As originally scheduled, the DVD of said serial would've been out two days before we started viewing it (i.e. a week from today), but then I inserted the TV Movie into my plans and that got messed up. So I subbed this in -- still Ice Warriors, still well-regarded (or so I thought -- it actually only came 111th in DWM's Mighty 200), and with the added bonus of being a story I've never seen before. There'll only be three of those in this entire project.

This episode is a strong start to the serial. Hardly any of the TARDIS crew, really, but that's more than made up for by the exciting developments at T-Mat control centres on both Earth and the Moon. There's nifty-enough ways of working in big info-dumps to explain what the T-Mat is and establish the world for the workings of the plot, as well as quickly-sketched characters and conflicts. All sorts of promise there. It's underscored by Michael Ferguson's excellent direction, which even manages to keep the presence of the Ice Warriors secret (well, more-or-less) until the episode's final shot. Really looking forward to the rest of this one now.

Also of interest is that this was made at a time when space exploration was at its height -- we hadn't even landed on the Moon when this was broadcast. Yet it depicts a future where Earth has abandoned rocket travel into space and has no interest in travelling further than the Moon, and only that far because it is used to relay T-Mat signals around the planet. It's quite depressing and, the T-Mat stuff aside, all too similar to where we have ended up.


Friends
1x01 The Pilot [goodness-knows-what-th watch]
Two years and one month ago, I commented that I ought to re-watch all of Friends. Well, here I go! I have no clue how many times I've seen any of the episodes -- especially the first series, which I saw multiple times back when it was the only one my sister had on video -- so expect lots of those long, vague "goodness-knows-what-th" bits.


The Last Leg
3x03 (14/8/13 edition)
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

TV

Cowboy Bebop
1x06 Sympathy for the Devil

The Good Life
4x09 When I'm 65 [series finale]
The Good Life goes out on a high, with a Royal Command Performance in front of the Queen that also happens to be one of its best episodes.

Veronica Mars
2x16 The Rapes of Graff
aka "The One With the People From Arrested Development".

Monday, 19 August 2013

TV

Archer
4x03 Legs
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]


Doctor Who
1x11 The Rescue
And so The Daleks comes to an end, with the titular adversary defeated forever. Yep, won't be seeing them again!

All in, the premiere appearance of the Doctor's greatest foe is an adventuresome romp, but with some nice sci-fi ideas and themes laced throughout -- exactly the kind of thing Doctor Who would become best at, really. I wouldn't say it's the best story of either the First Doctor nor the Daleks, but it's a good introduction.

Next time: the Second Doctor and co face the Ice Warriors.


Top of the Lake
Part 6 No Goodbyes Thanks [final episode]
Grim and bleak as you'd expect, and equally elliptical in its answers -- sure, most of the big mysteries were covered, but not always in full, and some things were definitely open to interpretation. Which is a good thing, I suppose.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]


Veronica Mars
2x15 The Quick and the Wed

Sunday, 18 August 2013

TV

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
4x04 (16/8/13 edition)
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Iconoclasts
6x03 16/8/13 edition

Miranda
1x01 Date [2nd watch]
As with episode 2 in May, I haven't actually watched this since it first aired over 3½ years ago. But I have now re-watched nearly all of the first series in the last three months, so that's nice.

Starlings
2x05 Episode Five

Veronica Mars
2x14 Versatile Toppings

Films

Iron Man 2 (2010)
[2nd watch]

Forget The Dark Knight Rises' 13 months, here's one I haven't watched for 27! But it is also one I enjoyed first time, enjoyed again now, and think some people are overly harsh on -- the Avengers stuff barely features, never mind dominates!

The third one's out on DVD/Blu-ray in three weeks (the UK details were announced today, apparently). Definitely looking forward to it.

this week on 100 Films

Two new reviews were published to 100 Films in a Year this week, and they were...


Haywire (2011)
Like ponderous arthouse fare, but also action-thrillers? Disappointed that these two passions must always be sated independently? Well recent retiree (we’ll see how long that lasts) Steven Soderbergh has come to your rescue.
Read more here.


Underworld Awakening (2012)
By taking such a bold move with the plot, the story pushes the series’ mythology in new and relatively interesting ways. It’s becoming a bit dense and fan-only (unless you let it wash over you and just enjoy the punching), but at least they’re not regurgitating the same old stuff.
Read more here.


And new to the new blog...


(500) Days of Summer (2009)
An opening voiceover warns the viewer that “this is not a love story”. Of course, it is, just one without the traditional ending. Don’t worry, no spoilers here, but I will say that romantics would do well to heed this warning anyway... viewers who are prepared for a story that rings true may well be pleasantly surprised.
Read more here.


Born Free (1966)
the true story of Joy and George Adamson, a Senior Game Warden in 1950s Kenya, who adopted three lion cubs after mistakenly killing their mother. Though they give two away to a zoo, Joy can’t bear to part with one, Elsa, and so they raise her
Read more here.


Flash Gordon (1980)
When I noticed how much I was enjoying it — about five minutes in — I began keeping my eyes open for flaws, any niggling thing that detracted from the experience Hodges created. I couldn’t find a single thing. Not one.
Read more here.


Living Free (1972)
a tale of obsession... The Adamsons devote months of their time, give up a promising career, spend all their savings, drive themselves into debt, and are nearly killed several times, all in a frequently-extreme effort to save three delinquent lion cubs who would be put down were it not for their sentimental attachment.
Read more here.


Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
He’s put down the hound of the Baskervilles; silenced the voice of terror; uncovered the secret weapon; had, um, some other adventures; and, uh, been to Washington… but now, Sherlock Holmes faces death! Not a man in a black robe with a scythe, just, y’know, the threat. Of dying. Except there’s no threat, really. I suppose Sherlock Holmes Does Some Investigating With No Real Threat To Himself doesn’t sound quite as dramatic.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

TV

Once Upon a Time
2x06 Tallahassee
Oh my, that was hilarious! I don't think I've seen special effects that poor since the '90s. And the facial expression of Jorge Garcia (the giant) whenever he had to run anywhere -- "grrargh, frowny run!" This show remains my definition of "so bad it's good".

Top of the Lake
Part 5 The Dark Creator
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Veronica Mars
2x13 Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough

Films

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
[2nd watch]

TDKR was #58 100 Films in a Year 2012, but I haven't watched it since that opening weekend 13 months ago. My (spoiler-free) initial thoughts from that day are here, while my later (shorter) 'review' is here.

Coming back to it now, I really enjoyed it again. I think its minor flaws are far outweighed by its major successes, and so many of the criticisms that are levelled at it by 'picky' viewers are actually explained either in the film or with the tiniest bit of independent thought. Also, the IMAX sequences look stunning on Blu-ray, especially around the climax.

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

This week, Veronica Mars adds a swathe of TV episodes, and an upgrade to The Green Death Special Edition adds one disc and two episodes (thanks to it including a Sarah Jane Adventures two-parter).

Number of titles in collection: 1,591 [up 3]
Of which DVDs: 1,173 [up 3]
Of which Blu-rays: 418 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 3,979 [up 19]
Number of films in collection: 1,699 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,873 [up 66]
Number of short films in collection: 383 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 16 August 2013

TV

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
4x03 (9/8/13 edition)
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]


Doctor Who
1x10 The Ordeal

In their review for The Television Companion (now available on the official BBC episode guide at the link above), David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker assert the following:

One of the potential problems with [The Daleks] is its length. Nation had a job to sustain the action over the full seven episodes... The master-stroke was to ensure that the only way of approaching the city for a final covert attack was to do so via a lake of mutations, a pipeline going up a sheer cliff-face and a dangerous cave system, helping to ensure that the story remains watchable and interesting throughout.

These sequences are not merely padding, though; rather, they pay homage to the Jules Verne school of science-fiction storytelling... in which an arduous trek through a series of strange and hazardous environments is typically not just an interlude in the story but is the story.

Despite the story being seven episodes long, this "arduous trek" that is "not just an interlude in the story but is the story" lasts... an episode and a half. Hm. Nice concept, but there's plenty of padding-padding in The Daleks to make it a full seven episodes, not just the journey for the final attack.


Suburgatory
2x05 The Wishbone
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]


Veronica Mars
2x12 Rashard and Wallace Go to White Castle

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

TV

The Last Leg
3x02 (7/8/13 edition)
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Law & Order: UK
7x05 Mortal
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Monday, 12 August 2013

TV

Doctor Who
1x08 The Ambush

Top of the Lake
Part 2 Searchers Search
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Veronica Mars
2x10 One Angry Veronica
My DVDs finally arrived, meaning higher picture quality, end credits, and no more "previously on"s. Good thing I don't watch them too far apart!

Films

Sharknado (2013)
[#66 in 100 Films in a Year 2013]

Side by Side (2012)
[#67 in 100 Films in a Year 2013]

Sunday, 11 August 2013

TV

Family Tree
1x04 Country Life
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Veronica Mars
2x09 My Mother, the Fiend
Plus the episode's alternate ending, which is certainly very different!

Films

The Falcon and the Co-eds (1943)
[#65 in 100 Films in a Year 2013]

It's been nearly a year since I last watched a film in the Falcon series, which I'd been getting through regularly, so it's about time that was resumed.

this week on 100 Films

This week's big news at 100 Films in a Year is that I finally got round to adding lovely header images to the various pages over there, including a particularly striking new logo on the main page. Read (and see) all about them here.


Meanwhile, business as usual, as two new reviews were published this week...


Akira (1988)
I came to Akira slightly later, and I confess I didn’t much care for it... I haven’t revisited the film for something like a decade, but always felt I should. I bought Manga’s Blu-ray release a few years ago, but it was the mention of this year being the film’s 25th anniversary that led me to finally pop it in.
Read more here.


The Pearl of Death (1944)
Holmes first rescues the priceless Borgia Pearl, but then quite spectacularly loses it. The notion of Holmes being doubted, of having to prove himself to reassert his reputation, is a good one — one recently borrowed by avowed Rathbone fans Moffat & Gatiss for their modern-day Sherlock, in fact.
Read more here.


And finally, new to the new blog...


Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
the send-up of inherently paedophilic beauty pageants at the climax [is] so hilarious it almost single-handedly pushed my mark up to a five.
Read more here.


Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943)
The name’s Holmes, Sherlock Holmes, as Universal’s loose adaptations of Britain’s Greatest Detective deliver a low-key proto-Bond, 22 years before Goldfinger applied the same tricks to Britain’s Greatest Spy.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

TV

Archer
4x08 Coyote Lovely
4x02 The Wind Cries Mary
This is the order 5USA showed them in. Why? Why do 5 do anything that they do with this show. By which I mean, "God only knows".
That said, on Coyote Lovely's page on TV.com (see link above), someone notes that the original US airings appear to be out of order, so perhaps this is how it's meant to be?
[Watch Coyote Lovely and The Wind Cries Mary (again) on Demand 5.]

Top of the Lake
Part 1 Paradise Sold
Finally making a start on this one, as it approaches the end on BBC Two. Odd, eerie, but very good so far.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Veronica Mars
2x08 Ahoy, Mateys!
Because it's about pirate radio, see.

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Just one addition this week, but to make up for that lack of excitement it is the monthly running time update.

Number of titles in collection: 1,588 [up 1]
Of which DVDs: 1,170 [up 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 418 [no change]

Number of discs in collection: 3,960 [up 2]
Number of films in collection: 1,699 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,807 [up 4]
Number of short films in collection: 383 [no change]

And our little monthly treat...

Total running time of collection (approx.):
284 days, 1 hour, and 5 minutes.
(Up 19 hours and 26 minutes from last month.)

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 9 August 2013

TV

Cowboy Bebop
1x04 Gateway Shuffle

Doctor Who
1x07 The Escape
I'm harbouring very mixed feelings about this story. On the one hand there are great bits -- the Daleks, of course, who are indeed instantly iconic -- but for all that there's the dodgy bits -- this episode the Thals, and their acting. Doctor Who Magazine's Mighty 200 poll ranked this the 37th greatest Who story, and I'd go so far as to say it's only that high because it's the Daleks' debut. That said, there's still over half of it to go, so who knows.

Suburgatory
2x04 Foam Finger
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Top Gear
20x06 (4/8/13 edition) [season finale]
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Articles

Sharknado sinks Jaws to become Syfy’s biggest film of the year
by Emma Daly (from Radio Times)

The shark-cum-tornado flick attracted four times the UK subscription channel’s usual primetime average

I have it recorded...

Thursday, 8 August 2013

TV

Archer
4x01 Fugue and Riffs
Channel 5 have not only taken an age to show the new series of Archer, they've also switched its channel and, worst of all, taken the decision to dump it in the middle of the night. I guess it doesn't get the viewing figures or something, though I don't imagine 5* or 5USA's figures can be that great at the best of times. Anyway, it's an undeserved treatment, because it's still hilarious.
[Watch it (again) on Demand 5.]

Cowboy Bebop
1x03 Honky Tonk Women

Law & Order: UK
7x04 Fatherly Love
Best episode of the series so far, said Radio Times, and they were right, with particularly remarkable performances from the girls playing the two 16-year-olds.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Veronica Mars
2x07 Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

You Saw Them Here First
Episode 2 (of 2)
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Articles

The Final UK Cover Art For Solo Is Here!
by John Cox (from The Book Bond)

This news about the new James Bond novel was announced on August 1st, but somehow I missed it until last night. Personally, I think the cover looks great, and the dust jacket / underneath combo looks like it will work really well. The new Bond novels are pretty much the only things I buy in hardback, because I want to read them quickly, but work like this banishes any consideration of possibly switching to the ebook -- it's the kind of thing I want to collect.


Click the image above for a huge version. Also follow the link for more pack shots (albeit weirdly compressed and looking noisier than the real thing is likely to be), plus a long bit by the cover's designer on her thinking. It's quite fascinating. You can also see the US art there, which is alright but nowhere near as good.



Doctor Who StoryBundle - Pay What You Want Offer
by Marcus (from Doctor Who News)

Talking of ebooks, here's some Doctor Who ones at a bargain price! Put simply, you pay what you want and in exchange you get DRM-free copies of several Who-related ebooks.

Minimum amount is $3 (c.£2), which gets you fan memoir Dalek I Loved You (if you happen to have the original from 2008, this is an expanded '50th Anniversary Edition'), Barry Letts autobiography Who & Me, critical history of the Second Doctor TARDIS Eruditorum Volume 2, and recipe book Dining With The Doctor: An Unauthorized Whovian Cookbook. That last one has one recipe from every nuWho episode up until the end of series six, plus a bunch of extra ones for fish fingers & custard. Kinda scary...

However, if you choose to pay $10 (c.£6.66) or more you get all that plus VWORP!, "a key primer to the Doctor Who canon from 1963 through to the 2011 Xmas special, for both novices and experts alike", and The Best of TARDIS Eruditorum, "twenty-one of the best and most popular essays from Philip Sandifer's acclaimed blog", compiled exclusively for this bundle. I was going to do a price comparison with buying the other five as ebooks from Amazon, but only three are there... though even that adds up to £8.34.

Plus, as well as picking how much to pay, you can set what percentage goes to the authors and what to running StoryBundle; and you can choose to give 10% to charity too (they offer two appropriate options). The books can either be flat-out downloaded or, if you have a Kindle device/app, be sent directly there (so long as you're prepared to quickly fiddle with a few online settings first).

Do note that there's a time limit to this offer: the ability to buy the bundle expires in about 12 days. If ebooks interest you, they've done this before and I'm sure will again. A list of their previous offers can be perused here.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

TV

Cowboy Bebop
1x02 Stray Dog Strut
I think it's safe to say I'm going to like Ein...

Doctor Who
1x06 The Survivors
That was more like it! Bit of a nothing-y cliffhanger, but the rest was brilliant, especially the stuff with Susan running through the jungle -- tip-top direction there.

Dragons' Den
10x12 Episode 12 [season finale]
Had this one episode left over from last series. With the new one starting soon, it seemed about time!

Veronica Mars
2x06 Rat Saw God
I like VM, but this week they seemed to be having a competition to see who could mispronounce "Ibiza" most often in the space of 5 minutes, and for some reason they seemed to think you need an over-21 ID to go drinking in Europe! All a bit too... American.
Still, there was a Joss Whedon cameo, so that kinda made up for it.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

TV

The Americans
1x13 The Colonel [season finale]
Great music choices to open the premiere and close the finale!
I think across this season The Americans has grown from a show I liked into one I love. I'll really miss it now -- can't wait for season two!
[Watch it from 24th August on ITV Player.]

Cowboy Bebop
1x01 Asteroid Blues
I've long heard how good Cowboy Bebop is, but me being me I'm only getting round to it now. I've actually had a US DVD set for ages, but the recent release of a UK Blu-ray, with limited packaging and new-outside-Japan extras, was irresistible to me. I'm glad I did too, because a) it looks great in HD, and b) it's finally prompted me to watch the series, and on the evidence of episode one it is indeed excellent.
Normally I'd view something like this in clumps of two or three episodes, but it felt a bit too special just to plough through. Though that's no guarantee I'll show such self restraint in the future.

Horrible Histories
5x01 Episode 1
The final season! But there's another 11 episodes to go yet, so we'll leave the sadness for a while.

Starlings
2x04 Episode Four

Monday, 5 August 2013

TV

8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
4x02 (2/8/13 edition)
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]


The Americans
1x12 The Oath
It's nice to have a penultimate episode that doesn't feel like "Part 1 of 2" these days. Nonetheless, it builds things up to a suitably tense/exciting point for next week's time's finale.
[Watch it from 17th August on ITV Player.]


Doctor Who
1x05 The Dead Planet

Beginning a 'season' of viewing to mark the show's 50th anniversary. 39 episodes of classic Who, 5 of nuWho, and the TV Movie, all precisely spaced out over the next 16 weeks to lead up to the 50th anniversary special as the season's climax. Very neat, if I do say so myself.

Much like last time (five years ago! God!), I'm joined on my viewing by a relative classic-Who-newbie (the same one, indeed), so I've tried to pick stories of interest for various reasons. Well, it's meant to be a celebration, so that makes sense regardless. I'll introduce them as we go.

So, my choice for the First Doctor is, I think, a fairly obvious one: his second serial, known now as The Daleks. Only right to celebrate them in the show's 50th year too, no? And how better than with their first story. Well, with a better story, maybe; but none more fitting. I have a dim memory of seeing The Daleks once before, years and years ago, late at night on UK Gold or something, so other than the familiarity of reading the novel, seeing the Cushing film, and generally reading tonnes about the serial down the years, it felt 'new' to me.

It also felt surprisingly slow. I don't think that's because I'm out of pace with '60s Who, because when I watched Reign of Terror in January I was fine with it, I just think writer Terry Nation needed to give things a bigger oomph. No wonder they were able to cut all seven episodes down to just 80 minutes for the movie. But you never know, maybe it all picks up once the Daleks arrive...


Miranda
1x06 Dog [season finale; 2nd watch]

Sunday, 4 August 2013

TV

The Americans
1x11 Covert War
And now I'm ahead.
[Watch it from 10th August on ITV Player.]


Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor

Excellent news! And, thank God, they didn't cast another 20-something. Indeed, I believe Capaldi is technically the joint oldest Doctor ever. Win.

And, in case you've not seen it, the official image is to the right (if you want, you can click it to enlarge a bit; or you can find it super-large here).

[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


The Last Leg
3x01 (31/7/13 edition)
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]


Veronica Mars
2x05 Blast from the Past

Films

Immortals (2011)
[#64 in 100 Films in a Year 2013]

this week on 100 Films

It's August (did you notice?), which means that the big news this week on 100 Films in a Year is the July update. This month's top 5: significant directors whose films I've never seen.


Back to regular business: two new reviews were published this week, including...


Animalympics (1980)
Originally commissioned as a pair of specials for US TV, Animalympics was repurposed by its makers as a feature film. You might be able to guess the plot from the title: various animals compete in an Animal Olympics. It’s a series of sketches, essentially
Read more here.


The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
Time has arguably blunted it slightly, however: a meeting of anti-American leaders is tinged by most since dying. Era-specific jokes are few, instead offering the usual Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker mix of slapstick, visual puns and wordplay.
Read more here.


And also, new to the new blog were...


Kick-Ass (2010)
as Watchmen was to superhero comics, so Kick-Ass is to superhero films... it doesn’t “examine and deconstruct” quite as methodically — or, if you prefer, “as coldy” — as both Moore and Snyder did; but it still takes its cues as much, if not more, from fellow superhero films and TV series
Read more here.


Right at Your Door (2006)
L.A. is hit by a series of ‘dirty bombs’ in this indie suspense thriller, that follows the story of what happens to one man in the suburbs, as well as the various people whose paths cross his.
Read more here.


More next Sunday.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

TV

The Americans
1x10 Only You
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Veronica Mars
2x04 Green-Eyed Monster

You Saw Them Here First
Episode 1 (of 2)
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Films

Bicycle Thieves (1948)
[#63 in 100 Films in a Year 2013]

For my "What Do You Mean You Haven't Seen...?" project. I think the first time I've watched one at a time other than right at the end of the month!

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Two additions this week: the first half of Cowboy Bebop looking beautiful on Blu-ray; and the beautifully packaged Fourth Doctor Time Capsule, complete with an early release of Terror of the Zygons.

Number of titles in collection: 1,587 [up 2]
Of which DVDs: 1,169 [up 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 418 [up 1]

Number of discs in collection: 3,958 [up 4]
Number of films in collection: 1,699 [no change]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,803 [up 17]
Number of short films in collection: 383 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.

Friday, 2 August 2013

TV

The Americans
1x09 Safe House
Finally caught up with ITV! Though they've another one on tomorrow, so, y'know.
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Law & Order: UK
7x03 Paternal
[Watch it (again) on ITV Player.]

Suburgatory
2x03 Ryan's Song
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Top Gear
20x05 (28/7/13 edition)
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]