The skies have always been a fertile source of inspiration in art, music and literature. But in our desire to rise above them and explore, humanity has had to overcome many obstacles. This threepart series delves into the incredible breakthroughs, turning points, triumphs and disasters that enabled the conquest of the skies, through three key inventions: the space suit, the ejector seat and the parachute. And fascinating it is too. The series is from Britain’s Arrow Productions, which has deep roots in aviation and space programming, and it brings us the littleknown stories of these inventions, which have allowed pilots and astronauts to fly ever higher and faster. From the astronaut who faced drowning inside his own space suit to the pilot Premiering this week is the show for anyone who either owns a ute or has dreamt of owning one. In the world of diesel vehicles, no one has more fun or builds bigger, badder trucks than Heavy D, Diesel Dave and their crew at DieselSellerz. Their mega builds and awesome truck giveaways are the stuff of diesel legend and this frantic, often very funny series follows the team members as they trick out trucks, work hard and play harder in the process. Olive Kitteridge Presto Oscar winner Frances McDormand ( Fargo) and Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins ( The Visitor) star in this four-part, much-awarded HBO drama adapted from Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer prizewinning novel. Zoe Kazan, John Gallagher Jr, Jesse Plemons and Bill Murray also excel in this Olive Kitteridge portrait of a difficult Maine woman who finds happiness elusive. It was adapted by the acclaimed screenwriter Jane Anderson, and directed by the accomplished Lisa Cholodenko, who is completely empathetic to the book’s complexities and approached it as a four-hour film. “I wanted to get under the skin of these people in a way that was compelling, where the dark was offset by things that were funny,” Cholodenko says. She got that right, chillingly so, and this is one of HBO’s finest achievements. Electrifying bio flick Straight Outta Compton (Sunday, 8.30pm, Premiere) chronicles the rise and fall of the California hip-hop group NWA who used their voices and lyrics as social weapons. Directed with energy and high style by F. Gary Gray, it stars O’Shea Jackson Jr as Ice Cube, Corey Hawkins as Dr Dre, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E and Paul Giamatti as NWA’s controversial manager Jerry Heller. A fine adaptation of great crime writer Lawrence Block’s novel A Walk Among the Tombstones (Monday, 8.30pm, Thriller) features Liam Neeson as Matt Scudder, formerly of the NYPD, now working as an unlicensed private detective who “does favours for people”, in this case a drug trafficker whose wife was kidnapped and murdered. Presto has recently released Jeremy Sims’s award-winning Last Cab to Darwin, in which a terminally ill Broken Hill cabdriver (Michael Caton) picks up an indigenous drifter (Mark Coles Smith) and a backpacker (Emma Hamilton) while travelling through the Australian outback to get euthanased. Based on Reg Cribb’s stage play, this fine movie, as poignant as it’s entertaining, also stars Jacki Weaver and Ningali Lawford. A wonderfully touching performance from Caton.
McDormand and Jenkins in