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What have you been watching? Including Woke and The Boys

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

Tom Hardy in Venom (2018)

Previously on TMINE

It’s been a quiet week for new tele this week, thanks to the decimated US TV production schedule. But I did offer up reviews of Tenet (2020) and Venom (2018) for the returning Orange Thursday.

Next on TMINE

I managed to watch the first two episodes of Woke (US: Hulu), so I’ll be talking about them after the jump. HBO (US) mini-series We Are Who We Are starts tonight, but it’s a mini-series so I might skip it.

Coming later this week, I’m going to be watching the second season of Criminal (Netflix), so might well give that a review – at the moment, it looks like either season two is only going to be UK episodes or it’s just the four UK episodes arriving on Wednesday, with the German, French and Spanish episodes arriving at later dates.

I’m also hoping to finally get the chance to watch season 5 of Le Bureau des Légendes (The Bureau), which will be arriving on Sundance Now on Thursday.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest (175) prequel Ratched is hitting Netflix on Friday, and I’m sure to give that a try (Sharon Stone’s in it!). But that seems to be about it.

Meanwhile, Orange Thursday will feature Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) and The Old Guard (2020).

What TMINE has been watching

The regulars list is down to a mere one show, The Boys (Amazon), the latest episode of which we’ll be discussing after the jump. But the shortness of that list has obviously given me some time to fill/waste TV-wise.

I began by continuing last year’s project: The Strange Report. For those who don’t know, The Strange Report is an ITC show from the 1960s – cf Department S, The Champions, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) – that sits between those more fantastic shows and the later, luxurious escapist likes of The Persuaders! and The Protectors.

What makes it so fascinating is it’s clearly trying to be both an ITC show and a serious, modern, Swinging 60s show. There’s the standard core cast of former Scotland Yard detective Adam Strange (Anthony Quayle) and his young associates – token American Kaz Garas (Wonder Woman) and hip artist/model Anneke Wills (Doctor Who) – who solve crimes using a combination of standard police techniques and, more intriguingly, forensics, with Garas constantly in a lab, staring down a microscope.

The plots are also a cut above the standard of the time, with early episodes seeing cult leaders being investigated, but the leaders turning out to be quite nice after all, and Chinese party officials being abducted – to be ‘re-educated’ by former prisoners who had been through the same thing themselves, resulting in some really surprisingly high-brow debates about the nature of Marxism.

It’s not had the benefits of frequent rebroadcasters and constant video releases that its telefantasy brethren have had, but the more I watch, the more it shapes up to be one of my favourite shows of the time.

However, watching The Old Guard for Orange Thursday made me want to watch some old episodes of Highlander, which is currently available for free on Amazon, albeit in a cropped for 16:9 format that leaves a little to be desired.

That’s a show that holds up less over time, although it does have many plus points, most of them Adrian Paul and the genuinely good fights, both with swords and martial arts.

The show’s biggest issue is that it was a co-production filmed in Canada for half a season, France for another half, and was filled with supporting cast members from both nations who struggled to act in English, even the English-speaking Canadians, so usually ended up with all manner of Brits being flown in to save the day. Plus it was often hokey as f***.

But there are plenty of good episodes, at least. For my first season delve, I started off not with the one with Peter Howitt (Bread) as the evil immortal mime driven mad by absinthe or even the one where Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet) is an ex-member of the SAS (which is apparently part of the RAF in Highlander-world) who believes he’s on a holy mission from God.

Instead, I went with the ‘Die Hard in a courthouse‘ episode, which turns out to be not as good as I remember at all, and more a demonstration of the amazing power of a sharp stick to take you unawares.

Much better and funnier is the sixth season episode I went to next. For those who don’t remember the sixth season, that’s when Adrian Paul really wanted to leave the show, couldn’t/got paid a lot of money not to, but wasn’t around as much, so the producers used a lot of the episodes as backdoor pilots to a spin-off show about a female immortal. Those included the likes of Claudia Christian (Babylon 5), although Highlander: The Raven eventually (boringly) went with long-time fan favourite Amanda as its lead.

However, I was always very disappointed that Alice Evans never got the job, thanks to her performance in Patient Number 7. So I rewatched that. It was quite fun – she gets to be a musketeer and everything – plus her stuntwoman was really good, too. Shame, hey?

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French TV

  • Trailer for season 8 of Canal+’s Engrenages (Spiral)


New US TV shows

  • Trailer for Hulu’s Woke
  • HBO green lights: limited series adaptation of Sveriges Radio (Sweden)’s Scenes From A Marriage, with Oscar Isaac and Michelle Williams
  • Showtime developing: married heist documentary dramedy La Bravura

New US TV show casting

  • Lucy Liu to star in ABC’s Bossy/Kids Matter Now