It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week
“Doing this every two weeks seems to be working out for me right now. I think I can pull this off. Famous last words.”
Oops. That’s what I said last time and it pretty much killed April. Work! Gah! More work! Gah. Holiday. Not gah. Actually quite relaxing.
Oh well. Best stop procrastinating and put some TV thoughts down on paper or those really will be my last words…
I’ve watched a whole bunch of new shows, as well as the regulars, but doing proper reviews will take the rest of the day, I reckon, so I’m going to be disciplined and stick to one sentence rundowns. And here’s the clincher: if you want to know more about one of the shows, ask me! Then I’ll respond in the comments.
I reckon that’ll work. And how’s that for fun, too?
There’s been an awful lot of new shows since the last of these, but here are the ones that interested me enough to watch them: The Ipcress File (UK: ITV); Minx (US: HBO Max); Welcome to Flatch (US: Fox); The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray (AppleTV+); Halo (Paramount+); Outer Range (Amazon Prime); Moon Knight (Disney+); and Russian Doll (season two) (Netflix).
Meanwhile, we’ve got stuck on a few of the regular shows: Bel-Air (Peacock) is sitting there, waiting for us to watch the rest of it when we’ve got the time; but Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One) has been on holiday all of April. The Endgame (US: NBC) got a bit repetitious so I gave up on that. I’ve been continuing to watch Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime) and Severance (AppleTV+), though. And Mr InBetween (Australia: Showcase; UK: Disney+) has secretly been on Disney+ for months, I suspect, so I finally got to watch the third (final) season.
All of those after the jump…
The new shows
The Ipcress File (UK: ITV)
“Based on the 1962 novel by Len Deighton, Joe Cole takes on the iconic role of ex-smuggler Harry Palmer, who is turned into a reluctant spy at the centre of a undercover mission as the Cold War rages around him. When an important British nuclear scientist goes missing, Palmer’s links to the missing man sends him on a dangerous mission around the world in a race against time to prevent vital information from falling into the wrong hands and triggering a global catastrophe.”
Even more haunted by the ghost of (still living) Michael Caine than Pennyworth, this was very much ‘saying the plot out loud’ territory when it came to a modern finger-waving at 60s values, but it failed absolutely to engross me at any level as a spy thriller.
Minx (US: HBO Max)
In 1970s Los Angeles, an earnest young feminist joins forces with a low-rent publisher to create the first erotic magazine for women.
Moderately funny period comedy in which fourth-wave feminists mock second-wave feminists for being out of touch with regular women, while showing a lot of men’s naughty bits.
Welcome to Flatch (US: Fox)
“When a documentary crew sets out to explore the lives of residents in a small American town — their dreams, their concerns — it stumbles upon the Midwestern town of Flatch, which is made up of many eccentric personalities. It’s a place one would want to visit and maybe even stay if there was a decent motel, which there is not. The documentary crew finds worthy subjects in cousins and best friends Kelly Mallet and Lloyd “Shrub” Mallet, who let the documentary crew in on their lives and local current events. Father Joe is the local minister who also attempts to guide Kelly and Shrub. He moved to Flatch with former girlfriend Cheryl Peterson, the editor of the local newspaper The Flatch Patriot. Other Flatch residents include Mickey St. Jean, who relentlessly attempts to become Shrub’s best friend; Kelly’s frenemy, Nadine Garcia-Parney, who runs the Flatch Historical Society; and Mandy Matthews, a magnetic force of nature who lives life on her own terms.”
Terminally unfunny remake of the BBC’s This Country relocated to the US that not even Seann William Scott (American Pie) and Aya Cash (You’re The Worst) can save.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray (AppleTV+)
Ptolemy Grey, 91, is on the brink of sinking into dementia, but he experiences a seismic shift when given the opportunity to briefly regain his memories, and he uses this fleeting lucidity to solve his nephew’s death and come to terms with his past.
Ponderous effort in which old man Samuel L Jackson gets to remember is past experiences once he takes a drug – except he doesn’t start remembering until the end of episode two, by which point I’d lost interest in finding out whatever he was trying to remember.
“Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced super-soldier, defends humanity from the alien Covenant in the 26th century.”
Adaptation of a video game that I’ve not played and which I now don’t want to play, because it seems like very generic, sub-Starship Troopers material without the jokes.
Outer Range (Amazon Prime)
“Royal Abbott is a Wyoming rancher, fighting for his land and family, who discovers a mysterious black void in the pasture, following the arrival of Autumn, a drifter with a connection to Abbott’s ranch. While the Abbott family copes with the disappearance of their daughter-in-law Rebecca, they are pushed further to the brink when a rival family, the Tillersons, try to take over their land”
Slow-moving affair in which a lot and people get murdered or have time visions whenever they’re involved with the black hole on Josh Brolin’s land, but which is really a big cowboy drama about cows and land rights that makes Yellowstone look exciting.
Russian Doll (season two) (Netflix)
Second season of the “Groundhog Day party show” starts off as fascinating time travel piece, with our heroine Quantum Leaping into her own mother during the 80s, which makes you think it’s going to be an interesting flip on standard father-obsessed time travel shows, but ends up being about some missing krugerrands and really dull and hard to watch.
Moon Knight (Disney+)
“Steven Grant and mercenary Marc Spector investigate the mysteries of the Egyptian gods from inside the same body.”
A really fun adaptation of the Marvel comic, with Oscar Isaac playing multiple personalities and with an Egyptian mythology vibe that’s rare to see – although episode four is a real game-changer…
Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime)
A show that seems to be rambling along, doing a sort of “tribute band greatest hits” pub gig for all of Star Trek ever. I’ve seen references to Star Trek‘s Assignment Earth, Star Trek: Enterprise (so many Soongs who loved genetic engineering!), almost an entire episode dedicated to Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home. But it’s all a bit bobbins and silly, like a show in search of a raison to exist other than nostalgia… and failing.
I’m not really sure what the point of it all is, but it’s fun enough.
Talking of shows that don’t quite know what they’re about… This actually ended quite well, with some fun revelations about ‘Lumen’. But I’m not sure what the point of it all is. The metaphor has gone all over the place now, there’s less of a serious examination of the philosophy of it all and the Dicks-like paranoia seems to have been replaced by Lynch-ian surrealism.
But it was engrossing the whole way through, great to look at and played well with expectations. I’m going to stick with it for season 2.
Mr InBetween (Australia: Showcase; UK: Disney+)
An impressive conclusion to the show that dared to tie off almost all the narrative threads of the story, while keeping it as random and low-key as real-life tends to be – as low-key as a hitman can be anyway. I was going to point out the show’s Chopper similarities, but the show did it for me. Funny, scary, human: a brilliant show.