What to watch on TV this week
From Lulu Wang's feministic character drama Expats starring Nicole Kidman to John Orloff's airborne WWII drama Masters of the Air with Austin Butler, this week's TV provides a starry selection
The Farewell put filmmaker Lulu Wang at the forefront of a new narrative wave that detailed the first- and second-generation immigrant experience – joining the esteemed company of Minari, Everything Everywhere All At Once and Pachinko. In her new series Expats, Wang extends her ambitions to the fascinating and politically contentious city of Hong Kong around the time of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution.
The six-part drama follows three expatriates within the city: the white American Margaret (Nicole Kidman), the millennial Korean-American Mercy (Yoo Ji-young), and the Indian-American Hilary (Sarayu Blue). Margaret’s son goes missing in a local marketplace, and Mercy blames herself. Meanwhile, Hilary – Margaret’s neighbour – struggles to conceive a child and that puts a strain on her marriage.
After collaborating on Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks teamed up again for the eternally lauded 2001 war drama Band of Brothers – starring many future screen legends like Damian Lewis, Stephen Graham, and Michael Fassbender. A similar vibe permeates Hanks and Spielberg’s latest exec-produced WWII series Masters of the Air, which features the likes of Austin Butler (Elvis), Barry Keoghan (Saltburn) and the new Doctor himself Ncuti Gatwa.
Penned by Band of Brothers writer John Orloff, this series focuses on the real-life 100th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force: responsible for bombing raids over Nazi Germany. They were key to dismantling the Third Reich, but not without physical and psychological tolls.
Jonathan Glazer is one of those directors who leaves long voids between his movies: ten years elapsed between his cult classic sci-fi Under the Skin and his recent, eerie holocaust drama The Zone of Interest. And those were only his third and fourth features; he began his film career almost 25 years ago with another cult classic, Sexy Beast. This dark, funny crime drama followed retired bank robber Gal (Ray Winstone), chilling in Spain, before his unhinged colleague Don Logan (an unforgettable Ben Kingsley) looks to recruit him for another job.
Their brilliant dynamic was short-lived, until now. Emmy-nominated screenwriter Michael Caleo (The Sopranos) maps out a prequel series that shows the early days of Gal (James McArdle) and Don (Emun Elliott) in the 1990s. Gal is trying to escape his mundane existence to grow his life of crime, with Don pressuring him to gather loyal lads for a job. In the meantime, Gal also meets adult film actress Deedee (Sarah Green) and pictures a lifetime with her.
Jed Mercurio’s name has held decent currency in the television world; it’s usually synonymous with the greatest thrillers this sceptred isle has to offer, like Line of Duty and Bodyguard. Naturally, Mercurio branched off with his own production company HTM Television, starting with the Stephen Lawrence series Stephen as well as the Northern Irish detective drama Bloodlands. But it’s Trigger Point that accelerates your heartrate – the clue is in the name.
After two years away, the bomb squad thriller with Vicky McClure finally returns to ITV. The lead Explosives Officer Lana Washington (McClure) is no longer disarming bombs in the capital city. Instead, she’s taken a less dangerous job teaching Ukrainian bomb disposal teams in Estonia. She returns to London to give a talk to security officers about terrorism, but (just her luck) the big smoke is suddenly attacked. Is she ready to resume active service?
The best teen girl comedies revel within 90 to 100 minutes, ripping through the runtime with a fast experience of female adolescence. Usually, there’s one celebrated example per decade: Heathers in the 80s, Clueless in the 90s, Mean Girls in the 00s, and Booksmart in the 2010s. The jury’s still out on what the roaring 2020s will bring, but Emma Seligman’s sophomore feature Bottoms must be a contender – just from its unadulterated absurdity alone.
Two single and queer best friends PJ (Rachel Sennott, also a co-writer) and Josie (The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri) are desperate to get with two hot and popular girls, but their chatting-up methods are terrible. They decide to hold a girls-only fight club, a pugilistic haven to inspire female solidarity in a male-focused school. But these girls are more intent on seduction than feminism.
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