This week´s TV | Reinvented Hood, and now the western

Harfields & McCoys, Hannibal, Iron Maiden: Flight 666, Please Like Me, The Road to Rio, Person of Interest, Line of Duty, Eurovision semis, The Secret History of the ESC, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Bernie Ecclestone: Lies, Bribes and F1, Generation War: Our Mothers, Our Fathers, Oliver Twist, Doubt, Surrogates

Let’s face it: they wouldn’t let an actor play Robin Hood with such an unashamedly Californian accent today. But back in 1991, just after Dances with Wolves, Kevin Costner was the biggest star in the world. They even wrote it into the plot that ‘fellow Yank’ Will Scarlet (Christian Slater) was his half-brother. All the way from Brooklyn.

But then followed Waterworld and thereafter a procession of roles that are hard to recall … right up to the six-hour 2012 miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, a colossal ratings winner that earned Costner an Emmy and a Golden Globe.  

Set primarily in the 1870 and 80s on the West Virginia/Kentucky border, this family feud yarn (a bit like Lorna Doone, but historically true) starts during the Civil War between two patriarchs (Costner and Bill Paxton) fighting on the same side and continues until 1891, eleven dead family members later. 

With able support from Tom Berenger and Powers Booth, it’s scored a creditable 68 on Metacritic, although the critic for Newsday despaired of watching “bibulous knuckleheads” shoot each other. That’s history – sometimes it sucks. 

Also new:

K5, Sun 21:55 Hannibal season two

Rather like his recipe for liver and fava beans, the series Hannibal is a slow-burner. After scoring 69 on Metacritic for its debut last season, its second season has scored 88 with Mads Mikkelsen winning rave reviews in a role that last year he was deemed unsuitable for. “It’s a twisted tale that never trolls for cheap scares but is plenty terrifying,” gushes the Chicago Sun-Times.

But will it make you run to the hills like Iron Maiden: Flight 666 (DR3, Sun 15:00) or Please Like Me (SVT2, Tue 22:15), a 2013 Aussie sitcom praised for “not making stereotypes of gay characters” that sounds dated. 

Just in time for the World Cup, The Road to Rio (BBC Ent, Tue 21:10) follows two comedians (one of them, Henning Wehn, is an old friend, so I felt obliged to mention him) travelling there.

Elsewhere, we’ve got season two of Person of Interest (K5, Wed 20:00) and UK crime series Line of Duty (DR1, Wed 23:15); the Eurovision semis (DR1, Tue & Thu 21:00) plus The Secret History of the ESC (DR2, Wed-Thu 23:00); and intriguing docs If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (DR2, Tue 21:00) and Bernie Ecclestone: Lies, Bribes and F1 (BBC World, Sun 21:30). 

Coming soon:

One of the most controversial, provocative and surprsingly successful German miniseries to ever hit the air, Generation War: Our Mothers, Our Fathers tells the story of five young Germans whose lives, interwoven by friendship, are forever changed following the Nazi rise to power. 

They leave Berlin in 1941 and vow to reunite five years later, knowing they may never meet again. Smattered with both praise and scorn (8.5 on IMDB, 51 on Metacritic), it is sure to challenge your conceptions of WWII Germany. (JG)

Sport of the week:

K6, Sat 18:30 Premier League: Everton vs Manchester City

Well, who would have thought it: Chelsea winning at Liverpool in the EPL. Well, we did kind of tip it, and looking ahead to this weekend, Everton have won their last three home games against Man City. Just saying, that’s all. Elsewhere, DR3’s got some NBA, and the World Snooker Championship concludes on Monday. 

Eurosport, Mon 20:00 2014 World Snooker Championship final session

DR3, Sun 17:05 NBA

Film of the week:

TV2 Film, Mon 18:40
Oliver Twist

K4, Sat 21:00 Doubt

K5, Sat 21:00 Surrogates

Someone made an Oliver Twist film in 1997, and two years later, a TV series. And then Roman Polanski made a film in 2005 (6.9 on IMD), and there was a series in 2007. Notice a pattern here. There’s no Doubt (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Steeep) that Polanski’s is superior. The ’97 film starred Elijah Wood and Richard Dreyfuss. 




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