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.
Although Amazon’s finally got round to releasing the first season of Sneaky Pete, there’s not been a whole lot that’s new new in the past week, which means I’ve only had Pure (Canada: CBC) and Emerald City (US: NBC; UK: 5*) to review since the last WHYBW. Sorry about that. I’ll try to watch some boxsets when I have the chance.
All the same, for sures, later this week, I’ll be passing a third-episode verdict on Emerald City, which means that after the jump, I’ll be looking at Lethal Weapon, Man Seeking Woman, Sherlock and Shooter, as well as the return of The Great Indoors.
But there has been one another new show that I watched this week:
Workin’ Moms (Canada: CBC)
Three Canadian mums who have just had babies are ready to start working again. And that’s about it really for plot, although given one’s a high-flying career woman and first-time mother (the show’s creator, writer and director Catherine “daughter of Ivan” Reitman), one’s a no-nonsense psychiatrist mother-of-two (Dani Kind), and the third is a slightly unstable lesbian realtor who carried her partner’s child (Juno Rinaldi)*, you can see there’s a certain variety of experiences being catered for the show.
And indeed that’s really what the show is: a comedy-drama very specifically about the experience of returning to work after having had babies. And when you think about it, while there are shows that have had single mums as heroines and there have been shows that have had mums as characters in the backgrounds, they’ve mostly either got families already or it’s all about the babies and what it’s like to have a baby. It’s almost never been focused on what work is like once you have a baby.
And to be honest, it’s that interestingly specific viewpoint that’s the show’s main and in fact only selling point. The show thinks it’s quite exciting and innovative, such as when it has topless, normal-looking older women in the first five minutes of the episode, which is punningly titled Bare (which works on lots of levels – eg there’s a bear later, there’s a grizzly mum and, of course, they’re laid bare by the experience of being a mum). But it’s not quite the treasure trove of anecdotes and insight that it thinks it is, and frequently it just bubbles along, not doing much. All the same, it was insightful and offered some nuggets that I’d not seen elsewhere on TV. The characters were well drawn and avoided stereotyping, even the men. Plus it had a bear.
Not bad. Not great. Not to be confused with CBC’s Newborn Moms, either.
* There’s a fourth mum (Jessalyn Wanlim) but she wasn’t in the first episode, as far as I noticed.
Shows I’ve been watching but not recommending
The Great Indoors (US: CBS; UK: ITV2)
1×10 – The Explorers’ Club
A Stephen Fry-centric episode at last, in which our legendary explorer’s most famous tale is revealed by Barry Bostwick (no Mega Force beard, sadly) to have been a porky. Or is it? While not hugely funny, it’s quite a poignant little piece about aging, with female millennial feeling over the hill at 26, Joel McHale acting young again in the presence of his hero Bostwick and everyone looking for the right way to honour/acknowledge the other generation’s concerns.
Reviews: First episode; third episode
Lethal Weapon (US: Fox; UK: ITV)
1×11 – Lawmen
As usual, a surprisingly interesting and thoughtful script – this time involving the Captain, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and various concerns about police ethics – let down by some crappy, implausible stunt scenes, in which people do some very stupid things. You’d have thought putting the lethal in Lethal Weapon would have been the show’s main concern, but actually it was quality scripts. Odd, hey?
Review: First episode; third episode
Sherlock (UK: BBC One; US: BBC America)
4×3 – The Final Problem
Well that was absolute nonsense, wasn’t it? Did Stevie and Mark Gatiss get confused and think they were writing a Doctor Who sequel to Death to the Daleks that mashed up Saw? Or have they just been watching Marvel’s Jessica Jones, because the idea of woman who can make anyone do anything by talking to them for five minutes is epic science-fiction to say the least.
There were bits of it I liked and Mycroft actually making a better deduction than Sherlock for a change was a nice touch; the ending would make a great conclusion to the series and I like the idea mooted in the Radio Times that this has all effectively been an origin series for the Jeremy Brett/Basil Rathbone school of Sherlocking. But if the show does come back, I can’t imagine I’ll be watching it on the strength of this episode, because it was just balls.
Reviews: first episode
The recommended list
Man Seeking Woman (US: FXX)
3×2 – Ranch
The show continues its reboot – no longer the story of a man’s quest for love, as he’s found it now, instead it’s going to be about the story of a relationship all the way from inception through to the wedding (and beyond?) – and it seems to be all the better for it. The 50-50 split between male and female viewpoint is satisfying, and Liz was used well in the episode, too. The different customs of the old and the young was a good motif, too, although it didn’t quite feel as imaginative as previous episodes.
Review: First episode
Shooter (US: USA; UK: Netflix)
1×9 – Ballistic Advantage
Top excitement all round, as usual. I stayed a step ahead of the plot most of the time, although that fiddling with the dials was a nice touch that foxed me (I assumed the first bullet would be the one). Interesting to see how many bad guys they’ve now disposed of, leaving just the unTrump-friendly Russians as the sole enemy, which should be a fun sight to behold.
Review: First episode; third episode