What to watch on TV this week
- Credit: Galgóczi Németh Kristóf / Chalkboard TV
The Teacher, 9pm Mondays, C5
Did you have a cool teacher at school? The one who dressed a bit rock ‘n’ roll, always smelled of ciggies and coffee, dropped the odd rude word into a lesson to show they were ‘down with the kids’?
In The Teacher, Sheridan Smith is a version of the ‘young-at-heart' educator. And this is her show. One which deftly entwines the character’s vulnerability and emotional fragility, with an underbelly of recklessness.
Jenna Garvey is divisive at the secondary school where she teaches English. Rocking a mini skirt, and vocab that appeals to teens, she’s clearly getting through to her pupils, and revels and delights in their success.
But that’s to the chagrin of others – especially fellow teacher Nina who’s not best pleased to learn Jenna’s given her kid a low grade on an English paper. There are also various email complaints to the head.
Not that he’s bothered. As the progeny of a respected former head teacher, and with what appears to be an excellent track record in raising the attainment of her students, Jenna’s boss wants her to go for a position of head of English.
And this is where things unravel further for Jenna, who’s already in a state, mourning the death 20 years ago of her mum, living in the shadow of an unapproving, hard-to-please dad.
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What should have been a pleasant staff night out, toasting her new role, spirals into something more sinister. Jenna’s co-worker is more than troubled when she’s dragged to the rebel teacher’s favourite haunt, a nightclub called Lazarus, unable to rip her away from the heady grind of the dance floor, or the lure of ‘just one more shot’ at the bar.
Left to her own devices and demons, Jenna’s clearly not in her right frame of mind, the camera winding dizzily around her as she tries, through a cloud of booze, to stay upright and in control. She is not.
And when she spies teenage English student Kyle, sauntering off to a lift with him, breaking the teacher/pupil boundary, she’s on very dangerous territory indeed. What happens next is literally a blur. For the viewer. For Jenna – who's blacked out and can’t remember a damn thing.
But it’s spelled out in black and white when she turns up to work the next day to be route-marched off the premises into the arms of the police, who promptly arrest her for engaging in a sexual act with a minor.
She can’t believe it. What really happened with Kyle?
We’ll have to watch and find out.
The Woman In The House Across The Street From The Girl In The Window, all episodes streaming on Netflix now
Hoping to shake off what she’s perhaps best known for - The Frozen franchise – Kristen Bell leads in this romper of a limited series, which hilariously has viewers scratching their heads.
“It’s rubbish.” some have cried. “I don’t get it,” say others. It. Is. A. Spoof. Think modern day Naked Gun...or Scary Movie. It’s not meant to be serious, and if you don’t pick up on all the little ‘easter eggs’, hints and blatant sign posts that it’s a comedic rip-off of the likes of The Girl in the Window, or The Girl on the Train, you might need new glasses.
Presented as eight snappy episodes just shy of 25 minutes apiece, the show puts Bell front and centre as a lonely wino suburban-type. Following the traumatic death of her daughter, artist Anna spends all her time sitting at the window with a glass (nay, bottle) of red and a bunch of pills, watching the world go by.
Trauma means she can’t go out in the rain. And she doesn’t have the energy to date. She’s in limbo. Until a dashing widower moves in across the street. Anna’s more than happy drowning her sorrows watching him work up a Peloton sweat, but things take a decidedly dark turn when she sees his girlfriend get her throat slit. And sets on a mission to find out what happens.
The mystery is almost secondary to the tongue-in-cheekness of this show. The fact her ex-husband is a TERRIBLE therapist. That her handyman has been repairing the mailbox for the entire series run. The gratuitous, laughable sex scene with a male stripper. The ‘how to be an artist’ type books in the loft. The thriller film tropes. It is a riot. Don’t you miss it!
The Sinner, Season 4, all episodes on Netflix now
Colourful wood-clad houses and fishing shacks track a shoreline hugged by forest. Jetties jut out into gently lapping water. Boats clink against lobster traps.
Ah. Maine. A few clicks from Canada, and promising a slower, more peaceful pace of life, Hanover Island seems like the perfect spot for now-retired detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) to take a breather.
A year on from season three of The Sinner, in which he made a decision that will haunt him forever, Harry is in a relationship with equally haunted Sonya (Jessica Hecht), and the duo have escaped upstate New York for a couple of weeks of recoup in a sparse, modern holiday home overlooking the water.
Sonya has it in mind it’ll be good for them. She can get back to painting. Harry can, well, do whatever he does when he’s not hot on the trail of a suspect...which, as we learn quite quickly, is not a lot.
They’re only a few lobster rolls in before the former cop’s antennae go up. Unable to sleep, while on a ramble he spots local girl and fishing empire heiress Percy Muldoon (Alice Kremelberg) in trouble, and follows on to make sure she’s OK...only for Percy to step off a cliff edge, disappearing into the night.
And so begins a chain of events and ring of deceit in which no one can be trusted. What made Percy jump? Did she jump at all? Who had a hold on her?
Harry will push his sanity and his relationship with Sonya to the brink to get the answers he craves, even if it means revealing uncomfortable truths.
Pullman has really carved out an intriguing, and often frustrating, character here. Detective Ambrose is strangely quiet and enigmatic (what does Sonya see in him?), tenacious, often rude. He speaks only when necessary and only with words that hold weight – no small talk. And, as viewers of the first three seasons will have seen, he’s got a few ‘issues’ in the bedroom.
This is a brooding, twisty production full of the red herrings and layered storytelling The SInner’s become known for.