It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week
Sigh. Failed again. So I haven’t watched any of the three episodes of Starz’s Vida that have aired so far; I’m only four episodes through Netflix’s Safe; I’ve not got any further with Walter Presents’ Tabula Rasa; and I’d just about forgotten All Night exists. Oh dear.
But I did watch Carter (Canada: Bravo; UK: Alibi), so that’s something at least, hey?
Given that it’s YA Bank Holiday Weekend in the UK this weekend, I think I could end up either:
- Watching none of them
- Watching all of them.
My suspicion is that it’ll be something in between, with Safe getting a review and maybe Vida and All Night getting a whistlestop tour next WHYBW. But let’s see what the weather gods bring us.
After the jump, let’s talk about all the lovely reliable regular shows: The Americans, Bron/Broen (The Bridge), The Good Fight, Krypton, Legion, and Westworld, as well as the season finale of SEAL Team and two episodes of Killing Eve, now I’ve played catch-up. If only I were as reliable as TV, hey?
Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Killing Eve (US: BBC America; UK: BBC One/BBC Three)
1×6 – Take Me To The Hole – 1×7 – I Don’t Want To Be Free
I have to confess to being a bit bored and disappointed by Killing Eve. The first episode promised so much, with style and wit aplenty. Since then, it’s been variable to say the least, but we’re now at the point where there’s actually not much wit and not much style, while the spy side of things is like the worst clichés from the worst holiday reading imaginable, but executed badly. Crappy Russian prisons full of lesbians, sure, but these are the BBC versions of Russian prisons where people wear headscarfs, speak English and don’t get beaten to a pulp for looking in the wrong direction. Threat level – pink with a hint of sunset. Every twist and turn gets flagged miles off, nothing is surprising and you honestly wonder how people working in such a dangerous business can be so incandescently stupid and gullible. Even in a moderate comedy.
It’s a shame because the cast are firing all cylinders, David Holmes (Ocean’s 11, The Fall) is doing some beautiful work with the soundtrack, and there are some lovely locations on display. But as a both a thriller and a comedy, it’s really starting to flunk out – probably because the only great episodes have been written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and there have only been three of them so far. The next episode is the last of the season, so it’s probably the last for me.
Krypton (US: Syfy; UK: E4)
1×9 – Hope
Lots of excitement, running around and shooting things, as well as the usual House intrigue. A good Zod fight, too, and Brainiac looks pretty. But nothing tremendously exciting for the mind to chew upon.
Reviews: Initial review
SEAL Team (US: CBS; UK: Sky 1)
1×22 – The Cost of Doing Business
Huh. I had not clocked that was the season finale until I went looking for the episode promo below. Not exactly 100% different from previous episodes, with no big revelations or changes, beyond the return to the US for our heroes and a spot of either concussion or PTSD. Plenty of excitement, the ultimate big bad maybe taken down, maybe not because as usual there might be a bigger one, but that’s about it.
On balance, a perfectly competent season of shoot-outs and action, with a greater verisimilitude than the usual CBS procedural has to offer. But never remarkable or genre-changing enough to really make it to the recommended list. I doubt I’ll be back for season two, although given that the show now has a new showrunner and two EPs have left, maybe a reboot of sorts will be on the way, which might still sway me.
The Americans (US: FX; UK: ITV4)
6×8 – The Summit
The first casualty of the spy game is always the art. So sad.
As with last week’s episode, though, I thought certain of the leaps in thinking and character, such as Elizabeth’s conversion away from the cause, were a little too speedy to be believed and if Margo Martingdale’s character didn’t register that she was having a change of heart, she’s clearly been away from fieldwork for far too long. All the same, great to see the FBI finally getting its act together, Stan homing in on ‘our heroes’ and Philip and Elizabeth finally coming clean with one another.
Bron/Broen (The Bridge) (Sweden: SVT1; Denmark: DR1; UK: BBC Two)
A big improvement on the previous, near-Saga free episode, although getting over a stab to the carotid and presumably massive blood loss seemed a bit easier than it should be. Still not interested in Danish bloke, and his ghost-children are as hilarious as ever – even his colleagues seem to think so – but at least we’re getting some intended humour, too. I’m holding back judgement on the ‘mystery’, since it once again seems to involve evil geniuses with evil intricate plans, but at least there’s still a baseline of reality to it, somewhere.
Reviews: Initial review
The Good Fight (US: CBS All Access; UK: More4)
2×12 – Day 485
A fun glimpse at the ICE, state vs federal rights and more, although the trip into the realm of graphic novels felt a little bit clichéd at times. Once again, the usual reminder that the arrival of Enrico Colantoni in your guest cast list is a guaranteed it’s filmed in Canada.
Legion (US: FX; UK: Fox UK)
2×8 – Chapter 16
A better balance between brilliant visuals and actual plot this episode, as well as some decent dialogue – I did like the Syd/former cop’s “girl chat”, which was nicely incongruous with the show’s usual tone.
Westworld (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
2×5 – Akane No Mai
Oddly enough, I’ve a much better grasp (and appreciation) of samurai movies and their cultural import in Japan than I do of Westerns to the US, so the introduction of Shogunworld to the Westworld plotline actually helped me to understand more about Westworld through its mirroring than I had before. I don’t think I’d really appreciated just how much Westworld is supposed to embody Western clichés and unreality, until Shogunworld thrust every cliché of the samurai genre in my face, be it scenes from Kurosawa (Ran, The Seven Samurai and Yojimbo being the most obvious), fake sword-fighting, the almost mandatory fake use of chiburui, the faux ronin et al. It was all lovingly done, too, by people who clearly understood Japanese culture and what was deliberate artifice and fantasy, plus the arrival on the scene of Hiroyuki Sanada (Helix, The Last Samurai) was especially pleasing.
That said, not really an episode I enjoyed overall. The English bloke and his meta commentary is as amusing as always, but all this large-scale bloodletting just isn’t interesting to me and I’m not sure we can really cheer on the robots, given how they treat not just the ‘hosts’ but each other now. I’m also starting to get the feeling we’re tag-teaming between thoughtful and violent episodes, with Bernárd and the Man in Black taking us on a tour of the intellectually interesting parts of the series’ set-up and Delores and Thandie Newton now just over-mining a metaphor for minority emancipation, without really adding anything.
I’m not quite at the point of giving up on the show, but I’d like a bit more meat to the bone, please.