What TV did you watch last month? Including Gates, Copper, Perception, Suits, The Newsroom and Continuum

It’s “What TV did you watch last month?”, my chance to tell you what I watched on TV in the last month that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

Yes, that’s right, last month. Don’t worry, we’ll go back to weekly or fortnightly soon – this is a one-off because of the August break. August was mostly a month of season finales, so I’ll talk about them in a moment, but there were some new shows, a lot of which I couldn’t be bothered with because it was August. September is when things start up again and I should have some previews for you this week.

So here’s a few thoughts on what I have been watching:

  • Burn Notice: Gave up on it again, two episodes before the season finale. Just don’t care any more and nothing on it makes me want to care, unfortunately. I hear there was a good twist in the finale, but again, I don’t care.
  • Continuum: This has now been picked up SyFy in both the UK and the US (I think) so I’d recommend watching it if you haven’t been watching it already. The finale, while a little less action-packed than I would have liked, managed to be a good combination of science-fiction, plot-disentangler, cliffhanger and character work. Looking forward to the second season immensely – thankfully, that second season has been commissioned. Woo hoo!
  • Copper: BBC America’s new show set in 19th century New York, where some Irish guys get to be corrupt cops and solve crimes, because no one knows how cops should behave yet. A good deal better than AMC’s Hell on Wheels, it’s still a good deal less interesting than it should be, mainly because the characters are uninspiring, although Anastasia Griffith’s early suffragette (Trauma, Royal Pains) is a big exception. Nice to see Franka Potente (Run Lola Run and The Bourne Identity) getting work again, too.

  • Covert Affairs: Given that up again, too. Bored.
  • Gates: It’s got Joanna Page in it, it’s already being lined up for a US remake, but I’ve barely managed to get through the first episode. It’s not great, I’ll tell you that for nothing.

  • The Newsroom: So it’s all come to an end and there’s a second season to sort of look forward to. A very uneven first season that took a while to find its feet and to dump the majority of its catastrophic sexism. Saddled with some very bad characters, the show is hard to root for, although the plotting remains good throughout. Bizarrely, the only really watchable character was Sloane, who was thoroughly enjoyable, and I promise never to malign Olivia Munn again, seeing as she visibly improved throughout the series and became the show’s big redeeming feature.
  • Perception: After three episodes of pretty run of the mill formula stuff with a surprisingly small amount of Jamie Bamber to relieve the boredom, the last episode was actually rather good, a decent examination of paranoid schizophrenia and why some might not want to take their medication and why some really should. Not many episodes left, but I’ll be adding it to my recommendations list from next week.
  • Royal Pains: In a sense, I admire the clever arc they’ve come up with this season designed to widen the character base and give Hank room to do more things. In another sense, I’m bored by the lack of depth to anything. The first season of Royal Pains did a good job of dealing with some of the deeper emotions and issues facing Hank and co, but the show’s becoming far tamer, far shallower and far sillier. Needs to pull its socks up.
  • Suits: An ever-so-slightly disappointing finale to a fantastic season of the best summer show. The big revelations you could see coming a mile off, but as always with Suits, how the characters then twist and manipulate events and people is what makes it interesting. A couple of things seemed out of character and why they had to introduce a new character when Jenny was within easy plotting distance and able to achieve the same effect, I don’t know.

“What did you watch last fortnight?” 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?

  • GYAD

    Hunderby – Do people find this funny? Not enough jokes to be a comedy, not enough character or plot for a drama. De Maurier's Rebecca with (bad) knob gags.

    Maison Close – Exactly what you'd expect from a Froggie drama about prostitution. Plenty of flesh,�previous fresh or interesting.�DSK probably loves it.

    Romanzo Criminale – The criminals were so�incompetent�that I thought this was a comedy for a while. Apparently not. It's another American-influenced 'epic' crime saga that hits all the worn-out beats whilst failing to utilise its interesting setting (1970s Italy) well enough.

    Murder: Joint Enterprise – More an extended art student film than anything else. Well characterised, well written, well filmed, it's the lack of any narrative drive that hampers it.

    Good Cop – A gritty, realistic show about beat cops? Nah, a standard BBC crime melodrama full of soap opera dramatics, gaping plot holes and silly character decisions.

    Blackout – Christopher Ecclestone is a drunk. Repeated ad infinitum with nice camera work and endless rain.

    Inspector Montalbano – Still the best of the Euro-crime on BBC4. Brilliantly shot, acted and paced. It is also nice to have a crime show so full of joy in life and living.

    Sinbad – A big budget founders on weak characterisation. Strangely little use made of Middle Eastern mythology/aesthetic in favour of generic fantasy plots and designs. ITV made better adventure serials in the 1950s without the budgets, location shooting or CGI.

    Strike Back: Vengeance – Explosions over character, silly plots and randomly inserted nudity but still a guilty pleasure due to the lack of action shows on British TV.

    The Newsroom – Like being stuck next to a political bore at a dinner party. I watched it with people who work in news and they laughed their heads off at the ludicrous portrayal of their industry.

    Parade's End – A genuinely good BBC period drama? Thank God for Tom Stoppard. It probably helps that it is based on a period novel, which means fewer anachronisms than is usual with the BBC.

  • Mark Carroll

    I'll get around to watching “Continuum” someday when it becomes easily available to me. I wonder what my non-Murdoch alternatives are.

    I finished off “Nowhere Man”. It really did feel like a 1960s show and I started wondering what the silliness of the week would be. It wrapped up reasonably, at least.

    We watched “The Inbetweeners”. It was generally good. It captured things quite well, I thought, and had a good variety of situations.

    We're watching “Homeland” at the moment. I like it.

    I watched the first season of “Being Erica”. It was quite good, but one season suffices for me, I think.

    My son's watching “Supernatural”. It's a bit cheesy, without apparently intending to be, but it's not too bad.

    We're moving back to Britain next month. I'm struggling to feel like it'd be worth the effort to keep the US-based Netflix streaming going via a proxy. Or Hulu, for that matter. Hmm. I'll have to see how one gets to see things like the last season of “Breaking Bad” in the UK.

  • I'd agree with most of those. Hunderby's a bit 6th form parody for me and not actually very funny. Guess you have do be a real du Maurier fan to really enjoy it.

  • Pingback: The Medium is Not Enough TV blog()