What have you been watching? Including Britannia and Black Lightning

David Morrisey as Aulus
David Morrisey as Aulus

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

The Winter Olympics is over! Isn’t it? I think it is. I have to admit I’ve not been paying it any attention.

But it seems to be over, judging by the fact we’re starting to get some new shows again in the US. I’ve already reviewed CBS’s Living Biblically this week and at some point in the next few days, I’ll also be casting a critical eye of Good Girls and The Looming Tower. I’m skipping that Biggie and Tupac thing (Ed: Unsolved), on the general grounds it’s a mini-series, a biopic and an anthology, which is a fatal triple combination.

I might give Heathers a go, if I can be arsed, but I’ve not seen the original and other reviews haven’t been kind. I might give Canada’s Crawford and Little Dog a whirl, too, assuming I can find both a way to watch them and the time.

But that’s all for the next week to reveal. Until then, after the jump, I’ll be looking at the current regulars: Black Lightning, Corporate, Counterpart, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, High Maintenance and The Magicians. And since I had a little time to spare, I finally caught up with the final four episodes of Britannia.

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

Black Lightning (US: The CW; UK: Netflix)

1×6 – Three Sevens: The Book of Thunder

Back to politics again, as we debate Confederate Statues, Charlottesville (wait, where’s this set again?), cyber bullying, ‘nappy hair’ and a lot of black culture in a surprisingly accessible and accurate way. We also get some flashbacks and background for James Remar’s character, as well as a secret finally revealed.

All in all, by far the most grown up of The CW’s shows, with a lot to say for itself and finally getting the balance between action, chat and politics right. Probably going to get a promotion next week.

That’s despite the slight hints in the background that certain unethical vaccinations might be to blame for certain people’s superpowers. I’d ask for Kristin Kreuk to come down from Canada and smite them for starting public health scares. But, you know, Tuskegee n’all.

Episode reviews: 1, 3

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

3×12 – The Curse of the Earth Totem

A trip to visit some pirates gives a bunch of Brits a chance to ham it up, including cast member Maisie Richardson-Sellers. Meanwhile, Flash reject Wally West and Rip Hunter are making noises in the general direction of coming on board the Waverider. However, nothing hugely remarkable.

Episode reviews: 1, 4

Recommended shows

Britannia (UK: Sky Atlantic)

1×6-1×9

I did say when I reviewed the first few episodes that the rest of the season could possible muck up a good start. And I was sort of right, but mainly because the show did the same thing Tin Star did and spend so much time focusing on getting a second season that it forgot to make watching the rest of the first season rewarding. Some plot advancements and some great bits of supernatural weirdness in episode six really helped, as did a surprisingly theatrical seventh episode and some marvellous bit of Roman warfare in episode nine.

But all of a sudden, the plot became largely concerned with a daft prophecy that never gets fully explained. There’s Irish bounty hunters and people ahistorically wondering why the gods are different in different parts of the world. There’s the Fortitude thing of killing off the expensive stars to leave the less expensive ones behind. And they killed a bear – one who seemed more concerned with snuffling around than actually doing anything bad. I can’t forgive that.

All in all, a show that had a lot of initial promise and still has a lot of virtues, but which squandered a lot of goodwill by not bothering to really tie off any of the main plots well.

Episode reviews: 1-5

Corporate (US: Comedy Central)

1×7 – The Long Meeting

A bottle episode for a show that is largely one big bottle episode, as everyone gets trapped in a meeting and slowly loses the will to live. Not quite as funny as the best of episodes but anyone who’s tried hacking their own hands off in a meeting, just to have something to focus on, will empathise.

Episode reviews: 1, 4

Counterpart (US: Starz)

1×6 – Act Like You’ve Been Here Before

Another Babylon Berlin cast member (Leonie Benesch) shows up this episode, just as Liv Lisa Fries gets her kit off again (there’s a pattern forming there, isn’t there?), but mainly an episode for showing us that actually the two Howards aren’t necessarily that different, with Counterpart Howard able to show kindness, while Nice Howard starts to show off some potential dickishness.

There’s some decent science-fiction to this episode, with weird and mish-mashed tech, too. However, I do worry that as a spy show, it’s beginning to feel a little basic, with supposed experts in tradecraft making the simplest of mistakes. Lovely reveal at the end that you could have seen coming, mind, if you’d been paying attention to what they hadn’t been showing for the previous six episodes.

Episode reviews: 1, 3

High Maintenance (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)

2×6 – Google

With the show’s new focus on smoking weed, rather than simply on people, and its more serial storyline, I’m beginning to wonder if this is a show for me any more. There were some fun aspects to this week’s episode, as ‘the guy’ copes with his injury from last week and temporarily hands over his business to a young helper, but it didn’t feel as enjoyable or insightful as previous episodes, and the drug-induced reality flips weren’t something I could really empathise with.

Still, I’ll hold out for now, just in case, as it can be a great show at its best.

Episode reviews13

The Magicians (US: Syfy; UK: Channel 5)

3×7 – Poached Eggs

It’s Les Mis meets Ocean’s 11 time in an episode that felt reasonable at the time, but now feels largely forgettable in retrospect. I do wish they’d just switch magic back on.

Episode reviews: 1, 3

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