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Worth your watch! 6 great things on TV this week

Pull up a chair and crack open the wine: from the new season of Stranger Things to a thrilling French boxset, we've got your weekly watchlist well and truly sorted.

PICK OF THE WEEK: Stranger Things, Netflix, 27 May

Cue the ominous, jingly theme tune: Stranger Things is back for its fourth series, jolting viewers back to the retro-tinged world of Chopper bikes, Mom jeans, and horrifying monsters. It’s 1986 and our rag-tag group of traumatised teenagers have been split between two high schools: the Byers family and Eleven in California; the rest still in Indiana. The effective high/low mix of teen mess and supernatural horror continues, as Stranger Things sticks to what it knows. 

Prehistoric Planet, Apple TV, 23 May

David Attenborough narrates this big-budget natural history series about dinosaurs, which is releasing a new episode every day this week. The CGI is so impressive you’ll find yourself forgetting it’s not actually shot by a cameraman in peril of being eaten. So, too, is the depth of knowledge — how do we know such detail about dinosaur nesting habits? Are the intricacies of winter survival strategies truly writ into earthy old fossils? It’s rather staggering, and a great watch. Someone give those palaeontologists a pat on the back.

Lucy Worsley Investigates: The Witch Hunts, BBC2, 24 May

Stories about witch hunts never fail to fascinate, and this new four part series takes a close look at key cases, starting with the execution of Agnes Sampson in 1591 in North Berwick. Lucy Worsley leaves behind some of her defining dress-up glee for a more sombre, feminist reflection. 

The Flight Attendant, Sky and NOW TV, 26 May

This thrillingly twisty, dark comedy drama starring a brilliant Kaley Cuoco (having firmly shaken off the shackles of The Big Bang Theory) returns for its second series. The first go-around was a well-soundtrack-ed whirlwind of drunken murder mystery, fleeing the FBI across continents, and worth a watch if you missed it. Series 2 sees Cuoco’s Cassie sober and moonlighting as a CIA agent in Berlin, soon stumbling into some new Hitchcockian chaos. 

The Chalet, All 4, 27 May

Coming to All 4 as a boxset, this six-part French thriller starts slow but soon winds you up with sinister fascination. We are smack in the middle of postcard Alpine scenery, following a pregnant couple and their surrounding family of friends, who become cut-off from the wider world when a falling boulder isolates their chalet. Split across two timelines — the present day and some 20 years ago, revealing things about characters’ pasts — it’s a creepy and atmospheric story to grip you tight. 

The Other One, BBC1, 27 May

You find out your dad has a secret other daughter with the same name as you, and then he keels over dead from the shock of everyone suddenly knowing. Such was the premise of The Other One‘s first series, a freshly narrative-driven sit-com that is nonetheless hilarious. Series 2 sees unlikely siblings Cat and Cathy take a trip to Cathy’s aunt’s farm for lambing season, and continues in its particular brand of heart-warming comedy.

1 comment on “Worth your watch! 6 great things on TV this week”

  • Samuel May 25, 2022

    As Kaley Cuoco knows, there are so many epic espionage films and TV shows on now or in the pipeline. Coming soon is Joe and Anthony Russo’s The Gray Man starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans based upon Mark Greaney’s debut novel. Already here is The Ipcress File with newcomer Joe Cole, Mick Herron’s Slow Horses from the Slough House stables, The Courier about Greville Wynne played by Benedict Cumberbatch who looks astonishingly just like Wynne did in real life, Colin Firth in Operation Mincemeat, Olen Steinhauer’s All the Old Knives and let’s not forget Kaley Cuoco in the Flight Attendant.

    Indeed, ignoring the fact based Operation Mincemeat and The Courier, there’s almost too much fictional espionage on the menu to cope with so why not try reading instead. If you liked Deighton, Herron or Wynne, we suggest a noir fact based espionage masterpiece could do the trick. Three compelling thrillers spring to mind. They are all down to earth, often curious real life Cold War novels you’ll never put down.

    Try Bill Browder’s Red Notice, Bill Fairclough’s Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series and Ben Macintyre’s The Spy and the Traitor about KGB Colonel Oleg Gordievsky.

    Talking of Col Oleg, he knew MI6’s Col Mac (aka Col Alan Pemberton in real life) who was Edward Burlington’s handler in The Burlington Files. Bill Fairclough (aka Edward Burlington) came across John le Carré (aka David Cornwell) long after the latter’s MI6 career ended thanks to Kim Philby. The novelist Graham Greene used to work in MI6 reporting to Philby and Bill Fairclough actually stayed in Hôtel Oloffson during a covert op in Haiti which was at the heart of Graham Greene’s spy novel The Comedians.

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