What have you been watching? Including Master of None, You’re The Worst, Arrow, Doctor Who and Limitless

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.

I’m starting to lag a bit, as you may have noticed by the fact I’m writing this on a Saturday. It hasn’t helped that Netflix put out all of Marvel’s Jessica Jones yesterday, at the same time that Amazon Instant Video decided to do the same with The Man In The High Castle, both of which I’ll hopefully be reviewing in full next week. I was also still having to deal with the second half of the first season of Master of None.

So although I managed to review Into The Badlands (US: AMC; UK: Amazon Instant Video) this week, I’ve yet to get round to either Chicago Med – a hospital spin-off from Chicago PD which itself was a spin-off from Chicago Fire – and Crackle’s auction house drama The Art of More. Hopefully, I’ll get round to them on Monday, but on the strengths of the reviews of The Art of More and the strengths of both Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, I can’t imagine they’ll be shows worth sticking with.

All the same, and despite the fact a few shows are coming to an end anyway as December looms on the horizon, I think it’s time to make some room in my schedule by deleting a few programmes from my list, since The Bridge/Bron/Broen is returning to the UK tonight, guaranteeing I have two more hours of viewing every week to get through. And I haven’t even tried The Last Panthers on Sky Atlantic yet.

So I don’t think I can be bothered to watch the second episode of Donny!, and I think The Last Kingdom and The Beautiful Lie can be dropped without the world ending – Heaven knows I’ve been patient enough with them, as they’ve taken a long time to not do a huge amount so far.

I passed a third-episode verdict on the marginally improving Agent X this week, but I don’t think it really merits a second chance in this time-constrained time, despite the presence of Sharon Stone. I’m also going to give further episodes of Blood and Water a miss, since although it’s quite a brief show and it’s started to find its feet this week by turning into a sort of ‘Chinese-Canadian Detective meets In Treatment‘, with whole episodes just multi-lingual, three-handed interrogation scenes at the police station, the actual crime being investigated just isn’t that interesting. 

I’ll let you know what happens with Ash Vs Evil Dead once I’ve watched the latest ep. Supergirl would be off the viewing list by now if it weren’t for the fact I’m watching it my wife so we can mock its atrocious dialogue and plotting. Grandfathered is just too variable but hits highs enough and is charming enough that I might stick with it for a while. Blindspot‘s on Mondays – that’s probably the only reason I’m watching it now.

But I’ll be reviewing the lastest episodes of them and Arrow, Doctor Who, The Flash, Limitless, Master of None, The Player, and You’re The Worst after the jump, so we can talk more about them there.

Shows I’m watching but not recommending

Blindspot (US: NBC; UK: Sky Living)
1×9 – Authentic Envoy
And lo, Sullivan Stapleton was finally allowed to channel his inner Damien Scott, and all was good. The show also finally gave us a villain of note (Ennis Esmer from Man Seeking Woman, The Listener, The LA Complex and Red Oaks). Unfortunately, everything else about the show is still struggling to be compelling, with everybody else relatively personality-less and dull. Even the ‘shock ending’ was a bit snooze-worthy and predictable. But hey? What else is there to watch on a Monday?
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episodethird episode

Grandfathered (US: Fox)
1×7 – Sexy Guardian Angel
As always, every very good episode of Grandfathered is immediately followed by an okayish one. All the same, for all the horrors that might have taken place with Stamos’ ageing lothario teaching his son how to go on the pull, the show managed to maintain its intelligence, not go to any of the icky places it could have gone and also avoided some pat, heartwearming endings. Strong plotting, basically, but without the dialogue and laughs to match.
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episodethird episode

Master of None (Netflix)
After the first six episodes, Master of None starts to become more of a romance, with some comedy, as Ansari film appearance becomes less importance and his relationship with Noël Wells becomes more important. It’s all intelligently handled, growing naturally from what’s already been established, and the final episode is a surprising way to end things that suggests that Ansari might have seen one of my favourite movies. A more profound, intelligent show than might have been expected, one with more than its fair share of drama, romance and comedy. Definitely worth a try and I’m looking forward to season two (if there is one).
Review: First six episodes

The Player (US: NBC)
1×9 – Tell
The not officially cancelled, but basically cancelled show ends its truncated first season with a series of unanswered plot threads that make it clear The Player really wants to keep all its options open. But it did give us a pretty good version of the Wesley Snipes v Philip Winchester slugfest we were dreaming of, gave Charity Wakefield something to do other than sit back at HQ all the time and enabled Winchester to have fun for a moment or two. Still, something of a damp squib for the show to go out on, beyond a semi-decent motorcycle chase. I doubt many people will miss The Player, but it was nice to have a network TV show that could do proper stuntwork again. It just needed to have some fun, some budget and a decent timeslot – I imagine if Blindspot and The Player had been swapped in the schedules, both might have survived.
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episodethird episode

Supergirl (US: CBS; UK: Sky1)
1×5 – Livewire
One of the two shows this week that had to either air a completely different episode from the one intended or just not air at all (Legends) thanks to similarities between the scheduled episode and the Paris atrocities. Here, Supergirl swaps fourth and fifth eps, meaning things with Jimmy and Lucy Lane have altered strangely from episode three (and will revert back next episode) and Supergirl is having an early Thanksgiving with her foster mum (movie Supergirl Helen Slater, who clearly hasn’t been acting much since the 80s). Lots of flashbacks to Dean Cain, too. But those weren’t enough to redeem a dismally stupid episode in which Brit Morgan (Graceland, The Middleman, True Blood) plays a shock-jock DJ who gets electrical superpowers. The show’s clearly trying hard now, but saddled with its inept format, poor writing and dismal stunts and special effects, it can’t quite recreate The Flash‘s fun but cheesy set-up. 
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episode; third episode

The recommended list

Arrow (US: The CW; UK: Sky1)
4×7 – Brotherhood
A directorial debut for the show’s long-time stunt co-ordinator James Bamford gives the show almost an entirely new style, as we get wheeled through steadicam shots, long tracking-shots and even fights that start on one floor of a building, enter a lift and then leave on another floor, the camera following them along the way. Scripting’s fine, with yet more Legends of Tomorrow establishment work for Brandon Routh, who displaces Mr Terrific for an ep, and the continuing lightness and humour of Ollie is making the show a lot more fun to watch. Generally, good all round. BTW, can anyone say ‘clones’?
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episodethird episode 

Doctor Who (UK: BBC; US: BBC America)
9×9 – Sleep No More
Mark Gatiss gives us his choice of genre pastiche for this season – found-footage horror and The Ring  and depending on how you read the final two minutes, it’s either a bravura attempt to give us an episode in which nothing we’ve seen can be believed and which is a mind-blowing or a great big, nonsensical ‘f*ck you’ to the audience. While there are elements of it that are fun, well put together and imaginative, with decently spooky direction, characters didn’t really inspire interest enough to care if they died or not and nothing really hangs together or can be explained. Unless we’re expected to believe, as the final two minutes suggest, that that’s the point. Probably the best ever Gatiss episode but still something that signifies very little in the scheme of things.
Where can I watch it?

The Flash (US: The CW; UK: Sky 1)
2×7 – Gorilla Warfare
Back to Legends of Tomorrow work. Again. Has there ever been a spin-off show that’s needed this much pre-establishment maintenance work from not one but two other shows? I doubt it. But aside from the Hawkgirl thread, we get the return of Grodd, which a fantastic pay-off at the end for the comic book geeks (I really didn’t think they were going to go there, but they did), as well as the continuing attempts to make the new Harrison Wells a redeemed figure who could hang around for future seasons. The easy conclusion to the previous episode’s big cliffhanger was a bit weak, though, although they did manage to find the best possible way to do it.
When’s it airing near me?
Reviews: First episodethird episode  

Limitless (US: CBS)
1×9 – Headquarters!
Once again, epic kudos to Limitless for its continuing innovations in the field of CBS procedural storytelling, with some really wacky and imaginative call-outs. And since it was Craig Sweeny, the creator of both Limitless and Elementary, who gave it to us, it’s nice to see that he can be innovative, even if it’s not on Elementary any more. 
Where can I watch it?
Reviews: First episodethird episode

You’re The Worst (US: FXX)
2×11 – A Rapidly Mutating Virus
Once again, some fabulous acting by Aya Cash, as Gretchen’s depression continues, but also some fabulous writing as the show takes the Jimmy/Nina plot to its natural conclusion without making Jimmy look too horrible in the process. One of the most dramas as well as the best comedies on TV at the moment.
When’s it airing near me?
Review: First episode

  • benjitek

    Jessica Jones was surprisingly disappointing. Low budget superhero stuff. Must've had zero budget for effects as there weren't any. Writing and acting didn't make up for it — even the fight scenes were filled with repetitive stunts. Throwing people against walls was particularly popular. Slow moving — 10 hours would've been a stretch, 8 hours plenty — 13 hours meant a lot of filler scenes. High Castle looks good though 🙂

  • JustStark

    Right. I'm doing this out of turn because I have just watched the absolute worst example of what is wrong with modern Doctor Who. Seriously, if they'd decided to write a textbook they couldn't have made it any clearer.

    So, if you haven't seen this week's episode (Face the Raven) and don't want to know what happens, STOP READING NOW.

    I mean it, STOP.


    I am not having people squealing about having it 'spoiled' by me, when it does that all by itself.

    Right. Anyway. So. The idea, you see, was brilliant. A guest character is in danger. The companion, acting heroically, puts themselves in harm's way instead. But, the twist is, they aren't sacrificing themselves, because that has been done to death; no, they are playing a Doctor-esque strategic game, because actually they are safe and making the enemy's plan rebound on them. Only, the twist is that in fact the guest was never in fact in danger, but the companion didn't know what was going on and, by trying to be the Doctor when they were out of their depth, ends up, through the noblest of motives, dead.

    Brilliant idea. Excellent idea. I mean I am in awe of coming up with that. It's genius. It's so much better than just 'sacrifices herself'.

    So what do they do with it?

    The absolute worst thing possible. They have a literal death countdown that the companion literally says 'give it to me' only for the bad guy to literally be unable to remove it for no reason other than the plot dictates it.

    I mean that has got to rank up there as in the top ten laziest bits of plotting I have ever seen.

    And as a result something that, if thought had been put into it in order to have an actual plot convey the idea instead of just having the idea be explicitly what happens, could have been an utterly mind-blowingly-amazing bit of television, up there with, and I am being serious, Edge of Darkness, instead ends up as abject and utter crap that makes you wonder what they are even thinking allowing it to be made.

    I mean… Urgh. Uk.

    Normal service will be resumed, including a couple of films I forgot to include in last week's. but I just had to get that out. Because, yuk.

  • Mark Carroll

    Not exactly up to Daredevil quality then? You may have saved me many hours then.

  • benjitek

    Give it a try — you might like it (I didn't much care for Daredevil either). You'll know within the first couple episodes, pacing doesn't change much — a bit more 'stuff' towards the end.

    IMHO — 13 episodes gave them plenty of time to morph into extended subplots with at least 3 different villains — 13 hours for 1 was a bit much. Another option would've been to start out with the sisters childhood, maybe 2-3 episodes as she discovered her powers and the mother-factor, another 2-3 episodes for her early history with the villain and the remaining episodes for realtime. Instead, they used flashbacks. There was a huge 13 hour canvas to draw on, but they used pencil.

  • Mark Carroll

    You liked “Sleep No More” rather more than I. I might have preferred “Cold War” or even “Night Terrors”. I found “Face the Raven” to be one of the best of this season, though I'm not sure my wife agrees.

    I've been enjoying old “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”; the second season's running well for the first third. Also, I've enjoyed old “House”, I've not run into a low patch yet on re-watching, there's some good variety among episodes.

    While I'd not recommend it, “Grimm” has been better lately, things are settling down in a different interesting way and it's been back to more monster of the week than international conspiracy. Rather better still, “The Blacklist” is remaining generally good, an improvement over last season: I am actually bothering to pay attention more episodes than not. I'm not the biggest fan of “The Flash” but I concede that's probably been a bit better lately too.

    I'm still getting early nights so no “You're The Worst”, and there's suddenly plenty of “The Man in the High Castle” to face, and now it sounds like “Master of None” should also be on the list!

  • It's been okay so far. I turned off and tried watching Daredevil for a bit of excitement, but found I couldn't. Now on Jessica Jones again and it seems better now I've had the contrast

  • Mark Carroll

    Thank you, I can certainly risk a couple of episodes!

  • benjitek

    Between the two, JJ seemed slightly better than DD — but at least to me, that's not saying much as of found neither all that engaging.

  • I think they both try to do different but complementary things. They're the yin and yang of each other basically.

  • benjitek

    With all the stuff you have to watch, it's great you found something you're enjoying…

  • Well thank you! I wouldn't say I'm loving it, just that I'm enjoying it more than I did the first two episodes. I think I'm admiring it more than I'm enjoying it at the moment, but to be honest, I think it's more aimed at a female geek audience than a male geek audience, so I'm not in the target demographic

  • GYAD

    PEEP SHOW – Squirm-tastic brilliance.

    TOAST OF LONDON – Good. Bad. Weird. All of those.

    THE LAST KINGDOM – History without history, or drama, or even logic.

    LONDON SPY – A slow, boring gay fantasy with a spy veneer.

    THE LAST PANTHERS – Arty and different but the writing is weak and it feels like it's skimming the surface of the subject.

    DETECTORISTS – Simply sublime.

  • Andy Butcher

    Work has been hectic and involved much more travel than normal, so afraid I'm still in the process of trying to catch up on most things (and trying to decide what shows I can drop so my viewing list becomes a little more manageable. Hence my lack of posts recently.

    I have managed to keep largely up to date with Arrow and The Flash. Both have been thoroughly entertaining, and I've been actively enjoying watching them moving the pieces into position for Legends of Tomorrow. Still not a huge fan of Ollie's new Green Arrow cossie, but that's a pretty minor niggle.

    Ash vs Evil Dead is also making me very happy, but to be fair I am so much the core audience that it's almost impossible for me to be objective about it.

    I suspect much the same can be said about Jessica Jones. As both a recovering comic book geek and a huge fan of the Noir genre in all its forms, the show would seem like it's been tailor-made for me even if it didn't have Tennant as the Big Bad. Am only up to episode 6 so far, but have been loving pretty much every moment.

    Anyway, that's pretty much it for now – still lots of other stuff to catch up on, and I haven't even started Man in the High Castle yet… 😛

  • Andy Butcher

    Yup – so far I think they've done a very good job of slotting very clearly into the same world as Daredevil while making a very different type of show.

    But then, as I mentioned above, it's so perfectly tailored to my tastes that I'm hardly objective. 😉

  • Glad to have you back! I'll be talking about Jessica Jones more fully this week. I'm up to episode 10 now…

  • Mark Carroll

    Yeah, I've decided to postpone The Bridge until the New Year! Right now I have silly amounts of other stuff pending.

  • FredDig

    Arrow's fight scenes were quite improved this week, now I know why, cheers Rob. Limitless was definitely inventive this week and has proved to be quite fun so far (BTW Elementary was created by Robert Doherty, but Craig Sweeny has written lots of episodes!). Rob, have you noticed the
    change in “color” when Brian is on NZT, I only mention it because I remember a similar effect used in Awake, didn’t catch your attention until a few episodes in!

  • Mark Carroll

    I was just chatting to my wife about how the colour palette seems to vary in Jessica Jones.

  • “Arrow's fight scenes were quite improved this week, now I know why, cheers Rob.”

    You're welcome – and welcome back!

    “Limitless was definitely inventive this week and has proved to be quite fun so far (BTW Elementary was created by Robert Doherty, but Craig Sweeny has written lots of episodes!).”

    Thanks. I think my poor addled brain misread IMDB. Sweeny's an exec-producer of Elementary and has been since the first ep, and I think I mistook that as meaning he was creator. But he's not, you're right.

    “Rob, have you noticed the
    change in “color” when Brian is on NZT, I only mention it because I remember a similar effect used in Awake, didn’t catch your attention until a few episodes in!”

    I hadn't – recently, anyway. I actually thought they'd been downplaying the colour change and the NZT effects of late. They were matching the movie effects in the first ep or two, but I thought they had been reducing them subsequently since they're pricey and also take time so slow down the narrative. Would you say they've still been noticeable?