Some heavyweight shows heading to our screens over the next couple of days. Top of the list is family drama This Is Us, a proper, old-fashioned, equal-opportunity tear-jerker for both men and women, with huge American audiences, critical credibility, and the Emmy-winning Sterling K. Brown producing yet another powerhouse performance. To paraphrase Brian Clough, he might not be the best actor on TV at the moment, but he’s definitely in the top one. Maybe the top two, with Elisabeth Moss as his competition.
Anyway, our CJ reviewed the first season until she could take no more of the weekly tragedy overload. (I’m more of a cold fish.) So we’ll definitely be watching, but reviews might be beyond us, at least to start with. Significantly, in the UK it’s been moved from Channel 4’s main outlet to a more niche channel, suggesting that once again a big American show hasn’t managed to make much of an impact on audiences here. Which, folks, is precisely why these shows don’t get put on at prime time on BBC1 or ITV. Just be grateful we can get them at all (Wednesday 4 July, 9pm, More4).
I’m also very interested in Good Girls, NBC’s dramedy about three suburban Detroit moms who decide to rob a supermarket. With a cast to die for – Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman, all wonderful in previous roles – it’s a bit of a shame that American ratings and critics were lukewarm. However, it’s been reviewed for a second season, and there are only ten episodes in this first run, which makes it a very tempting proposition (Netflix, from today).
And it’s your last chance to see Jennifer Lopez in the third and final season of Detective J-Lo, or Shades of Blue as the spoilsports at NBC insisted on calling it. Unpopcult watched to the end of the first season, which was both better and more ambitious than I’d been expecting, but for various reasons – choice on my part, technofail on CJ’s – we didn’t hang around for season 2, which makes it highly unlikely we’ll have much more to say at all. On the evidence of what I saw, though, Lopez deserves another vehicle; she’s both a star and a talent (tonight, 9pm, Sky Living).