The 7 most unmissable shows on TV this week
Love Island's returning with a sunscreen-slicked vengeance, Dolly Alderton's Everything I Know About Love finally makes it to the screen, and more unmissable picks this week.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Everything I Know About Love, BBC1, 7 June
Dolly Alderton’s 2018 memoir of the same name was a like a publisher’s fantasy: a runaway, word-of-mouth success that led to a nationwide tour and a crowd of readers that wept, laughed, and agreed with every word. No surprise the TV adaptation is hotly anticipated. Where the book is a nonfiction, personal look at Alderton’s own female friendships, the series has been tweaked into inspired-by fiction, following four close friends as they move into a Camden flat in 2012. It’s a fun-filled romp of 2010s nostalgia, and like a higher-brow British Sex and the City (Alderton’s an avid fan).
The Outlaws, BBC1, 5 June
The sharpness of the script here let’s you know exactly why Hollywood legend Christopher Walken signed on in his British TV debut. A comedy drama by Stephen Merchant (co-writer of The Office, Extras, Life’s Too Short), series one saw us laughing, crying, and entirely gripped as a group of archetypal (but far from cliched) community service workers got into increasingly hot water. Series two of this sit-com-turned-thriller is just as exhilaratingly well-balanced: funny yet tightly-plotted, at the right moments exaggerated and at others real. If you missed it the first time around, you’re in for a perfect catch-up binge.
Love Island, ITV, 6 June
Ah, the true marker of summer. The Earth goes round the Sun, the days lengthen, and Love Island returns. You can probably already hear that blippy, ad-break-signalling jingle in your ears — I know I can. This year marks a watershed moment for the series in that it’s ditched fast fashion, encouraging contestants to wear existing clothes as well as a selection of pre-loved eBay finds (the new sponsor). About damn time, though no doubt they’ll all still go on to found their own clothes lines. There’s also the first deaf contestant, but in other respects it’s much the same: lots of buff and shiny people, lots of mugging off, lots of grabbing for a chat.
We Own This City, Sky Atlantic & NOW TV, 7 June
David Simon, screenwriter of The Wire, returns to Baltimore with this six-episode miniseries about a corrupt police force in 2017. The true story it’s based on is staggering: a single plain-clothes police unit, founded to quietly target gun crime, that escalated into robbing people, planting drugs and evidence, home invasions, and overtime fraud. After a decade without consequences, an FBI investigation led to eight officers sentenced to a range of seven to 25 years’ prison time. With the same director as King Richard, this is a gritty, gripping, unflinchingly good look at the American police system.
Ms Marvel, Disney+, 8 June
How anyone can manage to keep up with every member of the sprawling Marvel universe is beyond me, but this is a charming one to dip into. Marvel’s first Muslim superhero, Khamala Khan (played by newcomer 19-year-old Iman Vellani) is a New Jersey high-schooler of Pakistani descent, and her story balances religion and school life as well as secret crime-fighting. An awkward, believably teenage geek, Khamala is obsessed with Captain Marvel and fantasy dreams — which become sudden reality when her grandmother’s old bangles let her manipulate cosmic energy.
First Kill, Netflix, 10 June
The elevator pitch? Lesbian Romeo & Juliet, with vampires. Yep, it’s about as indulgent as you’d imagine, but the biracial LGBT element is refreshing, and it’s nice to give teens some representation in their cheesy TV selections. Never been tempted by a steamy supernatural series for a tired evening’s watch? Go ahead, throw the first stone.
Avoidance, BBC1, 10 June
Comedian Romesh Ranganathan co-writes and stars in this new sit-com about a lazy, conflict-averse Jonathan (Ranganathan) and his nine-year-old son. Coming in six parts, the story follows as Jonathan’s wife announces their marriage is over and asks him to leave, prompting him to run away (but a mild sort of runaway — only to his sister’s) with his son. It’s a kooky, in parts sort of dark, but overall charming watch.