Welcome to another edition of Genre TV Talk, your one-stop destination for the all the latest news from the past week plus commentary on the best science fiction and fantasy series currently showing on TV. IT’s around 2 in the morning here on the west coast USA, and once again I have just a few hours left in the week to get this done, so let’s get to it.
IN THE NEWS
We start off this week’s news with a report that a big shake-up has taken place regarding who is running the show over at Star Trek Discovery. Word has it that season 1 showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg have been fired from the drama’s second season and replaced by executive producer Alex Kurtzman. Following the change, Kurtzman will now oversee the writer’s room for Season 2 of Discovery. As some of you may know Kurtzman, along with long-time collaborator Roberto Orci, and JJ Abrams, was pretty much the creative force behind Bad Robot, Abrams production company.
CBS Television Studios released a statement to the outlet, confirming the change in showrunners while also reassuring fans that the show remains on track to return next year. “We’ve made some producer changes at Star Trek: Discovery. The series continues under the creative vision and leadership of executive producer and co-creator Alex Kurtzman. Discovery remains on course for season two in 2019 with new and continuing stories that build on its successful premiere season.”
The ousted pair was responsible for a less than congenial atmosphere in the show’s writers room, and the change was less about creative differences as is usually the case. This is not Discovery’s first instance of the show’s creative staff going through a significant change since work on it began. The show also lost one of its biggest artistic influences early on when Bryan Fuller and the production had a more congenial parting of the ways because of other commitments on Fuller’s part. Fuller is still listed as one of the series producers in the credits.
I am looking forward to season 2 of this brilliant series that ended season one with the arrival of the Enterprise with Captain Pike in charge, and a certain Vulcan is reported to also be on board and will make an appearance in season 2. Excited? Yes, I am.
In other news, next week sees the return of one of my favorites of the Marvel/Netflix shows, Mike Colter and friends return for the second season of Luke Cage. According to reports, the sophomore season may be better than the first. Luke, it seems, has settled comfortably into his role as a bulletproof urban legend, but as the season develops there’s the introduction of a new nemesis. Indeed, the classic Cage comic book villain (and Serpent Society member), Bushmaster (Mustafa Shakir), is seen making a viral debut, using his enhanced powers and killer capoeira skills to injure Luke seriously.
This, of course, gives cause for Lukes friends to jump in and help, including the now bionically armed Misty Knight (Simone Missick). We can also expect appearances by other Marvel characters this season. Season 2 is reported to be more of a throwback to the classic Marvel Universe of the comics, with Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson, Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing and Finn Jones’ Danny Rand seamlessly weaving in and out of the story.
Arriving on June 22 on Netflix, the second season of Luke Cage stars Mike Colter, Simone Missick, Alfre Woodard, Theo Rossi, Rosario Dawson, Mustafa Shakir and Gabrielle Dennis.
Also in the news this week is the report that HBO will not be contributing to San Diego’s International Comic-Con this year. Ther will be no Westworld or Game Of Thrones panel or anything else from the premium channel as part of this year’s convention.
THIS WEEK’S SHOWS
WESTWORLD: As always Westworld remains a highly cryptic and surreal experience. What’s remarkable about this show is that despite being reliably spooky and consistently having the trait of sudden bursts of violence, it also manages from week to week to somehow take on a different personality each time I see it, making each episode a unique experience. This week’s episode follows the ghost nation’s host Akecheta, the Native American warrior who has appeared so many times before as he relates the story of his life to Maeve’s daughter.
LEGION: The season finale was only partially as puzzling as usual. After a section done in an unusual style of animation depicting what I assume (and hope) was the final battle between David and Farouk in which Farouk saw defeat. Earlier in the season, we saw David manifest the multiple personalities that comic fans are familiar with, and in doing so, he occasionally let go of his sense of right and wrong and seemed to lean entirely onto the path to the dark side. A conversation with Syd raised the question Is David the villain of this story? And if He’s not the hero who is? Syd? It’s undoubtedly not Farouk, Oliver, Lenny, or the others. There was a cliff-hanger ending in which David vanishes in flash of bright light. Which left me wondering what the future hold for David and Syd. I do enjoy this show immensely, and yes, it has occurred to me that I may be a masochist.
THE EXPANSE: Another fantastic episode as everyone is inside the ring (down the rabbit hole) in an edition of the series that all but abandoned the show’s usual serious tone. It starts with the sight of Holden in his spacesuit having a casual conversation with Miller’s ‘ghost’ as they drifted through space towards the nucleus of whatever that is they are in was visually quite amusing. Also amusing was the counterpoint of the conversation between Alex and Amos left back on the Rocinante to monitor but to not get involved. Also, Bobbie Draper and a team of Martian marines were in play in a ship of their own to intercept him and hold him accountable for the explosion for which Holden got framed. Bobbie attempts to make contact with him but assumes he’s lost his mind when he won’t stop talking to Miller.
Holden reaches the center of the thing with Bobbie and the marines right behind him and when they open fire on him the place treats them in an unfriendly manner eliminating one soldier in a most unpleasant way. The place turns out to be some kind of puzzle that Holden needs to figure out and when he places his hand in an available opening he is transported into another p[lace where he appears to be floating in space naked. For an answer of what it all means we will have to wait a little longer. Naomi is still aboard her little ship and unable to reach or contact the Roci because of the Marians and the UN. I love this show, its consistently good stuff but this series is such a tease and so stingy when it comes to giving up the juicy parts.