Friday, 6 April 2018

TV Review - Survivors S1E09: Law and Order

Survivors tends to be at its' best when it's examining an issue - how a problem or area is affected by the death, for best results something that's taken for granted in everyday society. "Law and Order" is probably the most extreme example and certainly the best. It's again from Clive Exton under his Wodehouse-baiting M K Jeeves pseudonym and it's one of the most brilliant and disturbing pieces of television ever made.

Comic Review - Transformers: The Reign of Starscream

IDW's movie tie-in comics hadn't been able to ride the film's box office to some sort of wider casual audience or even been particularly well-received by fans but they had done decent business within context, selling in and around the same numbers as their G1 material (at the time, at least - each issue of their prequel series probably sold more copies than their combined Transformers output does now). While Transformers had done huge business at theatres a sequel wouldn't be due until 2009; IDW needed money though and decided to make their own. And these fuckwits have the word "Idea" in their name.

TV Review - Survivors S1E08: Spoil of War

"Spoil of War" was the first of two episodes written by M K Jeeves. If that name sounds like a pseudonym it is, one assumed by Clive Exton, rather a posh playwright who had co-written Hammer horror spoof The House in Nightmare Park; he'd already written the screenplay for Richard Fleisher's 10 Rillington Place and would later write Red Sonja and later the Jeeves & Wooster TV series. So a heavyweight really. His first episode is the first with the group firmly established at the Grange.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Comic Review - Transformers: Movie Adaptation

Back in the pre-video age if you loved a film rather than having home media or oldies channels was for kids to by a comic based on the film from Gold Key or Dell. Now, Gold Key and Dell weren't exactly renowned for groundbreaking material or high artistic pretensions, largely being concerned with instead profitability. Guess what IDW did while the first Transformers film was in the theatres even though it would be out on DVD officially within months (and illegally before that). Go on, fucking guess.

TV Review - Survivors S1E07: Starvation

Despite the triumphs of Charles Vaughan and Jimmy Garland it's clear the production team saw limited value in the leads as a wandering nomadic trio. While they're living out of cars many others were banding together and forming groups, with the series establishing that humans are sparse but not outright rare. "Starvation" sees the leads given a base at last, and acts as something of a mid-season reformatting - with Jack Ronder writing the script you again begin to see that already the show was moving away from Terry Nation's initial plans.

TV Review - Survivors S1E06: Garland's War

Survivors is overall a positive show - it might start off with the near-annihilation of the human race but really it's about the reaction to the death, one that is quite often positive. To some degree the likes of Abby, Greg, Charles Vaughan and even the likes of Arthur Wormleigh and Ann Tranter are thriving, using skills and knowledge that would have been locked away in their day-to-day lives. Maybe even Jenny was even wetter and thicker in day to day life before the plague, though I'll admit that is a push. Terry Nation returned to script the sixth episode (he wrote seven of the first 13 for the show before leaving) and it makes this theme explicit in the form of Jimmy Garland.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Comic Review - Transformers: Movie Prequel Special

 As part of the promo push for the 2007 Transformers film there were a couple of freebie comics put out with support from Target - one, later titled "Interlude", was handed out in cinemas and the other (which would become "Planetfall") would later be issued with the DVD at the chain's stores. However, never short of a cash-grabbing wheeze (remember when they "found" all those limited edition convention covers in a warehouse?) IDW wrapped them in a new cover and charged four dollars for the two free comics.

TV Review - Survivors S1E05: Gone to Angels

Well, we were due a fucking stinker. Actually, "Gone to Angels", again from Jack Ronder, isn't outright bad, just a big step down from the first four. Generally episodes of Survivors concentrate on a single plot line and this works as it allows the subject at hand to be explored thoroughly, and the casting structure largely reflects this in that we only have three fully-fledged regular characters with the rest recurring and hired as needed. However, "Gone to Angels" splits the leads fully and the result is scattershot.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

TV Review - Survivors S1E04: Corn Dolly

The initial three episodes of Survivors effectively bring the leading trio of Abby, Jenny and Greg together, more or less establishing them as a unit with the same goals and moral values. It's not quite time for them to become static yet though so "Corn Dolly" is the first of three episodes with the three on the road, ostensibly looking for Abby's son Peter. Of course even to first-time viewers it must have been clear that they were never going to just stumble across him somewhere as that would basically end her personal arc. Instead, they're an excuse to meet three different responses to the death. The first of these is Charles Vaughan.