Little Boy Blue
The strain of hunting eleven-year-old Rhys Jones’s killers is starting to tell on detective Steve “Ned” Kelly: “They just snuffed him out, for what?… I hate them, I do, I hate them,” he tells his wife.
Kelly (Stephen Graham, who’s so good at roiling, barely controlled anger) feels the case slipping from him. An expert claims that the handgun recovered from a suspect’s house couldn’t have been used to shoot Rhys as he walked home from football practice. But Kelly is having none of it.
Meanwhile, a conspiracy of silence hangs heavily over the neighbourhood, protecting the boys (they are barely men) responsible for murdering Rhys. Intimidation of witnesses is overt and unsubtle as hard-faced lads hang around the streets. One name has a common currency but the police need solid evidence.
Jeff Pope’s masterly true-crime drama never loosens its grip while never softening its focus on the suffering of Rhys’s broken parents.
10pm, Channel 4
A befuddled love-sick beta male (Jim Howick’s Josh), flash boy Leon (Samuel Anderson), a guilt-ridden posho (Jonny Sweet) and Nick Helm’s ex-junkie Watto have just made a cool £246 million from a video game starring a cat. And apart from sending barbershop quartets to insult their enemies, these unusual entrepreneurs are not quite sure what to do next.
Starting with such a success story may not feel very British (don’t we like people struggle to become millionaires, Del-Boy style?). But the affable slackers will feel nicely familiar to UK audiences (or at least anyone who has ever seen a Simon Pegg film). And while this series (based on an Israeli original) doesn’t – yet – feel quite as quick-witted or subtle as a show like Silicon Valley, it definitely has start-up potential. The ensemble work well together and some of the set pieces carry genuine imaginative spark.
10pm, Sky Atlantic
The machinations and mania of dotcom entrepreneurs are really laid bare in this episode. Richard has become so obsessed with “the Internet 2.0” that he can’t remember when he last slept and is gabbling a mile-a-minute. His doctor tells him, “They say after Alan Turing got chemically castrated he was a lot less annoying.”
But Richard’s mania is pivotal to a plot shadowed by the looming spectre of the megolamaniac Gavin Belson and ends with a lovely bit of physical comedy from Thomas Middleditch. Fans of awkward pitches on The Apprentice can also savour stoner investor Erlich’s squirming as his protégé Jian-Yang tries to sell his octopus recipe app.
A new episode of the drama base don Neil Gaiman’s novel about a battle for the soul of America between deities ancient and new. A little like its Amazon stablemate Preacher, it feels retro and modern at the same time, and puts a breathtaking image on the screen in every scene.
11.05pm, Channel 5
Jennifer Lopez joins Jason Statham for this entertainingly silly revenge thriller from director Taylor Hackford. Parker may not be in the same class as Hackford’s previous efforts, such as An Officer and a Gentleman and Ray, but his involvement guarantees a certain gloss. Beneath that surface sheen, though, this is standard Statham stuff, with him playing the eponymous crook who’s double-crossed and dumped by his gang mates. Despite being beaten, shot, thrown from a moving car, then shot again, Parker’s up and after them within hours. He follows the trail to Florida, where he co-opts the help of a cash-strapped estate agent (Lopez), who predictably falls for our hero, despite the fact that he’s now wearing a Stetson (don’t ask!) and is implausibly posing as a rich Texan. The film has some bone-crunchingly good action sequences, one decent one-liner and it’s all daftly watchable, but one suspects that this is more of a career high point for Statham than for Hackford.