What have you been watching this week (w/e May 6)?

Hipster Penny in Happy Endings

My usual recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure this week: Community, Cougar Town, The Daily Show, Doctor Who, Endgame, Happy Endings, House, Modern Family, Stargate Universe and 30 Rock. Watch them (and keep an eye on The Stage‘s TV Today Square Eyes feature as well) or you’ll be missing out on the good stuff.

Just a few thoughts on a couple of the regulars:

  • Last week’s attempt on Smallville to copy Spartacus was dreadful, even if it did have Callum BestBlue as Zod in it. Still Supergirl’s in this week’s episode and after that, it’s the final episode ever and Lex is back for that, so I’m sticking with it it.
  • Happy Endings – some great moments in both episodes, particularly "the Hipster makeover" and "you’re a gaycist", but also a few touching romantic moments. It’s at least as funny as Modern Family now.
  • Chuck – the ending was obvious but I enjoyed this week’s more than I’ve enjoyed a lot of the previous weeks’ episodes.
  • Doctor Who – couldn’t quite work up the energy to review the two-part The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon and since it’s clearly a three-parter in disguise, there were so many plot threads left hanging at the end, it was almost impossible to review it anyway. At times, I did feel like the Silence had wiped my memory, since things seemed to jump around an awful lot without explanation (where did the people who still hadn’t quite got to the Moon in an Apollo spacecraft get white dwarf star alloy from? Why did the Doctor, Amy and Rory need to be chased down? How come Amy missed and what happened next? What was Nixon doing inside the prison?). You could probably fill in the gaps with a bit of work, but it does feel like all the working out has been scribbled over. All the same, there were some wonderfully clever bits, wonderfully scary bits and so much tease, there had better be a good pay-off or I’m going to… well, sulk probably. And how come they went to the US for the first time and ending up getting two Brits/Irish people, Mark Sheppard and W Morgan Sheppard, to play the lead American?

Since the last "What have you been watching?", I’ve tried

  • Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe – basically, exactly like every Bruce Campbell straight-to-DVD movie of the 90s. If that’s your thing, watch it. If it’s not, don’t.
  • Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle – Glad to see a move away from the grumpy old man routine of last series, aided by some pointless sketches, to his more traditional stand-up. Very funny, brilliantly clever and had the best Godzilla reference of the week.

Anyone watch The Shadow Line – I taped it but I hear it might have been a bit rubbish. And as mentioned earlier this week, stupid scheduling meant that I didn’t watch Exile or Case Sensitive – were they any good (thanks to everyone who’s already weighed in on this)?

But what have you been watching?

"What have you been watching this week?" is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched this week. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?

  • I have to agree about the change of tone and the sense of “things missing” from the episode. I also chalked it up to a deliberate attempt by the producers to make you feel as disjointed and uncomfortable as you would if chunks of your memory were missing.
    I have pointed these things out to others but I have been told I’m over-thinking it. Glad to hear it isn’t just me.

  • Can’t agree about DW even if my head hurts when I think about it ( or is that the effect of The Silence?)
    anyway DO watch The Shadow Line. I thought it was excellent.

  • Mark Carroll

    I watched “Jean de Florette” and “Manon des Sources”. They were … okay, I guess, worth watching once, rather sad. I watched the start of “Shameless” (UK); it seems okay, but I’m not presently inclined to stick with it past the first season.
    House was okay. My wife’s watching Mad Men, which is somewhat engaging and well-made, but I’m not very drawn into it.
    I don’t feel like I’ve been very enthusiastic about much for a few weeks now.

  • “And how come they went to the US for the first time and ending up getting two Brits/Irish people, Mark Sheppard and W Morgan Sheppard, to play the lead American?”
    I don’t think we have any father-son acting teams left anymore that can nearly approximate the looks of each other – and having started typing that, I suddenly thought of Martin Sheen and his sons. (I’m not sure if Charlie started having his meltdown at the time of filming.)
    From a publicity standpoint – not that the show really needs anymore, especially of such a trivial nature – I think that casting was pretty cool. Besides the father/son aspect, both of them have strong sci-fi creds – between them, I think they’ve covered every major science fiction series in the last twenty years. (Although I’m not sure about the Stargate franchise….)

  • Dr Who obviously(-: I’m inclined to agree that we’ve seen the end at the beginning & most of what we’ve probably seen isn’t quite the way we think it is. As you say Stevie boy better have a VERY good set of tricks up his sleeve otherwise we’ll all be sulking…
    Mark Sheppard is the guy who played Canton, right? I’m sorry, I don’t care if he was a yank or not, Canton is my favourite new Dr Who character. I would so love him to come back as a companion. We were particularly taken with his Welcome to America line.
    Other then that, like you I managed to miss Exile, grr, and I doubt I’ll catch it on iplayer now just not enough time.
    We couldn’t find anything we wanted to watch, so have been going back to old League of Gentleman episodes and introducing them to oldest daughter.
    Have taped Psychoville but not watched it.
    Saw Shadow Line and commented above. Not as good as it thinks it is, but I did enjoy it.
    Thoroughly enjoyed QT on Thursday, full of badtempered sparring, from idiots, but much common sense from Armando Ianucci. Ianucci for PM, I say…

  • SK

    I assume the reason they cast British actors is that most of the episodes (ie, all bar the desert exteriors) was shot in and around Cardiff as usual, and it makes much more sense to fly a Brit to American for four (or whatever) days’ filming and then use him in Blighty the rest of the time, than bring an American over for a couple of weeks.
    According to Doctor Who Confidential they were originally going to age him with make-up; he was the one who suggested using his father. And why on Earth would they care about random stunt casting (as opposed to meaingful stunt casting, like Scott Bakula in Source Code) that’s only meaningful for sci-fi nerds? 99.99% of the audience will never have seen him before (I only had because I watched the box set of Firefly, don’t ask me why, I still don’t know).
    Interestingly the Renfield character was played by a Canadian, albeit one based in this country (he’s done some voiceovers for the company I work for). The only actual Yank was Nixon…

  • Mark Carroll

    I may as well add that last night I watched CSI, CSI:NY, Criminal Minds and they were all okay, except CSI seemed to be decidedly silly. They really need to wrap up this Nate Haskell stuff.
    I also watched some of season 2 of The Sandbaggers. It’s still quite reasonable and fits the times well. I like that they refer to things without too much exposition. My wife thought it an improvement over season 1.