What have you been watching? Including Alta Mar (High Seas)

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

The Rook
The Rook

This week’s reviews

It was a lovely sunny weekend, so all plans last week to review an entire boxset of something were obviously going to fall at the first hurdle. That means that all the TV I’ve managed to review this week is The Rook (US: Starz; UK: Virgin).

Meanwhile, last week’s Orange Thursday was equally deficient, only managing to take in Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018).

Oh well.

Shaft (2019)

What’s coming this week

Tomorrow’s Orange Thursday will definitely feature last week’s also-ran The Lego Movie 2, as well as Shaft (2019) – not to be confused with previous entries in the franchise Shaft (1971) and Shaft (2000).

By hook or by crook, Boxset Monday (or Tuesday) will be season three of Stranger Things (Netflix), which will be available from tomorrow, giving me even more of a run-up.

On the other hand, it’s supposed to be sunny this weekend, too. Oh, well. Let’s see what happens.

Apart that, it’s anyone’s guess. Summer, hey?

Zachary Quinto in NOS4A2
Zachary Quinto in NOS4A2 © Zach Dilgard/AMC

The regulars

The InBetween was on yet another holiday last week, so I think I’m going to give up on it, simply because I’m going to start forgetting what’s been happening, both between episodes and by the time I have dementia, which is probably when the final episode of the season airs some time in 2047.

Otherwise, after the jump, we’ll have the regulars: City on a Hill, Harrow, Jett, Krypton, Legion, Perpetual Grace LTD, and Swamp Thing. I also found the time to watch another episode of NOS4A2 and I gave a new show a try: Netflix’s period Spanish murder-mystery Alta Mar (High Seas).

See you in a mo.

TV shows

New shows

High Seas

Alta Mar (High Seas) (Netflix)

It’s the 1940s and a luxury ocean linear sets off from Spain for Brazil. On board are a bunch of people looking for a new life, including the owner’s daughter, who’s getting married.

However, within just a few days, a number of people will have been murdered and there may be more to come. Who is it? Could it be the girl who was smuggled on board, claiming to be escaping from her murderous fiancé? Maybe it’s the fiancé? Or maybe it’s somebody else?

So, I’m not a big fan of the murder-mystery as it is, but I was hoping to be swayed by this, which looks great and has a different set-up to the usual Agatha Christie affairs. Certainly, it’s also tonally different, with the first episode frequently feeling a tad tongue-in-cheek, something of which the cast themselves do nothing to dissuade the viewer.

However, in and of itself, it didn’t do much to persuade me there was much more to it. It’s a murder-mystery at sea with annoying rich people and slightly dodgy CGI. Looks shiny, the cast are pretty, but one for fans of the genre only.

Incidentally, I tried both dubbed and Spanish versions and it was an odd experience. In Spanish, everyone rattles along at 100kph, full of fire and passion; meanwhile, in English, everyone’s a frosty, slow-moving Brit. It’s as though everyone has different personalities, depending on the language.

Or maybe it’s the very languages themselves. There’s something to muse upon.

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending

City on a Hill (US: Showtime)

1×3 – Only if the Fool Would Persist in His Folly

As per last week, when the show looks at the criminality of the situation, it’s a scorcher. But it’s now spending so much time on the protagonists’ failings relationships that it’s actually getting to the point where I’m forgetting what they’re supposed to be doing whenever a rare scene of an investigation shows up. Certainly, I get the feeling this would have been better executed as a six or seven part series.

But when it’s good, it’s just so good.

Episode reviews: Initial

Harrow (Australia: ABC; UK: Alibi)

2×8 – Sub Silentio

Harrow’s daft and pays the penalty, leaving everyone else to do the work this episode, which works quite nicely and gave all the supporting characters a chance to shine.

Still, the show is now flagging up in such BIG LETTERS what happened (spoiler alert) Chester was guilty but they didn’t have the evidence, so Harrow’s boss fitted him up, without Harrow knowing that Harrow’s looking quite daft for not guessing.

Episode reviews: Initial

Jett (US: Cinemax)

1×3 – Phoenix

The bits involving Jett’s life in prison were interesting and we’re getting a bit more of the fun of the first episode. But it’s starting to feel a little like the show shot its bolt in the first hour and is now settling down into a somewhat predictable and uninteresting crime hour.

I get the feeling I might be checking out very soon at this rate.

Episode reviews: Initial

Krypton (US: Syfy; UK: E4)

2×3 – Will To Power

Boredom on Krypton, lots of fun with Lobo on another planet. Then, oh bugger (spoiler alert) everyone’s back on Krypton at the end of the episode . Can’t say I’m looking forward to next week now.

Plus if you’re going to have episodes that involve a Kryptonian that are set on another planet, can you at least apply a colour filter so that the sunshine isn’t so staggering yellow?

Episode reviews: Initial


1×3 – The Gas Mask Man

I thought I’d give them is a last chance, after the disappointing snooze that was the second episode. But it’s more of the same this week. Even the bloke from Trapped going around in a scary gas mask couldn’t interest me.

Sorry, but I’m out on this one.

Episode reviews: Initial

Swamp Thing (US: DC Universe)

1×5 – Drive All Night

Swamp Thing gets his John Constantine substitute this episode to tell him who/what he is, although we’re not quite at the Parliament of Trees stage yet. Meanwhile, Kevin Durand is well on his way to becoming (spoiler alert) the Floronic Man , which is nice.

Otherwise, just more flapping about in the swamp and histrionics. There’s just enough dripping out of material each episode that I’ll probably be back for the next episode at least. But honestly, I’m not surprised any more that WB cancelled this so quickly.

Episode reviews: Initial

The recommended list

Legion (US: FX; UK: Fox UK)

3×2 – Chapter 21

More plot! More beautiful visuals! More ethical debates about intrinsic versus enacted evil!

Really enjoyed the extended mime fest, too.

Episode reviews: Initial; verdict

Perpetual Grace LTD (US: Epix)

1×5 – Wandering Left

Lots of laughs to be had this episode thanks to Ben Kingsley. One of the best things about Perpetual Grace is that it constantly subverts noir tropes with Kingsley, who’s supposed to be evil and a Machiavellian genius but who does obviously stupid things that everyone falls for because that’s what people do in noir, not because he’s actually smart.

All in all, it’s shaping up as a fun pastiche of just how bad ordinary people would be at doing very bad things, if they gave it whirl – sort of an even more mundane Fargo.

Episode reviews: Initial


  • 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.

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