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.
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…
After more than 40 years since his first appearance, Boba Fett gets his own show. But does it work, or will it be a Fett worse than death?
What’s the Show?The Book Of Boba Fett
What’s It All About, JG? Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), bounty hunter extrordinare (it says here) escapes his ignominious Return Of The Jedi fate of being swallowed by a toothy hole, and has a series of mildly diverting escapades until The Mandalorian shows up for no readily apparent reason and makes everything better. Or, if you want to be sightly more specific, Fett survives his encounter with the Sarlacc and learns wisdom and weaponry from a tribe of Tusken Raiders. In trying to help them, he gets them all killed so instead he pisses off to Jabba’s old palace and tries to become a crime lord / Daimyo. This goes… less that well, though he manages to recruit Fennec Shand (a criminally wasted Ming-Na Wen) to his cause,and a gang of modified teenagers on Vespa’s (for some fucking reason), then ends up defending the town of Mos Espa from spice traders so we can have a big, drawn-out shooting match in the final episode. Meanwhile, The Mandalorian does a bit of Mandalorian-ing, is reunited with Grogu / Baby Yoda, and pisses off for hopefully more engaging adventures elsewhere.
Korean sc-fi, an abandoned lunar research base and a lurking secret in the dark… a recipe for success?
What’s The Show?The Silent Sea
What’s It All About, JG? In the near future the Earth is running out of water, turning into a desert for… reasons. On an abandoned research station on the moon that’s been untouched for five years there’s the possibility of a solution, lunar water, which can apparently self-replicate. That means a dangerous, secret mission to the deserted base to try and retrieve the samples of water for a Korean space exploration force. But on arriving, they discover things aren’t as straightforward as a near-lethal rescue mission might otherwise suggest! For there is also something lurking on the base, and the water itself might not turn out to be quite as benign as was hoped… Can the crew get a sample safely back to Earth and get rescued? How many will survive? And just who is Luna and what does she represent?
What’s The Show?The Doctor Who New Year’s special, Eve Of The Daleks.
What’s It All About, JG?The Doctor, Yaz and Dan land on New Year’s Eve in a self-storage depot while the Doctor attempts to purge the remaining Flux energy from the TARDIS. Turns out doing that causes a time loop, which the Daleks pop into in order to extract revenge for the Doctor wiping out their war fleet with the Flux. Also there are Sarah (a brilliant Aisling Bea) and oddball Nick (Adjani Salmon), who’s storing the possessions of ex-girlfriends there and using it as an excuse to see Sarah, on whom he has an unrequited crush. Every time the Executioner Daleks – with the really cool Gatling gun weapons – kill them, time resets and the loop becomes just that little bit shorter, so its up to the Doctor to figure out how they can defeat the Daleks, keep everyone alive, and escape the loop before time runs out.
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?
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!
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.
A bloody and violent Korean TV show takes the world by storm. But can it live up to the hype?
What’s The Show?Squid Game.
What’s It All About, JG?Somewhere on an island off the coast of Korea, contestants who are in various desperate situations due to debt and poverty are driven to compete in lethal games for the amusement of a bunch of rich assholes. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.
What’s The Topic?Korean TV, and the wonders thereof.
Even the most pop-culturally blind person in the world could not really have failed to notice just how dominant and mainstream K-Pop has become in the world. BTS are, of course, the big-ticket item there, and have secured an enduring legacy outwith their home country and around the world . Even just a few years would have seemed vastly unlikely except with a novelty hit like “Gangnam Style”. Yet music – and there’s a whole lot more to Korean music than just K-Pop – isn’t the only place Korean culture has been flourishing.