US TV

What did you watch last week (w/e September 7)?

 

Time for "What did you watch last week?", my chance to tell you what I watched last week and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.

My recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure this week: none. Sorry, but everything regular is finishing! Although Doctor Who‘s obviously good.

  • Suits: oddly low key ending to the season. Good to see Chi Mcbride doing an evil turn (is he going to be a regular next season) as well as one of the show’s few forays into the courtroom. A mini-cliffhanger to end it with and I’m looking forward to the next season, albeit worried about the change in showrunner (even if it is the show’s creator taking over the helm).
  • Burn Notice: confusingly, the previous week’s episode was a better cliffhanger than this episode’s. Good that they’ve picked up on some of the breadcrumbs laid down earlier in the season and some clever touches in the plotting, and good to see Jere Burns (Kirk in the US version of Dear John) still hard at work.
  • Royal Pains: really? That was the episode you want to finish the season on? Okay…
  • Seven Wonder of the Buddhist World: If you were expecting Bettany Hughes to enlighten you about Buddhism, this wasn’t the show for you. More a combination of travelogue and history lesson, instead, it left me feeling a little unsatisfied compared to the usual Hughes extravaganzas.
  • Strike Back: Project Dawn: a show that can only be said to be loosely connected to the original Strike Back. Largely ludicrous and with Cinemax (aka "Skinemax") now a co-funder, featuring a hefty amount of gratuitous female nudity, it’s good when dealing with action but otherwise poor. The central characters have almost no personalities or interesting qualities and the decision in the first episode to kill off John Porter (presumably because Richard Armitage is filming The Hobbit right now) was just bad. Episode 2 at least redeems episode 1, but it’s not getting that much better. Amazingly, this is mostly written by Frank Spotnitz. Nevertheless, we’re going to keep watching.
  • Chemistry: another Skinemax production, with all the scriping and production values of 80s soft porn (not that I’m an expert or anything). Attempts to have a script are painful, as is the acting.

And in this week’s list of movies:

  • Zorba the Greek: For a supposedly feelgood movie, this wasn’t half miserable. Honour killings, disasters, broken hearts, looting – it can all be fixed with some dancing apparently. But it was fun to watch all the same since it was filmed in Kokkino Chorio, which is where I went on holiday this year and some of the views and places are still the same.
  • Limitless: Actually, a pretty good film. I quite liked it. Essentially, "what would happen if you could take a pill and become a member of The Champions?" Flagged a bit in the middle, ends a bit abruptly and Anna Friel’s character could have been better served, but clever and interesting. Worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already.

But what have you been watching?

"What did you watch last 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? And keep an eye on The Stage‘s TV Today Square Eyes feature as well for British TV highlights or you’ll be missing out on the good stuff.

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What did you watch last month (w/e September 2)?

Time for newly retitled (for one week only) "What did you watch last month?", my chance to tell you what I’ve been watching and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.

My recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure this week: Burn Notice, Royal Pains, and Suits, although I get the feeling that we’ve hit the summer season finale of Burn Notice, at least.

Suits has been brilliant, the thing I look forward to most each week, so if you’re not watching it in the US you should be and if you’re in the UK, tune in when it comes to Alibi later in the year.

Royal Pains – has been drifting a lot. It’s become so summer TV, you can barely tell it’s got a pulse at times. The bad spoken German – which changes each week for some reason – is getting on my nerves and Evan is a complete tit. Toying with not watching it any more.

Burn Notice, incidentally, despite its much improved formula is now so ridiculous, my patience is being worn very thin. Anything involving Gabrielle Anwar, in particular, irks me, because for a former IRA terrorist, she seems to know an awful lot about being a spy. Also toying with not watching it any more, except my adrenalin addiction probably won’t let me.

 

I’ve given up on Wilfred, because it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and a bit too dark and manly (misogynistic) for me, although it’s still good.

True Blood has also been crossed off the viewing list, on the general grounds it’s rubbish. 

I’ve got Cinemax’s Chemistry cued up in the pile to watch, but it looks suspiciously like porn rather than an actual drama, so I’m putting it off at the moment. I’ve also got Page Eight to watch from a while back – any good?

And in this week’s list of movies:

  • Super 8: Much better when it was called ET. Or The Thing. Reeked of Steven Spielberg.
  • Blade: Trinity: Dreadful, but Ryan Reynolds shows promise and the fight scenes were good whenever Wesley Snipes was in them, merely acceptable at all other times. 

But what have you been watching?

"What did you watch last 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 this week. 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? And keep an eye on The Stage‘s TV Today Square Eyes feature as well for British TV highlights or you’ll be missing out on the good stuff

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US TV

What have you been watching this week (w/e August 2)?

WebTherapy.jpg

Time for “What have you been watching this week?”, my chance to tell you what I’ve been watching this week and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.

My recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure this week: Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Penn and Teller: Fool Us, Sirens, Suits, The Daily Show, and Wilfred.

The shows I’m watching, which you might like, but which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend: Come Dine With Me, Top Gear, and True Blood.

Now to the irregulars and new things, as well as a few thoughts on some of those regulars. We’re still watching BSG, although we got slowed down with the “worthy but choresome” season four, which was hard going. But that’s left little time for other TV:

  • Web Therapy: Lisa Kudrow has been doing a little three-minute web-based series called ‘Web Therapy’ for some time. In it, she plays an unlicensed and very broken therapist who offers people therapy over the Internet, including exs, her husband and others. Now Showtime has bundled them all together into 30-minute episodes, with little interstitials between them to act as glue. It has to be said, it’s not all that funny, although it has its moments of wry grinning to offer you. It’s clearly something, however, that could be good once it has a bit more budget for script editors and the like. Just not yet.
  • Franklin & Bash: As promised, I tuned in again to see if it had improved. While it’s not quite as misogynistic as before, it’s still stupid and immature, but without any real pizzazz. Surprising guest star: James van der Beek, who’s having something of a career revival of late – just not here.
  • Top Gear: Dull.

And in this week’s list of movies:

  • Captain America: Not as fun as I hoped it was going to be, but not bad, with a surprising Indiana Jones vibe. Obviously not as good as Thor, it’s pretty much the first part of The Avengers, with everything interesting postponed until that movie, including a decent finale. It’s also a little underpowered, with not much action worth mentioning at all. All the same, it has some nice touches, the romance is quite touching in places and the action when it does turn up is good.
  • Thor: Yes, the fourth time we’ve seen this now. Still awesome.

But what have you been watching?

“What have you been watching 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 this week. 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? And keep an eye on The Stage‘s TV Today Square Eyes feature as well for British TV highlights or you’ll be missing out on the good stuff.

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US TV

What have you been watching this fortnight (w/e July 15)?

Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place

Time for “What have you been watching this week?”, my chance to tell you what I’ve been watching this week and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.

As you may have noticed, I skipped a week or so (hence the name change this week) because I had too much on, so this is a little bit of a catch up.

My recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure this week: Burn Notice, Come Dine With Me, Royal Pains, Penn and Teller: Fool Us, Sirens, Suits, The Daily Show, Top Gear and Wilfred. Watch them (and keep an eye on The Stage‘s TV Today Square Eyes feature as well for British TV highlights) or you’ll be missing out on the good stuff.

In my viewing pile, ready to be watched: Curb Your Enthusiasm. I hear the new series is a bit limp so far. Any thoughts?

Now to the irregulars and new things, as well as a few thoughts on some of those regulars:

  • Burn Notice: Oh, oh. They better not be doing what I think they’re doing.
  • Cleopatra: A Channel 4 documentary about the eponymous female pharaoh. Mainly just talking heads, with the occasional bit of re-creation, this was old school documentary-making in which you actually learnt something from people who know their stuff, as opposed to anything on BBC1. Definitely worth watching if you have an interest.
  • The Daily Show: some cracking stuff with John Oliver about the NotW scandal.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Another documentary, this time about the role of luxury within ancient Greek societies, particularly Athens and Sparta. Actually very good, certainly in comparison to the recent BBC4 Ancient Greece season. However, one of those documentaries where at the end, after thinking, “Wow, yes, I’ve learned quite a lot from this and I’ve seen some great and beautiful things,” there’s this feeling that maybe a little thing might have been left out. Can you guess? It was… women. Barely a mention of women in the whole thing, which was very strange.
  • Necessary Roughness: Haven’t watched episode three yet. Episode two was roughly on a par with episode 1, perhaps a bit better since we didn’t have to resort to the general psychological handwaving and instant cures of the pilot episode and we moved out of sports psychology for the A-plot. Callie Thorne is still being too comedic for the role, though.
  • Penn and Teller: Fool Us: Probably should have mentioned this was on about five weeks ago. British magicians try to fool the famous Vegas magicians – if they do, they get to go to Vegas and perform for P&T’s audience. A mix of decent acts with completely rubbish acts whose trick you can guess the secret of almost immediately. But still very entertaining.
  • Sirens: I haven’t got round to episode three (or four) yet, but episode two was pretty good. Acting’s still poor, but the scripts are still decent.
  • Suits: Still maintaining the quality in episode 4, with everyone nicely not nice. Slight dodginess around the clinical trials (does no one do double blind over there?) but that was a slight flaw, easily overlooked.
  • Torchwood: Miracle Day: Yey. Torchwood‘s back. Or something. It’s clearly trying very hard to be good, but it’s still fundamentally a bad show. It’s quite strange watching the American picture composition style being imposed on Torchwood, since it now looks like a different, American show. Nevertheless, the acting’s bad (the guy who was in ER who plays Rex Matheson actually makes Eve Myles and John Barrowman look like Derek Jacobi), the dialogue’s painful, we have the usual Russell T Davies inability to write anything close to reality whenever dealing with laws, politics et al, and Torchwood as a group are bigged up as world-saviours, despite being incompetent morons. Barrowman and Myles are obviously the most uncomfortable, untrained people in the world when it comes to using weapons. And why oh why oh why, whenever we have a massive invasion of the Earth by aliens, does everyone forget about it by the next series? Snark and Fury is your best place for a proper review, incidentally.
  • True Blood: after a lot of Alex Breckenridge in episode two, there was nothing of her in episode three, which was depressing. But wow, what a strange show. I’m not really liking it, more sort of being baffled by its intricate campness crossed with sexual oddness and dodgy accents. Fun, and it was nice to see Stephen Moyer getting to use an English accent for a bit in episode two, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it as such.
  • Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place: a very old (circa Friends) show starring a very young, unbuff Ryan Reynolds that you can currently watch on 5* in the UK. Actually very bad, though, or at least the episode I saw – very forced, very unoriginal, with Reynolds obviously trying to be Chandler from Friends.
  • The TV Book Club: never have I seen such an uncomfortable group of presenters (Adrian Edmondson, Rory McGrath, Meera Syal and probably someone else, too). They all looked like they’d been stuck up against a wall and forced to talk with each other. And their choice of books? Well, I wouldn’t belong to a book club that pretentious yet simultaneously incapable of venturing a useful opinion about a book. I’m just saying. Incidentally, did you know the whole programme isn’t just sponsored by Specsavers, it’s actually made by Specsavers? Again, just saying…
  • Wilfred: Episode four was just deeply disturbing. Deeply. Funny, but deeply disturbing. Guest star, incidentally, was Ed Helms from The Daily Show and The Hangover.

And in this week’s list of movies:

  • Bad Teacher: Surprisingly not awful and actually quite enjoyable. I was unconvinced by Cameron Diaz’s ‘Road to Damascus’ but the rest of our ‘Movie Club’ found it plausible.
  • The Adjustment Bureau: Again, another surprise – a science fiction film that sucked as a science fiction film but was actually a really nice romance. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are both really good as well.
  • Pumping Iron: Interesting to watch these days, not just because it was the first movie to feature Arnold Schwarzenegger. But it’s a documentary about body builders and tonally, the directors clearly think they’re all a bunch of mentallers. These days, you watch it and think, “Fair play, guys. Good effort. Nice work. Got any tips?”, such is the change in society’s attitude towards men’s physiques. As a result of watching the movie, lovely wife has now decided that she much prefers watching professional body building to World’s Strongest Man, which used to be her favouritest thing ever. No pressure, obviously.

But what have you been watching?

“What have you been watching 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 this week. 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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TV reviews

What have you been watching this week (w/e July 1)?

Time for “What have you been watching this week?”, my chance to tell you what I’ve been watching this week and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case we’ve missed them.

My usual recommendations for maximum viewing pleasure this week: The Apprentice, The Apprentice: You’ve Been Fired, Burn Notice, Come Dine With Me, The Daily Show and Top Gear. Watch them (and keep an eye on The Stage‘s TV Today Square Eyes feature as well) or you’ll be missing out on the good stuff. Still in the viewing pile: the first episode of Necessary Roughness (just in case lovely wife wants to watch it for Marc Blucas from Buffy), the return of Royal Pains, the second episode of Suits, the first episode of State of Georgia (although that’s ABC Family so I’ll probably skip it),

Now to the irregulars and new things, as well as a few thoughts on some of those regulars:

  • Arrested Development: Everyone raves about it, so I thought I’d give it a try and watch the pilot. Does it, erm, get any better and/or funny?
  • Burn Notice: My gods, they have actually changed the formula. Okay, still a little bit like the old show, but it’s different. It’s actually different – and I like it. Well done exec producers!
  • Combat Hospital: A slightly inept, international co-production medical drama whose two distinguishing features are that they’ve got Canadians, Americans and Brits all actually being Canadians, Americans and Brits; and it’s set in a war zone. Despite having Elias Koteas and Deborah Kara Unger in the cast, it’s instantly snooze-worthy, without a hard edge even in its set of surgical tools.
  • Top Gear: Better than the last series, but definitely lacking the pizzazz of previous series.
  • True Blood: I haven’t watched this since episode 7 of the first series and although things have clearly moved on, my, what a silly show it is. Good cast, good effects, interesting characters, but what silly, silly plots. Good to see Southland‘s Kevin Alejandro doing well for himself and Alex Breckenridge being all librariany, but this would ordinarily be too ridiculous, even for me.

And in this week’s list of movies:

  • 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Dreadful. Jessica Alba doesn’t even look human in it.
  • Blades of Glory: A severely overlooked Will Ferrell comedy about two male figure skaters who end up as pairs. Very silly and Will Arnett and Amy Poehler make great villains. Definitely up there with the likes of Dodgeball.
  • Bridesmaids: About 50% funny, 50% laughter-free. Some very funny moments, and good to see Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly getting a decent role for a change, but could have been a lot better. And some very weird casting going on – Chris O’Dowd of The IT Crowd as a love interest and Matt Lucas as Kristen Wiig’s flatmate? Weird. But Jon Hamm was great. Strange how he only plays non-Don Draper roles when he’s not doing Mad Men, rather than sticking to the “handsome manly man” roles.
  • Where The Wild Things Are: Absolutely not what I was expecting. A quite harrowing tale of childhood in which the sub-text is virtually text, but all done through giant beasts. Typical Spike Jonze, but it’ll leave you drained by the end.

But what have you been watching?

“What have you been watching 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 this week. 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?