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What have you been watching? Including Return of the Mac, The Good Fight, Imposters and Doctor Who

Posted on April 18, 2017 | 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 and your chance to recommend anything you've been watching.


Oddly, I haven't missed much in my absence, since not many new shows have started, while plenty have wound up or have taken an Easter break. In fact, I've had the time to rewatch all of Marvel's Iron Fist, as well as an episode of The Champions

Iron Fist actually held up quite well on a second viewing, although it turns out not to have any hidden depths at all that I missed and the fight scenes do often look quite bad on a bigger screen. But it's still hugely enjoyable, the soundtrack's truly marvellous, and it and season 1 of Daredevil are so far the only Netflix Marvel shows that I've even been inclined to rewatch.

Next up, of course, is Marvel's The Defenders, which will be arriving in August during TMINE's annual break. I presume it's because they don't want me to comment on the fact that Daredevil is wearing Iron Fist's costume in the teaser trailer. Too late, boys. Too late.

As well as the regulars, I've also had time to play catch up on a few shows that I'd got behind on. That means that after the jump, I'll be looking at the final episodes of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The Good Fight and Imposters, as well as the latest episodes of The Americans and The Magicians, the return of Doctor Who and the back end of the second season of The Man in the High Castle.

Fortitude I'm now working on so I should have a round-up of the final episodes next week. I'll also be a lot further along in Midnight Sun, which I'd probably have watched already if the upgrade to the Sky Go iOS app hadn't resulted in the download rights on the whole series being revoked for some odd reason, meaning I couldn't watch any of my previously downloaded episodes while I was away.

The Prison Break revival started while I was away, I know, but frankly, I suspect the show's time has gone and I've had enough Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell of late on DC's Legends of Tomorrow, anyway.

Some time in the next few days, I'll be taking a look at ABC (Australia)'s Hugo Weaving-starrer Seven Types of Ambiguity, which rather than being a documentary about literary criticism is a sort of Rashomon-ish look at a child abduction from the different points of view of all involved. However, awkwardly, as well as being only six rather than seven episodes long, each episode is from a different character's perspective (I think), so I'm unsure whether I have to watch the whole thing or not.

I did try to watch The Son, AMC (US)'s mini-series Western that stars Pierce Brosnan. Potentially, it sounded quite interesting, with Brosnan playing an old Texan cattle baron during the First World War, while we get flashbacks to his life growing up among the Comanches as a boy after they kill his family. However, it's AMC, so amazingly slow and boring, so I didn't even make it through the first episode.

I also gave one other show a try:

Return of the Mac (US: Pop)
Yet another one of those TV shows in which celebrities play 'themselves' with hilarious results (cf Lopez, Donny!, et al), this sees former New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre playing a version of himself who wants to do serious acting. Unfortunately, no one else wants him to do serious acting, so when he pitches with his agent to a female-led network, apart from the drooling by the 30- and 40-somethings who used to worship him when they were young, he has to endure the fact they only want to offer him a late night talk show. Can you imagine?

Produced by fellow New Kidder Donnie "Not Mark" Wahlberg and Jenny "Vaccines are Evil" McCarthy, who also cameo as "themselves", the show struggles to do much beyond set up very easy jokes about reality TV, celebrities, McIntyre and his career, without coming close to even Donny!'s low bar in finding a remotely interesting gimmick to supplement these low balls.

About the only thing it does well doesn't even involve McIntyre, as it's all about his wife's work with a gloriously over the top stylist. January Jones cameos for all of a minute and is better than everyone else in the cast, despite being January Jones. That should tell you something.

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What have you been watching? Including Imaginary Mary and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Posted on April 3, 2017 | 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 and your chance to recommend anything you've been watching.

The last WHYBW for some time now, since I'm off on vacation for a week from Wednesday and then there's the double Bank Holiday weekend that is Easter directly after that. Maybe I'll try to squeeze it in on the 13th or 18th, although I'd actually have to watch TV while on holiday to manage the former, which just ain't happening; maybe it'll even be the 24th. But WHYBW will be back, I promise.

The airwaves have been a little quieter of late, but I've somehow not managed to watch any of Shots Fired, which means I doubt I'll ever get round to playing catch-up. Midnight Sun I'm going to try to binge-watch somehow, since it got better after last week's ep-and-a-half review. If I find the time, I might play catch up on Fortitude, too, and I really will try to watch You Are Wanted.

Elsewhere, I've reviewed Nobodies (US: TV Land), which means that after the jump I'll be looking at the latest episodes of The Americans, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, The Good Fight, Imposters and The Magicians, as well as the season finale of Legion. But I have watched one other new TV show and a movie, too.

Imaginary Mary (US: ABC)
I love Jenna Elfman. I really do. Okay, the scientologist thing is off-putting, she's really fun, really charismatic and really watchable. So why is it that everything she's been in since Dharma and Greg and Keeping The Faith has been just heinous? Growing Up Fisher, 1600 Penn, Accidentally On Purpose - she was great, they weren't. And neither is Imaginary Mary.

The show is basically what happens if you have one idea and precisely one idea only. Here, the idea is that sports PR woman Jenna Elfman's childhood best friend comes back to help her in her adult life, when she finally starts having to deal with kids, a grown-up relationship et al. But that's where the ideas run out.

The work of three men, it feels like the closest they've come to ever meeting a woman is to read a book on Greek myths to learn that Artemis is a perpetually adolescent goddess so they could name Elfman's PR firm "Artemis PR" - that's the level of subtlety we're dealing with here. Elfman's character has apparently never even met a child, let alone spent time with one, but then again, the writers don't seem to have met any children either, since they're all the sorts of moppets that can be assembled from tropes in other TV shows.

I mean, do you think, even for a second, that the teenage son of Elfman's new boyfriend would ask her for advice on how to be popular with other teenagers, a mere five minutes after meeting her, while simultaneously confiding to her that he has a folder on his laptop that contains… "pictures of boobs"? Would that ever happen?

It's also unclear exactly what the idea is behind Imaginary Mary, who just reappears unprompted after disappearing from her life when Elfman was 18 and started having sex. Yes, that's right 18. And now she's back, and after a brief double-take from Elfman, everything carries on as before. Elfman doesn't go to a doctor or a psychiatrist now she's started hearing and seeing things, even though 'Mary' carries on talking and appearing in full view of her wherever she is, making it impossible for her to do other things (do the writers even know how an imaginary friend works?).

And what does Mary do? Not much. She's just there, being a bit furry and wacky. No real commentary, nothing daring, no real attempt to expose Elfman's subconscious or animus. just "Look, I'm back".

Bar Elfman, it's almost unwatchably bad. Steer very, very clear.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016)
Dull entry to the Harry Potter universe set in the US in the 1920s that misses pretty much all the opportunities to do something more grown up and interesting in favour of more of the same but with some cute magical animals. It unlikeably stars mumbling Eddie Redmayne as an animal-helping wizard who travels to the US to be nice to some different animals, where he gets caught up in the current anti-animal prohibition and has to deal with 'no-mags' (aka Muggles) who want to get rid of wizards.

Yet despite the opportunities for fun and variety, as well as some scary-level magic, it's really unfathomably dull. Redmayne's wizard is just plain annoying and unheroic. The other characters don't have a tenth of the qualities of Hermione and co that might make you want to spend time with them. All it really has going for it are those fantastic beasts, which are great fun.


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News: Wolf Creek renewed; Iron Fist trailer; Nathan Fillion to play author-detective; + more

Posted on February 8, 2017 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Global Internet TV

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US TV show casting

New US TV shows

  • ABC developing: adaptation of Luvvie Ajayi's I'm Judging You: The Do Better Manual
  • NBC green lights: pilot of Charlaine Harris spy drama Redliners
  • CBS green lights: pilots of meddling families comedy Distefano
  • …and adaptation of AJ Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically as Living Biblically

New US TV show casting

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