If you care about your family, you are going to get out of that house.

The Watcher (2022)   Where The Pentaverate, with its piss-take, inverse conspiracy (the secret group actually represents the good guys protecting the world) came out affirming the basic tenets of such theorising, Netflix’s latest from a major Hollywood player appears to be bent on actively demolishing the same. It has been theorised that Mike Myers’ production was essentially a White Hat operation, so where would that put Ryan Murphy, a Netflix content producer in residence and “mastermind” behind an unholy rash of TV trash? Apart from being the aforementioned. Perhaps I shouldn’t really judge, as I’ve steered clear of most

Nothing wrong with a little order, right?

Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)   So, in the space of a scant nine years, Obi-Wan Kenobi turns from a hopelessly guilt-wracked, emoting-all-over-the-place, not-really-all-that Jedi into Guinness’ zen master, having done zero work on himself during the prior Tatooine-based decade? And that’s probably the least nonsensical thing in Obi-Wan Kenobi. I resisted dipping into this, partly because The Book of Boba Fett was so atrocious. Partly because, while I didn’t mind Ewan McGregor’s performance – as these things went – the prospect of Disney compounding the extravagant deficiencies of the prequel trilogy with their woked-up formula held little allure. I’d been steeled

Sometimes there are things you don’t get to know before the curtain goes down.

The Old Man Season 1   The first episode of The Old Man is gripping stuff, the high point being a protracted, undiluted fight to the death between Jeff Bridges’ ex-CIA guy Dan Chase and (one of) the man tasked to bring him in. I thought – hoped – even given the presence of a devoted daughter on the other end of the phone, this might be promising us six streamlined episodes of a loner on the run, against the odds as the net tightens ever more remorselessly on him. What we get is appreciably less so, and the appreciably

All these evils I have fought while you have done nothing but observe.

Doctor Who The War Games   The correct take on this story is, of course, that it’s remarkably well sustained for the second/third-longest tale the series has tackled. There’s invariably agreement that The War Games has an episode or so treading water (and/or stuck in a barn) and that it’s prone to including the occasional obvious filler scene or two. I dare say most will disagree with Lawrence Miles and Tat Wood that the final episode’s a bit of a bore. Although, I dohave a few issues with the penultimate one… Would the story be as well regarded if the

The world is just a story. I’m the storyteller.

Westworld Season 4   There are, of course, no illusions about the game being played with Nolan brother Jonathan’s transhumanist paean. This is a world where, following in the Blade Runner line, the machines have the most heart and soul, and to underline the point, humans themselves are no more than the sum of their memories, redeployable years after their deaths, encased in fast-decaying physical vessels. Even the genuinely living ones are exactly as malleable and programmable as your average computer. There is, essentially, no difference. Except that, on balance, the machines are probably a little more durable. Bernard: We

They can’t try me without exposing themselves.

The X-Files 9.19/20: The Truth   And that’s it. In my memory, the god-honest is that The Truth is a protracted Mulder-on-trial episode rehearsing a potted history of bewildering myth-arc X-lore that is no more digestible for the attempts to string it together in vaguely linear fashion. But that part really amounts to about thirty of the ninety minutes. It’s risible too, but in that respect, it’s a good fit for the rest of the episode(s). Carter just wanted to get shot of the thing at this point, didn’t he? Everything about the series finale is tired and predictable. It’s

Get away from the crib!

The X-Files 9.16: William   William is generally regarded as one of the better Season 9 arc episodes, in part thanks to the generally golden touch of David Duchovny as director. Unfortunately, it’s every bit as guilty of the season’s failings as previous Scully and bibbee exercises, the only upside being that we’re finally shot of the little urchin at the end. Well, at least until Season 11. Perhaps most pertinent at this point is that the show has so far strayed from anything remotely intangibly tangible and enticing in terms of the truth being out there as to render

It’s so incredible, but your son will lead this alien race.

The X-Files 9.10: Providence   A holding pattern for exasperation and ineptitude here. Carter directs too, so there’s at least some unity on that paucity front. In any other context, the transhumanist saviours might be quite interesting, but Josepho (Denis Forest) is such an underpowered grab bag that he simply underlines this two-parter’s more prolific failings. Josepho: God gave me a vision. The prologue serves the idea on a platter, whereby Josepho saw “angels… from heaven” in the first Iraq War (1991). It’s an okay-to-middling notion, but Carter visualises it in moribund fashion (Shearman thinks he directs it “very well”.

You saying this kid’s an alien or something?

The X-Files 9.9: Provenance   As much as I’m quite forgiving, and even broadly well-disposed towards the two-part season opener, this mid-season double is inexcusable offal. Indeed, while I called Rob Shearman’s attitude to Nothing Important Happened Today out, he’s pretty much spot-on in his slating of Provenance (and Providence). It’s basically doubling down on everything that was wrong with Trust No 1, running on the empty tank of the absent Mulder and Christ-baby William, the latter a franchise capsizing decision. With such hindsight, it seems abundantly clear – well, taking the arc stories in isolation – that it’s this

There is no middle of nowhere anymore, Agent Scully.

The X-Files 9.6: Trust No 1 I mentioned the adverse effects of magnets on the super soldiers under 9.1, although it’s here that we get to see them take effect. As I noted, it put me in mind of some of the reported magnetic properties of the killer vaccine. Here, the convenient and absurd design flaw is cheesy to say the least. That isn’t the worst of Trust No 1’s issues, though, since it revolves around one of my least favourite devices: the absent star player “featuring” as if they were still an active part of the proceedings. This is