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“Torchwood: Miracle Day”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) & Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) are back! After the disbandment of Torchwood, following the events of Children of Earth, Jack Harkness found himself wondering the galaxy looking for answers, if not forgiveness, and Gwen and her husband Rhys moved to an isolated cottage in Whales to raise their daughter away from the madness of the world. It was only a matter of time until an unforeseen event would undoubtedly bring these two together again, and that event came to be known as “Miracle Day.” It’s the day where no one died. Not a single person. All across the globe, the sick and injured continued to live. And the next day, and the next, and the next, it’s as if the entire planet had become immortal over night. Well, not the entire planet. The earth’s one immortal man from the future, Captain Jack Harkness, finds that he is once again just a mere mortal man, and that whoever, or whatever is behind the miracle wants Torchwood out of the picture once and for all.

The concept behind Torchwood: Miracle Day is great! It really makes you realize just how fast our systems and governments would start to fall apart if an event like this were to ever actually happen. The camps and the treatment of the undead, or “Category Ones” as they’re called on the show, would be unreal! It’s funny to think about just how quickly the rich and powerful can adapt to creating a system that would benefit their needs and interests. Did I say funny? I meant sad.

As great as the story is, one might say, and when I say “one” I mean a Doctor Who fan, that the story is far too big of an event for the Torchwood team to handle alone, and I agree. I think something of this scale would warrant the Doctor’s attention, but that’s just merely a nerd’s gripe. My biggest problem with the show is that that it took ten episodes to tell this story. It really only should have been about six. I understand that creator Russell T. Davies wanted to have the story unfold in a very true and believable manner, but this series was introducing the Torchwood franchise to a much wider U.S. audience, and I think it ultimately hurt them in the long run. With that being said, I really like that they didn’t just reboot the show in America the same way they did with Being Human or Skins. I’m really glad that they just simply created a story that would bring the surviving Torchwood team members to the States. The new American cast members were also outstanding! Bill Pullman’s portrayal of the murdering pedophile Oswald Danes is amazing! The show truly captures the way the media today can turn a disgusting monster into a media poster child. Speaking of the media, Lauren Ambrose’s portrayal of the public relations consultant, Jilly Kitzinger or is it Lucy Statten Meredith now (a little inside joke for those of you that have already seen Miracle Day), makes you realize just how soulless the profession can be at times, and yet she’s still somehow likeable. Mekhi Phifer and Alexa Havins effortlessly gel their way into the team dynamic of Torchwood. And Barrowmen and Myles are as strong as ever! It’s really great to see just how far Gwen Cooper has developed as a character over the last few years. Torchwood: Miracle Day might not be the strongest of the series’ ventures, but it’s definitely worth checking out!

Rating:

 

Comic Con 2010

Well, another Comic Con has come and gone, but your old friend Darby is here once again to give you all the news you need to know, and 100% Nerd Flu free.


“Tron: Legacy”

Tron: Legacy was back at the Con this year, and this time Flynn’s Arcade was also able to transport you into the game itself! After you had your fun playing free video games, you are escorted to Flynn’s workshop, where you get zapped into the game and find yourself at the “End of Line Club” a haven for rogue programs. This re-creation of a set from Tron: Legacy was one of the most impressive things at Comic Con this year. I almost didn’t want to leave the room.






“Burn Notice”

It was announced at this year’s Burn Notice panel, that there will be a straight-to-DVD Burn Notice prequel, starring Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe, and will tell the story of Sam’s last mission before Miami.





“Predators”

Sadly, Robert Rodriguez announced Thursday, that 20th Century Fox will be releasing a sequel to this month’s new Predators incarnation. I know, not everyone disliked the new movie, but let’s be honest; it was crap, and I’m sure Predators: Electric Boogaloo isn’t going to be much better.




“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”

At the end of the panel for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, director/co-writer Edgar Wright announced that a surprise secret screening was about to take place. He then took a select few of the audience members from Hall H, and lead them Pied Piper style through the streets of San Diego to a theater not far from the convention center. Let me just say, that this is hands down the best movie of the summer! A review will be up here closer to the release of the movie, but take my word for it and buy your tickets now!




“The Walking Dead”

AMC‘s new series The Walking Dead, based on the Image comic, definitely had the biggest presence at the Con this year. You couldn’t go any where without seeing a horde of zombies, or footage from the upcoming show, stopping people in their tracks… Literally. At the panel on Friday we got to see some bloody amazing footage, and I mean bloody in both senses of the word. The cinematography on this show is going to blow you way. The sparkly vampires and teenage werewolves have had their time in the sun, well maybe not the vampires, but I do believe it’s about high time for the zombies. Long live the zombies! Can you say that about the undead?




“Saw 3D”

I was able to attend the press event/panel for the new Saw 3D, or Saw VII whichever one you prefer, and got to see the first eight minutes of the movie. They also unveiled the new eye popping poster, and also announced that this will be the final chapter in the Saw series.





“Green Lantern”

After thousands of people, along with Ralph and myself (Ralph was out there much longer than I), camped out all night just for the chance of getting in to Hall H for the Green Lantern panel, it was finally 11:45AM and thanks to Ralph and Lenny we made it in! On hand for the Q&A was Mr. Hal Jordan himself Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, and directory Martin Campbell. The panel wasn’t overly flashy, but we did get to see a few minutes of footage in the form of a somewhat trailer. It’s less than a year away, but I think I might just have to get in line now!




At the Warner Bros. booth, there was also a floor display of Abin Sur’s body.





“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

At the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides panel, the audience received a special message from Captain Jack Sparrow himself! Does this mean we can stop calling it a trilogy?




“The Stabbing”

Okay, so here’s where Saturday gets a little pear shaped. Two men started arguing over space, or lack there of in Hall H, just after the Resident Evil: Afterlife panel, and just before the Paul panel. It was at this point, that of the one guys ends up stabbing the other guy near the eye with a pen. When news of the event quickly made its way around the Con, the only thing that shocked me was that it doesn’t happen more often. You’ve got thousands of antisocial people all huddled together with other antisocial people, add to that most haven’t eaten or slept in days, and at some point the nerd-rage is going to fly. The best part of all this was the costumes that followed on Sunday.





“Cowboys & Aliens”

Thanks to the amazing Jon Favreau, for the first time in Comic Con history, Harrison Ford graced the Con with his presence, and in handcuffs no less. The handcuffs could have had two meanings; 1) that’s what it took to get him to his first Comic Con, or 2) it was trying to make light of the stabbing that took place earlier. Either way, the crowd erupted when they saw Han Solo being lead to the stage by security.




“The Avengers”

For the first time ever, the cast of the up-coming Avengers movie were assembled in one place, and that place was Comic Con! The video says it all!

Avengers Assemble!!!



But it’s not just all about the movies at Comic Con. One of the best reasons to go to Comic Con is to get your hands on the exclusive toys and action figures only available at the Con… Well that is until they’re put on eBay for five times the original price. This is just a few of them; there really are way too many to list.



Plastic Man

This one was a “Must Have” for me this year!



Attack of the Show

These Gentle Giant Comic Con exclusives, are mini-busts of the Attack of the Show hosts Kevin Pereira & Olivia Munn.



Doctor Who

This years Doctor Who figure is a two-pack of the Eleventh Doctor and one of those lame Dalek redesigns.



Venture Brothers

These old school action figure dolls of Henchmen 21 and 24, were almost impossible to get.



Mo-Larr vs. Skeletor

By far the funniest exclusive at the Con this year, based on the Robot Chicken skit, this two-pack features for the first time ever Mo-Larr and a gapped toothed Skeletor.



One last thing before I go. Every year the studios at Comic Con make these giant bags for people to carry their stuff around in while at the Con. Well the best bags this year, without a doubt, go to the SyFy Channel.

One side of the bag reads “Mega Tote,” and the other “Giant Backpack.” But the thing that makes it so great is that in the fold of the bag it reads “vs.” You’ve got to love that!



Well, that does it for another Comic Con, but Comic Con 2011 will be on July 21st to the 24th next year, so start making your plans now.

Comic Con 2009

Well, Comic Con has come and gone, but if you didn’t make it down to San Diego your old friend Darby is here to lay it all out for you. The one thing that seems to always be true about Comic Con, year after year, is the fact that it has less and less to do with comics each year. This year it was the teenie girls and their “Twilight: New Moon” that over ran the Con. The one thing I always hated about Comic Con is the standing in line for two hours to get a ticket so you can stand in line for three hours the next day; the whole time not being able to spend any time on the floor. The panels are the same story. Wait in line for hours for a panel and miss a bunch of events while sitting on the floor. The Con is amazing. It’s so much fun and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But every year, I make a list of the things I want to do, and every year I get like two done if I’m lucky. So, here’s a run down of some of the events that went down at Comic Con this year. Some I got to see and others that I only got to hear about.

 

“Iron Man 2”

The buzz for the first “Iron Man” movie started at Comic Con. So even with production having only wrapped a week ago, nothing was going to stop Jon Favreau from sharing what he could with the fans at Comic Con this year. Appearing with Favreau on the panel was Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, and Sam Rockwell. After the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Favreau’s son Max, they rolled the exclusive clip that introduced all the film’s new characters. “Iron Man 2” will hit theaters in May of 2010.

 

“Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead” & “Torchwood: Children of Earth”

At the Saturday night screening of “Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead” and the 5th and final episode of “Torchwood: Children of Earth,” fans got a little bit more than they were expecting.

 

“The Green Hornet”

Seth Rogen stopped by the Con to unveil the new Black Beauty, a modified 1965 Chrysler Crown Imperial that he’ll be cursing around in for the upcoming film.

 

“Alice in Wonderland”

Tim Burton premiered the first trailer for “Alice in Wonderland” on Thursday at the Con, with a huge surprise visit from the Mad Hatter himself Johnny Depp.

 

“Avatar”

James Cameron makes up for his lame E3 appearance with over 20 minutes of footage from his already over hyped film “Avatar.” He also announced that fans worldwide would be able to see 15 minutes of the film for free, online on “Avatar Day,” which is August 21st. The film is set to open this year on December 18th.

 

 

 

“New Moon”

“Twilight” fangirls came by the thousands to Comic Con this year. Some would say it was the downfall of Comic Con this year. These two guys were walking the floor on late Sunday with signs to show their displease of the upcoming film’s presences this year. Some of the fangirls stayed two nights outside the convention center waiting in line to attend the “Twilight” panel on Thursday. This was truly the craziness of this year’s Con. There’s always one thing at the Con that you can’t get away from, and you at times just wish would go away. This year it was most definitely “Twilight.” It’s hard to explain. It’s like a high school click. Comic Con is geek’s paradise, and this year the popular cheerleaders stormed the gates and stole the show. “Twilight” seems like the kind of thing that would fit in at the Con, but it really just seemed to overpower everything around it. For the last six years Hollywood has been taking over Comic Con, but this is like the Jonas Brothers performing on the center of the convention floor.

 

“Dollhouse”

The almost canceled series had a screening of the unaired thirteenth episode, which can also be found on the “Dollhouse” Season One DVD set. Look for my “Dollhouse” DVD review here soon.

 

“LOST”

This was probably one of the best panels of the Con. Wayne has already done a write up on this so I’ll just redirect you there. Click Here!

 

“The Hobbit”

Peter Jackson talked a little bit about the upcoming project.

 

“Jonah Hex”

The next DC Comic film, starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox, was premiered by the new teaser trailer. The new teaser poster was unveiled as well. I cannot wait to see this movie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Tron: Legacy”

Last but not least… The long awaited “Tron” sequel “Tron: Legacy.” A scavenger hunt sent convention goes around downtown San Diego, and finally brought them to their final destination, a marvelously reconstructed 1980’s arcade, called Flynn’s Arcade! They actually had Flynn’s Arcade tokens! I know! They also unveiled the first teaser trailer. I for one cannot wait!

 

But it’s not just all about the movies at Comic Con. One of the best reasons to go to Comic Con is to get your hands on the exclusive toys and action figures only available at the Con… Well that is until they’re put on eBay for five times the original price. This is just a few of them; there really are way too many to list.

 

The Wonder Twins and Gleek

This is the one I really wanted, but sadly it sold out by the time I stood in line for a ticket to stand in line for a figure. These DC Universe figures are so cool. I love that they make figures for the secondary characters. I can’t wait for the upcoming Question figure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The LOST Benjamin Linus Bobble Head

This beaten up Michael Emerson bobble head is so cool. The likeness is uncanny.

 

Doctor Who Comic Con Exclusives

Okay, I’m a huge “Doctor Who” fan, and I love the figures, but there just always seems to be just too many of them to buy at the Con. This year there were five, all between twenty and forty dollars, mostly forty. I’m sorry, six figures if you count the Captain Jack Harkness Torchwood figure. I wish they would just make one exclusive figure each year. I would buy that figure every year, but I’m not going to spend over two hundred dollars at one booth. 

 

The Blackest Night 5 Figure Green Lantern Set

 

 

One last thing, before heading back to L.A. I stopped in Eureka to have dinner at Café Diem.

Well, that does it for this year. Comic Con will be July 22nd to the 25th next year, so start making plans now.

Doctor Who – BBC Books Collection 1
a review by Darby O’Gill

BBC Books release three new Doctor Who books at a time. Therefore, I will be reviewing them in sets of three, and labeling them as collections. These are really nice books. They are small hard covers, kind of like the old Hardy Boys books from when we were kids. The size is perfect. Just a little bigger than a normal paperback, so you can easily take these books with you on the go; and the hard cover makes them really durable.


“The Clockwise Man”
by Justin Richards

The book opens as so many Doctor Who stories do, with the 9th Doctor and Rose arriving in 1924 London, with plans of visiting the British Empire Exhibition. But of course, the second they step out of the TARDIS they are instantly sucked into a series of strange events and mysteries that only the Doctor and Rose could possibly solve. Ultimately saving the world, yet again. Although unlike most Doctor Who stories, the Doctor and Rose do in fact make it to the British Empire Exhibition before trips end. Well how about that!

This book has a little bit of everything; conspiracies, revolutions, exiled dictators, bloodlines, black cats, and a painted lady and her mechanical Clockwise Men. Author Justin Richards does a good job of capturing the voice of the characters, which I feel is really important when writing a book based on characters, when the reader already knows the way they speak. More notably, Richards makes sure that you hear the 9th Doctor’s voice clearly. You can really tell that this is Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor. Actually, that can be said for all three of the books in this set.

The story keeps moving, but at times can seem a little slow. Overall the pace is good. At no point did I put the book aside and move on to something else for awhile, which is really saying something, because my ADD usually has a tendency of getting the better of me. I don’t think any of the twists and turns are going to fool you, but it’s an entertaining read none the less. Now, some Doctor Who fans don’t like to read the books because of continuity problems. I don’t really have a problem with this, because it doesn’t happen very often, and I also enjoy reading new stories to fill the time waiting for the next season of Doctor Who to air. It’s also nice to have some more stories with the 9th Doctor after only having thirteen episodes with him. However, there is a continuity issue in this book. Rose does come in contact with Clockwise Men in the book, but will meet them for the first time on the show with the 10th Doctor in the second season. Really not a big deal, but maybe for some. A moment that might possibly make-up for that slight continuity problem, is a scene in which Rose has a conversation with one of the servants in the Imperial Club, and the girl makes her think of Gwyneth, who appeared in the season one episode, “The Unquiet Dead.” Here’s a quick fun fact about that episode, the part of Gwyneth, was played by Eve Myles, who would later go on to play, Gwen Cooper on Torchwood. Sorry, back to the book review. The climax of the book in the clock tower of Big Ben is fantastic. I think the greatest part of this book is that it really manages to give you that sense of time and place, the way only Doctor Who can.

Rating:

3 Little People


“The Monster Inside”
by Stephen Cole

To be honest, when I read the description on the back of this book, I really wasn’t looking forward to this story. But, I’m really glad to say I couldn’t have been more wrong. The TARDIS gets forced to land on Justicia, a prison system consisting of over six planets. The 9th Doctor and Rose are instantly split-up as they are sent to different prison planets. A human prison for Rose, and a labor camp for highly intelligent aliens, for the Doctor. This is the part I thought I was going to have a problem with. The thought of the Doctor and Rose being separated from each other for the whole book, just instantly turned me off. But you know what? Stephen Cole does a fantastic job of going back and forth between the Doctor and Rose. I also enjoyed the way he chose to intertwine the two stories, and have each of their prisons hold different pieces to the puzzle.

This story marks Rose’s first trip to an alien plant. Although, it doesn’t seem so alien at first, maybe more like a scene out of Stargate. Upon their arrival, the Doctor and Rose ascend a hillside to find what seem to be slaves building a pyramid, but turns out to be more like a Justicia chain gang.

I think it’s great that Cole chose to isolate Rose from the Doctor on her first trip off world. It really gave Rose’s character a sense of fear. Not only was she in prison, but she was on a whole other planet. She has no idea what has happened to the Doctor or whether he’ll ever be able to find her again. I really like this concept. What would you do if you got separated from the person that you traveled though time and space with, and thought you would have to spend the rest of your life on an alien planet, in prison no less?  I’ve got to say, for a book I didn’t even want to read, this is a real fun read.

While in the Justicia prison system the Doctor and Rose once again find themselves dealing with the Slitheen. This might not mean anything to you if you’re not a Doctor Who fan, but we find out in this book that the Slitheens are not the only family on the block of Raxacoricofallapatorian. We meet their arch rivals/cousins the Blathereen for the first time.

Now, this isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it is definitely the best out of these three. If anything this book is just one more reason to not judge a book by its cover, or dust jacket in this case.

Rating:

4 Little People


“Winner Takes All”
by Jacqueline Rayner

In the final book of this set, the 9th Doctor and Rose return to present day London, to visit Rose’s mum Jackie, only to quickly learn of this new marketing campaign that’s sweeping the nation. People are randomly winning video gaming systems with the game “Death to the Mantodeans,” or all expense paid holidays to an exotic resort, just for buying the things they already need at their local shops. One scratch-off ticket for every item you buy, making it virtually imposable not to win. The Doctor, not liking the concept of something for nothing, enlists Mickey Smith, Rose’s former boyfriend, to help get to the bottom of things. I got to tell you this was not one of my favorites. There is not one single original idea in this entire book, from The Last Starfighter, to Harry Potter, even upcoming movies like Gamer, and Surrogates (more on those later this year). This story just doesn’t make you really care about what’s going on. That’s truly not a good thing, when you’re talking about a Doctor Who storyline. Also, I don’t know which was written first, but this exact same story appears in one of the season one episodes of The Sara Jane Adventures. But even so, it’s still a really lame storyline. I mean the evil aliens, the Quevvils, are gait porcupines. They don’t just kind of look like porcupines, they are literally giant porcupines! It’s really disappointing because the first two books in this set were so good. I really did have high hopes for this one. However, I’ve got to say it didn’t effect the readably of this book. Even though I wasn’t into the storyline, it was still a rather quick read. Jacqueline Rayner writes a few more books in this series and I hope the next one is better. Her writing style and technique are good; I just think this story structure could have been much better.

Rating:

1 Little People