Green Wing:Season One
A belated Middle East release for one of the better comedies to emerge out of Britain over the past five years. Essentially a sketch show built around a hospital, the scratch editing between scenes does irritate at times, but characters like Stephen Mangan’s wildly self-absorbed Guy Secretan endear themselves quickly, while a rough story grounds the more eccentric figures. It was briefly huge in the UK then stopped suddenly. If you missed it the first time, it’s well worth getting acquainted.
Kyle XY: Season Two
The second series of this ‘teen-with-powers’ show continues Kyle’s exploration of his newfound abilities and throws in a rival and a heap of adolescent worries as the amnesiac hero attempts to uncover his past. In the end, this is sickly slick teen isolation given a sci-fi-lite twist. It isn’t quite the nauseating melodrama of Smallville or Roswell, but the heightened hormones and teen angst does tend to pall after a while.
A decent cast and a restrained story arc build the tension well, but it’ll never be vital viewing.
Hung: Season One
As unlikely a show to get syndication in the UAE as could be imagined, at first glance Hung offers little but a cheap laugh: a former uber-jock divorcee turned high school basketball coach resorts to prostitution to earn a bit of cash. Yet, thanks to creator and director Alexander Payne (Sideways) and the shrewd casting of the ragged Thomas Jane in the lead role, Hung proves more than a one-gag wonder. Instead, it is a sad reflection on lost youth and unhappy middle age and sits happily alongside shows like the excellent Breaking Bad in echoing the sound of suburbia imploding.
Super Comedy, Thu, midnight (From Nov 5).
Brooding British miniseries about a latter-day Jack the Ripper, Whitechapel turns the the Big Smoke into a gloom-laden, blood-drenched sinhole, lit only by the glint of a madman’s knife. Into this fog step two cardboard coppers and Steve ‘League of Gentleman’ Pemberton’s excellent Ripperologist, who bumble down ever darker and echoing passageways in search of their Jack. The dialogue is wooden and every cliché in the book is exploited, but it’s gruesome enough to catch the eye and short enough to write off as a guilty pleasure.
Showseries, Fri, 11pm (from Nov 13-27).
The Ex List: Season One
Adapted for American audiences from the Israeli series Mythological X, The Ex List proved a flop in the US and only managed four episodes before it was cancelled. Sadly, this was well deserved. The premise is bland chick-flick fare in which the irksome Bella tracks down her exes after a psychic tells her she has already met her true love. In the end, it’s too cute for its own good and Elizabeth Reaser’s lead is unlikable enough for you to genuinely want her to remain single (and possibly contract a fatal disease). Best left in the past.
America Plus, Sat, 10pm (from Nov 6).
True Blood: Season Two
Like some flailing undead monster, the second series of HBO’s racy ‘vampires in suburbia’ show emerges a lesser version of its former self. All the elements are there: Anna Paquin’s trashy psychic waitress, human-vampire tensions and plenty of sauce, but loose writing means that it frequently repeats itself and the main plot quickly descends into a tiresome, naughty farce, all too often substituting shocks for substance. A letdown.
America Plus, Fri, midnight (from Nov 6).
The Tudors: Season Three
Another season, another set of heads for the chopping block. Given that Henry VIII was a bloated, syphilitic madman by this point, Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s svelte Tudor rightly returns in less-than perfect health as the plot moves slightly away from racy courtly goings on to the political machinations of Tudor court. Few characters gain your sympathy, but its high-school history plot and Meyers’ cold-dead eyes are enough to attract newcomers and hold old fans.
Showseries, Thu, 11pm (From Nov 12).