At long last, the one you’ve (okay, we’ve) (okay, Nick’s) been waiting for – Avengers: Infinity War!

But first, it’s an instructive double-bill of other recommendations: Nick’s read Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and Alastair’s seen new Gaiman adaptation movie How To Talk To Girls At Parties.

And then, at long last, the main event – Avengers: Infinity War with full spoilers! (8:06) Can it ever live up to the sheer length of the cast list?

Not to mention our related point: How standalone must a film be to count as a real film? (28:16)

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It’s oh-so-still this fortnight, as Nick and Alastair cover A Quiet Place, the hit horror film in which nobody can hear you scream, because you can’t even speak.

But first, Alastair’s been watching The City & The City, the new BBC adaptation of a China Mieville book, while Nick’s seem the first episode of his beloved surreal superhero show Legion.

(And yes, the original plan was to cover Legion as this fortnight’s main review, but it turns out, that too was surreal misdirection.)

And then it’s time to review A Quiet Place (7:02), with moderate plot discussion throughout and a few (carefully labelled) hardcore ending spoilers from 22:13.

Until 28:23, where this fortnight’s question is asked: How much do plot nitpicks really matter?

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This fortnight, Alastair hits one of his most anticipated  releases of the year: Wes Anderson’s new cinematic canine cartoon Isle of Dogs!

Alongside that, in the brief intro, he’s also seen hot new Netflix scifi epic Annihilation, whereas Nick is the one person on Earth still watching Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.

And then it’s time for the dog show, as Alastair talks about how Isle of Dogs (9:15) fits into the Wes Anderson canon and Nick (who’s never seen a Wes Anderson film) also saw it and had thoughts.

And then Team MFV dive back into our childhoods, with this week’s big, broad question: Can any new talking animal film ever compare to The Jungle Book? (23:20) Or, really, whatever your favourite big nostalgic animated classic is.

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In a highly anticipated episode (by Nick and Alastair anyway), they review season two of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, the hard-boiled super-powered noir Netflix show starring Krysten Ritter.

But first, Alastair has seen Hamilton and would like you to believe he’s mentioning it for reasons other than gloating. (As ever, Nick writes these notes.) The author himself, meanwhile, has been listening to the Buffering the Vampire Slayer podcast.

That done, they move on to Jessica Jones season 2 (10:31) with full spoilers after a quick early summary, throwing up a lot of questions about what the writers are trying to achieve, how much they succeed in any of it and whether it’s finally time for them to just take Nick’s oft-repeated suggestion and make the damn seasons shorter.

That done, Nick and Alastair investigate this week’s somewhat-related question: what makes a good difficult second album? (28:53) In which Nick refers to Heroes as a “recent” TV show and has now realised he is old.

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Now that the first season of Star Trek: Discovery is over, Nick and Alastair check back in to see how the much-hyped scifi comeback maintained its dead serious premium tones.

But first, Nick’s relived the raw excitement of his teenage years with The End of the F***ing World on Netflix, while Alastair continues ticking off the Oscar movies with I, Tonya. (Which, predictably, leads to a few minutes of more general Oscar post-game chat.)

After which, time to launch at warp speed into Star Trek: Discovery (9:55), with spoilers all the way to the very last shot of the finale. How have things changed since Nick and Alastair last flew with them in MFV #48?

And finally, in a very uncontroversial and unloaded discussion, inspired by one specific line from Discovery, they ask: How subtle should allusions to real life politics in sci-fi/fantasy be? (28:49)

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It’s an Oscarbait special this week, as we dive into heavily award-nominated woman/fishman romance extravaganza The Shape of Water!

But first, Alastair’s investigating new BBC detective series Collateral, while Nick takes a pounding from superhero-bashing military thriller comic The Boys.

And then we go splashing in the waters of Sally Hawkins and the fish monster’s enchanting love with our review of The Shape of Water. (9:36)

And lastly, since this fantasy-horror-romance has been nominated for so many Oscars, does this mean their snubbing of genre movies is finally over? In short: when will Spider-Man finally win an Oscar? (24:34)

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Time for Team MFV to kick off this year’s big superhero films with the ground-breaking, widely acclaimed Black Panther from Marvel!

But first, a brief chat about the TV they’ve seen lately, both old (Nick’s back on Battlestar Galactica) and new (Alastair’s seen Derry Girls).

Then the boys dive into the world of Wakanda with Marvel’s Black Panther (10:14), looking at the new angles it opens up, where it succeeds and fails and anything else they can think of.

Then, since it’s the first superfilm of the new year, seems a good time to ask: what should superhero movies be in 2018? (28:38) Clue: the answer is not “whiter, straighter and maler”.

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Dystopian science fiction stories have always been popular, but they seem to be in demand now more than ever. George Orwell’s 1984 became a bestseller, again, following an explosion of interest in post-truth after the election of Donald Trump. From Black Mirror to Blade Runner 2049, we can’t get enough of dystopian sci-fi, so why are we so obsessed with how the future can go wrong?

Dystopian sci-fi conjures up societies that are undesirable or frightening. Corrupted visions of our own future. However, they usually say more about the time they were written in than what the future will be like.

Orwell was worried about Stalinism and how it was poised to spread across Europe after WW2, sweeping away the democratic socialist movement that Orwell was a champion of. Any accurate predictions made about listening devices and CCTV are an unhappy byproduct of this.

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This fortnight, it’s time for Nick and Alastair to journey way down into the dark heart of the scifi dystopia, with Image’s new comic series Paradiso, written by Ram V and drawn by Dev Pramanik.

But first, as ever, some brief cuts – both hosts have seen Oscar-tipped black comedy-drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Nick’s also started reading Roman history hit SPQR by Mary Beard as part of his whole non-fiction thing.

Then, finally, time to look at the first two issues of Paradiso (7:01) and talk about how it both leans into and rises above various tropes for a hellish fictional future.

Lastly, this week’s related question risks going even grimmer than our Ragnarok episode, as we ask: Which scifi dystopia would you least like to live in? (19:30)

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