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What have you been watching? Including Fargo, Agents of SHIELD, Silicon Valley and Friends With Better Lives

Posted on April 17, 2014 | comments | Bookmark and Share

Fargo

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.

A little bit earlier than normal, thanks to the Easter bank holidays in the UK, but we'll back to the usual Friday slot next week. New shows I’ve already reviewed this week:

But I also watched:

Fargo (US: Tuesdays, 10pm, FX; UK: Sundays, 9pm, Channel 4, starting Sunday)
Despite the name and the Coen Brothers' presence in the producers' roster, rather than a straight retelling of the movie, Fargo is an anthology series, each season telling a different 'true' crime story from the Minnesota region, the movie effectively being just one of those stories. Indeed, despite the setting and there being a William H Macy-esque schmuck of an accountant (Martin Freeman) and a bright but unlikely female sheriff (Allison Tolman) to investigate the heinous crimes of a newly arrived criminal (Billy Bob Thornton), the show has far more in common with the Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men, right down to Billy Bob's dark angel with an eccentric haircut and some nice-guy sheriffs (Shawn Doyle, Colin Hanks) who get close, sometimes too close, to a force of evil beyond their experiences.

While not a patch on the movie, Fargo is nevertheless a decent piece of work, well written, well shot, with some eye-opening scenes, and largely well acted, particularly by Doyle but especially by Thornton, who's almost as mesmerising as Javier Bardem was. But it's largely interested in issues of masculinity, what it means to be a man and what happens if you fall short of those societal demands, so the female characters get short shrift from the story. Importantly, the relatively inexperienced Tolman has yet to make anything like the impact that Frances McDormand did in the movie, although she's likely to shift in importance in later episodes (spoiler)given Doyle unfortunately gets killed towards the end of the first episode

Not truly compelling, but definitely a cut above the average and I'll be sticking around to the next episode at least.

After the jump, the regulars, with reviews of Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, Community, Continuum, CrisisEndeavour, Friends with Better Lives, Game of Thrones, Hannibal and Silicon Valley.

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What have you been watching? Including Agents of SHIELD, Vikings, Suits, Game of Thrones, Endeavour

Posted on April 11, 2014 | comments | 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.

New shows I’ve already reviewed this week:

After the jump, the regulars, with reviews of Agents of SHIELD, Crisis, Mammon, 35 Diwrnod, 19-2, The Americans, Community, Continuum, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Elementary, Endeavour, Game of Thrones, Hannibal, House of Cards, Suits and Vikings

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Agents of SHIELD, Vikings, Suits, Game of Thrones, Endeavour"

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What have you been watching? Including Inspector De Luca, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Hannibal and Vikings

Posted on March 28, 2014 | comments | 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.

New shows I’ve already reviewed this week:

I’ve still got S4C’s 35 Diwrnod to watch – hopefully, I’ll get a mini-review up later today. But I did also watch:

Inspector De Luca (UK: BBC4; Italy: Rai 1)
Breaking Sky Arts’ stranglehold on South Mediterranean TV again, BBC4’s managed to find this 2008 series from Italy, based on Carlo Lucarelli’s series of books. Set in fascist Italy during the 1930s, it’s actually very good. Although the hero’s a bit rubbish, he’s tenacious and interested in serving justice at a time when justice and the law could be very different creatures. The show has a real feel for both place and period, will little touches such as dogs named after Haile Selassie, the Italian version of the Hitler Youth, torture and more all making an appearance, even if Il Duce himself doesn’t. It’s also quite chilling in its depiction of life under fascist rule. Well worth a watch, even if there’s an obvious bit of bad dubbing and a truly awful soundtrack.

I also watched a movie:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Easily one of the best and smartest of the Marvel films to date. It’s a slight cliché, particularly thanks to the presence of Robert Redford, to say that it’s like a 1970s conspiracy theory movie, but it very much is, particularly The Parallax View and Three Days of the Condor. And with Captain America representing 1940s morality and having to deal with an age of profiling, drone warfare and more, it’s not just an interesting critique of the Marvel Universe, it’s also a critique of American domestic and foreign policies of the past couple of decades.

Of course, it’s still comics based, so there are nice little hat tips here and there, not only to the existing Marvel Cinema Universe (Iron Man, Hulk and others all get talked about) but to bits yet unseen – Dr Strange even gets name-checked at one point and then there’s the teaser for Avengers 2. Best of all, as well as the quite brutal car chases and fight scenes, which 3D ruins so watch it in 2D if possible, we do get lots of Black Widow (hoorah!) even if her more interesting comic book background has been ditched. And you’ll never look at Jenny Agutter the same way again. Heartily recommended, particularly because the ending utterly messes up Agents of SHIELD.

After the jump, the regulars, with reviews of Crisis, Secrets and Lies, 19-2, The Americans, Arrow, The Blacklist, Community, Continuum, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Hannibal and Suits

Continue reading "What have you been watching? Including Inspector De Luca, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Hannibal and Vikings"

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