This Week’s TV Highlights: Hart of Dixie, Bob’s Burgers, The Killing, Maestro at the Opera, Awake

by Matt D

A major focus on new and returning American shows as we make our way through the highlights of next week’s TV.

Hart of Dixie (Really, Mon, 8pm)
We start off the week with the return to TV of The O.C.’s Rachel Bilson in the quaint medical drama Hart of Dixie. Bilson plays Zoe Hart, a brilliant New York medical student who dreams of following her father into the world of cardiothoracic surgery, however her superiors inform her that this won’t happen until she is able to connect with the patients rather than just their diseases.

To do this Zoe travels to the backwater Alabama town of Bluebell to take up the offer of an eccentric GP who offered her a place at his practise. On arriving in Bluebell she discovers that the doctor has died and in a twist, that only happens on TV or at the movies, finds out that she has inherited half the surgery alongside the long-in-the-tooth Dr Brick Beeland. Hart of Dixie is essentially about finding yourself and getting to know people with the hard-as-nails Zoe softening, as she gets to know some of the Bluebell residents so she can better identify their medical issues. Hart of Dixie has a likeable lead, wonderful camera work and some quirky supporting characters so it is something you can really watch without taxing your brain when it comes to Really [Freeview Ch No.20] this Monday night.

Bob’s Burgers (E4, Tues, 10:30pm)
I don’t think many people caught Bob’s Burgers the first time around, as E4 didn’t do a lot to promote this brilliant animated series which has the warmth of the early Simpsons episodes coupled with some of the more surreal humour from the Family Guy/South Park stable. At the heart of the show is Bob Belcher the proprietor of a burger restaurant, which he runs with his wife Linda assisted by his three children odd Tina, simple Gene and incredibly smart yet manipulative Louise. Bob is a lot smarter than other cartoon patriarchs and is often portrayed as the straight man as it is his wife and kids who often get embroiled in whacky adventures. If you missed the first series that’s essentially all you need to know and the first episode of this second season is the perfect way to start as it introduces the family before placing them a situation which spoofs The Goonies. With a lot of laughs as well as plenty of heart Bob’s Burgers is an excellent animated comedy which everybody should check out.

The Killing US (C4, Wed, 10pm)
As a die-hard fan of the original Danish series Forbrydelsen, which I know makes me sound a bit like a snob, I approached this American translation with slight trepidation. The opening episode was an exact carbon copy of its Danish predecessor, however with every following episode they tried to do at least some things a little differently. One of those things was not revealing Rosie Larsen’s killer at the end of season one instead leaving everybody on the edge of their seat after they thought the police had their man in mayoral candidate Darren Richmond. However as Detective Sarah Linden discovered the evidence that linked Richmond to the murder, it turned out to have been doctored by her work partner Stephen Holder. The main problem for Sarah was that when she received this information she was on a plane about to start a new life in California, while Richmond was being held at gunpoint by Larsen family friend Royce. While fans of the Danish show got their resolution everybody should be happy to know that Rosie’s killer will finally be unmasked in this second series. Whether the culprit will be the same as the one in the Danish original remains to be seen but this is still a well-acted and well-shot American crime thriller if not quite up there with the near-perfect Forbrydelsen.

Maestro at the Opera (BBC2, Fri, 9pm)
Remember Maestro? It was the programme which saw celebrities learn how to conduct, an orchestra not electricity, with Sue Perkins beating Goldie to win the show outright. After four years Maestro returns with a twist, as this time four celebrities find themselves in the world of the opera with the winner getting to conduct a whole act of a famous operatic work at the Royal Opera House. A lot of people will probably be tuning in to see how acerbic Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood will cope now it is him who is being criticised rather than the other way around. Joining Horwood are DJ Trevor Nelson, maths professor Marcus de Sautoy and actress Josie Lawrence who at least can hold a tune herself as anybody who used to watch Whose Line is it Anyway? will remember. Though the shows in which celebrities make asses out of themselves aren’t for anyone at least this one is a little classier as we find out which celeb knows their arias from their elbows.

Awake (Sky Atlantic, Fri, 10pm)
Finishing off this week with another US show however unlike Hart of Dixie this one does have an interesting and somewhat unique premise. Awake stars Jason Isaacs as Detective Michael Britten, along with his family, was involved in a car crash and now is unsure of himself as he seems to live in two realities. Both of these realities are represented by a separate colour of rubber bands that Britten wears to differentiate between the two, so for the reality in which his wife is still alive but his son has died he wears a green band whereas when it his wife who has passed but his son is still with him he wears a red band. To help the viewers out the ‘red reality’ is shot in warmer tones while the ‘green reality’ has colder tones in addition there are other differences between the two. The ‘red reality’ has Britten visiting a harsh police psychologist while being partnered by a rookie cop who has to feed information back to his superiors about his state of mind, however the ‘green reality’ has him see a friendlier shrink while sticking with the same detective partner he has always had. In addition to this being a mind-bending series it is also a cop show with Britten being able to use clues from one reality to solve a crime in the other one and vice versa. While it takes a while to fully immerse yourself in Awake is a clever, well-written programme with plenty of twists and a cracking central performance from Isaacs.

What are you looking forward to watching this week? Are you a fan of any of the programmes I’ve recommended? Leave Your Comments Below.