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All the Suns All the Suns

The Sun Makers was one of my least favourite Fourth Doctor serials the first time I watched through the series and I still don’t like it very much. The best parts are improvisations between Tom Baker and Louise Jameson—the Fourth Doctor being my favourite Doctor and Leela being one of my favourite companions. But the…

Gambles in a Fairy Light Gambles in a Fairy Light

Three episodes in, Cowboy Bebop finally introduces Faye Valentine, its female lead. Faye herself, and the episode that introduces her, continues the show’s jumbling of familiar symbols, forcing us to take characters and events on their own terms.

Styrofoam in the Expanse Styrofoam in the Expanse

A decent new episode of The Expanse last night though it mainly felt like filler. Still, even a filler episode of The Expanse is better than a lot of other shows and one or two things did develop. It could’ve been worse.

Grim Stones on a Cold Land Grim Stones on a Cold Land

Sherlock Holmes travels to a gloomy prep school to find a missing boy in The Adventure of the Priory School. One of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes stories, collected in The Return of Sherlock Holmes, it provided the source material for one of my favourite episodes of the great Granada series starring…

How Not to Treat People   How Not to Treat People  

Watching the end of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom while eating breakfast this morning, I found there was a strangely bitter edge to it. Watching all these children being reunited with their parents by this symbol of American heroism rang a little hollow when I knew the news has been filled lately with children…

The American Barony The American Barony

There are many strange and sinister tales of European settlers in America, perhaps none stranger than that of James Reavis. His scheme in the 19th century to establish a claim on Arizona based on ties to 18th century Spanish nobility formed the basis of Samuel Fuller’s very strange 1950 film The Baron of Arizona. An…

Deborah Milton by the Thames Deborah Milton by the Thames

Happy Father’s Day, everyone. There’s a new chapter of my infrequently updated web comic, Dekpa and Deborah, online. In this chapter, Deborah’s father is very much on her mind. Enjoy.

Forbidden Word of the Daleks Forbidden Word of the Daleks

It seems at the beginning of the 2013 Doctor Who audio play Daleks Among Us that it’s going to be a nice, paranoid tale about an Orwellian dystopia. The aftermath of the humans winning against the Daleks on Earth eerily has the governing humans enforcing a constant rewriting of history and now Daleks can’t even be…

Following the Dog of the Mind Following the Dog of the Mind

Do you know how important your corgi is? If criminals and scientists are chasing it you should probably take note, a lesson Spike Spiegel ought to have learned in the second episode of Cowboy Bebop.

Getting to the Bottom of the Infinite
Expanse Getting to the Bottom of the Infinite Expanse

We got a little closer to solving the case on last night’s Expanse—or closer to finding out what the case even is. There were plenty of cool special effects but the performances were my favourite part.

The Elusively Common Art The Elusively Common Art

How much volition is involved in the ways people become important to one another? Presumably it varies on a case by case basis, which is one of the things that makes Seijun Seisuki’s 1991 film Yumeji a bit dizzying. A post-modernist nightmare version of a biography of painter and poet Yumeji Takehisa, Suzuki portrays…

Showing True Colours Showing True Colours

Let him that is no coward nor no flatterer But dare maintain the party of the truth Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me

Twenty Years of Asteroid Blues Twenty Years of Asteroid Blues

Cowboy Bebop turns twenty years old this year. Since its premiere in 1998, its audacity of style, its inventiveness combined with an evident work ethic have remained unique. There are plenty of other great anime series but none have so successfully divested themselves of any established genre, something its creative…

Three Out of Three Three Out of Three

In love and relationships, passions run so high and people have so much pride on the line, each party in a dispute may be fully committed to a different version of reality. Many comedies and dramas have been written from this premise, including the charming 1957 musical Les Girls. Featuring songs by Cole Porter that…

How Green was My Gallifrey How Green was My Gallifrey

One positive thing about The Deadly Assassin being one of my least favourite Doctor Who serials is that I haven’t watched it as many times and there were still ways in which it felt relatively fresh when I watched it this past week. I enjoyed it a lot more this time, too.

Pictures from the Waning Year Pictures from the Waning Year

I don’t know much about Anthony Bourdain, the widely loved celebrity chef who committed suicide this morning. I have a lot of friends who love his work and I’ve seen a thing or two from him I liked. His death naturally has provoked a lot of discussion online to-day—I’ve seen a few comments along the line of depression…

Wardrobe for Any Climate Extreme Wardrobe for Any Climate Extreme

If there’s one thing fantasy has taught us it’s that hot and cold don’t get along, a thematic struggle perhaps best distilled in Ralph Bakshi’s 1983 film Fire and Ice. Bakshi’s infamous rotoscope animation technique gets a big aesthetic boost for designs by Frank Frazetta. Along with Bakshi’s great talent as a…

The Hundred Year Soldier or Tree? The Hundred Year Soldier or Tree?

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Shoulder Arms, one of several films Charlie Chaplin directed and starred in in 1918. But at forty-six minutes it was by far the longest film he’d directed and remained so until 1921's The Kid. Shoulder Arms remains a brilliant film. It lacks the pathos his films became known…

A Vague Sketch of Anti-Semitism A Vague Sketch of Anti-Semitism

One of the most important steps in combating bigotry is to shine a light on it, and that’s just what investigative reporter Phil Green attempts to do in 1947's Gentleman’s Agreement. An Elia Kazan film that’s not half as good as his great films from the 50s, its portrait of anti-Semitism in the U.S. is lacking in too…

King John and Robin Hoods King John and Robin Hoods

It’s eighty years this year since the best film version of Robin Hood was released. Starring Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Olivia de Havilland, and Claude Rains, it managed a combination of action, adventure, romance, and heartiness that’s never been matched as a cinematic experience either by films that sought to…

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