|STAR TREK: PICARDRESISTANCESTAR TREKREVIEW|
It was a dark and stormy night. At least in the strange dream that opened “The Impossible Box,” a dream Soji's been experiencing for some time and may hold the key to where she really comes from.
It was also a dark and stormy episode of “Star Trek: Picard.” “The Impossible Box” pushed the narrative forward considerably after the rip-roaring detour of Seven of Nine's rampage the previous week. But it did so not through explosive action but instead through thoughtful character turns: it feels like a lot more happened here than really did, and even those seismic events are moments we could have called well in advance — Soji realizing she's a synth, Narek getting what he wants from her then, at last, casting her aside, Picard setting foot on a Borg cube once more. But what's striking is that even though we saw all these moments coming episodes ago, they were still powerful to watch. “The Impossible Box” was an exceptionally well written by Nick Zayas and directed by Maja Vrvilo installment. It wasn't perfect: but the thrill here was not so much in what happened, but how it happened.
The biggest misstep in “The Impossible Box” occurred right up front: doing very little to capitalize on the big reveal from the previous week that our robotics expert Agnes Jurati has been charged with a mission to sabotage Picard's own — and possibly kill Soji. She killed her lover Bruce Maddox, the person the crew had been trying to find the whole season, in a stunning twist. There's almost no follow-up in this episode to that other than to see that doing the worst thing Agnes could possibly imagine has somehow freed her up, liberated her. She makes quite the pass at Rios, while he's shirtlessly giving a soccer ball a workout. What did she do to the EMH that knew about her crime? Did she erase him? And well, that's it. Balancing a large ensemble is tough... but this was sloppy. Luckily, the rest of the episode was so strong.
Starting with maybe the single best image this series has given us to date: Picard, anticipating the first time he's been on a Borg Cube since he was assimilated over 30 years before, looking at a holo of his Borg self — Locutus. The Picard of the present seemed to merge, “Persona”-style with the altered Picard of long ago. Just as he never fully regained his humanity after he was freed, he never lost all of the Borg inside him.
On that Cube, the slow-simmering subplot of Narek trying to figure out where Soji was created so as to find others like her and kill them finally started to heat up. Narek talks through with his sister — after demanding back his Romulan Rubik's Cube called “an impossible box” — why Soji might need to dream. Everything in an android should be pre-programmed, so if she dreams that could be her processing unit trying to reconcile the fact that she's an android but has been giving programming to believe she's human. And that this is a memory that reveals the truth to her that's otherwise been suppressed. Heady stuff, but leavened with the high cheekbones and high camp that tends to define all interactions between Narek and his sister.
Picard will face an uphill battle once he's on this cube, but first there's the matter of just getting aboard it. Deception won't work — no eyepatches or comical French accents. He'll need Federation diplomatic clearance. So Raffi, still nursing her hurt over her son's rejection the previous...
If nothing in this listing fits your mood tonight, please check out our guide to What You Should Watch On Streaming Right Now.
A Christmas Carol FX, 7:30 p.m. - Not much is happening on TV the week before the Christmas holiday… except for FX and the BBC’s co-produced “gritty” take on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Executive produced by Steven Knight and starring Guy Pearce as Ebenezer Scrooge, this version of the classic Christmas story goes all-in on the horror.
The 2020 Miss America Competition NBC, 8:00 p.m. - The annual Miss America national pageant competition kicks things off from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut to determine who, of all the contestants assembled, will take home the title prize.
Prep & Landing ABC, 8:00 p.m. - This 10-year-old Disney TV film sees a veteran elf Dave Foley who, as a part of Santa’s preparation team, strives to make sure houses around the globe are ready for the big man’s annual visit. Thanks to a lost promotion and a violent snowstorm, however, he and his fellows must work together to make things right.
iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2019 The CW, 8:00 p.m. - The latest edition of the annual holiday concert sees performances from Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, Lizzo, and many others perform their biggest hits at separate concerts in New York and Los Angeles that have been combined for the Christmas occasion.
Democratic Presidential Debate PBS/CNN, 8:00 p.m. - The remaining Democratic presidential candidates debate one another in their latest gathering, which will be simultaneously broadcast on PBS and CNN.
The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition ABC, 9:00 p.m. - Yes, The Great British Bake Off remains the best reality baking competition series there is. But it’s the holidays! So, take a seat and at least let the American version treat you with a it of holiday cheer.
LATE NIGHT GUESTS
Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Margot Robbie, Governor John Kasich, White Reaper
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Kate McKinnon, Noah Baumbach, Dua Lipa
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert: Jennifer Hudson, Jonathan Pryce, Sharon Van Etten feat. Norah Jones
Late Night With Seth Meyers: John Lithgow, Ana Gasteyer
The Late Late Show With James Corden: Mariah Carey
A Little Late With Lilly Singh: Charlize Theron
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: Mehdi Hasan
Conan: Adam Sandler
Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.
Happy holidays, folks! This is a holiday week, which means many of us will finally have some much-needed time off. And while you could spend that time with your friends and family, why not blow them off and just watch stuff instead? If you need some ideas about what you should watch as we head into the holidays, I’m here to help. These are the best movies streaming right now.The Best Movies Streaming Right Now The Two Popes Now Streaming on Netflix
Release Date: 2019
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce
The Two Popes is an excuse to watch two great actors – Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce – go head-to-head and sink their teeth into a juicy script. This is a fictionalized probably very fictionalized take on the true story of the transfer of power from Pope Benedict XVI Hopkins to Pope Francis Pryce. Mired in scandal, the conservative Benedict has decided that the Catholic Church needs to head in a new direction under the leadership of a far more liberal holy man. That would be Cardinal Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis. But Bergoglio isn’t exactly jumping up and down for the gig. Director Fernando Meirelles stages what’s essentially a two-man show, giving Hopkins and Pryce scene after scene where they talk theology as one man tries to convince the other to become the head of the church. What could’ve backfired into a talky, boring costume drama is instead bursting with energy, thanks to both Hopkins and Pryce’s performances, and Anthony McCarten’s breezy script.
For fans of: The Young Pope, Sleuth, big hats.The Last Black Man In San Francisco Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
Release Date: 2019
Director: Joe Talbot
Cast: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Danny Glover, Tichina Arnold, Rob Morgan, Mike Epps, Finn Wittrock
Poetic, heartfelt, and wholly original, The Last Black Man in San Francisco is in a league of its own. This saga follows Jimmie Fails as he attempts to get back his family home in the shifting landscape that is San Francisco. Jimmie brings his best friend Mont Allen Jonathan Majors along for the ride in the struggle to gain control of a sprawling home in the Fillmore District. Director Joe Talbot fills the film with oddities and curiosities, creating a world that is both surreal and wholly real, all of it resulting in one of 2019’s best films.
For fans of: Moonlight, The Royal Tenenbaums, skateboarding.Depraved Now Streaming on Hulu
Release Date: 2019
Director: Larry Fessenden
Cast: David Call, Joshua Leonard, Alex Breaux, Ana Kayne, Chloe Levine, Addison Timlin
Frankenstein has been done to death, but leave it to indie horror auteur Larry Fessenden to find a way to make the story seem fresh and exciting. Fessenden’s modern-day tale concerns an army medic David Call working on a secret project to reanimate the dead. Sure enough, he succeeds there wouldn’t be much of a story if he didn’t, and his creation Adam Alex Breaux has to slowly adapt and learn it what it means to be human, all while flashes of his past life haunt him. Fessenden eventually gets the story to a somewhat predictable horror climax, but for the bulk of its runtime, Depraved is a surprisingly emotional drama that makes us care for the resurrected Adam.
For fans of: Every other version of Frankenstein.The Muppet Christmas Carol Now Streaming on Disney+
Release Date: 1992
Genre: Musical Holiday...
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the fourth television series in the Star Trek franchise. It ran for seven seasons and a hundred and seventy-six episodes in syndication. The finale, 'What You Leave Behind', aired on June 2nd, 1999. DS9 was markedly different from Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. The show setting was a recovered enemy space station near the planet Bajor. A grieving Starfleet commander, Benjamin Sisko Avery Brooks, assigned to help the Bajorans recover from a devastating occupation; discovers a wormhole to a distant region of the galaxy, the Gamma Quadrant. What followed was a thrilling, slow-burn escalation to the epic, Dominion War; a conflict against powerful Gamma Quadrant adversaries that threatened the United Federation of Planets.
What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine is a wonderful retrospective and coda to the beloved series. The documentary is produced and directed by Ira Steven Behr, DS9's showrunner/executive producer, and filmmaker/Star Trek enthusiast David Zappone; who produced The Captains and For the Love of Spock. Originally crowdfunded to celebrate DS9's twenty-fifth anniversary, Behr was astonished by the legions of fans that contributed money. It changed the scale of the documentary, and provided an opportunity to pursue fandom's dream scenario; a look at the story for a possible season eight of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
What We Left Behind reunites the original cast, writers, filmmakers, and studio executives for interviews. DS9, though it ran for seven seasons, was pilloried by critics at the time. The show was too dark, political, and not adventurous enough. The sci-fi mainstream decried a Star Trek series that was serialized, not episodic. They wanted each week to be a new adventure on a different planet, mimicking the format of the incredibly popular Star Trek: The Next Generation. DS9 had elaborate storylines that stretched over multiple seasons and embraced controversy. From racial and ethnic issues, religious strife, to television's first lesbian kiss, it was a Star Trek series that obliterated boundaries. Ira Steven Behr has frank discussions with the Paramount studio executive who didn't understand his vision for the show. Luckily, his persistence and a cult following allowed DS9 to continue its risque path; albeit with some major changes forced by the suits.
Without delving too deep into the details of the interviews, two pivotal events are explored. The first was the addition of Star Trek: The Next Generation's bad-ass Klingon, Lt. Commander Worf Michael Dorn, in season four. The cast, Behr, Rick Berman overall Star Trek TV producer, and several Paramount execs discuss bringing the popular character to the struggling show. What was already a tight-knit crew had doubts, but welcomed Dorn into the fold. The decision turned out to be exactly as hoped; a shot in the arm that revitalized DS9. The same cannot be said for the killing of Worf's wife and series regular from the start, Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax Terry Farrell. What We Left Behind takes a frank look at the turmoil caused by firing her. Terry Farrell's treatment and decision to leave was a blow to all. Behr also shows the professionalism and resilience of the core players. Nicole de Boer's Lt. Ezri Dax, who replaced Terry Farrell, was a key character during the final season. Seeing the players and producers discuss this tumultuous time is riveting. They developed lifelong bonds from their time on DS9. The show profoundly impacted them on a personal level. Defining the acting careers for many of the cast members.
In true DS9 fashion, What We Left Behind gets political. The doc explores the casting of Avery Brooks as Star Trek's first black captain and series lead. We see how Brooks, who unfortunately is only interviewed through archival footage, steered the path of DS9. Captain Sisko was a father foremost. DS9 had an incredible story arc with his son, Jake Sisko...