This week on the small screen

Looking into Scientology, remembering Kurt Cobain and saying goodbye to Kalinda.

May 13, 2015 13:56
3 minute read.
The Church of Scientology of Los Angeles

The Church of Scientology of Los Angeles,. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Docaviv, the Tel Aviv International Documentary festival, is under way now, and the YES Docu channel and HOT VOD Movies are celebrating with some of the films from the festival.

One of the most anticipated movies is the Scientology exposé Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which will be shown on May 18 at 10 p.m. and May 22 at 9:25 p.m. on YES Docu and YES VOD. The documentary, which contains many shocking revelations about abuses in the cult/church, was directed by Alex Gibney, who won an Oscar for the 2007 film Taxi to the Dark Side, about US torture of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. He also directed many other acclaimed documentaries, including Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

You may know Scientology as an odd, faddish cult that has attracted some high-profile Hollywood names, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta. It certainly is that, but it’s also a strangely successful, bizarre organization that seduces and scams its members and harasses and persecutes its critics.

The movie is based on the book by courageous investigative journalist Lawrence Wright. There have been articles about Scientology over the years, but many journalists who began to look closely at the group were often sued and were threatened.

Even an innocuous mention of Scientology in an article could result in veiled threats from the Scientology brass. Wright, who has long been fascinated by cults and believers (he wrote a particularly memorable 1993 article for The New Yorker about the sons of Jim Jones), is interviewed in the film and says he never set out to debunk or smear Scientology but wanted to understand its appeal. In the film, Gibney interviews many Scientologists who have left the church, among them Oscarwinning screenwriter Paul Haggis (Crash), in order to reveal the mystique and the reality behind it.

In one of the most fascinating parts of the movie, it details Scientology’s bold harassment of the Internal Revenue Service.

Ultimately, the IRS classified Scientology as a tax-exempt church.

Starting May 22 on HOT VOD Movies, you can see another Docaviv film, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, directed by Brett Morgen, a guest of the festival. The movie uses interviews with Cobain and his friends and family members, as well as film clips and lots of music.

For fans of Nirvana, it’s a must-see, but anyone interested in music and pop culture will enjoy it as well.

There have been and are about to be quite a few season finales on some high-profile shows. Season 6 of The Good Wife’s just ended, and it’s official – Kalinda is gone.

Kalinda Sharma, the maddeningly charming, incredibly brave, and preternaturally self-assured private investigator for the law firm on the series, played by Archie Panjabi, was one of the most popular characters on the show.

But Panjabi, 42, who was born in England to Indian parents, was ready to move on. Although her character will be missed, Panjabi is developing another television series, in which she will star. No details have been released about it, but she said in a recent interview in Entertainment Weekly that it will not be about Kalinda.

She will also appear in the special effects-laden film San Andreas, which stars Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), which will be released on May 29.

The first season of Jane the Virgin is also coming to an end this week. This silly show, which plays like a sitcom directed (and decorated) by Pedro Almodovar, is consistently funny, even though its premise sounds a bit silly. You can still catch up with all the episodes on YES VOD and YES Binge. Like The Good Wife, it airs on YES Drama. If you watch it for five minutes, you will either turn it off or become hooked.

And Mad Men fans still reeling from last week’s shocking episode will have to say goodbye to Don Draper and company forever on May 17 (May 18 on HOT Plus on Monday nights at 10 p.m. and on HOT VOD for free).

The Church of Scientology issued this response to Alex Gibney's documentary:

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