Catch up TV review: The Last Man on Earth, Zapped, Borderline, Fighting Cancer
Ivan Radford | On 29, Oct 2017
The Last Man on Earth: Season 3 (UKTV Play)
We’re almost a year behind on The Last Man on Earth in the UK, as Season 3 arrives on Dave just before Season 4 airs in the USA, but don’t let that fool you: Will Forte’s post-apocalyptic series is one of the funniest shows around. Forte continues to star as Tandy, a man leading a group of survivors after the end of the world, which includes Carol (Kristen Schaal), Melissa (January Jones), Todd (Mel Rodriguez), Erica (Cleopatra Coleman) and Gail (Mary Steenburgen). But now, they’ve got problems: specifically, a group of men with guns and Hazmat suits storming their house.
That, we discover, is Pat Brown (Mark Boone Junior) from Season 2, and he means serious business. Throw in feelings of guilt among the gang, as they take lethal action to defend themselves, and you have a wonderfully dark start to the new run. The series manages to balance laugh-out-loud lines with genuine tension and trauma – not bad going for a half-hour comedy in which someone has a fistfight on a beach with a foam dummy. The question of whether Pat has been dispatched by Tandy is at the heart of that balance, as he lies so much about where their sinister new friend is that pretty soon not even he knows whether he’s covering up the truth or talking nonsense. Hilariously daft and consistently surprising, three seasons in and The Last Man on Earth remains at the peak of its form. Season 3 starts at 11pm on Sunday 29th October: you can watch it on UKTV Play already. (Season 1 and 2 are on Amazon Prime Video.)
Zapped: Season 2 (UKTV Play
There’s a lot of difference between a comedy’s first season and its follow-up, especially when that first season was a mini-run of three episodes, as part of Dave’s initiative to give new shows more than a pilot to find their feet. Zapped, which returned for its second season this month, does a convincing job of delivering on the promise it showed last year. The premise remains the same: marketing assistant Brian (James Buckley) is transported back to a parallel medieval world, after he puts on a magical bracelet, which leaves him having to make friends with warrior-turned-landlord Herman (Louis Emerick), a witch, Barbara (Sharon Rooney), and armchair revolutionary Steg (Ken Collard).
Paul Kaye was the highlight of those initial episodes, stealing scenes with his high-off-his-face wizard, and that turns out to be a reliable indicator of the show’s strength: while Buckley is likeable enough as the put-upon Brian, just trying to survive as a fish out of water, it’s the people around him who really bring the laughs. Picking up on Season 1’s cliffhanger, Brian finds himself in court, charged with accidentally kicking the leader of a race of gigantic snails. Rooney sparks giggles in a subplot that sees her try to become a blacksmith, despite her soothsaying talents, but it’s Collard’s clueless Steg who really entertains, as he tries to pretend to be Brian’s lawyer (“avdocate”), solely so he can enjoy the perks and expenses. Nina Wadia, meanwhile, brings a delicious deadpan to Steg’s every attempt to hoodwink her. Together, they make for a solid start to this new season, while the show’s production design quietly colours in all kinds of creatures in the background with just enough imagination to convince. Airing in the slot directly after the new season of Red Dwarf, don’t be surprised if Zapped returns alongside Starbug once more in a year’s time.
Borderline: Season 2 (My5)
Channel 5’s mockumentary about the border staff at a fictional UK airport returns for a second season. “They have granted us access like never before,” begins Ralf Little’s narrator, before adding: “Apart from last year.” It sets the tone for the series’ confident sophomore run, which wheels in Kris Marshall as a not-very-royal visitor to open the new terminal – alongside Netflix’s acquisition of the programme earlier this year, a statement of how promising the series is. Jackie Clune remains excellent as Proctor, the lonely, stressed boss desperately trying to appear anything but, while the well-meaning Andy (Liz Kingsman) remains the most likeable person on screen. But it’s David Elms’ unrestrained performance as the unhinged Clive who steals the whole show, as he mislays his gun and panic ensues: watching he and Andy interact is reason enough to tune in. The full box set of Borderline Season 2 is now on My5.
Fighting Cancer: My Online Diary (All 4)
Ask anyone and the chances are they will know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer at one point their lives. Friends, acquaintances, colleagues and loved ones; The Big C is horribly omnipresent and cruelly relentless. This new documentary is a sad reminder of how often it can strike: our focus is on three young people who post their experiences online through vlogs. They each react in their own astonishingly brave way, but there’s something reassuring in their shared use of the world wide web to communicate their illness and treatment, whether to raise awareness or simply help themselves cope; when teen beauty vlogger Charlotte talks of how cancer has helped her become more confident about who she is, the tragedy, inspiration and strength will have you in tears.