TV Listings | The talented Mrs Ripley (as in ‘Alien’)

Pick of the Week: Orphan Black (DR3, Sat 21:25)

Identity theft is normally a deliberate act, carried out for either devious (The Talented Mr Ripley) or comical (Harry Potter) reasons. But it is rarely opportunistic and as morally ambiguous as the theft carried out in Orphan Black, a new series from BBC America with a 73 rating on Metacritic and a whole heap of promise.

Sarah is a street-wise orphan, so when she witnesses a woman who looks like her commit suicide, she decides to steal her identity. She’s an orphan and lives on the streets – pretty much anything is a step-up.

She quickly finds out that the dead woman has everything she wants – a savings account, a hot boyfriend etc – so she learns how to emulate her to take her place. Of course, this leads to a lot of conflict between Sarah and her ‘new friends’.

“By the end of the second episode, this tasty show starts to reveal that it is not just another identity-swapping story,” enthuses the New York Times. “Something creepily sci-fi is definitely going on.”

Critics have been won over by the mixture of mystery, drama, action and sci-fi, and that’s what sets it apart. With a relatively young cast, it does not promise a lot but it delivers plenty.

Los Angeles Times wasn’t initially sure.“It’s just as ridiculous as it sounds, chockablock with clichés, predictable exposition (two taps of the keyboard and entire histories are revealed) and some fairly whacked-out plot twists,” it noted. “But it doesn’t matter because Orphan Black isn’t so much about plot as it is performance, and as the series continues, the performances are pretty astonishing.”

The creators have found a way to make all the clichés work for them and still keep you on the edge of your seat. Revealing more of the plot would take away all the suspense, but the series has already captured the attention of sci-fi fanatics and action-drama fans alike, so make sure you don’t miss a single episode.

-Russell Oliver Veber

Also New:

British reality show The Hotel knew it was a success when critics compared it to Fawlty Towers. Like the legendary sitcom, the 24-part (and counting) Channel 4 series is set in Torquay, has duck a l’orange on the menu and even has a foreign waiter who is like Manuel, only “He’s from Bucharest!”  

And he doesn’t have a moustache though, which would rule him out of being featured on Movember – Down Under (TV2 Zulu, Fri 20:00), a doc looking at the global success of the charity ahead of its big month. But if you’re more into beards, you should try Splitting Hairs (TV2 Zulu, Fri 09:55), a doc about two American facial hair clubs bristling it out to be the best.

Elsewhere, there’s the fifth season of Downton Abbey (SVT1, Sat 21:30); a Panorama special on the infamous Murder in the Alps (BBC World, Sat 15:10 or Sun 21:10); and Marwencol, an award-winning and life-affirming doc about the most unusual case of therapy ever. (BH)

Sport of the Week:

It’s topsy-turvy at the summit in England, where it’s been 22 years since Arsenal and Liverpool last met. That season, the Gunners triumphed despite the Reds winning their first eight games. Elsewhere, Fulham vs Manchester United (K6, Sat 16:00) should be nervy; the Champions League meeting of Juventus vs Real Madrid (TV3 Sport 1, Tue 20:40) vervy if Ronaldo has anything to do with it; and the New York Marathon, if you like the idea of 26 miles of disposable stamina, a little pervy. (BH)

Film of the Week:

Would it surprise you that Tom Cruise has averaged one film a year since 1990? So given the recent drop in quality – Jack Reacher, Knight & Day and Oblivion – it’s no wonder he keeps on going back to Ethan Hunt. But while Mission Impossible 4 is fun in places and has a likeable cast, he could do better. Which was the same for Ron Howard and The Dilemma (TV3, Sun 21:00), which unlike Apollo 13 is an unintentional disaster film. Still, it’s marginally better than the gimmicky You Again and The Spy Next Door (K7, Sat 21:30). (BH)

The signs are conclusive, Karl, you’re going to quarantine – no two ways about itComing Soon: Karl Pilkington: The Moaning of Life

Karl Pilkington has already been sent around the world three times by Ricky Gervais in An Idiot Abroad, so no wonder he’s moaning a bit.

However, this time, he’s doing it willingly. Anyone who is familiar with Karl and his unique world-view knows why the egg-heads at Sky came up with the title for the show, and moan he does.

Over the course of five one-hour episodes, Karl brings his own special kind of wisdom to bear, visiting several different countries to see how they face up to today’s major cultural issues.

Amongst other things, Karl helps deliver a baby and undergoes cosmetic surgery, but for what?  

Karl, who is fast-approaching middle age, is hoping that the trip may also offer him some answers to his own dilemmas. (CJ)

  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.