What’s It All About, JG? Well, that’s a tricky one. Actually, it’s not all that tricky but this is definitely a show that benefits from knowing as little as possible about it going in and then allowing yourself to be surprised by it. It is, though, a lightly comic drama about relationships and what happens to them, though again saying more is straying into spoiler territory. Spoilers definitely wouldn’t ruin the show (and I’m normally fine with casting spoilers about aplenty) yet at the same time there’s definitely a pleasure to be had from seeing a show start going in one particular direction and then seeing what it develops into. But this isn’t getting us anywhere, so let’s get the basics out of the way.
Can an old early 90s sci-fi show make the leap into the 21st century?
What’s The Show?Quantum Leap, the unexpected return.
What’s It All About, JG? Well, pretty much the same as the original series, unsurprisingly. But for the sake of completeness, Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee), Our Hero, is a physicist working on the Quantum Leap time-travel project thirty years after when the original show was set. Ben “leaps” for reasons which remain murky throughout much of the first season, jumping into various different people across time as he “tries to put right what once went wrong”. You know, saving a restaurant, helping a family get over a tragedy, defeating prejudice, giving Brandon Routh some guest-star work, that kind of thing. He’s aided in his missions by his fiancee, Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who appears to him in the form of an insubstantial hologram, and the rest of the Quantum Leap team. In the present they’re trying to figure out how to get Ben back while also trying to understand what it was that drove him to leap in the first place and what he’s really trying to achieve. In the end, he did it to save Addison’s life, which he successfully does despite the machinations of “Leaper X”, another time-traveller hell-bent on stopping him.
Can the final season of Picard give the Next Generation crew a better ending than Nemesis did? Um…
What’s the Show? The final season of Star Trek: Picard
What’s It All About, JG?Fanwank, largely. But fine, there’s a plot. Beverly Crusher, in absentia for twenty years, turns up on a ship being fired at accompanied by A Mysterious Man, Jack. She needs rescuing, so sends a desperate message to Picard who, along with Riker, attempts a rescue by redirecting the Titan, a ship Seven of Nine is also now serving on (don’t worry about the details – nobody else did). The ship is captained by a spectacular asshole of a captain, Shaw, but Seven redirects the ship anyway against his orders. Arriving at the location Bev sent over, they are attacked by another ship, the Shrike, which is captained by – get your collective gasps ready now – a changeling! The captain, Vadic, wants Jack, Bev’s far-from-inexplicable sidekick.
Luther’s back! And on Netflix! But can The Fallen Sun live up to the expectations of the BBC show?
What’s the Movie/Show?Luther: The Fallen Sun
What’s It All About, JG? When last we saw him, Luther’s increasingly extreme measures caught up with him and it was to jail with the disgraced DCI. The Fallen Sun picks up with the self-same Luther (Idris Elba, of course) in prison, where he’s broadcast the sound of people being tortured to death. Nice. This is all being orchestrated by David Robey (Andy Serkis), a wealthy psychopath who enjoys using surveillance tech in order to get people to kill themselves and/or cause convenient plot distractions.
Luther escapes from prison to stop him. There is, inevitably, a mole in the police investigation as DCI Raine (Cynthia Erivo) and Luther’s former colleagues try to get him back to jail while also pursuing Robey. The whole thing ends up in Norway, with Robey having build a “Red Bunker” – a torture chamber where Luther and Raine end up having to fight each other for the prurient interests of watching pervs. The police turn up to shut down the bunker, and Robey ends up drowned at the bottom of a lake. Luther is flown back to England to recover to recover from his wounds, but is offered a potential way out of going back to prison, as MI5 are maybe offering him a job. Watch this space…?
How scary can an oil rig and some fog be? Pretty damned scary!
What’s The Show? The Rig
What’s It All About, JG? On a remote Scottish oil rig, the Kinloch Alpha, Something Mysterious Is Stirring. Something, perhaps unsurprisingly, from the deep. Communications with land are cut off when a speedy fog zips in to engulf the titular rig. After surviving what ought to have been a fatal fall during this thick and mysterious fog, Baz Roberts (Calvin Denba) appears to have been infected with something which starts to rapidly heal his body. As he recovers it’s also clear he has, at least in part, been taken over by something. Mysterious.
It’s the end of the 13th Doctor. But does Jodie Whittaker’s version get the exist she so richly deserves?
What’s the Show?Jodie Whittaker’s final, 90-minute epic turn as the Doctor.
What’s It All About, JG? The Doctor, Yaz and Dan attempt to stop a space-train getting hijacked by a bunch of Cybermen (alright: CyberMasters). Unsuccessfully, as it happens, and the CyberMasters steal the cargo – what appears to be a young girl. Dan, having had enough of nearly dying, decides it’s time to call it quits while he’s ahead of the game and leaves. Oh yes, and a Dalek wants to give the Doctor the key to destroying his species, like you do. Meanwhile, Tegan (Tegan!) and Ace (Ace!) are investigating the abduction of seismologists and artwork, and the Master is at work in Russia, posing as Rasputin.
He’s brought the Daleks, the CyberMasters and himself together in an attempt to finally defeat the Doctor – he wants to take over the Doctor’s body, then destroy everything she stands for. And he uses the child – actually a Qurunx, an enslaved energy being – to do it. The Doctor fights back from the inside with the help of the 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th in phantom form, and on the outside Tegan and Ace help defeat the CyberMasters while Yaz forces the Master to reverse his takeover of the Doctor and forces him back into his own body. As the Qurunx escapes its bonds, the Master directs its energy towards the Doctor in a final act of revenge, mortally wounding her and forcing her to (not very surprisingly) regenerate into David Tennant. Again.
Neil Gaimen’s The Sandman has finally made it to screen! But is it such stuff as dreams are made of?
What’s The Show?The Sandman
What’s It All About, JG? Well, other than the decades-long attempts to actually get the damned thing on screen at all, its mostly about Dream of the Endless, or Morpheus, who is captured and imprisoned by a cabal of occultists actually trying to snare Death. Trapped for a hundred years, the Dreaming – Morpheus’s realm – deteriorates, affecting the waking world. Eventually gaining his freedom, Morpheus attempts to rebuild his realm while trying to understand his place in a world that hasn’t known him for a century. We also get to meet various members of his Family, the Endless, and their shenanigans, and also the Corinthian, a dream that was made to be the ultimate nightmare and has escaped into the waking world.
[Apologies for delay: life stuff. I’ll get to the other episodes eventually]
The running thread of Dr M’Benga’s sick daughter, and his efforts to cure her, has been just that – a running thread. It’s come up in a couple of episodes, it’s been absent from a couple of episodes, but it’s been used to deepen our understanding of M’Benga and give Babs Olusanmokun the chance to act his socks off. Both of which have very much been achieved. Back in the sixth episode, the deeply unsatisfying “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach”, M’Benga is able to get access to some advanced medical information which very much implied that his research would be ongoing. That episode didn’t give him a cure, but it gave him a path.
What’s It All About? After screwing up a training mission, MI5 officer River Cartwright is kicked downstairs to the so-called Slow Horses of Slough House, a dumping ground for failed agents. This is a humiliation where instead of pretending to be James Bond, he’s stuck with tedious paperwork overseen by Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman!), his apparently-uncaring and uninterested boss. A British-Asian Muslim student is kidnapped by the Sons Of Albion – a right-wing fascist organisation – as a false-flag operation set up by Lamb’s boss, Diana Taverner (Kirsten Scott Thomas). MI5 have an inside man as part of the group but when one of the members goes rogue and executes the agent it’s a rush to find out where they’ve taken the student and rescue him before the Sons execute him. It’s down to the Slow Horses to come up with the answers as they go on the run to stop the fascist group and rescue the student.
Ewan McGregor returns to the role of Obi-Wan for his the first small-screen outing in the role. But can the series live up to the character’s oversized reputation?
What’s the Show, JG?Obi-Wan Kenobi
What’s It All About? Well depending on how generous you’re feeling, it’s either about redeeming pretty much the lone good things from the Star Wars prequels (i.e. Ewan McGregor), or it’s yet another cynical ploy to wring yet more cash / subscriptions out of Star Wars fans by pandering to them with a big star returning to their old role but on the small screen. Either way, Obi-Wan is hiding out on Tatooine nominally watching over Luke Skywalker as he grows up. After Princess Leia – a precocious child with surprising parkour skillz – is abducted, Senator Jimmy Smits Bail Organa asks for Kenobi’s help to get her back. Meanwhile, there’s an Inquisitor on Obi-Wan’s tale, Third Sister Reva Sevander, who has set up the abduction and has her own agenda. After surviving the slaughter of the younglings at the hand of Anakin, she’s out for revenge and wants to kill Luke. The abduction of Leia is part of her absurdly daft and baroque plan to draw Kenobi out, but anyway, we get six episodes of escaping-from-planets, a few lightsaber battles along the way, and eventually Reva gets redemption, Kenobi finally accepts Anakin has gone for good and has subsumed into Darth Vader, and everything ends more or less where it began. Except for all those dead bodies, but oh well, omelettes, eggs, etc