What have you been watching? Including Dead to Me

Dead To Me
Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in Netflix's Dead To Me

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

Cobrai Kai – season 2

This week’s reviews

Despite yet another Bank Holiday weekend, TMINE did as good as it promised and dished you all up not one but two boxsets

Meanwhile, Orange Wednesday‘s film reviews gave us a Chinese-language double-bill of The Wandering Earth (2019) and The Water Margin (1973).

TVNZ On Demand’s Educators

What’s coming this week

Lovely Wife hasn’t felt motivated enough to watch Starz (US)’s The Spanish Princess and doesn’t seem likely to change her mind about that for a while, so we won’t be looking at that.

However, coming this week to our TV screens are the following shows, which I’ll rate in terms of the chance I’ll bother watching and reviewing them:

Also potentially up for review are some shows that I didn’t have time to watch this week and which in some cases were online-only:

  • Mr Black (Australia: Ten) – likely
  • The 410 (Canada: CBC Gem) – possible
  • Educators (New Zealand: TVNZ OnDemand) – possible

But they may all end up in one big WHYBW next week.

One show I did start watching is Netflix’s Dead to Me, but you can read about that after the jump.

The original cast of What We Do In The Shadows and Tilda Swinton
The original cast of What We Do In The Shadows (2014) and Tilda Swinton in FX (US)’s What We Do In The Shadows

The regulars

We’re down to quite small numbers of regulars, but after the jump I’ll be talking about the latest episodes of Doom Patrol, Game of Thrones, The Twilight Zone, Warrior, and What We Do In the Shadows.

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.

New shows

Dead To Me
Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in Netflix’s Dead To Me

Dead To Me (Netflix)

Christina Applegate is happily married. Then she isn’t, as a hit-and-run driver kills her husband. Months later, she joins a support group where she meets Linda Cardellini and they become fast friends. Except Cardellini isn’t quite what she seems.

So I’ve only watched the first episode of this, which probably isn’t enough to properly judge it. For starters, that season-long twist you just guessed? That’s the twist at the end of the first episode (or so it seems), so clearly there’s more to the show than that.

Yet at the same time, I wasn’t massively inspired to watch any more of it. Applegate’s very powerful and Cardellini is suitably edgy, but the show is a sort of female version of After Life, full of rage against the world and misery about bereavement and loss. Jokes? Not so much. Laughs? I don’t remember laughing.

So I’m in two minds about whether to watch any more. Samantha Who? had more or less the exact same problems, but turned out to be pretty decent in the end. But that doesn’t mean Dead To Me will do the same – there’s certainly not much evidence in favour of that happening.

Yet, James Marsden and Ed Asner are both in the cast but haven’t had that much to do yet, which makes me want to watch more. There’s also a format-change at the end of the first episode, with Cardellini moving in with Applegate and her family, implying the show could be significantly different in further episodes.

Watch this space, then.

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending

Warrior (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky1)

1×5 – The Blood and the Shit

A welcome departure from the usual format, with a Jonathan Lin-scripted episode taking the show to its true ‘eastern’ (not western) roots, as our heroes head off into the Wild West and have to deal with some banditos.

As with previous episodes, what made the show interesting wasn’t so much the fights, which were as good as usual, but the historical context. Asian characters we normally see just in the background of shots of westerns get a full history and everything comes from their perspectives. We also get an exploration of identity, with characters wondering if they’re American, Chinese, both or neither.

But, of course, it’s the open racism and attitudes of the time that’s the most eye-opening part of proceedings. And even that never quite plays out how you think it’s going to play out – intersectionality, baby!

Episode reviews: Initial review

Recommended shows

Doom Patrol (US: DC Universe)

1×11 – Cyborg Patrol

Probably the ‘straightest’ episode of the show so far, as the patrol has to rescue Cyborg from the Bureau of Normalcy and naturally, nothing goes according to plan.

A bit disappointing, though. There’s a surprisingly downbeat ending to the episode, despite plenty of laughs along the way, such as the attack of ‘the butts’ and the return of Jane’s dippiest personality. There also wasn’t that much of Cliff’s trademark swearing. But I wasn’t displeased.

Episode reviews: Initial review

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

8×4 – The Last of the Starks

Half an episode of everyone recovering from the previous episode and dealing with its ramifications, half an episode of cranking up the action to lead things into the final ‘game of thrones’. It all feels well earned, characters behaving as you’d expect them to behave, and at least one more regular character shuffling off the mortal coil, just to keep you guessing.

But… it’s just a shame that the writing and the production don’t match. We have two highly precious dragons that provide total air superiority, but no one ever does any advance reconnaissance to ensure they don’t run into trouble.

At the same time, if you are going to create a bunch of surface-to-air missiles with which to attack dragons, maybe don’t stick them all on highly unmanoeuvrable, water-based platforms all facing in the same direction.

And if you’re going to attack said SAMs, maybe do it under the cover of night and from directly above, when they’re all visible, you’re not and you can hover.

Just a thought.

Episode reviewsSeason one

The Twilight Zone (US: CBS All Access)

1×7 – Not All Men

Probably the most uncomfortable episode so far, with a meteorite striking the Earth, causing all the men – and only the men – to go a bit crazy violent. However, Taissa Farmiga’s experiences are only slightly further from her pre-meteorite experiences, when she had to deal with sexual harassment et al, making it also a glimpse for men at women’s worst fears.

It’s a bit sledgehammeringly obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying.

Episode reviews: Initial review

What We Do In The Shadows (US: FX; UK: BBC Two)

1×7 – The Trial

Wowsers. For a show that normally only features three moderately unknown British comedians and some almost utterly unknown American character actors, this episode comes like a gold brick to the face with an invitation to the Oscars wrapped round it.

Written by Jemaine Clement, The Trial follows on from the previous episode’s ‘accident’, resulting in our vampire heroes having to go on trial before the vampire high council. Taking them there is Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) and they meet Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Spectre) along the way.

But then it turns out that the vampire high council is:

  • The cast of the original What We Do In The Shadows
  • Every famous actor who’s ever played a vampire, provided their schedule would allow it.

I mean there are some big names in there. I won’t list them here, but in case you’re interested, you can name-check over here, Slate calling it ‘the greatest celebrity vampire reunion of all time’.

All of that star-gazing to one side, though, a very funny episode in its own right, particularly Bautsita’s character, and once again, it’s Clement who remembers a film-crew is supposed to be documenting all of this. But also some nice use of horror tropes to add a sense of danger to proceedings.

Episode reviews: Initial review

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