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Doctor Who - The Monsters Collection: The Cybermen [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Monsters Collection: The Cybermen [DVD]
Dvd ~ Patrick Troughton
Offered by themediamerchants
Price: 5.87

4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor Faces Two Versions of Cybermen, From Their Icy Tombs on Telos to their Parellel Re-Imagining!, 12 July 2014
Next to the Daleks, the Cybermen, originally created by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, have become renowned in popular culture as one of the Doctor's most terrifying and recurring foes. A recurring threat since the classic series' fourth season serial, 'The Tenth Planet', the first Cybermen hailed from Earth's twin planet Mondas, and attempted to make humanity into their cloth-faced image, with William Hartnell's First Doctor ultimately defeating them alongside companions Ben and Polly moments before his first regeneration into Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor. Subsequent appearances would show an evolving species of changing cybernetic strengths and weaknesses, alongside attempted invasions, all thwarted by the Doctor in his many incarnations up until the classic series' cancellation. These Mondasian Cybermen were also featured within the BBC/Big Finish Audio-books throughout the years when Paul McGann took the reins as the Doctor's Eighth incarnation, up until the series revival in the mid 00's.
When the Doctor Who television franchise was revived by Russell T Davies in 2005, it was only a matter of time until the Cybermen were to make a much-anticipated on-screen return. This ultimately came during David Tennant's tenure as the Tenth Doctor, when an accidental crash-landing on a parallel Earth saw a re-imagining of the Cybermen's origin, when the brilliantly intelligent madman John Lumic attempted to cheat death by creating copyrighted chemicals that would preserve the brain inside a cybernetic metal suit of armour. These Cybermen from a parallel universe (later deemed 'Pete's World') have been referred to as the Cybus Cybermen by the Whovian community, in order to distinguish them from their Mondasian counterparts from the Classic Series. Throughout the New Series, the Cybus Cybermen have sporadically returned, both in television and within prose novels/comic form, and they have now been clearly cemented within Doctor Who lore. It has now been suggested that both species of Cybermen, the Mondasian originals and their parallel counterparts, somehow shared technology and interbred through time travel and other means to become a major force well into the distant future of the Whoniverse, with both versions of Cybermen being virtually indistinguishable from each other, save the Cybus logo that is branded onto John Lumic's creations. Furthermore, with the New Series Season Eight episode, 'Nightmare in Silver', being recently broadcasted, a new upgraded version of Cybersuit has been revealed, with a supposed mixing of Mondasian and Cybus origin.
This 'Cyberman' entry within the Doctor Who 'Monster Collection' series of DVDs contains two stories on one disc, one from the Classic Series and another from the New Series, which shows the progression of the Cybermen over nearly fifty years of Doctor Who's televised history. Released in 2013 and distributed by BBC Worldwide Ltd/2entertain for the Region 2 market, the two stories amount to a feature-length running time of 192 minutes (just over three hours), with the option of choosing audio navigation and episode selection on the menu screen, as well as optional subtitles for the English hard-of-hearing.
The two stories are as follows:
* 'The Tomb of the Cybermen' - First Shown from 2nd - 23rd September 1967, and broadcast in black-and-white format, this Classic adventure stars Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, with companions Jamie and Victoria landing on the planet Telos. There, they encounter an archaeological expedition, who are searching for the last remnants of the Cyberman legions, who have been cryogenically suspended for the last five hundred years. They subsequently become embroiled in a trap laid by the Cybermen themselves, who have been waiting for humanoids with superior minds to free them from their ice tombs and invade the Earth to expand their empire. The Brotherhood of Logicians attempt to make an alliance with their Cyber-Controller. However, things don't go as they planned, and it is up to the Doctor and his companions to seal the Cybermen back into their icy tombs forever.
* 'Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel' - This New Series Second Season two-parter, first shown on BBC One from 13th - 20th May 2006, sees the Tenth Doctor, portrayed by David Tennant, alongside his companions Rose Tyler and Mickey Smith, landing on a parallel version of London after falling out of the time vortex. With a nod to the Big Finish Audio Adventure, 'Spare Parts' (written by Marc Platt), this story shows the creation of the Cybus Cybermen on a parallel Earth, later deemed 'Pete's World' by the Whovian community, which results in the forced upgrading of London's population into Cybermen. With this new threat looming, Rose also faces an emotional turmoil when she encounters a parallel counterpart of her father, who is alive and well and a self-made millionaire, attempting to bring down John Lumic, the mad power-hungry businessman behind Cybus industries, from the inside, alongside the vigilante group known as the Preachers.
With no bonus material, these two stories pretty much make up the entirety of this release, which is the same as with all other entries within the 'Monster Collection' series of DVDs. Of course, it would have been nice to have some extra materials to bulk up the release, at least some history on the Cybermen themselves, but this does not ruin the viewing experience at all. Besides, there are plenty of extra bonus material pertaining to the stories themselves on their specific DVD releases.
'Tomb of the Cybermen' has been released within the Classic Who series of DVDs by BBC Worldwide/2entertain on both Region 1 and 2 formats, with plenty of extras included therein, including a commentary on the serial itself, production note subtitles, and other notable featurettes. Additionally, it has also been released in audio form as a television soundtrack with linking narration by Frazer Hines, who played Jamie in the serial, and within the series of classic serial target novelisations.
The other aforementioned two-parter adventure, 'Rise of the Cybermen' and 'The Age of Steel', has been released as a vanilla DVD, making up the series of single DVD releases, and within the New Series Season Two box-set. Additionally, it has also been included within 'The Cybermen Collection', a box-set distributed in 2009 within the Region 2 market, which contains specific episodes relating to the Cybus Cybermen within Season Two of the Revived Series
All in all, the Cybermen entry within the 'Monster Collection' series of DVDs shows how the Cybermen and their designs have changed over Doctor Who's long history, and gives a small glimpse into the ever-expanding Whoniverse, which the Cybermen have been well cemented into from their humble origins on Earth's twin planet Mondas. If the Cybermen's progression is something that interests you, it is also well worth looking at the aforementioned two-disc 'Cybermen Collection', and exploring the classic serials distributed via DVD that feature the Cybermen from 'The Tenth Planet' onwards.


Doctor Who - The Monsters Collection: The Daleks [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Monsters Collection: The Daleks [DVD]
Dvd ~ William Hartnell
Offered by themediamerchants
Price: 5.39

4.0 out of 5 stars This Two-Story 'Monsters Collection' Entry Shows the Progression of the Daleks Through Nearly Fifty Years of Whoniverse History!, 1 July 2014
In the world of Doctor Who, it can be said with undeniable surety, that the Daleks are the most prolific, the most daunting and the most exciting creatures to come out of the franchise since its inception in 1963, when they first appeared on our screens as pepper-pot shaped mutations with attaching sink plungers and flashing light bulbs for ears (or at least the resemblance of such). As well as the wave of Dalekmania spreading forth to the masses following the cinematic showing of the two Peter Cushing Dalek films of the sixties (based on the first two Dalek serials produced for the BBC series), these world-conquering aliens from Skaro became embedded into the national consciousness, with kids on the playground yelling 'exterminate!', alongside the distribution of toys, comics and annuals focusing on their exploits throughout time and space.
The Daleks were the brainchild of Terry Nation, who debuted their on-screen television appearance in the second serial of the first series, running from 1963 to 1964, titled 'The Daleks' (although each twenty-five minute episode had individual titles). This serial introduced the Daleks as mutations who had survived a neutronic war with the Thals, forced to spend their days in their metal city, gaining their power from static electricity, attempting to thwart the plan of the First Doctor (William Hartnell) and his companions to end the Dalek oppression of the pacifist Thals. Later stories would give the Daleks a chance to show off their battle expertise in conquering twenty-second century Earth, along with providing a rather convoluted species history, which began with their creator, Davros (shown in the 1970's serial 'Genesis of the Daleks'), remaining ever popular throughout the Classic Series' run until its cancellation in the late eighties.
When Russell T Davies revived the series with Christopher Ecclestone as the Ninth Doctor in 2005, it was only a matter of time until the Daleks were to make a long-awaited comeback to their television roots. This was ultimately given to viewers in the single episode 'Dalek', which provided some intermittent backstory between the years that the show was off-air, explaining that the Daleks and the Time-Lords were both destroyed in a cataclysmic battle deemed the 'Last Great Time War', which devastated both species' planets (although the Time Lords were shown to have survived due to the efforts of three iterations of the Doctor, placing the planet of Gallifrey into a pocket universe, played out during the fiftieth anniversary special). Eventually, in the four series that followed under Davies' production schedule, it was shown that some Daleks did indeed survive, including both the Emperor and Davros himself, as well as the mythical and secretive Cult of Skaro; a quartet of Battle Daleks created to think up new ways of species survival. One of these Cult members, Dalek Caan, temporal shifted back into the Last Great Time War to rescue Davros from the so-called 'Nightmare Child', which resulted in an attempted invasion of Earth and the destruction of reality itself in the year 2009, thwarted by the Tenth Doctor and his gathered companions. Following this defeat of Davros' New Dalek Empire by the Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor in the New Series Season Four finale, three remaining Daleks inevitably were responsible in creating a new, pure-bred Dalek Paradigm, which has resulted in a new Universe-fearing fleet of Daleks, with a whole new colour palette redesign and militaristic designations for each variant.
'Doctor Who - The Monster Collection: The Daleks', distributed in 2013 by BBC Worldwide/2entertain for the Region 2 market, contains two stories spread over two discs that focus on the Daleks' progression throughout nearly fifty years of the show's on-screen history. With no bonus material, apart from audio menu navigation, episode selection on Disc One and subtitles for the English hard-of-hearing, the feature length running time is approximated at three hours and forty minutes, and the two stories are as follows:
*'The Daleks' (originally transmitted 21/12/1963 - 01/02/1964) - The aforementioned second story from Season One and presented in black and white format, this seven-episode serial was responsible for bringing the Daleks into the nation's public consciousness. It shows the First Doctor, his granddaughter Susan, and her school teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, landing on the almost 'dead' planet Skaro after escaping from primitive Earth during their previous adventure. After venturing into a metal city in search of mercury for the Tardis' fluid-link, the Doctor and his companions are imprisoned by the Daleks, and end up fighting alongside the pacifist Thals for freedom, attempting to stop the static-electricity utilising mutations from detonating a neutron bomb that will allow them to take over the planet for themselves.
*'Asylum of the Daleks' (first shown 01/09/2012) - This first episode from the New Series Season Seven concerns the Parliament of the Daleks enlisting their so-called 'Predator', the Doctor (in his eleventh incarnation), alongside his companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams, into disabling the force-field of the Dalek Asylum, a planet wherein lies casualties of Dalek wars throughout history. After a space-freighter crash lands on the planet, the crew's Junior Entertainment Manager, Oswin Oswald (later revealed to be an echo of the Eleventh Doctor's future companion Clara), causes havoc amongst the Dalek inmates, and it is up to the Doctor and his two companions to work for the Daleks so that the Asylum can be cleansed.
All in all, the 'Dalek' entry in the 'Doctor Who: Monster Collection' series of DVDs, released to coincide with the franchise's fiftieth anniversary, shows how the Doctor's most nefarious foes have progressed and evolved throughout the show's history, and it is great to see the many cameos of Dalek variants shown in 'Asylum of the Daleks'; from the Mark 1 design introduced within 'The Daleks', through to the most recent iterations as part of the New Dalek Paradigm. It would have been nice to have some extras and bonus material included, if only a few trailers, for instance. However, this in no way detracts from the viewing experience for the avid Whovian and the general viewer alike.
Additionally, if the Daleks are of particular interest to you, it is worth having a look at the two non-canonical Peter Cushing films, produced in the 1960s, and based on the first two Dalek serials in an attempt to reach a more widespread international audience, plus the three-DVD set distributed in 2009 titled 'Doctor Who - The Dalek Collection', which includes all episodes focusing on the Daleks throughout the first four seasons of the New Series, save the Second Season two-episode finale, which is included within its sister set, 'Doctor Who - The Cyberman Collection'.


Birdman & The Galaxy Trio: Complete Series [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Birdman & The Galaxy Trio: Complete Series [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Keith Andes

4.0 out of 5 stars Hanna-Barbera's Winged Superhero and its Trio of Cosmic Crusaders Soar onto DVD at Blur Speed!, 13 Jun 2014
'Birdman & the Galaxy Trio' was the product of legendary cartoonist and comic book artist Alex Toth, in order for Hanna-Barabera to expand on its superhero line for the Saturday morning slot for kids, in response to contemporary shows like Marvel's 'The Fantastic Four' and Filmation's take on DC Comic's' Justice League (which would later be picked up by HB for its 'Super Friends' franchise).
The twenty episode series ran from September 1967 to September 1969 on NBC, with the titular character of Birdman being voiced by Keith Andes (who tragically took his own life in 2005). Birdman is in fact a man named Ray Randall who was granted solar-based powers from the Egyptian Sun-God Ra. As such, he is able to create solar blasts from his hands, project a solar shield to repel enemy attacks, and can fly due to having natural feathered wings protruding from his back. The only flaw that Birdman possesses is having to recharge his solar-based powers by being energised by the sun's rays on a regular basis, which presents a problem when super-villains, such as Morto, Dr Millennium, the Duplicator and Mentok the Mind-Taker, amongst others, deploy their evil schemes under the cover of darkness. Towards the end of the series, Birdman is aided by a young boy that he rescues from a shipwreck, who he names Birdboy after passing on some of his powers onto via a transfusion, and along with his government liaison Falcon 7, they are assigned to protect their home-town of Central City from their specially designed Bird-Lair.
Each episode of 'Birdman and the Galaxy Trio' is presented in three parts, with two Birdman shorts lasting approximately eight minutes each, with a segment starring the Galaxy Trio being sandwiched in-between, making each full episode having a total running time of about twenty-four to thirty minutes.
Regarding the Galaxy Trio, their adventures take place in a futuristic Star Trek-esque setting, where the Intergalactic Police patrols space, attempting to thwart invading forces on unsuspecting planets. The team consists of Vapour Man, who can turn into any gaseous form, Meteor Man, who can enhance his growth cells to enlarge any part of his body, and Gravity girl, a princess from the planet Gravitas who can utilise gravity force to fly and suspend enemies in mid-air. Together, they form a formidable fighting force that protects civilisations from certain take-over, such as protecting the planet Aqueous from its rightful king 's evil power-hungry brother, and stopping the robotic Computron from turning his humanoid creators into robot slaves.
'Birdman & the Galaxy Trio - The Complete Series', distributed by Warner Home Video for the Region 1 market during July 2007 under its 'Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection' banner, has a total running time of 420 minutes. That's seven complete hours of golden-age animation fun, containing all twenty episodes over two double-sided discs, with five episodes presented on each side. There is some lovely artwork depicted on the set's packaging, which is a cardboard sleeve fold-out tucked into an outer casing, indicative of Warner Bros' distributed animation DVD packages from the Hanna-Barbera studios and Filmation, amongst others. On the DVDs themselves, menus are presented with some more clean-cut artwork with an episode selection option, as well as being able to play all, with the added choice to view episodes with subtitles for the English hard-of-hearing. The picture quality is sometimes a little grainy, although for the most part, this cartoon from the late-sixties holds up pretty well. Regarding special features, there isn't really a lot to bulk up the collection apart from a mini-featurette looking at Alex Toth's original contribution to the series, lasting approximately ten minutes or so, along with some trailers which advertise other golden-age animated series on DVD.
Birdman and the Galaxy Trio teamed up once in the 'Hanna-Barbera TV Superheroes' comic book series, with our titular hero also having a one-time appearance in Cartoon Network's Toonami comic series, published by DC Comic's some time later. The character of Birdman would later be used, almost three decades later after the original show, as a guest star on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim series 'Space Ghost: Coast to Coast', appearing as an unemployed superhero looking for work. Following the popularity of this series, Birdman subsequently starred in his own Adult Swim production, along with his supporting cast members, in the popular adult-oriented series 'Harvey Birdman - Attorney at Law'. In this series, he offered his services in representing fellow Hanna-Barbera characters in a court of law, having completed an online law degree after giving up his crime-fighting career.
All in all, 'Birdman & the Galaxy Trio' is recommended for all classic animation enthusiasts, as well as those who were brought up watching similar shows, such as the Super Friends, along with people who have an affinity towards superheroes in general. The stories can definitely seem repetitive at times and the narration of action can be somewhat expressed as a form of televisual radio. However, if you don't take the premise too seriously, the characters definitely come alive with Hanna-Barbera's classic animated charm that the studio is historically famous for.
Additionally, it is most definitely worth exploring Hanna-Barbera's sister superhero creations, such as 'Space Ghost & Dino Boy' and 'The Herculoids', amongst others, as well as Adult Swim's 'Harvey Birdman - Attorney At Law'; all currently available for purchase on DVD.


Mulligans
Mulligans
by Charlie David
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Charlie David's Adaptation of His First Screenplay Delves Deeper into His Crafted World and the Characters that Reside There!, 3 Jun 2014
This review is from: Mulligans (Paperback)
Having seen the talented Charlie David as a primary character in the guilty pleasure gay-themed supernatural soap drama 'Dante's Cove', and within other independent films, such as 'A Four Letter Word' and 'Kiss the Bride', amongst others, I was thrilled to see that he had turned his hand to writing and producing regarding his newest venture called 'Mulligans'. Charlie wrote the screenplay for this feature film, which centres around the theme of second chances using the golf-analogy of a mulligan, with interconnecting themes of family dynamics, brotherly friendship and the suppression of sexual orientation.
The film stars Charlie David as Chase and Derek James as Tyler Davidson, who are best friends spending the summer together at Tyler's parents' lakeside home. Whilst there, Chase decides to come out as gay to his best friend, and the Davidson family are thrust into a situation wherein they are forced to confront long-suppressed feelings of guilt and complacency. Tyler's mother, Stacie (portrayed by the brilliant Thea Gill of 'Queer as Folk' fame), is determined to be the perfect housewife and mother to both Tyler and youngest daughter Birdie, played by newcomer Grace Vukovic, who delivers her role splendidly with innocent questioning of the world around her. Stacie's husband and Tyler's father, Nathan (played by Dan Payne) seems to be more interested in his golfing hobby of late which is an annoyance to his wife, who suspects that that their marriage might be suffering due to a lack of communication. Events unfold between Nathan and Chase, with Nathan ultimately admitting hidden feelings that he has suppressed throughout his marriage.
Distributed in 2009 by Palari Books, this adaptation of the film's screenplay by Charlie David, attempts to explore more deeply the characters that he, himself, has crafted and presented to the viewers of 'Mulligans'. Inner thoughts are flushed out as the reader is shown how much Nathan is holding back regarding his feelings towards Chase and, likewise, Chase is portrayed in an empathetic and relatable manner, that guides the reader into understanding how the two characters become so emotionally and physically entangled. Stacie is shown to be a strong-willed woman, determined to keep her family together, and Tyler's jock-centric personality is as humorously presented as Derek James portrays in the movie. Also, plot elements that do not have such mention in the film are given much more prevalence here, such as the relationship between Chase and Jarod, which sets the mood for what is to come, and adds more intricate meaning to the production's main theme of being given second chances. Because the film portrays Jarod as a very minor character and as a background straight friend of Tyler's (although the deleted scenes within the DVD extras show this wasn't always the filmmaker's intention), it is interesting to explore an additional point-of-view that adds a deeper layer to the story of Chase's developing sexual and emotional maturity.
Accompanying the main novel within this book release are advertisements and blurbs from other books distributed by Palari Books, including Charlie David's second writing venture, 'Boy Midflight'. Also, Charlie David offers a glimpse into how his writing process began and how 'Mulligans' came about, with background information examining the real-life inspirations for the characters within the production and within the novel.
Essentially, 'Mulligans' is a quaint story with good intentions of exploring complicated issues within a family unit, adding a gay-themed element that has probably affected quite a lot of people in similar situations. Fans of Charlie David will no doubt enjoy his first outing as novelist of what is a rather moving and enjoyable read about life choices, relationships and, above all else, second chances. Ultimately, I found that reading the book gave me a deeper appreciation of the movie; providing an empathetic link that is maybe not so easy to grasp by simply watching the feature production alone (available on DVD, distributed by Wolfe Video/Border2Border Entertainment with accompanying commentary and additional extras).


Doctor Who - The Dalek Collection [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Dalek Collection [DVD]
Dvd ~ Christopher Eccleston
Price: 9.50

4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor's Most Notorious Foes Are Given Their Own Collection of Post-Time War Exploits!, 26 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In the world of Doctor Who, it can be said with undeniable surety, that the Daleks are the most prolific, the most daunting and the most exciting creatures to come out of the franchise since its inception in 1963, when they first appeared on our screens as pepper-pot shaped mutations with attaching sink plungers and flashing light bulbs for ears. As well as the wave of Dalekmania spreading forth to the masses following the cinematic showing of the two Peter Cushing Dalek films of the sixties (based on the first two Dalek serials produced for the BBC series), these world-conquering aliens from Skaro became embedded into the national consciousness, with kids on the playground yelling 'exterminate!', alongside the distribution of toys, comics and annuals focusing on their exploits throughout time and space.
The Daleks were the brainchild of Terry Nation, who debuted their on-screen television appearance in the second serial of the first series, running from 1963 to 1964, titled 'The Daleks' (although each twenty-five minute episode had individual titles). This serial introduced the Daleks as mutations who had survived a neutronic war with the Thals, forced to spend their days in their metal city, gaining their power from static electricity, attempting to thwart the plan of the First Doctor (William Hartnell) and his companions to end the Dalek oppression of the pacifist Thals. Later stories would give the Daleks a chance to show off their battle expertise in conquering twenty-second century Earth, along with providing a rather convoluted species history, which began with their creator, Davros (shown in the 1970's serial 'Genesis of the Daleks'), remaining ever popular throughout the Classic Series' run until its cancellation in the late eighties.
When Russell T Davies revived the series with Christopher Ecclestone as the Ninth Doctor, it was only a matter of time until the daleks were to make a long-awaited comeback to their television roots. This was ultimately given to the fans in the single episode 'Dalek', which provided some intermittent backstory between the years that the show was off-air, explaining that the Daleks and the Time-Lords were both destroyed in a cataclysmic battle called the 'Last Great time War, which devastated both species' planets. Eventually, in the four series that followed under Davies's production schedule, it is learned that some Daleks survived, including both the Emperor and Davros himself, as well as the mythical and secretive Cult of Skaro; a quartet of Battle Daleks created to think up new ways of species survival.
'Doctor Who - The Dalek Collection', released on 13th October 2009 and distributed by BBC Worldwide Limited/2entertain for the Region 2 market, includes all episodes Dalek-related within the Davies-era of the New Series, excluding Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, which were included on the 'Cybermen Collection' release, distributed a few months earlier.
With an approximate total running time of 335 minutes, this release includes the following episodes spread over three disks:
* 'Dalek' - The aforementioned episode within the first revived season, which gives certain backstory to the Time War, when one lone Dalek is seem to have somehow survived the destruction of his species, ultimately landing on Earth during the twenty-first century. It's distress call, whilst trapped in the possession of Henry Van Statten (a Bill-Gates like-figure) in his underground museum below Utah, catches the attention of the Ninth Doctor. The damaged 'Metaltron', as Van Statten calls it, is revived to full strength upon extrapolating DNA from the Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler, and goes on a killing rampage, before an unexpected turn of events leads to its self-sacrificing demise.
* 'Bad wolf' / 'The Parting of the Ways' - This two-parter episode which wraps up Series 1 as both the penultimate and final installments, takes the Ninth Doctor, Jack and Rose back to Satellite 5, now known as 'The Game Station', which is broadcasting futuristic versions of contemporary reality programmes, such as Big Brother and The Weakest Link, with deadly consequences upon losing. It is ultimately revealed that the Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire has been having its strings pulled for centuries by an unknown force, ultimately revealed to be the Dalek Emperor himself, having somehow escaped the Time War. He has been harvesting human corpses in order to create his own kingdom of Daleks, whilst setting himself up as a self-professed God amongst his Dalek 'angels'. The Doctor is forced to make a tough decision; which leads into the first regeneration scene of the revived series.
* 'Daleks in Manhattan' / 'Evolution of the Daleks' - Following the events in 'Doomsday' (the finale of Season 2), the Cult of Skaro has shifted back in time to the 1930s, in the middle of the Depression at the heart of New York City. The Tenth Doctor and Martha discover that people are disappearing all over the city, and it is ultimately revealed that the four Daleks are using the Empire State Building to draw gamma radiation from the Sun in order to wake up their Human-Dalek army. Dalek Sec, as a means to enable the survival of his species, merges with the exploitative Mr Diagoras, and inevitably becomes the first Human-Dalek hybrid. Tensions rise as Sec becomes more humanly minded, with the three remaining daleks deciding to awaken their army with fully-implanted Dalek ideals, without a trace of humanity, in an attempt to take over the planet and become the dominate species yet again.
* 'The Stolen Earth' / 'Journey's End' - This two-part culmination of Davies's run on the series loosened up certain plot elements threaded throughout the revived show's first four seasons. Following Rose's various cameos throughout Season 4, it is ultimately revealed that particular planets, including Earth, are being taken out of time and space for some unknown scheme. With such a climactic finale, bringing together the franchise's sister shows of 'Torchwood' and 'The Sarah Jane Adventures', it was only right that the Daleks were to be involved somehow. It turns out that Dalek Caan had somehow temporally-shifted back into the first year of the Time War in order to rescue Davros, who rebuilt his empire from the cells of his own body, hiding within the Medusa Cascade one second out of sync. His plan is to use the stolen planets to enable his 'reality bomb' to wipe out all species and matter in the universe, leaving his Daleks as the ultimate and dominating race in all of reality.
Regarding special features, this release features a special introduction by David Tennant on the influence of the Daleks during his childhood and throughout his tenure as the Doctor, along with a trailer for 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' upon loading Disk One. There is also the choice of selecting audio navigation before the title menu appears, and the ability to view all episodes with English subtitles, with individual episode and scene selection. Within the DVD casing, a small glossy pamphlet is placed in the left-hand side, with some rather lovely artwork depicting both featured Doctors and particular Dalek variants, with a scene overview of all episodes within the set.
All in all, 'The Dalek Collection' is a nice little set that brings together the New Series episodes which feature the Doctor's most enduring foes, except, of course for the two-part Season 2 finale. With this is mind, if you are thinking of purchasing this set, it may be a good idea to acquire 'The Cybermen Collection' as well, in order to complete the overall story arc, placing the aforementioned episodes of 'Army of Ghosts' and 'Doomsday' in between disks one and two.
That being said, the episodes included as part of 'The Dalek Collection' and its sister compilation have already been released within their respective season box-sets, and on their own in the earlier distributed single-disk vanilla DVDs. This means that you aren't getting anything particularly new with this collection. However, for the dedicated Whovian and for the general fan of Dalekmania, 'The Dalek Collection' is an entertaining glimpse into the expanse of the ever-expanding Whoniverse.
Furthermore, if you wish to explore more of the Dalek's progression from their initial inception to the present day, it would be worth having a look at the Dalek entry in the series of DVDs under the umbrella title of 'The Monsters Collection', released for the Region 2 market. This includes the first-ever appearance of the Daleks in their eponymous 1963-4 serial, and the most recent episode from Season Seven starring Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor, titled 'Asylum of the Daleks', which includes cameos of Dalek variants from throughout the show's history. Additionally, the two non-canonical Dalek films of the 1960s starring Peter Cushing as the human inventor, Dr Who, are a worthwhile look back through history to experience the wave of Dalekmania that first gave Doctor Who its nationwide appeal (released in a box-set with the similar title of 'Dr Who - The Dalek Collection').


Mulligans [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Mulligans [DVD] [2009] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Derek James
Offered by RAREWAVES USA
Price: 6.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Charlie David Floursihes as First-Time Script Writer and Lead Actor of this Delicately Drawn Story of Second Chances, 26 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having seen the talented Charlie David as a primary character in the guilty pleasure gay-themed supernatural soap drama 'Dante's Cove', and within other independent films, such as 'A Four Letter Word' and 'Kiss the Bride', amongst others, I was thrilled to see that he had turned his hand to writing and producing regarding his newest venture called 'Mulligans'. Charlie wrote the screenplay for this feature film, which centres around the theme of second chances using the golf-analogy of a mulligan, with interconnecting themes of family dynamics, brotherly friendship and the suppression of sexual orientation.
The film stars Charlie David as Chase and Derek James as Tyler Davidson, who are best friends spending the summer together at Tyler's parents' lakeside home. Whilst there, Chase decides to come out as gay to his best friend, and the Davidson family are thrust into a situation wherein they are forced to confront long-suppressed feelings of guilt and complacency. Tyler's mother, Stacie, (portrayed by the brilliant Thea Gill of 'Queer as Folk' fame) is determined to be the perfect housewife and mother to both Tyler and youngest daughter Birdie, played by newcomer Grace Vukovic, who delivers her role splendidly with innocent questioning of the world around her. Stacie's husband and Tyler's father, Nathan (played by Dan Payne) seems to be more interested in his golfing hobby of late which is an annoyance to his wife, who suspects that that their marriage might be suffering due to a lack of communication. Events unfold between Nathan and Chase, with Nathan ultimately admitting hidden feelings that he has suppressed throughout his marriage.
The DVD, released in 2009 and distributed by Wolfe Video/Border2Border Entertainment, is a simple affair, with 2.0 Dolby Digital sound and a widescreen frame format. The film was recorded in HD (as stated within the audio commentary), so the quality of the picture on the standard DVD release is fairly clean and bright throughout the feature. Regarding special features, there is an option to view the film with an audio commentary featuring the two main actors Charlie David and Derek James, alongside director Chip Hale, which serves as a decent look into Charlie's writing/acting motivation and the overall production process. This commentary is also available whilst watching the deleted scenes, which aid in linking specific scenes and seeing additional character progression, especially regarding Jarod, Chase's friend and confidant who is portrayed as straight in the feature, but was originally intended to be gay (which is also prevalent in the novelisation of the film - also written by Charlie David). There is also the option to view the film with subtitles (closed captions) and a small selection of interviews with the cast and crew, alongside a campaign advertisement for 'JointheDot.com'
'Mulligans' is a film which can seem somewhat predictable from the outset, but inevitably explores important themes that have been untouched in recent years, such as how the expectations of the world twenty or so years ago has affected those who have found themselves stuck in situations which seem out of their control. Within this film, Chase becomes the catalyst to give Nathan back that control in order to do what is right for both himself and for his family, with unfortunate mistakes made on both sides. The outcome is the aftermath of those consequences, but is somewhat comforting in its own right. However, it can sometimes feel as if the characters are being glossed over too quickly, and it is hard to get an exact focus on the overall picture, with far too many questions being left unanswered.
Essentially, 'Mulligans' is a quaint film with good intentions of exploring complicated issues within a family unit, adding a gay-themed element that has probably affected quite a lot of people in similar situations. However, it can sometimes feel as if the focus is shifting a little too erratically between characters and plot elements for the viewer to grasp full believability and sentiment towards the people involved. That is not to say that I would not recommend this film though, as fans of Charlie David will no doubt enjoy his first outing as script writer of what is, essentially, a rather moving and enjoyable story about life choices, relationships and, above all else, second chances.
As an accompaniment to this DVD release, I would most definitely recommend looking at the novelisation of the film, which is also written by Charlie David as his first outing as novelist/author, providing a much more intimate glimpse into the lives and inner turmoil of the main characters, whilst exploring certain story elements and plot devices that didn't have such prevalence within the main production. Ultimately, I found that reading the book gave me a deeper appreciation of the movie; providing an empathetic link that is maybe not so easy to grasp by simply watching the feature production alone.


THE DR WHO ANNUAL 1978.
THE DR WHO ANNUAL 1978.
by No Author.
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars A 'Classic Who' Annual Worth Discovering Anew!, 18 April 2014
The British Hardback Annual has become somewhat of a Christmas tradition over the last few decades, to be a small stocking filler for young kids and kids-at-heart alike. They are normally aimed at a younger audience, with comic stories, small prose pieces and puzzles relating to the annual's main subject matter.
Since the 'Doctor Who' television series returned to our screens in 2005, revived for a modern audience by the talented Russell T Davies, I have become a dedicated Whovian, and the 'Doctor Who Annual' has become a staple present from my family at Christmas time. Having delved into the Classic Who serials of late in order to explore the vast history of the Whoniverse, I was extremely pleased when I happened to stumble upon a lovely preserved Dr Who Annual from 1978 (distributed by World Distributers (Manchester) Limited for the BBC during the Christmas period of 1977), whilst walking through a local boot fair one Sunday morning.
Throughout this hardback sixty-three page publication, there are artistic renditions of the Doctor in his fourth incarnation (as portrayed by Tom Baker) and his then-companion Sarah Jane-Smith (Elizabeth Sladen), dealing with all kinds of usual trouble. The book, in itself, is quite beautifully crafted, with both prose and picture stories which involve the Doctor and Sarah materialising on different worlds and coming into contact with species such as the Guerners and the Lokans, amongst others. In between these stories, there are various features for the eager Whovian, including information on real-world space flights, the mythology behind certain monsters appearing in the series, as well as quizzes and number games.
For both older and newer generation fans of the Doctor and his ever-expanding world, the 'Dr Who Annual 1978' is a great look back into the development of the series during Tom Baker's run as the iconic Time-Lord, and is, additionally, a lovely collector's item for anyone looking for a classic delve into the 'Annual' traditional.


Doctor Who - The Cybermen [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Cybermen [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Price: 5.95

4.0 out of 5 stars The Cybus Cybermen of the Revived Series are Given their own Collection of Most Important Appearances Within Season 2!, 5 Mar 2014
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Next to the Daleks, the Cybermen, originally created by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, have become renowned in popular culture as one of the Doctor's most terrifying and recurring foes. A recurring threat since the classic series' fourth season serial Doctor Who - The Tenth Planet [DVD], the first Cybermen hailed from Earth's twin planet Mondas, and attempted to make humanity in their cloth-faced image, with William Hartnell's First Doctor ultimately defeating them alongside companions Ben and Polly moments before his first regeneration into Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor. Subsequent appearances would show an evolving species of changing cybernetic strengths and weaknesses, alongside attempted invasions, all thwarted by the Doctor in his many incarnations up until the classic series' cancellation. These Mondasian Cybermen were also featured within the BBC/Big Finish Audio-books throughout the years when Paul McGann took the reins as the Doctor's Eighth incarnation, up until the series revival in the early 00's.
When the Doctor Who franchise was revived by Russell T Davies in 2005, it was only a matter of time until the Cybermen were to make a much-anticipated on-screen return. This ultimately came during David Tennant's tenure as the Tenth Doctor, when an accidental crash-landing on a parallel Earth saw a re-imagining of the Cybermen's origin, when the brilliantly intelligent madman John Lumic attempted to cheat death by creating copyrighted chemicals that would preserve the brain inside a cybernetic metal suit of armour. These Cybermen from a parallel universe (later called 'Pete's World' after Rose Tyler's father) have been referred to as the Cybus Cybermen by the Whovian community, in order to distinguish them from their Mondasian counterparts from the Classic Series. Throughout the New Series, the Cybus Cybermen have sporadically returned, both in television and within prose novels/comic form, and they have now been clearly cemented within Doctor Who lore.
'The Cybermen Collection', released on 13th April 2009 and distributed by BBC Worldwide Limited/2 Entertain in the UK for Region 2 territories, contains four episodes that feature the Cybus Cybermen throughout Season 2 of the revived series; beginning with their birth on the parallel Earth of Pete's World to their attempted invasion of the Doctor's universe, following their breaking through the void space between worlds instigated by Torchwood, and the find of a Dalek void-ship that culminates in the breakout of a Cybermen-Dalek war at the heart of London.
Episodes included are:
* 'Rise of the Cybermen' & 'The Age of Steel' - originally broadcast from 13/05/2006 - 20/05/2006 as a two-part story arc that details the birth of the Cybus Cybermen when the Tardis accidentally crash-lands on a parallel Earth where Rose's father is still alive and zeppelins are a common sight across London. The Doctor joins with rebel-group, The Preachers, to bring down the cyber-threat from within and to thwart the forces of cyber-controller, John Lumic, in his plan to cyber-convert the world.
* 'Army of Ghosts' & 'Doomsday' - another two-part story arc, originally broadcast from 01/07/2006 - 08/07/2006 that wraps up Season 2, with the Doctor and Rose saying a tearful farewell when Torchwood unknowingly brings forth the Cybermen from Pete's World into the Doctor's universe, along with a Dalek void-ship, when trying to harness energy from a spatial rift from within Canary Wharf Tower.
With a total running time of 181 minutes, there is also an option to view with English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing and the ability to run through the menu using Audio Navigation. Regarding special features, on the first disk, an introduction is provided by Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant, explaining his work on the set and his view of the Cybermen in the New Series. On the second disk, there is a half-hour featurette called 'Best Cybermen Moments', narrated by Matthew Sweet (somewhat of a Cyberman historian), detailing the evolution of the Cybermen from their Mondasian roots in the Classic Series up to the parallel Cybus variety within the New Series, that are seen in episodes provided in this collection.
All in all, this set provides a glimpse into how the Cyberman concept was revived for a new generation of Doctor Who fans, and even though the episodes have been previously released within the Season Two box-set, it is handy to have these episodes within their own collected set; maybe more so for the passing fan or for the more hardened collector. An accompanying sister collection was released a few months later focusing on the revival of the Daleks in the New Series, titled Doctor Who - The Dalek Collection [DVD], which is also handy to have if you enjoyed this set. Furthermore, if you want to explore the evolution of the Cyberman concept from its inception to the present day, it may be worth picking up the 'Cyberman' entry, Doctor Who - The Monsters Collection: The Cybermen [DVD] ,within the 'Doctor Who - Monsters Collection' series of DVDs released in 2013 for the fiftieth anniversary. It includes the Second Doctor serial Doctor Who - The Tomb Of The Cybermen [1967] [DVD] [1963] and the first two episodes provided within this collection, 'Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel', in order to explore how much the Cyber designs have changed and evolved over the years.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling (2001) [DVD]
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling (2001) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sarah Michelle Gellar
Price: 4.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Scooby-Gang Reveal Hidden Truths as Sunnydale Breaks into a Frenzy of Song and Dance; Slayer-Style!, 16 Feb 2014
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'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' first aired on March 10, 1997, and has since become a cult classic television programme that has been adapted into comic-form, novels, video-games and (undeveloped) animation, along with gaining a wide scholarly audience exploring the psychology and impact that the character of slayer Buffy Summers has had on the mass media and on the portrayal of the female action heroine in general.
Distributed in April 2003 within Region 2 territories by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, this single disc DVD release contains the sixth season musical episode 'Once More, With Feeling', that originally aired on UPN in the United States on 6th November 2001. Since it was first aired, this 48 minute episode has been praised and critiqued by fans and academics alike. The main plot concerns the summoning of a demon, nicknamed 'Sweet' (played by Hinton Battle), who is summoned to Sunnydale, making the inhabitants want to spontaneously break into song as if they were in a musical, with accompanying dance routines and backing music. This makes the characters reveal hidden feelings that they have been concealing from each other, notably Buffy's inability to connect with her life following her resurrection, Giles's worry that he is 'standing' in the way of Buffy accepting her adult responsibilities, along with Anya and Xander's marriage angst, Spike's romantic feelings towards Buffy and Tara's frustration at Willow's abuse of magic.
Joss Whedon both wrote and directed the episode, including all musical numbers, having never even approached musical score before, and the result is an amazing, powerfully acted performance from all main and supporting cast members, especially from Amber Benson, Anthony Stewart Head and James Masters, who all had prior daliances with the music industry before. It's a shame that Joss didn't received the acclaim he deserved from his television contemporaries at the time on the performance of this episode, as his Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Musical Direction was unfairly disregarded from the ballot box.
Regarding special features, this release doesn't have much to bulk it up in terms of anything new especially. It includes a series of trailers for the various Region 2 DVD and VHS 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel' season box-sets, and a brief overview of 'Angel: Season One' and of the main character of 'Dark Angel', starring Jessica Alba, which are both also distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The main featurette, which is titled 'Buffy - Inside the Music' is a short vignette on the music that has accompanied the series since it first aired, with interviews by score composer Christophe Beck and others involved with the overall music supervision on the show. Additionally, there are English subtitles for the hard-of-hearing, which are available for the episode itself, but not for the aforementioned extras.
All in all, even though the material presented here has been previously featured within the respective season box-sets, this single-disc DVD release provides a small, memorable and musical delve into the expanse of the Buffyverse for both the casual fan and the hardened collector alike.


Au Coeur Du Stade
Au Coeur Du Stade
Price: 9.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Céline's Live Vocal Talents Amaze Her Native-Language Fan-Base 'At the Heart of the Stadium'!, 12 Feb 2014
This review is from: Au Coeur Du Stade (Audio CD)
Beginning in 1998 and continuing into 1999, Céline Dion embarked upon her eighth concert tour, visiting North America, Europe and Asia. The 'Let's Talk About Love' Tour was named after Céline's fifth English studio recording album, after having achieved high chart success, especially with the catapult popularity of the Titanic soundtrack theme, 'My Heart Will Go On'. Within her Anglophone set-listing, Céline performed a variety of tracks from that album, along with a chosen few of her popular hits. Within French-speaking territories, the tour also supported her eleventh French studio recording, S'il Suffisait D'aimer, which also charted high alongside its English equivalent. With an additional Christmas album released during the tenure of the concert tour, alongside several television broadcasts of the show which included a special cameo appearance on the television programme 'Touched By An Angel' and a special 'Millennium Concert' shown on TVA in Canada, the tour was considered a huge success by fans and critics alike.
During her European leg of the tour, Céline performed at the Stade de France in Paris on 19th - 20th June 1999, wherein she performed in front of more than ninety-thousand spectators over two nights. This recorded show, which was released onto VHS and DVD in Europe, Asia and Canada during September 1999, consisted of songs from her Francophone set-list, which included a mixture of some English songs from her Let's Talk About Love album and highlights from 'S'il Suffisait D'Aimer', alongside other popular hits from her vast back-catalogue. Jean-Jacques Goldman and Taro Hakase made accompanying guest contributions, whilst Diana King was shown on four big screens placed around the set's circular staging during the performance of 'Treat Her Like a Lady'. Céline also paid tribute to the Bee Gees with some disco-style dancing towards the end of the set-listing, and she also added an acoustic medley, incorporating a selection of songs from her earlier French albums.
Whilst the DVD release Celine Dion: Au Coeur De Stade [DVD] includes most of Céline's performances during this concert that are mentioned above (except for a duet with Barbara Streisand via a television screen that had to be cut for, presumably, copyright issues), this Audio CD of the same name is a much-more stripped-down version of the show. Released primarily in Europe on 27th August 1999, the album consists of eleven tracks taken from the show; most of them French, with only the opening and closing tracks being in English ('Let's Talk About Love' and 'My Heart Will Go On', respectively). In this way, it can be said that the album's running time of approximately sixty-five minutes runs more like a live version of the tour's supporting album 'S'il Suffisait D'aimer', with a few accompanying tracks incorporated from Céline's previous French works. However, this is, by no means, a bad thing, as the album still highlights Céline's amazing vocal prowess whilst singing in her native French language.
The insert booklet has some lovely glossy photos incorporated within, and for those who are interested, there are lyrics provided for all the songs performed on the album. 'Dans Un Autre Monde' was also released as a promotional single within France and Belgium, with its official music video being taken from the concert recording in order to promote the CD/DVD package.
Céline's live recordings are always stunning to listen to, with her vocals always sounding so perfect and toned, and I would most certainly place 'Au Coeur Du Stade' within the frame of that definition. However, I would consider this album by the legendary French-Canadian singer/artist more as a welcome accompaniment to the VHS/DVD of the same name; containing the full concert, including the English songs that are placed within her Francophone set-listing for the 'Let's Talk About Love' World Tour, along with a few special features, such as the recording sessions of the two studio albums that supported the tour, plus a couple of music videos.


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