Young with nothing to live for on Death Row
PICK OF THE WEEK:
Life and Death Row (DR2, ep1: Tue 00:30; ep2: Thu 21:35)
This BBC-produced documentary series on capital punishment follows some of the youngest inmates on Death Row. Barely 30, they are almost two decades younger than average.
Part one jumps straight into the heart of the death penalty system: the executions. It introduces two convicted murderers on Death Row, days before they are to be executed. One of the surviving victims of one of the men claims she has forgiven him, but also has a celebratory dinner planned and doesn’t seem impressed by the lethal injection process, saying: “He deserved to die brutally, but he didn’t."
Part two is set before the execution and shows the trial of a man accused of murdering eight of his family members before a jury that almost doesn’t reach a verdict.
Part three returns to the topic of execution, this time adding an element of hope. Showcasing the appeal side of the capital punishment system, this episode follows law students taking on so-called crisis cases in which the convicted only has weeks to live.
“This was compelling and provocative – one of the best documentaries so far this year,” praised the Telegraph.
Besides the odd gem from Channel 4 (Utopia, Black Mirror), British drama is caught in a quagmire of procedural dramas that mostly rip off The Killing. The only ones you can trust these days are period dramas, and yes, that includes the recent past, like British miniseries From there to here (SVT1, Sun 22:00), which is set in Manchester from 1996 to 2000.
Featuring Bernard Hill and Philip Glenister, the drama follows two families coping with Euro ’96, an IRA bomb, New Labour and the millennium. But with a passable 7.3 on IMDB, the reviews are mediocre compared to US shows of similar ilk. You have to ask: will Britain ever catch up?
The subjects of D-Day: The Last Soldiers (SVT2, Mon 18:00) did quickly enough – they had to in order to survive.
Elsewhere, there’s three intriguing character studies of Jens Jensen (DRK, Sat 23:05), Carl Faberge (DRK, Sun 21:00) and Jack and Dinos Chapman (BBC World, Sat 20:30 or Sun 11:30); Paris: The Luminous Years (DRK, Sat 20:00) is a doc version of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris; and Swallowed by a Black Hole (DR3, Sun 20:00) is an acclaimed episode of Horizon that speaks for itself. (BH)
They went to the beach, but there were no drawnings
The latest offering from the sibling director and writer duo Jay and Mark Duplass. As proponents of ‘Mumblecore’, their dramedies find emotion and humour in the mundane. After all, who needs the Vietnam War when you’ve got verucas?
It’s scored 79 on Metacritic, but Togetherness won’t be for everyone. As Metacritic’s series summary says: “Tina moves in with her sister and” … that’s about it.
“The emotional payoff is enormous,” says the San Francisco Chronicle. (BH)
SPORT OF THE WEEK
Eurosport, rest of the month from Mon 01.00 Australian Open
Has Woz ever had a better grand slam chance? She is third favourite for the Aussie Open. She should follow the example of Seattle Seahawks. They won their first Super Bowl last year and are favs to do it again. But first they need to send Green Bay packing (3+, Sun 20:30) in the NFL conference finals. And don’t write off QPR upsetting Man United in the PL (K6, Sat 16:00). (BH)
FILM OF THE WEEK
DR3, Thu 22:30 Flashbacks of a Fool
Some of the moments in Flashbacks of a Fool are truly haunting, but you can’t help think the director was out of his depth. If the English seaside doesn’t convince, it’s because it was filmed in South Africa. Elsewhere, two very different Mark Wahlberg films: The Lovely Bones (K4, Sat 21:00), a cosy murder story, and Contraband (DR1, Fri 21:25), a crass miss. (BH)