Sci-fi horse race: Picard, Doctor Who or Star Wars — who's in the lead?


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Things brighten up briefly on the latest episode of HBO’s Avenue 5. Photo by supplied

Recently, in episode six, the on-ship plutocrat Herman Judd (Josh Gad) had the bright idea to illuminate the frozen ring of leaked poop and dead passengers circling the ship with a Vegas light show and, you know, it was actually wonderful. Zach Woods (The Office), who just can’t stop telling his awful, uncomfortable version of truth, wraps it all up in a nice bow. In that spirit: the worse their circumstances, the funnier the show gets. Hoping for apocalypse!

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix): Late on the bus on this one, I know, but holy! An often unspoken truth about both The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth is that despite the incredible production value for their time and David Bowie’s front bump, both Jim Henson films are pretty emotionally stiff slogs. Heresy stated, this 2019 update of Dark Crystal did a wayyyy better job than the recent Star Wars sequels of fleshing out its setting, generously using material from long-dusty teen novels, but more importantly just building up a terrific story to rival Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is simply gorgeous. Photo by Kevin Baker / Netflix

It’s especially great the way the show handles diversity, which, on an alien world, really shouldn’t look exactly like Earth as most modern fantasy tend to. Instead, the Gelflings from around Thraa exist on a physical axis between human and goat-faced, chalk-white through green and beyond, their tribal cultures rich and wonderful. Which says nothing of all the other stunning wildlife. I’m scared to blink watching this show, pure magic. It all ends all right for the Gelflings, right? RIGHT?