What did you watch last week (w/e November 11)?

Misfits - series 3

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: Dexter, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Homeland, Suburgatory and Community.

Things you might enjoy but that I’m not necessarily recommending: Being Erica, Boss, Burn Notice, House, Chuck, Ringer and The Walking Dead.

So, I’ve decided to give up on two regular shows this week:

  • The Walking Dead, despite an excellent revelation a couple of weeks ago, has just been boring me silly. I’m not a big horror fan, anyway, so the zombies haven’t really grabbed me, but neither have the characters this season. It feels like they’ve been stuck on the same problem for five weeks (or whatever it is now), putting off the day when they have to progress the plot
  • Burn Notice: Now, I’ve been with this since the beginning, five seasons ago, and although it’s usually worth watching just for a fight scene or two, again, the lack of progress has become a problem. Now, to a certain extent, Burn Notice has always been superb at having the same underlying formula (Michael and co help out some innocent people, using their improbable spy training) while changing the exact mechanism by which this formula is allowed to continue (the Burn Notice, Tricia Helfer, Robert Winston, etc). I’m just bored of it now. It didn’t help that this week’s was so poorly acted and written that I actually had to turn it off after 15 minutes. So I’m going to be big and brave and strong and see if I can cut the cord this week.

A few thoughts on what else I’ve seen:

  • Dexter: interesting reveal last week – haven’t seen what they intend to do with it this week. But like I said, the series only ever kicks off around episode six or seven and this year that theory seems to be holding true, too.
  • Misfits: I think I’m actually liking Series 3 better than Series 1. Okay, no Nathan, but he was an unrelenting twat who really needed to be beaten regularly and Rudy does seem to have greater humility. This season seems to be balancing plot and characterisation well – better than season 2 certainly and I think better than season 1, as well. This week’s guest super-power was a bit daft, though, but the episode was fine overall.
  • Ringer: I’m not saying that there was a massive loophole at the start of last week’s episode, but how exactly did the guy who’s been held captive for a week know the ins and outs of SMG’s social life?
  • American Horror Story: Tedious and obvious. Turns out the only reason to watch this really is Alex Breckenridge.
  • House: good to see the rest of the old cast back, but this really is a show going through the motions now. Nice to see Jamie Bamber back on US TV though.

And in the movies section:

  • Justice League: The New Frontier – An adaptation of the graphic novel series set in the 1950s, with Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and co having to deal with a big nasty, as well as McCarthyism. It’s faithful to the book while streamlining it, but it manages to include all the iconic moments (including one of Wonder Woman’s most famous iconic moments) as well as adding a few. Not really for anyone who isn’t a fan, but it’s worth watching if you are and there are some great choices for the voice cast: Jeremy Sisto as Batman, Lucy Lawless as Wonder Woman, David Boreanaz as Hal Jordan, etc.

And this week, in books (yes, a new addition!):

  • Absolutely, by Christopher Hitchens – a collection of Hitchens’ essays from magazines such as Slate, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, etc, on a range of eclectic themes, including the Middle East (of course), authors ranging from Somerset Maugham to PG Wodehouse, whether women as a whole are as funny as men and more. It’s all written with Hitchens’ incredible wit and wisdom. Recommended (although you might end up skipping a few essays).
  • The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex – film critic Mark Kermode’s latest book, this is a bit hit and miss. If you listen to his Friday show with Simon Mayo on Radio 5 Live, there’s not much that’s new and what there is is largely facts and figures that you really didn’t want to know. It’s also a little bit ADHD, heading off in all kinds of directions, rather than staying on target. But it’s proving a good read so far.

“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

    “Grimm” is ambling along okay, and is much as one might have expected. “Castle” is too, but, I think, more cheesily and missably. “House” is okay; nobody much annoys me, and romance isn’t dominant, so for now it’s a reasonable season. (I don’t expect them to again equal the first season though.)
    I finished season two of the UK original “Being Human”. I liked it. I think I preferred the first season but, still, it was worth watching. Despite the mixed comments, I’ll risk season three at some point. Though, while Herrick was an interesting character, his resurrection seems to take the wind out of his previous death, but maybe I’m just wearied by the ever-resurrecting Rory.
    I started “Charlie Jade”. It’s started off fairly well. The way it’s presented can be a bit odd, and it seems to be moving a little slowly and randomly, but overall I am liking it so far.
    A pleasant surprise was “Community”. Maybe it’s the show, not me, because the latest I saw (Annie’s move) was actually one I rather liked, and seemed more a return to previous form, and if anything I’ve been more irritable lately so, perhaps, a harsher judge.

  • MediumRob

    I neglected to mention Rev, which came back with a fun turn by Ralph Fiennes. Nothing startling this time round, but definitely better than a lot of recent comedies.
    Two more regulars that the lovely wife and I have decided to abandon on the grounds of being bored rigid by them: Chuck and Being Erica. More on that next week, though.

  • templarj

    Agree about House.
    I’m actually really disapointed because the first few episodes of the series were very good, the character was removed from his comfort zone, it was all very stripped down and bleak promised an awful lot.
    But within a fortnight all the old faces are back, the status quo was restored and now its just going through the motions and it feels as if its blown its perfect happily never after ending.
    They should have put House in a new environment. Or kept him in prison for a while. Or had him working in the NHS.
    This week I have mainly been in love with ‘Death in Paradise’, so I guess that’s middle age arriving with a thump.

  • Alex

    I’m persevering with Chuck and Being Erica because I’m a completist and they’re about to be completed… Also, BE looks like it might get slightly interesting again. Only slightly, though. Homeland is possibly the best thing on TV at the moment.

  • MediumRob

    @templarj: they did have a good opportunity to avoid the status quo, but all they’ve done is improbably make Foreman dean of medicine, which makes no sense.
    @Alex: we were going for completism, but Being Erica is on the verge of getting another season and there are even talks of getting the almost zero-rated Chuck another season, too. I found that we could skip episodes of BE and the “previously” montage at the beginning would have all the good bits without any of the massive number of dull bits, so there’s no point watching the actual episodes now – might as well just watch the montages.

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