Thursday, 22 March 2018

Shetland: Season Four - Episode Six

Perez: 'Christ, Rhona. Do you think I want this to be happening?'

When the closing credits started to roll, I thought to myself: well, at least I guessed one of the killers. After some honest contemplation, I was forced to admit that the only reason I guessed who killed Lizzie was because at some point I've suspected everyone: Duncan, Drew, Kate... even Curly Haired Jigging Woman and Beardy Extra. So kudos to David Kane for writing a script that kept us guessing till the end, and then kicked us up the arse for daring to believe in justice.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Shetland: Season Four - Episode Five

Sandy: 'Jo, can you remember who did this to you? Was it Thomas Malone? Was it your ex-husband?'

Sandy finally managed to ask some sensible questions this week, only to be scuppered by Jo's knackered throat and the old witness-out-of-commission ploy. At least we know who gave Jo a mullering, although we're still in the dark as to whether she has any deeper involvement in the story. After the appearance of her shady can't-tell-the-truth-for-shit husband, I'm guessing so, but it was nice to see a cliffhanger with consequences.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Shetland: Season Four - Episode Four

Perez: 'Nobody's better off dead.'

If last week's sinister music, sombre faces, and speeding vans were anything to go by, Tosh and Jimmy should've been in the shit tonight. Spoiler alert: nothing dramatic happened. I may have been wrong about the vans' occupants being disreputable halibut salesmen, but the truth was only marginally less fishy: it was simply the local constabulary wanting a chat. Stay tuned to see this week's cliffhanger explained away as Jo slipping on a banana skin and knocking herself out on an inconveniently placed easel.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Shetland: Season Four - Episode Three

Perez: 'This isn't your case any more. You had your chance over twenty-three years ago, and you blew it.'

I was ready to dislike this week's episode. For me, Shetland is at its best when it's telling parochial stories about island folk, so I wasn't sure the temporary shift to urban far-right politics would work. Turns out my concerns were unfounded: as well as providing some lovely scenery, the coldness and remoteness of the Nordic countryside were a great tonal match for the subarctic archipelago.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Shetland: Season Four - Episode Two

Tosh: 'Twenty-four seven I'm keeping it together. And it's exhausting.'

One thing that's concerning me this season is the return of Cassie and Tosh. Don't get me wrong, I love having them back, but you have to wonder why they're back. If last season taught us anything, it's that the show doesn't shy away from hurting Tosh, and in a story centred around the murder of young women, you have to worry for Cassie. It's uncertain yet whether Alan Killick is guilty of anything more than loving someone who didn't love him back, but on an island as small as Shetland, the murderer can't ever be more than a stone's throw away.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Shetland: Season Four - Episode One

Malone: 'You know, your daughter didna deserve this. But you did.'

If there was ever a perfect time to watch Shetland, it must surely be a cold February night, with the wind howling around the eaves, rain thrashing the latticed windows, and a gigantic bowl of porridge on your lap. I unashamedly love Shetland. Whether that's because it's so different from other UK detective dramas, or because I think the sun shines out of Ann Cleeves' bottom, who can say? What I do know is that Tuesday nights just got a whole lot murderier.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time

Doctor: 'You're right, you know. The universe generally fails to be a fairy-tale. But that's where we come in.'

I'm in two minds about this year's Christmas episode. On the one hand, it tugged at my heartstrings, making me laugh, cheer, and cry. On the other, it made me wince, frown, and basically wonder who'd nicked the plot. It was a bit sparse, wasn't it? I'm not against villain-less episodes, but there really didn't feel like much of a story, and although the emotional stuff got me in the feels, even that felt somewhat unsatisfying.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Doctor Who: The Doctor Falls (2)

Doctor: 'Bill. I will fix this. I will get you back again, I swear.'

Despite not being Moffat's finest season, this was a powerful finale. The Master and Missy, although perhaps slightly underused, traded tremendously entertaining, sometimes moving, dialogue; Bill's story came to a surprisingly uplifting conclusion; even Nardole's journey, despite my earlier reservations, felt completely worthwhile. And I loved that final scene. If it means we get a two Doctors Christmas episode, then I'm as happy as a Doctor with two hearts.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Doctor Who: World Enough and Time (1)

Bill: 'I... waited... for... you.'

Well, it may have taken us eleven weeks to get here, but we finally got our first stand-out episode of the season. Its only weakness was that its main reveals were already known to us, but since that was by design rather than by accident, then I'm not sure we can really complain. (Of course, I do below.) At last, a story that was genuinely engaging, mostly free from the story glitches that have thus far plagued the season, and that featured not one but two captivating Masters.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Doctor Who: The Eaters of LIght

Doctor: 'That's the trouble with hope... it's hard to resist.'

I almost never read spoiler-free reviews prior to an episode airing, but with tonight's story heralding the return of Rona Munro, after a wait of almost 28 years, I couldn't seem to help myself. I'm not going to lie: the reviews were less than dazzling. One described 'The Eaters of Light' as 'underdeveloped', another called some of its plot elements 'forced', and a third complained about the now customary mention of Bill's lesbianism. Personally, I found it rather enjoyable. Which confirms what I've suspected for some time now: I am hopelessly at odds with what virtually everyone else is thinking.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Doctor Who: Empress of Mars

Doctor: 'There's no setting for wood. Why is there still no setting for wood?'

This was by no stretch of the imagination Mark Gatiss' best episode, but it was far from being his worst. The dialogue was at times bland, the contrived way in which he split up his three main protagonists clumsy, and Catchlove was a walking cliche. Thankfully, the return of the Ice Warriors and an unexpected voice cameo from Ysanne Churchman injected some interest into the proceedings—I just wish there'd been more Nardy. There, I said it and the world didn't end.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Doctor Who: The Lie of the Land (3)

Doctor: 'I thought I was just being kind, but I was saving the world.'

As a one-parter, I think this would have been a half-decent episode. As the culmination of a three-part story, however, it felt sadly lacking. It was at times funny, the acting was occasionally excellent, and the premise had oodles of potential. What a pity the conclusion was so weak. It wasn't quite a love-saves-the-day style cop-out, but it came perilously close.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Doctor Who: The Pyramid at the End of the World (2)

Bill: 'How would I know the president? I mean, I wouldn't have even voted for him. He's orange.'

After the return to form that was 'Oxygen' and 'Extremis', we're currently three for three after yet another tale reluctant to give up its secrets. I confess, I'm loving the three-part format. Since Chibnall's no stranger to serialised storytelling, here's hoping that he milks the crap out of it next season; the show's clearly so much better when the stories are allowed to breathe. Unless Daleks and Manhattan are involved.