Night Sky
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Life and Beth and Night Sky

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

Like pretty much everyone in the UK, TMINE is about to pop off on its holidays to take advantage of next week’s double bank holiday – thanks, Queenie! – so time for a quick update on current TV viewing.

A lot of shows are in a holding pattern for us. Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One) is still on holiday. Bel-Air (Peacock) is still just there, waiting for us to watch the rest of it. Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime) is still waiting for me to apologise for calling it bobbins. And The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+) is still there, waiting for me to do the ironing.

Whether I’ll get round to any of those, given that Obi Wan (Disney+) and the final season of Stranger Things (Netflix) were both released today, I can’t say.

We have watched a couple more episodes of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+), which continues to be really good. Okay, so episode three wasn’t that great, perhaps because ‘genetically engineered people’ have been made so dull by the bobbins show. Enough of that, please.

But its killer move now, though, is to make the Gorn the big bad of the series.

You remember the Gorn, don’t you?

Well they’re back and they’re properly scary. Even though we haven’t seen them yet.

So lots of adventure, lots of excitement, lots of proper Spock. It’s Star Trek, guys!

I have watched a couple of episodes of new shows, as well. More on Life and Beth (US: Hulu; UK: Disney+) and Night Sky (Amazon Prime) after the jump.

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Streaming TV

What have you been watching? Including Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and The Essex Serpent

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

It’s been a bit quiet for TV viewing here at TMINE Towers of late. We’ve not really been watching much at all. I actually blame TV networks for this, since there’s not been much we’ve wanted to watch.

Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One) came back for all of an episode before disappearing again. That’s progressing nicely and has survived The CW’s recent Night of Long Knives, so it’s good to know that there’ll be a season three.

I did manage to finish Moon Knight (Disney+). That’s probably now my favourite of all the Disney+ Marvel TV shows, thanks mainly to its dedication to ignoring the comics to give us something a lot more interest and based in Egyptian mythology. The addition of Scarlet Scarab at the end was something of a punch the air moment, too, and the mid-credits sequence was if not a game-changer, something that genuinely twisted the whole show and what you’d seen.

However, its biggest flaw was that it felt like the middle of an MCU movie, one that needed some prologue and epilogue featuring our titular hero since he hardly ever showed up. Season two isn’t confirmed, either, making this feel like a weird random addition to the MCU, rather than something too important. For now, anyway.

Meanwhile, Bel-Air (Peacock) is still just there, waiting for us to watch the rest of it. We’ve only watched one more episode of Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime). That’s mainly because Lovely Wife is sorely aggrieved with me for calling it ‘bobbins’ last time and has withdrawn my viewing privileges, as she is the official custodian of all things Star Trek. But it’s also because it’s bobbins.

But while Lovely Wife may be the custodian of all things Star Trek, I’m the custodian of all things “not yet available to view in the UK”, which includes brand new Star Trek show Strange New Worlds. So we’ve watched two of those episodes.

And while Netflix might be losing its lustre as the world’s premier streamer (thanks to all manner of internal ructions and hubris, about which much has been written in the trades, recently, as its subscriber figures start to slump and it contemplates an ad-supported model), Apple TV+ is picking up and is on the verge of becoming ‘must see TV’. And so even though The Essex Serpent is a British period drama, I decided to give that a try, too.

Both of those after the jump…

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International TV

What have you been watching? Including Moon Knight and Mr Inbetween

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

“Doing this every two weeks seems to be working out for me right now. I think I can pull this off. Famous last words.”

Oops. That’s what I said last time and it pretty much killed April. Work! Gah! More work! Gah. Holiday. Not gah. Actually quite relaxing.

Oh well. Best stop procrastinating and put some TV thoughts down on paper or those really will be my last words…

I’ve watched a whole bunch of new shows, as well as the regulars, but doing proper reviews will take the rest of the day, I reckon, so I’m going to be disciplined and stick to one sentence rundowns. And here’s the clincher: if you want to know more about one of the shows, ask me! Then I’ll respond in the comments.

I reckon that’ll work. And how’s that for fun, too?

There’s been an awful lot of new shows since the last of these, but here are the ones that interested me enough to watch them: The Ipcress File (UK: ITV); Minx (US: HBO Max); Welcome to Flatch (US: Fox); The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray (AppleTV+); Halo (Paramount+); Outer Range (Amazon Prime); Moon Knight (Disney+); and Russian Doll (season two) (Netflix).

Meanwhile, we’ve got stuck on a few of the regular shows: Bel-Air (Peacock) is sitting there, waiting for us to watch the rest of it when we’ve got the time; but Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One) has been on holiday all of April. The Endgame (US: NBC) got a bit repetitious so I gave up on that. I’ve been continuing to watch Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime) and Severance (AppleTV+), though. And Mr InBetween (Australia: Showcase; UK: Disney+) has secretly been on Disney+ for months, I suspect, so I finally got to watch the third (final) season.

All of those after the jump…

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BFI events

The BFI and Radio Times TV festival is back in May

And here’s the press release.

The press release

The BFI & RADIO TIMES TELEVISION FESTIVAL, the biggest, most exciting public television festival in the UK, featuring the very best TV shows and a star-studded line up, is returning to BFI Southbank and BFI IMAX from Friday 20 May to Sunday 22 May 2022

Over the course of three jam-packed days, the BFI & RADIO TIMES TELEVISION FESTIVAL will preview some of the most hotly anticipated shows of the year, including the BBC’s new adaptation of Sally Rooney’s award-winning novel CONVERSATION WITH FRIENDS and the first chance for members of the public, worldwide, to see Sir David Attenborough’s groundbreaking series for AppleTV+ PREHISTORIC PLANET. Executive produced by actor and filmmaker Jon Favreau and legendary natural history producer Mike Gunton, PREHISTORIC PLANET uses cutting-edge science, world class natural history filming and the very latest CGI to transport audience back 66 million years to the last great dinosaur era. 

The Festival will also reunite the cast and crew from some of the biggest dramas of the last year; including Russell T Davies’ masterly IT’S A SIN, which has just picked up an extraordinary 11 BAFTA nominations, Channel 5’s charming new take the classic on ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, the BBC’s epic adaptation of Philip Pullman’s HIS DARK MATERIALS, starring Ruth Wilson, and the beloved long-running BBC One drama series CALL THE MIDWIFE

There will be sessions dedicated to some of the best comedy series of the past year, including Stephen Merchant introducing a preview screening from the second series of his BBC hit comedy thriller THE OUTLAWS, which is returning soon, Matt Berry and Arthur Mathews will discuss their hilarious comic creation Stephen Toast, who recently returned to screens in TOAST OF TINSELTOWN, and Rose Matafeo will appear to talk about her pitch-perfect millennial romcom STARSTRUCK, which just aired its second season. 

Family favourite MALORY TOWERS, returning for a third season this year, will also be previewed, while the Festival’s much-loved sessions that draw on rarely-seen material from the BFI National Archive, this year celebrates a bona-fide musical superstar, with PRINCE: PURPLE PASSION AND POMP

In addition to the stars appearing live on stage to talk about their hit shows, there will be directors, producers and writers giving audiences the inside track and an exclusive look behind the scenes of some of televisions biggest shows. Names to look out for include: 

  • IT’S A SIN – writer and executive producer Russell T Davies, executive producer Nicola Shindler, actors Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells
  • CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS – actors Alison Oliver and Joe Alwyn, director Lenny Abrahamson, executive producer Emma Norton and series producer Catherine Magee
  • STARSTRUCK – creator and star Rose Matafeo, actor Emma Sidi and writer and actor Nic Sampson
  • CALL THE MIDWIFE – creator and writer Heidi Thomas, executive producer Pippa Harris and key cast members (TBC)
  • THE OUTLAWS – creator and star Stephen Merchant, co-stars Eleanor Tomlinson (TBC), Gamba ColeClare PerkinsDarren Boyd and Jessica Gunning
  • TOAST OF TINSELTOWN – writer and star Matt Berry, writer Arthur Mathews, director Michael Cumming, actors Doon Mackichan and Harry Peacock
  • ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL – actors Nicholas RalphCallum WoodhouseRachelShenton and Anna Madeley, executive producer Melissa Gallant
  • MALORY TOWERS – actors Ella BrightDanya GriverSienna Arif-Knights and Beth Bradfield

More than 20 sessions will take place throughout the weekend, with around half of them being announced today, and the remaining events announced on 26 April. Co-programmed by the BFI and Radio Times, the festival draws on the expertise of both organisations, for a broad range of audiences from telly addicts and boxset-bingeing aficionados, to those who love to discover archive gems and people who love nothing more than coming together to watch the latest prime-time entertainment. 

International TV

What have you been watching? Including The Endgame, Children Ruin Everything, Our Flag Means Death and Troppo

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

Doing this every two weeks seems to be working out for me right now. I think I can pull this off. Famous last words.

I’ve watched some new TV shows. One from pretty much every country of the world! Well, three of the four usual English-speaking ones. Most of them were rubbish, unfortunately. But at least one was fun. We can talk about those after the jump: Troppo (Australia: ABC), Our Flag Means Death (US: HBO Max), Children Ruin Everything (Canada: CTV) and The Endgame (US: NBC).

But first…

…four shows I didn’t manage to get around to watching

The Dropout (US: Hulu; UK: Disney+) is a switch of the usual ‘drama based on real-life’ offering that we’ve getting of late. It’s a mini-series that sees Amanda Seyfried playing Elizabeth Holmes, and Hulu/Disney+ summarise it thusly: “Elizabeth Holmes, an optimistic and determined young woman, drops out of Stanford to found a promising new blood testing startup.”

Yeah, I know all about Elizabeth Holmes. I know the twist and a whole lot more. Don’t really need to watch that, but I hear Seyfried is very good.

The Porter (Canada: CBC) is something a bit more of a period piece, but is still a real-life story. “The series will depict the history of Black Canadian and African-American men who worked as Pullman porters in the period following World War I, leading to the 1925 creation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters as the first Black-led labour union.”

Again, I hear it’s really good and it even numbers Alfre Woodard. But… I don’t care. Sorry, the history of the Canadian trade union movement is niche even for me.

Shining Vale (US: Starz; UK: Starzplay) isn’t real at all. It also didn’t hold my attention more than a minute, since it’s a horror comedy-drama about depression/demonic possession.

“A dysfunctional family moves from the city to a small town after Patricia “Pat” Phelps, a former “wild child” who became famous through writing raunchy female empowerment novels, is caught cheating on her husband. The house the family had moved into is a place where in the past, terrible atrocities have taken place. Nobody seems to suspect anything odd except for Pat who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed. Pat has been sober for 16 years, but begins to feel very unfulfilled in life – she still hasn’t written her second novel, she can’t remember the last time she had sex with her husband, and her teenage kids have grown up to the point they don’t want their mother in their lives. But soon, the demons haunting the family’s new home begin to appear much more real.”

It may star Greg Kinnear and Courtney Cox but no.

Lastly, there’s The Ipcress File (UK: ITV), the first UK drama I’ve been tempted to watch in a long time. In this case, I simply haven’t got round to watching it. But you know what, I think I will, since I not only love the Michael Caine movie, I’ve even read the book, so I’m interested to see what ITV have done with it.

The regulars

Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One/iPlayer) was great fun as usual, and of course the chance to reunite Supes and his brother was irresistible, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s fascinating that a show that was based on how compelling a performance one actor gave in a completely different TV show now has an equally compelling performance overshadowing it. I do also much admire the fact the show is ‘depatriarchying’ the entire Superman story, too.

Severance (AppleTV+) has continued to be fascinating and JustStark’s suggestion that it’s reminiscent of a Philip K Dick story was something I hadn’t noticed but is spot on the money. But the show alternates as well between interpretations, with allusions to the priesthood in the latest episode and there are also musical references to The Conversation (1974) as well. But the core considerations of whether work might actually be psychologically important to us – so what happens if we can’t – are also interesting. Really, really enjoying.

Bel-Air continues to be equally impressive and powerful. The characters are now evolving in fascinating ways and it’s fascinating to see Will ‘gentrifying’. One of the disadvantages of not watching UK TV any more is that I didn’t notice that this show’s Geoffrey is played by Jimmy Akingbola (In the Long Run, Kate & Koji, Holby City, Rev et al). And this Geoffrey is hardcore. Definitely a must-watch.

And back for a second season is Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon). That appears to have dumped the entire narrative it was setting up at the end of the first season in favour of yet more Borg stories. But we got Whoopi Goldberg back as Guinan and John de Lancie back as Q – that’s not a spoiler, as it’s in the trailer – all of which suggests better things are to come.

I should also point out that Wu Assassins (Netflix) mysteriously has a sequel movie, Fistful of Vengeance, set in Thailand and featuring all the Asian cast but almost no one else and is largely unrelated to the surprisingly good original in almost any way. The fights are poorly shot, even if the cast are good at them, making them pretty lacklustre, too. I quite enjoyed newcomer Francesca Corney, who was at least funny, but that was about it.

Join me after the jump for a brief rundown of the new shows.

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