The best on demand TV to watch this week

From inevitably sentimental Finch starring Tom Hanks to Jackie Collins documentary Lady Boss, the best on demand TV to watch this week

APPLE TV+, NETFLIX, BRITBOX & STARZPLAY

Finch

Remember Cast Away, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx executive who crash-landed on a deserted tropical island and ended up talking to a decorated basketball called Wilson?

好, two decades later, Finch is a lot like that only this time Hanks is playing a robotics engineer who finds himself alone in a post-apocalyptic St Louis because… well, the world has come to an end.

Climate change, greenhouse effect, solar flares… the exact cause is never clear but Earth has become a hot, radioactive dustbowl in which Finch may well be the last human alive.

Climate change, solar flares… the exact cause is never clear but Earth has become a hot, radioactive dustbowl in which Finch (Tom Hanks, 以上) may well be the last human alive

Climate change, solar flares… the exact cause is never clear but Earth has become a hot, radioactive dustbowl in which Finch (Tom Hanks, 以上) may well be the last human alive

Which is why – and this is the ‘deep breath’ moment – he’s built a robot to… er, look after his dog when he’s gone. The inevitably quirky android – voiced by Caleb Landry Jones – calls himself Jeff.

Now Finch has someone to talk to as they set off for San Francisco in a film that is interesting, occasionally irritating, and inevitably sentimental. It’s Hanks, 毕竟. Apple TV+, from Friday

Knowing Me, Knowing You/This Time

Wings-loving presenter Alan Partridge, with his casual knitwear and cringeworthy catchphrases, first appeared as a sports reporter on Chris Morris’s The Day Today.

With another middle-of-the-road pop reference, this time to Abba, the gaffe-prone comedy monster that was Partridge was fully born, complete with his ‘Aha!’ catchphrase.

Wings-loving presenter Alan Partridge (以上), with his casual knitwear and cringeworthy catchphrases, first appeared as a sports reporter on Chris Morris’s The Day Today

Wings-loving presenter Alan Partridge (以上), with his casual knitwear and cringeworthy catchphrases, first appeared as a sports reporter on Chris Morris’s The Day Today

Steve Coogan’s character lived on in This Time in 2019, which saw the inept presenter trying to co-host a daytime TV show. BritBox, from Thursday

The Harder They Fall

The great American western has always been an oh-so-white affair, at least as far as main characters go. The Harder They Fall sets about putting that right with a black ensemble cast, led by Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba and Regina King, playing the goodies, the baddies and everything in between.

The Harder They Fall has a black ensemble cast, led by Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba and Regina King (以上), playing the goodies, the baddies and everything in between

The Harder They Fall has a black ensemble cast, led by Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba and Regina King (以上), playing the goodies, the baddies and everything in between

With a pumping reggae soundtrack, its intentions are clear from a shock opening that, not for the last time, brings Quentin Tarantino to mind. It’s all a bit wordy and mannered – deliberately so – but as outlaw Nat Love (Majors) sets off in pursuit of the wicked Rufus Buck (Elba), its energy proves infectious. 网飞, from Wednesday

Godfather Of Harlem

New York gangster Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whitaker) is carefully treading a dangerous path in this compelling, fact-based drama about organised crime, politics and civil rights in the 1960s.

New York gangster Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whitaker, above right) is carefully treading a dangerous path in this compelling, fact-based drama about organised crime and politics

New York gangster Bumpy Johnson (Forest Whitaker, above right) is carefully treading a dangerous path in this compelling, fact-based drama about organised crime and politics

Having realised that whoever controls the ‘French connection’, allowing heroin into the city, will be the kingpin, Bumpy came out of hiding to make some new alliances – in Europe. StarzPlay, from Sunday

Dickinson

The third season will be the final ten episodes of the innovative, genre-busting comedy drama about poet Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld) as a young woman. This is Emily in her most creative period, during the American Civil War and still pursuing Sue, the married woman she loves.

有趣的, Sylvia Plath puts in an appearance. Apple TV+, from Friday

Red Riding

In this TV adaptation of the David Peace novels about police corruption in Yorkshire, each of the three feature-length films is by a different director and set in a different year – 1974, 1980, 1983.

Aspects of real-life crimes, such as the Yorkshire Ripper murders, form the backdrop and there is a complex overarching story linking the three. Compelling but also unrelentingly bleak. BritBox, from Thursday

Narcos: 墨西哥

This Narcos spin-off focuses on Mexico’s drugs trade, rather than on Pablo Escobar and his narcotics business in Colombia, as in the original series. The first two seasons have shown the creation of the Guadalajara Cartel from a group of disparate drug growers and we’re now in the 1990s.

A power vacuum caused by the events of last season has led to a vicious drugs war with various factions battling for supremacy. No one is prepared to play nicely. 网飞, from Friday

TOP TEN HOTTEST DRAMAS ON BRITBOX TO WATCH NOW

1. Our Friends In The North

The young Christopher Eccleston, 丹尼尔克雷格, Gina McKee and Mark Strong star in a saga of politics and friendship.

2. Broadchurch

Detectives Olivia Colman and David Tennant investigate the murder of a child in a seaside town.

3. Life On Mars

Has DI Sam Tyler (John Simm) really travelled back to 1973 where he’s working with old-school copper DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister)? Or is it all just in his head?

Judi Dench (以上) and Imelda Staunton are among the stars in Cranford

Judi Dench (以上) and Imelda Staunton are among the stars in Cranford

4. Cranford

Judi Dench, Lesley Manville and Imelda Staunton are among the stars in Heidi Thomas’s (Call The Midwife) blissful adaptation of the Elizabeth Gaskell’s stories.

5. 楼上, 楼下

Successful 1970s drama about an aristocratic family and their staff, co-created by Eileen Atkins.

6. 唐顿修道院

The Crawley family try not to let little blips such as the First World War interfere with their way of life.

7. Doctor Who

There’s a galaxy of vintage Doctor Who series, including the very first episode from 1963.

8. 遗忘的

Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar are superb in an emotionally charged show about cold-case partners.

9. Tenko

Classic drama about women held in a brutal Japanese prison camp during the Second World War.

10. Wuthering Heights

这个 2009 take on Emily Brontë’s timeless novel stars Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley (the pair are now married) as Heathcliff and Cathy.

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BBC iPLAYER

Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story

They were high achievers, those Collins sisters: first Joan became a Hollywood star, then Jackie’s ‘bonkbuster’ novels turned her into the Queen of Tinseltown, helping rescue Joan’s flagging career.

They were high achievers, those Collins sisters: first Joan became a Hollywood star, then Jackie’s (以上) ‘bonkbuster’ novels turned her into the Queen of Tinseltown

They were high achievers, those Collins sisters: first Joan became a Hollywood star, then Jackie’s (以上) ‘bonkbuster’ novels turned her into the Queen of Tinseltown

This was the source of some sibling rivalry and Joan here arches an eyebrow as only she can. But this documentary is Jackie’s story, enhanced by a wealth of home-movie footage showing the private woman behind the overcoiffed talk-show regular who declared that women could achieve anything but whose sexually provocative brand of feminism eventually became outdated. Available now

Don’t Look Now

After the tragic death of their child, a couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, 对) travel to Venice where he is to work on the restoration of a church. There they encounter a pair of mysterious sisters who claim their daughter is trying to contact them from beyond the grave.

After the tragic death of their child, a couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, 以上) travel to Venice where he is to work on the restoration of a church

After the tragic death of their child, a couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, 以上) travel to Venice where he is to work on the restoration of a church

Nicolas Roeg’s atmospheric 1973 horror classic is intensely creepy and hugely influential. Available now

Middlemarch

这个 1994 adaptation of the George Eliot classic stars Juliet Aubrey as Dorothea Brooke, unhappily married to Reverend Casaubon (Patrick Malahide). The screenplay was by Andrew Davies, written just before he became famous for Pride And Prejudice. From Sunday

Vienna Blood

Ahead of a new three-part series next month, catch the original three episodes of this atmospheric psychological thriller in which Max (Matthew Beard), a doctor and student of Sigmund Freud, helps a rather grudging detective with his insights into the minds of killers in the Austrian capital of the 1900s. Available now

The Death Of Stalin

It hardly promises comedy gold: old dictator snuffs it. End of story. 但不是: in the hands of writer Armando Iannucci and an inspired cast including Steve Buscemi as Khrushchev and Michael Palin as Molotov, what unfolds is a jewel of crackling, backstabbing tension as the Soviet Council of Ministers squabble and compete for power.

Wickedly funny black humour. Available now

Why is there such a buzz about..?

Paris Police 1900 (BBC iPlayer)

Welcome to a Paris of dismembered corpses stuffed into suitcases and dumped in the Seine; of unhinged political extremists brawling at public rallies; of women as second-class citizens, ridiculed for their aspirations to an education and a career.

The drama, inspired by real events, opens in 1899 with French president Félix Faure dying in distinctly post-watershed – but broadly historically accurate – circumstances.

Félix Faure's lover, Meg Steinheil (Evelyne Brochu, 以上)

Félix Faure’s lover, Meg Steinheil (Evelyne Brochu, 以上)

His lover, Meg Steinheil (Evelyne Brochu, 对), with him at the time of his death, is nicknamed ‘Deadly Lips’ by police and recruited as a spy. Virulent, vile antisemitism is on the rise and completely in the open, partly as a result of the Dreyfus Affair, a long-lasting scandal in which a French army officer of Jewish heritage was wrongly convicted of treason.

Madame Steinheil is to gain the trust of a volatile antisemite group and report back to the cops. 与此同时, a killer stalks the French capital.

The eight-part series’ powerful, atmospheric depiction of a city of sleaze, corruption and conspiracy theories, of drugs, decadence and febrile politics, recalls the hit German show Babylon Berlin, set just 30 多年后.

It is violent, gripping, very cinematic and has already been a big hit in France. Positive word of mouth is boosting viewing figures here and a second season is in development.

Neil Armstrong

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