Six shiny new things to watch on TV this week
A new series of The Umbrella Academy, how to make the most of Glastonbury from your sofa, feel-good comedy... Here's this week's ultimate guide to staying in.
PICK OF THE WEEK: The Umbrella Academy, Netflix, 22 June
The first two series of this whirlwind Netflix comic adaptation were knockouts in terms of viewer figures — so no surprise the declining site has brought it back for a third. Centring around a dysfunctional family of orphan superheroes, naturally, the plot involves a possibly never-ending supply of apocalypses to avoid, a talking monkey butler, time travel, and parallel universes. It’s about as serious as you can imagine from all that, but genuinely good fun: outlandish plots, a banging soundtrack, big ticket fight scenes. The whole bickering family thing is a great touch, and Elliot Page (formerly Ellen, Juno, Inception) and Robert Sheehan (Misfits) are particularly engaging.
Ellie & Natasia, BBC3, 21 June
Comedians Ellie White and Natasia Demetriou (both star in Stath lets Flats) make a strong case for the return of the sketch show with this new BBC Three series, following a pilot that aired back in the hazy days of 2019. Witty, silly, and fabulously inventive, it hits all the right sketch show notes. It’ll also appeal to people who feel like they never have enough time to commit to a new thing (guilty!), as each episode is just 15 minutes long. This feels like a stroke of genius: punchy and concise, not enough to oversaturate, just enough to leave you wanting more.
The Offer, Paramount+, 22 June
Oh God, another streaming site. Paramount Plus is launching in the UK this Wednesday, and although we’re reluctant to pay for another of the bloomin’ things, it’d be remiss not to acknowledge there’s some good stuff on it. Case-in-point: The Offer, a somewhat sprawling ten-part series about the making of The Godfather. We follow Miles Teller (yes, who has the Muddy moustache seal of approval) as Al Ruddy, a newbie producer tasked with adapting the book, who heroically persists through various mob-riddled setbacks.
Lenny Henry’s Caribbean Britain, BBC2, 22 June
As a child, national treasure Lenny Henry was taught to integrate into white British culture. Here he explores the reverse: what Britain has absorbed from Caribbean culture, focusing on art, music, television, and theatre. Making use of some particularly well-executed interviews, it’s a fascinating, well-framed watch that picks out influential black British figures to know about. Plus, Lenny Henry is infinitely watchable.
Loot, Apple TV, 24 June
Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, The Good Place) fronts this series as a spiralling upper-crust woman who divorces her adulterous husband to the tune of 87 billion dollars. Seeking purpose, she turns to a charity she’s apparently been running (haven’t we all forgotten setting up a charity at one point or another?), and so the show becomes an oddball workplace comedy. You can imagine the rest: hapless, unhappy billionaire irritates her workers and slowly learns to draw meaning from doing good things. A funny, warm bath of a show.
Glastonbury, BBC2, 24 June
After two dank, dark, Covid-y years, Glastonbury’s back, baby! If you haven’t managed to get your hands on a ticket (or just like your music from the comfort of your own sofa and bathroom access, thank you very much), the Beeb has got you covered. Things kick off from 7pm on Friday and headliner Billie Eilish takes to the stage at 10pm. Across the five days, there will be a dedicated iPlayer channel covering nearly 90 sets across six stages, so you can surf around and see all the bits you want: Jessie Ware, Lorde, Haim, Glass Animals, Olivia Rodrigo, Paul McCartney, Diana Ross… Let’s go!