Monday, 26 November 2012

"Something Like A Phenomenon" An Interview with Jonathan Chance by @Zeiton_7

Anyone who has been following the surge in popularity of Independently
made films will have heard of Jonathan Chance, or if not him
personally then certainly some of the projects hes been involved with. The Timeslip, part of the Chance Encounters Film productions, won the
Best Sci Fi award in 2011 at the Geek Independent Film Festival. It is perhaps his work with this very successful group that brought him to a
position where he was able to start work on "Something Like A Phenomenon". "Phenomenon" is a labour of love for Jonathan and I was
keen to find out why from the man himself.

Hi Jonathan, thanks for taking the time to speak to me while you are
over in the UK. You have been referred to as a "Guerrilla Film-maker" but I sense I great deal of affection for the growing Indie Film
business. What are your opinions on this oft overlooked area of film making at the moment?

Hi Daniel, nice to finally sit down and chat with you!  I admire anyone that can do it. A lot of respect for anyone that tries, it really isn’t given the respect it deserves especially if you can make something great with little or no resources. I really feel guerrilla film making is the heart of original independent film, definitely. You can’t get any more hands on than doing it all yourself. It’s easy to critique someone’s work but go out and make a movie? It’s tougher than it looks. After one feature film and four shorts all self-funded - anyone who tries to wear the many hats of the film making process know it can be tough. Now, there’s b) the other end of the spectrum - people who work up from runners to AD’s then eventually to direct films, which can be a long arduous journey in itself. By this point those people must be crying out to do/show their own ability and vision to what they want to produce. I feel lucky to be in the former - the guerrilla filmmaker can do anything to their hearts desire (within budget or no budget but again that’s where the real artist in you gets creative!) find their staple of originality all the while getting the experience to be an Indie Director – not necessarily a big studio Director perhaps, but Richard and I (the other half of Chance Encounters) didn’t have to wait to see what we could do and be capable of with so little at hand. The Timeslip we still used the same work ethic as before with a slightly better camera and the result was our most successful film to date. It only gets me more excited for the future - by what we could do when we’re not held back by always funding our own projects – with the same sensibilities we hold so dear in always keeping the films ‘real’ despite if the film is in the realm of horror or fantasy.

It seems, at least to me, that things can only improve from here on in thanks to the development of films financed and promoted using social
network, especially twitter, is there still an issue with getting the large multi plexs to screen films?

Oh yes! Always is for the little guy. I agree it is easier now more than ever to get your work seen – but the competition is higher than ever because everyone is having a go at it. It just forces you to be better, try to stand out and always think differently and make what is distinctly one of our films – so people will want to come and see a Chance Encounters film whether it be solely a Jonathan Chance film or Richard Chance film or a Chance Brothers film. A guy by himself or small Indie group simply cannot get his film in a multiplex without moneyed help of a PR company or simply knowing people. Paranormal Activity would not have been as popular were it not for Screamfest and the mega advertising campaign everywhere – most people can’t afford things like that. To be taken seriously essentially you still have to try and get your foot in the door like the old days but Twitter (like how I met you!) and other social networks and websites definitely help get the word out and the responses we hear completely encourage and support us to want to continue knowing there is an audience wanting the same thing we want - we always appreciate it.

So, moving on to "Something Like A Phenomenon" Can you tell me a
little about how you came to hear the story of "the most haunted house in Britain" and how you came to be involved in making the film about

I was nine years old and a friend and I read about it in old ghost books and heard stories from locals. Just knowing there was this scary story literally on our doorstep fascinated me more than anything and I wanted to know more. The story of a real haunted house and this rather eccentric, but essentially pioneering first ghost hunter in Harry Price was so interesting! When I was in my teen’s friends and I went along to the existing spot to record phenomena of our own and I totally see the fascination in the unknown, it’s always interested me. So combined with my love of horror movies and finding my passion in film making after a few films around 2008 I started writing scenes for Phenomenon - reading up on people in Harry Price’s life; friends, enemies and all about his work and I knew that one day I would make a film about it. Or at least if one of my films took off and I could finally be at a stage of making a financed work this would be my dream film to make. Knowing now that there is a plethora of supernatural films – my intention was never to jump on a band wagon but rather make a true ghost story to end the - and let’s start at the beginning. Or at the very least offer my take before someone else makes a film about Borley Rectory in some awful untrue modern setting and state it was ‘based on a true story’.  My story is one of truth blended with the spirit of an innovative time for science and the supernatural. And it’s by someone who knows the legend well. I want my script transcend to screen to make a classic horror film that will stand the test of time – like the films I grew up on. I don’t want it turned into another implausible CGI ridden mess. The legend, myth and truth essentially hangs in the balance. This is a big one for me and what’s more I’m proud of my local history. I want to bring what the late great Michael Reeves brought to Essex with The Witchfinder General four decades ago – a unflinching, pulsating nerve inducing horror film based on a real legend – he is a perfect example of where we are steering onward and upward from guerrilla film making to our next step up in evolution and progression. I hope it will be our timeless ‘Witchfinder’ of today for Essex, England a place steeped in haunted history!

Michele Mulkey has recently announced that she is working on the
lovers of fantastic quality special effects. Does this mean you are moving towards "old school scares" rather than CGI driven effects?

Absolutely!  In horror CGI should aide not ‘make’ the scene if used at all. I want to get back to the feel of believability again. Speaking of believability brings me to my secret weapon; SFX artist Michele Mulkey! I am completely over blown, happy and very blessed to have someone of her standard and calibre to want to work on the film and - become head SFX artist for it. She has wanted to work on something like this for quite a while and I’m happy it’s my film. Her unwavering passion to see this get made from the very start means so much. With her on board the better this film will be, we can make a great movie – I already know it will be of higher quality when we finally get to production and trust me… this is not one I want to cut back on – it has to be done right! In FX whether it’s our own self-financed indie films where we’re making the FX ourselves down to classic horror films – how you build a scene or cut it or film it chances are it still holds up better than a CGI horror film from five years ago – I am and always have been for the classic scares. A great horror film will always have suspense, build etc. It’s more believable, tangible. CGI has its best merits in supporting SCI-FI fantasy/ horror - there it is jumping bounds and always improving – you only have to look to say Battlestar Galactica or  The Avengers they look fantastic. But in the horror genre until I’m not questioning whether or not something is fake – real SFX will always make a better horror film. Great SFX you never ask was that CGI? You never question its legitimacy. All my favourite horror films are traditionally made.

Have you been a fan of Michelle's work for long? How did you get
involved with working with her before this project?

Oh yes! She has produced and contributed her unique original style over so many genres and of course my favorite’s horror and sci-fi (of course). I don’t doubt the standard of quality she will bring to Something Like a Phenomenon. I met her on line through projects she was talking about on Twitter and simultaneously I was tweeting about my own films namely The Timeslip doing the film circuit, The Veil: Unmasked Edition (their first film recut and packaged now streaming) and a sci-fi collaborative project anyone can get involved in Richard is working on called The Last War. We were on friendly terms for a time then many tweets later Phenomenon came up and Michele must have seen something in my proposal article that resonated and she jumped to come on board. I couldn’t believe it! So many people high in the industry don’t get in touch – but the fact she saw my screenplay proposal and wanted to get in touch with doing the effects and concept drawings, I was ecstatic. With her support I can see this might be the ‘one’ that breaks through. Always on the outside looking in after so many years in the Indie film rat race trying to prove ourselves with our own films it goes to show with enough effort, experience and building exposure and accolades you too can meet someone as cool as Michele and raise awareness of someone in the industry if your work has well… something.

How far into pre production are you? The big question being are you
actually going to film in Borley Rectory itself if not the grounds?

Slowly wins the race for sure. This has to be done right. Having said that - as quickly as Michele coming on board happened beginning the journey from script to screen, a don’t doubt if there is interest for a really real ghost story the ball will get rolling even quicker soon, so keep watching this space!

I'm interested about the pitch for this project? Did you approach many studios?

In the process of it currently, looking around – we have a balls to the wall approach – no holding back. Whichever studio is with us on this we’ll be ready to go. The ‘found footage’ thing is done – it’s amateurish and predictable. We don’t want it to be bogged down in a sea of similar looking films that come out every year it seems. We want to bring something new, as said before my aesthetic is guerrilla style, maybe even documentary slightly – but it has classic ghost story written all over it. An air of grandiose even – but only on surface – underneath it’s an indie with a black hearted underbelly.

"Phenomenon" has already been awarded the position of Semi Finalist
for the Shriekfest 2012 awards, an impressive award, does this help when it comes to casting?

I really hope so! Denise Gossett and the team at Shriekfest are wonderful. They are very supportive of independent filmmakers and screenwriters. I was really proud to have become a semi-finalist in such a prestigious festival – and I’ve seen where former finalists and winners have picked up from afterwards. I already have a ‘wish list’ of casting I would love for the film. Who I have in mind – if I can just get one or two would bring considerable weight to the production. I am well aware today a lot of teens have a short attention span and this would be a traditional horror that will suit the niche (who are crying out for a real, gritty proper horror film from yesteryear) but in the story set around the one year Harry Price has a lease to the most haunted house in England all walks of life take part in the experiment of living in the house within the year and some of the important characters are youngsters who carry out the experiments the house (which I’m sure kids will relate to). Meanwhile, Price and his cohorts - the main adult characters need to have great screen presence that bring different generations of cinema-goers together and has to hold the screen. I know the perfect actors in mind that can bring the perfect balance of lending weight to the film and compliment it but not upstage the film itself. The house and its goings on is probably in all essence the biggest character in the story.

I'm assuming that working with Dennis Wheatley on the film short wont
do you to much harm, how did that come about?

 Dennis Wheatley was a novelist of some of the best horror stories of the twentieth century some of which were made into film – spectacularly by Hammer studios. In my studies I found that Wheatley knew Harry Price very well and were friends – it’s one of those stranger than fiction accounts that made me even more fascinated to want to make this into a film. Take two very interesting people; one larger than life Ghosthunter, the other; a weaver of horror stories not too far from what Price was really uncovered in reality. More over there’s more people you would have never known were in the same circles – but you will have to wait and see to find out! Playing Wheatley for a moment was fun. I played him on a short trailer spec I put together one evening solely to get some attention at Shriekfest film festival for my screenplay– the actors were great and did a wonderful job I would recommend them for another one else to work with! Also the marvellously quaint Victorian house we used is actually a museum called the Howe-Waffle house, comes highly recommended as well.

Finally, have you any idea at this stage of timescales for production?
How can readers follow developments with the films production?

Indeed! Just like Michele coming on board things could just take off - so watch this space! The website will be up very shortly it will be under:

meanwhile currently our Facebook page is:

Also mine or Michele’s twitter handles will always keep people current on what’s developing – and of course people talking about it and getting the word out really will help us move into production faster too J

Thanks very much Jonathan, I'd like to keep up to date with your work on this fascinating and chilling project. Speak to you again soon

Saturday, 24 November 2012

49 Wonderful Years of Time Travelling @zeiton_7

On the 23rd of November 1963, this was seen for the first time on BBC television.

49 years on and 11 Regenerations later its hard to imagine life without The Doctor and his adventures. Indeed William Hartnell himself was quoted as saying that he felt the series had potential to run past his own turn as the renegade Time Lord. It is amazing to think that, despite numerous rests or hiatus from our view, Doctor Who is the longest running sci fi tv series in history. It has never needed a 'reboot' or a reinvention and, to this day, remains as fresh and as healthy as it was back when it started.

In my view, the attraction to Doctor Who has always been that it remains a family show, able to appeal to young and old alike. The most recent run, starting with Eccleston as the 9th Doctor has introduced a whole new, younger audience to the show. Some of these younger fans will not remember or have any experience of the shows fantastic 49 year history. Yet, through the release of many of the older stories, they too can marvel at how the show has evolved through the years.

A show that can change both its titular and main characters actors without effecting the ratings or the feel of the show is worthy of praise. Actually, I believe this is core to Doctor Who's success as allowing this to happen maintains a freshness and allows each regeneration to show a different dimension to The Doctor. In addition to this, boasting villains and monsters that are as famous as The Doctor himself has given Doctor Who a considerable edge over other Sci Fi shows.

Doctor Who is not without its lighter moments. Throughout the shows history we have witnessed many  laugh out loud scenes which have earnt a place in many fans memories. For me, watching The Doctor wade through a corridor fall of foam (The Second Doctor, The Seeds of Death) is a stand out one. The banter and rapport between The Brigadier and The Second Doctor in the anniversary story The Five Doctors being just another example.

 Few would admit it now, but in the late 90's and into the turn of a new millennium it seemed that Doctor Who would never return. Yet here we are now about to move into The BIG FIFTY and its back with Matt Smith and looks like it could run for another fifty!

In closing I would just like to pay a fond and tearful "five rounds rapid" to all of the Doctor Who actors and actresses who are sadly not with us anymore. The Doctor Who fan base across the world mourns their loss but, at the same time, celebrates the part they have played in making Doctor Who the program it is today.

 Here's to the next Fifty One years!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Interview with Michele Mulkey- Special Effects Legend

As long time supporter of AD Lanes twitter funded project "Invasion of the Not Quite Dead" I was absolutely delighted that Michele Mulkey had agreed to head up the SFX Department. Anyone that is a fan of horror or sci fi will be familiar with her work. As well as working on Firefly she has provided effects and makeup for some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters. Here she talks about her new project "Something Like a Phenomenon" and her excitement about working in the UK for the first time. 

Hello Michele and thanks for taking the time from your really busyschedule to talk to me! Your experience and CV, spanning over 12years, is impressive. You have worked with so many great actors and FXCompanies. What are some of your highlights?

There are so many!  I really liked working on Charmed since they were all such amazing makeup's.  And I loved Firefly.  Hands down one of the coolest sets I've ever had the pleasure of working on.  Chronicles of Riddick was amazing, but I think one of my favourite movies was Petunia.  It just had such a great cast and everyone had such a great sense of humour, especially Thora Birch and Eddie Kay Thomas.  It made the long days of filming go by so much faster.

Can you tell me a little about your background and how you decided towork within the FX Industry?

I actually started while I was in college earning a degree in the Performing Arts/Theatre.   I realised I wanted to become a makeup artist after doing make up for several productions my first year.  Once I graduated, I moved out to Los Angeles and attended a professional makeup school where I learned all the basics I needed.  And soon after , I started working in some of the Special Effects shops in the Los Angeles area.

Are you looking forward to spending time in the UK next year?

Absolutely!  I've never been to England so just going there next year will be exciting.  And it's going to be even better since I will be there working on such an amazing film like AD Lane's Invasion of the Not Quite Dead.  I've really come to admire AD so much.  He truly is an inspiration to every Indie Film Maker out there and he has stayed so true to his vision of the film.  Just such a respect for him.  And I've had the chance to travel all over the United States and Canada for work, but never overseas, so I'm really looking forward to it. 

Moving on to "Something Like A Phenomenon", It's a fascinating project. How did you come to be involved with it?

 It really is!  Jonathan Chance ( of Chance Encounters Films) and I have been friends for awhile now, and when he sent me the breakdown for the script and movie, I was just fascinated by it.  It's based on actual events that took place in  what is known as "the most haunted house in England" and is a huge part of British local legend.  I've never had a chance to work on a true ghost film before, so I jumped at the chance to head up the SFX for the film.  As well as having a chance to finally work with John on a film.  There is actually a very detailed storyline on the history of the film on the "Something Like A Phenomenon" Facebook page

Can you give me any hints as to what we can expect from you for the project?

Well, without giving too much away about the film, I can say that there will be several truly terrifying ghosts as well as some very, very gruesome possessions.  So a lot in the way of SFX in this movie! 

Aside from this and Ad's film "Invasion of the Not Quite Dead" what else have you got planned for 2013?

Once I'm done with Invasion, I will be filming a movie called Cryptids.  I've already started on some pre-production on the film even though it's not scheduled to shoot until fall of 2013.  There are several creatures in the film and the suits will take quite awhile to make, so production green-lighted me to start now.  

When you aren't creating awesome special effects what do you like to do if you find some spare time?

Spare time...What's that?  Ha...I'm kidding.  Actually one thing I really enjoy doing is fishing.  I love fishing, especially salt water fishing.  It's something my Father taught me when I was growing up and to this day it's something he and I do as often as we can together.  And of course there is always a game going on between us...Who can catch the biggest fish! 

One final question, have you any tips for aspiring fx artistes that want to start working in the industry (apart from ordering their supplies from Michele Mulkey FX Studio)

 I would say that the best advice I can give is to just get out there and do it.  Have confidence in yourself and try to work on as many films as you can.  99.99% of what I know today I learned from working with other amazing SFXMUA's while on set or working in house at an FX Studio. 

Thanks for the fantastic answers Michele, I look forward to meeting you next year.For more information on Michele's work and effects please check out her company website here. check out the official facebook page for all information about "Something Like A Phenomenon"

Monday, 1 October 2012

"The Angels Take Manhattan" Reviewed by @zeiton_7

Ive been dreading this episode, ever since it was announced that this was to be Rory and Amy's last episode. I have had this feeling of impending doom and, as Saturday got nearer and nearer, it grew to an almost intolerable level. Not for the same reasons as, seemingly, most of my Twitter Timeline this week. You see I have a slight issue with certain areas of Doctor Who fandom. Its this... or comments like this. "If Rory and Amy die I don't know how I will live" or "my heart is breaking I don't know who to carry on" The frankly inevitable fan outpouring of hyper, over the top, "grief" annoys me. It annoys me a lot! Don't get me wrong, any companion or in this case companions that leave the program are going to trigger emotion. Its how the program works! We, as fans, attach ourselves strongly to those that are fortunate to travel with The Doctor. We share their excitement, their sadness, they are our passport into the world of The Doctor. Add to this the possibility that they may die and you have a cataclysmic event in Doctor Who. Companions being killed in the program is very very rare and when it does happen it is truly truly shocking. I have always made it clear that I have never really been a fan of Amy or Rory. For me they just annoyed me a lot of the time and the whole married couple travelling in the Tardis never really held much sway. Yes they had their moments but, if I'm honest, I was ready for a change. Perhaps I am not the ideal "target audience" for Pond love, I don't know, but there you have it. I also realise that other people did like them and would be truly saddened to see them go, may even shed a tear. NONE of this do I take issue with. Its the over the top comments that get me! You could put that down to age or to being new to the show but whatever it is I do believe a sense of perspective needs to be grasped.

Next year Doctor Who celebrates 50 years of existence. 50 years of books, tv episodes, stage shows, audio drama and merchandise. 50 years! Its a massive achievement and one that no other sci fi show has managed to reach. Why has it got to this milestone? One word. Change! Doctor Who is the only show that can completely change both its lead actor and supporting cast without causing the show any damage at all. In fact I would argue it strengthens it. With every new relationship, every new regeneration a new direction is taken. To truly appreciate how magnificent this show is, it is something that has to be understood. Add to that the fact that no actor wants to be type cast and must move on to new projects. If they feel they have taken the character as far as they can possibly want to then they leave. So by all means, feel sad if a favourite character leaves but its not the end of the story and its certainly not the end of you. These sort of over the top comments show a level of immaturity and well just silliness. There! rant over but it needed to be said! And no @Badwolfgirl5 and @Skriblerlenz I didn't cry but I'm knocking those that did!

Any way to the episode! The thought of Moffat writing a mid season finale involving The Weeping Angels is something that excites me. They are his baby and he writes for them very well. As our story opens we are stepping back into Gangster Land Manhattan and a clandestine meeting with a Boss and a detective. As his investigation unfolds we are haunted by the Angels. They are everywhere. I still get a chill when the camera pans away only to pan back and the statue has gone. Brilliant! As the detective uncovers his older self, dieing in bed, we wonder whether this is to be the Ponds fate. This is something that Moffat did incredibly well. We know they are leaving he had already hinted that "This time not everyone gets out alive". But he doesn't give too much away too quickly. As the plot unfolds and we learn more of the Angels plot we slowly get to see what The Doctor is up against. No sneaky Sonic waving is going to sort this one out!

As the all to familiar figure of River Song glides into view, played as always brilliantly by Alex Kingston we finally see the danger of skipping to the end of novels. It can mean your death. So with The Doctor, Amy and River back in time to save Rory some inconsistencies develop. Apparently if you read something in your future it becomes a fixed point! That's a new one! Knowing how transient Moffats fixed points are I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is reversed at some point. The biggest gripe I have is The Doctor using regeneration energy to fix Rivers broken wrist. Since when? At no point has The Doctor ever been able to use regeneration energy unless he is regenerating. This is lazy writing and  not even questioned. Again something which we as fans are just supposed to except. If The Doctor could do this why hasn't he done it to heal wounds before?

This aside though "Angels Take Manhattan" is a well written and well paced episode. Moffat does love to play with our emotions doesn't he. Surely feeding the fan girls is dangerous! He kills Rory three times in one episode (twice zapped back in time and once diving off a building) He also adopts a very Russell T Davis ploy of lulling us into a false sense of security. Just as we think Amy and Rory have escaped a surviving Angel zaps Rory back in time. The resulting "goodbye scene" with The Doctor, Amy and River was emotional. She finally chose Rory over The Doctor and spend the rest of her life with him back in time. Matt Smith's emotional final moments with her were brilliantly played and truly shows how good an actor he is. So with The Doctor unable to return to New York and a gravestone showing both Amy and Rory as dead they have truly gone for good. Their tenure with The Doctor completed as it began with Amelia Pond waiting for her "raggedy Doctor". An appropriate and fitting end to companions that have truly earned the title. How this parting will effect The Doctor we don't know but we will have to wait till Christmas Day to find out.

So to conclude, a really good episode to end The Ponds time with The Doctor and to move into the mid series break. The addition of some new Weeping Angels was truly chilling. In particular the smiling Angel. There was enough emotional trauma featured to keep my Twitter timeline buzzing till Doctor Who returns. Well done Moffat!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

An Appreciation of The Weeping Angels by @Zeiton_7

"Fascinating race, The Weeping Angels. The only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely"

When I was younger, so much younger than today (sorry couldn't resist the shameless Beatles lyric) I used to walk passed an old church. On one of the outside walls of this church, on the corner, was a statue. I can't honestly tell you what the statue was of but it was old. Old and covered in moss and dirt. The statue stared at me, I stared back, then the statue moved. Next time I didn't walk passed the statue I ran. Because in my child mind that statue would hurt me if it caught me.

Obviously the statue didn't really move and you are probably wondering why I just wasted your time with such a mundane, pointless anecdote from my childhood. Well, I believe that is exactly why The Weeping Angels are so terrifying. They trigger something base, something almost primeval within us. The fear of everyday common place items becoming sinister and taking on a life of their own. Doctor Who is littered with examples of this effective way of making us "watch from behind the sofa" (The Autons are another great example)

So, what do we know about The Weeping Angels, or Lonely Assassins? According to The Doctor (Blink) they are "as old as the universe (or very nearly), but no one really knows where they come from". They kill their victims with no mess or fuss, simply sending them back in time and feeding off the resulting energy displacement or "potential energy". What a fascinating idea! What makes this more sinister is that all they have to do is touch you. One touch from a Weeping Angel and you are plucked from your time stream and dumped unceremoniously in the past. Nasty!

The other characteristic of The Weeping Angels is their unsuppressable "quantum locking" or turning to stone as soon as another living creature looks at them. This is both their curse and their strength. Simply freezing and turning to stone as soon as they are spotted means that they cannot be killed. Weeping Angels are indestructible! The downside of this is that they cant move when they are being looked at. So provided you don't... blink you are perfectly safe!

This of course is where the good old paranoia kicks in. This is clearly seen both in the episode Blink and The Time of Angels. "Is that an Angel or a statue?" "Whose looking at that one?" you get the idea. In addition to this, Weeping Angels will communicate by snapping a victims neck and using the poor unfortunate soul to talk through (step forward Bob) So not everyone that falls prey to a Weeping Angel is killed "nicely"

We know that Weeping Angels feature in the Ponds final ever episode, The Angels Take Manhattan (I'm assuming Jason Vorhees gave it back then?) If the rumours are to be believed we are in for a jumpy and bumpy ride. It seems that they come in all shapes and sizes!

And is this majestic and iconic lady the biggest Weeping Angel of them all? Only timey wimey will tell.

Oh just one more thing. We are told that anything containing the image of an Angel becomes, itself, an Angel. By this logic this very article is a Weeping Angel so....

"Don't blink, Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away and don't blink. Good luck"

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Power of Three- reviewed by @zeiton_7

Interesting episode this one, we didn't know much about it beforehand. There are some mysterious cubes and it has been dubbed "the year of the silent invasion". We knew it would involve the return of UNIT (always welcome in my view) and as its the last episode before the Ponds leave it would be fair to expect some build up to next weeks "The Angels Take Manhattan" (still no word from Mr Vorhees by the way but I'll keep you posted!)

According to Chris Chibnall, "Power's" writer, Moffat had asked for a story that traced "A year in the life of the Ponds". No small task as we know all Series 7 episodes are pretty much self contained, how do you compress a years worth of activity into just 45 minutes and make it feel like a cohesive story? If this is done badly it will just feel like exerts from their diaries with The Doctor popping in and out and like an time travelling meddler. Do it right and we have a fascinating story which will feature in many a Who fans top ten all time best stories.

Before settling down to watch tonight's episode I was sincerely hoping that Chibnall would atone for his mistakes with "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and gift us with a story that would grip and enthral as well as highlight the pain and anguish of Amy and Rory who are clearly feeling a distance with The Doctor. Here was a chance to shine and truly show a new dimension to The Doctor/Companion relationship, perhaps in a way that had never been done before.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

You Are INSANE Davros- An appreciation of Genesis of the Daleks by @zeiton_7

"We are entombed, but we live on. This is only the beginning. We will prepare. We will go stronger. When the time is right, we will emerge and take our rightful place as the supreme power of the UNIVERSE!"

Sometimes on Twitter people ask me what my favourite Doctor Who story is. This is always a tough question to answer as I find it can depend so much on what mood you are in at the time. However some stories you can watch over and over and at any time. Genesis of the Daleks tops my list.
It is a story I recommend to fans who are new to the show as an excellent one to watch to truly understand the origins of the Daleks and their insane creator Davros.

In my mind, it is a story with no faults and no negatives. It also a story I know well as I have watched it, read the Target book and listened to the audio version many many times. I still feel horrified when the Daleks turn on their creator and I still sympathise with The Doctors internal anxiety over whether to commit genocide.

So to the beginning then! The Doctor, Sarah and Harry find themselves on a strange, war scarred planet where they have mysteriously been transported. The Doctor is not impressed, "Don't you realise how dangerous it is to intercept a transmat beam?" he shouts at a mysterious figure. The figure? Its a Timelord! you can tell by the ridiculous head wear. At this point all Who fans sit up as, when the Timelords interfere with The Doctors travel arrangements, you know that you are in for one heck of a

This time is no different! The Timelords are a bit bothered by the Daleks lust for power and foresee things are only going to get worse. They convince, well ok coerce, The Doctor into trying to adjust or destroy them before they have a chance to develop. The planet he's standing on? well, its Skaro, the birth place of the Daleks. No opportunity to say no then!

What follows is a six part story full of double crossing, intrigue and above all Daleks. We learn about how they were created as a travel machine for the KALEDS (anagram of Dalek, I've always liked that) and how Davros genetically mutated them into the little green balls of hate that we love so much. We also learn and witness first hand the bloody and desperate war that has raged between the Thals and Kaleds for generations. Both have desperate plans on how to win the war and double agents abound. This story represents Doctor Who at its scintillating best!

There are so many stand out moments, the first time we view the incubation room of the Daleks or the first view of the that first generation Dalek are all poignant. But for me the character of Nider is chilling and wonderfully portrayed by Peter Miles. Dedicated fans will remember Miles portrayal of Professor Whittaker in the Pertwee adventure, Invasion of the Dinosaurs. There are certainly similarities as both characters you wouldn't trust as far as you can comfortably spit out a Dalek.

The cliffhangers at the end of each episode are also top notch and worth waiting for. The only dubious but hilarious exception being the amusing creatures discovered within the cave scenes. Still thats why we like classic Doctor Who- clam chowder anyone?

It is the character of The Doctor himself that I find so brilliantly portrayed. Tom Baker does an especially good job here as he portrays a Timelord aware of the awful events to come yet still in two minds as to what to do. Complete destruction or try and reason with Davros to introduce a less aggressive strain of Dalek. The interrogation scene with Davros trying to gain every last drop of knowledge whilst torturing poor Sarah Jane and Harry is still, to this day, chilling.

Ahhh Davros, how we love you. Badly scarred and mutated into a half Dalek himself. It is easy to see where the Daleks received their drive and blood lust. His bitter betrayal of his own people really does clearly show that he himself has no remorse or compulsion above protection of the "supreme beings" the Daleks! Yet its hard not to have sympathy for the deluded chap when the Daleks finally turn on him.

Every Doctor Who fan should watch this story at least once, but hopefully you will fall in love with it as many have before. It was voted the most popular Doctor Who story ever in a recent poll.