What have you been watching? Including Hindsight, Elementary, Banshee, Spiral and Constantine

Posted on January 19, 2015 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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 - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

More new and returning TV shows mean the return of the backlog, I’m afraid. Sigh. It’s not easy this job with all its highly demanding… sitting in front of a TV and then writing about it…

Anyway, moving swiftly on, I’ll just promise that I’ll be reviewing Syfy’s TV version of 12 Monkeys either later today when I’ve finished watching it or tomorrow during my lunchbreak. One of those.

But last week, I managed to review:

Which ain’t bad. The Book of Negroes, I’m afraid, will have to go on the pile of ‘probably quite good mini series I haven’t watched’ because I'm now two episodes behind.

But after the jump.

Shows that I've been watching but not really recommending

Last night’s Galavants and Togetherness and Tuesday’s Marvel’s Agent Carter and Cougar Town are still in the viewing queue. I also followed my instincts and have now decided to drop Scorpion. But I have watched…

Constantine (US: NBC; UK: Amazon Instant Video)
The Saint of Last Resorts (part 2)
Not quite hitting the highs of the first part, but a pretty good follow up nevertheless. No one’s winning any acting awards and everyone seemed to get out of their respective dangerous situations very easily and/or without anything being shown, and the naked nun situation was a bit embarrassing, but the ending hints that the producers have managed to avoid the pat escape that could have made everything even more PG-13.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; Third episode

Elementary (US: CBS; UK: Sky Living)
Seed Money
The first ever TV show to be demoted from the coveted recommended list on this ‘ere blog, it narrowly escaped literally at the last minute from being removed from my viewing queue altogether. Another tedious procedural episode that yet again assumed that a slightly odd premise was all that a procedural needs to make it a Sherlock Holmes story ensured its demotion, and it was only that final minute tying the episode into the finally-unveiled season arc that earned it a reprieve. All the same, if that turns out to be dull, I’ll be off.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode

Forever (US: ABC; UK: Sky1)
Diamonds Are Forever
Finally giving Ioan’s partner in (punishing) crime an episode of character background to herself, this was nevertheless a somewhat regular procedural episode entirely predictable in pretty much every aspect, from who the bad guy was through to the motivation for the crime - how the baddie got stopped being the only surprise.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; Third episode

Galavant (US: ABC)
Two Balls + Comedy Gold
The same strengths and weaknesses as the first couple of episodes, although the weird idea that Sid (SydneyLuke Youngblood - Magnitude from Community) was adopted by a village of Jewish-Americans, including Michael Brandon (Dempsey from Dempsey and Makepeace), was moderately entertaining in and of itself.  
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First and second episode

Hindsight (US: VH1)Square One
For about five minutes, this felt like it was going to be exactly the same - an exercise in stupidity wrapped round a dumber version of Being Erica. However, after that point, the show started to get a lot smarter and basically address almost all the points I made in my review of the first episode. The show focused on Becca's career (hey! Waddaya know? She works in publishing, just like Erica Strange) and showed that she knew long words and has an interest in books. After heading off with her disaster area first husband in the first episode, she finds her soon to be second husband and discovers that he’s a little more passionate as a younger man. We also had two new wrinkles: proverbs guy is a different character every episode and Becca has a phobia against lifts now, in case she ends up time travelling again. Basically, a big step up in every area, so I’ll be sticking around for episode three.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode

State of Affairs (US: NBC)
Ghosts
The conspiracy theory sub-plot amps up, with some faces added to the mysterious company behind everything. Some decent action scenes, too, and the arrival of Adam Arkin means the average acting level has gone up significantly. Not quite hitting the sweet spot it needs to, but it’s now a commendable effort at an intelligent modern day spy show.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode

The recommended list

Banshee (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky Atlantic)
Snakes and Whatnot
A shiny new and experimental title sequence continues Banshee’s efforts at ambitious directing, just as (as GYAD points out) the rest of the US TV industry gives up. Plenty of the usual Banshee excesses (sex, drugs and violence), done with typical competence and efficiency, but the show maintained the writing quality, this week showing how although evil is corrupting good, good is also corrupting evil, with Hood now becoming sheriff of Banshee in his own mind, not just as a cover story. I’m suspecting that the producers will be trying something lesbian soon, though, so brace yourself for some eye rolling at its exploitative ridiculousness.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First two episodes; third episode

Ground Floor (US: TBS)
Love and Basketball
Order has been restored and everyone is back where they’re supposed to be, so now what, we asked ourselves last week? Surprisingly, something as close to Hoop Dreams as you can get with a white woman, with Jenny being revealed to have been close to going to college on a basketball scholarship had it not been for a knee injury, thus condemning her to a life of dead end jobs. It’s all a little implausible, although no less plausible than Jenny’s outfits and new hairdo, but nevertheless sweet, with an even sweeter ending to the episode.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode

Spiral (Engrenages) (France: Canal+; UK: BBC Four; US: Hulu)
Season 5, episodes three and four
The show’s confidently taking its time, becoming a real thriller of modern-day French police investigations. It’s novel seeing Karlsson fighting on the side of good to thwart police corruption, and also delightful to see that the producers have noticed that maybe they have a very white cast and need to have some minority characters who aren’t criminals. Some excellent work on characterising the supporting cast, making the show feel properly ensemble this year, and only Laure’s terrible fight scene ruining the episodes. That and Laure’s continuing “will she, won’t she" with regards to the (spoiler alert)baby, although at least “yes, but only because of logistical failures preventing her from taking her preferred option” is an original option.
When’s it airing near me?

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