Review: “The Day of the Doctor,” Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary Special

Let’s just get this out of the way first: “The Day of the Doctor” was a damn great tale of Doctor Who. I mean, seriously. This historic episode has three Doctors sonic-ing a Dalek to oblivion as Murray Gold’s “I Am The Doctor” bombastically triumphant theme trumpets in the background. How cheesy-cool was that?

After 50 years of evil aliens, alternate histories, deadly plagues, ghosts, beasts, and just about everything else under the sun, the fact that we can still get an episode of Who that excites, thrills, and surprises is – to quote the Ninth Doctor – fantastic.

Somehow, this was a classic Who tale (an alien threat, clever timey-wimey feints, disaster averted) but I still didn’t see it coming. A more-than-fair share of criticism has been tossed in Stephen Moffat’s direction during his tenure as executive producer, but that’s a win in my book.

Anything could happen! For instance, a Fez.

“Surprises” is the key word here, I think. That was the dominant word in my head after watching it twice today. I had many theories bumbling around in my head (and heard many more being tossed around.) I knew 95% of it would be bunk, but I was truly surprised how this one went.

We knew we’d see the return of fan favorite David Tennant, and we had heard that Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler was in tow. The logical conclusion? The Doctor and Rose from that alternate dimension would somehow make their way back to this dimension again. Totally wrong.

With Rose Tyler and Clara Oswald in the same story, we must have some great companion talk. Nope, they never interacted once. It wasn’t even Rose, really.

The War Doctor (John Hurt) is supposed to be the worst of all Doctors — the one who so failed the name “Doctor” that he isn’t even counted among the eleven. So, we must see the fierce warrior he chose to be; the Doctor unchained, if you will. Negative, Ghost Rider. If anything, the War Doctor’s weariness of a war long fought made him even more unsure of himself.

So what did we have? Moments of brilliant levity. Moments of strength and grandeur. Moments of reflection and poignance. A classic Who enemy that hasn’t been seen in decades. All packaged up into one fantastic 76 minute mega-episode (mini-movie?)

Hit the jump for the full recap and review of this historic episode of Doctor Who!

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Recap: The Well

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has made plenty of references to its big-screen brethren over the course of the last 7 episodes, ranging from appearances by Nick Fury and Maria Hill to less-then-subtle Iron Man and Captain America name drops. However, this week’s episode, “The Well”, takes it to a whole new level as a direct follow-up to Thor: The Dark World, the latest Marvel adventure to grace movie theaters.

Clean Up on Aisle Midgard

After a brief Dark World recap for the handful of viewers who didn’t make it to theaters, we find Coulson’s team literally picking up the pieces at Greenwich University after the showdown between Thor and Malekith. After the events of “FZZT”, leftover alien artifacts clearly pose a potential threat, so everything needs to be identified and appropriately disposed of. The agents lead a charmed life, to say the least. While on cleanup duty, Simmons receives a call from her parents, which she promptly ignores, citing that she does not have the answers to their questions about what has transpired. As the cleanup continues, Fitz picks up a piece of the rubble that promptly begins to beep. Ward is quick to act, snatching the object spraying it with an unknown substance, and locking it away in a case. Totally had a Warehouse 13 flashback with that one.

Meanwhile, in the Trillemarka National Park in Norway, a couple makes their way through the woods, suddenly stopping when they come to a tree that matches the description in their guide. With their trusty chainsaw, they bring down the tree and open it up to reveal a metal rod. Upon taking hold of the object, the girl Hulks out and attacks the two park rangers who have come to investigate. May I present your villain for the evening!

Naturally, the agents arrive on the scene to investigate. Simmons identifies the surrounding tree to be over 9,000 years old, making the artifact in question just as ancient since it is feasible that the tree grew around it. Through the joint efforts of Fitz-Simmons, it is confirmed that the object is alien in origin and also matches readings taken from Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, making it an Asgardian relic.

The team has no trouble locating the couple in question as they appear on TV terrorizing Oslo and burning the words “We Are Gods” in the streets for all to see. This helps the team identify the couple as Jakob Nystrom and girlfriend Petra Larsson, the leaders of a Norse Paganist hate group.

Hit the jump for our full recap of The Well!

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Recap: The Hub

With its release last week, Thor: The Dark World may be the most recent installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while a crossover is on the docket, this week’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Hub”, takes a cue from the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier, choosing to set aside the more fantastic elements and tell a straight up espionage story.

Familiar characters from both the page and the screen make appearances this week, further fleshing out the universe, and two of the great mysteries plaguing the team receive some attention, shining a little bit of light upon the shadowy secrets of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Nasal Warfare

Who’s the guy with a bag over his head that’s about to make these terrorists dead? Phil! You’re damn right. Our beloved Agent Coulson finds himself being dragged through the stereotypical dark, dank corridors of an underground bunker, minutes away from a date with a scary interrogator. When said intimidating bad guy arrives, Coulson drops the bomb that this man, Agent Shaw, is a S.H.I.E.L.D. contact and they have three minutes to get out with recovered intelligence. After quickly dispatching the guards, Coulson and Shaw meet up with Ward and May on their way out of what is revealed to be a base beneath the Siberian wasteland. It’s an excellent opening worthy of a James Bond film.

Aboard the bus, Simmons recovers Agent Shaw’s smuggled intel by using a device not too dissimilar from what Arnold Schwarzenegger used to extract the tracking device from his own brain in Total Recall. For all the uninitiated, she shoved a mini claw up his nose. There’s no time for comfort when national security is on the line. Coulson orders the recovered data to be taken to the Hub, yet another location on the ever-growing list of S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities around the globe. However, unlike previous missions, there’s no meeting around the holo-table to discuss the threat of the week. Coulson plays the “classified” card and identifies the intel in question as available to only level 8 agents or above, much to Skye’s (groan) chagrin. While agents like Ward, Fitz, and Simmons accept the S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy and understand the need for insulation and secrecy, Skye makes a stink about it, claiming that everyone on the team should be in on the secret. Needless to say, she loses the argument.

At the Hub, agents bustle about, identifying threats, keeping secrets, and overthrowing bad guys. Simmons even manages to name drop the Triskelion, answering that particular question if it was on your mind after seeing the Winter Solider trailer. Coulson also reconnects with Agent Sitwell, a character fans will remember from Thor and The Avengers. Once inside the restricted area to receive the level 8 briefing on Shaw’s intel, Coulson, May, and Ward are introduced to Victoria Hand, a character many fans will recognize from Marvel comics, especially with her characteristic red streak through her hair. Hand divulges what has been discovered in Russia, identifying a group of separatists in possession of a sonic weapon, named the Overkill device, capable of detonating weapons from afar. The mission calls for an infiltration team of two, citing Ward’s Georgian contacts as one half of the equation. However, when it comes to disabling the weapon, someone with a background in tech is required. Cut to the clichéd, yet amusing, display of ineptitude as Fitz struggles to get a cart of equipment through an automatic door.

Hit the jump for our full recap of The Hub!

Review: Star Wars #11

I’m going to just come out and say it. Brian Wood should get a shot at writing at least one of the new Star Wars films due within the next several years. He continues to display not only a respectful knowledge of the Star Wars universe, but also the ability

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Recap: FZZT

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns this week after a brief hiatus to give America Boston plenty of time to soak up the World Series. In that time, I’m sure a lot of viewers made the decision to either delete AoS off their DVRs or stick with it after the news of a forthcoming Thor: The Dark World crossover. I’m happy to say that even after some reservations regarding the series, this loyal viewer shall continue to flash his S.H.I.E.L.D. badge as the season progresses. This week’s episode, FZZT, definitely helped sway my wavering attitude in favor of keeping with the series, showcasing all the right characters, pacing the story beautifully, and exploring just enough of the extended Marvel Cinematic Universe.

1.21 MEGAJOULES!

The latest mystery to plague the agents begins around a campfire as a small troop of boy scouts are regaled with a ghost story. While the tale does little to instill fear, it’s the sudden appearance of an electrical disturbance that gets the kids all riled up. This is when any comic fan starts running through their mental rolodex of electricity-based characters. Electro? Owned by Sony. Aftershock? Possibly. Static Shock? Get out. When the scout leader is zapped and suspended lifelessly above the ground, the rest of the troop freak out and scatter.

Aboard the Bus, Coulson straps an iPhone to his chest and hits the treadmill for a vitals check with Simmons. We are treated to another not-so-subtle hint at Coulson’s status as the word “rusty” is thrown out again, leaving fans to jump freely to the LMD conclusion. But keep in mind, Tahiti is a “magical” place. The guessing game continues. Elsewhere, Ward reminds us that he’s a highly trained soldier, capable of discerning the ideal heft of a firearm, much to Fitz’s frustration as he is then tasked to remove one ounce of weight from the “Night-Night” pistol. Upon Ward’s departure from the lab, Fitz and Simmons treat Skye and the audience to their over-the-top impressions of Ward, exaggerating his Eastwood-esque scowl and MacGyver–like résumé. It’s an amusing moment that proves the technobabble-spewing pair have a sense of humor that doesn’t involve microbes and microchips.

When the call comes in, the agents make their way to the site of the electrical disturbance, finding the body of the victim still hovering in the air. Working her interweb magic, Skye conducts a background check on the victim, learning nothing particularly remarkable, but also starting the long journey back into Coulson’s good graces. While Phil is encouraged by her efforts, Ward is not so easy to forgive, citing her betrayal on the last mission. Meanwhile, Agent May works her own skill set and interrogates the junior scout leader who witnessed the shocking phenomenon. In a moment similar to Fitz-Simmons briefly shedding the nerdiness, May’s intimidating visage is amusingly dismissed as she icily offers a plate of cookies to the petrified young scout.

Hit the jump for our full recap of FZZT!

More Than Words on a Page: Experiencing the Story with NARR8

These days, I consume my comics exclusively digitally. I certainly still hold a nostalgic love for enetering my friendly, neighborhood comic shop and picking up a trade or two, but you can’t quite fight the convenience of picking up your tablet and letting your fingers do the walking.

Yet, most digital comics are exactly that — the comic book page digitized onto the screen of your choice. While adequate, it’s, frankly, pretty boring.

NARR8 provides a noteworthy exception to that otherwise stagnant landscape.

Designed specifically for mobile consumption (with more platform support coming down the pipe), the Russia-based NARR8 seeks to open a content channel focused on interactivity and experience, as opposed to merely reading words on a page.

NARR8 hosts almost two dozen various series, each containing a number of episodes, purchasable using in-app currency on the device of your choice. The stories’ genres run the gamut — action, sci-fi, nonfiction, even children’s edutainment are represented among its offerings. Regardless of genre, each story capitalizes on interactivity to keep the reader’s experience engaging: through motion panels, minigames, or other special effects. Given the capabilities of the multi-core tablets/phones all of us carry these days, it’s almost surprising that few (if any) other companies are seeking to maximize on the technology the way NARR8 does.

Darya Trushkina, Senior Vice President of Business Development at NARR8, was kind enough to respond to an email interview with us to talk about NARR8: how it differentiates itself from other platforms, what titles she considers “must read,” and how the biggest winner at NARR8 could be you by generating revenue from your published work.


For those who don’t know, would you please explain what NARR8 is, and how it differentiates itself from other digital content services?

Darya Trushkina: NARR8 is a mobile app that is redefining the way we read, create and share content by presenting an engrossing 15-20 minute interactive reading experience complete with animation, music, sound effects, and gamification and interactive features that bring stories to life like never before. NARR8 features motion comics, graphic novels and educational periodicals in a slew of genres – action, sci-fi, horror, romance, and children’s content. NARR8 is available on iPad, Android, Amazon, Windows 8, Facebook, and now, for web browsers. It’s a completely cross-platform app, so you can create a single NARR8 account, load it up with some episodes, and use and of the above platforms to resume reading exactly where you left off.

NARR8 App Available on Android, IOS, and now on Web

Hit the jump for the full interview with Darya Trushkina, talking about all things NARR8!

Review: The Star Wars #3

The exploration of an alternate Star Wars universe continues this week as Dark Horse Comics debuts issue #3 of The Star Wars. This month’s installment hits a bit of a stumbling block as it loses focus on the grand story for part of the issue and spends what feels like

NYCC 2013: Starz “Outlander” Interview with Ron Moore and Diana Gabaldon

More NYCC coverage coming your way! I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing the awesome Ron Moore (executive producer and writer of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica and several Star Trek series; I love him so) and super cool author Diana Gabaldon, who has written eight Outlander books so far. Starz picked up Outlander as a TV series, and it is currently in production and slated to start in the spring/summer of 2014. Ron and Diana made a great team, and both were so excited and enthusiastic about bringing this beloved series to life.


How did you and Ron start working together, did you seek him out?

Diana Gabaldon: No, he came to looking for me. Someone else, Jim Kohlberg, who is now an executive producer for the show, had an option on my books and I liked him and, as far as it is possible to use to the word “trust” with the world of showbiz people (laughs) I trusted him. He’d read the books four times before coming to talk to me, and in the midst of negotiations he called me up to tell me he felt like he was channeling Murtagh. He originally wanted to make a feature film. He tried – he had the scripts prepared by very good scriptwriters but you just can’t make a two hour film of that book. It just can’t be done and resemble the original in any respect. Eventually, Ron was familiar with the material and interested, but Jim kept wanting to making a feature but he finally gave up, and the time was right.

Ron Moore: I kept meeting with him, and he kept saying he wanted to make it a feature, but I kept telling him “I don’t know what the two-hour version of this is. I just think it’s a TV show.” And he said, “well we’re going to try the feature.” And every year, we literally would check back in and say “how’s that feature coming?” and he’d say “we’re getting there,” and a year and a half ago he finally came in and said, “you know maybe it’s a TV show.” And I said ok! And I called up Sony television, and told them that they have to read these books, and that we were interested and the stars just lined up.

Do you think something like Game of Thrones set the stage for something like this to be able to be made?

Definitely. Existing fanbase, epic story, recognizable material, multiple books, it’s all there.  

Hit the jump for the full interview with the crew from the new Starz series, Outlander!