Monday, 1 April 2013

Monthly Mini-Reviews: March

March has been a busy month - what with the final episode of one of my favourite series, Being Human and the first episode in a new series of Doctor Who! Aside from them, I've consumed a fair few number of entertaining fictions over the past few weeks. Here's a handful...

 Oz the Great and Powerful

In this partial sequel to the 1939 classic, James Franco is Oscar Diggs, a talented magician who dreams of greatness but is trapped in a travelling circus - until he is caught in a twister and taken to the jolly old land of Oz.
The film, directed by Spider-Man's Sam Raimi, seems to have divided people but I fall into the category of people who enjoyed it. Its flaws - such as pacing issues and  dodgy character development - are obvious and it certainly does pale in comparison to Wizard. However, viewed on its own terms, it's an enjoyable enough, visually-gorgeous way to spend a couple of hours.

Neverwhere Radio Series

I've been highly anticipating this one for a while; a radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman's fantastic urban fantasy novel featuring a top-flight cast including James MacAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sophie Okenedo, Bernard Cribbins - and Christopher Lee! Thankfully, the series delivered, being an funny, touching and fast-paced version of the story terrifically played by the cast. Special kudos goes to MacAvoy for playing everyman protagonist Richard Mayhew with such realism and likeability and, of course, Cumberbatch for imbuing the Angel Islington with a chilling edge. If I did such a thing - which I seem to be here - it would be my pick of the month!

Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes 

The best Holmes pastiches, I find, are the ones that pitch the highly-rational detective against the forces of darkness - so I obviously found this anthology of supernatural-tinged Holmes stories a treat. Including tales concerning the devil's footprints, an ancient Egyptian curse and an encounter with Count Dracula, the writing styles vary but invariably capture Conan Doyle's timeless creations throughout. Oddly, my favourite of the bunch may be the least 'uncanny'; the anthology's opening story which details a young Holmes loosing his first love. It's a twisting-turning story that packs a real emotional punch as it aims to get at the steely heart of our Holmes.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season Six

I've been working my way through Joss Whedon's seminal genre series on-and-off for many months now - and have finally arrived at its sombre, penultimate series. Following on from the climax of Season Five, this series begins as Buffy's friends bring her back from the dead to continue fighting the force of evil in their hometown of Sunnydale. It's a bit of a mixed bag, this one, with several good quality episode alongside some mediocre ones. Downsides include less Anthony Head as his character Giles leaves the main cast but a positive is more of Alyson Hannigan's Willow as her dependence on magic leads to some dire consequences over the course of the series. It's not the best of seasons but it's also not the worst - sorry, Season Four - and has lots to offer. Particularly the musical episode 'Once More with Feeling' which everyone should watch!


  1. Neverwhere was amazing! I'd been waiting for that for ages, and it did not disappoint. What a cast! Very pleased with how that turned out.

    I quite liked "Oz." I thought the film made the original more poignant, because who was the only person in Dorothy's Oz without a Kansas counterpart? (Glinda - who is hinted to be the double of Dorothy's mother.) I also enjoyed a couple of plot twists and the new characters, nods to the original Oz books. But I didn't like how the witches were just sitting around waiting for the wizard to drop out of the sky and save them all - they're witches for goodness' sake! Wish they'd been more proactive. But then I realised, that's what citizens of Oz do. They did it for Dorothy and they did it for Oz. Hmm.

  2. I thought you would like Neverwhere! It was a great adaptation - lots of people are hoping they'll do a Good Omens one next which, I think, would work really well.

    Yes, I quite liked that bit too. I was a fan of the books as a kid so I liked it for all its playing with them and the classic film. Very true about the people of Oz! They do just wait for saviours to drop out of the sky - literally!
    Incidentally, have you seen Return to Oz? I don't know if I prefer this film to Return, which I was quite attached to as a child, or not. :)

  3. Interesting site. I mostly look at movie stuff but there are some things here that are intriguing. I just popped in from Fogs Link Bomb, I hope to make it back here again.

    1. Hey, Richard, glad you found some stuff here you liked. Thanks for visiting, and I also hope you find your way here again. I'll be sure to check out your site too!

  4. Well the only thing I have seen from this list as OZ and I would fall into the camp that the film was just a bit above average but certainly nothing special.

    Is that Neverwhere actually on the radio?

    I found my where here from Fogs Link bomb, when you get a chance swing by our humble film blog and say hi.

  5. Yeah, I don't think you can say it's a great film but, like I said, I enjoyed it enough. And, yes, Neverwhere was a six-part series on the radio. If you can find it anywhere, I'd recommend giving it a listen.
    Thanks for stopping by and I definitely will!


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