Entertainment Television

Thursday 23 January 2020

This week I'm watching... TV with Paul Whitington

Better Call Saul
Better Call Saul
Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who
Bo Jack Horseman
Masters of Sex
Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

Doctor Who. Tonight, BBC1, 7.50pm. Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor.

A central feature of my and many another childhood, Doctor Who disappeared with the faintest of whimpers in the late 1980s, by which stage it seemed a hopelessly twee and outdated series. A kids' sci-fi show about an immortal alien who hops back and forth in time putting manners on obstreperous extraterrestrials, it introduced the world to Daleks and Cybermen, and dreamt up the clever concept of 'regeneration' to explain away the Doctors being played by different actors.

There was a botched attempt to revive the show in 1995, but by the end of the 1990s, Doctor Who seemed dead and buried.

Enter Russell T. Davies, who brilliantly reinvented the brand in 2005 by aiming it both at kids, and adults who'd grown up with the show. Davies' scripts introduced sexiness, humour and clever cultural references to the Doctor's adventures, and took Doctor Who to a whole new level. Tonight Peter Capaldi becomes the 12th actor to play the Doctor, and is arguably the most distinguished.

He's done Shakespeare for God's sake, and is most famous for playing the odious spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It. Poor Clara will have to get used to this sharp-tongued new Doctor pretty quickly, because dinosaurs are running amok in Victorian London.

FOLLOWING

Masters of Sex

Tuesday, More 4, 10pm

This racy drama is based on the true story of William H. Masters (Michael Sheen), who pioneered research into the mysteries of human sexuality along with his research partner and lover, Virginia Johnson. This second season is every bit as good as the first.

STREAMING

Bojack Horseman

Netflix, anytime

This bold new adult animation tells the story of a horse actor who used to be a sitcom star in the 1990s but frittered away all his money on booze and women. Bojack Horseman is hilariously subversive, and Will Arnett does a great job voicing the disenchanted nag.

ANTICIPATING

Better Call Saul

AMC/netflix, Feb 2015

Walter White's larger-than-life lawyer, Saul Goodman was one of the most fascinating characters in Breaking Bad, and in this comic prequel we'll find out how Saul became Saul. It looks promising, and Bob Odenkirk deserves his own series, but expectations could be crippling.

Irish Independent

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