What have you been watching? Including Fortitude, The Magicians, The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching. 

There were a few new shows on our global TV screens last week. I reviewed Canada’s offerings, Mary Kills People (Global) and Cardinal (CTV/Super Écran), last week and this week, I’ll be looking at the US’s output, Detroiters (Comedy Central) and Riverdale (The CW), as well as anything else that emerges onto our screens this week.

A few more oldies returned to the schedules, too, so after the jump, as well as Lethal Weapon, Lucifer, Man Seeking Woman, Six and Timeless, I’ll be revealing my thoughts on that latest from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash, as well as the start of the new series of Fortitude and The Magicians, and those final two episodes of The Crown that I never quite got round to watching…


Shows I’ve been watching but not recommending

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (US: The CW; UK: Sky 1)
2×9 – Raiders of the Lost Art
This time last year, if you’d told me that DC’s Legends of Tomorrow would be the best superhero show on TV, I’d have laughed at you. I so would. Yet here we are, a year later and I’ve given up on both Arrow and Supergirl, The Flash is starting to feel a bit old and tired (and demoted), and I’m looking forward each far more to DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. How odd. Sorry to laugh at you like that.

How has it managed this? By playing it for laughs, and this week, I’d say we’d headed to full on comedy, with our bunch of heroes revealed to be such nerds that without the Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark to inspire them, they’d never have become superheroes. Their mission? To ensure George Lucas becomes a film director. 

Lots of fun all round then, with everyone having a jolly good time, whether goodie or baddie, involved in the A-plot or the B-plot, and even Rory from Doctor Who can’t do anything to dampen the mood for a change.
Reviews: First episodefourth episode

The Flash (US: The CW; UK: Sky 1)
3×10 – Borrowing Problems From The Future
A demotion this week for The Flash, since it’s turned into such a whiny programme of late, while becoming sillier (but not in a good way) in other areas. Here we have the vexing problem of how to prevent the future and Iris’ murder from taking place, but it then yet again becomes about Barry’s terrible burden and how he needs to share it.

Still, nice that Draco Malfoy is joining the team. I see it ending badly, though.
Reviews: First episodethird episode

Lethal Weapon (US: Fox; UK: ITV)
1×13 – The Seal is Broken
There’s a pun in them there title, thanks to Riggs being maudlin about the death of his wife. While having dad-in-law turning up at police HQ was a good move, the show’s starting to tread water a little. Things need to be moving forwards. Also, when are we going to get one really good stunt?

I should point out that this episode means that this Lethal Weapon team has now been making more minutes of Lethal Weapon than the original Lethal Weapon teams. I guess it’s theirs now.
Review: First episodethird episode

Lucifer (US: Fox; UK: Amazon) 
2×12 – Love Handles
Oddly unmemorable as an episode – I’m trying to recall what happened in the previous ep and what happened in this one, bar the reference in the episode title to one scene in particular. Lots of revelations, I know, and the photograph in the bar was a nice move, but I think that unmemorableness basically means it needs to get on with the plot.
Reviews: First episodethird episode

Six (US: History)
1×2 – Her Name is Esther
Well, I tried to give the second episode a go, and despite the fact the special ops mission was moderately more exciting than last week’s, it still did everything you expected it to do with no surprises and the rest of the episode was so badly written and cliched, it’s felt as painful as SERE training. ISIS terrorists recruiting online from plush apartments in Dubai and communicating using video games? In English? Erm, okay. So I’m out. No more. Please, no more. 
Review: First episode

Timeless (US: NBC; UK: E4)
1×12 – The Murder of Jesse James
More developments in the conspiracy theory are less interesting than learning about the real life Lone Ranger, since this is one of those “really amazing people you’ve never heard of from history” episodes. A strong ep, though, especially if you like westerns.
Reviews: First episodethird episode

The recommended list

The Crown (Netflix)
1×9 – 1×10
We finally got round to watching the final two episodes of The Crown, which maintained the show’s even and oddly episodic course, but with aspects that felt like they’d arrived from another season, given how little Eden is around at the end after he replaces Churchill. Stephen Dillane did a good turn as Graham Sutherland, particularly in a moving scene in which he and Churchill discuss their dead children. Overall, less an origin story than I originally thought, and more a series of historical events used to look at different aspects of the young queen’s responsibilities and personality. The show doesn’t really conclude much, except that she gets a firmer handle on things by the end, but it’s still a very well written series that’s lifted to even greater heights by its performances and production values. 
Reviews: Episodes one to eight

Fortitude (UK: Sky Atlantic)
And the most bonkers bit of Nordic Noir on the planet returns, with parasitic wasps, baby-eating cannibals, dog mutiliations, aurorae and decapitations. Sofie Gråbøl temporarily gets to do Forbydelsen (The Killing) again as the deaths mount up and the cast shifts around a bit, with new arrivals including Dennis Quaid, Ken Stott and Michelle Fairley, all deploying accents that do circuits around the US, Ireland, Norway and Iceland, without any rhyme or reason.

For reasons best known to it, Sky has already boxsetted the entire season, so by this time next week, I might have finished it all, since although the big hook of the season has yet to be revealed, the fact the first episode opens with a bullet-proof man in 1946 suggests we can look forward to something specially insane again.
Reviews: First three episodes

The Magicians (US: Syfy; UK: 5*)
2×1 – Night of Crowns
The return of last year’s unexpectedly good show, which started off so unimpressively but which wound up as one of the year’s Top 13. Surprisingly, the cliffhanger at the end of last season is solved relatively quickly, resulting in an episode dedicated more to comedy than deep dark drama. In particular, there’s a marvellous scene that’s effectively an American millennial take on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which shows how far the programme has come since it began. But there’s still horror in the real world to enjoy and the characters all remain unbelievably irritating, if occasionally weirdly likable, you’ll be glad to hear.
Episode reviews: 123456-78910-1112-13

Man Seeking Woman (US: FXX)
3×4 – Popcorn
A switch to focus on Lucy again this week, with a trip to visit her parents takes in horror movies and her witch hunts (no, not those kind), and is all very well handled. The top comedy of the moment.
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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