It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week
We’re starting to get a few new shows on tap now. This week, I’ve reviewed Cobra Kai (YouTube Red) and Sweetbitter (US: Starz), and I’ll be having a look at Vida (US: Starz) on Friday, too. Netflix also unveiled its first Danish TV show, The Rain, which would have been this week’s Boxset Monday had it not been:
- A Bank Holiday
- Clear within minutes that it was YAYA (yet another young adult) dystopian drama in which all the adults are wiped out by a plague, leaving the kids to fend for themselves.
On the latter point, Netflix alone already had Between and that’s before we even get started on the likes of Containment and The 100. I don’t think we need another one, even with subtitles – they’re all just so miserable.
Fingers crossed, though, I’ll be doing Tabula Rasa (Belgium: VRT; UK: Channel 4/Walter Presents) in Boxset Monday next week. Unless it’s rubbish. Or Netflix has something better.
After the jump today, though, it’s the regulars: The Americans, The Good Fight, The Handmaid’s Tale, Harrow, Killing Eve, Krypton, Legion, SEAL Team, Silicon Valley, Timeless, and Westworld.
Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Harrow (Australia: ABC; UK: Alibi)
1×9 – Lex Talionis
The serial story once again is the most interesting part, with the episodic investigation the least memorable part of the episode, despite it involving Harrow’s old mentor and a white supremacist. But the episode does give us the magic line “Actually, I’m Welsh”, in response to someone accusing our Ioan of being English, which was worth the admission charge alone.
BTW, this has just been renewed for a second season and was picked up by Alibi in the UK today, to begin airing in July.
Reviews: Initial review
Killing Eve (US: BBC America; UK: BBC One/BBC Three)
1×5 – I Have A Thing About Bathrooms
Phoebe WB’s back on writing duties and while it’s still not quite as witty and stylish as its first episode, the show does vault in new directions while managing to balance the English office humour and international intrigue. Plus, of course, our protagonist and antagonist get to meet properly and it’s not quite the event you might have expected.
Krypton (US: Syfy)
1×7 – Transformation
Not as good as the previous episode, but at least we’re firmly heading in good directions with all the various sub-plots and Colin Salmon gets to give us the least hammy (spoiler alert) General Zod ever. Good twist on the end reveal, too. Shame no mention of Wonder Woman among all the Justice League head-nods, but you can’t have everything can you?
Reviews: Initial review
SEAL Team (US: CBS; UK: Sky 1)
1×20 – Enemy of my Enemy
A bit of a change in plotting and the firefights get taken up a notch for the best episode in some time. I wonder if British guy really is off the hook for being the Big Bad?
Timeless (US: NBC; UK: E4)
2×8 – The Day Reagan Was Shot
A slightly less nonsensical mission for our heroes than usual, even if attempts to recreate the early 80s weren’t exactly The Americans at its finest and the Indian-American aspects were a tad stereotypical. While it all gets a bit silly, I am enjoying the continual appearance and disappearance of characters with each time jump – I do hope that the show will go full time travel gonzo and have everyone recast each episode because ‘hell, what were the chances of those that egg and that sperm getting together in this timeline, hey?’ Also good to see the writers trying to keep the show’s original premises and tenets on track, too, with all the references to the journal.
The Americans (US: FX; UK: ITV4)
6×6 – Rififi
Fascinating to see how Philip’s spying campaign against Elizabeth is somewhat ad hoc and impulsive – he’s only doing what he thinks necessary in that moment to help her. Which of course leads to the episode’s inevitable conclusion. There’s also the marvellous satire of Thanksgiving, Elizabeth’s movie-based spying and Philip’s anti-socialist ways. Can we really be nearly halfway to the end of the season already?
The Good Fight (US: CBS All Access; UK: More4)
2×10 – Day 471
A genuinely shocking opening act gives way to some thoughtful musings on police abuse, the nature of appearances in the legal world, as well as the arrival of Mike Colter (Marvel’s Luke Cage) as a reformed drug dealer on transfer from The Good Wife. Plus it’s good to have Diane back (properly). There genuinely isn’t a procedural this good anywhere else on TV.
The Handmaid’s Tale (US: Hulu; UK: Channel 4)
2×2 – Unwomen
The observant will notice that I’m a week behind with The Handmaid’s Tale. That’s because Hulu started with a double-episode and frankly, we can only get through one episode a week of The Handmaid’s Tale without wanting to slit our wrists. That said, I think Unwomen probably would have worked better directly after the first episode, since it’s really part of a pair. I probably can’t actually say much without giving away too many spoilers, but as well as being largely focused on events before the ‘regime change’, it shows us Offred’s new home, as well as the colonies, which look like they’ve escaped from a Grant Wood painting. I liked her new home – although I’m surprised there was so little food squirrelled away – but I’m surprised how little attention is being paid to her.
Reviews: Initial review and verdict
Legion (US: FX; UK: Fox UK)
2×6 – Chapter 14
An episode it takes quite a while to understand, since it only very slowly exposes what it’s really trying to do (spoiler) (spoiler alert) show how important David’s sister is to him, not just in this timeline, but in all timelines, so largely feels like David’s flipside to Syd’s earlier character-focused episode. Really very poignant and often fascinating as a capturing of how David’s powers/mental illness must feel like and where it could have taken him, it’s also a tour de force by Dan Stevens, as he’s required to play numerous different versions of himself at numerous ages. Mesmerising stuff.
Silicon Valley (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
5×7 – Initial Coin Offering
Surprisingly lenient but also fair look at crytocurrencies, as well as how swiftly fortunes, mission statements and alliances can change in global business. I wouldn’t say hugely funny though and the Tesla stuff (talking of bubbles that are set to burst…) is really starting to get annoying.
Westworld (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
2×3 – Virtù e Fortuna
Hmm. Why exactly did a theme park need to equip its Wild West robots with barrels full of a TNT? I mean it’s one thing to create guns that can’t hurt guests, but how do you do that with TNT? Also, I really am missing the discussions of AI and consciousness, which appear to have been entirely replaced now with robots shooting people (much like the movie that, I guess).
That grumbling to one side, very much looking forward to Shogun World next week and the arrival or British Raj World is a genius move – you can bet that the kind of English man or woman with enough pennies to pony up for a trip like that wouldn’t regard the Empire as a huge moral blot on our collective souls, but more as a Golden Age to be cherished and feel nostalgic towards. I guess it’s probably also the closest to being our own Wild West, hence the arrival of more Native Americans in the storyline at this point…