Tag Archive | 30 Rock

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What have you been watching? Including Atlanta, Narcos, The Last Ship and Mr Robot

Posted on September 12, 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. 

I've been a bit slack over the past week. Work's been a bit crazy and season two of Narcos has been taking up a lot of my time. Never fear, though, as over the next few days, I should - fingers crossed - be reviewing a whole batch of new US shows, including Quarry, Better Things and Speechless. I might even pass a third-episode verdict on Four In The Morning, if I have the time.

After the jump, I'll be looking at the latest episodes of the regulars, Halt and Catch Fire, Mr Robot and You're The Worst, as well as the whole second season of Narcos and the season finale of The Last Ship. But before that, one show I had been planning to do a full review of last week but didn't get round to because it turned out not to be worth it was…

Atlanta (US: FX; UK: Fox UK - starts November)
Written by Donald Glover (Community, The Martian), Atlanta also stars Glover as the Princeton-drop out cousin of an Atlanta rapper (Brian Tyree Henry) who's just about to hit the big time. Glover has to use his big brain, as well as his connections, to get in on the deal as well as help Henry deal with the problems of the music biz, race, sex and more. 

I've seen various articles talking about how Glover has 'redefined comedy' with Atlanta and it's fair to say that he's redefined in that Atlanta is as much a drama as a comedy and there aren't many jokes. Of the jokes that Glover does give us, most of which he gives to himself and concern being the smartest guy in the room, with no one on his level to talk to ("Do you know where the word management comes from?" "Yes, it's from the Latin word manus, meaning hand" "Oh… Management really means…"). Otherwise, while it does offer an insider's view of life for the poorer members of society in Atlanta, it doesn't offer that much that's new - apparently, people will treat you differently if you're famous, for example. How insightful.

I wanted to like this, since Glover's great, and I had had high hopes for it, given Glover started out writing for 30 Rock, but my 100% dislike of all shows about the American music industry (eg Power, Empire, Vinyl, Nashville) continues to have a 100% strike rate thanks to Atlanta.

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What have you been watching? Including The Royals, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Community, The Flash and 19-2

Posted on March 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’s Locate TV - they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

Well, it’s been another epic week in TV land (not to be confused with “I can’t believe you can still see the" TV Land - the network for older, nostalgic, probably slightly visually challenged folk), with loads of new shows, as well as some returning ones. I haven’t managed to find the time to tune into Netflix’s new thriller series, Bloodlines, which was released on Friday, but this week, I’ve managed to take a gander at:

I also had a look at the first two episodes of…

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Tina Fey’s new sitcom (unfortunately not starring Fey) in which one of four female cult members holed up underground are rescued by the authorities, and while three of them are happy to return home, one of them is spunky enough to try to make a new life for herself. Her name? Kimmy Schmidt. First, Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) manages to find herself a ‘home’ (aka small cubbyhole, it being New York) to live in with failed actor Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) and makes a sort of a friend in the form of Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane). Then she gets a job looking after the son of the delightfully named and incredibly rich trophy wife Jaqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski). Will she buckle under all these pressures or will she prove unbreakable?

As with 30 Rock before it, this is a show that grows from a not especially auspicious pilot episode redeemed by one character (Jack in 30 Rock, Mrs Voorhees here) to become funnier over time. But it’s still not hilarious by the second episode and if you’ve ever seen The Nanny Diaries, you’ll find yourself noticing not only how very similar they are in a lot of ways but also that there's:

  1. A complete lack of Scarlett Johansson in this, who was much funnier
  2. A complete lack of Chris Evans or anyone even in a similar role. He was funny in that, too
  3. Nowhere near as much intelligence in the script-writing, despite the source.

All the same, there are some laugh out loud moments involving IP licensing and the revelation of who Voorhees’ parents are, so I’m going to bear with and watch the rest of it - when I have a mo.

I also tried to watch…

The Royals (US/UK: E!)
Liz Hurley becomes queen and has to supervise the rest of her equally inappropriate, bonk-tastic family. Or something. I did manage to get through the young Harry-alike playing darts and managing to get a bullseye every time while not really looking, to impress an American girl into bed. But I gave up after 10 minutes, in part because it's really hard to watch that much soft porn shagging on your iPad when you're commuting on a train, without people thinking you're a perv, and I didn't manage to get back to it. Oh well. I don't think I'll be missing much. Joan Collins is in it, too, apparently. But then she was in Benidorm.

After the jump, the regulars: 12 Monkeys, 19-2, The Americans, Arrow, The Blacklist, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, The Flash, Fortitude, Man Seeking Woman, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and Vikings. One of these is being demoted this week. I wonder which one?

On top of that, we also have the return of Community. Woo hoo? You’ll find out the answer to that one after the break, too.

Wondering where Dig and American Crime are? The short answer is: waiting for third-episode verdicts tomorrow and maybe Wednesday. The long answer? I've got to watch them first…

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Review: Cult 1x1 (The CW)

Posted on February 25, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The CW's Cult cast

In the US: Tuesdays, 9pm ET/8pm CT, The CW
In the UK: Mysteriously acquired by an unnamed network

Cults are really big right now on TV. The Following is on Fox and now we have Cult on The CW. Intriguingly, both shows were thought up years ago, The Following as the script for Scream 3 and Cult as a show for the now-defunct predecessor to The CW, The WB.

The two shows both have good pedigrees. The Following comes from long-time writer Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek and The Vampire Diaries) but Cult comes from the even older pen of Rockne S O'Bannon, who started out on The (New) Twilight Zone, before going on to create Farscape, Alien Nation and seaQuest DSV.

So perhaps it's appropriate that Cult is a trickier, more knowing beast than The Following. The Following, of course, has all kinds of degrees of Scream-esque meta, but Cult takes things a step further. It begins seemingly as a somewhat stupid, tacky The CW show in which a young blonde cop, Kelly Collins, (Alona Tal) and an older, fatter, blacker cop have to investigate the cult run by Billy Grimm (Robert Knepper) to which Collins used to belong.

But just as they find somewhat buried in a wall and he utters the somewhat ludicrous and unfathomable "'Well hey. These things just snap right off," we discover we've been watching a TV show within a TV show. Collins is really actress Marti Gerritsen and Knepper is actor Roger Reeves and they star in The CW's Cult.

With me so far? Good. Anyway, so far, so Pulaski/30 Rock. But rather than being a spoof or send up of the making of a TV show, Cult is a far darker creation that focuses on the nature of cult television and its fans. This Cult has fans and it's created web sites and all kinds of other clues for them to seek out to discover more about the show. Except perhaps it's not all fiction. Because when one fan seems to work it all out, he disappears. When his journalist brother Jeff Dean Sefton (Matthew Davis) comes looking for him, he starts to discover the same messages in the show that his brother did, and with the help of a researcher on the show, Skye Yarrow (Jessica Lucas), they begin to investigate Cult, to see if they can find out what's really going on and what's happened to his brother.

Here's a trailer that gives away all the good bits from the first episode.

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