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EMP, Movies, TV

Best of 2017: Entertainment

As the sun sets on 2017, we can’t help but sit back and reflect on what a year it’s been for the entertainment world: Stranger Things 2 turned our worlds upside down; Game of Thrones season 7 left us speechless and the new Star Wars movie hit our screens last week. Here we take a closer look at some of the most iconic moments of 2017.

 

Movies

 

DC Movies

Let’s kick things off with this Amazon warrior princess that took the box offices by storm: the one and only, Wonder Woman. 2004 being the last time we saw a female superhero lead (Catwoman), it was refreshing to see such a badass woman front and centre. Raking in almost 822 million USD, it beat Justice League (635) by a mile, another 2017 DC release, where Wonder Woman was joined by an entourage of fellow DC superheroes.  Whilst this didn’t receive the greatest of reviews, we could never not enjoy so many iconic characters on one screen! We have loads of DC merch for you to check out!

 

Photo credit: leonardmaltin.com

 

 

Thor: Ragnarok

Wonder Woman wasn’t the only hero to have a solo film: 2017 saw the release of Thor: Ragnarok, which was by far the funniest Marvel film there has been. His newly discovered super power – humour – had us gripped by the get go. For someone new to our world, Thor’s comic timing is on point!

 

Photo credit: wingsoffire.wikia.com

 

 

Despicable Me 3

But perhaps it would be more impressive to make people laugh when you’re speaking a foreign language? That’s where the Minions come in! This year, they were back on our screens in Despicable me 3 and funny as ever. Gru found out about his twin brother (who looked more like a cross between Richard Branson and Donald Trump) and returned to the dark side one last time… what could go wrong? Turns out a lot! But the staple moment of the movie was when Agnes found out that unicorns are actually FLUFFY! (Don’t die please). We have Fluffy the unicorn and lots more Minion merch perfect for any kind of fan!

 

Photo credit: pinterest.co.uk

 

 

Star Wars

We also saw great things from Disney this year with the release of Star Wars last week. One thing that is undeniable about this movie is the way it has brought generations together; you just had to look around the cinema to see children with their grandparents, groups of friends, people there for the first time and people by themselves feeling comfortable in their Star Wars family. Whatever your opinion, there isn’t any other franchise of films that could unite times quite like Star Wars does.

 

Photo credit: geekmom.com

 

 

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast was also released by Disney this year which didn’t disappoint! Whilst I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that Hermoine felt slightly out of place in it, it was a fantastic rendition of an Oscar winning timeless classic. The special effects were remarkable allowing us to connect with Lumière and Mrs Pots just as well as we did (eventually) with the Beast. Disney’s live action remakes don’t stop here with Cruella and Peter Pan due to be released in 2018.

 

Photo credit: pinterest.co.uk

 

TV Series

 

Stranger Things 2

2017 has also been a phenomenal year for TV series. We saw the release of Stranger Things 2 which definitely lived up to expectations. I was so pleased to have the gang back and be a part of their shenanigans again. The series didn’t come without its surprises (and I’m not just talking about Dustin’s hair at prom) but mainly by how much I liked Steve by the end of it! His transformation was nearly as drastic as Dart’s: from high school heart throb who’s a bit of a d**k to the secret hero of the whole series, taking on the Upside Down right at the source. I can’t help but think that their make shift solution will come back to haunt them though… cue series 3! Check out our range of Stranger Things Funko Pops!

 

Photo credit: dorkly.com

 

 

Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty has taken Netflix by storm this year with the release of the third season. More dark and ambitious than the previous 2 series, this series took the characters on even wilder adventures to more outrageous places and introduced us to even more bizarre characters like Cornvelious Daniel, Jaguar and Logic, to name a few. We can’t wait to see what season 4 will hold (in like, a really long time).

 

Photo credit: imgflip.com

 

 

Game of Thrones

I don’t know if you heard, I mean, it was kept on the DL and not many people were talking about it but this thing called Game of Thrones season 7 was out this year? Na, I hadn’t heard either. This was the first series without the influence of a book by George R. R. Martin and fans were very sceptical about this development. But it was still as gripping as ever leaving us with many questions on our lips but the main one being how are we going to wait till 2019 for season 8!?

 


Photo credit: me.me

 

2017 was a cracking year for entertainment and also hosted some interesting announcements like Tom Hardy as Marvel Comic character Venom and Tarantino potentially making a Star Trek movie (what?). We can’t wait to see what 2018 holds! But whilst we are waiting, check out our range of Entertainment merch – there’s something for everyone!

 

Fashion

8(ish) Easy Cosplay Ideas Available from EMP

Comic Cons are happening up and down the country this summer – and that means cosplay! Have you got your costume ready yet?

If you’ve ever been to an event like Comic Con, you’ll know the surreal feeling of walking around surrounded by a menagerie of characters from movies, TV, comic books and gaming, all represented by fans in stunning detail. The commitment of these uber-fans is to be lauded – fair play, guys – but what if you want to jump on board the Comic Con cosplay vibe train with minimal effort involved? Or you’re keen to join in the fun but can’t pick a character? Or you’re worried your efforts are going to look like a dodgy Blue Peter make? Don’t worry – as Europe’s #1 retailer for officially-licensed entertainment merchandise, we’re here to help!

ASSASSIN’S CREED – ASSASSIN COSPLAY OUTFIT

Assassin’s Creed is one of my favourite video games; in my dreams I’m climbing around London like Evie Frye (the view from St. Paul’s sure is something else!). If, like me, you’re fan of the saga and you want to bring some honour Assassin-style to your Comic Con, you can put together an authentic outfit in just a few clicks.

Make yourself instantly recognisable in an EMP-exclusive Assassin’s Creed wrap coat (A) or a Lancaster loop scarf (C) on top of a black top and jeans. Then add the crucial details – grab a black (D) or silver Assassins insignia necklace (B) and either this imitation leather Assassin’s Creed wrist armour (E) or a silver (F) or black Assassins crest bracelet (G) to complete the look – or check out our Assassin’s Creed merchandise section to add more!

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA – LINK COSPLAY OUTFIT (FEMALE)

Maybe thanks to Breath of the Wild’s storming success, you want to show your love for this legendary (pun intended) franchise with a Link costume? We’ve got all you need.

So how can you get the Link look? Start with the top half: either combine a Legend of Zelda Link t-shirt (B) or dress (C) with this Link replica hat (A) or grab this super-detailed women’s Link cosplay hoodie (H). Now, grab the replica Hylia shield (D) and Master Sword (E) to ensure you can easily repel any evildoers at your convention, accessorise with a belt pouch (G), vambrance bracelet (F) and Hyrule Triforce necklace (I) and you’re good to go and save the princess!

Guys: there’s plenty of Zelda cosplay options for you too! Check out our The Legend of Zelda merchandise page.

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS – JACK & SALLY COUPLE’S COSPLAY OUTFITS

 

Summer may be approaching, but there’s never a bad time for some The Nightmare Before Christmas cosplay!

EMP have made it super-easy for any couples who are budding TNBC cosplayers. Guys: grab this Jack Skellington morphsuit (B), and ladies, pick up the EMP-exclusive Sally cosplay dress (C), and – uh, that’s it!

Of course, there’s plenty more available from our Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise selection – the girls can become Jack with this Jack Skellington cosplay dress (A) and Jack hat (D), which both go beautifully with this Jack and Sally handbag (E).

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – BELLE AND BEAST COUPLE’S COSPLAY OUTFITS

I, like little girls worldwide, always dreamed of dressing up as Belle one day – and the new live-action Beauty and the Beast movie ensures that a whole new generation will do the same! Thanks to EMP, that doesn’t have to be a dream any more – and what’s more, you can have your own Beast too!

Our Beauty and the Beast merchandise section has tons of EMP exclusives that you won’t find anywhere else – so your Belle and Beast outfits are sure to turn heads. Choose either Belle’s ball gown (B) or Belle’s everyday ruffle dress (C) – the former should be complemented by this Disney Couture Beauty and the Beast tree necklace (A), while the latter’s outfit will be completed by a Disney Couture rose choker (E) and Belle hair bow (D) – and, of course, a stack of library books. Guys – become the Beast for a day with this stunning embroidered Beast blazer (F). You’ll be the most beautiful couple at the convention – assuming you get a post-transformation Beast, of course!

ALICE IN WONDERLAND – ALICE, QUEEN OF HEARTS, RED QUEEN, CHESHIRE CAT AND MAD HATTER COSPLAY OUTFITS

The wacky world of Alice in Wonderland is ripe for cosplay inspiration – and with more than 100 products in stock, our Alice in Wonderland merchandise section has plenty to help you put the perfect outfit together.

There are several suitable dresses for Alices, but my personal favourite is the EMP-exclusive Alice Through the Looking Glass blue dress (A), which is perfect to match with these cute “curiouser and curiouser” earrings (G).

There are a couple of options if you have a dark side and want to become Alice’s tormentor: the Queen of Hearts classic dress with attached cloth crown (B) or the amazingly detailed Through the Looking Glass Red Queen dress (C).

Complete the outfit with the “Off With Their Heads” earrings from this Alice in Wonderland earrings set (F).

Looking for something more fun? How about this Cheshire Cat onesie (D)? Or what about the Mad Hatter’s hat (E)? In the end we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.

ANIME COSPLAY COSTUMES

Something from the world of anime more up your alley? Be a modern Sailor Moon by combining this adorable pink Sailor Moon varsity jacket (A) with the replica Moon Stick (B), add some manga-inspired make-up and copy Bunny’s hairstyle and you’re good to go!

What about joining Goku in the constant fight to protect Earth and the universe from the bad guys? Simply pick up this Dragon Ball Z Turtle School and Kaio insignia t-shirt (C) or this black and orange Turtle School tee (E). Girls, grab a Kame dress (D) similarly inspired by Goku’s training gear.

Love One Piece? Become King of the Pirates! Get Luffy’s straw hat (G) and wear it with a red t-shirt, or even better, with the One Piece Straw Hat Crew varsity jacket (F).

MARVEL COSPLAY – WOLVERINE, CAPTAIN AMERICA, SPIDER-MAN, DEADPOOL AND IRON MAN COSTUMES AND OUTFITS

Fancy yourself as one of the X-Men? Prove it with this Wolverine cosplay hoodie (A) or the Wolverine chest t-shirt (B).

Or are you more of an anti-hero type? Combine this Deadpool costume t-shirt (C) and Deadpool beanie (D), make sure you’re never too far from some chimichanga and you’re basically the “Merc with a Mouth” himself!

A Captain America-inspired outfit is easy to create thanks to the Captain America costume t-shirt (E) and the cork shield logo cap (F) (for the guys) or the Captain America sprayed logo t-shirt (G) with shield hairslide (H) (for the girls).

If your Spidey sense is tingling for a Spider-Man outfit, no problem, the Spider-Man logo hoodie (I) and 3D Spider-Man cap with mesh eyes (L) should do the trick. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility!

Or if you fancy inhabiting the skin of a genius superhero billionaire philanthropist playboy (and don’t we all?) this Iron Man zip-up hoodie (M) is all you need to become Tony Stark himself.

There’s plenty more Marvel-inspired clothing in our Marvel Comics merchandise section – or perhaps you want to switch sides and cosplay as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman or Harley Quinn? Check out our DC Comics merchandise section!

STAR WARS COSPLAY OUTFITS – R2-D2, STORMTROOPER, YODA, CHEWBACCA AND EWOK OUTFITS

We’re stocking some incredible EMP exclusives in our Star Wars merchandise section, including hoodies that leave you a zip away from being being R2-D2 (A), a Stormtrooper (B), Yoda (C) or an Ewok (E)!

Or how about transforming into everybody’s favourite Wookiee with this Chewbacca onesie (G)? Staying in character all day will be easy; respond to anything with a WUUAAAAAHHHHHH and you’re set!

If you just want to jazz up an everyday outfit with a few Star Wars-themed items to make you feel 100% Comic Con ready, no problem – we’ve got hundreds of Star Wars accessories, including this Yoda beanie (D), an adorable Ewok handbag (F) this Chewbecca furry cap (H) and more!

What are you cosplaying as at an upcoming Comic Con? Which Comic Cons and other conventions are you heading to this summer? Let us know – and if you’re heading to the MCM London Comic Con (May 26-28), come say hi to the EMP crew! Our interactive stand will be at booth 4732 in the North Hall – we’ll be meeting customers, handing out catalogues and freebies, selling some of our hottest merch, and more – see you there!

Salva

TV

Looking Back at “The Walking Dead” Season Seven

Season 7’s done and we’re feeling pretty low about it. Let’s reflect on an epic series and assess the post-S7 landscape…

First of all: WOW! Last night’s episode was intense! In the afterglow of an epic finale, I’ve been reading and hearing various opinions about the season, in particular its deliberately drawn-out buildup to the much-anticipated battle between Rick and his group and Negan and the Saviours.

It seems that two schools of thought currently divide TWD fandom. Firstly, there are those that loved the season and appreciated the build-up to the battle shown in “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”, loving the emotional path the group went thought in the process to RISE UP against Negan once and for all.

Then there are those unhappy with the long wait and the ‘slow’ episodes, who think that the first battle of this ‘new’ war against Negan and the Saviours could have been stretched out over two episodes – they stretched the preamble to fifteen after all!

rick-grimes-meme-going-to-war

Which side are you on? Those that loved the slow buildup, or those that wanted Rick and his comrades to hurry up and take the fight to the Saviours?

Take two The Walking Dead fans, one in camp A and one in camp B, however, and you can guarantee that they’re sure to have one thing in common – love for NEGAN!

Even if we all resent him for killing Glenn and Abraham (I do! Glenn has been my favourite character ever since he called Rick ‘dumbass’ on the tank’s radio 😂) we love his character ‘cause it’s brought so much charisma, humour, charm and entertainment to the table! Let’s face it, Negan is (for now) the new star of the show, dethroning Rick and even Daryl; viewers can’t wait to see him in action, even if they know it probably means that one of their favourite characters is going to die brutally.

when-i-think-about-negan-meme-emp

“The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” kept us guessing ‘til the very last minute. My thoughts were jumping from “Yeah, they’re going to make it this time!” to “Oh no, they’re all going to die…” to “HELL YEAH, kill them all, big fluffy cat!”

shiva-eaten-emp

Rick and Negan’s exchange as Negan threatened to kill Carl with Lucille left me breathless. Andrew Lincoln’s performance was flawless; check out the rage in his eyes below! As much as it has built up to an all-out war between the Saviours and Rick’s group, the season has also built up to Rick and Negan going nose-to-nose and I think it was worth the wait! rick-negan-already-dead-emp

The final scenes of the episode, with Maggie talking about how they all got there thanks to Glenn saving Rick at the very start, got me pretty bad. RIP Glenn 🙁 glenn-started-it-all-emp

BUT enough with the sentimentality, it’s time to go to war!

I personally liked this season and appreciated the ‘slow’ build. Without it, we couldn’t have enjoyed all of the emotional scenes that led each character to join the battle. Daryl and Carol, all Morgan’s crazy stuff, Daryl and Maggie, Sasha and Rosita, Sasha and Eugene, Rick and Michonne…their combined histories and emotional baggage leading them all to declare war on the Saviours is what made the last episode so intense and moving for me. Sasha’s sacrifice and Glenn and Abraham’s tribute were just the perfect way to close that big chapter of emotions and grieving that accompanied season seven; now let’s get ready to kick some ass in season eight!

Negan and the Saviours retreated thanks to the combined intervention of King Ezekiel (plus his tiger) and the Kingdom and Maggie and the Hilltop. But they’re not certainly defeated and they’re sure to come back stronger – but how soon into the next season will it happen?

What are your expectations for season eight? Is Eugene going to find some courage and do something to help the others? Is Dwight really going to help Rick and Daryl in taking Negan (and all the other ‘Negans’) down?

Comment below with your opinions on season seven overall and the season finale, and let us know your wishlist and predictions for the next season – in a few months we can see who was closest 😉

Elena x

Season seven may be over, but we’ll never stop bringing you the very best The Walking Dead merchandise! In our range, you’ll find Glenn resurrected in Funko Pop! form, exclusive TWD t-shirts and dresses and plenty more – check it out!

Salva

TV

EMP’s “WrestleMania 33” Predictions

Who’s walking out of Orlando with gold? Who’s having a “WrestleMania moment”? EMP’s predictions are right this way…

It’s that time of year again! WWE’s annual celebration of all things rasslin’ has arrived, as around 70,000 rabid fans are predicted to pack the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida for WrestleMania 33. Anybody with the slightest interest is sure to find something to enjoy – there won’t be a dry eye amongst old-school fans as Kurt Angle finally takes his rightful place in the Hall of Fame after having to endure years of wrestling in a theme park. NXT TakeOver will showcase the company’s future stars, having arguably topped its big brother last year. Aaaand of course, there’s the granddaddy of them all, WrestleMania itself, an epic five hour (seven if you count the pre-show)-long extravaganza showcasing every major star in the company in thirteen epic battles. A lot’s at stake – championship gold in some cases, pride in others, and in one case, a big gold André the Giant. Who’s winning? Here’s what we think…

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Show your support for the Lunatic Fringe by picking up a Dean Ambrose coffee mug or one of TWO EMP-exclusive Dean Ambrose t-shirts! Choose from a grey tee with the “DA” logo or this double-sided black tee! Image © WWE

Intercontinental Championship: Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose (champion)
These two need to pay off a buildup which has featured an above-average amount of forklift action by having a wild vehicular hardcore brawl. Baron’s the future, and I’m picking him to put Dean down.

Image © WWE

Image © WWE

SmackDown Women’s Championship: Naomi vs. Mickie James vs. Becky Lynch vs. Carmella vs. Natalya vs. Alexa Bliss (champion)
Who’s got the edge? I think we’re due a surprise due to WWE’s insistence on billing this match as “Alexa defending against every available woman” – Asuka? Eva Marie? Paige? Beth Phoenix? Regardless, I’m going with the mighty Carmella – she’s formed a cracking double act with 2016’s least likely breakout star, James Ellsworth, who’s going to throw everything he’s got (which doesn’t amount to a lot, admittedly) at making sure his “friend who’s a girl” walks out with the strap. F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S.

Image © WWE

Image © WWE

Ladder Match for the Raw Tag Team Championship: Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (champions)
Enzo’s already got his WrestleMania moment sewn up – hearing the best part of 100,000 fans chanting along to his pre-match schtick is going to be unlike anything witnessed before at the event. But is that going to be enough to carry them to the titles? I’m going with yes.

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Are you a member of the Cenation? Do you believe in Hustle, Loyalty and Respect? Then why not grab a John Cena Funko Pop! figure – available in big match John’s green– and blue-capped attires. If you’re more a member of the Teanation, pick up a John Cena mug! Image © WWE

John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
It’s down to some sterling work from all involved that this doesn’t feel small-time in comparison to the Cena/Undertaker match we were rumoured to be getting. Miz is approaching godly status on the microphone and, by virtue of actually getting booed consistently, is probably the top bad guy on the roster. That’s why he and Maryse are taking the win via some rule-breaking shenanigans.

Image © WWE

Image © WWE

Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match for the Raw Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (champion)
If we don’t get fifty 100ft tall wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men, then it’s an absolute travesty. As for the match itself, it’s a tough call – but because it’s WrestleMania, home of the feel-good wrestling moment, my money’s on Bayley.

wrestlemania-33-undertaker-reigns-emp

If you’re a fan of the Deadman, why not grab an Undertaker Hell’s Gate t-shirt or hoodie or an Undertaker logo t-shirt? If you think it’s Roman’s yard now, check out his tee. All of these items are exclusive to EMP – you can believe that! Image © WWE

Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker
Whether you’re vocally anti-Reigns, or you think a lot of the boo-boys in the crowd are joyless basement-dwellers who would’ve turned on Hulk Hogan in the ‘80s and Steve Austin in the ‘90s if today’s internet had been around then, there’s no denying that last year’s sight of Reigns lifting the WWE Championship amid glorious victory fireworks, rabid announcer praise and 100,000 people loudly booing wasn’t the ideal end to the biggest show of the year. Which makes the E’s choice to go with Roman as Undi’s opponent this year rather than the more obvious John Cena a puzzling one. Roman wins, he gets booed out of the building; Undi wins, and the young buck set to carry the company for the next decade has just gone down to a bloke in his 50s. But there is a third way (and perhaps I’m going with heart over head over this): unconscious ref – low blow – Roman thwacks Undi with a chair – new ref – 1, 2, 3, EVIL REIGNS STANDS TALL, LAPPING UP THE BOOS. Make it happen.

Image © WWE

Image © WWE

United States Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho (champion)
Jeri-KO’s bromance gone bad comes to a head here, and though I would consider myself a “friend of Jericho” and think Y2J’s renaissance has been great viewing, the logical conclusion is for the dastardly KO to put his former best friend down here.

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Want to see something phenomenal? How about this EMP-exclusive AJ Styles t-shirt? Image © WWE

AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon
Shane takes a beating like nobody else and after the year he’s had, there’s no way AJ isn’t a) walking out the victor and b) having the match of the night. Strap yourselves in, this one’s going to be phenomenal.

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Show your love for Seth during his recovery with this EMP-exclusive Seth Rollins “Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim” t-shirt and hoodie! Image © WWE

Non-Sanctioned Match: Triple H vs. Seth Rollins
You’ve got to admire Seth’s gumption for showing up, but – come on, mate. Hunter’s going to tear that gammy leg off and beat you around the head with it. And if Samoa Joe shows up to give daddy a hand…well, it was nice knowing you, Rollins.

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Which of these monsters of the mat are you picking to walk out as champion? Pick a side with a Goldberg or Brock Lesnar t-shirt! Image © WWE

Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg (champion)
Goldberg was the biggest star in the company from the moment he walked out on the October 17 episode of Raw, and that’s broadly who a show’s top belt should always be on, regardless of whether they show up every week to trade near-falls with Cesaro. But he’s had his comeback story now, and though every second of it has been wonderful, it’s time for Brock to wrestle top spot back from his old rival.

Image © WWE

Image © WWE

WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt (champion)
Six months ago, I assumed we were in for another four weeks of Bray bothering another fan favourite, talking vaguely mystically about how “it was always meant to be this way” or some other gubbins before staring at the lights for said fan favourite on a secondary pay-per-view. But no, the six-month build to get here has been perfect sports-entertainment, and proof that storylines are what’s needed to create a buzz, rather than endless 45-minute technical clinics between two men in pants who respect each other but want to find out who the better man is (as some dark corners of the internet would have you believe). Hopefully Bray takes the victory here – Randy doesn’t need it – and the end-of-Mania fireworks budget goes on some weird festival of darkness where he uses his new magic powers to bring on a thunderstorm and hundreds of sheep-masked extras dance and sacrifice a viper. Hopefully.

Are you looking forward to WrestleMania? Who’s walking out with a victory, and who’s not walking out at all? Will there be any surprises? Let us know what you think in the comments below or on our Facebook page, and check out our WWE merchandise page to score some kick-ass wrestling merch! See you Sunday!

Salva

TV

What Did We Learn From the New “Doctor Who” Trailer?

Let’s break down the latest trailer for Peter Capaldi’s final series as the clock strikes twelve for, um, Twelve…

If you’ve been gawping at Doctor Who trailers for over a decade, as I have, you’ll know that because of the show’s flexible format, all a trailer needs to do to generate a buzz is hammer viewers with dozens of cool visuals, like in this promo image – I bet you if that precise scene occurs in the show, it’ll be a gag and over in a second, but that doesn’t matter:

© BBC

© BBC

Whereas a trailer for a show or movie based around one locale, storyline or set of characters will require a genuine hint at what’s to come plot-wise, the vast sandbox and infinite possibilities for the Whoniverse allows their trailers to poke the gurgling, cooing part of a Doctor Who fan’s brain that says “World War II spitfires flying through space? Cool!” or “a steam train driving into a tunnel built into an Egyptian pyramid labelled ‘AREA 52’? Awesome!” – so trying to draw conclusions about what’s ahead based on a Doctor Who trailer is largely a futile exercise.

Right. Let’s get on with this futile exercise, shall we?

© BBC

© BBC

We kick off in typically understated fashion, peeking out from within a bag as Nardole (Matt Lucas) peeks in. What’s in here? It can’t be what Nardole expects – his initial expression is his usual slightly vacant, unfocused gaze, before he catches sight of what’s inside and changes to the look of confusion and concern you see above…

© BBC

© BBC

And what do you know? A mere eighty words after cracking a gag about pyramids in Doctor Who trailers, here’s a pyramid in a Doctor Who trailer. But where is this one? Surely not Egypt; there aren’t any grassy bits around there, are there?

© BBC

© BBC

Two lads in spacesuits doing their daily rounds in the cornfield, or something more sinister? I don’t like the look of that black cloud…

© BBC

© BBC

Once new companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) has pricked the pomposity of the Doctor’s claim that the TARDIS is “the gateway to everything that was or ever can be” by comparing it to a kitchen, we find ourselves here. But where’s here? It’s a reasonable shout that this is her first trip in the TARDIS; she seems to be wearing the same clothing she was wearing a few shots prior where it looked like she was at the university – has the Doctor tried to impress her by taking her to some futuristic wellness spa? And look above – there’s that swarmy-cloudy-looking thing that we also saw in the cornfield. Am I onto something here?

© BBC

© BBC

I am? Great, thanks. There’s no sign of this robot that “speaks emoji” in the previous still, but here it is. It looks like we’ve identified our friends from the cornfield – could that black swarm be how they travel; disintegrating into a black cloud before being reconstituted at their destination? They already speak emoji; maybe they get from A to B by being ‘uploaded to the cloud’?

© BBC

© BBC

Moving on – a spacesuited Bill exclaims is surprised to find herself on “Mars?!?” here. Now, who do we know from Mars? Hmmm…

© BBC

© BBC

Hold that thought – we’re now in 1814, according to the Doctor. Bill cries “get in!” at the prospect in the following shot, giving us all flashbacks of the “down with the kids” dialect of 1980s companion Ace. We know when we are here, but where are we? 19th century London perhaps…can you recall Doctor Who ever visiting that period?

© BBC

© BBC

And just when are we here? Nardole’s cute bobble hat and dressing gown combo initially made me think we were still in snowy 1814, but the primitive clothing and weaponry in this still suggests otherwise. Vikings? Is the Doctor going back to visit Ashildir’s clan from “The Girl Who Died”? Where and whenever they are, it’s not going well. And what’s that on their faces? Surely they can’t all have fallen asleep at a party and been attacked with a Sharpie?

© BBC

© BBC

The clan haven’t taken kindly to the Doctor and Nardole but it looks like Bill’s in their good books. She’s not being threatened in the previous still and it looks like she’s looking on in horror at what’s about to happen. Although, look at her left shoulder – perhaps there’s a lot of seagulls in the area and that look of horror is for another reason…

© BBC

© BBC

“So how do we stay out of trouble?” Bill asks in the next shot. Doesn’t she know what show she’s in?

© BBC

© BBC

I’m going to go out on a limb with this still and guess that at some point, we go under the sea and encounter a very large sea creature.

© BBC

© BBC

Yep.

© BBC

© BBC

The Daleks are back! This scene looks to be taken straight from “Friend from the Future”, the fun little scene which was shown around a year ago to introduce us to the new companion. I assumed that had been specially shot, but no, it looks like it’s found its way into the new series. The last we saw of the Daleks, they were back on their home planet of Skaro, being attacked by their own sewers (sounds mad, but it made perfect sense in the context of the episode, honest). Did they find a way to overcome that, or are we encountering a different squadron to the team that were stationed at home, looking after Davros?

© BBC

© BBC

Whatever their plans are, it involves humans forming from some kind of goo and copying their catchphrase. We’ve seen human Dalek agents in the past, but they had eyestalks protruding from their heads rather than this curious ability (and let’s not get started on the pig slaves) – so are these a different species entirely, taking on human form?

© BBC

© BBC

“Something’s coming, Bill…” says the Doctor over a shot of him confronted with this ominous-looking door. My initial instinct was that this shot was from the same episode which saw the Doctor and Nardole threatened with spears, but take a closer look and you’ll see that the Doctor’s in different clothing, and there are tiny red LED lights on that door…

© BBC

© BBC

…oh yeah, and spikes. Take a closer look at those circles – that looks like Time Lord text to me; is this the entrance to, or exit from, a TARDIS? Or – remember the last time we were in a castle that turned out to have something to do with the Time Lords? Are we back in the Doctor’s Confession Dial from “Heaven Sent”?

© BBC

© BBC

Who are these handsome fellows? They’ve got shades of Sycorax, Sybilline Sisterhood and, if you want to get really niche, the Ambassadors from the City State of Binding Light from way back in 2005’s “The End of the World”…

© BBC

© BBC

Remember them? No? Just me? Fair enough – something tells me these boys are a new proposition entirely. Although, having been reminded of the Ambassadors from the City State of Binding Light for the first time in about ten years, if the production team want to bring them back, I won’t stand in their way…

© BBC

© BBC

“It’s time…” says a character who we’ve been officially told is called ‘the Landlord’, played by David Suchet. Respected British star of stage and screen, playing a character with a ‘the’ prefix in his name, talking about time…I’ll eat my hat if he’s not a Time Lord. But which one? The fact that he’s been called ‘the Landlord’ rather than anything more ominous in press releases suggests to me that he’s not going to bring about the end of the universe, but is involved in some more light-hearted japes…could the Meddling Monk, another rogue Time Lord who appeared opposite William Hartnell’s Doctor in the ‘60s be in for a return?

© BBC

© BBC

Of course, no episode featuring emoji robots would be complete without the scarier emojis getting in on the action. I wonder if ‘smiling poo’ or ‘monkey covering its eyes’ will make an appearance?

© BBC

© BBC

The bitch is back! Missy, aka the Master is back to wreak havoc once more. Last time we saw her, she was trying to strike a deal with the Daleks as she too got caught up in the sewer uprising, but this doesn’t look like the Dalek episode…could she be shacked up with ‘the Landlord?’

© BBC

© BBC

And does she later get turned to wood? Certainly, this still appears from the same episode that Missy appears in…the hair’s different, but being turned into wood will do that to anyone.

© BBC

© BBC

UNIT?!?! No – these aren’t the outfits we’ve become accustomed to seeing our favourite paramilitary organisation wearing, and, though it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the rest of the soldier on the left’s helmet reads ‘IT’, looking at the two soldiers on the right it looks like they’re just plain old UN soldiers. Zzzz.

© BBC

© BBC

“Bring it”, the Doctor says, seemingly channelling The Rock, before we see the Amba- sorry, this new species closing in on us with some seriously creepy-looking hands.

© BBC

© BBC

Fun fact: the extra at the front here dressed in what looks like a beefed-up X-Wing pilot’s outfit gets disintegrated onboard the Dalek Crucible in 2008’s “Journey’s End”, is among the Futurekind in 2007’s “Utopia” and appears as a wedding guest, an undercover police officer and a nurse at a secret care facility in three separate episodes of Torchwood – and those are just the examples I can remember off the top of my head. Coincidence? Maybe. Limited number of supporting artists available in North Wales? Possibly. Epic story arc spanning almost a decade which nobody picked up on? Fingers crossed.

© BBC

© BBC

This freaky-looking cloth-faced chap is one of the original breed of Cybermen, who last appeared in 1966’s The Tenth Planet, were responsible for the show’s first regeneration as William Hartnell became Patrick Troughton, and are still arguably the best execution of the species’ chilling concept to date. We know that these guys appear in the season finale – does their appearance lead to the demise of the twelfth Doctor as it did with the first?

© BBC

© BBC

At this point, things start to get really exciting. Just after we’re given an old-school Cyberman, we’re treated to a glimpse of a never-before-seen Ice Warrior. We’ve never met the female of the species before – are they more deadly than the male?

© BBC

© BBC

We briefly see Nardole trying to escape an explosion in what looks like it may be the TARDIS (check out the pillars behind him) – but what’s that in his hand? Why, it’s a sonic screwdriver. But not just any sonic screwdriver…

© BBC

© BBC

It’s only blummin’ Tom Baker’s sonic screwdriver. Has the Doctor given Nardole a hand-me-down?

© BBC

© BBC

Seconds later, we see Nardole catching it as it’s thrown to him, so it looks likely. Is he a mini wee Doctor in training? We’re yet to learn why the Doctor retrieved him from King Hydroflax’s body in “The Wedding of River Song” (again, sounds daft, makes perfect sense in the episode) – perhaps he saw something in him?

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© BBC

“Nardole! Bill! With me! To the TARDIS!” Classic Who trailer line.

© BBC

© BBC

I’ve got chills. Has it really only been a year and a bit since the last series? Feels like forever…

Doctor Who returns for Series Ten on April 15 – meaning you’ve got plenty of time to check out EMP’s out-of-this-world range of Doctor Who merchandise. From Funko Pop! figures of all your favourite characters to exclusive Doctor Who clothing unavailable anywhere else in the univ- okay, Europe, there’s something for everyone, whether old fan or new, human or Time Lord…

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TV

“The Walking Dead” Recap – Season Seven, Episode Nine: “Rock in the Road”

AMC’s The Walking Dead has finally returned after its loooong mid-season break – and boy, has it given us a lot to talk about!

We left the series in December with Rick and Daryl reuniting - just the boost the group needed to take on the Saviors. But how long would it be before they were seperated again? ©AMC

We left the series in December with Rick and Daryl reuniting – just the boost the group needed to take on the Saviors. But how long would it be before they were seperated again? ©AMC

On December 16th we left Rick Grimes and the others in the process of finally waking up from the spell of terror they were under, realising that it’s time to fight once and for all against Negan (cover star of the EMP spring 2017 catalogue) and the Saviors. If, like me, you watched the series from day one and feel like you know each character inside out, you’ll know how hard and frustrating it’s been to see Rick acting like a ghost – so powerless against Negan’s strength, strategies and favourable numbers. But no more! Daryl Dixon (my favourite character together with Glenn – yes, I don’t want to admit that Glenn’s gone…damn you Lucille!) is finally free and back to his group, Michonne and Carl are as badass as they’ve ever been and Rick is starting to lean forward and we all know what that means: “shit’s about to get real”!

It most certainly is.

It most certainly is.

Yesterday, when I finally sat down to watch the new episode, “Rock in the Road”, I was bouncing around with anticipation.  So what went down?

SPOILER ALERT – if you haven’t seen The Walking Dead season 7, episode 9 – “Rock in the Road” yet, turn away now! Why not head to our The Walking Dead merchandise section, stock up on goodies and come back once you’ve seen the ep?

All that time ago, at the end of the last episode, we left Father Gabriel on his night watch atop Alexandria’s walls, as someone with some fancy boots watched on. The new episode opens with Gabriel again on the watch, then suddenly loading a car with all the food and weapons left in Alexandria and riding away. Traitor?! Perhaps not – a second figure joins Gabriel in the car, and the pair drive away…

The scene suddenly jumps to the Hilltop where Rick and Maggie, finally reunited with Daryl, are trying to convince Gregory, questionable ‘leader’ of the colony, to join them in war against the Saviors. Attempt failed… no-one wants to mess with Negan and Lucille.

Next hope for Rick and company is King Ezekiel and the Kingdom! Guided by Jesus, the group visit his realm to speak with the King (and his cool tiger) and ask his community to join the fight.

After heavy consideration, King Ezekiel decides that, even if the Kingdom’s situation with the Saviors is precarious and not ideal, it’s still better than war, denying Rick the help he’s looking for.

After his escape from the Saviors, Daryl has a target on his head, so King Ezekiel offers him protection in the Kingdom. Rick talks Daryl into staying for his own good and gives him the duty of convincing Ezekiel to join them in the fight. It’s so disappointing to see the group dividing again and my heart broke a little to see Daryl’s sad face as he was left behind AGAIN…looks like Daryl actor Norman Reedus wasn’t happy either:

WHY THE F YOU ALWAYS LEAVING ME BEHIND !!!!!! 😡

A post shared by norman reedus (@bigbaldhead) on

But where is Negan in all this? We’ve all kind of built a love/hate relationship with the character; we hate him for caving our heroes’ heads in with Lucille, then makes us laugh out loud with jibes about spaghetti. It’s confusing!

Negan in a good mood, cracking some jokes. Somebody must have told him he'd made the cover of the EMP catalogue.

Negan in a good mood, cracking some jokes. Somebody must have told him he’d made the cover of the EMP catalogue.

Alas, Negan doesn’t appear during “Rock in the Road”; during the episode we only hear his voice on the radio Jesus stole, talking to his group when he realizes that Fat Joe is dead and Daryl is missing.

Rick and the rest of the group rush back to Alexandria, as they know the Saviors are on their way to look for the fugitive. On the way back they come across an anti-zombie dynamite trap set up by the Saviors. Thanks to Rosita’s skills the group manage to steal the dynamite – their first real weapon after the Saviors took everything they had! Rick and Michonne then drive two cars connected by the metal cable the dynamite hung from on either side of the horde, slicing hundreds of zombies in two. Nice.

Rick’s group arrive at Alexandria, closely followed by the Saviors, who arrive and turn the place upside down in their search for Daryl. It’s just in this moment that Rick finds out about Father Gabriel’s ‘betrayal’. Rick being the trusting soul that he is, he doesn’t believe it, and so he searches for clues and find a hidden note left by Gabriel: ‘BOAT’, referring to the place where Rick had discovered supplies earlier.

The group decide to go and look for Gabriel. While following some footprints (I think they’ll probably belong to Gabriel’s fancy-booted companion, don’t you?) they find themselves surrounded by a big group of people armed with an incredible number of weapons, all pointed at their heads… and what does Rick do, in a classic moment of bad-assery? He smiles! ‘Cause he’s probably already sussed how to get this mysterious group to fight with them and get rid of Negan once and for all!

It’s great to have The Walking Dead back, isn’t it? This episode managed to maintain the quality that we were given with the first half of the series. I was disappointed not to see Negan in this episode, but the character’s spectre looms large over everything that happens when he’s not on screen, which may be an equally effective way of using him. Selfishly, however, I wanted to see him; despite how evil Negan is, how much pain he’s caused through his unnecessarily violent demonstrative killings (RIP Glenn and Abraham, gone too soon) I can’t deny how damn entertaining he is! His game-changing presence has set season 7 apart from its predecessors and proved that there’s plenty of mileage in the series yet. And now, I get the sense that the game is about to change yet again – Rick, Michonne, Carl, Daryl and the others are (almost) ready to take their lives back! And it’s going to be epic!

What did you think of “Rock in the Road”? Let us know in the comments below or on the EMP Facebook page, and check out our range of The Walking Dead merchandise – you can’t buy your very own Lucille (probably for the best), but we do have a cool Negan Funko Pop! figure and Negan and Lucille tops for women and t-shirts for men, amongst a horde of other great merch. Arm yourselves!

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TV

Peter Capaldi Leaving “Doctor Who” – Who Will Be the Next Doctor?

It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for…twelve is set to become thirteen, with a regeneration set for Xmas 2017.

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. ©BBC

Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. ©BBC

After three series of galactic gallivanting, Peter Capaldi yesterday announced that the tenth series of the revived Doctor Who, scheduled to air this spring, will be his last. His final episode will be the 2017 Christmas special, leaving incoming executive producer Chris Chibnall with an almost entirely blank slate to kick off his vision of the show.

I for one will miss Capaldi’s fiery, acerbic Doctor, who literally exploded onto the screen at the climax of 2013’s “The Time of the Doctor”. He replaced Matt Smith’s altogether cuddlier incarnation, and immediately set about transforming the show, jerking viewers out of the safe zone they’d been in with friendly, take-home-to-your-mum Doctors Smith and his predecessor David Tennant. Suddenly, here was a Doctor who didn’t want to be your mate, who was largely unsentimental and, a lot of the time, seemed to believe that the ends justified the means. Though he softened somewhat in his second series, his lined face, sharp, Scottish delivery and I’m-going-to-bite-your-nose-off-if-you-get-on-the-wrong-side-of-me eyebrows gave the Twelfth Doctor a distance and a gravitas that only Capaldi could have pulled off.

Whoever the next Doctor is, one of the first things they'll have to nail is the customary weird alien hand pose. ©BBC

Whoever the next Doctor is, one of the first things they’ll have to nail is the customary weird alien hand pose. ©BBC

And that’s what’s unique about the role of the Doctor. Actors can approach the role like a blank canvas, adding aspects of their own character to create a totally new version of the character. Casting directors can cast a Doctor as a response to the previous one, giving the show an almost entirely new leading character and thus keeping it fresh for audiences. That’s what kept Doctor Who alive after William Hartnell’s departure in 1966 – moving from Hartnell’s stern grandfather to Patrick Troughton’s wacky uncle – and that’s what will continue to renew the series.

So, who could be the Thirteenth Doctor (fourteenth if you count the late John Hurt’s War Doctor), and what might they bring to the role? Let’s take a look at some of the frontrunners…

BEN WHISHAW – better known as techie Q in the Bond films, Whishaw certainly has the right look – almost too much so; anybody else think he looks like the love child of Tennant and Smith?

RICHARD AYOADE – has just taken on the position of another face-changing TV eccentric, taking over hosting duties on The Crystal Maze. He’ll have long finished that by the time he’d be starting on Who, but, like Whishaw, he has echoes of lovably-nerdy Tennant and Smith about him. Do we not want something brand new at this point?

RORY KINNEAR – aka Tanner in the Bond films, aka the guy who has been among the bookies’ favourites for the last three or four Doctor departures. Claims to have never seen Doctor Who in his life, and has no idea what it’s all about, but that’s no bad thing – perhaps this lack of knowledge and reverence for what has come before could lead to an entirely new take on the Doctor?

JASON FLEMYNG – A great shout, IMO – let’s have Flemyng playing a dishevelled, disorganised, unkempt Doctor. Tom Baker’s ensemble was a bit all over the place, granted, but we’ve never had a real scruff as the Doctor before – and in today’s world of slicked-back, perma-tanned, buttoned-up, gym-worshipping young men, what better example to set to the kids that it’s what’s on the inside that counts than the almighty Doctor walking into a room looking like he’s had a night on the rum and cokes?

MIRANDA HART – Is it time for the Doctor to regenerate into a female form? Such a thought isn’t the tabloid bait it used to be; Michelle Gomez’ take on the Master has been so universally well-received that gender no longer comes into the discussion, and we even saw a gruff, male Time Lord General regenerate into a female body during 2014’s “Hell Bent”. Hart’s unique look and penchant for physical comedy would certainly make her a good fit.

Though I’m gutted to be losing Capaldi, who ranks as my favourite of the twenty-first century Doctors (since you asked: Patrick Troughton), new-Doctor-speculation-season is always a fun time, especially when this new Doctor’s arrival will coincide with the makeover Chibnall will inevitably give the show when he takes over from Steven Moffat. And we’ve still got a full season and Christmas episode of Doctor number twelve left – but that sure is gonna be one sad, sad Christmas special…

The new series of Doctor Who is scheduled to start this spring. Get ready for the new series and the Twelfth Doctor’s demise with our range of Doctor Who merchandise, including tons of EMP-exclusive items that you won’t find anywhere else in the universe!

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