What have you been watching? Including Champaign ILL, Timeless and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Champaign ILL

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

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas! Yes, just before TMINE goes off on its week-and-a-half-long Christmas break, I thought I’d leave you with one final present – a second WHYBW! Yes, it’s a Christmas miracle.


This week’s reviews

There was a decent release of new boxsets this week, but season 3 of Travelers was the only thing I managed to both watch and review, as I was away at a wedding last weekend. I do hope to catch up with season 2 of 4 Blocks, the rest of Plan Cœur and a few other shows at some point, but I’m not 100% sure that’ll be over the Christmas break, seeing as I’m not a member of the Royle Family. But we’ll see.

There’s also some good stuff out today on Netflix, including The Protector, so I might end up watching something surprising. And Hulu’s just boxsetted the entire second season of Marvel’s Runaways, so I’ll probably watch at least a few episodes of that before we’re reunited in 2019.

Plus Syfy (US) has just released a preview of the first episode of Deadly Class, so I’ll have that to talk about when I get back. It’s US only, but it’s here, if you want to watch it, too, and can:

The Timeless finale
The Timeless finale

New shows

But that doesn’t mean I’ve watched nothing else but Travelers. YouTube Premium’s Chicago ILL came out recently and I’ll be talking about that after the jump. Oddly, this year, US TV has been taking a leaf out of UK TV’s book and has given us some Christmas specials. Timeless came back for a feature-length conclusion and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina also gave us a suitably festive tale of cannibalism and ritual sacrifice for the solstice. Praise Satan. We can talk about that after the jump, too.

Happy Together

And the regulars… sorry, regular…

Most shows have already had their mid-season finales, but there are a few stragglers left. Frustratingly, Titans‘s final episode is tonight, so that’ll have to wait until 2019 before I talk about the final arrival of Batman to the programme. That means, I’ll be talking about Happy Together… and that’s it. Huh.

And no, I’ve still not watched the final two episodes of Doctor Who.

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

New shows

Champaign ILL

Champaign ILL (YouTube Premium)

Three friends grow up together in Champaign IL. They all have plans for what to do after High School, but then one of them gets a recording contract and before you know it, they’re rich and famous. Years later, when the pals have grown up to be Happy Endings‘ Adam Pally and Detroiters‘ Sam Richardson, their rapper pal is killed while shooting a video, leaving the pals with nothing. With no skills, no idea of what the real world is like and no money, the two have to return to their parents’ houses in Champaign and try to work out what to do with their lives.

It sounds like a pretty bad idea for a comedy and it is a pretty bad idea for a comedy. You’d also think that maybe Pally would be hamming things up less by now. He’s not. If anything, he’s more OTT than he was in Happy Endings, where he was at least well served by the script.

That said, it’s slightly funny at least; it’s also slightly darker and smarter than you’d think, with their rapper pal’s death much nastier and more unpleasant than you’d think, for example. The fact that Richardson’s dad is Keith David (in a fat suit) and Pally’s parents are Curtis Armstrong and Allyce Beasley (Burt and Agnes from Moonlighting) are almost enough to make me want to watch more of it, too.

However, by the end of the first episode, I had no real interest in watching any further. Still, you might, so here’s a trailer and the first two episodes for free:

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first season, but Netflix has a habit of making its first seasons ‘pilot episodes’, so I figured with the pilot out the way, this might be a glimpse of what the series itself would be like. Is it any different? Not really. There was one frightening bit, one funny bit and that was about it. Turns out that selling your soul to Satan doesn’t really affect you and your life very much. Who’d have thunk it?

That said, without Jeff from Coupling and Missy from Doctor Who figuring into the narrative in any way, the show did feel a bit more interesting and freer, unencumbered by a season arc. The magical storyline also seemed a bit more interesting, even if the entire episode was basically a demonic version of Happy!‘s first season. It’s not enough to make me want to watch the second season now, but it did make me feel that my initial desire to fall asleep during the first 15 minutes of the episode was premature, at least.

Also, it suddenly struck me midway through the episode that Mirando Otto has been trying to do an English accent for the past season. This revelation genuinely surprised me – it never even occurred to me that that’s what she was trying to do. I thought she was just being a bit hoity-toity. But no, the entire family, not just Lucy Davis and Chance Perdomo, are supposed to be English. It makes sense, but crikey, that’s a wonky accent.

Episode reviews: season one

Timeless (US: NBC; UK: E4)

The Miracle of Christmas

It was cancelled, but it’s been there before, and yet again Timeless was granted a reprieve of sorts. This time round it got a movie to wrap up all the plots. Unfortunately, the best that can be said about it is that it does just that. Quickly. That two-season long effort to stop Rittenhouse? All done with a bit of plea bargaining. And if you were expecting our heroes to meet someone really exciting from history for their final two missions, “the guy who inspired Zorro” and “some people who escaped from the Korean War’s version of Dunkirk” probably wouldn’t be who you’d have picked, I expect. Paterson Joseph? I think he got his bit done in about 10 minutes.

Still, everyone gets a send-off, everyone ends up with who you think they’ll end up, most of the questions raised get answered (although not very interestingly, most of the time) and you’ll end up wanting to see more of Goran Višnjić by the end of the movie at least. A good bit of fan service, but if you were expecting to be wowed, you’ll be disappointed.

ReviewsInitial reviewVerdict

Recommended shows

Happy Together (US: CBS; UK: E4)

1×11 – A Claire-Free Lifestyle

A welcome focus on Amber Stevens West for a change but she gets fewer of the funny lines than Damon Wayans Jr, who’s considerably less than believable in this episode than a normal human being, which makes me think the show is heading towards conventional sitcom territory permanently. That said, there’s still enough going on in terms of Wayans supporting Stevens West and his feelings of anxiety to make it feel far more modern and relevant than other sitcoms.

Episode reviews: Initial review, Verdict


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

    View all posts