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Friday, November 11, 2022

Cat Burglar to Vikings: Valhalla – the seven best shows to stream this week | Television & radio

Pick of the week

Cat Burglar

James Adomian as Rowdy and Alan Lee as Peanut in Cat Burglar.
James Adomian as Rowdy and Alan Lee as Peanut in Cat Burglar. Photograph: Netflix

Charlie Brooker’s latest venture is “a half-witted interactive heist” in the form of a golden-era cartoon – think Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch but with the dystopian misery replaced by cheery knockabout fun. Your job is to navigate a criminal cat, Rowdy, through an audacious attempt to steal the most valuable painting in the world. By answering a series of random multiple choice questions you can either doom or pilot Rowdy to success. It might reflect poorly on this writer’s basic common sense, but it’s actually quite tricky – thankfully, the cartoon itself is beautifully realised, so spending time exploring Cat Burglar’s extensive internal workings is perfectly enjoyable in itself.
Netflix, from Tuesday 22 February


Vikings: Valhalla

Vikings: Valhalla.
Vikings: Valhalla. Photograph: Bernard Walsh/Netflix

Canadian drama Vikings gets a sequel – but this time, we’re in the realm of actual events. After the Saint Brice’s Day massacre of 1002 – during which England sought to exterminate all Viking settlers – Denmark’s King Canute swore revenge. Here’s where we join the likes of Harald Sigurdsson (Leo Suter) and his sister Freydís Eiríksdóttir (Frida Gustavsson), as they prepare to rain down vengeance upon perfidious Albion – if they can navigate a path through the religious tensions causing convulsions within this large, volatile army. It’s impressively realised – a history lesson with bonus fighting and shagging.
Netflix, from Friday 25 February


The Walking Dead

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee in The Walking Dead.
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee in The Walking Dead. Photograph: Josh Stringer/AMC

They’re certainly dragging this out. Not just the final season – of which this is the second and penultimate part – but arguably, the show itself. The post-apocalyptic horror series has been limping towards its endgame for a while now – can it go out on a high note? As we left the gang, a series of cliffhangers involving Carol (Melissa McBride), Judith (Cailey Fleming) and, most notably, Leah (Lynn Collins) were awaiting resolution. But expect further world-building alongside the action as we get inside the internal workings of the Commonwealth.
Disney+, from Monday 21 February


Race: Bubba Wallace

Race: Bubba Wallace.
Race: Bubba Wallace. Photograph: Courtesy of Netflix/NETFLIX

How does it feel to be the only full-time Black driver in Nascar racing? Recently, Bubba Wallace found himself at the sharp end of this question after his decision to speak out about racial injustice. This series explores Wallace’s rise and, most urgently, the aftermath of his campaign to have the Confederate flag removed from Nascar circuits. “This puts the ball in the court of anybody who has a problem with this,” he says. Sadly, many fans did have a problem. Another necessary and disturbing insight into the depth of racism in the United States.
Netflix, from Tuesday 22 February


The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.
The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder. Photograph: Disney

The word “louder” in the title feels deliberate; this animated family comedy maintains a relentless decibel level throughout. But it has plenty to shout about, from the expressive animation to the voice cast – including Lizzo and Tiffany Haddish. The star of the show is Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt), an African American teen whose journey towards adulthood is alternately nurtured and hindered by her overprotective father Oscar (Tommy Davidson). There is a big-hearted universality underlying this show and many of its situations.
Disney+, from Wednesday 23 February


Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits’ investigators Amy Bruni and Adam Berry.
Kindred Spirits’ investigators Amy Bruni and Adam Berry. Photograph: Discovery

More ludicrous and guiltily watchable paranormal investigations from Amy Bruni, Adam Berry and self-styled psychic medium Chip Coffey. The show’s secret is its absolute sincerity – there’s not a hint of an ironic nod or wink to camera here; as far as the hosts are concerned, these phenomena are real and their explorations and solutions equally so. Even if you consider it all to be utter humbug, there’s still a certain amount of pleasure to be found from their wanderings around America’s various creaky old inns and castles.
Discovery+, from Thursday 24 February


Blackout

Blackout.
Blackout. Photograph: Maarten De Bouw/Channel 4

“When the light turns back on, your daughter dies.” From the Walter Presents slate, this gripping Belgian thriller takes a nationwide blackout caused by a sabotaged nuclear reactor as its starting point and extrapolates all manner of mischief – a conspiracy against the government, a high-profile kidnapping and an associated attempt at blackmail. At the heart of it all is Michael Dendoncker (Geert Van Rampelberg), an anti-terrorism cop facing a race against time. Can he get to the bottom of the attack before society starts collapsing around him?
All 4, from Friday 25 February

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