What did you watch last week? Including Don’t Trust the B—-, Magic City and Touch

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

The usual recommendations from the first-run shows are: The Almighty Johnsons, The Apprentice, Awake, BeTipul, Community, Cougar Town, The Daily Show, House, Mad Men, Modern Family, and 30 Rock. Hunt them down.

First, though, a look at some shows I’ve tried this week:

  • Magic City: Episode two was moderately better than episode one but there was such repugnant misogyny in the whole thing that I had to turn off. Just a nasty show.
  • Francesco’s Mediterranean Voyage: Possibly the least informative travel documentary you’ll ever watch. Looks good though. “This is a fresco of blue monkeys. No one knows why they were painted. But I like their style.” Actually made Joanna Lumley’s Greek Odyssey look informative by comparison.

And a few thoughts on the regulars:

  • Awake – One of the few episodes to not really touch on the dream side of things at all, except for their psychological meaning. Okay, but lacking the pizzazz of previous weeks.
  • Community – Another episode that was more sad than funny, but incredibly imaginative and bizarre at the same time.
  • Don’t Trust the B—– in Apt 23 – much better than episode one, with some decent surprises, some fun James Van Der Beek moments and Michael Landes guesting. Apart from Krysten Ritter’s character, the show’s trademarks are now becoming gross out moments and new euphemisms for vagina. The central character is still a bit dull, the supporting characters only okay, but now that they’ve edged Ritter away from true sociopathy in favour of cluelessness and a lack of empathy, the show seems to be finding its feet.
  • House – boring and obvious for two weeks now. This is turning out to be a very poor final season.
  • Mad Men – A wonderfully funny LSD trip coupled with some other great moments, including Don’s comeuppance with Megan. Great drama.
  • Missing – I’ve just realised that with the possible exception of her son and the female agent, Ashley Judd is actually the only American in this whole show. A bit of a silly episode though – no you can’t strangle someone with your feet if they’re standing up and you’re tied up in the boot of a car.
  • Ringer – An interesting way to conclude the season, with everything revealed, plot lines tied off and the worst possible things happening to everyone. I do hope it gets a second season.
  • Suburgatory – Alicia Silverstone came by to liven things up – there was even a dialogue nod to Clueless. Not bad, but not as good as earlier episodes.
  • 30 Rock – Deliciously perverse.
  • Touch – it’s like Tim Kring took everything he learnt from Heroes, listened to all the advice and criticism of the show, and then did the exact opposite because he’s Tim Kring and he knows best. Disparate plot strands that are linked but take forever to join up, minimal pay-off per episode – these are all the bad things about Heroes. Still, the ending was a surprise at least.

I’ve still got last night’s House, BBC4’s The Bridge, Sunday’s Girls, Sunday’s Veep, and Sunday’s NYC 22 to get through. I’ve also noticed that ABC has been airing Scandal – is that worth watching, anyone? And what have you been watching?

“What did you watch this 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?

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US TV

What did you watch last week? Including Mad Men, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Awake and Suburgatory

Jeremy Brett with Edward Hardwicke

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

The usual recommendations from the first-run shows are: The Almighty Johnsons, The Apprentice, Awake, BeTipul, Community, Cougar Town, The Daily Show, House, Mad Men, Modern Family, Ringer, and 30 Rock. Hunt them down.

You may have noticed that “What did you watch last week?” is a little later than usual this week, since I’ve been away for a few days – the short answer to “What did you watch last week?” would have been “Not a lot,” if I’d answered it yesterday. Anyway, after a catch-up last night, I’m ready to reveal all, although I’ve still got the second episode of Magic City to try, the first episode of Bettany Hughes’ Divine Women, as well as the latest episodes of House and Touch.

First, though, a look at some shows I’ve tried this week:

  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – yes, the DVD box set came out and I watched a few episodes for the first time in – OMG – nearly 30 years. Marvellous stuff, although the casting of Irene Adler in A Scandal in Bohemia didn’t ring true, and it makes me realise how close the BBC’s Sherlock actually comes to the original in tone.
  • Best Friends Forever: The first episode wasn’t too bad, but I managed five minutes of the second before my brain tried to end my life, so I had to give up on it. Sorry, but that’s a definite “don’t watch”.

And a few thoughts on the regulars:

  • Awake – loving how they’re starting to mine the unreal qualities of both realities for storylines (I’m not sure any explanation of how all this is happening will now work). Stupidly, I’ve only just noticed how different the colour palettes are for each reality (yellow for wife alive, blue for son alive). I just hope the conspiracy theory story arc doesn’t mess it all up.
  • Being Human (US) – Interesting to see them dovetailing back towards the UK original with Sally’s storyline, but staying completely separate with Aidan and Josh. Indeed, one thing that’s notable about this season is how little interaction there’s been between the regulars, with each essentially having his or her own plot complete with supporting characters, and very little to do with the others’ stories. Never quite hits the highs of the UK original, but far more consistent and with its own strengths.
  • Community – More sad than funny, I thought, but some spot-on moments and characterisation
  • Mad Men – A slightly rubbish fight scene (although an excellent idea in theory), but Mad Men‘s really firing on all cylinders now and the new Joan, Don, Lane and Betty are all endearing themselves to me considerably. The dream sequence with Mädchen Amick was completely mental, though, and the pill-taking was another of those glorious WTF? moments that make Mad Men such a watch.
  • Missing – a drop back in quality after last week’s recovery, but still not bad. Quite a decent bank heist, altogether, too.
  • Ringer – It was only a matter of time before Jaime Murray lezzed up, wasn’t it? But a good way to tie up a whole load of storylines.
  • Suburgatory – a nice nod to Dodgeball with a semi-pirate costume for Alan Tudyk’s character, as well as one of the most heinous bits of Prius product placement I’ve ever seen. But the bizarre cameo appearance of James Lipton really made the episode.
  • 30 Rock – Middling.

“What did you watch this 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?

Monday’s “Walliams joins Blandings, Sky Atlantic acquires Awake and Titanic sinks” news

Film

Trailers

  • Trailer for Looper with Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • Trailer for Hysteria with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dandy

Books

UK TV

US TV

US TV pilots

What did you watch last week? Including Magic City, Best Friends Forever, Tower Heist and Arrested Development

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

First, the usual recommendations from the first-run shows: The Almighty Johnsons, The Apprentice, Awake, Being Human (US), BeTipul, Community, The Daily Show, Happy Endings, Mad Men, Ringer, Shameless (US) and 30 Rock. Hunt them down.

You’ll notice that after last week’s episode and this week’s mindbender, Awake has now been promoted to the A-Team – go and watch it.

So first a few shows I’ve tried over the past week but didn’t have the time to review separately:

  • Arrested Development: Miracle of miracles, Netflix actually has something to watch (even if its new releases section hasn’t changed in two months) so I thought I’d catch up with my list of shows that everyone loves that I’ve never found the time to watch (next up: The Sopranos). I’m now up to episode eight of AD and I’m not laughing much, but it’s promising at least. When does it get good? I’ll probably keep watching for Portia De Rossi for a while at least – she’s a lot hotter than I remember.
  • Best Friends Forever: NBC’s latest attempt to do a female-oriented comedy show does at least not insult your intelligence unlike Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea? It has a quirky line in dialogue and the central characters are fun and idiosyncratic. But it’s another of those shows that seem to have been written by women who have never met any men before, only seen them on TV, and which assumes that women want to watch shows in which other women want to talk about waxing, relationships, divorces, etc, and nothing else. Not funny enough to keep watching unfortunately.
  • Magic City: Not even a knock-off of Mad Men, this is a terrible Starz knock-off of The Playboy Club of all things. Basic set-up: mobster hotel boss in 1950s Miami. And that’s it. No other distinguishable characters and although it looks fantastic, it’s only real appeals are lots of nudity, that Ukranian woman who was in the second Daniel Craig Bond movie (I think it’s her anyway) and Christian Cooke from ITV’s Demons, putting on his Sontaran Stragem accent. Utterly forgettable.
  • The Syndicate: Well, I did try to watch some more of it, but the only scenes I could get through were the ones with Joanna Page that didn’t involve any stereotypical, overacting northerners. So not much of it.

And a few thoughts on the regulars:

  • The Almighty Johnsons – A really, really good episode, with some actual swordfighting in it. The goddesses got to do something for a change, although they’re still being treated badly by gods and scriptwriters alike, and Loki got to do more than just posture.
  • Being Human (US) – I haven’t finished yesterday’s episode yet, which has been really good so far. But last week’s was a bit wishy washy although the writing out of a certain character was unexpected and well handled.
  • Community – A decent pastiche of civil war documentaries, and the Britta photography was fabulous, as was the reference to The Cape , but not as funny as last week’s.
  • Happy Endings – Overall, a disappointing second season, lacking the bite of the first. Disappointing was the increasing flamboyance of Max, the gay character, who had been refreshing unstereotypical last season. Plenty of fun to be had, though, although the finale had a little bit of a forced cliffhanger.
  • Mad Men – More interesting than the first episode, Betty getting some intriguing nuances, likewise Don.
  • Missing – a big improvement: the fights were decent, Sean Bean, John Carradine and Gina McKee were back. The predictions I made in my first review are coming true, it seems, which means that it’s all a double-bluff, since my predictions can never be true.
  • Ringer – Even Ioan is finding it hard to keep a straight face at times, but it’s still gripping me.
  • Shameless – which I should have written about last week, but didn’t. All in all, an odd season that consisted mainly of writing out characters and returning everything to the status quo after going in several directions for the first half of the season. But the journey was still very much worth taking.
  • 30 Rock – better than the previous episode.
  • Touch – it seems like all the guest characters might actually start getting linked together, which hints at a greater story arc that should make the show that much more interesting to watch. But I showed my wife the episodes and as predicted, blood nearly came out of her ears whenever they showed a supposed health or social worker interacting with special needs boy.
  • Two and a Half Men – Sophie Winkleman’s still in it and is making it watchable, but otherwise a horrible, horrible show.

And in movies:

  • Tower Heist: Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy – with associated extras – get their own back on the 1%. Has its moments, but directed by Brett Ratner so as entirely average as you’d expect.

“What did you watch this 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?

Australian and New Zealand TV

Child actors: nice to see Whale Rider’s Keisha Castle-Hughes getting work in The Almighty Johnsons

Do you ever have those “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?” moments when watching an actor in a movie, where eventually you realise that you’ve seen them when they were a child?

Evan Rachel-Wood in Practical Magic.

Evan Rachel Wood in Practical Magic

Who’s now been in True Blood, amongst other things.

Evan Rachel-Wood

Or Lukas Haas, that nice little Amish boy in Witness.

Lukas Haas in Witness

He was the crap gang member in Inception.

Lukas Haas in Inception

Then there’s Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel, who have been in everything and were in fact in everything when they were kids, too.

Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel

Then there’s Kirsten Dunst in Interview with a Vampire:

Kirsten Dunst in Interview with a Vampire

Who was in all three Spider-man movies and in Melancholia:

Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia

And of course Claire Danes was Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and is now doing very nicely for herself in Homeland:

Claire Danes in Romeo and Juliet

Claire Danes in Homeland

Anyway, I’ve been having one of those moments while watching New Zealand show The Almighty Johnsons and finally, I’ve worked out where I’ve seen Keisha Castle-Hughes (aka Gaia) before:

Keisha Castle-Hughes as Gaia in The Almighty Johnsons

She was, of course, the youngest person ever to receive a Best Actress nomination at the Oscars for Whale Rider all of 10 years ago now:

Keisha Castle-Hughes

My how time flies, doesn’t it? (Of course, Cliff Curtis from Whale Rider has been finding work in the US with Trauma and now Missing.)

Here’s the trailer for it and after the jump, you can watch the whole movie – aren’t I good to you?

Continue reading “Child actors: nice to see Whale Rider’s Keisha Castle-Hughes getting work in The Almighty Johnsons”