Glittering Globes, breathtaking brainiacs and sniping stars

What's new to watch on TV in Israel?

‘MALCOLM & MARIE’ (photo credit: NETFLIX)
(photo credit: NETFLIX)
 While all the awards have been delayed this year, the Golden Globes will finally be presented in a ceremony that will be shown on March 1 at 3 a.m. local time in Israel on Yes Drama, Yes VOD and StingTV. Red-carpet coverage will begin at 1:30 a.m. and an edited version of the ceremony will be broadcast at 9 p.m.
The Globes are the awards of the very small Hollywood Foreign Press Association and are not taken as seriously in Hollywood as the Oscars, but they tend to make up in fun what they lack in gravitas, especially since the evening includes a banquet for the nominees where the liquor flows freely. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be hosting for the fourth time, Fey from New York and Poehler from Los Angeles, and it is not clear whether there will be a live audience, due to the pandemic. But Shira Haas, the first Israeli actress to be nominated for a Globe, for her role in the miniseries Unorthodox, will likely be watching live from Tel Aviv, as she did during the Emmys, which will add some local glamour to the proceedings.
Speaking of the Emmys, the big winner in the comedy categories, Schitt’s Creek, is now available on Hot 3 on Sundays at 9 p.m., as well as on Hot VOD and Next TV. The show is a fish-out-of-water comedy about a rich, spoiled family that suddenly loses all its money and has to go live in a rundown motel in the titular backwater town they once bought for a laugh. At first, it was hard for me to see what the fuss was about, but gradually the Rose family – played by Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy – began to grow on me. 
The fast-paced episodes are well-done ensemble comedy, and while few of us have fallen from such a lofty perch as the Roses, we can all identify with being stuck in a crummy motel somewhere with few prospects. Chris Elliott, best known for the series Get a Life (and the son of Bob Elliott of the legendary radio duo Bob and Ray) is very funny as the straight-shooting, amoral mayor of the town. This show fits into the clever yet humane comedy tradition of the best of the old network television sitcoms, even if the language is a bit dirtier and the situation a good deal bleaker.
Developments in neuroscience and technology offer hope for a better future, and Yes Docu is featuring a series of movies about Israelis involved in these fields. The first two films in the series – Kira’s Future, about Dr. Kira Radinsky, a scientist doing groundbreaking work in artificial intelligence; and Hossam’s Conflict, the story of Prof. Hossam Haick, an expert in the field of nanotechnology and non-invasive disease diagnosis who is developing the “Na-Nose,” a device that can diagnose such ailments as cancer (and COVID-19) through a simple breath test – are both fascinating. These films are available on Yes VOD and StingTV. 
Moran’s Brain, the third film in the series, a look at the work of hacker-turned-neuroscientist Moran Cerf, whose motto is, “Don’t believe everything you think,” will be broadcast on Yes Docu on February 24 at 9 p.m. and will also be on Yes VOD and StingTV.
IF YOU DIDN’T get enough romance films on Valentine’s Day, you can still catch a bunch of romantic comedies on Cellcom TV, including When Harry Met Sally... and the original Four Weddings and a Funeral.
There is a certain genre of drama in which couples snipe at each other. The idea is, apparently, that when we are angry and engaged in a fight, we are the most truthful and that this truth is at the heart of good drama. Mike Nichols’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is one of the most famous of these. Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage is another. As the child of divorced parents, I had seen enough sniping to last a lifetime by the time I was 12, but lots of people must enjoy these stories, because they keep making them.
The latest is Sam Levinson’s Malcolm & Marie on Netflix, which is generating a great deal of Oscar buzz. Malcolm (John David Washington, who starred in BlacKkKlansman) is a director returning from the premiere of his breakout movie, a film about a recovering drug addict, based on the life of his girlfriend, Marie (Zendaya, from Euphoria). After a very angry Marie lashes out because he forgot to thank her in his speech, it progresses into an examination of his film-geek hunger for critical approval and self-absorption, her childishness and irresponsibility, etc. It’s a two-character piece that was made during the pandemic and is set at a gorgeous home and filmed in artsy black and white. The two leads look great and Zendaya is especially beautiful in her glittery gown, but these actors deserved a better, more insightful script.
Tom Hanks stars in the Netflix film News of the World by Paul Greengrass, the director who made one of the best films about 9/11, United 93. News tells the story of a disillusioned Civil War veteran who makes a living reading newspapers to audiences in remote towns. Reluctantly, he agrees to take a girl (Helena Zengel), the daughter of German immigrants who was kidnapped and raised by Native Americans, to her aunt and uncle. To get there, they must travel through dangerous territory populated by bandits and hostile tribes. 
The denouement is a foregone conclusion, and while the journey may be way too slow for many, the scenes of post-Civil War America are interesting, as is the whole concept of a man who supports himself through the public’s eagerness to hear stories from around the world. Hanks is as likable as he has ever been, and Zengel, who was in the acclaimed German film System Crasher, is an expressive actress.
Allen v. Farrow, a new take on the Woody Allen-Mia Farrow saga, will be shown on Cellcom TV February 22, as well as on Yes Docu, Hot 8 and Hot HBO at 10 p.m. (and Hot VOD, Yes VOD and StingTV) on the same date.