STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, 1.2 – “Battle at the Binary Stars” (Netflix Review)

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Streaming on UK Netflix from: Monday 25th September 2017

Story by: Bryan Fuller

Teleplay by: Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts

Directed by: Adam Kane


 

A HERO’S DEMISE

Following immediately on from the cliffhanger which left jaws agape at the close of “The Vulcan Hello” (reviewed HERE), Star Trek: Discovery episode 1.2 feels more like the second half of a two-part story than an isolated instalment in its own right. It is now clear why CBS and Netflix aired/released both episodes at the same time, because this is essentially the conclusion of the new show’s prologue; the televisual equivalent of a comic issue zero.

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THE HANDMAID’S TALE, 1.2 – “Birth Day” (TV Review)

 

Channel 4 – 9pm – Sunday 4th June 2017

Created by and teleplay by: Bruce Miller

Based on the novel by: Margaret Atwood

Directed by: Reed Morano


 

THERE IS AN US

At the close of last week’s series debut (reviewed HERE), reluctant concubine Offred (Elisabeth Moss) was warned that a despotic Gilead spy (known as an “Eye”) is watching her, even while she goes about her demeaning slave-like duties as a sex-surrogate for wealthy Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and his stuck-up wife, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski). In “Birth Day”, Offred feels herself stuck ‘tween two extremes and pulled both ways: should she go against the strict new conventions and meet with her new master alone, or use her unique position to betray his trust and provide intel to a network of rebellious Handmaids, led by “carpet-munching gender traitor” Ofglen (Alexis Bledel)?

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TABOO, 1.2 (TV Review)

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BBC One – Saturday 14th January 2017 – 9:15pm

Created by: Tom Hardy, Edward “Chips” Hardy, Steven Knight

Written by: Stephen Knight

Directed by: Kristoffer Nyholm


LEAGUE OF THE DAMNED

“The King and Company are after your head…”

Now more adamant than ever that his inherited piece of land on the Canadian-American border is not for sale, in this sophomore instalment of the eight part BBC/FX mini-series, troubled rogue James Delaney (co-creator Tom Hardy) is a man on a mission: to recruit a team of trustworthy allies to aid him in reclaiming his poisoned father’s legacy, the Nootka Sound… and stop any number of his myriad enemies from striking him down to take it. And there was me thinking he was a superhuman one-man band?

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ZAPPED, 1.2 – “Mr Charisma” (TV Review)

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Dave – 20th October 2016 – 9:40pm

Created and written by: Dan Gaster, Will Ing, Paul Powell

Directed by: Dave Lambert


BALD MOVE

The middle episode of Dave’s new mini-com transmitted on the “home of witty banter” after Red Dwarf XI‘s “Krysis” last Thursday night, a full fortnight after Zapped‘s premiere was available to preview on UKTV Play.

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THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, 1.2 (TV Review)

BBC 1 – 5th July 2016 – 9pm

Written by: Ashley Pharoah

Directed by: Alice Troughton


 

MINOR MINERS

Shifting central story after exorcising Harriet Denning’s (Tallulah Haddon) demons at the death of episode one, recently relocated psychologist Nathan Appleby (Colin Morgan) this week questions and comforts a young lad in his Somerset village who is being tempted to leave his bed and play with a handful of ghost children in the middle of the night. Is Charlie’s (Isaac Andrews) wild imagination concocting imaginary friends, or are these phantom playmates the result of more sinister buried secrets?

With names being chanted from the dark and striking visuals of the ragged, coal-coated dead kids resolutely holding hands under the moonlight, BBC miniseries The Living and the Dead’s sophomore supernatural case is as chillingly atmosphere as its first, however the plot felt more derivative (there is an early Chloe Grace Moretz zombie horror called Wicked Little Things with an identical story), meaning the supposedly gasp-worthy resolution was far easier to predict.

With Nathan’s preoccupation with the past leading him to hear the troubled testimony of an elderly workhouse orphan (Michael Burn) with a tale to tell and some skeletons to unearth (literally), the Victorian ghost hunter’s second wife, Charlotte (Charlotte Spencer), makes a modern step towards gender equality by taking over as manager of Shepzoy Farm. Maid Gwen (Kerrie Hayes), meanwhile, has a far more traditional cure to the young couples’ childless predicament.

While young Charlie’s nightmarish visions are neatly paralleled to Nathan’s own hallucinations of his tragic domestic disquietude, the resurrection of this running strand felt too obvious and more forced into the narrative than I anticipated, lending the episode a less dynamic and more contrived air. There’s still promise here, even if this hour of eerie drama stalled somewhat on the premiere’s propulsive force.

CR@B’s Claw Score: 3 stars