This week on TV

Scandal, sex and censorship.

Best TV series in Israel (photo credit: PR)
Best TV series in Israel
(photo credit: PR)
We’re still at the end of the summer in terms of television programming.
A large number of the best series are coming back in early October, as if US and British television networks had decided to hold off on the new seasons until after the holidays. The Good Wife, Masters of Sex, Homeland and The Walking Dead are among the series that won’t be back until next month.
A few shows are starting a little earlier. The fifth season of Scandal starts airing on HOT 3 and HOT VOD on September 27, just three days after its US premiere. The intricately plotted show, which stars the glamorous Kerry Washington as DC fixer extraordinaire Olivia Pope, ended its fourth season with a shocking – and thrilling – finale. Producers have hinted that an important new character, who will play a member of Olivia’s team, will be introduced this season but have not revealed any further details.
In any case, the new season will likely be as exciting as the previous ones.
Scandal is one of several shows created by producer/writer/ director Shonda Rhimes’s company, Shondaland. Rhimes is also behind How to Get Away with Murder, coming up on HOT 3 and HOT VOD on September 28, which stars Viola Davis.
Rhimes’s most famous show, Grey’s Anatomy, begins its 12th season on YES VOD and YES Drama on September 28 and will examine life after the demise of McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey).
Rhimes is different from most other television show creators in that she is female and African- American. She was recently celebrated by Entertainment Weekly magazine, which featured her three hit shows on its cover.
Johnny and the Knights of the Galilee, the new YES series about four down-on-their-luck but attractive guys up north who end up becoming strippers and gigolos, is kind of dumb, which you would have expected, but also fairly entertaining, which you might not have thought. It features several of Israel’s best actors, including heartthrobs Oz Zehavi, Oshri Cohen and Joe Sweid, and runs on HOT Drama on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. and on YES VOD. It’s got the same basic tone as shows such as Desperate Housewives, where everyone is impossibly good looking but are supposedly playing real people with regular problems. It’s unusual to see Israeli men playing sex objects, and the show is vaguely reminiscent of the short-lived American series Hung, which starred Thomas Jane as a gym teacher going through a divorce who turned to prostitution to make his child-support payments.
Censored Voices, a documentary about eyewitness accounts by soldiers from the Six Day War and how they were suppressed by the government, will be shown on YES Docu on September 21 and September 23 at 9 p.m., as well as on YES VOD. Director Mor Loushy got access to tape recordings of interviews with soldiers conducted just a week after the end of the war by author Amos Oz and editor Avraham Shapira. The army initially censored these recordings, allowing only about 30 percent of the interviews to be published in Shapira’s book, The Seventh Day: Soldiers talk about the Six Day War. Loushy convinced Shapira to give her the recordings. In the film, she presents long portions of these interviews and even brings in some of the surviving soldiers to listen to and comment on their testimony. As the interviews play, newsreel footage of the war is shown.
Nothing about the interviews is nearly as shocking as the fact that they were censored. The soldiers talk about their fear of dying and their guilt at killing, as well as how they suffer from symptoms of what would probably be considered post-traumatic stress disorder. The film makes the point that in the aftermath of the war, public opinion was so euphoric that no one wanted to hear what these soldiers had to say about the actual experience of fighting the war. The interviews are moving, and it’s interesting to look back at what people thought the future was going to look like after the Six Day War.