What did you watch this week? Including Game of Thrones, The Hangover 3, Hannibal, Continuum and The Fall

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:

  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
  • 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.

On Monday, I was somewhat incapacitated with food poisoning (oops), so spent the whole day in bed. Faced with the prospect of an entire day without brain stimulation, I decided to bite the bullet and try watching…

Game of Thrones
Yep, season 1 all in one go. And now I’m halfway through season 2. So no spoilers. On the whole, I’m liking it more than I did on my first attempted viewing a couple of years ago, but that might be because I made a stab at reading the first book to ease me in. I didn’t love the first season, but I did enjoy a lot of the elements of it and the potential that it was building. I like the mix of mythic influences – the story’s northern stories are more in keeping with Germanic and Scandinavian myth while the eastern stories are more in the style of Middle Eastern stories. I like the fact that a lot of it is about outsiders within a patriarchal system and how they learn to obtain power within that system. I like the fact it’s essentially a good excuse to give overlooked British and Irish character actors (and Peter Dinklage) decent, regular, well paying jobs for a change.

Season 2 so far is feeling a bit of a filler season; the amounts of female nudity are ridiculous; and the increased magic quotient is unappealing. There’s also no single Nedd Stark figure around which the second season revolves, which makes it feel a little rudderless. But both Patrick Malahide and Stephen Dillane have turned up, which can only be good news, and Charles Dance is marvellous.

Still in the viewing queue: Up The Women, BBC4’s suffragette sitcom written by and starring Jessica Hynes, and last night’s Graceland, USA’s new cop show. My thoughts on those next week, I suspect.

Now, some thoughts on some of the regulars:

  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy): A near return to form this week, with sci-fi fun, some important revelations for both viewers and characters, and hints that all the standalone episodes we’ve been having actually had an arc in them (spoiler alert)that another corporation from the future is trying to acquire all its competitor companies and their technologies in the present, including Alec’s. Still not up there with season 1 and we could do with Liber8 getting its act together, but it slightly restored my faith in the show.
  • The Fall (BBC2/Netflix): Less about misogyny, more about Belfast this episode, as well as some expansion on the background of Gillian Anderson’s character. The revelation from Archie Punjab was a little too deus ex machina (spoiler alert)she knew someone who went out with the serial killer at university, but I’m hoping they can pull back from that.
  • Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living): Last week’s saw Ellen Muth (Dead Like Me, another Bryan Fuller show) turn up as someone who thought she was dead, making for an interesting piece of deconstruction. As in previous weeks, the episode ended with an entirely throw-away but stunning moment of horror that’ll stick with you. The idea of Lecter and his friend withholding information like that was also ghastly, but in an entirely different way. This week’s episode was slightly let down by Eddie Izzard turning up again and was a little low-key, but was also disturbing and affecting in its own way. I’m wondering what’s up with Gillian Anderson’s character – are they ever going to do anything with her, or is that for later seasons?

And in movies:

The Hangover 3
Not an especially funny film, yet still better than the second. Weirdly, though, it didn’t actually feel like they were trying to make a funny movie, more an action drama with the occasional joke. All the regular characters were back plus John Goodman, but unlike 2, this didn’t rehash the plot of the first movie, instead sending the ‘Wolf Pack’ to go looking for gold (literally) because of naughty old Ken Jeong. Weirdly, it’s clear they could have made a funny film if they’d wanted to, judging by the end titles.

“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?

  • Mark Carroll

    I am glad that you are liking Game of Thrones and Hannibal. I expect we'll watch the next Hannibal tonight.

    We watched season three of Archer. That was still good; I enjoyed that. We also started season four of Arrested Development and, honestly, I'm not all that engaged so far; it seems to be done well but just isn't doing it for me, though it improved after the first episode.

    We watched a new CSI that was quite good; restored my faith a bit after that NY crossover.

    I borrowed L. E. Modesitt's “The Eternity Artifact” from the library and I'm quite liking it so far.

  • I hear AD gets better with ep 3 but I can't be bothered at the moment to watch that far

  • bob

    Interesting comments on Game of Thrones.

    I haven't seen any of the latest season as I felt somewhat uninvolved in season 2. The lack of Ned Stark or indeed any strong thread just made it missable tv. I can appreciate the wonderful set pieces and performances but feel rather uninvolved. So season 3 just didn't make it onto my radar.

    But a favourable review of season 3 from Rob may prompt me into seeking it out.

    More equal opportunities nudity would help also as I did lose time in season 2 by rolling my eyes at every scene with nekkid women.

  • Mark Carroll

    It was quite striking that, once we'd met a new young woman, it got that we knew it wouldn't be long before we saw all of her, it worked quite reliably.

  • The second half of season two, particularly the last four episodes, was considerably better and restored my faith in the show. I've just started season three so I'll probably have a full update at the end of the week.

  • Yes, that's a pretty reliable measure, I'd say. Ridiculous. I was surprised, given people's comments, how little nudity there was in the first season and that what there was was pretty equal opportunities, in a Spartacus style. There was that rather ridiculous season with Aiden Gillan, but that was about it. But as Bob said, I found myself rolling my eyes a lot during season two.

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