Public Service Announcement 27 of 2016: Westworld, Divorce, Empire, The Missing, Frequency

We’re a few days behind with some of this, so lots to get through. HBO’s latest big-budget maybe-this-one-will-stick drama, Westworld, made its way to British screens last week: based on a 1973 novel by Michael Crichton, it’s set in a Western-themed amusement park where android Hosts service the clients. It has the sort of cast which I can’t really call “astonishing” any more, because it’s becoming standard in the Platinum Age: Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Luke Hemsworth, Ed Harris, and so on. Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, and (of course) J.J. Abrams are among the exec producers. The critical response has been generally positive, if not unanimously so (Sky Atlantic, Tuesdays, 9pm).

Also from HBO: the much-hyped Sharon Horgan/Sarah Jessica Parker collaboration, Divorce, a black comedy in which Parker plays a woman going through a marital breakup. The critics haven’t been quite as kind to this; which, together with the sour and hard-to-love second season of Catastrophe, makes me wonder whether Horgan, lavishly talented and Stakhanovite, is perhaps spreading herself a little too thinly (Sky Atlantic, tonight, 10.10pm).

Empire – which I gave up on some time ago – has returned for its third season (E4, Tuesdays, 10pm). And The Missing is back, with another missing-child drama for those who can bear to watch, which doesn’t include me. This time the action is set in Germany, David Morrissey and Keeley Hawes are the parents, and Tcheky Karyo returns as detective Julien Baptiste (BBC1, 12 October, 9pm).

And some streaming drama: season 5 of Ripper Street hits Amazon Prime tomorrow (Wednesday), and season 1 of The Ranch is already on Netflix.

Finally, Frequency, the CW’s reasonably-well-received adaptation of the 2000 movie, featuring a NYPD detective (Peyton List) who discovers that she is able to speak to her deceased father through an old ham radio, is also on Netflix.


5 thoughts on “Public Service Announcement 27 of 2016: Westworld, Divorce, Empire, The Missing, Frequency

  1. Snoskred October 12, 2016 / 7:06 am

    “I’m watching a show and I think you will like it” – the other half

    “What show?” – me

    “Westworld” – him

    “How did you find out about that show?” – me

    “I know about the movie” – him

    I had actually not put this show on my to-watch list at all, because while the cast is fantastic there is a lot of stuff already on my to-watch list. I’ve seen the first episode but I won’t talk about it until you write about it. 🙂

    I am a huge Michael Crichton fan so that is a huge selling point for me, even though he is no longer with us. I would love to see a lot more of his stuff adapted into long form teevee shows.

  2. Snoskred December 4, 2016 / 9:44 am

    Just to return to this, still loving Westworld. This weekend I finally got the chance to see The Missing season two, and WOW is all I can say.

    Honestly everyone involved with that show is operating on a whole other level, one I cannot even try to think about for fear of my brain just exploding. Unlike season 1, there were more than just two timelines, the thing was knit together like a television masterpiece woolly jumper. And best of all, it had Laura Fraser who I have become a big fan of over recent times.

    It is a shame the subject matter keeps you from watching it, because it really is great television. :/

  3. e December 4, 2016 / 5:59 pm

    Frequency is terrible and I’m embarrassed that I am still tuning in. (See what I did there? See it?)

    Westworld has great buzz, but I haven’t seen it.

    There is no way I will watch “The Missing”. Just no.

  4. Jed Bartlet December 4, 2016 / 11:07 pm

    I’m… possibly shifting position a little on The Missing. But only possibly. The UK critics loved season 2 (which generally means I’ll think it’s quite good, but not all that).

  5. CJ Cregg December 4, 2016 / 11:12 pm

    I saw 1 ep (I think? Or was it 2?) of Frequency. I thought it was ok, but never felt the need to watch any more of it. I really enjoyed the original film though – it was much better as a feature-length piece and obviously it had Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel.

    I’ve stalled with Westworld. I’m 3 or 4 eps behind and trying to persuade myself to catch up. There are some brilliant things about it and it can be terrific, but it can also be very slow, very male-centric and a bit racist. It’s also *very* HBO – the last episode I watched had the much-talked about orgy, which was both completely unnecessary to the narrative and stupid, I thought. The show has plenty of nudity already, thanks.

    EDIT: Sorry Snoskred, I’m immoveable on The Missing. I know it’s meant to be excellent, but 2016 has been full of so many real-life devastating things, I can’t take on any additional fictional ones 😦

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