It’s been a slow couple of weeks for TMINE. Basically, just the regulars and not much new TV or movies. Which is shame, because the cinemas are open now! Just nothing on I want to watch yet. But I will!
The regulars are, as you will recall: Debris (US: NBC); Mythic Quest (Apple TV+); and Jupiter’s Legacy (Netflix). Debris has been solidly decent, with the usual blend of nasty alien tech, conspiracies and unpleasantly weird things happening to people. I’m not sure about the SAS guy, but maybe I’m judging him badly. I should also point out it’s been nice to see Erica from Being Erica again, too. Doesn’t time fly?
Mythic Quest has been alternately great and not too bad. When it’s nasty, it’s very very nasty and funny; this week’s episode was a little too nice and undermined Danny Pudi’s character substantially, as well. Plus there’s something politically odd about a white male telling a gay female character she needs to stop blaming the world for all her problems – and for the episode basically to support him. It works with the characters, to be fair, but all the same… hmmm.
Jupiter’s Legacy ended pretty decently. The departure of Steven DeKnight midway through the season was pretty obvious, since the gore factor went down from ‘insane’ to ‘zero’ more or less instantly. But I did really enjoy the second half of the season, with its greater focus on the Great Depression and how the heroes got their powers – hadn’t realised that the show was going to be (spoiler alert) quite so literal, with Jupiter being not just the Roman god but the planet as well . Very weird watching the daughter from My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 being a drug-taking superheroine (or villainness), though. Would very much recommend to anyone who likes superheroes, though.
WHYBW is back to Mondays, so no new Debris to review this week. But I have been watching some new shows. It’s almost like old times, hey?
Kung Fu (US: The CW) isn’t so much a reboot or revival of the original 1970s show – or even Kung Fu: The Next Generation – as a complete reimagining, albeit with some similarities to the original. Set in modern times, it has a Chinese-American girl going on holiday to China, discovering it’s been organised as a marriage matchmaking by her mum, and does a Mulan – running of to join a local female-only Shaolin temple. After the temple gets burned down by an Evil Ex-Pupil and her Sifu killed, she heads off to the US and is reunited with her family. And is accompanied by the ghost/memory of her former master.
Sounds a bit familiar at least, to fans of the original, but there the similarities peter out, as our heroine firstly has to join forces with her (gay) brother, her Crazy Rich Asians computer hacker sister and the studly local youth centre T’ai Ch’i master to fight crime in San Francisco – particularly the gang boss who’s extorting her parents. Secondly, Evil Ex-Pupil is on the hunt for eight magic swords that will give her awesome magical powers, and our heroine might be the only one who can stop her – and might have magical powers herself.
It’s a slightly weird combo that actually just about works, although the kung fu is almost as bad as the original’s. The crime fighting and family relationships are more interesting than the magical side of things, which is just a bit bobbins. But the characters didn’t really engage me, so I won’t go past the first episode, I don’t think.
Jupiter’s Legacy (Netflix) is a massively more promising affair. Based on the graphic novel by Mark Millar, it’s a musing on… well, lots of things, TBH. It sees one generation of nearly immortal people given superpowers during the Great Depression having to deal with the fact in modern times that their kids have superpowers – and maybe different attitudes towards morality et al to them. Is killing always wrong, do they need a code to keep them in check, should they have intervened in World War 2 and stopped the Holocaust?
There are elements of Watchmen, The Boys and more in there, but this is very much its own beast. Its showrunner is Steven DeKnight, who was of course responsible for both season 1 of Daredevil (Netflix) and Spartacus, so you can probably tell this is a definite 18-certificate affair when it comes to the gore. As well as being pretty dark and as ‘realistic’ as something like this can be, though, it’s also pretty funny, has a great cast and has keep me interested for four episodes so far. I’ll let you know how the rest of it pans out.
Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet (Apple TV+) returned with a two-parter and was gloriously funny. The cast are the same but there has been some character movements – new pairings, some advances in relationships – but largely it’s the same show, mulling on the difficulties of creativity. It felt a bit more office comedy than before, with less on games per se, more on just general workplace difficulties. But the nastiness, smartness and general amusement were very much back in force.
Lastly, we have Amazon’s latest addition to its Tom Clancy collection, Without Remorse (2021), which is an origin story (set in modern times, nevertheless) for Clancy’s non-Jack Ryan anti-hero, John T Clark, that sees Michael B Jordan going from regular Navy SEAL-type to becoming a clandestine superman when his wife is predictably killed by Russian bad guys in retaliation for MBJ killing one of theirs, etc, etc.
Honestly, it was both dull and dark. Dark and dull. In that order. Very predictable, with everyone talking the talk and shooting the shot in a hope that all that manly super-efficiency at not having any emotions will compensate for not having any real personalities, characters or plot. This is despite again a decent cast, particularly, MBJ. You could see pretty much everything coming, right up to the creation of (spoiler alert) Rainbow Six right at the end, particularly as it was all shot like a video game.
It’s been a relatively quiet week or so for TMINE, with most of the regulars having departed for pastures new last week. Or something. But I did watch one TV show and a movie.
Debris was a two-parter of marvellousness. One of TMINE’s golden rules of sci-fi is that sooner or later, ever sci-fi show will do its own version of Groundhog Day and Debris tackled it in its usual surprising and sometimes nasty way – what if what you did in every version of the loop could affect the next loop, even if you couldn’t remember what happened the previous time? It was a real mind-blowing affair that almost gave us a new cast every loop, which was intriguing to see, particularly since some of the characters had been hinted at in previous episodes. Thoroughly enjoyable!
Meanwhile, I also caught another piece of alternative reality fun in the form of Justice Society: World War II, in which the Flash accidentally travels to an alternative World War II where Wonder Woman is leading the charge against the Nazis, aided by Steve Trevor, Hourman, another Flash, Black Canary and Hawkman. But no Superman. There he has to puzzle out how to get back to his own reality, help the Justice Society and maybe learn a little something that could help him in his own time. Except there’s another alternative reality super person or two who might help or hinder them all as well…
It’s actually the best of these animated DC movies I’ve seen so far. The animation is a bit less anime, a bit more Archer than normal. Wonder Woman – Stana Katic (Castle, Absentia) channelling her Israeli accent from Heroes again to do an almost perfect Gal Gadot impression – is the true heroine of the piece and more kick ass than you’ll ever have seen her, even in her own animated movies, but everyone gets their moment to shine. Black Canary’s moment is downright terrifying, in fact. You won’t be underestimating her again.
It’s also pretty gruesome, with various heroes getting killed in unpleasant ways, which was unexpected, making for a somewhat different movie from the one I was expecting. Yet there’s actually plenty of humour, too, so not a DC grim fest.
Those pluses are slightly countered, however, by the fact this feels a touch open-ended, with various moments never really explained, presumably because a sequel is planned.
If you like animated DC heroes, this is a refreshing change from the usual, but if you don’t, there’s nothing in the movie to really make you change your mind.