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21st Century Doctor Who Reviews: Partners In Crime

Reboot number three. No, I'm not talking about yet another update to my computer, which is near causing me the death of a thousand head bangs against the desk. I am of course talking about the third reboot of the 21st century incarnation of everybody's favourite Time Lord. This can normally be categorised by the way in which the BBC1 window goes straight into the title sequence. I forgot to mention this last time, but the title music's been slightly tweaked so that it now sounds like Big Country have teamed up with the National Orchestra Of Wales to provide their own interpretation. It's OK – I like the bah bah bah baaaahhh nod to the Peter Howell arrangement, although...

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21st Century Doctor Who Reviews: Voyage Of The Damned

Christmas TV is pretty much a dead cert year in year out. Right from way back in the ‘70s when I was a kid (and being spooked by that revolving melted Santa head globe on BBC1 in 1978), the same old types of Christmas programme crop up. Whether festive versions of well-established comedies, horrible screechy carol services or doomy Bah Humbug soap shenanigans, Christmas TV always runs along tried and tested lines. And then there are the films. There's usually a select pool of about four or five films that make an annual appearance around Christmas. The Sound Of Music: quite possibly my least favourite film ever – a never-ending shrill parade of twee noise; Mary Poppins: a similarly joyless...

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Reviews: Helpless

With its ongoing emotional sagas and character studies, it's sometimes easy to forget that Buffy The Vampire Slayer has its roots in horror. Week after week, Buffy battles toothy vampires, slimy demons and other horrors from the Hellmouth – but don't forget that the show equates these monstrosities with the trials of growing up. The latest instalment is no exception. Helpless is more of an overt horror story, using the tried and tested 'Stuck in a haunted house' trope as the backdrop for a scary tussle between Buffy and a bloke who resembles a three-way cross between a vampire, Steve Tyler from Aerosmith and the bass player guy from Blondie. Which means another gold star from me, I'm afraid. Having...

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21st Century Doctor Who Reviews: Utopia / The Sound Of Drums / Last Of The Time Lords

Talk about coincidence with these blog entries. Having just uploaded the review for Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Gingerbread (which tackles mob mentality, fact aversion etc), here comes the big Season 3 finale for NuWho. For many reasons, it's a story that still rings unnervingly true in 2018. The last story of the 2007 season is the equivalent of an old school six-parter. It's a big finale that brings back the Doctor's wretched nemesis, the Master, who's now wreaking havoc in two forms: an apparently genial old fossil on a futuristic planet and then in a hyperactive, manically vicious younger version. Utopia Drums Time Lords (which sounds like a lost album from the Todd Rundgren-led '70s/'80s prog band) is another of...

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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Reviews: Gingerbread

If the tone of Amends was Peace On Earth: Goodwill To All Men With Brooding Scowls and Copious Amounts Of Hair Gel, then Gingerbread's tone is a little less forgiving. It's a curious tale, and one that follows a familiar Buffy The Vampire Slayer pattern of starting out as something unnervingly startling and then turning into something totally different halfway through. The overall picture with Gingerbread is a look at the dangers of mob mentality, bandwagon jumping, and ignorance of fact. It pulls no punches, but at the same time, it's a thoughtful and frequently very funny tale that manages to keep up the momentum of the impressive third season. Gingerbread starts out with the horrific discovery of two dead...

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