US TV

What have you been watching? Including Filthy Rich, Criminal and Somebody Feed Phil

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

Last week was super busy for TMINE, meaning I didn’t end up reviewing anything. Fortunately, I have been watching TV and yesterday, I was able to finally give you the lowdown on season 5 of Le Bureau des Légendes (The Bureau).

Enola Holmes (2020)

Next on TMINE

As promised, Orange Thursday will tomorrow feature Bill and Ted Face The Music (2020) and Enola Holmes (2020). I’m hoping to start watching Apple TV+’s new Israeli spy show, Tehran, at some point, so hopefully I’ll be reviewing that, too.

Emily in Paris starts on Netflix this week, but I suspect I’ll be skipping that. Ditto Hulu (US)’s horror anthology Monsterland. Otherwise, the decks are relatively clear of new shows until next week, so it’s probably going to be another quiet one. I might find something I missed to catch up on…

Sophie Okonedo in Criminal

What TMINE has been watching

The regulars list is still just one show, The Boys (Amazon), and even that’s on its last chance: reviews of its latest two episodes after the jump. Woke lost me midway through episode three, when I realised it wasn’t ever really going to use its “talking objects” conceit for anything useful and it wasn’t ever going to be truly funny or pointed enough to sustain my interest.

But Criminal returned for a UK-only second season last week. As should be clear by now, networks aren’t back up to running speed yet, so I’m going to eke out its four episodes weekly. You can read what I thought of ep one after the jump.

Meanwhile, Fox (US) has unveiled the first of its anaemic autumn line-up: Filthy Rich, the first episode of which I’ll be discussing after the jump as well.

But is that all I’ve been watching? Not all.

It’s not technically TMINE material, but I thought I’d mention Somebody Feed Phil, Netflix’s new food-travel documentary that features… the guy who created Everybody Loves Raymond. Not the most obvious choice, but that kind of puts it within TMINE’s scripted bailiwick.

Somebody Feeds Phil features Phil Rosenthal visiting a different city every week, where he sees the sights and eats various kinds of food. So far, so Anthony Bourdain, just with a guy who has no real food training and who thinks pretty much everything is the best thing he’s ever tasted, resulting in a lot of eye popping and gurning.

But importantly, it’s actually quite charming. Phil’s enthusiasm for everything is enjoyable to watch and he can kvetch with the best of them. He also doesn’t do the obvious things – for the London episode, for example, as well as going to Michelin-starred restaurants, he goes with Jay Rayner to a fish and chip shop in Dulwich, and has tea with Sophie Winkleman.

Plus he’s smart – one moment, he’ll be playing the fool, but the next he’ll be quoting poetry and waxing lyrical about Mexico City’s sunset, the next he’ll be explaining the historical origins of Americans’ strange ideas about British food.

Most of the restaurants he visits aren’t necessarily serving up the ‘local food’, either. This is very much a show not just about how globalisation is cross-pollinating various countries’ eating habits, it’s also about immigrants’ historical contribution to food. So Middle Eastern and African food get highlighted in London, Italian food in Lisbon and Chicago, and so on.

His guests are all pretty diverse, no matter where he goes. And sometimes the guests surprise you. I never realised Domenick Lombardozzi (The Wire, Breakout Kings) was such a foodie, for example.

Just as importantly, it’s not too touristy and doesn’t feel like it’s simply going to the places everyone else does. The London episode feels like authentic London, even taking in Borough Market, and the Lisbon episode wisely goes on a tour with Célia Pedroso – just as Lovely Wife and I did when we went there. Prophetically, we’d say to each other “I hope he goes to…” and the next minute, he’d be there.

Lastly, of course, his parents feature in every episode – as does his much beloved younger brother, who is also a producer on the show. It gives you a hint of how Rosenthal came up with the idea of Everybody Loves Raymond.

Paradoxically, I found the episodes set in cities I’d visited to be more interesting than those set in those I’d never been to. You might find the same – or the other way round. But if you want to try a slightly different sort of food show, Somebody Feed Phil might be just the ticket.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Filthy Rich, Criminal and Somebody Feed Phil”
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French TV

Boxset Tuesday: Le Bureau Des Légendes (The Bureau) (season 5) (France: Canal+; UK: Sundance Now)

In France: Aired on Canal+ in April
In the UK: Available on Sundance Now

All good things end eventually. Sometimes they finish naturally, sometimes they’re forced to stop. And sometimes they just decide to do something odd. Like The Bureau.

Probably Britain’s finest ever spy show was The Sandbaggers, a marvellously daring combination of office politics, realpolitik and verisimilitude.

It tragically lasted a mere three seasons because its talented creator, Ian Mackintosh, mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the third season. The show’s quality dropped afterwards – if not markedly, at least noticeably – with other talents simply unable to do what Mackintosh uniquely could do.

France’s answer to The Sandbaggers is Le Bureau des Légendes (The Bureau), an equally thrilling but decidedly modern spy thriller about which I’ve written considerably over the years:

I’ve compared the two shows a considerable amount over the years, but I was somewhat hoping that The Bureau would finish on a slightly higher note than The Sandbaggers, as we entered what would appear to be the final season. The show has largely improved every season, from an already superb starting point, but its creator, Eric Rochant, has decided enough is enough and has decided to move on to make his (much deserved fortune) in the US.

Yet, here I am, forced to make the same comparison as always, because while season 5 of The Bureau is largely as brilliant, and possibly even better than previous seasons, Rochant decided to hand over the reins to the final two episodes to noted French director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust & Bone, Dheepan). And while these are actually pretty good by most standards, the show’s quality drops – if not markedly, at least noticeably.

By my God, those first eight episodes…

Spoilers aplenty after the reminder (in French) of what happened in seasons one to four, the (subtitled) trailer for season 5 and the jump. If you haven’t seen the previous seasons – or this season – you’re probably better off waiting until after you have. Remember: the only place you can now watch all five seasons in the UK is Sundance Now, since the first two aren’t on Amazon Prime any more (at least, not for free).

Continue reading “Boxset Tuesday: Le Bureau Des Légendes (The Bureau) (season 5) (France: Canal+; UK: Sundance Now)”
BFI events

What TV’s on at the BFI in October and November 2020? Including Play for Today at 50

Every month, TMINE lets you know what TV the BFI will be presenting at the South Bank in London

Hooray! Not only has the BFI finally been able to reopen its doors, it’s also started putting on TV events. And in October and November, it’s got a whole season of events dedicated to the magnificent long-running BBC anthology show, Play for Today, which first aired 50 years ago.

Full details of the season, as well as which plays are being show and when are after the jump, as well as links to previous TMINE ‘The Weekly Play’ articles that have featured the plays.

Continue reading “What TV’s on at the BFI in October and November 2020? Including Play for Today at 50”
RTS events

What (more) TV’s on at the RTS in October? Including Jed Mercurio

Every so often, TMINE flags up what new TV events the Royal Television Society is holding around the UK

You really have to keep an eye on the RTS. For weeks, their events programme has included a session with ‘one of the country’s most high profile TV writers’. Nope. No details.

But now we know who it is, at last – it’s Jed Mercurio. Well, they weren’t wrong, were they?

In conversation with Jed Mercurio

Date: Thursday, October 15
Timings: 12.30pm
Location: Zoom

Jed Mercurio is the acclaimed writer who now also produces and directs. From this wide perspective, he’s able to tell us how writing really works in television today, and how writers can best enter the industry. Plus insights into how you can write compelling drama that keeps audiences wanting more.

Jed’s writing credits include Line of Duty, The Bodyguard, Bodies, Cardiac Arrest and The Grimleys. Hosted by William Gallagher in conjunction with the Writers’ Guild.

Book tickets