The morning show | Apple TV +
Manhunt: The Nightstalker (ITV) | ITV Center
The Great British Cake (Channel 4) | Every 4
No matter the Buzzcocks | Max Sky
Back for a second series, The morning show reminds us that TV on TV can be a tough sell. It can work: I still miss Aaron Sorkin’s exhausting chatter Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, although I needed a drip to get to the end of some of the one-liners. Less fortunately, it can end up as egocentric characters repeatedly bickering over career arcs and personal agendas, exuding all the dramatic intensity of stuck cue cards. So it’s here with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, returning as enemy arc co-presenters caught in the morning televised hell of bruised egos, reports of helicopter trafficking, and miracle shapewear. The first series ended so powerfully; how did we get back here?
To give it credit, the latest series of The morning show, Apple TV + ‘s first mega-launch, has grown from a pedestrian treatise on the status-hungry machinations of an American breakfast show to a tense #MeToo drama. Spoiler alert: Co-host Mitch (Steve Carrell) has been revealed as a full-fledged sexual predator; even after the suicide of a forced conquest (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), he was horribly inflated by the arrogance of the misunderstood man. It all led to a climactic scene where Alex (Aniston) and Bradley (Witherspoon) called the empowering culture of the workplace live on air. Well done, you thought – daring! – after that ?
The answer seems to be: not much. Going through three of the 10 new episodes, we return to the never-ending soapy clash between Alex-Kong and Bradley-Zilla. Watching them type is like listening to an argument between two colleagues: fun, until it gets boring. In the first game, Mitch has yet to reappear, while Alex is locked in Maine typing a memoir on a – natch! – Apple Laptop (Apple is so hilarious and shameless about product placements, I’m only surprised Aniston didn’t exclaim in a sultry voice, “My God, this keyboard delivers such a precise typing experience.” ). Back to The morning showBradley struggles and studio director Cory (Billy Crudup) is insanely scheming. Cory is overkill, but at least Crudup’s Joaquin-Phoenix’s-Joker energy enlivens the place. All is lost ? Maybe not. As Covid slips into the series’ timeline, you wonder if, like last time, The morning show the trick of becoming television on television that matters will succeed.
The first series of 2019 Manhunt (ITV) was a superb dramatization of the police capture of Levi Bellfield, the murderer of French student Amélie Delagrange, who also killed Milly Dowler, among others. Martin Clunes was a revelation as Detective Colin Sutton, whose understated decency and puddle-colored anoraks initially made you wonder if it was possible for the human soul to be double-glazed, but who turned out to possess keen police instincts.
This time in Manhunt: The Nightstalker, also based on Sutton’s memoir, the real case, which took place over four consecutive nights, was the horrific series of rapes, assaults and burglaries by the Night Stalker, or “Minstead Rapist,” on elderly people in South East London between 1992 and 2009. Some of the traumatized victims died soon after, leading one detective to say, “As far as I’m concerned, he’s a serial killer.
This series isn’t as compelling as the first one, but it’s still eminently watchable. Clunes is just as good as the low-key hero masquerading as a drab clunker, whether he lifts a practical backpack over one shoulder, or keeps a fearful eye on his impending retirement (his own “killer”, he said. it is estimated). I like how Manhunt sticks to an old-fashioned police procedure, although that may go too far. Some sets (crime scenes, police corridors) may be old sets from The Sweeney gave a quick vacuum.
Speaking of police, I think it’s time to The Great British Cake team to systematically undergo drug testing. Whatever they are, it’s not just frosty frosting. Or, coming back from the Channel 4 show, was it me on potent hallucinogens? Did Judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, and presenters Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas, really lead the case by performing a cake version of Achy Breaky Heart (“My Achy Puff Pastry”)? Was it absolutely necessary that they all dress like hardened Wurzel roadies? Some things are just too exciting for the pre-watershed.
The glorious madness continued in the legendary tent – still a pastel-colored monstrosity that looks like a Cath Kidston-themed nervous breakdown. One competitor was disarmed and overwhelmed, comparing entering the tent to “that feeling you get when you first enter the Sistine Chapel”. From there it was Pastry shop business as usual: mini buns, anti-gravity cake, malt bread, some of which worked, some of which reminded you of the scene from Chernobyl when they cleaned the radioactive ash from the roof. Twelve sets I’ve had my moments of disapproval of Pastry shop (the spirit of Brexit immortalized in the sponge, and all that), but when it does, it’s a reminder that a certain bit of not only British, but human eccentricity is alive and well and kindly obsessed with quality. of its cake batter.
I still can’t get over the fact that Noel Fielding – such a cheeky goth! – gifts Pastry shop. Last week he also returned as one of the team captains on the new version of Sky on the longtime music quiz. Don’t mind the buzzcocks, alongside new host Greg Davies, new team captain Daisy May Cooper (This country) and regular competitor Jamali Maddix. Guests were Jade Thirlwall (ex-Little Mix), singer Anne-Marie and Mash Ratio comedian Nish Kumar.
If you want to feel old, watch a music show where no one recognizes Buck’s Fizz in the lineup section. Elsewhere, it was entertaining: Cooper, in particular, channeled her own rockstar to the point where she began to remind you of anyone you’ve ever seen stealing other people’s drinks backstage. If I have one criticism, it’s that the musical content is now almost jarring. With the former Buzzcocks staff, you felt like they knew enough about the music and cared enough about the music to get into an unseemly argument over Fall’s lyrics, if necessary. Comedy is everything, but don’t forget the music (completely).
What else am I looking at
Hawking: Can you hear me?
This documentary on the life and career of physicist Stephen Hawking, who died in 2018, is a lucid tale of brilliance, handicap and disruption, through the perspective and memories of his family.
Nowhere to run: abused by our trainer
BBC Three | iPlayer
Charlie Webster’s documentary about joining a group of 12-year-old running girls. The coach was ultimately jailed for mistreating her and others. A disturbing story of harassed young athletes.
I found this underwater murder mystery rather an overcooked trail. That said, the penultimate episode was terribly exciting, leaving Suranne Jones in danger in a dark torpedo tube rapidly filling with seawater. Final episode tonight.