As Season Three has progressed, The Avengers has been moving more and more towards bizarre scenarios and unusual, eccentric characters. This episode seems to be something of a breakthrough for that approach, because it is a huge amount of fun. At the start of the episode Cathy has already infiltrated a biker gang, despite being too old for them, but she “got through the age barrier with a ton plus ten”, impressing the others by driving faster than anyone else. That means that she drives further than anyone else when Steed sends them all off on a “point to point” in a very clever attempt to triangulate the source of a jamming signal that is making their motorbikes break down, and then she gets thoroughly teased by Steed when she has to walk back across miles of muddy countryside. Continue reading →
I have to say I was genuinely surprised to find another two part story so close to the start of this series. It’s not unheard of to do a longer pilot, so having the first story go on for 2 parts felt natural. When the second one was also a two part story, maybe it could be written off that the pilot was a movie and this is the first episode. Then we had a standalone before coming here, to the 3rd two-parter. Now, with this one done, we don’t get another until the season finale.
I’ve already explained how much I hate those previews at the start of the episodes, so I skip right past them but when I started this, I saw faces I remembered with clarity. I don’t know why this one stood out to me because I found it a very slow, tedious affair, but I was immediately excited to watch it again because of some vague memory. Continue reading →
Who is William Hartnell joking around with in this photo?
This is actually a behind-the-scenes photo from the filming of the first episode of The Daleks’ Master Plan, The Nightmare Begins. The actors had minor roles playing functionaries at Central Communications on the Earth of the future, and were known as the “Technix”. Four of the six of them are featured in the above photo. Here they all are together: Continue reading →
Dogs are supposed to be man’s best friend, but they can also be deadly weapons in the wrong hands. In this episode of Columbo, the very inventive seventh season continues with the most unusual method of killing yet, but can the Lieutenant stop the murder weapons from becoming the killer’s victims as well?
Dr Eric Mason is a highly respected psychologist, whose lectures draw a crowd. When he found out that his wife was having an affair with his best friend, she just happened to die in a car crash shortly afterwards. Now he has set his sights on his best friend Dr Charles Hunter. Continue reading →
The obvious bombshell that gets dropped this episode is Faith killing a human being, but the episode is titled “Bad Girls” and not “Bad Girl” for a reason, so let’s start by looking at what happens to Buffy. Thanks to Faith’s recklessness she jumps into a situation she would normally have the wisdom to avoid, nearly drowns, but gets a kick out of the dangerous fight. The next day she shows up at school wearing a leather jacket like Faith, and she can’t stop talking about what happened the night before. She is actively becoming more like Faith. Shockingly this leads to Buffy copying Faith to the extent that she becomes a thief. Continue reading →
[Trigger warning: suicide theme discussed.] Charles Beaumont and William Idelson give us Long Distance Call; a dark story that starts off so nicely. Billy Mumy makes his first Twilight Zone appearance as Billy, a little boy who loves his grandma. She adores him too. At first glance, it’s a familiar story of a grandparent who spoils their grandchild and is adored in return. I lived that life myself with my mother’s father. That man was a wonder and I know how much we meant to each other. Before he died, I got to tell him I loved him and I’ll never forget his reply; it meant the world to me. And I was no kid at that point either; I was around 20 when that happened. He had been sick and I had a funeral to go to already; I worried that I might not be back in time to speak to him. Thankfully he was and we spoke, though he wasn’t particularly talkative in those last days. Then 2 days after we spoke, he was gone, but we said what we needed to. I have no regrets barring that maybe I hadn’t said it enough (although I’m fairly sure he always knew!) Similarly, I think my nephew knew how much my dad adored him. My dad passed when my nephew was 6 but they had a very special bond too. It’s the right of all grandparents and one I hope my own in-laws have with all of their grandchildren. It’s a beautiful thing and worthy of many great stories. Continue reading →
We come now to the episode that caused a bit of contention between me and my fellow blogger, Roger. I don’t blame him really but I had seen two episodes, which I thought were excellent, so I told Roger to check it out. Because Netflix had some blockhead idea to not show them in the same order for everyone, he didn’t see the same “first” episode I did. He saw Sonnie’s Edge and deemed it abysmal garbage. So he bailed with no intent of ever going back. To my delight, I did get him back to check out Three Robots, but that was some time later. Continue reading →
This week writer Malcolm Hulke takes us into the world of horse racing and betting, but what are the odds on a good story set in that location? I’ve seen a few crime stories set at racetracks, and it seems to be a gift for a writer, as viewers already bring a perception, right or wrong, that shady dealings happen amongst turf accountants. The cynical view is expressed very clearly by the bookmaker and gang leader: Continue reading →
When digital programmer Felina Redding is kidnapped, Buck and the Earth Defense Directorate get an offer from screen legend Cesar Romero: if they can find her and rescue her, he’ll turn himself in for crimes he’s committed and provide the Earth Defense with schematics on enemy starfighters that will help protect our world. Buck and temporary sidekick Marla Landers go to Space Vegas to rescue Felina from the villain Velosi before she can be put to death for knowing too much.
When the opening preview began, I left the room to get a drink, because those are a sin anyway. When I came back, during the opening music (which I love, by the way), I got ready to see what other TV stars I might recognize in the credit sequence. Jokingly, I said in mock surprise, “Richard Lynch!” I was being silly since I did not know the name. Then I saw the man on screen and my second aloud comment was “Oh, Richard Lynch!” I remember this dude always turning up as a bad guy. He carries himself with such menace that he’s perfectly cast as the main villain of the piece, even if once or twice it looks like he might crack a smile. Meanwhile Felina, played by Ana Alicia, conveys genuine terror in his presence. Continue reading →
We’ve all done the conga at parties, haven’t we, maybe even in fancy dress… but this is truly impressive:
OK, so they aren’t actually doing the conga. Another shot of the same scene will give us more information: Continue reading →
Kay Freestone is a television executive looking for her next promotion. She is hard-working, intelligent and efficient. In fact, she possesses all the qualities necessary to be a perfect… murderer.
Kay is having an affair with her boss, Mark McAndrews. When he gets promoted, she assumes he will name her as his replacement. She is already his Executive Assistant, she is brilliant at her job, and she is his lover. Mark has other ideas:
“I can’t give you the West Coast, babe.” Continue reading →
Buffy was a show that kept evolving in new and exciting ways. In The Zeppo, it’s time for another apocalypse, similar to the one we saw at the end of the first season, and this is “worse than anything we’ve ever faced.” A season ago this would have been the big drama of the year, but now it’s the insignificant part of the episode, with the focus instead on Xander’s “very strange night”. Buffy has moved on in the interim to more sophisticated and inventive storytelling, and monsters being summoned from the Hellmouth is now the mundane bit. It all plays out as background noise, while dead people make a bomb and Xander tries to stop them, after taking a detour to lose his virginity to Faith. Now that’s entertainment. Continue reading →
I was coming to the conclusion that only Rod Serling presented us with that most unconscionable of requests: to somehow sympathize with the unsympathetic. Alas, Charles Beaumont makes this same request of us with The Prime Mover. Disappointing especially coming off his last episode!
Ace is a gambler who hopes to get rich, not through hard work but through luck. He throws his money into the slot machine – that one-armed bandit that resides in his little diner – rather than saving to get married to the beautiful Kitty, who has been working for him without pay for 3 months. Jimbo Cobb is his right hand, willing to give his own money to help Ace, but Ace is one of those guys who just doesn’t know a good thing when it’s biting him on the backside. And that’s just the start of it… Continue reading →
The second episode I saw, also out of order if one bases things on how Wikipedia offers the list was Beyond the Aquila Rift. As a science fiction fan, this appealed to me the moment I saw the title. I do have to question where the robots are in this one though. In fact, of the titular elements love seems to be the one element that really features in this story, and it’s not a very typical sort of love. Death occurs as well, but not in the traditional sense either. Continue reading →
The Avengers tends to be at its best when each episode focusses on one good idea. In a self-contained 50 minute story there is not a huge amount of room for complexity, and when a writer tries to pack in a lot of elements to a script it tends to end up muddled and confusing. The Secrets Broker is a particularly bad example of that problem. It is Ludovic Peters’ only Avengers script, and he seems to have taken every idea for an Avengers story he had and thrown them all in to one episode. That’s not an unusual thing for a relatively inexperienced writer to attempt to do, but often less is more. Continue reading →
With a title like that, we’re primed to expect something totally different, but the title has little to do with the plot. If anything, it’s a nod to the past when Buck Rogers was a comic strip and an old TV show starring “Buster” Crabbe. In fact, I feel I need to rewind to my own youth to explain something. After Doctor Who was taken off WOR, Channel 9, I was unable to find it for a long time, until a friend of mine told me to put on UHF channel 50. Doctor Who would come on at 9pm, but the bookends to that show were Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, both starring Crabbe in the title roles. Why is this important? Continue reading →
Poor Sandy from The Rescue, Vicki’s harmless pet, who met a cruel fate. But did you know that Sandy’s life was tougher than we ever imagined. Look at this shocking photographic evidence of a skeletal man about to hit Sandy with a heavy object:
The stuff of nightmares, right? Poor Sandy. I have to admit, when I first found that photo I was baffled. Who is the masked man? The mask certainly doesn’t belong to old “Cocky-lickin”, as the potty-mouthed Ian Chesterton misnamed the villain of The Rescue, so who is he? Another photo will help us to clear up the mystery: Continue reading →
The DVD set I have of Season Seven of Columbo oddly mixes up the episode order. For most seasons that wouldn’t really matter, but Murder Under Glass is an interesting one to watch in its original context. Last time, we had a magnificent speech from Columbo to explain how he finds the best in people and normally ends up liking and respecting the murderers, not for what they have done, but because there is some aspect of niceness to everyone. Murder Under Glass immediately gives us the exception that proves the rule… Continue reading →
This episode opens a whole can of worms about the Watcher’s Council, but let’s leave those worms wriggling for a moment and start, as we often do, with the relationship dynamics. Giles betrays Buffy, and it’s by far the worst betrayal we have seen this season or, indeed, ever in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s worse than Buffy keeping Angel’s return a secret. It’s worse than Willow cheating on Oz. It’s worse than Xander cheating on Cordelia. Giles sticks needles in Buffy’s arm and poisons her. Physically it’s an assault. Mentally it’s heartless and misguided. It’s such a betrayal that it’s hard to rationalise Giles actually going through with it, whether or not he believes in the value of the test. Continue reading →
I heard you on my wireless back in ’52,
lying awake intent at tuning in on you.
If I was young, it didn’t stop you coming through…
Video killed the radio star.
Video killed the radio star…
Human beings have a complicated history with technology. It’s there to improve our lives and make things better but perhaps it advances beyond our ability to adjust. Just as we’re getting used to one technology, another is arriving to take its place. Video “killed” the radio star because radio fell out of fashion once television came out and began to enter people’s homes. How long before TikTok kills the TV star? Maybe not as long as Disney has Marvel and Star Wars, but heaven forbid the day when Disney folds because they might be creating the only things everyone is still talking about together. Continue reading →