Catch Up TV reviews: Who Is America, Inside Facebook, Unforgotten S3
James R | On 22, Jul 2018
Inside Facebook (All 4)
Social media has never been a more powerful, or more potentially harmful, force in society than now. At a time when Donald Trump has somewhat nullified the term “fake news”, it’s easier than ever for us to see something misleading or inappropriate in our news feed without realising it – and once you factor in the age of people using each platform, the risk for both adults and children can become quite alarming. The pressure on companies such as YouTube and Facebook to clamp down on what is and isn’t appropriate is therefore extremely great, and Channel 4 continues to rise to the task of TV questioning this modern age with this fantastic documentary, which goes undercover at Facebook. It takes us into the secretive world of the people who decide what should and shouldn’t be posted, exploring what rules and boundaries these unseen moderators have. Unless streamed live, for example, videos of child abuse not usually reported to police, we discover – at least, not at the initial stage of review. This is an eye-opening, essential hour that brings to light a practice that, like those harvesting data to manipulate democratic processes, is largely carried out in the dark.
Who Is America (All 4)
Sacha Baron Cohen’s return to our screens is a return to grass roots for the comedian, as he once again pulls a Borat and goes undercover in an array of disguises to catch out unaware subjects. Filmed over a year in America in hushed secrecy, Channel 4 and Showtime announced the series as something of a surprise, promising scandal and danger with a “gotcha” of an entire nation. Who is America? The satirical question is one that’s undoubtedly important and pertinent to consider, but satire in recent years has had one major problem: the world has become so ridiculous and wrong in the first place that there are few extremes left that can expose anything truly shocking. Baron Cohen wisely scatters his targets across the political and cultural spectrum, but in an age where people will say despicable, prejudiced things in public without needing a hidden camera, this form of prankster exposure only carries so much impact. Baron Cohen, though, makes up for any lack of surprise with a continuous stream of laughs – and, in this opening episode, still finds a truly disturbing segment, which sees his “Colonel Erran Morad” (an anti-terror specialist) gain genuine support from the chief of Gun Owners of America in recording a video that promotes guns for children. An armed army of “kinderguardians” protecting schools with their “gunny rabbits”? It’s so terrifyingly horrible that you really can believe it. Sometimes, it’s less the discovery of something new and more just the reminder of the horrifying reality that really hits you hard. There is potential for this to become the next Brass Eye.
Unforgotten (ITV Hub
It’s gotten to the point that we would happily watch Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar read the phone book for an hour, their chemistry is so good. And so it’s with genuine delight that we see then back on our screens in a third season of Unforgotten. ITV’s crime drama isn’t one to rest on its laurels, though, also introducing the omnipresent Alex Jennings, as a seemingly good doctor no doubt hiding a nasty side. And, of course, there’s the ever-dependable Neil Morrissey, whose older years match an increasingly subtly maturity in his calm, convincing presence. The case in hand involves the discovery of remains near the M1, prompting our police duo to call the families of many missing children, to try and make a connection to Cyprus. Even if that meant loads of phone books, it’d still be just as riveting, surprising and even, at times, tinged with hope.