The whole “ban on genetic engineering” thing in the Federation has always seemed a bit… unthought out. Not in-universe, but metatextually. The logic of it is, “well, Khan was a super-evil dude, so maybe we shouldn’t do that.” And, fair enough, you can see the sense there, and for that being presented as the reason to avoid it. But also… to the point where other species can’t even be allowed in to the Federation? That seems a bit spurious — something which has been done for plot reasons rather than because anyone has sat down and gone, “well, do we really think the Federation would actually respond in this manner?”Continue reading “Strange New Worlds: Season 1, Episode 3 – “Ghosts Of Illyria””
One of the most impressive things about Nichelle Nichols — among a great list of impressive things about Nichelle Nichols — is how she managed to do a huge amount with generally very little screen time. One of the the reasons that Uhura works as an actual character is because of what she invested in the role. She always went way above and beyond what what actually on the page, and in doing so brought her to life. Uhura developed into an easy-to-like character who had her own strengths and abilities far, far away from snide, ignorant jokes about how the only woman on the bridge of the original Enterprise was apparently a receptionist.Continue reading “Strange New Worlds: Season 1, Episode 2 – “Children Of The Comet””
We flip She Loves You over to cover its B-side this episode with the largely-forgotten I’ll Get You. Does the song deserve to languish in obscurity? How does it fare stylistically? And just how long can JG vamp for while Andrew desperately tries to find some statistics?
Star Trek is back for a 3rd 21st century show. But can Strange New Worlds succeed where Discovery and Picard have struggled? Welcome to an episode-by-episode review.
Star Trek, in all its various forms, has never really been away since The Motion Picture dragged the once-cancelled original TV from the syndication doldrums to the bright cinematic uplands of the silver screen. A series of six ridiculously successful movies (well, ridiculously success for a middlingly-liked but cancelled TV show at any rate) gave birth to The Next Generation. Then Deep Space Nine. Then Voyager. Then Enterprise. Alongside all that, there were the four Next Generation movies – noticeably less successful at the box-office than their TOS counterparts but keeping the flame alive nonetheless. Enterprise, ignominiously-if-deservedly cancelled in 2005, seemed to mark the end of one particular strand of the franchise, yet just four years of no-Star Trek lie between it at the show returning to the big screen with the sharp, expensive and alternative-timeline shenanigans of the 2009 movie. That’s spawned two further movies – with a third on the way – but in a very real sense Star Trek‘s home has always been the small screen, not the silver one. Anyway, you get the point – four years between Trek projects is nothing. Even if the gap between Enterprise and the franchie’s big return to television, Discovery, is twelve years they have not, in any meaningful sense, been twelve Star Trek free years.Continue reading “Strange New Worlds: Season 1, Episode 1 – “Strange New Worlds””
Picard is back for a second season of time-travel, trauma and Q. But can Season Two correct the flaws of Season One while also juggling the Borg?
One of the immense frustrations of Picard‘s first season was just how much good will the show had going into it, and just how much of that good will was completely wasted on go-nowhere plots, a bunch of who-dat side characters that never really cohered into anything, and wasting Patrick Stewart in a series named after his character but which only occasionally gave him anything to actually do. The conclusion to that season, especially, was simply dreadful, with Picard apparently becoming a robot but for no good reason, and the series going out of its way to point out its own irrelevancy. Everyone flew off into the sunset at the end of the season, a crew together for plot expediency rather than any other reason, and speculation inevitably mounted as to whether Season Two would have the ability to course-correct in any meaningful way and address the issues that Season One so glaringly failed to.Continue reading “Picard: Season Two”
It’s the mighty She Loves You this week on Stuffology, the biggest-selling Beatles single of them all. Does the song deservie its totemic reputation? How does Brian Epstein factor into this? And when discussing production, just how pretentious can JG get? (hint: fairly!)
The Bat’s back – not that it feels like he’s ever been away. But can the new, somehow-even-grimmer-than-last-time, Batman movie work with all that darkness?
What’s The Movie? The Batman
What’s It All About, JG? Batman (Robert Pattinson) morosely investigates the murder of Gotham mayor Don Mitchell by the Riddler (Paul Dano). Following a series of morose clues, Batman morosely stumbles around Gotham as the Riddler picks off a few people one by one, while bumping into/helping/not being helped by Selina Kyle / Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz). We eventually find out that the Riddler has a personal vendetta against the Waynes, having grown up in an orphanage they had funded, and he leaks information that Thomas Wayne was corrupt after apparently paying Falcone (John Turturro) to kill a journalist. Also Falcone is Selina’s Dad, if not a good one. The Riddler send a bomb to take out Bruce Wayne as part of his revenge but instead manages to get Alfred (Andy Serkis), the lone non-morose presence in the movie. Selina plans to kill Falcone, but the Riddler beats her to it and is sent to Arkham, where he tells Batman that he was an inspiration- irony! The Riddler has also placed seven car bombs at the city walls which blow and flood Gotham, as a way to assassinate the mayor by forcing her into the “shelter of last resort” along with most of the city’s population and some rooftop assassins. A touch baroque, perhaps? Anyway it doesn’t work and Batman and Catwoman go their separate ways at the end of the movie. Morosely.Continue reading “The Batman”
What’s The Show? The second-last Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who story, Legend Of The Sea Devils.
What’s It All About, JG? The TARDIS is pulled off course to 19th Century China, where a statue has been
convincingly attacked by Madame Ching (Crystal Yu) who’s searching for treasure, only to reveal… a Sea Devil! Excitement? Er… anyway, Dan encounters Ying Ki (Marlowe Chan-Reeves), whose father was killed by said Sea Devil back in the day aboard the ship Flor de la Mar. They sneak aboard Madame Ching’s pirate ship and are immediately captured. She reveals that she needs the treasure from the selfsame Flor de la Mar to get her crew back – they’ve been kidnapped and are being held to ransom. The Doctor and Yaz slip back in time to the 16th century to try and find the treasure, unsuccessfully, and are taken to the Sea Devils’ underground lair. It turns out the Sea Devils are looking for the Keystone to execute their plans and flood the Earth, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s currently hanging round the neck of Ying Ki, passed down from his father. The captain of the Flor de la Mar, Ji-Hun (Arthur Lee) has been kept alive in stasis by the Sea Devils and had tricked them by getting the Keystone safely away. There’s a battle on the Sea Devil-converted wreck of the Flor de la Mar, and Ji-Hun sacrifices himself so the regular cast can escape and the Sea Devils are foiled. It all wraps up with a scene between the Doctor and Yaz, where the Yaz confesses her feelings and the Doctor gently, but firmly, turns her down. And then we get that trailer…
A Korean swashbuckling pirate epic! But can this film balance comedy and adventure on the high seas?
What’s The Movie? The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure / 해적: 도깨비 깃발
What’s It All About, JG? Pirates. And treasure. You might just possibly be able to infer what kind of movie this is, but let’s do the necessary. A bunch of bandits, led by the spectacularly-haired Woo Moo-chi (Kang Ha-neul), are adrift at sea when they are rescued by Hae-rang (Han Hyo-joo). She’s the owner of a pirate ship and is on the search for – you guessed it – the royal treasure of Goryeo, which vanished at sea without a trace. The rest of the movie is basically a quest to find said treasure, which leads to all sorts of what can only be described as shenanigans – nearly dying via a herd of CGI cows, getting sucked into a vortex, sword battles in the middle of lightning storms, that sort of thing. Ranged against our unlikely band are Bu Heung-soo (Kwon Sang-woo) and his crew, rebels who are also after the treasure. It all ends with comedy penguins and sailing off into the sunset. Yup, it’s that kind of pirate movie.Continue reading “The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure / 해적: 도깨비 깃발”
I spy, with Amazon’s eye, something beginning with…
What’s The Movie? All The Old Knives
What’s It All About, JG? Two former CIA operatives, Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) and the now-retired Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton) meet up in a luxurious restaurant to discuss a case from 2012. A plane was hijacked in Vienna and despite the CIA’s best efforts all the passengers and terrorists were killed. New information has come to light years later that there may have been a mole, and Henry has been tasked with getting to the bottom of what happened. What follows is two stories told in parallel. Firstly there’s a series of flashbacks to the 2012 incident itself, including the psychosexual relationship between Henry and Celia, which outlines the events and characters involved. Secondly, and interwoven with the flashbacks, there’s the contemporary scenes set in the restaurant where the two former lovers play cat-and-mouse with each other, before the final reveal of what really happened and the consequences of it.Continue reading “All The Old Knives”