It's always kind of weird when the folks at Rifftrax set their sights on a movie or TV show that I actually like.  This was the case with the Rifftrax Live: Doctor Who -- The Five Doctors.  Fortunately, the trio were able to get plenty of laughs from this special Doctor Who episode.

The evening began with Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy taking on Play Safe, a British safety film where two animated birds talk safety while kids act amazingly stupid around power lines and power pylons.  ("I feel a My Girl moment coming up.")  From there, they moved on to The Five Doctors.
Much as I liked this "special" Doctor Who episode, there's plenty that doesn't hold up -- and the Rifftrax trio made fun of just about all of it.  There's the first Doctor being replaced by a new actor, a character inexplicably falling down and being stuck at a small hill ("Take that, Mad Max: Fury Road!  An old man just helped a woman up a slight incline!") or the elaborate and silly costumes.   ("Time to get back to my Faberge egg cosplay.")  The laughs were big and consistent, with humor coming throughout the evening.
If  Rifftrax Live: Doctor Who -- The Five Doctors streams on the Rifftrax site or returns to the theaters, it's very worth checking out.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch



Tabletop games are more popular than ever -- but what about the folks behind these games?  Wizards of the Tabletop: A Rogues' Gallery of Board Game Designers and Conspirators by Douglas Morse is a coffee table book that provides both written and visual information on this diverse group of professionals in the game world.

As one might expect, most of the features folks are game designers, and we get a brief biography of them -- in and out of the gaming world -- usually accompanied by a photograph of their game on the opposite page.  It's a simple and effective way of learning about the person and then seeing what they've created.
There are some additional folks covered.  We learn about some of the people publishing the games, the website BoardGameGeek, the webseries TableTop, the group the Game Artisans of Canada, and even the folks at Geek Chic, who design custom furniture for gamers.
Wizards of the Tabletop is a very good look at both the greatness of the tabletop gaming world and the men and women who are vital to its success.  The people covered are interesting and enthusiastic about the game world; and the photographs really help to illustrate what they're talking about.  This is also a nice source for learning about games that might interest you.  (At the end of a book is an index of all the games discussed; in addition to the page it's on, it includes the year it was published, the publisher, its designer, its artist, and awards it won at Spiel des Jahres.)  Wizards of the Tabletop is a really good read mixed with really good visuals.  It's a must-have for any gamer -- and a good gift to get non-gamers interested in gaming.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch