Idris Elba’s five by five is an important introduction to new talent

idris elba bbc three five by five georgina campbell short film young talent hd kate herron

In some respects, there’s a feeling that these films aren’t exactly as groundbreaking as they seem to position themselves as; primarily, I was reminded of Channel 4’s excellent anthology series Banana, which you could argue shares the same general intent as this project, but was able to realise it much more effectively. Really, when watching five by five you wish that there had been a little more to it; each instalment feels almost like a tease, more of a pitch towards what could have been than necessarily satisfying in their own right.

And yet by the same token that feels like an entirely unfair way to categorise these short films, because at the end of the day, what they’ve achieved is manifestly more important than what they actually are. A showcase for up and coming young voices, they’re going to prove meaningful starting points for the actors and writers involved in the series – an attempt to address the paucity of diverse voices, for lack of a better word, in the production of television, if not so much in terms of telling those stories. It’s in this way that five by five makes its real steps towards exploring identity – by introducing us to these new talents.

I wrote a little bit about five by five, BBC Three’s new series of short films. I think I might write about them a little more, because I do still have some thoughts on them.

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Moon Knight can be Marvel Netflix’s answer to Legion

moon knight legion netflix marvel the defenders iron fist

Moon Knight is often criticised as being an “ersatz Batman”, which gives you some idea of the more surface level attributes of the character, but in fact it’s rather more complicated than that; a character who maintains a series of different personas (Moon Knight, Marc Spector, Steven Grant, Jake Lockley, etc) to help him fight crime, Moon Knight is a superhero with a dissociative identity disorder.

On one level, there’s scope to maintain much of what made the Marvel Netflix shows distinct in their own right, as part of the watershed moment that Daredevil once represented; Moon Knight’s mercenary past, his focus on vengeance and dealing with street crime allow for the same brutal physicality that has characterised the Netflix shows so far. And yet by the same stroke, the dissociative identity disorder inherent to the character would allow the show to play in the same sandbox as Legion, dealing with a deeper psychological drama and playing with the narrative in such a way we’ve never seen before. Indeed, a blend of these two approaches – the gritty realism and the subversive psychology – could help a prospective Moon Knight programme stand in its own right.

I wrote a post about Moon Knight, Legion, and what the next step forward is for Marvel Netflix.

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Ten Years of the Tenth Doctor: The Infinite Quest (Part 1)

doctor who cartoon infinite quest animated tenth doctor martha jones screenshot hd review alan barnes gary russell cosgrove hall

I like to stir things up.

I mean, this is quite blatantly a joke, of course.

I did um and ahh a bit over how, exactly, I was going to try and cover The Infinite Quest – obviously the most sensible thing to do would be to just go over the omnibus version, halfway through the series, as a fun little add on, treating it essentially as superfluously as it was. To do proper weekly coverage of these little shorts, and trying to string 500-odd words out of each one, is patently bizarre – for one thing, it’d mean that minute per minute, The Infinite Quest would actually be the ‘episode’ of Doctor Who that I’d dedicated the most words to! (You can probably tell that, 135 or so words in without actually mentioning the meat of the episode, this is going to be a difficult task.)

In the end, though – as you can see – I am electing to do weekly coverage like this. Quite apart from the fact that it’s funny to treat it entirely seriously, it’s actually far more reflective of how I would have experienced The Infinite Quest in the first place anyway. As I’m increasingly trying to position these retrospectives as being just as much a personal journey through my own experiences with Doctor Who – and that The Infinite Quest would undeniably have been part of that – it seems appropriate to deal with this animated special exactly as I would have experienced it then.

A word on what this actually is, for anyone who hasn’t come across it before. In 2006 and 2007, there was a CBBC programme called Totally Doctor Who – basically a Blue Peter-esque magazine show, dedicated solely to Doctor Who. (I watched it religiously, as an eight-year-old obsessed with Doctor Who, and I’m planning on writing something about it at some point anyway.) The big draw for the second series of Totally Doctor Who was The Infinite Quest – weekly instalments of an exclusive animated episode of Doctor Who, which would eventually come together to make a single 45-minute story.

It’s probably about as good as you could meaningfully expect it to be, given the constraints that have been put upon the thing. The most obvious limitation is the length of it – we’re looking at a very short, three and a half (ish) minute vignette. (I do recall being quite disappointed by this the first time I saw it, because I’d been expecting something a little bit more substantial; I’ve no idea whether that was reflective of other people’s opinion on the thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case for them too.) Still, it works within those constraints well enough, essentially showing the Doctor and Martha rocking up at the end of another adventure, and leaving Balthazar with a broad enough characterisation that it’s obvious enough what’s going on with him.

What is interesting, though, is that this would have been Martha’s second real appearance as a companion to a chunk of the child audience, presumably myself included. The nice part, actually, is that she’s still fairly well characterised – these moments are fairly scant, but little things like deducing Balthazar’s plan before the Doctor reveals it continues to position her as that ideal companion we saw in Smith and Jones. Sure, it’s in a weird position in terms of the continuity of the series, but I doubt anyone cared. (Well, I might’ve. Nerd.)

Right. Nearly 600 words to the post, but only 230 or so that are actually about the ‘episode’. This may prove increasingly difficult to sustain over the coming weeks, but… well, we’ll see.

(I’m not going to give it a grade, though, because that’s just silly.)


Ten Years of the Tenth Doctor Reviews

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