Catch up TV review: Hunted Season 2, Derren Brown: Miracle, Tipping Point: Lucky Stars
Ivan Radford | On 16, Oct 2016Reading time: 4 mins
Hunted: Season 2 (All 4)
Channel 4’s surveillance reality TV show returned for a second season last month – and, over the weeks since its return, it’s gotten better and better. The premise is a wonderful combination of low-brow nonsense and high-brow faux-topicality, as a bunch of people are let loose to go on the run for 28 days, while a team of experts try to track them down. Part of the fun lies in the surprising lengths to which authorities are allowed to go in a manhunt, as they swiftly tap into social media details, mobile phone locations and numberplate recognition software (some of which is effectively replicated by the producers, by providing them with the information once enough realistic detective work has been done).
But if that shocking efficiency was the driving force of the eye-opening Season 1 – the hunters now have drones on their side, as well as dogs – Season 2 is proving entertaining because of the unexpected success the contestants are having at fighting back. This week’s episode is a prime example, as Nick deploys an inspired, genuinely gripping tactic to evade capture, which you won’t see coming. Ayo, on the other hand, is enjoyably dumb, as he returns to London, a hub of security cameras and people – remember, the average person is caught on CCTV up to 70 times a day – and then visits his family restaurant, of all places. Needless to say, he probably hasn’t got long left.
Derren Brown: Miracle (All 4)
Derren Brown’s psychological illusions move to their logical extreme in this live show recorded on his tour last year. After years of tricking people into doing or believing things, he (like Penn & Teller) sets his sights firmly on faith healers, proving their supposedly miraculous workings to be nothing more than parlour tricks to get money from believers. After a first half of mildly diverting gags and stunts, from the old nail-in-a-bag routine to predicting what people around the theatre will write on a piece of paper, he steps up a gear to the big leagues, healing people of minor ailments. The first half serves as reminder that his psychological powers are an illusion altogether, but seemingly taking away a sceptic’s ability to read a programme for his show the kind of touch that leaves even the most doubting of Thomases questioning what’s going on.
Brown’s charisma is in full force throughout, mocking and encouraging volunteers from the crowd and pretending to talk in tongues. Life is a piece of music, he argues. Enjoying the journey as it plays out is the point. Sure enough, he dances rings around everyone else on stage. The result is surprising, bewildering and annoying in the way the best magic tricks can be – a masterclass in presentation and misdirection.
Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (ITV Hub)
The state of modern society, a place where people are so disenchanted with those in power that they would vote in Donald Trump or vote out of the EU. The correct way to wash your hands to get rid of all the germs between your fingers. The fact that the Earth is silently hurtling through space, until one day, life is extinguished, the sun expands and everything is swallowed into fiery oblivion, turning humanity into tiny particles of dust floating on the solar winds of time.
Those are the the kind of things you’ll contemplate while watching Tipping Point, ITV’s impeccably stupid game show, hosted by Ben Shephard. Bumped from its daytime slot into a primetime evening slot with celebrity guests, the show sees three people answer questions before pressing buttons to put discs of metal into a gigantic slot machine. That’s right, a slot machine – the kind you used to play as a child by the seaside, inserting money for hours in order to get back your 1p and 2p pieces. Watching three C-listers do the same, ITV’s series has no basis in skill, strategy or even tricky general knowledge, which means the whole thing is a game of chance and fluke. It only lasts 60 minutes, but it feels like an eternity. The only reason to tune in is to watch Jimmy Carr’s face, as it gradually dawns on him what drivel he’s signed up for. With a staggering 325 new episodes ordered by ITV fast year, this feels less like a tipping point for TV entertainment and more like a tipping point for the human race. That end of the world can’t come soon enough.
Photo: ITV / RDF Productions