What have you been watching? Including Lethal Weapon, The Good Fight and Legion

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.

Well, I’ve done it. I managed to watch all of Marvel’s Iron Fist (Netflix) in a weekend. Okay, technically, I still have one episode to watch, but I’ll have done that in time for tomorrow’s full-season review.

However, that does mean I’ve not watched all the rest of the tele on my list, which means it’s time for a purge.

Now, I’ve reviewed the first two episodes of Trial & Error (US: NBC) elsewhere; I’ve also passed verdict on Taken (US: NBC; UK: Amazon) and Time After Time (US: ABC).

And don’t worry, I’ll be getting round to passing verdict of Making History (US: Fox) and The Arrangement (US: E!), assuming that all three episodes of the latter are in any way watchable. Fingers crossed, I’ll also review Midnattssol/Jour Polaire (Midnight Sun) (France: Canal+; Sweden: SVT; UK: Sky Atlantic) at some point, too, as well as at least the first episode of Snatch (US: Crackle).

But now we come to the regulars. I think the likelihood of my carrying on with Prime Suspect 1973 is small, and Fortitude might have to sit on the backburner for a while and may disappear altogether. Season two of Billions hasn’t justified its existence to me yet, and the stupid number of movie references this week put me it off it significantly, so that’ll be going, too. I’ve also decided that in all likelihood, despite being superb TV, season 3 of American Crime is going to be as depressing as the first two seasons, so I’ll bow out now before I kill myself. Don’t let that stop you from watching it though (I mean that in a positive way, honestly).

So that means that after the jump, it’ll be the new regulars (although some of these are on a tight leash, too…): DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, The Good Fight, Imposters, Legion, Making History and The Magicians. I’ll also be looking at the rather surprising change of pace in the season finale of Lethal Weapon. 

The observant will notice I haven’t mentioned The Americans – don’t worry, I’m not so stupid as to have dropped them from my schedule, I simply haven’t had the time to watch episode two so will do a doubler next week.

Shows I’ve been watching but not recommending

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
2×14 – Moonshot
An episode that is part insane fun, part insane rubbish, as the team end up messing up the history of Apollo 13, and having to deal with an evil Speedster. Copious references to The Martian (when did they find the time to watch that?) rather than Apollo 13 though, which is odd, although not too odd given the target audience. But “the speed force only works when there’s gravity” and it’s still not working on the moon? What? It’s science, Jim, but not as we know it.
Reviews: First episodefourth episode

The Flash (US: The CW; UK: Sky 1)
3×16 – Into the Speed Force
Talking of speed force, obviously flush with the success of the previous Kevin Smith-directed Speed Force episode last season, our Barry retreads similar territory in yet another “the burden is all on me and I must learn a lesson” episode. Thankfully, it was a little lightened by the reappearance of a few old (dead) characters, but the constant regurgitation of the same plot points and life lessons is getting very old now.
Reviews: First episodethird episode

The Good Fight (US: CBS All Access; UK: More4)
1×5 – Stoppable: Requiem for an Airdate
Marvellous! A simultaneously meta and yet not meta “ripped from the headlines” episode about a writer for a TV show who rips ideas from the headlines whose episode of “one of those Chicago shows” that brought up Donald Trump’s child rape trial has been postponed out of the schedules (just like a certain episode of Law & Order: SVU). So the show’s writer dumps the entire episode on the Internet… which is where The Good Fight airs. Bewildering.

More bewilderingly, SVU‘s Donald Trump character would have been played by Gary Cole, who also guest stars in this episode of The Good Fight.

Meanwhile, former stand-out Good Wife guest star Matthew Perry’s back and he’s having fights with another Good Wife character he never met on the main show (Carrie Preston), who spends a lot of the episode wondering like so much fan fiction why they’ve never met until now, despite moving in the same circles.

More of this brain play and it’ll be on the recommended list next week.
Reviews: First episode; fourth episode

Imposters (US: Bravo; UK: Virgin)
1×6 – The Maddie Code
A chance for things to get a little more realistic, as the trio face up to their pain and try to work out what they’re actually doing. A big twist at the end was both easy to predict and hard to see coming (I guessed something like it would occur, but was surprised when it did), and explains a few things that have been bugging me this season. Not very likely, but explains a few things. Not enough Uma Thurman, though.
Reviews: First two episodesthird episode

Lethal Weapon (US: Fox; UK: ITV)
1×18 – Commencement
Huh. After about 16 episodes that are very much about the laughs and the fun, with a bit of melancholia for Riggs to process, we finally hit something that’s actually even darker than the first movie, to which there are more than a few head nods (I’m surprised there was no one called Endo in the cast list…). And it was all really good stuff that actually occasionally showed why Riggs is a ‘lethal weapon’. 

That said, for season two, if they could hire Taken‘s stunt team, that would help the whole thing massively, since the stunts have been the real let-down of what’s turned out to be a surprisingly decent adaptation of the original movie.
Review: First episodethird episode

Making History (US: Fox)
1×2 – The Shot Heard Round the World
A slightly better episode than the first, which is a bit more comfortable with its faux history and mocking Americans’ love of guns. But the jokes, although smart, still aren’t hitting home, despite Adam Pally’s top notch delivery. Maybe a change of setting will do the show some good. Let’s see with episode three…
Review: First episode

The recommended list

Legion (US: FX; UK: Fox UK)
1×6 – Chapter 6
The first complete misfire of an episode, in which everything went back to the beginning again, presumably to get some more mileage out of the hospital sets from the first episode. Guys – we’ve worked all of this out already, so we don’t need it explained to us again. Still, what’s your money on the show staying canon and making Professor X Dan Stevens’ dad?
Reviews: First episodethird episode

The Magicians (US: Syfy; UK: 5*)
2×8 – Word as Bond
That was a very bad Dublin. And please tell me no one was attempting an Irish accent. That aside, still not a great episode, and the lack of big bad, rather than two slightly bads who never get to do much is now starting to hurt the show. 
Episode reviews: First episodethird episode

  • The Magicians – who are the two middling bads? And are Quentin, Alice, Julia, and Elliot all still alive?

    • Well… At this point, Alice is dead but is a niffin (sp?) trapped in Quentin’s demon tattoo but running a timeshare on his body and trying to get out. She’s a middling bad, as she can’t actually do anything evil other than annoy him, but would if she could. Everyone else is still alive, although Elliot’s golem has just been killed and Julia is now ‘shadeless’ after her magical abortion. She could be a middling bad, but hasn’t done anything against our heroes yet, so the other middling bad is Renard who pops up occasionally, but again, doesn’t do anything to our heroes, since they run away before he can do anything awful.

      • Interesting. Looks like they’re still doing their sorta-kinda adaptation. The second and third books don’t really have big bads, except possibly Reynard, but his plotline was used in the first season.

        • How odd. I’m surprised they burnt through everything in the first season. You’d have thought they’d have eked it out longer

          • Well, chronologically, the second book is split in half, with alternating chapters. The past sections are Julia’s journey to the end of the first book, culminating in the confrontation with Reynard and its tragic consequences (and the reason I hate the first two books). So they pretty much decided to move all of that to match Quentin’s timeline in the first season. But that does leave some weird structural problems for the other seasons. Any word on whether they’re planning on trying to string out the series indefinitely, or will go for three seasons to match three books?

  • Mark Carroll

    We saw Kubo and The Two Strings. It made for largely gentle and pleasant viewing and looked nice. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense and the plot progressed in fairly obvious ways – nice enough but hardly life-changing.

    I fell back to watching more Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Dominion war stuff was generally good, I like a fair few characters ranging from Odo to Weyoun, and I’d forgotten enough that I got to again enjoy episodes like In the Pale Moonlight.

    SS-GB was quite good in the end. Not great, but definitely worth the five hours or whatever. I enjoyed Kellermann and Huth, and James Cosmo was well-cast. The different ending worked well too.

    Now we get to watch The Americans that’s staying on form. I’ll avoid spoilers but, I’m liking it, I am thinking maybe it will stay solid for its whole run. I’m not too sure where the agriculture stuff is going but we’ll see.

    It turned out that my wife hadn’t seen Trainspotting so I figured we should watch it before the sequel comes our way. It’s fun. A couple of the central cast seem implausibly clever for Glaswegian junkies but the writing’s witty and I’d forgotten how well it mixes action and comedy with grimness and futility.

    We also saw The Borderlands, also known as Final Prayer I think. The BBC happened to show it a little while ago. It centers around investigating apparently paranormal activity in a rural church. It was fairly good: it used its budget well, stayed reasonably on point, and I thought it did a good job of mixing comedy and horror. I was hoping for a better ending but it was okay.

    Sara Cox is now nearly halfway through her 24-hour 1980s danceathon on BBC Radio 2. Especially as a viewer who can’t dance, and who is intrigued by what fatigue does to people, I’ve not been able to resist watching. It turns out that she’s actually energetic, endearing, has all manner of moves, and is pretty much ideal for such a job: I came in with curiosity and ended up rooting for her.

    • Agricultural stuff? Hmm. Very five-year plans

  • JustStark

    As mentioned elsewhere, caught up with The Magicians, so have just started catching up with other stuff.

    Most amazing has been a couple of episodes of The Great Indoors that were actually net funny! The one where everybody goes camping, and the one where Stephen Fry gets thrown out of the explorer club. But, I assume from the way you’ve stopped watching that these are an aberration and it reverts to form. Pity.

    [I also saw The Intern, a film that is surprisingly funny for late-period De Nero, and which is kind of The Great Indoors done better, in a one-shot.]

    Still an episode of SS-GB to watch, but the pace picked up in the fourth. Hoping the two plot strands come together well though.

    Saw the fifth episode of Legion, so the one before you talk about above. On the one hand, nicely random, including the bizarre Rainbow Connection scene. But on the other, just like you write above, the characters are all just groping towards stuff which was obvious to the audience from the beginning (like the yellow-eyed demon) which is a really frustrating way to tell a story. It’s getting towards the end: I hope it’s not one of those things where the big climax is the first time the audience actually learns something that wasn’t obvious from the start, where the whole in between has just been the characters catching up with the audience. I hate those.

    Watched the first episode of the second series of Powers. It’s not bad for a superhero programme. Certainly better than I gather from your capsule reviews all the current ones (The Flash, Supergirl, et al) are. I mean the budget means the effects are literally laughable, but it takes itself seriously and is trying to tell a real story, not just provide fan-service and Tumbler screen-captures. Maybe I should make an exception to my rule and read the comics; I wonder if the local library has them.

    Cinema film: Personal Shopper. Not a film which goes out of its way to explain itself, but strangely engrossing — far more interesting than you’d think a film which spends a lot of its running time on (literally) text-message conversation would be.

    Heading off tonight to see Tamsin Grieg in Twelfth Night which’ll be interesting, as she’s great but I normally hate Shakespeare comedies. Oh, the man could write drama like nobody else, but his attempts at comedy are like a stand-up faced with a tough room who decides the way to cope is to double-down on his laboured delivery of ever-worse puns.

    Actually I can’t remember the last time I saw a Shakespeare play that didn’t swap the sex of at least one character… though with the Shakespeare Festival one I think that was more to do with fitting it around the cast they had than Making a Point…

    Oh, and I’m now only one behind with Homeland and it is still the absolute best it has been since series one. It’s almost making it worth having stuck with it for so long, it’s that good.