What did you watch last week? Including The Amazing Spider-Man, Arrow, The Killing 3 and Homeland

It’s “What did you watch last week?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I watched in the past week 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, Arrow, Don’t Trust The B—– in Apartment 23, Falcón, Go On, Grand Hotel, Last Resort, and Modern Family.

Still in the pile to watch from the weekend: Dexter, Wedding Band and The Killing. But here’s a few thoughts on what I have been watching.

  • Arrow: I’m not sure what’s more implausible: that John Barrowman could have a grown-up son or that Tahmoh Penikett could be beaten in a fight so easily. Still, this was the first effort by DC’s very own Geoff Johns, and noticeably the first clunker of the season, despite the arrival of Helena Bertinelli – Huntress, herself. FIlled with dreadfully bad dialogue and poor characterisation, it felt like a bad Geoff Johns comic rather than a TV script. Stick to what you know, Geoff. And just to reiterate, Tahmoh Penikett!

  • Elementary: A bit more procedural than the previous week’s episode, but funnier, which the show could certainly do with. Definitely starting to feel like Sherlock Holmes, too. The one caveat: kind of demeaning to suggest that (spoiler alert)a woman in need of seed funding would become a prostitute. There’s a joke in there somewhere, possibly deliberate by the writers.
  • Falcón: Just noticed it’s got that nice Santiago Cabrera from Heroes in it. It’s also getting harder not to notice that no one – apart from Cabrera – knows how to pronounce Spanish words, and even he pronounces them in a Latin American way, rather than a Castilian way. We even had Falcón himself pronouncing General Pinochet’s name in a French style to rhyme with ‘croquet’ rather than ‘jet’, which is a little silly. Those niggles aside, it’s a compelling series, albeit quite a gruesome one, although frankly Falcón is a little self-obsessed and needs to man up. Sad to see Maurice Roëves get killed off within about two minutes, mind.
  • Go On: Oh yes. There’s an old blind guy in it. They seemed to have forgotten him for a while, but now he’s back for an episode with a reasonable amount of pathos. It also had Hayes MacArthur back and Laura Benanti had something to do for a change, which was nice.
  • Homeland: 15 minutes of probably the stupidest TV since season four of 24, followed by a decent half hour and ending. Why is it fundamentally so hard for Homeland to be consistent this season?
  • The Killing 3: So I’ll confess that I gave up after episode eight of the original – not because I didn’t like it but because two hours a week was a bit of a push for me. I didn’t bother with series 2 either. But I thought I’d give it a try for series 3. And… it’s okay. The acting’s good, the production values are good. But the plot, with the cunning kidnapper, feels very The Bridge (lite) – so much so that I started watching that again immediately afterwards – and the familial problems of Sarah Lund felt very implausible and cliched: it’s the standard trope that any woman who works hard in a police show will always lose her partner and end up with estranged kids as punishment for her transgressive ways. And of course she has to bump into her son at the station and get distracted. And of course the kidnapper has to call while she’s talking to her son and she can’t just say “It’s the kidnapper! I must take this! Lives depend on it!” But I am enjoying it and I’m going to try my best to keep up with it. BTW, is Danish politics really so low budget and amateurish that it seems more like Torquay council elections? And I’m assuming the name of the ship is a red herring, too (possible spoiler): that it’s not the mother who had her daughter abducted as punishment for the husband’s failings, as with Euripides’ Medea?
  • Last Resort: Apart from my complaint about the producers seemingly not knowing there’s a difference between the Caribbean and Hawaii, a decent enough episode that highlighted the problems of rape in the US military. Daisy Betts failed to rise to the acting challenge, however. A decent enough fight scene on the action side, but the show’s just kind of chugging along at the moment.
  • The Mindy Project: Not the funniest thing ever, but the “Iron Man novelisation” moment made me laugh out loud.
  • Vegas: The procedural was slightly duller this week, although the historical background to it was interesting. The episode did have some nice insights into Dennis Quad’s military background, with his sparring with the USAF investigator working well. Carrie Anne Moss also had a little more to do, now that the separate “Women Only” storyline is up and running, plus we have an extra female character to add to the mix, too. Needs to find some more verve if it’s to survive for a second season, though.

And in movies:

  • The Amazing Spider-man: The best Spider-man movie so far – far more Nolan-esque than the previous outings – with proper acting, some deeper moments than the first three, Emma Stone (redhead going blonde)’s Gwen Stacey being far less of a cipher than Kirsten Dunst (blonde going redhead)’s Mary-Jane, and Rhys Ifans doing a wonderful job as Dr Curt Connors aka The Lizard. Some great stunt scenes and the CGI felt solid, too, like it was actually a man doing the stunts, but the film still couldn’t avoid some cheese towards the end. Could have done with being more fun and shorter, though.

“What did you watch last 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.

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