What did you watch this week? Including The Spa, The Americans, Banshee, Go On, House of Cards, Mr Selfridge and Shameless

It’s “What did you watch this week?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I’ve watched this week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

First, the usual recommendations:

  • The Americans (FX/ITV).
  • Archer (FX, 5USA)
  • Arrow (The CW/Sky 1)
  • Banshee (Cinemax/Sky Atlantic)
  • Being Human (US) (SyFy)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries (ABC1/ITV)
  • Cougar Town (TBS/Sky Living)
  • Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
  • Go On (NBC)
  • House of Cards (Netflix)
  • Modern Family (ABC/Sky 1)
  • Mr Selfridge (ITV/PBS)
  • Shameless (US) (Showtime/More4)
  • Southland (TNT/Channel 4)
  • Spartacus (Starz/Sky 1)
  • Engrenages/Spiral (BBC4/Netflix)
  • Suits (USA/Dave)
  • Top Gear (BBC2/BBC America)
  • Vegas (CBS/Sky Atlantic).

These are all going to be on in either the UK or the US, perhaps even both, but I can’t be sure which. If I got the channels wrong, let me know and I’ll fix them

Still in the queue: plenty to go in the House of Cards queue and there’s this week’s episodes of The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Vegas, Elementary, Archer, Zero Hour and Community to watch, although I think Community‘s days as a watched programme are numbered in this house. On top of those I have new US show Cult to watch – basically The Following but on The CW and with the guy who played T-Bone on Prison Break – which I’ll try to sneak a look at over the weekend, as well as new Australian show, Mr and Mrs Murder, which sees a husband and wife team cleaning up murder scenes (literally) and then doing some detective work of their own. I’ve also got Channel 4’s one-off spy drama Complicit to give a try, but Guy says it’s a bit rubbish so I might skip it.

I did get round to watching Sky Living’s The Spa, which stars Rebecca Front. It’s as dreadful as every other Sky 1 and Sky Living comedy, I’m afraid. In particular, we had a scene based on someone being told to tell someone they were ‘clinically obese’ and mishearing and saying they were ‘clinically a beast’.

Now, some thoughts on the regulars as well as some of the shows I’m still giving a try.

  • The Americans (FX/ITV): A rather excellent episode all round, set against the backdrop of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan and suggests how it could have resulted in World War 3. There’s excellent usage of archive news footage and intriguing to see the Soviets transferring and imagining it could be an attempted coup by General Hague. ‘Operation Christopher’ also showed just what the KGB was capable of if necessary. There’s also a humorous suggestion that Christopher Hitchens (ish) was basically a Soviet sleeper agent, pretending to be a new-wave conservative to hide his true plans to spy on the US. Very much recommended.
  • Arrow (The CW/Sky 1): A living breathing advert for Windows 8 and way too teenage and soapy. Even James Callis couldn’t keep a straight face. It was redeemed by the use of the BSG alert klaxon during the museum robbery scene.
  • Banshee (Cinemax/Sky Atlantic): Is it my imagination or is the title sequence becoming more and more animated with each episode? I could have sworn the albino didn’t move until this episode. A decent flashback episode, this one focusing on Hood’s time in jail, that paid off well if you’d been watching since the beginning. Very, very brutal, mind.
  • Being Human (US) (SyFy): Somehow feels less involving than previous seasons. Mark Pellegrino turning up in flashback was good, as was his English accent, but Sam Witwer’s needed work.
  • The Blue Rose (TV3): Still hasn’t found its feet and neither comedic nor dramatic enough to be compelling. But I’ll give it a week or so more yet.
  • Elementary (CBS/Sky Living): Not seen all of it so far, but I’ll tell you one thing: Sherlock Holmes doesn’t know how to build a molecule with benzene rings in it properly.
  • Go On (NBC): Has reached the point where ideas are now being thrown out randomly, whether they work with particular characters or not. They finally gave the blind black guy something to do with some funny retcon – he’s a former cop and has mentioned it loads of time, but because everyone’s been so self-involved they’ve ignored him – and Piper Perabo does a funny New Jersey accent.
  • House of Cards (Netflix): I’m an episode or two further along now and enjoying its twisty turniness. Not convinced Kate Mara’s character would allow herself to have pictures taken in the nude, and the latest episode had the usual American belief that unions are little more than organised crime in disguise, even teachers’ unions, but lovely stuff. The show actually used the c-word as well, which was remarkable. And if you wondered what happened Joel Schumacher, turns out he’s directing House of Cards now. Definitely still recommended.
  • Modern Family (ABC/Sky1): Yes, that was Maxwell Caufield.
  • Mr Selfridge (ITV/PBS): The show’s starting to become a little self-mocking and Jeremy Piven is starting to spiral out of control, presumably thanks to the punishing schedule. The archness (and hair bra) of his aristocratic sponsor is also starting to grate, as are the accents of some of the cast: some of the Selfridge children’s US accents are wobbly and Amy Beth Childs, who was good with a Northern accent in Sirens, is clearly struggling with a squeaky cockney. Still, we did get John Sessions as Arthur Conan Doyle and a seance, and next week, we’re going to be getting Michael Brandon (Dempsey from Dempsey and Makepeace).
  • Shameless (US) (Showtime/More4): For once, you wanted to side with Steve against Fiona in their dramas. All of a bit of a jolly jape, though, all the mean girls at the swimming pool were good, but the ending was a refreshing change to the status quo. Looking forward to seeing what happens next week.
  • Southland (TNT/Channel 4): And so the bleakness goes on. Loving it. Best moment: Cooper’s fire-fight, although his continuing self-closeting and kindness to the Downs girl were close seconds.
  • Suits (USA/Dave): A great finale marred somewhat by some of the worst English stereotypes since The Patriot or possibly Three Men and a Little Lady. It does feel though that it’s not actually doing seasons any more but is just one long continuous show that occasionally takes breaks.

“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 this week? Including Community, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Monday Mornings, Seed and Southland

It’s “What did you watch this week?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I’ve watched this week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

First, the usual recommendations:

  • The Americans (FX/ITV).
  • Archer (FX, 5USA)
  • Arrow (The CW/Sky 1)
  • Banshee (Cinemax/Sky Atlantic)
  • Being Human (US) (SyFy)
  • The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
  • Cougar Town (TBS/Sky Living)
  • Elementary (CBS/Sky Living)
  • Modern Family (ABC/Sky 1)
  • Mr Selfridge (ITV/PBS)
  • Shameless (US) (Showtime/More4)
  • Southland (TNT/Channel 4)
  • Spartacus (Starz/Sky 1)
  • Spiral/Engrenages (BBC4/Netflix)
  • Suits (USA/Dave)
  • Top Gear (BBC2/BBC America)
  • Vegas (CBS/Sky Atlantic).

These are all going to be on in either the UK or the US, perhaps even both, but I can’t be sure which. If I got the channels wrong, let me know and I’ll fix them

Added to that list as of Wednesday is The Americans (FX/ITV). Southland (TNT/Channel 4) is back so that’s going straight on the list again. We tried to watch the first episode of the new series of Community (NBC/Sony Entertainment Television), which would normally have been a cert to go on the list, too, but it was just so bad, the show has lost its privileges. Given that last night’s episode had the lowest ratings ever, I’m thinking I might be abandoning the show altogether soon. Netflix’s House of Cards is also going on the list.

Still in the queue: I’m whittling down the House of Cards queue; The Spa started on Sky last night but I didn’t have a chance to watch both episodes (a common theme); Zero Hour started on ABC and is apparently ludicrous, but I’ve yet to watch it. I’ve also got to watch The Blue Rose, a New Zealand show from Rachel Lang and James Griffin (the team that brought us Outrageous Fortune and The Almighty Johnsons), and the third of The Doctor Blake Mysteries was on in Australia a few hours ago – hopefully, I’ll have a third-episode verdict for you by Monday.

Now, some thoughts on the regulars.

  • Arrow (The CW/Sky 1): Nice to see Felicity the IT girl promoted to regular and it was a good move to make essentially the whole episode a flashback. Manu Bennett needs to be promoted to regular as well, although it seems a shame to make the Chinese guy less of a mentor as a result. But a cracking ep and a nice comics callout with Billy Wintergreen.
  • Banshee (Cinemax/Sky Atlantic): Less ludicrous, more of a thriller this week. Could I just mention how much I like the music by Methodical Doubt, by the way?
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Channel 5): A Batman cartoon for kids, but I thought I’d watch it anyway. Quite a good ep, based on the Book of Job. A nice touch to have long-time Batman voice Kevin Conroy as Phantom Stranger and to have Adam West and Julie Newmar (Batman and Catwoman in the 60s show) playing Bruce Wayne’s parents.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries (ABC1/ITV): Even better than the first episode, building up all the characters, giving us police beatings in a Life On Mars “things were different back then” style. The background to Blake and his days in military intelligence and Singapore was well handled (a call-out to McClachlan’s Heroes II?), and the final scenes with the Anzacs were actually very moving. Looking forward to the third episode.
  • Elementary (CBS/Sky Living): Another duff episode that tried to give some character and decent attributes to black hanger-on detective, but did so without any real crime-solving by Holmes. Entirely obvious who the baddie was, too.
  • House of Cards (Netflix): I’m up to episode four now. It’s all beautifully made but there’s a hell of a lot of plot filler suddenly arriving out of nowhere, and Robin Wright’s charity is still ridiculous.
  • Modern Family (ABC/Sky 1): Unlike Community, this really made us laugh. Why are its ratings dropping?
  • Monday Mornings (TNT/Fox): No better than the first terrible episode, to be honest. Good to see one of the surgeons standing up for herself against Doc Oc, but it was another piece of unsurprising predictability that made me feel sick with its mawkishness. It also has the worst dialogue on TV since… the last David E Kelley drama.
  • Mr Selfridge (ITV/PBS): A mix of the sublime and the ridiculous. A Selfridge-lite episode, with Piven in bed for most of the story, we got the world’s most ridiculous ‘hair bra’ and a laughable dream sequence to roll our eyes at. But we also had a lovely reveal at the end when the Suffragettes come to the store. Next episode: John Sessions as Arthur Conan Doyle – this should be fun.
  • Seed (City TV): Funnier, nicer and cleverer than the first episode with fewer stereotypes. I’ll keep my eyes on this one since it might actually get good.
  • Shameless (US) (Showtime/More4): Another soul-destroying look into being poor in the US, mixed with marvellously politically incorrect comedy. This week, we got the discovery that sometimes, even in the worst jobs with the worst bosses, it’s better not to rock the boat and keep the guy who forces you to give him a BJ. Jody’s revelation was… fascinating, too. And good to see Harry Hamlin finding work again, too.
  • Southland (TNT/Channel 4): A more personal season than the last one, by the looks of it, which is probably a good thing since Southland is at its best when it’s dealing with smaller issue, rather than trying to deal with shootouts and arcs. Sherman’s developing in big ways, too.
  • Spartacus (Starz/Sky 1): Another slightly bland episode, more geared up to showing the squabbles among the slaves than anything else. Interesting that they’ve finally got round to giving us a gay soft porn sex scene.
  • Suits (USA/Dave): A little bit less plot than normal, with more character moments instead, so not quite the razor-sharp writing we’ve come to expect. But the Louis characterisation was well handled, making him less of a twat, and it’s good to have a US show that has a character who isn’t ‘the best of the best’, can’t have everything they want and has to admit that that to him or herself.

“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 this week? Including Arrow, 30 Rock, Banshee, Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe and Elementary

It’s “What did you watch this week?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I’ve watched this week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

First, the usual recommendations: Archer, Arrow, Banshee, Being Human (US), The Daily Show, Cougar Town, Elementary, Go On, Modern Family, Mr Selfridge, Shameless, Spartacus, Suits, Top Gear and Vegas. These are all going to be on in either the UK or the US, perhaps even both, but I can’t be sure which.

Don’t forget, UK readers – season 4 of Spiral aka Engrenages will start tomorrow on BBC4 at 9pm. Two episodes, of course. Anyone want episode-by-episode reviews?

I tried to watch Derek, Ricky Gervais’s new ‘comedy’, but after five minutes of offensive, unwatchable, poorly acted cobblers, we switched off. New Yes Prime Minister got given its notice after two episodes, because despite attempts to update it for modern politics, it still feels like an 80s show with 80s characters, yet at the same time isn’t faithful enough to them to work.

Still in the viewing queue: this week’s episode of The Doctor Blake Mysteries as well as most of House of Cards and The Carrie Diaries, which I suspect might never get watched. But that’s about it. Except for Community, which finally returned last night. Normally I’d just recommend it straight off, but without Dan Harmon as show runner, I’m going to watch the ep then decide, since the signs have not been good.

Now, some thoughts on the regulars.

  • 30 Rock: A pretty poor finale, redeemed by about 15 minutes of quality material. But then, that’s pretty much what the first episode was like, so that’s probably appropriate, and it did have some fun things to say about women, work and childcare at the same time. Goodbye Liz Lemon – you were great while you were here.
  • The Americans: A really good second episode that had all the good qualities of the first, but with added spy evilness on the part of the KGB/our heroes, as well as guest impersonations of Casper Weinberger and British defence secretary John Nott. The end part really makes you sympathise with the Soviets. Plus we finally have some actual Russians, speaking Russians, which contrasts well with ‘the Americans’ themselves.  
  • Arrow: On the plus side of Arrow, something I haven’t mentioned is that the producers have absolutely no reverence for the comics: they’ll use what they want and change what doesn’t fit. Case in point: the arrival of (spoiler)Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke, this week. Now they’ve cast Spartacus‘s Manu Bennett in the role, simply because he’s so cool, and they’ve simply made his character Australian and a member of the Australian SIS as a result. Marvellous.
  • Banshee: Unlike Arrow, Banshee wants everyone to be American. So even though they’ve got a New Zealander in the lead role (he was one of the Wests in Outrageous Fortune) and a Dane as the villain, they’re still making them pretend to be Americans. Last week’s episode was a characteristic mix of the ludicrous and the great, so I encourage you all to give it a try.
  • Being Human (US): They’re starting to hint at an Aidan and Sally relationship, as per the original, I notice, which is intriguing. I’m also curious about what’s happened to Josh’s family, given he has no reason not to see them any more.
  • Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe: Basically, just like all his other Wipes but with less to say, a weird attempt at a collaborative movie review feature and a more inspired “reading out of comments from the Internet”. Not his best, but still watchable.
  • Cougar Town: Ooh! The writers remembered that everyone is supposed to have a job.
  • Elementary: An odd choice for the post-Superbowl episode, with very little to commend it, but last night’s featuring not just John Hannah in full Scottish mode but also an ex member of The Unit was a big improvement. It was also one of the first episodes that felt like a proper Holmes story, too, with a few references here and there to the originals. It also raised the intriguing suggestion that the reason that Holmes doesn’t feel like Holmes is because he needs drugs and now he’s sober, he’s not the man he used to be as a result. Could be a good narrative direction they’re going to go in there.
  • Spartacus: Julius Caesar has arrived! Otherwise, a largely unremarkable episode.
  • Suits: Two fabulous episodes made even more fabulous by Wendell Pierce (Bunk from The Wire) and the return of (spoiler alert)Daniel Hardman. Gives House of Cards a run for its money in terms of manipulations.
  • Vegas: A bit more for Carrie Anne Moss to do this week, but her character is so lifeless, that’s still not much. But a good episode and I wasn’t expecting many of the twists the show turned up this week, either.

“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 this week? Including The Following, Spartacus, Mr Selfridge, Being Human (US) and Arrow

It’s “What did you watch this week?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I’ve watched this week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

First, the usual recommendations: 30 Rock, Archer, Arrow, Being Human (US), The Daily Show, Don’t Trust The B—– in Apartment 23, Cougar Town, Elementary, Go On, Last Resort, Modern Family, Mr Selfridge, Shameless, Spartacus and Suits. These are all going to be on in either the UK or the US, perhaps even both, but I can’t be sure which.

Being added to the list this week after rather a long time hovering close to the qualifying bar is Vegas – it’s not an absolute must-recommend but it’s about as good as network TV is probably ever going to be able to do with a period gangster show set in Las Vegas and it did have a cracker of an episode this week that managed to mix comedy with the nasty to great effect.

I’m also sticking Banshee on, even if it’s going to be a bit too ultraviolent for a lot of people and doesn’t exactly aim for verisimilitude a lot of the time. Spartacus is back and so is Top Gear: strange how the three presenters are great when they’re together, merely bearable when there’s two of them, and unbearable when it’s just one of them.

Some new shows started this week, none of which I had a chance to watch: The Americans, which has started on FX and has been acquired by ITV, which looks good but at two hours, was just a little bit too much for me to have caught in time; last night’s Do No Harm, which is a modern Jeckyll and Hyde story on NBC; BBC2’s Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe and Channel 4’s Derek with Ricky Gervais. I’ll review them all (or the first two at least) when I’ve had a chance to watch them, probably on Tuesday. Oh yes, and Netflix has the whole of the new House of Cards for us to watch, too.

Also in the viewing queue: this week’s episodes of Suits, 30 Rock and Yes Prime Minister. But that’s it.

Now, some thoughts on the regulars.

  • Archer: Timothy Olyphant from Justified is gay for Archer. As fun as always, with a great ending that used silence to maximum effect.
  • Arrow: I appreciate that the producers would probably rather be making ‘Batman: The Early Years’, but did they have to take an existing Green Arrow villain (Count Vertigo) and basically turn him into the Joker, even getting the actor to do an impression of Heath Ledger? Good ep though. The flashbacks could do with advancing the story a bit faster, now, and when are they going to make the IT/general purpose science girl a regular?
  • Being Human (US): Curious how they’re shifting the show’s power dynamics to make it more female-centric. Where once it was all about Aidan and Josh with Sally a bit of an after-thought (a bit like the original then), it’s now all about Aidan, Nora and Sally instead. Everything’s in flux though, so let’s see if they can stabilise with the new dynamic.
  • Bob Servant Independent: Tried watching it, but despite Brian Cox’s best efforts it’s the usual “small man in a small town trying to be big” stick that huge chunks of bad British comedy are based on. So I gave up.
  • The Carrie Diaries: Got about 10 minutes into episode two before we completely lost the ability to concentrate. We’ll try again but I suspect this is a definite dud.
  • The Following: Well, what an amazing turnround. After a deeply nasty first ep that was empty and full of misogyny, it’s like the producers have sat down, asked “What’s wrong with this show?” and done as much as they could to fix it. So they’ve amped up the characterisation, dropped a lot of the sadism, dropped the rubbish female character and added a couple of good and interesting female characters, added in some Scream meta-ness, and focused a lot more on character relationships. Don’t watch episode one, if I were you, but start watching from episode two instead. Assuming you fancy watching a show about Edgar Allen Poe-inspired serial killers, that is.
  • Go On: A good Lauren episode and a good expansion of the set up with some more incidental characters. But it really needs to get funnier if it’s too avoid cancellation, as well as drop a few of the more rubbish characters that are hogging up the screen time.
  • Mr Selfridge: The first downright poor episode of the show, more soap opera than drama, and with some terrible acting in some quarters. But still enjoyable and had a few interesting historical notes about ‘the rational dressing’ movement.
  • Spartacus: Usually, it takes the show two or three episodes before it settles down and stops being all about the swearing, sex and violence, and gets on with the plot. This season, they’ve leapt straight in with plot and characterisation. Yes, it’s still a blood-bath and there was an orgy or two – it is still Spartacus – but some clever plotting and writing and actually not much by way of ornate swearing for a change. Also featured Ty from The Almighty Johnsons in a bit part, which was odd.
  • Suits: A decent Louis episode but not as clever as in previous weeks.
  • Yes, Prime Minister: Episode two was a marked improvement on episode one, but watching re-runs of the original, it’s clear just how inferior the new version is, both in terms of writing and performance, and it’s actually a little offensive at times. All the same, it does have some insight and good qualities, so if you’ve nothing better to watch, try it.

“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 this week? Including Django Unchained, Last Resort, The Wedding Band and Mr Selfridge

It’s “What did you watch this week?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I’ve watched this week that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

First, the usual recommendations: 30 Rock, Archer, Arrow, Being Human (US), The Daily Show, Don’t Trust The B—– in Apartment 23, Cougar Town, Elementary, Go On, Last Resort, Modern Family, Mr Selfridge, Shameless, Suits and The Wedding Band. These are all going to be on in either the UK or the US, perhaps even both, but I can’t be sure which

More temporal casualties, with Hard, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Utopia and Spies of Warsaw all being purged from the Sky+ box, thanks in part to Guy’s time-saving recommendations (see? There is a point to this feature). I’ve also still got to watch this week’s Carrie Diaries, Archer, Suits, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Yes Prime Minister, the penultimate episode of 30 Rock, and Bob Servant Independent, which started on Wednesday. But I think I’m getting back down to manageable levels now.

Now, some thoughts on the regulars.

  • Archer: I neglected to mention the return of this last week – foolish me. As always, thoroughly recommended as the funniest thing on TV at the moment.
  • Arrow: Another decent episode. Nothing spectacular or unpredictable in the A-plot, but the flashback B-plot continues to impress.
  • Being Human (US): A slight return to the humour of early episodes as the series continues in its unpredictable new direction. The arrival of Xander Berkeley heralds good things, I suspect, too.
  • Go On: I can watch a show with Piper Perabo in that isn’t the tedious Covert Affairs – woo hoo! Pulling a Southland, the show is also now having swearing but bleeped out and pixellated nudity, which is somewhat surprising. Not the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, though.
  • Last Resort: Both a surprising ending and an unsurprising ending for the show. Some things were a little rushed, some things didn’t make a whole load of sense but virtually all the plot strands got wrapped up, some of them unpredictably. The action scenes were there, but not as tense as in previous weeks, and the drama didn’t quite work in the ways they intended. But generally, a good way to end the show and reassuring that they didn’t try to hold out for a pick-up by another network by leaving everything open-ended. At 13 eps, too, it feels like they mined the idea probably as much as they could have sustained it, anyway.
  • Mr Selfridge: Parallel universe time. A flagship ITV show that has a French character (played by Spiral‘s Grégory Fitoussi no less) who’s becoming practically as important as the lead, he gets to meet other French characters, also played by French actors and they get to speak in French. With subtitles. How very, very weird. So much to love, but the plot is slowing down a little now, with evolution rather than revolution being the name of the game. Some characters are getting less interesting, some more. Still worth watching.
  • Shameless: A thrilling antidote to the typical US drama (cf Arrow), this week focusing on how fathers can suck completely and ruin your life, and giving the moral that if you’re poor, the only way to stop being poor isn’t following the American dream, it’s stealing or scamming. Indeed, Fiona’s storyline this week was all about the poverty trap and how when someone tries to escape their life, they can end up worse off than if they’d stayed where they were
  • The Wedding Band: And so it ends. Oh well. But the penultimate episode did feature not only James Marsters using his Spike from Buffy accent to play an aging English rock star but an actual English actor playing an English character who instantly identifies him as coming from Merseyside. When the band question how he knows, Marsters replies: “Any Englishman can instantly spot from another Englishman’s accent where he’s from to within 10 miles.” I’m assuming they were taking the piss out of Marsters there, either with or without his cooperation. The show ended with a minor emotional cliffhanger that will now never be resolved, unfortunately. Shame, it was a pretty good show that could have developed over time, but now TBS is going to focus on half-hour comedies and Big Bang Theory re-runs instead.

  • Yes, Prime Minister: Not a patch on the original, either in terms of the writing or the cast, but not without funny moments. Sir Humphrey is the biggest problem, since he comes across less as part of the establishment, more an odious selfish scheme; Bernard is now just an idiot; and Hacker is a blowhard, rather than a politician out of his depth. But I’ll be watching episode two at least – when I have the time.

And, in movies:

Django Unchained
Way too long and not quite up to the standards of previous Tarantino movies in terms of dialogue, but still a really good and very surprising movie. Surprising in terms of how unflinching it is in dealing with the incredibly insane nature of 19th century American slavery, but also in having a humorous German character as a hero (the always incredible Christoph Waltz) and having segments of the movie in German. Samuel L Jackson gives one of his best ever performances and is practically unrecognisable, while Leonardo DiCaprio gives one of his best performances in years as an evil plantation owner. Definitely worth watching, perhaps more at home than in the cinema, 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?