Prisoners of Time (Prisoners of Time, IDW Comic #12).

Comics Well, this is appalling, the comics equivalent of the BBC Three After Show which even includes its own version of the sitdown game. Having not spent the whole of 2013 working my way through ten of the other issues, I can't comment on how much of an anti-climax it must have been but suffice to say it makes all the mistakes that Assimilation 2 did in having all of these amazing characters and giving them average things to do before winding down to a denouement which manages to be both routine and also really bizarre in that it tries to give a heroic death to a figure who really didn't deserve to resurrected in the first place.  SPOILER ALERT:  All the incarnations of the Doctor and most of his companions fight Adam Mitchell, the Ainley Master and some Autons and Mitchell gives his life to save the universe.  For goodness sake.  The final page is of what looks like the entire cast of Doctor Who standing around Adam's TARDIS shaped gravestone.  Troughton has his head bowed.  Christ.  The Eighth Doctor's participation is minimal.  Apart from being stuck at the back of numerous frames, he is given the initial infodump to explain why all the Doctors are there and as a brief conversation with Grace, ("And you want to give this life up?" "Call me crazy, Doctor!").  On the up side, Kelly Yate's art really is top notch, perfectly capturing the faces of everyone involved.  Placement: straight after the other issue, I expect.

Oh hello, the Omnirumour. It's been a while.



TV Despite never having seen a whole episode let alone any of the rest of it, I am aware of the sitcom Dad's Army and its many in-jokes and also how its continued existence as a piece of art runs parallel to Doctor Who in archive terms with episodes being wiped and the hunt being on.

Now we can add animations to that as some of the team responsible for the dvd versions of Who's missing episodes have recreated one of the sitcom's missing episode as a cartoon financed by BBC Store. The About The BBC blog has extensive explanation of how the project came about:
"Animators Zoran Jankovic and later Chris Bowles also joined us and we worked (entirely independently) on a short test animation, using a raw transfer of the tape. I called up the original camera script, and Radio Times historian Ralph Montagu, kindly traced some publicity images for us, that had been taken on the studio floor during the original recording session. We worked from this material over a period of months to story-board our test sequence, whilst discussing hilariously optimistic potential budgets and time-scales (and generally enjoying a luxury of time that we simply wouldn’t have once the project went into production)."
Perhaps for Who fans, the most interesting section is how the animation project was delayed and almost derailed by the discovery of The Web of Fear and Enemy of the World because the secrecy surrounding exactly what Philip Morris had found meant that it was entirely possible it included the very Dad's Army episode they were thinking about animating.  Eventually they had to call Morris and ...
"Into 2014, we still didn’t have an answer to the question of whether any Dad’s Army had been rediscovered as well. Finally, in March 2014, I phoned Philip Morris directly to ask if he was yet in a position to confirm one way or the other. There were perfectly reasonable limitations on what he felt able to talk about with regards to ongoing negotiations with other archives. However, after a short discussion of our situation, he was able to confirm that no Dad’s Army had been found in any form."
My italics. There are ongoing negotiations with other archives. Not about Dad's Army but there are ongoing negotiations with other archives.

Meanwhile the BBC's official account has been posting photos of the television series, one per day with no further information other than a number.  Yesterday it was Marco Polo.

Oh hello, the Omnirumour.  It's been a while.  How we've missed you.

The Body Politic (Prisoners of Time, IDW Comic #8).

Comics It was the very definition of the good news and the bad news when it was announced that the 50th anniversary would bring an Eighth Doctor comic featuring the first fully licensed appearance of Dr Grace Holloway in over ten years but that it would be written by the Tiptons, Scott & David. As you'll remember I wasn't much enamoured with their work on the Star Trek: The Next Generation crossover Assimilation 2 (you can survey the wreckage here) so the idea of them getting their hands on my favourite incarnation and his first companion was disappointing.  With my expectations suitably lowered, when this was finally published they were met.  Oh it feels authentic.  As with many of the installments in Prisoners of Time it's drawn by a sometime DWM artist, Roger Langridge in this case, with his customary cartoony style and to their credit, the Eighth Doctor does sound about right.  But having been gifted with Grace, she's trapped in a shockingly generic bit of regime change which, whilst thematically connected to the medical profession would have worked just as well with any of Eighth's many companions.  Indeed, despite having spent a couple of pages introducing her character (in a way which is shamelessly reminiscent to how Eleventh introduced the TARDIS to Picard in the earlier series), her characterisation feels off, not least when this millennial Earth woman is suddenly and confidently able to pilot a shuttle craft.  The story ends with a cliffhanger of her being kidnapped by a hooded figure.  Yes, I know who he is and it's certainly not the Toymaker so fuck knows why he's on the cover because he isn't in the actual issue.  If only he was.  Placement:  No clue.  I'll put it, after the Puffin novella Spore which was published the same month when the Doctor's supposed to be travelling alone anyway (unless reading Prisoner of Time's final issue brings new facts).

Tatiana Maslany at tiff.



TV A very long Q&A with Taliana about her career and mainly Orphan Black. As a bonus here's a ten minute piece in an interview too.

Inside Heaven's Gate.

Film Embedded within actor Richard Masur's Random Roles interview for AV Club is an extensive piece about what it was like to be inside the madness of Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate:
"This is all my observation and opinion: While Michael is prepping the film, he wins the Academy Award [for The Deer Hunter]. It goes from whatever it was initially, like a 15 million dollar budget, to a 35 million dollar budget because he won the Academy Award. Now it’s huge in scope and this and that. It ended up costing over 50 million. Nothing had ever come close to that prior to that. During the course of this, he did a lot of things that were incredibly indulgent. There are 49 takes of Kristofferson cracking a whip over and over."
If only the six hour television version had come to pass...

My Favourite Film of 1961.



Film Just before Christmas I was chatting electronically to a friend who is paid for his opinion about things about the crutches that we use in our writing, repeated words and phrases which crop up and we have to remember to check back through for before it's either printed in something people want to buy (in his case) or on this blog (in mine).  Turns out even professional writers suffer from the same hang-ups as people for whom such things are a fantasy, which was comforting because I'd assumed my persistent use of "clearly", "to be fair", "so" at the start of a paragraph, "what this means is" and "anyway" are what's been holding me back when it's clearly (oh god) something else entirely.

Some of my repetition is in reference, comparison and allusion.  You might have noticed that whenever I'm faced with something pop cultural which is at least vaguely challenging I'll start throwing film directors names around, notably Tarkovsky, Kieslowski, Malick, Fricke, Godart and especially Resnais, perhaps even including the odd title like "Last Year at Marienbad" for good measure.  It's where I went after seeing Gravity and Inception and There Will Be Blood.  It's how I coped with Doctor Who's Heaven Sent.  On each occasion I slightly winced as I typed the names and titles again knowing full well that I was taking short cuts.

Partly it's because these are important works within the film canon and history and little seen or cared about outside of academia and cineastes these days thanks to rarely surfacing on television or streaming services.  If film studies was more widely taught in schools and treated, as it should be now, on the same foot as literature, these are the works which kids would be shown and would potentially help them to understand where more challenging contemporary cinema comes from.  Which isn't to say a fair number of people who have seen slow cinema didn't notice that Gravity was essentially Koyaanisqatsi in space with special effects with hints towards plot and character.

Mostly it's because they're examples of directors able to create films which have transcendent moments which almost seem to exist outside their medium, in which, if you're involved to the degree in which you're supposed to, the gap between knowing that you're watching the film, appreciating its beauty and also emotionally encounter it become indivisible.  "Last Year at Marienbad" for all its frustrating obfuscation and obscurity, is unable to leave the memory once it's lodged there and in such a way that it's almost as though the protagonist X's experiences, fractured and incomplete and dreamlike have become our own through osmosis.

Except, I know this is rotten hyperbole.  I know that the first time I saw Marienbad, on a colour portable on the balcony of our flat, none of it really sunk in and I largely dismissed it as slightly pretentious and befuddled and that I didn't really understand that I wasn't supposed to understand it until the second or even third watch.  I also know I watch these kinds of challenging films out of a sense of wanting to be the kind of person who watches these kinds of challenging films.  Many, many hours spent in front of screens filled with disconsolate wretches barely tolerating their existential crisis, in black and white, in Slovakian, attempting to prove this point.

But so many of these films represent a kind of Platonic idealism and although I appreciate that film and television is a business and that for the most part it's about trying to attract as large an audience as possible and however much I'd hope it would be Marienbad is not something everyone would want to watch (see last week's discussion) whenever I see its DNA or a familial connection in a contemporary work, it should be acknowledged.  It must be, even if it has the implication that I'm only doing it in order to demonstrate that I've seen these films, which is in no way the case, at all.  Not at all.  So that's my excuse.

Which is I'm happy to notice that there's something fundamentally odd but nevertheless extraordinary that Star Wars's The FA, which seems as though it will ultimately become the new biggest film of all time, looks in places, like a Terrence Malick film, notably in the sundrenched Jakku at dusk, has a dream sequence clearly influenced by Marienbad and unlike the prequels has an almost Tarkovskian approach to exposition in the way it infers rather than explains (albeit in the way of Abrams's The Mystery Box) whilst still being a fundamentally mainstream concoction.  Same as Inception.  Same as Gravity.  Same as Boyhood.

Grease Live is on ITV2.

TV As I said yesterday, ahem, I'm not watching much television at the moment which also means I've lost track of the schedules, but luckily @illuminations drew my attention to the following this morning:


The Grease Live thing which was on FOX last night is screening on ITV2 on Wednesday 3rd at 8pm through to about 11pm. So I'll be watching television again, at least for an evening.  I've got chills.

Paul Dano's hair.



Film With three hundred odd available films to get through on my current non-blog 1001 Films To Watch Before You Die project I don't have much time for television so I've entirely missed the new adaptation of War & Peace, but will catch up some time perhaps in whole evening when I can find out exactly what Paul Dano's hair problem is (it's all people seem to talk about on Twitter).

BBC Genome has an excellent blog post about previous adaptations of Russian literature on the BBC
. Some novels do keep reappearing:
"War and Peace was first adapted for BBC TV in 1972, in a 20-episode version by Jack Pulman (who also dramatised I, Claudius in 1976, and Crime and Punishment in 1979). The lavish production was broadcast on BBC2, part of the long running strand of classic adaptations on the channel."
Could the viewers of that adaptation would be as readily available as the book forty years later?