Review: Treadstone 1×1 (US: USA; UK: Amazon)

In the US: Tuesdays, 10/9c, USA
In the UK: Friday, January 10, Amazon

Jason Bourne franchise spin-off Treadstone states in its opening titles: “Based on an organization from the Bourne series of novels by Robert Ludlum”. It’s tediously exact and speaks to an exciting level of copyright protection that even the nature of fictitious organisations is jealously guarded for their IP potential.

Nevertheless, despite this pedantry, it’s still only partially true.

The Bourne novels are a curious thing of the 80s. If you’ve only seen the Bourne movies, you’d probably be surprised by how different they are, thanks to the modernising skills of The Bourne Identity‘s director Doug Liman, who set the template with writer Tony Gilroy for the tone of the later movies.

Without wishing to spoil them too much for those who haven’t read them, they’re not the youthful, “American student with a Euro railcard”, agonised liberal take on the grey shades of US spying and colonial intervention in other countries’ affairs. Instead, they feature a considerably older Jason Bourne dealing with Carlos the Jackal on behalf of a US government anti-terrorist organisation called Treadstone. This Bourne is no super-soldier and the initial idea that he is a superhuman assassin turns out to be government propaganda.

Even by the second book, he’s only able to hold his own against younger men through virtue of his training, as his reflexes are slowing and he’s not as strong as he used to be. Plus he’s got a family and a lecturing career to worry about.

The TV adaptation of The Bourne Identity starring Richard Chamberlain as Jason Bourne was thus a far more authentic depiction of the book Bourne than the later movie version.

Bourne again

It’s considerably more accurate than Treadstone‘s titles suggest to say that its Treadstone is based on the movies’ version of the organisation – a top-secret US government programme designed to create stealthy young assassins from ordinary people through the use of certain dodgy brainwashing techniques and the like.

But just to crank things up from comparative to superlative, it would be most accurate to say that this is Tim Kring’s version of the movies’ version of Robert Ludlum’s Treadstone. Yes, the man behind Heroes has got his hands on Jason Bourne.

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Total Control
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Total Control

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

Nancy Drew
The CW (US)’s Nancy Drew

This week’s reviews

I miss my iPad. The screen broke a couple of weeks ago and although I had it repaired, they didn’t repair it properly, so I had to take it back again.

That means I’ve been confined to watching TV on my iPhone and not ‘co-browsing’ any more. Couple that with the “one connector so you can listen or charge but not both” syndrome and the crap battery life now available on my now old iPhone 7 and you can see my lack of iPad has been seriously cramping TMINE’s style – and review schedule.

However, over the past week, I’ve managed to review Nancy Drew (US: The CW) and season one of Raising Dion (Netflix), which ain’t bad. But as always, it’s the francophone TV that suffers in these things and I didn’t manage to watch either season two of Plan Cœur (The Hookup Plan) or any of that Beau Séjour on Walter Presents.

Oh well. Cometh the weekend, cometh the iPad, so hopefully I’ll be able to start watching more again.

HBO’s Watchmen

What’s coming this week

I’ve not watched any movies this week at all – thanks, broken iPad – but that does give me room to review Jason Bourne spin-off Treadstone (US: USA; UK: Amazon) tomorrow.

Competition for Boxset Monday/Tuesday is frenetic, however. Released today on YouTube is season two of Impulse, which I hope to watch, and coming on Friday are Paul Rudd comedy Living With Yourself (Netflix) and romance anthology Modern Love (Amazon). I suspect I’ll go with Living With Yourself, as it’s only 8×25 minutes, but let’s be surprised next week, hey? I might even watch The Hookup Plan or Beau Séjour.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, we’re finally be getting HBO’s Watchmen sequel series, so I’ll definitely be chatting about that on either Monday or Tuesday.

Conner and Krypto
Conner and Krypto in DC Universe (US)’s Titans

The regulars

I’d like to have watched Engrenages (Spiral), but no iPad, two episodes? I got 10 minutes in and decided it was up to the usual quality, but never had the chance to get any further. I never even got to see Audrey Fleurot, bar the ‘Précédemment dans Engrenages‘ at the beginning. Shame!

Cometh the iPad, cometh more Spiral.

That meant I had to stick to the new, stable, regulars list for now. After the jump, I’ll be talking about Batwoman, Evil, Magnum PI, Mr InBetween, Mr Robot, Pennyworth, Stumptown and Titans.

Lots of US TV, huh? But as always, the rest of the world has television we can watch. In Australia, a show called Total Control has just started. Dull name, hey?

But as we learned with Doctor Doctor – aka The Heart Guy – Australians do like to rename their shows for international audiences. So while Australian readers and I can chat about Total Control after the jump, by the time it hits UK screens, you’ll find we may have been talking about the far more excitingly titled Black B****.

See you in a mo.

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Raising Dion
Internet TV

Boxset Tuesday: Raising Dion (Netflix)

Available on Netflix

There is a line in Netflix’s Raising Dion that more or less sums up its raison d’être: “Moms aren’t any fun – that’s why they’re not in comics.” Certainly, if you look through the vast range of superhero comics, you’d be hard pressed to find many mums who aren’t dead and who are integral to the plots, other than (of course) in Wonder Woman.

Raising Dion is an attempt to counteract that – but simultaneously proof that there’s barely a genre on Earth that hasn’t now been cross-contaminated by the superhero genre. In this case, the genre is “heartwarming family tales about single black mums who try to raise their talented sons, and have to overcome all the obstacles that society – and men – can throw in their path”. It sounds niche, but there’s actually more stories like that then you might imagine.

Raising Dion

Raising Dion, not Arizona

Adapted by Carol Barbee from Dennis Liu’s comic book (and short movie) of the same name, Raising Dion sees Alisha Wainwright (Shadowhunters) playing the former dancer turned single mum in question. She’s recently lost her scientist husband, Michael B Jordan (Creed, Black Panther), who apparently died rescuing a drowning woman during a recent storm.

Moving back to her old neighbourhood but a new home and putting her son into a good but virtually whites-only local school, she’s soon struggling to make ends meet and juggling the demands of working life with those of her seven year old son Dion (Ja’Siah Young). She gets some help from her doctor sister (Jazmyn Simon), as well as her new neighbourhoods, but principally she starts to lean on her husband’s nerdy engineer best friend Jason Ritter (Joan of Arcadia, The Class, Parenthood, The Event, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World), who also happens to be Dion’s godfather.

Dion’s demands only seem to increase. Not only does he have a racist principal and new enemies in the form of the cliquey skateboarders in his class, he soon starts to exhibit strange powers, such as the ability to levitate things, to teleport and even to heal things. Can Wainwright protect her son, keep his powers secret while helping him to control them, keep him in school and decide whether to start dating again, all while trying to get a job that will give her medical coverage?

I guess it’s just the typical story of a single mum’s life. Apart from the man made from lightning.

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Nancy Drew

Review: Nancy Drew 1×1 (US: The CW)

In the US: Wednesdays, 9pm, The CW
In the UK: Not yet acquired

When it comes to books, today’s kids never had it so good. The range of fiction for children and young adults has never been so vast. Back when I was a kid, the choices were much more narrow, meaning my generation ended up reading more or less the exact same books as each other, and to some extent, previous generations.

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books were old when I was young, but we still all read them. Originally devised in the 1920s and updated with new books over the generations by a succession of authors using the pseudonyms Franklin W Dixon and Carolyn Keene, they featured teenage detectives solving crimes while dealing with standard teen issues – parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, parties and kidnappings.

Such perennial favourites were they that they had a 1970s TV series dedicated to them that naturally everyone my age watched. Perhaps because it featured teen heartthrob David Cassidy of The Partridge Family fame, but perhaps also because of its spooky title sequence.

However, what worked in the 20s, 50s and even 70s might not necessarily work now, as many a TV writer adapting classic formats has discovered. That hasn’t stopped people trying to find the magic formula.

There have been many attempts of late to adapt the Nancy Drew books in particular, with movies and TV pilots all trying to take the titian-haired teen detective and bring her up to date, leave her as she is with the world around her changed, and turn her into an adult.

Now we have the latest effort, which attempts to do for the Nancy Drew books what Riverdale successfully did for the Archie comics – bring her up to date and make her relevant to a young, spoilt-for-choice, modern audience, by Twin Peaks-ing her.

Here, though, it’s a good deal less successful

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Almost Family
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Almost Family and Mr Robot

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

Ruby Rose

This week’s reviews

This week’s been a bit quieter than planned reviews-wise. I did manage to review Batwoman (US: The CW) as planned; however, I’m just finishing episode eight (of nine) of Raising Dion, which is obviously a day or two later than Boxset Monday and Tuesday allows. But it’s a shoo-in for next week.

What’s coming this week

Orange Thursday didn’t happen again, either. Sorry. However, fingers crossed, we’ll be looking at Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019) and – in a brief flashback to Weekly Wonder Woman – Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (2019).

As well as Raising Dion, the coming week should also bring us Nancy Drew (US: The CW) and eternal optimist that I am, I’m hoping to watch season two of Plan Cœur (The Hookup Plan) over the weekend.

And after that, Fall 2019 – part three begins…

Mr Robot
Mr Robot

The regulars

Fall 2019 – part one and Fall 2019 – part two brought us new shows, but I’ve been winnowing again. I can’t really be bothered with either Prodigal Son or Emergence any more, so they’ve been dropped from the viewing queue.

But that still leaves us with Evil, Magnum PI, Mr InBetween, Pennyworth, Stumptown and Titans. On top that, Mr Robot has made his comeback.

All of those after the jump, together with a brief rundown of last week’s extra turkey, Almost Family.

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