What have you been watching this week (w/e February 4)?

Working Class

It’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. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?

As usual, a simple recommendation to watch Cougar Town, Michel Roux’s Service, 30 Rock, Top Gear and The Daily Show – watch them, they’re good, but I’ve not got a lot to say about them than that.

As usual, I’ve also got a slight backlog: last night’s Archer; last night’s Community; this week’s Episodes; and last night’s 30 Rock.

But other than that, after the jump, mini-reviews of last week’s Archer, this week’s Being Human and Chuck, last week’s Community, last week’s Episodes, and this week’s Fairly Legal, Portlandia, Royal Pains, Shameless, Southland, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and Working Class

Archer (FX)
While still delightfully offensive, not quite as funny as last season’s best. Fun though.

Being Human (iPlayer)
MY EYES! MY EYES! A bit of a silly one, largely as set up for Becoming Human on the web. But very funny. The Annie/Mitchell stuff was all a bit adolescent though.

Chuck (Hulu)
Although too low budget to actually do too much of interest, it was nice to see so many plot threads wrapped up in one go. Nevertheless, both lovely wife and I agree that we’re rapidly losing interest in the show. It’s come too far and lost too much of what made it interesting in the first place. Oh, and can they please ditch Jeffster ASAP?

Community (Hulu)
Another nice, normal episode and good to see Chang and Pearce front and centre for a change, too.

Episodes (iPlayer)
I’m curious as to who this is aimed. While I did like the accuracy of the writing, I can’t quite work out who is actually going to laugh at this beyond industry insiders. But it’s definitely improving.

Fairly Legal (USA)
More plausible than the pilot episode, with Sarah Shahi actually doing some decent negotiation. But still lacking in any real interest.

Portlandia
Funny, but not as funny as the first episode yet more consistent. Kyle McLachlan was excellent, too. Still worth watching

Royal Pains (USA)
Good to see the show starting to head out of water-treading mode and into plot advancement. In particular, great to see Anastasia Griffith back and something happening with the Jill/Hank storyline.

Shameless
Quite a fun episode, with Frank becoming more likeable and everyone living up to more or less the premise of the title. I’m finding it a hard show to love but it’s a refreshing contrast to other shows on at the moment.

Southland
Surprisingly, just an average ep, and I’m a little worried that they’re going to start filling episodes more with season one-style filler than season two-style grit.

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (Starz online)
After last week’s mammoth gross out and descent into further excess, it was actually quite hard to convince myself to watch this episode. But it was a surprisingly subdued affair, largely about plot and character development. Shame they’re all going to be dead come series two though. Jaime Murray is, as usual, practically unwatchable though.

Working Class (CMT)
Although slightly in the Roseanne territory of blue collar people trying to make ends meet, this is still a traditional, old-school US sitcom, complete with long-suffering wife, feckless husband and irritating kids, with an attempt at a joke every second line. Switched off after 10 minutes because of its awfulness.




  • Being Human OBVIOUSLY, which I did enjoy, though I thought Annie had gone a bit backward in terms of her character. I did laugh at the job interview though, and I loved the teen vampire, and the way George and Nina came over all parental(-:
    I’m really enjoying Episodes and I’m not an industry insider. Ok, I write books, but it’s not the same.The Yanks do piss about a bit with UK texts to get them to fit their audience (and vice versa, I spent several years anglicising US texts), but I don’t think there’s quite the same level of interference (tho two of my authors had to do rewrites around teen suicide which wasn’t acceptable in kids’ books in the US in the 90s).
    I think for a non industry insider it’s a fascinating insight, and goes a long way to explaining why you like a show in the UK, and then they take it across the pond and you end up going wtf? It’s not new of course, the Comic Strip mined this field brilliantly in The Strike. Anyway, I’m really enjoying it, and while it’s not a laugh a minute, it does make me smile alot.
    Still utterly transfixed by Human Planet. This week’s episode featured a tribe in the Amazon who build houses at scarily high heights, and had the most stunning photography. I really urge everyone to watch it if they aren’t already, it’s amazing.
    Watched the first episode of Marchlands. Great cast, and spooky premise – house being haunted by 6 yr old girl during three different time periods – but the switch between the time periods made it a little confusing at first. Jodie Whittaker put in a great performance as a bereaved mother, and I am intrigued to see how the modern story is going to link back, given that the pregnant mother named her child Alice after the dead girl, having discovered a painting of the original Alice in the nursery, not realising of course there’s been a tragedy . It was a bit of a slowburn, but hoping next week will get more interesting now the premise has been set up.

  • SK

    I watched the first Marchlands too, and thought it nice and spooky and, yes, that bit at the end did give me quite a pleasant chill. I hope it lives up to the promise.
    A particularly good episode of Skins, too.
    I’ve been watching The Killing which is quite good, but I keep expecting Morten to burst into song. That or try to sell me mustard.
    Episodes I’m still finding interesting but, crucially, not actually very funny. Which is a bit of a problem for a comedy. Does anyone else also think it’s very, very, very slow? I mean, last week’s took the whole episode to do, what, one single evening? In which not very much happens? It’s really weird — it looks like an American sitcom but it has the pace of one of the slower British ones.
    And far too few jokes.
    Wasn’t that impressed with Being Human: as mentioned it felt like a set-up for the spin-off, which exacerbated the problems that are still having finding a story which can involve all three of the main characters, so it doesn’t feel like you’re watching two programmes — one about werewolves and one about a vampire — which happen to have been edited together, and have a ghost who pops up one week in one programme and one week in the other, but never both.
    Think that’s it.

  • MediumRob

    Couldn’t get into Marchlands. Tried watching for about 10 minutes, but it bored me and seemed to be trying too hard. Plus what was up with Alex Kingston’s accent?

  • Caught the trailer for Maarchlands and since partner couldn’t stop rolling with laughter the accent of ‘River Moon’ (sic) I decided that I’d have to be giving Marchlands a miss.
    The Killing is bloody fantastic though. Being Human is also grand to have back though it will always struggle to hit the heights of S1 IMHO.