What did you watch last week? Including The Bridge, The Almighty Johnsons and Don’t Trust The B—-

It’s “What did you watch last week?”, my chance to tell you what I watched last week 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 recommendations from the first-run shows are: The Almighty Johnsons, The Apprentice, Awake, BeTipul, The Bridge, Community, Cougar Town, The Daily Show, House, Mad Men, Modern Family, and 30 Rock. Hunt them down.

Only two episodes in the backlog this week: House and Touch. And I’m saving up the second series of Braquo for when the mother-in-law comes round.

Here’s a few thoughts on the regulars:

  • Mad Men – funny, interesting to see where they’re taking Megan as a character, but also Pete and Peggy. And who knew what a new man Don Draper was? And The Beatles – awesome.
  • Missing – an entirely predictable set of revelations, but Judd seems to have become crap at fighting all of a sudden
  • Cougar Town – glad they’re expanding the cast with the new character, who fits in well
  • Louis Theroux’s Extreme love: Autism – I have to ask – why did LT have to go to America to find some autistic children? We do have them here, you know. Was there an ethics problem or is there, as my wife suggests, an embarrassing lack of residential care facilities for autistic children in the UK?
  • The Almighty Johnsons – a lovely episode. Good to see the goddesses now coming front and centre, but it has to be said the male gaze is still there: it was a golden opportunity for the goddesses to explain becoming a goddess to Gaia but that was glossed over because essentially it’s all about the gods’ reactions to the goddesses, rather than the goddesses as people in their own rights. But I knew it was only a matter of time before other pantheons came into the show, and I’m pleased by the looks of the trailer for the next episode as to which one it might be.
  • Suburgatory – how quickly do women gestate in Suburgatory? Alicia Silverstone wasn’t showing at all last episode IIRC…
  • Awake – A bit dull, and a distinct lack of therapists
  • Community – Shocks all round from the finale! A weird episode, but still not very funny
  • 30 Rock – A spot on analysis of scripted reality shows bit rubbish and unfunny all the same.
  • Don’t Trust The B—- – And the show finds its feet again, this time with the first of the non-James Van Der Beek celebrity appearances: Kevin Sorbo. Let’s hope they can maintain this, even if Dreama Walker’s character still isn’t funny, despite her best efforts this episode.
  • The Bridge – well, I was expecting it to be a cop, so the revelation at the end of the last episode wasn’t too surprising. Then again, the previous episode revealed it might be Stefan, so maybe that’s not too conclusive a statement. Still very much enjoying it though.

“What did you watch 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. 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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What did you watch last week? Including Veep, Avengers Assemble, The Bridge and The Almighty Johnsons

It’s “What did you watch last week?”, my chance to tell you what I watched last week 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 recommendations from the first-run shows are: The Almighty Johnsons, The Apprentice, Awake, BeTipul, The Bridge, Community, Cougar Town, The Daily Show, House, Mad Men, Modern Family, and 30 Rock. Hunt them down.

I’ve still got last night’s Mad Men to get through as well as episode four of The Bridge.

First, though, a look at some shows I’ve tried this week:

  • Girls: I really tried to watch the second episode of this but it just bored me silly. It’s clearly intelligently written but it doesn’t feel like it’s saying anything new that anyone remotely clued up wouldn’t know already – or that’s actually worth saying. It’s also not as clever as it thinks it is. My recommendation: don’t watch.
  • NYC 22: Episode two was so massively conventional, stupid and uninteresting, I gave up on it. My recommendation: don’t watch.
  • Divine Women: Bettany Hughes on how women have been cut out of religion over the years. Characteristically, I got bored during episodes one and two when it moved away from Ancient Greece, but I actually found her (and Edith Hall’s) arguments about Gaia, Gaia-worship being supplanted by Zeus-worship somewhat unsupported by facts and dangerously close to goddess mythology, which, of course, has been largely discredited.
  • Veep – I really want to love this and I do like some of the characters, particularly Anna Chlumsky’s (yes, her from My Girl). Yet, it’s just a bit luke-warm compared to The Thick of It, without any of the real bite. It really needs a Macolm and quickly. How quickly? Well, five minutes into episode one, lovely wife said “No”, by which she meant she bored and wanted to watch something else. And I do sympathise with her on that score. Anyway, I’m watching episode two right now and still not loving it unfortunately.

And a few thoughts on the regulars:

  • The Almighty Johnsons – Playing catch-up here, so I watched three weeks in one go. Very much back to season 1 form, happy to see the back of Loki, and good to see the goddesses getting a chance to have plots that focus on them. And it’s so good to have Anders back again. And the last episode was so packed of revelations, it makes you think that maybe they’ve been planning this all along. Recommended.
  • Awake – Tedious, unfortunately – far too focused on the police cases.
  • Community – A spot-on spoof of Law & Order with a very surprising ending.
  • Cougar Town – Some actual plot and character developments, but still not riotous stuff.
  • House – Dark, but frustrating, particularly with the open-ended “maybe it was all a ghost” bit, which kind of goes against the whole point of the show. And again, a surprising ending.
  • Missing – I’m almost ready to give up on this, since it has some of the worst cg of the decade and is full of cloying parent stuff. You know, you’d think that with Ashley Judd on board, her entire character wouldn’t essentially revolve around being a mother and might have some other facets, but apparently not.
  • 30 Rock – I pity anyone who doesn’t have an encyclopaedic knowledge not just of NBC history but also Saturday Night Live, since that would have made no sense to anyone otherwise. But great to finally see Donald Glover’s impression of Tracy Morgan, as well as cameos from Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon (who of course couldn’t keep a straight face). And when Fred Armisen turned up, it took me a few moments to realise this wasn’t a Portlandia crossover episode.
  • The Bridge – Episode three is more a study in Asperger’s than anything else, but I’m still loving it.
  • Touch – Less heart-warming that normal and the whole thing could do with some revelations of interest now. No, old offices do not count.

And in movies

  • Avengers Assemble: Awesome. Not not just awesome – Thorsome. Seen it twice already and probably seeing it a third time this week. Joss Whedon has miraculously managed to create an ensemble superhero movie from four separate franchises and given every character decent amounts to do and say, while also giving other characters – Black Widow most noticeably – plenty of screentime and characterisation. Funny, intelligent yet fun and full of wonderful moments. My only caveat about the whole thing – apart from the slightly rubbish CGI when Loki’s ‘flying’ – is that while it’s great collectively, it’s a different beast from each of those preceding franchises, lacking the energy, vitality (and horniness) of Iron Man; the romance, beauty and joy of Thor; or the innocence and nostalgia of Captain America. But it finally gets Hulk right and you really want them to go back and CGI Mark Ruffalo over Eric Bana and Ed Norton in the previous movies, since he’s pretty much perfect.

“What did you watch 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. 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?

Monday’s “E!’s Wizard of Oz, Best Friends not Forever and trailers for A&E’s Longmire and HBO’s Newsroom” news

Film

Trailers

Canadian TV

  • Call Me Fitz gets a fourth season, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil cancelled

International TV

UK TV

US TV

US TV pilots

Monday’s “E!’s Wizard of Oz, Best Friends not Forever and trailers for A&E’s Longmire and HBO’s Newsroom” news

Film

Trailers

Canadian TV

  • Call Me Fitz gets a fourth season, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil cancelled

International TV

UK TV

US TV

US TV pilots

Nordic TV

Review: The Bridge (Bron/Broen) 1×1-1×2

The Bridge

In the UK: Saturdays, 9pm, BBC4. Available on the iPlayer
In Sweden and Denmark: Aired last September on SVT1 and DR1. Second series commissioned for broadcast in 2013

It can’t have escaped your notice that the world is falling in love with Scandinavian darkness. As I’ve previously remarked, British TV certainly has, with BBC1 and BBC4 taking the lead with shows like Denmark’s The Killing, The Killing 2 and Borgen and Sweden’s Wallander (as well as the home-grown Kenneth Branagh version), and ITV3 making a stab at it with Denmark’s Den Som Dræber (Those Who Kill). But even the US has spotted the trend and as well as remaking Sweden’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movies, it’s adapted Denmark’s The Killing, now in its second season.

Do you know who else has noticed this trend? Scandinavians, that’s who. Spotting a golden opportunity to finally export a few shows rather than having to buy in 24 and Friends to fill the airwaves, Scandinavia is seizing it with both hands. Now Danish and Swedish TV have got together to create something that while entirely Scandinavian in character still has an eye on the worldwide market: The Bridge (aka Bron/Broen depending on whether you’re Swedish or Danish).

The story is seemingly simple: on the Øresun bridge between Copenhagen in Denmark (ooh, where The Killing is set!) and Malmö in Sweden (ooh, where Wallander is set!), someone leaves a body precisely halfway of the border between the two countries. This means that both Swedish and Danish police have to investigate, forcing an uneasy alliance between two apparent stereotypes who quickly reveal themselves to be a lot more than merely the Swedes and the Danes’ mutual national images: an icy female Swedish detective with Asperger’s (ooh, Dragon Tattoo!) and a salt-of-the-earth male Danish detective. But before investigations have gotten very far, it soon becomes obvious that this is just the tip of a very elaborate plan, one designed to change both countries and their ideas of justice.

And despite the fact it doesn’t have the emotional depth of The Killing, that it’s a little bit unrealistic and there is that slight hint to everything of a global market being eyed, this is actually really good television. So good, in fact, that despite it airing two episodes a week on BBC4 and my PVR actually recording Girls of the 90s on Viva the first time it aired, I actually found time to buck my normal trend and watch it before the next two episodes air tonight. Isn’t that amazing?

Here’s a trailer in Danish, because the BBC, in their infinite wisdom, haven’t put anything up on YouTube in English – although it’s worth remembering that when the show aired in both Sweden and Denmark it had to be subtitled whenever the other country’s characters spoke, so we’re all in it together, here. There’s also a little snippet from the beginning of the first episode as well, because it has a lovely opening sequence that I thought I’d share with you.

Continue reading “Review: The Bridge (Bron/Broen) 1×1-1×2”