What have you been watching? Including Y Gwyll, Serangoon Road, The Tunnel, Almost Human and Homeland

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.

It was a bit of a slow week for tele, last week, given that America was having its Thanksgiving holiday. Apparently, American’s don’t watch TV but eat instead. How bizarre and fundamentally un-British.

So I’ve caught up with some of the shows that were in my viewing queue, although I’ve still half the series finale of Seragoon Road to watch. I’ve also started Legacy, Paul Milne’s adaptation of Alan Judd’s spy novel. So far, so good, but Andrew Scott (Moriarty in Sherlock) as a Czech diplomat is singularly unconvincing.

Shows I’m watching but not recommending
Almost Human
On the one hand, it’s nice to have a black male character who isn’t a stereotype of über-masculinity. On the other, he’s both a robot and quite dull, beyond the sci-fi things he does. Some good moments in the episode though and a good guest cast, too. But this needs to have a bit more in the human relationships department before it’s can do more than engage our brains a bit. Is Minka Kelly even in the show any more?

Agents of Shield (ABC/Channel 4)
More a ghost story than anything else, it tried to give some substance to Ming-Na Wen’s character, but failed, making us hate the rest of the cast a little more instead. Fitz and Simmons are just about the only characters working so far, but largely they’re there for laughs and not to have any proper background, beyond being expelled from Hogwarts or something.

Recommended shows
The Blacklist
(NBC/Sky Living)
A two-parter and a very surprising one, with shock deaths thanks to the arrival of Red’s former partner in crime and apparent fellow understudy at a ‘cod Shakespearean dialogue for beginners’ workshop. Interesting the show also expand itself from merely organising tributes to particular actors and famous villains they’ve played to homaging entire movies, and given it’s an action show, no surprise that it should follow the aptly titled and ever-popular Buckley’s ‘Action Shows Die Hard Rule’, which states that any long-running action show will eventually do an episode that’s essentially Die Hard. They even had Megan Boone running around without any shoes on.

Homeland (Showtime/Channel 4)
In many ways a little magnificent, now they’ve got over the tricky problem of how to make Brodie a goodie. This week’s episode was more a look at modern special forces operations than spying (although it’s all one big melange these days, isn’t it?), but tensely handled and Shaun Toub is as magnificent as ever. Carrie’s still too much of a basket case for comfort though.

Serangoon Road (ABC1/HBO Asia)
A good balance of the personal and the action, and there was the now-obligatory episode for an Australian drama (there will only ever be one episode in said drama, though) that featured an aboriginal character. Good fight scenes, thrills and spills: why hasn’t any channel in the US or UK picked it up? Oh, the finale features Russell Wong, who was so good in The CW’s Black Sash, even if the show wasn’t, which is another good reason for watching it.

The Tunnel/Tunnel (Sky Atlantic/Canal+)
The action has now moved to France, and weirdly as soon as the show did that, it began to feel like an episode of Engrenages, right down to the music, tone, settings and Caroline Proust – except for the fact the police are moderately competent and well behaved in this show. Nice joke about Dillane’s misuse of ‘embrasse moi’ (he meant hug, he said kiss).

Y Gwyll/Hinterland (S4C/BBC Wales/BBC4)
Perhaps a little melodramatic, the finale was still beautifully shot, gripping and chock full of cliffhangers and dangling plot threads, so I’m looking forward to the second series, which has now been commissioned. I’m surprised by how little of any of the characters’ personal lives got invoked by the stories, but we’ll see where they take it next year. Or the year after. Whenever, basically. Try to watch it in Welsh on S4C, if you can, by the way.

“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?

  • Rullsenberg

    Really really looking forward to new series of Y Gwyll. Excellent even when melodramatic – the visuals alone worth watching for. I'm enjoying SHIELD more than I thought I would.

  • Rullsenberg

    Really really looking forward to new series of Y Gwyll. Excellent even when melodramatic – the visuals alone worth watching for. I'm enjoying SHIELD more than I thought I would.

  • Mark Carroll

    Thanksgiving television is simply different. (-: Of course, there is the live coverage, things like the parade and the dog show, but also repeats of classic things like the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, probably quickly moving into repeated Christmas shows too given that it opens the season. There will tend to be new Thanksgiving episodes of things like The Simpsons and South Park, but admittedly I've not seen them; on the day itself we got rather distracted by an MST3K Thanksgiving marathon being streamed online. For some holiday things we use http://www.ustvnow.com/

    Mind you, we discovered that much after Hallowe'en it's not easy to buy pumpkin here in Britain.

    We finally got around to trying Continuum. I'm rather liking it. Still early in the first series. After the fancy pilot it is nice it didn't quickly become just a present-day police procedural.

    I'm not sure what I thought of Blacklist, to be honest. The principal villain seems as silly as the protection from the enclosure.

    We made a start on the Doctor Blake Mysteries. It's curious. It reminds me a little of Foyle's War. It seems well-made and and well-acted but somehow I think it'll become missable.

    Homeland's actually been quite good. You're consistently an episode ahead of us, but I'm liking it. (I did also think about buying Prisoners of War on DVD.)

    We watched an Iranian Film, About Elly. It seemed to start well, it was interesting to see the interaction and how things were, but it overall turned out to be rather less interesting than I'd hoped and I'm not sure it was really worth watching.

    I have greater doubts still about Glorious 39, the one with the upper classes and the start of WWII. That also seemed promising and interesting at first but gradually declined into considerable silliness: best avoided.

  • I'm enjoying SHIELD about as much as I feared I would.

  • Blacklist does get better. They're quite agile at changing the show. The enclosure cage, for example, disappears by the second episode because it was silly. I won't spoil last night's episode but it's one of those genuine game changers that surprises you…

  • Gareth Williams

    I did it! I finally did it. I deleted SHIELD. I feel 10lbs lighter.

  • GYAD

    GRACELAND – A slightly silly episode followed by a corker. The rabbit hole goes deeper…

    TOAST OF LONDON – I suppose someone has to do the English voice-overs for Danish avant-garde pornography.

    LEGACY – A plot that doesn't make sense, under-acting to the point of nothingness, no sense of period. Rubbish.

    LIFE – Still tremendously entertaining even if super black cop partner is a lot more boring than Sarah Shahi.

    PERSON OF INTEREST – A sojourn in the suburbs reveals that Jim Caviezel can't walk properly.

    THE X-FILES – Having been too young to watch 'em the first time around, I'm rather enjoying the steady camera, suspense driven plots and terrible clothes.

    Y GYWLL – Sorry, couldn't get into it. Beautiful but the lead is a midget and most of it is standing around moping.

    A YOUNG DOCTOR'S NOTEBOOK & OTHER STORIES – Back and just as blackly humourous as ever.

  • Thanks for the Legacy heads up. I'll stop with that. Never been a big fan of Paula Milne's.

    “the lead is a midget and most of it is standing around moping.”

    What have you got against the Welsh? 😉

  • Good move.

  • GYAD

    In fairness to Paula Milne – who I don't like much – apparently the weak story is due to the book it is based on rather than anything which is her fault.

    Also, I like the Welsh…just not S4C. 😉

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