What did you watch this month? Including The Killing 3, Arrow, The Wedding Band and The Hunger Games

It’s “What did you watch this month?”, my chance to tell you what I movies and TV I watched in the past month that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

As you can probably tell from the temporary retitling of this feature, it’s been a busy old time for me of late, which is why I haven’t been updating you on shows and why I haven’t been watching as many. Oh, and the Sky+ box as been doing lots of “PART-REC” and “RECORDING FAILED” and even deleting things I have recorded, including Young Doctor’s Notebook. That’s helpful, huh?

But since a load of shows have had their finales, now seems a good time to give my thoughts on those, at least.

First, the usual recommendations: 30 Rock, Arrow, Don’t Trust The B—– in Apartment 23, Go On, Last Resort, Modern Family and Peep Show. I’m adding Elementary and The Wedding Band to the list as well – more on that in a moment.

And here’s a few thoughts.

  • Arrow: Slowly been declining in strength and becoming more and more comic book in its implausibility. Geoff Johns’ introduction of Huntress to the show was just dreadful, too, with bad dialogue, bad acting and a script that was actually pretty detrimental to one of DC’s best-loved female superheroines. Still, Kelly Hu got to come back for a bit at least. And then we have John Barrowman as a ‘heavy’. HA HA HA! Still, the last episode was a bit of an up-tick in quality again, so all is not lost yet.
  • Dexter – So, hang on, Dexter literally thought he had a ‘dark passenger’? It wasn’t just a metaphor? Well, that’s just bobbins. Anyway, a distinctly uninspiring finale that at least wasn’t as ridiculous as last season’s and with a big surprise (or two) to boot. And at least the first half of the season was good because of Ray Stevenson and it was good to see Dokes back, even in flashback.
  • Don’t Trust The B—-: A variable three episodes with a real clunker and a couple of very funny ones. Glad to see them remembering that Chloe is supposed to be an evil b—–, too, not just kooky and a bit of a party girl. And a head nod to The Great Gatsby – you don’t get many of those these days. As always, too, full kudos to James Van Der Beek, who is really relishing playing… himself. And Dean Cain, too.
  • Elementary: So this is more of a guilty pleasure than because it’s a great show, but I do actually look forward to it now each week. It’s still working out what exactly a Sherlock Holmes mystery should be and no matter how hard they try, Joan Watson is still incredibly dull, but it’s good fun.
  • Go On: Unlike Community, the show still hasn’t worked out how to make its individual characters gel as a group, but it’s doing some nice work with at least some of the characters by themselves.
  • Homeland: So the season finally ended with two decent episodes in a row. While it was still a little daft, the finale had the right combination of thrills, twists and developments, none of which you probably saw/will see coming. Just about redeemed itself after a season of vastly variable quality.
  • The Killing 3: So the iPlayer deleted last weeks’ episodes before I had a chance to watch them (not letting me download them didn’t help). Again, this is just one of the reasons why I’ve had a hard time watching the three seasons of The Killing. Anyway, I watched the last two and was surprised by almost nothing. Seriously, I don’t get why people love this show so much. Okay, it’s well acted, but apart from its vibe and Sarah Lund, it’s daft, stupider than an episode of season two of Homeland and is just 1001 crime drama cliches. Or at least this season has been. It would have been more of a surprise if Sarah Lund had been able to ride off into the sunset happily. In particular, the criminal’s plan four episodes ago kind of relied on the police not being able to hit him even once with 30 rounds of ammunition… as he slowly sails under a bridge they’re standing on. Just silly. Bring back The Bridge.
  • Last Resort: Talking of daft and silly, that’s Last Resort. While having a few thrilling moments each episode, it’s also had some ridiculous matte work to help some of our heroes go to ‘the Philippines’ and we have had a daft series of abduction cycles for one character that’s worse than the Perils of Penelope Pitstop. Plus the stuff with the COB has been dreadful. Shame really, but at least it looks like they’re heading towards a decent ending.
  • The Mindy Project: Interesting to see some sign of work competency from Mindy, but the Zoolander-ish attack on midwifery was just bizarre. The Christmas episode was a bit dull, but had a good final 10 minutes.
  • Peep Show: While never quite hitting the delightful depravities of previous series and while feeling a little bit like we’ve been here before, it’s still a guaranteed source of laughter each week.
  • Vegas: I’m wondering what they promised Carrie Anne Moss when they asked her to star in this, because if it was ‘a lot of screen time and a decent role’, they were lying. Ditto Jason Mara. Over the last couple of episodes, we’ve had a very clunky ‘girl power’ episode and quite a dull Christmas episode. Such a shame after the initial promise of the pilot, but it’s still a relatively absorbing weekly watch.
  • The Wedding Band: While still a bit sexist and a bit ‘male gaze’, The Wedding Band is still proving to be an interesting subversion of the ‘bro comedy’ that plays with the sexist conventions and messes around with them. It’s not outstanding, but it’s enjoyable.

And in movies:

  • The Hunger Games: Despite being loved by the same demographic as Twilight, this is a very different, far more satisfying beast – a future dystopia heavily based on ancient Rome that sees kids take the place of gladiators in a high-tech country arena where they have to fight to the death. The always excellent Jennifer Lawrence is about 1,000,000 times better – and a better role model – than Kristen Stewart’s Bella, too. Give it a watch.

“What did you watch this month?” is your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV and films that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?

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Totally Serialized returns with Jean Reno and Jo, Spiral and Grégory Fitoussi, Ashley Pharoah, Doctor Who and more French & UK TV

Remember Total Serialized, the French and British TV Series Festival? Well it’s back again. Here beginneth the press release/

From 16 to 20 January 2013, Ciné Lumière at the Institut français will hold the second edition of Totally Serialized. It will showcase the best of new productions from both sides of the Channel and also European TV shows on the big screen – with actors, screenwriters and directors in attendance.

Highlights include:

  • The UK premiere of the first episode of Spiral series 4, followed by a Q&A with actor Grégory Fitoussi!
  • The first episode of the mini-series Labyrinth, based on the multi-million selling novel by Kate Mosse, followed by a panel Q&A with cast and key creatives
  • The UK premieres of new Scandinavian TV show Real Humans, and innovative French shows Rebound, Spin and The Church Men
  • A panel on TV screenwriting with Jack Thorne (The Fades, This is England), Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars) and French screenwriters
  • The world premiere of Flight of the Storks directed by Jan Kounen
  • The world premiere of Jo attended by Jean Reno
  • A comedy medley of French and British sitcoms (The Thick of It, Peep Show, Kaboul Kitchen, Workingirls)
  • A Skins revival to say goodbye to the cult show ending this year, with a screening of the very first episode and a Q&A with the creator Bryan Elsley
  • A night of Doctor Who fun with fancy dress, music, quizzes and a writing masterclass with Toby Whithouse.

Other events will be announced in the next few weeks so please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (French Institute account) and check our website. The official Twitter tag for the festival is #TS2013.

US TV

What have you been watching this week (w/e January 7)?

Southland

Back on Friday after the Christmas break, it’s “What have you been watching this week?”, your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched this week. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?

So things are starting up again, slowly, fortunately so I’ve managed to stay up to date with just about everything that was on this week, I think. I’ve already reviewed InSecurity, so, after the jump, Cougar Town, Modern Family, No Ordinary Family, Peep Show, Running Wilde, and the week’s highlight, the return of the ever-marvellous Southland (best cop show since The Wire, in case I’ve not said that before). Guess which one I’ve decided to drop from my viewing schedules…

I have watched other stuff, but really Come Dine With Me and Time Team repeats aren’t necessarily anything I’d recommend other people watch.

Continue reading “What have you been watching this week (w/e January 7)?”

UK TV

What have you been watching this Christmas 2010?

John Hurt in Whistle and I'll Come To You

Christmas has come, Christmas has gone. But most people probably spent at least a bit of watching tele. Since we live in the fabulous world of Internet catch-up services like the iPlayer and Hulu, why not tell your fellow readers what you’ve seen so they can see the good stuff they might have missed?

I’ve got a load to catch up on – Upstairs Downstairs, the original Swedish Wallanders, The Goodies repeats, Shooting Stars and Agatha Christie’s Marple – but after the jump, Doctor Who, Peep Show, Strictly Come Dancing, Whistle and I’ll Come To You and Zen at least. I’m sure I watched more than that. It’ll come to me.

Continue reading “What have you been watching this Christmas 2010?”

US TV

What have you been watching this week (w/e December 24)?

Alex Breckenridge in Life Unexpected's Thanksgiving episode

Okay, let’s try this again given my last 20 minutes work just deleted itself thanks to buggy software…

It’s “What have you been watching this week?”, your chance to recommend to friends and fellow blog readers the TV that they might be missing or should avoid – and for me to do mini-reviews of everything I’ve watched this week.

It’s been two weeks since the last one, which was entirely deliberate and because of the Christmas schedules and not because I was working or anything. Oh yes. Over that time, there’s actually been not much at all, so I’ve caught up with just about everything. So after the jump Ancient Worlds, The Apprentice, Being Erica, Burn Notice, Community, Dexter, Dirk Gently, Hellcats, Life Unexpected, Misfits, Peep Show, Running Wilde, The Trip and a big chunk of BBC4’s ‘The Glory of Greece’ season – Delphi: The Bellybutton of the World and Gods and Monsters: Homer’s Odyssey.

Continue reading “What have you been watching this week (w/e December 24)?”