August on TMINE

It’s holiday time! This is what I’m going to be doing for the next two weeks! Except not in the South of France.

So what does this mean for all five or even ten of you still reading this ‘ere blog? Well, for starters, there’s not going to be nothing new here until the 19th August. Sorry!

After that, a vestigial service will resume, probably largely consisting of my posting of YouTube videos, because you’re probably all going to be on holiday, too. But there’ll probably also be the “What did you watch…?” section, because there are some shows on TV this summer.

But definitely not coming back until the first week of September is The Daily News. That’s not just because I fancy having a whole month of not having to get up early to write it – it’s also because everyone who actually makes news, makes decisions, etc, is probably going to be on holiday, too, so there probably won’t be much to report anyway.

So have a great time in my absence. Let me know if you come across anything exciting to watch or indeed anything else interesting and I’ll see you all soon.

What did you watch this week? Including The Booth At The End, Orange is the New Black, The Almighty Johnsons, Satisfaction and Suits

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 up, the usual “TMINE recommends” page features links to reviews of all the shows I’ve ever recommended, and there’s also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I’ve reviewed ever.

Still in the viewing queue: Kerry Packer…. But otherwise I’m up to speed again, just in time to disappear for a fortnight on holiday. Oops.

New shows I tried this week
Orange is the New Black
(Netflix) 
Netflix’s comedy-drama from the creator, based on a true story about a woman sent to a correctional institute. I only watched half an episode, but it was pretty good albeit with a little too much female nudity, so I reckon I’ll be jumping back in at some point.

The Booth At The End (Netflix/Hulu)
At Mark’s suggestion, I decided to give this one a bit of a whirl. And actually, it’s quite good, if a little frustrating. Essentially, each episode sees an unnamed man (Xander Berkeley) sitting in a both at the end of a diner. People come to him who want things, sometimes trivial, sometimes seemingly impossible. And the Man looks in his book and tells them what they need to do to make that thing happen: it can as simple as making a phone call; or it could be to murder a child or set off a bomb, although he’s at pains to state that he doesn’t actually make these things happen and they may happen anyway. In In Treatment style, a lot of the plots of the characters mingle and part of the fun is guessing how they’ll all mesh together, and it’s also pleasantly theatrical, since nothing is ever shown, just described by the Man’s various supplicants, so it relies a lot on your imagination.

The frustration is two-fold. The first is that there are very few answers and if you hang out to the end of the first season of five, 22-minute episodes, you still won’t really get any gratification on that score. The second is that Netflix in the UK only has the first season, the second season being available exclusively to Hulu in the US – although since this aired on FX in the UK at one point, too, it might come round again.

But I asked a man with a book how to overcome that problem, and I’m currently in the middle of the first new episode, which has new characters and a new diner, so far. I’ll report back once I’ve watched the rest.

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Ray Donovan (Showtime/Sky Atlantic)
Actually, I’m not watching this, since I gave up midway through the latest episode. Just not something in which I’m interested.

Ray Donovan TV Schedule

Under The Dome (CBS/Channel 5)
Still no explanations for anything, and it’s now starting to look like a 1980s Stephen King adaptation. Too many plot convulsions required to get the particular moments we saw by the end. But it’s oddly compelling, despite being massively ordinary.

Under the Dome TV Schedule

Recommended shows
The Almighty Johnsons
 (TV3/SyFy UK/Space)
Hooray! What looks like the final episode for tying up all the loose second season plot threads, this was also half about setting up new plot threads. Looks like we’re getting more storylines that are goddess-oriented, too. Yay!

The Almighty Johnsons TV Schedule

Continuum (Showcase/SyFy)
A slightly unconvincing alliance at the end. But a good episode.

Continuum TV Schedule

The Newsroom (HBO/Sky Atlantic)
I spoke too soon. While this episode was definitely less chaotic than the first episode, we had a return to the same weaknesses as season one, particularly the sexism, with pretty much every scene failing the Bechdel Test. Still, at least Aaron Sorkin is trying to engage with and understand the Internet now, even if he hasn’t quite got the hang of it.

The Newsroom TV Schedule

Perception (TNT/Watch)
Perception catches up with Second Life how many years after it was trendy? Oh dear. And certainly on a TNT budget, it’s not going to be able to recreate The Cell, despite its best efforts. The procedural was also completely loopy and implausible. But it did have some fun moments about the problems for our hero in distinguishing between reality and fantasy.

Perception TV Schedule

Satisfaction (CTV)
Not quite as good as normal, but there’s still not many sitcoms that feature polyamory as a plot point. 

Satisfaction TV Schedule

Suits (USA/Dave)
A slightly unconvincing ending – and indeed main story. But it would take a hard-hearted viewer not to be moved by Louis’s fate at the end of this.

Suits TV Schedule

“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?

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 2

Third-episode verdict: The Bridge (US) (FX)

In the US/Canada: Wednesdays, 10pm ET/7pm PT, FX
In the UK: Acquired by Fox, but probably won’t be broadcast

So double déjà vu time. We’ve been here before with the original The Bridge and three episodes into The Bridge (US) and we’re in almost identical places again – except this place isn’t quite as good as the original’s. 

In and of itself, The Bridge (US) is actually a pretty good show. Dealing with an apparent serial killer looking to make political points about immigration and poverty and inequity in the two countries, it sees an American detective (Diane Kruger) and a Mexican detective (Demián Bichir) investigating a double-murder on their US-Mexican border. It makes points and shows you situations you don’t normally see made in US shows. It also sees characters you don’t normally see in US shows: a female detective with Asperger’s and a Mexican detective who can do his job and isn’t on the take.

The trouble is it’s not quite as good as the original. In some ways, it’s an improvement. The political points made in the original didn’t work as well in two countries as relatively rich and egalitarian as Sweden and Denmark. Some of the plotting was looser and various threads also got dropped or introduced unnecessarily. Secondary characters in the El Paso police department are also better developed than those in Malmö’s.

But it falls apart slightly elsewhere. ‘Sonja Cross’ is no ‘Saga Norin’ – while Norin strode about unapologetically, a force of nature, an open-eyed innocent whose Asperger’s traits could cause her and others bafflement but that were also assets, here we have a character with few assets beyond being able to spot teeny tiny beads at a distance and who screws up constantly and knows it. The script is also clumsier in its efforts to show her Asperger’s, adding to the original lines that make no sense in someone her age. This is Asperger’s as disability rather than point of difference with potential strengths. It doesn’t help that Kruger can’t maintain the traits she’s chosen, alternating between avoiding eye contact and over-doing it in the first episode, then having normal eye contact in subsequent episodes.

The show also lacks the visual beauty of the original, the director and DOP being more interested in showing the squalor of Mexico, the expansive vistas of Texas and the clinical nature of the El Paso police station than bringing out the most from the characters. Our prime suspect so far doesn’t feel like a real person at all as a result, more a collection of studio make-up tics. Annabeth Gish’s sub-plot, while better and more plausible than the original’s, is also longer and duller so far.

Nevertheless, this is a good, solid cop show that’s unique and different in the world of US cop shows. How long will it last? Well, the ratings have been very good, so I can’t see any problems with it getting renewed. Trouble is, the original’s ending was very silly, so we could end up with a similar situation to The Killing (US)*, with a show renewed but people so annoyed with the ending that they don’t watch the next season. 

But I guess we’ll cross that bridge we come to it. Ho ho.

Barrometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Should get a second season at least

* Also like The Killing (US), we’ll probably end up with a mirror situation in terms of the stars, with the original’s female stars getting all the kudos, while the US remake will make (more of) a star of the male lead.

Friday “Indira Varma joins Game of Thrones, a Burn Notice spin-off?, and Cinemax green lights The Knick” news

The Daily News will return in September

Film casting

Trailers

  • Clip from The Butler with Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan

UK TV

New UK TV show casting

US TV

US TV casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

Thursday’s”Knightmare returns, the 47 Ronin trailer, and Cary Elwes to star in Horizon” news

Film casting

Trailers

  • Trailer for 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves
  • Trailer for A Single Shot with Sam Rockwell
  • New trailer for Jobs with Ashton Kutcher

UK TV

New UK TV shows

  • Trailer for Comedy Central’s Big Bad World

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting