Pick of the Week: Secret State
DR2, July 26, 23:30
Take one dead prime minister, Al Qaeda, some ruthless party politics and a bunch of shady big oil companies and you have the British equivalent of Netflix’s House of Cards – only more vicious, if that’s even possible.
A new political miniseries – which is said to be almost as good as Borgen – is on its way from Britain’s Channel 4.
Secret State promises a fast pace, lots of action and subtle comparisons to British politics.
The plot develops after the prime minister dies under unclear circumstances and his successor Tom Dawkins (Gabriel Byrne) has to figure out how to rule the country while keeping ahead of all the villains around him.
Definitely worthwhile, although not because it’s particularly realistic, but because it’s very entertaining. (LK)
Neither SVT1 or DR3 wasted any time in snapping up the rights to Catastrophe, our ‘Coming Soon’ just two weeks ago, another cross-Atlantic romcomish sitcom (like Episodes) enjoying meteoritic success, both with fans (8.3 on IMDB) and critics (82 on Metacritic).
Catastrophe was the working title for Channel 4’s Supermarket Secrets, a doc that comes highly recommended. It is both uncomfortable and essential viewing, not just for Brits but everyone.
More British-centric is Going to the Dogs, an expose of the popularity of dog fighting.
Elsewhere, we’ve got season three of The Newsroom (DR2, July 13, 23:00), S2 of British codebreaker series The Bletchley Circle (DR2, July 22, 20:00) and S2 of the rather ropey Hawaii Five-O (3+, July 14, 20:00); a whole load of docs that speak for themselves: Partners in Crime: Fred and Rose West (DR2, July 14-16, 23:00), Louis Theroux’s LA Stories: City of Dogs (DR2, July 21, 23:00), The Truth behind Sex, Stags and Prague (DR3, July 21, 20:30 or July 25, 19:00), The Woodstock Diaries (DRK, July 11, 23:55) and Stevie Wonder – The Soul Genius (DRK, July 24, 23:35); while Muscle Shoals tells the story of FAME Studios in Alabama, the creator of tracks such as ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Respect’ and, of course, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. (BH)
(SVT1, July 22, 21:30 (also DR2, July 9, 21:30) Catastrophe)
Coming Soon: Ballers
Do you fancy some American football? Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is making a turnover to the small screen for HBO’s new dramedy.
Johnson plays a retired football star touching down in civilian life, who’s trying to succeed as a financial advisor to current NFL stars.
The story delves into the lives of the players, showing how hard it can get when you’re past your best.
Described as “an Entourage with athletes”, the series has earned 65 on Metacritic, not least for Johnson’s performance. As a former wrestler and college football star, it is a perfect role for him. (EN)
(Rocking it in a suit)
Sport of the Week
As most football fans count down the days to the start of the main Europeanleague seasons (Danish Superliga returns July 18-19 and there are various Champions League and Europa League qualifiers), we’ve got the Tour de France (until July 26, TV2), the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Wimbledon finals and the British Open to tide us over. (BH)
(TV3 Sport 1, July 16-19 British Open)
Film of the Week
The usually unsinkable Kevin Spacey should leave blackjack alone. Casino Jack (DR2, July 11, 23:00) is another bust to follow 21. Bet on Side Effects, the brilliant The Adjustment Bureau and the solid Sarah Palin drama Game Change instead. While Trust (DR3, July 13, Mon 21:55) and Howl (SVT1, July 21, 23:50) are safe wagers as well. (BH)
(SVT4, July 11, 21:20 Side Effects)