What did you watch this week? Including The White Queen, The Returned, Man of Steel, Continuum, Hannibal and Graceland

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)
  • Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living)

And here’s what I thought of them and others:

  • Continuum (Showcase/SyFy): The action is definitely amping up now, even if the amount of sense the show is making isn’t. Some surprises to be had, some revelations that weren’t, and some weird twists that were probably just there for weirdness’s sake. Nevertheless, it’s definitely getting back on track as a show.
  • Graceland (USA): I’m still watching episode three, which is a marked improvement on its predecessors (full third-episode verdict on Monday). But episode 2 was soporific, derivative rubbish.
  • Hannibal (NBC/Sky Living): An exquisite end to a fabulous season. Always surprising, always keeping you guessing, with some astonishing moments along the way from writing staff, directors and cast alike. The final scene was just perfect, too. Why do we have to wait for a year for it to come back? Sigh.
  • The Returned (Canal+/Channel 4): A bunch of French people in a small town who have all been bereaved – for better or for worse – wake up one day to find their dead loved ones are back. Then they have to adjust – and find out what’s happening, and potentially kill off some of the dead people. So far, a bit lightweight but a couple of interesting episodes establishing the main characters, and there’s a very creepy kid called Victor. I’ll probably stick with it, just for the music which oddly enough is by Mogwai.
  • The White Queen (BBC1/Starz): To me, a very dull historical potboiler, with surprising additional witchcraft. To my lovely wife, a brilliant, faithful adaption of a great book. Therefore, YMMV. Will air on Starz in the US in August with more sex. Quelle surprise.

And in movies:

Man of Steel
A reboot of the Superman franchise, with an origin story that sees Russell Crowe as Superman’s real dad, Kevin Costner and Superman’s adoptive dad, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon as General “Kneel Before” Zod, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and some bloke called Henry Cavill as Superman. On many levels awesome in its more literal sense, with some astonishing action set pieces and effects that finally do justice to the entire range of Superman’s super-powers. On the other hand, a very bitty, very nerdy story that only really works when it’s all about hitting people very hard, bar a few isolated moments, most of them involving Kevin Costner, only one or two of them involving Lois Lane. A little bit too po-faced, too. But a lot better than you might have thought of Zack Snyder, not as good as you’d have thought of Christopher Nolan and about right for David Goyer. The cast are all great, and there’s a good kick-ass female baddie, too, which makes a nice change.

Lovely wife found it astonishingly boring, though, although she hates anything by Christopher Nolan.

“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

    It is nice to hear that Continuum is back on track. It stays on my list.

    I don't think that I achieved the watching of anything memorable whatsoever. CSI was okay.

  • Gareth Williams

    I didn't like Man of Steel at all.

    I'm a fan of the comics, and a fan of the Donner films but this just left me cold. Firstly there were my fanboy gripes:
    1) The death of Jonathon Kent. In the original films, and for, at least, the last thirty years in the comics he has always died of a heart attack. Clark's adoptive father always dies from something that Superman, with all his power, can not prevent. In the new film he lets his father die because his father doesn't want to reveal his powers in public. This is obvious bullshit. Superman is, rather famously, faster than a speeding bullet and could easily have moved Jonathon to safety without being seen. You can't even explain this away by saying that he is still developing his powers, as he appears fully gown, and is depicted at speed earlier in the film etc.
    2) They seem to have dropped another of the character's more common mysteries: who is the alter-ego, Superman or Clark?

  • Gareth Williams

    Mmm… phone crashed. I'll leave it there, without fully explaining point two, or why I disliked it as a film. Just to be contrary.

  • 1) Before the Crisis reboot, both Martha and Jonathan Kent die shortly after his High School graduation. In the Superman movie, Jonathan dies of a heart attack but Martha lives on. Post-Crisis, both Martha and Jonathan survive (Pa Kent dies in 2008 during a Brainiac attack); both are alive in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman; in Smallville, Jonathan Kent dies after being given superpowers so he can fight an enemy of Superman's, a process that wears his heart out and kills him. Post nu-52 reboot, both are dead. So there's no fixed “this is how Jonathan Kent died”. The MoS death builds on Smallville's “died for his son” approach and twists it. But it's badly handled in the mvoie.
    2) The film doesn't really give Clark/Supes an alter ego issue because it's not an issue at this point. Clark doesn't become Superman until later in the movie. He just goes around doing things as Clark (or whoever he pretends to be) before moving on to the next town like the Littlest Hobo. It's only once he gets the costume and goes public that there is a Superman, at which point it's pretty clear that he's doing that to become a symbol and to fight Zod/honour his father. Only at the end does there become a 'Clark Kent' alias for him to assume, but that's implicitly the alter ego, in much the same way as 'Bruce Wayne' is an act for the real Bruce Wayne in the Batman movies. Is he Clark or Superman though? That's surely the thematic point of the movie: will he choose the path of Krypton represented by Zod, the path of the world he's adopted and stay out of the limelight and do nothing, or the middle ground – a combination of the two – as offered by Jor-El, in which he becomes a symbol to make Earth a better place?

  • It's summer – there's nothing on!

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