What have you been watching? Including Community, 19-2, Arrow, Hannibal and The Doctor Blake Mysteries

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.

Typical, isn’t it? No sooner have I just about caught about with my previous backlog of viewing then I have to head off again, so I’m predicting a whole new backlog next week. Ho hum.

But after the jump, reviews of Almost Human, Enlisted, Helix, 19-2, The Americans, Arrow, Banshee, The Blacklist, Community, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Hannibal, The Life of Rock with Brian Pern, Moone Boy, Perception and True Detective.

New stuff
I actually got through some epic amounts of new shows this week, so although I’ve still got a couple of episodes of new Canadian medical show Remedy to wade through, I’ve been able to post reviews of:

Not bad, hey?

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending
We haven’t quite managed to bring ourselves to watch this week’s Agents of SHIELD yet. Otherwise, I’m all up to date.

Almost Human (Fox)
Straw Man
And it’s all over. The end of the season has arrived already, although it feels like it was shot to be a series finale, to be honest. And what a weird season it was. After a pilot that set up all kinds of plot threads, for the most part of its run, it was episodic, misogynistic and essentially just sci-fi idea of the week. It didn’t help that the episodes were shown in the wrong order. Then when Naran Shanker got the boot/left because of creative differences and the show’s creator took the showrunner reins again, it began to find its feet, the central pairing began to work and Minka Kelly actually got to do something. It also became Blade Runner again, which was nice. Trouble was, it still didn’t really do anything with its plot threads and even came up with some news that the final episode entirely ignored. If it comes back for a second season, here’s hoping the production mayhem disappears and the show is able to find its feet, because it did at least have a few signs towards the end that it could actually be a good show. Plus more Gina Carano please.

Enlisted (Fox)
Kid and Play cameoed in this one. Kid and Play. This might be for the discard pile soon.

Helix (SyFy/5*)
Level X
More blindingly obvious revelations, more silliness, right down to the vectors worship each other. It’s a show that could be good if someone more experienced were in charge, but as it is, it’s all over the place.

The recommended list
I’ve already given you my thoughts on this week’s Vikings and last night’s Line of Duty and 19-2 are still in the viewing pile, as is Monday’s Perception and last Friday’s Jonathan Creek, but otherwise, I’m all up to date. Woo me, hey?

19-2 (Bravo Canada)
A show definitely in need of more pizzazz and less moping, but a good couple of episodes in the past weeks. The domestic violence and alcoholism storylines were well handled; the lesbian character is now more than just a token; and the scenes with the ex-partner were actually very moving. But you do want to slit your wrists at the end of it all.

The Americans (FX US/ITV UK)
Further continuation of last week’s plot threads, with snooping kids, paranoid parents and more silly wigs. The glimmerings of some worthwhile spying story and the Russian embassy side of things is still interesting, but has yet to really offer a ‘hook’.

Arrow (The CW US/Sky 1 UK)
The Promise
Essentially a bottle episode set in Queen mansion doubled with an entire episode set on the island. Very well handled, Manu Bennett gets to do subtle and the Deathstroke mask comes back. Why aren’t you watching?

Banshee (Cinemax US/Sky Atlantic UK)
Evil for Evil
Hood’s closing in on Proctor, there are more fights, but it all feels a bit empty as essentially all of Hood’s relationships break down. Only two more eps to go and it feels like this second season has lost all its focus in favour of Lili Simmons getting her clothes off a lot.

The Blacklist (NBC US/Sky Living UK)
The Judge
Better than last week’s, although Ellen Burstyn’s turn was a little pointless and Lance Reddick’s Texan accent a little funny. But as always, the arc proved the most interesting thing about the episode. Where next? Let’s watch next week.

Community (NBC US/Some random channel in the UK)
Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality
A Britta-centric episode for a change, but with John Oliver to add to the fun. More interesting, though, for being an anti-Abed episode, with Jonathan Banks’s teacher refusing to kowtow to Abed’s imagination and exposing Abed’s darker, nastier side as a result. A risky move, but isn’t everything about Community risky? The Chiang ending was probably the most Community thing ever, by the way.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries (ABC1 Australia/BBC1-Alias UK)
A Foreign Field
A new female pathologist shows up, giving us an interesting twist on previous episodes – where once Blake was at the forefront of modern thinking, now he’s shown to be a bit of a muddy duddy. Plus revelations about Blake’s post-war past spin things in a slightly more implausible direction. Otherwise, a solid enough mystery as always
Smoke and Mirrors
A good fake out at the beginning, a slightly implausible mystery along the way, but more characterisation for the newbie, designed to differentiate him from his predecessor.  

Hannibal (NBC US/Sky Living UK)
The return of the best new show of last year and once again, it’s a bit of a gamble by the producers. After the intense, if slightly too Hong Kong fight scene at the beginning…

…we get a very subdued episode all about the fall out from the events of the last season’s episode, with no real concessions to new viewers. Tim Hunter’s (Twin Peaks) direction was visually excellent, but he allowed Gillian Anderson’s performance to overstep the boundary between controlled and simple archness and the new serial killer designed to explore both Hannibal and Will’s circumstances both present and future feels a little gimmicky. Overall, lacking in the big wow I’ve come to expect from Hannibal but a generally good episode.

The Life of Rock with Brian Pern (BBC4 UK)
A slightly disappointing conclusion to the show that fired random pastiches. But the cameo by (spoiler) Peter Gabriel at the end was a truly magnificent and baffling way to end the series.

Moone Boy (Sky 1 UK/Hulu US)
Episode 3
Individually funny moments, particularly the revelations by the parents about the island janitor, but generally reliant on Jonny Vegas for funniness. Not as good as season 1 so far.

Perception (TNT US/Watch UK)
Beyond the amiable cast, there’s now little point to watching the show. While there was a mild incentive to watch the psychological side of things, the ‘high functioning autism spectrum disorder’ character this episode was basically Rainman. If this week’s proves as bad, I’ll be abandoning the show.

True Detective (HBO/Sky Atlantic)
After You’ve Gone
The investigation finally arrives in the present time and everyone’s aging make-up is now intact. It feels very strange to be watching a show that promises to have no weird surprises (no, it’s not all dream or a parallel universe, we’re told) and to essentially be trying to solve the in-story mystery rather than work out the Shyamalan twist at the end, 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.

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