What have you been watching? Including Killer Women, Chicago PD, Banshee, Sherlock and The Bridge

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently 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.

Although The Assets went and got itself cancelled, lightening my viewing load slightly, lots of new shows inconveniently launched themselves over the past few days, which means I haven’t had a chance to watch many of them. That means Enlisted, Helix, Bitten and True Detective are going to have to bide their time in the viewing queue, as are the return of Shameless (US) and Cougar Town, although I’m about an episode in (of the three episodes already shown) of Helix and it’s not bad so far – no BSG though.

I did give two new shows a go, though:

Killer Women (ABC)
Tricia Helfer is a recently divorced former beauty queen and Texas Ranger. Uh huh. That’s the level we’re dealing with. Although clearly not entirely serious, it’s pretty dreadful all the same and not even as good as Walker, Texas Ranger, unfortunately. Given its ratings, it’s likely to be murdered by ABC soon, too.

Chicago PD (NBC)
A spin-off from another Dick Wolf show, Chicago Fire, this essentially sees an elite group of cops in Chicago’s ‘intelligence’ division ‘bending’ the law in order to keep the streets clean. While not divorcing itself from reality in the same way that Killer Women does, it’s a love-letter to human rights violations and corruption that’s unpleasant viewing that isn’t redeemed by a great cast or interesting characters.

Death Comes To Pemberley (BBC1)
A murderous sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but so much more PD James than Jane Austen and lacking in any warmth that I couldn’t get into it.

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending:

Ground Floor (TBS)
The show’s starting to get slightly more innovative in its story-telling techniques, with a fun dream sequence this week. There’s also a cliffhanger. At this rate, I’m going to be popping it onto the recommended list, although my wife did sit and watch a couple of minutes of it with me before saying, “What’s this? It’s not very good is it?”

Almost Human (Fox)
Quite a fun episode (sci-fi idea this week: Dorian runs out of charge and his personality starts to go all ‘low blood sugar’) but one that’s firmly based in 20th century ideas of people, rather than even early 21st century ideas.

Agents of SHIELD (ABC/Channel 4)
Tahiti – not such a magical place after all, but I think we’d all guessed that. And it turns out that the explanation for why it wasn’t such a magical place was even less magical than we’d all hoped. Sky gets all agenty, too. Like we care.  

And in the recommended list:

Sherlock (BBC/BBC America)
As usual, the Sherlock series template was as follows:

  1. A great episode by Steven Moffat
  2. A dreadful second episode
  3. One other very good episode

So praise be, we went out on a Stevie high, one fueled by a sterling performance by Lars Mikkelsen (The Killing, Those Who Kill), who should be the next Bond villain, just like his brother Mads (Hannibal). It wasn’t entirely flawless, but it certainly reminded me of why we fell in love with the show in the first place. Well done, Stevie. Not so sure about the final reveal, but fingers crossed, there’s more to that than meets the eye.

Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
On the other hand, Elementary reverted to ‘case of the week’, this time reversing the experiment in character development with Detective Bell that they’d been playing with for all of two weeks. Nice to see Paul Sorvino turn up, though.

Community (NBC/some random UK channel)
Not as funny as the previous week’s double-header, episode three was a darker affair, with not just one but two returning characters and a somewhat sad finish for another character. Probably won’t do the ratings any good, but it was appropriate, nevertheless.

The Bridge (BBC4)
Already shaping up to be better than the first season, The Bridge is treating us with Saga Noren moments aplenty as well as lovely character moments for Martin (particularly his defence of Saga to one of his colleagues), while giving us a villain who’s plausibly far less of the improbably omniscient and omnipotent Jens of season 1. Thoroughly recommended.

Banshee (Cinemax)
Not quite the smash, bang return I was expecting, given the first season’s kinetic arrival in our lives. More, instead, a recalibration for the second season, given how many of the plot threads got burnt through by the end of the first season. A few of the usual Cinemax sex excesses, although none as egregious as Strike Back’s soft porn, and no decent fights, and Lucas is far too appealing to every single woman in town for plausibility’s sake, but a good solid opening ep nevertheless. Except for the fact Julian Sands was in it. Who ordered that?

“What have you been watching?” 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

    One of my friends found “Helix” a bit painful, but they have degrees in microbiology and human biology: I think some of the artistic licence with the science interfered with their enjoyment.

    We saw “The World's End”, which frankly disappointed me a little. It was okay, and the idea was interesting, but it never really drew me in; it's no “Hot Fuzz”.

    I don't seem to have much to report; I wonder what I'm forgetting. We've watched the usual stuff as it came along, but little worthy of mention. “Sherlock” we're getting to tonight. “The Bridge” we'll get around to someday.

  • I think most people are disappointed with The World's End. Helix I've now reviewed elsewhere

  • GYAD

    MOONFLEET – Nice to see a child-friendly adaptation of a classic adventure novel…pity about the poor writing, insipid leads and plot overload.

    SHERLOCK – Terrible. Smug, snarky and stupid. All the characters (bar Watson/Freeman) are unpleasant.

    MAD DOGS: THE FINALE – A suitably bonkers end to this wonderfully nutty series. Sad to see it go.

    THE VICE – Unusual subject but a little predictable.

    CRACKER – It wouldn't be a proper Jimmy McGovern series without lashings of Catholic guilt.

    HOSTAGES – No tension, no fear and moronic characters.

  • I can just about remember the 1980s BBC Moonfleet so didn't want to ruin my few memories of it with a piece of Sky crud.

  • GYAD

    Very wise.

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