What to watch on TV this week

Ozark. Jason Bateman as Martin 'Marty' Byrde in episode 403 of Ozark. Cr. Steve Dietl/Netflix © 2022

Jason Bateman as Martin 'Marty' Byrde - Credit: STEVE DIETL/NETFLIX

Ozark, Season 4 streaming now on Netflix

This latest and final series sees you reunited with the Byrdes, the Navarro Cartel, Ruth and Darlene, not to mention the edge of your sofa, in this gripping, surprising, curve-ball throwing and brilliantly acted show. 

It all starts with a flash-forward to a happy Byrde family who become involved in a serious car accident. However, the rest of the season unfolds in the present day.  

We're transported back to the aftermath of Helen's murder at the home of Omar Navarro, then promptly introduced to Javi, his unpredictable and "impatient" nephew.  

He’s being primed to take over the cartel so Omar can do a deal with the FBI, mediated through the Byrdes, and walk away to live a life of freedom. Will this go to plan, though? (Semi-spoiler alert... does anything in this show?) 

Keen to be seen as philanthropist, Wendy sets out to win over those in positions of influence who will back her endeavours to build rehab centres, ironically, for those with addiction issues. Her main contributor being a pharmaceutical company which produces opioid-based drugs. Incidentally, they need a new Class A supplier to save the business, and that makes for a risky deal. 

Ruth buys a local motel, through which she can launder money for Darlene. She needs help to do that, though. She can't ask Marty for his expertise, but she can ask the next best thing - his son, Jonah, whose skills coupled with his building resentment for his parents is the perfect storm. 

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A private detective investigating Helen's disappearance is a cause of irritation for pretty-much everyone, and becomes interested in the fact that Wendy's brother, Ben, is missing too.  

So, what’s with two separate parts to Season Four? Apparently, there's so much to cram into the series they had to break from the previous 10-episode format because it just wouldn't all fit in. Instead, there’s 14 episodes split into two. 

However, so gripping are these latest instalments that when you come to the end of the seventh episode, you'll feel short-changed having to wait for Part Two – for which there's been no confirmation about a release date as yet. 

Angie George

 Succession season 3

Succession season 3 - Credit: HBO

Succession, series 1-3 available on Now TV 

It’s regularly said that we’re in a golden age of TV. Not that you’d know that from my viewing habits. Not exactly what you’d call a connoisseur, I’ve seen the opening titles of The Sopranos, one episode of Breaking Bad and I’ve never seen The Wire (although I have pretended to in the interests of keeping dinner party conversations flowing).  

Conversely I have seen probably thousands of episodes of Homes Under The Hammer, which if pushed, I think I could successfully argue paints an equally insightful picture of the state of a nation.  

When it comes to big expensive American dramas, I generally give them a wide berth, assuming they’ll be full of swearing and awful characters behaving awfully towards each other.  

Also they’re often multiple series long, with story arcs you have to remember.  

That’s something you don’t have to worry about with a nice self-contained episode of Homes Under the Hammer. By the time the hour’s up, that ominous crack in the wall that Martin Roberts was concerned about didn‘t turn out to be subsidence after all, they’ve got the Japanese knotweed under control and everything in sight has been painted 50 shades of grey.    

However, I have made an exception – and as a consequence I am currently nearing the end of the first series of Succession, which, Luddite that I am, I have rented on DVD from my local library. 

Yes, it has lots of swearing and awful characters behaving awfully towards each other, but I’m also finding it ridiculously addictive.  

It’s created by Jesse Armstrong, who was half of the duo behind the sitcom Peep Show - one of my favourite-ever series, despite it being filled with swearing and awful characters behaving awfully towards each other. Inconsistent, moi? 

It follows the Roy family, owners of the Waystar RoyCo media empire (remind you of anyone?) and the series opens with patriarch Logan (Brian Cox) suffering from a stroke.  

His decline in health leads to a power vacuum which his children Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor (Alan Ruck) vie to fill.  

Also watching from the sidelines is Shiv’s fiance Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), who is tasked with running the company’s cruise division with an impending scandal hanging over him – if the right whistleblower comes along he could be sunk.  

And sweet but secretly savvy cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) from Canada is finding his feet at HQ – and doing much of Tom’s dirty work – after a brief and disastrous stint as a mascot at one of Waystar’s theme parks. 

Cue the scheming, double crossing and increasingly excruciating social gatherings in impossibly glamorous locations.  

If you’re a spectator, this family really puts the fun into dysfunctional. 

Emma Lee  

Pam & Tommy (streaming now on Disney +) 

I, like so many others, started to watch this Hulu series last week out of pure curiosity. And I got hooked. 

There’s been a lot of hype in the telly world surrounding the retelling of one of the 90s’ biggest sex scandals – most of it directed at stars Lily James and Sebastian Stan. 

Because, quite frankly, what the make-up and prosthetics teams have managed to pull off is incredible. From fake boobs and forehead for Lily, to a faux ‘member’ for Stan – the production has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at replicating the looks of the former primetime TV sweetheart and bad boy of rock. 

Being caked in latex, wigs, tattoos and eyebrow weaves lends the actors a kind of anonymity – there are no inhibitions here. 

A grand depart from Lily’s roles in Mamma Mia and Cinderella and Stan’s Marvel world. 

Let’s wind back the clock to the mid-90s. The potential of the internet was wildly underestimated. There was no Netflix. Families used to huddle together on the sofa with tea – and Baywatch (alongside Gladiators, Neighbours and Noel Edmunds’ House Party) was often on the menu. 

Originally aired in 1989 and running for 11 seasons, it became iconic, gaining cult status not for the jeopardy of its storylines, but for its flock of bronzed beauties (male and female) who spent most of their time galivanting along the beach in red swimsuits.  

Paparazzi culture was rising to its peak, and sexpot-girl-next-door Pamela Anderson was often caught in the crosshairs of the media.  

During a booze-fuelled four days in Mexico, Pammy fell in love with and married Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee. Naturally the paps had a field day. But this whirlwind of attention wasn’t a patch on what was to come, when disgruntled electrician Rand Gauthier stole (in 1995) a home video of the pair in more than one precarious position, intent on using the ‘new world’ of the web to get it to as big an audience as possible. 

What did I think I was going to find when I flicked on Pam & Tommy? A load of trash. I had low, low expectations. But I was, refreshingly, wrong. 

Because this isn’t a Pam and Tommy bashing romp (although Tommy’s narcissistic character doesn’t come off well), it’s part almost unbelievable comic caper, part love story. 

You couldn’t make up bumbling wronged contractor Gauthier’s (a pitch perfect performance from Seth Rogan) plans. 

While Lily and Stan performances point to a couple who were wildly in love...and wildly unaware of the danger that lurked around the corner. 

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis