Doctor Who โ€“ Series 12, Episode 6 โ€“ โ€œPraxeusโ€

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Well, it seems that series 12 is now on a roll! After last week’s shock revelations and a story that pleased the critics, fans and super-fans alike (all three? truly a rare event in itself!), this episode is going to have to work really hard!

SYNOPSIS:
What connects a missing astronaut in the Indian Ocean, birds behaving strangely in Peru and a US naval officer who washes up on a Madagascan beach?
This week’s episode was written by Pete McTighe with showrunner, Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone.

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Well, there were no references to the bigger story arc, reverting to the ‘alien-of-the-week’ format – and that was disappointing. It all started pretty well, by setting up a complex mystery, consisting of a series of unrelated events, it certainly held my attention, attempting to work out what was going on.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the timing of this episode coinciding with the current global coronavirus threat gave it some extra relevance, as the thrust of this week’s yarn was about a mysterious pathogen (Praxeus) with the potential to devastate humanity!

Then, for me, it all went a bit ‘Pete Tong’ as the BBC’s two current obsessions kicked in! Obsession 1: Being overly PC with its character choices and the other: commenting on the state of the planet. All perfectly valid of course in their own right, but not at the expense of the plot! Arghhhh! ๐Ÿ˜ซ

The episode also suffered from a recurring issue with Chibnall’s interpretation of Who: far too many characters! If three companions aren’t two (or even three) too many, then this week, in addition, we had an astronaut, his husband, two vbloggers, a scientist and a scientist’s assistant – 50 minutes just isn’t long enough to give everyone enough to do, and it was one of those episodes where popping off to the loo would be a significant disadvantage, as things moved so fast!

As the story progressed, it became less about a story of mankind vs disease. Instead, a preachy piece, admonishing humanity for the ravages we have inflicted in the environment with plastics. Purleasssse! Can we have the Daleks back? – if I need reminding about the state of the planet, I’ll watch David Attenborough!! ๐Ÿค”

By about two-thirds in, the story, that had all the ingredients of an excellent yarn when it began, just went off the boil. By the final act, it lacked impact and became all very predictable and clichรฉd: loser-becomes-hero-and-saves-the-day! ๐Ÿ˜ด Together with an over-sentimental they-all-lived-happily-ever-after final scene (no doubt to please our cousins across the pond!) and that just did it for me ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I’m so disappointed!
It was such a contrast to last week’s story!

I’m coming to the conclusion that both this series and the previous, it’s not the acting, I think it’s the scripts – they’re just not chiming with me (apart from last week’s), so maybe it’s time to accept that this Who is not my Who! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

VERDICT: It started well, JW owns the character, but another preachy message about how we’re destroying the planet together with the rather sugary-sweet ending ruined a story that had shown great potential. ๐Ÿ‘Ž

Lunch with Nicki

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Nicki joined us last night and after a lazy(ish) morning today, we headed off to our fave ‘Local’ – The Old Victoria, for lunch.

As usual, the food and service didn’t disappoint! Matthew was off today, but with Joanna running the show, we knew we were in safe hands! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜‹

Yummy! (Obviously)

We were all too full for Dessert though! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹

A serious discussion about whether (or not) to squeeze-in Dessert!

We headed home, spent a bit more time working through Nicki’s paperwork before heading out for a walk!

Phew!

Nicki left us just after 5pm, and we spent the rest of the evening catching-up with the TV.

We’re out!!!

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Clock symbolising EU exit

It’s 11pm here in the UK and midnight in Brussels
– and after 47 years, we’re out! OK, technically, we’ve got a period of ‘transition’ (whatever that means!) but the people have spoken!

I voted remain, and I can’t help think that this is the worst decision ever for our country. Our children (and children’s children) will surely look back on this day in years to come, and wonder what drove us to this madness! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Doctor Who โ€“ Series 12, Episode 5 โ€“ โ€œFugitive of the Judoonโ€

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We’re exactly halfway through this series, and after last week’s very satisfying episode, I wonder if this week’s will be as good?

SYNOPSIS: The Judoon have marched their way into modern Gloucester on the hunt for a fugitive. Who are they pursuing and why is the Doctor involved? Reserve your space behind the settee for tonight’s slice of Sunday Sci-fi! ๐Ÿ˜

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Initially, it looked like tonight’s yarn was going to be another ‘Doctor v Monster-of-the-week’ yarn, but wow!, what an episode it turned out to be!!!

Written by showrunner Chris Chibnall with Vinay Patel, and featuring more twists and turns than any Who-episode I ever remember – and I’ve seen a few – this was the best JW episode so far. I don’t think even the most dedicated Whovian could have guessed how tonight’s story would play out! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Without revealing too much here (for those who have yet to see it), this week’s, I predict, will be the most talked about episode so far – maybe ever??? Wholly unpredictable, especially the second half, it kept me riveted from start to finish – as a result, there are now so many questions to be answered!!! ๐Ÿค”

On one level, it was simply a good Who story, but on another, the surprise return of a much loved character from Who-past, put it on another level, together with all the plot-twists. And if that wasn’t enough, by the third act, a massive plot reveal that impacted on everything we thought we knew about Who has got fans wracking their brains and trying to work out what it all means!! ๐Ÿ™„

Suffice to say: remember the impact on the Who-community when the War Doctor first appeared? Well, it might be time to re-write the Doctors’ timeline again! Ouch! My brain hurts! ๐Ÿฅด

I don’t think they’ll top this one, but who knows?

Verdict: The best story in a long time, with easily enough unanswered questions to set the Internet on fire! ๐Ÿคฉ

Doctor Who โ€“ Series 12, Episode 4 โ€“ โ€œNikola Tesla’s Night of Terrorโ€

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After an enjoyable (and thought-provoking) couple of opening episodes to this new series, last week’s was, for me, a real ‘yawn-fest’ ๐Ÿ˜ด. I’m hoping therefore, tonight’s story is going to get Who back on track… ๐Ÿค”

SYNOPSIS: It’s 1903, and someone (or something) is sabotaging Nikola Tesla’s generator plant at Niagara Falls. And in a possible spooky crossover between a Captain Scarlet episode and the novel, War of the Worlds; has the inventor received a message from Mars?
<< cue: intro music >> ๐ŸŽต Da-da-da-dah… Da-da-da-dah… ๐ŸŽต

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Ahh, that’s better! ๐Ÿ‘.
Convincing CGI and SFX worked well together, with a story that moved along at pace. It was good to watch an episode that was based on some real people from history too! A reference to the ongoing story-arc (albeit ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’) ticked an important box for me – so that’s another plus! More episodes like this please BBC!! ๐Ÿค”

Verdict: A very satisfying yarn, that felt very Who. Perfect Sunday evening fodder ๐Ÿ˜

Film: 1917

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We drove over to Cineworld at Rushden Lakes to see the recently released flick ‘1917‘ (after having to cancel last Sunday).

Sam Mendes directs and shares writing duties for this World War 1 adventure. It’s based on stories recounted by Sam Mendes’s grandfather โ€” Alfred Mendes โ€” and stars a host of famous faces โ€” Andrew Scott, Daniel Mays, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Richard Madden.

The story however, pivots around two not-quite-so-well-known faces from the world of movies โ€” Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay playing the two central characters. I’ve not ever seen them in anything else, and they’re on-screen most of the time, playing their parts very convincingly.

1917 tells the story of two soldiers with an important message to deliver โ€” a message that could save the lives of 1600 British soldiers in Northern France. And that’s all I’m going to say about this just-under-two-hour slice of excellent entertainment!

What makes the film unique is the way it was shot. The term ‘immersive’ is a bit over-used these days, but under the assured direction of Sam Mendes, the camera work and soundscape make you feel like you are there, experiencing every twist and turn (literally!), of our two heroes!

Boy! was it tense in places!!!! ๐Ÿฅด ๐Ÿฅด ๐Ÿฅด ๐Ÿฅด

To keep the audience engaged, the movie looks like it was all shot in one take giving a very ‘here and now’ live feel to it. Quite how they managed to film it at all, given the camera-unfriendly environment, and in some scenes, the sheer number of cast, is beyond me. If they release a ‘making of’, I’ll be first in the queue!

Go see! The best film I’ve seen in ages
(and I’m a Marvel fan!)
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Doctor Who โ€“ Series 12, Episode 3 โ€“ โ€œOrphan 55โ€

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First class CGI together with the scariest monsters since the ‘Weeping Angels’, all supported by a plot line that moved at pace! Every actor gave it their all, and the production qualities were akin to a movie. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The Dregs

So, I’m not sure why this episode bored me rigid! I guess it all felt a bit preachy with ‘the big reveal’ message being linked to global warming. It all had the subtlety of a Dalek death-ray, informing us that the future of our planet is all down to us, the viewer. Stop it BBC, we can make up our own minds thanks! ๐Ÿฅฑ

With no further development of that significant story-arc briefly introduced last week, it meant that this was nothing more than a ‘monster-of-the-week’ story.

Verdict: Scary, but boring and preachy! ๐Ÿ™„

Update, Wednesday, 15th: The numbers are in! Just 4.19m viewers tuned-in for this episode! That’s low! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ