It's "What did you watch this month?", my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I watched in the past month that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.
As you can probably tell from the temporary retitling of this feature, it's been a busy old time for me of late, which is why I haven't been updating you on shows and why I haven't been watching as many. Oh, and the Sky+ box as been doing lots of "PART-REC" and "RECORDING FAILED" and even deleting things I have recorded, including Young Doctor's Notebook. That's helpful, huh?
But since a load of shows have had their finales, now seems a good time to give my thoughts on those, at least.
First, the usual recommendations: 30 Rock, Arrow, Don't Trust The B----- in Apartment 23, Go On, Last Resort, Modern Family and Peep Show. I'm adding Elementary and The Wedding Band to the list as well – more on that in a moment.
And here's a few thoughts.
- Arrow: Slowly been declining in strength and becoming more and more comic book in its implausibility. Geoff Johns' introduction of Huntress to the show was just dreadful, too, with bad dialogue, bad acting and a script that was actually pretty detrimental to one of DC's best-loved female superheroines. Still, Kelly Hu got to come back for a bit at least. And then we have John Barrowman as a 'heavy'. HA HA HA! Still, the last episode was a bit of an up-tick in quality again, so all is not lost yet.
- Dexter – So, hang on, Dexter literally thought he had a 'dark passenger'? It wasn't just a metaphor? Well, that's just bobbins. Anyway, a distinctly uninspiring finale that at least wasn't as ridiculous as last season's and with a big surprise (or two) to boot. And at least the first half of the season was good because of Ray Stevenson and it was good to see Dokes back, even in flashback.
- Don't Trust The B----: A variable three episodes with a real clunker and a couple of very funny ones. Glad to see them remembering that Chloe is supposed to be an evil b-----, too, not just kooky and a bit of a party girl. And a head nod to The Great Gatsby – you don't get many of those these days. As always, too, full kudos to James Van Der Beek, who is really relishing playing… himself. And Dean Cain, too.
- Elementary: So this is more of a guilty pleasure than because it's a great show, but I do actually look forward to it now each week. It's still working out what exactly a Sherlock Holmes mystery should be and no matter how hard they try, Joan Watson is still incredibly dull, but it's good fun.
- Go On: Unlike Community, the show still hasn't worked out how to make its individual characters gel as a group, but it's doing some nice work with at least some of the characters by themselves.
- Homeland: So the season finally ended with two decent episodes in a row. While it was still a little daft, the finale had the right combination of thrills, twists and developments, none of which you probably saw/will see coming. Just about redeemed itself after a season of vastly variable quality.
- The Killing 3: So the iPlayer deleted last weeks' episodes before I had a chance to watch them (not letting me download them didn't help). Again, this is just one of the reasons why I've had a hard time watching the three seasons of The Killing. Anyway, I watched the last two and was surprised by almost nothing. Seriously, I don't get why people love this show so much. Okay, it's well acted, but apart from its vibe and Sarah Lund, it's daft, stupider than an episode of season two of Homeland and is just 1001 crime drama cliches. Or at least this season has been. It would have been more of a surprise if Sarah Lund had been able to ride off into the sunset happily. In particular, the criminal's plan four episodes ago kind of relied on the police not being able to hit him even once with 30 rounds of ammunition… as he slowly sails under a bridge they're standing on. Just silly. Bring back The Bridge.
- Last Resort: Talking of daft and silly, that's Last Resort. While having a few thrilling moments each episode, it's also had some ridiculous matte work to help some of our heroes go to 'the Philippines' and we have had a daft series of abduction cycles for one character that's worse than the Perils of Penelope Pitstop. Plus the stuff with the COB has been dreadful. Shame really, but at least it looks like they're heading towards a decent ending.
- The Mindy Project: Interesting to see some sign of work competency from Mindy, but the Zoolander-ish attack on midwifery was just bizarre. The Christmas episode was a bit dull, but had a good final 10 minutes.
- Peep Show: While never quite hitting the delightful depravities of previous series and while feeling a little bit like we've been here before, it's still a guaranteed source of laughter each week.
- Vegas: I'm wondering what they promised Carrie Anne Moss when they asked her to star in this, because if it was 'a lot of screen time and a decent role', they were lying. Ditto Jason Mara. Over the last couple of episodes, we've had a very clunky 'girl power' episode and quite a dull Christmas episode. Such a shame after the initial promise of the pilot, but it's still a relatively absorbing weekly watch.
- The Wedding Band: While still a bit sexist and a bit 'male gaze', The Wedding Band is still proving to be an interesting subversion of the 'bro comedy' that plays with the sexist conventions and messes around with them. It's not outstanding, but it's enjoyable.
And in movies:
- The Hunger Games: Despite being loved by the same demographic as Twilight, this is a very different, far more satisfying beast – a future dystopia heavily based on ancient Rome that sees kids take the place of gladiators in a high-tech country arena where they have to fight to the death. The always excellent Jennifer Lawrence is about 1,000,000 times better – and a better role model – than Kristen Stewart's Bella, too. Give it a watch.
"What did you watch this month?" is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid - and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I've watched. 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?
- July 1, 2013: Question of the week: have you ever abandoned TV shows during the final seasons?
Have you ever given up TV shows at the last moment?