What have you been watching? Including Growing Up Fisher, Secrets and Lies, Red Road, Suits and Agents of SHIELD

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.

Despite my having been away for a while, I’ve managed to catch up with many of the regular shows and even tried out plenty of new shows. Although I’ve now got three episodes of new Canadian medical show Remedy to wade through, I’ve been able to post reviews of:

I did also try one other new show:

Growing Up Fisher (US: NBC)
DJ Nash’s semi-autobiographical series, in which the Fisher family – blind attorney JK Simmons, mother Jenna Elfman and son Eli Baker – surprisingly grow closer after the parents get a divorce and Simmons finally gets a guide dog called Elvis. It’s nice, it’s got Jason Bateman doing the voiceover for that Arrested Development feel and David Schwimmer from Friends is an exec producer, too. Elfman and Simmons are both good. However, it’s not very funny, just mildly uplifting, and most of the humour revolves around Simmons’ blindness. If you find people being blind and trying to do things funny, it might be more up your street.

But after the jump, reviews of Agents of SHIELD, Helix, Red Road, Secrets and Lies, 19-2, The Americans, Banshee, Community, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Elementary, Hannibal, Line of Duty, Suits and True Detective.

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending
I reviewed the third episode here of Mind Games here, in case you’re interested. Other than that, I’ve still got the third episode of Red Road to watch, but that’s about it. Did anyone watch Shetland?

Agents of SHIELD (US: ABC; UK: Channel 4)
Silly but it still had Bill Paxton. The CGI looked a bit cheap and we got yet another mystery not an answer. Same old, same old. Plus does anyone actually care about Skye?
Yes, Men
An experience I haven’t had since more or less the first episode – an episode that I was actually looking forward to. In this case, it’s because comic book Asgardian Lorelei – currently appearing in this month’s Loki: Agent of Asgard, coincidentally – showed up, bringing Lady Sif in hot pursuit. Despite all the standard Agents of SHIELD furniture doing its best to drown out those two’s awesomeness, it was actually a pretty good episode. Perhaps most notable for its implications for the larger Marvel Universe, given how Thor 2 ended.

Hey, fact fans – did you know that Elena Satine who played Lorelei is actually Russian and was up for the role of Black Widow in the movies? She was also Aquaman’s girlfriend/wife, Mera, on Smallville.

Helix (US: SyFy; UK: 5*)
After weeks of the show getting progressively sillier and with still no fundamental information divulged, we finally learn that (spoiler alert) this is all something to do with immortality and the secret organisation of 500 immortals who want to rule the world. Which is so silly, I’m calling it a day on Helix. Sorry.

Red Road (US: Sundance TV)
The Wolf and the Dog
A bit more impressive in amping up the tension and racism than the first episode was, and we also get the added interest of Martin Henderson’s wife having schizophrenia, by the looks it. Jason Momoa, incidentally, is starting to sound a bit Hawaiian in places, I’ve noticed. Intriguing, but not yet totally compelling.

Secrets and Lies (Australia: Network 10; UK: Channel 5)
Episode 2
Martin Henderson again, this time a bit more impressive than in Red Road. A bit quicker paced and more of a mystery to be solved than in the first episode, with new suspects (Ben Lawson from The Deep End) and new motivations (no, no spoilers) to deal with. The police are still about as well drawn as the Agents in The Matrix, though.

The recommended list
I’ve already given you my thoughts on this week’s Vikings, this week’s 19-2 and The Doctor Blake Mysteries are still in the pile, I still haven’t watched any episodes of Jonathan Creek, but otherwise, I’m all up to date.

19-2 (Canada: Bravo)
A slightly inevitable ending but the journey on the way made it worthwhile. The warmest episode yet with some good character touches.

The Americans (US: FX; UK: ITV)
The Walk In
Other than a quick trip to a warehouse, largely more child paranoia, sadly. Everything this season is feeling a bit diffuse and unconnected, without the tension or focus of the first season, sadly. Here’s hoping it pulls its socks up soon.

Banshee (US: Cinemax/UK: Sky Atlantic)
Lots of epic fights, but largely notable just for how much the show its disassembling its own set-up in preparation for tonight’s finale.

Community (US: NBC)
App Development and Condiments
One of the funniest, nerdiest episodes of Community – which is saying something. With references to Logan’s Run, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and even Zardoz, it also had interesting things to say about social networking. And on top of that, they had Mitch Hurwitz, creator of Arrested Development, acting for some reason.

The Doctor Blake Mysteries (Australia: ABC1; UK: BBC1, Alias)
Crossing The Line
A fairly obvious and regular mystery – it had to be, since I guessed whodunnit and why about halfway through. Nevertheless, a good story, with some excellent period details, ranging from the nature of Australian manners to the laws on pornography at the time. And does Doctor Blake now realise what he’s got in Maddy? Hmm…

Elementary (US: CBS; UK: Sky Living)
Ears To You
Generally a ridiculous episode but one in keeping with the Holmes stories at least. Lestrade is still here and interesting, too.
Hound of the Cancer Cells
Most notable really for the title and the nature of the murder. But not really much of a puzzler, since I guessed it, and the Bell story was really just an unnecessary sideline.

Hannibal (NBC US/Sky Living UK)
A bit more like it. If last season was all about the French cuisine and making everything beautiful, as you can tell from the episode titles this year, it’s Japanese time and making everything just a little bit stranger. Indeed, thanks to Tim Twin Peaks Hunter’s direction and the general design of the show, it’s beginning to feel very unreal, like something David Lynch would concoct, a horrifying nightmare journey through dreams and unreality, the horror now being that you’re in prison and everyone in the world believes you’re a crazy murderer. Hannibal’s ‘field trip’, for example, was just something else altogether. On the negative side, the show started with a fair amount of gore and blood, which up to now, it’s largely avoided in favour of more abstract body horrors.

Line of Duty (UK: BBC2)
Episode 4
Was doing so well until it veered into 24 territory and series one’s implausibilities again…
Episode 5
…and then proved us wrong by coming back from the brink almost instantly, to give us another nailbiting episode set mainly in an interview room. Who’s the goodie, who’s the baddie? Next week’s episode has a potentially thin, misogynistic line to tread, but I have high hopes it will avoid the trap it’s set for itself.

Perception (US: TNT; UK: Watch)
Enough’s enough – the show’s just not interesting any more. I quit.

Suits (US: USA Network; UK: Dave)
Buried Secrets
Largely an episode revolving around romantic pairings and secrets among the characters, with Louis apparently finally rumbling Mike’s deception. Okay, but not the most accessible of episodes.
Yesterday’s Gone
Hopefully the resolution of the Louis dilemma, but this tail end to the season feels like a bit of a fan-service add-on after the first-half’s epic story arc. The show needs to stop wallowing in past storylines and move on to new ones soon.

True Detective (HBO/Sky Atlantic)
Form and Void
A dreadful ending – by which I mean it was full of dread – that gave us pretty much the ending we would have been expecting, had we not spent years being trained by shows like Lost to expect that they’re all dead, in a giant dome or merely the creations of a ghostly scriptwriter. Pretty satisfying in most regards and the show had a lot to say about crime, particularly among the poor and the rural, as well as conspiracies, cover-ups and men. But it’ll probably be more notable once we get through future seasons and look back at how well it all fit together.

“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?