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?


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.