What have you been watching? Including Foundation

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

There has been a plethora of new shows out in the US and Canada over the past week. On the one hand, this is promising: things are returning back to normal and this is normally the fall season, when TMINE would review as many as it could.

On the other, it did fill me a little with despair.

In the US, we have FBI: International, another spin-off from CBS’s FBI that reminded me of that terrible Criminal Minds spin-off that filled me with rage a few years ago.

NCIS: Hawaii: another spin-off from CBS’s NCIS.

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Peacock’s attempt to give us something as astonishingly terrible as both Dan Brown’s books and the movies adapted from them.

There were other shows, such as anthology show The Premise (and I don’t review anthology shows anyway), but I think I gave up at that point daring to dream anything good was going to come at that point.

Canada didn’t help me either. We had the ‘raucous dramedy’ (ie rubbish) Moonshine from CBC, about the owners of a ramshackle summer resort on the south shore of Nova Scotia who are keen to retire but whose adult children are battling for control.

Strays, a spin-off from Kim’s Convenience.

And Family Law , in which “Abigail Bianchi, a recovering alcoholic and lawyer goes to work with her estranged father and two half-siblings. She’s never worked in family law before, and suddenly finds herself having to manage not just her clients family dysfunction, but her own. She must learn to navigate working with her father and siblings she doesn’t know as part of her probation, all while trying to maintain her sobriety.”

No.

So the only new show I watched and thus am able to review so far is…

Foundation (Apple TV+)

This is an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s series of novels about a Galactic Empire that’s about to fall apart? How do they know that? Because a mathematician called Hari Seldon has developed something called ‘psychohistory’, which enables him to predict how large groups of people are likely to behave. He says that the end can’t be averted but the return to civilisation can be sped up if there are two ‘Foundations’ created to act as a repository of knowledge for civilisation – and to keep an eye on things.

The series boasts a decently stellar cast, including Jared Harris, Lee Pace and… Reece Sheersmith. No, really. It also looks astonishing. The effects and design are amazing.

It’s also one of the most boring TV shows I’ve ever seen. It singly failed to involve me at any point. It’s been so long since I read the Foundation series that I can’t really remember enough of it to say if it was a failing of the originals. But I read all three, as well as the later additions Asimov added, so I must have been motivated to do that.

Whatever the case, nothing about the first two episodes made me want to watch any more of it, with its lack of real characters, just ideas and attempts to do hard sci-fi that fell flat many, many times. But given the lack of anything else appetising to watch, I might still tune in for the third episode on Friday.

Hark at me talking about ‘tuning in’ to a streaming show. How old am I?

The regulars

Otherwise, it was just the regulars. What We Do In The Shadows was moderately funny, but largely unforgettable, although its visit to Atlantic City did make me realise just how not the Las Vegas of the East Coast it is. I was also mildly amused to see the whistle stop tour of Europe: it did actually look like they’d been to Greece, although maybe not London.

Only Murders in the Building was pleasing, as we moved the action along and began to suspect Selena Gomez less. The podcast elements remain the show’s most amusing point, though.

The Cleaner had that nice lady from Cabin Pressure in one episode, while the other was more about vegan disabled people. They were both pleasant enough ways to pass time, but not exactly a riot of laughs. I’ll keep watching, though.

Author

  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.