It's "What did you watch this week?, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I've watched this week that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.
Normally, at this point, I'd list my usual recommendations. But what with international viewing schedules, etc, that's started to get awkward. Instead, as I revealed on Tuesday, I've put together a "TMINE recommends" page, featuring links to reviews of all the shows I've ever recommended. I'll improve it in all sorts of ways over time, since it's a bit rough and ready at the moment, but it should mean that you'll be able to find some good TV viewing if you need to.
Anyway, here's what I've been watching this week. Still in my viewing queue, though, is Being Mary Jane, BET's new comedy-drama with Gabrielle Union, about "one black woman who is not representative of all black women" and her struggles with life and love. I'm not in a big rush to review this since the series itself doesn't start until January 2014. But after a slightly shaky, very ordinary first five minutes, it started to improve post titles, so I'll probably have a review up on (checks work schedule) Thursday next week.
The Almighty Johnsons (TV3/SyFy UK/Space)
Yes, it's the return of New Zealand's best drama show, with Norse gods (weakly) reincarnated in the bodies of ordinary mortals, all hoping that they'll return to full strength once Odin and Frigg get married. It feels like the show's trying to right itself after a somewhat erratic second season, with more of a focus on relationships. Some great individual dramatic and comedic moments, but no sign yet of a strong season-long narrative drive to push the plot. UK viewers will be relieved to hear season three has been acquired by SyFy UK, for broadcast soon.
Crossing Lines (NBC/TF1)
The first episode, of course, was a tiresome mixture of dramatic cliché and serial killer topes from cop shows, all set against a European backdrop. Episode two was a vastly chattier affair, less cliched but incredibly boring to watch. There doesn't appear to be a good reason at all for Donald Sutherland to be in this, but they keep trying to find things for him to do, and the poor old German character may be the best of the actors not performing in their native languages, but he's got almost nothing to do in terms of character development, sadly. It's also becoming readily apparent that the writers have no real understanding of the difference between Northern Ireland and Eire, with yet another Irish character popping but having a Northern Irish accent. Some vague hints at a season arc involving a shady Russian, though, so maybe it'll get better in the next few episodes.
Too boring and not unique enough for me to keep watching, so it's been dropped from my viewing schedule.
A slightly stronger episode this week than last week's, with our hero and heroine investigating a woman who thinks her husband has been abducted by aliens – it's all because of a rare brain syndrome of course. The season arc stuff was quite well handled, alternately funny and moving, but the procedural side of things once again easily the worst aspect of the show, which would be great as a simple "weird condition of the week" psychological House.
A funny second episode that went a little way towards rectifying the problems that the first episode had with Leah Renee's character. It could do with steering away from the supporting characters, though, since they're bordering on the offensive (particularly the one with a cleft palate). Fake TV show The Horse Doctor was inspired though.
Under the Dome (CBS/Channel 5)
Exactly the same as any other Stephen King story set in a small town in Maine, and this week, of course, the casualties began to mount up. Absolutely unremarkable but reasonably diverting.
And in movies:
Much Ado About Nothing
Leagues better than the self-congratulatory Kenneth Branagh version, this sees virtually everyone who's been in a Joss Whedon-directed TV show or film all together in one place for the first time outside of the convention circuit to do a modern-day but linguistically intact retelling of Shakespeare's classic comedy – all shot in black and white in what's probably Whedon's house during his lunch breaks. Fine performances from everyone, particularly Nathan Fillion and Amy Acker, and excellent direction from Whedon, too, who manages to make a Shakespeare comedy genuinely funny. Still, it always weird to hear Alexis Denisof with an American accent.
"What did you watch this week?" 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 8, 2013: Third-episode verdict: Crossing Lines (NBC/TF1)
A review of the first three episodes of NBC/TF1's Crossing Lines
- July 10, 2013: Third-episode verdict: Satisfaction (CTV)
A review of the first three episodes of CTV's Satisfaction
- July 2, 2015: Review: Zoo 1x1 (US: CBS; UK: Sky1)
A review of the first episode of CBS/Sky1’s Zoo
- February 17, 2017: Review: Imposters 1x1-1x2 (US: Bravo)
A review of the first episode of Bravo's Imposters