US TV

Review: Broke 1×1 (US: CBS)

In the US: Thursdays, 9.30/8.30c, CBS
In the UK: Not yet acquired

When it comes to sitcoms, it’s surprisingly easy and time-saving to judge a book by its cover – which is what I did with CBS’s new sitcom, Broke. Multi-camera show shot in front of an audience (or canned laughter)? Check. CBS? Check. Two disparate social groups set against one another? Check. Vehicle for a previous star of another show from the same network? Check.

Here, we have the 15-year veteran of CBS’s NCIS, Pauley Perrette, starring and producing in a show that sees her playing a single mum trying to raise her kid in her family home by working two jobs. The father, a member of a Van Halen cover band, is long gone and his child support cheques bounce.

Then, without warning, her sister (Another Period‘s Natasha Leggero) turns up on her doorstep with her über-rich Mexican-American husband (Jane the Virgin‘s Jaime Camil) and his personal assistant (Telenovela‘s Izzy Diaz), who want to stay with her for a while. While hating her sister, her fake accent and her newly acquired nouveau riche ways, Perrette is happy to see her – if only because of her money.

However, the title of the show gives the game away here – Camil’s broke.

The Good, the Broke and the Ugly

It’s certainly possible to read all of that, look at the publicity shots I’ve just used and come to the conclusion that you might prefer to blowtorch your own genitals than watch even one second of the sitcom you’ve already imagined in your mind.

Certainly, the first few minutes pre-title sequence are inauspicious. It doesn’t seem like either the cast or the director have read the script, judging by the way they deliver the lines, which often has no real relationship to how they’re written.

One moment we’re being told Leggero grew up in this family house and knows it intimately, the next she’s asking where the guest quarters are. Again, maybe if Leggero had delivered it differently, that might have worked as a putdown, but said deliberately, it just seems like the writers haven’t read their own scripts either.

Acres of mild class warfare later and you’d think that was all the show had to offer. But there are surprises to be had.

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International TV

What have you been watching? Including Vagrant Queen and Council of Dads

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

I think it’s fair to say that TMINE is on a quarantine schedule at the moment. It’s actually surprising hard for me to watch things at the moment, let alone find the time to write about them (as today’s delayed WHYBW proves) – mainly because I’m working like a bastard at the moment (oh to be on PAYE and furloughed!)), but also because I’m playing lots of board games and watching loads of things I’ve already watched but on Disney+. Plus Iron Fist, of course.

Thing’s will probably be a little different next week once my workload shifts to “things that don’t have deadlines”, but certainly, this week, I’ve not been able to review any new TV and the only movies I’ve watched have been The Banker (2020).

It probably doesn’t help that none of the new shows hitting the Internet have either looked or been very appealing.

Sorry about that, but hopefully normality will return soon.

Council of Dads

Next on TMINE

I’ve not watched any new movies, so there’ll be no Orange Thursday tomorrow. Sorry again. But I have watched Council of Dads (US: NBC) and Vagrant Queen (US/UK: Syfy), both of which I’ll be reviewing after the jump.

Coming up this week in TV world is Broke (US: CBS), which I feel like I’ve reviewed already but don’t seem to have (not a good sign); Home Before Dark (Apple TV+); and Tales From The Loop (Amazon). Not sure I fancy any of those, but let’s see what I actually manage to watch. Plus there’s always Freud (Netflix).

The regulars

It’s the usual regulars after the jump: Devs, For Life, Stateless, Transplant, War of the Worlds and Westworld. I’ve not had time to watch any of last night’s episodes, mind (sorry, Devs and Transplant). I’ll also be talking about the season finales of Star Trek: Picard and Stumptown. Catch you on the other side.

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Little Fires Everywhere
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Little Fires Everywhere

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

So, here’s something interesting about being confined to quarters/being quarantined/being in prison/surviving coronavirus – you end up watching less TV than before. I was actually expecting to watch more, but without my morning commute, I’m actually watching less.

Plus the general ennui and existential angst of it all means I’ve gone to my happy place for the ironing: yep, I’m rewatching Iron Fist. It’s really good. I’ll probably have a lot to say about it next week. New things. Different things. Honest.

All of which meant that the only new show I reviewed this past week was Motherland: Fort Salem and I still haven’t got to the end of season 3 of Babylon Berlin (I’m up to episode eight now). Sorry about that.

The Banker

Next on TMINE

To be honest, I’m actually going to be pretty busy this week and next – my bank account will be happy at least – so I’m not sure how much reviewing I’ll be able to do. However, my eye has been caught by Netflix’s Freud, which is a handy eight episodes long, so that might become a Boxset Monday, although The Guardian reckons it’s ridiculous so maybe not.

Council of Dads (US: NBC) should be getting a review either tomorrow or Monday, though. German/US show Unorthdox comes to Netflix tomorrow, but that doesn’t really appeal. Season three of Ozark is arriving on Friday, as is comic-adaptation Vagrant Queen on Syfy (US), and they appeal a bit more.

Meanwhile, tomorrow’s Orange Thursday is down to one movie again (sigh, I miss going to the movies so much): Apple TV+’s The Banker (2020).

Westworld

The regulars

It’s the usual regulars after the jump: Devs, For Life, Star Trek: Picard, Stateless, Transplant, and War of the Worlds. I’ll also be talking about the latest two episodes of Westworld, which I forgot I’d watched last week, as well as episode three of Amazing Stories, which I gave another try.

I decided, however, not to give The Plot Against America another try – I’m prepared to be proven wrong on this, but it feels like a worthy-fest with less impact than even 11.22.63.

I also watched a bit of an episode of Avenue 5 out of the corner of one eye – it was the episode with John Finnemore in it and you know what? It was all right. I might watch season two at this rate.

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Motherland Fort Salem
US TV

Review: Motherland – Fort Salem 1×1 (US: Freeform)

In the US: Wednesdays, 9p/8c, Freeform
In the UK: Not yet acquired

As we noticed with The Plot Against America, most parallel history sci-fi TV is obsessed with the Second World War. True, we get the occasional exception, such as For All Mankind or 1983, but largely, it’s 101 explorations of what would have happened if the Nazis had won the war.

That at least makes Motherland – Fort Salem a refreshing change, since rather than being a twist on just 20th century history, it’s a feminist twist of pretty much all of American history. Here, we start with the Salem Witch Trials and imagine not only what would have happened if witches genuinely were supernatural, but also what they would have done if they’d agreed to put their powers to use for the state.

Imagine 300+ years of history in which the only soldiers were women and they fought using magic instead of weaponry.

Unfortunately, Motherland – Fort Salem also decides that the only really interesting thing about that potentially highly exciting set-up is who’s shagging whom and who’s in and out of what High School-esque clique at any one time. It’s more Pretty Little Liars: The Illusionists than anything else.

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International TV

What have you been watching? Including The Plot Against America

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

So, erm, yes. There’s this virus thing and we’re all being quarantined. How about that for fun? Still, rather than giving me more TV viewing time, it just gave me more work, which meant that things have been a bit quieter than planned on TMINE this past week.

In fact, there have been no TV reviews this week at all. I have been watching season 3 of Babylon Berlin but I’m only up to episode 8 of 12, so I’ll hold off reviewing that until next week. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure I can muster a whole Boxset Monday review for it, so that’ll probably sneak in with WHYBW next Wednesday.

Orange Thursday did manage to take in both Radioactive (2020) and Joker (2019). But given that that naughty virus, which has already cancelled all the scheduled BFI and BAFTA events, has now closed down all the cinemas, that’ll be the last for reviews and previews of current movies for a while.

Little Fires Everywhere

Next on TMINE

Although pretty much every TV show you can name, UK or overseas, has now shut down production, we do at least have a few new shows that have already been completed coming our way, some of which I hope to watch. What else am I going to do? Go out?

After the jump, though, I’ll take in the latest bit of work from The Wire‘s Ed Burns and David Simon – an adaptation of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, which sees what happens in a parallel universe America when Charles Lindbergh defeats FDR in the presidential election of 1940.

Coming later this week (hopefully) are reviews of Hulu (US)’s Little Fires Everywhere and Freeform (US)’s Motherland: Fort Salem, both of which start today. I’m less likely to watch Julian Fellowes’ dramatisation of the history of football, The English Game (Netflix), teen knight drama The Letter For the King (Netflix) or period fashion biopic Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix), but they’re on the table at least. I might be able to add Council of Dads (US: NBC) to next week’s WHYBW, as it’s airing on Tuesday, but we’ll wait and see on that.

Meanwhile, tomorrow’s Orange Thursday will head into the exciting world of TV movies. No, not TV Movies – TV movies. First up will be Netflix’s Spenser Confidential (2020), which is a very loose remake of 80s TV show Spenser For Hire (US: ABC) (or at least the original source material).

And then we’re going to head even further back in TV time to the 60s for The Man From UNCLE‘s The Helicopter Spies (1968). Spoiler for the second of those – there aren’t that many helicopters in it.

Devs © Miya Mizuno/FX

The regulars

Stumptown took another holiday again, which means I’ll only be reviewing the following regulars after the jump: Devs, For Life, Star Trek: Picard, Stateless, Transplant, and War of the Worlds. At least one of them’s getting a promotion to the recommended list – isn’t that exciting?

I did try to watch the second episode of Amazing Stories (Apple TV+), but “It’s A Wonderful Life with an aspiring urban female 400m runner” really put me off after about 15 minutes, so that’s not going to be a regular, just something I dip into occasionally, I suspect.

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