What have you been watching? Including Game of Thrones, American Odyssey, The Flash and Community

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.

It’s time for me to be all agile again and move “What have you been watching?” to Fridays – there’s now almost nothing on Thursdays to watch, other than Vikings and The Blacklist (which isn’t long for this world), and given there’s now Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and American Odyssey (well…) in the US, and Deadline Gallipoli over in Australia on a Sunday, I think one must follow the advice of Miyamoto Musashi in the second of The Book of Five Rings and be like water, flowing round the obstacle of the TV schedules, rather than trying to oppose them.

That means there’ll be another one of these on Friday. But for now, I’ve already reviewed and previewed The Messengers and Wayward Pines elsewhere, and as I mysteriously managed to overlook The Comedians until now, won’t be able to review the first two episodes of that until later in the week. I’m also planning on doing a full season review of Daredevil at some point this week, too, having binge-watched it last week.

So that means that after the jump, it’s just the regulars: American Crime, American Odyssey, The Americans, Arrow, Community, The Flash, Game of Thrones, iZombie, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Silicon Valley and Vikings. One’s for the chop, BTW. And isn’t that a lot of Americans? Reminds me of Dodgeball

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending  

American Odyssey (US: NBC; UK: BBC Two, to air in May)
1×2 – Oscar Mike
Slightly more mundane and stupider than the first episode, as we descend into dramatic cliché, although thankfully we avoid an “easy to guess password” scene right at the beginning. Still manages to be quite diverse and incisive, with a considerable amount of Arabic spoken. The Greek stuff, while partially an attempt to justify the ‘Odyssey’ of the title, suggests that the original airdate for this was January. However, for all its desire to be globally cognisant, you’ll probably spend most of the episode shouting “That’s not how the Internet works!’ at the screen.
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode

iZombie (US: The CW)
1×4 – Live and Let Clive
I tried watching this, but despite the fact David Anders and his plot is gold, everything else wasn’t. Consider this abandoned.
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode, Third episode

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (US: ABC; UK: Channel 4)
2×17 – Melinda
How May became the cavalry turns out to be not as interesting a story as you’d think, but still more interesting than anything involving Skye.
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode, Third episode

The recommended list

The Americans (US: FX)
3×12 – I Am Abassin Zadran
A big, big revelation, an important meeting, including a returning character, and problems with teenagers exceeding their boundaries. Also, an interesting handling of the Mujahideen, informed by hindsight, obviously, but still a nifty way of putting us on the sides of our heroes.
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode; third episode

American Crime (US: ABC)
Possibly the first episode so far that’s had a moment that didn’t ring true, which given it’s seven episodes in shows just how good at verisimilitude this is. It also navigated a very difficult path involving its female characters’ sexuality that it just about managed to justify.
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode; third episode

Arrow (US: The CW; UK: Sky1)
3×19 – Broken Arrow
Shocks all round, with at least one departing character, a first guest appearance of Doug Jones, a crossover with The Flash and the big question of when The Atom’s suit is actually going to do anything atomic. Decently twisty, turny and plenty of game-changing moments (again). Good to see the producers can still surprise. But meta-humans really don’t work in Arrow and beta blockers? Really?
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode

Community (US: Yahoo; UK: Sony Entertainment Television)
6×6 – Basic Email Security
Tepid by normal Community standards, although a ‘bottle scene’ with the characters’ analysing each other’s emails helped the episode to transcend. Chiang’s meta comments also helped, as did Paget Brewster getting something to do. Long-time Community writer and director Jay Chandrasekhar appears as a racist comic in this.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode  

The Flash (US: The CW; UK: Sky 1)
1×18 – All Star Team Up
Felicity and Ray leave Arrow for another crossover with The Flash, in a much heralded but not especially exciting episode involving killer bees. While the character stuff is as fun as always, we get the joy of a returning Amanda Pays and there’s a nice Superman gag, the main plot suffers the usual problems (how can a character who can run at the speed of sound possibly be worried about bees?) and the Atom suit is about an uninspiring and unexciting as a supersuit can be. Iris also comes out of the whole episode badly. But the advancing of the series storyline about the Reverse Flash as usual redeems an otherwise lacklustre episode.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode  

Game of Thrones (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
5×1-5×4 – The Wars To Come, The House of White and Black, High Sparrow, The Sons of the Harpy
Yes, I binged. Shoot me. So the big deal in the first quarter of the season are a couple of the characters from King’s Landing heading over to join Danny on the other side of the sea after four years of her being by herself. Otherwise, it’s all some reasonably standard episodes that don’t rock the boat too much but play into existing plot structures and give us new pairings, as well as some unlikely meetings from previously separated characters who just happen to bump into one another. We also get Arya going all Kung Fu as Tom Wlaschiha from Crossing Lines makes a welcome return, events in the North take an exciting turn, and Stannis Baratheon reveals he might be a pretty good king, if it weren’t for the fire lady at his side. And you know, being Game of Thrones, there are a few deaths, too (or what looks like them, anyway). The Almighty Johnsons‘ Keisha Castle-Hughes turns up as one of the daughters of Indira Varma in episode 4.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; first season; second and third seasons  

Silicon Valley (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
2×2 – Runaway Devaluation
Very funny as always but equally as pointed – weirdly, this is probably the most accurate TV show about the modern computing industry around. The writers are also doing a good job of doing a tour of business, showing how aspects of financing work. But still funny, I promise.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode

Vikings (US: History; UK: Amazon Instant Video)
3×9 – Breaking Point
The siege of Paris starts to go a bit more history remembers, but events in Wessex get a bit soapier and sillier. But overall, mostly about religious choices for different characters, with some surprising results.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: Season one review


  • 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.