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?


  • 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.