What have you been watching? Including Professor T, Les témoins (Witnesses) and Marvel’s Runaways

Professor T

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week

I keep forgetting I end up having a social life in December for a change. You may have noticed there was no Boxset Monday this week. Sorry about that. I’ve not even managed to get through an episode of Netflix’s Dark – perhaps because I kept having to switch it from “English (Dubbed)” to “German (Subtitled)”. Fingers crossed, I’ll have got to the end of by next Monday, but seeing as I’m away in Germany (how ironic) this weekend, I’m not sure I’ll manage it. Still, let’s see how it goes.

Elsewhere this week, I passed a fourth-episode verdict on Marvel’s Runaways (US: Hulu), but while there are some new shows on their way this week, including Happy! (US: Syfy), that was about all I could review since everything else new was boxsets. Hopefully, I’ll get round to them at some point, hey?

After the jump then, let’s look at the regulars: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Mr Robot, No Activity, Les témoins (Witnesses), Marvel’s Runaways and Travelers. Oh yes, Professor T‘s back, too. As a boxset. Sigh.

TV shows

TMINE recommends has all the TV shows TMINE has ever recommended and TV Reviews A-Z lists every TV show ever reviewed here

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending

 

Les témoins (Witnesses) (France: France 2; UK: BBC Four)

2×3-2×4

Oh dear. I think I’m out. After a good start, we’re now in stupidly ridiculous territory already, with our heroines torturing people in their bedsits to extract information – gosh, how could that ever be linked back to them? – and we’re back to having an evil genius to fight.

All the moody titles, beautiful foggy location shooting et al can’t hide the fact this is very, very silly now. Sorry, Audrey, but it’s time to go.

Episode reviews: 2×1-2×2

Marvel’s Runaways (US: Hulu)

1×5 – Kingdom

The first “so cool!” episode so far, as our team finally come together and start deploying superpowers en masse, giving us an episode one could almost call pacy. We also get the arrival of the show’s true Big Bad: yep, it’s rent-an-evil Julian McMahon (Fantastic Four, Dirk Gently, Childhood’s End). The show’s nicely working through shades of grey as well, giving us some nifty family moments and giving us sympathy for the previous generation’s devils, making this liable for a promotion to ‘recommended’ next week if it keeps this up.

Episode reviews: 1-4

No Activity (US: Hulu)

1×4 – The Metric System

Not a hugely funny episode until the increasingly ubiquitous Mackenzie Davies shows up to talk about the perfection of the metric system, after which everything becomes far more interesting.

Episode reviews: 1-3

Professor T (Belgium: Eén; UK: More4)

2×1

It may be because All4 has decided to boxset this and make it available all in one go, but I’m finding the prospect of watching the rest of Professor T to be less than appetising. It’s more of the same, increasingly miserable storylines, with our hero still imaginatively dickish, but now out of psychiatric hospital. Unfortunately, Dan (or is that Daan) is still disabled and lady detective’s dad is now full-on demented. It would help if the cases were more interesting, but “who poisoned the chocolates?” isn’t that fun as things go.

Not an impressive start to the season, so I might well be bowing out soon, if it doesn’t get funnier again.

Episode reviews: 1-2

Recommended shows

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (US: The CW; UK: Sky1)

3×9 – Beebo The God of War

Fully, properly silly, with this episode’s set designer basically watching a few episodes of Vikings to work out how to make things look. Also, another cast member bowed out, so is ambiguous-sexuality lady time agent going to join our roving band of idiots or is Wentworth Miller going to stay for a while? Or both?

Whatever the case, with John Constantine back for the next episode (woo hoo!), I’ll be tuning in.

Episode reviews: 1, 4

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (US: BBC America; UK: Netflix)

2×8 – Little Guy, Black Hair

The plot gets explained. Kind of! Lots of fun and reunions, made better by Dirk getting his mojo back. But so much silliness, you maybe don’t notice that the plot didn’t really go anywhere and it was really just an info dump.

Episode reviewsFirst episodethird episode

Mr Robot (US: USA; UK: Amazon)

3×8 – eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko

More 80s pop culture references, with Back to the Future 2 becoming all important, but a nice nod to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in the soundtrack, too. Some top character work on top of that. That said, so much treading water, rather than advancement of the plot and a possibly worrying hint that the sci-fi element of the first episode of the season might be coming back. I do hope the twist is that it doesn’t.

Episode reviewsFirst episodethird episode

Travelers (Canada: Showcase; UK: Netflix)

2×8 – Traveler 0027

Something of a bottle episode as a traveler (no, no clues) goes on trial and everyone sits around talking. I’m starting to worry, though, that the show is firstly spending too much time talking about conflicts with the Faction and secondly becoming too sci-fi, with “the quantum frame” showing up in everyday conversation too much. And are they changing the rules on time travel? Things don’t seem to work the way they did before.

Caveats aside, a strong episode, with some clever twists, a nifty exploration of how to have a conversation with the future (given existing Travelers rules) and plenty of comedy, as well as hard sci-fi. Plus a musing on the nature of the soul and where it can be found in the brain, which I wasn’t expecting.

Episode reviews: First episodethird episode




  • Mark Carroll

    changing the rules on time travel is a pet peeve of mine, it’s a very common mistake.

    I see that “Wormwood” is coming to Netflix later this month. I wonder if it’s worth a try.

    Our actual watching lately has been random quizzes and suchlike. Quite liking this season of HIGNFY overall.

    • JustStark

      I’m not sure the rules in Travel[l]ers ever really made much sense; eg, they only take people over at the time when they would have died anyway (and it is to do with the time, not the death), presumably to avoid damaging the timeline; but surely it causes more change to the timeline that somebody who would have died is now walking around, than it would be to take over someone who wasn’t about to die and just keep living their life as they were going to, only saving the world on the side?

      • Which actually ties into my point. The reason they do that changes in the second season (or seems to) so that now it’s an ethical choice, so they’re not overwriting and therefore ‘killing’ someone who would have lived their life for some time afterwards. Similarly, last week’s episode had a clip of them saying “no do-overs” in the “previously on Travelers” and then the whole episode was seven or eight do-overs.

        They do have the get-out of having changed the future, so maybe the rules change as a result, but it’s more obvious than it should be that they’re changing those rules.

  • JustStark

    Finished the first series of Glitch and now working my way through the second. It’s pretty good, and has a nice line in ‘of course they won’t go there… oh, they just did.’

    Finished the second series of The Expanse, and the third of Dark Matter. Both space opera hokum, but very different in tone: one wants to be a serious exploration of greed, politics, humanity, and space Marxism (sparxism), while the other leans fully into the essential silliness of the genre. I think the second approach works better. But they’re not making any more of it, so what do I know?

    And, it being December, that’s pretty much it. Not sure if I’ll put the effort in to watch the second series of Babylon Berlin: the first was okay, but it didn’t really grab my full attention, which is a problem when it’s both subtitled and very complicated with lots of character who look similar, it’s very easy to lose track of what’s going on.

    • Mark Carroll

      I’ll be interested to hear what you think of “Glitch” s2. There may be enough of a critical mass of recommendations to get me to bother starting s1.

      • JustStark

        I have one episode to go and I am looking forward to watching it.

        If I have one complaint it’s that there is too much to-ing and fro-ing that delays actual progress in the plot; I have literally lost count of the number of times the group have been gathered at the safehouse, only to then wander off separately on their own business, so that when the guy comes back either no one is there or there is only some random subset of the group there, so the others must be looked for. Or the bad guys find out where the safe house is, only nobody’s there when they arrive because everybody’s off doing random things.

        (The worst bit for this is when the guy tells everyone to stay put and literally the moment he leaves one of them pipes up, ‘I’d feel safer in public with lots of people around, let’s go into town’ and so they all troop off to the pub, despite this being the worst idea ever.)

        I suspect the writer must have had some kind of wallchart, or perhaps a model of the town with some Citadel miniatures, to keep track of all the various characters’ peregrinations.

        But, as each series is only six episodes, even with that location shuffling, it can’t delay too much; and the various characters’ side-stories are in general interesting enough that one doesn’t feel fed up waiting for the main plot to progress.

        • Season 2 does that, too, but there is less of it. It’s also a bit less coherent and clearly geared up to there being another season to answer some (new) questions

          • JustStark

            Actually it was the niddle of series two when I really noticed it, what with Kirsty spending most of the time on her own plot, Charlie tagging along, Kate doing her thing (fnar), William being dragged around by various other characters, and Paddy in his own plot as in series one, meaning that everbody’s basically just whizzing on their own orbits that only briefly intersect and often end up with the characters who actually are progressing the main plots (the cop and the baddies) getting stuck because whoever they need to talk to / kill is off on some frolic of their own.

            But I finished the series and all I wrote above still applies: it’s short enough, and the individual stories interesting enough, that it’s still recommended.

            The third series is going to have to do something different, though, now all the individual stories have basically been wrapped up.

          • “The third series is going to have to do something different, though, now all the individual stories have basically been wrapped up.”

            I’m assuming it’s something to do with the magic flute and the cannibal zombies alluded to in Rodger Corser’s back story. We’ve had all the science stuff and by the end, it doesn’t make a lick of sense, you’ve got that storylines that haven’t even been touched upon. You’ve got the fact that Corser’s died twice and his girlfriend came back without help. Then you’ve got the guy from Cleverman around as well.

            I’m reckoning the show’s basically going to turn round and say, “Nah, mate, that was all nonsense. She was trying to recreate the magic scientifically and she couldn’t do it. Cos it’s magic. Look!” and then run with that as the real force*.

            * Usual warning: ALL MY THEORIES ARE ALWAYS WRONG

          • JustStark

            One of the things I like about it actually is its seeming stance of ‘there is advanced science we don’t yet understand, but there are still supernatural parts of the universe that science can never explain.’ Far more often TV programmes (and movies, and books) treat science/supernatural as a binary, and are either ‘there is advanced science we don’t yet understand AND THEREFORE ANYTHING SUPERNATURAL IS BOLLOCKS’ or ‘there are supernatural parts of the universe science can never explain AND THEREFORE GIVE UP ON SCIENCE YOU CREDULOUS IDIOTS’.

            Both of these are much less interesting, and things which can integrate the two — like Ultraviolet — are when they turn up much better.

            Yes, I think the third series is going to be more about the Big Plot but what I mean is thatnthatnwill give it a very different shape to the first two, where for most of the middle the Big Plot progressed in fits and starts around the edges of the individual plots. Unless they get a whole new load of returnees with their own stories — which I think would be a bad idea as it would be so repetitive — a series of Glitch which foreground the Big Plot will work very differently.

          • I’d certainly be surprised if they suddenly resurrected a whole new bunch of people who were mysteriously linked to socially important points of Australian history, for sure. I’d also like a proper reason for why they were all from socially important points of Australian history.

            I suspect it’ll be the Corser show. Or the Corser and Brammall show – they’re both so hot right now.