Catch up TV reviews: Catastrophe, Broadchurch, Lethal Weapon, Prime Suspect 1973, The Nightly Show
Ivan Radford | On 05, Mar 2017
Catastrophe: Season 3 (All 4)
Catastrophe is one of the funniest programmes on TV. That was remarkable when Season 1 premiered, given us a frank look at the raunchy relationship that formed between Sharon (Sharon Horgan) and Rob (Rob Delaney). It was even more impressive in Season 2, when their relationship got serious, nuanced and far more complex – flirting turned to insulting, losing none of its charm or affection. In Season 3, though, it’s nothing short of miraculous: two seasons of acclaimed, successful, brilliant comedy could make Horgan and Delaney relaxed, over-confident, complacent or lazy.
They’re none of those things, the pair still scraping away at the nasty bits of life with equal wit and warmth. The events of Season 2 leave both questioning their trust of each other, but as they briefly namedrop Brexit, there’s no doubt that these two are sticking together to ride any problems out. Just don’t expect them to stop swearing at each other while they do it. Laugh-out-loud jokes, heartfelt commitment and discussions of sweaty knickers? Can we have Season 4 yet?
Season 1 and 2 of Catastrophe are also available on All 4 and Amazon Prime Video. Read our reviews, plus where to catch up, here.
Broadchurch: Season 3 (ITV Hub)
After one of the most disappointing second series in TV history, Broadchurch returns on fine form for its third season, which takes us back to the Dorset coast still haunted by the death of young Danny years ago. While Season 2 attempted to explore the aftermath of that murder, Season 3 centres on a brand new crime: the rape of Trish (Julie Hesmondhalgh). Called in several days after the fact, she’s taken under the wing of Olivia Colman’s tender Miller – and the slightly less comforting wing of David Tennant’s ever-abrasive Hardy.
They bicker, but in a way that only friends can, and that chemistry sparkles as well as it did back in Season 1’s first episode. Hesmondhalgh, once Coronation Street’s Hayley, delivers a sensational, sensitive performance as Trish, relaying what she can remember with a frightened, wide-eyed expression and a timid, unassuming disposition. She’s processed slowly by Broadchurch’s police department, with care, attention and support throughout. As evidence comes to the surface, so, too, do the familiar faces of the locals, who all begin to emerge from the holes to see what’s going on, and no doubt muddy the water with further secrets. You’re so absorbed in the details gently presented o screen that it’s only when the credits roll that you realise that another gripping case has sunk its hooks into you. Bravo. This is Broadchurch back at its best.
Lethal Weapon (ITV Hub)
The latest big screen movie to hit the small screen, Lethal Weapon might seem like a terrible candidate: who could live up to Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as one of action cinema’s most iconic odd couples? Well, Fox’s TV show is surprisingly entertaining – or, at least, surprisingly not a car crash. The set-up is essentially the same, as former Navy Seal Riggs rocks up at the LAPD boasting a death wish, and veteran officer Murtaugh, with a family and a heart attack under his belt, is tasked with showing him the ropes.
Clayne Crawford is no Mel Gibson, but the show makes up for any shortcomings by giving him bigger guns and flashier cars to play with. Damon Wayans, though, is an inspired choice to play Murtaugh, skewing the husband who just wants to have a happy relationship with his wife a little younger than Glover’s incarnation, but with just the right amount of anger and frustration to make him a straight-laced foil for Riggs’ wild antics. The dialogue is as cheesier than a pack of Doritos on a sunny day, but Wayans is reason enough to tune in. The explosions and car sequences are a bonus. There’s potential hear that’s worth buddying up to.
Prime Suspect 1973 (ITV Hub)
Say the words “Prime Suspect” to someone and they might reply with a sigh of familiarity. Because there’s no getting around it: Prime Suspect was around for eons. For those who tuned in for 15 years (from 1991 to 2006), it’s still part of the living room furniture. Huge credit to ITV, then, for coming up with a superb way to reinvigorate the series: time-warp it back four decades. Following in Endeavour’s footsteps, Lynda La Plante’s reboot of the show (based on La Plante’s book, Tennison, by Glen Laker) gives everything a fresh lick of paint. The show takes us back to the early days of WPC Jane Tennison – destined to one day become DCI Tennison, played by Helen Mirren.
If Mirren’s fighting through a male-dominated policing world was stirring back in the 1990s (she was one of the first DVIs on the telly), it’s even better in 1973, as the young WPC has to prove her mettle against a even more sexist world. A teenage girl’s body (strangled by her bra) is the doorway for the WPC to become embroiled in her first homicide investigation, and Stefanie Martini sinks her teeth into it with relish, unafraid to quiz her superiors while bringing them cups of tea. Stylishly shot and well acted (watch out for Alun Armstrong and Sam Reid in supporting roles), it delivers everything you could want from Prime Suspect.
The Nightly Show (ITV Hub)
ITV is nothing if not diverse, as The Nightly Show proved this week – proved that the broadcaster can move from the very good to the very, very bad. In a move that almost makes sense, ITV has decided to bump its 10pm news to 10.30pm, making room for a 30-minute talk show combining celebrity chat with topical satire. In a move that makes almost no sense, though, ITV decided to get David Walliams to host it. Away from Little Britain partner Matt Lucas or his entertaining kids’ books, Walliams (or Walliams’ joke writers) demonstrated that when it comes to being a solo screen performer, he has a unique definition of what’s funny – specifically, everything that’s opposite to what other people think is funny.
Regardless of whether you find him amusing or not, though, this was evidently not the right vehicle for him, struggling to read his autocue without seeming straight-jacketed yet also lacking the flair for off-the-cuff spontaneity that has made James Corden such a hit in the US. Lazy jokes about Donald Trump (in an age where real life has upped the bar of absurd, satire needs to follow suit) and shallow chat with guests were both too dull to amuse, while Internet clips of animals at the end of each episode were painfully poorly chosen and presented. Only the promise of rotating hosts every seven days holds hope for the series to find its feet. There’s certainly a case to be made that the UK needs an equivalent of the US late night format. This is unequivocally not it. Thank goodness for the brilliant Graham Norton on BBC One every Friday.