Relentless royals: the voluptuous drama with as much bite as Succession

With little Edward looking like a junior Joffrey from… Game of Thrones with his blond hair, piercing blue eyes and cruelly-tinged voluptuousness, the last royal sibling is the deeply haunted Princess Mary (Romola Garai), a devout Catholic in a deadly Protestant milieu – but not as isolated a figure as she first seems. .

There’s a lot going on, but the writing is as confident as it is playful, and the sets and costumes are clever and tactile. The casting is particularly astute, not least in the choice of Shakespeare and Marlowe veteran John Heffernan for the pivotal role of the Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector of the young King Edward and the elder brother of the terrible Thomas Seymour. It’s a Tudor feast as big as a steak.

The terminal list ★★★ ½
Prime Video, starting Friday

Chris Pratt is a former US Navy SEAL on the action-packed conspiracy drama series The Terminal List.Credit:Amazon Prime

Bullets are flying in this international military conspiracy drama series based on the novel by former US Navy SEAL Jack Carr. Starring Chris Pratt as US Navy SEAL James Reece, who leads his team to Syria on a mission that ends in bloody disaster. Back home in the United States, concussed, traumatized and traumatized by Navy investigators about what happened, he discovers that the recordings of his team’s radio communications do not match his memories of the events.

Reece’s immediate conclusion: an unknown enemy has replaced the real recordings with fakes. Oh, and they also sent assassins to kill him. Can there be a whiff Jacob’s ladder about all this? Is Reece just going crazy?

Maybe he’ll find out with the help of the friendly US Secretary of Defense (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and a reporter (Constance Wu) who has unrestricted access to only the most fictional journalists. With director Antoine Fuqua (Training day) at the helm for the first episode, the series arrives with impact, intrigue, and interesting craftsmanship, even if Pratt isn’t a very compelling protagonist.

The art of locking up
Netflix, from Sunday

The Wirramanda family in the documentary The Art of Incarceration.

The Wirramanda family in the documentary The Art of Incarceration.Credit:Netflix

This gripping documentary shows the power of art to change the lives of Indigenous people in prison and improve their prospects after release. Director Alex Siddons takes us to the Fulham Correctional Center in Sale, where Aboriginal inmates can create art and sell their work through The Torch (thetorch.org.au). The art is striking and the inmates are open and insightful about their backgrounds, their crimes and their challenges. With some men being released, there are hopeful signs and terrible tragedy.

west world
Binge, Foxtel

Pure, Distilled Malice: Ed Harris as the Man in Black in Westworld Season 4.

Pure, Distilled Malice: Ed Harris as the Man in Black in Westworld Season 4.Credit:HBO/Binge

west world has returned in assured and brilliant style. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) is pure, distilled malice in a straw hat, while the second episode reveals he has seriously chilling backup in the form of an old, familiar face. There’s great chemistry between Thandiwe Newton and Aaron Paul as the uncomfortably strained Maeve and Caleb, and a mystery in Evan Rachel Wood’s seemingly new character. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on what’s happening, a big turn shows you don’t.

bird girl
Stan

Birdgirl is a crazy spin-off of the cult cartoon Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

Birdgirl is a crazy spin-off of the cult cartoon Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

There’s a manic energy in this crazy spin-off of the cult cartoon Harvey Birdman, attorney (itself a spin-off of the 60s Hanna-Barbera Birdman cartoon). Impulsive superhero Birdgirl has inherited a gigantic law firm and industrial conglomerate, and she has her hands full dealing with a seriously eccentric staff, her unresolved feelings about her father and the need to invest in new products. Like a series of sinister talking teddy bears that offer rudimentary psychotherapy at inopportune moments. Nice and stupid.

The Decline of Western Civilization: Part II
Docplay

Steven Tyler is one of the many heavy metal rockers in The Decline of Western Civilization.

Steven Tyler is one of the many heavy metal rockers in The Decline of Western Civilization.Credit:AP/Evan Agostinic

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Docplay has all three of Penelope Spheeris’ Decline documentaries. Viewers who sheepishly remember enjoying the hair-metal bands of the ’80s will find this second milestone most captivating. In Los Angeles in 1987 and 1988, Spheeris finds a new generation of ambitious metal bands who are usually unencumbered by anything resembling self-doubt or a progressive attitude towards women. Spheeris has a keen eye for absurdity and her interviews with older, wiser rockers underline that you can’t put an old head on young shoulders.

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