Category Archives: Cult TV

Review: Doctor Who – World Enough and Time (Season 10, Ep. 11)

Those of you who enjoy their ‘Doctor Who’ to be both scientifically accurate and macabre were in for a treat with this weeks episode. For whilst we were treated a lesson in astrophysics we were also subjected to one of the darkest episodes of the modern era.

Knowing what was happening to Pearl Mackie’s ‘Bill’, whilst she didn’t, just made the whole experience so much more heart wrenching. Every hint and clue given by her friend ‘Razor’ to her eventual fate just took you along on ‘Bill’s’ journey towards the suffering of those who had already been converted.

This was both a horrifying and wonderful story. Writer Steve Moffat immersed us in ‘Who’ history whilst at the same time making a contemporary family horror which, in true ‘Doctor Who’ fashion, could of sent the faint of heart dashing to hide behind the sofa.

If the return of the ‘Mondasian Cybermen’, last seen in 1966 in ‘The Tenth Planet’ was teased throughout, the eventual full revel was taken to another level by ‘Bill’s’ conversion. It was John Simm and his return as the ‘Master’ which would have been most ‘Whovian’s’ highlight. His revel being the best I’ve seen since John Hurt’s ‘War Doctor’.

On this form it seems a shame that both Moffat and Peter Capaldi will soon be leaving the franchise. Looks like Chris Chibnall and his choice of ‘Doctor’ will have a hard act to follow.

Marks out of 10: 10

 

Review: Doctor Who-The Eaters of Light (Season 10, Ep. 10)

Back when ‘Doctor Who’ first started the idea was to split the stories into two categories; those set in the future to teach science and those set in the past to teach history. This idea was quickly dropped during the original series run. ‘The Eaters of Light’ was nice nod to the latter.

The fictional story behind the missing Ninth Legion of the Roman Army ‘The Eaters of Light’ periodically gave us historic factoids throughout. This could have been a nightmare, like a sci-fi version of the educational history drama ‘How we used to Live’. Instead it felt organic and helped the development of the plot.

As in keeping with its name the tone of the episode was dark; with occasional diversions into humour to give the story a chink of light. The three leads also all shone. There were quite a few dissenting voices when the return of Matt Lucas’s ‘Nardole’ was announced; I think he’s now done enough to change all but the most steadfast detractors mind.

The only part of the episode that didn’t work for me was the crows being able to talk; it felt clunky, unnecessary and the pay off with the crows repeating the characters ‘Kar’s’ name in remembrance was just a bit silly.

All in all another strong episode, which reminds us why this is still one of the most loved shows in the world. By the way, John Simm’s ‘Master’ returns next week. How cool is that?

Marks out of 10: 8

Stephen Furst passes away at the age of 63 years old

It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that actor Stephen Furst has passed away at the age of 63 years old.  The news was broken by his son Nathan who confirmed that Furst died on Friday at his home in Moorpark, California, north of Los Angeles. When speaking of his father Nathan said:

“He was proudest of his family, and he felt blessed and incredibly privileged to have the career that he had and enjoyed.”

Furst burst onto the Cult Faction radar playing naive fraternity pledge Flounder in Animal House, he continued the role in the TV spin off Delta House. He also played Vir Cotto in Babylon 5.

Other roles included CHiPS, St. Elsewhere, Have Faith, Night Court, Murder She Wrote, Magic Kid, Misery Loves Company, Freakazoid!, Diagnosis Murder, Jungle Cubs, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, and Scrubs. He also played the Principal in Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” music video.

Review: Doctor Who – Empress of Mars (Season 10, Ep. 9)

Ever since the shows return in 2005 there has been a war between fans of Doctor Who. On one side you have the fans of the classic series that see modern ‘Who’ as pandering to the ‘Twilight / Potter’ generation; on the other fans of the modern series who see classic who as slow and dated. There are of course those like me, who love both modern and classic ‘Who’, and we sit there screaming “can’t we all just get along”! ‘Empress of Mars’ is one of those episodes where the two sides should come to celebrate as one.

The episode didn’t just nod it also winked suggestively to classic ‘Who’. If you look at it chronologically the follow up to this episode should be 1972’s ‘The Curse of Peladon’; there was even a nice cameo from ‘Alpha Centauri’ to link the two. That aside the pacing, story and even the ‘Ice Warriors’ themselves all felt like links to the past.

Last weeks episode ‘The Lie of the Land’ felt burdened by being part of the ‘Monks Trilogy’ and just didn’t live up to this seasons high standards. ‘Empress of Mars’ almost felt like a reset; this stand alone episode was fun, well paced and nicely moved the series running storylines along. Whilst you never felt it was breaking new ground you felt more than happy to go along for the retro ride.

So here we are nine episodes in and series ten is yet to give us a true dud. Let’s hope they keep up this standard.

Marks out of 10: 8

Luther to return for 5th Season

Idris Elba is set to reprise his role as everyone’s favourite homicide detective John Luther with a new four-part 5th season of Luther.

Series creator Neil Cross will also be returning and production is set to begin early next. Cross said he and Elba decided there was a great deal of “unfinished business” for the character to tackle in a new batch of episodes:

“Because we love John and wonder what he’s up to, in the end, we picked up the phone to some old friends and asked if they’d like to find out what happens next. It turns out, they would. So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to find out what happens next.”

Elba added “I am thrilled that we have been able to bring it all together. I look forward to putting the coat back on.”

Glenne Headly passes away at the age of 62

It is Cult Faction’s sad duty to report that Glenne Headly has passed away at the age of 62 years old. The sad news was broken by her Rep:

“It is with deep sorrow that we confirm the passing of Glenne Headly. We ask that her family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.”

Headly had many roles in film and TV including Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Paperhouse, Stars and Bars, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Fraiser, E.R., The X-Files, Encore! Encore!, Rugruts, The Burbs, Monk, Psych, Parks and Recreation, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Fandango but it was her role as Tess Trueheart alongside Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy shot her onto the Cult Faction radar.

Headly was nominated for an Emmy for her role in the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove, as well as 1996’s Bastard Out of Carolina. She was in production on the Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg produced Hulu comedy series Future Man at the time of her death. The series stars Ed Begley Jr., Eliza Coupe and Josh Hutcherson. It revolves around a janitor and gamer by night who is recruited by mysterious visitors to travel through time in order to prevent the extinction of humanity. The show’s producer Sony Pictures Television have announced that Headly’s role would not be recast but that she would remain in the episodes completed so far.

The Lives of Captain Jack

John Barrowman comes back to life in his own adventures from the Worlds of Doctor Who

Starring John Barrowman, with guest stars Camille Coduri, Russell Tovey, Katy Manning, Sarah Douglas and Alexander Vlahos, The Lives of Captain Jack is out now from Big Finish!

“Life is about choices, who gets to live, who gets to die, who we love, who we hate… our choices shape the future of the universe.”

Exploring chapters of Jack’s life not seen on-screen, The Lives of Captain Jack follows John Barrowman’s character from straight after Season 1 of Doctor Who‘s 2005 revival, in a Dalek-ravaged Earth, to a passionate night out with Alonso Frame (played by Russell Tovey), his origins at the Time Agency, and meeting his match with Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri).

Writer Guy Adams gives us a little teaser, “Most of us haven’t lived as interesting a life as Captain Jack Harkness. Thankfully. If James and I had been forced to dramatise the most exciting periods of our own lives, at least two of the discs would have been about cats. Writing dialogue for a national institution is always a joy too, like scripting a lither, sexier Royal Albert Hall as it leaps around the Universe bedazzling the natives.”

Writer/producer James Goss fills us in on John Barrowman’s japes in the studio: “John Barrowman is like working with a very professional force of nature who at any moment will do something naughty. We were sharing the studios with an incredibly posh, high brow Radio 4 drama who watched as he and Camille chased each other round the green room before he dashed off to buy our whole team ice cream. After John danced back into the studio, Sir Simon Callow muttered, “No-one ever buys me an ice cream”.

“John is a proper celebrity – he went on Loose Women, fell off a stool, and still came to studio on time, giggling at having broken the internet. When we were recording down in Cardiff Bay, he was spotted by a devastatingly attractive young Doctor Who fan who couldn’t believe what was happening. John lit up and not only made the guy’s day, but also made sure his friends had a brilliant time. That’s John – everyone loves him.”

This four disc boxset (directed by Scott Handcock), is now available at £25 for CD and £20 Download. And because you can never have enough Captain Jack, Torchwood – the Conspiracy, as The Listener’s Title of the Month, is available at £2.99 as a download!

 

Review: Doctor Who – The Lie of the Land (Season 10, Ep.8)

‘Meh’; in my youth it was the noise the ‘cool kids’ used to make whenever they thought something was just average, ok, not terrible but not great. It was also the noise I made (although I was never a cool kid) after watching ‘The Lie of the Land’.

Not that there was anything particularly wrong with this weeks episode it just didn’t live up to the build up. Series ten overall has so far been excellent and, for the first two episodes, the ‘Monks Trilogy’ had been living up to that standard; ‘Extremis’ was one of the best episodes of the series and, whilst not quite as good, ‘The Pyramid at the End of the World’ was a great second chapter. ‘The Lie of the Land’ just didn’t have a stand out moment.

The dystopian reality created by the monks had a familiarity. There was definitely a slight influence from the 2006 film ’Children of Men’. It also seemed to take an influence from ‘Doctor Who’s’ more recent past. There was than a hint of the world created by the ‘Master’ in the series three episodes ‘The Sound of Drums’ and ‘Last of the Time Lords’. Even elements of the plot seemed too had been ported across.

There were of course positives. There was some funny dialogue, especial a short skit about one of the ‘Doctor’s’ soldiers forgetting to change from live ammunition to blanks. The scenes between Pearl Mackie’s ‘Bill’ and her mum were touching again showing what a great actress she is. There was also a nice reference to 2006 episode ‘The Idiot’s Lantern’ when we caught a brief glimpse of ‘Magpie Electrical’.

So not terrible, but again ‘meh’. If this is to be this season’s bad episode then it will have been one hell of series.

Marks out of 10: 7