The Stream

Mute

Ah, Duncan Jones. It's anyone's guess at this stage what a retrospective of Jones' career will look like. For the record, we had no issues with Warcraft, a workmanlike fantasy adventure that for us probably benefitted from absolutely no prior experience of the Warcraft universe. This one? Well, we suspect Jones' work will always land in the 'worth checking out' category and Mute is no different.

A mash of sci-fi dystopia, gumshoe noir detective work and Alexander Skarsgård looking vulnerable and confused, this is a curious beast. Skarsgård is Leo, a mute since a mysterious boating accident as a kid, trying desperately to find out what happened to his girlfriend the day after she said mysterious things to him. Paul Rudd shows up as an army surgeon on the run for some reason and now reduced to fixing up gangsters in his basement.

Various threads do kind of come together in a not entirely satisfying ending but the real puzzler here is why the script is so clunky and what all this amounts to. Very much aping the Blade Runner aesthetic but without any of the real mystery, this is worth a look but probably won't linger in the mind. 

Available on Netflix

Happy!

SyFy, the home of cheapo schlock nonsense and a seemingly endless parade of movies literally throwing sharks at people, appear to have started to make actual TV shows. If Happy! is anything to go by, they'll be as distinctive as a shark in orbit but crucially, this one has zero sharks in it. Granted it does have an evil multi-headed imaginary friend dog and the central character can only be led to redemption by an imaginary blue unicorn but still, there are no CGI sharks..

Christopher Meloni is an entertaining lead as Nick Sax, textbook ex-police fuck-up, current hitman with a heart problem, professional misanthrope. When he clips four gangsters for cash to fund his feckless lifestyle, he inadvertently becomes embroiled in a series of particularly grim events that take him on a journey to some form of redemption. Via a creepy as all hell child's entertainer, the world's worst Santa and a wide variety of your average run of the mill gansgters.

 It's really not going to be for everybody and to be honest, it skates very close to way too weird on a number of occasions but there was enough mortuary level humour here to keep us interested and Meloni's face is great to watch as a constant canvas of bewildered angst.

Available on Netflix

Star Trek: Discovery

Half of Broken Shark is a long time fan of the entire Star Trek thing, you can probably guess which half. Having lost interest sometime around the end of Deep Space 9, this one wasn't even on our radar when it crash landed on Netflix. Starring everyone's favourite Jason Isaacs, it got off to a very strong start by having the captain not even the central character. Mostly a true ensemble piece but probably mostly centralised on Sonequa Martin-Green's strangely named Michael Burnham, this is the darkest entry into the defiantly PG series.

Serving time for betraying her original captain (a two part prologue sets the scene), Burnham finds herself in the hands of Isaac's Captain Lorca and given a shot to escape the life sentence she believes that she deserves. Lorca isn't your traditional Star Trek captain. Dark, brooding, reckless and borderline cruel, Lorca will stop at nothing to defeat the Klingons in a war that Burnham had a hand in starting.

We weren't convinced when this one began but by just over halfway, you'll start to get the uneasy feeling the series wants you to have and by the end, well, let's just say sushi is going to take on a whole new meaning. Violent, dark and weaving all over the place, series one wrapped up a lot that we thought could have been left to run but there is still plenty left to get into for the second season. It's Star Trek kids, but not as we know it.

Available on Netflix