What to watch on TV this week
From the latest true-crime offering from ITV The Pembrokeshire Murders to the new David Bowie biopic Stardust, starring Johnny Flynn, this week in TV finds strange realities
In 2006, the Welsh detective Steve Wilkins (Luke Evans) opens a cold case of four brutal murders in the 80s. The suspect is John Cooper (Keith Allen), who Wilkins believes to be a serial killer. The Pembrokeshire Murders dramatises the investigation, and airs nightly from Monday to Wednesday this week. This includes the most vital and bizarre breakthrough of all: Cooper appeared on the cheesy gameshow Bullseye, which helped with identifying his appearance in the 80s.
The series is procedural and formulaic, but the subplots involving Cooper’s son Andrew (Oliver Ryan) are worth sticking around for.
Families can be tricky, but grief often unites them… and shows their flaws. Such is the conceit for the new six-part ITV drama from Roger Golby, Simon Nye and Keeley Hawes – all formerly from The Durrells. But instead of the sunny quaintness of pre-WWII Corfu, Golby, Hawes and Nye move to a ‘smart home’ in the present-day home counties, in which a sudden death burdens a family.
Alice is the hopeful, optimistic matriarch. When she discovers her husband dead at the foot of the stairs, she has to face all these new responsibilities: dealing with the bills, the extended family, and even the police. On top of that, she can’t work the smart home…Read more ...
You wouldn’t be alone in being confused by the various timelines, alternate realities and bombastic plotlines that swarm the Marvel Cinematic Universe. WandaVision is unlikely to relieve that, following two secondary superheroes from the franchise – Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) – as they’re trapped in a strange sitcom time-loop.
But this looks to be one of the most experimental series of the year, certainly on Disney+. Plot details have been kept secret, but its split variety of sitcom settings – showing the genre's evolution through the 20th century – suggests being stuck in a warped reality. No previews were available for us, but we guess that WandaVision will be either profound or pathetic.
Actor Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk, Watchmen) makes her directorial debut with One Night in Miami, based on the play by Kemp Powers (who also writes the screenplay). The story follows four African-American titans – Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown – as they meet in a Miami motel.
The film’s a bit stagey and King doesn’t have much visual ambition, but the dialogues between these four men absorb and contain you: discussing issues that still pervade the politics of today.
Based on the 1941 Noël Coward play, Blithe Spirit is a comedy of ghosts. It’s been adapted before by the esteemed director David Lean (not his best work) with Rex Harrison, but Edward Hall’s new version has a slew of brilliant stars including Judi Dench, Dan Stevens, Leslie Mann and Isla Fisher.
Charles (Stevens) is a pompous writer, a widower, who’s enjoying his second marriage to Ruth (Fisher) until a séance by Madame Arcati (Dench) conjures the return of his first wife Elvira (Mann). He’s the only one who can see her, but this causes understandable friction in his relationship with Ruth.
M Night Shyamalan’s psychological horror series for Apple TV+ continues this week. The first season follows the grieving process of two parents losing their child, using a fake therapy doll as a substitute. That seems creepy enough, but season two looks to plunge into the supernatural. Rupert Grint stars.
This is a strange one. Although under most ordinary circumstances a David Bowie biopic would be welcome (Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of his death), Stardust attracts a lot of scepticism, chiefly stemming from the fact that the Bowie family haven’t given permission for any of the glam-rock singer’s songs to be used. So… what will be there instead?
Stardust is set in 1971, just before David became Ziggy – travelling on the road with his publicist Ron Oberman. After a disastrous concert tour, David’s looking to change his image. Johnny Flynn stars.
If a fantasy with witches and vampires and daemons is more your bag, then A Discovery of Witches provides. The three races are embroiled in a secret war, all to find wisdom over the others. The two leads – the vampire Matthew (Matthew Goode) and witch Diana (Teresa Palmer) – now find themselves in Tudor times, rubbing shoulders with Kit Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh.
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