Doctor Who: The Edge of Destruction, Part One

“You can’t blame us for this, Doctor.” – Ian

After fighting off cavemen and nightmare pepper-pots, Doctor Who‘s third serial features our companions facing their most insidious enemy yet: themselves. As the back two episodes of a 13-episode initial series order, The Edge of Destruction could serve either as an ending or a transition point. By the end of the serial, the companions would come to trust each other, we’d learn a few more tantalizing clues about the Doctor and Susan’s journey, and we would be left aching for more. But, I am getting ahead of myself. This first episode offers us no obvious villains or planets to explore: just four travelers who have to figure out how to work together to solve a problem that none of them understand. It’s fantastic.

There is tons to say here, but as usual, we’ll start with a recap after the break.

Continue reading Doctor Who: The Edge of Destruction, Part One

When Will Dragonball Z Abridged Get To My Favorite Part? To The End?

When I was in high school and college, Dragonball Z was one of my favorite shows. Thanks to Cartoon Network’s “Toonami” block, I was able to experience to adventures of Son Goku and his martial arts ass-kicking friends as they saved the earth time and time again. The show had fantastic action, occasional bursts of humor, and a good heart. Unlike so many other heroes, Goku’s good heart and attitude was often able to gradually swing the villains onto his side, just in time to combat the next set of villains to attack the world. When was the last time that Superman managed to convert Lex Luthor? I didn’t think so.

But if there is one thing you can say about the series: it is long. Goku’s battle against Freeza probably lasted longer than most relationships. And that is where Team Four Star comes in: they edit, re-dub, and re-imagine Dragonball Z as a kick-ass comedy in small and amazingly watchable parts, called Dragonball Z Abridged. They’ve been at it since 2008 and are only around half-way through the series. But that made me wonder: when will they finish? And, more importantly, when will they get to some of my favorite parts? (Goten and Kid Trunks!)

Thanks to the power of math, I have some pretty good answers. Read on for more!

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Coat of Many Colors: Purim in the Bible, Part 4

Over on Coat of Many Colors, in honor of Purim (the evening of March 4th, this year), I have finished up my look at the Book of Esther with “Esther’s Victory“. Esther and the Jews were able to turn the attempted genocide into a rout, but Esther’s next choices leaves something for us to ponder. Did she unnecessarily prolong the violence? Or just do the minimum to protect her people. Head over to Coat of Many Colors to check it out!

Disney Diary: Pinocchio (1940)

Pinocchio-1940-posterSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) had been a gamble for Walt Disney, but one that had paid off both critically and economically. But was Disney successful because of the novelty of a feature-length cartoon? Or was there something here that he could build on? Dozens of films later, we know the answer to that story, but as 1940 rolled around the answer was still unclear.

Pinocchio was to be Disney’s second attempt at success, and they took pains to differentiate it from its predecessor. While Snow White had been a fairy-tale of the Brothers Grimm variety, Pinocchio was based on a 57-year old Italian children’s novel. The former centered around women, a princess, and her evil step-mother, while the latter was a boys tale of adventure with a morale. We all know the story of Pinocchio: a puppet that wants to be a real boy, a nose that grows when he lies, and about the lengths that he goes to be reunited with his father. It’s an amazing story, told well. And yet, it was also a box-office failure. It seems inconceivable.

Read on for a recap and my thoughts on this second Disney classic.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks – Final Review and Comments

Daleks-bgFor all that An Unearthly Child launched Doctor Who, it was The Daleks that guaranteed the show a place in history. The pepper-pot aliens introduced in this serial would become Doctor Who‘s most iconic villains, spawn two theatrical films, and send legions of little children to hide behind the couch every time their cry of “Exterminate!” was heard. In seven parts, The Daleks plays out slowly by modern standards, but gradually escalates the tension between the curious Doctor, the xenophobic Daleks, and the peaceful Thals. It is a masterful introduction to Doctor Who‘s signature villain.

More after the break.

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Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child – Final Review and Comments

doctorwho1963blWhen An Unearthly Child was written, more than 50 years ago, it is doubtful that anyone expected that we would still be talking about this serial today. Doctor Who has transcended time and generations, and appeals to many whose parents were not yet alive when the first episode was broadcast. With that in mind, it is difficult to look at these early episodes with anything less than awe at what they accomplished. Without serials such as this one, there would never have been a “revived” Doctor Who for me to fall in love with.

More after the break.

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Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Seven: The Rescue

“I have a ship capable of crossing the barriers of space and time. Surely this would be invaluable to you?” – The Doctor

Finally, we reach the end of the first Dalek story of Doctor Who! “The Rescue” is a fitting title for the end of the serial as the Thals, Ian, and Barbara break into the Dalek city to rescue the captured Doctor and Susan. But this is also a particularly bloody episode, as Antodus sacrifices himself and several other Thals die in the resulting battle. In the end, the Daleks fall, seemingly forever, the Thals have peace, and the Doctor and his companions prepare to depart.

There is so much to say, both about how the serial wraps up and on the direction of the show as a whole, but more on that after the recap.

Continue reading Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Seven: The Rescue

Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Six: The Ordeal

“We must presume they don’t leave anything to chance.” – The Doctor

“The Ordeal”, the sixth of seven episodes featuring the first appearance of the Daleks, places both the Doctor and his companions through two different types of wringers. For the Doctor and Susan, their ordeal is nothing less than to wage a battle against the Dalek city with meager resources, trying to destroy key infrastructure before the Daleks can turn the tables on them. For Ian and Barbara, their ordeal is a labyrinth of caves far beneath the Dalek city– and by episodes’s end, they had still not discovered a way back to the surface. There is a ton of good in this episode, including good character moments for both Susan and Barbara, establishing them as more than just an adjunct to their male counterparts. But the episode drags on, particularly the parts with Ian and Barbara in the caves. But there is a nice feeling of tension as we build toward a climax in the next episode.

More thoughts after the break and the recap. Continue reading Doctor Who: The Daleks, Part Six: The Ordeal

Mystery House (1980)

The first post for my second game has just gone up on The Adventure Gamer, “Mystery House“. This 1980 game for the Apple ][ is considered the first “graphical adventure” game ever made, ushering in an entire genre of games which peaked in the 90s per persists to this day. The second and final post will go out next week. Meanwhile, I have completed several more for “Operation Stealth”. All of my “The Adventure Gamer” posts are now being linked off the menu above. Regular updates on this blog, as well as Coat of Many Colors, will resume in December.