It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week
Previously on TMINE
Yes, a day late. Would you have expected anything else from me of late? But this really is only temporary – my workload should finally be abating a tad next week, so WHYBW should be back on Monday again.
In the past week, I did manage to review the first episode of Perry Mason (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic), but that was it. Not that there was much new TV last week, so actually that was a pretty high success rate.
What TMINE has been watching
I’ve got one more episode further into season 3 of Baron Noir, so the end is nearly in sight. I also finished the first episode of season 2 of Das Boot, but rather than try to boxset that, I’ve learned my lesson – I’m adding that to the regulars and trying to do one episode a week. Should have thought of that with Baron Noir, shouldn’t I?
I’ve also started on season 3 of Dark. I’m pleased that three episodes in, the thing I was worried about at the end of season 2 has simply led to even more of the same as before, rather than shark-jumping. However, the whole show has now become in the process even more infinitely complicated. Somehow.
There’s no point trying to review it episode by episode, so I’ll try to Boxset that for next week. Once I’ve finished reading some Cliff Notes about Schopenhauer. It’s that kind of show.
Next on TMINE
There’s a new New Zealand TV show out: Head High. That’s about secondary school rugby, though, so the chances of me loving it are small (I had enough of secondary school rugby at secondary school). But let’s see what happens.
Warrior Nun starts on Netflix on Thursday, so I might give that a try. But that seems to be all the new shows out this week. As usual, don’t be too surprised if I missed something and a surprise review pops up, though.
We’ve also watched another Disney movie: Aladdin (2019). Hopefully, I can Covideodrome that, along with Bad Boys For Life (2019) some time this week. Coming to Disney+ on Friday, though, are Hamilton (a recording of the theatrical performance) and Frozen 2 (2019), so I’m pretty sure they’re going to be our weekend viewing – and next week’s Covideodrome offerings.
After the jump…
After the jump, reviews of the latest episodes of Condor and Stargirl, as well as the aforementioned Das Boot. Doom Patrol and The Twilight Zone both returned last week, so I’ll be covering them, too. See you in a mo.
What TMINE watched this week
Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Condor (US: Audience; UK: StarzPlay)
2×4 – Not What He Thinks He Is
While the fact that Audience is basically getting out of scripted content means the move to a lower budget isn’t totally surprising, the fact that’s resulting in what was a kinetic ‘man on the run from killers and the authorities, while the bad guys tour the Middle East’ drama changing into ‘let’s all sit around in rooms doing John Le Carré style spying and reflection on blackened souls’ is considerably more surprising.
While there’s definitely less excitement and quirkiness than the previous season, the show is nevertheless still very engaging. All the same, maybe I’m too highly trained now, but I keep expecting a massive twist to show up in what seems to be a highly conventional spy narrative. It’s going to be more surprising if there isn’t one, to be honest.
Stargirl (US: DC Universe; UK: Amazon)
1×6 – The Justice Society
In which our band of neophyte, teenage superheroes band together to become the new Justice Society… and pleasingly have their backsides kicked about. Of course, no one dies and the supervillains are as ridiculous as you might expect of a teenage-targeted show. But the show is at least not taking all the easy options and is keeping its head above the water of total daftness.
Hark at me – I sound like Edward Monkton now.
The Twilight Zone (US: CBS All Access; UK: Syfy)
2×1 – 8
As with last season, it’s worth pointing out initially that this is an anthology show so every episode could well be entirely different. This first episode sees Joel McHale playing a scientist researching a new species of octopus down in Antarctica, only to discover he’s in a crossover between The Thing (1982), The Thing From Another World (1951) and Phase IV (1974), scripted by Glen Morgan, the co-author of the somewhat similar The X-Files episode Ice.
And while Ice is very good and Glen Morgan is very good, this was pretty terrible. Just unwatchably stupid and more a horror movie than something out of The Twilight Zone (Morgan did co-write Final Destination (2000), it’s worth noting). I felt like my brain was being scooped out by the octopus as I was watching it. The direction didn’t help either, as it alternated between ‘claustrophobic, if small spaces were being viewed by someone completely hammered’ and full on CGI.
Frustratingly, CBS All Access dumped the entire season on the Internet at the same time, but I’ve only had the bandwidth to watch one episode in the past week, which is probably the rate I’ll watch the rest of them. But if there’s any more like this, I’ll be giving up pretty quickly.
Das Boot (Germany: Sky Deutschland; UK: Sky Atlantic)
2×1 – Episode 1
The return of one of TMINE’s Top N shows of last year requires everything to more or less kickstart itself from scratch this year, since half the characters are dead and all the missions are over. Indeed, it takes about half the first episode before the show finds its feet and the whole first episode to really launch things on their way, as well as plot a new course for the action.
There’s now three separate plot threads: events in America, France and at sea. Of those, the French section is by far the best, but the American part is expanding out the story in new ways for the show, at least. Although I’d rather there was less jazz involved.
However, by the end of the episode, everything feels like it’s back on an even keel and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the season now.
Doom Patrol (US: HBO Max; UK: StarzPlay)
2×1 – Fun Size Patrol
Another show that helpfully dumped a bunch of episodes in one go (thankfully, only three, but I’m going to take it one at a time with these, too) it’s Doom Patrol, DC Universe’s meta weirdo comic book adaptation, which has now migrated to HBO Max, given that DC Universe is basically doomed.
In common with Dark, it would have helped to have had a big chart explaining/reminding me of what happened last season, because we started off with everyone miniaturised by Timothy Dalton’s daughter and living in a weird toy camp site. I had no recollection why or even where his daughter had come from, but there she was.
Unfortunately, unlike the jaunty and meta first season, this was a joyless affair for the most part, with only Brendan Fraser’s constant swearing to lift the mood – that and the return of (spoiler alert) Mark Sheppard to save the day. I mean it’s not good when your jaunty superheroes end up heroin addicts by the end of the episode, is it?
The fact that the daughter’s big issue is pretty much the same as Crazy Jane’s doesn’t really help in the originality stakes, either.
Still, at least we’ve moved on from that initial set-up by the end of the episode and there’s a hint that Alan Tudyk’s Mr Nowhere could be back to redeem the show. And maybe there’s even a reason why they released the first three episodes in one go.
So I’m going to keep watching. For three episodes at least, I expect.