What’s on TV (23 Sep-13 Oct): Billion-dollar bravado


SVT1, sep 26, 22:00

HBO series Billions pits a born-in-the-gutter, insider-dealing hedge fund king (Damian Lewis) against a silver-spoon-chomping, state-salaried attorney general (Paul Giamatti), and the fireworks are flying from episode one, even though protagonists Axe and Chuck share little screen time.

This is alpha male posturing on a cartoonish level, but with such likeable leads embracing the bravado and chewing up the screen with relish, it’s easy to forget how absurd the basic premise is (‘his wife works for who?’ and ‘he’s into that?’) and how dumbed down the machinations are so we can all easily follow along at home.

Season 2 is keenly anticipated, not because anyone cares what happens long-term, but because we all want more Axe and Chuck time – preferably together, but mostly on their own in a borderline psychotic, loveable fashion ordering people to clean out their desks and pick up dogshit with their bare hands.

Also new

“Have you always wanted to climb the mountains of Mars? Then come to Rekall lncorporated.” If that sounds like your idea of fun, then Memory Hackers probably won’t freak you out. No longer the premise of sci-films, this 2016 doc provides us with a glimpse of what the future will be like inside our heads.

Crime has a future too, as Mr Posh: The Million Dollar Fraudsters (DR2, Oct 3, 20:00) and Peru: The New King of Cocaine (DR3, Sep 26, 20:05) demonstrate.

But will we have a future if Trump is elected – watch the first Live Presidential Debate (SVT1, Sep 27, 03:00) and don’t miss The Firebreather: The rise and rage of Donald Trump (DR2, Sep 26, 20:00 or Sep 30, 21:45).

History’s a good indicator, and United Shades of America (DR2, Sep 26, 19:20) and Napoleon: The Russian Campaign (DRK, Sep 26, 20:00) are here to help.

Elsewhere, there’s a chance to watch delayed coverage of the Emmys in full (Zulu, Sep 24, 20:10); there’s another chance to see acclaimed doc The Wolfpack (SVT2, Sep 24, 22:20), S2 of The Knick (DR3, Oct 6, 21:40) and TV movie The Normal Heart (DRK, Oct 7, 21:00); and Professor Green: Dangerous Dogs (DR3, Sep 26, 20:45) will give you nightmares even if the aforementioned brain probes don’t.

Coming Soon

As is the norm in the US at this time of year, there’s lots of new series out, and here is a quick run-through of the best.

Logan Marshall-Green (The Invitation) is fast becoming a star and Quarry (72 on Metacritic), a series about a soldier recruited to be a hitman, will cement his name in Hollywood.

Likewise going places is Donald Glover, the creator and star of rap industry comedy-drama Atlanta (90), one of the best new series of the year.

Also starring and creating, but with a bit of help from Louis CK, is Pamela Adlon, who you might remember from Californication. She plays the actress mother of three girls in the autobiographical dramedy Better Things (79).

New York-set cannabis dealing dramedy High Maintenance (79) and presidential intrigue drama Designated Survivor (74) starring Keifer Sutherland also come recommended, as does tuning in for Westworld, which is debuting stateside on October 2.

Sport of the week

Few contests rival the Ryder Cup – let’s hope this also goes down to the wire. No danger of that in the EPL if leaders Man City win at Spurs. Meanwhile, Arsenal host Chelsea (3+, Sep 24, 18:00) and Man Utd host Leicester (K6, Sep 24, 12:00). Elsewhere, we’ve got the Malaysian GP, England vs Malta (K6, Oct 8, 17:55) in the 2018 WC qualifiers and NFL action (3+, Sep 25, 19:00).

Film of the week

A sense of foreboding links our films this week. Ryan Coogler’s debut Fruitvale Station stars Michael B Jordan (same director and actor team as Creed) as a troubled black man seemingly living his last day. In Coherence, a comet brings a surreal finality to a dinner party. And the leads in John Dahl’s 1993 classic Red Rock West have hitman Dennis Hopper on their asses.