The Old Man
US TV

What have you been watching? Including Ms Marvel, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Old Man

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

Let’s keep this short and sweet or else I’ll never get anything down! And I have a lot to cover.

Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One) seems to be operating on a fortnightly to three-weekly schedule at the moment. It’s been interesting and as good as always, even if it starting to feel like Smallville: The Parenting Years, . There’s an interesting ‘post-Metropolis’ vibe to the whole thing, like Superman’s youth was in Metropolis and now he’s older, things that we took as read (he won’t tell people his secret, etc) are no longer clear cut, since honestly, he’s getting on a bit now. So there have been some interesting format changes, at least.

Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime) I finally watched to the end and it turned out to be okay by the end. Not total bobbins and the finale almost made up for the bobbins that went before it. But it was all a supertextually ‘We’re all old now and isn’t it a bit young and silly to be having fights, even with your arch enemies, so why don’t we just be nice to one another before we’re all dead.’ Which is fair enough I guess.

I watched another episode of The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+), which did suggest that maybe there really was a serpent (interesting!), but as usual, hints of adultery and failing marriages put it in my bad books for a couple of weeks so I got no further. Some interesting points around mass hysteria, though.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+) has been really fun. Maybe a little too fun? Remember those old episodes of Star Trek with Harry Mudd and the like? Like that much fun. I mean we’ve literally just had space pirates that have a spaceship that has a steering wheel off a ship.

Still awesome, though.

The Orville (US: Hulu; UK: Disney+) is back in new homes on both sides of the Atlantic. That seems to have forgotten it’s a Star Trek piss take that’s supposed to be having fun and appears to now think it actually is Star Trek and there’s not supposed to be fun in Star Trek. One funny line in the latest episode (there’s three new ones already) and zero in the first, which was basically one of those vaguely philosophical ones they do: can suicide be justified? Seems like if you want to watch funny Star Trek, you have to watch… Star Trek.

For All Mankind (AppleTV+) has made its return and has made it as far as the early 90s. Except the show postulates in a vaguely Watchmen-esque way that the continuation of the space race means that we’d be about 10-30 years ahead of where we were back then, with people doing video conferencing on their Apple Newtons. This season: we’re going to Mars and maybe socialist black Elon Musk, rather than the US and USSR, will be the man to get us there. There’s reduced soapiness at least, and it’s nice to see that our old guard are maybe not as liberal as people would like them to be. So I’m actually enjoying this one a lot more than season two. Particularly since this season opened with an episode that was almost as good as Gravity.

Stranger Things (Netflix) also returned and while not a marked improvement over season three, did feel a lot less repetitive and more innovative. This first batch of eps from the season (there’s a couple more to come next month, then another season after that) is a lot more grown up than the previous episodes, too, with some properly scary stuff going on. But most of it has the show’s favourite characters split up at the beginning, with the rest of the season then either about getting them back together or how 11 is going to get her powers back – which ultimately involves an explanation at last for why Hawkins is such a horror show. I really enjoyed it. I watched it over one weekend, which is something I generally don’t manage to get to do these days. There’s at least one really good new character, maybe two (no spoilers), as well.

And even if none of that was any good, there is one truly great scene that has justifiably propelled Kate Bush to the top of the charts again as a result. Watch it for that scene at least, because it’s actually incredibly moving – oddly enough.

After the jump, the new shows I’ve been watching. Although I might have to be brief on that, too. Sorry!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Ms Marvel, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Old Man”
Night Sky
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Life and Beth and Night Sky

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

Like pretty much everyone in the UK, TMINE is about to pop off on its holidays to take advantage of next week’s double bank holiday – thanks, Queenie! – so time for a quick update on current TV viewing.

A lot of shows are in a holding pattern for us. Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One) is still on holiday. Bel-Air (Peacock) is still just there, waiting for us to watch the rest of it. Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime) is still waiting for me to apologise for calling it bobbins. And The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+) is still there, waiting for me to do the ironing.

Whether I’ll get round to any of those, given that Obi Wan (Disney+) and the final season of Stranger Things (Netflix) were both released today, I can’t say.

We have watched a couple more episodes of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+), which continues to be really good. Okay, so episode three wasn’t that great, perhaps because ‘genetically engineered people’ have been made so dull by the bobbins show. Enough of that, please.

But its killer move now, though, is to make the Gorn the big bad of the series.

You remember the Gorn, don’t you?

Well they’re back and they’re properly scary. Even though we haven’t seen them yet.

So lots of adventure, lots of excitement, lots of proper Spock. It’s Star Trek, guys!

I have watched a couple of episodes of new shows, as well. More on Life and Beth (US: Hulu; UK: Disney+) and Night Sky (Amazon Prime) after the jump.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Life and Beth and Night Sky”
Streaming TV

What have you been watching? Including Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and The Essex Serpent

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

It’s been a bit quiet for TV viewing here at TMINE Towers of late. We’ve not really been watching much at all. I actually blame TV networks for this, since there’s not been much we’ve wanted to watch.

Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One) came back for all of an episode before disappearing again. That’s progressing nicely and has survived The CW’s recent Night of Long Knives, so it’s good to know that there’ll be a season three.

I did manage to finish Moon Knight (Disney+). That’s probably now my favourite of all the Disney+ Marvel TV shows, thanks mainly to its dedication to ignoring the comics to give us something a lot more interest and based in Egyptian mythology. The addition of Scarlet Scarab at the end was something of a punch the air moment, too, and the mid-credits sequence was if not a game-changer, something that genuinely twisted the whole show and what you’d seen.

However, its biggest flaw was that it felt like the middle of an MCU movie, one that needed some prologue and epilogue featuring our titular hero since he hardly ever showed up. Season two isn’t confirmed, either, making this feel like a weird random addition to the MCU, rather than something too important. For now, anyway.

Meanwhile, Bel-Air (Peacock) is still just there, waiting for us to watch the rest of it. We’ve only watched one more episode of Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime). That’s mainly because Lovely Wife is sorely aggrieved with me for calling it ‘bobbins’ last time and has withdrawn my viewing privileges, as she is the official custodian of all things Star Trek. But it’s also because it’s bobbins.

But while Lovely Wife may be the custodian of all things Star Trek, I’m the custodian of all things “not yet available to view in the UK”, which includes brand new Star Trek show Strange New Worlds. So we’ve watched two of those episodes.

And while Netflix might be losing its lustre as the world’s premier streamer (thanks to all manner of internal ructions and hubris, about which much has been written in the trades, recently, as its subscriber figures start to slump and it contemplates an ad-supported model), Apple TV+ is picking up and is on the verge of becoming ‘must see TV’. And so even though The Essex Serpent is a British period drama, I decided to give that a try, too.

Both of those after the jump…

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and The Essex Serpent”
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Moon Knight and Mr Inbetween

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

“Doing this every two weeks seems to be working out for me right now. I think I can pull this off. Famous last words.”

Oops. That’s what I said last time and it pretty much killed April. Work! Gah! More work! Gah. Holiday. Not gah. Actually quite relaxing.

Oh well. Best stop procrastinating and put some TV thoughts down on paper or those really will be my last words…

I’ve watched a whole bunch of new shows, as well as the regulars, but doing proper reviews will take the rest of the day, I reckon, so I’m going to be disciplined and stick to one sentence rundowns. And here’s the clincher: if you want to know more about one of the shows, ask me! Then I’ll respond in the comments.

I reckon that’ll work. And how’s that for fun, too?

There’s been an awful lot of new shows since the last of these, but here are the ones that interested me enough to watch them: The Ipcress File (UK: ITV); Minx (US: HBO Max); Welcome to Flatch (US: Fox); The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray (AppleTV+); Halo (Paramount+); Outer Range (Amazon Prime); Moon Knight (Disney+); and Russian Doll (season two) (Netflix).

Meanwhile, we’ve got stuck on a few of the regular shows: Bel-Air (Peacock) is sitting there, waiting for us to watch the rest of it when we’ve got the time; but Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One) has been on holiday all of April. The Endgame (US: NBC) got a bit repetitious so I gave up on that. I’ve been continuing to watch Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime) and Severance (AppleTV+), though. And Mr InBetween (Australia: Showcase; UK: Disney+) has secretly been on Disney+ for months, I suspect, so I finally got to watch the third (final) season.

All of those after the jump…

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Moon Knight and Mr Inbetween”
International TV

What have you been watching? Including The Endgame, Children Ruin Everything, Our Flag Means Death and Troppo

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

Doing this every two weeks seems to be working out for me right now. I think I can pull this off. Famous last words.

I’ve watched some new TV shows. One from pretty much every country of the world! Well, three of the four usual English-speaking ones. Most of them were rubbish, unfortunately. But at least one was fun. We can talk about those after the jump: Troppo (Australia: ABC), Our Flag Means Death (US: HBO Max), Children Ruin Everything (Canada: CTV) and The Endgame (US: NBC).

But first…

…four shows I didn’t manage to get around to watching

The Dropout (US: Hulu; UK: Disney+) is a switch of the usual ‘drama based on real-life’ offering that we’ve getting of late. It’s a mini-series that sees Amanda Seyfried playing Elizabeth Holmes, and Hulu/Disney+ summarise it thusly: “Elizabeth Holmes, an optimistic and determined young woman, drops out of Stanford to found a promising new blood testing startup.”

Yeah, I know all about Elizabeth Holmes. I know the twist and a whole lot more. Don’t really need to watch that, but I hear Seyfried is very good.

The Porter (Canada: CBC) is something a bit more of a period piece, but is still a real-life story. “The series will depict the history of Black Canadian and African-American men who worked as Pullman porters in the period following World War I, leading to the 1925 creation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters as the first Black-led labour union.”

Again, I hear it’s really good and it even numbers Alfre Woodard. But… I don’t care. Sorry, the history of the Canadian trade union movement is niche even for me.

Shining Vale (US: Starz; UK: Starzplay) isn’t real at all. It also didn’t hold my attention more than a minute, since it’s a horror comedy-drama about depression/demonic possession.

“A dysfunctional family moves from the city to a small town after Patricia “Pat” Phelps, a former “wild child” who became famous through writing raunchy female empowerment novels, is caught cheating on her husband. The house the family had moved into is a place where in the past, terrible atrocities have taken place. Nobody seems to suspect anything odd except for Pat who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed. Pat has been sober for 16 years, but begins to feel very unfulfilled in life – she still hasn’t written her second novel, she can’t remember the last time she had sex with her husband, and her teenage kids have grown up to the point they don’t want their mother in their lives. But soon, the demons haunting the family’s new home begin to appear much more real.”

It may star Greg Kinnear and Courtney Cox but no.

Lastly, there’s The Ipcress File (UK: ITV), the first UK drama I’ve been tempted to watch in a long time. In this case, I simply haven’t got round to watching it. But you know what, I think I will, since I not only love the Michael Caine movie, I’ve even read the book, so I’m interested to see what ITV have done with it.

The regulars

Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One/iPlayer) was great fun as usual, and of course the chance to reunite Supes and his brother was irresistible, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s fascinating that a show that was based on how compelling a performance one actor gave in a completely different TV show now has an equally compelling performance overshadowing it. I do also much admire the fact the show is ‘depatriarchying’ the entire Superman story, too.

Severance (AppleTV+) has continued to be fascinating and JustStark’s suggestion that it’s reminiscent of a Philip K Dick story was something I hadn’t noticed but is spot on the money. But the show alternates as well between interpretations, with allusions to the priesthood in the latest episode and there are also musical references to The Conversation (1974) as well. But the core considerations of whether work might actually be psychologically important to us – so what happens if we can’t – are also interesting. Really, really enjoying.

Bel-Air continues to be equally impressive and powerful. The characters are now evolving in fascinating ways and it’s fascinating to see Will ‘gentrifying’. One of the disadvantages of not watching UK TV any more is that I didn’t notice that this show’s Geoffrey is played by Jimmy Akingbola (In the Long Run, Kate & Koji, Holby City, Rev et al). And this Geoffrey is hardcore. Definitely a must-watch.

And back for a second season is Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon). That appears to have dumped the entire narrative it was setting up at the end of the first season in favour of yet more Borg stories. But we got Whoopi Goldberg back as Guinan and John de Lancie back as Q – that’s not a spoiler, as it’s in the trailer – all of which suggests better things are to come.

I should also point out that Wu Assassins (Netflix) mysteriously has a sequel movie, Fistful of Vengeance, set in Thailand and featuring all the Asian cast but almost no one else and is largely unrelated to the surprisingly good original in almost any way. The fights are poorly shot, even if the cast are good at them, making them pretty lacklustre, too. I quite enjoyed newcomer Francesca Corney, who was at least funny, but that was about it.

Join me after the jump for a brief rundown of the new shows.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including The Endgame, Children Ruin Everything, Our Flag Means Death and Troppo”