What have you been watching? Including Bad Blood, 9JKL and Will and Grace

Will and Grace

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you each week what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently and your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching. TMINE recommends has all the reviews of all the TV shows TMINE has ever recommended, but for a complete list of TMINE’s reviews of (good, bad and insipid) TV shows and movies, there’s the definitive TV Reviews A-Z and Film Reviews A-Z. But it’s what you have you been watching? I bet it’s better than what I’ve been watching. And I watched a lot

Week one into the new US TV season and I reckon I’m keeping up pretty well. Admittedly, I’ve had to ditch Boxset Monday and move WHYBW? from Tuesday to Wednesday to do it, but I don’t think that’s going to cause too many fainting fits.

This week, I’ve reviewed (and even previewed) the first episodes of:

That’s not the whole gamut of new shows, mind, and still to come this week are my reviews of Kevin (Probably) Saves The World (US: ABC), Ten Days in the Valley (US: ABC) and The Gifted (US: Fox; UK: Fox UK). I’m also planning to have a look at Alias Grace (Canada: CBC; UK: Netflix) and Absentia (AXN), and I might even give 4 Blocks (Germany: TNT Serie; UK: Amazon) a whirl if I have the time.

On top of that, there are a few other new shows – but I’ll be dealing with them after the jump, along with the regulars, both old and new. So follow me over the page to where I will cast my eye over the latest episodes of The Brave, Get Krack!n, Great News, Halt and Catch Fire, The Last Ship, Lethal Weapon, Lucifer, My Myself and I, Professor T and Star Trek: Discovery, as well as fill you in on new arrivals Bad Blood, 9JKL and – what’s this? – Will and Grace. Is that right?

(Yep, I dropped Bang and The Good Doctor. What you gonna do?)

TV shows

New Shows

Bad Blood (Canada: City)

Six-part adaptation of Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto’s Last War depicting the Montreal-based Rizzuto crime family, with Anthony LaPaglia (Riviera, Murder One, Without A Trace) playing ‘Canada’s most notorious gangster’, the titular Vito Rizzuto. Episode one shows the events that lead up to his arrest, with subsequent episodes revealing what happens after he gets out of prison.

To be honest, despite the Montreal backdrop and accents, this is just your bog standard mafia drama, but with a little less violence because it’s Canada. There’s a good cast that includes Maxim Roy (19-2) and the obligatory Paul Sorvino, but I honestly can’t be bothered to watch any more of it, it was so generic. Maybe you just have to be Canadian to care.

Will & Grace (US: NBC)

Look at that, it’s returned! Eleven years away but after a brief ad reunited the cast, it seemed like a good idea to bring them all back for a series and now here they are for a couple of seasons, as the show’s already been renewed.

The original Will & Grace finale, of course, showed them years later with kids, Karen poor and so on. That finale is dispatched with even before the titles roll to give us back the format that worked so well for so many seasons. Yet, time has undeniably passed. Cutting humour isn’t quite as in vogue, gay rights have advanced, Grindr is available to download and Donald Trump is president.

That and the march of time means the result is both familiar yet also something that’s a lot more comfortable in its own skin and a lot more reflective about itself, the ageing process and life – and more political. It’s a little less full of youthful spark, but there’s a depth to it and even a warmth that seemed missing a lot of the time in the old show.

Episode one – directed by James Burrows no less – sees our friends having to decide whether they’d have to associate with Trump voters, only for Will to take a fancy to a Republican senator, and Grace and Karen to land a job redecorating the Oval Office. There were plenty of laughs to be had, not just from catching up with old plots and friends, but through satire as well.

I’ll probably be watching every week, but as it’s an episodic comedy, don’t be expecting any more reviews out of me than I write about Modern Family. I’m still watching that, you know.

9JKL (US: CBS)

As time passes, Mark Feuerstein seems to get smugger and smugger. I remember him being quite smug in 3 Lbs a decade ago and he got progressively smugger over the course of Royal Pains. Now here he is on CBS, in a partially autobiographical multi-camera sitcom of which he’s not only the star but the co-creator.

Heaven help us.

The set-up here is that he’s a formerly successful actor known for playing a blind cop but whose luck departs with the divorce settlement. He ends up moving in next door to his parents (Elliott Gould and Linda Lavin). However, his brother (the show-killing David Walton) lives in the other apartment next door with his wife (Liza Lapira) and newborn child.

Feuerstein then has to negotiate various boundaries with them all, while trying to lead a normal life, re-establish his career and maybe even start dating.

The show’s biggest problem is Feuerstein has now reached peak smugness. Maybe he’s not used to having an audience, but in every scene, he oozes an air of “Look at me. Mark Feuerstein. I am just so amazing, aren’t I?” It’s unbearable.

The show’s second biggest problem is an absolute lack of jokes other than the most obvious and lame, such as Lapira using Feuerstein’s fridge to store breast milk (will he realise in time?), the two families shouting to each other across Feuerstein’s balcony about his love life, while Feuerstein is trying to have a date (will she hear?), and as many “old people just can’t cope with modern technology” gags as you can carbon copy.

I won’t be watching any more of this. If you can even make it through this trailer, I’ll be impressed.

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending

The Brave (US: NBC)

1×2 – Moscow Rules

You have to give some major kudos to the writers of The Brave for this episode. After ending the pilot with a real cliffhanger, this episode virtually ignores it by jumping forward two weeks to have them all standing around going “Well, wasn’t that terrible? Are you upset still? You bet I am.” Then carrying on with the rest of the episode.

That utterly amusing lead-in, however, belied a much improved episode. Sure, the budget still seems to consist entirely of Green Shield Stamps and the attempt to recreate ‘Ukraine’ gave us something that could possibly have been Turkey in the 1950s instead. But actually, clunky dialogue to one side, it was actually properly exciting, tense and occasionally smart stuff, as Russian spy hunters start tearing up the Ukraine looking for a CIA officer, resulting in our group being allowed to let the chain off and follow ‘Moscow Rules’ (ie kill the bad guys).

Everything back at HQ feels superfluous, although the fact good old Colin Salmon has shown up there means something exciting might start happening soon. It’s also not exactly oozing mimesis. But all the same, The Brave is starting to look like a possible keeper.

Episode reviews: 1

Great News (US: NBC)

2×1 – Boardroom Bitch

Perhaps a little too early a return for the mini 30 Rock that impressed with its debut earlier this year, since despite the arrival of Tina Fey as the new boss and everything carrying on more or less as it did before, the jokes don’t hit home and everything feels too plot-, rather than character-driven. To some extent, it’s perhaps because Fey’s presence overbalances things – she gets most of the show’s time and most of the show’s jokes, despite her only planning to be in it for three or four episodes.

Still, not wholly unfunny, with some amusing critiques from the show of TV debates, but it could have done with a bit more time for a rethink as well.

Episode reviews: First two episodes

Lethal Weapon (US: Fox; UK: ITV2)

2×2 – Dancing in September

And Riggs is happy. Which is odd. And doesn’t make for a hugely entertaining episode. But it does give us a romantic moment or two, a returning character, a new character and the chance for the Captain to do some police work, too. I’m not sure quite how long this is going to stay in the viewing queue, as it moves further and further away from the movies and my time gets squeezed, but I think it’s safe for now.

Episode reviews: 1, 3

Lucifer (US: Fox; UK: Amazon)

3×1 – They’re Back, Aren’t They?

See, the episode title probably thinks it’s trying to be clever, since it’s referring to both Lucifer’s wings, which made a surprise return at the end of last season, and to the cast. Although apparently not Lesley Ann-Brandt just yet. Yet, the title also encapsulates a certain jadedness. Yes, they’re back. Sigh.

So there are a couple of changes, not the least of which is that the show is not just set in Los Angeles but is filmed there, too, now. Tom Welling is the new police captain in his first big role since Smallville. And there’s a new big bad who’s stolen Lucifer’s bad face.

But that’s really about it. Same old same old. A police procedural, a bit of banter/sexual harassment and we’ve got ourselves an episode.

It’s pretty much only Tom Ellis and DB Woodside who keep me watching, so unless something awesome happens next week, I think there’s a good chance I might be giving up on this.

Episode reviews: First episodethird episode

Me Myself and I (US: Fox)

1×2 – First Steps

In which our hero puts himself out there in three time zones to varying results. Still not funny, but it’s actually just lovely, so I don’t care.

Episode reviews: 1

Star Trek: Discovery (US: CBS All Access; UK: Netflix)

1×3 – Context is For Kings

After the first two episodes both bored and mystified, leaving us with no real idea what the rest of the series was going to be like, episode three of Star Trek: Discovery was always going to be the real pilot. Finally, we arrive on the Discovery, we get to meet the captain (Hello to Jason Isaacs!) and the rest of the crew, and see what kind of stories will play out.

It took me a while to work it out, and I thought for a moment it might be a Battlestar Galactica version of Star Trek, but it actually turns out that Star Trek: Discovery is an attempt to Stargate Universe the Star Trek universe. It’s tonally similar, directorially similar and it’s got that roughness to it as well, as our heroes go off and do their best while everything goes wrong around them, all while having all manner of interpersonal problems and conflict.

Trouble is, it’s still Star Trek, which means Jason Isaacs is a brilliant military tactician whom everyone fears but… who owns a Tribble. And the science. Oh the science. Something to do with panspermia. Oh dear. Even Stargate SG-1 was never that bad.

Poor dialogue, poor plotting and worse writing than even that of the first two episodes. But magnificent effects and a growing roster of people to actually care about instead of that dick Michael mean that I’ll be sticking with it (of course I am, it’s Star Trek)

Episode reviews: 1-2

Recommended shows

Get Krack!n (ABC: Australia)

1×5

Another funny and very near-the-knuckle episode dealing with LGBT+ issues and Reconciliation. Although eat my black shit may have gone a bit too far for me.

Episode reviews: 1-2

Halt and Catch Fire (US: AMC; UK: Amazon)

4×7 – Who Needs a Guy

I can’t say too much without revealing major spoilers, but an important episode that’s effectively the culmination of where the series has been going for a while. The show’s supposed tech history concerns are of almost no importance in a show that’s more about people who are now more concerned with real life rather than the virtual. Instead, it’s people who are passed their peak, passed their youthful drives and who now need to work out what they really want now before it’s too late.

Tragic and beautiful all in one.

Episode reviews1, 3

The Last Ship (US: TNT; UK: Sky1)

4×8 – Lazaretto

More land fights that are getting increasingly implausible. More Peter Weller frothing at the mouth. But more than a few unexpected twists to lift the show from being merely mindless action.

Episode reviews13

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7tnvoz9kTw

Professor T (Belgium: Eén; UK: More4)

1×7

What seems at first a jolly wheeze (Professor T gets taken ill) to remove our hero from the centre of the action to allow the supporting cast to shine ends up being quite a poignant examination of the Professor’s friendships and nature. The case itself is also quite moving, too. Really good stuff.

Episode reviews: 1-2