What have you been watching? Including You, Me and the Apocalypse, Limitless, The Muppets, Scream Queens, Doctor Who and Y Gwyll

Posted on October 2, 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.

I always forget. I always go "Look how much I've done!" in the first week of each new Fall season, then forget that in the second week I've got to watch all the new programmes that start airing that week as well as the ones that began the previous week.

My, what a lot of tele I've watched this week.

Still, unbelievably, I'm actually up to date. This week, I reviewed the first episodes of the following new shows:

And after the jump, you'll find reviews of the latest episodes of: 800 Words, Blindspot, Continuum, Doctor Who, Heroes Reborn, Life in Pieces, Limitless, Minority Report, The Muppets, The Player, Rosewood, Scream Queens, Y Gwyll and You're The Worst. Some of them won't be making it to a third-episode verdict, particularly since the Barrometer is currently in a tanning salon somewhere in the Gorbals so too busy to pass judgement on anything, but you can find out which after the jump.

On top of all that, I also managed to watch the first episode of another new show, this time from the UK.

You, Me and The Apocalypse (UK: Sky1; US: NBC)
As with most US/UK co-productions, particularly those involving Sky, this is a lukewarm affair that satisfies no-one, perhaps best evidenced by the change in the show's title from Apocalypse Slough. It sees a comet approaching the Earth, meaning that everyone goes a bit whacky at the prospect of the coming Apocalypse that will result when it hits. However, the action of the first episode is all set in the lead-up to the lead-up to the comet, introducing us to several different groups of people from around the world who are going to all end up together at some point. These include Mathew Baynton, Joel Fry (Plebs), Pauline Quirke (Birds of a Feather), Rob Lowe (like you need to know who he is), Paterson Joseph (Peep Show), Jenna Fischer (The Office US) and an almost unrecognisable Megan Mullally (Will and Grace). Unfortunately, it's all a bit weak and pathetic, not really knowing who its audience is, despite the occasional choice joke. The only exception to this is Rob Lowe's bad minded Catholic priest who is the Vatican's Devil's Advocate. Otherwise, eminently missable.

But if you think after all that I had any time to watch any movies or go to the theatre, you have a higher opinion of me than I do.

Shows I’m watching but not recommending

800 Words (Australia: Seven)
1x3
The usual mix of mild, character-based comedy and touching musings on bereavement, with the Kiwi townsfolk yet again coming to a bad conclusion about the  Australians among them, bullying them for most of the episode, only to be put straight by our journalist in a moving speech at the end. To be fair, it all works (again), but I'm not sure how many more times the show can pull it off. All the same, despite its obvious manipulativeness, it's still enjoyable, so I'm going to keep watching it.
Reviews: First episode

Blindspot (US: NBC; UK: Sky Living)
1x2 - A Stray Howl
A definite improvement on the incoherent first episode, with the show bravely hinting already at the secrets of Lady Sif's tattoos (spoiler alert?) a former childhood friend of Sullivan Stapleton, she's been trained as a secret agent by a secret group since she was abducted as a child, but now wants to have a normalish life, perhaps with Stapleton. The only way they'll let her is to wipe her memories and to have her trainer keep an eye on her, while she continues to help them now unwittingly through all the clues left in her tattoos. It's still all a bit joyless, with Lady Sif personality-less and memory-less and Stapleton full of angsty guilt because of his memories, but it is still finding a way to prove of interest.
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episode

Heroes Reborn (US: NBC)
1x3 - Under The Mask
And I think I'm out. I stuck with Heroes to the very end, but I'm quitting while the going's good on this, even before the cameos from the original cast show up. To its credit, although lots of it is retread from the original series, it is doing some imaginative things, with some interesting super powers. All the same, narratively, it's a mess and I just don't care about any of the joyless, weird-arse, unrelatable characters. Someone let me know if Ali Larter makes an appearance, will you?
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First two episodes

Life In Pieces
1x2 - Interruptus Date Breast Movin'
Slightly more amusing than the first episode, this sees the show already shaking up the formula a little. Rather than having each of the groups of the family stick with their own sub-group, the four stories mix and match as they see fit. Again, it's basically a way of coming up with funnies without having to bother with linking narrative, but this time it worked. A bit. Thomas Sadoski and Angelique Cabral (Enlisted) show the rest of the cast how to be funny in their stories, as did guest star Rhys Darby; Sadoski and Cabral's story was also quite romantic. But the rest of the time, Life in Pieces is just too short of true depth to be anything but a poor sketch show masquerading as a sitcom.
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episode

Limitless (US: CBS)
1x2 - Badge! Gun!
And the reason for Jake McDorman's casting become clear. After trying to be Intelligence, Scorpion et al in the first week, this week Limitless took it upon itself to become a comedy. Admittedly, that comedy is Chuck, but that wasn't where it looked like it was going in the first episode. Also admittedly, it's now a better Chuck than Chuck, which always erred for the silly and self-parodying when it shouldn't have. Although there's still now a lot of slackerness that's still specifically male, I think it still would have been a better show with Jennifer Carpenter as the lead, particularly given how well she did in the opening scene. 
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episode

Minority Report (US: Fox)
1x2 - My Nice Guy
And I'm out. Despite a snoozy pilot episode mired in the Amblin Entertainment school of family sci-fi (it's the future, kids, but exactly as you know it, just with better special effects), there were enough hints at imagination in there that I thought I'd stick with this for another episode at least, particularly to see if the triplets might get up to anything interesting together. They didn't. Bored, bored, bored. 
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episode

The Muppets (US: ABC; UK: Sky1)
1x2 - Hostile Makeover
The more the show edges away from the edgy new mockumentary-style format, in which it tries to give the Muppets deeper, more adult motivation for everything, and returns to the traditional 70s/80s Jim Henson-style Muppets, the funnier it gets. Apart from a few cringe-worthy deviations thanks to Fozzie and Jay Leno, this was a lot funnier than the horrific first episode and at times simply felt like a single-camera version of The Muppet Show. I'll be hanging around for the third episode, at least.
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episode

Rosewood (US: Fox)
1x2 - Fireflies and Fidelity
Almost unbearably bad, even without the singing. While Rosewood as a character is almost inspiring, the show is bereft of brain cells and makes you wish for Miami to be flooded and swept away, even without Rosewood's familial assistants serenading each other. I'm out.
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episode

Scream Queens (US: Fox; UK: E4)
1x3 - Chainsaw
Not quite as funny as the first episode and the shock of the attitudes and language is starting to wear off, but still a very entertaining hour, particularly thanks to Glen Powell and Emma Roberts' characters. But my problem with the show is a simple one: I don't like horror movies, not even parodies of ones. So as enjoyable as the comedic side of the show is, I'm finding the horrific side of it is putting me off. 
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First two episodes

The Player (US: NBC)
1x2 - Ante Up
A slightly less fun second episode, but the show's producers are already pushing its boundaries and trying to avoid settling into a rut. Some incredibly good aerial stunts, a proper good fire fight and Wesley Snipes getting to show off his prodigious martial arts skills mean that this is also the very first NBC action show in quite some time that's actually worthy of the name. 
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episode

The recommended list

Continuum (Canada: Showcase; UK: SyFy)
4x4 - Zero Hour
Wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff that's taking us towards the end of the series' story. I'd have hoped they were going to be more innovative in their final few episodes but although there are some good ideas floating around, largely it's all being lost in the rush to the end of the series. I think part of the problem is that the producers really weren't lying when they said they had seven seasons of story worked out. The problem is they now need to get four seasons of story into six episodes and it's just not working, except to get us through the plot as efficiently as possible. But it was nice to see the (spoiler alert) two Alecs together.
Reviews: First episodethird episode

Doctor Who (UK: BBC; US: BBC America)
9x2 - The Witch's Familiar
Probably the first decent Dalek story that Steven Moffat's done, but that's a low bar, with the whole two-parter existing more or less because it feels it has to, rather than because there's any logic driving events. I also have to wonder exactly how much regeneration energy the Doctor gave away to regenerate an entire planet's worth of Daleks, too.
Where can I watch it?

Y Gwyll/Hinterland (UK: S4C)
2x3 
So much for saying goodbye to the gloom, with DCI Tom moping around even more than he was doing before. Nice to let a couple of the other cops do something for a change, but as an episode, it's precisely what I would have imagined before watching the show if someone had said to me, "Hey, did you know S4C are doing a cop drama?", with our heroes driving from farm to farm like the telephone had never been invented.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episodefirst series

You’re The Worst (US: FXX)
2x4 - All About That Paper
A bleak and unexpected ending to a relatively normal episode, if any episode of You're The Worst can be called normal, the highlight being Gretchen's band's break-up. 
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode

Related entries

  • October 6, 2015: Third-episode verdict: Blindspot (US: NBC; UK: Sky Living)
    A review of the first three episodes of NBC's Blindspot

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