Swedish series goes stateside with the slob

TV3+, Sat 22:00

Rainn Wilson (The Office) has found himself another disdainful role, this time in the comedic crime series Backstrom, a US adaptation of a Swedish crime series by Leif GW Persson.

Set in Portland, Oregon, Wilson is Everett Backstrom, an overweight, offensive detective who leads a team of eccentric criminologists. 

We watch in only mild amusement as Backstrom struggles with a vast array of self-destructive tendencies, balancing his role as the ‘brilliant asshole’ we all love to hate. Or do we – his staggering racism and misogynistic tendencies ensure he is absurdly easy to dislike – in contrast to Dwight in The Office who we all truly love to hate. 

Backstrom scraped 51 on Metacritic, but don’t let these figures deter you. Those who enjoyed it praised Wilson for his excellent performance in the role as the cynical detective. 

Where the series falls short is the somewhat dry and diluted ‘cop humour’ and predictable storylines that render Backstrom as yet another Scandinavian detective drama repurposed for an English-speaking audience.

Also new

A preacher leads his flock to ‘absolution’ through mass suicide in 1978. Over 900 Americans ended their lives by drinking poisoned Flavor Aid at a People’s Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana. Learn all about the history of this gruesome event in Jonestown – The Life and Death of People’s Temple (DR2, Tue 23:00).

Hidden history is in focus this week: a British double agent’s defection to the USSR is retold in The spy who went into the cold (DRK, Mon 20:00), a century’s worth of conflict in Gaza is analysed in 1913 – Seeds of Conflict (DRK, Mon 22:00) and find out how the plane revolutionised war in WWI: Top Gun Revealed (DRK, Mon 21:15).

Elsewhere, catch the latest seasons of Downton Abbey (S5: DR1, Sat 20:00), Mr Selfridge (S3: SVT1, Sat 21:25) and True Blood (S7: Zulu, Sun 11:00); Gay in Uganda (BBC World, Sat 15:10 or Sun 20:10) follows activist David Kato in the year before his gruesome murder; St Helena: An end to isolation (BBC World, Sun 17:30 or 22:30) reveals the huge impact the island’s first ever airport has had on the locals; while Dating Naked (TV3, Tue-Thu 23:50) is a safe bet to satisfy your guilty pleasure for trash TV. (AI)

The Returned (US version)

This month brings us the eerie US adaptation of an award-winning French horror-drama series, Les Revnants.

The story centres in on a small country town, where the dead reappear in an inexplicably casual manner. 

With a score of 67 on Metacritic, the general consensus is that while the series is overshadowed by its French predecessor, it still manages to retain the moody and unsettling undertones that will no doubt appeal to fans of the supernatural genre. (PM)

Sport of the week

Man City’s season is dismantling: anything other than a win against a rejuvenated WBA (K6, Sat 13:00) will see them in the dogfight for CL places along with Liverpool and Man Utd who play each other on Sunday. Elsewhere, we’ve got the final of Indian Wells and Denmark take on the USA in a friendly. (BH)

Film of the week

Nowhere Boy will interest fans of John Lennon the man, more than JL the musician. Star Trek into Darkness (3+, Fri 21:00) will excite both Trekkies and Cumberbitches. Snow White and the Huntsman (3+, Tue 22:55) will satisfy gore-lovers more than garish ones. While, Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution (DRK, Thu 21:30) … the warning’s in the title. (BH)