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What have you been watching? Including Clarice and Young Rock

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

And we’re picking up speed now! Not quite the pre-lockdown TMINE throughput I know, but I’m glad to say I am watching TV and movies again, albeit selectively now. And that there is TV to watch.

I just don’t have the time to write about it…

The regulars

In terms of the regulars list is, there’s WandaVision (Disney+). This was, of course, the big revelations episode, as we learn who or what has been responsible for everything so far. The big reveal itself was marvellously done – (spoiler alert) it was Agatha all along! – and shows the virtue of paying attention. But actually everything before it was lovely, too, with head nods to 2010s sitcoms including Happy Endings, The Office (US) and Modern Family. A lot of pathos, too, as more of Vision’s story is revealed to him.

The other ‘regular’ I watched was The Equalizer (US: CBS). That effectively formed the second part of a two-part pilot, with the show establishing its parameters, explaining why it’s called ‘The Equalizer’ and opening up the possibilities of plots that aren’t just crim of the week – although that was a nice change to the Big Bad of week one. All the same, I think I’ve seen enough of it to have my fill. If you like procedurals, it’s a pretty good one, but I don’t, so it’s not for me.

Talking of procedurals, we had the return of a previous regular, Harrow (Australia: ABC; UK: Alibi), for season three. I watched the first episode of that and we had the now-traditional “format revamp”, with another new generic character replacement. I enjoyed the addition to the Harrow backstory, but apart from the tortured ‘son’ revelation, I think the moment I decided to give up on it when Fern did yet another “Oh Dad! I hate you!” moment. Bored now. Sorry.

After the jump, the new shows I’ve watched: Clarice and Young Rock. But I’ll just briefly mention two movies that I’ve watched this week.

The Greatest Showman (2017) is a quasi-biographical musical of PT Barnum’s life and creation of the circus, with Hugh Jackman assembling a group of misfits rejected by society and giving them A Family – and a job being stared at for money. The songs aren’t bad, if not that memorable, and the cast (Zac Efron, Zendaya) is very good. It’s more memorable as an epic piece of ahistorical wokeness, but if that’s your bad, it’s fun enough.

Also gracing my retinas this week was The News of the World (2021), which you can currently see on Netflix. It’s best thought of as Tom Hanks doing John Wayne in The Searchers (1956), taking an orphaned German girl, who’s gone native with some native Americans, back to her supposed family. While also delivering the news to people, since he basically reads out newspapers for a living.

It’s very beautifully put together and bar a couple of slightly shakycam action scenes, you’d never know it was Paul Greengrass directing it, with so many big open vistas and drone shots. But is it engaging in the slightest? Not really.

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US TV

What have you been watching? Including Filthy Rich, Criminal and Somebody Feed Phil

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

Last week was super busy for TMINE, meaning I didn’t end up reviewing anything. Fortunately, I have been watching TV and yesterday, I was able to finally give you the lowdown on season 5 of Le Bureau des Légendes (The Bureau).

Enola Holmes (2020)

Next on TMINE

As promised, Orange Thursday will tomorrow feature Bill and Ted Face The Music (2020) and Enola Holmes (2020). I’m hoping to start watching Apple TV+’s new Israeli spy show, Tehran, at some point, so hopefully I’ll be reviewing that, too.

Emily in Paris starts on Netflix this week, but I suspect I’ll be skipping that. Ditto Hulu (US)’s horror anthology Monsterland. Otherwise, the decks are relatively clear of new shows until next week, so it’s probably going to be another quiet one. I might find something I missed to catch up on…

Sophie Okonedo in Criminal

What TMINE has been watching

The regulars list is still just one show, The Boys (Amazon), and even that’s on its last chance: reviews of its latest two episodes after the jump. Woke lost me midway through episode three, when I realised it wasn’t ever really going to use its “talking objects” conceit for anything useful and it wasn’t ever going to be truly funny or pointed enough to sustain my interest.

But Criminal returned for a UK-only second season last week. As should be clear by now, networks aren’t back up to running speed yet, so I’m going to eke out its four episodes weekly. You can read what I thought of ep one after the jump.

Meanwhile, Fox (US) has unveiled the first of its anaemic autumn line-up: Filthy Rich, the first episode of which I’ll be discussing after the jump as well.

But is that all I’ve been watching? Not all.

It’s not technically TMINE material, but I thought I’d mention Somebody Feed Phil, Netflix’s new food-travel documentary that features… the guy who created Everybody Loves Raymond. Not the most obvious choice, but that kind of puts it within TMINE’s scripted bailiwick.

Somebody Feeds Phil features Phil Rosenthal visiting a different city every week, where he sees the sights and eats various kinds of food. So far, so Anthony Bourdain, just with a guy who has no real food training and who thinks pretty much everything is the best thing he’s ever tasted, resulting in a lot of eye popping and gurning.

But importantly, it’s actually quite charming. Phil’s enthusiasm for everything is enjoyable to watch and he can kvetch with the best of them. He also doesn’t do the obvious things – for the London episode, for example, as well as going to Michelin-starred restaurants, he goes with Jay Rayner to a fish and chip shop in Dulwich, and has tea with Sophie Winkleman.

Plus he’s smart – one moment, he’ll be playing the fool, but the next he’ll be quoting poetry and waxing lyrical about Mexico City’s sunset, the next he’ll be explaining the historical origins of Americans’ strange ideas about British food.

Most of the restaurants he visits aren’t necessarily serving up the ‘local food’, either. This is very much a show not just about how globalisation is cross-pollinating various countries’ eating habits, it’s also about immigrants’ historical contribution to food. So Middle Eastern and African food get highlighted in London, Italian food in Lisbon and Chicago, and so on.

His guests are all pretty diverse, no matter where he goes. And sometimes the guests surprise you. I never realised Domenick Lombardozzi (The Wire, Breakout Kings) was such a foodie, for example.

Just as importantly, it’s not too touristy and doesn’t feel like it’s simply going to the places everyone else does. The London episode feels like authentic London, even taking in Borough Market, and the Lisbon episode wisely goes on a tour with Célia Pedroso – just as Lovely Wife and I did when we went there. Prophetically, we’d say to each other “I hope he goes to…” and the next minute, he’d be there.

Lastly, of course, his parents feature in every episode – as does his much beloved younger brother, who is also a producer on the show. It gives you a hint of how Rosenthal came up with the idea of Everybody Loves Raymond.

Paradoxically, I found the episodes set in cities I’d visited to be more interesting than those set in those I’d never been to. You might find the same – or the other way round. But if you want to try a slightly different sort of food show, Somebody Feed Phil might be just the ticket.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Filthy Rich, Criminal and Somebody Feed Phil”
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