What have you been watching? Including X-Men: Days of Future Past, Game of Thrones and Old School

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 – they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

You take a day off and blimey, even in summer, it’s suddenly all systems go at the networks. As a result, still in the viewing queue are the first episodes of NBC’s Undateable and Crossbones as well as AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire. Fingers crossed, I’ll have reviews of them up tomorrow and Thursday – and not such a backlog for my next round-up, which should be on Friday.

I did watch a movie, though:

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Probably the most famous of all the X-Men comic storylines – if any X-men comic can truly be said to have famous storylines – with the cast of the first three movies facing an apocalyptic future thanks to some killer robots called Sentinels. So they get Kitty PrydeWolverine to travel back in time to 1973 where he has to meet the cast of X-Men: First Class and guide them on a different path that doesn’t involve them all dying.

With an amalgam of X-Men writers and directors to match the on-screen melange, this feels like X-Men: First Class crossed with X-Men: the more fun, action-packed storyline and period setting of the former but with the coldness and coolness of the latter. Largely a Mystique/Professor X piece, with a lot of added Wolverine, it still manages to feature cameos from pretty much everyone who was in X-Men and X-Men: First Class, as well a few new ones, even if it’s only for a few moments, and with its time travel element, don’t be surprised by the fact it effectively wipes out X-Men 3 from the canon so that they can have more fun in the next movie, X-Men: Apocalypse, based on the second most-famous X-Men/X-Men: Evolution storyline.

None of it makes a lick of sense, mind, and no more fits into continuity than X-Men: Origins: Wolverine. All the same, the second best of the X-Men movies, thanks to Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender (with a consistent accent for a chance) and Hugh Jackman. In fact, I’m going to see it again later this week.

After the jump, a round-up of the regulars, with reviews of 24, Continuum, Game of Thrones and Old School.

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending

Last night’s Penny Dreadful and Enlisted are still in the viewing queue. But I did manage to watch:

Old School (Australia: ABC1)
Smash Repairs
Continuing the show’s hybrid ambling 70s dramedy-hardcore modern crime story approach, the show continues with both the overall series storyline and a one-off car crime episode. Neill and Brown are vaguely antagonistic towards each other but that doesn’t really excuse the complete lack of chemistry between them, beyond the fact Brown hardly seems engaged with the story at all. It doesn’t help that his character has little to do but be stupid, while Neill yells at him a lot. At the moment, the bank hacking seems more like an attempt to modernise the story and to give Neill’s wife something to snip at him about, than anything too relevant to the main story. Strangely, it’s actually the storyline involving Brown’s granddaughter and pal’s son (Mark Coles Smith) that actually felt the most involving. Despite a general amiability, the show urgently needs to get Brown and Neill on the same page, for the sake of the series as a whole.
First episode

The recommended list

I didn’t quite have time to watch Prisoners of War or Silicon Valley this week, unfortunately. But here’s what I did watch.

24 (US: Fox; UK: Sky 1)
Episode 5
Jack sits in a chair for an episode, so Yvonne Strahovski has to do all the work instead. But some isolated moments of excellence, in between the general silliness.

Continuum (Canada: Showcase; UK: SyFy)
Minute of Silence
Some tedious parkour (because it now is tedious) but otherwise forgettable, beyond the addition of an unnecessary character.
+ Revolutions Per Minute
A cameo from someone unexpected and a sudden recall of what the programme was about once upon the time shows that Continuum is very much headed in the right direction but is very much taking its time about it. Episode 10 and I reckon they could have done everything they’ve done this season in half the time.

Games of Thrones (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
The Mountain and the Viper
Another great episode, thanks to Sanza Stark surprisingly, but also thanks to Arya and the Hound, and of course the fight between the Red Viper and the Mountain (I predicted how some of that would turn out, but not all). But we’re only a couple of episodes away from the end, so it looks like, once again, everything that was pressing and urgent at the end of the last season (i.e. the White Walkers) is pretty much forgotten about now, as per usual.


  • 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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