Do we really need Tiger King 2? Of course we do

Joe Exotic may be in prison - those once-vibrant, frosted locks now a criminally flaccid brown fringe - but that doesn't mean we've seen the last of the Tiger King.

Tiger King 2 is to screen on Netflix from November 17, picking up where the breakout streaming hit of the COVID-era left off, ie Exotic (real name Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage nee Schreibvogel) sentenced to 22 years' jail for conspiring to have nemetic animal rescue advocate Carole Baskin killed and all the rest counting their sheer, dumb luck they were in the vicinity to get swept up in such a lucrative, tornado-alley zeitgeist.

"Everybody from the zoo is out there making money and I'm paying the price for every one of them people," a resentful Exotic whinges over the big house phone in the trailer that takes the mickey out of this funky flavour of Bogan Americana to the tune of Liza Minnelli's MaybeThis Time.

With so much big cat urine under the bridge (and at least two dramatisations in the works) since Tiger King directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin prised open the bizarre bars of Oklahoma's Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, it's hard to imagine what of any great substance is left to reveal here?

Joe Exotic tells all from prison where he's doing time for conspiring to kill fellow animal rescue advocate Carole Baskin. Picture: Netflix

Joe Exotic tells all from prison where he's doing time for conspiring to kill fellow animal rescue advocate Carole Baskin. Picture: Netflix

Sporting the ashen pall of a hunter who let the quarry of a lifetime slip from his grasp, British documentarian Louis Theroux discovered as much when he sifted through the grotty remains of Exotic's former life for his bridesmaid special, Shooting Joe Exotic, which aired on ABC iview earlier this year.

Theroux tapped the highly watchable potential of Exotic - who told Twitter followers this we he had "aggressive cancer" - in his 2009 series America's Most Dangerous Pets (featuring a frightening attack from a chimpanzee) but, just as had been the case with his 2001 film on Jimmy Savile, he missed the whole story.

Trying to make amends, Theroux was able to interview Carole Baskin and husband Howard, finding they wanted nothing more to do with Tiger King, but when he tried to speak with the various other players who brought so much addictive weirdness to the story, he discovered them unavailable and under-contract as Netflix plotted its sophomore effort, a project which will have to pull something truly spectacular out of the trucker cap if it's to eclipse the first.

Not that it will and not that it needs to. We'll watch anyway, quite satisfied to traverse old ground - precisely, it seems, what we're in for.

As indicated in the trailer, we're to return to the mystery of Carole's first husband Don Lewis, who went missing in 1997 and was declared legally dead in 2002.

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"He was dealing with some shady characters down in Costa Rica .... Don liked to play with dangerous stuff," we're told by a couple of hombres with the grizzled mugs of bar fly extras from a Robert Rodriguez movie.

Ignoring the fact there are nothing but "shady characters" down in Costa Rica, it'll be interesting to see how the Baskins are portrayed (if at all, come the final cut) considering they're already suing Netflix over footage of them used in the new teaser.

Meanwhile, Exotic's Machiavellian (perhaps that's a little generous) former business partner Jeff Lowe looks to be doing splendidly. He has a diamond-encrusted Tiger King medallion and an additional woman in his bed.

All this repetition does, however, beg the question, do we really need a second Tiger King?

The answer, of course, is an emphatic "yes".

It's time, Doctor

A more delicate question is, do we really need a 14th Doctor Who?

The answer, of course, is "no".

Streaming at the geek-friendly hour of 6.20am on Mondays on ABC iview, the hallowed British sci-fi franchise is going all out to farewell Jodie Whittaker's 13th incarnation of the Time Lord.

The six-part series (subtitled Flux) features a cavalcade of enemies (lots of those ugly guys with egg cup heads), dog people and a malevolent cloud (is there any other kind?) eating its way through the universe, pulverising planets and leaving, presumably, a trail of space droppings in its wake.

The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and Karvanista (Craige Els) in Dr Who Flux. Picture: ABC

The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and Karvanista (Craige Els) in Dr Who Flux. Picture: ABC

With Doctor Who: Flux, celebrated showrunner Russell T Davies is pushing more and more into super-fan territory, which may alienate the casual viewer, even prompting some to think Doctor Who is beginning to do something that rhymes with flux (calm down, I mean "sucks").

Although she defers to her sonic screwdriver more often than a 15-year-old does a smart phone, Whittaker is as quirky and complex and fun as any of her male contemporaries have been in the lead role, but one wonders whether the series couldn't benefit from a bit of a rest?

Let the Gallifreyan grey nomad (the Doctor is 900 years old, after all) park the TARDIS up at Hervey Bay and be done with it.

Basketball diary

Something that never gets old is a story about prodigious sporting talent.

Adhering to the themes of a Youngblood or a Prefontaine or a Teen Wolf, Swagger follows 14-year-old Jace Carson trying to make it big in the world of US basketball.

Before Jace can get anywhere close to the NBA, he must first do his time in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) league. The for-profit forum is surprisingly cut-throat and Jace's mother - Shinelle Azoroh's canny sole parent who works two jobs - knows she must negotiate the league astutely if she is to usher her boy to success.

Isaiah Hill as Jace Carson in Swagger. Picture: Apple TV+

Isaiah Hill as Jace Carson in Swagger. Picture: Apple TV+

Jace is played by Isaiah Hill, who, if not great actor, is a very good basketballer (his looping, single-handed slam dunks are the real deal) and is surrounded by a gifted support cast, especially O'Shea Jackson Jr., who plays an idealist coach wrestling with the demons of his own unrealised potential.

The influence of social media, how it brings extra, often inimical, pressure to the progress of an up-and-comer such as Jace (who, it must be remembered, is a child) is brought cleverly and strategically into play.

Swagger on Apple TV+ (NBA star Kevin Durant is executive producer) provides sound sporting moments but is best when delivering the black American experience.

Jace's mum's anguish is palpable when police handcuff her boy one night for doing nothing more than taking out the trash.

Pretty much what Tiger King 2 is doing.

This story Long live the Tiger King, but has Doctor Who lost her swagger? first appeared on The Canberra Times.