Better Call Saul
It’s rare that a prequel matches its progenitor, but Better Call Saul has gradually, at times achingly slo-o-o-wly, proved the equal of parent show Breaking Bad.
As season five of Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul begins, Saul Goodman’s (Bob Odenkirk, above) journey to the dark side looks complete
Across four seasons, down-on-his-luck huckster Jimmy McGill has metamorphosed into Saul Goodman, the bent criminal lawyer whom Walter White meets in season two of Breaking Bad.
As season five begins, Saul’s journey to the dark side looks complete and, with Bob Odenkirk bringing a complexity to the lead role, this gem of a show can only get better and better. From Monday
Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, won an Oscar for its fly-on-the-wall portrait of the lives of Ohio blue-collar workers now labouring under Chinese owners. The former General Motors plant is now run by automotive glass manufacturer Fuyao, which employs 2,000 Americans.
The film paints a grim picture of cultural submission in the heart of Trump’s land of America First: the workers have to put in long hours, work up to seven-day weeks, with few lunch breaks and not a hope of union support in a workplace where machines and technology always have the upper hand. Available now
I Am Not Okay With This
Things aren’t going well for Sydney, an awkward 17-year-old. She has anger-management issues and she’s in love with her best friend Dina, who is dating the awful Brad.
However, although Syd tells us, ‘I’m not special’, she really is ‘special’. Think Carrie but made by The Breakfast Club director John Hughes.
With a soundtrack featuring The Kinks, Prefab Sprout and Roxy Music, and music by Blur’s Graham Coxon, this new seven-episode, high-school dramedy looks like a hit. From Wednesday
A welcome second season for this ambitious sci-fi drama. It’s set a few centuries from now in a Blade Runner-esque future where a person’s consciousness is stored on a ‘cortical stack’ implanted at the base of their skull and can be transferred into a different ‘sleeve’ (body).
It’s essentially a sci-fi film noir detective show. And down these mean streets our tough hero, Takeshi Kovacs, must go, now decanted into a fancy new hi-tech sleeve and on a new assignment. From Thursday
Formula 1: Drive To Survive
The speed, the danger, the tension, the glamour… it’s all here in this riveting documentary series about the 2019 F1 season.
For the first time, Mercedes and Ferrari have joined the other teams in collaborating with the producers for what promises to be a must-see for any F1 fan. Above: Max Verstappen
For the first time, Mercedes and Ferrari have joined the other teams in collaborating with the producers (the ones behind the films Senna and Diego Maradona) for what promises to be a must-see for any F1 fan. From Friday
Netflix puts its obsession with true-crime documentaries to one side (only temporarily) to focus on a very different aspect of life – our earliest months.
Shot over the course of three years, this 12-part docu-series charts the lives of 15 families from across the globe as the youngest members of their clans develop from helpless newborns into more independent (and very loud, tantrum-throwing) toddlers.
Scientists embark on a journey into the infant mind, discovering that the baby brain knows far more than we ever thought possible. Available now
Move over Anthony Perkins, there’s a new Norman Bates on the block. If you’re a fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of Robert Bloch’s seminal novel Psycho, chances are you’ll be intrigued by this prequel, which ran for five seasons until 2017.
Freddie Highmore (above with Vera Farmiga as his mother, Norma) stars in this Psycho prequel as young Mr Bates which charts how he became the frock-wearing killer we know today
It stars British actor Freddie Highmore as young Mr Bates and charts how he became the frock-wearing killer we know today. Vera Farmiga co-stars as his infamous mother Norma. Seasons 1-5, available now
All Or Nothing: Brazil
The latest in the series of behind-the-dressing-room-door sports documentaries focuses on the Brazilian national football team (Neymar and all) as they bid for glory at last year’s Copa America. What gives the series an extra edge is that the tournament took place on home soil – disgruntled British footie fans are mere amateurs compared to the notoriously hard-to-please fanbase of the Samba Kings. Across five episodes we follow the sporting drama as the team is booed off after an unconvincing opening win against Bolivia. Then, after scraping past Paraguay on penalties, old rivals Argentina and Lionel Messi lie in wait to block their path to final glory at the Maracana. Available now
Take your pick of your favourite Doctor from yesteryear in this extensive Doc-whomentary collection, which compiles interviews with many of the stars from the classic British sci-fi show. From William Hartnell, via Bakers Tom and Colin, to Sylvester McCoy, the Doctors from the original run give the lowdown on the making of the series and what they thought of their companions. It’s cult heaven for Whovians and, even better, is presented by the exterminator himself, voice of the Daleks Nicholas Briggs. Available now
Why is there such a buzz about..?
The Outsider (Sky Atlantic/NOW TV)
This ten-part drama is the most terrifying show on TV right now. When a boy is horrifically murdered in a Georgia town all the evidence points to one man. It’s an open-and-shut case… until videos emerge suggesting that the prime suspect was in two places at once.
Double Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo is the standout star of a brilliant cast
What initially appeared to be a straightforward, if classy, crime procedural corkscrews off in a completely unexpected direction, landing us in True Detective meets The X-Files territory.
The supernatural element of the story – based on a Stephen King novel – is slowly ramped up in each episode with the atmosphere of mounting dread punctuated by scenes that make your blood run cold.
Double Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo is the standout star of a brilliant cast. The British actress and singer is absolutely magnetic as Holly Gibney, an intense but sensitive private investigator who is on the autistic spectrum. One to watch with the lights on.
SKY, BRITBOX & APPLE TV+
The Last Weekend
We’d almost forgotten about Rupert Penry-Jones (although he’s due to return to TV this year in eagerly awaited Australian thriller The Commons), but he pops up as one of the leads in this three-part ITV psychological drama from 2012, based on a Blake Morrison novel.
He plays Ollie who, out of the blue, invites his old friends Em and Ian (Claire Keelan and Endeavour’s Shaun Evans) to accompany him and his other half Daisy (Genevieve O’Reilly) on a weekend trip in rural Suffolk.
It should be a peaceful break but the rivalry between the two men soon reaches boiling point… BritBox, from Thursday
All good things must come to an end – and it’s certainly nigh for Strike Back. The latest season, its eighth, begins on Tuesday on Sky One at 9pm, and it will be the pulse-raising action thriller’s final run.
This last season of Strike Back sees the Section 20 team (Alin Sumarwata, Warren Brown and Daniel MacPherson, above) is in Kosovo looking to rescue a British scientist being held hostage
For those who can’t wait seven days between episodes, the whole package is being made available to stream. This time the Section 20 team (Alin Sumarwata, Warren Brown and Daniel MacPherson, right) is in Kosovo to rescue a British scientist being held hostage.
They must locate the boffin before the location of his latest invention is revealed. Sky/NOW, from Tuesday
Not for the faint-hearted, this challenging ten-parter stars Dame Harriet Walter as Edie, a defiant grandmother determined to take her own life.
Her daughter Kate (Frances O’Connor) moves the old girl out to Australia, where she works as a palliative-care doctor, and the crux of this painfully funny, at times provocative, comedy drama is set.
Can Kate save Edie, or should she even bother? Humanity flows from the pen of writer Samantha Strauss in a show that’s as watchable as a comedy about assisted dying could possibly be. Sky/NOW, available now
BBC iPLAYER, ALL 4 AND ITV HUB
Mary Beard’s Shock Of The Nude
The historian takes a wry and often mischievous look at depictions of nudity in Western art, from the classical Greek period onwards.
The historian takes a wry and often mischievous look at depictions of nudity in Western art, from the classical Greek period onwards in her irreverent and scholarly new series
Along the way she criticises the representation of women as ‘coy Venuses’ for the leering eyes of men, explores images of men as ‘expressions of moral and political virtue’ prone to having their bits covered with fig leaves, and views modern ‘Body Worlds’-type art, which look to her like a ‘rather nasty crime scene’.
The two-part series is both irreverent and serious and, like everything Mary Beard produces for TV, scholarly. And revealing, in this case. BBC iPlayer, available now
Last Chance To See
Untouchable: The Rise & Fall Of Harvey Weinstein
His fall has been more precipitous than Icarus’s. This film portrays the movie mogul as a manipulative monster.
Most powerful is how each testimony mirrors the next, revealing Weinstein’s modus operandi. BBC iPlayer, ends Monday
Slipping quietly onto the iPlayer last month, this bawdy character-led sitcom about a Welsh family of chancers aims for laughs as broad as the Valleys, and largely succeeds.
Creator Steve Speirs (a familiar face from Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest to Upstart Crow) stars as workshy Glyn, who lives with mother Peggy and his two sons, and rides the mean streets of Tregarreg on his mobility scooter to general disdain.
Peggy dispenses life lessons over the garden fence, while Grandpa Murphy (Robert Pugh) lives in the outdoor bog. A bunch of low- lifers who are not altogether low on laughs. Iechyd da. BBC iPlayer, available now
There’s much to enjoy about this gentle take on James Runcie’s Fifties-set crime stories – and a lot of this is down to Al Weaver, who plays gay curate Leonard, a character so delightful he deserves his own series.
But it’s Tom Brittney who shares top billing with Robson Green. They play the Rev Will Davenport and DI Geordie Keating, an unlikely double act who, in the latest run, deal with a paedophile, a hit-and-run killing and an LSD-related death. ITV Hub, available now
Sarah Lancashire is back on the box this week in a new run of Last Tango In Halifax, so now is the perfect time to binge-watch her most recent Channel 4 project.
Written by Jack Thorne, it’s a thought-provoking look at the impact a devastating incident has on a small, poverty-stricken Welsh town. Lancashire’s accent leaves a lot to be desired, but ignore that and you’ve got a compelling drama on your hands. All 4, available now
The Unshockable Dr Ronx
Remember Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies? Well, the BBC has come up with its own variation. It’s presented by Dr Ronx, an A&E medic who realises there are many people who are reluctant to visit their GP.
So she takes health advice on to the streets, setting up consulting areas in gyms, nail salons and cafes. BBC iPlayer, from Thursday
Renée Zellweger gives an Oscar-winning performance as a fragile Judy Garland in the final months of her life.
The film centres on Garland’s visit to London in 1969 to give a series of sold-out performances. The broke former child star of The Wizard Of Oz agreed to do the shows even though it meant leaving her two children in America.
Renée Zellweger gives an Oscar-winning performance as a fragile Judy Garland in the final months of her life
Being apart from them sends an already vulnerable Judy sinking further into alcohol and pills dependency, affecting her ability to perform.
Jessie Buckley gives an impressive performance as Judy’s assistant. BFI Player (player.bfi.org.uk), available now
Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution
If your ideal way to spend 98 minutes is watching cute flying creatures the colour of Liquorice Allsorts doing battle with bright-blue giant kangaroos, you won’t want to miss this. It’s a Japanese computer-animated blend of The Lord Of The Rings and Godzilla.
Evil organisation Team Rocket has created MewTwo, a creature plotting revenge against humanity with an army of cloned Pokémons (that’s pocket monsters to the uninitiated).
Pitted against him are the good Pokémons, like the psychic Mew and the yellow, rabbit-like Pikachu. Strictly niche. Netflix, from Thursday
Suddenly bathed in Oscars glory, South Korean film-maker Bong Joon-ho is no neophyte in the cinema world.
Two of his earlier movies are now available to stream on MUBI (£9.99 a month, seven days’ free trial), and what a wonderfully odd world his is.
The Host (2006) was inspired by a newspaper article about a strange, deformed fish and tells the story of a father seeking revenge on the huge river monster that has swallowed his daughter. And Mother (2009) concerns a widow’s fight to free her son, who has learning difficulties, from wrongful arrest for murder. MUBI, available now
Not sure how to watch on demand TV? Read our ultimate guide here