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This week's home entertainment: from WandaVision to Night Stalker


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This week's home entertainment: from WandaVision to Night Stalker

The week we’ve got the first of Marvel’s new slate of small-screen spin-offs, while the terrifying story of Richard Ramírez is told on Netflix

 

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Television

WandaVision

The first of Marvel’s stack of TV spin-offs belatedly arrives in the shape of this six-part series focusing on the MCU’s Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany). As they try to conceal their superpowers while enjoying an ideal suburban life in Westview, things start to unravel with each passing decade.
Friday 15 January, Disney+

Death in Bollywood

In 2013, the 25-year-old Bollywood actor Jiah Khan was found dead in her Mumbai flat. Police concluded it was suicide, but her family, who hired a private investigator, suspect the truth is being suppressed. This three-part documentary looks into the case.
Monday 11 January, 9pm, BBC Two

Briarpatch

Rosario Dawson gets her gumshoe on in this entertaining series based on Ross Thomas’s novel. Returning to her home town to find the person who murdered her sister, Dawson’s detective Allegra Dill soon uncovers a web of corruption that makes almost everyone she encounters seem a possible suspect.
Wednesday 13 January, 9pm, Alibi

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Richard Ramirez AKA the Night Stalker. Photograph: Bettmann Archive

Night Stalker

Ease into 2021 with a gruesome docuseries about a terrifying murderer. From June 1984 to August 1985 Richard Ramírez, AKA the Night Stalker, terrorised the citizens of San Francisco and Los Angeles, killing at least 13 people. Over four episodes, we follow the attempts to catch him, and hear from people who survived his attacks.
Wednesday 13 January, Netflix

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK

Sister Sister, A’Whora and Asttina Mandella join nine other queens in the lineup for the second series of Drag Race UK, all hoping to follow in series one winner The Vivienne’s tottering footsteps. Guest star judges include Elizabeth Hurley.
Thursday 14 January, BBC Three

American Gods

The eye-popping, gloriously WTF fantasy series, based on Neil Gaiman’s novel, returns for more battles between old and new gods. After quitting his role alongside Mr Wednesday, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) starts a new, quieter life in Wisconsin. But trouble soon finds him.
Monday 11 January, Amazon Prime Video

 

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Burns notice ... The Simpsons. Photograph: NBC

The Simpsons

We’re back in Springfield for a 32nd season of Matt Groening’s perennial animation. The opening episode takes its cues from the reality show Undercover Boss as Mr Burns decides to find out what his nuclear plant workers really think of him, unwittingly radicalising himself in the process.
Friday 15 January, 8pm, Sky One

The Pembrokeshire Murders

Luke Evans and Keith Allen star in this crime drama based on the 1980s Welsh serial killer John Cooper. After Evans’s newly promoted Det Supt Steve Wilkins reopens the unsolved cases in 2006, he starts to piece the grim jigsaw together.
Monday 11 January, 9pm, ITV

Disenchantment

Matt Groening’s stutteringly entertaining fantasy animation returns for a third series. After returning home to Dreamland, our alcoholic princess Bean (Abbi Jacobson) and her loyal elf companion Elfo (Nat Faxon) feel threatened, so they escape to the nearby Steamland, where an alliance between old and new is mooted.
From Friday 15 January, Netflix

 

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Top munch ... 2 Dope Queens. Photograph: Sky

2 Dope Queens

Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson bring their podcast of the same name to the small screen, inviting friends, comedians and celebrities to talk frankly about sex, race, fashion, music and living in New York. Episode one features Jon Stewart chatting about pizza.
Tuesday 12 January, 9pm, Sky Comedy

Podcasts

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Boozy do ... London Pub Reviews.

London Pub Reviews

Tim Key performs this 10-part adaptation of Paul Ewen’s satirical book of the same name, recounting the unhinged reviewing efforts of a drunken, unreliable narrator through a selection of real London boozers. A warm hug of appreciation for the country’s struggling pubs, this podcast provides a welcome virtual “cheers” for its listeners, too.
Weekly, widely available

According to Need

The long-running architecture and design podcast series 99% Invisible presents a spin-off miniseries focused on the increasingly pressing issue of homelessness. The host Katie Mingle investigates how homelessness has risen so rapidly in Oakland, California in recent years and how bureaucracy has failed so many.
Weekly, widely available

Politics Weekly

Having faced the perfect storm of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Guardian’s political team certainly had their work cut out for them, and they show no signs of slowing down. Join political editor Heather Stewart and her colleagues for a dissection of the biggest talking points, including speculation on the big “what ifs” of recent politics.
Weekly, the Guardian

The 10 Best

The music platform Dummy’s regular series has been transformed into a gloriously nerdy pod. Guests so far include the singer-songwriter Arlo Parks selecting the best songs to cry to, J Hus producer Jae5’s best production hooks, and the electronic music experimentalist Daniel Avery selecting the 10 best video game soundtracks.
Weekly, widely available

My Life in TV

Newly appointed This Morning host and queen of daytime TV Alison Hammond presents this hilarious podcast, quizzing her celebrity guests about their careers on screen and the shows that have affected their lives. Recent guests have included Scarlett Moffatt on getting into Gogglebox and Joel Dommett on The Masked Singer.
Weekly, widely available

Film

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Heartbreaking ... Robin’s Wish.

Robin’s Wish

(PG) (Tylor Norwood) 77 mins
Robin Williams’s suicide in 2014 was initially put down as due to depression but, as this doc explores, the actor had undiagnosed Lewy body dementia. Less a biography of a preternaturally talented comedian than a case study of the degenerative disease, it’s a sad tale diligently told.
On digital

Vanguard

(15) (Stanley Tong) 107 mins
Jackie Chan reunites with Rumble in the Bronx director Tong for this high-gloss Chinese actioner. He plays the head of a security firm who must protect a client and his daughter in Bond-style skirmishes in London, Zambia, India and Dubai. Chan (who nearly drowned during filming) is not his typical slapstick self but the set pieces are on the money.
On digital

Ham on Rye

(Cert TBC) (Tyler Taormina) 85 mins
A coming-of-age story with echoes of Lucile Hadžihalilović’s fantastical, oblique narratives. Awkward 16-year-olds prepare for a prom-like ritual in a town otherwise populated by aimless, unhappy older folk. A metaphorical treatment of the transition to adulthood, the drama has an unsettling undercurrent.
Mubi

 

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Helping hands ... Mother.

Mother

(PG) (Kristof Bilsen) 82 mins
A gentle documentary about a residential home in Thailand that cares for westerners with Alzheimer’s. The ethics of the situation are unexplored but the stories of a local care worker and a 57-year-old Swiss mum with dementia are pretty heartbreaking.
On digital; out Mon

The Call

(15) (Timothy Woodward Jr) 97 mins
A workmanlike horror in thrall to Wes Craven films. The persecution by four teenagers of an older woman (Lin Shaye from Insidious) for a supposed crime years earlier leads to their comeuppance in distinctly Elm Street fashion.
On digital; out Mon

Pili

The spread of HIV in Tanzania is the tough subject of British director Leanne Welham’s compassionate debut feature. Bello Rashid, one of a mainly non-professional cast, plays Pili Hussein, single mum of two who labours in the fields to earn money for her HIV medication, until a dubious offer to run a market stall sets her life on a new course.
Tuesday 12 January, 2.20am, Film4

 

 

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