Grim drama and classic comedy: What's new on TV?

The newest releases on Israeli TV and streaming services.

'Gangs of London' (photo credit: COURTESY OF HOT)
'Gangs of London'
(photo credit: COURTESY OF HOT)
Schitt’s Creek, the comedy show that won nine Emmys in 2020, will finally be available in Israel, starting February 14, when it will start running on HOT3 at 9 p.m. (and HOT VOD), according to an announcement from HOT.
The series, which was created by, and stars, father and son Eugene Levy and Dan Levy, is about a rich Jewish family that loses its money and has to relocate to a small town.
Netflix’s The White Tiger is the story of the fall and rise of a bright young Indian man, and while it is engrossing, ultimately it’s rather grim. It plays like Slumdog Millionaire if the policemen had tortured the hero to death rather than giving him another chance to prove himself.

That said, it gives an interesting glimpse into a side of contemporary India we rarely get to see, not the tourist India but a village – where the hero can afford to go to school only until about age 10 – and the urban life of the upper classes which use a corrupt system to secure their privileges.
Priyanka Chopra (Quantico), who also executive produced the series, gives a strong performance as the female lead.
Speaking of grim, grisly crime is front and center in two new series, Des and Gangs of London.
Des, which starts on February 8 at 9:50 p.m. on Yes Drama (and YesVOD), tells the true story of a serial killer in London in the ’80s who more or less turns himself in but plays games with the detectives investigating his case.
It stars David Tennant, who was so memorable as DI Alec Hardy in Broadchurch, and he gives another tightly wound performance here. However, it is an extremely disturbing miniseries and not for the faint of heart.
The same can be said for Gangs of London, which is running on HOT VOD and NextTV, which tells the story of a crime family, the Wallaces, and how they scramble to cling to power after the assassination of a key member.
It’s very well done, but the violence, starting from the opening few minutes which made me close my eyes (a rare occurrence), makes The Sopranos look like Mary Poppins. It stars Colm Meaney, Lucian Msamati, Joe Cole and Michelle Fairley.
IF YOU have wondered about how the business of social-media influencers operates – and it is very much a business – you’ll want to check out Fake Famous, a new HBO documentary that will be shown on YesDocu on February 8 at 11 p.m. (and on YesVOD and StingTV) and on Cellcom TV starting on February 17.
Directed by Nick Bilton, it looks at the stories of three people in Los Angeles trying to grow their social-media followings, and it brings to mind the adage “Laws are like sausages, it’s best not to see them being made” – the same can be said for online popularity.
Following the death of actress Cloris Leachman last week, I discovered how easy it is to watch full episodes of the classic ’70s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, on YouTube.
Leachman was one of the stars of the show, along with Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper, two other actresses who died in the last few years. This brilliant comedy ensemble, which also starred Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Ed Asner and Betty White, raised the bar for television comedy.
Set in a newsroom and a Minneapolis apartment building, it’s about a single woman finding herself after a breakup, and features characters you really want to spend time with. The trio of lead actresses got to be funny in a way that few women had until then, and at the heart of the show is comedy about the difference between how we see ourselves and how the world sees us.
James L. Brooks, one of the show’s creators, went on to produce, write and direct televisions shows and movies that have shaped popular culture, such as The Simpsons, Taxi, Broadcast News (also set in a newsroom) and Terms of Endearment, while Allan Burns, the other creator, who died last week just days after Leachman, worked on the show’s several spin-offs.
Fashionistas will enjoy the ’70s outfits, which influenced a generation of designers.
Staying in the ’70s, Alan J. Pakula’s classic 1971 thriller, Klute, is currently available on the Cinematheque Channel on Yes. It features Jane Fonda in an Oscar-winning performance as a New York call girl trying to become an actress who gets involved in the investigation into the disappearance of a small-town man. Donald Sutherland plays the detective, and the movie has the kind of suspense you would associate with Hitchcock.
Your Honor, the US version of the Israeli series of the same name, which stars Bryan Cranston as a judge whose son kills a gangster’s son in a hit-and-run, and which is running on Yes Action and YesVOD, was planned as a single season show, but there are rumors that it will be renewed for a second season.
In a recent Zoom event sponsored by Variety, Cranston, producers Robert and Michelle King of The Good Wife and several of the show’s other creators discussed the series.
It turned out that it was producer Liz Glotzer who first heard about the Israeli show and brought it to the attention of the Kings and writer/producer Peter Moffat, getting Moffat intrigued by first describing the plot and asking what he would do if he found himself in the judge’s position.