What have you been watching? Including 1,000 Years a Slave

1000 Years A Slave

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

This week’s WHYBW is mostly going to be about what you’ve been watching, since I’ve not been able to watch that much. I’ve tried to watch a lot.

I started watching the new season of Narcos: Mexico. However, my appetite for joyless violence and misery has all but gone, thanks to lockdowns, and it was pretty clear that without the benefit of proper real-world history and engrossing performances, the show’s dedication to Spanish-language violence and unpleasantness wasn’t going to be anywhere near enough to make me want to watch umpteen episodes.

The drug trade is nasty. There’s a historical reason for it being that way. I’ve followed about as much of that history as I need to.

Narcos: Mexico isn’t the only returning show. Dexter is back for a reason I can’t even begin to fathom, other than “cash”. Dexter: New Blood is on Sky Atlantic, but I never even made it to the end of Dexter, it had plummeted off the stupid cliff so many seasons previously, so I’m not going to tune in again to watch as it hits the ground at the bottom nearly a decade later.

Okay, so the trailer isn’t that bad and I do like the idea of Jennifer Carpenter being the new voice of his ‘conscience’. But I don’t want to see Dexter meeting his grown-up son. Wouldn’t he be 10 or something anyway?

In fact the only new show I did watch was the thoroughly depressing but hugely important and impressive 1,000 Years A Slave on Channel 5. It’s not TMINE fare, being a documentary, but if you ever want to astonish yourself about how little you know about the slave trade and just how astonishingly evil it was – obviously it was evil, it was the slave trade, but however bad you think it was, multiply that by a factor of at least 1,000 – watch this.

Perhaps the most pointed part of it is that it feels like one aspect of it is deliberately a flipside of the BBC’s happy white Who Do You Think You Are?, mirroring its style in pretty much every regard. We get to see a whole bunch of Britain’s finest and best Black actors (David Harewood, Hugh Quarshie, et al) getting to retrace their ancestors’ footsteps, all the way back to Africa or the Caribbean… where they were murdered, abducted, etc, as slaves. Of course, we all remember what happened with Ben Affleck’s episode in the US, so who knows if that’s also being subtly referenced.

Just amazing and utterly devastating.

Here’s episode 1. Wisely, the comments have been switched off on it on YouTube

The regulars

Locke & Key – season two (Netflix)

I managed to watch three more episodes of Locke and Key before I gave up. It just got too much about who’s dating who and who’s annoyed at who’s dating who, while simultaneously being about melting people and having them attacked by giant spiders. There’s also far more than is tolerable throughout these episodes about a student horror movie, which even gets a full cinematic screening.

Maybe I’m just too old for a show that did at least have some adult interest in previous seasons. There’s still a little here – I’m enjoying Aaron (not Shawn) Ashmore’s character a lot, although I’m also horrified to discover that Jimmy Olsen from Smallville is now 42, as well as the intrigue among the adults. But too much of it is subordinate to the children’s storyline and I don’t care about the annoying brats. There’s also almost zero of female Dodge, who – let’s face it – was the main interesting thing about season 1.

I might pick it back up again, given how little TV there suddenly is again, but it doesn’t feel like I want to at the moment.

But what have you been watching?


  • Rob Buckley

    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.

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