It’s TV time! What to watch this week
Still waiting for your second jab? Dismayed at the weather and the jungle effect it’s having on the weeds in your garden? Well, don’t worry: there’s loads of good stuff on this week on the telly.
The Nevers (Sky Atlantic and Now) – Mon 17 May
Well, this looks exciting: a strange, unworldly event in 1896 London gives some people – mostly women – supernatural abilities. These women are known as the ‘The Touched’ and are feared and hunted. But no matter: pugilistic widow Amaila True (Laura Donnelly) and clever inventor Penance Adair (Ann Skelly) are on hand to protect and fight back. Olivia Williams, Eleanor Tomlinson, James Norton (*swoon*) and Nick Frost also star.
Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir (Netflix) – Tue 18 May
This PBS documentary on Amy Tan, Asian American author of The Joy Luck Club among many other bestselling novels, now comes to Netflix and explores her experience as an American with immigrant parents and the events through her life – as the voice of a generation for an entire diaspora – that have led her to write her books, published in over 35 countries. It is a fascinating journey, particularly in light of recent events stateside.
Army of the Dead (Netflix) – Fri 21 May
Who doesn’t love a zombie apocalypse action film? No? Well, this one is not for you. But director Zack Synder is riding a wave of success right now following his Justice League reboot and with this, he’s returning to his first love: zombies. Yes, it’s ridiculous and yes, they’ll be blood and gore, but just remember, George Romero used the zombie as a satirical comment on mass-consumerism. So, if you take a more erudite view on it, it might actually be quite enlightening. Maybe.
Solos (Amazon Prime) – Fri 21 May
This seven-part anthology series uses an A-List cast (Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman, Anthony Mackie, Helen Mirren, Constance Wu) to show how we’re all connected through shared human experiences. Perfect fodder after a year of isolation and a great opportunity for some of Hollywood’s finest to show off their acting chops.
1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything (Apple TV+) – Fri 21 May
Remember the Oscar-winning documentary Amy? And the equally incredible Senna? Well, filmmakers Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees are back in the editing suite but this time for an eight-parter documentary series exploring how 1971 was the year when music clashed with politics to electric effect. Using archive footage and interviews, the pair show how the febrile atmosphere of the time impacted artists as diverse as Marvin Gaye and The Who.
The Me You Can’t See (Apple TV+) – Fri 21 May
Hold onto your hard hats, people! Oprah and Prince Harry are teaming up again and the tabloid sub-eds will no doubt be conjuring up headlines already. The documentary series aims to destigmatise the subject of mental health and emotional wellbeing through the medium of interviews with notables such as Lady Gaga and Glenn Close. It’ll be fascinating, no doubt, if everyone can get over the Harry-might-say-something-incendiary factor.
The Pact (BBC One) – Mon 17 May
Ooh, now this six-parter looks like it might make Monday nights a little more interesting. A group of women who work at a Welsh Brewery are tied into a dreadful pact after a fateful night that ends up with a colleague dying. But can they handle the pressure of the police investigation? And if they can’t, who will crack first?
Eurovision Song Contest 2021 (BBC One) – Sat 22 May
Good lord, it’s Eurovision time and have we ever needed a camp Euro-pop party any more than we need it now? I expect, nay, I demand dancing goat herders and lurex lederhosen. I want ridiculous pyrotechnics and mismatched duets. The nation demands it! So, buy in an evening’s worth of cheese, cured meats and wine, and make like you’re having a continental buffet at a skiing chalet in Austria while dancing around your living room.
Innocent (ITV) – Mon 17 May
You may remember this was a much-loved, one-off series back in 2018. Well, writer Chris Lang (of Unforgotten fame) has come back with an entirely new standalone plot for season two. Katherine Kelly plays Sally Wright, a schoolteacher who is wrongly accused of having improper relations with a schoolboy who is later found murdered – but can she clear her name? A four-part drama broadcast consecutively over four days.
We Are Lady Parts (C4) – Thu 20 May
Brilliant title and hopefully, an equally brilliant comedy series that centres around an all-female Muslim punk band as they try to get their first gig – oh, and a lead guitarist. Written and directed by Nida Manzoor and starring Anjana Vasan as the meek Amina and Sarah Kameela Impey as the riotous Saira, it promises big things.