US TV

Review: Reef Break 1×1 (US: ABC)

In the US: Thursdays, 10/9c, ABC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Although France has a reputation for being a bit anti-American, its TV schedules suggest a different story. They’re packed with US imports, the popularity of which can endure for far longer than in their own countries.

We’ve recently discussed France’s love affair with Starsky & Hutch, but a far more recent hit, far more popular in France than it was in the US, was Unforgettable, starring Without A Trace‘s Poppy Montgomery.

Small surprise, therefore, that Montgomery is the lucky star of Reef Break –the latest project from that most Americophilic of the French channels, M6, and ABC Studios International’s second international show following Harrow.

Reef Break

On reefer

Created and written by both Montgomery and Numb3rs‘ Ken Sanzel, Reef Break is set on the fictitious US Pacific territory of ‘Reef Island’ and sees Montgomery playing a crime-solving surfer.

No, really.

Of course, episode 1 explains how Montgomery becomes a crime-solving surfer. Previously a hot-shot crime-committing surfer, she ran into hot water when she accidentally married undercover FBI agent Ray Stevenson (Rome, Punisher: War Zone, Thor, Dexter) and ended up testifying against various mobsters.

Returning after an absence of five years to explain why one particular mobster she testified against shouldn’t be granted parole, her notoriety lands her on TV and she’s soon dragged into the kidnapping of a local rich girl.

Soon, her rule-breaking, criminal acuity, observational skills and downright sassiness endear her to powerful people on the island.

Continue reading “Review: Reef Break 1×1 (US: ABC)”
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German TV

Boxset Monday: Dark (season 2) (Netflix)

Available on Netflix

The first season of Netflix’s Dark was probably the most quintessentially German TV show the country has given us. Not in terms of production values, since Dark had the full weight of Netflix’s budgeting behind it, and not because it was a crime show or featured a story by Rosamunde Pilcher.

But this appropriately named show had a whole bunch of concerns and themes that combined, indicated it could only have come from the land that gave us Goethe: is our fate predetermined? Does free will exist? Were “Atomkraft? Nein Danke” T-shirts ever cool?

Set in a small town called Winden – more or less the German equivalent of the US’s Springfield – Dark was a time travel drama like no other. As the producers of Avengers: Endgame recently discovered, the average person’s idea of time travel is based on Back To The Future, with people potentially able to go back in time and change their own pasts.

Dark, however, went in the exact opposite direction. What if you could change absolutely nothing if you went back in time? Even if you did change something, that change is what had always happened. Cause could be effect, effect could be cause, beginning end, end beginning. You might have a time machine, but you actually built it from some plans someone gave to you. Where did they get them from? Well, you give them to them in the future. So who actually invented the time machine? No one? God?

Smarter than the average Netflix show

As befits a country where basically everyone’s been to technical university for seven years and even the train timetables seem to require an in-depth working knowledge of calculus, season one of Dark was a complicated affair.

Set in three time zones 33 years apart – plus a bonus fourth time zone in the final episode – that meant a full roster of characters played by up to three sets of actors, all of whom can travel between years and meet each other and end up becoming one another’s/their own parents if they’re not careful. It didn’t help that half the time, they never introduced themselves, so it wasn’t until eight episodes in that you knew that “crazy white-haired lady” was actually the 66-year-older version of “cute little girl”.

Nevertheless, and despite the often alienating – not quite Brechtian alienating – characters, who were more than a little bit prone to shouting at all times, the first season of Dark was a marvellous piece of work, if you could follow it. Claustrophobic, with a great eye for period detail, a real attempt to address philosophical concerns and science, its one real-let down was its ending, which suggested a shark was about to be jumped.

Now here’s season two. Said shark has not been jumped, you’ll be glad to hear and this more streamlined season two is perhaps even better than season one.

But time appears to be repeating itself. Because guess what – I really hated that ending.

Continue reading “Boxset Monday: Dark (season 2) (Netflix)”
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Los Espookys
International TV

What have you been watching? Including NOS4A2, City on a Hill and Los Espookys

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

Jessica Jones
Marvel’s Jessica Jones

This week’s reviews

Despite my ironing pile not being especially big this weekend, I still managed to work through not only the whole of season three of Netflix’s Marvel’s Jessica Jones but also to review Cinemax (US)’s Jett.

Meanwhile, this week’s Orange Thursday featured Apollo 13 and on top of all that, I’ve managed to watch the first episodes of a few other shows, all of which I’ll be talking about after the jump: Showtime (US)’s City on a Hill, AMC (US)’s NOS4A2 and HBO (US)’s Los Espookys.

I feel quite pleased with myself. Yay me!

Reef Break

What’s coming this week

Tomorrow’s Orange Thursday will take in Men in Black: International (2019) and Tokyo Story (1953). Season 2 of Netflix’s Dark hits teh Interweb on Friday, so that could well be Boxset Monday, and ABC (US)/M6 (France)’s Reef Break will probably get a Tuesday review.

After that, there are bound to be surprises. For me and you.

Lobo in Syfy’s Krypton

The regulars

The InBetween took a break last week, so after the jump, I’ll be looking at the latest episodes of Harrow, Perpetual Grace LTD, Swamp Thing, as well as the season finale of Mr Black. One of those might be getting a promotion to the recommended list.

Krypton has also returned and I watched it.

See you in a mo.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including NOS4A2, City on a Hill and Los Espookys”
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Jett
US TV

Review: Jett 1×1 (US: Cinemax)

In the US: Fridays, 10pm, Cinemax
In the UK: Not yet acquired

The writing genre known as ‘Elmore Leonard’ is very hard to emulate. Leonard was a blackly comedic but gritty crime writer, but if you get try to do Elmore Leonard and are too comedic, you end up doing ‘Quentin Tarantino’ and if you get too gritty, you end up doing… everyone else.

Small wonder then that even projects based on Leonard’s own work have failed to capture his style, by moving a gnat’s wing in either direction. Indeed, both Get Shorty and Get Shorty failed to embody the essence of Get Shorty.

Interestingly, though, Jett is possibly the closest we’ve seen to a true small screen Elmore Leonard production, despite not being based on any of Leonard’s work.

Carla Gugino in Jett
Carla Gugino in Jett

Jett sexy

Carla Gugino (Watchmen, Roadies, Wayward Pines, The Haunting of Hill House) plays Daisy “Jett” Kowalski, a world-class thief recently released from prison who has every intent on staying out of prison.

Unfortunately, former boss/pal Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Revolution) has a big job that only she can do and he’s willing to pay her $500,000 to do it. All she’s got to do is go to Cuba with no back-up and switch for a duplicate a ring currently residing in a safe in Eastern European criminal Greg Bryk (Bitten)’s house.

Needless to say, not everything goes to plan. However, everyone has their own plan, including Esposito, Bryk and Gugino, and no one’s quite what they seem, so exactly whose plan does go to plan and whose doesn’t is debatable…

Continue reading “Review: Jett 1×1 (US: Cinemax)”
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Marvel's Jessica Jones
Internet TV

Boxset Monday: Marvel’s Jessica Jones (season 3) (Netflix)

Available on Netflix

And so it ends. I’m not talking only about Marvel’s Jessica Jones, which burst onto the scene just a few years ago with such a deft deconstruction of the entire superhero genre and its male power fantasies.

No, this final season – for the show was cancelled before the third season was even released – is also the end of that bold collaboration between Marvel and Netflix intended to give us proper grown-up superheroes and quality Netflix programming that also linked up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The collective swan-songs of these ‘Defenders‘ have swerved between the sublime and the turgid. Blind catholic vigilante Daredevil went in a frequently perfect final season. Meanwhile, bulletproof defender of African-American society and culture Luke Cage disappeared in a fun-filled, politically relevant concluding season.

Unfortunately, despite a cracking ending, my former favourite – the rich, cultural-appropriating, martial arts human weapon Iron Fist – went out with a whimper in an almost entirely severely disappointing second season.

Now it’s the turn of the last ‘defender’ – super-strong, super-unmotivated private detective Jessica Jones. But will she deliver a knock-out punch like Daredevil or sulk in a corner like Iron Fist?

Spoilers and the like after the jump, but hopefully not too many.

Continue reading “Boxset Monday: Marvel’s Jessica Jones (season 3) (Netflix)”