What have you been watching? Including En Immersion, Neviditelní, Gomorra and The Collection

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently 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 “TMINE recommends” page features links to reviews of all the shows I’ve ever recommended, and there’s also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I’ve reviewed ever. 

Look at that – Autumn’s here. How did that happen?

Anyway, just as leaves will fall and everyone in the US is now morally obliged to stop wearing white, so TMINE returns to its usual blogging service come Autumn. More or less. Give it a week or so, anyway.

However, although I’m braced and ready for duty, the TV networks are biding their time, deploying some sophisticated form of Sicilian Defence with their schedules, which means there’s not been a lot new for me to review since the previous WHYBW?, other than the somewhat awful Four In The Morning (Canada: CBC) and a whole bunch of Amazon pilots. A few old favourites have returned, though, which means that after the jump, as well as The Last Ship and Mr Robot, I’ll be casting an eye over the first new episodes of the third seasons of Halt and Catch Fire and You’re The Worst, as well as the start of season two of Narcos.

I did manage to look over a couple of new shows, fresh off the presses, though.

En Immersion (Deep) (France: Arte; UK: Netflix)
Stylised French crime drama from Philippe Haïm (Braquo) in which Patrick Ridremont (Dead Man Talking) plays an unambitious cop and single father living in Paris. When he starts to suffer hallucinations, he discovers he is suffering from an incurable fatal neurological disease. With nothing left to lose, Ridremont joins a team of undercover narcotics agents led by Emmanuelle Meyssignac (The Avignon Prophecy), working to bring down Olivier Chantreau (Spiral) and his designer drugs.

As you can probably guess from the fact it was made for France’s arty Arte, En Immerson is more about how the story is told than what the story is, with the series shot in black and white and Haïm at times replacing dialogue with music. Visually, it’s lovely, but unfortunately, it’s also completely uncompelling, not exactly innovative in terms of plotting, and its Braquo-esque ultraviolence is as hard to palate. 

The Collection (Amazon)
Set in France just after the Second World War, The Collection sees Richard Coyle (Coupling, Crossbones, Covert Affairs) playing the owner of a fashion house that is going to give France a makeover and once more associate it with fun, haute couture and femininity. Trouble is that the talented one who can design clothes is his f*ck-up brother Tom Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons). How can the ruthless Coyle get little bro with the programme, while preventing the deep, dark, possibly wartime-collaborating family secret from seeing the light of day? Well, it ain’t going to be pretty…

Echoing the latter day production arrangements of Ripper Street, it’s an odd little thing, this, with a whole host of American actors playing moustache-twirling Americans (including Mr Robot/The Newsroom‘s Mamie Gummer), a whole host of Britain’s finest (including James Cosmo, Sarah Parish and Frances De La Tour) playing the French and a soupçon of French actors in teeny tiny unnoticable parts playing god-knows-what, with virtually every exterior shot of post-war Paris apparently shot on the same repeatedly redressed backlot in Grimsby. Coyle is as well cast as when he was a pirate or KGB assassin, and everything has the authenticity of a Hong Kong market knock off. 

There’s too little fashion to please fashionistas, too little charm or romance to please the period drama-lovers, too little action to please thriller-lovers and too little attention to detail to please historians. The Collection‘s not awful and is competently made, but there’s no USP, nothing it does that you won’t have seen done better elsewhere, no reason for its existence other than to keep another BBC Worldwide co-production agreement going. Try it if you like, but I doubt it’ll be your size.

But hey guys! This is ‘What have you been watching?’! Note the emphasis on you. Over the weeks and years, some of you have rather benevolently been letting the rest of us know about the good stuff we’ve been missing that I haven’t been picking up on. Just in case you were worried it’s all been falling on deaf ears, you can breathe more easily: in my quest to fill the empty gaps in my viewing schedule, I also looked through your recommendations to find some new shows to try. Here’s what I found.

Neviditelní (The Invisibles) (Czech Republic: CT1; UK: All4)
One of JustStark’s recommendations, this quirky little fantasy drama based very loosely on 1970s movie How to Drown Dr Mrácek is centred on the ‘Nixies’, a bunch of water-breathing people living amongst us – or at least in Prague – but doing their best not to be found out. Then one of their own, albeit someone who doesn’t know he’s a Nixie, goes and publicly commits suicide by drowning. When he promptly fails to die to everyone’s surprise, including his own, a crisis is provoked in the Nixie community. 

I haven’t got very far into it yet and the early episodes are less concerned with dynamic storytelling and more with setting up this quaint community, its politics and its rules, from its attempts to attain power through ownership of the water and sewage system through to its attitudes to bleach and its love of fermented frogs. But it’s pleasingly off the wall and amusing, and it’s significantly better once the fallout of the suicide starts, so I’ll stick with it.

No English-language trailers available on YouTube, but you can find out more over on All4, and here’s a Czech one:

Gomorra (Gomorrah) (Italy: Sky Atlantic; UK: Sky Atlantic)
One of GYAD’s recommendations, Gommora is based on the book of the same name by Roberto Saviano. Again, one I’ve not got very far into yet – there are two seasons so far, so give me time – it’s so far been a reasonably and impressively violent but smart look at the Naples mafia, wars between gangs and mafia operations at the street level. It certainly looks fantastic and the differences between UK and Italian societies, such as the greater availability of guns through official channels, take the show in unexpected directions, too. I’m not 100% in love with it yet, but I’ve been seeing it get a lot of love on Twitter, where it’s been described as almost poetic at times and comparisons have been made to The Wire, and what I’ve seen so far has been good enough to make me want to watch more, so I’ll be sticking with it as well.

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News: The War Doctor returns, Nancy Drew grows up, Sky Living acquires Limitless, The Catch + more

Doctor Who

  • John Hurt to play the War Doctor in Big Finish audio range

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US TV show casting

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New US TV show casting


Sky Italia to create a 1992 channel to promote new series 1992

What were you doing in 1992? Watching tele? Going to the movies?

Well, if you were Italian, you were probably a member of the government, the mafia or the police, fighting for control of the First Republic. At least, that’s what new Sky Italia series 1992 suggests.

For those of you in the UK wanting to watch the latest show from the producers of Gomorrah, it should be airing simultaneously on Sky Arts with its Italian broadcast, starting March 24. But if you happen to be in Italy, I’m sure you’ll be delighted to hear that until then, from this Saturday, Sky Italia is going to be creating a temporary new channel dedicated to the year 1992. Featuring movies including Wayne’s World and Mediterraneo,and classic sports events of 1992 including John McEnroe versus Andre Agassi at Wimbledon, it will also feature TV shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and Baywatch.

Suddenly, looking at that list, I’m not so nostalgic for 1992. Oh well.


Arrow Films launches Criminale Italia range of Italian TV shows

Fed up with Northern European TV? Then how about some Southern European TV? Arrow Films, which pumps out lots of Nordic Noir titles in the UK, has just decided to launch an Italian range called Criminale Italia. First up are Gomorrah, Inspector Nardone and Fogs And Crimes, coming out on October 27th.

Arrow Films’ Noir label continues to scour the globe bringing UK viewers the very best in foreign language film and television. Following the incredible success of Danish dramas The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge, and French title Braquo, Nordic Noir are pleased to announce the arrival of a host of new Italian shows to their roster of Noir titles.

Such is the strength of Italian crime television that Arrow Films have launched Criminale Italia, an exciting new subsidiary of their Noir label. Alongside the upcoming and acclaimed modern-day Italian gangster epic Gomorrah, the label will release the hugely popular Italian shows Inspector Nardone and Fog & Crimes on DVD from 27th October.

Inspector Nardone
Post-war Milan is the ideal breeding ground for a new wave of criminal activity. A crime-scene that is very different from what we are used to today: an old-fashioned system of organised crime, made up of thieves and outlaws who share a specific moral code, which absolutely condemns homicide. A new chief officer is assigned to the Milan Police Department, as if to settle a score for having exposed his corrupt colleagues. This is just one of the various difficulties that Mario Nardone, an authentic Neapolitan, must face in the sophisticated and urbane Milan. A city which, nevertheless, Nardone loves unconditionally, and where he plans to bring up his beloved, albeit somewhat neglected, children.

Based on a real figure, Mario Nardone was a true legend in Milan during the 50’s and 60’s. Straightforward, persistently stubborn but also endowed with a strong moral code and a great sense of humanity, Nardone has deep loves; including his long-suffering family, good cuisine and cracking jokes at every opportunity.

Fogs and Crimes
Inspired by the four famous novels by Valerio Varesi, each episode follows an investigation by Soneri, Ferrara Police Chief. He works with a faithful squad on a series of crimes, each hiding a disturbing mystery, with the startling and grotesque undertones of the apparently calm world of the wealthy countryside.


What have you been watching? Including Inspector De Luca, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Hannibal and Vikings

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently 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 “TMINE recommends” page features links to reviews of all the shows I’ve ever recommended, and there’s also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I’ve reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there’s Locate TV.

New shows I’ve already reviewed this week:

I’ve still got S4C’s 35 Diwrnod to watch – hopefully, I’ll get a mini-review up later today. But I did also watch:

Inspector De Luca (UK: BBC4; Italy: Rai 1)
Breaking Sky Arts’ stranglehold on South Mediterranean TV again, BBC4’s managed to find this 2008 series from Italy, based on Carlo Lucarelli’s series of books. Set in fascist Italy during the 1930s, it’s actually very good. Although the hero’s a bit rubbish, he’s tenacious and interested in serving justice at a time when justice and the law could be very different creatures. The show has a real feel for both place and period, will little touches such as dogs named after Haile Selassie, the Italian version of the Hitler Youth, torture and more all making an appearance, even if Il Duce himself doesn’t. It’s also quite chilling in its depiction of life under fascist rule. Well worth a watch, even if there’s an obvious bit of bad dubbing and a truly awful soundtrack.

I also watched a movie:

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Easily one of the best and smartest of the Marvel films to date. It’s a slight cliché, particularly thanks to the presence of Robert Redford, to say that it’s like a 1970s conspiracy theory movie, but it very much is, particularly The Parallax View and Three Days of the Condor. And with Captain America representing 1940s morality and having to deal with an age of profiling, drone warfare and more, it’s not just an interesting critique of the Marvel Universe, it’s also a critique of American domestic and foreign policies of the past couple of decades.

Of course, it’s still comics based, so there are nice little hat tips here and there, not only to the existing Marvel Cinema Universe (Iron Man, Hulk and others all get talked about) but to bits yet unseen – Dr Strange even gets name-checked at one point and then there’s the teaser for Avengers 2. Best of all, as well as the quite brutal car chases and fight scenes, which 3D ruins so watch it in 2D if possible, we do get lots of Black Widow (hoorah!) even if her more interesting comic book background has been ditched. And you’ll never look at Jenny Agutter the same way again. Heartily recommended, particularly because the ending utterly messes up Agents of SHIELD.

After the jump, the regulars, with reviews of Crisis, Secrets and Lies, 19-2, The Americans, Arrow, The Blacklist, Community, Continuum, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Hannibal and Suits

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