It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week
Another slow week this week. Only Amazon served up something new, which it hid very well: new German original Beat, which hopefully should be better than You Are Wanted. I was too busy watching Homecoming to start that so unless something better comes along this week, Beat will be getting the Boxset Monday treatment next week.
That means it’s just the regulars again this week, although even that number is about to start dwindling. After the jump, then, the latest episodes of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Doctor Who, Happy Together, Magnum P.I. and Titans, as well as the returning Black Lightning. I’ll also be looking at the season finales of Pine Gap and You, as well as the series finale of The Last Ship. Will it all end well, and will there be any more promotions this week? You’ll find out in a mo…
Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Black Lightning (US: The CW; UK: Netflix)
2×5 – The Book Of Blood: Chapter One – Requiem
And we begin a new book with the death of a regular. Or have we? The episode plays nice games with the standard TV trope of “If you haven’t seen someone die in those suspicious circumstances, don’t believe they’re actually dead,” and basically spins an ep round that as metaphor for the difficulty of accepting loss. But he’s probably not dead, it’s true. Also a nice touch was the suggestion that someone in the DC Universe has access to Marvel’s SHIELD tech – or at least watched Captain America: Winter Soldier. Otherwise, still a bit limp and aimless in terms of plotting and everything involving the ‘pod people’ is yawn tastic and sits at marked odds with the rest of the show. The new “shiny metal thing” is also a worrying suggestion the show is going to start getting silly. But I did like the teen slang this episode, as well as the calculus.
Doctor Who (UK: BBC One)
11×6 – Demons of the Punjab
No Chibbers writing this one, so unsurprisingly, the best one of the series so far. It’s also pretty damn good anyway as an almost pure historical, although suffers from a bit too much running around to inject excitement, as well as hints at repetition from previous seasons (eg superassassins from the dawn of time – that’s the Weeping Angels, surely). Nevertheless, a really good and subtle examination at a terrible incident in British colonial history that manages to avoid the usual “Brits bad, colonised people good” narrative in favour of something that feels a bit more knowledgable about both the time and place.
Pine Gap (Australia: ABC; UK: Netflix)
1×6 – Episode 6
Not quite the exciting sign-off for the season I was hoping for, with only about 50% of the episode managing to push the excitement buttons with sigint and comint, with too many threads left dangling at the end in preparation for a probable second season. But some real political intrigue and when new Aussie guy comes on board to find the mole, it’s a really deft bit of work. All in all, there’s about three episodes in the season of top spy action that almost creates a top new sub-genre, three episodes of soapy tedium, and the lack of focus in the plot threads mean I’m not entirely sure what the show was trying to do. Fingers crossed, a second season will be a bit smoother – and more focused.
Episode reviews: Initial review
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (US: The CW; UK: Sky1)
4×4 – Wet Hot American Bummer
An episode title obviously written by an American – I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to work out a) what it’s referencing and b) what it sounds like to a Brit. Quite fun to see John Constantine in shorts and T-shirts and to get more backstory references as well as a mention of Swamp Thing (even if he is on competing network DC Universe now); also good to see how the team shake-up is working out and for Mick to have something more to do. Odd to see that it’s harder for a posh Brit to do a convincing cockney accent than an American accent, mind. It’s also weird just how much Constantine dwarfs the other characters, like an A-list rock star playing with a pub band. Otherwise, nothing extraordinary, just the usual fun.
Happy Together (US: CBS; UK: E4)
1×7 – How Jake And Claire Met
A weak start that looked like it was going to fall into standard sitcom traps but one that managed to course correct after the first five minutes to become an interesting examination of different US states’ cultures, as well as one of the few sitcom Rashomons. Felix Mallard, of course, manages to walk that tightrope between stupidity and innocence that makes his character a lot more believable, too.
The Last Ship (US: TNT; UK: Sky1)
5×10 – Commitment
And TNT’s best show finally sails off into the distance with a budget-smashing D-Day style invasion with the usual high casualty list. Wolf gets a fight worthy of his talents, Chandler finally gets to do his Moby Dick moment, Quantum Leap gets an homage, plenty of old faces return (although, as suspected, one didn’t – you can probably guess which one), and we have some proper sea warfare, too.
The first and second seasons are still my favourites and had some truly brilliant episodes, the fourth offered up the best sea warfare strategies and the final offered up all out war. You didn’t have to be an American patriot to love it and you were more likely to become one if you watched it. Just about the only thing Michael Bay ever touched that didn’t become terrible. The Last Ship will be missed.
Magnum P.I. (US: CBS)
1×8 – Die He Said
The shirt stuck, I see. Unlike all those bullets – surely even one or two bullets from a machine gun should be able to hit a Ferrari driving away at speed? But a decent ‘flashback to the war’ episode that sees the welcome return of Domenick Lombardozzi, as well as more PI fun.
Titans (US: DC Universe; UK: Netflix)
1×5 – Together
A promotion for Titans this week thanks to its decision to (spoiler) get rid of the Nuclear Family , whose abject silliness was throwing the whole show off. It’s also the first episode to give us the Titans as a team, which worked very nicely, and the fight scenes are really proving impressive now – Robin’s arrival in the main fight is suitably awe-inspiring. What I’m particularly enjoying about the show is that it’s shining a light not just on B-list characters who don’t normally get to appear in the limelight, it’s also picking up on a lot of comics back story that never normally makes it to the movies, such as Batman having more than one Robin . On the latter point, the end of the episode suggests plenty of intrigue in the next episode.
You (US: Lifetime; UK: Netflix)
1×10 – Bluebeard’s Castle
And again, wow. What a surprise. As an ending, that’s probably the only one I’d eliminated as an option, and You has surprised me again. I do worry that it’s maybe sending the wrong message to some viewers, but then again, who knows how stalkers think, even after watching a season-long, stalkers-eye-view on romance and rom-coms. A highly impressive first season and good place to leave things for a much anticipated second season. A total recommend from me.
Episode reviews: Initial review