Archive | UK TV reviews

Reviews of UK TV programmes


June 19, 2016

What have you been watching? Including The Last Ship, Westside, Secret City and Cleverman

Posted on June 19, 2016 | 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. 

You can tell the summer's season now fully under way, can't you? New shows everywhere, as well as returning shows, with more to come. But all is in hand. Elsewhere, you can find my reviews this week of the first episode or two of the following exciting new shows:

And after the jump, I'll be updating you on the latest episodes of Animal Kingdom, Cleverman, Feed The Beast, Outcast, Secret City, Uncle Buck and Silicon Valley, as well as the returning The Last Ship and Westside. Two of those shows are for the chop and one is being promoted to the recommended list - but which are which? There's also a whole bunch of potted third-episode verdicts, since I can't be bothered to do them all individually.

I've also been doing some more laggardly box-setting, so I'll be chatting about the final five episodes of Ófærð (Trapped) as well as the entire third series of Plebs, too. That's all after the jump. TTFN!

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June 13, 2016

What have you been watching? Including The Night Manager, Outcast, The Americans and Cleverman

Posted on June 13, 2016 | 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. 

Sunday's got a bit busy all of a sudden. As well as Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley, we now have Secret City and the returning The Last Ship, as well as Preacher once it catches up with me. So unless I take every Monday off work or forgo sleep, I'm thinking I'm not going to be able to watch all of those in time for WHYBW. So this week, WHYBW will be returning to Fridays (or more probably Saturdays. Sob), given Thursday's worldwide TV schedule currently consists of Cleverman. Hold your thoughts on Silicon Valley, Secret City and The Last Ship until then, so we can share.

Anyway, thanks to the world unleashing a huge swathe of new shows for us all to try out, this week I reviewed/previewed elsewhere:

I'll be previewing/reviewing Uncle Buck (US: ABC) and Still The King (US: CMT) in the next couple of days, and after the jump, I'll be reviewing the latest episodes of Cleverman, Game of Thrones and Outcast, as well as the season finale of The Americans. But first, over the weekend, I finally got round to boxsetting a show you've almost all probably seen and forgotten already!

The Night Manager (UK: BBC One)
The first John Le Carré TV adaptation in 20 years, Tom Hiddleston's audition tape for the role of James Bond sees him playing a former soldier turned hotel night manager sign up with SIS (in the form of Olivia Colman) to defeat international, improbably accented gun runner Hugh Laurie as he tours all manner of shiny places in HD. It all looks lovely and it's got a great supporting cast (Tom Hollander and David Harewood), but the UK production aesthetics (music, title sequence) make it seem a lot cheaper than it is, and to be honest, Le Carré's plotting stretches into the clunky, simplistic and improbable at times, with few surprises. The ending is also a disappointment, essentially relying on Laurie giving an almost total stranger who's a thief and a murderer exclusive control over $300m - after the set-up, I was expecting something a lot smarter. But the low-fi spying, Hiddleston and the locations make it more memorable.

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June 6, 2016

What have you been watching? Including Deadpool, The Americans and The Tunnel (Tunnel)

Posted on June 6, 2016 | 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. 

Well would you look at that - back as scheduled. Miracles will never cease.

As usual, though, the networks have carefully timed a batch of new shows to start airing while I've been away. I'll be reviewing them in the next few days, but hold your horses on discussing Animal Kingdom (US: TNT), Private Eyes (Canada: CBC), Feed The Beast (US: AMC; UK: BT Vision) and Cleverman (Australia: ABC; UK: BBC Four) until then, if you've seen them.

After the jump, I'll be looking at the season/series finales of Arrow, The Flash and The Tunnel (Tunnel), as well as the dwindling regulars (won't someone give us some good new TV, please?): 12 Monkeys, The Americans, Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley. Surprisingly, despite my reduced viewing list, one of these is for the chop because I can't even.

Before that, though, I've seen not one, but two superhero movies!

Deadpool (2015) (iTunes)
Ryan Reynolds in the first of Marvel's adult-oriented superhero movies, here playing a mercenary who gets given mutant powers at the cost of his good looks, so tries to get the Brit scientist/kickboxer who experimented on him (Ed Skrein from The Transporter Refueled and Game of Thrones) to undo the damage so he can get back his girl (Morena Baccarin from Firefly and Homeland). But as well as his looks, the newly-christened Deadpool also loses his sanity - for some reason, he thinks he's in a superhero movie and chooses to satirise anything and everything about it, as well as talk to the audience he thinks is watching him…

Although not as funny or as daring as it thinks it is and saddled with a conventional revenge plot that all the storytelling tricks in the world can't cover up, Deadpool has a lot going for it, particularly its potty mouth, and meta jibes at Ryan Reynolds and the X-men. You'll laugh at about half the jokes and there are scenes that will stick with you for days afterwards. But its own critiques ("It's almost like the studio couldn't afford more famous stars") reveal the film's biggest problem - it's subversive enough that the studio wants to keep it safely confined in a box away from the rest of the franchise, unable to play with the big boys. Also, Gina Carano is wasted in a small role, which makes me sad. 

But you can't really knock a superhero movie that has its lead masturbating with a toy unicorn, now can you?

Spider-Man 3 (2007) (iTunes)
Somehow I missed/couldn't be bothered to watch the third of the previous (but one) Spider-Man movie franchises, but with another on the way, I figured I'd watch all the old ones (not including the Nicholas Hammond 70s TV show) just to see how they compare. Here we get Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man finding (yet again) it's hard achieving a work-life-superhero balance, and despite wanting to marry girlfriend Mary-Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), ends up neglecting her. Then, he discovers that the man (Thomas Haden Church) who really killed Uncle Ben has escaped from prison and acquired the power to turn into and shape sand. And best friend James Franco has discovered Peter Parker is Spider-Man and wants to get revenge for the supposed murder of his father (aka The Green Goblin). Just as Peter's at his lowest ebb, he attracts the attention of an alien symbiote who turns his costume - as well as his soul - black…

Weirdly, despite its rep, I found this to be the best of the lot - Spider-Man 1 & 2 do not bear up well, despite my having found them reasonably good at the time, and The Amazing Spider-Man is astonishingly dreary and uncompelling. While the 'Venom' subtext is a little clunky and the character itself a bit rubbish, the story actually takes novel turns, with forgiveness and doing good lorded over violence and darkness (take note, DC Comics). 

Utterly meaningless if you haven't seen the first two movies, mind.

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