THE FILM YAP » Russell T. Davies We Never Shut Up About Movies Mon, 20 Oct 2014 04:12:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Doctor Who Series Five Wed, 24 Nov 2010 06:18:31 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

“Amy Pond, there’s something you’d better understand about me cause it’s important and one day your life may depend on it: I am definitely a mad man with a box.”

For all the newbies, Doctor Who is the longest running sci-fi show in the history of television. It has been a staple of British television since the 1960s. For a brief period it was off the air and it was brought back in 2005 with a reboot that was still faithful to the previous continuity.

It is the story of The Doctor, an alien who is the last of his species. Even with the TARDIS, a time machine, at his disposal, the rest of the Time Lords are gone. So he has spent the past 900+ years traveling through space and time saving worlds by using intellect over violence.

In Series Five, everything feels new. Russell T. Davies, the man who rejuvenated the show, retired and passed the reins to Steven Moffat. Moffat is already a legend fo his sitcom Coupling (Highly recommended for fans of How I Met Your Mother) and the miniseries Jekyll (I’ll go ahead and say this is the only fresh take on the material.) Moffat had written a few Doctor Who episodes during the Davies era that handled the material in a new way. His storylines were fresher, wittier, and instantly iconic. His episode “Blink,” starring a young Carey Mulligan, serves as a stunning hour of television and The Doctor is barely in it! (It’s on Netflix Instant. Watch it immediately. The Weeping Angels are a magnificent horror creation.)

Now Series Five has begun with a new showrunner, new TARDIS, new sonic screwdriver and most importantly, a new Doctor. Time Lords have a nifty part of their biology where when they die they regenerate into a new body (i.e. actor). They retain all memories and core values. They just have new elements to their personalities, just like when a new actor plays James Bond. David Tennant was brilliant as the Tenth Doctor but Matt Smith powerfully made the character his own. Tennant was more of a gallant knight, while Smith is a crazy Sherlock Holmes.

All of the wonder and possibility of the show is exemplified in the premiere episode, “The Eleventh Hour.” Despite just being regenerated, The Doctor has twenty minutes to save the planet from being incinerated. It’s mixed with hilarious moments, innovated structure, and scenes that put the biggest smile on your face.

It also introduces Amy Pond (Karen Gillian), the companion for The Doctor. She is feisty and sweet and easily the best companion the show has ever created. She’s a well-rounded female character, who is not just constantly kidnapped or used as a romantic interested. She is along for the ride due to her love for adventure and she is running from something that will happen the day she ever returns.

While each episode is a stand-alone story (or two-parter), Moffat also ingeniously structured the season around the mysterious cracks placed throughout the universe. Also there is the threat that “The Pandorica will open and the silence will fall.” Instead of just teasing all season saving it for the finale, everything is more involved throughout the run with great success. There is one twist that is so clever that it reminds you there are still ways to surprise audiences with time travel stories. (Only clue: Pay very close attention to his jacket throughout the season.)

There is a joy in storytelling in these thirteen hours that isn’t seen in many other TV shows. It’s not just love towards the mythology or its history, but stories in general. They can make you laugh, make you afraid, excited, inspired, elated, and curious. They tackle some weighty issues like loneliness and death with respect towards all ages who watch Who. Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually) penned an episode called “Vincent and the Doctor” where they met Van Gogh. They have to fight an alien only the suffering artist can see. (What a wonderful metaphor for depression.) Amy tries desperately to bring light into his life so he won’t follow through on his suicide years later. It culminates in a beautiful fashion, equipped with a monologue by Bill Nighy that is so profound and is not seen in other family shows. It just shows this is something special.

The extras on the DVD share more of that joy as the actors giddily record video diaries around the sets. There are commentaries that show the excitement in their work. Bonus scenes, outtakes, and mini-documentaries fill the rest of the discs. It is also worth noting that the show looks absolutely gorgeous on Blu-Ray.

This series excels on every caliber. At the end, after the most complicated time travel story told this side of Primer, it sets up the next season with more exciting possibilities. This is why I love television right now.

Season: 5 Yaps

Extras: 4.5 Yaps

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Top TV Shows That Could Be Movies Fri, 28 May 2010 04:03:20 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

With recent box office hits like Sex and the City, many are wondering what other television shows could easily translate to the big screen. Not all of them are easily convertible. Too many shows are too serialized and designed only for long-term storytelling. That’s why we’ll never see LOST, Mad Men or The Wire in cinemas. However there are a few shows can that take some of their contained structures and make an exciting feature. Such as….


This 90s FOX comedy was cancelled way too soon. Jay Mohr played Peter Dragon, the ultimate immoral film producers. The first (and only) season was all about trying to get one movie off the ground despite every mishap that went wrong. Much like Extras and Entourage, there were many celebrities who played comical versions of themselves. Sandra Bullock had a great cameo when she stormed into Peter’s office after she found out he secretly made a sex tape of the two of them and sold it as a porno called While You Were Sleeping On My Face. She later calms down when she gets a cut of the royalties. There have been plenty of Hollywood satires like What Just Happened and State and Main but they never had teeth this sharp. If you want to see its potential, the entire series is available for free on Hulu. The sad thing is that Buddy Hackett would have to be recast.

Arrested Development

It’s been a year of teasing us, but I’m still hoping this movie will happen. Once again FOX canceled this show way before its time. This beloved cult classic is about the Bluth family who were enjoying the rich lifestyle until their father was arrested for illegal business activities (and light treason). Never has there been a comedy with such strong writing. Episodes are layered with so many subtle hilarious jokes. There was not a weak note in the entire ensemble, which included Will Arnett as the idiot magician GOB and David Cross as the sexually confused Tobias Funke. If the stars aligned perfectly and everyone’s schedules were free this could be a hysterical feature. That is a difficult feat since Jason Bateman and Michael Cera, who are now Hollywood A-listers thanks to this show, play two of the main characters. However fans are so desperate for more of this show, they’ll settle for a puppet musical starring Franklin.

Burn Notice/Human Target

These are both action shows that are currently on the air, but I’m sure FOX will cancel Human Target soon since the quality is so high. These are both shows that are exciting but also very intelligent. Burn Notice is about a spy (Jeffrey Donovan) who was framed and is now stuck in Miami. He uses his skills to help people in need. His narration fills the audience in on a ton of clever tricks that are beyond the usual clichés in film. Human Target is about Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) who is hired to insert himself into a dangerous situation and defuse the problem while it’s going on. This may not be as intelligent as Burn Notice but it has creativity in its action instead. There is no show on television that matches its impressive fight and chase scenes. Both of these shows have great chemistry between its teams. Burn Notice has Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell and Sharon Gless while Human Target has Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley. Both shows are a ton of fun and could really use a bigger budget to great use.

Doctor Who

Like the last set this show is still going on. In fact it has been going on rather thoroughly since the 60s. It is the story of an alien named The Doctor who travels through time and space and getting into various adventures. The show was recently rebooted by writer Russell T. Davies to great effect in 2005 and gained more popularity with David Tennant in the title role. Now the reigns have been passed to actor Matt Smith and writer Stephen Moffatt and the show has never been better. The writing is so strong that I’m fascinating what they would come up with as a big-screen adventure. This would also be a great way to introduce more American audiences to the show since majority of its popularity resides in the United Kingdom.

Veronica Mars

Remarkably the CW and not FOX canceled this show. This is the show that deservingly made Kristen Bell a star where she played the titular Mars, a young amateur private detective who was more like Phillip Marlowe than Nancy Drew. The show was improperly billed as another teen drama, but it ended up being one of the best examples of neo-noir in any genre. Its season long mysteries were some of the best plotted stories of any TV show. The show had a powerful level of cynicism that was balanced remarkably with heart and fun. I thought its abrupt finale suited the series, but I would still like one more story to tie up the loose ends and revisit the characters years later. This could also show Hollywood that Bell is capable of more than Couples Retreat and When in Rome.

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