What have you been watching this week (w/e October 1)

Kale Ingram in Rubicon, the hardest gay man in town

Lovely wife is off in Barcelona with her pals at the moment, so there’s a slight backlog on things we watch together – 30 Rock, Community, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Being Erica, Life Unexpected and Hellcats. I’ve also yet to muster up the enthusiasm to watch Detroit 1-8-7, My Generation and Boardwalk Empire and I’ve decided not to bother with Lone Star now it’s been cancelled. And as for Undercovers, The Defenders and The Whole Truth, there’s just not enough time in the world to be giving some shows a second chance. I’ve also got Outsourced episode 2 to watch, Law and Order: LA and I might even given Downton Abbey a try, despite it being on ITV. This is a very busy time of year!

  • Better With You: Just like with the first episode, there’s some good writing, there’s a good cast, it makes you laugh. It has its fair share of cliches, mainly to do with the oldest couple, but they’re reasonably tolerable. But the horrible, horrible laughter track and studio audience are like fingers on a blackboard. I’m not sure despite the fact it’s the only really funny new comedy so far this season that I can actually carry on watching it.
  • Chuck: It seems like the Buy More is turning into “the place where guest stars who would like to cameo on Chuck turn up”. This week it was the turn of the Old Spice guy who proved nearly as awesome as Captain Awesome – glad to see him back, too, because he is just awesome. Otherwise, a mixture of fun and… oh no, it’s the Buy More crew back. And is it my imagination of is Chuck just not bothering to “flash” much these days.
  • Dexter: A surprisingly emotional start, with our Dexter mourning the departure of someone close to him at the end of last season. Some real nice touches, no obvious serial killer adversary for our Dexter and it looks like the real enemy for him this year is going to be himself. No Julia Stiles yet (she’ll be along soon), which I’m looking forward to. So very promising.
  • The Event: Hmmm. Pretty much everything you guessed was going to happen during the pilot has now turned out to be the case. If I spend the reason of the season having every mystery proven to be obvious, I’m not going to be best pleased. Episode three is apparently the point at which things change in interesting ways, so I’ll stick around for that one, but the appeal of the show has dropped significantly as the silliness factor has kicked in.
  • Hawaii Five-0: Talking of very silly indeed, Hawaii Five-0 tried to do Sneakers this week and it was all a bit laughable. With no Len Wiseman directing, the action quickly fell apart, giving us possibly the stupidest, most badly edited catfight I’ve seen since the 70s. WTF is up with Daniel Dae Kim on that motorbike? And what age is Grace Park trying to play? But the Danny/Steve pairing is a fun one, the return to original series format (a guest helper of the week for Five-0) is a nice touch and the scripts are enjoyably stupid, so I’ll probably stick with this one for now.
  • House: Distinct lack of women on the main team all of a sudden. But an acceptable episode, even if the new “nice” House is hard to take seriously.
  • Mad Men: I’m up to speed at last! Very much enjoying the season so far and enjoying the hoops Don is being made to go through. Didn’t like Lane’s father (W Morgan Sheppard from Max Headroom et al) but I do like Don’s new girlfriend and the relationship he has with her.
  • Parenthood: A much more balanced episode, with both men and women getting decent plot lines. But the last minute “Asperger’s kid takes an interest at last” moment didn’t ring true, Monica Potter’s character is just collapsing and not enough is actually happening – it’s actually hard to say what the point of Parenthood is since there’s no real plot drive towards anything. So I’m on the verge of giving up. Just not quite yet.
  • Raising Hope: I gave up after five minutes into episode 2, on the general grounds it wasn’t funny.
  • Rubicon: Not much happening at all still. But it’s engrossing and I have to say Kale – not the hero but his boss – is proving to be one of the most interesting characters on TV for some time: a gay man in a relationship, successful, happy, talented, the hardest man in town despite being in his 40s or 50s, a former US Marine yet possessed with some of the finest taste in interior decor around. No one really quite like him on TV. Makes the show worth watching all by himself.
  • Running Wilde: Even Peter Serafinowicz couldn’t really rescue this one. A few funny moments, but way too few. I’ll probably watch next week’s though.
  • Shit My Dad Says: We lasted two and half minutes on this before giving up. Not funny in the slightest.
  • Smallville: I thought I’d give this one a try again, given it’s the last season. Still as dumb as a box of hammers, and way too comic strip, but it was good to see John Schneider get to cameo. Ditto Dr Fate, even if Chloe isn’t going to be around much now. I think I’ll skip a few more episodes until Supergirl’s back.
  • Stargate Universe: Not the rip-roaring return I was hoping for, given the strength of the various cliffhangers last season. Everything’s been wrapped up a little too neatly. I also wasn’t happy to see the return of the people they’d left behind on that planet, which robbed that episode of one of the show’s most magnificent ambiguities. The constant darkness also means I can’t see what’s going on half the time. But I’m interested to see what they do with the Lucian Alliance people with Robert Knepper about.
  • Supernatural: And… I’m out. The end of last season was a natural conclusion to the previous five years, so I think I might as well leave while the show is on a high. The departure of Eric Kripke as showrunner seems to have robbed the show of some of its strengths, since this first episode was dull and was just a traipse over the glories of past episodes. The new format felt very crowbarred into the show (spoilers: look! It’s me your dead grandfather! And here are all your cousins! Let’s go fight bad guys). None of it really rang true. So I think I’ll cut this out of my schedule.

But what have you been watching?

As always, no spoilers unless you’re going to use the <spoiler> </spoiler> tags, please. If you’ve reviewed something on your blog, you can put a link to it here rather than repeat yourself (although too many links and you might get killed by the spam filter).

  • Mark Carroll

    I’ve been re-watching “Life”, which certainly bears a second viewing. More “Dexter” S4 arrives on Monday. Been bothering with the current CSI, the Las Vegas one, it’s okay but unremarkable. “House” is okay, too, though I did enjoy the very-truthfully-blunt House more, so that’s just okay now too. “Castle” remains silly fun. I think you mentioned Clancy Brown in “CSI: NY” in November, maybe I’ll bother with that, I usually like him.

  • Are you up to date on ‘Rubicon’ over there? I watched the latest episode this morning and can’t wait for next week’s. They’ve really ramped up the excitement (within the context of this show that is) and the concern for several characters.
    I like Kale as well, but I’m fascinated by Truxton Spengler, the boss at API. Michael Cristofer has an odd cadence to his lines and when he smiles it’s like looking at a shark as it moves in for the kill.
    I’ve given up on just about every new show from this season save for ‘Boardwalk Empire’, which for some reason I don’t feel qualifies. (Like that old tagline for HBO put it – “It’s not TV; It’s HBO.”) I’m watching ‘Undercovers’ only because I don’t care for anything else at that hour on my night off from work. Along the same line, I like the concept of ‘The Whole Truth’ and will interested to see next week’s with Judd Hirsch as the guest star.
    I forgot to record ‘Hawaii Five-O’ last week and based on your review, I probably didn’t miss much. Maybe I will cut back some by eliminating this from consideration. (Doesn’t do me any good in my little hobby anyway.)
    The one “new” show I really enjoyed was from the summer and just aired its season ender last night – ‘The Glades’. Just a relaxing little mystery to watch in the morning when I’m unwinding from work.
    Finally checked out an ‘Inspector Lynley Mysteries’ only to find out it was the penultimate episode. But it had the feel of an intro to the character. Not sure if it’s worth looking into the previous episodes however.

  • MediumRob

    “Are you up to date on ‘Rubicon’ over there? I watched the latest episode this morning and can’t wait for next week’s. They’ve really ramped up the excitement (within the context of this show that is) and the concern for several characters.I like Kale as well, but I’m fascinated by Truxton Spengler, the boss at API. Michael Cristofer has an odd cadence to his lines and when he smiles it’s like looking at a shark as it moves in for the kill.”
    Officially, it hasn’t even started, but you know….
    But yes, Spengler’s line-delivery is intriguing and idiosyncratic enough that I like him far more than his character deserves. And yes, this week (ep 11) OMFG something did actually happen and we actually have a hint about what’s going on. Finally, all is becoming clear. Rubicon’s still one of the few shows I look forward to every week. Even though nothing normally happens.

  • Well it’s Spooks all the way in this house. I wonder why that could be. Am seriously worried though that RA has been in it way too long now. He is probably due for the chop.
    Also been enjoying Merlin. Though I don’t know how much longer they can keep HIS magic secret, have Morgana NOT kill Uther, AGAIN going. I think they might need a slight change of direction next series otherwise it will fall flat.
    Obliged to watch X Factor though we won’t go into that.
    And my guilty pleasure (like eating Pot Noodles on rainy days) is Doctors. Well a girl has to do something when she’s doing the ironing. I just love it because they are all so deeply unprofessional all the time. And I enjoyed seeing Julia going off her trolley, though the explanation for it was a bit lame, and her colleagues worse then useless and now apparently are covering up she’s been raped. wtf? but the stupidity of it is what makes me keep watching. I’m waiting for someone to behave like a normal human being. I fear my wait may be in vain…

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