Ric’s Netflix Picks: Preparing for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Pt. 4)

By now you should feel pretty damn prepared for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. For the final installment of this series, we shall have a battle of the doctors, as we set The Good Doctor vs. Doctor Who.

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SYLVESTER McCOYRADAGAST THE BROWN

Doctor Who

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Who is the most likely villain in a WWII story?

The Nazis.

Arriving in WWII England, The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and his companion, Ace (Sophie Aldred), seek out a British scientist, Dr. Judson, intent on cracking German codes. Distracting the good doctor from his work is his superior officer, Commander Millington. Millington is obsessed with deciphering the ancient Viking inscriptions, believing they will give him the power to win the war. But they all are unaware that a squadron of Soviet soldiers is set on stealing Dr. Judson’s code-cracking machine. Strange things begin happening that suggest a far more villainous power may be in play…

The Curse of Fenric has been long considered an essential Seventh Doctor story. It features his most prominent companion, Ace, and reveals a key piece of her backstory. This revelation leads the viewer to believe that The Doctor knows much more than he is letting on. Combine this with how the episode ties in details from previous stories Silver Nemesis and Dragonfire, and it feels more like a contemporary Doctor Who episode. The biggest flaw of this episode may be its own ambition. The episode is a very complex set of events that are not all given their full due, and thus can be confusing to comprehend.

Listed under Classic Doctor Who season 8, episodes 1 through 4, The Curse of Fenric is an important story in the Seventh Doctor’s history. It is a central episode in what has become known as the Cartmel Masterplan. Although that plan never came to fruition, it did lead us to the modern era of Doctor Who, where current show runner Steven Moffat appears to have his own master plan.

Rating:

3.6 out of 5.0

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LegolasORLANDO BLOOMLEGOLAS

The Good Doctor

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What’s the most important aspect of medical ethics?

First, do no harm.

Doctor Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) has just started his residency at a southern California hospital. Although he is capable and charming, he has an attitude problem. This causes him to lose the respect of the hospital staff and the support of his superiors. Things improve when he starts treating Diane Dixon (Riley Keough), a young girl with a kidney infection. Seeing the potential for success, Dr. Blake begins to break bad, drawing the attention of a rambunctious orderly named Jimmy (Michael Peña). But how long can a good doctor be bad?

A solid but relatively static performance by Bloom leaves something to be desired. The chemistry with Keough is believable and, given the forbidden nature of their relationship, is appropriately creepy. J.K. Simmons feels familiar as a detective, due to his role in the Law & Order franchise. Evan Peters, from previous Ric’s Netflix Pick American Horror Story, makes a small appearance.

The Good Doctor is a decent movie but will not be remembered as one of Bloom’s standout performances. Keough looks like she has a promising career ahead of her, as she recently appeared in the music video for Justin Timberlake’s TKO and is set to appear in the next installment in the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road.

Rating:

2.9 out of 5.0

For more of Orlando Bloom, be sure to revisit Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (rating: 4.2 out of 5.0), available on Netflix. While you’re there, check out Jack Davenport (Commodore Norrington) of Coupling, Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swann) of Love Actually, and Mackenzie Crook (the glass-eyed pirate) of The Office (UK). A sharp-eyed viewer may also catch Zoe Saldana, better known as Uhura of the Star Trek reboots.

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Thanks for joining us on our unexpected journey.

Look for us when it’s time to go there and back again.

Be sure to check out Part IPart II and Part III of this series.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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