Private Eyes s3 ep 3

Angie’s mum’s secret plastic surgeon boyfriend is sweet, supportive and in big trouble: someone’s hacked into his computer system and is holding his patient files for ransom. What to do? Get Everett and Shade on the case, of course, even if Angie is acutely suspicious of anything or anyone to do with her mum, and Shade is having some parental issues himself, although they happen to be with his (ever so slightly doing my head in this week) offspring as opposed to his mum or dad. “No matter where they come from, parents and kids drive each other crazy” is very much the theme of the episode then, which is fair enough, but the show’s insistence on fitting every aspect of this week’s story and sub-plots into it doesn’t do anyone any favours. You know I love Private Eyes, and I wanted to like this one, but the “parents / kids” thing takes it down a convoluted, torturous route and ties up the case of the week in a way that’s absolutely meant to be heartwarming, but just annoyed me. Dr Rohit is a much nicer person than I am, because I would absolutely have called the police on REDACTED’s ass and REDACTED’s ass would have deserved it.

The story about Angie’s prom dress is great, and I thoroughly enjoyed the very eloquent, very pleased look on Ma Everett’s face when she asks about Angie’s love life and Shade walks in (SQUEE!) but these are small consolations for no Maz, very little Zoe and an ep that never really clicked for me.


Private Eyes s3 ep 2

Angie’s stressed out about the downturn in Everett & Shade’s business since she went to jail. Zoe and Maz are bickering – not the cute, flirty kind of bickering, but the in-your-bones, weary, miserable one. And Shade’s old friend Cordell hires the team to find out who’s been spying on his possibly-not-entirely-honest wife. Huh. No show can be wall-to-wall happiness, but this does seem a little more downbeat than your usual episode of the Eyes, even if that’s still several thousand times less downbeat than your average detective show. It all kind of works out in the end, though: there’s an unexpectedly poignant, heartening resolution to the case of the week; Shade helps keep Angie’s chin up in typically supportive, squee-worthy fashion (I love him) and, although I’m very sad about Zoe and Maz because they’re great, it’s clearly not over for them yet. Downbeat or not, it’s still one of the nicest hours of my week.

Private Eyes s3 ep 1

Today may be its somewhat flashier US cousin, but Canada Day was on Monday of this week, and in the UK it came bearing gifts: namely the new season of unpopcult’s beloved Private Eyes, back to make us feel a little brighter about the world for 40-ish minutes a week, thank GOD. Although even Private Eyes has its stresses. I mean, Angie starts off the season in prison, with a couple of con artists and a very tightly-wound federal agent keen to keep her there, but we know the visibly worried Shade isn’t going to stand for that (because he loves her). He mortgages his house to get her out (because he loves her), and with a little help from Maz, Zoe and a delightfully daytime soap-style fake-out towards the end (although it isn’t all fake, because, did I mention, he loves her), Everett and Shade Investigations are back together, the baddies are behind bars, and I genuinely feel better about life. What’s not to love? There’s shipping, squeeing, smiling and lovely characters being lovely, not only to each other, but to anyone they meet who needs it – what Angie did for Loretta, awwww! I’m delighted with all of it. Welcome back, Eyes, we’ve missed you.

Public Service Announcement 43 of 2019: Private Eyes, Waco

You know how much Unpopcult loves Private Eyes. But after a week reading about Brexit, the rapist in The White House, the likelihood that in a matter of weeks Boris Johnson is going to be my prime minister, the climate emergency, and – I can scarcely believe I’m typing this – fucking concentration camps in the United States of America in 2019, we’re perilously close to needing something, anything, which might put a hint of a smile on our faces for a few minutes. Thank the very Lord above, then, for the return of this cheerfully inconsequential Canadian PI dramedy, with leads Cindy Sampson and Jason Priestley as partners in a detective agency, and – more importantly for our purposes – the reigning three-in-a-row winners of Unpopcult’s Ship of the Year Award. Unpopcult royalty Ennis Esmer is in it as well, which further seals the deal. We’ll be reviewing every episode, because it reduces the risk of us catching sight of the news (Monday 1 July, 8pm, Universal).

I suspect that Waco, the Paramount Network’s miniseries dramatising the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidians’ compound in Texas, is somewhat more serious. It stars, among others, Taylor Kitsch – Tim Riggins! – as David Koresh; Michael Shannon – yes, the Michael Shannon who might be one of the best actors on the planet – as Gary Noesner, the head of the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit; and Emmy-nominated John Leguizamo as an ATF agent. However, the critical response was lukewarm, which is presumably why we’ve had to wait 18 months to see it in the UK (Monday 1 July, 9pm, Alibi).

Public Service Announcement 33 of 2019: The Blacklist, Private Eyes

Quite a few Unpopcult-friendly shows starting over the next few days, leading up to the remarkable prospect, next week, of The West Wing’s Sam Seaborn on ITV as a cop in Lincolnshire.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Blacklist is returning for its sixth season tomorrow night, and it has to be said that it’s maintained a remarkably high standard over the years, given that its original premise could easily have burned itself out. (And it’s already been renewed for a seventh season.) The writers, of course, Went There at the end of season 5, confirming a long-held fan theory in the process, and I’m tremendously excited about how they’re going to get themselves out of that particular corner. Weekly reviews to come (Wednesday 5 June, 9pm, Sky One).

And, while we wait for the third season of delightful Canadian nonsense Private Eyes, it’s worth quickly mentioning that the first season is now getting a run on 5 USA, also on Wednesdays at 9, starting tomorrow. We love this show. We ship the leads. And Ennis Esmer is in it. If you’re tempted to give it a go, our reviews of the first two episodes are here. (And most of the other episodes are here.)

Private Eyes s2 ep 18

After a sweet little beginning which stopped just short of shipper-tastic – I mean, would a hug have killed anybody? – the Private Eyes season finale changed tack very quickly, snapping into an unusually hi-tech, high stakes and, er, high volume (the “DON’T TALK, NOT SAFE” bit was awesome) story for what’s normally a happily lo-fi, relaxed way to spend 45 minutes a week, even if they have been pushing the Eyes envelope a little this year. Not that Everett and Shade Investigations will be challenging Ethan Hunt and the IMF to an apocalyptic spycraft-off any time soon, but this tale of heists, hacking and harassment was something of a departure for Private Eyes, and a tad different in tone and consequences from, say, finding a kidnapped octopus.

Perhaps that’s why REDACTED’s story didn’t feel right from the start. I guessed very quickly that she was lying, and what she was lying about, and if Angie and Shade had done their due diligence (or watched a bit more Blindspot) instead of being so kind and trusting they would have as well, but since the absolute joy of this show is precisely that kindness and trust, that wouldn’t have made it much of an episode. Either way, my mounting unease just made things significantly more exciting and, for all the plot might not hold up to too close an examination, I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. The ending was incredibly cruel, but since we’re (thank GOD) getting a third season, and we all know that Shade absolutely is going to get his partner/friend (aka love of his life, amirite?) Angie out of there, I forgive them. Especially since it might lead to that hug I’ve been waiting for. For so long, you guys. SO LONG.

A great season finale then, to round off another charming, cheerful season of a show I can’t get enough of. I’ve liked some episodes better than others, but it’s never mattered: Angie and Shade are a terrific team and I ship them with every ounce of my being, Zoe has turned out to be a delightful, capable sidekick, and I completely and utterly adore Maz. While Jules and Liam are very sweet kids, mind you, I would be fine if I never heard about their trip to Italy ever again, but that’s just me being an old grump. This show has so much heart, it captured mine long ago: I love it to pieces, and I can’t wait for season three.

Private Eyes s2 ep 17

Everyone has off days, even our beloved Private Eyes. This week’s curiously subdued tale of sabotage of a family brewery is very mystery-by-numbers, which is more than fine when the show puts its usual cheery stamp on things, but that usual cheery stamp seems to have disappeared with the missing Wallace. As well as a lack of surprises, Private Eyes’s usual jauntiness just isn’t there for some reason. The problem isn’t so much that the answer to the mystery is obvious very early on – as our friend Traxy pointed out last week, that’s not unusual in procedural drama series – but that the process of the characters finding it out is somewhat downbeat and not as much fun as usual, although the odd little detail like the Girl on a Bike business and Zoe hammered on the couch do lift things a bit. The Jules sub-plot doesn’t particularly help – Jules is a nice girl, her relationship with Shade is lovely, and Zoe is very sweet to her, but I just don’t care about her love life. At all. The people on this show whose love lives I do care about are adults, namely (1) Shade and Angie, and (2) Maz and Zoe. The latter are already sorted – a shot of Maz might well have livened this episode up – of course, but it looks like the former are going to tease us till the end of the series. Sigh. Shangie are as charming as ever and their last scene is very cute, though, and despite how sad the resolution of the mystery is, the episode does end on a hopeful, even moving note. There’s no such thing as a bad episode of Private Eyes (or at least there hasn’t been so far) so this was never less than perfectly watchable and even reasonably entertaining but – possibly because I put too much faith in this show to distract me from too many other things – it felt like a little bit of a letdown.