What have you been watching? Including Perpetual Grace LTD

Perpetual Grace

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

Netflix's Stranger Things 3
Netflix’s Stranger Things 3

This week’s reviews

It was less sunny this weekend, so TMINE returned to its traditional activity of skulking in the dark, doing the ironing and watching lots of TV. As a result, Boxset Monday featured Stranger Things 3.

Meanwhile, last week’s Orange Thursday was a double-punch combo of Shaft (2019) and The Lego Movie 2 (2019).

The CW's Pandora
The CW’s Pandora

What’s coming this week

Orange Thursday is a big unknown at the moment, since I didn’t make it to the cinema to watch the latest Spider-man as planned and I haven’t yet watched any other movies. Hopefully, I’ll watch at least one by tomorrow – I suspect it’ll be Atomic Blonde.

Canadian show Departure starts tonight in Canada, so I might review that, although given it’s on Universal in the UK tonight as well, there might not be much point – after all, y’all can watch it, too.

Pandora starts in the US next Tuesday, so I might do a separate review for that, or I might just roll it into the next WHYBW, depending on my workload.

Netflix also rolled out Family Reunion today, although multi-camera comedies are a bit of a turn-off, so I’ll probably be skipping it. Plus I’m off to a wedding on Friday, so I won’t have time to watch any boxsets.

Basically, it’s all going to be surprises, all the way down, but probably not that many.

Blue Devil
DC Universe’s Swamp Thing

The regulars

As TMINE’s summer vacation gets ever closer, it’s time to start winnowing down the viewing queue. Next week, I’ll be using the tried and tested “Can I be arsed to catch up with this when I get back from my holidays?”, but this week I’ve used its close relative: “Can I be arsed to watch the next episode of this?”

As predicted, I gave up on The InBetween last week, so that was a good start that left this little list of regulars, all of which I’ll cover after the jump: City on a Hill, Harrow, Jett, Krypton, Legion, Perpetual Grace LTD, The Rook and Swamp Thing.

But no fewer than three of those are for the chop this week because they’ve failed the test – yes, I can’t even be arsed to watch the next episode.

Which ones? Obvious clue for one them: there are only 10 episodes in season 2 of Harrow, and I’ve watched nine of them already…

TV shows

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending

City on a Hill (US: Showtime)

1×3 – The Wickedness of the Wicked Shall Be Upon Himself

Despite the continued focus on the tortuous personal relationships of all the characters, a better episode than last week’s since we had more of the crime-side, particularly with the grand jury. The dialogue was a bit less sparkly, though, thanks to a change in writer, I suspect.

Point of note: they’ve got an Irish vicar (it is Boston), but not only have they correctly identified him as Northern Irish, which is a plot point, they’ve correctly cast a Northern Irish actor (Mark Ryder). Props, guys.

Episode reviews: Initial

Harrow (Australia: ABC; UK: Alibi)

2×9 – Facilis Descensus

We’re at that stage of the season narrative where it’s both exciting, as everything accelerates towards the finale, and implausible, as copious amounts of obvious evidence build up to indicate the hero is correct but everyone thinks he’s off his rocker, even though they’ve seen the same evidence.

On the plus side and paradoxically, that does mean that the supporting cast all get a lot of character development time and are shown to not be complete idiots – and perhaps even very good at their jobs. On the minus side and paradoxically, it does require everyone to be a bit twp. Everyone’s been wondering for about five episodes if the bad guy really is dead – shall we suggest midway through episode nine that a DNA test might be a good idea? Hmm. Ya think?

It does all mean that our Ioan’s having to go through some histrionic loops and his daughter is in similar catch-and-escape loops, too, but it does at least indicate an exciting finale is on the way.

Plus seriously, how is nobody shouting, “Oh, you fit him up to get a conviction!” at the top of their lungs by now? It’s so bleeding obvious, I suspect a double bluff.

Episode reviews: Initial

Jett (US: Cinemax)

1×4 – Frank Sweeney

Nope. Bored with this. It’s tedious on several levels. First, there’s the relentless Cinemax nudity, which just got to silly levels this week. Second, there’s the absence of any good dialogue, which is a shame because the first episode had an abundance of it. Third, there’s the absence of any good direction, which is a shame because the first episode had an abundance of it.

Like I posited last week, it’s like everyone shot their bolt in the first episode and simply switched on auto-pilot afterwards. It’s a shame because that first episode as really good and held a lot of promise, but I’m now at the point where I don’t care about any of the characters or the plot.

So I’m done. Particularly since there’s a chance they might bring back Bruce Greenwood and whatever accent he’s trying to do.

Episode reviews: Initial

Krypton (US: Syfy; UK: E4)

2×4 – Danger Close

Bored. So bored. To be fair, a couple of fun moments, but Zod and his brainwashing operation is tedious, even more than all the relationship contortions, and the rebels all deserve to die to be honest.

So done, I think. Honestly, a show about Krypton where no one has superpowers and it’s all about inter-House rivalries? That’s just an odd idea, full stop.

Episode reviews: Initial

The Rook (US: Starz; UK: Virgin TV Ultra HD)

1×2 – Chapter 2

Continuing the further adventures of Myfanwy, pronounced Miffany to rhyme with Tiffany – or “Wrong, to rhyme with wrong” as Lovely (Welsh) Wife put it.

A little less po-faced than the first episode, thanks primarily to Olivia Munn delivering a few welcome funnies, but for a show about super-powered spies, it ain’t half miserable and dull.

Sure, this episode was peppered with ‘cool’ moments, such as Adrian Lester going around setting fire to the inside of people’s lungs.

But it’s all part of a sub-John Le Carré attempt to do spy realism that confuses ‘considered’ with ‘cliched’, with spies covertly meeting by rivers so they can discuss important things while staring out across the water.

Oddly, the expanded b-plot this episode involving Munn’s investigations into a human-trafficking ring are vastly more interesting than Wrong’s a-plot attempts to rediscover her memories and her identity through the medium of self-harm. Indeed, Munn is a far more interesting and charismatic lead, and you can’t help but wish the show had simply either cast Munn in the lead role or dropped the a-plot in favour of the b-plot.

Yet wishes are not horses and we have the show we have. Thus, I’m not going to be watching any more of it.

Swamp Thing (US: DC Universe)

1×6 – The Price You Pay

A definite improvement on the previous week’s episode, probably because there’s some actual Swamp Thing doing Swamp Thing things this week, which is a marked change from previous weeks. Indeed, it’s nice to see how many Green-like powers Swampie has, rather than the standard “he’s big and green and strong and that’s it” powers you’d expect.

Otherwise, a surprising amount of time dedicated to building up an origin story for Blue Devil, although maybe not in the context of the original “three seasons then Justice League: Dark” plan DC Universe hatched. I’m also noticing that the less Abby the show features, the better it gets, which is an obvious problem.

Episode reviews: Initial

The recommended list

Legion (US: FX; UK: Fox UK)

3×3 – Chapter 22

A slight departure from the regular narrative as we travel back in time to meet David’s mum (Mr Robot‘s Stephanie Corneliussen) and dad – aka Professor X (Counterpart‘s Harry Lloyd) – to find out how baby David acquired his powers and his ‘fellow traveller’. If you were expecting that great battle between Professor X and the Shadow King promised by the first season, you’d have been sorely disappointed, unfortunately.

But there was plenty to enjoy, particularly flashbacks to some of the best bits of the first season and the 1950s trappings – although that looked like a World War I helmet in the flashbacks to ‘the war’. I’m not 100% sure what the point was, but maybe we’ll see next week…

Episode reviews: Initial; verdict

Perpetual Grace LTD (US: Epix)

1×6 – When Doves Cry

More ‘nice people trying to be bad’ fun, with Ben Kingsley the focus this week as he tries to find Jacki Weaver – aided, implausibly enough, by the man he’s taken hostage, because he’s a nice person trying to be bad. A lot of literary criticism amusement to be had, too, for some reason, as well as marriage counselling and musings on the difference between love and lust.

But I have to ask: is Ben Kingsley trying to do a Welsh accent now? He’s definitely starting to sound Welsh and ‘young Kingsley’ did, too. What’s occurring?

Episode reviews: Initial


  • 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.