More from the Expanding TV and Film Universe
For a TV and film columnist, I can’t go to the movies as often as I’d like. That’s less important since television sets have come to resemble private silver screens and movies can be played at the touch of a button. However, there’s still nothing like seeing a highly-anticipated movie with a bunch of friends the night it’s released. That’s what eight friends and I did December 15 for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.
If you’re not much of a Star Wars fan, let me reassure you ROGUE ONE fits under Mysterical-E’s crime umbrella as it depicts rebels’ theft of plans for a weapon of mass destruction in hopes of stopping an evil empire from using said weapon. And though I am a Star Wars fan, I was curious to see how far the movie would depart from George Lucas’s Star Wars trilogies after 2015’s THE FORCE AWAKENS relied heavily on the original.
I’m happy to report that, while the Gareth Edwards-directed ROGUE ONE is also an homage to the original trilogy, it concentrates on the previously-untold story of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), daughter of Death Star architect Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) as she defies her superiors to save her father and steal the Death Star plans shortly before the events of the original STAR WARS (1977). ROGUE ONE is proof that a Star Wars movie doesn’t have to be part of a trilogy and can succeed without creator George Lucas.
Staying with the science fiction crime theme, the second season of SyFy’s THE EXPANSE premieres February 1. A realistic projection of future humanity’s migration beyond our solar system and the political tension that creates, the show, based on the novels and short stories by James S.A. Corey, also features a noir element embodied by fedora-wearing private security operative Joe Miller (played by Thomas Jane). If you want to catch up, Season 1 is available on DVD, Blu-ray (surpassing the original broadcast’s quality), or streaming on Amazon Prime.
Meanwhile the time-travel themed TRAVELERS premiered on Netflix December 23, a joint production with Canadian TV network Showcase. Created by Brad Wright of TV’s STARGATE franchise, the show follows people whose consciousnesses are sent from a bleak future into present-day bodies close to their recorded times of death in hopes of improving humanity’s lot. Eric McCormack stars as Eric McCormack as present-day FBI Special Agent Grant MacLaren, who discovers the presence of Travelers shortly before he was reported to have fallen to his death chasing a killer. Grant’s body is taken over by Traveler 3468, who heads his own five-person Traveler team.
The teams must stay on-task so as not to alter the future more than expected, but soon enough, 3468 and his team grow attached to people in their hosts’ lives and try to help those people as well as themselves. Meanwhile, they succeed at the bulk of their missions, but their future doesn’t seem to improve. Only the tip of the iceberg, I’m sure. Recommended for fellow fans of QUANTUM LEAP, LEVERAGE, and PERSON OF INTEREST.
On broadcast TV, the MACGYVER reboot to impress me. Following a season-long hunt for the woman who betrayed our down-to-earth hero in the pilot, it turned out someone else, thought to be one of Mac’s closest allies all this time, was the true traitor. Way to work the long con.
And finally, I’m intrigued by The CW’s RIVERDALE, a dark adaptation of Archie Comics developed by Greg Berlanti of ARROW and THE FLASH. Premiering January 26, it’s said to have a TWIN PEAKS vibe, with the characters rocked by the death of a fellow student including Jughead (former Disney child star Cole Sprouse) as the town’s resident writer-sleuth. I’ll report further on the show next column.
Until then, feel free to comment with your TV, Netflix, and movie recommendations.