'You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,' but these days, a guide through the seemingly endless flurry of pop-culture offerings is just what we need. With that in mind, here is what's on the radar in TV, music and film for the coming week.
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/6/2015 (2246 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
BIG RELEASE FRIDAY: Jurassic World
BIG PICTURE: At Disney World, visitors run the risk of being trampled by children and getting indigestion. At Jurassic World, visitors run the risk of being trampled by dinosaurs and giving them indigestion. The fourth instalment of the franchise -- after two middling sequels -- finds the park open for business. It's the kind of place where you really want to pay attention to signs, such as "Don't feed the animals." Of course, humans decide to play God again. Bringing dinosaurs back from extinction wasn't enough; they needed to create new dinosaurs. The park's scientists genetically engineer a focus-group-tested new attraction: Indominus Rex, a dinosaur "designed to be bigger than the T-Rex." They basically create a super-intelligent Godzilla and are then stupid enough to give the beast a name anyone would feel compelled to live up to. When the creature escapes while 20,000 tourists are on the island, the lucky dino is presented with an all-you-can-eat buffet.
FORECAST: Jurassic Park left quite the legacy -- our inability to take Jeff Goldblum seriously (or was that The Fly?) and one of the worst professional sports team names ever. But Jurassic World has Chris Pratt (The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy), Hollywood's current Midas. Pratt stars as Owen, a dinosaur trainer by day and action hero by night. Last summer, Pratt battled aliens. Now, he's charged with defending us from dinos gone wild. I imagine his bucket list is nearly complete. (Am I the only one who would have preferred Groot World, about a giant theme park filled with Groot saplings from Guardians?)
BIG EVENT FRIDAY: Dark Matter (Space, 9 p.m.)
BIG PICTURE: Six people wake up on a derelict starship with no memories of who they are and how they got there. My guess is they joined Capt. Kirk on one of his intergalactic benders. But, sadly, this is not a new Star Trek series. The crew may have amnesia, but they quickly display "dangerous" abilities. Who are they? Are they good guys or bad guys? What is their mission? Based on a graphic novel, Dark Matter is created by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, the creative team behind the Stargate franchise. This one co-stars former Canadian Idol contestant Melissa O'Neil, making her TV debut fresh off an award-winning stint in Broadway's Les Misérables. From reality TV to North America's biggest stage to an interplanetary mission. Not a bad career trajectory! At this rate, O'Neil will be helping Chris Pratt fight vampire pirates, or something, by summer 2016.
FORECAST: The small screen is due for a new sci-fi saviour, and this could be it. Dark Matter is a glimpse of a dystopian future where corporations own planets and wantonly exploit and devour their resources. (Wait a minute... that sounds suspiciously like the present.)
BIG RELEASE TUESDAY: Of Monsters and Men (Beneath the Skin)
BIG PICTURE: I'm pretty sure this band name was the working title of the original Jurassic Park. The Icelandic folk rockers are back with more tales of fierce animals, mystical heroes and Mother Nature run amok. Sure, co-vocalists Nanna Brynds Hilmarsdòttir and Ragnar ûòrhallsson sound like characters from Game of Thrones. Even their song titles -- Black Water, Thousand Eyes, Organs, I of the Storm, Wolves Without Teeth -- sound poached from the pages of George R.R. Martin. But as long as this acclaimed group can put out albums faster than he can write books, we'll be happy.
FORECAST: Of Monsters and Men will get beneath our skin again with their sophomore effort. These monsters aren't under your bed, they're on your playlist.
HONOURABLE MENTION: No Joy (More Faithful). More joy from the Arts & Crafts label! No Joy releases their third album of shoe-gazing pop, complete with powerful guitar riffs, dreamy harmonies and raw emotional intensity. One promo calls the album "hair-whipping guitar goddess rock music." Before long, we may all be worshiping at their musical altar.