US TV

Mini-reviews: Big Sky and The Flight Attendant

Regular readers will have gathered by now that things haven’t really picked up for me in terms of availability, workload or actual ability to watch new TV. But I’m still here, don’t worry, and I reckon I can at least stretch to a mini-review or two now and then…

…Like now. So after the jump, we can talk about two new US shows: Big Sky and The Flight Attendant. See you in a mo.

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US TV

Review: B Positive 1×1 (US: CBS All Access)

In the US: Thursdays, 8.30pm, CBS All Access

Producer Chuck Lorre has pretty much all of CBS’s comedy output sewn up – and has done so for decades now. Name a CBS sitcom, past or present, and it’s almost certain you’ll name a Chuck Lorre sitcom – The Big Bang Theory, Mike and Molly, Mom, Young Sheldon, Two and a Half Men et al. Now he’s turning his eyes to owning the CBS Internet as well, with B Positive his first CBS All Access show.

While created by industry stalwart Marco Pennette (Kate & Allie, Caroline and the City) rather than Lorre himself, B Positive is both a very traditional multi-cam sitcom and a very traditional Lorre sitcom. Lorre may have branched out into gentler shows of late, but B Positive is a big chunk of old school misanthropy, dressed up in a slightly gentler outer coat.

Positively bad

The basic plot of B Positive is pretty contrived, even by sitcom standards. Newly divorced dad Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) learns that he’s suffering renal failure and is prepared to say his goodbyes to his daughter and estranged wife Sara Rue (Impastor) as he can’t find a suitable B+ kidney donor.

Then he happens to be at a wedding where one of the bridesmaids (Masters of Sex‘s Annaleigh Ashford) turns out to have gone to high school with him. He reveals all – and she spontaneously agrees to give him one of her kidneys. Trouble is, not only is she a massive substance abuser, she also suffers from a mild case of multiple personality disorder – and so doesn’t remember what her other self promised him.

B Positive largely squanders Lorre’s work on Mom in giving nuance to substance abusers, by making Ashford and her party girl alternative personality a “track wreck”. There’s very much a “Women: Know Your Limits” quality to the show. Her regular personality isn’t that much better, although she is surprisingly a driver for elderly people at a care home and does offer separately to give Middleditch her kidney.

Meanwhile, Middlemitch is largely reprising his Silicon Valley role, just with perhaps a little more gumption and a little less anxiety, making him the king of the milquetoasts brought out of his shell by Manic Pixie Dream Girl Ashford.

It’s all very unedifying stuff that has an occasionally good gag, but not enough for sustained viewing.

On the B Positive bus

So why am I even contemplating watching even one more second of this, given how substandard the first episode was? One simple reason: I’ve seen the supporting cast list for the rest of the series, most of whom aren’t in this first episode.

Top of the list is Briga Heelan (Ground Floor, Great News), who’s a fine comedy actress, but there’s also Linda Lavin (Alice) as a gay resident of the old person’s home and Bernie Kopell (Get Smart, The Love Boat) as another resident.

I don’t know if even they will be enough to win me over and overcome the scripts. But they’re enough to make me want to give it a try at least.

International TV

What have you been watching? Including Trickster and Helstrom

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

Previously on TMINE

No reviews. Sorry. Usual excuses – and it’s going to be worse next week, since I’m on holiday because it’s Half Term, which means WHYBW will be taking a break next week, too.

But I have been watching TV, I promise. And I will be watching more…

ANYA TAYLOR as BETH HARMON in THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT. Cr. CHARLIE GRAY/NETFLIX © 2020

Next on TMINE

There’s actually not too much coming up in terms of new shows for me to review. Netflix has limited series The Queen’s Gambit, which I might try. But HBO’s The Undoing, which airs on Sunday in the US, is going to be on Sky Atlantic on Monday, so there’s nothing for me to do there, I suspect.

Otherwise, the second season of The Mandalorian starts on October 30, but that’s about it. Probably a good time for us all to have holidays, then.…

Warrior

What TMINE has been watching

The regulars list is starting to dwindle again. After the jump, reviews of the latest episodes I’ve watched of neXt, The Right Stuff, Tehran and Warrior, the season finale of Criminal (UK), as well as the first episodes of new Canadian show Trickster and the latest Marvel comics adaptation Helstrom.

However, at least one of those is for the chop. Can you guess which one?

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Trickster and Helstrom”
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Connecting… and The Right Stuff

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

Previously on TMINE

Feast and famine, hey? One minute there’s nothing to watch, the next minute we’re drowning in shows. Yet again, though, I’ve failed to review anything and WHYBW is on Thursday again, but I have at least watched lots. We can talk about that in a mo…

CBC’s Trickster

Next on TMINE

Tomorrow will see the return of Covideodrome with The Gentlemen (2019). I’ll also be casting an eye over Trickster (Canada: CBC; UK: Syfy) and maybe even The Haunting of Bly Manor at some point in the next week. I might even play catch up and give Amazon’s Utopia remake a gander.

Meanwhile, Star Trek: Discovery is back today in the US, although whether I’ll watch it is very much up to Lovely Wife, since I’m inclined not to. The new West Wing special is on tonight, while latest Marvel comics show Helstrom is coming to Hulu (US) tomorrow, but that seems to be about it. I’ll do my best to review the last of those at least – and anything else that shows up that I’ve missed.

What TMINE has been watching

The regulars list is looking quite healthy, even though The Boys has just given us its season finale. After the jump, reviews of that, Criminal (UK), neXt and Tehran, as well as new NBC (US) show Connecting… and Disney+’s The Right Stuff.

Meanwhile, I’ve also only just noticed that Warrior (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky Atlantic) has been back for two whole weeks, so I’ll be playing catch-up with that next week. Oops.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Connecting… and The Right Stuff”
International TV

What have you been watching? Including neXt

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

Niv Sultan in Tehran

Previously on TMINE

Sigh. I’ve been busy again this week, which is why WHYBW is a day late. But I did manage to find the time to watch and review the first four episodes of Tehran (Israel: Kan 11; UK: Apple TV+).

Disney+’s The Right Stuff

Next on TMINE

It’s Thursday, today, and it’s one or the other with WHYBW and Orange Thursday. WHYBW won, so Orange Thursday will be next Thursday. All it might be Covideodrome again by that point, given how many cinemas are closing for winter.

Whichever it is, the movies being reviewed will be: The Gentlemen (2019) and Zodiac (2007).

TV-wise, thankfully, there’s a few new shows coming our way in the next week. Covid comedy Connecting… hits NBC in the US tonight, while on Friday, we have Haunting of Hill House sequel The Haunting of Bly Manor coming to Netflix and space race drama The Right Stuff arriving on Disney+.

Hopefully, I’ll be reviewing at least one of those – and anything else that comes along.

John Noble in The Boys

What TMINE has been watching

The regulars list is now two shows, The Boys (Amazon) and the UK episodes of Criminal (Netflix). I’ll be talking about both of those after the jump. Also getting a gander will be the first episode of new US AI shocker neXt – not to be confused with NeXT.

Otherwise, the only TV I’ve been watching has been Married At First Sight (Australia), in which a bunch of unmarried Aussies, desperate for love, agree to marry sight-unseen someone picked for them by a panel of experts who reckon they’re a good match.

It’s constantly referred to as an ‘experiment’, and it certainly does feel like the sort of things a more benevolent, more romantic Dr Mengele might have cooked up on Valentine’s Day for his subjects – everyone clearly has a psychological problem of some sort and the panel of experts really just seems to want to know what happens when you marry off a woman who has alopecia to a fitness trainer with OCD. What could go wrong? What emotional damage might people suffer? No idea! Let’s find out!

It’s somewhat despicable TV that to be fair, does make the occasional good match and has the occasional moment that can renew your faith in humanity and your own sex… until the next scene when it inevitably whips them away like a magician faced with a runner and a bowl of fruit on a table.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including neXt”