Picard: Season Two

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.

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Beatles Stuffology Podcast – Episode 18: She Loves You

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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!)

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The Batman

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.

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Doctor Who – Legend Of The Sea Devils

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…

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The Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure / 해적: 도깨비 깃발

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.

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All The Old Knives

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.

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Beatles Stuffology Podcast – Episode 17: Thank You Girl

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We flip the disc for our song choice this week and discuss the B-side “Thank You Girl”. Did the song deserve to be an A-side as originally intended? What was going on in the charts at this time? And why the diversion into Cliff Richard talk? (to be honest, the last of those questions may not be answered after listening). Thanks, “Thank You Girl”!

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Moonfall

That “the dark side of the moon” gag is the best this movie is going to get. Be warned!

What’s The Movie? Moonfall

What’s It All About, JG? The moon is falling towards the Earth. Now I know what you’re thinking – sounds credible! And it is! Turns out the Moon is, in fact, a megastructure placed there aeons ago by the ancestors of humanity as a kind of ark when AI became too self-aware and tried to wipe humanity out. A plucky band of plucky heroes pluckily try to stop them. You know the type – characters with so much depth and character development they might as well have been called Feisty Female, Butch Male, and Nerdy Redshirt. While they try and figure out the whole moon thing, a teenage boy (Butch Male’s son), an Asian woman who serves no plot function whatsoever but presumably helps with that all-important Chinese market, and Male’s ex-wife and new husband, have typical disaster-movie adventures – getting stuck under falling trees, getting carjacked by local yokels, trying to escape the end of the world by running away a bit – until the plot requires them to not do that any more. The moon gets pluckily fixed thanks to some other aliens and (massive sigh) an EMP device, at the cost of Nerdy Redshirt’s life, and, um, goes back into orbit, so all’s well that ends well, other than the vast unprecedented destruction. Oh but Nerdy Redshit isn’t dead after all, he’s been uploaded to the Moon’s AI, and now it’s time to get to work. Cue sequel? Er…

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Beatles Stuffology Podcast – Episode 16: From Me To You

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We leave Please Please Me behind and stroll into the world of non-album singles as JG and Andrew get to grips with The Beatles very first number one, “From Me To You”. Does the song deserve its place as the very first of the band’s to top the charts? How long will it take until Ringo gets mentioned?  And how good is the “song length to podcast episode length” ratio?

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Beatles Stuffology Podcast – Episode 15 Please Please Me – The Album

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With each individual track now covered it’s time to turn our attention to the album as a whole, as JG and Andrew discuss Please Please Me as a singular work rather than a broken-up series of tracks. How does the album stand up when considered as a whole? Just how much cultural context can be squeezed into one episode before they actually get round to talking about the album this episode is ostensibly about? Where will things go from here? Plus, most gloriously of all, we have the first discussion of The Rutles! You can’t ask for more than that!

eMail: beatlesstuffology@gmail.com

Twitter: @beatles_ology