When the apparent murderer turns up at the Douglases’ home, gravely injured in the middle of the night, everyone is shocked. When the dawn finds him dead in the farm shed with his throat cut everyone has to face the fact that the new killer is, well, “one of us”.
It’s an intriguing premise and everyone marks themselves as guilty in at least one way by helping dispose of the body and lie to the police. The Williamses’ script takes its time pointing the finger of suspicion at one character after another, but largely succeeds in keeping the viewer engaged and guessing. Who killed the killer? Surely not Adam’s sister, sweet nurse Claire (Joanna Vanderham). Maybe her rageaholic brother, Rob (Game of Thrones‘ Joe Dempsie). Or Grace’s not-quite-right teenage brother, Jamie (Cristian Ortega).
The Williams brothers artfully complicate things too. Claire’s long-estranged father (Adrian Edmonson) suddenly enters the story, burdened by guilt; Bill’s long-serving farm worker (Gary Lewis) sees an opportunity for blackmail.
As with the rest of the Williams brothers’ best series, One of Us is engrossing in the way it picks at the wounds inflicted by grief and guilt, showing how human weakness can tear families apart. But as with some of their less compelling work (such as The Widow on Amazon Prime Video) it has perhaps one sub-plot too many – not least the one about homicide detective Juliet (Laura Fraser) selling drugs to fund a last-chance operation for her dying daughter.
Director William McGregor, not a household name but much-acclaimed for his work on the 2015 version of Poldark, makes great use of the rugged, windswept Scottish scenery – not least the fallen stands of dead, bleached trees that evoke the skeletons with which everyone’s closets seem to be crammed. A perfect sort of thing to stretch across a couple of chilly winter nights.
Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein
A delightfully bizarre little mockumentary in which Stranger Things star David Harbour plays himself on a mission to get to know his fictional late father, a pompous actor with whom he shares a name and whom he also happens to play.
A recording of the old man’s stage reboot of Frankenstein might provide insights.
Harbour, Kate Berlant and Michael Lerner are a treat, and with the whole thing running at just half an hour, it’s perfect to watch while you’re trying to figure out what to watch.
A short but eye-opening documentary following Cairns teenager Dmitri Ahwang-Bani as he makes a coming-of-age journey to the Torres Strait Islands to undertake the traditional hunting and shaving rituals that will mark his transition to manhood in the eyes of his Wagadagam tribe.
Director Jimi Bani, Dmitri’s father, has his son provide candid commentary on everything from his nervousness about the difficult task of spearing a dugong to his sadness at feeling “like a white man” among the “proper island boys”.
Mums Gone Wild: Embarrassing Parents
Stan has loads of these cheap and cheerful programs about free-spirited Brits determined to age disgracefully. But this one isn’t a simple exercise in voyuerism and self-righteous tut-tutting. There’s also a good deal of compassion for women in their 40s who have been through a lot and who now want to have a bit of fun.
Among them is former glamour model Jill, who has two teenage boys to support and so has – much to their horror – gone into selling sex toys online.
Westall ’66: A Suburban UFO Mystery
Amazon Prime Video
This Australian documentary isn’t one of your typical hokey UFO mysteries. There might not have been an alien spaceship buzzing around Westall High School in Clayton South on April 6, 1966. But dozens of people, if not hundreds, certainly saw something strange that day.
In Westall ’66 director Rosie Jones and investigator Shane Ryan collect numerous fascinating accounts from eyewitnesses who remain as animated about the events of that day as they are mystified about what they really saw.
There was something in the sky that behaved oddly and appeared to land but then vanished – and then the place was swarming with soldiers, RAAF officers and Men in Black types warning everyone to keep their mouths shut.
The most interesting theory put forward comes from Lieutenant Colonel Neil Smith, a military historian who says the UFO might have been a pilotless plane. At the time, Smith says, the Australian military was developing such things and it was all very hush-hush. If that’s the case it’s disappointing that nobody from the military will confirm it all these years later.
Amazon Prime Video
Shawn Ryan’s white-knuckle series remains a real high-water mark of the dirty-cop genre. Michael Chiklis brings huge physicality and emotional range to the lead role of brutal LAPD detective Vic Mackey, and Walton Goggins is nothing short of magnetic as crooked, sleazy, redneck cop Shane Vendrell. The stunning first episode should have you hooked. The show is Kurt Sutter’s alma mater, so it’s compulsory viewing for Sons of Anarchy fans.
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