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Star Trek: Discovery first thoughts 

I must’ve watched this a dozen times now. It’s… Interesting. I can see they’ve taken the old Ralph McQuarrie concepts from before TMP (hence the retro 70s sci-if look and feel, the triangular shaped secondary hull, the sweeping wings, the flat lines and sharp angles.
Am I convinced? Not yet. This is just a short reel of her leaving dock. I need to see her in full manoeuvres, firing phasers and torpedoes, shield impacts, damage hits, and how she handles it all, before I’ll be able to say whether I like her or not. As with all good ships, it can take time to come to love them. Some you fall in love with the moment you set eyes on them (for me, Enterprise-E and the Akira class come into this category, alongside Serenity from the Firefly universe). Others grow on you (I didn’t like the Excelsior class at first, but then I grew to like it over time. I never liked the Galaxy class Enterprise-D, too oddly shaped for me.)

And of course, the ship is the home. It’s the crew that are just as important. Perhaps the crew will bring warmth to this ship. We’ll wait and see.

Other observations: she’s a reasonable sized ship, hard to count decks on this but I’m guessing approximately 23 decks, that puts her larger than Voyager by 8, larger than Enterpise-A by 2, but smaller than Galaxy and Sovereign at 36 and 29 decks respectively. Large, wide shuttle bay at the rear, hopefully they make good use of this in the story. Classic design elements all in place (red bussards, blue impulse engines instead of red though, blue deflector dish, clear line between saucer section primary hull and star drive secondary hull.)

Hmmm. Yeah, not convinced as yet, but maybe she’ll grow on me.

Tl;dr: I’m a geek. I’m a Trekkie. I’m not convinced as yet, maybe it’ll grow on me, I’ll reserve full judgment.

Video can be found here…

Doctor Who: into the Capaldi years

Watched it. Loved it. Bring me more!

Oh, you want a bit more detail than that? Oh, all right then.

The BBC have been marketing this one for years, ever since Peter Capaldi was announced on a live broadcast as the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor in 2013. The whole world has been reaching fever pitch, as with each new regeneration, the world finds more to love in this stalwart of British science fiction television. You only have to look at the recent launch tours and Auntie’s clever little teaser spots flocking on between other shows, to feel the excitement is tangible. Everyone wants to know: will Capaldi be as good a Doctor as his predecessors?

The answer is a resounding “yes.”

The theme music takes us right back to the original theme in the 60s, sounding decidedly alien and otherworldly, unlike anything you’ve heard before. The accompanying visuals of various clockwork elements (cogs and gears, clock face numerals) all ground this as a time travel show, and get us away from the turbulent time vortex of previous series. This an all new Who from the outset. Again. It also helps to keep Doctor Who as a decidedly steampunk show. This has been seen before, from alien clockwork dolls, to a clockwork weather destroying bomb, the show is probably the most significantly steampunk production around, without ever really being marketed as such.

That is why it works so well as steampunk, as most steampunk a will tell you: steampunk works well when it isn’t at first obvious. It’s not all goggles and gears, it’s the Victorian explorer ethic of adventure and weird machinery that pushes the boundaries. How more steampunk can you get than the TARDIS?

The episode trundles along nicely, with good pacing, but not as frenetic as the Matt Smith or David Tennant years. This Doctor has a more grounded coolness to him, he’s a thinker as well as a doer. And it serves him well.

We also see a little more of that moral ambiguity from the likes of the Sixth and (my personal favourite) Seventh Doctors: did the Half-face Man fall to his death, or did the Doctor push him? As the Doctor himself says, one of them is lying about their moral programming. We know Seven thought nothing of using his young companion Ace in order to control an entire situation, he was always aware of the bigger picture. Is Twelve of that same ilk, willing to make bigger sacrifices for the greater good? Only time will tell.

I can happily say this looks set to be a fantastic series. While some people felt that the last series lost something after a while, this new refresh looks to have made a strong leap forward. Yes, there are still many Moffat-isms we have to overlook, but I’m not going to get into them here. Doctor Who isn’t the only show with problems, other shows have many more. It’s entertainment: don’t like it? Swap channels. There’s plenty of them these days, it’s not like the 60s when you only had three to choose from.

Can’t wait for next week!

Review: The Borderlands

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I’d heard good things about this film, but nearly didn’t buy it (iTunes not having it up for rent, only buy). But, I decided go for it (payday treat) and parted with hard earned cash. I’m happy to say it was well spent.

The film is set in a rural Devon town, complete with silent yokels, teenage yobs on the street corner, a dimly lit pub, and a church with a dwindling, almost non-existent congregation. This is the epicentre of the story, where a grainy video of unexplained noises, rumblings, and moving crucifixes and candlesticks sets in motion a Vatican-led investigation into “miraculous” occurrences.

Our team is layabout techie Gray, hard drinking priest Deacon and straight laced, by-the-book priest Mark. The dynamic between them is fresh and off-beat, investing you in far more realistic, believable characters than are usually foisted upon us in similar fare. There is little Scooby-gang style exposition to fill in gaps, we witness and work out most of the plot lines at the same time they do, through their eyes. It just works.

With the shaky camera footage a lot less shaky than in most other found-footage films, the viewer is not left feeling violently ill halfway through. The comic starting point for the three characters soon makes way to a creeping sense of dread, until the climactic descent into the catacombs that will have you reeling from a truly horrifying end. This is how horror should be, and it is brilliant.

Five stars from me, I highly recommend. Can’t wait to see more from writer/director Elliot Goldner.