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.
It’s the last WHYBW? for a little while, since I’m off on holiday next week. Fingers crossed, it’ll be back on the 6th, but don’t be surprised if the 10th or more likely the 11th is the actual date. You know me.
There have been a few new shows this week, although the networks oddly decided to start them on Friday and over the weekend for the most part, meaning that I haven’t had a chance to watch most of them yet. Preacher (US: AMC; UK: Amazon Prime) started airing last night, but Amazon crazily got its act together and gave me access to previews of the first three episodes. However, it only gave me access on Friday, so it might be a couple of days before I get through all three of them. Also coming this week (more crossed fingers – how many hands do you have?) is a preview of Outcast (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky Atlantic).
But I have managed to watch a couple of new shows:
Lady Dynamite (Netflix) Yet another “promises much, offers little” comedy from Netflix, with Maria Bamford the actress/comedienne playing ‘Maria Bamford’, the actress/comedienne, as she navigates family, life, mental illness, stand-up comedy, acting, etc. Coming from Pam Brady and Mitchell Hurwitz of Arrested Development fame, you’d expect a lot more of Lady Dynamite than you would of normal comedies. It certainly thinks it’s better than normal comedies, playing with form and convention, from its 70s-style title sequence, its breaking of the fourth wall and having Patton Oswalt and John Mulaney turn up to critique the show’s narrative choices, through to Bamford fight-tuning the colour balance for the video of the scene by asking the editor to adjust it.
But despite watching the show for an episode and a half, I didn’t laugh once. I admired its cleverness, its time jumps and more. But I didn’t laugh. I was also very irritated by Bamford, who’s as close to the female equivalent of Pee Wee Herman as it’s possible to get, I suspect. And following on as it does from Netflix’s Flaked, perhaps I had less patience than I once did for YA show about a dysfunctional, self-involved Californian.
Then again, I never really laughed at Arrested Development, so YMMV.
Vis a Vis (Locked Up) (Spain: Antena 3; UK: Channel 4) Young woman gets sent to prison and meets lots of other women of varying degrees of friendliness. The first 15 minutes or so are basically Orange Is the New Black again, but after that, the show becomes more of a thriller, with our friendly little office worker having to learn to survive inside. If you want to box-set it, all 11 episodes are now on All 4, but I didn’t find it particularly arresting (see what I did there?).
After the jump, the regulars: 12 Monkeys, The Americans, Arrow, The Flash, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and The Tunnel (Tunnel), as well as the season finale of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and the series finale of Banshee.
The latest Spanish sci-fi show is La 1’s El ministerio del tiempo (The Ministry of Time). I don’t speak Spanish, but as far as I can tell, it’s about a Spanish government ministry that tries to stop other countries from changing history to benefit themselves at the expense of Spain.
The show focuses on the ministry’s newest ‘patrol’ – Army of Flanders soldier Alonso de Entrerríos, 19th century student Amelia Folch and 21st century Samur paramedic Julián Martínez – who as well as avoiding the temptation to kill Hitler, et al, before the Second World War starts, frequently have to stop artistic works from being stolen/destroyed/never created, with everything from Don Quixote to Guernica needing to be rescued.
Currently airing its second season, it looks a lot of fun and won last year’s Ondas Award for Best Spanish TV series. Perhaps most interestingly for TV nerds like me, there’s an episode in which Michelle Jenner plays Queen Isabel I of Spain, who was the first to establish the Ministry back in 1491 – Jenner, of course, played Isabel in soapy biopic Isabel, which aired over here on Sky Arts. Nice crossover work, guys.