There’s a lot of fuss made – even by us – when a British broadcaster manages to get its act together and show an American programme within a few days of its original broadcast. So it’s easy to forget that it remains the exception rather than the rule, even for the Sky channels, which generally have a better record than their free-to-air competitors.
Case in point: season 5 of hospital-based black comedy/drama Nurse Jackie finally reaches British screens this week, after several postponements, and around ten months behind American transmission. (Season 6, in fact, starts in the US in April.) Still, it’s good to have it back: I thought season 4 was somewhat better than season 3, so I’m looking forward to it. And as long as the sublime (and Emmy-winning) Merritt Wever remains a member of the cast, it’ll be worth watching for her alone. As before, weekly reviews (Sky Atlantic, Friday 14 February, 10pm).
The same day sees the start, finish, and everything in between of season 2 of the American version of House of Cards, which drops onto Netflix at 8.01am. This, I think, is Unpopcult’s first streaming PSA. We may look back on this as a historic moment.
The day before, UK viewers get the first episode of the fifth and final season of superior policier Southland. I gave up on it during season 2 but CJ, I believe, still regards it as one of the better shows on TV. I’m guessing it’s too late to drop in now, but for its select but devoted audience this will be good, if melancholy, news (Thursday 13 February, More4, 11pm).
Finally, there are lots of new shows starting tonight, and Unpopcult won’t be watching any of them. So it’s a thumbs down to season 2 of Beauty and the Beast (Watch, 8pm), semi-improvised cop show Suspects (Channel 5, 10pm), Fleming, with Dominic Cooper as the James Bond author (Sky Atlantic, 9pm), and season 2 of well-regarded police drama Line of Duty (BBC2, 9pm).