Onward into moody dystopia: Blade Runner 2049 continues on in comic book form

(image via IMP Awards)

 

SNAPSHOT
The comic series will continue to unravel the future-set continuity of the Blade Runner universe, picking things up after the events of the long-awaited 2017 movie sequel, director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, which followed the exploits of replicant blade runner K (Ryan Gosling), whose circuitous existential crisis leads him into the crosshairs of a radical group of replicant revolutionaries, steering him on a path that pairs him with original movie protagonist Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). The events of the sequel saw a major evolution in the duality between humans and replicants, leaving things on an intriguing cliffhanger. (synopsis (c) Den of Geek)

I was relatively late to the marvellously moody world of Blade Runner – OK try really late, only watching Ridley Scott’s 1982 masterpiece in 2017 ahead of the release of the equally-as-masterful Blade Runner 2049 – but once there, I was enraptured and enthralled by cinema that satiated the senses, satisfied the mind and went a long way to owning the heart too.

This is science fiction that is both cerebral and deeply human, that rare mix of spectacle and accessibility that says something profound without collapsing under the weight of its own self-importance.

Given the relatively poor performance of Blade Runner 2049, a criminally-sad under-appreciation of a masterful piece of cinema, my hopes for any sort of continuation of the story, and there is a rich and deep capacity for one, was pretty slight.

Read non-existent.

 

 

But as the good folks of Den of Geek have revealed, there will be a sequel and it will be in comic form:

“A Blade Runner comic book series is officially in the works, set to arrive as a written collaboration between Blade Runner 2049 screenwriter Michael Green (who earned a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nod for Logan, having also worked on genre offerings like Alien: Covenant, and TV’s American Gods,) and comic book writer Mike Johnson (of the recent Supergirl revival, Superman/Batman and the Star Trek franchise).”

But that is not the end of it, my sci-fi dystopia loving friends, not by a long way:

“The details don’t stop there. Titan [Comics] and Alcon [Media]’s collaboration on the Blade Runner comic series will serve as the launch pad for a new line of comics and graphic novels. Interestingly, lest anyone think that these stories will be negated in pre-Disney Star Wars Expanded Universe style, the companies have confirmed that the comics will be part of the official canon of the films.”

 

Every family is Atypical (season 2 review)

(image via IMP Awards)

 

There is something utterly freeing and refreshing about Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), the protagonist on Netflix’s Atypical.

An 18-year-old senior on the autism spectrum, Sam is a reassuring presence for all of us, regardless of who we are or our circumstances, that it’s entirely okay to be yourself, and that, all messaging to the contrary, there is no such thing as normal.

Though Sam is growing in leaps and bounds in his understanding and experience of love, sex, life beyond school and life as a member of a typically functionally dysfunctional family – that’s all the good ones right? – and season 2 sees him becoming ever more independent, though not always successfully, he still remains an outlier to what we in the neuro-typical community might see as normal, everyday social niceties.

But that is not a bad thing; he is a reminder, a salient one in a world where the mainstream is still placed on a pedestal and differences are not even close to being universally embraced, that each of us must forge our own path through life and that mistakes, missteps and poor judgement is common to us all.

In fact, in season 2, Sam’s family – over-protective, emotionally-starved mum Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), dad Doug who made great progress in embracing who his son is, and track star close sister Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) – are all struggling to get life humming along.

There are copious times in the 10-episode second season when Sam’s family are every bit as flawed as each other, with no one able to stand up and claim the prize for most together family member.

Elsa, for instance, starved emotionally from years of caring for Sam on her own, the result of husband Doug’s initial inability to cope with Sam’s diagnosis, embarks on an affair with bartender Nick (Raúl Castillo), recapturing for a moment at least what it feels like to make decisions for herself and not everyone else, particularly Sam.

Like a lot of extramarital affairs, the reasons for why it happens at all are complex and not solely Elsa’s fault and its existence opens a chasm in Elsa and Doug’s marriage, setting in motion all kinds of soul searching.

There’s a veracity and reality to Elsa’s affair and its messy, family-sundering aftermath that speaks to the fact that no matter how good our intentions are, and in Elsa’s case, it’s to provide the best care possible for Sam, there are always unforeseen consequences.

Take the way Elsa and Doug’s marriage has been essentially placed on autopilot for years as everything, often by necessity, and partly by Elsa’s choice – she admits candidly at one point that she’s entirely forgotten what it’s like to be selfish, consumed as she is by the welfare of her son – revolved around Sam.

Or the fact that Casey, who is struggling with life at a private school where she’s on a flashy full scholarship thanks to her athletic abilities and loves her older brother passionately, often feels overshadowed by Sam’s dominating presence.

 

 

That’s life right? You get some things right, a whole lot wrong and have to deal with the resulting mess. All the damn time.

Though he is undeniably different from family and friends like cheeky, pot-smoking co-worker Zahid (Nik Dodani) and has his own unique path to forge including falling in love for the first time with the equally-quirky though neuro-typical Paige (Jenna Boyd), and the series rightly places him front and centre, it also refreshingly makes the case, and with great warmth and humanity, that Sam is just as “normal” as everyone else around him.

Gilchrist is superb in the role, imbuing Sam with equal parts knowingness and understanding, uncertain innocence and near-total blindness at times to the way social niceties are never as straightforward as they seem (if only they were, right Sam?), in the process establishing Sam at definitively Other and yet not, just another person with their own unique challenges and abilities.

What makes season 2 such a delight is the way his path towards college, therapy sessions, and then not, with Julia (Amy Okuda), sex, love and the usual rites of passage are presented so normally.

Atypical resists at every point making Sam look special; he is different sure, something even he readily admits, but he’s not portrayed as less-than-truly-human either, a trap that shows which focus on people with disabilities can sometimes fall into, even with the best of intentions.

It doesn’t minimise his differences but nor does it play them up either, acknowledging and using them as a narrative catalyst on more than one occasion while making it clear that he is no better or worse at life than anyone else in his orbit.

It’s a similar story in many ways, though for entirely different reasons, for gay people like myself; too often we are seen as different but dive right in and get to know us, and we are just as human, of course, as the rest of you.

Different definitely but somehow less than or other? Not really when you get down to it.

So is Sam – sure he’s freaked out by loud noises, patterns, changes in routine and only mollified by reciting endless facts about Antarctic life, particularly the penguins whose species names he repeats as a calming incantation (Adelie, Chinstrap, Emperor and Gentoo) but how is that any different from the rest of us with our peculiar ticks and routines?

The refreshing take from Atypical season 2 in which life changes immeasurably while not at the same time, is that we are all different and that’s okay; the true measure of authentic humanity, which the show has in empathetic spades along with a gentle easy tone that never resorts to cheap tricks or histrionics, is how we deal with that difference which should be to acknowledge it, value it and embrace everyone as the unique people they are.

It might seem like a lightweight, twee message but in an age where the Other is being increasingly used to separate, divide and oppress, it’s a powerfully muscular one that Atypical owns completely in its own quiet, heartwarming and transformative way.

 

Spock me! Star Trek: Discovery S2 trailer debuts at #NYCC

(image via IMP Awards)

 

SNAPSHOT (SMALL SPOILER)
That mantra will no doubt be put to the test, as the rest of the trailer is crammed with scenes of the Discovery and its crew embarking on dangerous missions. The overall mission seems to be to find the source and intent of seven signals that have mysteriously appeared across the galaxy. However, on top of that there’s the matter of Spock, who is in need of Discovery’s help. The Vulcan genius has had a vision of something he calls “The Red Angel” and, for unknown reasons, main character Michael Burnham has also seen this vision. What it all means remains to be seen. (synopsis (c) Gamespot)

Star Trek: Discovery marked a much-welcome return to the small screen by Gene Roddenberry’s optimistically-flawed vision of the future when its  15-episode first season debuted on CBS All Access in the USA, CraveTV in Canada and Netflix in other territories worldwide.

While opinion was divided on how how Star Trek the series really is, it met with generally positive approval including from yours truly who loved the gritty, edgy storytelling, reminiscent of that other Trek outlier Deep Space Nine (aka my favourite Trek series ever).

Centering on Lt. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) who went from Starfleet golden child to outcast and back again in the course of a season that played merry with time, space and Klingons to impressive effect, the first season was a dramatic tour de force that evoked classic Trek without slavishly being beholding to it.

 

Now we’re back, or we’re about to be, with the latest season 2 trailer debuting at New York comic-con, giving us a glimpse into a whole new adventure that is more classic Trek than ever with the appearance of both Captain Pike (Anson Mount who looks like he has some awesome lines) and a hirsute Spock (Ethan Peck) who is having the same dreams of the Red Angel as his adopted sister, Lt Burnham.
Unlike his sister, as Gamespot reports, “Spock seems to have made sense of his visions, and understands where they’ll take him.”
Where this will take him, Burnham and the rest of the Discovery’s crew is anyone’s guess – ah the anticipation! – but it’s an enticing mystery as is who or what is impersonating Emperor Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and what it is they’re after.
All in all, it’s a captivating, thrilling glimpse into the future of the future, part of an ever-growing expansion of the Star trek TV universe spearheaded by Alex Kurtzman, which will see, among other things, the return of Patrick Stewart to the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard to Star Trek.

Star Trek: Discovery season 2 debuts January 2019 (preceded by first Short Treks short films, the first of which debuted 4 October.)

 

The sounds of Moominvalley will be international and up-to-the-minute

(image via Moomin.com (c) Gutsy Animation 2018)

 

SNAPSHOT
The Moomins are one of Finland’s biggest exports and have a global fan base. Moomins have enjoyed popularity since the 1950s, when the original Moomin comic strips were published in the Evening News newspaper. On the video below Marika Makaroff is speaking about building a new animated world based on Tove Jansson’s original stories. (synopsis via Moomin.com)

I have often talked about the accidental enduring love affair with Scandinavian children’s literature that I developed in my childhood.

I say accidental because my gravitation towards the likes of Agaton Sax, the Moomin books and Mrs Pepperpot was simply the result of my lifelove long of quirky, emotionally-rich and richly-imaginative stories well told.

The Moomin stories by Swedish-speaking Finnish author Tove Jansson was my great favourite, an oasis of belonging, love and practical inclusion that made my school years, which sported none of those qualities thanks to the ever-present schoolyard bullies, so much more bearable.

 

 

Hence my great delight when news broke of a new animated series coming our way in 2019, with an all-star cast including Jennifer Saunders (Mymble), Matt Lucas (Teety-Woo), Alison Steadman (Emma the Stage Rat), Taron Egerton (Moomintroll), Rosamund Pike (Moominmamma), and Kate Winslet (Mrs Fillyjonk), and now, it turns out a glittering array of songs from some big names in music.

Specifically from Columbia Records, part of Sony Music Entertainment, which will see each of the 13 x 22-minute first-season episodes graced by a track from the record label’s artists.

Marika Makaroff, Creative Director and Executive Producer at Gutsy Animations which is making Moominvalley, is understandable excited.

“From the beginning of this project we have been ambitious with our vision – and it has paid off in spades. I’m thrilled to be partnering with Sony Music, which is home to some of the world’s best artists, and can’t wait to announce the incredible names that will be writing brand new music for Moominvalley. What we’ve heard so far is truly magical – it perfectly captures the sense of wonder and spirit of adventure so central to the world Tove created.”

These songs will, according to Moomin.com, “complement an original score composed by Finnish musicians Pekka Kuusisto, whose father composed with the author Tove Jansson in the 1970s and wrote the Finnish National Opera’s Moomin Opera in 1974, and Samuli Kosminen.”

It all sounds absolutely wonderful, and while my life is far more full of love and richer in every way than it was in school, I have more than a sneaking feeling that I am going to love the new series every bit as much as I enjoyed the books way back when.

MOOMINVALLEY will air northern Spring 2019.

 

Doctor Who: “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” (S11, E1 review)

(image via IMP Awards)

 

Doctor Who is back, baby!

That may seem a little too irreverent a way to begin a review of the latest iteration of the venerable 55-year-old BBC sci-fi franchise, but I don’t think the Thirteenth Doctor, the first version played by the incomparably playful Jodie Whittaker, would mind one bit.

She is, regeneration befuddlement and searing pain of every cell in her body aside, a return to the oneliner-quipping hilarity of David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor (2005 – 2010) and yet with her own refreshing take on the character, a time and space-romping citizen of Galifrey, who thankfully eschews the grumpy aggression and aggravating selfishness of Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor who, along with departed showrunner Steven Moffat, had well and truly outstayed his welcome.

So much in fact, and to be fair it was likely less the fault of Capaldi’s generally-faultless acting and more Moffat’s imaginative but messily executed writing and directing, that there was a palpable sigh of relief when both announced their retirement from their respective roles.

Attention turned, naturally enough – I say “naturally enough” because the role of Doctor Who had always gone to a man and no one envisaged, except the most hopeful among us, that the BBC would break ranks and give us a well-overdue female iteration – to who would step into the Doctor’s fast-moving, quicker-thinking shoes with Whittaker emerging as the then-newly-anointed anointed Time Lord in July 2017.

This set in train a thousand different, boisterously-celebratory, sometimes toxically-misogynistic dissections of the ramifications of having  a female Doctor, none of which fully grappled with what it would mean to have a new Doctor at all.

After all, though Capaldi was only in his role from 2010-2017 and Capaldi for a relatively brief three years (2014- 2017), it had begun to feel like the Doctor was in his dotage, lost in a miasma of self-indulgent storylines, narrative deadends and emotionally-unsatisfying journeys.

Where to from this near-unwatchable point?

 

(image via IMP Awards)

 

Well, to the superlative delights of Jodie Whittaker’s exuberantly-extravagant Doctor as it turns out, who, from the moment she falls into a Sheffield, UK train, pretty much on top of policewoman Yasmin Khan (Mandeep Gill) and 19-year-old Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) who are on the darkened train after a roiling, Medusa’s hair coil of alien energy has taken out the driver and is pursuing, with singular intent, one of the passengers onboard, crane operator Karl (Jonny Dixon).

He wants nothing to do with all the weird goings-on and scarpers off to work as soon as events allow, leaving the Doctor who’s unaware but nonetheless delighted she’s a woman – Yazmin prompts the sudden realisation when she calls her madam – and unsure of the word for tongue or her name which may be on the top of it, and her new friends to sort out out what in the galaxy is going on.

Not a lot it turns out but in an introduction episode of a new Doctor, particularly one as heartwarmingly-endearing as the Thirteenth, that is no bad thing.

New showrunner Chris Chibnall, known best for his work on Broadchurch, sensibly keeps the alien story to the point and intriguing enough to be interesting without dominating the getting to know you aspect of the story.

That, as you’d imagine in an episode like this, is the main intergalactic game in town, and it manages to be both affecting, very funny and deeply emotionally-resonant without skipping a beat.

Effectively making things up on a hunch as she goes along, forging a new sonic screwdriver out of Sheffield steel in the workshop of a man who lost his sister to an alien abductor seven years before and is determined to capture her attacker, even if it costs him his life – SPOILER ALERT … IT DOES – and still awash with small luminously-golden tendrils of regenerative energy, the new Doctor is fast with the quip and it turns out, even faster with the scene-saving insight.

That’s handy because Ryan, who has a developmental coordination disorder called Dyspraxia, and Yasmin, who’s bored as a probationary police recruit on night patrol, and Ryan’s grandmother, gutsy, fun-loving boots-and-all Grace (Sharon D. Clarke) and husband of three years Graham, more timid and conservative and disinclined to believe in aliens (in Sheffield? Never!) haven’t got all that much experience in dealing with alien bounty hunters such as Tzim Sha (humourously renamed Tim Shaw by the Doctor and played by Samuel Oatley, and lots of teeth) of the warrior race the Stemza.

They have a thing for travel pods that look like the bottle from I Dream, of Jeannie (minus the whimsical decorative additions and with the addition of a cold, brutal killing aesthetic) and a dress code that is equal parts Terminator and Predator and all malevolent, deep-voiced killing machine.

It’s a lot to take in and without the Doctor, even a befuddled version thereof unsure of her abilities, gender or knowledge, or name for a while, they would not have lasted long.

 

(image via IMP Awards)

 

Action and adventure aside, and this being a reborn, revitalised Doctor Who that suggests the vivacity, inventiveness and humanity of the greatly-missed Russell Davies era, there is plenty of both, what strikes you most profoundly about the season 11 iteration of the show is how the focus has swung back to the companions.

The Doctor is front and centre – how could she not be? Oh, how I love saying that particular personal pronoun – and as exquisitely, mischievously, movingly wonderful in the centre of things as always, but “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” turns its focus squarely onto Ryan, Graham and Yasmin, with Ryan being given the lion’s share of character and narrative development, with the now firmly-established as a story of people wanting more from life than they have been given (although Graham seems perfectly happy with things for the most part.)

  • SPOILERS AHEAD !!! 

The defining moment of the entire episode, which runs for an immersive, never-a-dull-moment 60 minutes, is the death of Grace, a deeply-affecting moment which happens when the protective, garrulous, Carpe Diem grandmother sees her grandson in danger and charges in to protect him.

It’s thanks to her that Ryan and Yaz and the Doctor can concentrate on taking care of “Tim Shaw” and entirely due to her that the Gathering Coils aka the Medusa Hair alien is taken down and out of the equation.

She’s therefore both pivotal to the plot in life and even more so in death, framing the video we see playing at the start of the episode as something altogether else entirely; at first, it looks like Ryan is speaking passionately and fulsomely about the Doctor but cut to the end of the episode, and post the moving eulogy by Graham, and it’s obvious he’s talking about his dearly-loved and greatly-missed grandmother.

For all this seriousness and it’s perfectly and adroitly handled “All of this is new you” says the Doctor to her new friends at one point, ” and new can be scary”), there is humour to be found too with a series of gloriously funny and perfectly-delivered (Jodie Whittaker’s sense of comic timing is beyond superb, neither glib nor laboured) lines that punctuate the action and emotional intensity just-so without once compromising either (“That nap did me a world of good … very comfy sofa”).

The Doctor is back my friends and she and her accidental companions – the way they join her is unplanned and hilarious all at once – are a tonic for a world mired in loss and misery, offering up escapist fun and adventure, a Doctor with sass, intelligence, humour and a slight edge, companions who feel real and relatable and a whole universe of new adventures that feel delightfully unencumbered by everything that has gone before.

 

 

Dynasties: David Attenborough and a whole lot of animal families

(image (c) BBC Documentary)

 

SNAPSHOT
From the team behind Life Story and Planet Earth II, this is an intense portrayal of the lives of these animals as they unfold, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, where the tiniest incident may end up having a huge consequence on their future. Their chances of success depend on their own strength of character, their choices and on luck. But these animals do not operate alone – their success or failure will also hinge on how they work with, or against, their own families.

This series will show for the first time what an animal must do to create and maintain a dynasty, and leave the most important legacy in nature. (synopsis via official BBC media release).

I was one of those “weird” kids who would happily sit in front of the TV watching nature documentaries until the cows came home (honestly they never really did but the chimpanzees really like their domestic creature comforts).

I was, and remain, endlessly fascinated with the natural world, and my hero, besides the great and amazing Gerald Durrell, was, and is happily (long may he live!) Sir David Attenborough, a marvellous man possessed of a gloriously-appealing mix of knowledge, passion and superlative delivery.

 

 

He’s back with a new BBC series, Dynasties, which he will present and has written some of the commentary for, and it looks, as always utterly beguiling and enthralling.

I mean listen to this as a selling point …

“Each episode of Dynasties follows individual animals – lions, hunting dogs, chimpanzees, tigers, and emperor penguins – at the most critical period in their lives. Each is a ruler – a leader of their family, their troop, their pride – each determined to hold on to power and protect their family, their territory and their dynasty.

“The odds are stacked against them – our planet is changing at an extraordinary rate and the habitats these animals live in are under increasing pressure, not least from the impact of humanity itself.”

So if you’ll excuse me, I may not be a little kid anymore but my inner child still has the same passion and love of the natural world and I’ll be front and centre watching Attenborough once again and marvelling in the majesty, complexity and beauty of planet earth.

Welcome to The Haunting of Hill House … you’re expected

(image via IMP Awards)

 

SNAPSHOT
The Haunting of Hill House is a modern reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s legendary novel of the same name, about five siblings who grew up in the most famous hauntedhouse in America. Now adults, they’re reunited by the suicide of their youngest sister, which forces them to finally confront the ghosts of their own pasts… some which lurk in their minds… and some which may really be lurking in the shadows of the iconic Hill House. (official synopsis via Netflix)

I am, it must be said, a great big scaredy cat.

While others would plunge back into the house full of ghosts, the apocalypse full of trailers or the dark night full to the brim with werewolves, vampires and vengeful golems, I run the other way.

FAST!

Now granted that keeps me alive, at least in most Hollywood films, but it does make for a rather beige existence … so in the interests of broadening my viewing horizons and making better better use of my blankets (from which to peek behind naturally), I will be watching The Haunting of Hill House, a new Netflix series based on the 1959 horror novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson.

With the lights on. In full daylight. I like my haunting ghosts where I can see them … well, you know …

The Haunting of Hill House premieres on Netflix on 12 October.

 

 

Take a look at little green men in Project Blue Book

(image via IMP Awards)

 

SNAPSHOT
HISTORY’s upcoming new drama series “Project Blue Book” is based on the true, Top Secret investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) and related phenomena conducted by the United States Air Force from 1952-1969. The series is inspired by the personal experiences of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a brilliant college professor recruited by the U.S. Air Force to spearhead this clandestine operation (Project Blue Book) that researched thousands of cases, over 700 of which remain unsolved to this day. Each episode will draw from the actual case files, blending UFO theories with authentic historical events from one of the most mysterious eras in United States history. (official synopsis via History)

Oh how we love hunting aliens! Or at least, the idea of them.

There’s something about the thought of life beyond our own that captivates – and yes, horrifies us in equal or greater measure; look at our morbid fascination with alien invasion films – to the point where we happily entertain TV shows that are all about the quest to prove or disprove, depending on your X-Files-ian mindset, the existence of extraterrestrial life.

In the case of the latest “what if” kid on the alien-sleuthing block, Project Blue Book, it looks like we’re in for a mix of fact and fiction, openness and closed mindness, the kind of opposites that drive this kind of drama so beautifully.

Given it’s on History, you can expect a little more gravity than your usual schlock alien hunting show with acting calibre to match, and what I imagine will be beguiling tales of life from beyond possibly right among us.

The truth is … wait can’t use it … let’s just say it’s beguilingly mysterious and leave it at that shall we?

Project Blue Book is coming soon on History.

 

Fear the Walking Dead: “… I Lose Myself” (S4, E16 review)

Morgan was not one to let his fitness slide, indulging in a daily bout of Kick the Zombie to stay in shape (image via Spoiler TV (c) AMC)

 

  • SPOILERS AHEAD … KEGGERS AS A WAY TO PERSONAL SALVATION …

Hands up if you know the best way to avoid dying and becoming a member of the ravenous undead in the zombie apocalypse?

Don’t get caught in the middle of a zombie herd approaching from both ends of a narrow city alley? Why, thank you Al (Maggie Grace) that is indeed a good suggestion and one that might mean you don’t get stuck in a parking garage.

Yes, you Al again … right don’t get caught chatting to a woman named Martha (Tonya Pinkins), driven mad by impotent grief and an erroneous belief that being a zombie gives you strength, and let your guard even for a minute.

Good lord, Al, you are certainly got some great suggestions today!

Wait, Al, we’ll get to you again in a moment – for now let’s see what Morgan (Lennie James) has to say before he changes his mind yet again and moves to Bhutan to teach undead Buddhists that it’s OK to kill themselves or something … I mean, you never know with Morgan really and yes, sorry, as you were …

Right, so that’s a handy tip Mo-mo – yeah, yeah Sarah (Mo Collins) has been telling everyone to call you that, and honestly it’s kinda cute; just roll with it huh? – don’t get into a police car, try to convince Martha, a woman driven mad by grief etc etc, that she change, hear her say what you want to say, relax your guard … and get stabbed in the leg.

Gotcha, that is indeed wise advice and one we’d all be wise to heed, along with don’t keep wandering off with delusions of messianic grandeur and say “Only I can do this” to John (Garret Dillahunt) over and over again.

Yes, Mo-mo, we know the martyr is strong with you but honestly it’s all getting a little exhausting watching you nail yourself to a figurative cross – although it can’t be long and you’ll doing on actual crosses I’m sure – and not listening to people when they tell you not to.

 

Al meanwhile preferring a rousing game of Zombie Dodge ’em to keep fit (image via Spoiler TV (c) AMC)

 

The weird thing is, and yes you are weird Mo-mo and I think it best you own that and own it heartily, is that people like John and Laura/Naomi/June aka LNJ (Jenna Elfman) keep treating you like you’re some kind of hotshot Tony Robbins leadership guru who has all his proverbial together.

Because you don’t, you really, really don’t and lord knows why you’ve landed the “This is the way forward my children” and not Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) who, grief issues aside, has her head screwed on far better than you and doesn’t, last I checked, change her mind every 5-6 minutes depending on which way the wind is blowing, whether there’s anti-freeze in the bottled water – there is! Don’t drink it everyone! Whoops, too late – or there’s someone called Wendell (Daryl Mitchell) wisecracking his way through the apocalypse.

How you landed the gig as Inspirational Leader of the Fear the Walking Dead troop is beyond me, because you’ve been written as a complete and utter flake, and I’m fairly sure that, apart from being simple but deceptively delicious chocolate bars, flakes don’t have much of a place in the messy existential entrails of the end of the world.

Still here we are, and yes I know you can hear everything I’m saying but the fact of the matter is that while it’s lovely that you came up with the idea of living in Clayton’s denim-cum-saving people from the worst of the apocalypse factory, leaving some more boxes at 10 mile markers, and agreeing to Alicia’s plans to honour dearly-departed Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) by turning the factory into a community for strays too – that Alicia had to suggest says a great deal about the smallness of your vision Mo-mo – you are a flake, and not the useful kind that sits rather yummily atop an ice cream sundae.

But yes, let’s get back to great ways to not dying.

LNJ, yes, I see you – go head. Right, yes, drinking ethanol straight out of a truck is a great way to negate the effects of the antifreeze in your bloodstream but make sure you don’t shoot it up first with machine gun fire from Al’s SWAT van. Duly noted.

Yes, yes Al I hear ya, you’re sorry and everyone would’ve died from excessive zombie chomping had you not acted but then they were pretty much dead anyway until Mo-mo, bless him, turned up with Jim’s (Aaron Stanford) beer truck and everyone got better by staging an impromptu kegger. Yes even Charlie (Alexa Nisenson), god bless her never touched by alcohol lips.

All good lessons and ones you best keep in mind for season 5 … for now what did we like about this episode? And yeah, not like so much …

 

And Martha? Well Martha was content to let her endless villainous mutterings burn up the calories (image via Spoiler TV (c) AMC)

 

As season finale episodes go, “… I Lose Myself” was refreshingly free of cliffhanger-itis.

Not that cliffhangers are a bad thing of course, but The Walking Dead got a little addicted to them, as did Fear the Walking Dead to some extent, and honestly, having an episode with some tension, some action and one very poetic death – well two really if you count Jim’s humane offing by Mo-mo – really was quite enough.

Sure, no one bought for a moment that the entire cast was going to die of anti-freeze poisoning and nor did we think Mo-mo wouldn’t make it back in time to save everyone, even with a gammy leg, and Mo-Mo’s constant, baleful self-martyrdom grew ever more tedious, but overall, this was a fine ending to season 4, which stumbles a little at first as it seemed to become “All Mo-Mo, all the time” but recovered nicely spending the back half of the season bringing the gang back together.

Fear the Walking Dead needs to do something about its tendency to crave crossover glory over in-show narrative and character integrity – witness Kim being killed, and Alicia being pushed sideways in favour of Mo-Mo who really is a badly-written, one-note character who has elevated whining to an apocalyptic art form – bot overall season 4 managed to recover from its early shift in tone and style to recover and deliver a show that remains distinctively different from the parent from which it shuffled.

Long may it remain so.

And that my friends and illiterate zombies is that for season 4 of Fear the Walking Dead. See you in 2019 for more undead fun under the Texan sun!

Rick and Morty get their anime on with this brilliantly-reimagined opening sequence

(image via YouTube (c) Malec)

 

Suffused with a wildly-extravagant, boundless imagination, an irreverent sensibility courtesy of creators and sustainers Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon and a willingness to GO THERE, Rick and Morty is one animated series not limited by an unwillingness to try anything once.

So I’d like think that Messrs Harmon and Roiland would love the efforts of cartoonist Malec, from French company Turbo Interactive, who has, in the words of brilliantly–curatorial Laughing Squid, “brilliantly re-imagined the opening title sequence from the sublime animated series Rick and Morty as a gorgeously lush anime short complete with Japanese subtitles.”

It is utterly, immersively brilliant, a thoroughly original take on the anarchically frenetic opening credits which look wholly Japanese and yet abundantly true to the spirit and look of the original artwork.

So good is it that you must heed the words of Malec and share it with everyone! (See the pinned tweet.)