It's "What did you watch this week?", my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I've watched this week that I haven't already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I've missed them.
First, the usual recommendations:
- The Americans (FX/ITV).
- Archer (FX, 5USA)
- Arrow (The CW/Sky 1)
- Banshee (Cinemax/Sky Atlantic)
- Being Human (US) (SyFy)
- The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
- The Doctor Blake Mysteries (ABC1/ITV)
- Cougar Town (TBS/Sky Living)
- Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
- Go On (NBC)
- House of Cards (Netflix)
- Modern Family (ABC/Sky 1)
- Mr Selfridge (ITV/PBS)
- Shameless (US) (Showtime/More4)
- Southland (TNT/Channel 4)
- Spartacus (Starz/Sky 1)
- Engrenages/Spiral (BBC4/Netflix)
- Top Gear (BBC2/BBC America)
- Vegas (CBS/Sky Atlantic).
These are all going to be on in either the UK or the US, perhaps even both, but I can't be sure which. If I got the channels wrong, let me know and I'll fix them
Still in the queue: plenty. As well as two episodes of The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Archer and Community, last night's Banshee and Spartacus, and all the remaining episodes of House of Cards, two new shows launched this week in the US and the UK – CBS's Golden Boy and ITV's Lightfields – that I haven't had time to watch. I think that means a little bit of rationalisation of my viewing is needed so I'm pruning out the following regulars and shows that were on trial:
- The Blue Rose: Still hasn't hit its stride after four episodes, which is just way too long a time to be on trial. Let me know if it finds its mojo.
- Cult: A pretty tiresome second episode. The show might be easier to watch if the show-within-a-show weren't so dreadful, but the show's own storyline is so fundamentally silly, that I've yet to find much to make me want to watch any more. There was an interesting twist at one point, where the hero begins to question the motives of the heroine, but that didn't go very far. Intriguingly, the episode was written by Steven Rea, who is, of course, the show's creator in-series. I wonder if it's hard to write a show in which you're a character. Or is someone using a pseudonym?
- Go On: Nice cast, doing relatively good work with a heart, but never side-splitting.
- Mr and Mrs Murder: An Australian show about married crime scene cleaners who also solve crimes. From the outset, clearly not taking itself seriously, but the characters don't quite work, they're more irritating than funny, and I don't really see those two together.
- Zero Hour: Robbed off the most ridiculous qualities of the first episode, the second episode was merely stupid and insipid. Switched off after only a few minutes.
Doctor Blake is still on trial, since although it's very good, I'm not a big fan of mystery shows per se.
Now, some thoughts on some of the regulars:
- Arrow (The CW/Sky 1): Geoff Johns is back on writing duties. Shudders. He's certainly a big fan of stories with father issues, isn't he? And of terrible dialogue? We also got a canary reference and Alex Kingston turned up with an American accent as Laurel's mum. John Barrowman had a good stab at acting this week, someone else knows Arrow's secret identity, Kelly Hu and another Arrow villain made a (somewhat ludicrous) return and we all got to laugh at Arrow's 'perfect' Chinese accent.
- Banshee (Cinemax/Sky Atlantic): A rather nice chase scene in the style of Reservoir Dogs and Point Break, a sex scene that was actually romantic rather than mechanical, and a nice touch with the Amish villain feeling nostalgic for the good old days.
- Being Human (US) (SyFy): Josh's family turned up at last. However, everyone's brains left. Why exactly would anyone believe that Aidan would deliberately drink blood that was poisonous to him? It's essentially a false conflict set up to create a dramatic choice, which is a bit tedious. I want to see where the Sally storyline is going, but why didn't anyone suspect something like this would happen once her soul was on the line?
- Cougar Town (TBS/Sky Living): Loving the flashbacks. And they handled the Travis romance reasonably well, too.
- Elementary (CBS/Sky Living): Another episode that was less mystery, more 'Why would someone do this?' Not very interesting.
- Go On (NBC): Bradley Whitford turned up and was good; Piper Perabo was as good as always; the Mary Poppins storyline was good. But I didn't laugh. Hence it being dropped from my regular viewing.
- Modern Family (ABC/Sky1): Elizabeth Banks was back, although it wasn't until right at the end that she got to really strut her stuff.
- Shameless (US) (Showtime/More4): A chance to look inside foster homes and how much like prisons they are. And Fiona got angry. This should be fun.
- Southland (TNT/Channel 4): Cooper has a new partner, who's great. Major Dad turned out to be Cooper's old training officer as well, which was great, too. The shoot out was great. Why isn't anyone watching this?
- Spartacus (Starz/Sky 1): Some good things – decimation (yes, that really did happen) and Caesar among the rebels, making you feel sorry for the Romans for a change. Hope last night's episode was as good.
- Vegas (CBS/Sky Atlantic): Paul Ben Victor (The Wire, The Invisible Man) showed up but didn't get to do much in an episode that was again dull procedural wrapped in the far more interesting series arc. And Mia finds out – where will it all end up? However, it winds up, please let's not have so many procedurals along the way.
"What did you watch this week?" 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?