Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Sherlock: The Final Problem

Sherlock: 'Five minutes! It took five minutes to do all of this to us.'

If I had to pick one highlight from tonight's episode, it'd either be Moriarty's rock star posturing to Queen's 'I Want to Break Free' or Mrs Hudson vacuuming to Iron Maiden's 'The Number of the Beast'. It's good to know that during this suspense-laden, at times hopelessly improbable finale, they could still offer up some levity. It was sorely needed at times, especially with Eurus being such a rotter.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Sherlock: The Lying Detective

Sherlock: 'Cup of tea!'

Episodes which take place inside a character's mind are usually a pain in the arse to watch, as you never know what's real and what's not. So to have an episode which mostly took place inside the minds of two characters, should have been a complete mindfuck. Let's face it, we barely know what's going on in this show when people aren't off their tits on drugs or hallucinating with grief, so what chance do we stand when such colossal weirdness abounds?

Monday, 2 January 2017

Sherlock: The Six Thatchers

Sherlock: 'Death waits for us all in Samarra, but can Samarra be avoided?'

Well, it appears that Sherlock's suicidal assignment overseas was disappointingly short-lived. One imaginary adventure later and Sherlock's back on British soil, his murderous activities brushed under the carpet, only to be replaced by ginger nuts, a horrific Tory bust, and a baby crapping itself onscreen.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio

Doctor: 'I've been away for a while, but I'm back.'

After the emotionally replete ‘Last Christmas’ which saw Clara flip the middle finger at her haters and stay on for another year, and ‘The Husbands of River Song’ which brought a satisfying end to a storyline eight years in the making, tonight’s episode was always going to be up against it. How do you inject the same level of pathos into a story with no main returning characters (save the Doctor), minimal follow through narrative, and a premise as worn as Russell T. Davies’ plot devices? Simple, you bring back Nardole. You remember Nardole, the completely unremarkable character from last year’s Christmas special? Yeah, that guy.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Shows to Look Out for in 2016.

When I first heard the premise of Grantchester—local vicar develops an interest in sleuthing—I remember thinking: dear God, not another do-gooding religious character solving mysteries. Hasn't this been done before, like, a dozen times? And whilst 'a dozen times' may be something of an exaggeration, anyone who's seen Cadfael, Father Brown, or The Father Dowling Mysteries must surely sympathise. This just isn't a novel concept. I mean, it is the concept for some novels (if in doubt, check out Ellis Peters, Ralph McInerny, or G.K. Chesterton's bibliographies), but this really shouldn't have been the foundation for such an outstanding show.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride.

Moriarty: 'It doesn't make sense, Sherlock, because it's not real. None of it.'

I suspect we're going to have to start viewing Sherlock specials in the same way we view Doctor Who Christmas specials. Despite being cut from the same cloth as a regular season, there's just so much more space to muck about in. Half of tonight's episode played like a Victorian chiller, the other half was like watching panto. Still, with the festive season still in full swing, that was probably the effect they were hoping for—and it kind of worked.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song

Doctor: 'I think I'm going to need a bigger flowchart.'

This year's Christmas special was the dream team-up I've been fantasising about for years, yet never really believed would happen. There's always been something compelling about the prospect of seeing Capaldi and Kingston onscreen together. Seeing two old pros trading chops on your favourite show is as good as it gets in my book, and not only did Moffat make it happen, he managed to create one of the show's most emotionally complete episodes to date.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Doctor Who: Hell Bent (2)

Clara: 'My time is up, Doctor. Between one heartbeat and the last is all the time I have.'

Virtually everything about tonight's episode ran counter to expectation. I anticipated a reclamation of Clara's soul from the Quantum Shade, all-out war on Gallifrey, and an ultimately devastating denouement. In the end, Gallifrey turned out to be something of a red herring—the real focus of the story was the Doctor and Clara's relationship, and it was told and acted to perfection. I always wanted something better for Clara than death, and although she's still just a heartbeat away from facing the raven, this felt like the perfect send-off.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Doctor Who: Heaven Sent (1)

Doctor: 'I've just watched my best friend die in agony. My day can't get any worse. Let's see what we can do about yours!'

It's always something of a crap shoot when Doctor Who tries something different. If history has taught us anything, it's that experimental episodes either knock it out of the park ('Blink', 'Turn Left'), or make us wish that someone had knocked us out in a park ('Sleep No More', 'Love and Monsters'). What good could possibly come from an episode filmed in a single location, and with only one speaking character? Plenty, as it happens. With an extended running time of 55 minutes, this was a gripping tale of mystery, personal loss, and what happens when you punch an azbantium wall for over two billion years with your bare fists.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Doctor Who: Face the Raven

Clara: 'Let me be brave. Let me be brave.'

I was whispering the exact same thing towards the end. For a first time writer of Doctor Who, there's no way that Sarah Dollard should have been able to destroy us like that. Clara's final words were some of the finest, most emotive dialogue the show's ever produced—I can't tell you how difficult I found typing out the quotes. Even Moffat couldn't have surpassed those closing exchanges for their honestly, their pathos, and how beautifully they reflected the Doctor and Clara's relationship. They were perfect. Which is incidentally the exact opposite of how I feel at the moment.