International TV

What have you been watching? Including Onisciente

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

Netflix's The Stranger
Netflix’s The Stranger

This week’s reviews

Netflix decided to unleash a slew of new shows on us last week. Elsewhere, you’ll have seen TMINE’s verdict on The Stranger, thanks to Boxset Monday. Onisciente managed to keep me interested for one episode at least, and you can read about that after the jump.

But I’m still working my way through Ragnarok, which is going to be next week’s Boxset Monday or Boxset Tuesday, and I didn’t get a chance to look at Luna Nera (Black Moon) – I’m not convinced about its chances, given what’s coming over the next week.

Meanwhile, in the film world, Orange Thursday covered The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020) and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019).

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

What’s coming next

It’s Part II of Spring 2020 in the US. Over the next week, we’ll be getting more than a few new shows, including Briarpatch, Indebted, Interrogation, Katy Keene, For Life, and Tommy.

Meanwhile, from Friday, we’ve got Locke & Key on Netflix and Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet starting on Apple TV+.

I doubt I’ll be able to give everything my undivided attention, but I hope to give at everything a first glance at least – hopefully more.

Meanwhile in movies, tomorrow’s Orange Thursday will be reviewing A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2020) and… something else. I knew my Christmas viewing would run out some time.

Evil. © Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

The regulars

The regulars list, which is already pretty small, is going to start getting even smaller soon, since this week, I’ll be covering the season finales of both Evil and Stumptown. However, that still leaves 9-1-1: Lone Star, Avenue 5, Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, The Outsider and Star Trek: Picard, the latest episodes of which I’ll also be covering.

I wonder if I’ll be dropping any of them, too, making the list even smaller. Let’s find out… in just a moment.

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The Stranger
Internet TV

Boxset Monday: The Stranger (Netflix)

Available on Netflix

Of all the crime authors who seem to be doing very well out of the globalisation of TV, Harlan Coben has to be at the forefront. We’ve had The Five on Sky in the UK and Juste un regard (Just One Look) on TF1 in France; meanwhile, on Netflix we’ve had the UK-based Safe, with a Spanish version of The Innocent and a Polish version of The Woods on their way. And right now, we have another UK Coben production – The Stranger.

Which is odd, really, since most of his books are set in the US and no US network has so far chosen to adapt any of his books. I wonder why?

Safe, of course, despite being set in Manchester, starred a couple of global TV megastars – America’s Michael C Hall (Six Feet Under, Dexter) and France’s Audrey Fleurot (Engrenages, Les témoins). However, The Stranger is almost exclusive populated with home-grown talent, albeit UK and Irish actors who have also done very well out of TV and film globalisation themselves.

Richard Armitage in The Stranger
Richard Armitage in The Stranger

No Stranger

The star of The Stranger is none other than TMINE’s very own Dick Head (retired), Richard Armitage (Robin Hood, Strike Back, Berlin Station, Hannibal, Captain America: The First Avenger). Armitage is a regular lawyer and family man living in an unnamed town that looks suspiciously like various parts of Greater Manchester. He seems happy, despite the fact his mate/client Stephen Rea’s house is about to be knocked down by a firm owned by his very own father (Buffy‘s Anthony Head). He also seems to love his wife (Dervla Kirwan) very much.

Then a complete stranger confronts him one day: Hannah John-Kamen (Killjoys, The Tunnel, Ant-Man and the Wasp). She tells him a secret about Kirwan that turns Armitage’s world upside down. But Armitage isn’t the only one who has secrets, and soon everyone’s having to deal with their private lives being revealed.

And decapitated alpacas.

Continue reading “Boxset Monday: The Stranger (Netflix)”

What have you been watching? Including Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens

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

Star Trek Picard
Star Trek: Picard

This week’s reviews

Week four of Spring 2020 was a little quieter than the previous one, but we had three new shows launch. You can read the TMINE reviews of Outmatched (US: Fox) and Star Trek: Picard (US: CBS All Access; UK: Amazon) elsewhere, but we can talk about Awkwafina is Nora from Queens (US: Comedy Central) after the jump.

Meanwhile, in the film world, Orange Thursday took in Knives Out (2019) and Angel Has Fallen (2019).


What’s coming next

Starting in the next week are Onisciente (Omniscient) (Netflix), The Stranger (Netflix), Luna Nera (Black Moon) (Netflix) and Ragnarok (Netflix). Yep, while others sleep, Netflix triumphs. I’ll pick one of those to watch over the next week and hopefully, it’ll be your Boxset Monday, but more likely your Boxset Tuesday.

Tomorrow’s Orange Thursday will be reviewing The Personal History of David Copperfield (2020) and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019). One of those is significantly better than the other.


The regulars

The regulars list is smaller even than normal this week, since both Evil and Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector took a break and Lovely Wife has decided she’d quite like to watch Avenue 5, so we’ll be watching episode 2 tonight.

Anyway, that just leaves 9-1-1: Lone Star, Stumptown and The Outsider. Still, it is What have you been watching? so now’s your chance to recommend some shows. Even Doctor Who. I hear there was a surprise guest ((spoiler alert) Captain Jack) and a massive development ((spoiler alert) another Doctor Who/alternative Doctor Who). Still not bothering with it.

In case you’ve been wondering what TMINE has been doing with itself, given such a lack of viewing options, the answer is simple: I’ve been rewatching the entire first season of Marvel’s Daredevil. It’s been an interesting experience, since clearly I was in a grumpy mood when I reviewed the first few episodes and still quite grumpy when I didn’t include it in my Top 9 (would have been 10 with Daredevil) shows of 2015.

Because it’s brilliant. Really sublime stuff – possibly my favourite season of all the Marvel shows, even more so than the first season of Iron Fist. It verges on the out and out sadistic at times, sure – you can tell showrunner Steven S DeKnight had just come off Spartacus – but despite having already watched it, I zoomed through all 13 episodes in about three days flat. Even the underwhelming costume reveal at the end was fine and Stick and the Hand didn’t irk me so much this time round.

The scripts explorations of the characters are almost lyrical at times, plus I really enjoyed some of its side-themes more, such as its study of the (diminishing) importance of journalism. There’s some real detective work/journalism going on in the investigation. And even when you know what’s coming, there are still some genuinely surprising choices by the writers, such as Melvyn’s reaction to losing a fight. Of which there are many, all so beautifully choreographed and directed – even Wu Assassins couldn’t quite match it.

Plus there’s the general tone of the whole season, with some actually thought-provoking discussions of good and evil, morality, vigilantism, killing, rich and poor, Catholicism and more. Properly adult stuff it is.

Lastly, having watched all the other seasons and Netflix Marvel shows since, it’s really surprising to see how much everything fits together and was set up from the beginning. Yep, all that building-buying for the Japanese had a point and Madame Gao really did have to travel further than China to go back to her homeland.

So, if you’ve already watched Daredevil, give it another go, as it might surprise you. If you’ve not, you should definitely try it – provided you’ve got a strong stomach.

There. I finally got round to doing that boxset review like I promised. Only took me five years.

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Star Trek: Picard

Review: Star Trek: Picard 1×1 (US: CBS All Access; UK: Amazon)

In the US: Thursdays, CBS All Access
In the UK: Fridays, Amazon

What do you want in a revival show – new stories or old stories? It’s a question particularly relevant to science fiction TV, which often has legions of fans particularly keen on deciding what’s good and what’s bad according to a set of rules they’ve devised that normally involve the word ‘canon’.

We’ve seen it repeatedly with the likes of Doctor Who, which chose initially to be as mainstream as possible when it was revived in 2005, by avoiding mentioning anything much to do with the show’s past in case it was perceived as being too nerdy.

Jamie McShane, Patrick Stewart and Orla Brady in Star Trek: Picard

Let’s look that up

Star Trek: Picard, on the other hand, is going straight in with the nerd fodder. The show resurrects Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s most popular character, 14 years after he’s retired from Starfleet because he believes it’s become morally bankrupt – thanks to events that happened asa result of the movie that killed the franchise roughly 18 years ago, Star Trek: Nemesis.

Retired to his family’s French vineyard where he can speak bad French to his dog and have some migrant Romulans with Irish accents as live-in staff/egalitarian help-mates, Picard is nevertheless dreaming about Commander Data still. Or maybe it’s B4.

Then up pops a girl (Isa Briones) with superpowers (of a sort) who has been dreaming of Picard, but doesn’t know why (or even who he is), and whom various dark suited people with guns have been trying to abduct or kill – but doesn’t know why. And then it turns out that Data was painting pictures of her 30 years previously.

What’s going on? Will it be enough to lure Picard back into action? And how much of it will need hyperlinks to Wikipedia for normal people to understand what’s going on?

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Review: Outmatched 1×1 (US: Fox)

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30/7:30c, Fox
In the UK: Not yet acquired

The trouble with not being a genius – at least if you’re a writer writing about genius – is by definition, you’re not smart enough to work out what it must be like. Sherlock Holmes can imagine himself into the minds of lesser people; lesser people cannot imagine the thoughts of Sherlock Holmes.

Hence Elementary.

Interestingly, what seems to happen as a result is that the lesser people – let’s call them writers – imagine there must be a fundamental problem with the genius that renders them in some way lesser to the writers. The writers become the geniuses, as do their audiences.

This common failure of imagination usually manifests itself in the idea of inferior social understanding. Gosh, smart people must be really bad with other people who aren’t as smart as them, hey? Men, women, boys, girls – they may know one end of a microscope from another but can they tell when someone’s upset with them? No, of course not. Not like us regular, writer types.

Witness Numb3rs and Scorpion, for example. And now Outmatched.

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