Matthew Kresal was born and raised in North Alabama though he never developed a Southern accent. His essays have been featured in numerous books and his first novel Our Man on the Hill was published by Sea Lion Press in 2021.
'Doctor Who': Revisiting 'The Deadly Assassin'
"The Deadly Assassin." It's the story that changed Doctor Who forever. Coming nearly half-way through its original run, it was the story that forever altered the show and its mythology. Writer Robert Holmes (along with producer Philip Hinchcliffe and the production team) crafted four episodes that remain among the most watched and talked about it in the history of the show. Looking at the story, it's not surprising.
'Doctor Who': Revisiting 'The Crimson Horror'
For some time now, there's been some chatter among Doctor Who fans for a spin-off based on the Paternoster Gang of Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, and Strax. Nearly five years after their last on-screen appearance in "Deep Breath," such a thing has yet to appear. If such a series were to appear chances are "The Crimson Horror," aired as part of the second half of Series Seven in 2013, would be the template for such a series.
'Doctor Who': The Lure Of The Nomad Review
After nearly twenty years and over 200 stories in the monthly range alone, Big Finish has proven they know how to tell a good Doctor Who story. Even so, they are still capable of dropping stories that delight and surprise. The Lure Of The Nomad, the May 2018 release for that range, is a prime example of that with an immensely enjoyable story, perfect for new listeners and welcoming to long-time ones.
Delving Into 'Saucer Country'
For more than seventy years, the enigma of UFOs has hung over us. It has continued to intrigue and baffle, inspiring scientists and layman alike to try and answer what it all means. Writers and artists are no exceptions, as the myriad of UFO movies and TV shows reveals. A more recent page bound to take on the enigma came from the DC-owned comics company Vertigo, with British writer Paul Cornell and American artist Ryan Kelly giving us Saucer Country, which ran between 2012 and 2013 and which is now available collected from IDW. It's a tale involving UFOs, conspiracy theories, and American politics.
Review of 'The War Master: Only The Good'
Doctor Who fans seem to have long memories, stretching back decades at times. So it shouldn't be hard to remember the episode, "Utopia," first broadcast in 2007, which featured legendary British thespian Sir Derek Jacobi as the kindly but eccentric Professor Yana. Except that, as the episode's finale revealed, Yana, in reality, the Doctor's arch-nemesis, The Master. Viewers only got a few minutes of Jacobi properly in the role before he regenerated into John Simm but fans have been itching for more ever since, especially in light of further explorations of the Time War. It seems only right then that Big Finish has brought Jacobi's Master and in style to boot with The War Master: Only The Good.
He Wanted to Believe
Crashed spaceships. Alien abductions. Cattle mutilations. Bases that don't officially exist like Dulce Base in New Mexico. Thanks to countless movies and TV shows, these conspiracy theories regarding government cover-ups regarding the UFO phenomenon are known to millions around the world. The origins of such ideas are far more humble, troubling, and far closer to home as Greg Bishop reveals in his 2005 book Project Beta.
'Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures' Volume 4 Review
It's been two years now since the first of The Third Doctor Adventures arrived from Big Finish. In that time, the range has gone from strength to strength across three previous sets, recreating early 1970s Doctor Who on audio with Tim Trealor stepping into Jon Pertwee's role. While the range has played it safe to an extent up until now (most notably with the Dalek story in Volume 3), this fourth entry promised to explore new territory by taking this Doctor up against two foes he'd never encountered on TV.
JFK, The Warren Commission, & 'A Cruel and Shocking Act'
In the more than a half-century since the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, questions have been raised time and again about it. How many shots? Who was involved? Did alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald act alone or was he even involved at all? The Warren Commission, set up in the aftermath of the assassination and whose report was issued to the public in 1964, was meant to answer those questions once and for all. Instead, it would merely add gasoline to the fire of conspiracy claims. How and why that came to be is covered in this volume from journalist Philip Shenon who explores (as the book is sub-titled) “the secret history of the Kennedy assassination.”
Truth, Lies, & Action In The 'Green Zone'
With the team up of star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass having proven successful with The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, it perhaps isn't surprising that the two would team-up again so soon after what was initially seen as the final film in the Bourne franchise. What the pair made was a film that dealt with many of the same themes of distrust and questionable US government motives. The difference? This one was set firmly in the recent past in the immediate aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. That film was Green Zone and the results were compelling.
SyFy, UFOs, and 'Official Denial'
The late 1980s and early 1990s saw a rash of film and TV projects based off of the alien abduction phenomenon. These included adaptations of two non-fiction books based on the phenomenon by Whitely Strieber (Communion starring Christopher Walken) and Budd Hopkins (Intruders). In 1993, the fledgling Sci-Fi Channel (now known, of course, as SyFy) also produced a TV movie on the phenomenon as their first original movie. Titled Official Denial, the result is an interesting if at times an under-served piece of work.
Review - 'Ruled Britannia'
In 1588, Britain faced the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada, sent by Catholic King Phillip II against the Protestant Elizabeth I. History records that the Armada failed of course and Britain went more than two centuries before facing the threat of invasion once more. Yet what if the Armada had succeeded and the nation had been occupied by the forces of Catholic Spain? Harry Turtledove, proclaimed as the master of the alternate history genre, imagined just such a scenario with his 2002 novel Ruled Britannia.
Review—'Doctor Who: The War To End All Wars'
Across seven years from 2007 to 2014, UK based company Big Finish Productions produced a most remarkable series of Doctor Who audio dramas. Created to utilize characters and elements from the first four Doctors eras at the time, the Companion Chronicles range did exactly that. More than that, it went a long way to putting underused companions to better use, resulting in some remarkable stories. Coming in as the last story recorded for the range (though the third to last from being released), The War To End All Wars is a prime example of the range and what it was capable of.