What did you watch this week? Including Continuum, Arrested Development, The Fall, The Goodwin Games and The Black Dahlia

A little earlier than normal since I’m away tomorrow, it’s “What did you watch this week?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I’ve watched this 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, which are somewhat dwindling now ‘summer’ has arrived:

  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
  • Don’t Trust The B—- (ABC)
  • The Fall (BBC2/Netflix)
  • Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living)

These are all going to be on in either the UK or the US, perhaps even both, but I can’t be sure which.

Now, some thoughts on some of the regulars and some of the shows I’m still trying:

  • Arrested Development (Netflix): Well, I watched most of the first episode of the new Netflix series and laughed a couple of times, but that was about it. I wasn’t even sure at first I was watching the right episode. But I was. I hear, however, it gets better with episode three.
  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy): Shaping up to be quite a disappointing second season this, after the strong and clever narrative of the first season, but the arrival of Alessandro Juliani as a psychiatrist from the future was an intriguing twist, at least, and the final revelation was unexpected, too.
  • The Fall (BBC2/Netflix): A meditation on modern misogyny, with Anderson’s cop staying calm under pressure from above and below for the terrible crime of having sex. It’s all handled very well, with the media’s participation in misogyny flagged up, and the parallels with the misogyny of the serial killer make it an inditement of patriarchy rather than just particular institutions.
  • The Goodwin Games (Fox): Gave up in the middle of the second episode. Just not funny.

And in movies:

The Black Dahlia
Ah, the irony – a Brian De Palma film about misogyny! Based on a James McEllroy novel, it’s a fictional investigation into the real-life Black Dahlia murder, starring Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart as boxing rivals-cum-police partners. However, most of the interest is in the female cast, with Scarlett Johansson as Eckhart’s ex-prostitute girlfriend, Hillary Swank superb as a rich girl Hartnett takes up with and the likes of Mia Kirshner as the murder victim and Fiona Shaw as Swank’s mother, with KD Lang, Jemima Rooper and Rose McGowan in bit parts. For the turgid first half it tries to have its cake and eat it, concerning itself with the fates of the women involved. But De Palma can’t avoid his exploitative tendencies and the second half is mostly distasteful misogyny, some of it admittedly in keeping with the 1950s time period. But it’s in the last 15 minutes that the whole thing falls apart in quite the most insane way – I have literally no idea what Shaw in particular is up to in one particular scene and it consequently veers into unplanned comedy. Steer well clear.

“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?

  • benjitek

    Couldn't agree more about season 2 of Continuum — season 1 was great, however, season 2 has unfortunately been SyFy'd 🙁

  • Mark Carroll

    Hmm, I'll be interested to hear about how Continuum develops.

    Still on the Hebrides wildlife thing which is mostly good though with a bit too much of scenic aerial shots with Scottish music punctuating the scenes in which another baby animal dies.

    We watched Michael Clayton which was adequately executed but nothing special.

    CSI and Justified still amble along. Justified seems one of the best things on and it's quite missable. The CSI original / NY crossover was a bit dire. We progressed further with Babylon 5 tonight, actually; we're now on season four, and we resorted to some early Person of Interest last night.

    My son's watching Yu-Gi-Oh GX and it's utter rubbish.

    (I don't think I've watched a Hannibal or suchlike since last reporting.)

    I watched a strange show in which an architecture guy and a climbing lady climbed the Imperial War Museum North. It seemed about as good as one might expect from the premise.

  • I'm hoping, based on the latest episode, that it was merely biding its time 😉

  • benjitek

    It was OK, however, I'm not personally into the thing-of-the-week turn the series has taken — part of being SyFy'd 🙁

    Much better when the story arc is front 'n center, as with season 1. Season 2 seems to be concentrating on hair coloring & styling, wardrobe & makeup as well as accessorizing.

    I've a feeling things would've been great without SyFy being involved, they have reverse-midas-touch.

  • Mark Carroll

    That's a shame, I usually prefer arc-driven series.

  • I agree, but I do think there has been an arc (Mr Escher) bubbling under the surface and it's now emerging. The problem is that it's not as good and the Liber8 stuff has taken a wrong turn or two and been sidelined. All the same, there were more than a few season 1 standalone eps (eg the video game one) – they were just better handled and integrated into the main arc

  • benjitek

    Season 1 was great starting with episode 1 — season 2 is up to episode 6, and we're still waiting. No biggie, television quality has evolved over the years and seems like there's always something entertaining around the corner. Continuum is on it's way to becoming a 1-season-wonder; though SyFy will likely drag it out as long as they can milk it for advertising dollars 😉

  • benjitek

    Season 1 was great starting with episode 1 — season 2 is up to episode 6, and we're still waiting. No biggie, television quality has evolved over the years and seems like there's always something entertaining around the corner. Continuum is on it's way to becoming a 1-season-wonder; though SyFy will likely drag it out as long as they can milk it for advertising dollars 😉