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Guy Blythman "Guy Blythman" (Middlesex, England)

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The Invaders: The Believers Box [DVD]
The Invaders: The Believers Box [DVD]
Dvd ~ Roy Thinnes
Price: £24.12

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars but I don't think I realised just how good it was until I bought The Believers Box, 23 April 2017
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I first saw this series at the age of 12, in 1977, and again in 1984-5, when it was enjoying repeat runs on British TV, but I don't think I realised just how good it was until I bought The Believers Box.It only starts to go downhill about halfway through the second season, when the scripts seem to become repetitive and uninspiring, and even then there are one or two good episodes. So on the whole it deserves five stars. The stories are genuinely gripping and manage to explore serious issues, probably because the series had a political inspiration in McCarthyism and the Cold War (without necessarily saying "There are Communists everywhere trying to infiltrate us.". In the beginning and for most of the series' run they have their own character. I love it when the aliens glow red and disappear on dying, and you're always waiting to see if an alien will appear in its true form. Could do without the voice-overs for those who can't read, though.


Inside the Tardis: The Worlds of Doctor Who (Dr Who)
Inside the Tardis: The Worlds of Doctor Who (Dr Who)
by James Chapman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.38

5.0 out of 5 stars in fact the best yet to my mind, 12 Dec. 2016
A very readable and fair-minded analysis of Who and Who fandom, in fact the best yet to my mind. Just one thing I'd like to pick up on if you don't mind. Chapman says that the horror of Cyberwoman's condition (only partially cybernised because the power cut off halfway through the operation) is racialised because she is black. I don't get this, and it occurs to me that it may be running the risk of actually encouraging racism (which I'm sure the author didn't deliberately intend to do) to suggest it. The result wouldn't be any less horrific if it happened to a white person so I don't think there is any significance in the victim's ethnicity. Even if I WAS racist (I guess none of us has ever been entirely free of that prejudice at one time or another) I don't think it would make any difference to me then either, because that's not how the psychology of the matter works.


Penguin Triumphant
Penguin Triumphant
by John Ostrander
Edition: Comic

5.0 out of 5 stars The artwork isn't the best I've seen in a Batman g/n, 11 Dec. 2016
This review is from: Penguin Triumphant (Comic)
WAUK! WAUK! At last the Penguin took centre stage in a graphic novel, one which more than made up for the (unwarrantedly) long wait. In the recent past he's been among the most underused of the caped crusader's adversaries, presenting something of a problem for writers as the character's comedic, buffoonish air doesn't fit well into the Dark Knight ethos (especially the most recent series of films), where he's been supplanted as Batman's Number One Enemy by the Joker. Penguin Triumphant gets it just right, by giving us a slightly different take on his motivation and MO while otherwise remaining true to the authentic version. The artwork isn't the best I've seen in a Batman g/n, but otherwise PT is flawless. Altogether it's a rather lovely romp, all the better for being light-hearted though with enough of a dark side to prevent it being no more than a humorous diversion. The Penguin comes over, in fact, more as a loveable rogue than as the rather nasty piece of work he often seems to be elsewhere. Though it's appropriate, given certain aspects of the plot, that in one frame he looks very like the late Robert Maxwell...


The Second Child
The Second Child
by Jon Stenhugg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Not too happy with certain liberties, 30 Sept. 2016
This review is from: The Second Child (Paperback)
A book with a riveting premise which holds your attention. This is an author with promise, who I hope we will be seeing more of in the future. Not too happy with certain liberties, obvious to anyone who's studied the Nazi period in detail, that have been taken with history (Schwerlieb is clearly Goering), and the use of English names for some of the Swedish characters is odd. But it does keep you hanging on tillthe end, which is what a thriller's supposed to do.


Blackadder 4 - Blackadder Goes Forth - The Entire Historic Fourth Series [1989] [DVD]
Blackadder 4 - Blackadder Goes Forth - The Entire Historic Fourth Series [1989] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rowan Atkinson
Offered by 247dvd
Price: £3.94

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fond Goodbyeeeee, 19 Sept. 2016
“Blackadder Goes Forth” is sometimes compared unfavourably with the second and third Blackadders (the first, where the franchise was largely finding its feet, is so different from what came after - a major revamp having been found necessary - that it can’t be judged by the same criteria); one reviewer called it an “awful disappointment”. This is unfair; it’s really only the one-liners which are somewhat tired (and the series’ main failing). The plots are as funny and witty as ever, and there’s still some great dialogue. The best episode is clearly “Corporal Punishment”, which does for BG4 what “Ink and Incapability” did for Blackadder The Third. There’s apt and amusing comment on the social structure of the time, with Blackadder as the competent, sensible middle-class professional (speaking posh because in those days you had to to get by), who looks down on the likes of Baldrick but has little time for his crass and overprivileged upper-class superiors either.
There’s another reason why this is a great series. In the final scene Blackadder is about as serious as it gets. About to go into battle, and reflecting on how he had envisaged his life turning out before the war intervened - on how it may still turn out, if he survives - Captain Darling changes from a dislikeable, obsequious, mean-spirited toady to a figure worthy of genuine sympathy, in a way that’s extremely moving. BG4 is partly, of course, an angry satire on the way incompetent aristocratic generals forced courageous soldiers - ex-public schoolboys and working class alike - to live in squalid conditions and then threw away their lives for just a few acres of ground. This isn’t entirely reasonable; they were fighting the first truly modern war and so it was inevitable to some extent that they didn’t know what they were doing. Machine guns could kill on a large scale, but the aeroplane and the tank were in their relative infancy and couldn’t give the war the mobility it needed to be less horrific, in some ways, in its consequences; things might have been different if the conflict had continued for a year or two more, but (thankfully) it didn’t. Undoubtedly though, BG4 leaves you with a lump in the throat. Knowing it was probably going to be the last instalment the actors, with the exception of Tim McInnerny but including Miranda Richardson and Rik Mayall, more or less reprise the characters they played in the previous ones (there’s also a reference to Mrs Miggins). It ends up not being the easiest piece of television to watch - rather like the final episode of Blake’s Seven or Tom Baker’s last Dr Who story - but one of the best. RIP.


The Discontinuity Guide (Doctor Who)
The Discontinuity Guide (Doctor Who)
by Paul Cornell
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars which I haven't yet got (and which seems exorbitantly priced) I should like to defend this book from some of the negative ..., 23 July 2016
On the understanding this is a review of the first (1995) edition and the 2004 one, which I haven't yet got (and which seems exorbitantly priced) I should like to defend this book from some of the negative criticism it has had over the years. Sure, the "double entendres" come over as puerile (when the scripts were written no-one had any idea that certain words and passages would come to be seen as suggestive X years later), though amusing nonetheless. I also think the writers of the book were taking liberties, perhaps hostages to fortune, in the range of sources they cite as having been inspirations for the stories (they themselves admit that the books etc in question only "may have" been that. And their opinions on the merit of certain of the stories are subjective,even if it's still good to have them; I actually enjoyed The Daemons and Planet of the Spiders on viewing them thirty years after their original transmissions. In other words, The Discontinuity Guide needs to be handled with caution. However, it's still indispensable. It delivers what a breakdown of the narrative of each story (though we deserve, and I think are still waiting for, a decent one of those) cannot quite, by its very different treatment of the subject. The "Continuity" sections are essential for prospective "Who" writers, to whom those on "Links","Future History", "Untelevised Adventures" etc. will also be useful. And the book is light-hearted (not just Double Entendres but Goofs, Fashion Victims and Dialogue Disasters), in a way which makes it a joy to read. My copy too is well-thumbed, and unsurprisingly so.


Jack in the Wallows
Jack in the Wallows
by Shalbey Bellaman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think they would probably enjoy it. Person-ally I found the narrative a little ..., 14 July 2016
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This review is from: Jack in the Wallows (Paperback)
I ought of course to look at this book from the point of view of a child reading it, not an adult doing so. I think they would probably enjoy it. Person-ally I found the narrative a little hectic and undisciplined, and it was a while before it started to grab me. However I did like the denouement and there were some interesting ideas on display, along with moments of genuine humour of the sort a young audience would appreciate. We are presented with a self-contained, very Tolkien-like (he was obviously an inspiration) fantasy universe inhabited by a menagerie of weird and wonderful creatures, some enchanting, some terrifying (the Gangrals). The front cover is wonderful, as is the internal artwork. Not so hot are the irritating typos (in several places the text isn't properly justified and there are one or two full stops missing), but these are not the fault of the author. Altogether Shalbey Bellaman is a very promising writer who will be well worth looking out for in the future.


Doomwatch - Series 1-3 The Remaining Episodes [DVD]
Doomwatch - Series 1-3 The Remaining Episodes [DVD]
Dvd ~ Simon Oates
Price: £20.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back!, 14 April 2016
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At last! The original Doomwatch is now available at a much more affordable price than previously. It's certainly worth the wait. Yes, it undoubtedly IS highly topical and prophetic - in fact it's probably more so than any other TV show ever made. Shame the later remake never really took off. My only reservation is that the more exciting storylines - intelligent killer rats and plastic-eating viruses - are dealt with early on and what follows is often by comparison mundane. It sometimes seems as if the team have changed from defenders of the realm against horrifying threats from the unknown to social workers! That said, it's still possible for the stories to be interesting, gripping, even moving, although some adjustment is required on the viewer's part. A big plus, from start to finish, is the likeable characters. John Paul does an excellent job of portraying Quist as what he is, a genuinely decent man haunted by his role in the development of the atom bomb and also having to fight his corner against obtuse politicians and greedy tycoons. Ridge makes me shiver at first. It's not just his womanising ways - which at least make him seem more of a warm human being. It's hard to put your finger on but there's something genuinely unhealthy and disturbing about him. And I HATE those sideburns - they heighten the resemblance to Derren Nesbitt in the UFO episode The Man Who Came Back, playing a similarly creepy character. Later however Ridge does seem to become more likeable, a milestone being The Devil's Sweets where he is genuinely upset when Pat appears to have died. Pat herself is a rather charming "dumb blonde" type who ought to have been kept on and developed so as to acquire more dignity, although as strong female characters Anne Tarrant and Fay Chantry are adequate substitutes for that. Then there's the keen Toby Wren and the down-to-earth, no-nonsense Northerner Colin Bradley. John Barron - was there ever an actor more suited to the part, although perhaps this is a retrospective view after having seen him as CJ in Reggie Perrin. Altogether this DVD is a good investment and an essential addition to any sci-fi/drama collection.


Albion TP
Albion TP
by Alan Moore
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Regenesis?, 21 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Albion TP (Paperback)
Been meaning to review this for some time. "Albion" was something I, and I suspect quite a few other people, had long been waiting for. It did leave me with mixed feelings. I agree that the artwork leaves a lot to be desired, and the plot didn't enthuse me much either - Penny and Danny seemed to pull things off far too easily,without much sense of danger and adversity. However, it was worth it just to see all your old friends again. It's true that the genre is most likely to appeal to those of a certain age who read the comics when they were kids, and Valiant etcetera were perhaps never quite in the top rank along with Eagle, Beano and the like. But if its reworking for the contemporary age, on slightly more realistic lines (it's a bit disorientating when the characters swear!) does it a favour and makes it a bit more acceptable. I liked the whole concept; potentially it could revive the franchise for a whole new generation of readers, if handled properly in future. The fact there hasn't yet been a sequel - you will gather that I think there should be - suggests the opportunity so far hasn't been taken. A shame because although flawed "Albion" nonetheless serves as a foundation on which something good could be built, the faults evident in the original being rectified, if there was the will. Only other comment: there were one or two characters I would have liked to see again but didn't (I expect we were all wondering which of the old favourites would appear next). The spirit behind the piece seems to be 60s nostalgia, with which there's nothing wrong in itself, but it shouldn't be forgotten that Valiant and Lion carried on into the early- to mid-70s and it is essentially from this period that I remember then. Where were Yellowknife and Kid Pharaoh (of course the first would need quite a bit of rejigging, as nowadays he isn't quite PC...)


Doctor Who - The Underwater Menace [DVD] [1967]
Doctor Who - The Underwater Menace [DVD] [1967]
Dvd ~ Patrick Troughton
Price: £8.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Voyage To The Bottom Of The Barrel - but not quite, 30 Nov. 2015
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I'm not going to say this is the best Dr Who story ever, because it clearly isn't! It's easy to see why some have called it "the Doctor Who equivalent of Plan Nine From Outer Space". However, its awfulness has been exaggerated; it's actually possible to regard it as a charming if rather odd little gem. At worst it falls into the category of things that are so bad they're good. We'd be a bit mean to deny that Who could ever produce such a story. In fact though, the only really jarring point - although it's a major one - is Joseph Furst's performance as Zaroff, and there I find I tend to laugh rather than think "This is the pits, it's an insult to Doctor Who and I shouldn't be watching." As drama, it actually works reasonably well. There are some surprisingly evocative and compelling scenes; the one I was thinking of in particular, and which you'll recognise when you see it, is one of several which survive because of being cut by the Australian censor rather than wiped with the rest of the tape. The Fish People's costumes are naff in the extreme, but they're redeemed by the wonderfully eerie way they move when performing their "underwater ballet". I thought the incidental music was nice. And then there's Catherine Howe's performance as Ara; it's great to see this young actress making the best of the role, and yes it's a pity she didn't stay on as a regular companion of the Doctor. I'd feel silly giving the story more than three stars, but nonetheless it's certainly worth buying. The Special Features exploring the background to the story, in which cast and production team give their reminiscences, are fascinating as always, with Anneke Wills coming over as very likeable. Enjoy.


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