Distributor: ABC 1
Release Date: 7:30 PM, Sundays
I’d like to start by saying I am a Dr. Who fan. I have been since I was 12 and in the ensuing decades I have read every book and watched all the television programs, some repeatedly. I do this because the only other time I reviewed Dr Who – about two doctors back – I earned the most threatening letters I have ever received in my writing career. One involved a package and a shredded copy of my article – enough said. So, this comes from a fellow fan, ok guys? The current manifestation of Dr Who is going to take some getting used to.
Matt Smith was always going to have a hard time fitting into the role after David Tennant’s stupendously successful five-year tenure. Smith’s problems, though, are just indicative of the problems facing the series. Doctor Who began as the adventures of a time-travelling alien who avoided responsibilities wherever possible, but never let the under-dog down. The original TARDIS was stolen for a joy-flight. Now our errant Time Lord has been reformed for a more socially conscious audience. Consequently he has to be devil-may-care and thoroughly responsible, funny but incredibly threatening, flippant but constantly concerned about the fate of the universe. Smith understandably struggles with his performance in these early days, see-sawing between these characteristics like a drunken Cyberman. Consequently the return of the Daleks, the Doctor’s arch-nemesis, from their third trip to oblivion (could be more – I’ve lost count) was greeted at my household with “You’re kidding??” rather than “Wow!” Oh and they’ve gained weight since their last ‘final destruction’.
The BBC continues to produce good, family friendly viewing even if the series is skewed a little more to adult sci-fi audiences these days with continued love-interests for the Doctor and the occasionally violent scene. Hopefully they’ll get the series back to the cutting-edge sci-fi it used to be rather than pillaging old story-lines some time soon.
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 10, 2010
For those born in the 80’s and on, The A-Team was family-favourite television series about a team of military misfits with extraordinary skills, used by US intelligence to accomplish impossible missions with unthinkable solutions. Hollywood was into recycling long before it was popular and so it was inevitable that this highly successful 1983 series would make it to the big screen one day. Director Joe Carnahan brings together Liam Neeson as brilliantly unorthodox Hannibal Smith, Sharlto Copley as ‘Howling Mad’ Murdock (the original MacGyver), and Quinton Jackson as the legendary one-line king, B.A. Baracas. The A Team will have high nostalgic value for people in their 40’s but is this franchise revivable? Or will it come off looking like a sadder version of Ocean’s 11?
Morally, the producers have tried to keep it as clean as the TV series – just good old-fashioned fun blowing things up while delivering Scwarzenegger-worthy lines. Of course the good guys get framed and it’s a fight to prove innocence, using less than innocent means. Morally there’s not much to say unless it’s a reminder that ‘the ends justifies the means’ may work on the big screen but it’s a philosophy unlikely to earn you any friends in this world or the next.