Friday 19 July 2024

Alien: Romulus final trailer



On Thursday, Twentieth Century Studios dropped a final trailer for Alien: Romulus.



Read the official synopsis:

"While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonizers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe."

The upcoming Alien franchise movie, directed by Fede Álvarez (Don't Breathe), is set between Alien and Aliens and is a hybrid of both.

The film stars Cailee Spaeny (Priscilla), David Jonsson (Agatha Christie’s Murder is Easy), Archie Renaux (Shadow and Bone), Isabela Merced (The Last of Us), Spike Fearn (Aftersun), Aileen Wu. Fede Álvarez (Evil Dead) directs from a screenplay he wrote with frequent collaborator Rodo Sayagues (Don’t Breathe 2) based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett.

Alien: Romulus is produced by Ridley Scott (Napoleon), who directed the original Alien and produced and directed the series’ entries Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, Michael Pruss (Boston Strangler), and Walter Hill (Alien), with Fede Alvarez, Elizabeth Cantillon (Charlie’s Angels), Brent O’Connor (Bullet Train), and Tom Moran (Unstoppable) serving as executive producers.

Tickets for Alien: Romulus are on sale. AMC Theatres is offering xenomorph and facehugger popcorn buckets.

Originally intended to go straight-to-streaming on Hulu and Star on Disney+, Alien: Romulus is only in cinemas on 16th August.

Are you looking forward to Alien: Romulus? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 15 July 2024

Jodie Whittaker returns to Doctor Who



Jodie Whittaker is reprising the role of Doctor Who for Big Finish. This is the first time she's played the titular Time Lord since The Power of the Doctor.

Whittaker said: “I’m over the moon to be joining Big Finish for more adventures in the TARDIS. Recording the Thirteenth Doctor and Yaz is a really lovely thing to revisit. One of the things Mandip and I used to love on Doctor Who was getting in, doing a new episode and meeting a brand-new cast. I just can’t wait to step back into the boots, pull on the coat and get cracking. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be brilliant.”

Mandip Gill is back aboard the TARDIS as companion Yaz.

Gill added: “Doctor Who has been a huge part of my career and personal life and I am looking forward to seeing how I can further enrich my character through this exhilarating series. To be able to work with Jodie again is a dream come true, we have such a special friendship, I’m sure the recordings will be filled with laughter.”

Are you looking forward to listening to the Thirteenth Doctor's audio adventures from Big Finish? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 13 July 2024

Doctor Who x Star Trek



Ruby Sunday's (Millie Gibson) reference to Star Trek in Space Babies wasn't a throwaway line.

Doctor Who series showrunner Russell T Davies and Star Trek franchise executive producer Alex Kurtzman will headline an Intergalactic Friendship Panel at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC). An exclusive creator-to-creator conversation about the art of storytelling in alternative universes and to celebrate the power of friendship.

Doctor Who has captivated audiences since its launch by the BBC in 1963. With Ncuti Gatwa currently portraying the 15th Doctor, the series continues to break records, including being the UK’s most-viewed scripted show on Christmas Day 2023 for under-35s. Meanwhile, Star Trek, with its 60-year legacy since being introduced by Gene Roddenberry, remains a beacon of cultural diversity, scientific exploration, and boundless imagination. Today, it spans 11 TV series, 13 films, and over 900 episodes, available in more than 200 markets worldwide.

In related news. The TARDIS will be materialising at SDCC this year for a Doctor Who Hall H panel with Ncuti Gatwa, Millie Gibson and Russell T Davies, as they discuss all things season one and more.

The beloved sci-fi franchises have a storied history including the Doctor and the crew of the Enterprise battling Borg and Cybermen in IDW comic books.

Would you like to see a live-action Doctor Who and Star Trek crossover episode? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 12 July 2024

Alien: Romulus featurette



On Thursday, Twentieth Century Studios dropped a behind-the-scenes featurette for Alien: Romulus.



Read the official synopsis:

"While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonizers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe."

The upcoming Alien franchise movie, directed by Fede Álvarez (Don't Breathe), is set between Alien and Aliens and is a hybrid of both.

The film stars Cailee Spaeny (Priscilla), David Jonsson (Agatha Christie’s Murder is Easy), Archie Renaux (Shadow and Bone), Isabela Merced (The Last of Us), Spike Fearn (Aftersun), Aileen Wu. Fede Álvarez (Evil Dead) directs from a screenplay he wrote with frequent collaborator Rodo Sayagues (Don’t Breathe 2) based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett.

Alien: Romulus is produced by Ridley Scott (Napoleon), who directed the original Alien and produced and directed the series’ entries Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, Michael Pruss (Boston Strangler), and Walter Hill (Alien), with Fede Alvarez, Elizabeth Cantillon (Charlie’s Angels), Brent O’Connor (Bullet Train), and Tom Moran (Unstoppable) serving as executive producers.

Originally intended to go straight-to-streaming on Hulu and Star on Disney+, Alien: Romulus is only in cinemas on 16th August.

Are you looking forward to Alien: Romulus? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 11 July 2024

Sunny summer on Apple TV+



Apple TV+ continues to build on its reputation for prestige television with the stylish sci-fi murder mystery series Sunny.



Read the official synopsis:

"Sunny stars Rashida Jones as Suzie, an American woman living in Kyoto, Japan, whose life is upended when her husband and son disappear in a mysterious plane crash. As “consolation” she’s given Sunny, one of a new class of domestic robots made by her husband’s electronics company. Though at first, Suzie resents Sunny’s attempts to fill the void in her life, gradually they develop an unexpected friendship. Together they uncover the dark truth of what really happened to Suzie’s family and become dangerously enmeshed in a world Suzie never knew existed."

Sunny is a far cry from my original Omnibot, which was a Christmas gift (circa 1986). Tomy's programmable toy robot was an attempt to capitalise on the popularity of Star Wars' R2-D2. With its built-in cassette deck, remote control and tray, Omnibot hinted at future app-enabled devices that are now commonplace and pose a security threat.

Are you watching Sunny on Apple TV+? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 9 July 2024

WandaVision spooky spin-off Agatha All Along



On Monday, Marvel Television dropped a teaser trailer for Agatha All Along on Disney+.



Read the official synopsis:

"In Agatha All Along, the infamous Agatha Harkness finds herself down and out of power after a suspicious goth Teen helps break her free from a distorted spell. Her interest is piqued when he begs her to take him on the legendary Witches’ Road, a magical gauntlet of trials that, if survived, rewards a witch with what they’re missing. Together, Agatha and this mysterious Teen pull together a desperate coven, and set off down, down, down The Road…"

The upcoming WandaVision live-action spin-off series, starring Kathryn Hahn as the titular witch, seemingly focuses on resurrecting Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in time for Halloween.

Marvel Television’s Agatha All Along premieres in the UK on 19th September, with the first two episodes, exclusively on Disney+.

Are you looking forward to Agatha All Along? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 8 July 2024

Cobra Commander (Once A Man) at SDCC



San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) returns later this month.

Our friends at Hasbro have sent over details regarding exclusives from G.I. Joe Classified Series, Marvel Legends, Star Wars: The Black Series and Transformers.

G.I. Joe fans (myself included) will be excited to know this year's SDCC exclusive is from G.I. Joe: The Movie.

G.I. JOE CLASSIFIED SERIES #130, COBRA COMMANDER (ONCE A MAN)

(HASBRO | Ages 4 and Up | Approx. Retail Price: $39.99 | Available: Summer 2024)     

New to the G.I. JOE Classified Series line, Cobra Commander (Once A Man) comes ready for adventure, with multiple points of articulation for high poseability. Inspired by the character’s mutated appearance in G.I. JOE: The Movie, this 6-inch action figure contains 9 character-inspired accessory pieces including 4 alternate hands, alternate helmeted head, cracked faceplate, dagger, backpack, and weapon accessory.

Includes an additional figure of Cobra Commander degenerated and mutated into primitive snake form. A transparent sleeve guards a phenomenal lenticular image depicting the horrific fate of Cobra Commander. Inside, the windowed display showcases the figure, accessory loadout, & dynamic digital renders.

Look for other G.I. JOE figures and toys to build your roster of heroes and Cobra villains (each sold separately, subject to availability). Available exclusively at 2024 San Diego Comic-Con. Attendees can request a time slot to purchase Hasbro products at the Hasbro Booth (#3213) at the Hasbro Pulse Toy Store through the San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives Portal.

Limited quantities will be available to pre-order on Hasbro Pulse after the convention. While supplies last.

Are you excited about G.I. Joe Classified Series Cobra Commander (Once A Man)? Are you looking forward to SDCC? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 6 July 2024

Doctor Who: Empire of Death



Following The Legend of Ruby Sunday, Empire of Death, the second and concluding part of the season one finale was more Scooby snack than Thanos Snap!

Seeing the Doctor’s (Ncuti Gatwa) allies reduced to dust by Sutekh (Gabriel Woolf) looked impressive in 4K UHD on BBC iPlayer, but had no jeopardy as season one wouldn’t end on a cliffhanger.

This was further compounded by the preceding Tales of the TARDIS omnibus edition of Pyramids of Mars on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer for fans in the UK. A classic serial where the stakes are stark with Tom Baker (Doctor Who) and Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) at the peak of their powers against an alien masquerading as an Egyptian God. My octogenarian dad remembered Sutekh and his robot mummies - watching the Fourth Doctor adventures is a profoundly poignant childhood memory that makes me misty-eyed.

Escaping the destruction of Earth, in the Remembered TARDIS, afforded a glimpse of a timey-wimey crew featuring Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford). Langford's first foray aboard the TARDIS is a nadir in the history of the beloved BBC sci-fi series. Here, we see just how great Langford is and let's hope Mel returns in future spin-off series.

Gatwa's grief at the cosmic destruction wrought by Sutekh due to the Doctor's actions is palpable and could have been an unforgettable season cliffhanger.

The Doctor's detour to a desolate planet, lifted from Dune or Star Wars, was jarring and forgettable - I was more interested in setting up a new iPad Pro (M4) and would never dream of sticking a spoon in its charging port.

The revelation of Ruby Sunday’s (Millie Gibson) biological mother was wholly anticlimactic and nixed fun fan theories circulating on social media. Russell T Davies was inspired by Rey’s origin story in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. She was no one special before it was changed in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

However, this contradicts teases since The Church on Ruby Road. Ruby’s birth mother is a Leeds-based nurse, Louise (Faye McKeever). Okey-dokey! She's the key to defeating Sutekh in a nonsensical twist. Thanos, I mean, Sutekh was obsessed with the secret identity of Ruby's mum! Why? This fixation seemingly leads to his demise in the time vortex...

I didn’t have the TARDIS taking Sutekh for walkies on my bingo card for 2024. After almost half a centenary, the big bad’s return to television screens was comically botched - the subsequent memes on social media were a hilarious commentary on a fizzling finale.

There have been far too many tears this season!

Davies’ denouements are often rushed and none more so than here. It’s a shame, as Gatwa and Gibson are terrific together. Season one deserved more episodes (streaming services have pivoted to shorter seasons) and less reliance on Murray Gold's soundtrack to elicit unearned emotions in surround sound. I still tear up at the farewell between the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) in Doomsday, so Davies can deliver.

Mrs Flood (Anita Dobson) cosplaying as former TARDIS companions, is a masterstroke, and I can’t wait to learn more about her in the upcoming holiday special, Joy to the World.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer and Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Have you watched Empire of Death? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 4 July 2024

You're gonna need a bigger shelf for LEGO Ideas Jaws



Happy 4th of July to all our US-based readers! Today the LEGO Group announced the LEGO Ideas Jaws set based on Steven Spielberg's seminal blockbuster movie featuring John Williams' unforgettable soundtrack.

Speaking about how he approached the design for the set, fan designer Johnny Campbell, reveals: "JAWS is my favourite movie of all-time, so I really wanted to recreate it in LEGO bricks. LEGO building has always been a part of my life in some shape or form but in order to get all of the finer details, I actually freeze-framed JAWS as I watched it so that I could catch a glimpse of the finer details taking notes as I went along. It is just mind-blowing that my design is now an official LEGO set. I can't wait to stand in a LEGO shop looking at the shelves and seeing a set that I have been involved with and watching someone buying it. It’s every LEGO fan’s dream!”

LEGO Ideas Jaws is available from LEGO AU, CA, UK and US (affiliate links).

Will you be adding LEGO Ideas Jaws to your collection? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

LEGO Icons Transformers Bumblebee



To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Transformers, LEGO Group and Hasbro have announced LEGO Icons Transformers Bumblebee.

Known as B-127 on his home planet Cybertron, Bumblebee is often considered the "little brother" of the heroic Autobots. He may be small, but his courage and determination are immeasurable.

Maintaining the same scale as the LEGO Transformers Optimus Prime set, originally revealed in 2022, this set presents enthusiasts with the opportunity to construct the iconic Autobot, Bumblebee, entirely from LEGO bricks.

As longtime readers know, I've been a Transformers fan since 1984. The war between the heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons captured my childhood imagination in Marvel UK's comic. Bumblebee was one of the very first Transformers I owned and the beloved Autobot stood sentry, alongside his leader Optimus Prime, in my childhood bedroom.

LEGO Icons Transformers Bumblebee is available from LEGO AU, CA, UK and US (affiliate links).

Will you be adding LEGO Icons Transformers Bumblebee to your collection? Which Transformers would you like to see immortalised in LEGO bricks? I'm hoping for Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons. Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 1 July 2024

Marvel Legends Death’s Head at SDCC



San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) returns later this month.

Our friends at Hasbro have sent over details regarding exclusives from G.I. Joe Classified Series, Marvel Legends, Star Wars: The Black Series and Transformers.

Death’s Head originally appeared in Marvel UK's The Transformers comic and Doctor Who Magazine (DWM)! As a fan of both franchises, this is exciting news from Hasbro's Marvel Legends. The cult-favourite mechanoid (no relation to the robot enemy of the Daleks) bounty hunter is an SDCC exclusive.

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES DEATH'S HEAD

(HASBRO | Ages 4 and Up | Approx. Retail Price: $39.99 | Available: Summer 2024)     

Bring the excitement and wonder of the Marvel Universe to your collection with the Hasbro Marvel Legends Death's Head figure! Inspired by the character's appearance in Marvel Comics, this collectible 6-inch figure is fully articulated with poseable head, arms, and legs. Comes with 6 accessories, including shield and weapon accessories that can be displayed on his back. This premium figure comes in an exclusive window box package inspired by the character's retro collector card.

Hasbro Marvel action figures' 6-inch scale make them great for posing and displaying in fans' collections. Reimagine Marvel Comics-inspired scenes with Marvel Legends action figures (each sold separately, subject to availability). Attendees can request a time slot to purchase Hasbro products at the Hasbro Booth (#3213) at the Hasbro Pulse Toy Store through the San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives Portal.

Following San Diego Comic-Con, limited quantities will be available to order in on Hasbro Pulse, and other select retailers, after the convention. While supplies last.

Cool, yes?

Are you excited about Marvel Legends Death's Head? Are you looking forward to SDCC? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 29 June 2024

Bring home the Doctor and Ruby's adventures



Doctor Who season one concluded with the mystery of Ruby Sunday's (Millie Gibson) biological mother resolved and the Doctor's (Ncuti Gatwa) departure. However, UK-based fans can look forward to the Blu-ray disc set this August.

Read the official season one synopsis:

“The Doctor and his companion Ruby Sunday travel across time and space, with adventures all the way from the Regency era in England, to war-torn future worlds. Throughout their adventures in the TARDIS – a time-traveling ship shaped like a police box – they encounter incredible friends and dangerous foes, including a terrifying bogeyman, and the Doctor’s most powerful enemy yet.”

Season one includes the following content per disc:

Disc 1

The Church on Ruby Road

Extras

Doctor Who: Unleashed
Behind the Scenes
In-vision Commentary
Millie Gibson’s Set Tour
Behind the Scenes Trailer
Get to Know Doctor Who – with Ncuti Gatwa
Get to Know Doctor Who – with Millie Gibson

Disc 2

Ep1 – Space Babies
Ep2 – The Devil’s Chord

Extras

Space Babies – Behind the Scenes
The Devil’s Chord – Behind the Scenes
The Devil’s Chord – Scene Breakdown
Ncuti’s Message
Video of a Bogeyman – Video Diary
Finding Fifteen
Jinkx Monsoon tries British food
Millie Gibson’s Set Tour
Jinkx Monsoon – The Looks of Maestro

Disc 3

Ep3 – Boom
Ep4 – 73 Yards

Extras

Boom In-vision Commentary
Boom – Behind the Scenes
73 Yards – Behind the Scenes
Ncuti & Millie’s Guide to Get Your Zen On
Steven Moffat preview
Bringing Virtual Production to Doctor Who
Mundy Flynn Profile
Boom – Script to Screen
Welsh Lingo with Ncuti & Millie
Roger Ap Gwilliam Profile
Millie Gibson’s Very First Day – Video Diary

Disc 4

Ep5 – Dot and Bubble
Ep6 – Rogue

Extras

Dot and Bubble – Behind the Scenes
Dot and Bubble – Scene Breakdown
Rogue – Behind the Scenes
Rogue – Scene Breakdown
Ncuti & Millie’s Top 5 People in Their Bubble
Lindy Pepper-Bean Profile Sneak into the TARDIS
Dot and Bubble Set Tour
Regency Costume Quiz with Jonathan Groff
Most Likely To…with Ncuti & Millie
Rogue Profile
Getting to Know – Jonathan Groff
Rogue Dance Scene

Disc 5

Ep7 – The Legend of Ruby Sunday
Ep8 – Empire of Death

Extras

Empire of Death In-vision Commentary
The Legend of Ruby Sunday – Behind the Scenes
Empire of Death – Behind the Scenes
Empire of Death – Scene Breakdown
Jemma Redgrave’s UNIT Set Tour
Who is Susan Triad?
Villain Reveal
Getting to Know – Lenny Rush
Empire of Death – Script to Screen
Epilogue
Bonnie’s Remembered TARDIS Tour
Ncuti & Millie’s Favourite Memories
Genesis in the TARDIS

Disc 6

Doctor Who: Unleashed Eps 1-5

Disc 7

Doctor Who: Unleashed Eps 6-8
Doctor Who: Unleashed Unseen
Tales of the TARDIS – The Pyramids of Mars

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer and Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Have you watched Doctor Who season one? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 28 June 2024

Darth Maul & Sith Speeder at SDCC



San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) returns next month.

Our friends at Hasbro have sent over details regarding exclusives from G.I. Joe Classified Series, Marvel Legends, Star Wars: The Black Series and Transformers.

Star Wars fans (myself included) will be excited to know this year's SDCC exclusive celebrates the 25th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES DARTH MAUL & SITH SPEEDER

(HASBRO | Ages 4 and Up | Approx. Retail Price: $59.99 | Available: Summer 2024)

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES features 6-inch action figures, vehicles, and roleplay items from the 40-plus-year legacy of the STAR WARS Galaxy, letting fans create galactic scenes with a faithfulness to STAR WARS comic books, movies, and series. This STAR WARS set is detailed to look like Darth Maul & his Sith Speeder from STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Comes with 6 accessories, including his signature double-bladed Lightsaber™ and a pair of binoculars.

With exquisite features and decoration, THE BLACK SERIES embodies the quality and realism that STAR WARS devotees love. Look for more STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES action figures to build your own STAR WARS galaxy (each sold separately, subject to availability).

Available exclusively at 2024 San Diego Comic-Con. Attendees can request a time slot to purchase Hasbro products at the Hasbro Booth (#3213) at the Hasbro Pulse Toy Store through the San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives Portal.

Limited quantities will be available to order on Hasbro Pulse after the convention. While supplies last.

Are you excited about Star Wars: The Black Series Darth Maul & Sith Speeder? Are you looking forward to SDCC? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Alien: Romulus on the cover of Cinema Teaser



Alien: Romulus is featured on the cover of the French magazine Cinema Teaser (via AVPGalaxy). It depicts Cailee Spaeny (Rain) menaced by a titular xenomorph.



Read the official synopsis:

"While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonizers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe."

The upcoming Alien franchise movie, directed by Fede Álvarez (Evil Dead), is set between Alien and Aliens and is a hybrid of both.

Originally intended to go straight-to-streaming on Hulu and Star on Disney+, Alien: Romulus is only in cinemas on 16th August.

Are you looking forward to Alien: Romulus? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Star Wars: The Acolyte soundtrack



Reaction to The Acolyte on Disney+ has been mixed.

One aspect of the latest Star Wars live-action spin-off series, mostly overlooked, is the stunning soundtrack by Michael Abels (Us).

Commenting on the score, Abels said “The instrumentation of the score is classic orchestral with 21st-century innovations. The multi-cultural percussion is live and virtual with heavy use of Taiko drums. Some of the wind instruments are also virtual, to achieve a sound that is of this world and beyond. Sonic textures and processed effects were incorporated to create terrifying musical moments, giving those sounds an organic quality, rather than electronic. Voices are a crucial element with a limited use of a large choir, but throughout the score, there is a featured group of diverse female voices representing the twins’ home planet and the culture in which they were raised.”

The Acolyte is set 100 years before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Abels' score channels John Williams' music for the prequels.

Music from Star Wars: The Acolyte - Vol. 1 (Episodes 1-4) is available on Amazon Music (affiliate link), Apple Music, Spotify and other digital platforms.

Music from Star Wars: The Acolyte - Vol. 2 (Episodes 5-8) will be released on 19th July and will include the original song Power of Two performed by three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Victoria Monét and co-written by Monét, Oscar and Grammy-winning producer D'Mile and Abels.

Read the official synopsis:

"In The Acolyte, an investigation into a shocking crime spree pits a respected Jedi Master (Lee Jung-jae) against a dangerous warrior from his past (Amandla Stenberg). As more clues emerge, they travel down a dark path where sinister forces reveal all is not what it seems..."

The series stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean-Charles Chapman, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie-Anne Moss.

New episodes of The Acolyte premiere every Tuesday in the US and every Wednesday in the UK on Disney+.

Are you watching The Acolyte on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Tales of the TARDIS: Pyramids of Mars



Following The Legend of Ruby Sunday, Tales of the TARDIS returns to the Pyramids of Mars.



Aboard the Remembered TARDIS, the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) revisit the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) adventure from 1975 as they battle Sutekh (Gabriel Woolf) in an omnibus edition with updated music and special effects.

Phil Collinson, Executive Producer, says: “Revisiting the rich history of Doctor Who is endlessly thrilling and this is no exception. It’s so exciting to bring back TALES OF THE TARDIS again, and to revisit a classic enemy of the Doctor. Gabriel Woolf as Sutekh, returning to terrify a whole new generation of children in a blistering season finale is what makes this show so special and appeal to so many across the generations.”

From my formative Whovian years, Pyramids of Mars sees Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen at the peak of their powers!

The iconic voice of Sutekh, Gabriel Woolf, discusses bringing the terrifying villain back to the Whoniverse in the season one two-part finale: "It felt sort of inevitable in a way. I’d never lost Sutekh because of the fans. They’ve kept him alive, organised conventions all over the place, so it feels kind of natural."

The special one-off Tales of the TARDIS premieres in the UK on Thursday 20th June on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.

New episodes of Doctor Who stream every Friday on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland and every Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Will you be watching Tales of the TARDIS? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 16 June 2024

Doctor Who: The Legend of Ruby Sunday



After a standalone episode, Rogue, we’re in the end game with the first part of the season one two-part finale.

Series showrunner Russell T Davies borrows from his playbook and conjures up Army of Ghosts. This time featuring a classic villain that stalked my childhood nightmares during the Fourth Doctor’s (Tom Baker) era.

As many fans (myself included) predicted, Sutekh (Gabriel Woolf) strikes back and the god-like alien’s cliffhanger return was foreshadowed in The Devil’s Chord. Some fans might suggest he’s a deep cut from Pyramids of Mars, but this also applies to the Celestial Toymaker (Neil Patrick Harris) who returned in The Giggle.

Pyramids of Mars is one of my all-time favourite classic Doctor Who serials and I’d urge everyone to watch the one-off Tales of the TARDIS featuring Ncuti Gatwa (Doctor Who) and Millie Gibson (Ruby Sunday) on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer on Thursday.

The TARDIS lands at UNIT HQ, which owes much to Marvel Studios’ Avengers. There’s a deeply affecting reunion between Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) and the Doctor discussing her fan-favourite father, the beloved Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney).

From there, it’s all about the build-up, where it almost gets derailed due to too many plot twists. From the mysteries of Mrs Flood (Anita Dobson) and Susan Triad (Susan Twist) introduced in Wild Blue Yonder to Ruby Sunday’s biological mother and the Pantheon of Discord overshadowing it all. Davies' deliberate misdirections aside (keep everyone guessing), there’s enough material for three or four seasons. Season two recently finished filming, so this may be further explored.

Someone needs to apply the TARDIS handbrake!

That said, I’m invested in this TARDIS crew and was on the edge of my seat (my younger self would have been behind the sofa hiding from Sutekh’s glowing green eyes). UNIT's Time Window explored Ruby's Christmas Eve abandonment on VHS tape with a low-resolution creepiness comparable to The Ring. The Legend of Ruby Sunday is a timey-wimey tour de force taking my Doctor Who story almost full circle!

The fly in the ointment is that a shorter season (see Marvel Studios and Star Wars spin-off series on Disney+) means not everything feels entirely earned, which is why Rogue was a left turn (I can see why Davies did this before the two-part finale). I just wanted to spend a little more time with the Doctor, Ruby and fabulous friends (old and new) before the big bad arrived with a nightmarish flourish worthy of Steven Moffat.

The Fifteenth Doctor had never met Rose Noble (Yasmin Finney) before, and this was a missed opportunity after she had met the Fourteenth Doctor (David Tennant). Also the Fourteenth Doctor and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) are in this timeline. Will we see them again?

Oh, Sutekh’s appearance was more Scooby Doo than Doctor Who! Ultimately, it didn't detract from the refreshing audacity to eschew the Daleks or Cybermen for Fourth Doctor nostalgic chills and thrills therein.

From The Star Beast to Sutekh, what’s old is new again in the Davies Disney era. And I’m here for it sans Space Babies. The 60th anniversary celebrations aren’t over yet.

New episodes of Doctor Who stream every Friday on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland and every Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Have you watched The Legend of Ruby Sunday? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 14 June 2024

Doctor Who: Rogue



Doctor Who has a storied history with period drama. The Girl in the Fireplace has been my favourite episode since 2005. Doctor Who goes Bridgerton in Rogue.

Nick Smith, our US-based veteran Whovian, is on a timey-wimey adventure.

Taking the Short View's Andrew Lewin has materialised over from The WELL - we would be honoured if you would join us!

Guest post by Andrew Lewin

Love them or hate them, we’ve had quite a lively run of episodes in Doctor Who season one!

From the childishness of the Space Babies to the musical antics of The Devil’s Chord, the high suspense stillness of Boom and the mysterious folk horror of 73 Yards, and an on-the-nose satire of the corrosive effects of social media in Dot and Bubble. There was plenty to talk about in each case.

This week, not so much. Or maybe that’s just me? Once Rogue established the 'Doctor Who meets Bridgerton' premise, that was pretty much it. Perhaps the problem is that I’m not a fan of Bridgerton and have never watched it, or its spin-offs or copycats, so for me this just looked like exactly what I would expect an episode of Doctor Who set in Regency-era England to be. The two shows' energy and vibe are comparable, so I didn’t think it gained anything from the ‘crossover’, nor lost anything if you didn’t ‘get it’ as a viewer.

It was exactly how a Russell T Davies costume period drama episode would look – although the twist, in this case, was that it wasn’t written by RTD but by Marvel Studios' Loki director Kate Herron and comedian Briony Redman. Herron also worked on Sex Education so she clearly knows how to write for Ncuti Gatwa, and he duly gets his best material of the season so far in this episode.

The meta aspect of the episode is that the bird-like shapeshifting aliens called the Childur (led by the wonderful Indira Varma) are happily cosplaying their favourite Netflix show, with added fatalities, but someone is there to stop them. No, not the Doctor and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) – they just happen to stumble in on a situation which is already being taken care of by a bounty hunter called Rogue, played by US stage and screen actor-singer Jonathan Groff (I know him best from his show-stealing cameo as King George from the original Broadway production of the brilliant Hamilton).

So away from the Bridgerton visuals we actually get a cute romance between Rogue and the Doctor, which is beautifully played with lovely performances from both men. Some may say that this incarnation of the Doctor is too sexually assertive and should be more, well, dorkish, but there’s still plenty of the familiar Doctor we know and love underneath if you go looking – and I don’t mean by that the sequence of holographs of past guises to which RTD impishly adds Richard E Grant (Withnail and I) just to cause a storm in online forums.

No, it’s more how this Doctor drives Rogue mad with a Kylie track in a way that feels quintessentially Troughton-esque (even if his miming of the lyrics is positively filthy) while his panicked response to Rogue’s proposal couldn’t have been a better comedic performance if it had been delivered by Matt Smith.

Of course, the elephant in the room is that we have the Doctor showing romantic (okay, let’s not be coy, downright sexual) interest in a man. You can imagine how some of the less enlightened corners of the media and fandom were going to react to this latest evidence of RTD’s wokery. But it’s 2024 for heaven’s sake, surely we’ve got over such prudishness by now? Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor helped get us past that sort of thing with her feelings for Yaz (Mandip Gill). Other fans have churlishly complained that Rogue is just a pale imitation of Jack Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness, but while both are American and gay that’s about where the comparison ends.

One might as well state that Rose and Ruby are exactly the same person while you’re at it!

(Actually, that is something that’s crossed my mind at certain points. They are very similar: they came from similar social backgrounds and one-parent families with a dominant mother, they’re 19-year-olds and blonde and short and gobby, and even the names – Rose and Ruby – are practically an invitation for the rushed reviewer to stumble over and mix up if they’re not really careful and moreover lucky. So what’s with the similarity? Is it a lack of imagination on RTD’s past? A sense of nostalgia for his first time in charge of the beloved BBC sci-fi show? Or an intentional overlap? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. After all, not long to go now until the end of the season hopefully provides some answers; or knowing RTD, probably not.)

But there seems very little duplication between Rogue and Captain Jack!

Jack was unabashed, out and proud, ebullient and outrageously flirty to a fault. Rogue on the other hand is much more serious and focused, touched by past trauma and loss, making him more reserved, vulnerable and introspective. And yet for all that, he’s the one most closely in touch and honest about his emotions than the Doctor who is caught by surprise by what develops - for all his overt surface flirting from the get-go.

For once the Doctor is not the one in charge, not the one who gets to hold the other person’s hand and tell them to “Run”! If anything, the Doctor is the companion in this episode – the Captain Jack figure – and it’s Rogue who becomes the strange, mysterious alien hero of the piece. He’s even got a costume that any Time Lord incarnation would regenerate for.

There’s more than enough substance there to justify a return appearance for Rogue although I suspect we’ll have to wait a year for it. In fact, this episode felt that it was holding back on the relationship front, and also on any of the series arc business or the many mysteries of Ruby Sunday who was rather put to one side this week. Instead, the episode disguised itself amid the fun and frolics of the Regency frocks.

That made it enjoyable and entertaining, but oddly the least substantial of the six episodes in this season. When I watched the episode again a second time (as I’ve done with them all this year), I didn’t feel I got anything more out of it on the repeat round, which I had done with the previous stories. Again, maybe that’s missing out on the Bridgerton dimension.

In fact, I found it hard to pay attention and not drift off during the second viewing. I know it’ll be controversial to say this, but I think Space Babies had more heft to it than Rogue! This is not to say I didn’t enjoy it perfectly well and that I’m eager to see the return of the eponymous bounty hunter as soon as Groff’s availability makes it possible. Just that I’m hungry to get to the serious business of this week’s first part of the season one finale.

Gosh, time goes by so quickly, doesn’t it?

New episodes of Doctor Who stream every Friday on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland and every Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Have you watched Rogue? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 13 June 2024

Silo season two at AI-focused WWDC



An Apple TV+ showcase during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) included a preview of Silo season two.



Whereas Foundation was a shiny macOS screensaver that failed to resonate with this sci-fi fan, Silo’s a prestige drama filled with conspiracy and clawing claustrophobia, themes I’ll never tire of since The X-Files’ heyday!

Featuring a stellar cast surviving day-to-day in a detailed lived-in universe reminiscent of 10 Cloverfield Lane and Fallout (Prime Video's live-action adaptation uses an iPhone-based Pip-Boy), I can’t wait to discover the mysterious dark secrets of this labyrinthine Silo.

The Cupertino-based tech titan announced Apple Intelligence (AI) - a canny flex from the iPhone maker - this week and the share price has hit a new record high with pundits predicting the company will be worth $4 trillion in the future. Artificial intelligence continues to spark controversy. AI is deeply embedded in our daily lives, from deepfake technology to replacing creatives in the pursuit of profit.

Hugh Howey, the creator of Silo, speculates entirely AI-generated productions are only a few years away: “We are less than a year or two away from giving AI a film script and then watching that film the same day. Production costs are going to go to ZERO. Within 5 years, great-looking films will be made this way. Within 20 years, almost all films will be made this way.”

Are you watching Silo on Apple TV+? Are you looking forward to season two? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Indiana Jones at Xbox Games Showcase



During the Xbox Games Showcase, Lucasfilm Games showed off a new trailer for Indiana Jones and the Great Circle.



Read the official synopsis:

"Uncover one of history’s greatest mysteries in Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, a first-person, single-player adventure set between the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade. The year is 1937, sinister forces are scouring the globe for the secret to an ancient power connected to the Great Circle, and only one person can stop them - Indiana Jones. You’ll become the legendary archaeologist in this cinematic action-adventure game from MachineGames, the award-winning studio behind the recent Wolfenstein series, and executive produced by Hall of Fame game designer Todd Howard."

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle was first teased back in 2021. It’s being developed by MachineGames, the developers of the Wolfenstein franchise. The game became an Xbox exclusive following Bethesda’s acquisition by Microsoft. The game is set between Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade, as Indiana Jones sets out to uncover the mysteries around a legend, The Great Circle.

Troy Baker (The Last of Us) channels Harrison Ford as the titular archaeologist later this year on Game Pass.

Are you looking forward to Indiana Jones and the Great Circle? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 10 June 2024

Star Wars HasLab Mos Eisley Cantina



"Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."

On Friday, Hasbro officially announced the next Star Wars HasLab during a fanstream. For months, fans (myself included) speculated what it would be and Hasbro accidentally confirmed it a few weeks ago.



Return to Tatooine. Inspired by Star Wars: A New Hope, this HasLab celebrates an iconic part of Star Wars history and brings the Mos Eisley cantina to life, featuring a fully modular, interchangeable design for £399.99. Wuher and the Tonnika sisters are included with the base offering and Greedo, Nabrun Leids and Arleil Schous are the three stretch goals.

Fans wanting to expand the cantina further can back the deluxe version featuring an extra wall, booths and furniture for £499.99.

Calling back to the original 1970s and 1980s Star Wars collectables, this offering features Kenner branding and package design for a nostalgic display. Like many fans, I wanted the classic cantina playset for my Hammerhead, Snaggletooth, Walrus Man and Greedo action figures.

This project needs 8,000 backers to begin production and will run from 7th June, 2024, until 8th July, 2024 at 11:59PM ET. If successful, the project will begin shipping around Fall 2025.

Pipeline reveals included Luke Skywalker, Ben Kenobi, Han Solo and Chewbacca.

Will you be backing the Star Wars The Vintage Collection Mos Eisley Cantina HasLab on Hasbro Pulse? Will you be backing the Base or Deluxe version? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 7 June 2024

Tales of the TARDIS



Tales of the TARDIS returns with Ncuti Gatwa (Doctor Who) and Millie Gibson (Ruby Sunday) for a special episode before the season one finale. Six episodes of the Whoniverse spin-off series were released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the BBC's beloved sci-fi series last year on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.

Will showrunner Russell T Davies bring back a classic villain in the 75-minute special? My money is on Sutekh (Pyramids of Mars) following The Devil's Chord.

The special one-off Tales of the TARDIS premieres in the UK on Thursday 20th June on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.

New episodes of Doctor Who stream every Friday on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland and every Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Will you be watching Tales of the TARDIS? Who do you think is the season one big bad? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 4 June 2024

Alien: Romulus is an Alien and Aliens hybrid



On Tuesday, an official trailer dropped for Alien: Romulus.



Read the official synopsis:

"While scavenging the deep ends of a derelict space station, a group of young space colonizers come face to face with the most terrifying life form in the universe."

The upcoming Alien franchise movie, directed by Fede Álvarez (Evil Dead), is set between Alien and Aliens and is a hybrid of both.

“To ask an Alien fan to choose between them is a perverse question,” he tells Empire magazine. “So I thought, ‘How do I do both?’” Brace yourself for a thrilling mashup of a haunted house in space and war movie. “There’s a moment where the characters are walking around areas familiar from the Nostromo,” says Álvarez. “Then they cross through that building and on the other side: boom! You’re in a hallway that looks like Hadley’s Hope [from Aliens].”

Originally intended to go straight-to-streaming on Hulu and Star on Disney+, Alien: Romulus is only in cinemas on 16th August.

What did you think of the official trailer? Are you looking forward to Alien: Romulus? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 2 June 2024

Doctor Who: Dot and Bubble



Dot and Bubble is a Doctor Who (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) cameo episode following the Doctor-lite 73 Yards.

Series showrunner and writer Russell T Davies (Years and Years) pens a razor-sharp social media satire following an unlikable self-absorbed influencer, Lindy Pepper-Bean (Callie Cooke), living her best life with online-only friends in an always-on app-enabled world, Finetime.

This Black Mirror homage reminded me of meeting a so-called influencer who took umbrage that I didn’t know who they were at an invite-only event in the noughties. Later, they apologised for their belligerent behaviour, but it was a warning of things to come.

The tech bubble, the affluent all-white youngsters inhabit, is a homogenised and stratified echo chamber. Dot and Bubble is a cautionary tale where Lindy's selfishness and racism are brutally unmasked with tragic consequences, and the Doctor doesn’t win in a story that riffs on classic serials The Macra Terror and The Faceless Ones.

Amidst the psychological and sociological commentary subverting audience expectations, there are plenty of pop culture Easter eggs for sci-fi fans (myself included), from Logan’s Run to Star Wars - I was spoilt. I’ll never look at my Echo Dots, dotted throughout my home, the same way again. "Alexa..." Oh, wait!

New episodes of Doctor Who stream every Friday on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland and every Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Have you watched Dot and Bubble? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 1 June 2024

Doctor Who season one finale in cinemas



Doctor Who fans (myself included) can watch the two-part season one finale on the big screen!

Read the official press release:

"Experience time and space on the big screen with Ncuti Gatwa as The Doctor and Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday and celebrate an epic two-part end of season finale at your local cinema on Friday 21st June 2024.

Be among the first to watch the final episode, Empire of Death, which promises to blow your socks off!

The Doctor and Ruby Sunday have faced the Bogeyman, fought against Maestro, and survived the battlefield of Kastarion 3. In the epic two-part season finale, the Doctor and Ruby arrive at UNIT headquarters on a top-secret mission and a long-buried secret awaits …

Screening starts at 11pm with The Legend of Ruby Sunday, followed by Empire of Death."


Russell T Davies, returning series showrunner, couldn’t contain his excitement: “This is a great big rip-roaring finale with the Doctor, Ruby, and friends old and new fighting the greatest enemy of their lives. I can’t wait for everyone to see it!”

New episodes of Doctor Who stream every Friday on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland and every Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Are you watching Doctor Who season one? What are your thoughts? Will you be booking tickets for the two-part finale on the big screen? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 31 May 2024

Doctor Who: 73 Yards



Doctor Who has explored folk horror in classic serials The Dæmons, Image of the Fendahl, The Stones of Blood, K9 and Company and more. 73 Yards leans into this with scares worthy of The Wicker Man.

Nick Smith, our US-based veteran Whovian, is on a timey-wimey adventure.

Taking the Short View's Andrew Lewin has materialised over from The WELL - we would be honoured if you would join us!

Guest post by Andrew Lewin

It’s been absolutely fascinating watching the reaction of viewers to the latest episode of season one of Doctor Who, which I think is fair to say has created something of a schism within the Whovian fandom.

Some think 73 Yards was magnificent, one of the best episodes of Doctor Who (or any other drama) in recent years. In contrast, others are acutely disappointed and dismayed, if not outright angered, by writer and series showrunner Russell T Davies’ wilful refusal to address or explain any of the questions seemingly raised by the plot.

Let me be upfront and say I’m in the former camp.

I loved this episode beyond reason! Every part of it, including the lack of answers to the puzzles it presents. It left me thinking about the story for days after transmission rather than forgetting about it five minutes after the end credits rolled in favour of whatever light entertainment format Ant and Dec were up to on commercial television.

Maybe the fact that 73 Yards requires us to come up with our own answers is what vexed so many fans, but for me, it’s the hallmark of the best quality drama.

It’s certainly true that Davies’ approach to writing is at right angles to that of Steven Moffat, who is obsessed with finessing a script's intricate details. I had no idea where 73 Yards was going, whereas it was evident in last week’s Boom that Moffat’s script ran on rails from when the Doctor charged out of the TARDIS and stood on a landmine.

Everything that followed was precisely structured, every line and action directing the way to the finish, a paragon of how to construct a modern TV script. With that said, when he wanted to insert the touchy-feely stuff about how a father’s love can conquer even the most sophisticated technology and how everyone needs faith at the end, it did come off the rails slightly and become a little eye-rollingly trite and clichéd reminiscent of the Moffat-era Closing Time written by Gareth Roberts.

But that’s because Moffat’s strength is always the logical construction of a situation, not the emotional side where he struggles.

Davies is his mirror image: he doesn’t worry so much about the details as long as the emotional truth of the story is served. So for him, it doesn’t matter who the Old Lady in 73 Yards is, or what she is whispering or semaphoring, or what she says to make people abandon Ruby, or what Roger ap Gwilliam is up to, because it’s all part of a deeper emotional truth. It’s an exploration of Ruby’s psyche away from the Doctor. Both we and she are literally finding out what kind of person she is when she’s stripped back and only got herself for company.

Her mother Carla walking out on her is clearly the worst moment of the story for Ruby, but for Doctor Who fans it’s probably UNIT’s betrayal that really hits hardest and brings home the reality of the abandonment Ruby feels. The rest of it – Mad Jack and ap Gwilliam and the threat of nuclear war – are mere distractions left over from Davies’ lauded Years and Years drama compared with the core emotional truth of this story. They don’t matter; they’re ornaments.

To get hung up on what the Old Lady is saying or the specifics of whether this is a parallel universe or a time loop is to completely miss the point of the story, at which point nothing I can say will bring anyone thinking along those lines back into the fold. Do people really watch films like Groundhog Day or It Follows and go away disappointed because it doesn’t provide a detailed scientific theory as to how the high concept worked? Of course not, they simply accept that this is how this cinematic world functions for 90 minutes and go along with it on that level.

But for some reason Doctor Who fans seem unhappy unless someone presents well-written but meaningless technobabble to justify what happened. Sometimes things are left better unsaid, more scary for not being dragged into the light of rational faux explanations.

As long as I feel the writer has a coherent grasp of the story's logic in their own mind – and/or that I can think of a workable explanation for everything myself – then I’m happy with ambiguity.

That’s not to say I’m a total RTD apologist: the ending he did for season three of NuWho (the Martha season) is an example of a train wreck that can happen when a writer loses their grasp on the plot. The Last of the Time Lords has the whole population of Earth wishing really, really hard altogether at the same time that the Doctor will be okay, and a satellite network called Archangel introduced for entirely different reasons suddenly facilitating a deus ex machina resolution to an irresolvable situation that RTD had clearly written himself into a corner with. But 73 Yards had none of that desperate feel, quite the contrary, and instead reminded me of two of his best scripts for the series from 2008 – Midnight (which again left everything brazenly unexplained) and Turn Left (which was a story about what the world would be like without the Doctor in it).

Whatever everyone thinks about this episode, the one thing everyone does agree on is how brilliant Millie Gibson is as Ruby Sunday.

The entire drama rests on her shoulders and she carries it with a flawless and mature performance, all the more remarkable for her age and for the fact that this was the first story she filmed for the show after leaving Coronation Street. She was moreover all on her own as Ncuti Gatwa was still contracted to finish work on Sex Education at the time, which is why the Doctor disappears just a minute in.

This necessity actually proves to be a masterstroke as it allows us to see Ruby (and Millie) without being blinded by Gatwa’s big ball of fizzing energy always standing two feet away.

The story gives us a snapshot of the things rattling around Ruby’s psyche at that exact moment – the hopes, fears, dreams, preoccupations, and nightmares – and shows us her mettle when dealing with what seems inexplicable, overwhelming and hopeless. She finally reconciles herself to being alone and having no one to rely upon other than herself and duly realises that wherever she goes, there she is.

So for me, this is a powerful, profound and moving piece of work that I’m going to remember for a long time to come. Whereas no matter how slick and enjoyable it was, Boom can only ever be ‘the one where Ncuti Gatwa stood on the spot for 40 minutes before the AI hologram of a devoted dead dad saves him.’ Sorry, Steven, but on this showing it’s Russell who takes the win in this latest round of the long-running showrunner duel.

New episodes of Doctor Who stream every Friday on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland and every Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Have you watched 73 Yards? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 30 May 2024

Bombadil in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power



The second season of The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power premieres exclusively on Prime Video this August.

Read the official season two synopsis:

"In Season Two of The Rings of Power, Sauron has returned. Cast out by Galadriel, without army or ally, the rising Dark Lord must now rely on his own cunning to rebuild his strength and oversee the creation of the Rings of Power, which will allow him to bind all the peoples of Middle-earth to his sinister will. Building on Season One’s epic scope and ambition, the new season plunges even its most beloved and vulnerable characters into a rising tide of darkness, challenging each to find their place in a world that is increasingly on the brink of calamity. Elves and dwarves, orcs and men, wizards and Harfoots… as friendships are strained and kingdoms begin to fracture, the forces of good will struggle ever more valiantly to hold on to what matters to them most of all… each other."

Tom Bombadil, a fan-favourite character from J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy epic, steps into the fray played by Rory Kinnear.

“There’s this sense of huge experience, huge openness, huge empathy, and having gone through so much that he [Bombadil] knows it’s the small things that are important. That felt actually quite domestic, felt quite reachable in terms of my understanding of who he was.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (affiliate link) season one is streaming on Prime Video.

Are you looking forward to the second season of The Rings of Power? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

The Matrix star talks Star Wars



Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) talks about The Acolyte on Good Morning America (GMA).



The Acolyte stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean-Charles Chapman, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie-Anne Moss.

The Acolyte, the latest Star Wars live-action spin-off series, debuts exclusively on Disney+ on 4th June.

Are you looking forward to The Acolyte on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 26 May 2024

Doctor Who season two wraps



Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies posted on Instagram that filming of season two has wrapped for broadcast in 2025. Little is known about the next season beyond Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson reprising the roles of Doctor Who and Ruby Sunday respectively.

Joining the TARDIS crew will be Varada Sethu. She made her surprise series debut in Boom!

Sethu, no stranger to sci-fi after appearing in Star Wars spin-off series Andor on Disney+, says: "I feel like the luckiest person in the world. It is such an honour to be a part of the Whoniverse, and I'm so grateful to the whole Doctor Who family - because that is what they are - for welcoming me with open arms and making me feel so at home. I couldn't ask for a better team than Ncuti and Millie to be on this adventure with, this is SO much fun!"

Season one is halfway through, and 73 Yards showcased Gibson's acting ability in one of the best-ever episodes in the long-running BBC sci-fi series history.

New episodes of Doctor Who stream every Friday on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland and every Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Are you watching Doctor Who season one? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 24 May 2024

Doctor Who: Boom



After a divisive season one double bill, Boom sees the return of writer and former series showrunner Steven Moffat to Doctor Who. He has also written the upcoming holiday special, Joy to the World. Moffat's tenure as showrunner remains my favourite since 2005. He gave us the Weeping Angels and Soufflé Girl (Jenna Coleman). Sorry, not sorry.

Boom marks the sci-fi series' first use of ILM's StageCraft (originally developed for the Star Wars live-action spin-off series The Mandalorian on Disney+).

Nick Smith, our US-based veteran Whovian, finds himself in a minefield without help from former TARDIS companion Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter). If you know, you know.

Guest post by Nick Smith

Fourth Doctor Tom Baker once stated that it was a pity so many of his stories had to end with an explosion. There had to be better ways to resolve a conflict than with wholesale destruction. From a dramatic storytelling point of view, big bangs are understandable; they are loud and spectacular and offer some closure amidst the debris. But the drama doesn’t just come from the booms. It comes from the lead-up as well – the inexorably ticking countdown, the sweat on the brow of the damned, the inevitability of death on a battlefield.

Writer and former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat takes a short, tense scene from a Tom Baker story – Genesis of the Daleks – and develops it to create a dangerous new environment inhabited by likeable characters, placing them in a seemingly fatal situation.

One of those characters is the Fifteenth Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa), who steps on a landmine.

This isn’t his first wrong-footed rodeo; see Genesis for tips on avoiding getting blown up. But this time around, the mine is smart and deadly automaton ambulances roam the cratered landscape, looking for patients to kill with kindness.

At first blush, this is a stripped-down story focusing on two people, the Doctor and his companion Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson). Moffat’s simple premise has a vivid, believable backstory that reflects our own war-torn world and our struggles with faith. Like the majority of top-flight sci-fi, it examines social concerns in a way that doesn’t leave us feeling bombarded.

The audience is so used to virtual backgrounds by now that the artifice of StageCraft’s digitally painted sky is forgivable. Ultimately, it’s Ruby’s reaction to this strange new world that sells it, just like the First Doctor’s (William Hartnell) companions helped to convince us that they were on prehistoric earth during their initial adventure.

It would be in keeping with Doctor Who’s spirit of innovation to show us more unusual planets, applying the same imagination to the set design that we see in the writing. Terrain could be upside down or sideways, and not in constant proportion to the humanoid characters.

The casting is generally excellent, with Gatwa, Gibson and Joe Anderson as wounded warrior priest John Francis Vater. The only miscast actress is Caoilinn Springall, who plays John’s daughter Splice Alison Vater. The part is obviously written for a younger actress; as played by Caoilinn, Splice is as dumb as a bag of hammers, with no concept of holograms, landmines or the skirmish going on around her, despite being raised in a warzone.

This is a minor flaw in a taut and exciting episode of Doctor Who that shows that not all pyrotechnics have to be literal. Boom is packed with emotional and narrative surprises that are more explosive than a mindless bang. In the minefield of contemporary dramas that feel the need to spell everything out to the audience, this layered tale is a step in the right direction for the new Doctor.

New episodes of Doctor Who stream every Friday on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland and every Saturday on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Season one is available for pre-order (affiliate link).

Have you watched Boom? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Nick Smith's new audiobook, Undead on Arrival, is available from Amazon (affiliate link).

Thursday 23 May 2024

Star Trek showrunner oversees Marvel's Vision



Variety exclusively reports Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas has signed on to oversee Marvel Studios' second WandaVision spin-off series, Vision. Matalas helmed the third season of Star Trek: Picard to critical acclaim.

Paul Bettany will reprise the role of the fan-favourite synthezoid first introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The upcoming Marvel Studios series is expected to follow White Vision's search for Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen).

Marvel Studios' Vision will premiere in 2026 on Disney+. Before that, Agatha All Along, WandaVision's first spin-off series, will premiere on 18th September on Disney+.

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

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock returns to cinemas



To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Paramount Pictures is rereleasing the movie in cinemas on 14th June.

The third instalment in the Star Trek film franchise directly follows on from the tragic events of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - one of the greatest sequels ever made. Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) death left an indelible impression on a generation of fans (myself included).

Read the official synopsis:

"Admiral Kirk and his bridge crew risk their careers stealing the decommissioned U.S.S. Enterprise to return to the restricted Genesis Planet to recover Spock’s body."

40 years ago, I vividly remember seeing The Search for Spock with my parents at the ABC Cinema. So many memorable moments, from the Klingon Bird of Prey and Space Dock to the USS Excelsior and stealing the USS Enterprise. All underscored by composer James Horner's soundtrack building on his leitmotifs from The Wrath of Khan. This was Horner's last hurrah for the franchise, but he pulled out all the stops as evidenced by Nick Smith's review courtesy of the fine folks at Intrada.

Pre-order Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (affiliate link) on 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Will you be watching Star Trek III: The Search for Spock on the big screen? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

The Acolyte star performs Star Wars theme



Music plays an integral role in the Star Wars story. Amandla Stenberg will soon be seen in The Acolyte on Disney+.

Stenberg is a self-confessed Star Wars fan and an accomplished violinist. She has always wanted to perform music from Star Wars on her grandfather's violin, and the Oscar-winning composer John Williams wrote a solo arrangement for Stenberg.

Lucasfilm has released a featurette focussing on Stenberg's recording session at the John Williams Music Building.



The Acolyte stars Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean-Charles Chapman, Joonas Suotamo, and Carrie-Anne Moss.

The Acolyte, the latest Star Wars live-action spin-off series, debuts exclusively on Disney+ on 4th June.

Are you looking forward to The Acolyte on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.