Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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TV Review: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ ends its disappointing voyage

Neal Justin – Star Tribune (TNS)

I have a soft spot for the original “Star Trek” series and believe “The Wrath of Khan” is a genuine classic. “Strange New Worlds,” which debuted in 2022, is one of the best adventures in the franchise’s history. But I’m no Trekkie. My attempts at a Vulcan salute would probably be interpreted as a gang sign.

So maybe a die-hard fan could explain to me why “Star Trek: Discovery” was such a hit. The series, which starts streaming its fifth and final season Thursday on Paramount+, never tries to wrestle the moral dilemmas with the same gusto that its predecessors did. Capt. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) takes her cues from James Bond instead of James Kirk, never missing an opportunity to deliver a quip. There’s more onboard romance on a “Love Boat” cruise. And the plot in the final episodes seems like a rip-off from “The Avengers,” with the rather bland crew racing across the galaxy to locate puzzle pieces.

There are some clever references to past series during these last 10 episodes, but they’re reminders that “Discovery” was never in their league. Let’s hope the next “Trek” mission is a little more enterprising.

Also this week

‘The Incomparable Mr. Buckley’

William F. Buckley Jr. was a prolific writer who churned out novels and columns for his National Review magazine with spitfire speed. But this “American Masters” edition is most interested in examining the late conservative as a creature of TV, one whose facial expressions were as lively as a Broadway musical. Clips of his series, “Firing Line,” make you long for the days when political debate could be entertaining without turning into shouting matches. 9 p.m. ET Friday, PBS

‘Two for One’

Hollywood hotshots are showing their support for Turner Classic Movies by curating some very special double features every Saturday through the end of June. The series kicks off with Martin Scorsese introducing “Blood on the Moon” and “One Touch of Venus,” both from 1948. Future guests include Spike Lee (“A Face in the Crowd,” “Ace in the Hole”), Patty Jenkins (“The Fisher King,” “Synecdoche”) and Steven Spielberg (“Jailhouse Rock,” “Forty Guns”). 8 p.m. Saturday, TCM

‘Dave Attell: Hot Cross Buns’

Nothing is taboo for the New York comic, whose latest special has him riffing on Jeffrey Dahmer, Cracker Barrel and the Jan. 6 riot. The uproarious insults come at such a fast and furious pace that Attell appears to run out of material, filling the last 10 minutes with some tooting on a recorder. Those elementary school instruments are even more annoying when the San Francisco audience joins in. Netflix

‘The Beautiful Game’

Bill Nighy stars as an enthusiastic soccer coach determined to make a good showing at the Homeless World Cup, despite the fact that his best striker never learned that there’s no “I” in team. The action scenes aren’t as riveting as the ones in “Bend It Like Beckham” or even “Victory,” in which we come to believe that Sylvester Stallone could play goalie. But this movie shines when it focuses on the off-the-field interplay among the underdog players. Netflix

©2024 StarTribune. Visit startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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