What have you been watching? Including The League, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Homeland and The Tomorrow People

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

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. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there’s Locate TV.

Elsewhere, you can find my reviews of Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who, The Day of the Doctor, and Fox’s Almost Human. Still in the viewing queue are the latest Serangoon Roads, as well as last week’s Y Gwyll and The Tunnel.

Last week gave us as a one-off Doctor Who – An Adventure in Space and Time, which was a really rather lovely depiction of the creation of Doctor Who by the BBC in the 1960s. Essentially a more watchable The Hour with nicer characters, it’s a little too long in the wrong places and a little clumsy in the obvious dialogue, but the cast was excellent, there were some cool Who cameos and I have to admit to having almost cried a bit. Probably Mark Gatiss’s best ever work and if The Hour had been like it, I would have watched it.

I also gave The League a go, which somehow I’ve been missing all these years. Airing on FXX, it’s about a bunch of friends in play in a fantasy sports league. I was only really watching it because Ali Larter was on it, so I probably won’t watch it again because although it had some smart lines, the characters just weren’t engrossing and it wasn’t that funny either.

On top of that, I gave Scots Gaelic channel BBC Alba a try during Friday primetime. What did I find? 1982 nature documentary Track of the Wild Otter, narrated by Philip Madoc in English. What’s the point of that then?

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Agents of Shield (ABC/Channel 4)
Two strong eps, particularly the second, which gave us Peter MacNicol as (spoiler alert)an Asgardian. But the ‘Tahiti is a magical place’ line is getting tedious, and Sky and co still don’t have enough personality to really keep the show afloat.

Ground Floor (TBS)
Becoming more amusing as it becomes more like Scrubs and less about the class divide. But the spark between the two leads is slowly evaporating and I could do without the singing.

The Tomorrow People (The CW/E4)
You’d have thought that with all the sex, the high school shenanigans, the mind reading and a serial rapist that it would still have been an interesting episode. Except it wasn’t, largely because of the flat, uncharismatic performances from most of the cast. Oh well.

Recommended shows
Arrow (The CW/Sky 1)
Americans – what accent do you hear when Count Vertigo speaks? Do you hear English or very poor, deliberately effected fake English? The return of an old face lifted the episode, but made it a tad soap opera-y, and Laurel’s getting progressively worse, but with the flashbacks becoming more pertinent, overall it was good.

Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
This week, it was the turn of The Valley of Fear to provide some inspiration, but it was an otherwise original episode with a different slant from usual that worked quite well.

Homeland (Showtime/Channel 4)
Brodie’s back. A little bit of a flounder in last night’s episode, where a very dodgy plot point was glossed over with a montage, but at least the direction the show is heading in looks interesting. A lot of potential for cock-ups en route though.

Modern Family (ABC/Sky 1)
Two strong episodes in a row.

And in movies:

Hunger Games: Catching Fire
“Katniss has to go back to the Hunger Games, but this time she has to fight past victors” doesn’t really do the film justice, but without giving lots away, that’s about the best that can be done. Although structurally it’s almost identical to the first movie, to say it’s the same would do it an injustice also, since this obvious transposition of Roman society and bread and circuses into a futuristic America has a lot to say in its first half that it didn’t in the first. It’s also a lot better directed, nastier and now has Philip Seymour Hoffman in it. I wouldn’t say it’s definitely worth watching, though, but if you want to watch a modern day remake of Rollerball, this is the movie for you. You’ll probably need to watch the first movie to have a hope of understanding what’s going on, though.

“What have you been watching?” 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

    Well, I just watched the latest Star Trek film with Benedict Cumberbatch (whom at one time I could recall only as Cumberland Bandersnatch), and it was certainly okay. It was pretty much as one would expect after the previous, generally good overall, I think my son liked it enough.

    Yesterday I watched “The Killing”, a 1950s crime film with some Kubrick involvement. It was okay, and reasonably put together and intricate, but against the twists of modern plots I found it a bit too by-the-numbers.

    We've watched a little “Never Mind the Buzzcocks” which remains mostly entertaining.

    I am sure we've watched plenty else but, apart from the Doctor Who stuff, not much that sticks in my mind!

  • JustStark

    latest Star Trek film with Benedict Cumberbatch

    As I've been watching Toast of London I will just ask: 'Who?'

  • Craig Grannell

    I've no idea why I'm still watching Shield, although my wife quite likes it. The characters are cardboard, and the plots are either dull or worryingly Orwellian. It probably doesn't help that at the same time as watching this tosh, we've also been working our way through our very first run-through of Fringe, which is a lot of fun. I care about the characters; it's regularly reinventing itself and throwing curve-balls; despite being a US show, it feels like it motors along at pace. The fourth season jumps a few big fish here and there, but was still good enough that I — shock! — actually bought a DVD so we can see how the entire thing ends.

  • I never liked The Shield either, but you're about the first person I know who's said that, too…

  • Craig Grannell

    Ah, I meant Agents of, but I don't really care for The either!

  • Pingback: The Medium is Not Enough TV blog()