Ramy
US TV

Review: Ramy 1×1 (US: Hulu)

In the US: Available on Hulu
In the UK: Not yet acquired

When was the last time you saw a US TV programme with a Muslim lead in a show that explored what it was like to be a Muslim in modern America? Off the top of my head – and discounting shows with supporting characters who happened to be a bit Muslim but never really ever brought it up except to point out that they weren’t all terrorists, you know? – I’d say the last one was the much missed Aliens in America.

A mere 11 years later, we now have Ramy, written by and starring Egyptian-American Muslim stand-up Ramy Youssef. It, too, is a comedy, which suggests that there are certain things in the US that can still only be broached through comedy.

In it, Ramy plays a thinly veiled version of himself, Ramy Hassan, who still lives at home with parents and still hasn’t found the right woman – right for either them or him. He’s initially dating a Jewish woman, but since he’s moderately religious, he’s been covering up most of his less party-friendly restrictions to himself – something that doesn’t please her when she finds out (“You said the other day that you couldn’t drink any more because you were up to your limit!” “Well, I was. It’s just my limit is zero.”)

Suffice it to say, he’s soon spurred on by his friends, family and people he meets at the mosque into dating a Muslim girl for the first time. Except he soon discovers that comes with its own set of issues (“Do you want her to be covered or uncovered?” his mother asks, when he suggests she set him up with a date).

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Kelly and Kelly
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Star Trek: Discovery and The Twilight Zone

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

Dax Shepard and Lake Bell in ABC (US)'s Bless This Mess
Dax Shepard and Lake Bell in ABC (US)’s Bless This Mess

This week’s reviews

With everyone celebrating that Jesus dying (and coming back again) for the past few days, it’s been another quiet one for TMINE. But elsewhere, I did review ABC (US)’s Bless This Mess and Orange Wednesday took in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, so I’ve not been totally slacking.

The Bad Seed

What’s coming this week

A few new shows are coming up, and fingers crossed, I should finally be able to watch all of TVNZ 1’s The Bad Seed. Plus Orange Wednesday tomorrow will be taking in an Australian double-bill, Mystery Road and Goldstone, as well as a classic from the 80s, The Name of the Rose.

There’ll be other stuff, too.

Freeform's Marvel's Cloak and Dagger
Freeform (US)’s Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger

The regulars

While there may not have been a huge number of new shows, I’ve not been slacking when it comes to the regulars. I’ve now caught up with episodes 2-4 of The Twilight Zone, so I’ll be looking at that, as well as all the other regulars: Au Service De La France, Doom Patrol, Game of Thrones, The Good Fight, Happy!, Il Miracolo (The Miracle), Il Nome della Rosa (The Name of the Rose), The Magicians, Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, The Orville, Star Trek: Discovery, Warrior, What We Do In the Shadows and Whiskey Cavalier.

Brace yourselves, though, because not only are The Magicians, Il Miracolo and Star Trek: Discovery leaving that list because they’ve just had their season finales, I’m also purging no fewer than five of the others, on the general grounds they’re not much cop any more.

See you in a mo for a veritable TMINE Night of the Long Knives!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Star Trek: Discovery and The Twilight Zone”
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Dax Shepard and Lake Bell in ABC (US)'s Bless This Mess
US TV

Review: Bless This Mess 1×1 (US: ABC)

In the US: Tuesdays, 9.30/8.30c, ABC
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Culture clashes seem to be one of the big concerns of network US comedies these days. Black/white, middle-class/working-class, traditional/modern, famous/unknown – imagine the hilarity as everyone tries to understand everyone else from different backgrounds. Not all such concerns are US-specific, of course. New US arrival Bless This Mess, for example, is somewhat similar to two other recent shows from other countries – Canada’s Cavendish and New Zealand’s Fresh Eggs – in trying to make us laugh at urban/rural culture clashes. But if you’re going to do it, you need to have something new to say and some observations to make. Bless This Mess doesn’t.

Here, the set-up is that a New York married couple – therapist Lake Bell (Boston Legal, Childrens Hospital) and music journalist Dax Shepard (Parenthood) – inherit a Nebraskan farmhouse and sight-unseen, decide to relocate the countryside for a new life as farmers. Plausible, huh?

However, once they’re there, they discover that the farmhouse is in need of a touch of repair, the farmland is barren and they have all manner of ‘interesting’ neighbours: live-in neighbour Ed Begley Jr, store owner/sheriff/amateur thespian Pam Grier and rival farmer David Koechner (Anchorman) who’d quite like to buy the property from them.

Can they make a success of both their farm and their relationships with their new neighbours?

Continue reading “Review: Bless This Mess 1×1 (US: ABC)”
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Game of Thrones - Season 8
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Game of Thrones

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

CBS (US)'s The Code
CBS (US)’s The Code

This week’s reviews

TMINE took a few well-deserved days off at the end of last week, which means its usual prodigious output was a little more subdued than usual. But elsewhere, you can find a review of CBS (US)’s The Code, while last week’s Orange Wednesday took in Shazam! and Aquaman.

The Bad Seed

New shows

TVNZ premiered The Bad Seed at the weekend, so I’ll be trying to review that this week, as well as ABC’s Bless This Mess. Otherwise, with Easter holidays coming up, it’s liable to be another quiet one. Sorry!

Fox (US)'s The Orville
Fox (US)’s The Orville

The regulars

I’ll be trying to do a third-episode verdict on The Twilight Zone this week, so I’ll hold off on reviewing that for now. Meanwhile, The Orville‘s back off its holidays, so after the jump, I’ll be looking at that, as well as all the other regulars: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Doom Patrol, The Good Fight, Happy!, Il Miracolo (The Miracle), Il Nome della Rosa (The Name of the Rose), The Magicians, Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, Star Trek: Discovery, Warrior, What We Do In the Shadows and Whiskey Cavalier.

Shockingly, one of those is for the chop. But which?

And oh yes, another show made its return this week. You might not have noticed. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned it. What was it?

Oh yes. That was it. Game of Thrones.

See you in a mo!

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The cast of The Code
US TV

Review: The Code 1×1 (US: CBS)

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, CBS
In the UK: Not yet acquired

It seems hard to believe now but there was a time before Aaron Sorkin was a household name. However, way back in 1992, nobody had heard of the future creator of The West Wing, Studio 60 and The Newsroom. Thankfully, the then-playwright soon hit the big time thanks to a film adaptation of his stage play for A Few Good Men.

Featuring an iconic performance by Jack Nicholson as well as a sizzling script, A Few Good Men not only introduced the world to Sorkin, it also gave us our first real filmic glimpses at the modern US Marine Corps and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. These were so unknown in the heady days of the early 90s that when I reviewed A Few Good Men, my editor actually queried – in print in my review – my claim that the base featured in the movie was in Cuba.

Oh, what happy, pre-Gitmo days those were.

Luke Mitchell and Anna Wood in CBS's The Code
Luke Mitchell and Anna Wood in CBS’s The Code

The Code

While the Marines have seen many outings in the movies and on TV since, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and its system of courts martial largely only featured in one show: JAG, which concerned the lawyers of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps charged with prosecuting crimes under the code. That ran for an astonishing 10 seasons (one on NBC, nine on CBS), launched the apparently immortal NCIS franchises and even this very day is being considered for a revival.

One can only assume that CBS is planning this only because it has so little faith in its latest drama, The Code, given that:

  1. The Code is all about the JAG corps.
  2. It’s basically a remake of both A Few Good Men and JAG
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