IT seems the real reason we had to wait four weeks for the final two episodes of Stranger Things 4 (Netflix) — or Volume 2 as it’s grandly subtitled — wasn’t a creative decision by the Duffer Brothers, but something more banal.
The thing was simply taking so much time to film, they decided they’d put out the seven episodes that were already in the can rather than keep fans hanging around even longer to have their itch scratched.
This is hardly surprising given the final two instalments clock in at 85 minutes and a gargantuan two hours, 30 minutes. Francis Coppola didn’t need that much time for The Godfather Part II. Better be worth the effort.
In contrast, Donald Glover’s Atlanta (Star on Disney+) is a gleaming example of how less can be more. No episode is longer than 30 minutes and you genuinely never know what road it’s going to take you down. This is season three (one final one is planned) and the first two episodes are there now.
Feature-length documentary McCarthy (PBS America, 7.25pm) charts the rise and fall of the despicable US senator Joseph McCarthy, whose populist communist-baiting, built on baseless lies and vicious character assassination, propelled him to prominence in the Republican Party, in the process destroying the lives of countless innocent people.
The film doesn’t need to name names to draw obvious parallels between McCarthy and a present-day liar and fraud, Donald Trump.
The national broadcaster appears to have found a new summer filler format to replace the flogged-to-death chat show. After last year’s bland music show The Heart of Saturday Night comes The Main Stage (RTÉ1, 9.35pm), hosted by singer-songwriter Erica-Cody and The Coronas’ frontman Danny O’Reilly. The performers are Lyra, Rejjie Snow, Villagers, Cormac Begley, Mark Feehily and DJ John Gibbons.
In the wake of the fabulous Reacher, The Terminal List (Amazon Prime) is another revenge-fuelled action series based on popular thriller novels, this time by Jack Carr. The four-parter stars Chris Pratt as Navy SEAL James Reece.
He’s the only survivor of a disastrous covert mission and begins to suspect his own people were behind it. The cast features Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of Arnie.
From fictional survivors to real ones. 9/11: Heroes of the 88th Floor (Quest) uses archive footage and contemporary interviews to explore the stories of bravery of people whose lives were impacted by the attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001.
AN hour is a bit skimpy to do full justice to Mick Jagger: My Life as a Rolling Stone (BBC2, 9.30pm). But as the old song goes, you can’t always get what you want.
Still, rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest frontman is always a good-value interviewee and here he roams freely through his life and career. The other Stones get their turns in subsequent episodes.
Freedom: 50 Years of Pride (Channel 4, 8pm), charting the origins and development of the movement, is described as “part protest, part party, part performance”. Contributors, either talking or singing, include Ian McKellen, Peter Tatchell, Olly Alexander, Bimini, Lucia Blayke and Tom Robinson.
There’s good and bad news for fans of Inspector Montalbano (BBC4, 9pm). This is a new episode — or at least a 2019 one getting its first airing in these parts — but it’s also the final one. Production shut down that same year following the deaths of author Andrea Camilleri and series director Alberto Sironi.
Ahead of the Women’s Euros kicking off next Friday, Alex Scott: The Future of Women’s Football (BBC1, 10.20pm) features the former Arsenal star and England international looking at the problems facing the game. One challenge includes online negativity and the lack of diversity at the top-flight clubs.
JOE Lycett’s Big Pride Party (Channel 4, 8pm) is the channel’s second major weekend offering marking 50 years of Pride. Earnestness goes out the window for a couple of hours as the emphasis is on celebrating all things LGBTQ+ through comedy and music.
The comedian hosts from Birmingham and the line-up includes comedians Rosie Jones and Mawaan Rizwan, Boy George, Tom Allen, Joan Collins teaming up with newly out Kelly Holmes, Mae Martin and the cast of Netflix’s Heartstopper.
Also making appearances are stars from Ru Paul’s Drag Race and everyone’s favourite royal descendant Danny Dyer. It wouldn’t be a Joe Lycett show without a wind-up, and we’re promised a real cracker.
Top Gear (BBC1, 8pm) brakes to a stop with an episode to mark 100 years of the BBC — which basically gives the trio an excuse to don tweeds and chug around a forest in vintage vehicles. They also look at environmentally friendly cars that are actually fun to drive (i.e., they can go fast).
Expedition to the Edge (Discovery, 8pm) means what the title says. It follows a 20-strong team as they attempt to complete the Northwest Passage by sailing farther north than any ship in history
The second run of The Outlaws (BBC1, 9pm) has been a deserved hit in the UK, racking up huge viewing figures as a boxset on the BBC iPlayer (which is geo-blocked in Ireland).
In the penultimate episode, the gang have got together enough cash to shake their tormenters off their backs, but there’s trouble afoot when unwelcome elements start nosing around. A perfect blend of comedy and thrills.