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Doctor Who: Midnight (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Midnight originally aired in 2008.

And you be careful, all right?

Nah. Taking a big space truck with a bunch of strangers across a diamond planet called Midnight? What could possibly go wrong?

– Donna and the Doctor tempt fate

Midnight was the fiftieth episode of the revived Doctor Who to enter production. It had been intended to air as the fiftieth episode of the new series, but plotting similarities between Forest of the Dead and Turn Left forced Davies to shift the broadcast order of the episodes. As a result, we end up with the longest consecutive streak of Davies-written episodes in the history the show, stretching from Midnight through to The End of Time, Part II. In essence, although it’s not really intended as part of the over all arc, Davies’ swan song begins here.

And it’s the best episode that Davies has ever written. It might be the best episode of the fourth season. It might even compete for the best episode of show produced by Davies.

So it’s pretty great.

The long dark midnight of the soul...

The long dark midnight of the soul…

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Star Trek – The Devil in the Dark (Review)

To celebrate the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness this month, we’ll be running through the first season of the classic Star Trek all this month. Check back daily to get ready to boldly go. It’s only logical.

There are any number of ways to “get into” Star Trek, to jump on board the cult phenomenon. Despite decades of continuity, a lot of the franchise is accessible on its own terms, and it’s easy enough to come across a list of recommended classic episodes for a neophyte to sample. There are over seven hundred hours of Star Trek, so there’s something for everybody. And it’s perfectly possible to tailor a recommendation to the new viewer’s preferences.

Want proof that Star Trek can do credible drama? Stick on The City on the Edge of Forever. Fascinated by Spock? Try Amok Time. Want to watch William Shatner take on another leading character with a similar amount of gravitas? Give Space Seed a go. Want some high-concept sci-fi android stuff? Maybe What Are Little Girls Made Of? is right up your street. Want a contemporary commentary on the Vietnam War? Watch A Private Little War.

However, if you asked me to recommend an example of the franchise’s philosophy and its humanist values, executed with a superb level of craftsmanship, The Devil in the Dark is really the only choice. There’s a reason that Arthur C. Clarke considers it to be the most memorable episode of Star Trek ever produced.

Spock would have to have a heart of stone not be affected by this...

Spock would have to have a heart of stone not be affected by this…

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