What have you been watching? Including Between Two Worlds and Corporate

Philip Quast and Hermione Norris in Between Two Worlds

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

I did another one of those movie review things for Covideodrome: Aladdin (2019).

Umbrella Academy
Umbrella Academy

Next on TMINE

This is the last WHYBW before TMINE’s August break, so there’s no ‘next on TMINE’. I’m on holiday! I’ll update you about that tomorrow.

That isn’t to say, however, despite COVID-19, that there’s no new TV on the way over the next month, just that TMINE probably won’t be reviewing it. Season two of Umbrella Academy is available on Netflix from tomorrow. Apple TV+ is offering us Ted Lasso in a fortnight. Lovecraft Country is coming a bit after that to HBO.

But actually, that’s about it. You can see why I don’t really bother with August, can’t you?

Corporate

What TMINE has been watching

I’ve not been able to watch anything German this week for a change (sorry, Das Boot and Dark) but hopefully I’ll be able to finish them off over August, along with all the other regulars.

I’ve now reached the point where Robert Lindsay is the captain in Hornblower. He’s a tad hammy but can’t dampen the overall awesomeness of the show – and neither can those cheap ITV models.

It’s the usual regulars after the jump: Baron Noir, Brave New World, Condor, Doom Patrol, Stargirl and The Twilight Zone. I’ll also be looking at a new Australian show Between Two Worlds and you’ll be delighted to hear that Corporate is back.

See you in a mo.

What TMINE watched this week

TMINE recommends has all the TV shows TMINE has ever recommended and TV Reviews A-Z lists every TV show ever reviewed in the past 15 years.

New shows

Between Two Worlds

In Australia: Sundays, 8.30pm, Seven
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Born into privilege and power, world-renowned business mogul Phillip Walford lives in a dysfunctional ménage with his bitter wife Cate and his weak, ambitious son Bart. When Phillip suffers a near-fatal heart attack, he finds himself waiting for a heart transplant to give him back his future.

Sophia Grey, a widow and mother of two, seems to have a perfect life. But, she experiences the greatest loss of her life when her burgeoning football star son, Danny, gets caught up in a vicious fight. A one punch blow to the head leaves Danny brain-dead.

As a result, Phillip Walford gets the call to say a heart is waiting for him.

Between Two Worlds is an intense, high concept melodrama about two very different worlds, thrown together by death and a sacrifice in one and the chance for new life in the other. These two worlds will never be the same again, as they finally merge and become one.

Stars: Hermione Norris, Philip Quast, Sara Wiseman, Aaron Jeffery, Tom Dalzell, Megan Hajjar, Alex Cubis, Tom Dalzell, Melanie Jarnson, Dominic Alburn, Marny Kennedy and Andrew MacFarlane

TMINE verdict

I guess you have to offer anything that bills itself as a melodrama a little latitude. It’s putting it right out there from the outset that it’s going to be nonsense and histrionics. Criticising it for that is like criticising the ocean for being wet.

But Between Two Worlds is condensed melodrama. Every scene seems to drop you right in the middle of something with no real warning, just at the point someone’s going to deliver some massively important bit of life-changing information. Nothing exciting going to happen for a bit? Time for a “three months later” placard.

It also lurches from one terrible event to another. We start with Philip Quast (Ultraviolet) blackmailing Andrew MacFarlane (Glitch) with an incriminating USB drive of photos. The next minute MacFarlane is shooting himself in the head. Then they’re at the funeral, winding up his family. Then Quast’s wife Hermione Norris (Wire in the Blood, Spooks) is accusing him of being heartless for not reacting to the death. Instantly, Quast is having a heart attack and Norris isn’t reacting. Then there’s scuba divers rescuing the USB stick, which fell in the ocean. Then MacFarlane’s daughter is giving a guy a handjob as thanks for getting the stick.

Every scene seems to then be followed by a trip by someone to the hospital. It’s almost like Casualty – what’s going to happen next that’s going to cause someone to have to go to hospital, either as a visitor or as a patient? Is it getting hit in the head while playing Aussie Rules football? Yes! Is it dancing? Yes! It’s everything! Everything causes you to go to hospital!

I mean there’s nonsense and there’s the Nonsense.

Quast seems to having a fun time hamming it up at least. Norris appears to be doing constant calculations as to how much she’s getting per line. Everyone else seems to have turned up to a blind reading of the script.

One episode of this was far too much to me. If you like nonsense melodramas, you might enjoy Between Two Worlds, but you really have to like them.

TMINE rating

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending

Brave New World (US: Peacock; UK: Sky One)

1×2 – Want and Consequence

Again, a moderate degree of bravery, this time from its depictions of “the Savage Lands” (the US South, rather than the Indian reservations of the book) and its European-centric view of the US. You know those videos of Black Friday supermarket sweeps that end in punch-ups? Imagine that as a theme park.

Plus there’s a surprising amount of soft porn for a UK/US co-production.

The plot is actually going very quickly, too. Although the three central characters’ appeal eludes me, the arrival of Nina Sosanya to do a sort of Minority Report thing is very welcome.

It’s just not yet at a good bit yet.

TMINE rating

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Initial TMINE review

Stargirl (US: DC Universe; UK: Amazon)

1×10 – Brainwave Jr

And that’s what happens if you invite the super villain’s son to join your secret league of superheroes. And if you tell your mum about your secret league of superheroes.

Good that Amy Smart got to do something this episode, though, and I did like the use of Google Translate as a plot device.

TMINE rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Initial TMINE verdict

The Twilight Zone (US: CBS All Access; UK: Syfy)

2×5 – Ovation

A moderately disappointing episode, as it turns out that – you’d probably not have realised this – being famous or even wanting to be famous ain’t fun and can drive you a bit crazy, while being loved for being famous rather than what you can actually do is unsatisfying.

The first three-quarters of the episode is eminently predictable. The final quarter is more “what’s the point of that? Where are you going with this? Oh, the same.”

TMINE rating

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Initial TMINE verdict

Recommended shows

Baron Noir (France: Canal+; UK: Amazon)

3×7

If the show has a game-plan this season, I’d say it’s that all the equivocations and swerves by Baron Noir in previous episodes are indicative of a major problem with politics – no one in the old guard really knows how to deal with either populism or social media and using old techniques and skills (or even trying to get in bed with the populists) only results in disaster. You may have been Baron Noir once, but you’re not now and you’ll go crazy trying to be.

All the same, the constant changes in strategy from one moment to another mean the season is quite slippery and hard to get hold of. Plus you can never tell who’s going to be an enemy and who a friend for more than an episode.

It’s still brilliantly written – today’s guest philosopher: Hegel – but I don’t think I’m going to know properly what to make of it until the final episode.

TMINE rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Initial TMINE verdict

Condor (US: Audience; UK: Sky One)

2×8 – The Road We Take

More running around excitement and a nice twist to proceedings as it’s revealed (spoiler alert) the Russian guy doesn’t actually know who the mole is, but the guy chasing him doesn’t know that.

TMINE rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Initial TMINE verdict

Corporate (US/UK: Comedy Central)

3×1 – Pickles4Breakfast

There comes a point where a show is established enough that it can have a season opener that has nothing to do with its core concept, but is instead about a side-plot that happened in a previous season.

Here, the stupid sci-fi TV show of previous seasons, Society Tomorrow, is used to critique neverending TV shows, streaming services, corporate attitudes towards creativity and more. And actually, that works very well at stabbing away at its targets and to a certain extent, mocking audiences and their expectations as well.

It’s just not really anything to do with the central corporate concept.

Still, thoroughly hilarious throughout, particularly the horrific kids show of the episode title…

TMINE rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Initial TMINE verdict

Doom Patrol (US: HBO Max; UK: StarzPlay)

2×5Finger Patrol

Some great individual moments, such as Steele & Stone, and the final arrival of the Candlemaker at the end of the episode, which is pretty shocking, but a little bit meandering on the whole.

TMINE rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Initial TMINE verdict