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What have you been watching? Including Ash vs Evil Dead, Impastor and The Fall

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently 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 “TMINE recommends” page features links to reviews of all the shows I’ve ever recommended, and there’s also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I’ve reviewed ever. 

It’s possible that Peak TV peaked last week, given how many more new shows launched, and there’s a few more coming our way this week, too. Last week, I (p)reviewed:

I also passed a third-episode verdict on Quarry (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky Atlantic).

On top of that, later this week, I’ll pretty definitely (well, you know me…) be reviewing:

  • Westworld (US: HBO; UK: Sky Atlantic)
  • Graves (US: Epix)
  • Aftermath (US: Syfy; UK: 5*)
  • Falling Water (US: USA)
  • Deep Water (Australia: SBS; UK: BBC Four)
  • Hyde & Seek (Australia: Nine)
  • Luke Cage (Netflix).

I’ll also definitely be passing third- and fourth-episode verdicts on:

…probably on:

…maybe on:

…and quite improbably on:

Internet streaming services being a little elusive at times in terms of telling you what they’re showing, if I’ve the time (!), I might try to play catch up with Easy (Netflix) and Start Up (Crackle), too, but I suspect they’ll get pushed to next week again. For starters, there’s bound to be other new shows this week that I’ve missed, too – I’m pretty sure Hayley Atwell’s new ABC show Conviction is on the way, but I’m too lazy to check the schedule.

Before all that, though, after the jump, reviews of the latest episodes of Designated Survivor, The Exorcist, Halt and Catch Fire, Lethal Weapon, Notorious, Pitch, Speechless, This is Us and You’re The Worst – if you do a quick bit of correlation with the list of shows above, you’ll probably be able to guess which ones I’m dropping. We also have the return of Ash vs Evil Dead, Impastor and The Fall to entertain us. 

Did I mention I watched a lot of tele this week? Because I did.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Ash vs Evil Dead, Impastor and The Fall”

Berlin Station
US TV

Preview: Berlin Station 1×1-1×2 (US: Epix; UK: More4)

In the US: Sundays, 9pm ET/PT, Epix. Starts October 16 2016
In the UK: Thursdays, 9pm, More4. Starts October 2015 2018

Peak TV‘ is the name given to the idea of there being too much TV for us to consume. Thanks to the Internet, cable, et al, it’s a lot easier for a company to ‘transmit’ content; also, more and more people want to make content. As a result, that means there’s an awful lot of TV out there being made by an awful lot of people. However, there’s only so much talent in the world and it’s starting to get spread pretty thinly, particularly around the world’s media industry, which means that there’s a lot of bad TV made by people who don’t actually know how to make good TV.

A while ago I came up with the idea of ‘cargo cult TV‘ – TV going through all the motions of a genre but without really understanding the rules of that genre. As a result, it’s missing something essential. I’d like to expand that to encompass the idea of people making TV but not really getting TV.

Take Epix. Until recently, Epix like AMC – aka American Movie Classics – before it, was content to air other people’s content before suddenly deciding to make some TV shows of its own. The first to make it out of the gates is Berlin Station, created by spy novelist Olen Steinhauer and set in… well, you can probably guess.

Now Berlin Station goes through all the motions of being both a proper spy show and a proper TV show. Nevertheless, it’s cargo cult TV. Something intrinsic’s missing from it, preventing it from being either a spy show or a good TV show.

Like other cargo cultists, Steinhauer and Epix have done their best to emulate TV producers. They’ve recruited a great big, top notch cast. The hero of the piece is our very own Dick Head, Richard Armitage, who’s no stranger to spying thanks to Chris Ryan’s Strike Back, Captain America and Spooks. They’ve got Michelle Forbes (Homicide, The Killing (US), In Treatment), Rhys Ifans (Elementary, Twin Town), Tamlyn Tomita (Babylon 5, The Joy Luck Club) and Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under), too.

They’ve found a German co-production partner, hired some actual German actors and flown all the way to Berlin to film everything. They’ve even done what every other political show has done of late and ‘stolen from the headlines’ – and, of course, since there are very few headlines about spying these days, that means Yet Another Edward Snowden whistleblower plotline. And they’ve hired a proper European film director for the first two episodes – Michaël Roskam (The Drop)

All of which is designed to fool the viewer into somehow thinking they’re watching a top, premium cable TV show.

Except they’re not. They’re watching pure cargo cult TV arse.

Continue reading “Preview: Berlin Station 1×1-1×2 (US: Epix; UK: More4)”

What have you been watching? Including MacGyver, Lucifer, Doctor Doctor and Mr Robot

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently 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 “TMINE recommends” page features links to reviews of all the shows I’ve ever recommended, and there’s also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I’ve reviewed ever. 

I think I did pretty well last week at keeping up with all the new TV releases. It wasn’t until Thursday/Friday when a big bunch of them dropped in my lap that I fell behind. All the same, there have been a few new ones over the weekend, too, which makes my job a little harder. I’ll try to catch up with them over the coming week, but my workload’s a bit fierce so I might end up doing ‘mini-reviews’.

Elsewhere, I’ve already reviewed The Good Place (US: NBC), Kevin Can Wait (US: CBS), Bull (US: CBS), This Is Us (US: NBC; UK: Channel 4), Designated Survivor (US: ABC; UK: Netflix), Lethal Weapon (US: CBS; UK: ITV) and The Exorcist (US: Fox; UK: Syfy). This week, I’m aiming to review the first episodes of Van Helsing (US: Syfy), Berlin Station (US: Epix), Insecure (US: HBO), Pitch (US: Fox) and Notorious (US: ABC), as well as pass third-episode verdicts on Quarry (US: Cinemax; UK: Sky Atlantic) and The Good Place. If I have time, I might even preview Falling Water (US: USA). I wouldn’t put any money on that happening, though.

After the jump, I’ll be looking at the latest episodes of Doctor Doctor, High Maintenance, Halt and Catch Fire and You’re The Worst, as well as the season finale of Mr Robot and the return of Lucifer. But before that, there was one other new show I took a look at…

MacGyver (US: CBS)
A quick glance over TMINE, including the original’s appearance in Nostalgia Corner and an attempt to crowdsource ideas for a female MacGyver, should show you how keen various people have been over the years to reboot the 80s action show about an engineering genius turned spy who uses his technical prowess to get himself out of scrapes, often with the help of a Swiss Army Knife.

Finally, though, someone’s finally gone and done it – twice, in fact, since the first pilot was scrapped, most of the cast fired, and this exceedingly awful new episode filmed in June with a new cast to replace it. A reboot, rather than a sequel, MacGyver sees former army bomb disposal expert turned super secret spy Lucas Till (X-Men: First Class) as the new MacGyver, former CSI George Eads as the ex-Delta Jack Dalton, who together ‘bro’ their way around the world in an effort to stop Vinnie Jones from killing everyone with a bioweapon. 

Whereas the original series was at great pains to ensure the science of the piece was at least semi-feasible and novel, this new MacGyver thinks science is for sissies, but can’t dispense with it altogether because what is MacGyver without some macgyvering? So the other head-nod to the original beside the names and the voiceover (somewhat wooden in this case) is also the worst part of the show, with Till either using a paper clip (you can tell it’s a paper clip because every time he uses it, the words ‘Paper Clip’ appear on the screen) or something inaccurate you’ve seen in a movie some time (eg passing a biometric scan using a fingerprint obtained by dusting a previous fingerprint), rather than anything halfway competent.

It’s also got a few women problems and every so often thinks to itself, “Maybe I could do that bit in the pilot of Scorpion. Or Hawaii Five-O‘s,” since sticking to one remake is too hard. If only it had been as interesting as either of those, though, since 10 minutes before the end, I was clubbing myself in the hope that it would be ending soon. That’s when they nicked a bit from Intelligence and I gave up.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including MacGyver, Lucifer, Doctor Doctor and Mr Robot”