What did you watch last week (w/e September 28)?

Time for "What did you watch last week?", my chance to tell you what I watched last week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.

My recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure this week: The Daily ShowDoctor Who, Modern Family, Happy Endings and Community.

Things you might enjoy but that I’m not necessarily recommending: Strike Back: Project Dawn, Ringer, Up All Night.

Now, normally, of course, after the first episodes of all the new series have aired, I stick around for the second and third episodes of all the shows that are promising. Unfortunately, this year, there’s been a whole load of second episodes that have been so unbareably painful to watch, that I turned off halfway through them. So, don’t, whatever you do, bother with:

  • Revenge: ridiculously stupid and pretentious.
  • Whitney: cutting-edge relationship observations such as "It’s hard for two people to take a shower at the same time" and "Maybe go on a date together to re-kindle the romance – except you know it’ll go wrong". Oh dear
  • 2 Broke Girls: badly written, not funny and even more racist than Sex and the City 2
  • Charlie’s Angels: The Angels go undercover as fashion models. FRO.
  • Unforgettable: even more generic than the first episode.

I also tried the first episode of Hart of Dixie with Rachel Bilson – ridiculously attractive, brilliant neurosurgeon ends up having to take a job in the Deep South – which was on a par with 2 Broke Girls for relentless stereotypes and equally relentlessly cliched dramatically. So I turned that one off pretty quickly.

But there were a few second episodes that were tolerable at least:

  • The Playboy Club: settling down into more of a soapy groove and starting to plays to its stars’ strengths while steering them away from their weaknesses. So Eddie Cibrian’s character took a turn for the slimey. Amber Heard’s character stopped being quite so wet and became a lot more assertive and sexier, allowing her to remember how to act. The supporting cast all got a lot more to do as well. However, all pretence that the show was in any way about empowering women disappeared, with the main plot revolving around the bunnies having a competition to pose for the front cover of Playboy. Oh dear.
  • Prime Suspect: A big drop-off in quality from the first episode, but at least this one was genuinely about a ‘prime suspect’. Largely by the books procedural, but a relatively good one.
  • Person of Interest: Something of an origins story, but still much less interesting than the first episode because of the reduced violence levels.

Still in my viewing pile: last night’s Dexter and Friday’s A Gifted Man. I should have a review of How To Be A Gentleman up later.

And in this week’s list of movies:

  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: certainly faster paced than the TV series, it’s a brilliant evocation of the 70s that starts off a little bit fragmented and difficult to follow but really finds its feets after about the first 20 minutes or so. A must-see.

But what have you been watching?

"What did you watch last week?" is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched. 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?

  • Mark Carroll

    I have “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” saved on my Netflix queue. I’m patient.
    I started watching “Justified”. So far, it’s okay. I’m not yet quite sure it justifies the remarkably high ratings but I’ll give it more of a chance yet. I lived in Ohio for many years so Kentucky doesn’t feel too unfamiliar.
    The kids are mostly watching “InuYasha” and “Hikaru no Go”. I heard there’s also a horrifying English-dub of the former.
    I’m still liking “Community” but it’s feeling a little less unmissable. We’re watching the new season of “The Office” and it’s actually okay. Certainly not unmissable, but also not worse than it’s typically been. I caught a little “Modern Family” as others watched it but it didn’t seem as good as I remember it usually being.
    The BBC “Inside the Human Body” was quite good, if a bit random.

  • Mark Carroll

    It turned out that I hadn’t been watching CSI because it now runs against L&O: SVU which my wife watches. Now we’ve noticed the conflict, she’s decided we’ll opt for the former.

  • “Charlie’s Angels: The Angels go undercover as fashion models. FRO.”

  • “F*ck Right Off”

  • No, I could never get into Justified, either. Episode one was great but the rest of it became very samey, very quickly

  • “No, I could never get into Justified, either. Episode one was great but the rest of it became very samey, very quickly”
    I think it’s worth giving the show a bit more of a chance, I was wobbling about Justified myself and only stuck through the first season because I wanted to see what Walton Goggins would do with his role.
    By the end of the season I was really enjoying it and I plan to pick up the second season for Christmas.

  • Season one of Justified is shaky but the last 4(?) episodes are great and try to resolve some of the dangling plot threads from the pilot.
    Season two is an overall improvement as it uses a story arc rather than the episodic format the first season used. Walton Goggins is particularly good in season two…

  • SK

    ‘The Angels go undercover as fashion models’
    They’re remaking episodes of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons now?

  • The other David

    Been enjoying the new series of Downton Abbey and Martin. The documentary series, Fighting on the Frontlines, while a little “rah, rah” and chest-thumping has been interesting.
    Also saw an old (well, 1974) production of the Will Shakespeare. While the acting at times was not as smooth as it could have been, the script was excellent. Definitely a classic.