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).
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…
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.
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.
What TMINE watched this week
In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, Fox
In the UK: Not yet acquired
A Southern Gothic family drama in which wealth, power and religion intersect – more correctly, collide – with outrageously soapy results.
Meet the Monreauxes, a mega-rich Southern family famed for creating a successful Christian television network. On the cusp of launching a digital retail arm of the company, the family’s patriarch, Eugene, dies in a plane crash, leaving his wife, Margaret, to take charge of the family business. Not surprisingly, Eugene’s apparent death greatly impacts the family, who are stunned to learn that Eugene fathered three illegitimate children, all of whom are written into his will. Now, Margaret must use her business savvy and Southern charm to control her newly legitimized heirs, whose very existence threatens the Monreaux family name and fortune.
Stars: Kim Cattrall, Melia Kreiling, Steve Harris, Aubrey Dollar, Corey Cott, Benjamin Levy Aguilar, Mark L Young, Olivia Macklin, Aaron Lazar and Gerald McRaney
Filthy Rich is actually based on a New Zealand drama that not only did I miss when it aired, it got pretty universally panned, so I never caught up with it. This is a pretty loose adaptation at that, shifting everything into the realm of Televangelism and making everything a lot tamer than its Kiwi predecessor.
All the same, the US version is not without merit. Everything is pretty predictable, but the show does try to go for a certain degree of comedy, as it pits Cattrall against her new step-daughter who runs an online porn site. But there’s pathos and humanity as well, thanks in part to the MMA/single father step-son.
I can’t say I loved it and it’s skewering of the televangelism racket couldn’t exactly be called rapier-sharp. But if you like mildly amusing, slightly ridiculous and over the top comedies about families, this isn’t awful and might give you something of what you want.
The Boys (Amazon)
I nearly didn’t bother watching the latest two episodes of The Boys, since the show’s lost most of its mojo and drive, replacing it with gore and sadism. It has been saying some interesting things about gay representation in the media (“You know Maeve is bi, right?” “We think lesbian is simpler for people”), but that’s the extent so far of any message it might have.
Episode six was at least a bit better and made me think I’ll stick around a bit longer, but I’m not sure the show warrants a place on the recommended list any more.
A moderately welcome return for Criminal, since we’re only getting UK episodes this time round – at least for now. Largely, everything’s the same – a couple of new police characters, but the same setting and the same format, with a guest suspect played by a star actor being interrogated.
The first episode sees Sophie Okonedo playing the wife of a man suspected of murdering one of his students, but largely serves to rehabilitate the female police officer who messed up so much last season. In common with previous UK episodes, much of it is concerned more with procedure and legal requirements than actually interrogating the suspect.
Yet, actually, that makes it quite interesting and exposes how much flexibility there is what is apparently a very fixed format. Most of the big events happen in the first 20 minutes, after which the focus isn’t what you think it’s going to be. Okonedo’s great, the regulars less so, but it’s all very, very watchable – and great theatre.