He-Man & She-Ra

June 17, 2016

This week's episode is all about one of the first wildly popular toy and animated show tie-ins. Emerging in 1982 the Masters of the Universe toy line was hot on the heels of Star Wars and (thanks to the repeal of certain laws about ethics in programming) was able to advertise its products to the child during the commercial breaks as they were watching the show. And of course, seeing as most of the characters featured were already toys, every episode was a commercial in its own right.

He-Man is, by today's standards a dreadfully polite pacifist who seeks only to hold Eternia's morals in check, whist Skeletor is a charmingly gentle nitwit who seeks power via boneheaded schemes. Both of them have colourful henchmen and at the end of the day nobody is getting hurt. 

She-Ra is a scenario much the same, only she and her buddies in the Great Rebellion are always on the back foot and Hordak is an oppressive warmonger that they are trying to depose, giving that show more of a struggle and stakes, and a rather empowering female hero for many girls (and boys) to be inspired by. Stay to the end to see how Mattel sold this strong woman in doll form. 

We also cover the ill-fated New Adventures and the badass 200X show. Next week we're looking at the 1987 Dolph Lundgren movie. 



April 29, 2016

This one has been a long time coming. Maybe the most significant animated series of my childhood, Thundercats (1985) was, for me, age 6, the promise of adventure. Seven cat-people escape the doomed planet of Thundera and find a new home in the lush, expansive new world of Third Earth. But then never bargained on their old enemies, the mutants pursuing them and forming an unholy alliance with this new planet's ancient demon priest, Mumm-Ra. 

When you go back and investigate aged 36 however, it's a creaky, ponderous, derivative, bloodless, tension-free grab-bag of embarrassing dialogue, ridiculous over the top performances and tropes that were worn into the ground a decade or two ago. 

I've got so much better TV to watch, animated series' have reached unforeseen heights of excellence... so why do I still love Thundercats?

And in 2011 when a new series was attempted and sank without trace after an unsatisfying ending that suggested a much larger story-line, why did I love that too? 

It's not just nostalgia, there's more to both of these shows. Allow me and Sharon and Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst to elucidate for you. We framed this so that fans of the show, people who hated the show and those who have never had the dubious pleasure of watching it could all enjoy our podcast. 

In the second section we discuss Mumm-Ra's motivation, some unanswerable questions and our favourite episodes.


My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

February 27, 2016

[SOEE #63]

In the 80’s while all the boys were watching Transformers and obligingly buying the toys Hasbro were also targeting girls with a similarly multimedia manipulative marketing campaign to sell them pretty, plastic ponies.

Twenty five years and three terrible Michael Bay movies later and the boys, now grown up are feeling pretty dismal about the once awesome mythos they loved. However after many years of quiet My Little Pony resurfaced in 2010 and to the surprise of everyone turned out to be not bad at all. Really rather great in fact. Well written with lovable characters and amusing dialogue.

In an unusual turn of events it picked up a following of male viewers. Dubbed ‘Bronies’ these men, young and old have a tough battle trying to make their case for why they aren’t twisted child molesters. This podcast is about the show, the fans and why it’s become beloved. My remit is to examine it with varying levels of perspective and delve in rather than making fun of it as outsiders or being overly defensive fanboys.

My two specialists are Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits and Connor Milford, Zephyr Lite in the Gonzo community. It’s very much a podcast aimed at people who know nothing about Friendship is Magic so if you’re curious, this is the Pony investigation for you.


Daredevil [Netflix]

December 3, 2015

[SOEE #67]

This is our spoiler-filled podcast review of the first season of the Netflix show.

I’ll say up front this is not our favourite Marvel production. Not only do we bring up what we feel are its weaker aspects but just FYI it gets very vitriolic about the feature-creep of torture and mutilation into adult TV. This rant has been a long time coming folks. But there are of course aspects that we like and indeed love, and we definitely want to see more.

If you love these shows support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/alexandershaw



October 31, 2015
This appeared on the patreon today but enough people were asking about it and recommending the show to newcomers that it just seemed like it needed bringing back. So now you know how to get that done. 

Ghostwatch is the 1992 hoax TV broadcast screened on BBC1 which caused a widespread national panic as thousands of kids (and more adults that would like to admit it) reacted with terror to the creepy happenings onscreen. 

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

March 8, 2013
[SOEE #54]

We bring our Terminator shows to a close with a discussion about the brief but brightly burning TV series. This managed two seasons, which is more than most Fox shows and the ending is abrupt but satisfying, hinting at greater depths in further episodes. 

However, in it's lifespan it managed some of the most cerebral, emotional and fascinating moments in Terminator mythology leaving the three most recent movies in the dust.

The central trio of performances grow exceptional over time and are backed up by a network of strong support characters, expanding beyond the typical small group of the movies and  outlining a saga across time that is epic in scale. Yet at its core this is a deeply personal story about a mother and her son, John's maturing into the man he has heard so much about from others and the enormous burden Sarah feels, but cannot set down.

It's worth your time and money. 

The episode is divided into two with a spoiler section clearly flagged, in which we discuss the endgame.

Listen to Tiger’s Eye! Search for New Century on iTunes today and get into some superb audio drama. 

If you love these shows support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/alexandershaw

Transformers Prime

March 6, 2013

[SOEE #66]

This is both parts combined into one mega-podcast.

The Transformers road trip finally emerges from the ugly, industrial wasteland and like Outrun we find ourselves suddenly experiencing a completely different and altogether more fascinating vista.

Yes, this animated TV show, passed up by the majority of adults as being for the kids just happens to be the greatest depiction of the Autobots and Decepticons ever committed to any medium. Freed of the obligation to deliver spectacle whilst somehow keeping the robots to a minimum this production team somehow manage to capture everything we loved about Generation 1 with the best bits from the movies, shows, comics and games in between. 

Focus is on companionship between the Autobots and the human teenagers they are protecting, with the kids giving perspective to the bots and vice versa. The Decepticons are no longer snarling hyper-aggressive insectoids but a charismatic, entertaining team in their own right. Starscream reaches his full potential to become a scheming metal Iago, Soundwave somehow manages to be even more creepy NOT speaking and  Megatron goes from being the one-dimensional byword for tedious head villain to a genuinely frightening and compelling warmonger.

As for the Autobots, Bulkhead and Bumblebee take their cues from the Iron Giant and R2-D2, Ratchet is played by the Re-Animator himself, Jeffrey Combs like a transfroming Doctor McCoy, guarded warrior Arcee is described on this very show as being like Trinity but less robotic and Peter Cullen turns in his best grave, powerful performance as Optimus, finally being given the kind of things to say and do that make you remember why he's the leader you'd follow into robot hell and back.

It's so good we did two shows on it, covering first Autobots and then Decepticons over Season 1. We've saved the big spoilers for the end of the second show so you really should listen at least that far and then get hold of these. 

Joining us are Mike Hearn of Walter the Wicked web-comic who provided us with stunning Transformers artwork for the website (Visit his Patreon here), Neil Taylor and Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst and Andrew Pidhajeckyk of the Digital Drift Community. 

The Transformers road trip comes to a triumphant end as we close out our Prime conversation in unusual circumstances, discussing a group of characters who have struggled since 1984 to be expressed as anything other than thugs or buffoons, The Decepticons, Turns out all it took to portray them as a group of warriors with their own motivations, weaknesses, misgivings and strengths was decent writing, building upon both well-established characters finally given dimensions of personality and newcomers who swiftly became fan favourites. It's been a wild ride through the Transformers series, but I'm very happy we could end on such a high note.

Joining us once again are Mike Hearn of Walter the Wicked web-comic (I'm a patron of his webcomic http://www.patreon.com/Wicked?ty=a), Neil Taylor and Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst and Andrew Pidhajeckyk of the Digital Drift Community. 

Next week, we celebrate Halloween in style with a pair of notorious creature features; Troll & Troll 2, the latter of which is considered by many to be the best worst movie ever made. 

Be sure to find us, follow us, like us and email us.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/digitaldriftuk
Twitter: @DigitalDriftUK
Email: digitaldriftuk@gmail.com
Website: www.digitaldrift.co.uk

New Century Patreon: www.patreon.com/newcentury


The Spectacular Spider-Man

March 5, 2013

[SOEE #65]

For this last Spider-Man podcast for some time we're focusing on a high note in the character's history and my very favourite representation of him in any media. The short-lived two-season animated show 'The Spectacular Spider-Man' which ran from 2008-2009. 

Developed by Greg Weisman, known for his beloved, high quality, multi-layered and prematurely cancelled TV shows like Gargoyles and Young Justice, Spectacular marries up the fun-loving, innocent Spidey from the 60s combined with more emotionally and dramatically resonant fare from the modern era, particularly the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. It's character-driven, colourful and extremely kid-friendly but also touching and clever and honest about the lives of teens juggling a world of problems, with an enormous rogues gallery and frequently dazzling action.

Both seasons are available on iTunes very reasonably, DVD (though no season 2 in the UK, still), streaming and a wonderful multi-region Blu Ray containing every episode. I cannot recommend this series enough and while we will be discussing the entire plot on this podcast it may be worth listening to anyway to lend you a better appreciation of the show when you do see it. Deeper focus is very often better than surprise and the only way you can really spoil it would be to not watch it.

Be sure to find us, follow us, like us and email us.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/digitaldriftuk
Twitter: @DigitalDriftUK
Email: digitaldriftuk@gmail.com
Website: www.digitaldrift.co.uk
Forum: www.digitaldrift.co.uk/forum

Next week: X-Men.



February 28, 2013

[Gonzo #121]

This episode is all about the three-season western TV series from HBO. In case you've not had the pleasure it's a foul and filthy depiction of life in a mining camp in South Dakota 1876-1877. Absolutely every character is carefully crafted in shades of dark grey. There is grim violence, interactions of a carnal nature and such language as you've never heard. The dialogue is lyrical and Shakespearean and everything revolves around power, control and gold. 

Far from ending up depressing as it might sound, the few pinpricks of light, moments of innocence and surprisingly frequent levity lend the show a hopeful air and you will swiftly find yourself warming to many characters who at first may seem repellent to your delicate tastes.

Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Jeffrey Jones, Powers Boothe, Brian Cox, and dozens of other immensely talented actors lend their skills to the roles and by the time you hit the end of season three you will wish there were more episodes. We're focusing on characters and events from season one so if you really don't want to know anything then watch that first. Bear in mind that this is partly based on true events that are a matter of historic record.  My ultimate assertion is actually that the key to Deadwood is performances and we can't really spoil those.

Joining me to discuss the machinations of skulduggerous frontier folk are Gary Blower of GameBurst, Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse and Sharon Shaw of DorkCast.

Next week... My Little Pony: Friendship is magic. 

I'm not even close to kidding, and there ain't many podcasts out there ready to tackle these two back to back.



February 27, 2013

[Gonzo #120]

This episode is all about the NBC comedy Community. I was introduced to this series a few months ago on the forum by Daniel Floyd who guests on this podcast. After a slow start something clicked and it rocketed to the tippety top of my most cherished TV comedy experiences, ranking alongside the US Office and Arrested Development. I am therefore proud to present this exceptionally thorough overview show to newcomers and fans alike.

The plot runs thus: slick, handsome, insincere lawyer Jeff Winger is disbarred for having a phony degree and must attend community college to get a real one. On his first day he organises a study group to get close to a girl. Despite having nothing in common with one another and clashing pretty much constantly the seven assembled students end up as unlikely friends.

That may be what happens, but it doesn't adequately describe the smart, funny, inventive and touching highlights of watching this show. The mad genius and the endless quotability of the whole caboodle. So you can listen to the podcast itself for all of that. We steer clear of major spoilers pertaining to relationships and moments that are best discovered for yourself but there are two distinct sections.

1. Character study
2. Key episodes.

These are presented in order so if you have only seen Season 1 you can leave off after 'Modern Warfare', which is incidentally the one episode we believe every living person on this planet should watch. By the end of seeing that one you will know if you love this. 

The first three seasons are available on DVD in the USA, the first two in the UK and the reputedly final season 4 has just begun showing on TV. The other two guests on this podcast are Sharon Shaw of DorkCast and Jerome McIntosh of the Gonzo Planet community.