News, Culture & Society

From new drama White Lines to Scrubs and Thunderbirds box sets: The best on demand TV this week

NETFLIX

White Lines

When the Spanish crime drama Money Heist became a global hit, Netflix shrewdly signed up creator Álex Pina to make another show. This ten-episode series, which has the producers of The Crown on board, is the result. 

The latest show from Money Heist creator Álex Pina follows Zoe as she travels to Spain to find out what happened to her brother whose body has been discovered 20 years after he vanished

A torrential storm in the desert in Almeria exposes the desiccated body of Axel Collins, a superstar DJ from Manchester who disappeared from Ibiza 20 years ago. His mentally fragile younger sister Zoe (Laura Haddock) travels to the party island to find out what happened to him. He couldn’t possibly have been involved in the drugs scene, could he? 

As you’d expect from Pina, this is visually arresting and clips along at 140bpm. A second season is reportedly already in the works. From Friday

 

Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours To Kill

In 2017, the record-breaking comedian signed a lucrative deal with Netflix that included two stand-up specials – this is the second of them. Filmed at the Beacon Theatre in New York, it’s the perfect antidote to our current lockdown situation in which Seinfeld attempts to convince viewers that, to a certain extent, everybody’s life is miserable, come what may. The multi-millionaire does, however, admit that his might be a little better than most. Available now

 

Trial By Media

Over the years, Netflix’s true-crime documentaries such as Making A Murderer and The Innocence Files have led to the reopening of several cases, and even the overturning of some verdicts. However, the latest offers an insight into how media coverage of trials has affected the US legal system since TV cameras were allowed to film inside courtrooms. 

Over the course of six episodes it reveals that showmanship is now commonplace, and that a lawyer’s skills in this area can influence a jury. Among the cases used to highlight this are the impeachment of politician Rod Blagojevich and the death of Amadou Diallo, who was shot and killed by four police officers after being mistaken for a rape suspect. From Monday

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs The Reverend

Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) was held captive for 15 years in an underground bunker by a doomsday cult led by the Reverend Richard (Jon Hamm). When freed, she moves to New York to restart her relentlessly upbeat life. There were four series of the madcap hit comedy, created by 30 Rock’s Tina Fey, with the last airing last year. 

In this new, one-off, choose-your-own-adventure special, Kimmy is due to marry Prince Frederick Windsor (Daniel Radcliffe), who is 12th in line to the British throne, but discovers that the Reverend might have trapped more women. 

What should she do? You decide. Viewers watching on devices that support interactivity are presented with choices throughout the show to determine the actions that characters take. From Tuesday

 

A Secret Love

A touching and tender documentary telling the story of Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel – two charming elderly ladies who had been a couple for more than six decades before coming out to their family a few years ago. 

Terry was a professional baseball player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the inspiration for the film A League Of Their Own, when she met Pat in the 1940s. Director Chris Bolan, Terry’s great-nephew, has assembled a wealth of old photographs and home movies showing the pair as young women when they had to keep their love hidden. Available now

 

Schitt’s Creek

When the super-wealthy dysfunctional Rose family lost their fortune, they had to move to Schitt’s Creek, a small backwater town they bought as a joke, and live in a motel. Over the previous five seasons we’ve seen Johnny and Moira Rose, and their adult children David and Alexis, get more and more involved in the life of the town ‘where everyone fits in’, as its slogan has it. 

The final series of this warm-hearted, fish-out-of-water sitcom starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara as Johnny and Moira Rose (above) promises to be emotional

The final series of this warm-hearted, fish-out-of-water sitcom starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara as Johnny and Moira Rose (above) promises to be emotional

They’ve made friends, found partners and become better people. The final series of this warm-hearted, fish-out-of-water sitcom promises to be emotional. The last episode is called Happy Ending – fans will be desperately hoping it is. From Thursday

 

SKY/NOW TV, BRITBOX & DISNEY+

Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds are go! With those words, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s ground-breaking Supermarionation masterpiece took off on another adventure. The pair’s wobbly-puppet empire included Captain Scarlet, Joe 90 and Stingray (BritBox will be showing the pilot episodes of these). But by far the most loved by Britain’s children was Thunderbirds.

Thunderbirds are go! Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s ground-breaking Supermarionation masterpiece is now available to stream on BritBox

Thunderbirds are go! Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s ground-breaking Supermarionation masterpiece is now available to stream on BritBox 

Ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy heads International Rescue, saving lives with his fleet of space-age ‘birds’, piloted by his five sons. Despite it not being a hit in America, it was hugely popular here: in the 1960s, no boy’s bedroom was complete without a scale model of chunky Thunderbird 2 – or 3, if you were the racy type. No one wanted 4, which looked like Del Boy’s three-wheeler. BritBox, available now

 

The Disney Family Singalong

American Idol presenter Ryan Seacrest hosts a singalong event to bring people a sense of joy and togetherness during this pandemic. Celebrities and their families, including Ariana Grande, Auli’i Cravalho (the voice of Moana), Beauty And The Beast’s Luke Evans, Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, Christina Aguilera, Kenny Ortega, Donny Osmond, Demi Lovato and more, take on their favourite Disney tunes from old classics such as I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book to new favourites like Let It Go from Frozen. 

American Idol presenter Ryan Seacrest hosts a Disney singalong featuring performances from celebrities such as Ariana Grande (above), Michael Bublé and Christina Aguilera

American Idol presenter Ryan Seacrest hosts a Disney singalong featuring performances from celebrities such as Ariana Grande (above), Michael Bublé and Christina Aguilera

Look out for a special High School Musical reunion featuring stars from the 2006 musical film – minus Zac Efron as he ducks out due to dodgy wi-fi – being joined by their younger counterparts from American mockumentary musical drama High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Disney+, available now

 

Save Me Too

The bad news is that the series is over. The good news is a third is in the pipeline. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure – if that’s the right word to use – of watching star and writer Lennie James’s often harrowing drama, make sure you binge-watch it while you can. 

After rescuing Grace from her captors at the end of the first run, Nelly continues his hunt for his missing teenage daughter Jody. Grace holds clues that could lead him to her, but his investigation is about to take some unexpected turns. The finale will undoubtedly leave you on the edge of your seat too. Adrian Edmondson and Lesley Manville are among the supporting cast. Sky/Now, available now

 

Cosmos: Possible Worlds

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane may be one of this series’ executive producers but there’s nothing comedic about it. Instead, this follow-up to 2014’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is an enthralling 13-part documentary that takes viewers on an amazing journey through the universe – without them ever having to leave the comfort of their own homes. 

Along the way, host and renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses a range of scientific revelations that are literally out of this world. NOW TV, available now

 

It’s A Dog’s Life

After 30 years of supplying the voices of cartoon mutts Goofy and Pluto, Disney stalwart Bill Farmer is hardly likely to be the face of a series devoted to cats, is he?

But while Goofy has little to say other than ‘Gawsh’, and Pluto just looks excited and slobbers, it turns out Farmer has a lot to say about working dogs in real life, and how they interact with us ‘hoomans’. This being Disney, the cuteness factor is turned up to 11 – from surfing corgis to marathon-running labradors, piano-playing pups to intrepid sniffer dogs, all canine life is here.

But there’s a serious side, too, as Farmer dishes out advice on how be a more responsible dog-owner. Disney+, from Friday

 

Classic Kids’ TV

Here’s a nostalgia-fest if ever there was one. All those thirty- and forty-somethings who grew up watching The Worst Witch, Press Gang, Puddle Lane, Murphy’s Mob, Jungle Run, Tots TV, Wizadora, Children’s Ward, Wolves, Witches And Giants and Woof! can relive their childhoods all over again. 

Much-loved episodes from all those shows are now available – no doubt the children, and perhaps even the grandchildren, of the original viewers will also be streaming. BritBox, available now

 

Quiz

While most of the praise for Quiz – ITV’s brilliant three-part drama based on the ‘Coughing Major’s’ winning turn on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? – deservedly went to Michael Sheen’s note-perfect impression of host Chris Tarrant, there are, arguably, two better performances. 

Helen McCrory is so good as the Ingrams’ no-nonsense QC, you can’t help but feel that had the actress actually been defending them they’d have been found innocent. 

But it is Matthew Macfadyen, as Charles Ingram, who steals the show (and should do the same come awards time). He is at turns hilarious, warmly befuddled and heart-breaking, all while wearing a shocking selection of polo shirts. BritBox, from Friday

 

Breeders

Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard star in this ten-part sitcom as parents Paul and Ally, who are struggling with the challenges of raising two children while coping with full-time jobs and ageing parents. 

Freeman’s portrayal of Paul, a sleep-deprived father with anger issues, is unstintingly honest. Paul sets the scene when he confesses that, even though he’d die for his kids, he often wants to kill them. 

The stressed dad subjects his children to a shocking volley of swear words, but he’s essentially a caring father battling against the trials of parenthood. Alun Armstrong provides much of the humour as Paul’s emotionally repressed father Jim. Sky/NOW TV, available now

Why is there such a buzz about..? 

The Assistant 

Harvey Weinstein – the film mogul now serving a 23-year sentence for sexual assault and rape – is never identified by name in Kitty Green’s brilliantly observed and deeply disturbing new drama, but his unseen presence pervades every dark and grubby corner.

Drawing on her experience as a documentary-maker, Green adopts a deliberately low-key approach to follow a single miserable day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner) a young woman still coming to terms with her new job as a lowly assistant at a New York film company. She’s been there for only a few weeks but already her dream is turning into a nightmare.

Kitty Green’s brilliantly observed and deeply disturbing new drama follows a miserable day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner, above), an assistant at a New York film company

Kitty Green’s brilliantly observed and deeply disturbing new drama follows a miserable day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner, above), an assistant at a New York film company

She’s the lowest of the low, arriving before dawn, switching on the lights, turning on the coffee machines, printing the first documents for the day. But those are only her official duties – her ghastly unofficial ones include wiping unidentified stains from her boss’s office couch, reuniting damaged jewellery with its horrified female owner and stashing his impotence treatments.

Garner is nomination-grabbingly good in a film that stands comparisons with last year’s Bombshell, not only exposing the central hypocrisy – everyone knows what’s going on, nobody says anything – that allowed abusers like Weinstein to survive for so long but also doing a wince-makingly good job of recreating the daily horrors of working in a toxic office environment. Available to buy on most platforms

Matthew Bond 

iPLAYER, ITV HUB, ALL 4 

Scrubs

Over its nine-season run, Scrubs proved to be a breath of fresh air when it came to hospital-based TV shows. Out went the stress disorders, malpractice lawsuits and antihero doctors, and in their place came flights of fantasy, dance competitions and vindictive janitors. 

Over its nine-season run, Scrubs - starring John C. McGinley and Zach Braff as Dr Cox and J. D. (above) - proved to be a breath of fresh air when it came to hospital-based TV shows

Over its nine-season run, Scrubs – starring John C. McGinley and Zach Braff as Dr Cox and J. D. (above) – proved to be a breath of fresh air when it came to hospital-based TV shows

This was a comedy drama with the emphasis on the ‘comedy’. Set in the Sacred Heart teaching hospital, each episode was narrated via the inner monologue of junior doctor John ‘J. D.’ Dorian (Zach Braff) as he went about his day, invariably causing chaos in his wake. 

None felt the brunt of this bedlam more than chief resident – and very reluctant mentor – Dr Perry Cox (John C. McGinley). Scrubs was a show that never quite got the attention it deserved. Now – thankfully – with its inclusion on streaming services, that can be put right. All4, available now

 

The Swingers

The camp, soapy and often gripping Dutch drama returns for its fourth series, which begins as Eva (Bracha van Doesburgh) accepts help from a stranger named Olivier and his partner Victoria. 

Bracha van Doesburgh, Katja Schuurman and Tibor Lukács (above) return in the fourth series of camp, soapy and often gripping Dutch drama The Swingers

Bracha van Doesburgh, Katja Schuurman and Tibor Lukács (above) return in the fourth series of camp, soapy and often gripping Dutch drama The Swingers

She hopes to start a new life away from her troublesome neighbourhood, while keeping distance between herself and the biological father of her adopted daughter Roosje. 

She settles on Sardinia, but her peace won’t last long. Eva’s ex, Peter, meanwhile, is released from hospital and tracks down Eva and Roosje – but he may be too late to save them from danger. All 4/Walter Presents, from Friday

 

Euro 96 Relived

Football-starved England fans have another year to wait before the start of what should have been Euro 2020, so ITV is treating them to a chance to relive all the action from that glorious summer of 1996, when the nation hosted the championship. 

All 31 matches are available, including the Three Lions’ memorable clash with the Netherlands and THAT goal from Gazza against Scotland. Unfortunately, it also means there’s the misery of another semi-final defeat to endure. 

What the Wales and Northern Ireland fans are going to do for entertainment is anybody’s guess. ITV Hub, from Monday

 

Peter Kay’s Car Share

As the outpouring of excitement for the recent audio-only episode of Car Share shows, the series created by Peter Kay and Sian Gibson is beloved by the British public. If you haven’t seen it, all episodes from both series are returning to iPlayer this week. 

There are no explosions or special effects, no one is brutally murdered, in fact nothing much happens – it’s just two people in a car talking and occasionally singing along to the songs on the radio and maybe falling in love – yet it is enthralling, enchanting and often hilarious. Good old-fashioned fun. BBC iPlayer, from Friday

 

Glow Up

You don’t need to know your cut crease from your halo to enjoy this series, which sees host Stacey Dooley shepherd aspiring make-up artists as they strive to impress judges Dominic Skinner and Val Garland (whose cries of ‘Ding dong!’ are the equivalent of a coveted Paul Hollywood handshake on Bake Off) and be crowned Britain’s next make-up star. Challenges range from the practical to the abstract in an entertaining contest that proves that make-up really is an art form. BBC3/iPlayer, from Thursday 7pm

 

AMAZON

The Last Narc

In 1985, Mexican-American DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena was kidnapped, tortured and murdered while working on an undercover assignment. In the years since, rumours surrounding his death have circulated, with some journalists, historians and witnesses claiming that the CIA was involved – its bosses supposedly wanted to prevent Camarena from disclosing the organisation’s own alleged drug-trafficking operations. 

The Last Narc is a four-part documentary about the kidnap, torture and eventual murder of Mexican-American DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena in 1985

The Last Narc is a four-part documentary about the kidnap, torture and eventual murder of Mexican-American DEA agent Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena in 1985

His story featured in the drama series Narcos and its spin-off Narcos: Mexico, but this four-part documentary claims to reveal the truth at last. From Friday

 

New Amsterdam

Fiction blended into fact when this New York-filmed medical drama, which recently gave all the PPE equipment it could find on its sets to the local virus-relief effort, saw a key new cast member diagnosed with Covid-19 (now fully recovered) and decided to postpone an episode about a flu pandemic. This hit show about idealistic medics doing inspirational things in a big (fictional) New York hospital stars Ryan Eggold as the New Amsterdam’s medical director and former Doctor Who companion Freema Agyeman as the head of oncology. Available now

 

FILMS

Richard Jewell

Clint Eastwood’s 38th film as a director focuses on a horrifying true story. During the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta, Richard Jewell is working as a security guard when he spots something suspicious: a bomb. After the blast he’s applauded for his quick thinking, which saved many lives – until reporters discover he is being investigated as a ‘person of interest’ by the FBI. 

Suddenly, despite never being charged, he’s regarded as guilty of a crime he didn’t commit, and his life becomes a nightmare. Paul Walter Hauser delivers a moving performance as Jewell, while Kathy Bates received an Oscar nomination for her role as his mother. Sky Store, available now

 

Bad Boys For Life

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett in the belated final part of the action-thriller trilogy. This time they must juggle midlife crises and career changes while tackling a drug cartel headed by a vicious mother-and-son team. 

The stars may be a little longer in the tooth but the chemistry between them is still strong and, ultimately, that’s what makes this buddy movie work. Sky Store & Rakuten, from Monday

 

Bombshell

The cast of this true-life drama is worth tuning in for alone. Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie take the lead roles, playing broadcasters at Fox News who join forces to bring down its founder Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), accusing him of sexual harassment. 

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman (above) and Margot Robbie star as broadcasters at Fox News who join forces to bring down its founder Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) in Bombshell

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman (above) and Margot Robbie star as broadcasters at Fox News who join forces to bring down its founder Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) in Bombshell

While some of the characters featured are real Fox News employees, others are fictional – although the horrifying indignities depicted here are very much based on fact. Connie Britton, Allison Janney and Malcolm McDowell also star. Sky Store & Rakuten, from Monday

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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