What did you watch last fortnight? Including Dallas, Wilfred, Burn Notice and Freakanomics

It’s “What did you watch last fortnight?”, my chance to tell you what I watched last fortnight 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: Continuum, The Daily Show and Prisoners of War. Hunt them down. Suits is back and despite the change in showrunner, is still aces so that’s back on the must-see list, and Hit and Miss has been good enough that I’m adding that to the list as well.

Here’s a few thoughts on what else I’ve been watching, though:

  • Burn Notice: Okay, I’m weak and I’ve started watching it again. To be fair, the showrunners did promise that they had basically run out of stories to tell with the old formula and have sworn to mix it up a bit this season, which they have (spoilers): Fiona’s in jail and Michael’s properly working for the CIA again There are still traces of the formula in that Michael is still having to deal with problem of the week (aka “bad character actor of the week”), but it is different, thankfully. Still lacking a certain pizzazz with everyone seemingly just a little bit tired and going through the motions, but okay as a way to pass the summer, I guess.
  • Wilfred: Decided to give this one a try again and although it’s fun, it’s still a very weird, very dark exercise in comedy. Some interesting cameos, including Robin Williams, and Allison Mack from Smallville is now part of the cast. I might watch next week’s just to see how they’re going to play out the rest of the season, now that Elijah Wood is confirmed as a complete mental.
  • Dallas: Yes, Dallas is back. Some of the old cast are back, too, including Bobby, JR and Sue Ellen, with a couple of cameos. It’s about as plausible as the original series, but suffers from one serious problem: the youngsters. A lot of the show mirrors the original show by having a rivalry between two relatives, this time JR Jr and Bobby’s son, plus their respective wives and girlfriends, as well as a few others. And they all have the charisma of puddles, compared to the original cast. It’s quite embarrassing. So you spend your whole time watching it, hoping the youngsters will get out of the way so you can see Larry Hagman being magnificent. So I gave up after the first episode.
  • Playhouse Presents: Quite an uneven series of plays, with one obvious standout: The Snipist, starring Dougie Henshall and directed by Matthew Holness, which was really rather good, harking back to golden-age miserable delights like The Mad Death. Unfortunately, despite the casts and writers of the other plays, which included the likes of Sandi Toksvig and Jeremy Dyson, that was about it, each play starting out promising but tailing off by the end with no real conclusions or resolutions. Hopefully, they’ll learn to be a little bit more didactic next series.

And in movies:

  • Freakanomics: If you’ve read the book, you’ll have seen most of this – exercises in how economics and mathematics can tell you things about the way the world works. Each segment is directed by someone different and Morgan Spurlock’s ‘names’ segment is probably the most entertaining, while the segment looking at cheating in sumo wrestling is probably the most interesting, not least because it actually builds on the book to show you the book’s effect and does some investigative journalism all of its own. Fun, but not must-see.

“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'm glad that “Suits” is still good. The first season was, rarely among television shows, good enough to tempt me to the second season too. I watched season one of “Wilfred” and that was interestingly different, and the acting as a dog was good, but I am not tempted into a second season. The kids much liked it though. Wilfred annoyed my wife in his naughtiness.

    We have been watching the second season of “Spiral” and much sucked into the second season of “Game of Thrones”. At times during the first season of “Game of Thrones” I worried I was simply watching a well-shot soap opera, but it's certainly good. Still, we're at the point where, after being introduced to a new young female character, we wonder if it'll even be a whole episode before she ends up stark naked.

    We've been watching “Kingdom”. It's a bit silly and stereotyped and tame, but it passes time and my son seems to like it.

  • The other David

    “The Newsroom”, “Continuum”, and “Hit and Miss” for the regular series. I'm really intrigued with “The Newsroom”, but I'm afraid that; 1) It will try to push a vision of U.S. news consumption which isn't possible now due to the many outlets and self-selection of news which coincides with the reader's world view; and 2) It'll be “The West Wing” for lefties who'll see it as an 'insightful commentary on how the news should be presented' and, to the conservatives (note the small 'c' for our British readers) as 'the liberal-elite trying to homogenize the way our news should be presented'. But it's an interesting exercise, and I'm interested in seeing where it's going (and I just popped round here to see if Rob had done a review of it [which I hope he does]). BTW, the whole main character's monologue at the beginning of the show is just great even though it's a very pointed put-down directed at a 'sophomore' who I have an inclining will be showing up later in the show.

    “Continuum”, yes, it's a police procedural, but the whole background with 'where we're going in the future?' still has me hooked.

    And finally, “Hit and Miss”. Well, I like the juxtaposition of a hit man (or woman in this case) with having to handle a new household is interesting. However, this whole sex reassignment business with the main character, Mia, is, in my opinion, distracting from the story. I don't know, perhaps it speaks more about me than the story, but it seems to be more about her trying to 'fit in' as a woman or getting the romantic interest to accept her as a woman, instead of the whole hit-man/new housemistress which I think is the more interesting part.

    I'd like to finish up like Rob does with the movies I've watched, but someone turned me onto 'old skool' kung-fu movies (“The 36th Chamber of Shaolin”, “The 5 Deadly Venoms”, “The Fist of Legend”, etc.), but I'm too embarrassed to go into much detail about them (but if someone's got some more suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them). I can recommend “The Prodigal Son”, however. Yes, the acting is a bit camp, the dialog clunky at times, the story striving for a laugh a little too hard and self-contradictory, but Lam Ching-ying's first fight scene is a beauty all in its own.

  • Lisa Rullsenberg

    VERY belatedly we have picked up Braquo – the DVD boxset of S1 and S2 is kicking of nicely. It keeps the French theme going between watching Spiral repeats. I'm still doing my Buffy rewatch – up to nearly halfway through S2 now. It's still documentaries for us mostly…

  • The other David

    I have to commend you on getting into Braquo. I quite liked it myself. The second series (IMHO) is a little too Caplan-centric (the first series, I thought, balanced the characters more), and Caplan seems to have all the angles figured (well, not always, but most of the time). But, as you say, it's a nice time filler until the return of Engrenages.

  • A fortnight? Hrmmmm, well, luckily nothing too out of the ordinary to make this longer than it needs to be. Usual suspects: 'Burn Notice', 'Eureka', 'Longmire', 'The Glades', 'True Blood', 'Futurama', 'Rizzoli & Isles', 'The Ricky Gervais Show', 'Franklin & Bash' (although last night's episode failed to record and On Demand doesn't have it yet), 'Doc Martin' (5th season – I'm surprised more regulars hadn't dropped out earlier, but still it was tough to come back to the show and find two characters gone.) Out of the ordinary – the Friday night edition of 'News4 NY', because it was the send-off for Sue Simmons who had been ousted as the anchor after 30-odd years. They had a nice highlights reel near the end of the show plus lots of people came back to say goodbye. I watched episodes of 'The Twilight Zone' and 'Ray Bradbury Theater' plus segments from “The Martian Chronicles” to have enough material for my week-long tribute to Mr. Bradbury. And for my blog's look at the O'Hara family, I also watched an episode of 'The Adventures of Superman', plus a few more single episodes to flesh out that O'Hara Family Tree. For the lunch-time viewing choice at work I've just fiished 'The Adventures Of Long John Silver' (Robert Newton) and have started 'Spartacus' via Netflix. And finally, a 1977 mini-series based on a Ludlum novel, “The Rhinemann Exchange”. Gave me enough characters to set up my “ASOTV” showcase for two weeks worth when I go on vacation. One new show I checked out but I had to drop out after ten minutes – “Comedy Bang Bang” which had Jon Hamm as the guest. I just didn't like the host of the show nor it's idea of humor. Recorded but not yet watched – 'Dallas' premiere and two 'Wilfred' episodes. I guess that's it…… (and they all heaved sighs of relief…..)

  • A fortnight? Hrmmmm, well, luckily nothing too out of the ordinary to make this longer than it needs to be. Usual suspects: 'Burn Notice', 'Eureka', 'Longmire', 'The Glades', 'True Blood', 'Futurama', 'Rizzoli & Isles', 'The Ricky Gervais Show', 'Franklin & Bash' (although last night's episode failed to record and On Demand doesn't have it yet), 'Doc Martin' (5th season – I'm surprised more regulars hadn't dropped out earlier, but still it was tough to come back to the show and find two characters gone.) Out of the ordinary – the Friday night edition of 'News4 NY', because it was the send-off for Sue Simmons who had been ousted as the anchor after 30-odd years. They had a nice highlights reel near the end of the show plus lots of people came back to say goodbye. I watched episodes of 'The Twilight Zone' and 'Ray Bradbury Theater' plus segments from “The Martian Chronicles” to have enough material for my week-long tribute to Mr. Bradbury. And for my blog's look at the O'Hara family, I also watched an episode of 'The Adventures of Superman', plus a few more single episodes to flesh out that O'Hara Family Tree. For the lunch-time viewing choice at work I've just fiished 'The Adventures Of Long John Silver' (Robert Newton) and have started 'Spartacus' via Netflix. And finally, a 1977 mini-series based on a Ludlum novel, “The Rhinemann Exchange”. Gave me enough characters to set up my “ASOTV” showcase for two weeks worth when I go on vacation. One new show I checked out but I had to drop out after ten minutes – “Comedy Bang Bang” which had Jon Hamm as the guest. I just didn't like the host of the show nor it's idea of humor. Recorded but not yet watched – 'Dallas' premiere and two 'Wilfred' episodes. I guess that's it…… (and they all heaved sighs of relief…..)

  • A fortnight? Hrmmmm, well, luckily nothing too out of the ordinary to make this longer than it needs to be. Usual suspects: 'Burn Notice', 'Eureka', 'Longmire', 'The Glades', 'True Blood', 'Futurama', 'Rizzoli & Isles', 'The Ricky Gervais Show', 'Franklin & Bash' (although last night's episode failed to record and On Demand doesn't have it yet), 'Doc Martin' (5th season – I'm surprised more regulars hadn't dropped out earlier, but still it was tough to come back to the show and find two characters gone.) Out of the ordinary – the Friday night edition of 'News4 NY', because it was the send-off for Sue Simmons who had been ousted as the anchor after 30-odd years. They had a nice highlights reel near the end of the show plus lots of people came back to say goodbye. I watched episodes of 'The Twilight Zone' and 'Ray Bradbury Theater' plus segments from “The Martian Chronicles” to have enough material for my week-long tribute to Mr. Bradbury. And for my blog's look at the O'Hara family, I also watched an episode of 'The Adventures of Superman', plus a few more single episodes to flesh out that O'Hara Family Tree. For the lunch-time viewing choice at work I've just fiished 'The Adventures Of Long John Silver' (Robert Newton) and have started 'Spartacus' via Netflix. And finally, a 1977 mini-series based on a Ludlum novel, “The Rhinemann Exchange”. Gave me enough characters to set up my “ASOTV” showcase for two weeks worth when I go on vacation. One new show I checked out but I had to drop out after ten minutes – “Comedy Bang Bang” which had Jon Hamm as the guest. I just didn't like the host of the show nor it's idea of humor. Recorded but not yet watched – 'Dallas' premiere and two 'Wilfred' episodes. I guess that's it…… (and they all heaved sighs of relief…..)

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