Monday, June 8, 2020

How to Bingewatch Classic Doctor Who: A Skip/Watch List

As I noted in my New Who skip/watch list, it can be intimidating knowing where to jump into the new show, with its 13 seasons and five (or seven, depending on how you count) Doctors. But this is nothing compared to Classic Who, which lasted 26 seasons and seven (or eight, depending on how you count) Doctors. 

The good news is that Classic Who really isn't reliant on over-arching storylines, so it's easy to jump in with any Doctor. The bigger question is where the most appealing starting place is. Because of the show's wildly differing quality (and, admittedly, often dated SFX), it's important to choose a strong starting point. Once you're hooked on the charm of the cast and the whimsy of the premise, it's much easier to overlook silly things like "budgetary constraints" and "cheesy dialogue" (mostly).

First of all, a word about format. If you're familiar with the new show, you'll be expecting quick 45-minute adventures. In Classic Who, almost every adventure is four or six 25-minute episodes long. This allows for much more epic, in-depth story-telling in some cases, and in others, it means a lot of filler. You'll get used to the pace, you just have to settle in for a while. Now, I get frustrated with the rocketing pace of the new show! 

Jump ahead to:

First Doctor

Second Doctor

Third Doctor

Fourth Doctor

Fifth Doctor

Sixth Doctor

Seventh Doctor

Sunday, May 17, 2020

How to Bingewatch Star Wars: The Clone Wars

A Guest Post by Sarah Long

Are you ready to set off on an epic journey of suffering and terribleness?! You may have a bad feeling about this but trust me, 'cause you'll thank me later!

The episodes below are largely organized according to release date, but a few I've reordered according to the chronological in-story timeline, but only when they work well watched earlier than their release date order.

I've also just cut out all the episodes you definitely want to skip to save time. The real goal here is to fast track you from season 1, through the two essential arcs in season 2, and then on to when the show gets really good in season 3. If you're already a die hard Star Wars fan, then you might enjoy the "maybe" episodes, too.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Endeavour Series 7 - Zenana - Review

My review of the previous episode: Raga

Is it the 1980s yet? I feel like I just lived an entire decade in one episode. Rocketing from one plot twist to another, with red herrings galore and operatic aspirations, Zenana is certainly never dull. But is it good?

The story starts with yet another tow-path murder. Thursday is furious. It's the young woman he'd warned in the previous episode, Bridget Mulcahy. He has some strong words for Morse, who remained convinced that Professor Blish was the tow-path killer. The chef, Tony Jakkobsen, was killed in an unrelated incident, Morse thought. But with Bridget's murder, it seems undeniable that the killer is still at large.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Endeavour Series 7 - Raga - Review

My review of the previous episode: Oracle

If I felt that last week's episode left some arcs oddly unresolved, this week's story shows why that was. We find the main cast embroiled with the same conflicts which started in episode one. Endeavour is still being courted by Ludo Talenti - figuratively? the man does seem very flirty - and certainly literally by Violetta Talenti. I'm almost suspicious that Ludo and Violetta are setting Morse up somehow. Ludo clearly seems to have some ulterior motives for renewing his friendship with Morse.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Endeavour Series 7 - Oracle - Review

My review of the previous season finale: Degüello

For the first time since 1992, we are in a Morse episode set in a different country. Morse is in Venice, falling for a pretty Italian woman named Violetta. He's not there long, but it starts the story - and the new decade (1970s, 2020s) - off on a romantic foot.

Meanwhile, in Oxford, foul play is afoot. A woman, Molly Andrews, is murdered on a towpath. Thursday is convinced the killer was Carl Sturgis - the dead girl's boyfriend, which Morse calls into question fairly quickly on his return to duty. Bright isn't alarmed, but he assigns Morse to revisit the case, which creates conflict between Thursday and his former protege.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Endeavour Series 6 - Degüello - Episode Review

My review of last week's episode: Confection.

"Do you think a golem's wandering around Oxford?"

Alas, there's not. There's usually a wild card episode in Endeavour seasons, but Degüello doesn't quite live up to the promise of that dialogue! That said, it's one of the most satisfying conclusions the show has produced in a while, largely because it feels like, well, a conclusion.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Endeavour Series 6 - Confection - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Apollo.

The first body is an overdose. Max and Morse are standing alongside when Strange blunders up and says, "Puked 'is guts up, then?" It's a reminder of Strange's crusade to find Fancy's killer, which plays a back-up role in an episode that's full to the brim with dead bodies. It's also a chance for Max to get in a zinger, as he often does when Strange discusses puke. ("What a lyrical child you must have been, sergeant," is still my favorite, but "Been at the Keats again, sergeant?" ain't bad.)

Russell Lewis had to be frustrated that Inspector Morse already had an episode named Happy Families, because that's the theme of the story more than anything. Unhappy families, of course. There aren't any fireworks (no tigers or haunted houses to be found here, as there usually are in the season's third episode), but this is a strong meat-and-potatoes story which, like last week's story, manages to land quite a few serious character-based punches.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Endeavour Series 6 - Apollo - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Pylon.

We've seen Shaun Evans in front of the camera, but this is our first chance to see what he can do behind it. It turns out, the answer is: quite a lot. After a rather functional finale established the new status quo, Endeavour finds time to dig into real character conflict in this insightful, thematically rich second episode that balances all of its subplots beautifully.

The story starts with Adam Drake - a snarky jerk - and his girlfriend, Christine Chase. They attend a party with Drake's colleagues - the Humbolts and Wingqvists. Adam and Christine's bodies are discovered the next day at the scene of an apparent wreck. 

Meanwhile, Thursday is assaulted by some thugs and on doctor's orders he's put on light duties, which means he and Morse - newly reassigned to Castlegate CID - investigate the wreck together. Christine's body has been disturbed, and it looks like she died before the "accident."