It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week
As suspected, the weather gods have been having some yucks this week, haven’t they? On top of that, the bank holiday and my slightly unpredictable workload means that I didn’t quite get round to reviewing everything I’d intended to. Sigh.
But I have at least now watched all of Safe, so I’ll be reviewing that soon, maybe even tomorrow, and I should have time to play proper catch-up with a few other series this weekend, too, including Foxtel (Australia)’s Picnic at Hanging Rock and ABC (Australia)’s Mystery Road, which starts on Sunday. Tabula Rasa might even get that promised viewing and since I’ve seen a couple of movies at the cinema, as well, Movie Monday might be making at appearance, too. Plus I might even finish watching the first season of Cobra Kai.
Let’s not over-promise, though, even if the regular viewing list is about to plummet to virtually nothing, thanks to the end of the spring season in the US. Indeed, after the jump, as well as the latest episodes of The Americans, Bron/Broen (The Bridge), Legion and Westworld, I’ll be talking about the season finales of The Good Fight, Killing Eve and Krypton. 0See you in a mo as we watch that viewing list get cut in half…
Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Killing Eve (US: BBC America; UK: BBC One/BBC Three)
1×8 – God I’m Tired
A good summary of the show in the episode title, as I am indeed tired of Killing Eve. It’s a shame because it started so well and whenever Phoebe Waller-Bridge was writing it, it was both stylish and funny – this occasionally surprise-packed season finale being no exception. Yet, the rest of the time it was dull and often nonsensical, being a collection of spy clichés and dodgy lesbian stereotypes (Ed: is the stereotype of the mentally disturbed, stalker lesbian now so old and forgotten that it’s stopped being a stereotype? Discuss). The fact (spoiler) (spoiler alert) the show kept killing off all the funny cast members didn’t help either.
All the same, despite being considerable style over substance, not worthless, since at the very least it should make a star of Jodie Comer and it’s given Kim Bodnia his first decent TV role post-Bron/Broen (The Bridge). And if PW-B decides to write all the episodes next season, I’ll definitely be back for more.
Krypton (US: Syfy; UK: E4)
1×10 – The Phantom Zone
A decent finish to the season, with some actual budget thrown at the special effects and a good set-up for season two as well. Shame the middle episodes were so flabby and so dedicated to teen love and house in-fighting, particularly when the first few episodes had managed to give the show a nice element of InBetweeners style comedy, as well as obvious Superman references. It’s also great to see Colin Salmon finally getting a proper starring role again – anyone else remember him getting his big break in Prime Suspect 2?
Reviews: Initial review
The Americans (US: FX; UK: ITV4)
6×9 – Jennings, Elizabeth
Wow. That was pretty awesome. Just those final few scenes alone are going to be imprinted in my memory, but just such a brilliant piece of work for all the characters, with writers and actors alike firing on all cylinders. Clever, exciting, subtle – all rolled into one episode. I’m sad it’s going but I’m also looking forward considerably to the finale.
As a side note, I’ve stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel a few times and it’s really getting silly how many times it shows up in TV dramas now. I’ve been slowly rewatching The Punisher and it was in that for a whole episode and now we have this. I’m almost insulted no one was filming anything when we were there!
Bron/Broen (The Bridge) (Sweden: SVT1; Denmark: DR1; UK: BBC Two)
A marked general improvement again, making me feel like the first two episodes were a bit of a waste of time and we should have just started around here, without having Saga in prison for a year. In contrast to previous seasons, the crime itself is proving to be a bit of dull non-starter, even if we do now have evil clowns turning up in an effort to gee things up, but the general investigation around it, Saga’s big revelation, Danish guy’s new family, hotdesking in Denmark et al are great.
Reviews: Initial review
The Good Fight (US: CBS All Access; UK: More4)
2×13 – Day 492
A marvellous tribute to All the President’s Men for the Trump age, with some great comedy of stupidity thanks to the Chicago power meeting and some marvellous politicking by Margo Martindale.
An impressive second season that emphasised some of the better aspects of the first season and downplayed the worse aspects (eg the Ponzi scheme), while still maintaining its rapier-sharp focus on politics where it intersects the law. I’m not sure what was happening with all that aikido and it feels like a few storylines (and characters) fell by the wayside, but still the best procedural in town – watch it.
Legion (US: FX; UK: Fox UK)
2×9 – Chapter 17
I wish they’d stop having these character-centric episodes. Yes, they’re great in and of themselves, and this week’s episode showed Aubrey Plaza has a lot more versatility to her than I’d suspected, but they kill the pace stone dead. It’s interesting watching how the pieces are all being assembled for the final face off, whatever that will consist of, but the stop-start nature of the action makes the show very frustrating, particularly when it’s a flashback to “why this happened last week” and we could roughly guess all of it anyway. It can get away with a certain torpor when the direction and imagery are so good, but this week’s felt a bit mundane in comparison to previous weeks’, making it feel far more of a chore, particularly when there was so little time for the main cast.
Still, Legion on a bad day is better than a good day for anything on the “Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending” list by a long chalk, let alone anything below that, so I’m not complaining too much.
Westworld (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
2×6 – Phase Space
Did they call Hiroyuki Sanada’s character Musashi last week? If they did, I missed it or else I would have realised he was supposed to be – or at least be a homage to – Miyamoto Musashi. The two swords this week clinched it, naturally. Of course if you were going to Shogunworld you’d want to meet Miyamoto Musashi. Duh. Mind you, making all the characters speak classical Japanese might have made it a bit harder for guests to really interact, even the Japanese ones.
Problematically, Sanada’s great – indeed, he’s far more interesting than everything around him, particularly Thandie Newton and her now largely speechless gang of revolutionaries. But at least Westworld is starting to make some kind of sense and I was able to moderately predict that (spoiler) (spoiler alert) Anthony Hopkins would be in ‘The Cradle’ since that made some kind of logical sense of the preceding events of the past two seasons. Where it’s going? Now that’s a different question, particularly in light of that brief first scene with Delores and Bernard…