What did you watch on TV last week (w/e February 21)

Another new idea – people tend to watch TV over the weekend so let’s talk about what everyone’s been watching on a Monday instead of a Friday. And since 24 and Lost are only a week out, moving to a Monday means you can talk about both shows, whether you’re in the US or the UK.

The Winter Olympics and lack of Heroes meant there wasn’t much new US TV week this week, but anyway:

  • Archer: Some more great moments as per usual. 
  • Being Erica: Watched the end of season two at last. Overall, while they experimented a lot more this season, Erica’s character arc felt less satisfying and the whole thing almost reset Erica’s situation back to the start of episode 1 (that’s time travel for you). Ethan’s emasculation this season didn’t endear the show to us either, since at least he was a decent love interest for her last year.  
  • Being Human: Don’t really remember last week’s very much (that’s how good my memory is), but this week’s was scary in a different kind of way from usual (Mitchell). Not quite sure why Annie has flipped from wanting "door tuition" (you know what I mean) a few episodes ago to her current frame of mind, but Mitchell’s arc has been great. Some odd directorial decisions mind.
  • Burn Notice: Not bad. The Chris Vance stuff is so much tag-on at the moment though.
  • The Deep End: Up to episode four, which was half dreadful, half fun. The romance between Australian guy and blonde girl is a little bit Sweet Valley High, but it’s charming in its way; everything else, particularly the legal side, is like having a nail hammered into your head by someone thinking they’re being zany. 
  • Leverage: A good ending to the season, overall, but the lack of Gina Bellman for much of the season has been a problem for character arcs, and most of the characters have been treading water. Basically, not as good as season one.
  • Life Unexpected: A reasonable ep, but nothing spectacular, other than "Lux learns a lesson about responsibility". 
  • Lost: Were those answers we just got? Or fake answers? Either way, a great Locke-focused episode. Nice that disability isn’t regarded as an unhappy ending for him in the flash-sideways. And best name for alternative Locke I’ve heard so far: "The Locke-ness monster".  
  • 24: Someone kill Dana now. But at least half an episode of decent moments, with Jack doing a cross between Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon and the guy in Metal Gear Solid. Still needs more excitement though.

But what did you watch? See if you can cast your memories back to last week, anyway.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the following two new HBO shows that started up and which I can’t be arsed to give full reviews to:

  • The Ricky Gervais Show: Heard The Guardian‘s Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant/Karl Pilkington podcasts? Thought they’d be better if they were all animated, with Ricky Gervais looking like Fred Flintsone? Then a) you’re a nutter b) you’d be wrong.
  • How To Make It In America: Supposed to be a comedy about working class New Yorkers trying to hit the big time through whatever pie-in-the-sky business scheme they have (selling fake leather jackets, borrowing money off a violent cousin, selling black-and-white photos). Actually about as funny as reading stats about recessionary economics. Does have a few funny moments and okay as a drama, I guess, but not involving at all. Still, if you ever wondered what happened to Shassyn Sossamon (sp?) from A Knight’s Tale, now you know.

As always, no spoilers unless you’re going to use the <spoiler> </spoiler> tags, please. If you’ve reviewed something on your blog, you can put a link to it here rather than repeat yourself (although too many links and you might get blocked by the spam filter)

What have you been watching this week (w/e February 12)

I haven’t watched this week’s episodes of Archer, 30 Rock, Community, or Modern Family yet, but:

  • Being Human: Mitchell’s stuff very good. Loved it, including the flashback to Herrick, but George’s storyline was loopy and what’s up with Annie? That’s not a storyline at all. I’m worried they can’t really think of anything for her now.
  • House: If you don’t love Cuddy already, you will by the end of this Cuddy-centric episode.
  • Chuck: Stupid in all sorts of ways, particularly the romances and the end scene, but reasonably diverting and I’m liking the continuing darkness that Chuck has gained this season.
  • Burn Notice: Excellent episode. Glad to see they’ve steered away from “client of the week” stuff in favour of proper spy stuff. Tim Matheson was epic and the twists were very clever. Still not convinced by Chris Vance’s accent or that the Chris Vance plot is in fact going anywhere decent.
  • Supernatural: The producers really have mastered the art of writing an episode so that it looks like a trivial, funny one, then twisting it into something far more important and interesting. A few duff moments, very gruesome, but really enjoyed it.
  • Leverage: Very enjoyable and the team chemistry seemed more like it used to be. Glad to see they’ve now jumped onto a story arc with good old Mark Sheppard again.
  • Archer: Still pretty funny, but losing it a little.
  • 24: Finally, some action! Didn’t last long though, but at least we have Jack front and centre this week.
  • Lost: Although you could see a lot of things that are actually poised to become answers being laid down, this felt a lot like a filler episode. The flash-sideways, complete with cameo by Ethan, was enjoyable, as was the sudden return of feral Claire at the end. But if they’re going to start raising more questions now, they’re going to need to start answering them soon, because this is answers season, okay? We don’t need any more mysteries. We have quite enough already.
  • Newswipe: Every week in every way, Newswipe is becoming more and more like Screenwipe, which is good, since when Brooker’s trying to educate us about the news, he’s only okay to good – when he’s pastiching, he’s great. Brilliant work by Adam Curtis as well.
  • Being Erica: Finally, after two months of having season two sit in the backlog, we started watching some more of season two, starting with episode five, which was dreadful. Fortunately, episode six – in which we went to 2019 and discovered Kai was from the future – was a whole lot better and the proper arrival of Dr Frank as a character for Dr Tom to interact with has definitely made the show more interesting. Even the publishing storylines are getting more interesting.
  • Life Unexpected: Talking of Being Erica, how odd. We appear to be on famous female guest star rotation duty here, since although Alex Breckenridge wasn’t in this week, Erin Karpluk has mysteriously added herself to the cast list as Cate and Ryan’s radio producer. As with 24‘s Nazneen Contractor (who starred in The Border), the rule appears to be “star in your own show in Canada, get a bit part in the US” but Karpluk managed to shine in her semi-Erica role all the same. The episode as a whole though was a lot closer in tone to the enjoyable pilot, although as someone recently pointed out, despite Lux being integral to the whole scenario, the show would be a whole lot better without her. She’s just so whiny and bitchy.

But what did you watch?

As always, no spoilers unless you’re going to use the <spoiler> </spoiler> tags, please. If you’ve reviewed something on your blog, you can put a link to it here rather than repeat yourself (although too many links and you might ge

What have you been watching this week (w/e February 5)

I haven’t watched last night’s episodes of CSI, Archer, 30 Rock, Community or The Deep End or this week’s episodes of Life Unexpected and Cougar Town but:

  • Being Human: Very good. Scary and clever. Loved it, apart from Matthew Rhys who’s still hamming away.
  • House: Lovely wife was impressed that I guessed whodunnit halfway through. Quite fun, but the plot involving Foreman’s brother didn’t do it for me.
  • Chuck: The whole Kristin Kreuk plot was rubbish and they really need more money for CGI, but the main plot was excellent and it’s nice to see the show becoming darker, characters evolve and more. A definite step up from the last season. I’m also thoroughly enjoying the channelling of Sylvester Levay for the incidental music – bring back the 80s!
  • Scrubs: Caught up with all the backlog. The lack of JD is slightly problematic, if only because they keep going on about him all the time; but Sarah Chalke was great. They need more of that Australian student though…
  • Burn Notice: What’s up with Chris Vance and his fake English accent? He’s English, so why’s he putting on that crap accent? Of course, since he’s trotting out every stereotypical English clichéd phrase imaginable, it’s very possible it’s all part of an act the character’s putting on. Whatever, last week’s episode had moments of weakness (the persona Michael played) and this week’s was a little bit too “let’s pat the guy with learning difficulty on the head” for my liking, but they were at least refreshingly violent and Bruce Campbell is finally getting to be more than just comic relief.
  • Supernatural: A great one this week, even if there was a magic reset button and a poor explanation for a character being written out for the whole episode. And Michael was truly scary.
  • Spartacus: Ha, ha, ha, ha! So entertainingly stupid. It’s a show that tries to be shocking and outrageous and then to outdo its last piece of shocking outrageous in the next minute. Quick, let’s have some full-frontal male nudity. How about that and the F-word and the C-word, while limbs are being hacked off? How about a sex scene where someone explodes in blood? How about Lucy Lawless in a see-through dress? How about Lucy Lawless in a see-through dress being masturbated by a female slave, while her husband, John Hannah, swears at her, and is fellated by another female slave? Ooh, how are we going to top that? I know…
    Lovely wife, who is of hardy Welsh stock and normally more than up to some sex, violence and swearing on TV, was shocked to the core inside of three minutes so we had to turn it off and watch something else while I was doing the ironing.
  • Leverage: Kind of coasting along for the last two weeks, but it was nice to have a US show following in the footsteps of Psych and The Mentalist and demonstrating how psychics and mediums do their tricks. Thinking I actually might like Jeri Ryan more than Gina Bellman now, but Beth Riesgraf still is best.
  • Archer: Last week’s. Not as funny as previous week’s, but still full of wonderful moments. “He’s wants to sit at the table like he’s people!”
  • Modern Family: Another funny one. Minnie Driver added little to the proceedings, but a fun bit of farce, although it left Julie Bowen’s character looking a little dull and humorless.
  • Caprica: I’m kind of liking the “monotheists bad, polytheists good” angle on it, as well as the “what if machines have souls?” thing they’re doing with Zoe and the Cylon, but it’s all a bit dull and tedious, isn’t it? Where’s the fun? Where are the engrossing characters? I like no one on it in any way whatsoever.
  • 24: Shaping up to be possibly the most boring seasons of 24 so far. We want Jack Bauer. We want Jack Bauer. We want Jack Bauer. So why do we have him sitting in a car for most of the last two episodes? Admittedly, when he got out of the car and starting speaking some of the most appalling German I’ve ever heard, I almost wanted him to get back in the car, but he soon got things back on track. The whole CTU/Katee Sackoff plot is dreadful and should be chucked ASAP, but at least the Russians are vaguely interesting.
  • Smallville: Watched a bit of last week’s. Nope, still pants.
  • Newswipe: Charlie’s bits were more engrossing than previous weeks, where the normal rule is “guest contributor good – as long as it’s not that poet – Charlie Brooker okay”. I think that’s because it became a bit more Screenwipey than in previous weeks.
  • Floyd on the Med: Caught up with a few old cooking shows of Keith Floyd’s. So much more interesting than a lot of cooking shows I could mention, and with some great scenery. But they were Channel Five shows and didn’t have Clive, unfortunately.
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Just thought I’d catch an old Jeremy Brett episode. He was overly flamboyant, but it was just great. Can you imagine ITV doing anything as good now (and don’t say Whitechapel)?
  • Roger Scruton: Why Beauty Matters – Erm, for a philosopher, he doesn’t stick together a very air-tight argument, does he? “Beauty’s sent by God and connects us to Him therefore modern art and architecture is rubbish”. It was persuasive at some points, but comparing Michelangelo with Tracy Emin (rather than say Francis Bacon) isn’t really comparing like with like.

But what did you watch?

As always, no spoilers unless you’re going to use the <spoiler> </spoiler> tags, please. If you’ve reviewed something on your blog, you can put a link to it here rather than repeat yourself (although too many links and you might ge

What have you been watching this week? (w/e January 29)

The backlog’s building, with last night’s Archer, Supernatural, The Deep End and Burn Notice to watch, as well as Wednesday’s Leverage.

  • Being Human: I was a bit worried with it being a non-Toby Whithouse episode, but actually this was very good, with some nasty moments as well as some poignant moments. Good all round
  • Wallander: Finally caught up with the third part, which I did enjoy, even it was a typical case of “blimey, what’s all this police procedure stuff then? Never heard of it before.” Nicely bleak, too.
  • Life Unexpected: A slight case of the episode two-reboot, with various character changes put in place to enable the show to become a series. Most of the characters seem worse for the change, with only Kerr Smith’s improving. Liking it less now.
  • Aristotle’s Lagoon: I only really watched this because it was about Lesbos, but it was actually really good and an interesting look at how Aristotle essentially founded biology but has now been largely forgotten about in this context. I was delighted to discover it was an Armand Leroi show – he did the Human Mutants series a while back, and he’s as good a presenter as ever. However, he does take a scalpel out and start dissecting things at a moment’s notice, without seemingly a trace of human emotion, which is really very frightening. Lovely pictures of Lesbos, lovely pictures of Lesbos wildlife, fascinating history and science – heartily recommended, provided you have a strong stomach.
  • Empire of the Seas: A decent documentary about the history of the Royal Navy and the history of Britain as a sea-going power, presented by Dan Snow. Just about managed to tread the right line between populist and informative, making it worth watching. Three more episodes to watch, though.
  • House: Interesting psychological piece for House this week. Liked it
  • Chuck: Quite a fun ep, even if there was minimal anything for Sarah and Casey to do
  • Cougar Town: Last week’s. Enjoyable. Nuff said
  • Scrubs: Not quite up to running speed yet, but we got through another backlog of them. Not quite Scrubs at its peak and Denise’s character has softened a little too much, but still surprisingly funny.
  • BBC Primary History: Ancient Greece: Yes, a kids’ schools programme, but I thought I’d watch it to see what it was like. Surprisingly enjoyable and even featured a dramatisation of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, complete with traditional Greek theatre masks. Who says kids TV is dumbing down?

But what did you watch?

As always, no spoilers unless you’re going to use the <spoiler> </spoiler> tags, please. If you’ve reviewed something on your blog, you can put a link to it here rather than repeat yourself (although too many links and you might ge

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of

Third-episode verdict: Archer

In the US: Thursdays, 10pm, FX.
In the UK: Fiver. Starts Thursday February 25th

Well, the first episode was brilliant and the rest of it? Well it’s just brilliant, too. You’re virtually guaranteed two laugh out loud moments per minute with this thing. I nearly snorted cereal out my nose this morning, I was laughing so hard. That’s an image you might not want to have and Archer is great for those.

Carusometer rating: 0
Rob’s prediction: Should run and run. It’s superb.