Pass the remote! The 6 best things on TV this week
Sofa surf your way through the week with these brilliant new releases. On the menu: a surprisingly good teen ghost comedy, Elle Fanning in a true crime drama, and more.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Black Bird, Apple TV+, 8 July
Taron Egerton (The Kingsman, Rocketman) is the star of this astonishingly gripping prison thriller. Based on a true story, Egerton plays drug trafficker James Keene, who is offered release if he manages to befriend a possible serial killer and uncover the location of his victims’ bodies. Hardly an easy task, and it involves transferring to a jail for the criminally insane. It’s an understatement to say this’ll have you on the edge of your seat.
Freddie Flintoff’s Field Of Dreams, BBC1, 5 July
Setting out to prove that cricket isn’t just for posh boys, Freddie Flintoff rounds up a group of unconvinced kids from Preston (his home town) and attempts to prepare them for a match with some experienced Cumbrian players. It’s a downright charming ride: the boys not knowing who Flintoff is outside of Top Gear, some hilarious personalities, and a general failure to pick up the rules.
The Baby, Sky Atlantic / NOW TV, 7 July
Effectively mixing comedy and horror, this avant-garde series has a baby literally drop into the arms of a single thirty-something woman who very much did not want kids, after the real mother fell off a cliff. This is weird, but doesn’t totally prepare you for how much weirder it gets: everyone insists it is now her baby, and people begin to die. It’s both a funny jab at society pushing motherhood, and just a downright creepy watch.
Boo, Bitch, Netflix, 8 July
A familiar teen starting point (about to graduate, resolves to finally have some fun) takes a sudden turn: our main character (the truly likeable Lana Condor, flexing her full comedy chops after To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) is hit by a car and dies. Oops! Suddenly a ghost, we cue hijinks about finishing her unfinished business. It’s full-speed-ahead comedy done well, from the producer of My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
How to Build A Sex Room, Netflix, 8 July
Sometimes it boggles the mind that a show made it out of the pitching room. But, hey, it’s piqued our curiosity: the home makeover genre takes a wacky twist in this sex dungeon renovation series. Basically a saucy, say-it-like-it-is middle aged woman helps couples to design and install high-end rooms for their, er, marital bliss. Weirdly, it has a sort of Queer Eye vibe — everyone’s so moved by their new, life-changing sex rooms, and the designer is distinctly likeable. Surprisingly good TV.
The Girl From Plainville, StarzPlay, 10 July
The latest in television culture’s obsession with fact-based dramas, this tells the disturbing story of Michelle Carter, infamous for successfully encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself via text back in 2014. The case attracted a lot of attention not just because of the shocking details, but also because of the legal questions it prompted about the limits of criminal responsibility. Played here by an astonishingly good Elle Fanning, the dramatisation asks intriguing questions about Carter’s motivations as well as the effects of digital communication — though is ultimately, of course, unable to fully answer them.