What have you been watching this week (w/e October 15)?

David Tennant in Single Father

Back to its regular Friday slot, here’s “What have you been watching this week?” your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched this week.

As usual, not completely up to date with everything, with this week’s late arrivals being Community, the live episode of 30 Rock, Cougar Town, Modern Family, Hellcats and Being Erica. But that ain’t bad, huh? Oh, and I’ve given up on Parenthood. Sorry, Monica and Erica, but that show really isn’t going anywhere with your characters so I’m out.

  • The Apprentice: So this week’s it’s the women’s turn to be cocks. Nice to see that bit of equal opportunities. Now Karren Brady is someone who I’ve had a little bit of time for in the past, given she was the youngest woman to become the MD of a public limited company and she used to be quite funny on Baddiel and Skinner’s Fantasy Football League. But she was a bit blah on Junior Apprentice and hasn’t done much to shine compared to the wonderful Margaret in this series of The Apprentice. Until the boardroom, this week, that is when the women all decided to have a major bicker-fest and our Karren interrupted them to tell them they were not only being absolutely unemployable morons, but they were bad representatives of business women and were probably putting off young girls from wanting to go into business. Karren Brady is now an official Heroine of Britain – cherish her.
  • Being Erica: I’m an episode behind, but I quite enjoyed the last episode, which had all sorts of revelations about Erica’s brother. Okay, they were so cryptically done that we actually had to rewind the episode to work out exactly what had happened, but it was interesting to see them raised. Couldn’t quite see how Erica had managed to get through life (and the previous two seasons) with a mindset that the only choices she could see for her situation were either do nothing or go nuclear – when clearly blackmail was a good option as well – but hey ho, it was fun.
  • Boardwalk Empire: I’m on episode two now (so that’s only two eps behind). The revenue agent investigating Nucky is awesome, as are the writing, Gretchen Mol and Kelly Macdonald. Still not quite feeling the love, though, but I’m getting there.
  • Chuck: They should really just make this the Awesome show, because he really is awesome. Otherwise, so so and very silly.
  • Dexter: Ah, that’s more like it. After two eps treading water, we’re finally getting to the good stuff (which includes Julia Stiles, obviously) and with the kids largely out of the way, we can explore this month’s real plot: will Dexter finally get caught?
  • House: Better this week, a bit more like the House of old, and good to see they’ve realised their woman-deficit. I also guessed the mysterious illness, so I’m feeling well chuffed with myself.
  • Life Unexpected: This week, the One Tree Hill crossover episode. I’ve never seen One Tree Hill (despite my namesake’s presence in the cast), but judging from the characters that I guess are from One Tree Hill, it involves an awful lot of very dull ballad singing. Can’t believe that Baze and Cate would allow Lux to go to a concert dressed like that, particularly if they’re there, too, but hey ho. Also can’t believe that Ryan is still with Cate, given the amount of crap-dumping she’s performed on him. We also got our first Roswell reference of the series, which I’m sure about 10% of the audience got, given the demographic. Nice to see Cate’s mum back. Now where’s Abby. Come on. Where is she?
  • Mad Men: Another excellent episode, filled with a surprising amount of tension as well. What will happen in the finale on Sunday? Can’t wait.
  • Rubicon: Awesome. As I’ve remarked elsewhere, Rubicon has very much been like a crossword puzzle. For the first nine or ten episodes of clue-filling, it’s been slow and frustrating. But now we’re in the end stretch, the glittering jewel that Rubicon has revealed itself to be is finally exposed. If you’re waiting for it on BBC4, all I can say is stick with until the end, since it’s probably the only realistic spy show the US has yet produced and it’s very much worth watching – once you’re over the slow beginning. Incidentally, this is mostly because of the change in showrunner and not how the show was originally going to run – which just goes to show you that sometimes a show’s creator is the worst person to actually write it.
  • Single Father: It’s David Tennant! He’s playing a photographer whose wife gets killed in a car accident. He does it very well, and the rest of the (adult) cast is good, too. But it’s all very muddy. Having four kids, one of whom isn’t his means too much time is spent trying to give each kid a background and character. Is Suranne Jones supposed to be his ex-wife (we thought someone say she was but did we mishear?)? The time-jumping narrative makes it hard to follow as well. As a result, what could be a clear and tragic story seems to have decided to veer into some very odd areas and even if SJ is supposed to be his ex, I’m not convinced that DT and she would end up doing that (you know what), just as he’s breaking down over how much he misses his wife. The episode also failed to allow DT to really express himself, with no real sensation that he’s truly destroyed by this until the end – it’s more like a logistical problem for most of the story. All the same, a decent enough drama and I’ll be sticking around for episode 2.
  • Stargate Universe: Another good one. I do hope that the ending is final for that character, since it would be nice to see SGU taking that kind of risk (just like BSG), but I can’t help but feel they might bottle it. Fingers crossed though. Not quite sure why no one’s worked out Rush is keeping a very big secret, though – he’s not behaving in a way that makes you think “Yes, I’ll trust that man.”
  • thorne: sleepyhead: The first of Sky’s three-part adaptation of the novel, which sees David Morrissey as a police officer investigating what looks like a serial killer. I’m actually watching it right now, so I’m only 15 minutes in (and Sky+, that miracle of technology, chopped the first couple of minutes off as well), but it’s only sort of grabbing me. It looks good, if a little over-stylised at times. The story’s interesting. Morrissey’s good. But it’s too early to say whether this can actually differentiate itself from other cop shows, since so far, it’s not done anything too extraordinary. I’ll let you know next week (or in the comments) whether it gets better.

But what have you been watching?

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).


  • 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.