You barely have to look out of the window to understand film and TV’s current obsession with the multiverse. A chance to escape into a parallel world or lifetime where things are different? Sign. Us. Up. In 2022 the movies had Doctor Strange and Everything Everywhere All At Once, TV had Russian Doll Season 2, His Dark Materials, and the tender, quietly mind-blowing Life After Life.
This four-part adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s acclaimed 2013 novel (a masterpiece, there’s no other word for it) is the story of Ursula, a girl who lives in an unending loop. Ursula is born, dies, and is born again and dies again repeatedly, each time with the faint instinct that she’s been here before. On each repeat go-around, she learns the ghost of lessons that help her to live longer each time. Don’t paddle into the sea, don’t dawdle on the way home, don’t take the hand of that stranger…
It’s a beautiful period drama with grit in its gut about the minefield life can be, especially in wartime. Thomasin McKenzie (The Power of the Dog, Jojo Rabbit) is an entrancing lead, supported by a choice cast who tell a story that deserved much more fanfare than it received. – Louisa Mellor
Star Trek: Prodigy
Stream on Nickelodeon (US), Paramount+ (UK)
Okay, I know it’s a bit of a cheat to call an Emmy-winning Star Trek series a potentially missed gem, especially to readers of Den of Geek. But of the four ongoing series in this resurgence of Star Trek television shows, Prodigy is the easiest to overlook. Between the fact that it’s literally a kids’ cartoon on Nickelodeon, that it focuses on a crew of lesser-known or entirely new aliens from the Delta Quadrant (save Tellarite Jankom Pog, voiced by a delightful Jason Mantzoukas), and that its closest legacy ties are to the less-revered Voyager, it’s easy to understand why even Trekkers skipped the series.
But those who did tune into Prodigy found a story that exemplifies the best that Trek has to offer. The series follows a group of teens of various species who escape a prison colony operated by the domineering Diviner (voiced by John Noble of Fringe) via an abandoned Starfleet vessel. The first half of Season 1, which aired in 2021, found the escapees learning about the Federation from afar, aided only by a hologram in the form of Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). However, Season 2 more closely ties to classic Trek, as the kids discover that they may not be welcomed by the Federation, especially the now-Vice Admiral Janeway, who believes the kids have something to do with her missing former Commanding Officer Chakotay (Robert Beltran).