The Doctor Who Domination is now in place; we are talking only days before the 50th anniversary celebration happens, so brace yourself. Starting Monday, BBC America will start the countdown on some killer Doctor Who programming, and the rest of the world will be doing the same thing. I expect to see some excellent video releases, interviews with the principles, and distributions of tons of extra goodies we have never seen before. This next week or two should be very amazing indeed!
In film, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey leads us off, and if you don’t already know all about this one you haven’t been distracted, you’ve been comatose. Computer Chess is set in a 1980 tournament where some of the best programmers in the world got together to run their programs against one another and determine a winner. A comedy-drama about the first steps on the road to the invention of artificial intelligence and the creation of software that can beat us at our own game. I should probably mention that while this is its DVD debut, it have been available for purchase and download at iTunes and the like for a while. Much as I hate sparkly vampires I suppose I have to mention Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga, for those who somehow missed it earlier, or who absolutely have to have the several minutes of extra footage they stuck back in.
In TV we have Under the Dome, the series based on the Steven King story.
In Anime Hiiro no Kakera – The Tamayori Princess Saga Season 2 tells of Tamaki, the new Tamayori Princess. Which makes her the protector of the universe, with 5 protectors of her own. The five hansom boys devoted to her well being do cause a bit of confusion among her high school peer group, and more than a little amusement for the viewer. Living to inhabit her new role is not at all guaranteed, with lots of things doing their best to kill her. Zetman is about two guys with special powers, who each want to use their gifts in the cause of justice. What justice means is different for them, which becomes a source of trouble as their lives intertwine.
Fate/Zero is about the first Holy Grail War, which took place 10 years before the one covered in Fate/Stay Night. If you are not already following this series, whoever wins the wars gets an item that will make any dream come true, no matter how impossible. This particular special edition is a bit pricy for me, so I will be waiting for a more cost effective release to come out.
It is a serious treat to learn they recently recovered 11 old Doctor Who episodes from a storage closet in Nigeria, 9 of which have not been seen since they originally aired! And now we can watch the first few.
They have already digitally remastered two of them and made them available for download on iTunes, both Patrick Troughton stories. The Web of Fear previously existed only as a rumor except for episode 1, usually mentioned when talking about how Pertwee’s end as The Doctor came at the mandibles of his old spider foes, who we had never seen before. Every so often someone mentions that was also the episode where we were introduced to Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, later to be promoted, and mostly referred to as The Brigadier. Episode 3 is still MIA, but they have the original audio track and 11 stills to use to reconstruct it, so the story will be intact. How nice to have the rest of them back for the first time in forever, and the missing episode partially reconstructed!
The Enemy of the World has Patrick Troughton being both the Doctor and the bad guy, the first time that had happened (Tom Baker was later to reprise that in The Mind Of Evil). This one they only had episode 3 of previously, with this discovery they now have all 6. Companions Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling) are in both of these stories, and while we have seen a lot of Jamie, most of Victoria’s stories were lost, so I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about who she was and what she brought to the role of a Companion.
I also have to mention that the link to download them from iTunes didn’t work for me. The link did launch my iTunes app, but then I had to search for each title before I could find the correct link to buy and download it from. A bit of a pain, but I am willing to go through a lot more than that to get Doctor Who episodes I have not already watched dozens of times each!
My apologies for posting the moral equivalent of commercials this time,but the on-screen words pretty much matched up to my attitude on each episode, so I just posted them as is.
After watching the Smashing Pumpkins Steampunk song back in 2009 (the link has been removed or I would have it here), I had to track down the original 1902 French movie that inspired the video segment. Based on the 1865 story From The Earth To The Moon by Jules Verne, the movie was created by Georges Méliès. It was cutting-edge film making, with never-before seen special effects and production values, and was one of a handful that earned Méliès recognition as the inventor of science fiction movies. You can download the book to read on your computer or portable device, or read it online. You can also listen to the story online or download it for your portable media player (or burn it to CD) thanks to the good folks at Librivox. They remade the movie in 1958, but the original is the best. You can download your own copy for your permanent collection or just watch it online at Archive.Org.
By the way, Méliès also invented both the horror movie (in 1896) and the fantasy film (in 1898), as well as another dozen genres I don’t happen to watch. He was a world class pioneer in film making, the central character in the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and was played by Ben Kingsly in the Martin Scorsese film tribute to his genius in Hugo in 2011.
From the folks who are doing Once Upon A Time, another twisty little show, this time redoing Alice for modern times: Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. It hits the small screen (OK, not so small for those who have 4K TVs with a huge screen, but lots of us are still watching in SD) on October 10th on ABC. It tends to look like the creators watched the Syfy channel’s Alice and said “I could do that, but with an American accent”, but I really don’t care. I will watch any variation of a classic by Lewis G. Carrol, Frank L. Baum, Edgar Rice Burroughs, or a select few other writers from the 1800s, and enjoy them no matter where they take them.
The Colony is about the survivors of humanity, living underground to escape the never ending winter that has taken over the planet. If that doesn’t interest you, The Wizard of Oz: 3D is an IMAX 3D processed run of the original 1939 classic. I am going to be at that one, if only because I have never seen it on the big screen.