Pick of the week:
TV2, NOV 5, 22:55
A week after its season two debut in the UK, Humans arrives in Scandinavia, although the original, Real Humans (literally if you like), has been here before, as it was a 2012 Swedish show.
Set in a dystopian future, robots called synths do all the housework, legwork and sexwork, leaving lazy humans to worry about what their children’s generation will think of them and stuff like that.
With 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and some of the highest ever ratings on Britain’s Channel 4, Digital Spy’s ‘Top Show of 2015’ has been acclaimed for its cast (William Hurt, Neil Maskell etc), fearless creativity and commentary on class and racism.
Still, there’s also a sense that the casting is mainly looks-driven and that it doesn’t really have the substance to match US shows of a similar ilk like Westworld.
It tends to be a bad sign when an actor plays a role with his real first name. It’s like we’re being told he’s our friend – and with the heavily-panned Kevin can wait (3+, Nov 6, 21:15), well the title says it all. Like forever.
The subject of Sour Grapes also wanted to be everyone’s friend – mostly of the rich and famous, who bought his exclusive wine. This 2016 doc exposes the fraud entailed in Laurent Ponsot’s crimes against the vine.
He’s a pussycat compared to ex-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who subjected two leading Korean film stars to a life of slavery to indulge his film nerd fantasies – a story told in The Lovers and the Despot (SVT2, Nov 7, 22:15).
Will history remember him more fondly than Trump? Two years ago we would have guffawed at US Celebrity Apprentice 2014 (TV3, Nov 7-10, 14-17 & 21-24, 22:50), but now docs like I Love Donald Trump – Michael Moore in Trumpland (SVT1, Nov 6, 22:50) play like horror films ahead of the US Presidential Election (DR2, Nov 8, 13:45-Nov 9, 18:30).
Elsewhere, neither Jesus: The Cold Case (DRK, Nov 4, 18:00) nor Rock poet Jim Morrison (DRK, Nov 11, 18:20) have been shortlisted for the Danish Music Awards (TV2, Nov 12, 20:00 – see page G5) and we’ve got S3 of Treasure Island prequel Black Sails (TV3, Nov 20, 21:00).
Given the dearth of new US shows – a dip in what has been a stellar autumn – we’re Brexiting to get our fix this month.
Or should that be Netflixing via the UK? The US company recently acquired Black Mirror from Channel 4, upping the ante to produce a S3 of six episodes.
The first has a wonderfully simple premise that will make you howl with delight and then fear as you realise it’s a dystopian future that’s already here. From what we’ve seen, all six episodes are packed with great ideas and acting, so don’t hesitate to tune in.
The same should be true of The Crown, a new ambitious Netflix series about the early years of Queen Elizabeth II starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith.
And the UK critics have enjoyed Jude Law having devilish fun as The Young Pope, a series directed by Paolo Sorrentino that debuted on C More in the Nordics in late October. You might find the synopsis is required reading before viewing though.
Elsewhere, Fleabag (88 on Metacritic) is Britain’s best rated comedy of the year.
Sport of the week
Both 1996 and 99 produced epic England vs Scotland (K6, Nov 11, 20:30) encounters, and Iceland will tell you anything is possible. Sandwiched in between, Arsenal host Spurs and travel to Man Utd (K6, Nov 19, 13:00) in the EPL. Elsewhere, we’ve got the UK Championship in snooker (Eurosport, from Nov 22), NFL (3+, Nov 6, 13 & 20, 22:15) and the penultimate F1 race, the Brazilian GP (3+, Nov 13, 15:30).
Film of the week
If suicide is painless to you, you might enjoy An Inspector Calls (DR1, Nov 6, 22:10), which follows the investigation of one, Barry Levinson’s You Don’t Know Jack (DR2, Nov 19, 00:05), which stars Al Pacino as a euthanasia advocate, and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Behind (SVT2, Nov 4, 21:45), which follows a bunch of vampires forever considering it. If you need cheering up, Cherry (DR3, Nov 12, 23:00) might do the trick.