Audrey Fleurot as Karlsson in Engrenages
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Happy!, Engrenages and Baron Noir

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week

I’m a little bit behind. Sorry. Watching all of Altered Carbon (Netflix) for Boxset Monday, coupled with the double-episode French demands of Engrenages (Spiral) and Baron Noir meant that although I’ve managed third-episode verdicts of Counterpart (US: Starz) and Black Lightning (US: The CW; UK: Netflix), I’ve not yet had the chance to see the first eps of A.P. Bio (US: NBC) or Let’s Get Physical (US: Pop). They’ll be coming later in the week, along with a gander at Squinters (Australia: ABC) and maybe even The New Legends of Monkey (Australia: ABC Me; UK: Netflix), although that’s really for kids. Still, Monkey Magic!

Still a lot of shows are now ending, which should make that job easier. Indeed, after the jump, I’ll be looking at the season finales of Engrenages (Spiral) and Happy!, as well as the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Discovery.

On top of that, I’ll be looking at the latest episodes of Black Lightning (yep, another one), Baron Noir (well, one of them, since at two episodes a week, I’m a bit behind…), The Magicians, SEAL Team and Will & Grace.

See you in a mo.

PS I saw two new movies in the whole of January. That’s not a lot, is it? So it might be time to have a Monthly Movies feature, rather than including it in WHYBW. What do you all think about that?

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Happy!, Engrenages and Baron Noir”

Fortitude
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Fortitude renewed; Damnation, Rust cancelled; Sky’s Curfew; + more

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Black Lightning
US TV

Review: Black Lightning 1×1 (US: The CW; UK: Netflix)

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW
In the UK: Tuesdays on Netflix. Starts January 23

Oh look. Another superhero show on The CW. Who saw that coming? I mean it’s only got Arrow. And The Flash. And Supergirl. And DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. How can any TV network manage to get by with only four superhero shows. It seems inconceivable.

Yet here we are with Black Lightning, which on the face of it doesn’t look a radical departure. It has a black superhero at its core, but Arrow already has Mr Terrific, so admirable though it is, it’s not new for The CW. The budget’s no bigger than Arrow and the rest’s – indeed, it looks cheaper most of the time, despite all the night shooting intended to conceal the fact.

Yet, on the network for young adults, Black Lightning is indeed radical, because it’s about a middle-aged man. Throwing aside conventional origin stories, the show picks up nearly a decade after electrically-charged superhero Black Lightning (Cress Williams) hung up his costume and lightning bolts so that he could settle down, look after his family and become the principal of a local high school.

However, despite the best efforts of the police, particularly Damon Gupton (The Player), a new gang called The 100 has moved into town and is taking over. When they start threatening his school and his teenage daughters (China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams), Williams decides enough is enough and with the help of an old pal (appropriately enough, former Thunder God James Remar), steps up to protect the neighbourhood by resurrecting Black Lightning.

Easy middle-age

Now, it has to be said, despite being even older than I am, Cress Williams seems to be having a super-powered middle age. Not for him clicky knees when he stands up and without having trained in martial arts for years, he can still do a speedy roundhouse kick without pulling a tendon. Getting shot? A mere flesh wound.

Okay, he’s got super strength, as well as the ability to control electricity, but let’s have some sense of reality. Clearly this a show written by young people, who don’t really know what’s still to come for them. Even if you couldn’t have guessed from the school setting that the network is hedging their bets about the strength of the show’s appeal to the ‘starting to grey and where’d that tummy come from?’ demographic, the end of the first episode suggests that younger superheroes are going to be around. Maybe they can let him have a breather now and then.

All the same, kudos on not only having most of the action revolve around family man Williams and his family problems, but also having the even older Remar as Williams’ quasi-Alfred.

DC’s Luke Cage

Trouble is, while Black Lightning may stand apart from the rest of The CW shows in terms of age, it then gets lumbered with having to deal with all the same issues as Marvel’s Luke Cage. He’s going to stand up and look after his community (check). He’s got to demonstrate how to be a Good Black Man (check). He’s got to deal with gang violence (check). He’s got to survive encounters with the police without being shot on suspicion of being black (check).

There’s a certain “been there, done that” to the plot, if not the character himself.

Nevertheless, the show is different enough from the Arrowverse, which it fortunately doesn’t occupy so crossovers are off the cards for now, that Black Lightning doesn’t feel like YA superhero show. It could do with having better fights. It could do with having a different kind of enemy to face. But it’s a good start at least.

I just hope he doesn’t get a bad back.

Mr Robot
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Mr Robot, Give My Head Peace renewed; German Plan B remake; + more

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  • Olivier Martinez to star in Mercenary/Subotica’s action-adventure series Soldiers of Fortune

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  • NBC developing: interracial brothers-in-law comedy Family’s Family

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Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes
News

Russell Tovey joins the Arrowverse; The President is Missing; Germanized; + more

Internet TV

  • David Gyasi, Indira Varma, Tamzin Merchant et al join Amazon’s Carnival Row
  • Trailer for YouTube Red’s Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television

International TV

  • Mark Bonnar joins Channel 4/AMC (US)’s Humans
  • Daniel Mays and Sian Brooke join BBC Two/Amazon’s Good Omens

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New US TV shows

  • The CW developing: high school football drama and period reincarnation love epic Hold Fast
  • Fox developing: Lee Daniels culture-clash family comedy based on Israel’s Nevsu: A Young Multicultural Couple
  • …and drama adaptation of Lawrence Otis Graham’s Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class
  • Showtime developing: adaptation of Bill Clinton/James Patterson’s The President is Missing

New US TV show casting

  • Tamlyn Tomita promoted to regular on ABC’s The Good Doctor
  • Debi Mazar and Michael Maize to recur on Syfy’s Happy!