The Silent Sea

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?

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Doctor Who – Eve Of The Daleks

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.

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Dr Brain (Dr. 브레인)

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?

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Doctor Who – Flux (Season 13)

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!

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The Beatles, Get Back

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.

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Squid Game

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.

Oh alright, you want more?

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And Introducing… Korean TV

The excellence of Korean TV shows, introduced.

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.

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The Rematerialisation Of A Writerly Icon

The man who saved Doctor Who from obscurity returns to his throne. But how good an idea is that?

Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies is returning to the world of Doctor Who.

This is, to put it mildly, an interesting development. Davies’s absence from the Doctor Who world, after standing down alongside David Tennant back in 2008, has been fairly striking. Other than a brief, and really rather excellent, cameo during the (also rather excellent) The Five-ish Doctors Reboot, he was entirely in absentia from Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary shindigs. While some of that might simply be out of respect for his replacement, Steven Moffat, it’s still noticeable that the person responsible for guiding the show back from the Wilderness Years, and the person who single-handedly turned it into one of the most popular shows on television, was completely absent from the big party. Davies has done nothing for Big Finish at all, a company he claims to have been rather proud to have saved in the early days of the new show by quietly deflecting questions about licencing. And if ever there was a refuge for Doctor Who writers of the past, it’s Big Finish. There’s been the novelization of Rose, and it’s pretty good for what it is, but beyond that? Zip.

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Leaves On The Cultural Line – A Doctor Stands Down

A Time Lord exits – but does it matter, and if so, why?

Jodie Whittaker has decided to stand down as the Doctor.

Rather than debating the merits or otherwise of her era, it’s been interesting to see the press reaction to the news that the first female Doctor has decided to leave on a schedule pretty much in line with the previous two Doctors. Sure, there will be fewer episodes in her third season, but there’s a pandemic on – there’s not a lot you can do about that really. Otherwise, though, she’s done her shift and it will be time for a new Doctor (cue much rampant speculation and little-to-no accuracy) and a new showrunner. Still. The news made a few front pages. The Guardian went with the relatively staid and accurate “Jodie Whittaker Quits Doctor Who”. OK. “Time’s Up Already: Jodie Whittaker To Leave Doctor Who” says The Independent. So far, so accurate. “Woke Doctor Who Quits The TARDIS”, says the Daily Telegraph. Hmm. One of these things is not like the other.

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Babylon Berlin

A series set in Berlin, Germany in the late 1920’s – that can only end well, right?

What’s The Show? Babylon Berlin

What’s It All About, JG? The series is set in Berlin during the dying days of the Weimer Republic, where Inspector Gereon Rath has arrived, fresh-faced and slightly innocent, from Colonge who is sent on assignment. He’s there to try and take apart an extortion ring – it very much doesn’t just so happens to be his father that’s being extorted – aided and abetted by Charlotte Ritter, one of the police clerks trying to make her own way past the inherent sexism of the era in a time when women were finally starting to make progress in the workplace.

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