Never mind the weather: The best things you'll watch on TV this weekend
Published 19/08/2016 | 10:39
Since Met Eireann's forecast for the weekend involves heavy rain and westerly winds, we thought we'd give you the low down on the best things to watch on TV this weekend.
Summer of Love, PBS America, 9pm
The year is 1967. Scott McKenzie’s chart-topper Are You Going to San Francisco? blares from the radio. Timothy Leary is urging America’s young people to “turn on, tune in, drop out”.
They responded, between 50,000 and 100,000 of them arriving in San Francisco to join the hippies in Haight-Ashbury in building a utopia of peace, love, drugs, music and freedom, sustained by the free food being handed out in the park.
The sturdy, clear-eyed documentary Summer of Love (PBS America, 9pm), made in 2007 but only showing here now, cuts through the purple haze of guff that’s often surrounded accounts of the time.
The dream quickly soured. The “summer” barely lasted to the end of spring. By the time the season proper arrived, the original hippies, fed-up and disillusioned, had departed.
Haight-Ashbury was hideously overcrowded with homeless runaways, while hunger, bad health and bad drugs were spreading like wildfire. By the end, the whole thing had become a grotesque attraction for camera-wielding tourists. Fascinating and sad.
Dog Tales, TV3, 8.30pm
You can’t go wrong with dogs. They’re television gold. New series Dog Tales is at the fluffier end of the market.
Andrea Hayes trains to become a carer with the Dogs Trust charity. The first episode sees 11 dogs being rescued and Hayes trying to rehabilitate a traumatised Shih Tzu.
Monty Python: Live at Aspen (Gold, 11.40pm)
By now, the cult of Monty Python has lasted longer than the group’s collective career. Monty Python: Live at Aspen (Gold, 11.40pm) is not, as the title would suggest, a performance but a 1996 gathering of the surviving members, with an urn standing in for Graham Chapman, who reminisce about the TV series and movies.
The clips are generous and the Pythons are all in fine, talkative form, especially John Cleese (which wasn’t always the case).
I Am Bruce Lee, Quest, 9pm
I Am Bruce Lee is both intriguing and infuriating. Built around an interview Lee gave in 1971, and stuffed with great clips and decent talking heads, it’s a watchable biography... right up until the moment it veers off into a tedious discussion of whether or not Lee would have approved of UFC. Who gives a nunchuck about that?
Celebrity Big Brother: Live Eviction - TV3, tonight, 9pm
While Stephen Bear remains ‘eternally’ on the brink of eviction, four more Celebrity Big Brother housemates will join him in this weekends live eviction. Samantha Fox’s name will be put on the line as a result of the public vote, while James Whale’s nomination came as a result of a vote conducted by his fellow housemates, where he received the highest number. Ricky Norwood and Lewis Bloor were also picked to face eviction by their housemates, receiving three and four nominations respectively. Emma Willis will lead proceedings this Friday night in the first double eviction of the series.
The Truth About Romcoms, Channel 4, 9pm
Do you like countdown/clip shows? I hope you do, because there are two of them on and, aside from the corruption-riddled Olympics, which have become difficult to watch without a peg on your nose, they’re about the only things saving the night from total mediocrity.
The Truth About Romcoms (Channel 4, 9pm) has a first-rate roster of talking heads who actually know what they’re talking about, including Meg Ryan, Hugh Grant and Richard Curtis, who have been involved in several of the most successful romcoms of all time.
More than just a straightforward clip show, it promises fascinating nuggets from behind the scenes. Did you know, for example, that My Best Friend’s Wedding was supposed to end completely differently?
Even more intriguingly, Curtis reveals that he actively tried to prevent Hugh Grant being cast in Four Weddings and a Funeral but was outvoted by the film’s producer and director.
He thought Grant was too handsome for the image of the middle-of-the-road character he had in his head while writing the screenplay.
Four Weddings went on to make $247m on a budget of $3m and turned Grant into an international star. I bet Curtis is glad now that he was overruled.
Star Wars: Greatest Moments - Sky 1, Saturday August 10, 6pm
With hype building in anticipation of Rogue One due for release in December, and hot on the heels of the wildly successful The Force Awakens, Sky have compiled a list of the top twenty greatest moments of this legendary saga. With contributions from celebrity fans and creator George Lucas himself, Sky will reveal the most popular moments as voted for by public poll.
The Bourne Supremacy - UTV, Saturday August 20, 9pm
The Bourne Supremacy is the second installment in the hugely successful Bourne franchise, starring Matt Damon and spearheaded by director, Paul Greengrass. Jason Bourne finds himself trapped by the CIA who are conspiring against him to frame Bourne for one of their own botched operations. Damon’s Bourne is forced to embrace his past as he returns to his previous life as a trained assassin. With positive reviews flooding in for Greengrass and Damon’s latest partnership on Jason Bourne, its a treat to be able revisit the beginnings of such an enduring franchise.
Fleabag, BBC2, 10pm
The decision to make BBC3 an online-only operation wasn’t welcomed by everyone. Ironically, though, it’s given the Beeb an entry into the streaming market dominated by Netflix and, at least in Britain, by Amazon Prime and allowed it to experiment with content that might not have made it onto screens under the traditional broadcasting model.
Fleabag (BBC2, 10pm) made its debut online last month, to huge acclaim, and now mainstream audiences get a chance to see what the fuss was about.
Taking its cue from the frank, unromantic view of sex taken by the likes of Girls and Catastrophe, writer-star Pheobe Waller-Bridge’s six-part comedy resembles a more youthful version of Bridget Jones’s Diary, only bleaker, blacker, filthier and funnier.
Adapted and expanded from an Edinburgh fringe show, it follows the ups and downs (mostly downs) of a struggling café owner (Waller-Bridge), nicknamed Fleabag, as she negotiates life in London.
Bill Paterson plays her largely estranged dad and, in a wonderfully counter-intuitive casting stroke, that nice Olivia Colman is her thoroughly nasty hag of a stepmother.
Blur: New World Towers, Sky Atlantic, 9pm
There’s a positive blizzard of Blur brilliance tonight. Blur: New World Towers (Sky Atlantic, 9pm) is a feature-length documentary chronicling the making of the band’s excellent 2015 album The Magic Whip, from its origins in Hong Kong to them performing it to an ecstatic crowd in London’s Hyde Park.
That’s followed by Blur: Video Killed the Radio Star (Sky Atlantic, 10.50pm), a brisk romp through two decades of the band’s always inventive videos, including, of course, the iconic Parklife, featuring the inimitable Phil Daniels.
Fake or Fortune? BBC1, 9pm
In the final edition of the excellent Fake or Fortune? (BBC1, 9pm), Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould try to uncover the history of three paintings thought to be the work of Willem de Kooning, Philip Mercier and Adolph von Menzel.
Live Rio 2016, RTE2, from 5.45pm
In case you’re still interested (and I’m not any more), boxing is at the core of Live Rio 2016 (RTE2, from 5.45pm). The closing ceremony at 11.55pm brings the curtain down on a fortnight that will go into the history books for all the wrong reasons.
The Paperboy - Film Four, Sunday August 21, 11.25pm
Your Sunday night movie comes in the form of The Paperboy (2012). Film Four will be screening this death-row drama, starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman and John Cusack. The Paperboy follows McConaughey as an idealistic Miami newspaper that returns to his home town to report on the plight of a local death-row inmate whose case is brimming with racial complexities. Efron is employed as the driver while his older brother, McConaughey reports on the case. Nicole Kidman is thrown into the mix, with her role as the wife of the death row inmate, causing a stir when she develops confusing feelings for Efron’s character.
Creed - Netflix
Netflix this week demonstrated its determination to improve its often outdated catalogue by acquiring the rights to Ryan Coogler’s Creed (2015). A delicately handled modernisation of the Rocky franchise, Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis Creed, the love child of Rocky’s late great opponent Apollo Creed. Sylvester Stallone received an Oscar nomination for reprising his role as the Italian Stallion. Adonis is eager to have Rocky train him and when the legendary fighter relents the unlikely duo embark on a gruelling training and fitness regime. The infamous training sequence is present, and is superbly undertaken. The notable sequence follows Adonis as he sprints through the battered streets of Philadelphia, followed by an army of street folk with mopeds and quad bikes for chariots. Creed is a must-see and succeeds in pumping life back into a withered franchise.