His Dark Materials (BBC)

I was aware of this story and the books, but had never really thought about reading them. So when the BBC announced their new series I decided to give it a go. I have to admit that I had low expectations as they’d not exactly done a great job with War of the Worlds.

But, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. It was actually very good indeed. I watched all of the episodes, and, whilst I can’t say it was a story that I found totally gripping or interesting, it was actually good.

I think they’re making more of this too. I would definitely watch more if they do. If nothing else I expect it’ll be diverting.

The other thing it’s made me do is to get the first of the audio books. I haven’t started listening to it as yet, but I’ll get to it eventually.

The First Doctor

When Netflix had all the Doctor Who episodes, and, for the avoidance of doubt, that means from William Hartnell onwards. I started to watch these from episode 1. Then, with very little warning Netflix removed the lot. I was left fairly annoyed.

Since then I’ve occasionally wondered about watching the whole lot, but I’ve never got around to it. Now I seem to have a little more time on my hands I thought I’d sign up for a 30 day trial subscription of BritBox, which has the whole of Doctor Who.

Now I’m watching season 1 of the first doctor. It’s interesting to see it. Where it all started as it were. I have to say that I’m enjoying it, although it is very slow by today’s standards. My plan is to watch all of the Hartnell and Troughton episodes if at all possible.

Revisiting Survivors

Survivors is a relatively little known TV show from the 1970s. It was about a virus that killed off almost the entire population of the planet. The people who were left were the ‘Survivors’. This is of course the subject of quite a lot of TV shows and films these days, but back then I think it was quite ground breaking.

It only got 3 seasons on TV, but, a few years ago, Big Finish, a company that makes some of my favourite audiobooks brought it back, with the three lead actors as well. Big Finish produced 9 seasons of it, each with 4 hour long episodes. It was brilliant. In fact, so much so that I’m revisiting the whole thing this year. Starting with the TV series. Which, in my opinion, stands the test of time, and is actually better than a lot of TV these days.

Survivors from the 1970s took a slow approach to storytelling. Or maybe that was the norm back then? Either way, it took its time in each episode. It had a natural feel too that somehow made it more believable.

I’ve enjoyed watching this again, and remembering the characters, the story and the where it took us.

Now that I’ve finished watching it I’m going to move on to listening to all of the audio stories that Big Finish Productions created. There are 9 box sets of these, so that will probably take me a while to get through I should think. When I do, I think I might post a summary of my thoughts on the whole thing.

The Dark Crystal

THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE

When I first heard that Netflix was going to make a series based on the Dark Crystal, I have to admit I was somewhat skeptical about the whole thing. However, I knew I was going to at least give it a try, as I’d been a fan of the original film from when it first came out.

I was, like many others I suspect, very happily surprised by just how good it was. Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is an excellent series that is entirely in keeping with the original and very respectful to everything that the film did. I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve now watched the whole thing twice, and gone back to watch the original movie too.

In fact, I’ve now started reading the Dark Crystal Creation Myths graphic novels too. I suppose I’ve become a little obsessed with it, although there’s nothing especially wrong with that.

I was very pleased to hear that another season is also in offing, and I’m certainly looking forward to that. Personally I’m not sure I can get quite enough Dark Crystal for now.

But why is it so compelling? Why has it been such a hit? Sure, there are plenty of people who remember the original movie and have nothing but fond memories of it, but I think it’s more than that. Dark Crystal is a very traditional story of good versus evil. There’s nothing new there, but it isn’t always as simple as that. It’s about community, and joining forces, about loyalty and innocence and friendship too.

THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE

BBC’s War of the Worlds

I was actually really looking forward to seeing this. However, it has been a massive disappointment. It is actually one of the worst things I’ve seen, and most certainly the worst rendering of this story ever, and I include the Tom Cruise version, which was decidedly awful too.

I don’t really understand how they got it so wrong though. I mean, there’s a book. They read the book right? It doesn’t take much to get this right. They left out a load of stuff though. Stuff that was in the actual story, and they put in a load of stuff that wasn’t in the story. I’m not entirely sure why though.

It seems to me that this is a result of a very simple error that can be boiled down into a simple equation.

Original Story + Useless Additions – Cool stuff from the original = Crap Version

Sure, that’s probably an oversimplification, but basically it’s what happened, and it should have been totally avoidable.

As far as I can tell, no one (in their right mind) thought this was any good at all. I’d agree. However, if you’re interested in a far superior version, that is audio only, then you should try the version that Big Finish produced.

Big Finish’s version of War of the Worlds

Now this is excellent. Really good and really enjoyable. I can thoroughly recommend it.