Friday, 15 October 2021

Doctor Who: Flux

The official trailer for Doctor Who: Flux premiered during Jodie Whittaker's appearance on The Graham Norton Show. Such late scheduling excludes younger fans. Strictly Come Dancing would have reached more viewers during primetime.

The trailer offered a tantalising preview of returning monsters - Sontarans, Weeping Angels, Cybermen, and the Ood, as well as a range of new monsters, one of which is named Karvanista who looks like a Wookie from Star Wars or Barf from Spaceballs, take your pick.

Further to my previous The Trial of a Time Lord observation, the six-part Flux is trading on the franchise's storied history and also conjures comparisons to the classic serial The War Games, which culminated in the second Doctor's (Patrick Troughton) regeneration. Are we back on Gallifrey inside the Matrix?

Matt Strevens, Executive Producer, says: “I can’t wait for the audience to come on the Flux ride with us. It’s our biggest adventure yet with so many brilliant new characters to fall in love with. We had a blast making it.”

Doctor Who: Flux premieres on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC America on 31st October.

Are you looking forward to Doctor Who: Flux? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Jamie Costa as Robin Williams goes viral

"Mork calling Orson! Come in Orson..."

Previously, I've shared Jamie Costa's Star Wars fan films. Han Solo: A Smuggler's Trade, in which he played the titular captain of the Millennium Falcon, and Star Wars: Origins.

Costa's Robin Williams (The Fisher King) test footage scene is on another level. I implore you to watch it if you haven't already.

Williams was a household name growing up in the seventies and eighties. Mork & Mindy became a welcome escape from childhood trauma and Williams one of the first actors I remember doing impressions of to amuse family and friends.

Costa's clip has, deservedly, gone viral. He effortlessly captures the late actor's zaniness with many fans (myself included) calling for an official biopic.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Tech-savvy Ghostface stalks Scream

Ghostface is back on the big screen, for the first time in a decade, but sadly not for Halloween!

Following four films and a television spin-off series, which was much more fun than I expected, the fifth film instalment in the iconic slasher franchise promises to pit a tech-savvy Ghostface against our long-suffering heroes.

Here's the official synopsis:

"Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a new killer has donned the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past. Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”), Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) and David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”) return to their iconic roles in Scream alongside Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar."

Scream is exclusively in cinemas on 14th January.

Are you looking forward to Scream? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Doctor Who channel launches on Pluto TV

Variety reports new Doctor Who channels are launching in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and Spain.

A new Doctor Who channel in France will feature the first 10 seasons of the BBC action-adventure series that explores space and time, in addition to the series’ Christmas specials, including “Snowmen,” “Last Christmas” and “Day of The Doctor.”

The Doctor Who channel on Pluto TV in Spain features the series’ first nine seasons and its Christmas specials, while Pluto TV in Germany, Switzerland and Austria now offers “Doctor Who” episodes that originally aired between 1980 and 1990, in addition to a BBC Travel channel.

This forms part of a carriage deal between BBC Studios and ViacomCBS for Pluto TV.

Pluto TV is ViacomCBS' advertiser-supported digital linear platform available on a range of devices including mobile and console.

In related news. Sony is to acquire Bad Wolf productions (co-producing Doctor Who from 2023) to bolster its film and television divisions! This has reignited speculation regarding a new Doctor Who motion picture. PlayStation of the Daleks?

Monday, 11 October 2021

Playmobil boldly goes to the final frontier

Playmobil has produced A-Team, Back to the Future, Doctor Who and Ghostbusters action figures and playsets for all ages.

Now the beloved toy brand journeys to the final frontier with Star Trek.

The app-enabled USS Enterprise NCC-1701 is this holiday season's must-have for the Trekkie in your life or a present to yourself.

This colossal collector's item features lights and sounds, Captain Kirk, Mr Spock, Dr McCoy, Chief Engineer Scott, Lieutenant Uhura, Lieutenant Sulu and Ensign Chekov.

Playmobil Star Trek USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (affiliate link).

Are you hoping to find Playmobil USS Enterprise NCC-1701 under the Christmas tree? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 10 October 2021


Something Whovian this way comes. This weekend marks the 44th anniversary of a life-changing childhood trauma. Doctor Who has always been there in the darkest of times...

Doctor Who returns on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC America this Halloween.

Series 13 spans six episodes and sees John Bishop (Dan) join Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who) and Mandip Gill (Yaz) aboard the Tardis. The Flux, which brings to mind Dr Emmett Brown's flux capacitor from Back to the Future, has shades of The Trial of a Time Lord.

Flux is an apt metaphor as Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker and series showrunner Chris Chibnall are leaving Doctor Who ahead of the 60th anniversary in 2023. Russell T Davies is returning as showrunner.

The new series of Doctor Who premieres Sunday 31st October. This will be followed by three specials in 2022.

Are you looking forward to the return of Doctor Who? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Babylon 5 rebooted for The CW

After news broke that Russell T Davies was returning to Doctor Who, The CW announced a reboot of Babylon 5 with series creator J Michael Straczynski at the helm.

Coincidentally, Straczynski had expressed an interest in showrunning Doctor Who and has commended the decision to bring back Davies for the 60th anniversary in 2023.

Nick Smith, our US-based stellar scribe, speculates on new adventures aboard the beloved Babylon 5.

Guest post by Nick Smith

The CW is a guilty pleasure for me. The shows are formulaic and repetitive but they’re also cosy, glossy and filled with glamorous actors. The channel has proved a good home for DC Comics superheroes, teen romances and the odd spot of demon hunting. But is it the right place for Babylon 5, a show that originally left the air in the late ‘90s?

Should recycling be left to garbage, or is J Michael Straczynski’s TV opus ripe for rebooting? The show is being redeveloped by its creator, who is writing the pilot and will be, ‘running the series upon pickup,’ according to a late September tweet.

A reboot of such a fan-shipped show has its challenges. Here are my top 5 comments and concerns:

1). Reboots are rubbish (usually).

Nine times out of ten, reboots are a bad idea! Without their original creative team or cast and the rocket fuel of ingenuity that blasted them off in the first place, reheated shows are a pale imitation of their former selves. Exhibits A to Z include Bionic Woman, Knight Rider and Matthew Perry’s version of The Odd Couple (oh dear). Fortunately, there are exceptions, which build on the originals instead of simply rehashing them (including and Battlestar Galactica, so say we all). "You cannot step in the same river twice,” Straczynski told the Twitterverse, quoting the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “for the river has changed, and you have changed.” In the years since Babylon 5, I’ve done a ton of other TV shows and movies, adding an equal number of tools to my toolbox…’ So he’s approaching the franchise as a brand-new show.

2). Arc plots are old hat.

Arc plots, where early episodes of a season or series pay off at the conclusion, are common in all kinds of shows from Heroes to Supergirl to manga/anime like Bleach and Naruto. JMS wasn’t the first arc plotter but he is one of the best. A line uttered by a character in the pilot took greater significance as the show developed. Enmity between two old foes was the starting point of their burgeoning friendship. A mysterious alien was revealed to be more powerful than the heroes ever expected. We still enjoy plotline payoffs but they’re no longer as surprising as they were in the ‘90s. In shows like Doctor Who and The Mandalorian, they’re almost expected. The original Babylon 5 was full of storytelling surprises. Will the same characters mean the same revelations?

3). Characters like Delenn, Londo Mollari and G’Kar are in Babylon 5 for a reason, symbolizing a political position or mindset. Like all the best sci-fi, these aliens provided JMS with an opportunity to comment on our own society. Other than switching the sexes or ethnicities of the actors, how many new observations can be made? How many new characters can be added without losing the sense that we’re on the same station as before?

4). Audience expectations are greater than they were a quarter-century ago.

We’re used to better effects and more metafictional nods to what we’ve seen before. With the new Babylon 5, more time and money can be devoted to computer-generated gee-whizzery – The CW’s recent Krypton (AKA in my household, ‘The Adventures of Superman’s Grandpa’) created believable alien cities and worlds - but Straczynski’s show is far more than that interstellar eye candy. Despite its primitive CGI, the original series’ makeup effects were often astounding for the time but the focus was always on characterization and plot rather than hardware. Now CGI can create everything from aliens to galactic wars, will the balance shift?

5). A new best hope.

A Babylon 5 reboot offers the chance to reinvent the saga with better effects and contemporary acting. But the emphasis still needs to be on the main cast, character motivations and their revelatory experiences.

The remake is in good hands with J Michael Straczynski. The CW seems like an appropriate home, with a teen-friendly cast and more chance of being nurtured than on a big American network. We are fortunate to have the creative talent of Straczynski with a prominent show like Babylon 5, let alone any intelligent sci-fi, on our screens at a time when what we need more than ever is hope.

Are you looking forward to the Babylon 5 reboot? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

HBO Max teases House of the Dragon

On Tuesday, HBO Max released a teaser trailer for the upcoming Game of Thrones spin-off series based on author George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Blood.

Much like Lost and Battlestar Galactica; Game of Thrones' final season fragmented fandom.

However, House of the Dragon, currently filming in Cornwall, is set two centuries before the events of the original series. Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen will pique the interest of Doctor Who fans (myself included).

House of the Dragon is the first of several spin-offs based on the Game of Thrones franchise and is expected to premiere on HBO Max and Sky Atlantic in 2022.

In related news. HBO Max launches in Europe on 26th October. This doesn't initially include the UK as Sky and Warner Bros. renewed a first-run deal. The BBC also co-produces HBO series including His Dark Materials.

Are you looking forward to House of the Dragon? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Black Widow on Disney+

Following the simultaneous release of Marvel Studios' Black Widow in cinemas and on Disney+ with Premier Access last July, Scarlett Johansson's standalone movie is now available to all Disney+ subscribers.

This comes days after the settlement of a legal dispute between the star and Walt Disney Studios in which the actress alleged loss of earnings from the movie.

Read the official synopsis:

“In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller ‘Black Widow,’ Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.“

Are you going to watch Marvel Studios' Black Widow on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Star Wars: Droids exclusive to Target

Hasbro has announced Star Wars: Droids action figures as part of Lucasfilm’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The Target exclusive features Boba Fett, C-3PO and R2-D2 in Kenner-branded vintage collection packaging. Each 3.75-inch figure includes a coin just like the original toy line, which briefly appeared on store shelves in 1985.

There's also a solitary premium 6-inch Black Series Boba Fett in animated series deco. However, Hasbro's missed a Star Wars Holiday Special trick here.

The Star Wars: Droids animated series was an afterschool favourite and spawned a range of colourful action figures and accessories from Kenner. Alas, by the time of its release in the mid-eighties, I'd outgrown 'childish things' and didn't collect any of them.

The Target exclusive is available on Hasbro Pulse outside of the US. I've already pre-ordered mine for toy photography on Instagram.

Star Wars: Droids is available to stream as part of the Star Wars Vintage Collection on Disney+.

Are these the Star Wars: Droids action figures you’re looking for? Let me know in the comments below.