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Pass the remote: 6 things to watch this week

It's freezing! Definitely the only excuse you need to catch up on some sofa time. On our watchlist this week: Benedict Cumberbatch's cowboy "career-best", on-demand opera, award-winning BBC comedy, and more.

The Power of the Dog, Netflix, 1 Dec

Benedict Cumberbatch stares ominously out into the hills and looks gritty in this beautifully shot, brawny western, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in Sept. Directed by Jane Campion (The Piano; Bright Star), it tells the story of two weather-beaten cattle ranchers, and the issue one of them (Cumberbatch) takes when the other suddenly acquires a wife (Kirsten Dunst) — particularly on account of her soft, somewhat effeminate son. To say the critics loved it is frankly an understatement: the phrase ‘career-best’ has been bandied about for almost all involved.

Britney, BBC1, 30 Nov

Britney is a new BBC comedy that started life as a low-budget Edinburgh Fringe show… big surprise: Fleabag comparisons are rife. Based on the real experiences of its writers and stars, Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson, it’s offbeat, well-written, and treats trauma with a sucker-punch of comedy. Clive and Robertson are IRL best friends from childhood, so the comedic chemistry is a done-deal. BBC1 is airing it late on Tuesday, but the whole series is available on BBC iPlayer.

Harlem, Amazon Prime, 3 Dec

Following four stylish and ambitious best friends living in (no surprises here) Harlem, NYC, this new sitcom promises bright comedy and brash fun across ten episodes. It’s a familiar premise: the loves, lives, and professional disasters of a close group of witty friends in a big city — but done with a light, modern touch.

Mixtape, Netflix, 3 Dec

It’s 1999, and 12 year old Beverly, whose parents died when she was a baby, discovers an old, broken mixtape of theirs. Desperate to listen to it, she goes on a quest to track down all of the obscure songs, doing all the classic coming-of-age movie things along the way. A sweet, family film with some killer Y2K nostalgia.

14 Peaks — Nothing Is Impossible, Netflix, 29 Nov

Nepalese climber Nirmal Purja sets out to climb 14 mountains that have summits higher than 8,000m above sea-level (i.e., “the death zone” — yeesh) in seven months. For perspective, the last person to do it took 16 years. Expect jaw-dropping scenery, inspiring overcoming of challenges, and simultaneously feeling like a couch potato and being really glad you’re not 8,000m up a mountain.

Glyndebourne Encore, online, from 1 Dec

One for you high culture vultures, this isn’t a show or film but rather a new streaming platform courtesy of Glyndebourne, that well-respected opera house in Sussex. Given the knockout success of the company’s digital opera season (Covid, you know the drill), it’s now launching its very own streaming service, where you can enjoy performances as well as monthly behind-the-scenes deep-dives. In other words, it’s top-quality opera with bells and whistles, available on-demand. Worth breaking out into a few arias, eh? From £59.99 a year, with some titles available to stream for free.

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