Obviously, when I say, "Regular," none of us should hold our breaths waiting for the next instalment because, once I've done this post, apathy'll probably seize me and the feature will no doubt never be heard of again.
Back in the Bronze Age, I've been rewatching the classic 1958 BBC serial Quatermass and the Pit - that dread reminder of why messing about with shovels can only ever lead to horror. By eerie coincidence, the night after I watched the final episode, the Horror Channel then showed the 1967 Hammer movie remake, giving me a chance to make a direct comparison in a way I'd never done before.
It's always been the thing amongst the wise and informed to say the TV version's massively superior to the film version but, as someone who saw the movie first, I've always had strong resistance to such a notion and see both incarnations as equal but different. Being a serial, the TV show has time to explore its characters, ideas and setting in more depth, especially with its backdrop of Notting Hill style race riots, references to which, I think, are totally absent from the movie. But the film gains by being quicker and more sharply focused, cutting out all of the padding that was logistically necessary in the TV show.
Likewise Cec Linder and James Donald are both excellent as maverick archaeologist Matthew Roney. The movie's Donald does seem more like an intellectual, while TV's showmanlike Linder feels more like an outsider, a status that becomes crucial as the tale reaches its climax. It also has to be said that Linder really does look like he's stepped straight out of a panel drawn by Steve Ditko.
As Barbara, Roney's assistant, Barbara Shelley is more glamorous and self-possessed than Christine Finn but Finn has a somewhat strange quality to her and she's allowed to develop a friendship with the army captain that's totally missing from the film.
For me, where the film definitely scores over the TV version in terms of casting is that of Colonel Breen. Julian Glover's Breen starts out with some degree of charm, wit and even manners before degenerating into a deranged blockhead, whereas Anthony Bushell's Breen is a deranged blockhead from the very start, making you wonder how he ever got into any kind of position of authority.
Having said that, the TV show possibly gives hints that his behaviour is because (having a militaristic mindset?) he's being influenced by the machine before everyone else, whereas the movie doesn't hint at that, making Breen's refusal to recognise the mountain of evidence piling up in front of him somewhat baffling.
So, in the end, I still declare it to be a draw, with both versions being classics in their own right.
One thing that does strike me as being astonishing about the TV version is that it was broadcast live, with filmed inserts for the trickier scenes. The idea that anyone would broadcast a science fiction show live seems like madness but they pull it off beautifully, with only the odd glitch to remind you that there were no retakes possible.
One last thing that strikes me is that the TV version of the craft looks remarkably like a dalek that's got drunk and fallen over on its way home from the pub. I had assumed it must be because dalek designer Raymond Cusick was involved but it turns out he didn't join the BBC until a couple of years later. Could he have been influenced by the design when he first drew his deadly mutants or was it pure coincidence?
Obviously, the Guardians of the Galaxy aren't really new friends. They're not friends at all. I've never met them and they've never met me and they'd probably mug me if they did meet me but I have at least encountered them before.
However, that was in the pages of a comic, and last night's bank holiday scheduling did give me a chance to see their movie for the first time.
Obviously, I was looking forward to it because I'm that kind of a man but did I enjoy it?
I enjoyed it when there was personal interaction going on. The characters were well-defined and sympathetic, somehow managing to come across as plucky underdogs despite having enough power between them to flatten an army.
I didn't enjoy it anything like as much when there was actual action going on. Not being a fan of space battles, especially CGI ones, I must admit the film lost my attention whenever the lasers started firing.
My other complaint would be that Ronan was a totally undeveloped villain. From what I can remember, we found out nothing about him other than that he wanted to destroy a planet for no reason that I could remember. Also, Thanos and Karen Gillan's Nebula were frustratingly underused. So far, all I've seen Thanos do in Marvel films is sit in a chair. I do hope he manages to escape his chair in future films or the series' climax is going to be a bit dull.
Anyway, I give it seven out of ten. It wasn't a film that blew me away but I'd have no objection to watching it again.