What did you watch last week? Including The Tomorrow People, The Blacklist, Isabel, Arrow and Elementary

It’s “What did you watch last week?, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I watched last week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

The usual “TMINE recommends” page features links to reviews of all the shows I’ve ever recommended, and there’s also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I’ve reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there’s Locate TV.

Things are calming down a bit in terms of new launches so the only dedicated review I put up last week was a third-episode verdict on the dreary Atlantis. Still in the viewing queue are last night’s Serangoon Road and Friday’s Strike Back.

I did start watching The CW’s Reign with my lovely wife, who loves all things Tudor. It’s the story of the return of the teenage Mary Queen of Scots to the French court, which confusingly has everyone French or Scottish speaking in English with an English accent. However, we had to stop 15 minutes into the show because after an exciting start, we were subjected to such a plot and character dump that even my wife couldn’t cope. So we’ll probably watch it tonight or later in the week when our brains can catch up. 

Also still in the viewing queue are last night’s Serangoon Road, Saturday’s Atlantis and Friday’s Strike Back.

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommendingAgents of Shield (ABC/Channel 4)The dullest ep so far – although it was far from being a washout – yet also the first that’s really established the show as a series in its own right, rather than merely a spin-off from the movie series.

The Blacklist (NBC/Sky Living)Tom Noonan guest stars as a list member – cue one of the biggest Manhunter tributes in living memories, right down to making him a dentist who collects teeth. Megan Boone is now pretty superfluous to requirements, beyond being a damsel in distress. All the same, probably the best episode so far.

Isabel (Sky Arts)Still good fun, even if I am a couple of episodes behind now. Can’t help but notice but for a prestige production, there are only about five sets being used.

The Tomorrow People (The CW/E4)
Basically the same episode as the pilot episode, just with less excitement.

Recommended showsArrow (The CW/Sky 1)
The return of China White, a new recruit, making sense of why we’re still getting flashbacks to the Island and more. A pretty good second episode in fact, with a killer of a cliffhanger.

Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
Is it my imagination or is Watson now making more and better deductions than Holmes? Quite a fun episode hugely off-canon but with a nice guest turn by Laura Benanti (The Playboy Club, Go On) as an important figure from Holmes’ past. Quite touching in its own way.

Homeland (Showtime/Channel 4)
Erm, what? Actually, the surprise twist to proceedings didn’t seem that surprising, even though it didn’t make much sense. Brody’s fun in Venezuela last week made even less sense. And the Dana interlude is incredibly dull and pointless. But I’m enjoying this far less explosive season more than than the second 24-lite season. It doesn’t half feel like there are a bunch of characters still hanging around for no good reason, though.

Modern Family (ABC/Sky 1)
A lot funnier than some recent episodes, but with the usual fixed gender conclusions and stereotypes.

“What did you watch last 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?

  • Mark Carroll

    Well, I'm catching up a bit, though not yet with Blacklist. Suits has improved, this past couple of episodes; I liked them more. Once Upon a Time continues to amble along adequately. You're still a little ahead of me with Homeland, I think. I wonder where it's going.

    Oh, and we watched Going Postal, which was okay, better than I expected.

  • I quite liked Going Postal. Wasn't brilliant, but the first glimmerings that Sky was going to start making some decent programmes

  • Mark Carroll

    A couple of years earlier, I thought Hogfather also quite good, and, despite being in the same world, nicely different. The variety's good.

  • JustStark

    I got bored in the middle of the episode of Homeland where Damian Lewis woke up in a half-build tower block — are we still supposed to care what happens to his character? Why? — and thought, 'I'll watch the rest later'. Now every time I go to play the rest my heart sinks. I may be about to stop watching it.

  • GYAD

    THE BLACKLIST – The husband is a eunuch and the heroine a cipher. Too grisly considering it's a cartoon. Pretty boring this week too.

    TOAST OF LONDON – What the hell did I just watch?

    MAN DOWN – Idiot man with idiot family drives away wife. Would be better if it was, say, funny.

    LONDON IRISH – More depraved and funnier too.

    UNDER THE DOME – The female crime boss has to be the dumbest idea this show has had. And that's saying a lot.

    GRACELAND – Transcending its fratboy cops image with some solid acting. Great detail and filming too.

    DRAMA MATTERS: TALKING TO THE DEAD – Pathetic aspie female cop, over-familiar story & incomprehensible plot ruin nice filming.

    SLEEPY HOLLOW – Still silly but relatively fun.

  • If you don't like Damian Lewis's character, skip that episode – you won't lost anything that can't be summarised easily in a “Previously on Homeland”

  • The Blacklist – They're now doing 'famous actors who have played famous villains playing very similar characters'. We've had Tom Noonan, this week Robert Knepper (T-Bag on Prison Break). Don't know who they'll have next, but the husband did get more to do this week and by implication, will do next week.

    Under the Dome only gets dumber. You might not think that possible, but it does.

  • GYAD

    Thanks for the tip-off.

    “Under the Dome” is compelling enough that I don't quite want to give up on it but so dumb that I always think of doing it.

    Gotta say, I'm not really bothered about “The Blacklist” anymore. Spaader is fun in an over the top way but otherwise it's mediocrity city, especially when compared to something like “Graceland” which feels light years ahead. The waste of the cast is amazing; I'm not sure black male guard and asian female guard (whatever their names are) even had any lines last week.

    Might stick it out for Tom Noonan, but not much longer.

  • The Blacklist is more fun than compelling. It's certainly not edgy. But Spader's been wasting his talent for decades now and the show's only really about him, so the waste of everyone else with nothing-roles isn't a big surprise.

    Re: Under The Dome. I didn't want to give up, either. Then it turned out that (spoiler alert)…

    …they weren't going to answer any questions and there was a second series on the way.

  • JustStark

    It's not so much not liking the character as not seeing what's interesting about him any more. He was an interesting mystery in series one, and in series two there was the question of which way he would jump when push came to shove, but now we know everything there is to know about him, why keep watching him?

    But then the alternative seems to be more screen time with his infinitely tedious daughter and her infinitely tedious boyfriends: she had one job in the plot, which was done brilliantly, to be the means by which Claire Danes saves the day but doesn't get to find out she was right all along at the end of series one. Since then the character has no reason to exist — her usefulness is past — but they keep devoting screen time to her. Why? Just because the actress in under contract?

    Add to that that there doesn't really seem to be anywhere for Carrie herself to go and I really start to question why they keep making a programme which in quite obviously dragging out pointlessly what was meant to be, and was excellently done as, a dozen-episode serial with a beginning, middle and end, and why I keep watching it.

  • In the episode you don't want to watch, they do set a different path for him – what do you do when you've lost everything and everyone in the world hates you?

    The latest episode does give Carrie a raison d'etre but it's somewhat daft and illogical. Otherwise, yes, his family is entirely irrelevant at the moment – more so, they're irritating – and I think pretty much everyone now agrees they should have ended it after the first season, probably with Brody detonating the bomb.

  • JustStark

    All right, I'll give the rest of the episode a try.

    But no, they shouldn't have ended the first series with Brodie detonating the bomb: the whole wonderful irony of it was that Carrie was proved to be right all along, but went to get electroshock therapy believing herself to have been utterly wrong.

    If a true hero is one whose heroism is never known, then how much more heroic, and tragic at the same time, is a hero who doesn't even know about their own heroism but believes themselves to have been a failure?

    That ending was perfect: nothing about it should be changed, except the bit where it stopped being an ending.

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