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Doctor Who: The Unicorn and the Wasp (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.

The Unicorn and the Wasp originally aired in 2008.

Oh, it’s you… I was just doing a little research… I say, what are you doing with that lead piping? But that’s impossible. Oh, no!

– Professor Peach discovers the point of crossover between Agatha Christie and Doctor Who

The Unicorn and the Wasp is the most fun episode of the fourth season, by a significant margin. It’s a high-concept high-energy run-around that has a great deal of fun playing with a genre mash-up, as the Doctor intrudes on an Agatha Christie mystery (starring Agatha Christie!) to create curious horror/sci-fi/mystery/class drama hybrid of an episode. It’s an episode that really benefits from the lighter tone of the fourth season. Despite some of the darkness creeping in at the edge of the frame, especially towards the final scenes, it’s an astonishingly light-hearted and playful episode.

In spite of Christie’s stern admonishings, it’s hard not to seize on the story with same glee as the Doctor does.

A sting in the tale...

A sting in the tale…

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The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in the United States later this month, I’ll be taking a look at some of nineties animated television show. Check back daily!

Note: This is our review of the animated episode, check out our review of the book here.

When I was younger, I used to love The Adventures of Tintin because they’d transport me to far away places, and give me a chance to see environments and cultures that I wouldn’t get to see until I was much older, if ever. As such, the period of Hergé’s writing that appealed to me the most as a younger was the fantastical segment that covered the author’s work during an immediately after the Second World War. I wasn’t old enough to appreciated the political commentary and satire of stories like The Broken Ear or King Ottokar’s Sceptre, and I was mature enough to fully enjoy the reflective nature of the stories from The Calculus Affaironwards.

A little tied up...

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The Adventures of Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in the United States later this month, I’ll be taking a look at some of nineties animated television show. Check back daily!

Note: This is our review of the animated episode, check out our review of the book here.

I’ve always had a soft spot for The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun. When I was younger, originally watching the show and reading the books, they were my favourite adventure, along with Cigars of the Pharaoh. Perhaps it was the exotic nature of the adventure, with Tintin setting off to far-off ports, or the fascinating occult and unexplained elements. I found it somewhat fascinating the Spielberg chose to make The Secret of the Unicornas his first film, since he makes the case that Tintin is a hero who shares a lot with Indiana Jones. I’d make the case that this adventure here is the one that most perfectly captures the strange occult vibe that Lucas and Spielberg tried to recreate with their whip-weilding explorer.

Not quite the boy scout he used to be...

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The Adventures of Tintin: Red Rackham’s Treasure (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in the United States later this month, I’ll be taking a look at some of nineties animated television show. Check back daily!

Note: This is our review of the animated episode, check out our review of the book here.

It’s quite strange, given how lukewarm I was to The Secret of the Unicorn, that I am undeniably fond of Red Rackham’s Treasure. At a time when Hergé seemed to be aiming for fantastic escapism, perhaps to avoid dealing with wartime reality, I think that Red Rackham’s Treasure perfectly encapsulates a lot of what was fun about Tintin, at least for my inner child. There’s hidden treasure, untouched tropic islands, walks along the ocean floor, submarines and even a shark attack! It’s all very light and whimsical, but it’s pure adventure all the way through, with a giddy enthusiasm sustaining the narrative.

Pushing the boat out...

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