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.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including The Endgame, Children Ruin Everything, Our Flag Means Death and Troppo”
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Foundation

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

There has been a plethora of new shows out in the US and Canada over the past week. On the one hand, this is promising: things are returning back to normal and this is normally the fall season, when TMINE would review as many as it could.

On the other, it did fill me a little with despair.

In the US, we have FBI: International, another spin-off from CBS’s FBI that reminded me of that terrible Criminal Minds spin-off that filled me with rage a few years ago.

NCIS: Hawaii: another spin-off from CBS’s NCIS.

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Peacock’s attempt to give us something as astonishingly terrible as both Dan Brown’s books and the movies adapted from them.

There were other shows, such as anthology show The Premise (and I don’t review anthology shows anyway), but I think I gave up at that point daring to dream anything good was going to come at that point.

Canada didn’t help me either. We had the ‘raucous dramedy’ (ie rubbish) Moonshine from CBC, about the owners of a ramshackle summer resort on the south shore of Nova Scotia who are keen to retire but whose adult children are battling for control.

Strays, a spin-off from Kim’s Convenience.

And Family Law , in which “Abigail Bianchi, a recovering alcoholic and lawyer goes to work with her estranged father and two half-siblings. She’s never worked in family law before, and suddenly finds herself having to manage not just her clients family dysfunction, but her own. She must learn to navigate working with her father and siblings she doesn’t know as part of her probation, all while trying to maintain her sobriety.”

No.

So the only new show I watched and thus am able to review so far is…

Foundation (Apple TV+)

This is an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s series of novels about a Galactic Empire that’s about to fall apart? How do they know that? Because a mathematician called Hari Seldon has developed something called ‘psychohistory’, which enables him to predict how large groups of people are likely to behave. He says that the end can’t be averted but the return to civilisation can be sped up if there are two ‘Foundations’ created to act as a repository of knowledge for civilisation – and to keep an eye on things.

The series boasts a decently stellar cast, including Jared Harris, Lee Pace and… Reece Sheersmith. No, really. It also looks astonishing. The effects and design are amazing.

It’s also one of the most boring TV shows I’ve ever seen. It singly failed to involve me at any point. It’s been so long since I read the Foundation series that I can’t really remember enough of it to say if it was a failing of the originals. But I read all three, as well as the later additions Asimov added, so I must have been motivated to do that.

Whatever the case, nothing about the first two episodes made me want to watch any more of it, with its lack of real characters, just ideas and attempts to do hard sci-fi that fell flat many, many times. But given the lack of anything else appetising to watch, I might still tune in for the third episode on Friday.

Hark at me talking about ‘tuning in’ to a streaming show. How old am I?

The regulars

Otherwise, it was just the regulars. What We Do In The Shadows was moderately funny, but largely unforgettable, although its visit to Atlantic City did make me realise just how not the Las Vegas of the East Coast it is. I was also mildly amused to see the whistle stop tour of Europe: it did actually look like they’d been to Greece, although maybe not London.

Only Murders in the Building was pleasing, as we moved the action along and began to suspect Selena Gomez less. The podcast elements remain the show’s most amusing point, though.

The Cleaner had that nice lady from Cabin Pressure in one episode, while the other was more about vegan disabled people. They were both pleasant enough ways to pass time, but not exactly a riot of laughs. I’ll keep watching, though.

Helstrom
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”
Wisting
News

TMINE’s Daily Global TV News: Black Monday, Wisting, The Last OG renewed; UK up Schitt’s Creek; + more

Every weekday, TMINE brings you the latest TV news from around the world

Streaming TV

Canadian TV

  • CBC green lights: fluid Pakistani millennial comedy Sort Of, with Bilal Baig, Gray Powell, Amanda Cordner et al

Nordic TV

UK TV

US TV

New US TV shows

The Crown
News

TMINE’s Daily Global TV News: France’s Luther; connected Canadian sitcoms; + more

Every weekday, TMINE brings you the latest TV news from around the world

Streaming TV

Canadian TV

  • Marblemedia green lights: connected family sitcoms The Parker Andersons and Amelia Parker, with Arnold Pinnock, Kate Hewlett, Millie Davis et al

French TV

  • France 2 green lights: unidentified bodies police procedural Les invisibles (The Invisibles), with Guillaume Cramoisan, Nathalie Cerda Deborah Krey et al
  • TF1 green lights: adaptation of BBC One’s Luther, with Christopher Bayemi, Chloé Jouannet and Nadia Farès

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

  • Michael Ealy to star in ABC’s Triage
  • Ken Marino joins CBS’s Wilde Things, Milan Carter to replace Jeremy D Howard
  • Keenan Tracey, Daniel Doheny, Natalie Malaika et al join Syfy’s Day of the Dead