What did you watch last week? Including Veep, Avengers Assemble, The Bridge and The Almighty Johnsons

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 I’ve missed them.

The usual recommendations from the first-run shows are: The Almighty Johnsons, The Apprentice, Awake, BeTipul, The Bridge, Community, Cougar Town, The Daily Show, House, Mad Men, Modern Family, and 30 Rock. Hunt them down.

I’ve still got last night’s Mad Men to get through as well as episode four of The Bridge.

First, though, a look at some shows I’ve tried this week:

  • Girls: I really tried to watch the second episode of this but it just bored me silly. It’s clearly intelligently written but it doesn’t feel like it’s saying anything new that anyone remotely clued up wouldn’t know already – or that’s actually worth saying. It’s also not as clever as it thinks it is. My recommendation: don’t watch.
  • NYC 22: Episode two was so massively conventional, stupid and uninteresting, I gave up on it. My recommendation: don’t watch.
  • Divine Women: Bettany Hughes on how women have been cut out of religion over the years. Characteristically, I got bored during episodes one and two when it moved away from Ancient Greece, but I actually found her (and Edith Hall’s) arguments about Gaia, Gaia-worship being supplanted by Zeus-worship somewhat unsupported by facts and dangerously close to goddess mythology, which, of course, has been largely discredited.
  • Veep – I really want to love this and I do like some of the characters, particularly Anna Chlumsky’s (yes, her from My Girl). Yet, it’s just a bit luke-warm compared to The Thick of It, without any of the real bite. It really needs a Macolm and quickly. How quickly? Well, five minutes into episode one, lovely wife said “No”, by which she meant she bored and wanted to watch something else. And I do sympathise with her on that score. Anyway, I’m watching episode two right now and still not loving it unfortunately.

And a few thoughts on the regulars:

  • The Almighty Johnsons – Playing catch-up here, so I watched three weeks in one go. Very much back to season 1 form, happy to see the back of Loki, and good to see the goddesses getting a chance to have plots that focus on them. And it’s so good to have Anders back again. And the last episode was so packed of revelations, it makes you think that maybe they’ve been planning this all along. Recommended.
  • Awake – Tedious, unfortunately – far too focused on the police cases.
  • Community – A spot-on spoof of Law & Order with a very surprising ending.
  • Cougar Town – Some actual plot and character developments, but still not riotous stuff.
  • House – Dark, but frustrating, particularly with the open-ended “maybe it was all a ghost” bit, which kind of goes against the whole point of the show. And again, a surprising ending.
  • Missing – I’m almost ready to give up on this, since it has some of the worst cg of the decade and is full of cloying parent stuff. You know, you’d think that with Ashley Judd on board, her entire character wouldn’t essentially revolve around being a mother and might have some other facets, but apparently not.
  • 30 Rock – I pity anyone who doesn’t have an encyclopaedic knowledge not just of NBC history but also Saturday Night Live, since that would have made no sense to anyone otherwise. But great to finally see Donald Glover’s impression of Tracy Morgan, as well as cameos from Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon (who of course couldn’t keep a straight face). And when Fred Armisen turned up, it took me a few moments to realise this wasn’t a Portlandia crossover episode.
  • The Bridge – Episode three is more a study in Asperger’s than anything else, but I’m still loving it.
  • Touch – Less heart-warming that normal and the whole thing could do with some revelations of interest now. No, old offices do not count.

And in movies

  • Avengers Assemble: Awesome. Not not just awesome – Thorsome. Seen it twice already and probably seeing it a third time this week. Joss Whedon has miraculously managed to create an ensemble superhero movie from four separate franchises and given every character decent amounts to do and say, while also giving other characters – Black Widow most noticeably – plenty of screentime and characterisation. Funny, intelligent yet fun and full of wonderful moments. My only caveat about the whole thing – apart from the slightly rubbish CGI when Loki’s ‘flying’ – is that while it’s great collectively, it’s a different beast from each of those preceding franchises, lacking the energy, vitality (and horniness) of Iron Man; the romance, beauty and joy of Thor; or the innocence and nostalgia of Captain America. But it finally gets Hulk right and you really want them to go back and CGI Mark Ruffalo over Eric Bana and Ed Norton in the previous movies, since he’s pretty much perfect.

“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?


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

    View all posts