Catching Up – The Killing ends, Summer tv??

Since the bulk of US tv shows ended in May, I’ve not had as much to watch so here’s a quick round up of what I HAVE been keeping up with.

Firstly, many MANY viewers were unhappy with the finale of AMC’s The Killing. Well, I’d been unhappy with it since about episode 2. While the first episode was great – setting up the characters and the tone, since then it has been just tediously dull! A test of whether a tv show is gripping you is whether you watch avidly or find something to fiddle with while it is on. I found I had email to check, my Farmville farm to keep an eye on, Bejewelled to play. All of which meant The Killing lost me some time back. I think the final straw was the weird episode where Linden raced around trying to find her bratty teenaged son for an hour. Oh woe, tears, rain, moody Linden and then the kid turns up at home. YAWN!!!

What enraged so many viewers was that they pretty much cheated – no we did not find out who the killer was! Instead they threw some false leads at us – setting up Billy Campbell’s politician as the culprit only for Linden’s sidekick Holder – about the best character in the show – to be revealed as a double dealer. It made no sense at all and was very annoying.

Coincidentally, my DVD club delivered my Forbrydelsen DVD (Danish original) and sitting down to watch the first 4 episodes, I was reminded once again how much I loved it. Sarah Lund is much ballsier than her US counterpart and more importantly, the pace is actually very quick. It is much more like 24 whereas the US version is like Rubicon – snail paced!

My favourite TV critic Mo Ryan was positively apoplectic at it – but Mo wasn’t alone. The producers and stars claimed it was ground-breaking and they never promised the killer would be revealed. Hmm..

Some returning shows I’m watching right now and although they are not exactly must-see tv. I sort of gave up on Burn Notice and White Collar last year as I just found I had episodes waiting to be watched and couldn’t bring myself to bother watching. (Bit like I have Army Wives and Sanctuary episodes stacked up and no inclination to watch right now.) However, there’s so little on I thought I’d pop back in.

White Collar had a terrific third episode featuring the UK’s own Marsha Thomason playing PA to bitchy news reporter Jayne Atkinson – who will always be Karen Hayes from 24 to me. Thomason’s girlfriend was also introduced. Nice move White Collar! Meanwhile Burn Notice this week features Sharon Gless heavily – something I have never understood why they didn’t do more of as I find star Jeffrey Donovan rather smug and annoying.

Interestingly, both shows had English actresses – Thomason and Gabrielle Anwar – play Americans doing an English accent.

Covert Affairs returned and continues to be diverting but not gripping. Piper Perabo wishes she could be Sydney Bristow on Alias I think!

Best of the returning shows is Pretty Little Liars  – chiefly because of the insane mystery and its twists and turns. Having finally sorted who was who last season and very much enjoying the way they handled the Emily-is-gay storyline, I am relieved Ezra has quit being Aria’s teacher. Always found that creepy – and it still is! One of my favourite actresses Annabeth Gish popped up as a therapist but she’s not returned sadly. I am not sure how long they can keep the mystery of who is A going forever, but the show is a lot of fun.

Rookie Blue is a show that I always found myself enjoying more than I expected, much of which was down to star Missy Peregrym. The season opener was a terrific dramatic episode with a shocking shooting right at the start. Some of the characters annoy me, but it is a pretty decent show.

True Blood is back, but only seen episode 1 so far and while Sookie was frolicking with the faeries, Bill appears to be the new king!

I’ll admit I’m only watching The Glee Project for it’s Glee connection – I hate reality shows as a rule. It is fascinating to see the behind the scenes people from Glee working. (Although given how inconsistent the second season of Glee was, perhaps they should have been focussing less on this and more on Glee itself!)

The contestants are an odd bunch, but it is also an odd talent show as it is not the best singer or dancer who will win. In many ways what they are looking for is a good actor – and most of the kids on the show appear to have little of that! I am especially annoyed by the Irish kid Damian who is so totally wrong for Glee in any way and appears to be getting by on his Irish charm! The recent episode was pretty horrible – asking them to reveal their vulnerabilities. Most of these kids are 19 or 20 and it was pretty excruciating to watch them pretty much whore out their weaknesses in an effort to win favour with the judges. Not nice to watch.

Quick UK tv mention, Scott & Bailey – a crime show that has just ended on ITV has been one of my recent favourites. Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp made a great team, with good support from Amelia Bullmore. Nice to see a tv cop show with three female leads.

Luther is back – a really excellent quality show from the BBC. Idris Elba is a brooding but compelling lead and the cases are disturbing but gripping.