What did you watch last week? Including Arrow, Dexter, Elementary, The Mentalist, Skyfall and Prometheus

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

First, the usual recommendations: 30 Rock, Don’t Trust The B—– in Apartment 23, Go On, The Last Resort, and Modern Family.

Which, as long time readers may have noticed, means a few shows have left the list: Happy Endings, Dexter, Homeland, The Mindy Project and Suburgatory. More on why in a moment, but I will add that Arrow is now on the recommended list.

Still in the viewing pile: last night’s Misfits, Bomb Girls and Red Fern Now, which is an Australian show. But here’s a few thoughts on what I have been watching.

  • Arrow: While episode four was possibly the most Smallville-like of the series so far, episode five more than compensated with thrills galore. John Barrowman seems to be acting again, which is weird, and even Deathstroke’s mask worked well in context. Added to the recommended list.
  • Dexter: Last week’s episode had possibly the worst ending of any Dexter episode ever. And that’s up against some stiff competition. This week’s episode did slightly redeem things, but the entire Yvonne Strahovski storyline is ridiculous and it doesn’t help that she gives exactly the same performance as she gave in Chuck, just with more nudity. Ray Stevenson is great, though, but the show has lost its recommended status, all the same.
  • Don’t Trust The B—– in Apartment 23: Doing well. The Happy Endings ‘crossover’ last week was very odd, but so’s the show, so I guess that kind of worked.
  • Elementary: The episode a couple of weeks ago was probably the worst so far, but last week’s properly felt like a Sherlock Holmes story, with proper mysteries and deductions. Roger Rees did well – will we see more of him, I wonder? – and, of course, there was that name at the end, which made my day…
  • Happy Endings: Suffering from “difficult third season” syndrome. It’s just not funny any more, entirely implausible, and Elisha Cuthbert and her goofiness are the only thing worth watching.
  • Homeland: Last week’s episode had an ending made of pure 24 and this week’s episode was full of people doing stupid things in stupid, implausible ways, too. You could guess pretty much everything that was going to happen. Such a shame, because it was so good last season.
  • The Last Resort: The first downright poor episode so far, although it did have a good pay off at the end. What are they down to now? About five crew members left?
  • The Mentalist: Well, I haven’t watched it since the first season, but I thought I’d tune in for its 100th episode, which was a flashback to how all the characters first met and Simon Baker started solving crimes. Well done, as always, and Baker’s great, as always, but absolutely identical to all the other episodes of the show that I’ve seen, which is why I gave up on it in the first place.
  • The Mindy Project: Off the list. As the show accelerates rapidly away from being the anti-romcom romcom towards being just another workplace comedy, so it stops being funny. There were more than a few good moments, but I’d not say I’d actually recommend it any more.
  • Misfits: Obviously just passing time now, rather than telling any proper stories. You’d think with only one surviving character from the original cast, they’d make more of Curtis, but apparently not. Plus its attitude to women isn’t improving much, either. But not without some good qualities.
  • Modern Family: A slight reset of the show, but I liked it.
  • Red Dwarf X: Quite a decent ending, actually, albeit one that threw most continuity out of the window. Probably the best season since either two or three.
  • The Secret State: Channel 4’s remake of A Very British Coup, with Gabriel Byrne. I watched about a minute before I started laughing, which clearly can’t be good for a show that thinks it’s Very, Very Important. I’ll try watching the rest later in the week if I can.
  • Suburgatory: Off the recommended list. It’s just too silly and too many men writing episodes (as we discovered last season, Suburgatory is only funny when women write the episodes).
  • Vegas: Unmemorable.

And in movies:

  • Skyfall: Didn’t like it as much as I thought I was going to, but that might have been down to the constantly chattering teenagers next to me. It also doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense? What was Javier Bardem’s plan? Why Scotland? Why go to Skyfall? Why Bond, rather than the SAS? It’s also a tad sexist (really? Bond? The shower? And the ending). Having said that, it was almost as good as Casino Royale – it does need a proper Bond woman now to give it some romance for a change – it had some great individual moments, it’s all worth for the back story and the last five or 10 minutes, Ralph Fiennes is really good and in this 50th anniversary and Olympic year, it’s appropriate that one of the exotic locales for the film should be London.

  • Prometheus: Absolutely dreadful. While all the Alien prequel elements were a treat and the body horror stuff actually grows in retrospect, the plot and story are just dreadful and mostly just set-up for a much better planned sequel. Looks great, boring to watch. And frankly, it rips off a lot from Hangar 18, which was twice as entertaining.

“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?


  • 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.