Star Trek: The Enterprise Incident

Star Trek Blue LogoI’ve said on many occasions that Classic Trek is my favorite Trek, but that’s not to say I dislike any of the others.  Well… maybe Voyager…  But the funny thing about classic Star Trek is that I’ve also said many times that of the 79 episodes, there might be 10 good ones.  I recently stumbled upon a very enjoyable website that gives a pretty strong breakdown of the series, here (external link).  Using this as a ballpark guide, season 3 opened with the 3rd worst rated episode of the 79.  Amazingly, just one episode later, we see an episode that only has 8 rivals.  This may not be an end-all-be-all rating system, but it gives us an idea of what we are getting into with The Enterprise Incident and it shows us that there was still plenty of milage in the original Enterprise. Continue reading

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Scaredy Cat

scardey CatWell, I finally arrived at the last of the original CD’s that I had bought from the Big Finish line of Doctor Who stories.  Everything I have from here on out is digital.  I had hoped to wrap the year with these and it looks like nearly I pulled it off.  It’s been a good run, but I will be happy to not have to carry CDs to my car every week.  Hey, sometimes it’s the little things, right??  But onto the story…

I know you’re all probably tired of my petty complaints, but some things just eat at me.  I have a good story that actually questions the nature of evil, which is a really good concept, but my first thought is that it needed another read-through.  Continue reading

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Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou

It has been over a decade since the three original anime series of Higurashi When They Cry were produced by Studio Deen, and in 2020 a new version from Passione premiered, a studio that hadn’t even been founded when the original series aired. When it was announced, I was keen to find out whether this was going to be a remake or a continuation, but nobody in my anime fans social circle seemed to know. For a while it seemed like the people making it didn’t know either, because it was originally marketed as a remake, until the second episode aired, at which point the subtitle changed from New to Gou (“karma”) and it was revealed not to be a remake after all. Creating confusion seems like a very odd marketing strategy, and the change of closing music from the first to the second episode makes me wonder if there was some confusion behind the scenes as well. Continue reading

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The Edgar Wallace Mysteries: The Set Up (Review)

Edgar Wallace Mysteries The Set UpAfter a couple of turkeys, I was starting to think the best days were behind this series of B movies, but this is a little gem of a film. If you’re a Columbo fan, you’ll probably love this one, because it follows all the familiar plot beats of that series.

Firstly we get to see the murder play out and, as per many Columbo episodes, it’s an ingenious crime committed by a rich, powerful man. The viewer is wrong-footed for a while, because it looks like a simple matter of a man hiring an ex-con to stage a robbery of fake diamonds from his safe. Sneaky Ray sells this plan to likeable crook Arthur Payne as a way to get one up on his treacherous wife, who has been secretly selling off the jewellery and replacing it with fakes behind her husband’s back, while having an affair with another man. Ray says something to the effect of forcing his wife to confess when they claim on the insurance and then being able to dictate the terms of their divorce. I was thinking that doesn’t really hang together, but my assumption that it was bad writing was completely wrong. It doesn’t hang together because it’s a lie. Continue reading

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The Avengers: Warlock

The Avengers DVD releaseWe’ve gone from one kind of magic to another. Last week it was a stage magician with a vanishing cabinet. This week we’re into full on curses and voodoo. You’ve got to feel sorry for poor old Peter Neville, who is little more than a puppet on a string here. He is a clever inventor, who has come up with a new kind of fuel that could benefit the whole human race, so he doesn’t deserve the cruel fate he meets. His only crime, if you can call it that, is to go dabbling in the occult after losing his wife. He’s a tragic figure. When we first see him he is already under the influence of some kind of a curse, although the wallpaper in his room is enough to give anyone a funny turn. Continue reading

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The Twilight Zone: Walking Distance

The Twilight Zone Original Logo 1959You know when you’re really hungry and you’re eating everything in sight, and you accidentally eat a grenade, and as it’s going down, the pin snags on a tooth and comes out so that the grenade is now live, and just as it enters your belly, it blows up ripping you asunder?  Of course not, because that doesn’t happen, but if it did, it might adequately describe the gut punch that I felt watching Walking Distance.  It’s reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine (and later, Farewell, Summer), which is interesting because the lead character namechecks Bradbury at one point.  This story offers another lucky break for the main character, which is just blowing my mind, because that’s 5 out of 5 so far for happy endings.  But the journey to get there is an utter kick to the teeth for me, because it’s so topical.  You thought it was rough watching Barbara Jean Trenton in Sixteen Millimeter Shrine?  She’s a woman lost in her own past.  For 36 year old VP of media, Martin Sloan, it’s a different kettle of fish altogether. Continue reading

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Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia

scandal in bohemiaPeople have been playing Sherlock Holmes almost as long as the stories have been in print.  He has been portrayed so many times that he’s entered the Guinness Book for most portrayed detective with upwards of 250 times on screen! With so many iterations of the Great Detective, that it’s hard to know who to watch, and depending on your mood, there are any number of good ones.  Want some action, go for Robert Downey Jr.  Comedy?  Try Ronald Howard.  Modern, you can’t beat Cumberbatch.  And of course there’s the ever-famous Basil Rathbone.  But for my money, none have done it better than the late, great, Jeremy Brett.  He lifted the character off the page in ways no one has done before or since!  In April of 1984, Brett premiered with the first of the short stories, bringing to life one of the most unique stories in the canon.  Unique because, for his first adventure, Holmes fails!  
Continue reading

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Star Trek: Spock’s Brain

Star Trek Blue LogoIt’s hard to imagine now but back in the late 60’s, Star Trek wasn’t well received.  The fandom simply wasn’t there.  So you’ve got to wonder what they were thinking for the start of season 3.  Was it, “maybe we can market remote control Spock toys if this episode goes over well”?  Sadly, I’ve never heard of a remote control clockwork Spock as a highlight of any Christmas list.  And what about the moral of the episode? Continue reading

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Live 34

Live 34This just in with the new year…  We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post to bring you the latest from Junkyard 17.  Big Finish, creators of the popular range of Doctor Who audios, have done it again.  They’ve told a cautionary tale that we can all relate to.  Good evening, I’m your host and I’ll be bringing you all the news that’s fit to print.  But first, the weather…

Today, Colony 34 will be experimental, with a hint of The Natural History of Fear.  Expect clear episodes, without any evident cliffhangers and no theme to open and close the chapters. And now, sports…  Continue reading

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Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Season 1 Review)

Kaguya-sama Kei Shirogane and Chika FujiwaraIf you have ever typed “anime dance” into YouTube, for the last couple of years the first result you will have found is a beautifully animated end title sequence from Kaguya-sama: Love is War, featuring the fluid motions of Chika Fujiwara, which has been viewed many millions of times. It’s remarkable to think that this sequence, which must have taken an enormous amount of highly-skilled work, only features at the end of one of the first season episodes, and Chika herself is a supporting character in the series. Continue reading

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The Edgar Wallace Mysteries: Death Trap (Review)

Edgar Wallace Mysteries Death TrapThe action centres around an investment broker in this 1962 entry in the Edgar Wallace Mysteries series of B movies. Carol Halston turns up at Paul Heindrik’s office, concerned about the circumstances surrounding her sister’s death. She consulted Heindrik for advice, withdrew £7000 in cash the day before she died, and then took an overdose of sleeping pills. Now the money is nowhere to be seen. It sounds like an interesting mystery, but it’s barely a mystery at all, beyond some initial attempts to paint a picture of Heindrik as a man who wouldn’t stoop to such lengths. Continue reading

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The Avengers: Box of Tricks

The Avengers Box of TricksThe box of the title does not actually refer to the magician’s cabinet that appears frequently throughout this episode, and it’s a good job that it doesn’t, because it’s just about the most boring old magic trick ever, and keeps getting repeated. Just how often does the magician want to do that trick? It’s fun the first time, with a dead body falling out of it, although I suppose I really shouldn’t call that “fun”, but when that happens again you have to wonder why he keeps going with the same trick. You would have thought the police would have had a word in his ear and said “look, mate, it’s time to learn a different trick.” Continue reading

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The Twilight Zone: The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine

The Twilight Zone Original Logo 1959The Twilight Zone is proving to be a more interesting place than I expected.  I have seen a good deal of the episodes in the past, but this is the first time I’m tackling them in order and all the way through.  I have a distinct memory of sorrow and misery punctuating each episode but I’m being proven wrong about that.  (Think about how many end on a bad note.  Burgess Meredith anyone?  We’ll get there…)  In The Sixteen Millimeter Shrine, Barbara Jean Trenton straddles the line between happy and sad, but in the end, like her predecessors of the last few episodes, she has another happy ending. Continue reading

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All-Consuming Fire

all consuming fire 1We’ve been following Big Finish for some time now and it’s almost time to put that on the back-burner again, having gone through the first 75 adventures, but this week is a special week and today is January 6th so we need to celebrate.  It’s a special day on a few levels. Personally, I started my employment with my fantastic company 13 years ago.  It’s also the birthday of one of my dearest friends, although one I rarely see these days due to the physical distance between us.  And, most notably for our site, it’s the birthday of someone near and dear to many of us: Mr. Sherlock Holmes.  To celebrate that, and launch a new series of articles appearing on Thursday, we’re going to take a fantastic trip with the Great Detective as he befriends an equally magnificent time traveler. Continue reading

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Star Trek: Assignment: Earth

Star Trek Opening TitlesTo think, this was supposed to be the start of spinoff series like Torchwood would eventually become in Doctor Who’s future.  Rather apt, because I decided to do the same as Jim Kirk.  Using “the lightspeed breakaway factor” (which everyone knows about), I shot back to 1968 and found out how this episode came about.  Art Wallace races into Gene Roddenberry’s office: “Gene!  GENE!  You’re never gonna believe this.  I was in England for the last few months and they’ve got this show about a human who travels through time with an assortment of companions, usually dames who scream but some are real lookers!  And he goes around righting wrongs!  I bet we could do a story with him meeting the Enterprise crew, by golly!  The show is called Doctor Who!  We can have the Doctor show up here and help save the day!  But no one will know if he’s a good guy or not.  It’ll be the bee’s knees!”  “Well, I think we have this thing called copyright law, or we will in the future, and it’s sort of the Prime Directive for TV and stuff.  We can’t call him the Doctor.”  A loud snap, and Wallace has an idea: “We can call him something else which will also be a pseudonym for yet something else!  It’ll work like a charm, hot diggity!” Continue reading

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Eve of the Daleks

Eve of the DaleksBy the opening credits both the new characters introduced for this episode are dead, as are the Doctor and her two companions. Oh, and Nick Briggs got to say the line “I am not Nick” in a Dalek voice. It’s quite a start to the episode. I have a slight problem with it, though. Not the “Nick” thing. I think that’s a fun little in-joke, whether intentional or not, but it’s the ease with which the Dalek kills the Doctor. Continue reading

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Clockwork Planet

Have you ever heard of the term “clockpunk”? No, me neither, but it’s a subgenre of steampunk with clockwork mechanisms providing the aesthetic pleasure instead of steam engineering. This is the playground in which Clockwork Planet plays, and I could never quite decide if it is an interesting or deeply silly idea. I lean towards the latter. Continue reading

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The Edgar Wallace Mysteries: Locker Sixty-Nine (Review)

Edgar Wallace Mysteries Locker Sixty NineThis 1962 instalment in the Edgar Wallace Mysteries film series demands the viewer’s full attention. The problem is, it doesn’t earn the viewer’s full attention as well. The story is incredibly complex for a 50 minute film. The idea is that a man is found dead by a private investigator he has hired. The body in question is of Bennett Sanders, whose business partner Frank Griffiths is up to no good. Having found that out, and threatened Frank that he will expose his crimes if he doesn’t stop, Bennett has been understandably concerned for his own safety, hence his hiring of Craig to keep him safe. A very large bodyguard might have been a wiser decision, because Craig stumbles upon his employer’s body and then gets knocked out himself. Continue reading

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The Avengers: Immortal Clay

The Avengers DVD releaseCathy seems to be an expert on everything. Even allowing for how amazing she is, we start this episode with a massive coincidence. Cathy is visiting Marling Ceramics out of a genuine interest, in the preparation of a book she is writing, and is present for the discovery of a dead body. It’s a clumsy way to get her involved in the action, and it makes far more sense for the writers to do what they usually do, and have Steed send Cathy to investigate a place undercover, but for that to work here the discovery of the body would have had to take place before she arrives. The problem with this approach is that there comes a point where writers can’t just keep adding previous unmentioned areas of expertise to a character, and that point was probably reached a few weeks ago when Cathy turned out to be an expert in stamps. However, it is quite amusing that Steed has to mug up about ceramics very quickly in order to go undercover, while Cathy already knows everything about it. Exactly the same thing happened with the stamps. I wonder what Cathy will be an expert in next. Continue reading

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The Twilight Zone: Mr. Denton on Doomsday

The Twilight Zone Original Logo 1959For me, a good western is as rare as a good dental visit.  It’s not impossible, but it’s a pretty uncommon experience.  (Tombstone, for instance, is a good visit to the dentist; it’s a damned enjoyable western!)  Unfortunately, my expectations of this episode were not high when it started the moment I realized it was going to be a western, complete with bar maids, singing, drinking, and gun fights against a particularly squeaky Martin Laundau.  I am a big fan of the Victorian era of England and far prefer stories about that time period.  Give me Sherlock Holmes over a western any day.  But you know what blows my mind time and again?  Those two eras are more or less the same.  The infamous gunfight of the OK Corral, for instance, was in 1881.  Jack the Ripper was 1888.  They are so drastically different, it’s hard to believe that these events are contemporaries.  Talk about being pulled into the Twilight Zone.  But I found myself enjoying this episode more than I’d expected.  There are two reasons for that: the western is just a setting  but more importantly, the outcome of this story puts us at 3 for 3 with positive endings. Continue reading

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