The Magic Tricks of JJ Abrams – Culture Show Special – TV Review

JJ Abrams
JJ Abrams Boldly Goes

Never having liked ‘Lost’ – there said it – nor ‘Cloverfield’ either, this reviewer was somewhat wary on hearing that JJ Abrams would be directing the new Star Trek, the next generation after the next generation after the first generation (with other spin offs and tributaries thrown in for good measure). Would he stick to the telegraphed symbolism of ‘Lost’ and trash the memory of the Kirk/Spock Enterprise or could he bring something new to the saga? Thankfully, ‘Star Trek’ (2009) proved to be a decent enough re-boot of the series. Rocakabilly Critic Mark Kermode was our host in another ‘Culture Show Special’, ‘The Magic Tricks of JJ Abrams’ (BBC2) and while the initial concern of this being a ‘puff piece’ for the latest Trek flick, ‘Into Darkness’, was never entirely dissipated (the timing coincided bang on with the new movie release), the programme managed to convey some of what makes the middle-aged Wunderkind’s brain tick. His heroes include Lucas and Spielberg and Abrams is happy to pay homage to the space opera, action packed, high-octane entertainment values that’s the hallmark of the two Hollywood giants.

Abrams brought Kermode on a tour around the ‘Bad Robot’ production facilities and whether orders went out from the top floor or not, the staff and crew seemed like a bunch of happy characters. Minor irritants included Abrams overuse of the word ‘fun’, as in we had a ‘fun meeting’ with Tom Cruise but this was a cut above your average promo-docs, and you have to give Kermode a lot of credit for this. Abrams though, came across as a smart and grounded guy and judging by this, his best days are yet to come.

The Culture Show – BBC2

By Dan O’Neill – Dan writes on TV at and on Politics at

Categories: TV

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