What have you been watching this week (w/e July 30)

Mad Men 4x1

I’ve given up on a few shows over the last fortnight, most notably Leverage, which has been boring the pants off me of late (YMMV), and Rizzoli & Isles, which made Women’s Murder Club look like a documentary. But here’s what I have been watching

  • Burn Notice: This season is really just fantastically unmemorable at the moment. I literally can’t remember what’s happened in it within about an hour of viewing it. But while I’m watching it, it’s fun.
  • Covert Affairs: Embarrassingly for Burn Notice, despite Covert Affairs being a duller show, it is making Burn Notice look a bit daft in comparison to the far more realistic tradecraft that goes on here (not that it’s that realistic, of course). I am enjoying Covert Affairs, and the arrival of Sendhil Ramamurthy (who despite having a US accent normally, still sounds like he’s putting one on) is excellent news. But despite the awesome Piper Perabo, it doesn’t quite have that magic it needs to make it must-see TV.
  • The Gates: Glad they’ve finally pushed a couple of revelations, but we’re going to need a few more answers soon, IMHO, to avoid this becoming dull.
  • The IT Crowd: Last week’s wasn’t quite as funny as previous weeks’ episodes, but it still had some great moments.
  • Mad Men: Season four’s here and it’s a little dull, I have to confess. A few nice moments and obviously the first ep was largely dedicated to establishing where everybody is a year on from season 3, but it didn’t really come alive until its last few moments. Oh, and the Advertising Age guy’s shorthand? All good teeline, but together, didn’t mean a thing. Absolute gibberish.
  • Persons Unknown: Massive outbreak of silliness in the last two episodes. Sigh. I knew it couldn’t last.
  • Rev: The first episode not written by the series creator and the first I didn’t enjoy. It just felt a bit nasty, to be honest.
  • Royal Pains: Doesn’t quite have the edge of last season, the demotion of Jill to an occasional walk-on is a real body-blow to the show, as is the absence of Boris at the moment. But Anastasia Griffith is fine and the Pretty Woman reference last week was fun.
  • Scoundrels: Now, I’ve never been to a strip club (I just haven’t. Honest), but even I know that the one they have in Scoundrels is pretty tame – much like the show. It’s chugging along though, has some fun moments, and some fun characters. It just flounders as soon as anything too much like drama hits it. Also had the first Terminator in-joke of the season this week, which only took five episodes. Well done on the restraint guys.
  • Southland: Onto episode four and it’s just become a slightly soapy mush, which is very disappointing given its first couple of episodes. I’m going to stick with it, particularly since I hear season two focuses on the two interesting characters from the first two eps, but that was a real plummet in quality.
  • Top Gear: Rubbish interview of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, but nice to see them both do so well in the circuit. The Ayrton Sena piece was a surprisingly lovely tribute as well. Generally, though, this season has lacked a certain pizazz.

But what have you been watching? Anyone catch The Pillars of the Earth?

As always, no spoilers unless you’re going to use the <spoiler> </spoiler> tags, please. If you’ve reviewed something on your blog, you can put a link to it here rather than repeat yourself (although too many links and you might get killed by the spam filter).


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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