Archive | TV reviews

An archive of the blog's TV reviews. There's also an archive and an A-Z index of all reviews.


February 6, 2016

What have you been watching? Including Okkupert (Occupied), Lucifer and Marvel's Agent Carter

Posted on February 6, 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. 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, I've culled and the fact I've culled means that alles in Ordnung now. If I hadn't been doing some last minute editing of articles for the Financial Times yesterday (ook, hark at me), WHYBW would have been with you then. Now it's today, so that means I've been able to slip a couple more shows into my viewing schedule.

This week I've already passed third-episode verdicts on:

But I'll be saving my third-episode verdicts on Stan Lee's Lucky Man (UK: Sky1) and DC's Legends of Tomorrow (US: The CW; UK: Sky1) until Monday. That means that after the jump you can see what I thought of the latest episodes of American Crime, Arrow, The Flash, Lucifer, Man Seeking Woman, Marvel's Agent Carter, Okkupert (Occupied), Second Chance, Supergirl and The Shannara Chronicles. This week's theme? Relationships with fathers. Can you guess which shows feature them? Other than Lucifer, obvs?

I might watch the latest 100 Code tonight. Or I might watch Sicario instead. The latter seems a better a choice. Anyone got any better suggestions?

I'd let you know what I thought of Guy Ritchie's movie version of The Man From UNCLE, but we only watched 10 minutes of it last night before my wife fell to sleep, which is probably not a good enough sample of it to pass a fair judgement. And to be fair, we both thought it wasn't bad. Not proper Man From UNCLE and quite silly, too, but interesting in its own right so far, particularly the take on Napoleon Solo, and a good recreation of Berlin and Checkpoint Charlie.

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February 3, 2016

Third-episode verdict: Angie Tribeca (US: TBS)

Posted on February 3, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerAngieTribeca.jpgA Barrometer rating of 1

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, TBS
In the UK: Not yet acquired

If there's anything that Angie Tribeca proves, it's that comedy is hard. TBS's new spoof of police shows, particularly CSI: Miami, but also Rizzoli & Isles and anything with a tough detective who doesn't want a new partner, it's also a 'find and replace' sequel to Police Squad and The Naked Gun. There are often entire gags and formats lifted wholesale from those predecessors and then names and characters simply swapped out. This ranges from the title sequence (someone yelling at the end, with a different reason for the yell each episode, mimicking police squads different guest star being killed at the same point) through to characters repeating lines of dialogue after someone's said "Say, do you…?" 

This isn't a huge problem. Police Squad was hilarious; I don't mind Angie Tribeca being hilarious, even if to be hilarious it has to steal jokes.

And the show frequently is hilarious - after a slightly rocky start, the first two episodes are almost painfully funny at times. But the third episode, which doesn't do that much different from the previous two, is just not funny. Same sort of jokes, same sort of situations, but not many laughs, because you could see the punchlines coming a mile off. It's a show of usually obvious jokes where they're suddenly just a bit too obvious to be funny.

Comedy is hard. Get things slightly wrong and suddenly the laughs aren't coming.

Other than that, there's not much to say about Angie Tribeca. There's nothing profound about it. There's no real story arc, no character development worth mentioning. It's just very funny. When it is. It's just that sometimes it isn't.

Barrometer rating: 1
Would it be better with a female lead? N/A
TMINE prediction: TBS has a lot of confidence in it, having already renewed it for a second season. The TMINE crystal ball can look no further than that

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Third-episode verdict: The Magicians (US: Syfy)

Posted on February 3, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerTheMagicians.jpgA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, Syfy
In the UK: Not yet acquired

No matter how many different dust jackets you put round them to confuse fellow commuters, the Harry Potter books were undoubtedly for kids. Although everyone quailed at the thought of He Who Must Not Be Named (Lord Voldemort), you never got a feeling of any real risk, any real power or anything genuinely nasty going on. Death spells? Sure, but you just fall over and die, and that's it. It's not even 24 in the scheme of things, let alone the almighty forces of the universe at work.

The Magicians, which is basically Harry Potter for adults, does much to improve this situation. Set in an exclusive school (university) for wizards, it gives us a magic that can at times be genuinely terrifying. We've seen a man made from moths stepping through mirrors from other worlds to freeze time and paralyse people while he rips out their eyes. We've seen fiction and reality blurring, with characters from books becoming real and the real becoming fictional. We've had ghosts that can actually frighten, people disfigured horribly by magic and raw power consume magic users alive.

And if the rest of The Magicians had been as great as that depiction of magic, I would be its biggest fan. The trouble is that such moments are few and far between. The rest of the time, it's still Harry Potter but in what is effectively an American High School, rather than a university - one filled with mean girls and bullies, and acted by people who seem to have wandered in off the street rather than acting schools. It's also filled with hammy attempts at comedy that are as obvious as they are unfunny, something that isn't helped by everyone smirking whenever they have to deliver a funny line.

There is a vague attempt to give us a rich vs poor subtext, with our stupidly named hero Quentin Coldwater going to the elite, Yale-esque 'Brakebills', while his best friend Julia fails the entrance exam and ends up at the equivalent of the local poly, which is half portakabin, half Fight Club. But that's about it as far as depth and characterisation are concerned, because while you cared about ordinary Harry, bright spark Hermione and loyal old Ron, frankly, pretty much everyone in The Magicians could die a fiery and painful death and you'd be more worried about the marks they'd left on the hardwood flooring than their horrific demise.

It's a shame because when it starts to properly deal with magic, The Magicians has some truly memorable scenes and some real imagination going on. It just understands that fictional world far better than it does people.

Barrometer rating: 3
Would it be better with a female lead? Marginally
TMINE's prediction: Likely to get cancelled after a season, but Syfy might just persevere with it

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