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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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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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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Loki

A trickster god, multipe timelines and a Disney budget – what could possibly go wrong?

Not what I’d call low-key

What’s The Show? Loki

What’s It All About, JG? After (well, during) the events of Endgame, the trickster God Loki manages to escape with the Tesseract and finds himself in an alternate timeline. There he is taken in by the Time Variance Agency, an organisation that exists outside of normal space and time who help to regulate the “one sacred timeline” by ensuring one version of history is always running as it is “meant to”. Since this version of Loki is a time variant, everyone’s favourite troublemaker has a choice – either face being pruned form existence as a variant or assist in fixing the timeline in order to prevent an even bigger threat. That means we get six episodes of various differing amounts of things, during which we learn that the TVA is a bit of a fraud and the Time-Keepers who are meant to run the place are entirely fictional. The whole thing ends with the reveal of He Who Remains, the real power behind the throne and gratuitous set-up for the upcoming slate of Main Range movies. Oh, and the inevitable post-credits thing which makes it clear Loki’s getting a second season.

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Chernobyl

What could scream “entertainment!” more than the worst nuclear disaster in history?

Happy Soviet Funtime Hour!

What’s The Show? Chernobyl

What’s It All About, JG? Whacky, zany adventures down at the old мама и папа power plant! What crazy shenanigans with the crew get up to this week, as they try to prove the superiority of Soviet technology? Uh-oh, that’s a lot of flashing lights, Anatolay! What you done this time?! Alternatively, one of the most bleak, powerful and moving dramas ever put together, as the HBO/Sky miniseries explores exactly what happed before, during and after the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl power plant in 1986.

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Tunnel

Korean sci-fi and some groundworks – a recipie for success!

What’s The Show? Tunnel

What’s It All About, JG? It’s a Korean series from 2017 about a detective who, while pursuing a murder suspect in 1986, is transported forward in time thirty years via the titular tunnel. Upon arrival he takes the place of another officer with the same name – Park Gwang-ho – and bluffs his way into his life. That Park Gwang-ho was also a police officer, so Our Hero gets partnered up – in the police sense – with Kim Seon-jae, a contemporary detective who’s investigating a serial killer whose modus operandi is the same as the one Gwang-ho was pursuing when he got caught up in all this. It’s a sort of reverse Life On Mars, in other words, with the detective going forward in time not back, a bit of culture-clash comedy, a genuinely compelling case at the core of the show, and a bunch of soap-opera antics to keep us amused while that main plot ticks away. Will Gwang-ho be able to catch the serial killer and return to the love of his life back in 1986?

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The Equalizer

A revival of a revival of an original – can that possibly work?

What’s The Show? The Equalizer.

What’s It All About, JG? Well, back in the dim and distant days of the 80’s, when bubble perms were acceptable and day-glo was somehow alright to wear for a night on the town, Edward Woodward defended the lost and in-trouble of New York City who had no-one else to turn to. It was all exceedingly 80’s, with a moody synth theme tune, grubby locations and ice-cool Robert McCall as played deadpan-straight by Woodward. Then, in the dim and distant days of *checks date*, erm 2014, the series became a movie, starring ice-cool Denzel Washington as Robert McCall – in other words it was exactly the same. But wait! Now, in the dim but extremely present day of 2021, we have a third go-around, this time starring Queen Latifah, as ice… no wait, that’s not it. She’s exceedingly cool but the ice has gone this time out, instead playing Robyn McCall (no relation) as someone who’s driven to help people but is also balancing a family life at the same time. It is, in other words, every bit as 2021 as the original series was 80’s.

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Kim’s Convenience

Can Canadians do sit-coms?

What’s The Show? Kim’s Convenience

What’s It All About, JG? It’s a Canadian sitcom about a Korean-Canadian immigrant family who run a convenience store in Toronto. It’s all very traditionally sitcom-y, with the patriarch of the family, Appa, running the titular store and family life revolving around it. That family life includes a n’er-do-well son trying to make things right after a spate of petty teenage crime led to a rift between him and his father, a loyal daughter trying to do the right thing by her family which trying to assert her independence, and Umma, the matriarch who, at least on the surface, feels more grounded yet can spin out just as easily as anyone else given the right circumstances. In other words, it’s a family sitcom. What that summary fails to do, though, is sum up how unutterably charming and delightful the show is. Which may be a bit of a spoiler for what’s coming up…

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