I understand the desire to have more two-part stories, I do. Sometimes a story really needs more than 45 minutes (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances being a particularly strong example in new Who) – but this Zygon story is not one of them. Next week’s conclusion could be an absolute zinger, but there’s no getting away from this half being much more filler than thriller.
[Spoilers below the line…]
Back in 2011, Matthew Graham or Ashley Pharaoh (co-creators/writers of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes) was kind enough to give me some advice on writing a TV review. In a nutshell, it was ‘judge the work on its aims and ambitions rather than on what you want it to achieve’. This seems an excellent time to hold myself to this higher standard…
I doubt I’m the only one welcoming Jamie Mathieson back to the DW writer’s room this series. His episodes last year stood head and shoulders above everybody else’s and he’s showing no signs of slacking here either. Thankfully The Girl Who Died is a lot better than last week’s trailer would have had you believe and has the Doctor at his best (i.e. doing something clever and making everything alright – or, if you’re a Cabin Pressure fan, finding his inner Douglas Richardson*).
[Spoilers below the line…] Continue reading
Forgive me, but I am going to inflict a (*grimaces*) listicle on you. However, I want you to be able to go and watch the first episode of Unforgotten before a) it slips off ITV Player and b) the second episode airs, and I don’t have time to do it proper paragraphy justice right now. I will however spare you a ’24 reasons why you should be watching Unforgotten’-style headline…
- It’s a crime show without horrendous violence inflicted on women and the results slowly panned over like some sort of fetishist’s fantasy.
- It’s got Nicola Walker in the lead role. This should be enough to make most discerning Pauseliveaction readers stop reading and start watching.
- Sanjeev Bhaskar is her sidekick. (I have to confess to a little bit of a crush here – but you should be watching him for his acting even if you don’t wish you could be in Meera Syal’s shoes for an evening.)
- It has excellent, series 1-Broadchurch pacing; neither frenetic, nor Midsomer Murders lethargic. Rarely does it feel like plots unfurl these days, but Unforgotten captures that feeling.
- We have no idea how all the disparate characters we’re introduced to are going to link to the skeleton in the basement, but they’re all intriguing anyway. Their stories are engaging in their own right – they feel like they could each stand alone for an hour, skeleton or no.
- The supporting cast includes Tom Courtenay, Ruth Sheen, Bernard Hill, Gemma Jones, Peter Egan and Trevor Eve (in a sledgehammer-subtle take on Alan Sugar – and, for me, the only thing I’m not sold on yet).
If you catch up on episode one now, you’ll be ready to start watching in real time on Thursday (ITV1, 9pm). If the next five hours are as good as the first, we’re in for a treat.
Jo the Hat
… and I’m left wanting to break his guitar. Not because I can’t get my head around the Bootstrap Paradox (even with the help of the Radio Times), but because I can’t buy the Doctor as a rocker. A dancer, yes; a reader, (*Tenth Doctor voice*) oh yes!; but a rock musician, not so much. (To be fair, I’m not that keen on Patrick Troughton’s recorder either.) But I digress.
[Here be spoilers…] Continue reading
Ohhhh – that’s more like it… And not a moment too soon.
I don’t mind being on my own in being dissatisfied with The Witch’s Familiar, but I really dislike writing reviews that are more negative than positive. So, hurrah for Toby Whithouse – a man who can really write ghost stories. (I can’t believe I haven’t given Being Human the Joy of Sets treatment yet – I must remedy this soon.)
[Yada-yada, spoilers below the line…] Continue reading
… and the witch is, indeed, familiar. As is what I’m coming to realise is the Moffat trope that annoys me the most – things done for just for show. Lord knows, I’m no fan of Clara and I was happy to enjoy her being strung up and tutored/tortured by Missy – right up until the point it was clear there was no point to it. (See also last week’s Doctor on a tank with a guitar.) It’s a shame, because otherwise it was quite a nifty piece of cliffhanger exposition – not an easy thing to do well. (Pushing Clara down the sewer to gauge the depth, on the other hand, was funny even if you could see the joke coming a mile away, because there was at least a purpose to it.)