Musashi
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Krypton, Killing Eve and The Good Fight

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

As suspected, the weather gods have been having some yucks this week, haven’t they? On top of that, the bank holiday and my slightly unpredictable workload means that I didn’t quite get round to reviewing everything I’d intended to. Sigh.

But I have at least now watched all of Safe, so I’ll be reviewing that soon, maybe even tomorrow, and I should have time to play proper catch-up with a few other series this weekend, too, including Foxtel (Australia)’s Picnic at Hanging Rock and ABC (Australia)’s Mystery Road, which starts on Sunday. Tabula Rasa might even get that promised viewing and since I’ve seen a couple of movies at the cinema, as well, Movie Monday might be making at appearance, too. Plus I might even finish watching the first season of Cobra Kai.

Let’s not over-promise, though, even if the regular viewing list is about to plummet to virtually nothing, thanks to the end of the spring season in the US. Indeed, after the jump, as well as the latest episodes of The Americans, Bron/Broen (The Bridge), Legion and Westworld, I’ll be talking about the season finales of The Good Fight, Killing Eve and Krypton. 0See you in a mo as we watch that viewing list get cut in half…

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Krypton, Killing Eve and The Good Fight”

SEAL Team
International TV

What have you been watching? Including SEAL Team, Bron/Broen (The Bridge), Killing Eve and Westworld

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

Sigh. Failed again. So I haven’t watched any of the three episodes of Starz’s Vida that have aired so far; I’m only four episodes through Netflix’s Safe; I’ve not got any further with Walter Presents’ Tabula Rasa; and I’d just about forgotten All Night exists. Oh dear.

But I did watch Carter (Canada: Bravo; UK: Alibi), so that’s something at least, hey?

Given that it’s YA Bank Holiday Weekend in the UK this weekend, I think I could end up either:

  • Watching none of them
  • Watching all of them.

My suspicion is that it’ll be something in between, with Safe getting a review and maybe Vida and All Night getting a whistlestop tour next WHYBW. But let’s see what the weather gods bring us.

After the jump, let’s talk about all the lovely reliable regular shows: The Americans, Bron/Broen (The Bridge), The Good Fight, Krypton, Legion, and Westworld, as well as the season finale of SEAL Team and two episodes of Killing Eve, now I’ve played catch-up. If only I were as reliable as TV, hey?

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including SEAL Team, Bron/Broen (The Bridge), Killing Eve and Westworld”

Sofia Helin in season 4 of Bron/Broen (The Bridge)
TV reviews

What have you been watching? Including Timeless, Silicon Valley, The Bridge and Harrow

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

So that didn’t quite go as planned. Mais, plus ça change, hey? As well as upfronts week throwing a bit of a spanner in the works in terms of having the time to review and watch things, I spent a bit more of the weekend talking to Microsoft Support than I was planning, so I had even less time than that.

No review of Vida, then, but I’ll try to get one done by next WHYBW, by which point it might be a third-episode verdict anyway. I also hope to review AXN’s new show, Carter, and I might even be able to get through All Night, even though it’s a teen comedy. But we’ll see about that.

In terms of Boxset Monday, my plans were a bit more convoluted. I did make a start on Tabula Rasa on Walter Presents, except I managed about 10 minutes of that before feeling like it was a bit of a struggle. Interesting, but a bit of struggle. I’m going to try to bear with it, since Fans of European and World TV Dramas reckons the second half is ‘amazing’.

But that might not be for a while now, since this weekend, I’m going to try to get through the rest of Netflix’s Safe. See, I had been thinking of having that as a back-up in case I didn’t manage to make it through Tabula Rasa, but given the trailer, I figured I’d be able to just watch the first episode and call it a day, since Michael C Hall’s accent sounded very annoying. Except I ended up watching the first two and quite liking it, and then someone I work with told me she’d boxset the entire series in a day and that the last episode was great.

That’s the plan for next Monday, then. Let’s see how it withstands an encounter with reality.

This weekend saw a lot of changes to the schedules, mind, with new shows coming and old shows going, and TMINE’s viewing schedule has gone through quite a bit. We’ve decided to stop watching The Handmaid’s Tale, at least for now, since it’s just a bit too bleak and miserable. That may change at some point, though. Meanwhile, in the UK, Bron/Broen (The Bridge) is back. Timeless, of course, had a double-episode finale, which meant I didn’t quite have the time to watch the latest Killing Eve, so I’ll do a doubler next week. Mean-meanwhile, Harrow and Silicon Valley both had regular finales, more about which will come after the jump.

That just leaves the other usual regulars: The Americans, The Good Fight, Krypton, Legion, SEAL Team and Westworld. All of that after the jump, too.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Timeless, Silicon Valley, The Bridge and Harrow”

Jack Ryan
News

Jack Ryan, The Oath renewed; The Path cancelled; Tales of the City sequel green lit; + more

Internet TV

  • Amazon renews: Jack Ryan
  • developing: adaptation of Amy Stewart’s Girl Waits With Gun
  • Netflix green lights: sequel to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of The City, with Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Babara Garrick and Ellen Page

International TV

UK TV

  • Channel 4 green lights: one-off Tony Martin drama The Interrogation, with Steve Pemberton, Daniel Mays and Stuart Graham

US TV

New US TV shows

  • A24 green lights: series of sub-par moon astronauts comedy Moonbase 8, with Fred Armisen, Tim Heidecker and John C Reilly
  • Crackle developing: sci-fi reimagining of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

New US TV show casting

  • Georgia Flood, Lucas Neff, Rory O’Malley et al to star in Lifetime’s American Princess
Killing Eve
US TV

Review: Killing Eve 1×1 (US: BBC America; UK: BBC One/BBC Three)

In the US: Sundays, 9pm, BBC America
In the UK: Acquired by BBC One/BBC Three. Will air in 2018

These days, it’s perhaps hard to remember that the James Bond books were aspirational pieces of writing. Sure, they were about an MI6 spy – well, assassin really, given his licence to kill – but as well as being a classic example of ‘competence porn‘, their endless lists of foods, designer labels and airports were also windows on a world of luxury and international travel that a post-war generation of readers still on rations could never hope to see for themselves. Small wonder that the movies with their glossy location filming became huge hits for the pre-EasyJet generations, who now know full well that airports are not in the slightest bit glamorous.

Outside the John Le Carré world of spy realism, pretty much every male spy TV and film series has been the same aspirational idea, just redressed for a new generation or slightly different audience: the Bourne movie series is basically Bond again, but for liberal Americans, for example.

Aspirational female spies – and assassins – have been a little harder to find. Sure, there have been attempts, such as the Moneypenny books and Black Widow in comics, but possibly the best attempt so far has been Modesty Blaise, although the movie didn’t really set the world on fire, despite numerous charms.

Sandra Oh in Killing Eve

Jane Bond

One could argue about what an aspirational female spy/assassin would be, but BBC America’s new series, Killing Eve, offers one really good suggestion. Adapted from Luke Jennings’s Villanelle novels by Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, it sees Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) playing a bored MI5 desk officer who begins to suspect that a series of assassinations around the world are the work of a female assassin. Even though, it’s not her job, she defies orders and investigates, resulting in tragedy – and possibly a new job thanks to MI6’s Fiona Shaw.

Rather brilliantly, even though the books are about Russian orphan-turned-assassin Villanelle – played equally brilliantly here by Jodie Comer (Doctor Foster) – Oh is the clear protagonist of the piece. That means we aren’t asked to identify as much with Villanelle and her job and can instead aspire to her rather wonderful lifestyle. She lives in Paris, speaks multiple languages fluently, and has designer bed linen and clothes.

But rather than be a simple blunt, character-less tool of the state like James Bond, or a seductive femme fatale without any desires of her own, Comer’s Villanelle has fun. She’s also fun herself. When handler Kim Bodnia (Bron/Broen) shows up at her apartment, she’s faked her own suicide – but not too well, as she doesn’t want him to believe too much, since it’s just a joke.

She’s also no mere male spy with the pronouns changed or a male fantasy. She does things that no male spy tends to do: she plays with children, for example. Can you imagine Bond doing that? She’s also more gymnast than ninja or member of the military. She shins up drainpipes like she’s in the circus, and when she’s forced to hide in a room without exits, she literally folds up her diminutive stature inside a suitcase. She listens to cool music, wears cool clothes, zooms around on motorbikes and is a delight to behold, even when she’s stabbing someone in the eye.

Small wonder that Killing Eve is all about the mutual fascination that Oh and Comer end up having for one another, Comer and her fun life being something that Oh could aspire to having.

Kim Bodnia and Jodie Comer in Killing Eve
Kim Bodnia and Jodie Comer in Killing Eve

Spy humour

But Killing Eve is as much a comedy as it is a drama. Nevertheless, unlike most spy comedies, such as Austin Powers, ChuckSpy or In Like Flint, it’s not a spoof. Instead, this is a comedy of everyday life, of the office and of relationships. Oh and work colleague David Haig are annoyed to have to come into work on a Saturday – and are still hung over from Haig’s birthday party from the night before. Oh snacks her way through this important meeting and is worried that she’s not making the right impression with Shaw. Important conversations happen while buying milk at the corner shop, rather than over a shark tank.

I have to admit to really loving Killing Eve, with its mixture of spy glamour and spy mundanity. Despite being made by BBC America, there’s location filming all over Europe and it looks great. Oh’s a great lead and fits in with the British tone and humour. Comer, meanwhile, is a revelation – I don’t remember ever seeing her in anything, but here she dominates every scene when necessary, while disappearing into the background whenever the story demands it.

Even if you didn’t like Fleabag, there’s a good chance you’ll like or even love this. And it might even make you want to become a top female assassin.