Thursday 7th July

Today’s previews by Ceri Thomas

The Killing

9pm, Channel 4 ★ ★ ★ ★

Let’s face it, our default setting when it comes to US remakes of foreign telly shows is firmly down in the “Oh good Lord! No!” segment of the dial, but recent weeks has us re-evaluating thing a bit. First, Shameless US turned out to be far from dreadful and now this impressive retread of the brilliant Danish crime thriller arrives…

The Killing

As far as plot set-up goes, they’ve stuck faithfully to the broad strokes of the original. Yes, it’s been transplanted from Copenhagen to a rainy Seattle, but we still find ourselves meeting jaded homicide detective Sarah Linden (Mirelle Enos) as she begins her last day on the job before relocating with her fiance and son to sunnier climes. Before she goes, she’s got a replacement to break in (Joel Kinnaman) and the case of missing girl Rosie Larsen to look into. As the series progresses, it’s the mystery of just what happened to Rosie that dominates the story and dominates Linden’s life…

Beautifully shot and heavily smeared with downbeat, drizzly atmosphere, this is an impressive opener (we get parts one and two back to back this evening). Dedicated fans of the original may sneer routinely at it, but in their heart of hearts they know that AMC (the folks behind Mad Men) have done a bang-up job here. This is chunkily powerful telly that doesn’t seem to have diluted the way the original grabbed and dragged you into its bleak and forbiddingly unforgiving world. If they can keep up this standard, it’s going to be hard to leave…

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The great telly mystery of the year has to be how Natasha has managed to make it through to the final five on The Apprentice? Everyone hates her, she has the management style of a sandpaper-covered chainsaw, struggles with simple concepts, and seems unable to string together a simple sentence without peppering it with meaningless jargon and the words “yeah, yeah”. Oh well, maybe The Apprentice: The Final Five (9pm, BBC1) will show us a different side of her. It promises interviews with family and friends of the all of the candidates left standing, as well as the thoughts of Nick and Karren on each of them.

Channel 5’s got a couple of new shows starting this evening. First up is Cowboy Builders (9pm), which sees Dominic Littlewood and Melinda Messenger helping sort out the messes left by rubbish contractors. It’s DIY SOS with a slightly bigger budget and more concerned head-wagging, basically.

And then it’s Candy Bar Girls (10pm, Channel 5), which takes reality telly’s fly-on-the-wall cameras behind the scenes at a … erm… lesbian nightclub in Soho. The only big surprise here is that it’s taken Channel Five quite so long to realise that they could make this show. Surely it should have been one of the first things the channel commissioned when it started?

If that’s not quite your bag (and who can blame you?) then head over to the warm embrace of satellite telly for new episodes of a couple of US shows. Veteran telly warrior Law & Order (11pm, Sky1) begins its 20th and final series tonight, with grizzled veteran lawyer McCoy (Sam Shepherd) deciding to bring the US government to court. Gulp!

Less ambitious, but still solidly enjoyable is new show Teen Wolf (9pm, Sky Living). Despite the title, it owes less to the Michael J Fox movie from the 1980s and more to the likes of Twilight as it spins its tale of high-cheekboned high-school teens and their encounters with the supernatural. Thankfully, there’s just enough Buffy The Vampire Slayer-esque dry wit sprinkled over it all to stop it becoming too claggy and the action moves along at a fair clip. They really should hire some better SFX guys though…

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Tonight: Meltdown On The Railways – 7.30pm, ITV1

My House Is Falling Down – 8pm, Channel 4

History Cold Case – 9pm, BBC2

Mock The Week – 10pm, BBC2

iTunes Festival – 10pm, ITV2

Shameless US – 10pm, More4

Question Time – 10.35pm, BBC1

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Emmerdale – 7pm & 8pm, ITV1

Charity could sow discord and misery in an empty room, so it’s no surprise to see her bringing her plague-like gift for dissent to the factory tonight. She’s supposed to be standing in for Gennie, but she’s soon jockeying for Nikhil’s job. Yeah, that’s going to go down well… Elsewhere, it’s relationship meltdown as usual for Jimmy and Nicola as the former manages to sneak a day with their little girl Angelica without the latter finding out. That, too, ends predictably badly… (Ceri Thomas)

EastEnders – 7.30pm, BBC1

At last, it’s the day of Ronnie’s court case and her farewell to the Square (and the inevitable double-length episode). Jack has some reassuring words for her about the future: “You and me, we are going to be in Mexico… togevver.” Goodness, to face three weeks trapped in a foreign land with Mr Woodentop or take the chance of several years in jail. It’s a tough choice – and Ronnie makes the only sensible decision. But can she avoid the nasty little trap that Michael has prepared for her? (Terry Ramsey)

Coronation Street – 8.30pm, ITV1

Why exactly is Fiz fretting about what will happen to little baby Hope (has a telly child *ever* been more inappropriately named?) if she ends up in prison? We’ve seen the Corrie prison set – it looks much nicer than her house in Weatherfield and it’s filled with a less obvious group of nutters. Fiz doesn’t see it this way, though, and has a radical plan for what should happen to her sprog if she gets send down. Fiz might have some company in the slammer soon – unconvincing lesbian Sophie is contemplating a fairly massive bit of lawbreaking this evening herself… (Ceri Thomas)

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All The President’s Men – 11pm, TCM

president's men

Ah, remember the days when people occasionally saw journalists as courageous figures rather than phone-tapping scumbags? In the ultimate hacks-as-heroes flick, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein, digging deep into the Watergate Scandal that eventually brought down US President Richard Nixon. Powerful, persuasive and intelligent moviemaking. (Ceri Thomas)

Worth A Look…

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World – 8pm, Sky Premiere

Enemy Of The State – 8pm, Sky Crime/Thriller

Catch Me If You Can – 8pm, Sky Modern Greats

Schindler’s List – 8pm, Sky Modern Greats

The Dirty Dozen – 9pm, ITV4

Borat – 9pm, Film 4

The Mask – 10pm, Watch

Total Recall – 10pm, Sky2

The A-Team – 10pm, Sky Premiere

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