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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For their first proper episode of the new year, Nick and Alastair finally grapple with their long-time Aaron Sorkin fandom, courtesy of his new movie Molly’s Game!

But first, in recent media chat, Nick’s been catching up on strong BBC crime show Line of Duty and Alastair’s read cult sci-fi comic Omega Men by Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda.

After that, it’s the review of Molly’s Game (7:57), as our heroes try to balance talking about the film with, inevitably, comparisons to previous Sorkin films and TV shows.

Then the related question this week is: How do you follow up a career-defining work? (24:42), which starts off mostly about Sorkin and The West Wing, then ends up flirting with weightier questions about whether the public wants artists to just vanish after their one big project. Heavy, man.

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2017 is all over, and just like they did last year, Nick and Alastair are putting the beast to rest with a review podcast covering their favourite releases in TV and film.

But first, as ever, they’ve consumed some media and will briefly talk about it – specifically, BBC sadcom Fleabag and drone movie Eye In The Sky.

Then onto the meat of the show – first up, Alastair introduces our general chat about movies (5:06), then both take turns introducing their respective top fives from the year (10:14), before whittling it town to a unified MFV Top Three.

And then, yes, it’s the same treatment for television – first chat (29:32), then chart (35:38).

And if that’s not enough 2017 Summary, you can also find Alastair’s lookback at the year in film and Nick’s Top Ten TV Shows right on this very website.

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Hello and welcome to Nick’s Top Ten TV Shows of 2017, a blog post about television programmes and the order Nicholas Bryan lists them in!

This is the sixth time I’ve done this, which makes it one of the longest-running ‘traditions’ in my entire life. Pretty sure this series of blog posts has now out-lasted most houses I’ve lived in. It’s nice to really create something you can build on, you know?

Anyway, if you want to marvel at the previous lists, you can find them all here on a range of websites:

Now, let’s get on with it. Although – top end of this is pretty similar to my Top Five TV Shows to be unveiled in our upcoming MFV #53 2017 review podcast, so just FYI, the below is… technically a podcast-spoiler? If that bothers you?

As ever, subjectivity is king and objective truth is dead, we can all live in our own cultural silos thanks to the on-demand revolution, so this is what I like and if you disagree, that’s fine.

In fact, personal taste is probably coming in with pretty much our first entry. Continue reading

I finished my summary of film in 2016 by saying that I was not “hugely hopeful for an explosion of quality in 2017” and in many ways I was wrong. Like last year, 2017 was a year that I visited the cinema a lot and more often than not I enjoyed myself.

The year began with the usual run of films vying for Oscars and I was pleased to see that there was a lot of diversity in this year’s nominations following last year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Films such as Hidden Figures, Loving, Fences and Moonlight received Oscar nominations and had prominent roles for actors of colour. This was a welcome change from the usual parade of white people being nominated in the top Oscar categories.

La La Land walked away with several Oscar wins, as well as cementing Emma Stone’s position as one of the most talented people in Hollywood and Damien Chazelle’s reputation as an excellent director. Silence was a disappointing offering from Martin Scorsese, one of my favourite directors. Sadly, not even a collaboration with talented actors such as Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson could make the film engaging.

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