Day fourteen, your favourite male character. Oh meme, you really ought to know better than that by now. Like I'm going to be able to decide anywhere near definitively. If absolutely pressed - like at gunpoint, or by threat of being forced to watch Eurovision - it's probably Joe Cartwright or Manolito Montoya, but I refuse to choose between the two of them. That would be like having to choose between my children (if I had any). So I'm going to have to fudge it again, aren't I.

He's not my favourite character (except when he is), but I do rate Harrison Blackwood very highly, for quite a few reasons. Back when War Of The Worlds first aired in the UK, we still had proper regional ITV, so when you saw it would have depended on where you were living at the time. I saw it first in the early nineties. By then Doctor Who had been gone for a little while, and didn't appear to be returning (oh those pre-internet days, when we had no real way of finding out!) and I was feeling somewhat bereft. And then, there in the early hours of Wednesday mornings (about half past one), was Harrison Blackwood. A nutjob, pacifist vegan with an odd tuning fork obsession. He wore a hat, he thought sleep was almost entirely unnecessary, he absolutely refused ever to use a gun (and yet would cheerfully build a flame thrower from scratch, and annihilate his enemies with that, when required), and had a thing for hypnotising guards when inconveniently arrested. He was the Doctor, basically. He didn't have a spaceship, but he did live somewhere that was bigger inside than out - a huge underground house, hidden beneath a little cottage by the sea. And he fought aliens, weekly. Sometimes his adventures were rubbish, sometimes they were brilliant, and frequently they required him to wrestle with rather obviously rubber props. He was usually accompanied by a very stiff and proper army officer, and a pretty, blonde scientist, suggesting a fondness amongst the writers for the early Pertwee era; and he had an evil nemesis who treated him oddly fondly, though didn't have a pointed beard. He did have a tendency to giggle, though.

So yeah. Harrison Blackwood was quite the tonic for the insomniac Doctor Who fan in the early nineties. He was fun to hang out with in the small hours, when sleep was a very long way away. I remain very fond of him. Later he was revamped, given a beard and a gun, and turned into a different person entirely, but for me that version isn't canon. The true Harrison is the nutjob with a floppy hat, striding into battle against vast alien hordes, armed with his trusty tuning fork. Hanging out with him is a surefire way to get your insides scooped out by an alien with wobbly rubber arms, but on the plus side, he does have a nice smile.

Sorry, that's not much of a plus side, is it. I really have got to work on my priorities.
In the final episode, the scene is being set for a new stage in the battle between the Blackwood team and the aliens, with new developments occuring that should have made season two very interesting indeed. As is now fairly notorious amongst TV sci-fi fans, that never happened; and watching this episode really underlines what a shame that is. This show had a lot to offer, and whilst a slightly bigger budget - or indeed any budget at all - might have helped it to establish itself a little better, there's more than enough plot and imagination on display here to have justified a second season. A proper one, that is. One that people actually wanted to watch.

'Paul is dead.' )
An episode that manages to be highly entertaining without actually doing much of anything. This is the air vents episode. Air vents are what made America great, you know. It's the only country with an air conditioning system that you can hide an army in, and still have enough room inside to hold a tea party when the skirmish is over.

There is nothing that can be done in a room that cannot be done equally well in a large tunnel hidden in the walls. Everybody who has ever watched American television knows this. Apparently the aliens know it too.

'After we evacuate, this facility will be like Chernobyl.' )
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Feb. 10th, 2012 01:37)
A very effective episode, although, yet again, the aliens' plan is blatantly silly. They need a new hierarchy, or a new tactical department, or something. Either that or they just need to stop thinking so big. If you want to invade a planet, start simple. That's your tip for the day.

'I'll do anything you want. Just give me more.' )
swordznsorcery: (queen)
( Feb. 8th, 2012 22:56)
Mayhem, death and destruction, and a plot that doesn't entirely make sense. I think that's more of a running theme than aliens for this show.

'You trying to tell me you were Deep Throat?' )
swordznsorcery: (true blood)
( Feb. 7th, 2012 23:54)
A perfectly good episode, put together and edited very well. It's one gigantic cliché though, which leaps out of the screen and grabs you around the throat within about the first ten seconds of the theme tune finishing. That does rather get in the way of just enjoying the episode. There's nothing really to dislike, and in actual fact most of it's pretty effective; even if, yet again, the aliens' plan is downright bloody stupid. It's just let down by the sense that it's all been done two hundred times before. Though probably not with quite so much gore, I'll admit.

'I had no idea it was going to end in such tragedy.' )
swordznsorcery: (littlejoe)
( Feb. 6th, 2012 23:32)
The dread clip show. Yes, I know all series made in Canada have them at some point, but that doesn't mean that they should ever be tolerated. Every one of them should be hunted down and killed, then melted in acid. Then killed again. Probably along with anybody responsible for okaying them in the first place. And the guy who first invented them.

I do not like clip shows. Sticking bits of rubbish plot in between the clips does not make the situation any better. The bloody things remain the curse of television. But anyway.

'We should surrender to the aliens. We have no other choice.' )
This episode is really pretty awesome. The plot itself has the usual holes, but it's hard to care when it's made so well. They've really thought about this one, and it's shot as a horror film, old style. Slow, lingering shots, carefully building up the tension; dark corridors; weird camera angles; good use of music. It's like a little masterclass on how to make a low budget horror movie. It's also hands down the goriest episode so far. Even the one when everybody was having their brains ripped out didn't manage quite as much blood and horrific imagery as this one. I did have some lovely screencaps, but I do like to keep things family friendly. Ish.

'Half human, half alien.' )
This one somehow manages to be fun whilst not actually explaining itself in the slightest. The aliens are doing something, but we don't really know what. They're after something, but they're at pains not to tell us what it is, presumably so the writers don't have to bother to think it up; and there's lots of running about for pretty much no reason whatsoever. I didn't get bored at all though, as I did in some of the other uneventful episodes. Pointless, then, but reasonably engagingly so.

'It's not the cold. It's something else.' )
swordznsorcery: (methos)
( Jan. 31st, 2012 23:11)
Everybody's favourite episode, this one, or so it seems. I could claim that this is down to fabulous plotting, great tension and excitement, and the real excellence of the performances, but I'd probably be lying. It's mostly due to the fact that it guest stars John Colicos. I think everybody likes him. He's always been popular amongst sci fi fans, probably due to Battlestar Galactica (the proper version), although he's turned up all over the place over the years. As the artist Quinn in this episode he manages to be one of the real highlights of the series.

'I say kill them all.' )
This one is another that has always been popular with fans of the show. In many ways it's an odd choice for that kind of accolade, as practically nothing happens in it. It's a clear example of an episode being made for as little money as possible, with very limited sets and equipment - and the plot is stretched pretty thin as well. It is good, though. I think it trades its popularity solely on the fact that it's impossible to dislike Harrison (unless you're in the army); but it's not his episode. The focus this time is on an assortment of civilians, who all have a tale to tell.

'They're putting something inside me.' )
swordznsorcery: (johnblack)
( Jan. 29th, 2012 19:30)
The series low light, or at least I hope that it is. It may yet get worse than this episode, but I honestly can't remember; so either it doesn't, or it gets so much worse that I've blocked out the memory.

'Can you tell me how what happened last night... happened?' )
swordznsorcery: (methos)
( Jan. 28th, 2012 23:26)
And we're back with the good stuff. New disc, and as if by magic, normal service has been resumed. In-jokes, gore, over-acting, peculiar lighting, and a story that's fun to watch. This one is actually one of the fan favourite episodes, and it's always good for a return visit. It's completely mental, obviously, but in all the right ways. Well, most of them. I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense, and the aliens' plan is ridiculously over-complicated; but since the high command are aware of that, and complain about it themselves, that makes it easier to forgive. Or sort of does. You do have to wonder why they went along with a daft plan in spite of the misgivings, but then that's probably another of those questions that one isn't supposed to ask.

'You will help us bring a new age to this planet.' )
Another dull one. I think it's this disc. This is the last episode on it, so hopefully I'll be moving on to a better one next. In this episode there's lots of paperwork and gazing at computer screens, and Norton gets a bit of subplot that probably should have been good, and probably could have been, if it hadn't decided to be rubbish instead. The frustrating thing is, it's a good idea. Peril for the team! Infiltration! Deadly traps set by the aliens! It should have been exciting, and it could even have been a compelling psychological drama. It's not, though. It's just a bit lame. Liven up, show, and stop doing this to me. I remembered you as being better than this.

'If we lose this war, we lose the entire planet.' )
swordznsorcery: (e street)
( Jan. 25th, 2012 18:21)
Yawn. If anything this episode's even worse than the last one. At least that picked up towards the end. This one just burbles along in slow motion, and then manages to make defusing a nuclear bomb into something dull and lifeless. Wake up, show! I want the fun stuff back.

'A future without humans.' )
Another rather dull episode. We seem to have hit a slow patch mid-season. There's a lot more going on in this one than there was in the last one, and it picks up nicely towards the end, but the beginning and middle are pretty interminable. Nice idea all the same, but it does rather back itself into a corner plotwise. Someday these aliens are going to have to explain to me why they keep failing to take over the world, when it continually looks like they can't go wrong. I'm beginning to think they don't really want the Earth. They're just pretending to invade for something to do.

'We all have to die... sometime.' )
A pretty dull episode this week, which is not what I'd expect to say of a story where lots of people get their brains torn out. There's not really enough material for a full episode though. I guess it needed a b-plot or something. Even the plot it does have, whilst fabulously grisly, never really goes anywhere. Still, it does have Sylvia in it. That's always good.

'These may be the last words I speak on this Earth.' )
This episode is terrific. It's blatantly obviously made with no money at all, but who cares. It's like The Goonies meets Alien. In a network of tunnels beneath a university, two teams of students take part in a role-playing adventure game, whilst a team of aliens roam the same tunnels in an attempt to steal a lethal nerve gas. It does get a bit silly in places, but you'd really be hard put to care. Must admit to several moments of wanting to punch Ironhorse, though.

'What kind of monster would do that?' )
swordznsorcery: (face)
( Jan. 21st, 2012 22:39)
I love this episode. I should get that out of the way first. Yes, it's improbable, yes it descends into out and out silliness by the end; but then I'm not watching this show to marvel at the realism. I'm watching it because it's very entertaining. This one, though, has an extra special something.

So, Norton discovers that the alien research material collected in 1953 by Dr Clayton Forrester, Harrison's adopted father, still exists. The team immediately rushes off to a military base - there are clearly hundreds upon hundreds of these in America, as this show already seems to have wiped out half a dozen, and guess what happens to this one?! - and begins to burrow into the vaults. First of all though, they meet the guy who runs the base. And he is?

'I'm in total control, Suzanne.' )
I've grown quite fond of this show's habit of giving all its episodes Biblical sounding titles. I'm not sure that any of them make a lot of sense, in regard to the actual plots, but the titles sound good anyway.

'Martians on motorcycles.' )



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