What have you been watching? Including You’re The Worst, Tyrant, The Strain, Suits and Halt and Catch Fire

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.

With August and the summer holidays approaching, it’s going to be the last ‘What have you been watching?’ for a few weeks, so I’ll leave you with this one as a happy memory. And because the holidays are upon us, I’m going to be ruthless with a few shows that might have got as far as a third-episode verdict any other time of the year. So I’m not bothering with last night’s Rush, Satisfaction or Marriage, because the shows aren’t good enough for me to go to any effort in catching up with when I’m back from my holidays. They’re probably going to be cancelled anyway.

This week, I’ve managed to review the following new shows:

But after the jump, a round-up of the regulars, with reviews of The Bridge (US), Halt and Catch Fire, The Last Ship, The Strain, Suits, Tyrant and You’re The Worst.

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending

I’ve already done a third-episode verdicts on Extant and Welcome To Sweden elsewhere, in case you were wondering.

The Bridge (US) (US: FX)
Ghost of a Flea
Time to give up. The show very clearly has gone off-plan now. The original show, of course, was largely about a female detective and her work relationship with a male detective who’s her polar opposite. Two episodes into the second season and it’s now very clear that the writers have no interest in their female detective now they’ve ditched the format, far preferring to focus on the male detective. They’re also far more interested in Ted Levine, and Matthew Lillard’s junkie journalist and his investigations than Sonja Cross. There are attempts to make it wild and wacky, with the taxidermy dog and DEA agents that like painting fantasy wargame miniatures, as well as some very dodgy stuff involving Franka Potente and a teenage boy. But it’s just not interesting. And what happened to Annabeth Gish from the first season?
First episode Third episode

The Strain (US: FX; UK: Watch)
The Box
Unlike the somewhat terrible first episode, which had many things not going for it but which almost never was dull, this was more than a touch boring, filling the show full of prosaic moments (ooh, an AA meeting where the hero admits all his flaws!), arrant stupidity on most characters’ parts (did no one think showing the UV light results might be a good idea?), continual lack of appreciation of procedure (notably the coroners’ office, which apparently only has one employee and no visitors per day) and zero plausibility. We did get a voiceover from Carlton Cuse at the beginning and another Lostie, Kevin Durand, but that really didn’t balance anything out. And the final vampire effect was laughable. So in keeping with my holiday ruthlessness, I’m dropping this one, too.
First episode  

Tyrant (US: FX)
Hail Mary
Obviously a sports reference in the episode title, but still a Christian one, presumably ironic. Despite numerous attempts for the show to excuse its actions by saying that it knows how naive its lead is being, it is only being equally naive at the moment. However, unless the show is essentially say, “Hey, we can fix the Middle East!”, which I don’t think the writers are naive enough to believe, this looks like a bait and switch. Plus, you know, the title of the show, although that’s possibly more of a reference to evil brother than the good lead, now that Gideon Raff’s off the show and the hero’s not slapping his son around.
First episode Third episode

The recommended list

Halt and Catch Fire (US: AMC)
The 214s
Once again, a leap forward in time, with all the drama happening between episodes, which is a novel way to tell a story, at least. But as always, the show is far slippier than it first appears, with Cameron really proving that she’s a proper hacker and Gordon going in a very unexpected direction, which seems odd, but was on a par with some of the things that went down at the time. It does feel like everything’s coming together now as finally all the characters have revealed themselves, have come to like each other and now have a joint mission.
First episode Third episode

The Last Ship (US: TNT)
El Toro
Back to land battles, fire fights and jingoism, as a team put ashore in Nicaragua and encounter a society run along Mayan principles in a show that’s rapidly shaping up into ‘original Star Trek but with ships’. No, really. This episode saw them operating along the ‘What Would Kirk Do’ approach to interfering in other cultures, but it was still hard not to whoop by the end, as always. The oddest thing is the relationship between Rhona Mitry, who’s softening and the mercenary, which at first glance looked tacky and unpleasant, but is shaping up into something surprisingly genteel and pleasant.
First episode Third episode

Suits (US: USA; UK: Dave)
Litt The Hell Up
I’m still not quite sure where they’re going with this. Louis is as ridiculous as always, despite previous weeks’ attempts to redeem him. The plot is just a neverending series of U-turns. The soapy side is quite dreary. What worked in previous Suits seasons, apart from some clever legal chess playing, was the Mike-Harvey relationship. Apart, they’re just dicks; together they work as characters, as was painfully obvious last week. I might tune in next time to see what’s happening but I imagine a big red reset button in the show’s future. But I’m not sure if I’m going to carry on with this when I get back to find out.
First episode Third episode

You’re The Worst (US: FX)
A speedy promotion for You’re The Worst, which continues to be both funny and compelling as the unlikely couple try to build up a relationship that involves something other than sex. The episode featured some great dialogue, including a Joseph Campbell ‘Hero’s Journey’ debate about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a very sly Terry Richardson gag and a joke about the Welsh only English people will get. All you need to know about the show is that it has a theme by ‘Slothrust’, which makes sense for the show both as Slo-thrust or Sloth-rust.
First episode


  • 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.