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February 23, 2015

What have you been watching? Including Hostages, The Odd Couple, X Company, Living With Models and Bosch

Posted on February 23, 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'sLocate TV - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

Last one of these for a fortnight, as I’m on holiday next Monday. But somehow, following last week’s purge and with a bit of efficiency, I’m bang up to speed with practically everything and I’ve watched some new shows:

The Odd Couple (US: CBS)
Somehow, some strange sort of comedy lifeboat has been erected at NBC and floated off a big bunch of its more talented comedy actors to this CBS show based on the classic Neil Simon play/movie/TV series of the late 60s/early 70s about two divorced men, one a slob, one a tad OCD, who end up living together. Here, Matthew Perry (late of Go On) takes on the Jack Klugman role, once again playing a DJ; Thomas Lennon (Sean Saves The World) takes the Tony Randall role; Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) is Perry's PA; Wendell Pierce (The Michael J Fox Show) is one of Lennon and Perry’s mutual friends.

But despite the source material, the cast and the likes of Joe Keenan behind the scenes, it’s not that good. There are times when it comes close to funny and there’s more intelligence than you might have expected of a CBS comedy, with Perry’s romance with Leslie Bibb in the first episode not going quite how you’d expect; Lennon is as good as always, as is Perry, even if Perry is a more natural fit to Lennon’s role. It’s also better at characterisation than you’d expect and never hits the miserable bitterness of We Are Men, But it’s never laugh out loud funny. Or even funny. Needed to be a lot better, basically, given its pedigree.

X Company (Canada: CBC)
Second World War spy action drama, based on Canada’s real-life spy training base Camp X. In this first episode, a bunch of non-descript young people overact a lot as they’re sent undercover into a French village, while a bunch of better characterised people are systematically killed off. This being a Canadian show, lots of the Nazis are quite nice, as are the Canadians, while the Brits, whether working for or against Camp X, are bastards. For reasons unknown, everyone German (some of them actually played by Germans) speaks German, while despite Canada’s bilingualism, everyone else speaks English.

The first 15 minutes is quite horrendous and I almost stopped watching after that, but after that initial attempt to woo the viewer with action, everything settles down and becomes a lot more interesting. It’s still not great, but one of the better efforts from Canada of late. Incidentally, as I predicted not so long ago, 2015 is indeed turning out to be the Year of Synthesia

Living With Models (UK: Comedy Central)
Ordinary schlub looking for a flat finds one… occupied by models. Close your eyes. Imagine the series. Whatever you just imagined is better than the series itself.

Hostages (UK: BBC4; Israeli: Channel 10 – aired in 2013)
This Israeli show that sees a surgeon’s family taken hostage to force her to kill one of her patients – the Prime Minister – has already been adapted by the US as Hostages. However, despite having seen that show, I quite enjoyed this version, as it’s considerably better – more low key in the exact same way as Prisoners of War was. Although many of the beats are the same, the structure’s different, more time is taken and it does actually feel like a thriller at times. There’s plenty of genre clichés, such as the “illegal gun dealer who demands more money from the man he’s just sold the guns to” and “the bad ass cop who faces down a hostage-taker single-handled”, but largely, it’s not bad, and it does everything better than the US remake does – a step down from Engrenages, naturally, but a step up from Salamander. Good to see BBC4 branching out into Sky Arts’ usual territory, too.

After the jump, the regulars: 12 Monkeys, 19-2, The Americans, Arrow, Banshee, The Blacklist, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, The Flash, Fortitude, Gallipoli, Man Seeking Woman, Marvel’s Agent Carter, State of Affairs and Suits. Oh, Vikings and Bosch are back, too.

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February 23, 2015

News: a new Sherlock Holmes story?, Laura Benanti is Supergirl's mum, Rowan Atkinson is Maigret + more

Posted on February 23, 2015 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Film casting

Books and Comics

Australian TV

French TV

  • William Fichtner leaves Crossing Lines, Elizabeth Mitchell and Goran Visnjic join
Internet TV
  • Trailer for season 3 of House of Cards
  • Jason Biggs not returning for season 3 of Orange is the New Black
UK TV

New UK TV shows

  • Trailer for BBC Two’s Pompidou, with Matt Lucas and Alex MacQueen
  • Rowan Atkinson to star in ITV's Maigret

New UK TV show casting

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV show casting

  • Camille Guaty joins ABC’s Mix
  • Marianna Jean-Baptiste joins NBC’s Blindspot
  • Dave Foley joins ABC’s Dr Ken, Scott Michael Foster joins ABC’s Boom, Matthew Shiveley and Bebe Wood join Family of the Year
  • Lauren Ash joins NBC’s Superstore, Christine Ko joins CBS’s The Half of it
  • Rob Brown, Audrey Esparaza, Ukweli Roach join NBC’s Blindspot; Graham Rogers joins ABC’s Quantico
  • Laurie Holden joins NBC’s Chicago Med
  • Stephen Schneider and Jack Carpenter join NBC’s Sharing
  • Joel Gretsch leaves MTV’s Scream
  • Jay R Ferguson to star in ABC’s Dan Savage comedy
  • Laura Benanti to play Supergirl’s mum in CBS’s Supergirl
  • Stacey Farber to star in NBC’s Take It From Us, Morris Chestnut to star in Fox’s Rosewood, Scott Michael Foster joins ABC’s Boom

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February 20, 2015

News: Missy returns, Monica Potter's three husbands, Philip Winchester: Las Vegas sniper + more

Posted on February 20, 2015 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Doctor Who

Film

  • A Settlers of Catan movie

Film casting

Trailers

  • Trailer for Kill Me Three Times with Simon Pegg, Alice Braga, Sullivan Stapleton et al
  • Clip for Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie

Internet TV

  • Erin Moriarty, Eka Darville and Will Traval join Netflix’s AKA Jessica Jones

UK TV

New UK TV shows

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

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