What have you been watching? Including Helix, Rake, The Bridge, Olympus Has Fallen and Enlisted

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.

I’m only slightly behind on shows now, having not found the energy to endure last night’s Three Musketeers. Apart from that, though, I’m back up to speed, which is nice.

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending:

Enlisted (Fox)
Brandon Routhe arrived, which was good; the lack of true “losers triumph” ending was welcome after the pilot’s initial venture into that unwelcome terrain; a slight drop off in dialogue and laughs, though. Generally good, though.

Helix (SyFy/Channel 5)
Swiftly becoming less of a sci-fi show with horror aspects, than a horror show with sci-fi aspects, the last two episodes haven’t had the smarts of the first three episodes, but it does feel like the show is righting itself. We still largely don’t have a dicky bird as to what’s going on, but with a death rate among the regulars that’s going to leave us with a cast of zero by episode 10, I imagine secrets will have to emerge soon.

Rake (Fox/Universal Channel)
Not even the presence of Alex Breckenridge could elevate this to anything more than mildly diverting. Greg Kinnear is just so wrong for this show.

The Tomorrow People (The CW/E4)
Oh gods, another breakout. Just don’t care any more, so even though it’s got the girl from Spy Kids in it now (Alexa Vega, and I don’t want you to feel old or anything, but she’s 25 now), I’m giving up. Oddly, I’ve only just noticed that with Stephen’s dad being called Roger, and Jedekiah being called Price, that’s an obvious reference to Roger Price, the creator of the 1970s TV show.

And in the recommended list:

Arrow (The CW/Sky 1)
Generally, some excellent moments, interspersed with some very stupid moments. The fights are back, too. Yay!

Banshee (Cinemax)
As with the previous week’s episode, a good look at both Amish and Native American cultures, this time giving Sheriff Hood a chance to do some proper kicking. Still a bit silly, but definitely dialling back on the more blatant and silliest bits.

The Bridge (BBC4)
Overall, a definite improvement on the second season, with some excellent character moments for the two leads, particularly Saga. The last episode did veer the show into more ridiculous, Bond villain territory, some of which made no sense at all, though, but otherwise excellent work all round. Intriguingly, Martin’s storyline has edged close to that of The Bridge (US)’s equivalent character. Looking forward to season three.

Community (NBC/some random UK channel)
Nathan Fillion turned up, to not much effect, but a funny episode with many clever moments.

Cougar Town (TBS)
Not a laugh in the entire episode. Potentially on the death list now.

Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
A largely generic story. Is it just me or is Watson now more like the Sherlock Holmes of the books than Holmes is?

And in movies:

Olympus Has Fallen
Well, we watched White House Down last week and since this was on Netflix for free, we figured why not watch this, too, since it’s basically the same movie: secret service agent has to do Under Siege in the White House and save the President from a bunch of baddies. Here, we have Gerard Butler as the agent, Aaron Eckhart as the President, Morgan Freeman as the speaker of the house, having to deal with some Korean terrorists. And surprisingly, it’s a much better movie for the first three-quarters of its run, giving us better action, more excitement and more plausibility, all played straight. Unfortunately, it’s the final quarter that lets the movie down, as the action shifts from merely saving the White House to saving the entire world. A few Greek myth references (Olympus, Cerberus, Hydra) fail to help, too, and the excellent Ashley Judd gets discarded in the first 10 minutes.

“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.