What did you watch last week? Including Touch, 30 Rock, Spartacus and Missing

Lothaire Bluteau in Missing

It’s "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.

First, the usual recommendations: The Almighty Johnsons, Archer, Being Human (US), BeTipul, Community, Cougar Town, The Daily Show, Happy Endings, House, Mad Men, Modern Family, Portlandia, Ringer, Shameless (US), Southland, Spartacus, Suburgatory, 30 Rock and Top Gear. Assuming they’re on where you live, of course. 

Now, some thoughts on the regulars, apart from Mad Men, which I’ve still to watch:

  • The Almighty Johnsons – I’m now on New Zealand time, BTW. The darkest episode yet but signs of light at the end of the tunnel. Loki’s getting irritating and the goddesses are getting maltreated. Not much Axl this week either, and very little Anders, too, but he’s off filming The Hobbit, so what can you do?
  • America’s Next Top Model – is now being officially boycotted in this house for anti-Scottish racism
  • The Apprentice – the same old, same old, but don’t you just love it?
  • Archer – the finale wasn’t as funny as the first part, but it was still a pretty good episode
  • Awake – again with the dull procedural. Stop it. More fleshing out of secondary characters is needed, but it’s still intelligent, moving and insightful. It needs more on why this is all happening though.
  • Being Human (US) – Good to see that Sally now effectively has an addiction like the others, putting her on an equally monstrous footing with the others
  • Community – classic Community in that it was dark and weird but not hugely funny. But some character moments of joy, including Jeff and Britta, and the return of dark Abed.
  • Cougar Town – a lovely get out for a thorny dilemma that’s plagued the show for a while, plus a return of the Travis-Laurie dynamic
  • Dirk Gently – Probably the best of the bunch: funny with decent characterisation. Still not loving it, but it’s now not bad
  • John Bishop’s Sport Relief Hell – I only watched a minute of it and nearly cried.
  • Missing – Jesus of Montreal himself Lothaire Bluteau made an appearance to not much effort. More preposterous than the opening episode, with linguistic tricks around the phrase ‘hard drive’ needed for a very uninteresting reveal. The break-in was silly, the whole Netleaks thing was even more ridiculous and the narrow squeak at the end preposterous. But still a tense hour.
  • Ringer: Juliette still can’t act, but last week’s episode made slightly more sense than the previous week’s
  • Southland – an anti-climatic ending to the season, which overall was very strong.
  • Spartacus – phenomenal: shocking, surprising and finally we get to see the Romans as something less than cannon fodder and more the most powerful fighting force in the world (cf Rome).
  • 30 Rock – quite the best season since the first, I think. Some wonderful cameo appearances, including one of the Baldwins doing a great impression of Alex, and a vast amount of almost Community-level meta-ness, particularly the part where Tracey comes off his meds and (spoiler) thinks he’s in a show within a show and his real name is Tracey Morgan. Even Kristen Schaal is just about funny for once.
  • Touch – basically an episode of Highway to Heaven. Nice to have a mini-24 reunion, with Jude Ciccolella, even if the show does all it can to avoid the memory of Jack Bauer by having Kiefer Sutherland get his arse kicked in fights. Danny Glover basically did nothing, as did Guru M-R. The lack of regular characters also makes it hard to care about the show. But at the end of the day, despite all those caveats, quite heart-warming.
  • Two and a Half Men – Only watching it because Sophie Winkleman (Big Suze from Peep Show, but also Charlotte from NBC’s 100 Questions) is on it. Has to be said – not a great show and the usual American TV problem of being mildly bemused and unable to cope with the existence of foreigners, but she’s good.
  • The Voice – I don’t normally do reality, but with Tom Jones on it, how could we refuse? Actually quite enjoyable, although Reggie Yates and Holly Willoughby were entirely superfluous. Surprised will.i.am didn’t get more people, though. And Tom really did seem unimpressed to discover one of his was gay.

And in books:

  • The Go-Between by LP Hartley: bored me rigid. Sorry.

"What did you watch this 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 watched “Community” but honestly I can't really remember it again. That's probably not a good sign.

    “CSI”s still reasonable. “Awake”s still reasonable too, though, yes, more about why would help (the writers had better know), or at least it causing better revelations than those that help the investigation. “Criminal Minds” was entirely forgettable.

    I've started the Fry/Laurie “Jeeves and Wooster”. It's actually quite good, better than I expected.

    “Once Upon a Time” still ambles merrily along. It's good, but it needs to move to more coherence than just fairytale character of the week plus a bit more backstory. The present format can't really sustain it in a worthwhile way beyond a single season, at least for me to bother.

    I've made inroads into the second season of “The Killing”. It's about what one'd expect. So far, at least as good as the previous, I think.

    I finished the second season of “Justified”. It stretches plausibility, but is worth the time overall, I think, as I have a soft spot for that kind of thing; I did think the mid-season mine robbery episode good. More of that, please.

  • Mark Carroll

    Oh, books, seeing as you mention: I re-read “A Prayer for Owen Meany” and still rather like it. On a television note, I was provided the Richard Castle books as a gift. I've started the first, but it's written in an apt but horrifying style. Hopefully I get used to it and look past it.

  • Toby O'Brien

    My weekly rotation remains basically the same – 'Community', 'Cougar Town', 'Life's Too Short', 'Happy Endings', 'Psych', 'Being Human' (UK), 'Castle', 'Fringe'…..� A lot of my regular shows were gone for one reason or another (By Thursday, the CBS line-up was obliterated by basketball.)�

    And I added a few one-shots because something in their teasers intrigued me – 'Hawaii Five-O' for the return of Ed Asner in a role from the original series, and 'CSI' for the Wonderland motif.� (That at least had an add bonus – a trivial link to the 'Law & Order' mothership.)���

    I'm also heavy into the Antenna TV late night showings of old episodes from 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', but I'm not keeping up and they threaten to take over my DVR.�

    On the DVD front, which I watch on my lunch hour at work, I've finished the Douglas Wilmer series of 'Sherlock Holmes' and have now moved on to 'The Rogues' from 1964, starring David Niven, Charles Boyer, Gig Young, Robert Coote, and Gladys Cooper.� It's sort of a precursor to 'Hustle' and 'Leverage'.�

    And to satisfy my 'Foyle's War' jones, I've got one TV movie to go in the “Incident” trilogy from the early 1990s, which starred Walter Matthau and Harry Morgan.� (The first one I highly recommend for a murder mystery based on some bit of trivia from WWWII.)

  • Toby O'Brien

    My weekly rotation remains basically the same – 'Community', 'Cougar Town', 'Life's Too Short', 'Happy Endings', 'Psych', 'Being Human' (UK), 'Castle', 'Fringe'…..� A lot of my regular shows were gone for one reason or another (By Thursday, the CBS line-up was obliterated by basketball.)�

    And I added a few one-shots because something in their teasers intrigued me – 'Hawaii Five-O' for the return of Ed Asner in a role from the original series, and 'CSI' for the Wonderland motif.� (That at least had an add bonus – a trivial link to the 'Law & Order' mothership.)���

    I'm also heavy into the Antenna TV late night showings of old episodes from 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', but I'm not keeping up and they threaten to take over my DVR.�

    On the DVD front, which I watch on my lunch hour at work, I've finished the Douglas Wilmer series of 'Sherlock Holmes' and have now moved on to 'The Rogues' from 1964, starring David Niven, Charles Boyer, Gig Young, Robert Coote, and Gladys Cooper.� It's sort of a precursor to 'Hustle' and 'Leverage'.�

    And to satisfy my 'Foyle's War' jones, I've got one TV movie to go in the “Incident” trilogy from the early 1990s, which starred Walter Matthau and Harry Morgan.� (The first one I highly recommend for a murder mystery based on some bit of trivia from WWWII.)

  • Toby O'Brien

    My weekly rotation remains basically the same – 'Community', 'Cougar Town', 'Life's Too Short', 'Happy Endings', 'Psych', 'Being Human' (UK), 'Castle', 'Fringe'…..� A lot of my regular shows were gone for one reason or another (By Thursday, the CBS line-up was obliterated by basketball.)�

    And I added a few one-shots because something in their teasers intrigued me – 'Hawaii Five-O' for the return of Ed Asner in a role from the original series, and 'CSI' for the Wonderland motif.� (That at least had an add bonus – a trivial link to the 'Law & Order' mothership.)���

    I'm also heavy into the Antenna TV late night showings of old episodes from 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents', but I'm not keeping up and they threaten to take over my DVR.�

    On the DVD front, which I watch on my lunch hour at work, I've finished the Douglas Wilmer series of 'Sherlock Holmes' and have now moved on to 'The Rogues' from 1964, starring David Niven, Charles Boyer, Gig Young, Robert Coote, and Gladys Cooper.� It's sort of a precursor to 'Hustle' and 'Leverage'.�

    And to satisfy my 'Foyle's War' jones, I've got one TV movie to go in the “Incident” trilogy from the early 1990s, which starred Walter Matthau and Harry Morgan.� (The first one I highly recommend for a murder mystery based on some bit of trivia from WWWII.)

  • bob

    Ah, that's why Anders isn't in The Almighty Johnsons. I did wonder.

    The show is only really servicing Ty and Axl this season. Which is fortunate for me as they are the two characters I like the most but it does feel rather uncomfortably uneven to have all the others (yes, especially the goddesses) neglected.

    Loved this weeks episode with Pascalle (aka Siobhan Marshall). It kind of amused me that it was essentially the same character as in Outrageous Fortune. I hope we see more of Mia.�

  • I do wonder how much I missing out on in The Almighty Johnsons through not having watched Outrageous Fortune, particularly with Colin/Loki