What did you watch last week? Including Red Dwarf X, Ben and Kate, The Mindy Project, Looper and Dexter

It’s “What did you watch last fortnight?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I watched in the past two weeks that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

First, the usual recommendations: The Thick of It, Moone Boy, Red Dwarf X and Homeland.

So here’s a few thoughts on what I have been watching:

  • Ben and Kate – Not much to say that I didn’t cover in my review of the first episode. I tried watching it. Everything about it bar Lucy Punch was dreadful. I couldn’t stand any more of it, so I switched off. Don’t bother with this one.
  • Dexter – Well, I was going to give it one last chance, and after a shaky “oh surely not” first few minutes of the first episode where they milked things out as much as they could, they finally settled down and gave us something that felt like Dexter again. Episode two managed to be as nasty and as high quality as episode one, so I’m sticking with it for a while at least.
  • Doctor Who – I finally got round to watching A Town Called Mercy. It was all right, I guess. Ben Browder was good for the 10 minutes he was in it. But it felt like a very tedious bit of old-school Who, in which the moral dilemma of the week is spelt out in excruciating detail, the liberal ideal is espoused and the liberal ideal is proved right at the end, no matter how unlikely that is, given the scenario we’ve been painted. Clunky, but with moments.
  • Elementary – More of a mystery story than the first episode and a bit more of the Holmes of the books got added in. A little blander perhaps, but a bit smarter and a bit better than the first episode, so I’m not writing it off yet.
  • The Last Resort – An almost literally nail-biting episode, but the whole thing falls apart as soon as any female characters appear. This isn’t because women shouldn’t be in such a manly show but because the writers appear to have no idea how to write women except as problems or as men. Plus an actress other than Autumn Reeser could probably pull off the “I may be a woman but I talk like a man” dialogue that she gets, but that’s not the actress in the role, unfortunately, so it just looks silly.
  • Made in Jersey – You have to admire a bunch of producers who admit to themselves that their pilot episode was a colossal cock-up and basically reboot the entire thing from the second episode, which is what the producers of Made in Jersey have done. Apart from shunting aside most of the cast, in favour of an all new cast that includes Ringer‘s Kristoffer Polaha, they’ve got rid of the Legally Blonde aspect, got Kyle MacLachlan to team up with our heroine and toned down the New Jersey stereotypes. There was also an interesting bit about how people in your own class can bring you down when you try to aspire. A definite improvement on episode one, even if it’s still not that much different from any other legal procedural.
  • The Mindy Project – Not quite as funny as the first episode but if you added up the comedy value of every other comedy on TV this week, combined, they still wouldn’t be as funny as The Mindy Project. The end scene was just nasty.
  • Moone Boy – Like an amiable stroll through 80s TV. Now promoted to recommended
  • Partners – While not quite as offensive as the first episode and the writers were clearly tailored the roles to their cast, by downgrading David Krumholtz to more of a nerd than an alpha male, it was still both unfunny and at least a little offensive, so I turned off. Avoid this one, too.
  • Person of Interest – I obviously abandoned this after episode three but since the mother in law has carried on watching, I thought I’d try leaping back in to see if has got any better. And largely, although the plot clearly has moved on and I found myself a bit lost at times, it hasn’t got any better. It’s the same. While Amy Acker being evil was moderately entertaining, the show still has the same flaws – the star, decent action taking place off-screen rather than on-screen and so on – makes this feel just like a lazy action star who’s feeling a bit tired and so sends the stunt double in rather than do the stunt himself.
  • Red Dwarf X – surprisingly good. Basically, it’s as though we never left series one or two and everything since has been ignored. I even laughed several times. Colour me surprised.
  • Vegas – More procedure-bound than the first episode, this was still a decent hour of drama. Good to see they’re adding another woman to the mix, this time on the side of evil, too.

Still in the pile: last night’s Homeland and 666 Park Avenue. Also, Strike Back: Vengeance, which we’re saving up to watch in one go at the end of the series.

And in movies:

  • Looper – A film that’s been getting a lot of hype, it’s actually a relatively low key, low budget sci-fi movie with some fairly imaginative ideas, a decent twist or two and the benefit of some CGI to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look more like Bruce Willis. But other than that, you’re going to get more action on TV from Hunted and more complex plots from Doctor Who. So don’t believe the hype, don’t expect an action extravaganza, don’t expect to have your brain stimulated à la Inception. But do expect to enjoy about an half and a hour of the movie’s 2h20 run-time, and do be surprised by cameos from the likes of Piper Perabo and Garret Dillahunt.

“What did you watch last week?” is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?


Review: Doctor Who – 7×5 – The Angels Take Manhattan

Angels Take Manhattan

In the UK: Twas on BBC1 on Saturday. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: It was on BBC America on Saturday, y’all

Vroomfondel: I think our minds must be too highly trained, Majikthise

From the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

So here we are. The end of an era. Exeunt Ponds, stage right, chased by a baby Angel. Stevie Moffat introduced them to us two and a half years ago with the first of his stories, The Eleventh Hour, and here he is, writing them out again.

Should be quite a moving moment, shouldn’t it? Rusty usually managed to make companion departures the big tearjerkers they should be. Maybe not Martha, although who cared about her. But the ‘death’ of Pipes? The ‘death’ of Donna? Pass me a snivel-rag now.

Except, while there was a certain degree of sadness right at the end, this wasn’t quite the tour de force I was hoping for from our Stevie. The trouble? I think that Stevie might be getting too clever for his own good. And working too hard.

Continue reading “Review: Doctor Who – 7×5 – The Angels Take Manhattan”


Review: Doctor Who – 7×4 – The Power of Three

The Power of Three

In the UK: Saturdays, BBC1. Now available on iPlayer
In the US: Saturdays, BBC America

Ah, pathos, tears, romance, cameos by famous people, a domestic UK setting, characterisation, a big hand-wavey, 30-second sonic screwdriver way out of a massive alien invasion, menacing kids, families, an emoting, lonely Doctor, voiceovers, continuity references and more – isn’t it great that Russell T Davies came back to write an episode of Doctor Who for Steven Moffat, bringing with him all his writing trademarks?

What’s that Sootie? Rusty didn’t write The Power of Three? Then who did?


You’re shitting me, Sootie. Chris Chibnall wrote that? Well, colour me surprised.

Yes, the man responsible for Cyberwoman, Countrycide, Adrift, Exit Wounds, The Hungry Earth and Camelot, to name but a few, most of which have been banned by Geneva Conventions, has finally turned in his indisputable masterpiece – by the simple mechanism of instead of merely copying every B-movie he’s ever watched (with perhaps the exception of Super 8), pretending to be Russell T Davies.

Shame it didn’t have a proper ending and the plot was nonsense, but that’s what happens when you copy Rusty.

Here’s a trailer.

Continue reading “Review: Doctor Who – 7×4 – The Power of Three”


Not review: Doctor Who – 7×3 – A Town Called Mercy


In the UK: It was on Saturday. It’s on the iPlayer now
In the US: It was also on Saturday.

Erm, I haven’t watched it yet. Busy, busy, busy. Frank has and so has Stuart, so I’d suggest you read their reviews, which undoubtedly will be better than what I would have thrown together.

But cowboys, filmed in the US, Toby Whithouse, Ben Browder – sounds like it could have been good. Was it? Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick – or two Chris Chibnall scripts in a row? What did you think?