Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Doctor Who - New Series, new species part 10

Well a few more Torchwood episodes have passed and the finale'll be rolling along before we know it so let's get on and catalogue a species or two shall we?


Continuing a long list of "it's an alien" explanations for all things unusual in the Doctor Who storyline, the Durac nonetheless made for an interesting character and was well used in the episode. And unlike many other episodes the transition from superstition or religion into extra-terrestrial life actually fitted and made sense. It's image was quite good too, not just a grim reaper copy and not wildly dissimilar either. The connection to the Weevils was good, especially with Owen's previous connection to them, it would have been nice to see more of that explained, but I guess there's only so much you can know while fighting death!

Durac is a powerful being that transcends the physical realm we occupy and is kept from entering it unless someone willingly or unwittingly lets it enter. It seems to be connected to a "resurrection glove" one of two found by Torchwood which had the capability to raise people from the dead for varying lengths of time and with varying effects. The first glove raised people from the dead for a brief moment by taking away life energy from the wearer - but when dead Torchwood member Suzi Costello used it to bring herself back from the dead, but killing Gwen in the process the glove was destroyed. When Owen Harper was killed, Jack hunted down another glove which had vastly different effects. Firstly, while Owen's mind and body functions became active, his body remained dead with no pulse or respiration. The glove also awakened Durac, who first posessed Owen's mind then entered the world as a semi-corporeal cloud, featuring a skeletal body. It needed thirteen souls to fully enter the physical world, but was stopped by Torchwood. They read ancient documents concerning what is now known as the Grim Reaper who entered Cardiff after a girl was untimely resurrected, but was defeated by that very same girl because the Durac could not take her life. Owen used this principle and his similar state of body to combat the durac and repulse it from our world. The Durac seems to have some connection to the Weevils who emerged in large numbers when it entered and who worshiped it as a deity even while it still posessed Owen, this connection remains unclear but as Weevils have been on Earth for a long time they may know more of his original entry, or he may even have influence on their homeworld.

The Girl

It is unknown whether this Tarot reading child is an extra terrestrial, but she is worth mentioning as Jack noted that she should not be taken as she appears and that she has been doing her work for a long time.


Shapeshifters are as old as Sci-Fi TV itself, but again this principle was used well and to good effect by the Torchwood production team. I think an intelligent step was not to show the transformation process which added to the suspense and avoided potentially cheesy CG morphing. The species were scary, but subtly so and struck a balance between wanting to survive, but also pleasure from killing and destruction. The concept of impregnating Gwen was very funny, but I think killing an alien's child, no matter how violent the parents shouldn't be something taken lightly, but unfortunately that scene lacked that depth and didn't quite make up for it in energy either - barring that it was a good episode and a good species.

Nostrovites are a race of carnivorous humanoids with a most unusual breeding habit and a host of other talents. They posess a proteus gland, which enables them to change form to something of similar shape and mass, such as a human. Naturally they appear to be reptilian, though evidence suggests they may be warm blooded. Upon examination of a dead subject Dr Owen Harper suggested their shapeshifting may have come about because of how ugly they are! Their shapeshifting is suprisingly accurate, until they are enraged or out to hunt, when their natural red eyes and pointed teeth show through. They seem to need DNA samples to complete their transformation, which actually makes for a more stable process, their preferred method of obtaining these samples is by biting a chunk out of a victim, though it seems more subtle methods are just as accurate. They also seem to posess the ability to create an adhesive webbing to pin a victim to keep for later. It is, however, another of their properties that brought them to the attention of Torchwood. While hunting a male Nostrovite in Cardiff Gwen Cooper was bitten before the target was shot down by Jack Harkness. In the morning she found herself impregnated to the effect of looking several months pregnant in human terms. Torchwood discovered that Nostrovites hunt in pairs, male and female, and the the female would come to rip her newborn from the human host. Naturally Torchwood intervened, and the Nostrovites were taken down despite a suprising resilience to small arms fire.

And that's it, one more to go for this series and then Doctor Who looks set to reappear before too long.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Smith returns!...er again!!

Yes Agent Smith is back and he's scorchin'! While defeated by Neo and the Machines, such a powerful code can never be completely erradicated and while smith hasn't managed to fully reurrect himself, his virus code has become active causing weaker programs dubbed "Smithlings" (above) who bear his image and a little of his power...and who are also on fire! to hunt redpills across the Matrix. More powerful elements of his virus code are also at work however, bearing his ability to turn other into himself and bearing more potent amounts of his code to appear also and if they aren't stopped there could be trouble.

Smith also made an appearance in last year's event (see my slightly in character review HERE) and this year is set to be much of the same, you can't keep a good old villain down!! But the Oracle is on hand to stop him and has cooked up some treats to help operatives defend themselves and also take the fight to Smith himself. So if you missed last years event or want to get a taste of Smith in action then maybe you might just fancy getting the Matrix Online where you can experience all this and more on your PC.

As with last year there are rewards for those who take up the fight against Smith, as well as some tasty treats from the Oracle's kitchen players can expect the return of the twelve t-shirts available as rewards from last year bearing various slogans or one bearing the face of Smith. In addition to this there will be some new rewards, including new t-shirts, some of which seem to be gender specific...

While some may be dissapointed at getting a similar event as last year's, one cannot blame the development team who've been very busy creating a brilliant storyline and even added a whole new area to the game (and not an expansion you have to pay for) in recent weeks. And heck, you can't get enough of Smith right?!! So come on down to the digital city, where the grass is code and the girls are pretty and check out a great adventure coming your war. The virus returns later today in fact and will be around for a few weeks following so get in quick!

If you want to know more about the Matrix Online the THIS POST has links to relevant sites where you can find more and even download the game.

I think I need to do more to promote one of my favourite games so look out for more Matrix Based stuff in the near future.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Star Wars Legacy #19: Updates and Review

Since my last Legacy post issues 19-21 have come out, but I'll focus for this post on Legacy issue 19, which concludes the "Claws of the Dragon" six part story arc. We last left Cade facing off against the dark lord of the Sith Himself, trapped in the Sith temple, let's see what happened in the explosive finale of the series.

Sith Updates

Darth Krayt

Darth Krayt battled Cade Skywalker, taunting the boy and knowing that he could easily beat him as and when he needed too. He did not anticipate however the rescue plan put together by Cade's mother and friends and just as he gained a decisive advantage over Cade, Morrigan Cored shot him in the back with a high powered blaster and Cade jumped out of the window to be rescued by his friends. Krayt is naturally furious and it looks like more bad news might be on the way for the Sith lord.

Darth Talon

A kill is still unconfirmed, but her injuries are definitely serious if not fatal.

Darth Nihl

Nihl battled Cade, but was beaten down when Cade severed his arm and slammed him into pillar. Krayt ordered Cade to kill his hand, but he refused simply because "you want me to" so Nihl still lives.

Jedi Updates

Cade is no longer in the Sith ranks, which would be an encouragement to his friends in the order, but their fate remains unknown, and Cade has expressed no direct interest in rejoining the order.

And once again I've effectively revealed all the story other than the bombshell at the end, which revealed that Morrigan Corde, Cade's mother is none other than Moff Nyna Calixte of the Galactic Empire!!!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Bionic Woman

If you aren't already aware a new series of Bionic Woman has come to ITV 2. Starring former UK soap star Michelle Ryan as Jaime Sommers a barmaid involved in a horrific accident who finds herself rebuilt and upgraded by her scientist boyfriend. But, of course, this isn't gonna be super powered plain sailing for Jaime. The company who rebuilt her want to use her as a military asset and she also clashes with Sarah, the first bionic woman, who is out to kill her boyfriend and will stop at nothing to get her, as yet unknown, goals fulfilled.

The pilot draws you in quite well, but the episode doesn't have much that you can't quickly catch up on in the "previously on" bit of the next episode so you should be fine to jump on board next week. Not too much of the plot has been revealed yet, we have yet to learn much of the company behind Jaime's rebuild or much at all about the character or their goals.

The series is defined by good performances. Michelle Ryan portrays a convincing American (enough to convince Americans so it must be good) and a good character too, her reactions to the events she goes through are believable. Another good performance comes from Katee Sackhoff, of Battlestar Galactica fame. In portraying the vilain she manages to create a new and believable persona, leaving no traces of her Starbuck character - hair and makeup did a good job of redefining her as the bad guy too.

All in all, worth a look I'd say - s'on Tuesdays 9pm ITV 2