How goes Apple TV’s first foray into Korean-language television? Remarkably well!
What’s The Show?Dr Brain
What’s It All About, JG? Lee Sun-kyun stars as Dr Koh Se-won, the titular brain doctor, a brilliant scientist who had discovered a way to “brain synch” his mind with the recently deceased. This allows him to explore their memories for clues to what happened to them when they died. His family are killed in a mysterious accident, so it’s down to the good Doctor to figure out what’s going on, and also to try and keep his grip on reality as it becomes increasingly difficult for him to distinguish reality from the experiences he’s had in other people’s minds. In the end it turns out his son has been abducted by his terminally ill and wheelchair-bound father, who believe he can transfer his brain into the young boy and thus become, essentially, immortal. Like you do. Can Se-won stop his deranged father and rescue his son?
We reach the title track of the first album this time as JG and Andrew tackle “Please Please Me”. Is the track mighty enough to deserve having the album named after it? How impressive is George Martin this time out? And can the conversation actually remain on track? (surprisingly, yes!).
Since this is posting on 25th December I would also be remiss if I didn’t turn to face you, break the fourth wall speaker and say, “Incidentally, a happy Christmas to all of you at home!”
Star Trek films are, in the end, a strange breed. Born from the ashes of the Phase II project, The Motion Picture attempted to shift the adventures of the Enterprise from the small screen to the big one, but t’s worth reminding ourselves how unusual it was in 1979 for a TV series – a cancelled TV series no less – to make the transition to cinema. Star Wars, of course, is partly to blame / be held responsible (delete as applicable) for this since Paramount wanted a slice of the box office pie and had a handy space-based franchise just sitting there. But back in the beige, chilly days of the 1970’s this wasn’t a Thing That Happened. The likes of Kojak and Colombo might get a TV movie here and there but that absolutely was not the same thing. Now we live in an era where TV shows transitioning to big screen adventures can happen to almost any intellectual property, from The Addams Family (twice so far) to Mission: Impossible, from The Twilight Zone to Miami Vice. A dash of nostalgia here, a sprig of brand recognition inserted into the carcass of memory there and off we go.
Can the third Abramsverse Star Trek movie find something better to do than resurrect an old bad guy? Yes!
Third time’s a charm? After the standard-action-fare of the 2009 movie and the misguided attempt to use Khan in Into Darkness, can Beyond find a successful balance?
Pre-Existing Prejudices: It’s the most recent of the three Abramsverse movies which means that there’s not a lot of scope for historical distance. But as with the other two Abramsverse movies I had generally warm feelings towards it on its release and I’ve watched a couple of times since. I like Idris Elba a lot but don’t remember him making a vast impression, and of course it’s hard to view Anton Yelchin’s performance objectively since his death. Neither a stand-out classic nor a total failure, I remember this as fine. We shall see if that’s still true…
Is third time the charm for Chris Chibnall’s version of Doctor Who? Remarkably, yes!
What’s The Show?Doctor Who‘s six episode long truncated series 13
What’s It All About, JG? Trying to find out if there’s anything worth salvaging from the Chibnall era of Doctor Who before both he and the reliably brilliant Jodie Whittaker bow out, and also embracing the full force of serialisation. But in terms of plot, the universe is threatened by a mysterious “Flux event” the Doctor knows nothing about. The Earth is protected by the Lupari, as represented by the appealingly dog-like Karvaista. Turns out there’s been some kind of battle between Space and Time (capital S and capital T) as represented by Azure and Swarm on one side and the mysterious Division on the other. Meanwhile, two survivors of the Flux, Vinder and Bel, are separated and are trying to reunite while getting into/out of the way of the plot, and the Doctor has a new companion, Dan (a surprisingly strong John Bishop), a Liverpudlian who turns out to be a dab hand at taking out Sontarans with a wok. It all ends with the Doctor struggling to get back her memories from her adoptive mother (unsuccessfully), a snake-like Grand Serpent infiltrating UNIT, and the Flux wiping out vast amounts of Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans. Whatever else you can say about Flux, it’t not lacking for event!
It was the boat that made the decision for her, in the end. It wasn’t a beautiful vessel, at least not aesthetically. The physics of its buoyancy, the amalgam of engineering and logic in its engine and the interplay between the two might conceivably be described as beautiful, but that’s all. This was no sleek yacht of the super-rich, no sailing boat of the well-to-do. Just a large functional vessel, a few time-worn scars on its hull, leaving port. The tak-tak-tak of its engine rolled serenely across the water, making its presence known, but not intruding.
Khan II: Space Boogaloo. But can Into Darkness do anything to expand on the original?
If the 2009 Star Trek achieved anything it was finding an excellent cast to continue the adventures of the old crew in new times. But now the crew has been established, can Into Darkness find a way forward for them?
Pre-Existing Prejudices: All together now: KKKkhhhhaaaaannnnnn! Yes, it’s the most notorious of the three Abramsverse movies, and probably the most controversial. There are accusations of whitewashing, with Ricardo Montalban’s charismatic take being replaced by This Year’s Thing, Benedict Cumberbatch. There’s sexism, with the gratuitous Carol-Marcus-in-underwear scene. There’s the… well, actually is it plagiarism of The Wrath Of Khan? Not really I guess, since it’s an intentional reinterpretation of those events. Eh, anyway, it’s that movie.
For this episode JG and Andrew tackle “Ask Me Why”, which given the fairly muted reaction seems like an entirely valid question. How’s Lennon doing on the old lead vocals? Is there much going on anywhere else? And just how long can two people string out a conversation that clearly isn’t going anywhere?
What’s The… Movie? TV Show? Documentary? Er, Thing:Get Back
What’s It All About, JG?Back in the dim and distant days of *checks notes* 2020? Really? That feels ages ago. Anyway, back then, Peter Jackson started to assemble footage from the apparently-near-infinite amount of film shot for what was originally Get Back, but ultimately became Let It Be. Let It Be as a movie had one rare distinction – it managed to make arguably the most important band of all time seem boring. The rooftop concert is amazing, that goes without saying, but the rest is tedious drag of frazzled band members, myth repeated so endlessly it’s become fact, and a gloomy, depressing and doom-laden atmosphere.
The Next Generation have become the former generation as Nemesis signalled the end of the line for that iteration of the show. But what’s this? We’re going back to TOS with a new cast for the old crew? Well, Ok then…
Pre-Existing Prejudices: It’s the first of three (so far) Abrmbsverse Star Trek movies where we return to the era of TOS with a new cast and a new timeline. I remember vividly seeing this in 2009 and having largely positive reactions to it, with some moments working very well (the TOS theme on a massive cinema sound system!) and some not so much. I’ve seen it a couple of times since but this will be the first time I’ve sat down to actually analyse it rather than simply sticking it on. For what it’s worth, when I first saw this in the cinema with my other half, his reaction was, “that’s the best Star Trek movie I’ve ever seen in the cinema”. The one he saw previous to that was Insurrection…