Screen Savors; Brothers, a plague and spies

Three new serious series take to the airwaves, including one that looks at Arabs who serve in the IDF in elite combat units.

Documentary series Brothers (photo credit: Courtesy)
Documentary series Brothers
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The documentary series Brothers on Channel 33 will air on May 7 and May 14 at 8:30 p.m. It takes a close look at a group of people who are very little known in Israel: Arabs who serve in the IDF in elite combat units. The May 7 episode is about Lt. Col.
Amos Yarkoni. A Beduin, Yarkoni served as a scout for the Hagana and became close to Moshe Dayan.
Eventually, he changed his name from his original Beduin name to Yarkoni and developed some innovative combat methods that are still used. Yarkoni died in 1991 at the age of 71.
The last part of the series is about Capt. Elias Karam, a Christian who was the first Arab to be accepted to the Naval Academy. He became a naval officer and has been a key figure in trying to recruit Christian boys into the army. Karam now has a successful career in the civilian sector and has degrees in law and criminology.
Will Epidemic , the new miniseries from HOT, be the next show that American television remakes? You can judge for yourself when it airs on HOT 3 on Mondays at 10:15 and free on HOT VOD. It’s an odd mixture of satire, comedy and sci-fi thriller, and tells the story of the outbreak of a mysterious epidemic in a luxury housing complex in Savyon. The complex is quarantined, and a plastic surgeon to the rich and famous, played by Menashe Noy, who is stuck there, tries to figure out what’s going on.
As the government tries to cover up the origin of the disease and to keep word of it from spreading, residents of the complex try to behave as if nothing is going on and even celebrate Purim.
The series features an all-star cast.
In addition to Noy (one of the most gifted and intelligent actors in Israel), it includes Shlomo Bar-Aba, best known for his role as the father in the Oscar-nominated film Footnote ; Tiki Dayan from the TV series Ema’le and the film Sima Vaknin, Witch ; Dvir Benedek, known for countless TV appearances, such as in Sabri Maranan and films such as A Matter of Size ; and Idit Teperson, who was in Footnote and Campfire .
HOT is also broadcasting The Hunger Games , one of the top- grossing films of the year, on April 19 on HOT Gold HD at 10 p.m.
Based on the best-selling series of young-adult novels, it stars Jennifer Lawrence (who just won a Best Actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook ) as Katniss, a teen in a dystopian world where every year, each working-class district must send two teens to compete in a televised competition. In this contest, all the teens try to kill each other, and the last one left alive wins. I found it incredibly disturbing to see gory images of teens forced to kill each other, but American moviegoers loved it – go figure.
The most promising new series on the OH Channel on YES is The Americans , which starts on April 20 at 10:20 p.m. It stars Keri Russell ( Felicity ) and Matthew Rhys ( Brothers & Sisters ) as Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings, an apparently typical Washington, DC, couple who work as travel agents in the 1980s. But they are actually Soviet spies and work to uncover US secrets for their spymasters in Moscow. The series is a hit in the US, where it is already in its second season. It’s a bit hard to accept the angelic Russell as a ruthless trained spy, but if you can get past that hurdle, the series is entertaining.
There are the occasional unrealistic details (they seem to have meaningful talks in places almost guaranteed to be bugged), but these spies may have been too busy learning hand-to-hand combat to watch the movies and TV shows that have taught the rest of us so much about espionage.