The Stargate Rewatch: The Enemy Within

Stargate SG-1 Review : ‘The Enemy Within’ 


While the U.S. government determines the fate of Teal’c, SGC must deal with one of its own that has been taken over by a Goa’uld.


The Enemy Within picks up exactly where we left off with The Children Of The Gods. Kawalsky still has the Gou’ald in his neck. Only now, the race has realised that Earth is a threat and are trying to attack en mass. They have a slight issue though in that a new shield known as an iris has been built (in record time). Now, whenever they step through, they die like bugs on a windshield. We know that these guys are the enemy but it’s a disturbing prospect having them killed in such a fashion. The thuds against the iris are genuinely sinister knowing that a person’s death is the cause of each thump.
This is a side note though as the episode mainly belongs to Kawalsky and Teal’c, both having issues to contend with. Teal’c first then. Seeing where this guy ends up as the show continues, it’s not great seeing him as a potential test subject. It’s the first hint that the government could be just as much of an adversary as the forces beyond the gate. Teal’c to his defence doesn’t really try and fight against it. He never tried to resist or cause any trouble and that only makes it harder to watch. We also get to see the side of Jack here that made people fall in love with the character. He has only known their new ally a short while, but he instantly leaps to his defence without hesitation. It’s an interesting debate though. Sure, this guy saved everyone. But he is still not only an alien, but also a member of the race that seems determined to kill them all. I think I too would at least keep him under guard for a while longer than they do here. The sudden switch to having him as part of the team at the episode is jarring, albeit nice to watch. 
stargate enemy within jack tealc
Ah Kawalsky, the poor guy finally gets his own command only to be taken over and go all homicidal on those around him. First up, Jay Acovone does a brilliant job here. He makes you really feel what his character is going through. He’s even great as the Gou’ald version of the man. He brings a real gravitas to the scenes where he lashes out at the members of the SG-C and he’s a genuinely menacing presence.  As tragic as his death was, it was another way of making the next few years personal for Jack. The long-term friendship between the two of them is apparent (the “can I have your stereo” line is a personal favourite) and you can well imagine that the events in this episode would have a long-lasting effect on him. Not only is he driven to find Skaara, but his mission to take down the Goa’uld must be partially driven by a need to avenge his fallen friend.
stargate enemy within kawalsky carter
What a brutal death for Kawalsky too. The show was clearly still more adult in tone at this point and the fight between him and Teal’c (and subsequent scalp removal) was a great watch. I’m assuming Jack meant for him to be killed that way? I don’t think it’s overly clear with his “hold him there” line, but my takeaway was that he had already accepted Kawalsky was gone. 
There are a few ‘early days’ issues with the show here. The naming of the embarkation room seems bizarre every time it’s said and it’s great that they ditched that pretty quickly; Gate Room sounds much better. The second is the symbiote essentially hiding away after surgery to avoid detection. Can this happen? It’s been a while since I’ve watched this show all the way through, but I don’t recall it occurring again. Maybe someone can correct me.  Now admittedly, ‘early days’ issues can be excused by the fact they are early days. But if you are going to establish something within the lore and have it affect a significant player, it should occur again at some point
stargate sg1 enemy within 
The Enemy Within was certainly a strong carry on from the pilot. Having said that, an episode set entirely in one place this early in a show that was focused on exploration was a slight misstep. But then again, it did allow us to really see the goings on at the SGC. The episode, despite dealing with its first major death, was primarily set up. It was a means of getting the full SG-1 team together and with that in mind, it accomplishes its goals pretty well.


Jack : So this iris is gonna hold right
Carter: If it doesn’t the failsafe will activate. The whole mountain will vaporise and they’ll be nothing to worry about. 
Jack: Great. I feel much better. 

Jack: Listen, I gotta ask you something. It’s not easy for me.
Kawalsky: We’re friends.
Jack : If you don’t make it…can I have your stereo?

Jack: Permission to barge in, sir?

Jack: Yeah. Well it’s kind of a human thing. We tend to be afraid of things we don’t know.
Teal’c: Why is O’Neill not afraid?
Jack: Teal’c, I saw you stand up to a god. You refused to kill. I saw you make that decision.
Teal’c: Yes.
Jack: In that moment I learned everything I needed to know to trust you.

Kennedy: I heard the operation was a big success, sir. Congratulations. I have my orders to return to Langley.
Hammond: Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Star Turn

jay acovone enemy within

Jay Acovone. He’s great as both Kawalsky and the Goa’uld.  It’s a shame he couldn’t be saved as it would have been brilliant to have him around on a recurring basis. 


Stargate wastes no time in establishing the Goua’d threat in an episode that delivers a major loss whilst setting up Teal’c as an asset and a vital team member.

The Stargate Rewatch: Children of the Gods

Stargate SG-1 Review

Out of the three franchises with ‘Star’ in the title, Stargate is the most overlooked. While it has a dedicated fanbase, it never reached the heights of the others despite its 17-season run (admittedly this was over 3 shows, but still). For me though, it was the one I loved the most. From the first episode I saw (Tin Man), right up to the finale of the second spin-off Stargate Universe; this show just clicked with me.
Now, I’m going to take a look at each episode- right back from the first. I aim to do one of these a week, so with the number of episodes produced this should conclude in 2076, or thereabouts. I did give a lot of thought to starting with the original movie but decided that due to the recasts and the different production team, I would just start with SG-1. Maybe I’ll write up a review of it at some other time. So, let’s begin at almost the beginning with the feature-length opening episode, ‘Children of The Gods’

Children of The Gods

Stargate Command, or the SGC as I will be referring to It from here on in, is closed for business. The most exciting thing happening is a poker game being played by 5 members of the Air force who clearly have far too much time on the hands. The gate itself is covered up by one of the largest sheets known to mankind, but to the surprise of the sole female- the sheet starts moving. (I probably should point out that the SGC is deep underground under Cheyenne Mountain, therefore a breeze through an open window is not a possibility- her concern is valid). This happens a couple more times, but the airmen refuse to believe her so she goes to take a closer look, as you do. The ground then starts shaking and the gate fires up.

stargate gate room

It’s at this point someone would normally yell “incoming wormhole”, but they hadn’t hired the bald guy with glasses to say it yet. Anyway, the airmen grab weapons and take aim at the Gate while the female takes a closer look, going right up to the event horizon (the wobbly bluey bit in the middle, that is the last time I will explain ‘event horizon’ for obvious reasons). A sphere drops out of the gate onto the floor and scans her, serpent guards appear grabbing her, while the men dally about not shooting for some reason. A golden serpent guard is at the back. This is Apophis; a Goa’uld. He’s essentially our big bad from here on in. Notice also the large bald guy holding our girl? Well, that’s Teal’c, a Jaffa; More on him later. Apophis uses a device on his hand to subdue the girl and the men finally realise they need to use the guns they are holding. They do, but sadly they are all killed. Ah well, they took a couple of bad guys down with them. More soldiers run towards the Gate room in stock footage that we will see many many times in the future, along with General George Hammond, just in time to see Apophis, Teal’c and the girl whose name I don’t know disappear through the gate. I don’t know how they were able to dial it.

Major Samuels heads out to a cabin, home of retired Colonel Jack O’Neill (two L’s now) and finds him sitting on his roof staring out at the stars. They tell him he is needed at the SGC and after some persuasion, he agrees to go. Upon arriving, he meets with Hammond who fills him in on the events he had missed, including showing him the dead Jaffa and letting him play with a staff (which is a weapon, not a euphemism). Jack assures him that Ra could not be responsible as he is dead (see the movie- former big bad) but Hammond is not convinced that Jack nuked Abydos like he was supposed to (again see the movie, but he didn’t). His old teammates, including Kawalsky, are also being questioned separately. Hammond threatens to send a nuke through the gate to Abydos but Jack admits the truth and reveals that Dr. Daniel Jackson is alive and well and living there with his new wife; which was a strange marriage, to say the least. Hammond still orders the bomb to go through though, showing that he is not as nice as comes to be, and puts Jack into a holding cell.

stargate children gods hammond

It’s the same cell as Kawalsky, unsure why they would do that but they did, and they discuss Abydos and Skaara, a young boy who idolised Jack and reminded him of his son. Kawalsky comments that he never knew Jack had a son, despite the fact it is later established they were old friends. Note to writers, don’t change details from the pilot; we will notice and mock you. Jack’s son died by the way by shooting himself accidentally with Jack’s gun- more on this in future episodes too. Hammond walks in and maybe he is nice after all as he is reconsidering nuking thousands of people. What a lovely guy. Jack asks to take a team through the gate and Hammond agrees (boy, he really has had a change of heart). Jack then heads off to conduct an experiment with a box of tissues. (Minds out the gutter, please). The gate is dialled (hey, It’s the bald guy with the glasses!) and the tissues go through the gate. Shortly after a note returns saying “send more”. Daniel’s alive! It’s time to assemble a team.

In the meeting room, which as far as I can see doesn’t change throughout its 10-year run, Jack and co are working out the details of the return to Abydos when Samantha Carter enters the room to join the trip. She also gets the worst line in the history of television when defending the fact that she is a woman “just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside doesn’t mean I can’t handle what you can handle”. Way to make an entrance Carter! After establishing burying the gate won’t do any good, the mission is approved; which I thought it was anyway. Oh, and a 24-hour deadline is set before the bomb goes through.

The team head through the gate and are greeted by Daniel and Skaara, Jack is more pleased to see the latter. Sha’re, Daniels wife also emerges from a tent to say hi. Carter is also amazed to find a DHD (dial home device) which is used to key in the address for the gate to dial. They also discover, thanks to Daniel, that Earth and Abydos are not the only planets that can be dialled. There’s a hell of a lot more. Which is handy as this series would get very samey, very quickly otherwise.

stargate children gods apophis tealc

After a meal, some very strong moonshine, and a bit of exploring, Abydos is attacked and many are killed; including some of our own. Some are also taken including Skaara and Sha’re by Teal’c and Apophis. Jack orders the team back to Earth including a reluctant Daniel who orders the Abydonians to bury the gate for 12 months and on that day, he will bring the missing back. Back on Earth, the SGC has somehow attached an Iris made of pure titanium to the gate so that can be closed to prevent people coming through… fast work! Much better than a sheet. Daniel asks to be on the rescue team but Hammond harshly shuts him down.

Jack takes Daniel back to his cabin where they catch up on what the past year has been like, and how much great a person Sha’re was. Jack also reveals he has separated from his wife and will never be able to forgive himself for his son’s death.

Back off Earth, Teal’c walks into a room where all the women are being kept prisoner and chooses the woman kidnapped from the SGC to be brought before Apophis. He wishes her to be a vessel for his future Queen, using his hand device thingy (they haven’t told me the technical term yet) he sedates her and removes her clothes, laying her on a table. His Queens current host approaches and a snake/worm creature emerges from a pouch in her stomach; a Goa’uld larvae (symbiote). It assesses whether it deems her to be a worthy host, it doesn’t. Apophis then kills her, ordering a pensive looking Teal’c to send another woman.

Back at the SGC Daniel explains that he believes Ra was not the only one of his kind; others may be posing as Gods. Hammond announces that the President has ordered 9 teams be set up to explore different worlds and bring things back that may aid them in defending themselves. Jack will head up SG-1 along with Carter, and after some persuasion, Daniel. Kawalski gets his first command by heading up SG-2. An injured soldier also happened to get the gate address to where Skaara and Sha’re were taken. The two teams head out and again have 24 hours before they will become stranded. They are preceded by a MALP (Mobile Analytic Laboratory Probe) which is essentially a large remote-controlled vehicle with a camera on it.

Teal’c has now chosen Sha’re who gets the same treatment as the lady before, only we see her completely naked (this felt jarring). The symbiote decides that Sha’re would be a great host and moves into the back of her neck. All of this is watched by an even more pensive Teal’c. This Jaffa has some doubts going on!

After leaving the SGC, SG-1 head off, leaving SG-2 to guard the gate. They bump into some locals and Daniel introduces himself. They don’t speak any English (something that doesn’t tend to happen again) but Daniel is able to persuade them to take them to the local village; Tulak. It’s not long though before they are greeted by Jaffa serpent guards, Teal’c, Apophis, and the new queen- Sha’re. Daniel runs up to her asking her to remember him but the Goa’uld is now in control of her. The three are captured and taken to the same holding facility as Skaara. Teal’c approaches them and they tell him they are from Earth. Daniel even draws him the gate symbol which seems a bizarre thing to

The Goa’uld appear again. This time they are choosing who will be the children of the Gods and one will be host to Apophis’s son. One guess who they choose. Yup, SG-1’s first day isn’t going swimmingly as Skaara is picked. Jack does, however, notice the anguish that one Jaffa is going through witnessing this.

Everyone is ordered to be killed and all Jack can do is yell out to Teal’c that he can save these people. His words strike a chord as Teal’c turns on his own troops and gives SG-1 a fighting chance by throwing Jack a staff weapon- that he luckily already knows how to use. They shoot a hole in the wall allowing everyone left inside to escape. Teal’c, knowing that he will be killed for treason is given a lifeline when Jack tells him to come with them.
With less than an hour to go until time runs out, the now much larger group make the trek to the gate, stopping only to be horrified at the symbiote inside Teal’c. Jaffa all carry them for the Goa’uld and gain strength from them. While this is happening, Apophis, Sha’re and a converted Skaara ring down from a ship (actual rings drop down and act as a teleporter) and they prepare to leave the planet. A Death Glider (small ship) appears and starts shooting our team and the civilians. Luckily, Kawalsky is a crack shot with a rocket launcher and shoots it out the sky. Jack runs to stop Skaara leaving, but glowy eyes mean bad things and Jack is thrown across the ground and can only watch as they leave through the gate.

stargate children gods jack tealc

With an irritating Major Samuels hassling General Hammond to close the gate off permanently, time is running out and Jaffa troops are closing in on the team. Daniel rushes to dial the DHD and he and Carter run through and announce they have refugees with them who appear after them. After a firefight, the majority of people make it through. Kawalski, however, makes it after having a Goa’uld symbiote bury its way into his neck, unseen by anyone else. Teal’c also makes it, surrendering his weapon to Carter and getting several amusing looks of shock by the SGC personnel. Jack comes through last and Carter yells to close the iris- the ominous thuds heard after its shut being Jaffa dying upon rematerializing. Hammond’s confused face is a picture as he surveys everyone that has come back with them. Should be an interesting debrief. Jack also introduces Teal’c and has a request that he join SG-1.

So, a happy ending then. Well, except the fact that Skaara and Sha’re are missing and hosts to the Goa’uld, and Kawalski has a severe case of glowy eyes!

stargate children gods cast


Jack: Oh, here we go, another scientist. General, please!
Carter: Theoretical Astrophysicist
Jack: Which means?
Hammond: Which means she’s smarter than you are Colonel

Jack: I think in her heart she forgave me about what happened to our kid, she just couldn’t forget.
Daniel: And what about you?
Jack: I’m the opposite, I’ll never forgive myself, but sometimes I can forget. Sometimes.

Samuels: I wish I could go with you.
Kawalsky: I’m glad you’re staying behind.

Jack: I can save these people! Help me. Help me.
Teal’c: Many have said that. *turns and shoots the Jaffa* But you are the first I believe could do it.

Jack: Come on.
Teal’c: I have nowhere to go.
Jack: For this, you can stay at my place. Let’s go.

Hammond: Colonel O’Neill, care to explain?
Jack: General Hammond, this is Teal’c. He can help us.
Hammond: Do you know what he is?!
Jack: Yes, Sir I do, he’s the man who saved our lives. And if you accept my recommendation, Sir, he’ll join SG1.

Carter: Just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside doesn’t mean I can’t handle what you can handle *I believe this line was mocked later on in the Stargate run, for good reason.

Star Turn

stargate jack

Each episode I’ll pick an actor who was the highlight, be it one of our regulars or a guest. What fitting way to start with Richard Dean Anderson. It really was like he was just born to play this role. He slips into the role of Jack with ease and just seems like it’s no effort at all for him to play the part. The scene in the cabin where he talks to Daniel about his son’s death is just perfect and understated. Little touches like the gentle knock he gives while trying to reassure Skaara that they will try and find Sha’re really helped to make this character seem so real. While I can only pick one per week I will give a shout out to Michael Shanks who debuts very well here. Teal’c doesn’t get a great deal to do here while Carter comes across as irritating for quite a lot of the episode. No disrespect to Amanda Tapping, she does well with what she’s given.


I thought it might be fun to keep a tally of how many times Teal’c say’s his famous “indeed”. So, imagine my disappointment when he doesn’t utter it once here. Admittedly he doesn’t get a great deal to say at all. Here’s hoping the first time comes next week, although I suspect it’s quite a while before he debuts it.


Pilots can be a tricky thing to get right but Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner do a pretty great job here. Spinning off from a movie with different actors, this could have gone terribly but thanks to the casting of Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks, the previous actors are almost instantly forgotten (Not that they weren’t great in their own right). Shanks nails a near perfect interpretation of James Spader, while RDA does his own spin on the character of Jack, making him more light-hearted than he was previously; something I feel is needed for the lead role in a show like this.

Of course, with every pilot there are issues. The character of Samantha Carter doesn’t come across particularly well here. No fault can be laid with Amanda Tapping who does an admirable job, but she’s written in such an entitled way that’s it surprising Jack warms to her so quickly. I’m hoping this is fixed fairly soon as Carter goes on to be a great character. General George Hammond (played brilliantly by the late Don S Davis) is different to the character we know and love here too. He’s a lot harsher for one. The way he talks to Daniel, who has just lost his wife, being an example. It’s too soon to say if this is an issue as such, it may well just be a case of him having to warm to the team over time- we’ll see. Several things with the gate and the travel itself are also inconsistent with the rest of the show here too. Why did the sheet covering the gate start to move before the gate had even started to activate? And why does the gate cause the building to shake? Why were people flying out of the gate after they have travelled? I have a vague theory this one might be addressed as I remember the same happening in Stargate Universe when they arrived on the Destiny. I’m glad they opted to drop the ‘frost effect’ too as that would have got old very quickly.

Oh, and hello full frontal nudity! I had completely forgotten that was in the episode, so that very much took me by surprise. I’d be interested to know why they went down this route as it doesn’t fit at all with what the show very early on becomes.

Mild niggles out the way though, there truly was a lot to love here. The humour was present right from the start which I was happy to see. Loved seeing Jack cut Carter’s amazement at the wormhole short by pushing her through. Carter’s use of the word MacGyver was also a great nod to RDA’s previous role of the title character in that show.
Christopher Judge also deserves praise for his portrayal of Teal’c. Throughout the run of the show, he has to show his feelings through expression due to the monosyllabic nature of the character. He does wonders here, showing the inner turmoil he is going through being Apophis’s first prime. Speaking of Teal’c, I can’t remember whether it is ever revealed to Daniel that he was the one who brought Sha’re to Apophis, I really hope it is. Some great effects were on display too. The Stargate itself looks brilliant and the explosions in the woods were equally as impressive.

All in all, a very enjoyable beginning to a television franchise that spawned 17 seasons. I was concerned that the show wouldn’t hold up as well in its early years, but if ‘Children of The God’s’ is anything to go by then my fears are unfounded.

(4.5 / 5)

As a side note, I would just like to point out that I won’t be breaking down the episode going forward as I have here. Instead, I’ll skip straight to a more detailed review. The reason for that is purely time-related.

The Stargate Movement


Being a lover of TV can be a painful experience. There has been many a cancellation over the years that has stung and left me with that horrible feeling of having a story I’m invested in left unresolved. The degree of the upset that it causes can vary. With something like Firefly, the show had already been cancelled by the time I started watching it. With something like Terra Nova, I only had 13 episodes to get invested in the story and the characters. But with Stargate, I’d spent 17 seasons across all 3 shows falling in love with the universe and the intriguing mythology that had been set up and expanded upon as the years went by. But more importantly than that, I had a large range of characters that I would look forward to seeing week after week. Jack O’Neill (two L’s) Daniel Jackson, Rodney McKay, Samantha Carter, Teal’c, Eli Wallace, Nicholas Rush, Ronan Dex, Aidan Ford- these are just a few of many characters that I would happily spend time with.

stargate sg1 characters
Jonas was a character too, just for the record.

For those unfamiliar with the franchise, it began with a movie in 1994 by Independence Day helmers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The premise was that the stargate itself was found in ancient Egypt and it was discovered that it had the ability to transport people to a faraway planet. 3 years later came a spin-off series with a mostly replaced cast called Stargate SG-1. It continued the story from the movie (with a few minor changes to it) but opened the mythology up so that the gate could be used to travel to many different planets- not just the one seen in the film. The Stargate program was created and many different units were assigned planets to travel to so they could learn new cultures and hopefully gain new technology to fight the evil Goa’uld, who wanted to rule every new planet they came across. The show continued along nicely for several years but when it reached its eighth year- the franchise expanded again.

stargate atlantis season 5 cast

Stargate Atlantis came along and had the action set in the Pegasus galaxy. A whole new cast went along for the journey and that show forged its own identity with its own villains to deal with (the Wraith). One year after it began, SG-1 had something of a reboot. Gone was leading man Richard Dean Anderson, and in came Farscape vets Ben Browder and Claudia Black. The Goa’uld (and the Replicators who appeared in both shows) also stopped being primary villains and were replaced by the Ori. From what I’ve seen, fan reaction to the later seasons of SG-1 has been mixed but for me, it was a breath of fresh air that was needed by that point. There was a real feeling that the show had been revitalised and some of my favourite episodes come from those last two seasons. Those final few minutes of the 9th season finale are still some of the best TV I’ve seen. But, it was just a final two seasons as Stargate SG-1 came to an end after season 10 and 2 direct to DVD movies.

Atlantis kept going though and made it to its fifth year. The cast changes were higher on this show but the quality never really dropped. In fact, in the final season, we had what I think is a contender for one of the best episodes of the entire franchise with “The Shrine”. It was an episode that was light on action but worked because it was a character study of McKay, someone who had by this point become a fan favourite.

stargate universe cast

When Atlantis came to a close, problems for Stargate began to show. Stargate Universe was a not a show that had the support of all those who had followed Stargate thus far. Some Atlantis fans blamed Universe for their show coming to a close and it wasn’t helped by the promised direct to DVD movie of that show never coming to fruition. This was nobody’s fault. The DVD market had taken a hit around this time and it wasn’t deemed viable, yet the bitter taste that some had as a result of it wouldn’t shift. Certain fans took issue with the younger demographic it seemed to aim for in the marketing, and some thought the dark and gloomy tone felt at odds with the generally optimistic and upbeat shows that had come before it. As for me? I loved Stargate Universe. It took some time to find its feet but as the second season got underway, I started to feel as though I was watching something quite special. It was a very different beast to SG-1 and Atlantis certainly, but it was an example of how to evolve a long-running property like Stargate in new and interesting ways. I suspect that had Atlantis continued alongside it, the reaction to it would have been much more positive on the whole. And the music in that show? Some of the best I’ve heard on TV to this day. Joel Goldsmith is, and always will be, missed.

I remember watching the midseason finale of season 2 and trying desperately to find some hints online as to what was coming next. And then, just a couple of weeks before Christmas in 2010, word came that the axe had fallen and killed not just the show, but the whole franchise. I was gutted. All these seasons of watching Stargate grow would end on a cliff-hanger. For something that had gone on for so long, that seemed to be the biggest kick in the teeth to all those that had stood by it.

stargate atlantis season 2

The world of Stargate lay dormant ever since. Now though could be the time that the fans can get behind it and get new life breathed into it again. MGM are apparently interested in bringing it back (and they sort of already have- more on that in a moment) and if the fans and those involved in it band together then we could make it happen. But, what many of us feel is the most important thing is bringing it back in the right way. That means a continuation of the story that Brad Wright and Robert Cooper shepherded for all those years. It needs to be something that builds on what they started and not a reboot.

stargate origins

There’s a web series that’s currently mid-way through its run called Stargate: Origins. It tells the story of a young Catherine Langford who discovered the gate and an adventure she goes on. But here’s the thing. I am a huge Stargate fan, yet I’ve no real interest in watching this. I imagine I will check it out at some point once it’s done, but I’m in no rush. I just don’t see anything to get excited about with a show set years before the characters I’ve grown to love were even alive. I don’t want to look back, I want to look forward. I want to see new adventures and I want to see this world continue to grow. I haven’t seen much love for Origins or much hype about it, so I can assume that most Stargate fans feel the same way. It’s not the fault of those working on this web series, it just seems to me that the people behind it have misjudged the fanbase; as if they think we’ll all rush to watch it based on the Stargate name alone. Stargate is more than its name. It’s the deep history and the love of all the stories we’ve seen that we want to get back to. It’s like when Emmerich announced that he was going to reboot the movie and bring us a new trilogy that was separate from the shows. The overall reaction wasn’t one of excitement, it was a collective groan from the fandom that indicated we weren’t interested. It’s telling that those movie plans were quietly dropped.

stargate sg1 puppets
Actual episode footage. Long story. This isn’t a puppet franchise.

But here we are now with a chance to finally get Stargate back on screens the right way. Joe Mallozzi, who wrote for the franchise and served as showrunner for the last two Atlantis seasons, has been very vocal about how we can all make that happen. His blog is a great place to go to get information on what we can do and how we can make this movement one that has a great chance of succeeding. I’ve actually had the chance to interview Joe before when Dark Matter was about to premiere for a website I was then working on. He’s a man who is great at uniting fans and more importantly he cares about them and the stories that he tells. With him helping to lead the charge, there really is a strong chance we’ll all pull this off. Over on Twitter, StargateNow are really rallying the troops and doing all they can to get as many people on board as possible. Cast and crew are now starting to follow and get involved, and a planned tweeting session is due to take place to get Stargate trending and to get MGM to really take notice. In North America it will be Friday, March 9th at 6:00 p.m. PST/9:00 p.m. EST. Internationally it will be Saturday, March 10th at 7:00 p.m. GMT. It’s worth noting that anyone can join in on either of these; it’s actually encouraged. I urge everyone to join in, whether you’re a diehard fan, casual fan, or even just a lover of science fiction.

Stargate is something that I love and it’s inspired me. I doubt I would have even started writing were it not for that show. Now I have a book out and another 5 at varying stages of completion. It’s inspired others too and it’s really a franchise that has a fandom that would do anything for it. Stargate fans are great. They help each other, they usually debate in civilised ways and they can be a powerful bunch. Now’s the time for every single one of them to come together.

stargate golf
This photo was taken in the middle of a backswing

On a final note, I suppose I should say what I would like to happen were it to come back. I personally wouldn’t want a direct continuation of one of the shows we’ve already had. As much as I desperately wanted, say Stargate Universe Season 3, I think that time has passed. The way forward in my eyes is a whole new show with a couple of characters from any of the former shows among the main cast. New stories, new adventures, but built on the ground of the 17 seasons that have come before it. Other cast members can make appearances from time to time, but it needs to be something new that can appeal to fans both old and new; at least in my mind. What do you want from a new show? If you’ve stumbled upon this post, then do let me know. But should the show come back? If it’s done right, is there a market for it? That can be answered in one word; indeed.

My Favourite YouTube Channels


If there’s one thing I think most authors can agree on, it’s that procrastination is a fun (albeit not very productive) pass time. When I started writing, I used to put TV shows that I had already seen on. I could have them on in the background and not have to pay too much attention as I’d already seen them before. Then I stumbled upon YouTube. I’d watched videos on the platform in the past obviously, but I hadn’t ever subscribed to channels. I used to just watch the odd video here and there whenever they popped up as a suggestion. Now, I actually check to see if certain channels have uploaded new content.

If you aren’t overly familiar with YouTube and those who work on it, you may have been swayed by the news to think it’s an awful place full of awful people. That’s not the case. Yes, you do get people that think it’s fun to film a dead body in a suicide forest, you do get people that film obviously fake videos of themselves- pretending to post themselves in a box from the UK to America and claiming it’s real for example, and having people using the service in this way is a shame. The news being the news, it’s the people that cause the most controversy that tend to garner all the attention. But there are many people on Youtube who do great things and post fun content. These are just a few select channels that I regularly watch and highly recommend checking out yourself. These are no particular order by the way.

The Nostalgia Critic 

nostalgia critic

Doug is hilarious. He’s the sort of person who seems like he was born to do this very thing and he’s brilliant at it. The main content of Channel Awesome are the Nostalgia Critic reviews. They look back on shows and movies of the past (normally the 90’s) and in a comedic manner, see whether they truly are as good as we remember them to be. There’s a ton of effort put into these videos. It isn’t just a “sit at the camera and talk” type deal (not that there’s anything wrong with those- there’s a couple on this list), but each one seems like a full-on production. The questionable acting skills from the team fits in with the feel of the channel perfectly and more importantly, the video’s never feel like they are bashing things for the sake of it. Nostalgia Critic reviews are concluded with an honest summation of the work they have looked at and offer a fair assessment of how well they hold up over time.

As Channel Awesome continues to grow, so does it’s content. There’s the Orbit News Report, movie reviews from Tamara, some Top 5/Worst 5 Lists and videos consisting of Doug and his brother Rob just sitting down and talking unedited about current movies or ones they have had to rewatch as part of another video. All of these are worth checking out. Special mention to them for the charity work they do. Late last year there was an extremely well put together fund raising attempt and it’s positive things like this that sadly get overlooked by the mainstream media.

A Channel Awesome Highlight

Side note, if Doug or any the Channel Awesome team ever somehow find themselves reading this- a Con Air review is long overdue, right?

Chris Stuckmann

chris stuckmann

Speaking of “sit at the camera and talk” type deas, here’s an example of why there’s nothing wrong with that. I tried my hand at YouTube videos a while back and not to blow my own trumpet, I think I was pretty good at it considering I had never done anything like that before. (I stopped purely for time reasons). I mention this because the reason I wanted to give this a go in the first place was Chris Stuckmann. His channel is almost exclusively movie reviews, but the reason they work so well is that it’s clear how much Chris really loves the industry. His knowledge of it and his passion for it really shines through which, at least in my opinion, gives his opinions some genuine weight. He doesn’t seem to get swept up in the court of public opinion either. His thoughts on movies really feel like his own and while I don’t always agree with him- that really ensures that I can always respect his viewpoint.

As well as reviews on new releases, there are also hilariocity reviews. These are looks at films that are awful, but that he can’t help but enjoy. Movies such as The Room, Tomb Raider (still waiting on the Cradle of Life one) and the remake of The Wicker Man have all been subjected to the hilariocity treatment and my only complaint with these is that they don’t seem to come along often enough. 2018 has also seen him commit to do one review a month on movies that came out pre 1970 as he, quite rightly, states that they don’t get too much attention these days.

It’s worth noting too that he also has a movie of his own due out at some point. I’m not sure when it’s due to be released, but given how much he values story in the things he watches and reviews, Auditorium 6 should hopefully be quite the watch.

A Chris Stuckmann Highlight

I Hate Everything (IHE)

i hate everything

Alex from I Hate Everything first came to my attention when he was declared war on by Derek Savage, the (temperamental is one word for him) creator of Cool Cat. Chances are you’ve never heard of Cool Cat, that’s for the best. The argument essentially came down to what fair use was on YouTube and Savage, in the process of trying to show that he knew what it was, proved he didn’t actually have a clue. Ironically, Cool Cat is probably more well known now because of IHE’s coverage of it. The channel has an ongoing video series called The Search for The Worst in which Alex searches for the worst movie of all time. This is mainly low budget straight to DVD stuff and rip offs of popular films, but it’s the commentary on these and all his other videos that make this such an entertaining watch.

There’s also the ‘I Hate’ series, where he takes a look at random entertainment-based subjects that just wind him up. This includes things like Snapchat, Fidget Spinners, fans of Rick and Morty- nothings off limits basically. Alex speaks like he’s totally lost the will to live at times and I don’t mean that as a knock against him; it’s genuinely funny to hear him discuss the things that he hates and give his well thought out reasons as to why. Again, I don’t always agree with the things that he says, but even when he’s slating something that I personally love (Sonic the Hedgehog being one example) it’s still an entertaining watch. There are those who can’t handle something they like getting the IHE treatment and Alex doesn’t ignore these people. Some of his funniest and best videos are his comment comeback ones as he’ll respond to a selection of (sometimes terrible) comments he’ll receive in the YouTube comment section (also known as the place your soul goes to die). Admirably, he’ll even pick out some where he’ll admit he was in the wrong or perhaps hadn’t worded something in the way he had intended.

An I Hate Everything Highlight

The conclusion of the Derek Savage saga. There’s much more to this channel than just the Cool Cat stuff, but this was the video that made me hit subscribe. Thanks Derek Savage- would likely have never found IHE without you.

Screen Junkies


Screen Junkies has grown into a fully fledged business now, and as a result it’s a channel that you would likely have heard of. After hitting it big thanks to the brilliant Honest Trailers, the channel continued to grow and expand. It actually now has two channels, Screen Junkies and Screen Junkies News. The channel was dealt a pretty big blow late last year for reasons I won’t go into here, but my respect for them grew with how they bounced back and, more importantly, how they handled and dealt with it all. Now, it’s better than ever. That’s largely down to the people they have there. Each member of the team have their own style and their own unique characteristics that make them all an enjoyable watch. As well as movie reviews, they have a daily live news show that tackles the big stories of the day in a normally fun manner. Honest Trailers are still a big thing, seemingly better now than they were before. Special mention here to Dan Murrel for watching every single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation just to do an honest trailer for it. Speaking of Dan, he and Roth Cornet break down the box office every week and there’s a ton of research that’s always put into this. Additionally there’s Movie Fights that’s recently been retooled. It’s a fun, lively and silly debate on movies that’s moderated by the always entertaining Hal Rudnick.

Really it’s just a fun channel that’s successful on the back of those who clearly have a love and passion for working there. Dan, Roth and Hal aside, there’s also Spencer Gilbert, Joe Starr, Danielle Radford, Roxy Striar, Billy Business and many other contributors who help make it what it is. It wouldn’t be the same without any of them.

Oh as an aside, can we have a Roxy Vs Dan Movie Fights soon, please?

A Screen Junkies Highlight

A very recent one this and I’m including it purely for this line. “Y’now what? Fu*k it. They were allies with King Arthur and one of them killed Hitler.” I want to know which one of them came up with that line.

First We Feast

sean hot ones

This channel made me want to eat spicy food. Thanks to First We Feast, I can now eat medium sauce at Nando’s- when I sometimes found a korma to be a bit too hot, I’m taking that as a win. It’s specifically the Hot Ones videos that I’m talking about here. There’s a ton of other stuff on the channel to watch, but it’s this series of videos that keeps me coming back.

The premise is simple, Sean Evans (who to look at, I wouldn’t think initially that he could handle the heat) interviews celebrities while they work their way through a series of chicken wings that have been coated with hot sauces. The sauce gets hotter and hotter as the interview goes on until they get to the last dab, a sauce that comes in at around 2 million Scoville units. The beauty of this show is its simplicity. Sean just asks well researched questions and has a chat with the interviewee while they eat. The fun comes in as you can see both Sean and whoever is being interviewed start to crumble as they heat ramps up. Now credit to Sean, he rarely breaks. But then he should be the one holding things together, it’s the person doing this for the first time that’s in for an interview like no other.

It can be hilarious to watch someone as they begin to realise, normally around the sixth or seventh wing, what they have let themselves in for. Even some of the lesser known people he has on are worth watching. Sean has a very relaxed way about him while he does these interviews that complements the pain that the celeb on the other end of the table is feeling perfectly. Highly recommend checking this channel out.

A First We Feast Highlight

Jonathan Pie

jonathan pie

If I didn’t have a wedding to pay for, I’d be going to see this guy on tour next month. If you find the news to be a bleak and depressing thing, if you wish that a news reporter would just say what they really thought about the things they were reporting on- well then watch Jonathan Pie.

His video structure is that he ends his link while reporting out on the streets and the news would go back to the studio, but the camera stays rolling so that we can catch him ranting about the things he’s just been talking about; completely unfiltered. It would be fair to say that his content is extremely not safe for work (NSFW if you’re into all these abbreviations), but it’s also extremely funny. Not just that, it can be extremely powerful too. He doesn’t hold back on certain topics and has no problem calling someone out, regardless of who they are, if he thinks they need to be told some hard truths. Jonathan Pie may just be a character, but he’s one that I think is important in this day and age.

Donald Trump, Teresa May and Jeremy Hunt are just a handful of the people that have been subjects of his rants and it’s clear that there’s a great deal of passion that goes into the things he says.

A Jonathan Pie Highlight

If you want an example of how Pie is able to blend comedy with genuine outrage- this is it.

The Angry Joe Show

angry joe show

This was I believe, the first YouTube channel I subscribed too. The Angry Joe show is a games (and now also movie) channel and what makes it stand out is the quality of the reviews and the effort that goes into them. His Angry Reviews are full on productions. Interspersed with him talking about the game he is reviewing are skits that feature him and Other Joe (normally in costume) acting out scenes or using props to enforce a point. What I appreciate most about this channel though is that Joe is never one to say something just because it’s the popular opinion. He’s also never one to endorse something just so he can stay in a studio’s good graces. What he thinks is what he says and it’s refreshing to have someone who isn’t afraid of pissing people off when it comes to critiquing something.

Take Destiny for example. This was a game by Bungee. This was a game that had a dedicated fanbase before anyone had even played a second of it. But it wasn’t all that great. It had potential sure, but a lot of that potential was wasted on a repetitive game that had very little in game story. But the reviewers went crazy for it. If you listened to the reviews, you’d have thought it was the one of the best video game in history. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it was almost universally positive. I was running a website at the time that reviewed TV, Movies and Games and I was give Destiny to cover ahead of its release. I gave it a 3/5 and assumed that once it came out, that would be the general consensus. It wasn’t. So I was pleased to see Joe come out and actually call the game out for its faults and he’s continued with that level of honesty ever since (and before it). He does gets a lot of stick for his focus on movies and I don’t really understand why as it’s his channel- he can do what he wants. In my eyes, the movie reviews are a quick and easier way for him to get content out and I don’t see anything wrong it. The differing thoughts between the (normally 3) people that take part in these usually makes for a fun discussion.

An Angry Joe Highlight

True Geordie

true geordie

The most recent channel that I’ve subscribed too is True Geordie. He’s a Newcastle lad that loves football and women, and he isn’t afraid to say what he thinks about just about anything. I can’t think of another popular YouTube channel that would happily sit down and film a review about Celestia Vega’s first porn video for example. But he will and it’s refreshing to watch someone who will just chat about anything he damn well pleases. The thing that strikes me the most about him though is his determination. More than anyone else I’ve seen on YouTube; this guy has a determination to succeed and push himself further and it really shows. When he says he’s going to succeed, I fully believe him and his tenacity to do so makes sure he’s always an engaging watch.

His dedication shows with the success he’s experiencing too. Take his podcast. He’s now attracting some huge names to do it and that wouldn’t happen if he weren’t a man that had the balls to make it happen. Some of his recent guests have included Alan Shearer and Kieron Dyer (Two Newcastle United legends, which shows he is only interested in guests he actually cares about) and Robbie Williams. And he has no problems with asking them just about anything, even things that other interviewers would likely shy away from. It works and he can get away with it because he and co presenter Laurence McKenna have such an ease with what they’re doing that they can build up a friendly rapport with people almost instantly. This is one YouTuber that’s destined to go far indeed. And perhaps the best thing is that he’s not out to make quick easy money. He was asked whether he would be selling merch on Twitter the other day and said he would when he had the right things to sell. In a world that has people like Logan Paul in it, it’s great to see someone who isn’t out to extort fans. Speaking of Logan Paul…

A True Geordie Highlight

Want to watch the most powerful response to the whole Logan Paul situation? Well there it is.

Granny Potty Mouth

granny potty mouth

To change things up, here’s a granny that likes to swear a lot. Granny Potty Mouth shouldn’t be as fun to watch as she is. The joke should have worn thin quite quickly, and yet it hasn’t. That’s down to just how likeable she is. Basically, we get cookery advice from a grandma who swears a lot whilst remaining wonderfully chipper throughout. If you watch her channel, you’ll get to learn how to make her Meatball Muffin Mo’fo’s, or her Easy as f**k Potato Salad. It’s such a simple idea with such easy to make videos but the quirk of who’s doing the teaching here is genius.

She’ll also give her take on new crazes such as fidget spinners, she’ll give advice to people who write in and perhaps best of all, she’ll read out jokes that have been sent in and react to them in brilliant ways. There’s also one where she explains how to deal with internet trolls and not only is the video funny, it’s also full of extremely great advice. That’s the thing with this lady, she makes great educational videos and uses the sweary gimmick to give her a boost. It works.

If you watch one of her videos, don’t forget to click the little pink fu**er in the corner.

A Granny Potty Mouth Highlight

So they’re my favourite YouTube channels from my subscription list. And that was about three hours killed that I could have spent writing any one of the four partly written books I have open on my laptop. Procrastination 1 Joe 0. Ah who am I kidding? It always wins.

If you happen to stumble upon this and know of a great YouTube channel I haven’t mentioned, let me know. I can do with some more to watch whilst I’m writing so it would be appreciated.

Black Panther: Review

black panther logo

A Strong Start to 2018 for the MCU

Written by: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole.
Directed by: Ryan Coogler.
Starring: Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan as N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue and Forest Whitaker as Zuri

Black Panther Synopsis

After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.


Following on from the light-hearted romps that made up the MCU last year, Black Panther comes along and reminds us that the franchise can be dark, it can be gritty, and it can combine comedic elements with its more serious stories seamlessly when it puts its mind to it.

black panther suit

Last seen in Captain America: Civil War, we re-join T’challa not long after that films conclusion. He’s about to be made king and he’s apprehensive about what that means and what the future of his country, Wakanda, holds. On top of that, he’s struck with a disturbing secret from his now deceased fathers past that threatens to alter everything.

First up, the cast. Chadwick Boseman is once again superb in the lead role. He plays T’challa with a degree of calmness that really makes him feel like a real and well-rounded character. But the surprise here is just how well everyone else does. Some characters don’t get quite as much attention as they deserve (there are two romance plots that feel a little shoehorned in) but when it comes to the people playing these roles- they all do superb work. Danai Gurira has shown what she can do on The Walking Dead (a show she is now so much better than), she brings a whole new level to her performance here and steals many scenes she’s in. Andy Serkis is another highlight. He reprises his role as Ulysses Klaue from Avengers: Age of Ultron and is clearly having a ball in the role. Always an underrated actor, he brings life and comedy to the role here and he’s another scene stealer. Props too to Martin Freeman. He is able to turn his character from an unlikable smug man to someone I found myself truly rooting for. Best of the bunch for me though is Letitia Wright as Shuri, in fact I think she could well be one of my favourite characters in the whole MCU so far. She’s a delight every single time I saw her and I really hope her role continues to develop as the franchise continues.

black panther shuri

Now, about the villain. The MCU has almost always had a villain problem (one not exclusive to the MCU to be fair). The list of memorable villains for me only really consists of Loki and Vulture (Spiderman: Homecoming), now though- Killmonger can be added to that short list. His backstory isn’t overly original, but thanks to the always dependable Michael B Jordan he is utterly compelling. The performance here sells it and I found myself feeling sympathy for him despite the things he was doing. Hell, there were even times that I was rooting for him. That doesn’t happy very often and I’ve got to give the film credit for pulling it off.

Onto Wakanda, this is a fully realised and fascinating place to spend time. It was so much bigger than I expected and I’m excited to rewatch this (in 4k) to see all the details about I may have missed. It does however lead me on to a fault with the film. The CGI here isn’t always as great as it could be. There were numerous times when I felt I was watching actors perform against green screen and the mountain location was one of the more notable. It wouldn’t be such an issue if this wasn’t a prominent location that is used repeatedly for some of the movies biggest moments. There’s other instances too where Black Panther’s ideas aren’t realised as well as I’m sure they hoped. It doesn’t ruin the film by any means, but it is disappointing when lesser movies have managed better. All in all though, this was a delightful movie and my favourite entry in the MCU since Guardians of the Galaxy.

danai gurira black panther

Director Ryan Coogler continues to bring the goods to the work he does and I can’t wait to see what he does next. Even more so I can’t wait to see what Black Panther does next. Now, onto Avengers: Infinity War in just two months’ time.


The MCU kicks off its biggest year yet with one of its best movies. Black Panther is a perfectly cast and wonderfully written story that is only let down slightly by some questionable CGI.

(4.5 / 5)


I don’t understand America. Growing up, I always wished I lived there. I had an affinity with it, with it’s culture. Everything I watched was American. I even felt as if I had been born in the wrong country.
This is all down to how it’s portrayed. I used to love the show Saved by the Bell. I remember when I started secondary school (high school) being extremely disappointed that it was nothing like Bayside High. For example I didn’t have a friendly principle (or head teacher as we call them)- he was miserable and barely spoke to any of us. But it turns out that shows like this are just a facade. It would be much more lifelike if Screech one day snapped and mowed everyone down in a sea of bullets with an AR-15.

I honestly can’t fathom how anyone can defend the way this country is handling gun control. The argument always circles back to “well it’s the 2nd amendment of the constitution”. So? The word has ‘amend’ in it for fuck sake. Change it. Americans want the right to bare arms and almost always you hear that it’s so they can defend themselves. Fine. I don’t actually see too much (in the grand scheme of things) wrong with a pistol. It can be considered a weapon used for defence, and indeed if someone had one on them at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School yesterday, then maybe there wouldn’t have been 17 killed. I see the logic in that. What I fail to see the logic in is why a mentally unstable 18 year old was able to get a semi automatic rifle. Or for that matter, why anyone can buy one of these. That second amendment argument is, quite frankly, bollocks. When that was drawn up, the most common gun was a musket. They would have had no idea what guns would become and if they had, I doubt it would read the same as it does now. But whenever a pro gun person is questioned on this, or asked why certain guns aren’t banned, they have no argument. It’s ridiculous. The question is just dodged. Honestly America, if this wasn’t so tragic, the rest of the world would be laughing at you.

Oh, and stop with the garbage like “this isn’t a gun problem, it’s a mental health problem”. It’s insulting. Mental health is indeed a problem and one that should be discussed, but no civilian, sound of mind or not, should be able to buy a weapon that can kill dozens or more people with one magazine.

I’m glad I wasn’t born in America.

The Cloverfield Paradox: Review

cloverfield paradox review

Cloverfield Super Bowl Reveal

One of the biggest surprises of this year’s Super Bowl (aside from the result- which was awesome) was the reveal that the third entry in the Cloverfield franchise would debut on Netflix that very night. There hadn’t been a trailer until that point, the release date by Paramount was getting pushed back further and further, and all some knew about Netflix’s involvement was that they might buy it for streaming. So, it was a fantastic surprise and a brilliant reveal to find out we could watch it in just a few short hours. Although it would end up being the next say for me being based in the UK, the game itself didn’t finish until the early hours.

Cloverfield Paradox Review

I love both Cloverfield film. The first was exceptional in both marketing and finished product and it’s still one I can watch again and again. 10 Cloverfield Line was nearly as good. It’s a stunningly tense film and the only weak spot for me comes with it’s ending- which many felt shoehorned in to become a part of Cloverfield. This one? Well it’s certainly got problems.

cloverfield paradox

There’s a great movie here somewhere, the first half in particular sets up a solid space adventure that looks to really focus on the intriguing alternate reality concept it presents. But this ends up becoming muddled and not overly interesting. The cast is fine and the script has moments of greatness, but a lot of this is just a bit dull and not as gripping as it could have been.

As for the Cloverfield part, well it seems that this was never meant to have a connection at all. It seems all too apparent that all the links to the franchise were included later through reshoots and as such, it’s all a muddled mess by the time the credits roll. It’s a sometimes good space movie, but a pretty shoddy Cloverfield movie. Marketing wise though, the release of this was genius. It’s just a shame that hype vanishes once the movie concludes.

Wonder: Review


I’ve made the choice this year to try and watch as many moves as possible. Not that I tend to miss a lot, but a lot of the smaller more indie type movies have a habit of passing me by. I’m not sure Wonder counts as a small indie flick, but it’snot the type of film I would have been in a hurry to watch. But after seeing some great smaller films lately (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri being one of the best), Wonder climbed my list and you know what? I enjoyed it more than I did many of the big blockbusters of 2017.

Focusing on a young boy named August (Auggie for short) who was born with a rare genetic disease that left with him facial deformities, Wonder is essentially just a look at this boy’s life as he traverses the complicated world of middle school. It takes a look at him and occasionally shifts its focus to other characters that play a part in Auggie’s life. I’m pleased that Jacob Tremblay took on this role. That’s not just because he’s utterly captivating as Auggie, but because he’d appeared last year in the abysmal Book of Henry and it would be a real shame for that movie to damage his budding career in the same way it did director Colin Trevorrow. Based on this, he should be fine. He imbues Auggie with a shy yet cheerful enthusiasm. From the moment he first appears on screen bouncing on a bed wearing an Astronaut’s helmet, it’ so easy to root for this kid and to want nothing but the best for him. When he was sad, so was I and that’s down to him, and a very sharp script.

Wonder does a brilliant job at making this school life believable and never overselling moments. The other children that Auggie interacts with, the kind head teacher (played brilliantly by Mandy Patinkin), everyone there feels like they are genuine people. It helps the film become absorbing and it’s nice to see that it doesn’t ever really try to throw in something overblown or action orientated, it’s confident enough to just let the characters lead the story.


The supporting cast are also great. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson deliver nuanced performances that show the struggles they are going through as parents to not only Auggie, but to Via who often feels neglected as the child that doesn’t need the extra care. Izabela Vidovic does great work here too as Via. Her feelings of neglect are understandable but again, the writers don’t feel the need to play this up. There isn’t a lot of screaming, shouting or melodrama that you might expect, instead the story just moves along and gives time to allow these issues to be resolved. Hell, even Vis’a love story subplot works and is given the same kind of restraint.

Perhaps the only character that feels a tad redundant is Via’s friend, Miranda. She is given some time in the spotlight after a falling out with Via, but the reasons for the dissolution of the friendship and her back story never really amount to anything. It’s not the fault of actress Danielle Rose Russell, but if Miranda were removed from the film entirely, well I don’t think it would make much of a difference to the final product.

Wonder though is a beautiful and uplifting film. It tells its story of acceptance perfectly and by the time it drew to a close, I found myself wishing it could have gone on longer. These are characters that I could happily have spent more time with.

Ernest – Chapter One

It’s fun to share the first chapter of a book around. It’s a nice way of getting to know whether the writing style is working, whether the initial few pages are enticing, and most importantly- whether people want to read more.
I’d probably even upload a whole book on here a chapter at a time if it got noticed, so if you do stumble across this and want to read more- spread the word!

Back to Ernest though. I came up with the idea for this story and almost all the major twists and turns in a bizarre twenty minutes, one where all I could think of was this one idea. This was that first chapter I wrote just after that, although it’s been amended a little since then. The book is currently 20,000 words in and I’m currently in the middle of a little writer’s block with chapter 11- hence the procrastination here.

Nothing has been edited yet, so mistakes are bound to be found. This is just a first draft after all. If you do read this, do comment and let me know what you think. Maybe even direct others to it- I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on it. 

1.      Emily and Ernest


‘There’s nothing wrong with having an imaginary friend’ Emily’s mother used to say to her, whenever she would tell her of the strange encounters she had as a child. Mary never used to believe her daughter when she told her of Ernest. She pretended she did of course, as any parent would with a child of such a young age, but she assumed that he would stop paying her visits the older she got. He did, for a while at least. Ernest didn’t always behave in the way that imaginary friends tended to from time to time. As a rule, they are normally there to play games and keep a child company whenever they are feeling lonely. According to Emily, he wouldn’t usually do those things. He mostly sat there staring at her and avoided attempts she made to interact with him. She didn’t mind though. It was a nice to have a friend that visited lots. But other times, Emily would tell her mother of moments with him that left her feeling afraid. There were moments when she would feel as though there was something off about him; times when he didn’t seem to be the friend she wanted him to be.

A particularly bad experience came one cold December night. Emily was around eight-years-old at the time and had been having trouble sleeping thanks to a nasty cold. She recalled struggling to get to sleep and seeing Ernest standing at the foot of her bed. He always wore the same thing; a large hat, a double-breasted waist coat with a large coat that almost stretched down to his feet. He was a tall man and very thin. His face was long and gaunt with bushy eye brows standing out prominently. He had looked angry to her for some time by that point, but Emily just assumed he was grumpy. She would often tell him to cheer up. He never did.

‘You’re not supposed to be here at night’ she said to him. It was her one rule. She didn’t mind him showing up to play during the day but at night time, when he could scare her, that was a different matter altogether. He didn’t reply, but then he never said anything. He would sometimes gesture or try to mouth words- but she was never able to hear him; at least at first. This time he raised a finger to his mouth, gesturing at her to be quiet. Her drawers, to the left of her bed, opened violently just after he appeared- her clothes spilling out onto the floor. Emily still to this day remembers the fright it gave her. She didn’t scream out for help on that occasion. Instead, she chose to hide under her bed covers until he left. Eventually, she peered out to see if he was there- he was gone. In the morning, Mary came in and gave her a telling off for how messy her room was. Her explanation that it was Ernest didn’t work and she was forced to clean it all up before she was allowed breakfast. She hated Ernest that day.

Moments like this continued to happen until she was ten; albeit sporadically. It seemed that the older Emily was getting, the less she would see Ernest during the day. But his night time visits still occurred at least once every few months. Sometimes she wasn’t sure if he she had seen him. She would catch a glimpse out of the corner of her eye of what looked like his shadow quickly walking past her. It was the shape of the hat that made her think it was him; it was so distinguishable. There was never any warning as to when he might appear- it just happened unexpectedly. She began to become frightened of the man that she had for so long considered to be a friend. There was a week, another time she was ill, where he let her know he was there ever single night. A couple of the nights he would appear once again at the end of her bed and she would hide until he left. But two nights in particular proved to be terrifying for her. The first, just as she was about to drift off to sleep, she felt his hand brush against her cheek. She remembered the moment so vividly. She had never been able to touch him before and he had never shown he could touch her. This was the first time and it’s something she was never able to forget long into adulthood; even if she would never speak of it to anyone. The main thing she recalled was how cold his hand felt against her fevered skin. It sent a shiver straight through her body and she immediately jumped out of bed and ran into her mum’s room. As she ran out of her room, she didn’t look back; but she could feel that he was following her. It was as if he was trying to tell her that she couldn’t run from him.

Emily’s father had died when she was just five. It was a car accident that wasn’t anybody’s fault. He just lost control of the car; a freak accident. Mary had assumed that his death was the reason Emily had conjured up Ernest. It was around that time he was first mentioned. She had kept him around for far longer than most children ever do. What was also strange was that Ernest never changed. Children tend to cycle through different personas for these friends as the years go on but with Emily, it was always the same person. It made sense to Mary though. Emily having a consistent male in her life was logical, even if he was fictitious. In the past, she had often tried to help her daughter by pretending that she could see this man too. When Emily would be trying to get him to drink fake tea out of her fake tea set, she would actually try to engage in conversations with him. They were one sided of course.

‘He only speaks to me, you know that’ Emily would say. The whole thing seemed so innocent back then.

The final time Emily saw Ernest was also the worst. Whereas the previous night he had gently brushed her face- this time things turned a lot more violent. She was once again struggling to sleep, so she just lay on her back with her eyes closed- hoping that she would drift off. She often had trouble sleeping, but this was the most difficulty she had in quite some time. Every time she looked at the clock, she would get more and more frustrated. It seemed like time was running slower than it ever had done. That hour between 1am and 2am felt like three. The clock was just about to turn to mark the turning of the hour when she heard a noise; the creak of a floor board.

Being an old house, she and her mum often heard creaking when the other was walking about. Sometimes even when they weren’t they would still hear it; albeit much more softly. This was most certainly the sound of a creak that had been caused by someone walking. Emily slowly opened her eyes after hearing it, afraid of what she might see. She scanned the room- there was nobody there. She nervously tried to sleep again, the thought of that sound running around in her head. Then she heard the voice. It was a whisper and it sounded like it was coming from right in front of her. All it said was ‘Emily.’ Even at a whisper, she could tell that this was the voice of a well-spoken male. It was slightly gruff, as if he had a sore throat. She kept her eyes firmly closed for a moment, opening them was a difficult thing for her to muster the courage to do. When she eventually did, she saw Ernest’s face staring down at her. It was so close that his nose was almost touching hers. He was smiling the most menacing smile she had ever seen.

He had always looked a bit off colour to her, but this close up she could tell how pale and grey his skin was. She even felt his ice-cold breath blowing down onto her. As she screamed out for her mum, he grabbed her by the throat and pinned her to the bed so she was unable to move. She was also unable to scream anymore. Thankfully, Mary had heard her and came running in. When she burst through the door, she just saw Emily alone, laying on the bed looking terrified. She had never seen her so hysterical and she barely stopped crying for the rest of the night. She even had a red mark around her throat, right where she said Ernest had grabbed her. He didn’t appear to her again. At least not until she was much older.

The incident that night caused Mary to seek help. She should have done it sooner, but she kept hoping her daughter would grow out of the problems. This was something she couldn’t avoid though and so she booked them both an appointment with a child psychologist to see if there was anything that could be done. She was told that having an imaginary friend whilst at her age was rare in general, but it had been known with children who had experienced trauma. Losing a parent at such a young age certainly counted as trauma.

As for the marks on her neck, this was thought to be something she had just done to herself; a cry for attention perhaps. This is what Mary chose to believe. In fact, over time, Emily herself would come to think the same thing. It’s easy as the years go by to forget how scary something was. You can even end up believing that nothing ever happened at all. In fact, whenever conversations began amongst friends about childhood, she would always recount the story of Ernest. She would say that he was a recurring nightmare that she had, someone who used to appear to her in dreams. That was what her mum would tell her. According to her, this man was never real and it was just her over active imagination that created him in the first place. He didn’t seem so scary to Emily once she started believing that. There were still things she couldn’t explain though. The marks around her neck that night being the most problematic for her to rationalise. It was easier for her to just never mention it.

After that night, she slept in the same room as Mary for a while; far too scared to be on her own. Mary too was insistent that this became the sleeping arrangement for a while. She was deeply concerned about her daughter and a little unnerved by the whole thing herself. This continued for a couple of weeks before Emily made the decision to go back to her own room. That first night was certainly tense for her. Every little sound she heard made her jump. Whether it was the wind outside, somebody shutting their car door loudly or even something as common as her mum getting up to use the toilet in the night- these noises would unnerve her more than she would like to admit. What were just common noises to most became something altogether different for this young girl.

But this was a long time ago. Emily’s life went a lot smoother in the years that followed. She left school with respectable grades and went to university. She ended up doing well there too. It landed her the job in journalism that she had always wanted and on the whole, she didn’t really have much to complain about. She was so different from that girl with the imaginary friend now. She may still have that same shoulder length mousy brown hair, but she was now at a point in her life where she was happy. Her life was exactly where she wanted it to be. She was planning a wedding with her fiancé Robert and they were discussing children. She was also doing better than she ever thought she could at her job. As far as she was concerned, things couldn’t get any better. She was right. A figure from her childhood was about to make a return.

Living With Someone Training for the London Marathon

Living With Someone in Training

I know, I know. I’m not the one going through the hardship here. But still, there’s certain things you need to be prepared for if your other half decides to do something ridiculous- like run the London marathon for example. Mel’s doing a ton of training and I’m incredibly proud of her- but there’s things that you’ll face as the partner of a trainee that I for one wasn’t expecting.

The training

Ok, so I was aware that running 26.2 miles would involve some training. I think if it were me I’d need.. actually no, I’d never do it. But yeah, a lot of training is involved. Some of it very early. Training for something like this can’t just be done on a weekend, it has to be done before or after work too. Mel mixes this up. So some evenings I don’t get to see her if she’s doing a run or having a PT session. This isn’t too bad. I write a lot and evenings are normally when I’m able to be at my most creative. The 05:45 alarm clock that goes off a couple of times a week though- not so fun. Sure, some people get up at that time every day. This household is not one where people like that live. But basically, just be prepared to see much less of them whilst the training is going on. Be supportive about it and think ahead to the day the marathon is done when you’ll get them back again. And if you do start to get annoyed, just sit back and think “at least I’m not out running in this weather”; it really helps.

mel cox

The, erm, well the farting

I remember when I was about 18 or so and I was in a relationship with someone whos sister used to do a lot of running. My girlfriend at the time told me how bad her sister smelt when she farted as a result of the excercise she was doing and the food she was eating as part of her diet. I recall thinking “at least I don’t have to deal with that”. Fast forward far too many years and now I’m dealing with that. This likely won’t be a problem that every marathon runner’s other half faces but in my case, I’m dealing with farts that make me jump at least three times a night. It’s barbaric. I was watching an action movie earlier today and I heard it over the TV-she was two rooms away. She was never like this before (mostly) and it started not long after her training began so I can only hope and pray that the two are linked. Basically, just grin and bare it. Leave the room if it gets too bad. I had to at 2am not too long ago. I’m hoping this side effect diminshes farly quickly after the marathon is complete.

The Food

This will likely only have an impact on you if you share meals. Mel is now on a diet that even a rabbit would turn its nose up at. OK, it’s not quite that bad, but when you love steak and one of your friends on Instagram sends you daily pictures of some of the best food I’ve ever seen, well it become tiresome. You can handle this in a number of ways. You can cook your own stuff, although as I pointed out, the cooking time for meals would double (I mostly do the cooking) and the cost of food would jump up. If you’re fine with that, then you have no problem. I’m not fine with that, so yesterday I had a fish cake and some sweet potato mash. I was left with a feeling that I hadn’t really eaten anything. But, I also look at it as a chance to be healthier myself. With a wedding getting ever closer, it is a good time to lose some weight and at least I don’t have to go run x amount of miles before or after it. Whatever you do though, don’t complain about the meals. From personal experience, this can lead to a dramatic storm out of the room and complaints that you aren’t being supportive. Again, grin and bare it while trying to see the positives. You’re still putting in far less effort on a day to day basis than they are.

mel cox

There’s other things you’ll have to deal with. They’ll be tired a lot more so, certain activities, not be quite as enthusiastic as they once were. You’ll have to help with various fundraising events which can actually be fun, and you’ll have to be on hand to assure them that they won’t fail miserably. On average this is once a day, sometimes more. Oh and don’t forget to sponsor them- that’s definitely one way to get in the bad books. Speaking of which, here’s a link to her fundraising page if you have a little to spare. She’d appreciate it!

But really, you don’t have to do too much more other than being there for them when they need someone to be supportive and reassuring. I can’t even imagine running to catch a train on time, let alone running a bloody marathon. With Mel, I’ve seen how much effort she’s putting into this and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Of course, he bodily functions of late have also made me a little scared of her, but above all else I can’t wait to see her complete it and get her  medal at the end; she will 100 deserve it.