Like Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock before him, veteran dramatic actor Andre Braugher ( Homicide: Life on Now beginning its eighth season, this first episode of Great British Railway Journeys finds host Michael Portillo taking a journey from London’s King Cross to Edinburgh aboard the newly restored Pacific steam locomotive the Flying Scotsman. Built in 1923 for the London and Brooklyn Nine-Nine North East Railway, it had a storied career before being retired by British Railways in 1963. The story of its rebirth is a fascinating one, and includes a tour of Australia (Sydney to Perth) in 1988-89 as part of the bicentennial celebration. It is now ensconced at the National Railway Museum in York. To ride on the Flying Scotsman is to be immersed in the elegance of old-time steam engine travel, and Portillo’s guests — some of whom worked or rode on the original — can’t disguise their glee. Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael is playfully and provocatively irreverent. His most recent film, The Brand New Testament (Monday, 7.40am, World Movies), offers another spin on his careerlong fascination with the Christian origin timeline. In this particular iteration, God (Benoit Poelvoorde) is a bitter husband and father in Brussels who controls the world from his computer and sends people text messages indicating their date and time of death. There’s much more, but this is a film best discovered, not described. Before making himself known with the 2011 action film The Raid, Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans had a dry run via the lesser-seen but equally kinetic 2009 Indonesian martial arts film Merantau (Saturday, 2.30am, SBS). Iko Uwais, who subsequently starred in both Raid films, is the young fighter who specialises in the titular fighting technique. The little comedy that could, director John Landis’s university-set National Lampoon’s Animal House (Monday, 8.30pm, SBS Viceland), changed the landscape of American youth comedy and introduced the world to John Belushi. Given the film’s raucous, raunchy and redolent subject matter, SBS’s Viceland is just the place for it.
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