Brian Grant

Doctor Who (2005) s01e07 – The Long Game

This first half of this episode is really strong. The second half, not so much. Even after stunt guest star Simon Pegg gets better in the second half it’s not any better. Writer Russell T. Davies doesn’t have a good resolution for the episode’s intrigue and no matter how effectively executed the suspense gets—Brian Grant’s direction is quite good—it has a very soft landing.

Especially thanks to Bruno Langley, who’s back from last episode as Billie Piper’s “love” interest. Given the episode starts with her deciding he’s not a suitable love interest, it’s hard to see why Piper would care if he’s around. Especially after she and Eccleston team back up, meeting future humans—the year 20,000 or something—Christine Adams and Anna Maxwell Martin. Eccleston thinks he knows where they are in the future, but things don’t seem to be just right. Humanity’s not meant to be living in crappy conditions on satellites with data ports built into their brains to broadcast the news or whatever. They’re supposed to be all about the arts.

The most successful plot thread involves Eccleston upset Adams honest care more about her profession and tries to get her to think like a reporter; Adams is good. She and Eccleston have the chemistry Piper and Langley need.

Except then it turns out Langley’s got a subplot of his own, involving second stunt guest star Tamsin Greig, and Langley proves to be just as much of a drag solo as when in a group. The subplot’s entirely predictable and sort of surprisingly well-intentioned but it’s a not executed well. Langley’s either miscast or Davies doesn’t have the story down.

The ending is pretty funny though.

Not the big action-packed resolution—which is visually a fine spectacle, though it does seem like a distraction from the lack of a good story—but the postscript, where it turns out Davies has been building up to a joke most of the episode.

It’s uneven, which is frustrating; it’d have been a lot nicer if it’d been in pieces at the beginning and put itself together for the end instead.

Darkman (1992, Brian Grant)

It’s kind of sad “Darkman” didn’t get a series order. Not because it’s good, but because it’s so laughably bad. One can almost hear director Grant telling lead Christopher Bowen to be more British.

But this “Darkman” pilot doesn’t exactly seem like a pilot. There are only five characters–Bowen, Larry Drake reprising from the movie (with a total of three or four lines) and Kathleen York as the last honest cop. She’s real bad. But she’s nowhere near as bad as the stuff with the uncredited homeless black kid who finds his way into Darkman’s cold British heart.

It’s short and there’s a bunch of footage from the movie, almost enough one might do better to think of this “Darkman” as sizzle reel for what would have been a truly horrendous television show. Terrible writing from Robert Eisele too.

Big Burton Batman rip-offs.

“Darkman” is incompetent and bad.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Brian Grant; screenplay by Robert Eisele, based on characters created by Sam Raimi; produced by David Roessell.

Starring Christopher Bowen (Peyton), Larry Drake (Robert G. Durant) and Kathleen York (Jenny).


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