US TV

What have you been watching? Including Boba Fett and Cobra Kai

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

I’ve not actually been watching much TV this week, I’m afraid. New shows have arrived but, honestly, I didn’t fancy them. Apart from maybe Pivoting (US: Fox), but that was only on last night, so I’ve not had time to watch it.

I did watch the latest episodes of The Book of Bobba Fett and Cobra Kai. The former (episode two) shows us there’s going to be a dual narrative in these episodes, with us seeing how Boba Fett got to be bad ass on Tatooine, learning to do his thing and respect the ways of the Tuskan raiders (yes, I’ve probably spelt half of those words wrongly. Sorry Star Wars fans), in the past while the present day narrative sees him trying to establish his new criminal empire and take over from Jabba the Hut as the new ‘daimyo’. It was fine. Quite fun to watch, but nothing too special, mainly because two stories seem to have only half the impact.

Meanwhile, it was more of the same in Cobra Kai as we’re only up to about episode six or seven. Lovely Wife isn’t enjoying this season at all, after loving the previous seasons, so has told me I can watch the rest of it by myself ‘if I want’. But I don’t really want, so I might hold off until she’s ready. I see her point: there’s a lot more nastiness and bullying in this season compared to the previous seasons, which makes it a bit less fun to watch. But we’ll see.

That’s it, though. So here’s what I could have watched if I’d wanted to and why I didn’t bother.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Boba Fett and Cobra Kai”
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Squid Game, Cobra Kai, Hawkeye, The Mezzotint and The Book of Boba Fett

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

Hello, everyone, and welcome to 2022 – 2021 again but done right, we can all hope. How was your Christmas break? Hope you managed to get one and didn’t get the dreaded lurgy (or one of the other minor lurgies that were doing the rounds).

You’ll be glad to hear – since you’re here – that TMINE actually had the chance to watch some new TV shows over Christmas. Some of them were even good.

There was only one regular still on the TMINE viewing list: Hawkeye (Disney+). The final episode of that was fun, but somewhat lightweight. Its highlight was a tear-jerking confrontation between (spoiler alert) Yelena Belova (Black Widow’s grieving sister) and Hawkeye. However, the script didn’t exactly let both barrels blast on that, and it didn’t feel like we were getting Jeremy Renner, the Oscar-nominated actor, so much as Jeremy Renner, the bit-part player from an episode of Angel, so the emotion largely came from (spoiler alert) Florence Pugh and all the good work that other entries in the MCU had already done.

What also should have been a highlight of the episode – the return of (spoiler alert) Vincent D’Onofrio reprising his Netflix Defenders role of Wilson Fisk – largely got ruined through poor characterisation, right down to that atrocious shirt. I’m wondering if he’s a parallel universe version, rather than the one we’ve seen elsewhere. But maybe it’s down to a problem that’s intrinsic to both comic book crossovers and the MCU that stems from one of their supposed strengths: the ability to have different tones and genres in different shows and movies. If you stick something from a grittier genre into something more comedic and family oriented, something’s got to change, and more often than not, it’s the grittier thing. That can work, but here, it largely undid more or less all the good work that Daredevil et al in terms of characterisation and plausibility – despite some excellent acting from the star in question.

Overall, though, while not ultimately as good on average as WandaVision, it had almost as many highs, was more consistent and more fun, and was still a lovely Christmas treat for us all to unwrap. Plus it did give us this brilliant double-act.

After the jump, though, let’s talk about those new shows. Squid Game (Netflix) technically isn’t a new show, since it’s been around for a while – to the extent that we actually tried it a few weeks ago but gave up. However, we felt we should give it a second chance, given how popular it is, and we made it all the way through to the end.

Properly new were BBC Four’s latest Ghost Story for Christmas, The Mezzotint, and Disney+’s latest entry in the Star Wars firmament, The Book of Boba Fett. And although we’ve only got halfway through it, let’s talk a bit about season four of Cobra Kai (Netflix) as well. See you in a mo!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Squid Game, Cobra Kai, Hawkeye, The Mezzotint and The Book of Boba Fett”
Awkwafina
US TV

What have you been watching? Including Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens

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

Star Trek Picard
Star Trek: Picard

This week’s reviews

Week four of Spring 2020 was a little quieter than the previous one, but we had three new shows launch. You can read the TMINE reviews of Outmatched (US: Fox) and Star Trek: Picard (US: CBS All Access; UK: Amazon) elsewhere, but we can talk about Awkwafina is Nora from Queens (US: Comedy Central) after the jump.

Meanwhile, in the film world, Orange Thursday took in Knives Out (2019) and Angel Has Fallen (2019).

Ragnarok
Ragnarok

What’s coming next

Starting in the next week are Onisciente (Omniscient) (Netflix), The Stranger (Netflix), Luna Nera (Black Moon) (Netflix) and Ragnarok (Netflix). Yep, while others sleep, Netflix triumphs. I’ll pick one of those to watch over the next week and hopefully, it’ll be your Boxset Monday, but more likely your Boxset Tuesday.

Tomorrow’s Orange Thursday will be reviewing The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020) and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019). One of those is significantly better than the other.

Daredevil
Daredevil

The regulars

The regulars list is smaller even than normal this week, since both Evil and Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector took a break and Lovely Wife has decided she’d quite like to watch Avenue 5, so we’ll be watching episode 2 tonight.

Anyway, that just leaves 9-1-1: Lone Star, Stumptown and The Outsider. Still, it is What have you been watching? so now’s your chance to recommend some shows. Even Doctor Who. I hear there was a surprise guest ((spoiler alert) Captain Jack) and a massive development ((spoiler alert) another Doctor Who/alternative Doctor Who). Still not bothering with it.

In case you’ve been wondering what TMINE has been doing with itself, given such a lack of viewing options, the answer is simple: I’ve been rewatching the entire first season of Marvel’s Daredevil. It’s been an interesting experience, since clearly I was in a grumpy mood when I reviewed the first few episodes and still quite grumpy when I didn’t include it in my Top 9 (would have been 10 with Daredevil) shows of 2015.

Because it’s brilliant. Really sublime stuff – possibly my favourite season of all the Marvel shows, even more so than the first season of Iron Fist. It verges on the out and out sadistic at times, sure – you can tell showrunner Steven S DeKnight had just come off Spartacus – but despite having already watched it, I zoomed through all 13 episodes in about three days flat. Even the underwhelming costume reveal at the end was fine and Stick and the Hand didn’t irk me so much this time round.

The scripts explorations of the characters are almost lyrical at times, plus I really enjoyed some of its side-themes more, such as its study of the (diminishing) importance of journalism. There’s some real detective work/journalism going on in the investigation. And even when you know what’s coming, there are still some genuinely surprising choices by the writers, such as Melvyn’s reaction to losing a fight. Of which there are many, all so beautifully choreographed and directed – even Wu Assassins couldn’t quite match it.

Plus there’s the general tone of the whole season, with some actually thought-provoking discussions of good and evil, morality, vigilantism, killing, rich and poor, Catholicism and more. Properly adult stuff it is.

Lastly, having watched all the other seasons and Netflix Marvel shows since, it’s really surprising to see how much everything fits together and was set up from the beginning. Yep, all that building-buying for the Japanese had a point and Madame Gao really did have to travel further than China to go back to her homeland.

So, if you’ve already watched Daredevil, give it another go, as it might surprise you. If you’ve not, you should definitely try it – provided you’ve got a strong stomach.

There. I finally got round to doing that boxset review like I promised. Only took me five years.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens”
The Punisher
Streaming TV

Boxset Tuesday: The Punisher (season two) (Netflix)

Available on Netflix

Marvel’s The Punisher is constantly surprising. It’s surprising that it’s so surprising. An unexpected spin-off from season two of Marvel’s Daredevil, its potential seemed limited: an ex-marine is a bit hacked off that his wife and children are killed by gangsters, so tools himself up to the nines with all the guns and ammo he can get his hands on to punish those responsible. And in an age of the alt-right and mass shootings, an angry white man shooting up the neighbourhood because he thinks it’s gone to the dogs doesn’t really have great optics.

Yet, season one of Marvel’s The Punisher was one of TMINE’s Top N shows of 2018, a musing on men’s role in society, class, the brotherhood of soldiering and the nature of war. It saw ‘The Punisher’ aka Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) facing up to former best friend Billy Russo (Ben Barnes) in New York to deal with moral infractions by the CIA, the alt-right and corporate greed, all while slowly realising that maybe he can no longer fit into a family thanks to the violence he’s seen – and meted out.

More surprisingly still, there was actually very little ‘punishing’. Indeed, I pointed out that “Frank Castle hardly feels like ‘The Punisher’ at all.”

Season two isn’t that different in that regard. Indeed, contrary to Netflix’s standard “first season as a pilot” rule, I’d say here, it’s “two seasons as a pilot”, with Frank only becoming The Punisher in the season’s – and perhaps the series’ – final scene. Up to that point, what we have is a curious retread of the first season, but with perspectives switched.

The Punisher

Pilgrim’s progress

Season two opens with everyone in very different places from where they started season one. Russo is laid up in a coma in hospital, his face now a mangled ‘jigsaw’ thanks to Frank’s work in season one. Department of Homeland Security special agent Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah) may now be in charge of New York’s DHS operations, but she’s obsessed with Russo, visiting him every day in hospital, convinced he’s faking his coma and, when he wakes up, his apparent amnesia about what he did in the first season.

Meanwhile, Frank’s in a good place, travelling the US. Unfortunately, one day he goes to the wrong bar and ends up having to save  Giorgia Whigham’s Amy Bendix from a group of highly trained killers. Soon, fundamentalist Christian ‘John Pilgrim’ (Shooter‘s Josh Stewart) is on his tail trying to kill both him and Bendix.

You can bet, of course, that those two plot threads are going to intertwine, but their resolution? Maybe not what you’d expect from The Punisher.

Continue reading “Boxset Tuesday: The Punisher (season two) (Netflix)”

Daredevil
News

Daredevil, Another Period cancelled; Preacher renewed; Nick Hornby’s Uri and Ella adaptation; + more

Every weekday, TMINE brings you the latest TV news from around the world

Internet TV

US TV

US TV show casting

  • Dara Reneé to recur on ABC’s black-ish
  • Eric Roberts, Raoul Bova, Humberto Zurita et al join Telemundo’s La Reina del Sur

New US TV shows

New US TV show casting

  • Yvette Monreal and Christopher James Baker join DC Universe’s Stargirl