TV Time: ‘Fauda’ is coming, ‘Palmach’ is back

The wait for the fourth season of Fauda is almost over, Israeli pop diva Noa Kirel has joined the cast Palmach and more.

 LIOR RAZ in the new season of ‘Fauda.’  (photo credit: EDEN SHOHAT)
LIOR RAZ in the new season of ‘Fauda.’
(photo credit: EDEN SHOHAT)

The wait for the fourth season of Fauda, the show about an Israeli counterterrorism unit and its adversaries, is almost over: Yes has announced the new season will begin running Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on Yes Action and Yes VOD, starting July 13. Just to get you in the mood leading up to the premiere, Yes will open a pop-up channel devoted to all things Fauda on Channel 20 starting July 7 and it will run until the new season debuts. The pop-up channel will feature episodes from the previous seasons starting every evening at 9 p.m. and running all night, as well as interviews with the actors and creators, and behind-the-scenes clips. Anyone who saw the final episode of season three is unlikely to forget the shocking ending, but if you need a refresher, these reruns will help.

Season four will see the star/creator Lior Raz returning and much of the supporting cast will be back, including Itzik Cohen, Doron Ben-David, Rona Lee Shim’on, Yaakov Zada Daniel, Idan Amedi and many others. Inbar Lavi, an Israeli actress who has been working in Hollywood, will be joining the cast, as will popular television presenter Lucy Ayoub, as well as Mark Evanir (Homeland), Amir Boutrous (The Crown) and Louai Nofi (The Good Cop). Fauda has become popular all over the world on Netflix and the fourth season will come to the streamer after its Israeli premiere, although the date has yet to be announced.

While few details about the new season have been released, the trailer makes it clear that Doron (Raz) and his colleagues will continue to battle Hezbollah and other terror groups in the West Bank (some of the series will take place in Jenin) and Lebanon. As well, for the first time, it will move to Europe, to Brussels. The Brussels scenes were being filmed in Ukraine, when the war broke out and production moved to Hungary.

Palmach

Israeli pop diva Noa Kirel has joined the cast of teen historical series, Palmach, the third season of which is available on Teen Nick on Yes, as well as on Yes VOD Kids and Sting TV. It tells the story of the lives and loves of Palmach fighters during the years before the establishment of the state, and it works for both young viewers and adults because, while it has a soapy dimension, it is rooted in a simple truth, that many Palmach members were very young, barely a year or two older than the teens in the audience.

'PALMACH' (credit: YES/DUDY DAYAN)'PALMACH' (credit: YES/DUDY DAYAN)

Kirel, who finished her army service not so long ago, plays Shula, a Palmach fighter on a secret mission. Bar Minely of Sky also joins the cast and Ran Mosheiov plays a Jewish policeman on the British police force with a talent for baking, who meets Ruth (Yael Shelbia), although she does not reveal her true identity to him.

Avraham Arenson and Naya Bienstock return as the brother and sister who just stepped off the boat from Europe and immediately join the Palmach. Real-life historical figures, such as David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin, will continue to play a part in this consistently entertaining series.

Cha Cha Real Smooth

CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH is an earnest, 20-something, coming-of-age drama on Apple TV+ that has the suburban bar/bat mitzvah circuit as its backdrop. Written and directed by Cooper Raiff, who also stars, it tells the story of Andrew, an aimless college graduate living at home who, by chance, gets hired to be the guy who gets the party started at local bar and bat mitzvahs.

At one of these events, he meets a sultry woman named Domino (Dakota Johnson, whose most famous role was in Fifty Shades of Grey and who recently appeared in The Lost Daughter and who will play the lead in a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion), who has a mildly autistic daughter, who is quirky, brilliant and wise.

He becomes a buddy to the daughter and falls hopelessly in love with her mother, who is engaged to a man she apparently does not love. They have confused, deeply felt conversations, with lines like, “I feel that there are things that you just don’t... say to me, and I can’t tell whether you’re holding back a desire to be close or a desire to be distant. For me, I’m holding back a desire to be close.”

None of it really holds together, except their attraction. Maybe the party scenes will be a draw for some, but many of the details did not ring true. For example, when Andrew gets drunk at a bar mitzvah and insults friends of the bar mitzvah boy’s parents, there are no repercussions and people in this tight-knit community continue to hire him. If you want to see a satire of American bar mitzvah culture, Keeping Up with the Steins, a not-particularly-subtle 2006 comedy starring Jeremy Piven (Entourage) and Pretty Woman director, Garry Marshall, is a lot of fun, if you can find it streaming somewhere.

Ten Percent

IF YOU’RE looking for something light and fun, try Ten Percent, which is running on Hot HBO on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and is also available on Hot VOD and Next TV. It’s a remake of the French Netflix series Call My Agent! and it focuses on a talent agency in London. It follows the plot of the French series pretty closely and starts when Misha (Hiftu Quasem), a young woman from Scotland, shows up at the agency and gets hired to be the assistant to the difficult, driven Rebecca (Lydia Leonard).

Jack Davenport plays the head of the agency, Maggie Steed is the seen-it-all veteran agent and Harry Trevaldwyn is a standout as an all-knowing assistant in a brilliant cast. It’s probably even more fun if you haven’t seen the French series, but it will work no matter what. It features some of England’s top actors playing themselves in gossipy storylines, including Helena Bonham Carter, Himesh Patel and Emma Corrin. Dominic West is especially funny in an episode where he has a hard time playing Hamlet in an updated production where the Prince of Denmark has a cellphone.

Stranger Things

WHEN THE final two episodes of the second part of Netflix’s Stranger Things premiered on July 1, the streamer crashed briefly, as the series broke US records for viewership, which gives an indication of the loyalty of the series’ fans. The fourth season of this series about a bunch of teens in a small town in Indiana in the 1980s who try to save the world from evil forces is perhaps its best.

Created by the Duffer brothers, it is influenced by the Steven Spielberg classics of the 1970s and 80s, and very much follows in their spirit. Even if you usually do not like shows with a supernatural/horror element, you may quickly become addicted to this show for its beautifully drawn characters, particularly the main quartet of four boys – some solidly middle class, others raised by struggling single moms and one from an African-American family – drawn together by being outsiders who love playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Will (Noah Schapp), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) have only grown deeper as characters and actors over the past four seasons, as have the older characters, including Will’s mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), and Jim Hopper (David Harbour), her former high-school classmate, who is now the police chief. The fourth season features a particularly fun new character, drug-dealing metalhead Eddie (Joe Quinn).

In addition to lovingly referencing dozens of old movies throughout, including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goonies, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, It, Red Dawn and many more, this new season goes more for out-and-out horror, and viewers will be reminded of The Exorcist in many key scenes. The soundtrack is phenomenal and this season it has put Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” back on the top of the charts.

Some viewers have expressed concern over the fact the children in the lab, who are the victim of cruel experiments, are identified by numbers tattooed on their arms, which would seem to reference the Holocaust. The experiments portrayed on the series, however, were inspired by the CIA experimental Project MK Ultra, in which subjects were given large doses of psychoactive drugs and tortured in various ways, and which continued into the 1970s. In spite of the abuses in these experiments, in which some of the subjects died, they should never be compared the Holocaust, of course. However, this misstep involving the tattoos should not keep viewers away from the series.

Jerusalem Film Festival

THE 39TH Jerusalem Film Festival will open on July 21, with the movie Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Ostlund, which won a Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, and his previous film, The Square, which also won a Palme d’Or, will be coming to Cellcom TV on July 7. Like Triangle of Sadness, The Square is an outrageous comedy.

Set in the art world, it focuses on a Swedish museum curator (Claes Bang) who finds himself facing personal and professional stress, as he is pressured to mount an exhibition that is more bizarre than anyone has ever come up with. It costars Dominic West (The Wire, The Affair) and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, The Handmaid’s Tale).