Generally audiences judge a series by its first episode, and will in some cases think: no thanks, not for me, there are plenty of other shows I might like better. I jumped to that conclusion viewing the first episode of Master of None, tired as I sometimes get of television series that are thinly disguised autobiographical works complaining about how discouraging it is to be an actor, or how humiliating to be an aspiring writer, or how hard it is to find love in an industry town like Los Angeles. Yawn. I can’t tell you what happened between that episode and this, the premiere of season two, except to say: this is a sophisticated and stylish piece of work — mea culpa. Aziz Ansari stars as Dev Shah in this episode titled The Thief, entirely shot in black- Having grown up with a bookshelf heaving with the paperback novels of Len Deighton (and Leon Uris, James Clavell and James A. Michener), I am very partial to this new alt-history series, wherein Germany has won World War II and occupies Britain. Adapted by James Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, it is certainly entertaining. But, unfortunately, it comes on the heels of The Man in the High Castle, adapted by Amazon Prime Video from the novel by Philip K. Dick, which is a much more heightened offering. Watch both if you can; but if you have to choose only one, make it the latter. Bake Off: Creme de la Creme Tuesday, 8.30pm, Lifestyle Food From the makers of The Great British Bake Off Master of None comes the second season of this series in which professional pastry chefs duke it out for the acclaim of judges Tom Kerridge, Benoit Blin, and the painfully blunt Cherish Finden. This is not the kind of show where you identify with the amateur contestants and dreamily imagine baking what you see on screen; this is where you marvel at demigods who, organised into teams, create desserts, cakes, pastries, confectionery and sculptures beyond the abilities of mere mortals. I seem to be in a minority, but I loved Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (Saturday, 9.45am, Foxtel Movies More). From the opening scene of an “engineer” genetically disintegrating himself over a waterfall to Michael Fassbender’s David speaking proto-Indo-European, to the fascinating thematic permutations of negativity and violence between creator and creation, parent and child … it was a brilliant film. But for those who like more gore, Foxtel is playing all 10 films in the combined Alien and Predator franchises through the weekend. (See David Stratton’s review of Alien: Covenant on Page 15.) For those with entirely different cinematic tastes, try Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln (Saturday, 12.10am, Masterpiece), the Oscar-winning 2012 film directed by Steven Spielberg. It features such memorable lines as: “Buzzard’s guts, man! I am the president of the United States of America, clothed in immense power! You will procure me these votes.” And finally, the ineffably sad film, House of Sand and Fog (Saturday, 8.30pm, Thriller), about a property conflict, features Ben Kingsley as a former colonel working menial jobs to keep up appearances, alongside Shohreh Aghdashloo ( The Expanse) and Jennifer Connelly.
Aziz Ansari in