Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review: Doctor Who "Dalek"

You know, for an episode that featured the return of the Cybermen, they really didn't do much.

And don't get me started on the debate over whether a Mechonoid makes a cameo....

Recap: Doctor Who "Dalek"

I can't even tell you how excited I am to be going over this particular episode today.  After the two-part nightmare that was of "Aliens of London” and “World War Three," I get to talk about the best stand-alone episode of Christopher Eccleston's tenure on Doctor Who. It's got thrills, drama, humor, and the return of an iconic villain from the Classic Series.

That's right, NewtCave readers. In this episode, we witness the return of an outer space menace that had been terrorizing Earth since the era of the First Doctor.

The metal-clad xenophobes known as... the Cybermen.

What? Were you expecting something different?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Doctor Who Post Tomorrow

Sorry, I put the wrong day on the schedule. The NewtCave is on break for Memorial Day and will return tomorrow.

Again, very sorry to have typed the wrong day.

Happy Memorial Day to all, though.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Recap/Review: Marvel One-Shot "All Hail the King"

Here we are. The final Marvel One-Shot.

Why did they stop making One-Shots? Well, I'd imagine that it has something to do with the rise of the Marvel TV shows. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had taken off, and Daredevil was well on its way to setting up a whole host of Marvel shows on Netflix. And when Agent Carter made the leap from Blu-Ray to TV... well, they probably decided that any idea worth making a One-Shot out of deserved a chance on TV.

So for the final time, I'll be taking a look at the things that go on between the movies, while the heroes are off doing other things. The final slice-of-life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And the most blatant retcon in the MCU so far. Except maybe the Infinity Stone retcons.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: Doctor Who: "Shada"

"Shada," "Shada," "Shada."

Why, "Shada"? Why have you put me in this predicament?

I love Douglas Adams. I first read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in, like, third grade. The man is one of my biggest inspirations.

And yet... "Shada" is pretty terrible. While many of the episode's problems are caused by the incompleteness, a few of them are caused by the script itself. But let's tackle the problems with the 1992 VHS reconstruction before getting into the narrative problems.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Recap: Doctor Who: "Shada" Episode 6

The final part of "Shada"! Who will do more recapping, Newt or Tom Baker?

Smart money's on the man with the teeth and curls.

Recap: Doctor Who: "Shada" Episode 5

Ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm the appearance of the eponymous Shada in this episode! And can promise you that it will meet all* of your high expectations as to what we've been promised!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Recap: Doctor Who: "Shada" Episode 4

You know, every time I feel like this story is slowing down, I remember that it was originally meant to be broadcast every Saturday over a period of six weeks.

And I thank my lucky stars for DVD.

Recap: Doctor Who: "Shada" Episode 3

Happy Towel Day, NewtCave Readers!

So grab yours, stick a fish in your ear, and stick out your thumb as the plot finally begins to thicken!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Recap: Doctor Who: "Shada" Episode 2

In the first episode, we met three new characters. One of them is a boring human, one of them is a Time Lord who’s struggling to get the plot going, and the other is a villain going around doing… villainous things. For reasons.

If this pace keeps up, maybe the titular Shada will start being important by the final episode.

Recap: Doctor Who: "Shada" Episode 1

As I prepare for this Recap, I have to wonder. Is it entirely fair to recap "Shada"? After all, it was never completed. Surely, judging it with the same standards of a regular Doctor Who story would be incredibly unfair. But is it even fair to judge it at all?

Then again, the completed portions were deemed suitable to be broadcast. And the whole thing was deemed suitable for a 1992 VHS release and an eventual DVD release. So at any rate, it's probably better than "Aliens of London." I'd call that good enough.

Though, to be fair, most things are better than "Aliens of London."

Monday, May 23, 2016

Intro: Doctor Who: "Shada"

Douglas Noel Adams (1952-2001) was to science fiction what Monty Python was to Arthurian legend. The man had a rare knack for merging legitimately interesting ideas with gut-busting absurdity. The man's clever, irreverent take on the genre catapulted him to success, starting with his wildly successfully radio play, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which most people know better as a book, though a few people are familiar with the TV adaptation. And some poor souls know it best as a movie.

I am one of the few who dares to even speak of it.
But shortly before H2G2 really took off in its numerous spin-off forms, Adams found work on the Doctor Who staff. After writing “The Pirate Planet” for Doctor Who’s sixteenth season, he worked as the script editor of Season 17, which led to him substantially rewriting a little episode called "City of Death" into a classic. The man’s meteoric rise from Doctor Who writer to Doctor Who script editor would later be echoed by Steven Moffatt’s similar journey in the Revived Series. And much like Moffat’s own epic season finales, Adams was very keen on ending Season 17 with a bang. The best bang since the big one, if at all possible.

Season 17 did not end with a bang.

They had planned a season finale to remember for ages, but “Shada” wound up largely forgotten. Ironic, considering what actually happens to the titular “Shada” in the story itself, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

This week, in honor of the annual Douglas Adams tribute known as “Towel Day,” I’ll be looking at the only installment of Doctor Who that was never transmitted. But first, I'll answer the looming question: Why was it never transmitted?

Get your towel ready. We're going in.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: Avengers Assemble "Valhalla Can Wait"

Sorry that my Review for this episode is a little late! I tried to schedule it for the usual time, but accidentally clicked PM instead of AM. Again. I guess my subconscious thought that "Vallhalla Can Wait" can wait.

Recap: Avengers Assemble "Valhalla Can Wait"

Today, Avengers Assemble gives us another Asgard episode. Unlike the majority of last season’s Asgard episodes, it has nothing to do with Ragnarök. But like every Asgard episode last season, the plot centers around glorious combat! And this time, the Hulk gets in on the action.

Which gives this episode something in common with Thor: Ragnarok, despite the actual absence of Ragnarök.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man "Run Pig Run"

You know, it'd have been really funny if this episode actually featured the Ultimate Spider-Ham from the comics.

It would do wonders to troll the people who wanted Miles Morales to appear sooner.

Recap: Ultimate Spider-Man "Run Pig Run"

Loki is, as of the time of this writing, certainly the greatest villain in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Though who knows what Zemo might bring us in the future....) Now, that's not to say that I'm a die-hard Loki fan. If I were, I probably would have given Thor: The Dark World a better review than "It's okay."

But Loki has a few things that elevate him above the other villains. A talented actor portraying him, his large role in the epically-Shakespearean Thor giving him a buttload of character depth, and the fact that most other MCU villains tend to die off after having their most interesting and humanizing scenes cut from the finished film.

Exhibit A.
Exhibit B.
Like or dislike Loki, there's no denying that he certainly is a popular character these days. Though Loki certainly owes his surge in popularity to the MCU, they've done some pretty interesting things with the character in the comics since then. Particularly in Kieron Gillian's "Kid Loki" arc in Journey Into Mystery, which is better than any story involving a "Kid Loki" gimmick has any right to be.

Naturally, Ultimate Spider-Man wanted a piece of that pie. And so, Spider-Man teamed up with a polymorph'd Thor to fight the God of Lies in what turned out to be a pretty good episode that actually did a rather good job with justifying why the street-level Spider-Man would be fighting a god.

Then along came this episode.

This is not a belated April Fools' Day special.

This is not a hoax.

This is not a dream.

This is not an imaginary story.

Well, technically it is an imaginary story, seeing as how Spider-Man's not real. But it's still a canon episode of Ultimate Spider-Man. And I'm going to talk about it.

Man, it's been a while. The last time I covered Ultimate Spider-Man, we were still waiting for Marty McFly to arrive.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

View Log: Captain America: Civil War

Spoiler-Free Review
Captain America: Civil War takes the increasingly-fantastical Avengers and plops them down in the middle of Captain America’s world, where good and evil both cloud themselves in shades of grey until you start to have trouble telling which side is which. And the movie managed to take the deeply flawed (and often profoundly stupid) conflict between Captain America and Iron Man from the original Civil War event and make it work. That in and of itself is a small miracle.

If you haven’t seen it yet, buy your tickets right now. Like, literally right now.

As for anything else… Spoilers ahead!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Review: "Thor: The Dark World"

Well, I kept saying “I’ll get to that in the Review.” So it looks like I have a more than usual to discuss…. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Recap: "Thor: The Dark World" Part 3: All Corners of the World

Alright, time for our motley crew of ragtag heroes to band together and defeat an ancient evil that took an entire Asgardian army to overpower last time. Not that I'm complaining. This is standard operating procedure for some of my favorite movies.

The Avengers, Independence Day, Star Trek: First Contact....

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Recap: "Thor: The Dark World" Part 2: Swift as a Shadow

You know, the portals beginning to pop up in London are kind of begging for a crack about the spacetime rift in Cardiff.... but I'm trying as hard as I can to not make Doctor Who jokes.

Wish me luck when I get to Jessica Jones someday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Recap: "Thor: The Dark World" Part 1: What's Past is Prologue

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” -Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

Which makes one wonder if the Flash can run faster than the speed of darkness. Though he's managed to outrace the Black Flash, and... Yeah, I'm getting off-topic. This movie gives me more than enough to analyze without bringing DC to the table. Gonna warn you right now, this'll be a long one.

So let's not waste any more time and get right down to brass tacks Or whatever magical metal tacks are made of in Asgard. Uru? Mithril? Stalhrim? Orichalcum? Tilkal? Tilkal tacks?

If you actually knew what that last one was from off the top of your head, you win nerd forever.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tuesday Post goes up at 1 PM

Sorry, everyone.

Late night watching Captain America: Civil War, so you can expect a View Log of that soon, as well.

Recap: "Thor: The Dark World" Intro

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always been hit-or-miss when it comes to the quality of its sequels, even as of the time of this writing. Thor: The Dark World was never going to be a hit, I’m sorry to say.

I’m not saying the movie was bad, strictly speaking, but when you take a look at the behind-the-scenes troubles that plagued this movie… Well, let me put it this way. Marvel set a release date before they had a script, a writer, a director, actors, or even any basic idea for what the film would be leading into, unlike their later films with arbitrary release dates.

Marvel knew that there was going to be a Thor 2, come Hell or high water.

And perhaps that devotion to getting the movie made would be its own undoing…

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sketchbook: Domino Mask Study

Not all masks are created equal. Even my personal favorite method of hiding one's identity, the domino mask, has an infinite number of possible permutations. And barely any of them will actually hide the vast majority of your face.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Review: Avengers Assemble "Thanos Rising"

So, quick tangent before I go over this episode.

I was watching the Science Channel the other day, and I learned something about lunar dust which gave me pause for thought here. Because lunar dust is primarily weathered by quick micro-meteor impacts, as opposed to wind and water, it basically has the consistency of razors. Which means that it can do serious harm to spacesuits and equipment. And God help you if you breathe in any; that stuff's worse for your lungs than asbestos.

So if the Blue Area of the Moon here has air, then is the moon dust weathered and rounded by wind? Or are all the Avengers fighting in a sea of microscopic blades? Black Widow and Hawkeye might want to both hold their breath....

Recap: Avengers Assemble "Thanos Rising"

As I've mentioned before, Season 2 of Avengers Assemble featured Man of Action is less of a hands-on role, replaced with veteran writers from Avengers: EMH. I will maintain that this is automatically a good thing, since these writers proved in EMH that they understand the characters better than Man of Action apparently does.


I may have implied that these writers could do no wrong. That is not at all true.

Brandon Auman did some phenomenal work on EMH with episodes like "Ultron-5" and "To Steal an Ant-Man." Then he wrote "All About the Ego," which was the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode that led me to start reviewing that particular series.

My point is that while the influx of EMH writers was definitely a good thing, it didn't automatically rule out the possibility of crappy episodes. Not only can writers have off days, but the writers have no control over the animation quality and the actors' performances.

So while I wiped the slate clean to review the second season, this episode might just undo that good will.

Yeah. That bad.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Site News: May, 2016 Announcements

First of all, I think it's time for a long-awaited Missing Picture Update.

Okay, long story short: For reasons that, in all honesty, are pretty boring, I had to wait until May to see whether or not a second picture disappearance was going to happen.

Luckily, everything seems to be fine. At least, I hope so. I post these ahead of time.

Since I haven't gone back and corrected this post, the pictures are probably fine.

And so, picture fixing can finally begin in full force. My goal is to get them all back to normal by the end of the month, though I admit that that probably won't happen, since this month is going to be packed.

I'll update you guys on my progress next month.

But as far as this month goes, there's a lot that I'm really looking forward to. I'll be going over the Thor sequel and I'm doing a little something for Towel Day this year. And on top of that, my usual review fodder will have a bit of an Asgard theme going on, purely by happy accident.

Should be a fun month; especially since I can stop worrying about more missing pictures. So tomorrow, I can return to Avengers Assemble in high spirits. Hopefully, my spirits will still be intact after the experience.

See you then!