What have you been watching? Including MacGyver, Lucifer, Doctor Doctor and Mr Robot

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. 

I think I did pretty well last week at keeping up with all the new TV releases. It wasn’t until Thursday/Friday when a big bunch of them dropped in my lap that I fell behind. All the same, there have been a few new ones over the weekend, too, which makes my job a little harder. I’ll try to catch up with them over the coming week, but my workload’s a bit fierce so I might end up doing ‘mini-reviews’.

Elsewhere, I’ve already reviewed The Good Place (US: NBC), Kevin Can Wait (US: CBS), Bull (US: CBS), This Is Us (US: NBC; UK: Channel 4), Designated Survivor (US: ABC; UK: Netflix), Lethal Weapon (US: CBS; UK: ITV) and The Exorcist (US: Fox; UK: Syfy). This week, I’m aiming to review the first episodes of Van Helsing (US: Syfy), Berlin Station (US: Epix), Insecure (US: HBO), Pitch (US: Fox) and Notorious (US: ABC), as well as pass third-episode verdicts on Quarry (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky Atlantic) and The Good Place. If I have time, I might even preview Falling Water (US: USA). I wouldn’t put any money on that happening, though.

After the jump, I’ll be looking at the latest episodes of Doctor Doctor, High Maintenance, Halt and Catch Fire and You’re The Worst, as well as the season finale of Mr Robot and the return of Lucifer. But before that, there was one other new show I took a look at…

MacGyver (US: CBS)
A quick glance over TMINE, including the original’s appearance in Nostalgia Corner and an attempt to crowdsource ideas for a female MacGyver, should show you how keen various people have been over the years to reboot the 80s action show about an engineering genius turned spy who uses his technical prowess to get himself out of scrapes, often with the help of a Swiss Army Knife.

Finally, though, someone’s finally gone and done it – twice, in fact, since the first pilot was scrapped, most of the cast fired, and this exceedingly awful new episode filmed in June with a new cast to replace it. A reboot, rather than a sequel, MacGyver sees former army bomb disposal expert turned super secret spy Lucas Till (X-Men: First Class) as the new MacGyver, former CSI George Eads as the ex-Delta Jack Dalton, who together ‘bro’ their way around the world in an effort to stop Vinnie Jones from killing everyone with a bioweapon. 

Whereas the original series was at great pains to ensure the science of the piece was at least semi-feasible and novel, this new MacGyver thinks science is for sissies, but can’t dispense with it altogether because what is MacGyver without some macgyvering? So the other head-nod to the original beside the names and the voiceover (somewhat wooden in this case) is also the worst part of the show, with Till either using a paper clip (you can tell it’s a paper clip because every time he uses it, the words ‘Paper Clip’ appear on the screen) or something inaccurate you’ve seen in a movie some time (eg passing a biometric scan using a fingerprint obtained by dusting a previous fingerprint), rather than anything halfway competent.

It’s also got a few women problems and every so often thinks to itself, “Maybe I could do that bit in the pilot of Scorpion. Or Hawaii Five-O‘s,” since sticking to one remake is too hard. If only it had been as interesting as either of those, though, since 10 minutes before the end, I was clubbing myself in the hope that it would be ending soon. That’s when they nicked a bit from Intelligence and I gave up.

Shows I’m watching but not recommending

Doctor Doctor (Australia: Nine)
1×2 – Episode 2
Considerably less charming than the first episode, with addict surgeon Rodger Corser finding out that small town general practice can be a miserable affair. But the show finds its fun again by the end of the episode as Corser proves his worth to his colleagues. Fingers crossed, it keeps it for the next episode.
Review: First episode

High Maintenance (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic – probably)
1×2 – Heidi
The usual two-story episode, but with series creator Ben Sinclair almost a guest star to connect the two this week. Story one is a smart look at the problems of being a cosmopolitan, metropolitan young Muslim woman who enjoys partying but still lives at home with her parents; the second, which has the customary twist in its tail, as well as Amy Ryan and Dan Stevens, is a more entertaining affair that doesn’t quite go where you think it will for someone’s 50th birthday. Exquisitly drawn character pieces, it won’t be for everyone but it’s a unique voice on TV.
Review: First episode

Lucifer (US: Fox; UK: Amazon)
2×1 – Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer
The surprisingly speedy return of the former Fox mid-season replacement sees our Lucifer having to come to terms with the arrival on Earth of his mum, who might be in any number of human bodies. As usual, the show suffers from what I’m now christening ‘Valentine syndrome’ in honour of the show that set the trend for having highly interesting background plots yet insufferably awful foreground plots. Lucifer, the angels, demons and, of course, his mum (Battlestar Galactica‘s Tricia Helfer) – yes, there is a surprisingly effective and speedy explanation for how that works – are all great fun to watch; then there’s everything to do with the weekly police investigations, which really do make you feel like you’re in Hell. I’m going to keep watching for Lucifer and co, but I do so wish they could dispense with the rest of it.
Reviews: First episodethird episode

The recommended list

Halt and Catch Fire (US: AMC; UK: Amazon)
3×6 – And She Was
What seems to be a business-as-usual episode ends with a marvellous piece of ‘plot gathering’ that finally unites the show’s two disparate strands and makes you go ‘Oh, that’s what they’re going to do!’ I could be wrong, of course. Cameron’s personal revelation was a strange twist, though. How’d that happen?
Reviews: First episodethird episode

Mr Robot (US: USA Network; UK: Amazon)
2×10 – eps2.9_python-pt2.p7z
As with last season’s finale, a bit of a puzzler that makes you wonder what’s going to happen next and why creator Sam Esmail decided to do it this while. While the season feels like it’s been meandering, the episode does have enough revelations to show you what everything’s meant, but to be honest, I do feel a little bit lost and not just because I fell for the show’s double bluff (as you might have noticed). Probably needs a rewatching, if only to watch some of Remi Malek’s superb acting when he starts becoming ‘Mr Robot’.
ReviewsFirst episodethird episode 

You’re The Worst (US: FXX; UK: 5*)
3×4 – Men Get Strong
A different take on mortality than we’re used to from American shows that probably only You’re The Worst would decide to show us. Frequently hugely funny thanks to Chris Geere’s performance, as well as all the faux Englishisms, too. 
Review: First 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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