It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week
It only took about a week before WHYBW missed its scheduled slot, but given how much new stuff has recently arrived and how much old stuff has returned to Tuesdays and Wednesdays, please forgive me. Still, I was wondering what I was going to do on Thursdays…
This week’s reviews
To be frank, I’ve done a crap-load of reviews and previews since last time, too.
Please peruse them at your leisure, whether you intend to watch the shows or not.
Coming up in the next week, I’ll be reviewing The CW’s Roswell reboot, Roswell, New Mexico. Season two of The Punisher will be hitting Netflix this Friday, so I’ll undoubtedly be watching that. And if anything else pops up I’ll review that, too, if I can.
After the jump, though, despite my already extensive viewing schedule, there’ll be reviews of two other new shows I managed to catch: Schooled (US: ABC) and Fam (US: CBS). Gosh, mid-season replacements that are also sitcoms. Cos they’re always funny, hey?
I’ll also be talking about series five of Cuckoo (UK: BBC Three), which I know isn’t a new show and it’s not even a show new to me, but I think it’s probably the first time I’ll have talked about it on the blog.
Although Counterpart decided to take a break this Sunday, a whole bunch of other shows decided to return this week. That means that after the jump, there’ll be the season (and probably series) finale of the one remaining regular, HappyTogether, as well as new episodes of returning regulars Magnum P.I., Corporate and True Detective. Joining them will be the second episodes of both Cavendish and Project Blue Book.
And for reasons that will become clear, I’ll also be talking about every episode of The Orville that’s aired since I gave up on it after its third episode.
TV doesn’t have many auteurs – that is, people whose work you can recognise pretty instantly simply from their ‘look and feel’. Largely, that’s because TV seasons are so long and production so collaborative that one individual, even a showrunner, is unlikely to have enough control over every episode that their ‘fingerprints’ can be spotted.
Sam Esmail seems to be one of the few who can claim to be a TV auteur. The creator and frequent director of Mr Robot, he has a distinct, innovative, experimental directorial style, as well as equally distinct thematic concerns about the nature of the reality.
Or so I’ve gleaned from Homecoming, Amazon’s new original series starring Julia Roberts as psychiatrist at a medical facility helping veterans recover from PTSD, all 10 episodes of which are directed Sam Esmail. From the opening titles of the first episode to the final post-credits scene of the tenth episode, if you’ve seen Mr Robot, you’ll never be in any doubt whatsoever that you’re watching a Sam Esmail drama. And that’s a double-edged thing.
Back when I was reviewing Alex Inc, I pointed out that US firm Gimlet Media has discovered the only way to make real money from podcasts: get someone to adapt them as TV series. Gimlet seems to be getting quite good at this, since Homecoming is another adaptation of a Gimlet podcast, albeit a relatively loose one. Ironically, it’s also vastly more interesting for its visual style than for its actual storyline.
The show runs in two parallel timelines, each of which has its own aspect ratio. The first is set in a blurry, 1970s-style 1:1 aspect ratio 2022, when Roberts is working in a seaside diner as a waitress. Into her life comes DoD complaints investigator Shea Whigham (Waco, Vice Principals, Boardwalk Empire) who wants to know about an incident at a facility at which Roberts used to work involving Stephan James (Shots Fired), one of the ‘Homeland’ veterans in the facility’s care. Roberts denies everything and pleads ignorance.
Meanwhile, back in crisp, HD 16:9 2018, we get to see Roberts’ evolving relationship with James as she provides therapy to him in an effort to help him deal with what he’s seen while fighting overseas. We also get to see the increasingly angry phone relationship she has with boss Bobby Cannavale (Mr Robot, Antman, Jumanji), as it becomes clear that maybe Homecoming has a slightly different agenda to the one its participants have been told.
What isn’t Roberts telling Whigham and why is she now working as a waitress when she’s a trained social worker? More importantly, over the course of the season, what Roberts isn’t telling Whigham increasingly becomes less important than why… Spoilers after the jump.
It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend anything you’ve been watching this week
It’s the last WHYBW of 2017, since TMINE is taking its traditional end-of-year break next week. But never fear – it’ll be back in January to play catch up with all the Christmas TV.
It’s been quiet-ish for new tele this past week, so for the most part, we’re going to be looking at the regulars, with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Mr Robot and Travelers winding up their latest seasons and even series in one case. But I also watched the Christmas episode of Will and Grace, as well as the latest episodes of Happy! and Marvel’s Runaways, so I’ll be discussing all of those, too, after the jump.
I did try to watch episode two of Knightfall as well, but after 15 minutes of reasonably lifeless runarounds and the arrival of Pope Boniface, I found myself too bored to carry on with its bargain basement Vikings intrigues, so I’ve dropped that from the schedule.
All of which still left me a little time on my hands, so I went out! Out the house! Out out!
At the theatre, I saw The Twilight Zoneand at the cinema, I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Then I got bored of out, so although I’d already reviewed the pilot, making it ineligible for Boxset Monday, I watched the whole of the first season of Jean Claude Van Johnson at the weekend. All of that after the jump as well.