Greg Davies in BBC One's The Cleaner
International TV

What have you been watching? Including The Cleaner

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

As I suspected last week American Rust, an adaptation of Philipp Meyer’s novel that Showtime described as “a compelling family drama and a timeless story told through the eyes of complicated and compromised chief of police Del Harris (Jeff Daniels) of a Pennsylvania Rust Belt town full of good people making bad choices” was about as fun as a hernia operation. Honestly, why do networks think:

  1. People want to watch miserable sh*t right now, after a year and a half of misery (at least a year and a half – apparently, in the Before Times, there were things to be miserable about other than Covid, too, but I struggle to remember those days so can’t confirm that)
  2. Miserable = quality TV while happy = lightweight TV?

It’s just such an odd couple of equations.

I also tried Australian Gangster (Australia: Seven). That’s billed as “Drug dealer, gangster, gym-junky, Lamborghini driver, husband, father, Australian Gangster is a four hour TV series about the life and death of a new breed of Sydney criminal. The kind that doesn’t care about playing it safe or keeping a low profile or even getting caught. Our main character is emblematic of the type of modern gangster that only really cares about looking good on Instagram, making a name for himself in a new, wannabe glamorous crime scene, while at the same time trying to manage the pressures of family life.”

I mean, it’s an obvious attempt to do a new Underbelly, just as a new Underbelly comes out, but want to guess how much fun it was? I mean it opens with a man being mildly threatening to a teacher because his kid has speech issues and so goes around biting everyone.

Do you know what that made me do? It made me watch some British TV.

The Cleaner (UK: BBC One)

“After CSI have done their stuff, the cleaner mops up the grisly remains. For Wicky, a bloodbath and the pub is all in a day’s work. Comedy written by and starring Greg Davies.”

And it’s odd. Mildly funny, but odd. Essentially, it’s a series of two-handers, with Davies turning up at a property to clean it after someone has died and then chatting with whomever he finds there for 30 minutes. So far we’ve had Helena Bonham-Carter, as a widow and suspected murderer who has returned to the scene of the crime; and David Mitchell, as a somewhat irate writer with writers’ block.

It’s somewhat reminiscent of Davies’ Taskmaster in some regards, with the dialogue usually being a battle of wits, before Davies just plays a meanness trump card to win. His character is little different from his standup persona, too, although there are fewer mentions of his mother.

But, I enjoyed it. Bonham-Carter was pleasingly dotty but also sympathetic as the woman who hated her model-making, unromantic husband but never got round to killing him. Mitchell was the “angry logic, you’re all imbeciles” persona we’ve come to expect, but also a figure of sympathy after a while.

It’s all a bit rough and loose, and your enjoyment is likely linked to how much you like Greg Davies. But it was definitely worth my time enough that I’d watch it again.

The regulars

On top of that, I now have two regulars to watch! It’s a true embarrassment of riches. They’re after the jump. But what have you been watching?

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including The Cleaner”
US TV

What have you been watching? Including What We Do in the Shadows

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

TV is taking its time to wake up after both Covid and the summer holidays. I keep looking for new stuff and can’t find anything that I’d like to watch.

To its credit, Showtime in the US is about to give us American Rust, an adaptation of Philipp Meyer’s novel that the network describes as “a compelling family drama and a timeless story told through the eyes of complicated and compromised chief of police Del Harris (Jeff Daniels) of a Pennsylvania Rust Belt town full of good people making bad choices”.

That starts this Sunday at 10pm ET/PT, so there’s an outside chance I might even be able to preview it for you this week before it starts. But it doesn’t sound like a whole bunch of fun, does it?

That leaves me with just one returning regular to watch

What We Do In the Shadows

The show returns for its third season with two episodes, as is traditional. The first deals with the fallout from last season, with our Vampires having to become heads of the local Vampire Council while dealing with Guillermo (spoiler alert) Van Helsing, the Vampire Slayer. Largely an opportunity for Natasia Demetriou to really go to town and Matt Berry to swear a lot, it was as funny as usual, which was gratifying, and the arrival of another energy vampire really helped to mix up the bore-dom and give us a new, edgier, next generation kind of dull to enjoy. I also enjoyed the slight freeing of Guillermo to be less subservient but the cameo by (spoiler alert) Taika Waititi did little but give us more of (spoiler alert) Taika Waititi.

The second episode was a more entertaining affair, throwing open the floor to Kayvan Novak to do a whole bunch of impressions – and look fittish without his top on. There was less to it, but I found it funnier, on the whole.

Either way, the third season started well and on a par with its predecessors.

But what have you been watching?

What We Do In The Shadows
International TV

What have you been watching? Including What We Do In The Shadows

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

Previously on TMINE

TMINE’s ever-increasing workload means that somehow WHYBW has slowly slipped from Wednesday to Thursday to Friday and now to Monday. This is despite the recommended list and the number of new (and interesting) shows appearing on your screens dropping to an all-time low.

I don’t think I’m operating on some sort of weird lunar calendar, but it’s always a possibility. Still, at least Monday makes some kind of weird sense for WHYBW, as a way to round off the weekend and start the work.

And I did at least manage to review all of season 3 of The Crown (Netflix).

Hannibal
Hannibal

What TMINE has been watching

The lack of reviews isn’t down to a lack of viewing. Season 3 of Baron Noir continues at pace and continues to be great. For a bit of light, concentration-free relief, I’ve also been watching some previous greats from the TMINE archives: Hannibal (US: NBC; UK: Netflix) and Travelers (Canada: Showcase; UK: Netflix).

Travelers is proving to be as great as it seemed at the time, whereas Hannibal, beyond that blinder of a pilot episode, is getting quagmired in a greater pretentiousness than I recall season one having, as well as those initial Criminal Minds style episodes that really dragged. However, there’s usually at least a few genius moments in each and it remains as sumptuous to watch and listen to as before.

I haven’t managed to tuck into season two of Das Boot (Germany: Sky; UK: Sky Atlantic), but I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time.

Covideodrome has also been hard at work. I did give 21 Bridges (2019) a try, seeing as it’s currently free on Amazon Prime, but that was bad enough that first Lovely Wife gave up on it after about 20 minutes and then I did 10 minutes later. Bad, bad dialogue. However…

Next on TMINE

…with a Disney+ subscription and access to almost all the movies that Disney has ever made, we decided to fill some gaps in our collective viewing and work our way through a whole bunch of movies we’ve never watched, including The Jungle Book, Mulan, Moana, Brave, Aladdin and The Lion King. More on them later in the week. Probably.

Covid has now really kicked into the schedules and the only new show that I can see coming up this week is Hulu’s new series, Love, Victor, but I honestly can’t be bothered with teen/YA romances, gay or otherwise, particularly if they’re spin-offs of movies I haven’t seen. Australia et al don’t seem to have anything new either, so I’ll see if I can find something on Netflix or Amazon instead

What We Do In The Shadows

After the jump…

After the jump, I’ll be looking at the final episodes of the first season of Space Force. Otherwise, it’s just the ridiculously small list of regulars: Operation Buffalo, Star Girl and What We Do In The Shadows, which is about to get two-thirds smaller… Eek!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including What We Do In The Shadows”
Operation Buffalo
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Operation Buffalo and Love Life

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

Previously on TMINE

TMINE has had a little bit more time to watch things this week – and more importantly, to write about them. Interested in Steve Carrell’s new show, Space Force (Netflix)? Then not only can you read TMINE’s third-episode verdict from earlier in the week, I’ve watched a few more episodes since then – I’ll tell you about them after the jump.

Covideodrome made a reappearance, too, taking in the Very Important Movie Just Mercy (2019).

Das Boot
Das Boot

Next on TMINE

Usual lockdown rules, even though lockdown is easing: I’m going to try to watch all of these but there’s a fair chance I may end up watching none because Life.

As far as I can see, though, there’s not much on. Certainly not much new. Season 2 of Das Boot (Germany: Sky; UK: Sky Atlantic) starts on Monday. Italian drama Curon (Netflix) starts on Wednesday, but that doesn’t look any more appealing than Saudi Arabian drama Whispers (Netflix), which starts the same day.

Unless I start looking at some of the shows sitting in my backlog, next week is going to see more than a couple of visits to Covideodrome on TMINE…

Star Girl

After the jump…

After the jump, as well as the aforementioned Love Life and Space Force, there’s the infinitesimally small list of regulars: Star Girl and What We Do In The Shadows. Joining them will be new Australian Cold War dramedy Operation Buffalo. All of those in a mo.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Operation Buffalo and Love Life”
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Mythic Quest

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

Previously on TMINE

It’s been another reviews-light week this week, thanks principally to there being a bank holiday and there not being much to watch. Plus I’ve been busy. However, things are going to be a little quieter for me next week and there’s at least a couple of new shows worth watching coming up, so I should have some reviews for you in June. Hoorah!

What TMINE is currently watching…

I’m a little further into season 3 of Baron Noir (France: Canal+; UK: Amazon), but not yet done, so hold your horses on that. I also watched Charlie Brooker’s Antiviral Wipe (UK: BBC Two), which was welcome but not totally different from all previous wipes. It was moderately depressing, since I’d given up watching the news of late on the general grounds of its general depressingness, so I got to watch all the depressing things I’d missed. But there was at least an element of optimism in there and it was nice to see the return of Cunk.

Could have done with some Adam Curtis, though.

Next on TMINE

Usual lockdown rules, even though lockdown is easing: I’m going to try to watch all of these but there’s a fair chance I may end up watching none because Life.

I haven’t got around to watching Anna Kendrick’s new thing, Love Life (US: HBO Max), but have every intention of catching that over the weekend. Lovely wife has expressed an interest in watching Steve Carrell’s Space Force (Netflix), so there’s a good chance I’ll have seen at least one episode of that before Monday, but hopefully more. Who knows? Maybe it’ll even be a Boxset?

That’s it from the US, though*, but Australia will be offering Cold War thriller Operation Buffalo (Australia: ABC) on Sunday, so that’ll be on the line-up, too.

* I really need to check What time, TMINE, to see if there are only foreign shows on Netflix that I’ve missed, don’t I? Because if I don’t read TMINE, who on Earth else will, hey?

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

After the jump…

After the jump is the diminishing list of regulars: What We Do In The Shadows and new arrival Star Girl, as well as the season finales of both One Lane Bridge and Mystery Road. But Apple TV+’s Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet made a surprise guest appearance with a quarantine episode, so I watched that as well. All of those in a mo.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Mythic Quest”