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DVD Shopping Bag: Neverwhere and Doctor Who Series 6 Part 2

Sherlock and Quartermass

By Robert T. Trate     November 15, 2011

 

I seem to have come to a dilemma. I think I am at the point where I might have just seen it all. I am constantly looking for something different that will not only entertain me, but get me excited as well; a TV show or a movie that sparks the imagination. When I was younger, this was Star Wars and Star Trek. As I got a little older there were Star Trek spin offs but after a while, especially with the likes of Enterprise, these shows became predictable. Farscape was a blessing, but that too had to end. One fateful day in New York City, I came across a plethora of Doctor Who toys. The display alone got me wondering who each character is and what their story was. I started at the 2005 re-launch of Doctor Who and haven’t looked back since.
 
With the Doctor having changed three times since 2005, I have to say that at this point that I am a fan of the show. I love the “anything goes” storytelling that Steven Moffat and Russell T. Davies have kept alive in this iconic series. The Doctor can go anywhere making the story possibilities endless. Series 6 has some ups and downs, but all in all I have enjoyed the trials and tribulations of discovering Rory and Amy’s daughter’s destiny. Watching Doctor Who did something to me that I did not expect (besides make me carry a sonic screwdriver in my messenger bag). It gave me the joy of British Television (the BBC).
 
With Doctor Who being on BBC America, I started to see advertisements for new shows that were coming to America as well as new DVD releases of things I had never heard of. The first of which being Sherlock. Here is a modern telling of Sherlock Holmes with none other than Bilbo Baggins himself as Watson (Martin Freeman). A mere 3 episodes and you’ll be screaming for more. Fear not as series 2 arrives in 2012. Sherlock is available on DVD now.
 
What I recently caught was Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. A mini-series I had never heard of. It was released in 1996 opposite The X-Files over in Britain. According to an interview with Gaiman on the DVD, it had a cult following but not one big enough to warrant a full series run. There are only 6 half hour episodes here but it is a complete story. The story at hand is about Richard (Gary Bakewell) a regular guy with a good job and fiancée who helps a homeless woman on the street. Unbeknownst to Richard, she is royalty of London Below and is being hunted. Richard takes her back to his flat and nurses her back to health. After avoiding some baddies who were hunting her, Door (Laura Fraser), leaves Richard and returns to a hidden realm below the city. When Richard returns to work the next day, no one knows him anymore. His identity is gone. No one can even see him unless he has direct contact with them. Richard realizes he must now find Door because she is the key to getting his life back.
 
Neverwhere was shot on Video and sadly it does not deliver the lush visuals it so rightfully deserves. It was a budgetary constraint according to producer Clive Bill, but one they tried to get around with real world locations. This wasn’t a show packed full of answers either. There are tons of questions about London Below that I knew weren’t going to get answered. Why was there a rat addressed as Sire? Were the Velvets Vampires? What the hell happened next? It was great fun and refreshing to let my imagination fill in the gaps.
 
Another little joy that I discovered was one that has been sitting around since 1955, The Quatermass Xperiment (aka Creeping Unknown). MGM Studios recently released this Hammer Film on DVD for the world to rediscover. A space rocket crashes to Earth with only one survivor. Prof. Bernard Quatermass (Brian Donlevy), the scientist in charge, is on the scene and wants to know what happened during his experimental test flight. The only survivor is speechless and Quatermass makes every effort to get him to reveal the horror that happened. This wasn’t your typical space race era movie. More often than not, we watch the likes of Frankenstein Meets The Space Monster or Planet of the Vampires and (though fun) are left flat. The Quatermass Xperiment gave me something to think about; the effects of unknown and how man (of 1955) would approach them. The character of Quatermass was in no way a hero, but a man driven by obsession, which was compelling. I found myself rooting for the bad guy over the astronaut on the run. Thankfully, there are even more Quatermass adventures to discover as there have been sequels and TV shows made about the character.
 
Just when I thought I was at the end of my rope for something fresh and original to watch, the Brits came through and delivered in spades. This week, Neverwhere arrives for all of you to enjoy as well. What I have been dying to get my hands on (also out this week) is White Chapel: The Ripper Returns. Like Sherlock, it too is set in modern times. Oh, the game is on!
 
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
 
1. Neverwhere
2. White Chapel: The Ripper Returns
3. Three Colors: Blue, White, Red (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
4. Farscape: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]
5. West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]
 
ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS
Adrenalin-Fear the Rush Starring Christopher Lambert and Natasha Henstridge
 
B. Monkey Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Rupert Everett, Jared Harris
 
Bellflower Starring Evan Glodell, Tyler Dawson, Jessie Wiseman
 
Benefit of the Doubt Starring Amy Irving and Donald Sutherland
 
Drummond Will Starring Mark Oosterveen, Phillip James, Jonathan Hansler
 
Gettysburg [Blu-ray] Starring Richard Jordan, Jeff Daniels, Tom Berenger and Stephen Lang
Girls in Prison Starring Anne Heche and Ione Skye
 
Gods & Generals [Blu-ray] Starring Jeff Daniels, Robert Duvall and Stephen Lang
 
Griff the Invisible Starring Ryan Kwanten, Maeve Dermody and Marshall Napier (see my review)
 
Griff the Invisible [Blu-ray]
 
Infernal Affairs [Blu-ray] Starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung
 
Love Hina: Box Set (Classic) Starring David Umansky and Dorothy Melendrez
 
 
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Starring Johnny Depp and Ian Mcshane
 
Pound of Flesh Starring Malcolm McDowell, Timothy Bottoms and Angus MacFadyen
 
Pound of Flesh [Blu-ray]
Righteous & The Wicked Starring Jeremy Owen, Billy Garberina and Justin Tade
 
Spy Kids Triple Feature [Blu-ray] Starring Antonio Banderas
 
Treasure Hunter [Blu-ray] Starring Jay Chou, Chiling Lin and Eric Tsang
 
The Warring States Starring Zige Fang, Enhe Feng and Degang Guo
 
ANIME
 
Blassreiter: Box Set S.A.V.E. Starring Todd Haberkorn, Jamie Marchi, Christopher R. Sabat
Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black
 
Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black [Blu-ray]
 
Love Hina: Box Set (Classic) Starring David Umansky and Dorothy Melendrez
 
Shuffle: Complete Box Set S.A.V.E. Starring Brittney Karbowski, Caitlin Glass, Carrie Savage
 
CARTOONS
 
The California Raisins Collection
 
DreamWorks Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury / Book of Dragons Double Pack (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Online Video Game)
 
The Lion King Starring Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones
 
Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume One [Blu-ray]
 
Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume One (Ultimate Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]
 
Shaun the Sheep: Season 2
 
CLASSICS
 
My Fair Lady [Blu-ray] Starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway
 
West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer
 
COMEDY AND LOVE Mania Style
 
The Big Lebowski [Blu-ray] Starring John Goodman, David Huddleston, Jeff Bridges
 
Criterion Collection
 
Three Colors: Blue, White, Red (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Irene Jacob
 
Three Colors: Blue, White, Red (Criterion Collection)
The Rules of the Game (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] Starring Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parely and Marcel Dalio
 
The Rules of the Game (Criterion Collection)
 
HOLIDAY TITLES and CROSSOVERS
 
Spongebob Squarepants: Holidays With Spongebob
 
HORROR
 
Bite Marks Starring Windham Beacham, David Alanson and Benjamin Lutz
 
Evil Dead 2 [Blu-ray] Starring Bruce Campbell, Dan Hicks and Ted Raimi
 
Fading of the Cries Starring Brad Dourif and Hallee Hirsh
 
Humongous Starring Janet Julian, David Wallace, Katarina Leigh Waters
 
Maria's B-Movie Mayhem-Teenage Tramps / Teenage
 
The Open Door Starring Catherine Georges, Ryan Doom and Daniel Booko
 
Prophecy [Blu-ray] Starring Elias Koteas, Viggo Mortensen, Eric Stoltz
 
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY
 
Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis: Special Edition [Blu-ray] Starring Gustav Frohlich, Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel and Pat Benatar
 
Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis: Special Edition
 
Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao/ Beowulf Starring Christopher Lambert, Rhona Mitra and Kevin Smith
 
TV LAND
 
Aspen: The Complete Mini-Series - Featuring Sam Elliott Starring Sam Elliott and Perry King
 
Aspen: The Complete Miniseries [Blu-ray]
 
Being Human: The Complete First Season Starring Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath
 
Farscape: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] Starring Ben Browder, Claudia Black and Anthony Simcoe
 
It Takes a Thief: The Complete Series Starring Robert Wagner, Bette Davis, Fred Astaire
 
Neverwhere Starring Hywel Bennett, Gary Bakewell, Paterson Joseph
 
Red vs. Blue Season 9 Starring Matt Hullum, Gustavo Sorola, Geoff Ramsey and Joel Heyman
 
White Chapel: The Ripper Returns Starring Philip Davis, Rupert Penry-Jones, Steve Pemberton
 
BOX SETS
 
Tom Cruise Blu-ray Collection (Collateral / Days of Thunder / Minority Report / Top Gun / War of the Worlds) Starring Peter Berg, Tom Cruise, Mark Ruffalo and Jamie Foxx
 
West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition Box Set [Blu-ray] Starring Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer
 
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 5 of 5
1 
lusiphur 11/15/2011 10:35:30 AM

 Glad you're enjoying Doctor Who.  I've been catching up with some of the older series on Netflix.  Quite a few of them are available through the streaming service as well.

Sherlock was amazing.  But for series 2, I hope there are more than 3 episodes.  Excellent cast and excellent production.  I'd watch Benedict Cumberbatch any time over Robert Downey Jr.  I like Downey's version of Holmes, but prefer a closer representation of the originals.  Sherlock definitely does that while updating the story to modern times.

I remember seeing Neverwhere at some time, but it really hasn't stuck with me.  Of course, I may have been really drunk at the time.  May have to check that out.

Glad to see Farscape getting the Blu-Ray treatment.  Excellent series.

Oh, and Evil Dead 2 is getting released on Blu-Ray also.  Will be putting that on my Christmas list.

doublec 11/15/2011 4:47:12 PM

If Star Trek is American football, Dr Who is soccer, the most popular sci-fi series of all time, even if it's just  a cult show here.

if you liked The Quatermass Xperiment try Quatermass and the Pit, known in America as 5 Million Years to Earth. It's Quatermass done with all the gloss mid-60's Hammer could put out, and quite simply one of the best stories for a sci-fi movie ever. And it has Andrew Kier as the definitive Quatermass.

peak37pt 11/15/2011 6:27:54 PM

 Farscape is one of best shot sci-fi series. The cinematography can be downright stunning at times. I'm glad it's on Blu-ray now. 

karas1 11/16/2011 6:51:58 AM

Farscape was groundbreaking in a number of ways.  It needs all the exposure it can get.  I miss it so.

redhairs99 11/16/2011 11:01:17 AM

 If you're looking for other British imports to ciew, check out Spaced!  It's a great little special with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright in the director's chair all well before Shaun of the Dead.

If you want something even older, check out Fawlty Towers with a post-Python John Cleese.

BTW, what's with British TV and the lengths of their seasons or series as they called them over there.  When you look at a show like Fawlty Towers on IMDB, it's say it aired for like 4 years, but there's 12 episodes.  Spaced had 2 seasons with 6 episodes per season.  I think The Office was the same way. 

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