What have you been watching this week (w/e October 22)?

Southland

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.

After the jump, The Apprentice, Being Erica, Better With You, Chuck, Community, Cougar Town, Dexter, Hellcats, Help, My House is Falling Down, Life Unexpected, Mad Men, Modern Family, No Ordinary Family, Running Wilde, Smallville, Southland, and Stargate Universe.

Can you work out which one I’m going to drop from my viewing list? I’ll give you a clue – it’s definitely not this one:

  • The Apprentice: This year’s lot really are the stupidest, most argumentative lot there’s ever been on The Apprentice, aren’t they? All the same, that blonde one who led the winning team was pretty good – the first actual potential winner. Karren Brady appears to be eclipsing Nick now, with a lot more interplay between Lord Alan and Brady than with with Nick. Interesting.
  • Being Erica: Not seen this week’s one, but last week’s followed the golden rule that every show about time travel now has to have a Groundhog Day episode (Doctor Who – it’s just a matter of time, you know it is). Didn’t make a whole lick of sense of though.
  • Better With You: Last week’s was quite funny, but this week’s just wasn’t at all, and in combination with the terrible laughter track, that means I’m calling it a day on this one. Still, four good, quite funny episodes isn’t bad, is it?
  • Boardwalk Empire: Still stuck on episode three.
  • Chuck: A Casey episode with the marvellous Eric Roberts as a guest star. A pretty good episode that pastiched more or less everything, from The A-Team onwards, and it was good to see that other secret agents are competent as well. I’m not sure that turning Morgan into the new Chuck in terms of incompetence is a good plan though.
  • Community: Ah, if the Running Wilde KFC product placement episode was bad, this took it to new levels. It managed to do a good job with what it had, turning in a decent Apollo 13 spoof, but this wasn’t up there with the previous week’s in terms of laughs.
  • Cougar Town: Oh dear. What have they done to Kylie?
  • Dexter: A good episode, although when did Dexter’s (imaginary) dad get so keen on killing innocents? Nice to see James Remar in this season and Julia Stiles was lovely as well. Nice to see things taking off this soon in the season.
  • The First Men In The Moon: Still watching this. More later (hopefully)
  • Hellcats: The volleyball girls play flag football against the cheerleaders, the loser having to do a cheer in their underwear. Hellcats exploitative? Not a bit of it. The main focus was on the men and football this week, but the continuing question of where Marti’s interests are – law or cheerleading – is still being covered. Nevertheless, this is definitely losing its shine as a series.
  • Help, My House Is Falling Down: In a slight change from the house development formula of Property Ladder, Sarah Beeny goes round to people’s houses and tries to help them fix their plumbing. She tells them what the problem is and what they have to do, and in another change in the formula, they listen to her and do as they’re told and it all works out well(ish). Well, if they had any money, of course. Where the formula hasn’t changed: the Beeny’s pregnant (how big’s her family now? 10 kids?). A lot of the time, you can’t help but wonder, though, why the homeowners haven’t got round to fixing the problems: you have rats – do you really need Sarah Beeny to come round to tell you you need to hire a rat-catcher?
  • House: Haven’t watched this week’s yet.
  • Life Unexpected: Haven’t watched this week’s either.
  • Mad Men: Erm, yes. After all the plot threads of the season had seemed to be converging on the last episode to be tied up and be dramatic, it was as though the writers just forgot all about them and decided to have a completely different set. Don’s actions seemed to come out of the blue and poor old Peggy, too. This almost felt like it should be the opener of next season, not the finale of this one, since there was no real resolution of anything. Oh well. Still the best season of Mad Men so far (I think it’s just about better than the first one).
  • Modern Family: A combination of quite average plotlines (Phil’s) coupled with some much better ones (the two daughters’, the dad’s party-going).
  • No Ordinary Family: I’m very tempted to give up on this one, but I’m going to hang in there for at least another week, mainly because of Julie Benz. If anyone was expecting The Incredibles, they’d have been disappointed in this because apart from the distinct lack of anything really interesting happening, it’s mostly about the teenage kids using their powers to be popular at school. And all the characters are very, very stupid as well. Can we move things on a bit now, guys?
  • Rubicon: reviewed here
  • Running Wilde: Haven’t watched this week’s episode yet, but last week’s episode (episode 4) was the first outstanding episode of the season. For once, although Peter Serafinowicz was on top form and producing a whole barrel full of laughs – and this was the first week we’ve been treated to some of his incredible impressions – Will Arnett managed to produce just as many doing what he does best: pretending to be gay. If you only watch one episode of Running Wilde, watch this one.
  • Smallville: The 200th episode. Amazing, huh? Quite a few nice moments, with flashbacks to times past, as well as flashforwards to the Superman of the future – a sort of Smallville Christmas Carol with James Masters as the ghosts. Kind of a turning point for the characters, but if you were expecting a huge budget expenditure on this one and marvellous fights, not the episode for you.
  • Southland: Yes, I know this was over months ago. However, it’s taken me a while to catch up. After a very promising start, season 1 tailed off and became quite soapy, with only the final episode of the season really returning the show to its former promise. However, season 2 was pretty much uniformly excellent, with only one episode, The Runner, proving to be sub-standard – and there was the mysterious disappearance, completely unexplained departure of Amaury Nolasco’s detective after three episodes, which made me think I’d missed something. But Southland is undoubtedly the most realistic depiction of cop life outside of The Wire, so when season three comes round in January, I’ll be tuning in (and hopefully More4 will pick it up, too). If you haven’t watched it yet, watch the first episode of season 1, the last ep of season 1 and then watch the whole of season 2 – you won’t regret it.
  • Single Father: Haven’t watched it yet. Was it any good?
  • Stargate Universe: More of an emotional episode than previous weeks’ but the other main story – what’s up with Chloe? – was nicely evil and thoroughly enjoyable.
  • 30 Rock: reviewed here

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).




  • SK

    Single Father episode two is pretty much the same character-based water-treading as episode one — with a couple of nice dramatic ideas, like the e-mails — until about forty-five minutes in, when it suddenly remembers it’s supposed to be a story and has a Revelation (and then an even bigger Revelation in the ‘Next Time’ trailer). I’ll definitely be watching next week.
    Other than that, well, Mad Men series four, which is indeed very good — this week’s was the award show episode, with the flashbacks, which were done excellently — especially the very end of the episode.

  • I’ve watched SIngle Father for one reason only: I generally DON’T do domestic drama as a genre except where there’s a real pull of a particular actor.
    Tennant’s pulling out all the stops performance-wise and though I have some doubts about the realism of the plotlines his emotional turmoil is very watchable. If this doesn’t get nominated for something I’ll eat at least one of my hats.

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