IN MY VIEW
OK, it looks like things have stabilised this week with regards to new shows popping up, so I can cover something I didn’t have space for previously. On M-Net, channel 101, Friday at 19:30, we have World of Dance, a reality contest hosted and judged by Jennifer Lopez. The wiki article about the show contains quotes of Lopez gushing about how dance was her ticket to fame and her first form of artistic expression and blah blah blah. A $1-million prize is up for grabs and contestants can use any form of dance they want, either as solo performers or groups.
On Saturday on M-Net 101, at 15:00, is
Ratchet and Clank, a 2016 big-budget, computer-animated movie based on the popular sci-fi action videogame series. We all knew this would come one day, the videogames have a kind of Saturday morning cartoon vibe to them and the developer of the series, Insomniac Games, clearly enjoyed making the cartoon story sequences as much as the actual gameplay bits.
The gist of the series is a furry creature called Ratchet (voiced by James Arnold Taylor) who befriends a diminutive robot called Clank (David Kaye) and together they have all kinds of adventures saving the galaxy from peril.
I’m a bit annoyed about this movie. Not because it’s bad (although it’s not great either) but because it was also the impetus behind Insomniac Games rebooting the videogame series. Yeah, you know all that nuance and backstory, let’s just throw that out the window so we can start again with a new game to coincide with the movie in hopes of garnering a legion of new fans. I thought you were above all that, Insomniac. I’m not angry — I’m disappointed. Anyway, in this sub-par retelling of the story, Ratchet and Clank team up to stop an alien race called the Blarg from stealing pieces of planets to craft a new homeworld for themselves. Timeless is a US science-fiction action mystery series from last year. I’m pretty sure we didn’t get it at the time, but we have it now, M-Net Channel 101, Saturday, 18:30. The premise is that a company called Mason Industries invents a time-travel machine that is stolen by a criminal who wants to alter the course of history for some nefarious purpose, so they haul out a back-up time machine they had on hand and put together a team of three people to chase the thief through time.
The three heroes are played by Abigail Spencer, Malcolm Barrett and Matt Lanter, in the roles of Lucy Preston, a history professor whose knowledge of past events should help suss out the villain’s motive; Rufus Carlin, an engineer knowledgeable about the working of the time machine; and Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan, a soldier to do the heavy lifting.
You can probably see what’s coming: in each episode they hit a new historical area and interact with some historical figures, each time thwarting the villain and gaining a tiny piece of info relevant to his overall plan.
It’s a bit like the Assassin’s Creed videogames, but with much less stabbing.
Oh, and the villain Garcia Flynn (Goran Višnjic) is guided in his mission by a diary from the future written by Lucy Preston herself. Oooh! A juicy mystery. Sounds good, right?
Well, maybe. Perhaps I’ve just seen this happen too many times, but it almost seems like the bigger and juicier the mystery, the more limp and dry the eventual explanation.
The series currently has 16 episodes and was initially cancelled, but quickly picked up again for a second season next year . . . almost like someone went back in time and changed the network chiefs’ minds.
It’s also a time-travel story, and those are notorious for being more full of holes than the roads in my neighbourhood. Apparently the writing is tight in this one to avoid that. Alright, challenge accepted.
WRONG CENTURY: In ‘Timeless’, Malcolm Barrett (left) plays Rufus Carlin, Matt Lanter plays Wyatt Logan, and Abigail Spencer plays Lucy Preston. Behind them is their trusty time machine in which they chase a thief