It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week
This week’s reviews
Oops. Yes, I know WHYBW is supposed to be on Wednesdays and Orange Thursdays on Thursdays. I didn’t forget. I just had to work late yesterday. Can you imagine that?
Anyway, it’s here now and tomorrow will be a slightly belated Orange Thursday, I hope. More on that in a mo, though.
What’s coming this week
I’m going to try to do Orange Thursday, tomorrow, work willing. Up on the cinema bill is Doctor Sleep (2019) plus whatever I decide to watch tonight.
We’re a bit light for new TV shows this week, however, which means I’ll be turning my viewing eye over the weekend to consider some of the streaming backlog: Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, See and Dickinson; Amazon’s Modern Love; the second seasons of Netflix’s The Hookup Plan and The Kominsky Method; and season one of Beau Séjour (Belgium: Éen; UK: Walter Presents). Maybe I’ll only manage one show, but let’s aim for two.
I might also give the BBC a call and see if they’ll let me preview Vienna Blood. That might be nice, hey? It doesn’t start until the 25th, though, so I might wait. There’s probably an embargo, too.
But brace yourselves, because less than two weeks after the arrival of Apple TV+, we’re going to see another giant wade into the TV streaming pool next Tuesday in the US: Disney is plussing itself, too, to give us Disney+. That’ll offer us the likes of Star Wars: The Mandalorian amongst other things.
I’ll be reviewing that, I suspect.
Of last night’s TV, I’ve only watched Treadstone, so let’s save this week’s Stumptown to next Wednesday. Otherwise, with Evil taking Halloween off, this week’s viewing queue is: Engrenages (Spiral), Mr InBetween, Mr Robot, Silicon Valley, Titans, Total Control, Treadstone and Watchmen. And last week’s Stumptown.
See you after the jump, together with a brief reviewette of HBO’s Mrs Fletcher.
Mrs Fletcher (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
Premiere date: “later this year”
Eve (Kathryn Hahn), a single mother, undergoes a midlife crisis when her son goes to college. She then starts a new life on her own while her child also faces challenges in his current surroundings.
Snore. Really, I like Kathryn Hahn, but even though women and their life experiences have been woefully undervalued in TV fiction over the years, there have been enough shows about female mid-life crises – even this season we’ve had Carol’s Second Act – that a show has to do a lot more than merely show up now, if it wants to make an impact.
And that’s all Mrs Fletcher did – show up. We had Hahn having to deal with one of the residents of the old people’s home at which she works watching porn in public. Funny! Ha ha! We had her having to talk to her son like he was an adult. And that’s all before we’re back on the porn again.
¿Donde están los jokes?
Plus I disliked everyone.
Not entirely unworthy and I’m sure Tom Perrotta’s novel on which this is based has its merits. But it in no way earned itself a place in the viewing queue.
Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Stumptown (US: ABC)
1×5 – Bad Alibis
Rounding off a couple of plot threads, while simultaneously giving us a guest appearance by Janeane Garofalo, this really wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped, but was still pleasant enough. It does feel though like the show has been wandering further and further away from its pilot episode’s premise, which was pretty enjoyable.
So fingers crossed for some actual private detective work, etc, etc, in yesterday’s episode.
Treadstone (US: USA; UK: Amazon)
1×3 – The Berlin Proposal – 1×4 – The Kentucky Contract
The show just gets hokier and hokier. The dialogue gets worse and worse. The plot makes less and less sense. The fights are getting dumber.
Seriously, for super-soldiers with super fighting skills, these cicadas don’t half get twatted around a lot.
Hell, even the reliable Michelle Forbes is struggling to give the lines any semblance of sentience. I get the feeling the show is “going back to the source material“, but the wrong source material – dumb-ass Robert Ludlum books, rather than the smarter movies.
But it still remains just about enjoyable enough that I’ll keep watching.
Episode review: Initial
The recommended list
Engrenages (Spiral) (France: Canal+; UK: BBC Four)
The show goes one way, the show goes another. Nice to see, as usual, how the workings of the ‘cogs’ – the wheels within wheels, to give it the show’s proper French name – are being revealed. The Roban storyline is a little daft, but it’s nice to see him and Karlsson up against each other again, even if he doesn’t know it yet. The “is our boss crooked storyline?” lasted all of two episodes, but that’s probably as much as it could have sustained.
Plus can Laure and Gilou get any worse at being cops? Sure, they know how to investigate, but wow, did they mess things up badly the whole time. Still, plus ça change…
Mr InBetween (Australia: Showcase)
2×8 – See You in Your Dreams
The show’s really powering along now as we’re once more out of the realm of the domestic and in the realm of the contract killer. That said, the most stand out moment of the episode – other than how our ‘hero’ handled his unreliable pal – was his discussion with his therapist about the difference between his current job and when he was in the army.
Makes you think.
Mr Robot (US: USA; UK: Amazon)
4×5 – 405 Method Not Allowed
The show’s much vaunted ‘(nearly) silent episode’ turned out to be actually pretty good, giving us a plausible technological heist episode that acknowledges that we’re in a world of two-factor authentication, strong passwords and security guards who maybe aren’t complete idiots. There’s even an affecting moment or two, and it also showed that silence doesn’t mean there’s no communication. Makes you wonder if Buffy‘s Hush would work now, when everyone and their Auntie has their own smartphone on them at all times.
But… where’s it all going? I’m not sure really why I’m supposed to care if our hero and heroine succeed or not at this stage.
Silicon Valley (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
6×2 – Blood Money
“Actually, it’s about ethics in technology companies.” Sure. Some decent jokes and nice to see Gilfoyle’s obvious performative bullshit called out at last by someone with emotional intelligence. The Hooli plotline is also a bit desperate, despite the accuracy of its takes on Amazon and AWS.
Chuntering along, raising a laugh, but we did the ‘Jared’s leaving Pied Piper and Richard has to wake up and stop it’ storyline a season or two ago, didn’t we?
Titans (US: DC Universe; UK: Netflix)
2×9 – Atonement
Correct me if I’m wrong but this isn’t Teen Titans is it? Only why is everyone acting like a teenager? “Oh, you hid something from us, let’s break up the band. I hate you.” Really?
Plus, if you’re going to set up Deathstroke as an unstoppable supervillain, it’s probably not good to organise meetings with him in his family home while he’s watching Sunday afternoon sports. It’ll end up looking a bit Big Train, if you’re not careful.
Episode reviews: Initial
Total Control (Black B****) (Australia: ABC)
An episode that didn’t really give us much by way of its now trademark politicking, although we did get some juicy moments. Instead, it’s more of a chance to give our heroine time to restock and reevaluate her life.
Actually, that makes the show more plausible, as those who read my review of the first episode will recall I wondered how they were going to get her to turn on Rachel Griffiths (and why Griffiths was going to turn on her protege). Well, now we know.
Episode reviews: Initial
Watchmen (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
1×3 – She Was Killed By Space Junk
A speedy promotion for a show that’s already a regular weekly delight. In my initial review, I did commend it for not bothering to focus with any of the comics’ characters, but as we hit episode three, given just how much imagination has gone into it, I think it’s earned the right to deliver two of them: Ozymandias and Silk Spectre.
With Silk Spectre, they’ve done something particularly interesting, too, in regards to her father with she becoming the new Comedian in a way – who saw that coming? I also enjoyed the obvious take down of Batman (“rich assholes who like to dress up”).
A genuinely pleasing show that’s both respectful and well versed in its source material. However, I suspect it’s going to need to dial up the action a notch soon, judging by the ratings, since people are losing patience with its peregrinations.
Episode review: Initial