For Life

What have you been watching? Including Indebted, Briarpatch, Katy Keene, Tommy and For Life

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

Mythic Quest

Previously on TMINE

TMINE was clearly on speed or something this week, since it served up reviews of not one but two streaming Boxsets: the first seasons of Apple TV+’s Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet and Netflix’s Ragnarok.

Meanwhile, in the film world, Orange Thursday… didn’t happen. Sorry, I forgot I was actually supposed to be having a day off on Thursday. Still that does mean I definitely have a double-bill lined up for tomorrow…


Next on TMINE

It’s Part II of Spring 2020 in the US and after the jump, I’ll be reviewing literally all the new shows that aired on broadcast TV this week: Briarpatch, Indebted, Interrogation, Katy Keene, For Life, and Tommy.

However, don’t be surprised, given I’ve watched all of that as well as two entire boxsets (plus half of another, which I’ll tell you about in a mo), that I didn’t quite have time to watch all of Netflix’s Locke & Key. But I am two episodes in and I’m hoping to get through the rest of it within the next week – who knows, maybe next week will be another Boxset doubler because…

…also coming up in the next week are new shows High Fidelity, ZeroZeroZero and Utopia Falls, while Narcos: Mexico is back for a second season. That’s four shows from which to pick a second boxset, so expect at least one of them, maybe two, to get a review, too.

Meanwhile in movies, tomorrow’s Orange Thursday will be reviewing A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2020) and Parasite (2019), as I don’t have a day off this week. Definitely.

Iron Fist
Iron Fist

The regulars

The regulars list is now small enough that I’m pretty sure I’m only watching some as a result of experimental error: Avenue 5, The Outsider and Star Trek: Picard. And one of those is for the chop this week, too – you can see which one after the jump, but it probably won’t take much guesswork.

As you might expect, even with two boxsets, a third on the go, movies being watched and a whole bunch of new shows to watch, I found myself with time on my hands and ironing to do. Naturally, I started watching Marvel’s Iron Fist again – I’m now midway through my fifth viewing of season one, and yes, I’m still seeing new things in it and no, I’m not certifiable, thanks for asking, imaginary voice in my head.

But after a few eps of Iron Fist, with an ironing pile that wasn’t diminishing, I suddenly remembered that the second season of Netflix’s Altered Carbon is due to hit the Internet in a couple of weeks, so I decided to give season one a re-watch.

Altered Carbon
Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon: the rewatch

Unlike my rewatch of season one of Marvel’s Daredevil, my rewatch of Altered Carbon hasn’t made me reconsider my original view of the show: it’s still a beautifully made bit of sci-fi with a colossal problem with women (that may or may not be inherent to it or a critique of the patriarchy) that has six or so fabulous episodes that collide with the brick wall of the seventh as soon as we reach the big part of the narrative that wasn’t in the book. I’m on that episode at the moment, so I’m not going any further – or I’ll skip it and head straight into episode eight.

But on the plus side, my rewatch has reminded me of how good those first few episodes were, as well as some of the plot. It’s also interesting to rewatch more or less remembering not just whodunnit but why they dunnit, to see what clues the show leaves and how well the whole ‘universe’ holds together (pretty well).

All the same, watching the trailer for season two today, it’s noticeable that all the plot highlights seem to suggest that rather than going with one of the other books in the series, the show’s producers are doubling down on their own created mythos. So while Anthony Mackie looks like a good replacement for Joel Kinnaman in the lead role, I can’t say I’m 100% looking forward to the next season.

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What have you been watching? Including Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens

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

Star Trek Picard
Star Trek: Picard

This week’s reviews

Week four of Spring 2020 was a little quieter than the previous one, but we had three new shows launch. You can read the TMINE reviews of Outmatched (US: Fox) and Star Trek: Picard (US: CBS All Access; UK: Amazon) elsewhere, but we can talk about Awkwafina is Nora from Queens (US: Comedy Central) after the jump.

Meanwhile, in the film world, Orange Thursday took in Knives Out (2019) and Angel Has Fallen (2019).


What’s coming next

Starting in the next week are Onisciente (Omniscient) (Netflix), The Stranger (Netflix), Luna Nera (Black Moon) (Netflix) and Ragnarok (Netflix). Yep, while others sleep, Netflix triumphs. I’ll pick one of those to watch over the next week and hopefully, it’ll be your Boxset Monday, but more likely your Boxset Tuesday.

Tomorrow’s Orange Thursday will be reviewing The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020) and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019). One of those is significantly better than the other.


The regulars

The regulars list is smaller even than normal this week, since both Evil and Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector took a break and Lovely Wife has decided she’d quite like to watch Avenue 5, so we’ll be watching episode 2 tonight.

Anyway, that just leaves 9-1-1: Lone Star, Stumptown and The Outsider. Still, it is What have you been watching? so now’s your chance to recommend some shows. Even Doctor Who. I hear there was a surprise guest ((spoiler alert) Captain Jack) and a massive development ((spoiler alert) another Doctor Who/alternative Doctor Who). Still not bothering with it.

In case you’ve been wondering what TMINE has been doing with itself, given such a lack of viewing options, the answer is simple: I’ve been rewatching the entire first season of Marvel’s Daredevil. It’s been an interesting experience, since clearly I was in a grumpy mood when I reviewed the first few episodes and still quite grumpy when I didn’t include it in my Top 9 (would have been 10 with Daredevil) shows of 2015.

Because it’s brilliant. Really sublime stuff – possibly my favourite season of all the Marvel shows, even more so than the first season of Iron Fist. It verges on the out and out sadistic at times, sure – you can tell showrunner Steven S DeKnight had just come off Spartacus – but despite having already watched it, I zoomed through all 13 episodes in about three days flat. Even the underwhelming costume reveal at the end was fine and Stick and the Hand didn’t irk me so much this time round.

The scripts explorations of the characters are almost lyrical at times, plus I really enjoyed some of its side-themes more, such as its study of the (diminishing) importance of journalism. There’s some real detective work/journalism going on in the investigation. And even when you know what’s coming, there are still some genuinely surprising choices by the writers, such as Melvyn’s reaction to losing a fight. Of which there are many, all so beautifully choreographed and directed – even Wu Assassins couldn’t quite match it.

Plus there’s the general tone of the whole season, with some actually thought-provoking discussions of good and evil, morality, vigilantism, killing, rich and poor, Catholicism and more. Properly adult stuff it is.

Lastly, having watched all the other seasons and Netflix Marvel shows since, it’s really surprising to see how much everything fits together and was set up from the beginning. Yep, all that building-buying for the Japanese had a point and Madame Gao really did have to travel further than China to go back to her homeland.

So, if you’ve already watched Daredevil, give it another go, as it might surprise you. If you’ve not, you should definitely try it – provided you’ve got a strong stomach.

There. I finally got round to doing that boxset review like I promised. Only took me five years.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens”
Star Trek: Picard

Review: Star Trek: Picard 1×1 (US: CBS All Access; UK: Amazon)

In the US: Thursdays, CBS All Access
In the UK: Fridays, Amazon

What do you want in a revival show – new stories or old stories? It’s a question particularly relevant to science fiction TV, which often has legions of fans particularly keen on deciding what’s good and what’s bad according to a set of rules they’ve devised that normally involve the word ‘canon’.

We’ve seen it repeatedly with the likes of Doctor Who, which chose initially to be as mainstream as possible when it was revived in 2005, by avoiding mentioning anything much to do with the show’s past in case it was perceived as being too nerdy.

Jamie McShane, Patrick Stewart and Orla Brady in Star Trek: Picard

Let’s look that up

Star Trek: Picard, on the other hand, is going straight in with the nerd fodder. The show resurrects Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s most popular character, 14 years after he’s retired from Starfleet because he believes it’s become morally bankrupt – thanks to events that happened asa result of the movie that killed the franchise roughly 18 years ago, Star Trek: Nemesis.

Retired to his family’s French vineyard where he can speak bad French to his dog and have some migrant Romulans with Irish accents as live-in staff/egalitarian help-mates, Picard is nevertheless dreaming about Commander Data still. Or maybe it’s B4.

Then up pops a girl (Isa Briones) with superpowers (of a sort) who has been dreaming of Picard, but doesn’t know why (or even who he is), and whom various dark suited people with guns have been trying to abduct or kill – but doesn’t know why. And then it turns out that Data was painting pictures of her 30 years previously.

What’s going on? Will it be enough to lure Picard back into action? And how much of it will need hyperlinks to Wikipedia for normal people to understand what’s going on?

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Review: Outmatched 1×1 (US: Fox)

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30/7:30c, Fox
In the UK: Not yet acquired

The trouble with not being a genius – at least if you’re a writer writing about genius – is by definition, you’re not smart enough to work out what it must be like. Sherlock Holmes can imagine himself into the minds of lesser people; lesser people cannot imagine the thoughts of Sherlock Holmes.

Hence Elementary.

Interestingly, what seems to happen as a result is that the lesser people – let’s call them writers – imagine there must be a fundamental problem with the genius that renders them in some way lesser to the writers. The writers become the geniuses, as do their audiences.

This common failure of imagination usually manifests itself in the idea of inferior social understanding. Gosh, smart people must be really bad with other people who aren’t as smart as them, hey? Men, women, boys, girls – they may know one end of a microscope from another but can they tell when someone’s upset with them? No, of course not. Not like us regular, writer types.

Witness Numb3rs and Scorpion, for example. And now Outmatched.

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9-1-1: Lone Star

Review: 9-1-1: Lone Star 1×1 (US: Fox)

In the US: Mondays, 8/7c, Fox
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Spin-offs are a funny old game. You can either do more of the same, just in a different location, or you can do something completely different. The former risks being boring, cannibalising your own ratings and ultimately not attracting anyone new to the show; the latter risks ostracising your existing viewers while not recruiting anyone new.

In the world of procedural TV, the limits are even more restrictive. A cop show is a cop show is a cop show, no matter where you go, so you have to find room to manoeuvre elsewhere.

So kudos to 9-1-1: Lone Star for being brave and different – and making a clean break of it. Sure, just like 9-1-1, it’s still all about the emergency services, focusing on paramedics and firefighters, but as the name suggests it’s set in Texas, and it has no characters in common with the original show. It also has a more famous cast.

More importantly, unlike its predecessor, it’s at least half comedy, that comedy being Parks & Recreation.

9-1-1: Lone Star
Rob Lowe in ITV’s 9-1-1: Lone Star

9-1-1: Lone Star

The story revolves around fancy pants New York firefighter Rob Lowe (last seen starring in the oddly similar show Wild Bill on ITV). Now, already you’ve probably done a double-take and wondered “fancy pants New York firefighter? Since when have they ever been fancy pants?”

Bear with me. All will be explained.

Cityslicker Lowe was one of the first responders to 9/11 and he was forced to rebuild his team of firefighters from scratch following that tragedy. This makes him a figure of interest to the Austin, Texas, fire department, when a tragedy befalls their firefighters. Needing someone who also ‘gets’ diversity – mainly to avoid lawsuits but also because Austin ain’t what it used to be – they invite Lowe down to work his magic, which Lowe agrees to once he learns he has cancer.

Gay, addict son in tow, Lowe starts to reform the department in his new town, recruiting Latinos, transmen and Muslim women Instagram stars from all over the country – and they aren’t just diverse, they can also get the job down. Making things even more alluring to Lowe is the fact the captain of the paramedics is none other than Liv Tyler. Will romance bloom? And can Austin take Lowe and his ‘Gucci loafers’?

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