The must see small screen offerings you can enjoy this April

Apr 06, 2024
Source: Getty Images.

Sometimes a movie or television show will have all the elements that should make it work; stars, setting, storyline but things just don’t come together or maybe one of these elements is weak, other times the elements suggest there is no chance of success and it’s brilliant. I have one of each this month.

One Day

Beginning in 1988 and covering 20 years of life, love, and friendship across a class divide, glimpsed each 15 July or St Swithin’s Day this series of 14 half hour episodes is a winner. It shouldn’t work but it does, it’s bingeworthy and addictive. Dexter (Leo Woodall) is the posh boy and Emma (Ambika Mod) is a working class girl from the north of England who meet on July 15 at their university graduation.

The series follows their lives, successes, challenges, and connections. I was annoyed at Dexter but then at  another point I became annoyed at Emma, as I was looking for a reason to explain their connection but also their choices then I realised that was what was making the series work as it wasn’t as predictable as I thought. It’s touching, funny unpretentious, and somehow relevant although the initial premise didn’t seem plausible.

The last episode and the end of the one before it had me needing to watch in short bursts as I struggled through tears and snort crying to see the screen. Based on David Nicholls novel One Day is heartfelt and will touch even those who don’t usually enjoy a romantic comedy.

Darby and Joan

The stars on the screen Bryan Brown and Greta Sacchi should almost ensure this series should be great viewing but as Jack Darby (Brown) and Joan Kirkhope (Sacchi) travel around solving mysteries and crimes each episode, but something is missing.

It has the good old solve a crime an episode approach with the ongoing parallel storyline of Joan’s late husband and the departure of Jack from the police force with snippets revealed in each episode but it has holes that take away from the experience.

The pair meet accidentally and then team up to travel together, although Jack sleeps in his swag outside the campervan with his dog each night so there isn’t that kind of connection but rather a relationship based on mutual companionship, or is it? I’m confused.

Maybe it’s editing to fit the 42-minute format or as fundamental as the script writing but something just doesn’t quite click. The final episode brings things together with a clunky resolution. It screened on ABC TV and is now available on ABC iView.

Women on Death Row

I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking, (perhaps I wasn’t thinking at all) when I tuned into this series on Stan but I managed almost 2 episodes before I found the off button. There are about 2500 people incarcerated awaiting execution on Death Row in the US where 24 states still carry out executions. 500 of those are women.

The series looks at the crimes committed and interviews the convicted women, their families, victims’ families, investigators, and even legal representatives. It’s not for the faint hearted and reminded me of driving by a car accident, where you don’t want to look but find your eyes almost moving there involuntarily. People who enjoy the True Crime genre might find it interesting but not for me.

The Diplomat

A political thriller from Homeland creator Debra Cahn season one was released last year with a second season on the way. The new US Ambassador to the UK Kate, has to manage political alliances and international crisis alongside her crumbling marriage to another career diplomat. It’s layered, bingeworthy and easy to digest although critics have argued that it is more focussed on pace than reality. Keri Russell is Kate Wyler the Ambassador with Rufus Sewell as husband Hal Wyler. Netflix recently announced that season two will feature Allison Janney (West Wing’s CJ Craig) as the US Vice President. The Diplomat Season 1 is on Netflix and I’m eagerly awaiting season 2.

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