K9: New Australian Series

K9 from Doctor Who had a pilot made for his own TV series way back in 1981. K9 and Company was not well-received, but you can’t keep a good idea down.  With the BBC already having their own child-friendly spin-off from the Who franchise in the Sarah Jane Adventures, for the cool robotic dog to now get his own series meant having to ‘up sticks’ and head to Australia. Without the BBC’s involvement or blessing, it meant that the owners of K9’s rights had to set it in another time and place.

So, we find ourselves in a future Britain, where the current push to totalitarianism has reached its logical conclusion.  A Cybernetic Police Force keeps a bunch of spin doctors in power, who even manufacture their own small-scale ‘False Flag’ events to keep the public in check.  A heavy background for a series that is obviously aimed at children, but then it harks back to such classics from the past as Knights of God and Tripods. It’s at this stage you’re probably wondering why you’ve not heard of this new show.  After all, it’s already started broadcast in the UK!

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Jokers Wild on DVD

Running for nine series from 1969 to 1974, Jokers Wild was a lively, panel game in which two trios of comedians competed for laughs from the studio audience. While team members delved into their repertoires for winning jokes based on topics drawn randomly from an oversized pack of cards, bonus points could be scored by opposing team members if they interrupted mid-gag to complete a punchline.

Hosted by comedy legend Barry Cryer, the show’s line-up often read like a ‘Who’s Who?’ of British comedy talent – later series would see the likes of John Cleese, Bob Monkhouse, Arthur Askey, Diana Dors, Eric Sykes and Sid James taking part. This first series, featuring Les Dawson, Ted Ray, Charlie Chester, Jimmy Edwards, Alfred Marks and Roy Hudd, shows the development of the format.

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Doctor Who: Meglos DVD

Doctor Who has a very critical audience.  They know what they like, and what they don’t, and “Meglos” has become one of those stories that suffers from setting teeth on edge from just reading its logline: Tom Baker’s Time Lord gains a doppelganger when a walking man-size cactus takes on his features.  See what I mean?  It’s always going to be an uphill struggle from that point on.

Emerging as the second story from Season 18, Tom’s swansong run, it’s something of a throwback to previous Baker seasons, with K-9 actually having some sort of function in the plot, and Romana getting a few good set-pieces into the bargain (although fighting off planet-bound beasties ain’t exactly a pièce de résistance!).  When all else fails, you can definitely say there’s a lot of fun in this story.

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Doctor Who - Christmas Carol

It’s the deepest part of winter, just past the midpoint that is the Winter Solstice... we find ourselves at a distant Christmas Eve. Amy and Rory are trapped on a stricken space liner, spicing up their honeymoon with some role-playing. Their vessel has a major problem, though - it’s plummeting through banks of thick icy fog to the surface of the planet below them.

Only one man has the power to save them; only one man is in possession of a machine that can clear the fog and let them land safely. That man is Kazran Sardick, a rich but lonely old miser who rules Sardicktown with a sky-mast of iron. The Doctor’s only chance of rescuing the ship’s four thousand passengers is to save Kazran’s soul and show him that life is worth living.

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It's A Trap: Family Guy Jedi

Family Guy has completed its homage (or demolition, depending on your viewpoint) to the original “Star Wars” trilogy with the release, in widescreen Blu-ray and DVD, of “It’s A Trap”, their retelling of “Return of the Jedi”.  Right from the scrolling opening text monologue, the team are keen to beg fans to reduce their expectations, even suggesting they’d effectively had a gun put to their heads to do this third instalment.

Indeed, the cast welcome into their brethren assorted characters from the ‘sister’ show, American Dad, something commented on by Stewie as showing they haven’t got enough of their own number to call upon to fill in the various roles. In the crew commentary, there’s note made that Lucasfilm was very forgiving of the more cruel aspects of this episode, and there’s an admission that if they do the next “Wars” trilogy, they’ll probably leave that to The Cleveland Show!

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