Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show (Live): Review

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy started life as a BBC radio show way back in 1978. It quickly became a cult hit in the UK, made a successful transition to TV, spawned a series of books and has since been released and re-released on vinyl record, audio tape, VHS cassette and DVD. In 2005 it finally made its way onto the big screen but, sadly, without the original cast and due in no small part to its reliance on special effects to carry some poor casting decisions and some unwise changes to Douglas Adams's drily ironic scripts, the movie version failed to capture the spirit and wit of the original.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams (also known for Doctor Who), later made into a film starring fan sweetheart Zooey Deschanel (New Girl, Tin Man, Elf - with Will Ferrell), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, The Office), John Malkovich, the often naked Helen Mirren (Caligula with Malcolm McDowell and Sir John Gielgud, Red with Bruce Willis, Karl Urban and Morgan Freeman, Prime Suspect), Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman,
It's on stage, but it's a radio show. Except it's not on the
radio. So you can't tune in to another station.
The latest incarnation of this peculiarly British SciFi phenomenon is a stage adaptation, a self-styled live version of the radio show. It's a touring production with almost 50 scheduled dates around the UK and, last Sunday, I went to see it at the Rose Theatre in Kingston-upon-Thames. So, how was it? As mind-blowing as a pan-galactic gargle blaster, or as frighteningly awful as the ravenous bugblatter beast of Traal?

You can find out by reading my full review at Fanboys Anonymous!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

10 things I hate about Mass Effect

The Mass Effect trilogy of games is huge. The hero (or heroine) Commander Shepard, his (or her) state-of-the-art space ship the SSV Normandy and his (or her) battle against the galactic menace that is the Reapers have already passed into gaming legend. The supporting characters are interesting, funny and likeable, and - for the most part - the gameplay is a sublime mix of meaningful decision-making and frantic action. Mass Effect may well be my favourite game series of all time.

Shepard with Garrus Vakarian (turian sniper) and Ashley Williams (gunnery chief and sexy soldier)
Shepard with Garrus and Ashley. Look behind yoooou!
But, despite what some games journalists would have us believe, no game is a ten out of ten. I've lost count of just how many times I've played each of these games, but I recently played all three of them again. In succession. Twice. (I really do love these games!) And, as I did so, I was not only reminded of all the many reasons why Mass Effect is so enjoyable, I was also reminded of the ha'porths of tar which spoil this otherwise perfect ship. Here, then, are the ten things I absolutely hate about Mass Effect.

Read the rest of this article at Fanboys Anonymous.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Twinkle, twinkle little Bat: Gail Simone's relaunch of Batgirl sparkles!

Batgirl Volume 1, by Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman), Ardian Syaf (Blackest Night, Brightest Day, Justice League, Green Lantern) and Vicente Cifuentes (Fantastic Four, Hulk)
Batgirl never could get the hang of
that 'Live long and prosper' thing.
Gail Simone's run on the relaunched Batgirl series has been pretty well received by both fans and critics alike and, for my money, is easily the best written of all DC's New 52 titles.

With the second TPB (Knightfall Descends) due for its UK release next month, this is perhaps a good time to revisit the first volume (The Darkest Reflection) to see just what it is that's had Batfans all aflutter.

Read the rest of my review of this book here.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Haven (Season 4) - terminally troubled?

Based on a story by Stephen King, Haven is an odd show. Unlike most dramas that deal with the supernatural, it's homely rather than unnerving, comfortable rather than scary. The first episode of Season 4 has just premiered here in the UK, but before we go into the new season, let's remind ourselves how we got to where we are now.
Panoramic view of Haven, Maine, with logo
Haven. But not a safe one. Don't be fooled by the name!
Season 1 began with the arrival of FBI agent Audrey Parker in a small town in Maine - the Haven of the title. Back then, she was on the trail of a murderer, but she soon found herself embroiled in a far greater mystery. See, the inhabitants of Haven are "troubled"; not troubled as in worried or psychologically disturbed, but rather, they are afflicted by curses that might, for example, cause their moods to affect the local weather or make people spontaneously combust. Small town life apparently can affect you that way!

You can read the rest of this review at Fanboys Anonymous.