Narrated by TV vet Chris Brown, this promises to be an unusually popular documentary series as Discovery explores how dogs have become one of the most influential animals in human history. There are a billion canines on earth and this program travels the world to show how they enhance every aspect of our lives, from detecting cancer, fighting beside us in battle, defending threatened species against extinction or rescuing people in treacherous seas. The show has renowned natural history expert and filmmaker Martha Holmes at the helm and it’s a fluent blending of traditional documentary and storytelling, looking at each breed and how they have developed a specific set of characteristics to help them live alongside human beings. The hit series has explored extreme danger and shared male experience, with a limited cast of protagonists facing death at every moment for 12 seasons. It follows the now legendary captains and crews of six crab-fishing vessels doing one of the most perilous, and lucrative, jobs in the world: fishing for king and opilio crab in frigid Alaskan waters. A spin-off was inevitable and Dungeon Cove takes fans into the world of the most violent stretches of water yet: the “Graveyard of the Pacific”. The stretches of open water between Oregon and British Columbia are home to thousands of vessels and hundreds of lives lost the battle with the deadliest commercial fishery in the world. The show’s familiar cinema verite presentation takes us on board the vessels that navigate this stretch of the ocean during the crab season. Made By Destruction Tuesday, 9.30pm, SCI This is a terrific original documentary series from Canada providing a glimpse into how the simplest everyday items, which seem to have just one simple purpose, can be reused in the most unexpected ways. Reusing and recycling objects is hardly new, but the series offers a look at the ingenious ways in which it is done on an industrial scale, a rarely seen process. Photocopiers become brass trumpets, potatoes are re-formed into biodegradable egg cartons, milk containers are transformed into park benches and old mattresses are recycled into knives. Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (Tuesday, 8.35pm, Fox Classics) is the seminal spaghetti western that was the breakthrough for the director and Clint Eastwood, whose portrayal of the mythological warrior made him a star. Leone presented a more desolate and lawless world than audiences had been accustomed to in traditional westerns, his plots more akin to Jacobean or Spanish Renaissance tragedy, and he challenged the stereotype of the white-hatted hero by making Eastwood’s character more morally ambiguous. Alexander Payne’s critically acclaimed Academy award-winning Sideways (Thursday, 2.10am, Masterpiece), from 2004, sees middle-aged schoolteacher Miles (Paul Giamatti) dwelling on his non-accomplishments while clinging to the hope his novel will be published, as he takes his best friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on a road trip through Californian wine country. An Aussie classic from the glory days of the local film industry, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Friday, 10.45pm, Fox Classics), directed by Fred Schepisi, is based on the novel by Thomas Keneally that in turn was inspired by actual events. A stellar cast includes Tommy Lewis as the titular character.
Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church go on a road trip in Sideways