What have you been watching? Including The Flash, Homeland, Elementary, The Blacklist, Arrow and Selfie

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.

Ah, backlogs, backlogs, backlogs. They build up so quickly, but they’re so hard to clear. Whether I do this on a Friday or a Monday, there’s still always something I should have watched but haven’t. Still in the viewing queue are last night’s Gracepoint, Tuesday’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and Sunday’s Cara Fi – a new S4C romcom starring Dave The Coach from Gavin & Stacey that I’ll probably write about on Monday, once/if I’ve seen both episodes one and maybe two. I’m toying with watching HBO’s The Comeback, but that’s technically on its second season, after a gap of a decade or so between seasons, so I might not. I’m also only halfway through the return of the marvellous The Fall. But I’ll be doing a lot more commuting next week, so I should be able to work my way through a lot more then.

My backlog would be a lot longer, incidentally, if I hadn’t decided that good as they are, I’m just not wanting to watch any more of either Jane The Virgin or The Affair. You may continue to watch them if you wish and taunt me with their goodness.

After the jump, though, I’ll be running through: Arrow, The Blacklist, Doctor Who, Elementary, The Fall, The Flash, Forever, Gotham, Homeland, Muianey, Selfie and Scorpion. One of these will be getting dropped this week – which is it? Probably not the one you think I’ll be dropping.

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending

Elsewhere, I’ve reviewed Constantine.

Forever (US: ABC; UK: Sky 1)
The Ecstasy of Agony
Employing the time honoured (cf CSI) tactic of having the mild-mannered hero befriending an educated dominatrix, Forever slightly turned a corner, giving us a decent guest star (Jane Seymour – not as the dominatrix) and advances in the supporting cast and the show’s relationships. It’s an amiable enough procedure, but when the show ignores its mythology, it becomes relatively ordinary again. Very much a pick-and-choose show, but I’m sticking with it.
First episode

Gotham (US: Fox; UK: Channel 5)
The Mask
A sort of halfway house between standard Gotham and last week’s episode, with the silliness confined to a Fight Club. Ben McKenzie started to growl again, unfortunately. As usual, most of the good bits were to do with Bruce and Alfred. But we’re definitely starting to see progress now.
First episode

Mulaney (US: Fox)
In the Name of the Mother, and the Son and the Holy Andre
While the show is slowly starting to create a foundation for itself that doesn’t involve being a 2014 Seinfeld, it’s abundantly clear it doesn’t know what to do with anyone except Martin Short and Mulaney’s character, with Seaton Smith seemingly there just to comment on the stand-up comedy scene. The stand-up this week was at least not bad for a change, and the show itself was consistently funny, but it does need to try to work out what it’s doing with its life.
First episode

Scorpion (US: CBS; UK: ITV2)
Risky Business
Utterly predictable and pretty stupid, but that’s par for the course. Starting to feel like a slightly more fun, slightly less rigorous Numb3rs. I was surprised that (spoiler alert) they didn’t recruit the black genius to be a regular, though.
First episode

Selfie (US: ABC)
In which Karen Gillan gets a landline. Amping up the romance again was a good move, but as this is the week the show got cancelled, a little too late I’m afraid.
First episode

The recommended list

Arrow (US: The CW; UK: Sky1)
Probably the worst written and directed and stupidest episode of the show so far, despite the introduction of DC superhero WIldcat. But next week’s has got Cupid in it, so let’s wait and see, since it could get worse. So far, a disappointing season, that’s far too comic booky, has killed off one of the best characters, is trying to give us more Laurel instead (which no one was asking for) and given us too many double bluffs, all with few of the things that made the show fun to watch in the first place. Even the fights looked poor. I’m actually considering putting this on the ‘death watch’ list now.
First episode

The Blacklist (US: NBC; UK: Sky Living)
The Decemberist
Now that’s the stuff. After spending the season so far trying to emulate the first season and giving us some dull storylines that never seemed to go anywhere, the return of Jon Bokencamp to scriptwriting duties gave us something that was properly first season, right down to the return of Raymond’s special chair. Lots of plots got resolved, new avenues opened up and it was all a big bunch of fun.
First episode

Doctor Who (UK: BBC1; US: BBC America)
Death In Heaven
As usual with Steven Moffat finales, a lot happening that would probably take a good few hours to unpick. Slightly disappointing use of You Know Who, although the escape scene was great. The arrival of Cyber version of a much loved character was somewhat unexpected – although explicable in terms of Sunday/Tuesday’s events – and was half tasteful, half distasteful. And, of course, Capaldi finally became the good Doctor we’re all used to. Certainly, as a season, one of the best in terms of writing since Christopher Eccleston’s, but whether it had quite the joy and lovability it needed, is a much trickier question to answer.

Elementary (US: CBS; UK: Sky Living)
Just A Regular Irregular
Something of a nothing episode, with playful mathematicians being killed as part of a game. A decent enough crime, albeit one solved without much by way of deduction, but as has been the case in the past few episodes, the focus has been more on new arrival Kitty Winter and her interactions with Holmes and Watson. It’s not really doing it for me, but it’s still engaging enough that I’ll keep watching.
First episode

The Flash (US: The CW; UK: Sky 1)
A show struggling to work out what to do with its female characters (and women in general), but still loads of fun, and comic book fans can probably guess what’s coming thanks to the revelation at the end of the episode. Clancy Brown, too!
First episode

Homeland (US: Showtime; UK: Channel 4)
And I’m done. Sorry, but that ‘revelation’ was ludicrous. Homeland was worth watching as a reality-based spy show, even if it became a tad too 24 at times. But this twist (and I’m aware it’s drug-induced) was so desperate, so ridiculous, that despite the fact the rest of the episode was pretty good, I just don’t want to bother with the show any more.
First episode

  • Gareth Williams

    For Homeland see Heroes. One series wonder. Rotten.

    Interstellar was brilliant until they left Earth, ridiculous at the end, and a bit of both inbetween.

  • JustStark

    Well, I thought Heroes series one was rubbish at the time (and said so) but they definitely had the same problem: a story with a beginning, middle, and end, and then a sudden scramble to extend them by finding new things for the characters to do even though their stories had been resolved at the end.

    I thought that Homeland had finally — after two wasted years! — come up with something new to be (mainly by getting rid of Brodie, whose character had absolutely nowhere to go after the end of the first series and should have been ditched there and then) so it's disappointing to hear that it doesn't make it. This episode should be reaching the UK Sunday week, so I'll see then if I agree.

    (Time again, possibly, for me to repeat my annoyance with TV programmes dragging themselves on and on past their natural length, rather than doing one good, serial story and then stopping.)

  • Mark Carroll

    I'll stay off “Homeland” then. I don't watch “The Flash”, but I do like Clancy Brown. I was thinking of trying out “The Affair”; it's thus of some concern that it's failed to suck you in.

    I do remember “The Blacklist” this time so, yes, The Decembrist must have been a better episode. (-:

    I didn't think this season of “Doctor Who” resoundlingly great writing-wise — I don't think any of the stories would make it into my top five of the new era, and some of them are nowhere in sight of that — but overall it was quite good and I do have more hope for it at the end of this season than I did after the last. Everything other than the writing is consistently pretty good.

    I didn't notice that “The Fall” is back, thank you.

    I haven't really found much lately that I am inclined to watch. Right now I'm working through a bit more early “House”.

    “The Walking Dead” still ambles along reasonably but I'm not sure it's really going anywhere. If they really do have oodles of seasons planned out then they need to get that plan to an editor.

  • Gareth Williams

    John Oliver also delivered the best joke told on The Daily Show since John Oliver left The Daily Show: “I think we've all seen that I can do the show.”

  • There has been a paucity of gags on TDS of late, haven't there? It doesn't help when Oliver's covered an issue on Sunday and TDS then has a go the following week and is massively inferior.

  • I think there have been genuinely innovative eps this season of Doctor Who, including Flatline, the one with the Moon and Mummy On The Orient Express, with only a couple of massively duff ones (Robot of Sherwood, the first one up to the halfway mark). Which I think takes it a notch above the usual.

    The Fall was aces.