What have you been watching? Including 8MMM Aboriginal Radio, Arrow, 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 May Day weekend here in the UK this week, so given the usual Bank Holiday weather, I imagine lots of you have some TV binging to do.

Would Sir or Madam care for some recommendations? I’ve already reviewed Avengers: Age of Ultron elsewhere and after the jump, I’ll be looking at my regular TV viewing: American Crime, American Odyssey, Arrow, The Blacklist, Community, The Flash, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and Silicon Valley.

But first, a newbie.

8MMM Aboriginal Radio (Australia: ABC)
8MMM is an Aboriginal-owned radio station in the middle of nowhere that needs a vital influx of training, so a bunch of white people turn up to pass on the benefit of their wisdom to the existing Aboriginal and white staff. Some of the white people are a bit racist, some of them are very earnest and trying very hard not to be racist, some of them want to have sex with Aboriginal people and some of them actually want to be Aboriginal. The Aboriginal people? Well, what a bunch of stereotype-busters they are.

A lot of this is going to be impenetrable to anyone who isn’t well versed in Australian culture – as well as references to Bogans, lots of other bits of Australian slang and disparaging graffiti about Canberra, the warning at the beginning to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples that the show contains images and videos of dead people is also standard enough that I wasn’t sure if 8MMM was taking the piss out of it, given it’s supposed to be a comedy, it’s fictional and there aren’t any dead people in it, or it was supposed to be a genuine warning. Or both.

If it was a joke, it was about the funniest part of the show, though, which was a relatively lifeless affair redeemed only by a diverse cast (most of whom, unfortunately, can’t act) and the occasional bit of comedy, such as a cursed chair in the radio station and a joke about the ’stolen generations’, that poked fun at the show’s own earnest attempts to prove its credentials.

Shows that I’ve been watching but not really recommending  

I’ve already reviewed the first episode of Happyish, the first three episodes of The Comedians and the whole of Deadline Gallipoli this week. But here’s what else I’ve been watching

American Odyssey (US: NBC; UK: BBC Two, to air this month)
1×4 – Tango Uniform
More pass the parcel with Anna Friel, although she shows a bit more gumption this week, and more “that’s not how technology works” moments – really, someone’s bugging a cellphone and you think they’re going leave clicks on the line: what switchboard are they tapped into, hey, Mr Writer? Sarah Wynter’s thankless task of nagging wife who will support her husband’s Very Important Mission gets even more thankless. We stop caring about the trustfunder, when we’re not having to face him having an embarrassing sex scene. And we wonder if anyone could have come up with a stupider plan to flush out AAA than the terrorists did this week. Next week looks exciting, though.
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode; third episode

The Blacklist (US: NBC; UK: Sky Living)
2×20 – Quon Zhang
More secrets revealed, but actually they weren’t that interesting. Oh well, only a few more episodes to go now, so I think I’ll stick it out to the end of the season then give up. It’s a shame, since James Spader is just so good.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (US: ABC; UK: Channel 4)
2×19 – The The Dirty Half Dozen
The original gang’s back together, with Skye temporarily back from being boring to spar with Ward on a secret mission. And it actually felt quite nice for a change. But the last five minutes then turned into Marvel’s Advert for Ultron, which wasn’t quite as fun, despite a Maria Hill cameo.
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode, Third episode

The recommended list

American Crime (US: ABC)
Which way’s is it going? You can see misery in the near future for some, potential light for others, but it feels like the hammer could drop at any moment and they’ll all be ruined. Gripping and gruelling in equal measure.
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode; third episode

Arrow (US: The CW; UK: Sky1)
3×21 – Al Sah-him
No crossover this week, despite the imminent threat to one character could have been quite easily fixed with a quick call to The Flash. On the whole quiet a silly episode, as we’re once again back in “what will the Arrow team do without Olly?” territory, albeit with a slightly different answer thanks to Ra’s not quite having had Olly’s informed consent to his nicking an old Batman story line. Talking of not having informed consent, what’s up with that ending, hey? Also, how come Nyssa’s so pants at fighting compared to Olly, given she’s been training her entire life? Oh well.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode

Community (US: Yahoo; UK: Sony Entertainment Television)
6×8 – Intro to Recycled Cinema
What would have been a killer episode in the first few seasons shows how tired the series is. Here we have the citizens of Greendale making a fake sci-fi movie, but rather than pastiche sci-fi movies in a precise way that shows a love of the genre as the old Community would have done, it’s more a pastiche of a pastiche of sci-fi movies. Jeff’s monologue towards the end did lift the episode in a typically meta way, being as much a commentary on Joel McHale’s career in comparison to former NBC time slot neighbour Chris Pratt’s (or even Donald Glover et al’s), and we also had a bevy of cameos from Steve Guttenberg to Fresh Off The Boat’s Randall Park (this time playing himself), but it was weak tea indeed, to quote Larry Wilmore.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode  

The Flash (US: The CW; UK: Sky 1)
1×20 – The Trap
Future goodies galore as we learn more about the Reverse Flash, the Flash’s future, Eddie, parallel timelines, computer programming and more. There’s a reveal that was obvious but demonstrates that a previous episode’s dud B-plot wasn’t quite as dud as it might have looked at the time, and we also get a couple of unexpected flashbacks. Impressive and there’s still a few episodes until the finale amazingly enough.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode  

Silicon Valley (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
2×3 – Bad Money
As accurate a portrayal of Silicon Valley douchebags as you could hope (or fear) to see realised in yet another searingly precise and funny episode.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episode; third episode


  • 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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