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
Somehow, completely by magic and completely unintentionally, WHYBW has ended up again on its normally scheduled Wednesday. It’s a miracle, I tell you. So I’m going to give up predicting when it’ll next show up and just say “next week”.
Covid schedules being what they are, I’ve not been able to review that much new TV over the past week and a bit, but Covideodrome did manage to take in Bad Boys For Life (2019), in case you fancied a movie review.
Next on TMINE
Talking of movies, I will at some point be reviewing Aladdin (2019) for Covideodrome. We also watched Frozen II (2019) this week, but that was so boring, I’m not sure I can be bothered with a review of it. It was all right, but it was ridiculously complicated for what it was and everyone seemed so bored by it all, that it wasn’t until halfway through that we realised it was the same voice cast as its predecessor.
An Apple TV+ gives us Greyhound (2020), Tom Hanks’s new World War II movie, so I’m sure I’ll be giving that a gander, too.
TV-wise, we’re a bit strapped. Apple TV+ will also be offering us Little Voice, but that’s probably too musical for TMINE’s tastes. Starz (US) will be giving us P-Valley on Sunday, but that’s a bit too stripteasey for TMINE’s tastes.
That’s more or less it for the streaming services and US TV.
Australia will, however, be giving us the first Covid comedy series, Retrograde, today, so I will have a look at that, at least.
What TMINE has been watching
Baron Noir is now on pause. I can only watch so many foreign-language shows in one week, since I have to keep an eye on the subtitles and only have so much concentration left in me at this time of year, and what with German shows Das Boot and Dark, I’m afraid France has had to go on pause.
Dark continues… darkly. It’s basically repeating the first two seasons but with the burning question “What if it had been all about Martha instead?” I think her name’s Martha, but usual problems with names/Dark there. I’m quite enjoying it for that, but I would rather like it to move on, as I’m up to episode four already.
In terms of new shows, I decided not to watch Head High for all the reasons I stated last week (secondary school rugby). But I did manage to watch Netflix’s Warrior Nun, so we’ll be able to talk about that after the jump. I also caught quite a few episodes of Sky One’s Intelligence, as Lovely Wife fancied watching, so we can talk about that as well.
That’s all on top of the latest episodes of the usual regulars: Condor, Das Boot, Doom Patrol, Stargirl and The Twilight Zone. See you in a mo.
What TMINE watched this week
In the UK: Available on Netflix
Warrior Nun revolves around the story of a 19-year-old woman who wakes up in a morgue with a new lease on life and a divine artefact embedded in her back. She discovers she is now part of an ancient order that has been tasked with fighting demons on Earth, and powerful forces representing both heaven and hell want to find and control her.
Stars: Alba Baptista, Toya Turner, Thekla Reuten, Lorena Andrea, Kristina Tonteri-Young and Tristan Ulloa
Unto each generation a Buffy the Vampire Slayer rip-off is born and while that’s a little reductive, Warrior Nun doesn’t exactly go the extra mile to differentiate itself from its many predecessors.
The show is adapted from the comic of the same name by Simon Barry, who’s best known for the rather good Continuum and the rather awful Ghost Wars, so it could have gone either way in terms of quality. However, it treads a fairly middle path.
The show has some interesting qualities, in that it’s filmed in southern Spain with an international cast and revolves around a girl who gets brought back to life thanks to a halo that gets embedded in her back. That gives her superpowers, including super-healing and the ability to walk through walls, but puts her on the front line in the battle against demons.
The show tries to tread a slightly Ultraviolet path, trying to balance science and religion to come up with explanations for its miracles. But the callbacks to Buffy are far stronger, as we have our heroine kicking arse with the help of her unexpectedly and unnecessarily young fellow fighting nuns, and there’s a somewhat tired analysis of Christian patriarchy straight out of season 7, with our heroine refuting the need for ‘one girl in every generation’ to do the bidding of misogynistic men. Unfortunately, the supporting cast are largely terrible actors, making you want the demons to win, and the dialogue is insufferably bad, too.
The show also suffers from Netflix bloat. There’s about six episodes of material here, but ten episodes of airtime to fill, so there’s plenty of unnecessary padding. The show also feels like it’s written by men about women, rather than with women.
Warrior Nun is pretty, with some interesting ideas at its heart and its demons are actually quite scary. But you’re better off watching Buffy instead.
In the UK: Available on Sky One/Now TV
Intelligence is a workplace comedy set in the UK’s GCHQ – a kind of weedier, geekier version of MI5, where they tackle international and domestic cyber crime from a desktop. But when a pompous, maverick NSA agent comes over from the US to join the team, he enlists an inept and tactless computer analyst in a power grab that threatens to disrupt the team’s ability to combat cyber terrorism.
Stars: David Schwimmer, Nick Mohammed, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Jane Stanness, Colin Salmon and Gana Bayarsaikhan
Every so often, Sky decides to do a comedy show about spies. Last time, it was Darren Boyd and Robert Lindsay in Spy and now we have Intelligence (not to be confused with Intelligence). The signs weren’t good for this – workplace comedy written by the show’s first-time writer/lead actor and with a token American star on board. Plus it’s British.
But it’s actually not bad. The first episode is more the kind of show you’d expect from the plot description above, but the next few episodes manage to blend some actual laughs with some decent plotting and an equally decent understanding of cybersecurity. Most of the jokes are at the expense of Mohammed, so kudos to the author for that.
Similarly, Schwimmer isn’t the generic casting you might think. As well as numerous Friends references filling the scripts, Schwimmer is usually at the centre of the action and the comedy and he is as funny as you remember him. But he’s also supposed to be an alpha of sorts, which makes a change, and again, he’s charitable enough to let his character be something of a bully and a racist. Kudos to the American star for that.
I doubt this will go down as a classic and if you do have better things to do, they should take precedence over Intelligence. But if you do watch it, you won’t find your time has been wasted and you might even enjoy it.
Shows I’m watching but not necessarily recommending
Condor (US: Audience; UK: Sky One)
2×5 – Out of His Exile
This week’s second spy offering is actually shaping up to be quite good now. That twist I predicted did actually show up, making the narrative far more interesting than it had been. Our hero also gets to go back to his analyst roots, which is a nice touch.
All in all, this might end up on the recommended list at this rate.
BTW, both seasons of the show now have a new home on Sky One, rather than StarzPlay.
Stargirl (US: DC Universe; UK: Amazon)
1×7 – Shiv (Part One)
We’ve had the creation of a new generation of superheroes, so now we get the creation of the next generation of supervillains. In contrast to the previous weeks’ episodes, this one played decidedly teenage, making it all a bit more of a braindead watch, despite the efforts of the adults. But it still remains enjoyable.
The Twilight Zone (US: CBS All Access; UK: Syfy)
2×2 – A Small Town
Much more of a Twilight Zone than the first episode, this sees Damon Wayans Jr discovering a model of the town in which he lives that enables him to control its comings and goings. He then sets about improving it, in defiance of mayor David Krumholz, but discovers having the powers of God still doesn’t mean you can predict the odd knock-on effects that changes might make.
I actually quite enjoyed this, since the episode didn’t come up with some easy message about the nature of control, and had a really bonkers ending instead. I guess if the original The Twilight Zone was anything, it wasn’t ‘a twist in the tail’ show, it was a totally unexpected ending show, which made this fit right in.
Das Boot (Germany: Sky Deutschland; UK: Sky Atlantic)
2×2 – Episode 2
Lots of brave moves on the part of the programme makers this episode, with (spoiler alert) the death of our heroine and the various flips in the fortunes of the various submariners. Even the American side of things is proving engaging now, as we see what German spies got up to.
Doom Patrol (US: HBO Max; UK: StarzPlay)
2×2 – Tyme Patrol
A far more pleasing affair than the first episode, with our heroes now dealing with their problems at normal size and having to cope with some properly bonkers supervillainy (Doctor Tyme) – and failing utterly as per usual. Marvellous.