What have you been watching? Including Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones

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

It’s Wednesday. That must mean it’s time for WHYBW. Just as it has always been.

BTW, how’s the war with Oceania going?

The 410
The 410

This week’s reviews

It’s been a good week for reviews, with not just one but two boxsets:

Just a reminder: tomorrow’s Orange Thursday (I don’t know why I’ve just italicised that) will be taking in both Glass (2019) and Snowpiercer (2014), just in case you haven’t done the background viewing already.

Julianna Margulies in National Geographic (US)'s The Hot Zone
Julianna Margulies in National Geographic (US)’s The Hot Zone

What’s coming this week

I’ve reviewed most of the shows on last week’s list. However, I’ve only just started watching Five Bedrooms (it’s okay – not awful, not great) and since episode two of that was on about half an hour ago in Oz, I might as well watch that before reviewing the show. That should be coming your way either tomorrow or Friday. Or maybe as part of next week’s WHYBW.

Despite my promises, I never watched so much as a frame of What/If… since it turns out that’s not out until this Friday. Whoops. Sorry about that. I’ll try to give that a go when it’s actually available. There’s a plan, hey?

And given Hulu launched the entire series of Catch-22 in one go on Friday, I might as well declare it’ll be next week’s Boxset Tuesday (Monday being yet another UK bank holiday). There’s a project for the bank holiday weekend, if Lovely Wife isn’t too busy with all her studies.

Somewhere mixed up in all of that will be Blood and Treasure. National Geographic’s The Hot Zone is also being served up on Monday, which I’ll definitely be watching at some point – for verily, it’s about killer viruses and I’ve read the book it’s based on and I’ve just spent the past two days editing an article about dengue fever, so clearly it’s got everything I could possibly need in a TV series.

Bob Murphy in Mr Black
Bob Murphy in Mr Black

The regulars

As usual, I’ll be talking about the latest episodes of Doom Patrol, Harrow, Mr Black and Warrior. I also caught another episode of The Society. And, of course, it was the final ever episode of a certain long-running fantasy show this week, so I should probably talk about that, too. What do you think?

See you in a mo.

TV shows

TMINE recommends has all the TV shows TMINE has ever recommended and TV Reviews A-Z lists every TV show ever reviewed.

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending

Harrow (Australia: ABC; UK: Alibi)

2×2 – Audere Est Facere

Again, another confident episode with all the elements working smoothly and in harmony. They’ve dialled down the silly on Harrow’s would-be stalker/murderer, too, making that far more palatable. The characters all seem to like each other more, too.

But I miss some of the darkness of the first season and the fact that everyone’s basically ignoring the fact he’s a murderer who covered up his crime makes it feel like there’s a great big elephant in the room that no one’s talking about.

Probably the best procedural on the box anywhere, though.

Mr Black (Australia: Ten)

1×3

So I was reading an interview with Mr Black‘s creator Adam Zwar in which he explains that the show was originally intended for a cable network. When Ten picked up the show, however, he retooled the first episode and “I adjusted it to make it a commercial half hour.”

Which is a bit disappointing. I liked the tone of the first episode and we’re now in episode 3 and Zwar has done exactly as he intended and made Mr Black a far more commercial half hour. It does feel a lot more like a conventional sitcom and thus less interesting.

That said, the episode’s voyage into Black’s unconscious and sometimes conscious racism when a black family moves in next door (bad! But not because they’re black! Honest!) was a lot sparkier and a lot more willing to allow its titular character to be a racist than that might suggest.

Not knowing the first thing about Australian Rules Football meant the episode was also educational for me and I was grateful that whenever a real-life Australian Rules celeb turned up, the show was kind enough to put up a placard explaining who he was. Plus the continuing evolution of the daughter’s character is interesting.

But it could do with some of the darkness and ‘cable sensibility’ it started out with.

Episode reviews: Initial review

The Society (Netflix)

1×3 – Childhood’s End

Very much an episode of two halves, one good, one snoozetastic. The first saw our marooned teens explicitly decide to implement a central organised socialist society in order to preserve the peace and ensure they don’t all starve to death. That was eyebrow-raising to say the least.

The second half was then, unfortunately, everyone going off to a prom. Bored now. Even the now standard early-episode Netflix twist (spoiler) (spoiler alert) let’s kill the famous actor you were watching the show for in the first place at the end of the episode couldn’t lift it. But I’ll probably be checking in for episode four at least.

BTW, nothing to do with Arthur C Clarke’s story of the same name.

Episode reviews: Initial review

Warrior (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky1)

1×7 – The Tiger and the Fox

Back to the Chinese situation, so massively more interesting than last week’s episode. That said, the backstory to our man from the South was very interesting, as was his boss’ reaction.

Some good fights, although one looked a bit underrehearsed and misdirected, and a definite ramping up of the action at the end for the next episode.

Episode reviews: Initial review

Recommended shows

Doom Patrol (US: DC Universe)

1×14 – Penultimate Patrol

Probably the most meta episode so far of probably the most meta show anywhere, as Flex Mentallo gives everyone the power to enter the ‘white space’ – that area between comic book panes where there’s no story – and we have a battle over who gets to be the narrator of the show.

Probably best if you watch the video if you want to understand what’s going on.

Oh, very funny and very clever, by the way – and I’m glad the swearing’s back to normal levels.

Episode reviews: Initial review

Game of Thrones (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)

8×6 – The Iron Throne

So I’m going to call it – a satisfying ending, that one. Sure, more than a few holes you could drive a truck through (eg why don’t the Unsullied just kill Jon?), Arya’s ending is unexpected (I assumed the Face Dancers would finally catch up with her) and there’s a few characters whose fates are still unknown.

But basically this is where it was all leading for all the characters and the ending was the only happy ending that the show’s main message could probably support – the cause of Westeros’ misery is ‘the game of thrones’ and it’s only by moving away from the game that anyone can be happy. I called ‘Magna Carta’ as the ultimate answer and the show actually came quite close, which for a show that was ultimately a sociological show, rather than one about individual endeavour, was surely the logical conclusion.

So what to make of nearly a decade’s worth of episodes? Clearly, it’s been a different show since it ran out of books to adapt, with the pace massively accelerating, characters transforming on a sixpence and all the sex and unpleasant violence more or less disappearing. It’s also been less thoughtful and more predictable, although that’s something of a function of the necessary ending of all those narrative arcs in a sufficiently satisfying way for everyone’s who been following them for so long. I also missed the different cultures and the Middle Eastern qualities of Dany’s story before she moved to Westeros.

Still, those first seasons couldn’t half meander and some characters could go missing for an entire season, so swings and roundabouts, hey?

But while there are bound to be a lot of dissatisfied fans, I imagine once the dust has settled that people’s memories of Game of Thrones will be fond. Unless their parents named them Daenerys or Khaleesi, of course. It’ll also live forever and acquire new fans through boxsets and streaming services.

Indeed, as a whole, I suspect Game of Thrones will probably be remembered as the best, most spectacular Western fantasy TV series ever made. Whether Amazon’s multi-series Lord of the Rings adaptation will come close to taking that crown, I can’t say, but I suspect it won’t. Because it’s Amazon. Maybe some of the spin-offs will instead.

But let’s not let minor niggles about certain aspects of certain episodes get in the way of all that the show did achieve.

Episode reviewsSeason one

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