Internet TV

Review: Safe (season one) (Netflix)

In the UK: Available on Netflix

Sometimes, you really can get the wrong end of the stick with these international productions. When I first heard about Safe, it was via an article in Le Figaro. Audrey Fleurot from Engrenages (Spiral), Michael C Hall from Dexter, in a Netflix drama written by US thriller writer Harlan Coben and set inside a gated community? Brilliant! It’ll be like Sky Atlantic’s Riviera – except good.

Sure, it was also going to feature the likes of Marc Warren (Mad Dogs) and Amanda Abbington (Sherlock), and at least some of it was going to be filmed in Britain, but I mentally glossed over that. Audrey, Michael, Harlan, all that talk by Le Figaro of Harlan’s obsession with French actresses – it was going to be exotic, wasn’t it? Maybe a bit in the UK, but mostly it would be in France, right? Or maybe 50/50? Why else cast Fleurot?

Then I saw the trailer.

Wait. That was all Britain. Nothing but Britain. No sunshine, no France, no French. Just Britain. Not even a good bit of Britain at that, but Manchester.

And what was that accent, Michael? Why haven’t they allowed you to be American? And have you been watching The Only Way is Essex with Chris Pratt?

Then I remembered – Harlan Coben had co-written that Sky1 show The Five with Danny Brocklehurst, hadn’t he? And Brocklehurst was one of the writers for Safe, too.

Oh dear God. This was actually a British show. It was basically a Sky1 show with a slightly more international cast than usual, but on Netflix. Oh the horror!

So that was the stick I incorrectly grasped with Safe. Although we in the UK obviously associate Netflix with bringing us both their own programmes made overseas and other country’s programmes that they’ve bought up, that’s something they do for everyone else, too, and this was going to be like The Crown – another entry in the ‘international TV that we made in the UK for everyone else’ category. We would be the rest of the world’s ‘exotic’.

However, there was a second stick. My assumption was that because it was UK TV made in the UK by a UK production company and written by UK writers, it was going to be unwatchable rubbish. Just dreadful, I thought.

Surprise! It’s not. Indeed, Safe isn’t half bad. A bit silly and even comedic in places – and not just Hall’s accent – with episode endings that push the boundaries of plausibility to their limits, but actually halfway decent. I even watched it all the way through to the end. That’s a first for me and a British TV drama in rather a long time…

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When’s that show you mentioned starting, TMINE? Including Le Chalet, Charité, Vlucht HS13, Safe and Let’s Get Physical

Every Friday, TMINE lets you know when the latest TV shows from around the world will air in the UK

Only a couple of new acquisitions this week but they’ve both got premiere dates, so let’s not dawdle. But I will note that streaming services (mostly Netflix but also Walter Presents) have started two new trends of late:

  1. Acquisitions that no one knows about but are suddenly just available to watch
  2. Acquisitions that are announced and the programmes in questions are available to watch instantly.

You’ll see what I mean in a mo.

Premiere dates

Le Chalet

Le Chalet (The Chalet) (France: France 2; UK: Netflix)
Premiere date: Available since Tuesday

“Friends gathered at a remote chalet in the French Alps for a summer getaway are caught in a deadly trap as a dark secret from the past comes to light.”

What Netflix doesn’t tell you is that it’s typically French in that it’s based on an Agatha Christie novel – And Then There Were None. It’s also typically French in that it’s got Gilou from Engrenages (Spiral) in it.

Alicia von Rittberg as Ida in Charité
Alicia von Rittberg as Ida in Charité

Charité (Germany: ARD/Das Erste; UK: Netflix)
Premiere date: Available now

Six-part medical series, set in Berlin in 1888, in which Ida (Alicia von Rittberg) is operated on as a patient of the Charité and is forced to pay back her treatment costs by working as a nursing assistant under the bigoted regiment of deaconess Martha. Through this, she discovers her passion for medicine and is able to follow her free and rebellious spirit in its desire to live a self-determined future, in an age when women hardly had a right to higher education. Along the way, she meets extraordinary physicians such as Rudolf Virchow, as well as researchers and later Nobel Laureates Robert Koch, Emil von Behring, and Paul Ehrlich.

Acquired yesterday. Made available… yesterday. Amazing, hey?

Flight HS13

Vlucht HS13 (Flight HS13) (The Netherlands: NPO3; UK: Walter Presents)
Premiere date: Tuesday, April 24, 11pm

This was acquired nearly a year and a half ago, but Walter only just got round to telling us it’ll air next week. Nice work, Walt.

Liv (Katja Schuurman) has the perfect life: happily married to surgeon Simon, they have a son, she co-owns a successful design business and shares a beautiful home. However, her life is suddenly turned upside down when her husband goes on a business trip and his plane crashes. Her grieving is dramatically halted when she discovers from the passenger list that her husband never actually boarded the plane.

It transpires that upon arriving at the airport to supposedly take his flight, he went straight to arrivals where, CCTV reveals, he greeted another woman and young child. Her husband appears to have a secret life and is now missing.

Confused, betrayed and angry, Flight HS13 follows Liv’s mission to find her husband, a journey which will uncover a tangled web of corruption, blackmail and violence.

Let's Get Physical

Let’s Get Physical (US: Pop; UK: E4)
Premiere date: Thursday, May 3, 9:30pm

Dodgeball but with aerobics and Jane Seymour and without many jokes.

Episode reviews: 1

Michael C Hall and Audrey Fleurot in Safe

Safe (Netflix)
Premiere date: Thursday, May 10

Created by Harlan Coben and written by Danny Brocklehurst (The Five, Come Home), Safe sees widowed surgeon Tom Delaney (Dexter‘s Michael C Hall) begin unearthing dark secrets about the people closest to him after his teenage daughter goes missing. The cast also includes Amanda Abbington, Marc Warren, Audrey Fleurot and Hannah Arterton.

Pretty interesting mix of Brits and international cast members, in a UK setting (at least in the trailer), but I’m not sure about Hall’s accent. It’s a bit Orphan Black, if you know what I mean. Despite the presence of Engrenages (Spiral)‘s Audrey Fleurot, it’s not typically French though.

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”

Volker Bruch as Gereon Rath in Babylon Berlin
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Babylon Berlin (season two), Counterpart and The Alienist

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

Gosh, it’s been a busy old week, hasn’t it? Elsewhere, I’ve posted third- and fourth-episode verdicts on The Resident (US: Fox; UK: Universal Channel), Corporate (US: Comedy Central) and Burden of Truth (Canada: CBC), and that’s on top of reviewing the first episode of The Alienist (US: TNT; UK: Netflix).

Some time in the next few days I’ll be taking a gander at Let’s Get Physical (US: Pop), and passing a third-episode verdict on Black Lightning (US: The CW; UK: Netflix). I’m also knuckling down to try to watch all of Netflix’s Altered Carbon in time for a Boxset Monday. Let’s see how that goes.

But today, it’s time to look at the regulars. SEAL Team and Will & Grace are on a break right now, but Engrenages (Spiral), Happy!, The Magicians and Star Trek: Discovery will all be getting my considered opinions, as will The Brave and Great News season finales (which will probably be their series finales, to be honest).

On top of that, Counterpart has now started in earnest, there’s a new episode of The Alienist and Amazon’s started dishing out two episodes of season two of Baron Noir at time (although I’ve not had time to watch today’s two new episodes, just the first two). And although it didn’t quite merit a full Boxset Monday treatment, I did watch all of season two of Babylon Berlin this week.

That’s all after the jump – see you in a mo.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Babylon Berlin (season two), Counterpart and The Alienist”

Happy on Syfy
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Happy!, Burden of Truth and Black Lightning

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

A few new shows have bubbled up since the previous WHYBW that I’ve reviewed elsewhere:

I’ll be reviewing The Alienist (US: TNT; UK: Netflix) at some point very soon, as well as anything else that shows up, so that means that after the jump, I’ll be dealing with the usual regulars: Alone Together, The Brave, Burden of Truth, Cardinal, Engrenages (Spiral), Great News, Happy!, The Magicians, SEAL Team, Star Trek: Discovery and Will & Grace. Most of these are on their way out as we reach mid-season, but one of them will receive a promotion and one of them will get dropped. Can you guess which?

Oh, and there’s been another episode of both Black Lightning and The Resident. That was speedy, hey?

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Happy!, Burden of Truth and Black Lightning”