Monthly Archives: February 2011

So this one is a little late. I took a four day weekend to Chicago with my fiancé via Amtrak. I’d write a review of the train trip, but I kind of get the feeling Newt would be unhappy with the amount of profanity I would use. Suffice it to say, the trip did give me ample opportunity to come up with my next review, so I will try to look on the bright side.

So here it is, a little bit different from the usual DVD review, but one I think many of the readers on this site might find useful.

Doctor Who Audio Story

Doctor Who: Hornet’s Nest
Starring Tom Baker and Richard Franklin

If you’re an American Doctor Who fan like me, chances are you’re very aware of how little awareness there is about the show here in America. And if you are a classic fan like me you’re also aware that what little merchandise is made available is predominantly related to the new series. Most of us have to settle for the odd DVD release or eBay purchased figure (seriously, I need to know where Newt gets his hookup!) So it’s not really a big surprise if you’ve never heard of the Doctor Who audio plays before.

Here’s the deal. After Doc Who went off the air, fans were desperate to get their Who fix any way they could. Not satisfied with Terrance Dick’s novelizations and bootleg VHS, many of them clamored for brand new Who material until the BBC finally relented by authorizing a series of audio plays featuring classic Doctors doing the voices, along with old companions and new characters as well.

And it took off. Oh boy, did it take off. Now practically every single person even slightly related to Doctor Who has gotten their own audio series. The most prominent Docs are Peter Davidson and Colin Baker, with Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann taking up second. I’ve download a lot of them, and honestly most of them are fairly entertaining, and really a good way to keep amused on long car (or train :/ ) rides.

But while fans loved these plays, and appreciated the involvement of the classic actors, there has always been a desire to get one more Doctor in on the action: Tom Baker.

4th doctor and Who icon, now nearly in his 80’s, and very much opposed to doing anything Doctor Who related since his departure from the show. For years fans have wanted him to do these plays, and for years he resisted, until now!

The result is, well, yeah.

Before I go any further I need to recap what the story is on these plays. An ageing Mike Yates ( ask your parents kids 😉 ) discovers an odd add in the local paper that seems to be addressed to him. Upon answer the add, he discovers 4th doctor Tom Baker has taken up residence in a bizarre cottage called The Nest, which is full of taxidermied animals infested with space hornets that come to life at night as part of a plan to take over the Doctor’s mind and then take over the world! And he has a housekeeper called Mrs. Wibbsey.

Confused? Yep, it gets worse. The Doctor has been traveling backwards in time on short side trips to the past, where he battles the hornets in reverse order, eventually discovering their master plan.

I won’t give away how it ends, but it involves a zebra, a paper brain, and a ballet slipper full of jelly.

So, what’s the deal?

I’ll break this down in three parts

The Bad:
Do you know who Mike Yates is? No? Then you’re going to be confused. Have you seen all of the Tom Baker episodes of Doctor Who? No? Then you’re going to be confused. Have you read and understood the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and found it to be a clear and understandable book? No? Then you’re going to get lost in this plot line too.

The story is a ramble that relies heavily on your own understanding of a lot of Doctor Who lore and back story to really understand the references that both Yates and the Doctor make. Those who are not big fans of this era, or this Doctor, will be constantly perplexed and confused by a lot of what is being said, and a lot of the humor and pathos will be lost.

The Ugly:
Let’s say that, like me, you understand everything about classic Who, and Tom Baker, and even Mike Yates. Let’s say you’re very well versed in the rambling nature of Doctor Who stories, and used to improbable occurrences and ridiculous situations. You still are going to be perplexed by this story.

I listen to all 5 hours, twice, and I still can’t figure most of it out. There are plot holes and logic leaps everywhere, with little to no solid answers. I honestly feel I could have written a better story in about 10 minutes.

And the packaging is a pain too. This is a 5 CD set, with each CD in their own jewel case crammed inside a box so tight I had to open both ends and literally shove the cd’s out. Of course I quickly uploaded them onto my ipod so I did not have to lug all 5 around with me, but still, it kind of irritates me that so little thought was put into a set that cost around 45 dollars! That’s right, 45 dollars for this baby. Pretty pricy for something that you’ll probably only listen to once.

The Good:
At this point you’re probably thinking: “Dear god this sound horrible. Thank you Rob for saving me from this terrible purchase.” Well don’t thank me yet. I wanted to end this on a high note, and I think I will. You see, I’m a Tom Baker nerd, and if I was to take a shot in the dark I would say that more than a few of the people who frequent this site are Baker fans as well. If you are, then this CD is definitely worth a listen to. Why? 3 reasons

1. It fits: If you watched a lot of Tom Baker then you already know how his stories work. Confusing plotline and ridiculous logic leaps are all part of the game. Have you seen Meglos? This play is better. Have you seen The Deadly Assassin? This is better. Have you seen The Creature from the Pit? This is not better, but then, nothing ever will be better 😉

2. It’s fun: After you’re done listening to these cds it will be easy to sit there and tear apart the plot, and point out the logic flaws, but while you’re listening to it it is very hard not to get swept away with the action and the fun. I pressed play, shut my eyes, and was amazed that the five hours this took to listen to literally vanished in no time. It loses some of this feeling on a second listen, but it’s darn entertaining the first time through

3. It’s TOM BAKER! I am a huge 4th doctor fan (and I have the 12 ft scarf to prove it) so it was really amazing to get to hear a new adventure starring him. Even at 77 Baker’s voice is strong and clear, and his mind is just a sharp as it was 40 years ago. His words are quick and expressive, and you can almost hear that twinkle in his eye when he goes off on a particularly twisted turn of phrase. Let’s be honest, Baker has one of those voices that is so entertaining on its own you probably wouldn’t mind listening to him read the phonebook for an hour or two.

My Recommendation:
So, should you buy it?

Here’s the deal, I am freely admitting I have a huge Tom Baker bias. I am infinitely amused by just about everything this guy does as Doctor Who, and I will always pick up as much merchandise of his as I can. That’s being said, unless you are a huge Baker fan like me I cannot recommend you pick this up, especially at the full 45 bucks I paid. And even if you are a big Baker fan, I would still only encourage you to pick it up used instead. It’s amusing, and fun, but just not worth the cover price.

Quick note: a follow-up audio series was just released.

Mine is in the mail.

Around 2001, Peter Laird and the Mirage crew started work on a few TMNT projects to get the Ninja Turtles back to mainstream. While they eventually ended up with 4Kids and the long running new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle show that followed, they did for a while work with WB on a version of the show. The WB animated show seemed to have it’s own direction and style, which was similar in some ways but ultimately quite a bit different than what the 4Kids show became.


WB Turtle Concept Art

With Nickelodeon hard at work on their new Ninja Turtles show, a lot of people have wondered what a new Ninja Turtles TV program will look like. It’s impossible to say for sure, but examining the WB show might be a good way to get an idea. Here’s a recently posted animatic from the proposed WB concept show.


Remember of course, this show has nothing to do with the new Nick TMNT. It’s just a little animatic from the show that almost was. If anything, the new Nickelodeon show should prove to be an interesting experiment as it’s got a lot of talent attached to it and plenty of promise.


Early WB TMNT Prototype Figure
(Eventually became 2003 4Kids style Figure)

I can’t help but wonder about that WB show though, and if it would have been as big of a success as the 4Kids 2003 program or an even bigger one. Of course it very well could have failed. The WB concepts are long since retired, but Nickelodeon no doubt has a lot of great ideas for the Green Machine. Here’s hoping that Nickelodeon knocks it out of the park with their attempt.

Freddy is back with a double dose of goodness for you to enjoy this Sunday morning. First up is a review of MOTUC Bow. As you know, Fred doesn’t open his toys, so you’ll get a unique perspective in this review.


On top of that, Fred and his main squeeze Tania stopped by the Miami version of the Wizard World Comic-Con and brought their camera along for the ride. Check out the whole wacky adventure as only those two can bring you!

Even


Welcome to TV Breakage, week #3 here at InfiniteHollywood.com, covering all the latest television industry news. We skipped last week because there just really wasn’t much going on and I felt it would be better to pack in twice the info this week than turn in a week’s worth of mostly saying the same. If you have a television show or channel that you’d like to see brought to attention here, feel free to comment and let us know.

Networks
While we’ve been talking a lot about new shows lately, it’s getting dangerously close to time for many shows to see the axe. Unfortunately it looks like CBS’ The Defenders, could be one of them. This upsets me as Defenders was one of the few shows I rolled the dice on and have enjoyed pretty much the whole time. It’s a lighter legal drama and I really think Jerry O’Connell and Jim Belushi play their roles well. CBS is an interesting network, in that shows like the Defenders as an example, score higher ratings than anything on NBC, but for CBS is considered bad. Blue Bloods is also in trouble on CBS, despite doing pretty good as well. The big issue with these shows is that they’re struggling in the coveted 18-49 demographic. Even shows which are stronger on CBS, like The Good Wife could be on their way out. It makes you wonder if someone like NBC wouldn’t try to pick these shows up if they got canceled, though highly unlikely.

Other shows on the chopping block is ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7, No Ordinary Family and V. Interesting to note that pretty much all of these shows had a good buzz coming into this season and yet managed to fizzle out for various reasons. Is there any wonder why jaded folks like myself like to wait until a show has been on the air for a few years before starting it?

Pretty much everything on NBC is on the bubble not named 30 Rock or Law & Order: SVU. The good news for fans of NBC shows is that the bar is set really low over at the peacock these days. Speaking of NBC, they’ve put Silas Weir Mitchell in as one of the leads as a “Big Bad Wolf” for the potential new fall show, Grimm. If you don’t know Silus, well, he’s pretty much that kind of ugly looking guy who’s been in a lot of TV shows the past few years.

Of course the big news of the week was Two and a Half Men basically getting destroyed from the inside by creator Chuck Lorre and star Charlie Sheen calling one another out. The former in one of his little TV signoffs “vanity cards” and the latter in a very public radio interview. Thus ends a turbulent week of changes and rumors on that show, with production completely halted for this season. Being essentially the hottest show on TV and far and away the highest rated sitcom on television, one would imagine this will eventually get resolved or will spell one of the strangest endings to a television show in history. I say swap in Emilio Estevez and see if anyone notices.

Finally, Lex Luthor, Michael Rosenbaum will return to Smallville for the two hour finale later this year. Sweet! I know that will make a lot of fans happy and it was really important to bring him round for the finale.

Cable
Syfy plans to show reruns of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in four hour blocks every Thursday starting next month. I really liked that show and ranked it as one of my Best Shows on Television back in 2008 and I really would have liked to seen another season to wrap up the storylines. Sadly now all that’s left in anyone’s mind about Terminator is that last dreadful movie and toys that won’t leave the shelves of TRU.

Speaking of Syfy, they actually have a pretty interesting pilot in the works putting Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle together as mystery solving buddies in the 1920’s. It’s untitled as of now, but it sounds like an interesting premise. The two men were actually friends in real life, though whether they ever really solved any mysteries together is unknown.

Justified held it’s own in ratings this week, although it didn’t set the world on fire. Hopefully it continues to do well on FX. Yours truly, of course, completely forgot to set it to tape this past week. D’oh! I really need to write down a list of what I’m watching and DVRing these days.

Even Cable is not immune to shows being axed as TBS is getting rid of Glory Daze despite really hyping it up for most the year. I thought the idea of a period piece (well 1980’s) sitcom had some potential, but this seemed a little too American Pie for it’s own good. Then again, I never actually watched it, so maybe it was better than the commercials led me to believe.

Wrasslin Ratings
Perhaps off the back of the return of the Rock or because of all the 2-21-11 nonsense or maybe even because it was a post PPV show WWE Raw jumped up to a 3.9 rating. That has to be pleasing someone in the Vince McMahon camp, though whether that spike can sustain is uncertain. WrestleMania season tends to bring high ratings in general.

Spike TV’s TNA iMPACT ended the week with a 1.3 which is pretty good for both the program and the network. Next week’s show is very hyped and features the return of Hulk Hogan along with some 2-3-11 mysteries of their own, so we’ll have to see if that manages to build off this week’s good rating or not.

Sources for this column include Travis Yanan, Daily Variety, TVBytheNumbers, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, PWTorch.

Another week down. Don’t let the discussion stop here, feel free to leave me feedback and comments, as well as any programming notes you might want to extend to your fellow man. With that, the remote is yours.