“Its storytelling and visual audacity are a searing endorsement of just how thrilling television can be when risks are taken”

The Sympathizer_1

The Sympathizer, Sky Atlantic

“Apple’s Slow Horses has fired electricity into the dead old veins of the spy thriller in the past few years, and it did so in part with a great cast and a pleasingly intricate story, but also by having a big, weird cartoon guy in the middle of it played by an Oscar-winning actor who is just having fun on his own frequency. Here, Downey Jr’s cartoonish turn and Gary Oldman’s Jackson Lamb share a spiritual similarity: they are both there to temper a story that could easily be either too harrowing or too dry or too safecrackery or too “they were the bad guy all along!”, just by being really scene-stealing and strange. So yeah, it turns out getting good directors and good actors to have playtime with a good book can turn into good TV. Who knew?”
Joel Golby, The Guardian

“By turns horrific and hilarious, and with an engagingly subversive undertow – if you did a drinking game based on the many and various uses of a Coca-Cola can, you wouldn’t make it past episode three – there’s a hidden depth to The Sympathizer that belies its occasionally larky mask. But its central theme, the question of identity and where we truly belong, is as much about the here and now as it is about Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.”
Keith Watson, Telegraph

“Like its lead, The Sympathizer adopts multiple identities: spy thriller, noirish melodrama, war satire, meta commentary, epic immigrant tale. Playfully and stylishly overlapping them, it mirrors the fracturing of Vietnam and its people. It is a demanding watch, but its storytelling and visual audacity are a searing endorsement of just how thrilling television can be when risks are taken and the audience is trusted to keep up.”
Rachael Sigee, The i 

D-Day 80: We Were There, BBC2

“There will be many D-Day documentaries in the coming fortnight and this one, in which elderly people, some over 100 years old, were interviewed about their participation in the beach landings, was fitting as the one early out of the blocks. One man told of hearing young soldiers, just boys, really, crying for their mothers and being “sick as dogs” as the ships approached Normandy. Then, as some soldiers jumped out into the water with all their equipment, it weighed them down and they drowned. Utterly heartbreaking.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“That was the narrative arc of this oral history, a story built around youthful naïveté morphing into the scars of deadly battle. You could carp and say there was nothing here that we haven’t heard before; the D-Day story has been told a thousand times. But some things bear repeating. Try “the only heroes in any war are the ones that don’t come back” for size, typical of the mix of humility and thankfulness that marked the mood of the majority of interviewees. Carefully chosen to get across the idea that war is a great equaliser, the accents ranged from the posh to the earthy, but the message remained the same.”
Keith Watson, Telegraph

Kill Zone: Inside Gaza, Channel 4

“Kill Zone is inevitably a harrowing, heartbreaking programme, made with skill and care by 12 Palestinian film-makers who must have been in grave peril throughout, filming over 200 days in the period following Hamas’s heinous attack on Israeli civilians on 7 October 2023. But what is its role, when pictures that would be deemed unbroadcastable on television are already imprinted on our brains, jabbing at our consciences, flaring in our nightmares? The most obvious answer is the service it provides to a wider audience who might be less aware of the scale of the devastation, who are on the other side of a widening knowledge gap between the online and not. Here are high-definition shots of entire neighbourhoods destroyed; crisp closeups of tower blocks reduced to twisting, undulating morasses of steel, concrete and bodies; hospital wards overrun with bleeding and broken women and children, beamed on to the big screen in the living room rather than just a device that fits in a pocket. This depiction of the carnage has a rare clarity.”
Jack Seale, The Guardian

“Sitting in her suit jacket and big beaded necklace she showed occasional flashes of restrained peevedness but seemed mostly sanguine, even attempting a joke about her very boring Maybot-ish reply when asked about the naughtiest thing she had ever done (answer: “Run through a wheatfield”). “Probably the naughtiest thing I ever did,” she said, “was answer that question.””
Carol Midgley, The Times 

“You waited in vain for the story of May tearing a strip off a leaky minister or icing a pesky Europhobe. Instead, as all around her plotted and stabbed and marauded, she confined herself to hints and winks to convey how she really felt. “I don’t normally comment on my successor,” she twinkled, as her Foreign Secretary followed David Davis out of government. “I’m not in Boris’s mind,” she added with the merest miaow, “but I think it was interesting it was after David.””
Jasper Rees, Telegraph