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?

  • Rullsenberg

    For all its ludicrous plotting I thought The Bridge culminated perfectly. The structure of the final two eps was brilliant.

  • I thought the “bigger bad” reveal felt like an add-on to give some continuity through to a third season, but the season as a whole had a great unity

  • Mark Carroll

    We're still working through “The Bridge” and liking it, but remain behind the actual broadcasts. We are still on “Band of Brothers”, too; I had forgotten how distinctive the different episodes are, in terms of what kind of thing happens in what circumstances.

    We again watched “Galaxy Quest”; it remains good. And, also, “Tron: Legacy” which, while the script is nothing amazing, I think is otherwise generally well-made. We also again watched “Wreck-It Ralph” which is also fairly good, at least better than the average kids' film, although the resolution seems a bit within a world of rules plucked from thin air.

    I've started season five of “Community”. So far, I am liking it enough to stick with it without fear of regret, though I am hoping that it becomes a bit less meta, for fear of overdoing it.

    I watched “The Iceman”, about the career of an emotionally damaged hit-man. It did seem good, but somehow not really all that engaging.

    Also, I saw the two-part “Russia on Wheels” or similarly titled: it was somewhat interesting but nothing all that special, maybe a bit too briefly anywhere to really give us enough of a flavor, though the contrasts between old and new were a good idea.

  • GYAD

    THE BRIDGE – Ludicrous and PC but still hugely enjoyable nonsense. Bring on Season III!

    BROOKLYN 99 – Giving up. It just isn't funny.

    THE SPOILS OF BABYLON – Also giving up. Not enough jokes to fill the dead air.

    HELIX – OK-ish SF/horror mix-up but too predictable for me.

    BONNIE & CLYDE – Misses the point by a mile. Like blood soaked chick-lit.

    CRACKER – Simply marvelous.