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.
New shows I’ve already reviewed this week:
- 35 Diwrnod (UK: S4C)
- Surviving Jack (US: Fox)
- Mammon (Norway: NRK1; UK: More 4)
- Friends With Better Lives (US: CBS; UK: Comedy Central)
I’ve not watched Channel 4’s New Worlds yet – any good?
After the jump, the regulars, with reviews of Agents of SHIELD, Enlisted, Resurrection, W1A, 19-2, The Americans, Arrow, The Blacklist, Continuum, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Endeavour, Hannibal, Suits and Vikings
Shows that I've been watching but not really recommending
I've done one third-episode verdict this week:
- Crisis (US: NBC)
I’ve decided that time’s too short to waste on any more episodes of The 100, and I’ve still got the second episodes of 35 Diwrnod, Surviving Jack and Inspector De Luca to work through, although I think I might be saving the latter for a box-set watch. But here's what else I've been watching:
Agents of SHIELD (US: ABC; UK: Channel 4)
The End of the Beginning
Better than usual, with some actual intrigue, characterisation and tension. Will they do something radical next week, in the wake of Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s opening weekend in the US. Could be…
Enlisted (US: Fox)
Paint Cart 5000 vs. the Mondo Spider
An episode that was a bit more like pilot in its writing, with some funnies and some surreal moments involving Keith David and some photography. The junior black character is looking a bit suspect, though.
Resurrection (US: ABC)
If Canal+ doesn’t sue ABC for outright plagiarism, there’s no justice in the world, since Resurrection seems to have borrewed Les Revenants’ playbook outright. Nevertheless, Sunday’s episode somehow managed to remain incredibly dull, despite a bank robbery and vague hints that the dead might have unquenched appetites (brains…). It's still not going anywhere fast so I’m giving up.
W1A (UK: BBC2)
Clever, but not actually funny, I’ve decided. Certainly not as funny as it thinks it is. I imagine everyone at the BBC is pissing themselves with laughter when they watch it though.
The recommended list
As usual, this week’s 19-2, Community and The Doctor Blake Mysteries are still in the pile, although if the latter’s no good, I’ll probably be giving up on it this week, but I’ve also got Elementary to work through, too.
19-2 (Canada: Bravo)
Another harrowing episode, this time with more of a police focus. Subtly written and centered on a moral choice, it’s an episode that works and gets away with what it does because of the work that’s gone into characters. But hard to watch because of the violence at times.
The Americans (US: FX; UK: ITV)
Behind the Red Door
Mostly a character piece but also a series of machinations within machinations that were fun to watch. The Nicaragua angle is giving the series a much needed plot-boost, but too much of it is about character to the detriment of strong narrative. One nice period touch: making FBI boss a Buddhist, thanks to his time in Vietnam.
Arrow (US: The CW; UK: Sky 1)
A little bit OTT, it has to be said, with Slade’s scheme for vengeance nowhere near as good as whatever one you could come up with. Over stylised fight scenes and yet another addition to the ‘I know who the Arrow is’ club didn’t help either. But there were some fun moments, including an almost super-textual shout-out by Felicity that a whole bunch of plot lines had been forgotten about until this episode as well as (spoiler alert) a fight scene involving Summer Glau compensated for some of the face-palming needed.
The Blacklist (US: NBC/UK: Sky Living)
A rather mundane member of the black list, apart from that nose. Also, getting Tom to shave halfway through the episode wasn’t a good move in terms of continuity, given how much his beard came and went. Overall, another disappointment and the show needs to get back on track.
Continuum (Canada: Showcase; US: SyFy; UK: SyFy)
Minute to Win It
The course correction continues, with the show beginning to feel more like season 1 again. The (spoiler alert) two Alecs feels over-complicated, though, and making the Freelances effectively Kiera’s bosses in the present day sadly robs her off some autonomy. Also lacking in voompf, but a few good moments, overall.
The Doctor Blake Mysteries (Australia: ABC1; UK: BBC1, Alias)
The Ties of the Past
An episode focused on sex discrimination and Doctor Blake’s mum. But I switched off halfway through because it was so dull. Needs to improve and get back a series arc, since standalone episodes really haven’t been working so well for it.
Endeavour (UK: ITV; US: PBS)
The return of ITV's Inspector Morse prequel was a little bit disappointing, with some daft representations of 1960s feminism, a really daft motivation for the baddies and some dodgy history – a 7th century Sutton Hoo-style helmet pretending to be from 1066. However, an actual black character and some period touches compensated, Shaun Evans and Roger Allam continue to excel, and the references to future Morse lore, including Masonic Mysteries, were a suitable reward for long-time fans.
Hannibal (NBC US/Sky Living UK)
As usual, an emotionally draining experience, here dealing with the grief of last week’s loss. If the show has mostly been borrowing from Red Dragon until now, for this episode there was an effective swap over to Silence of the Lambs for a lot of the imagery, dialogue and references, with Eddie Izzard back as a proxy Silence Lecter, his accent thankfully toned down now. But there was a Dragon reference or two in there as well, some horrific imagery to process and a kind Freddie Lounds to consider.
Suits (US: USA Network; UK: Dave)
Heartburn and Know When to Fold 'Em
Two returns to form the show, with some actual legal work going on. Louis is still utterly implausible as a human being, but is being given a properly sympathetic side, and the show is driving the Mike plot well, even if Harvey/Scotty/Donna feels adrift. Know When To Fold ‘Em also had an epic Jessica speech to enjoy, too. One episode left to go this season, so fingers crossed the next season will be back to its usual standard and edge.
Vikings (USA: History; UK: Amazon Prime)
Another great episode, this time giving us some great moments for practically all the characters, including Rollo, Egbert, Æthelstan and especially Hlaðgerðr. This week’s history lesson came in the form of a consideration of the English people’s then beliefs about Romans and the former inhabitants of Britain, as well as the fact that Vikings only had runes to read and write with. Viking politics, as you might expect, turn out to be pretty treacherous and bloody, too.
"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?