What have you been watching? Including Game of Thrones, 19-2, Le Bureau Des Légendes (The Bureau) and Zoolander 2

Posted on June 27, 2016 | 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. 

State of the country, politics, the world, et al right now:

Sob. Oh well, let's talk about tele to try to cheer ourselves up. Last week, I reviewed the first few episodes of:

However, a few new shows have also stuck their heads up the parapets this week, so in the next few days I'm hoping to review Greenleaf (US: OWN), Queen of the South (US: USA) and maybe The Night Of (US: HBO) - it's only a mini-series.

Obviously, this was supposed to go up over the weekend, but owing to post-referendum blues and a general desire to boxset a certain French TV show, that didn't happen. However, I haven't had time to watch anything more than Game of Thrones from last night's usual bumper crop of shows. So after the jump, I'll be talking about that, the latest episodes of more or less the only shows that don't air on a Sunday - BrainDead, Cleverman and Outcast last Sunday's Preacher, Secret City, Silicon Valley, Still The King and Westside, as well as the return of Canada's good show, 19-2, and the whole of season 1 of Le Bureau Des Légendes (The Bureau). Some are for a-chopping, though, and some are on a lifeline.

(For those of you wondering, I couldn't be bothered to watch episode 3 of Animal Kingdom or Uncle Buck, after their uninspiring performances last week. Soz)

But first, a movie!

Zoolander 2 (2016) (iTunes)
Sequel to everyone's favourite Ben Stiller movie, although it only became such once it came out on DVD, since it tanked a bit at the box office. It sees Stiller, Own Wilson, Will Ferrell, et al, returning as their original characters, who have all gone their separate ways after Derek's school collapsed just a couple of days after opening. Then incomprehensible fashion designer Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) invites them to star in her new fashion show in Rome, and they're soon imbroiled in a Da Vinci Code parody that sees the likes of Justin Bieber being killed off to protect a terrible, terrible secret, with fashion policewoman Penelope Cruz their ally in solving the crime.

I was a bit wary of this, since it got bad reviews, and the movie itself is really not much more than that Da Vinci Code twist on the original Zoolander structure. However, surprisingly, it's actually quite gigglesome, with plenty of laughable moments, huge numbers of odd cameos (Kiefer Sutherland, Susan Sarandon, Fred Armisen, Anna Wintour et al), references to everything from Dune to Star Wars and the general surrealism that pervaded the original still managing to percolate through. 

Very stupid, but cheered us up a lot on Friday.

Shows I’m watching but not recommending

BrainDead (US: CBS; UK: Amazon Prime)
1x2 - Playing Politics: Living Life in the Shadow of the Budget Showdown - A Critique
Following a promising first episode, episode two is a significant disappointment, adding nothing and generally labouring points that have already been made. There's very little of the Mars Attack-style fun, the show instead preferring to be an analysis of politics and thriller. Except it's not that thrilling. Likely to get dropped now after episode three, unless the show picks up again.
Review: First episode

Cleverman (Australia: ABC; UK: BBC Three)
1x4 - Sun and Moon
And I'm done. If you cast your mind back to episode 1, it was the Cleverman-half of the story that actually interested me. Unfortunately, it's the 'hairies' half of the story that the writers seem to prefer, meaning the Cleverman side has been getting very little attention since that first episode. Seeing as I've seen half a dozen variants on the 'oppressed peoples' metaphor and this one doesn't seem to be offering much, I think I'm going to bow out now. Maybe by season 2 it will be worth revisiting.
Review: First episode

Preacher (US: AMC; UK: Amazon Prime)
1x4 - Monster Swamp
A disappointing fourth episode that simply retreads the first three episodes. If last night's episode turns out to be duff, I think I'm going to drop this one, too.
Review: First three episodes

Still The King (US: CMT)
1x3 - Take Your Daughter To Work Day - 1x4 - Puddin' Hood
Time to give up on this one, since despite its amiability, it was pretty much laughter-free for both episodes. The amiability is almost enough to make me keep watching, but I must be strong!
Review: First two episodes

Westside (New Zealand: TV3)
2x2
A bit more fun than the first episode, with Rita planning a scheme against The Almighty Johnsons/The Hobbit's Dean Gorman that also takes in the return of Joel Tobeck (I wonder if that's why he got written out of the last season of The Doctor Blake Mysteries) and his troupe of topless lesbians. Despite that, I think I'm probably going to drop this - last season stood on its own two feet reasonably well, but this season feels like you have to have really loved Outrageous Fortune to want to stick with it.
Reviews: First episodethird episode

The recommended list

19-2 (Canada: Bravo; UK: Amazon Prime) 
3x1 - Burn Pile
The return of Canada's best TV show and one of the world's current best cop shows isn't quite up there with the season 2 opener but is still a stonker. There's a stunning action opener, although not in the way you might think, and the usual pervasive sadness as the team deal with both that and the fallout from the previous season. Obviously, someone's on the way out, but I won't tell you who…
Reviews: First episode; third episode

Game of Thrones (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
6x9 - Battle of the Bastards - 6x10 - The Winds of Winter
A great couple of episodes to round off the season, with the usual cavalcade of battles, deaths, marriages, alliances and more. The only difference is that it's had the outcomes you'd expect, with the goodies triumphing and the baddies getting their just desserts. Indeed, perhaps the biggest problem of this season is that it's largely ended up doing all the things you thought it would, rather than Red Wedding us. To be fair, the show has the choice of ending everything miserably and unexpectedly or finishing off the plotlines more or less as they've been set up to do ever since the beginning, but it's a little disappointing to have the good guys winning. All the same, there have been enough individual moments throughout the season (and this episode, actually) of oddness, divergence and surprise that it doesn't feel that we're no longer in George RR Martin's universe.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episodefirst seasonsecond and third seasons

Le Bureau Des Légendes (The Bureau) (France: Canal+; UK: Amazon Prime)
1x4-1x10
Magnifique! We have a 21st century Sandbaggers at last. A truly magnificent, global espionage thriller, that's taut, intelligent, surprising at every turn and actually seems to know what it's talking about. The 10th episode is slightly disappointing in that rather than rounding off all the plot threads nicely, it leaves them hanging for the second season - although, to its credit, that's clearly been the plan all along, rather than a last-minute renewal bid, and you can see why there's been this one seemingly unrelated plot running throughout. Brilliant stuff, heartily recommended - the best show I've seen this year.
Review: First three episodes

Outcast (US: Cinemax; UK: Fox International) 
1x4 - A Wrath Unseen
The curse of quick promotion to the recommended list meant that this was another retread episode with the show getting worryingly close to the 'exorcism of the week' formula I was worried about. All the same, some decent human moments as well as moments that were genuinely unsettling. Brent Spiner's been allowed to talk now. Apparently, that was a mistake. 
Review: First episode

Secret City (Australia: Foxtel Showcase)
1x4 - Falling Hard
Following the slightly dull third episode, episode four is a welcome firing of the afterburners, with (apparent) all-out cyberwar between China and Australia dominating proceedings, with Iraq-style government briefings to spin it all. The show neatly anticipates in this conspiracy-theory powered age the audience's expectations and immediately cleverly subverts them. A good promotion to the recommended pile.
Review: First two episodes

Silicon Valley (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
3x9 - Daily Active Users
While it may be an interesting episode for some viewers, the naivety of the team in this episode about usability will probably seem astonishing to those in the know. Nevertheless, plenty of top laughs.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episodethird episode

Related entries

  • December 22, 2016: Question of the year: what were you favourite new shows of 2016? Here's my Top 12!
    What have been the 12 best shows I've seen in 2016?
  • January 3, 2017: What have you been watching? Including The Mick, Sherlock, Mechanic: Resurrection, The OA and The Bureau
    The TV I watched in the week ending Tuesday 3rd January 2017

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