Nancy Drew
US TV

Review: Nancy Drew 1×1 (US: The CW)

In the US: Wednesdays, 9pm, The CW
In the UK: Not yet acquired

When it comes to books, today’s kids never had it so good. The range of fiction for children and young adults has never been so vast. Back when I was a kid, the choices were much more narrow, meaning my generation ended up reading more or less the exact same books as each other, and to some extent, previous generations.

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books were old when I was young, but we still all read them. Originally devised in the 1920s and updated with new books over the generations by a succession of authors using the pseudonyms Franklin W Dixon and Carolyn Keene, they featured teenage detectives solving crimes while dealing with standard teen issues – parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, parties and kidnappings.

Such perennial favourites were they that they had a 1970s TV series dedicated to them that naturally everyone my age watched. Perhaps because it featured teen heartthrob David Cassidy of The Partridge Family fame, but perhaps also because of its spooky title sequence.

However, what worked in the 20s, 50s and even 70s might not necessarily work now, as many a TV writer adapting classic formats has discovered. That hasn’t stopped people trying to find the magic formula.

There have been many attempts of late to adapt the Nancy Drew books in particular, with movies and TV pilots all trying to take the titian-haired teen detective and bring her up to date, leave her as she is with the world around her changed, and turn her into an adult.

Now we have the latest effort, which attempts to do for the Nancy Drew books what Riverdale successfully did for the Archie comics – bring her up to date and make her relevant to a young, spoilt-for-choice, modern audience, by Twin Peaks-ing her.

Here, though, it’s a good deal less successful

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Almost Family
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Almost Family and Mr Robot

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

Ruby Rose

This week’s reviews

This week’s been a bit quieter than planned reviews-wise. I did manage to review Batwoman (US: The CW) as planned; however, I’m just finishing episode eight (of nine) of Raising Dion, which is obviously a day or two later than Boxset Monday and Tuesday allows. But it’s a shoo-in for next week.

What’s coming this week

Orange Thursday didn’t happen again, either. Sorry. However, fingers crossed, we’ll be looking at Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019) and – in a brief flashback to Weekly Wonder Woman – Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (2019).

As well as Raising Dion, the coming week should also bring us Nancy Drew (US: The CW) and eternal optimist that I am, I’m hoping to watch season two of Plan Cœur (The Hookup Plan) over the weekend.

And after that, Fall 2019 – part three begins…

Mr Robot
Mr Robot

The regulars

Fall 2019 – part one and Fall 2019 – part two brought us new shows, but I’ve been winnowing again. I can’t really be bothered with either Prodigal Son or Emergence any more, so they’ve been dropped from the viewing queue.

But that still leaves us with Evil, Magnum PI, Mr InBetween, Pennyworth, Stumptown and Titans. On top that, Mr Robot has made his comeback.

All of those after the jump, together with a brief rundown of last week’s extra turkey, Almost Family.

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Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman
US TV

Review: Batwoman 1×1 (US: The CW)

In the US: Sundays, 8pm, The CW
In the UK: Will probably air on Sky 1

Batman is a problem. At the cinemas, you can’t get rid of him. He’s everywhere. As soon as you think you’ve got rid of him, he’s back again. Four movies in the 80s and 90s. Three Christopher Nolan movies. Batman v Superman. Justice League. And now we’ve got Robert Pattinson about to suit up for The Batman.

That’s too much bat, man.

On TV, however, DC has been pretty strict, with zero TV versions of Batman allowed while there’s a Batman at the cinema (ie never). We’ve had 10 seasons of young Superman in Smallville and Supergirl‘s had her own Superman (Tyler Hoechlin); we’ve even got alternative reality and previous versions of Superman lined up for The CW’s annual superhero show crossover. But the sainted Bat hasn’t once shown up.

What we have been allowed is ersatz versions of Batman, ranging from Smallville‘s Adam Knight through to the comic book Batman knock-off himself, Green Arrow, in Arrow – the first season of which was itself a (very good) knock-off of Batman Begins.

And now we have Batwoman.

Batwoman
Ruby Rose in The CW’s Batwoman

Not Batman

Although there is a long and exciting discussion to be had about whether the most famous superheroines are merely female versions of superheroes, rather than characters in their own rights – cf She-Hulk, Spiderwoman, Supergirl, Miss Martian, Batgirl – the comic book Batwoman is at least a relatively different creature from playboy Bruce Wayne and his becowled alter-ego.

A former student of West Point who gets thrown out for being gay, she ends up stealing military weaponry to create her own Batman-style arsenal. Of course, it then turns out she’s Bruce Wayne’s cousin, but what you going to do?

On TV, not so much it seems. Because this is a Batwoman not at all confident she can escape the Bat’s shadow.

He’s such a problem, that man.

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Carol's Second Act
US TV

Fall 2019 – part 2: The Unicorn, Carol’s Second Act, Perfect Harmony and Sunnyside

Normally, around this time this week, I’d be reviewing a boxset. I had selected Netflix’s The Politician for that singular pleasure, mainly because Walter was only getting round to presenting Hotel Beau Séjour on Sunday.

But unfortunately, watching all of last week’s remaining TV shows and playing catch-up with the regulars got the better of me, so I’ve not watched either. Guess which one will be next week’s Boxset Monday (assuming I don’t try Raising Dion instead), though?

Rather than dumping reviews of all those new shows on you tomorrow at the same time as discussing the usual regulars, including the season/series finales of כפולים (False Flag)Flateyjargátan (The Flatey Enigma) and Glitch, I thought I’d discuss them all now. Plus, just like last week, with a few exceptions, there’s honestly not been a great crop, so they’re not worth dealing with individually anyway.

So after the jump, I’ll be casting my eye over new, lacklustre arrivals The Unicorn, Carol’s Second Act, Perfect Harmony and Sunnyside.

See you in a mo.

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Katja Herbers, Aasif Mandvi and Mike Colter in CBS's Evil
US TV

Review: Evil 1×1 (US: CBS)

In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, CBS
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Ever since The Exorcist and The Omen, there’s been a tried and trusted format for ‘sceptical investigations of demonic evil’. There’s a possession. Scientific sceptics turn up and throw cold water over the idea of possession. Various incidents occur that show them to be complete idiots. Everyone becomes Catholic.

TV and film since then have done little to change that format, particularly since audience’s are quite inclined to want to believe that kind of thing anyway. Plus it’s a lot harder to scare the crap out of people with tales of dripping taps and gas-emitting rocks inducing hallucinations.

All the same, after a while, it gets a bit dull. So kudos to the refreshingly entitled Evil for giving us a supernatural investigation series that manages to be scary as well as funny, and to more or less side with science against religion – all while pointing its finger at the true evil in this world: people, particularly people on 4Chan.

Evil

Evil eye

Created by CBS premier league team Robert and Michelle King (BrainDead, The Good Wife, The Good Fight), Evil sees Katja Herbers (Manhattan, Westworld) playing a forensic psychologist who usually testifies on behalf of the local district attorney. When she investigates one man claimed to be demonically possessed, has a suspicion he might be and so refuses to testify that he’s insane, the DA dumps her.

A single mum strapped for cash after a divorce and now jobless, she’s only too happy to take up sexy would-be priest Mike Coulter (The Good Wife, Marvel’s Luke Cage)’s offer of a job investigating such cases on behalf of the Catholic Church. There’s a backlog of about 500,000 complaints, you see, and they don’t need a believer to help winnow that pile down – they need someone who can spot the difference between a real possession and fakers, the deluded et al.

Together with technical expert Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Coulter and Herbers set out to separate the real from the unreal. Something Michael Emerson (Lost, Person of Interest, The Name of the Rose) doesn’t want to happen.

Because he’s evil.

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