Anyone who has seen the YouTube video of three young girls at a Donald Trump rally singing a North Korea-esque anthem extolling the virtues of the American way (and spreading it to the shores of other countries) will be all too aware of how terrifying Donald Trump is – especially when mentioned in the same sentence as the US presidential election.
Matt Frei’s Channel 4 documentary, in a spot of good timing, lets you gaze deeper into the abyss. From his tussles in Scotland with local houses blighting the view from his planned golf resort and his previous bankruptcy to his backing from Sarah Palin, the result is a intriguing, angering, amusing portrait of both an object of ridicule and, in some Americans’ eyes, a genuine contender for their future leader. For 60 minutes, the abyss gazes back.
Available until: 25th February
10,000 BC: Two Tribes (My5)
It’s easy to see how Channel 5’s 10,000 BC came about, after someone watched ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… and tried to turn it into a reality TV show for non-famous people. Two Tribes comes up with an even more predictable idea for a sequel: add more people. The result is less a string of ordeals and more a parade of stupidity, as a booming narrator tries to convince us that these people really are surviving as our ancestors would have in the olden days, when really, they’re just sleeping in a camp made for them in Bulgaria without an iPhone.
The show, though, can’t decide whether it’s crafting a serious social experiment or simply setting up a bunch of idiots for people to laugh at. “I can’t believe how little someone could know,” one of the smarter participants (Dan) says of another (Jay). It’s like Big Brother being crossed with Castaway. The problem is that both of those shows already happened over a decade ago.
The prospect of having two tribes battling against each other for resources and more could well make things interesting, but in this first episode, the only thing more laughable than the volunteers on camera are the people behind it, desperately trying to create spectacle, drama – or, worse, science – from something abysmally hollow. 24 people stranded in Epping Forest trying to come up with an original idea for a TV show? Now that’s a real challenge worth watching.
Available until: 17th February (Episode 1)
Transporter: Season 2: Episode 1 (My5)
The Transporter is hardly one of cinema’s elite franchises, but the endless charisma of leading man Jason Statham always made them enjoyably trashy action films. Now, they’ve become the latest in the current trend of films being turned into TV shows – and the resulting series has returned to Spike (sister to Channel 5) for a second run.
The new season kicks off with a surprise departure for long-term fans, but the basic set-up actually proves perfect for the small screen, with each week’s episode seeing our driver Frank hired to take on a different case. Here, it’s a young buy who needs to get to court to testify against some powerful, nasty people. The ensuing array of car chases and fights are shot with an impressive style, as low-level cameras swing either side of our vehicles across roundabouts and down motorways, but outside of the mild spectacle, the show mostly runs on empty: Chris Vance gives it all he’s got as the taciturn, manly hero, but he’s lumbered with terrible dialogue, not to mention zero chemistry with either his ward or any of the women who pop up in his periphery. Even with the shock bump in the road, it’s all too easy for audiences to fall asleep at the wheel. The result makes you appreciate Jason Statham even more.
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