FRI: 24º/15º SAT: 18º/14º
Short on ideas, but still tall on comedy
It’s a bold move calling your new series the most common answer to the question “Do you watch TV?” (it normally transpires they watch entire seasons online), but the creators of Life’s Too Short have never shied away from a fight, mercilessly deposing of any TV executive who gets in their way to pursue their vision.
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant can do no wrong in many people’e eyes, and even if you dislike their humour, you can’t deny their prolificacy in a world where successful people often rest on their laurels.
Their 2011 series is an Extras companion piece, complete with the customary real-life cameos (including Gervais and Merchant), depicting the struggles faced by a dwarf actor in the industry.
Critics have accused the pair of being on autopilot. The Guardian found it “little more than a predictable checklist of taboos and social faux pas”; the Independent called it “shoddily derivative”. However, others commended the creators’ judgement, feeling they could easily have overreached – and the show has actually done better in the US than the tall poppy syndrome-infected UK.
Still, the pair should try dealing with the bitter critics and meddling executives in Myanmar, like Australian publisher Ross Dunkley, who owns 49 percent of the country’s leading newspaper, The Myanmar Times. In Dancing with Dictators (DR2, Wed 23:00) we follow his battle with censorship, a repressive state, his board and wrongful imprisonment for an alleged assault.
Crossing the border, China: Triumph and Turmoil is a new series made by Britain’s Channel 4 that speculates on how’s China’s future is the world’s future.
Elsewhere, Waking the Dead spin-off The Body Farm stars Tara Fitzgerald and Keith Allen; there’s another chance to see quirky British sitcom Psychoville (BBC Ent, Mon 22:45); Desperate Housewives (TV2, Wed 20:35) is back for an eighth season; Stars of The Silver Screen (DRK, Tue 18:20) is a 13-episode series that kicks things off with Marilyn Monroe; The Dancing Detective (SV1, Tue 22:00) follows a PI who wants to be the next Indian Idol; and don’t miss Pink Floyd’s 1975 performance of Wish you were here (SV2, Sat 19:00).