It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week
We’re over the first phase of new US TV shows this week, ready for the next phase in February, which means there haven’t been many new additions to the TMINE viewing queuing. Last night’s premiere of Black Lightning (US: The CW; UK: Netflix) will be getting a review on Friday, while elsewhere this week, I previewed Sky Atlantic’s forthcoming Britannia and reviewed CBC (Canada)’s Burden of Truth, so it wasn’t entirely uneventful. The Magicians was back as well.
Nevertheless, that still left a little time for me to watch an episode of Lucifer out of curiosity to see if it had got more interesting. I’ll be discussing that after the jump with the current regulars: The Brave, Cardinal, Engrenages (Spiral), Falling Water, Great News, Happy!, SEAL Team, Star Trek: Discovery, Will & Grace and The X-Files, as well as the season finale of Marvel’s Runaways. Two of those will be leaving the TMINE viewing queue forthwith – can you guess which ones?
Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
The Brave (US: NBC)
1×11 – Grounded
After a certain amount of contortions to explain why a general purpose special forces outfit of four drawn from the SEALs, Delta and CIA are the best choice to tackle some hijackers on a plane in Columbia, a generally decent episode that did actually feel a bit more authentic than usual in terms of dialogue at least. A few new things for the regulars to try out, a bit more characterisation and background detail for them, too, all while Anne Heche takes the episode off, but otherwise, business as usual.
Falling Water (US: USA; UK: Amazon)
2×2 – Watchers
And I’m done. I thought I’d stick it out for another week, just to see where the show is going, but it’s clear there’s been a mandate to shovel everything from the first season into a large hole, even if that means flat out contradicting things that happened in the previous season, in an effort to turn the whole thing into Inception – even the incidental music. But an Inception filmed by Brett Ratner rather than Christopher Nolan. No sense, no interest, just people moving around, hoping a plot will show up at some point soon. Done.
Great News (US: NBC)
2×11 – Competing Offer
Some great work from Briga Heelan as she has to control her urges for Greg (and vice versa), despite being cooped up with him for work. You’ll never look on milk the same way again. Plus Tina Fey’s back! Briefly!
Episode reviews: 1-2
Happy! (US: Syfy)
1×5 – White Sauce? Hot Sauce?
Happy!‘s back! – yay! And everything really is coming together now. Nick’s on the up as he discovers the Christmas spirit and the milk of human kindness, even while poor little Happy is on the way down (oh, my poor broken heart!), and we see more of how everything’s slotting together. Still not enough to warrant a promotion to the recommended list, as it feels like it’s still coasting on the oddness of its central concept too much, but still an entertaining hour’s viewing.
Lucifer (US: Fox; UK: Amazon)
3×11 – City of Angels
One of the two episodes left over from season 2, City of Angels is actually a prequel to the series itself, revealing how Lucifer established himself in LA with Maze and what dull as ditchwater detective was like before she was a detective. However, it’s really DB Woodside who’s the main focus of the episode, oddly enough, and it sits well on his shoulders. Nowhere near enough to make me want to watch any more of the third season, though.
Marvel’s Runaways (US: Hulu)
1×10 – Hostile
And they’re finally the Runaways. Properly. A good finale – probably the best episode since the fifth episode, too – to a good show that probably dragged its heels a little too much in terms of eking out its secrets, most of which could have been guessed about six episodes in. But there’s still plenty of milage in the overall story, Julian McMahon’s great and I’m looking forward to season 2.
Episode reviews: 1-4
SEAL Team (US: CBS; UK: Sky1)
1×11 – Containment
The first episode that has felt a little bit less than authentic, Containment sees our heroes trying to smuggle repurposed nuclear weapons out of the Ukraine. The usual fighting and manly heroics, some quite tense moments, as well as a quick detour to the world of injury treatment, aren’t really enough to gee the episode up, particularly since most of the fighting takes place off screen – an unusual choice for a show that’s all about the shooting, TBH. Interesting, but probably wrong.
Star Trek: Discovery (US: CBS All Access; UK: Netflix)
1×11 – The Wolf Inside
Filled with incessant monologuing, this was an okayish episode. The mirror universe stuff was all fun, but the major revelation (not the final minor one) was beyond stupid. Someone had actually suggested it to me when the character in question turned up as being obvious, but I’d dismissed on the grounds that it was scientific nonsense that in the 23rd century would be found out with the first DNA test or transport. And yet so it came to be.
Oh well, I guess it’s no worse than a ‘spore drive’.
Episode reviews: 1-2
The X-Files (US: Fox; UK: Channel 5)
11×2 – This
Done. Over and out. What a shame. I had hoped that as with season 10, once the horror of Chris Carter’s initial script was out the way, the rest of the season (and the other writers) could carry on as normal. Unfortunately, this appears to be a serial story and it’s just nonsense. Downright reprehensible nonsense at times, too.
Anyway, 10 minutes of epic stupid later and despite the slightly ghostly return of at least one of the Lone Gunmen and hints there might be a little humour in the episode, I decided it was all too much for me and it was time to call it a day. YMMV, but get out now, if you can.
Cardinal (Canada: CTV; UK: BBC Four)
2×2 – Kevin
And suddenly half the cast of 19-2 showed up to be the bad guys. That was unexpected. Plot-wise, though, it’s interesting that the show’s going back into First Nation territory, since that was something the first season seemed it was going to touch on and I was looking forward to, but from which it steered away after a couple of episodes.
I am missing Podz’s direction, though, since the Canadian countryside sure is pretty, but his skills behind the camera during season one were what really elevated the show and currently it’s getting by purely on the strength of that countryside.
Engrenages (Spiral) (France: Canal+; UK: BBC Four)
After nearly jumping the shark last week, this week’s Engrenages righted the ship very quickly. Some nifty shooting in the Gare du Nord might seem like the highlight, but it’s really Karlsson’s plot that’s timely in this Weinstein era, as what looked like it could be simple exploitation and destruction of a main character enables the show to explore how the French legal system protects abusers, officially and unofficially.
That final scene with Laure and Gillou I could have done without, mind.
The Magicians (US: Syfy; UK: Channel 5)
3×1 – The Tale of the Seven Keys
And it’s a quest! Even the characters know that’s silly, but hey, it’s The Magicians. Everything carries on much as before, with everyone miserable from the lack of magic in the world, but looking to fix that. Meanwhile, things in Fillory are very, very silly, but there’s no change there. Apart from the talking bunnies.
Not 100% convinced by their version of Bacchus, but a truly marvellous, hysterically funny bit of TV geekery – because fairies don’t watch Gossip Girl, am I right? Plus the Great Cock, of course. Oh yes.
Will & Grace (US: NBC; UK: Channel 5)
9×9 – There’s Something About Larry
I don’t remember Larry. I just about remember Val. I think they were both characters on the original series, and here they are again. Quite funny, but probably funnier for fans who know the original show better.
Episode reviews: 9×1