What: Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father Season 3
Why: The lad and the dad are back. After their adventures in South East Asia in Season 1 and through a largely under-seen Europe in Season 2, this time the two are in the United States of America for what (sadly) seems to be the final outing for the Whitehalls, Jack and Michael. And what’s even more disappointing is that this new third season is all of two episodes.
What has always worked for the show – the uptight grumpiness of the father clashing with the easy-going nonchalance of the son – is back in all its gleeful glory as Jack and Mike hit a naked yoga session in Los Angeles early in the first episode. “It’s like a human toast rack in here,” says Michael, only agreeing to take off his coat and not forgetting to tell Jack: “The others are a lot better endowed than you are.”
The first episode also includes a tour of Compton with an ex-gangster as the guide for Jack and Mike. Next they board a vintage Greyhound bus for a trip to Phoenix, where Jack tries his arms at freestyle wrestling only to have his father surrender at the wrong moment. The big chunk of the second episode is in Sin City Las Vegas where Jack’s mother turns out to be the “lady waiting in the hotel room” and the entire family goes on to participate in some mad police car racing before getting a ringside view of the Magic Mike male stripper show which doesn’t quite go as Jack planned.
The second episode ends on a melancholy note which hints at the series coming to an end. “It’s my age… it becomes slightly more challenging and I get tired quicker,” says Michael. A teary-eyed Jack replies: “I’ll just be so thankful that we were able to do it three times.” Actually it’s us the audience who need to thank the Whitehalls for giving us such an emotionally charged yet wildly funny rollercoaster ride all these three seasons.
What: The Spy
Why: The name Sacha Baron Cohen has been synonymous with Borat for a long time now and, to some extent, The Dictator, given the number of times the film comes on television only rivals the rerun count of Sooryavansham. His satirical characters aside, Cohen’s never really been taken seriously as an actor despite memorable cameos in Sweeney Todd and Les Miserables. But The Spy is going to change all that.
Helmed by Gideon Raff, who had created the original Homeland, The Spy stars Cohen as a junior accountant at a departmental store who transforms into the famous Israeli Mossad agent Eli Cohen and gets thrown into a deep cover operation in Syria. The better he gets at his espionage job, the further he goes from his home and wife and newly born daughter.
Unlike the slap-dash entertainment available for binge-watching on all platforms these days, The Spy is a slow-burning drama shot in sepia tones with a tilt-shift lens, instantly transporting you to the 1960s. Based on the book The Spy Who Came From Israel, which itself was inspired from actual events from history, this six-part series revolves around Cohen’s sincere performance as a man caught between professional glory and personal loss. While the elaborate setpieces of his spy work provide the thrilling moments of the show, it is Eli’s relationship with his wife Nadia that is the true beating heart of the series.
Rating: Savour one episode at a time
Did You Know
All six seasons of Flash, the superhero TV series starring Garry Gustin as Barry Allen, are now streaming on Hotstar Premium.
Barry Jenkins’s award-winning film If Beale Street Could Talk is now streaming on Sony Liv.
David Fincher’s investigation thriller Zodiac, starring Robert Downey Jr and Jake Gyllenhaal, is now streaming on Netflix.
Last year’s big superhero blockbuster Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa, is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.