Tonight in HD: December 4

SoHo Highlight: Boardwalk Empire (Sky 10, 8.30, 5.1) Nucky orchestrates a risky liquor delivery, and faces complications in his federal case; Jimmy finds a new mentor; Margaret makes a confession. According to the AV Club’s ‘B’ assessment, “After two weeks of explosive action and bloodletting, Boardwalk Empire retreated to a more contemplative, conceptual place.” Agreed critic Alan Sepinwall: “If The Age of Reason isn’t the most exciting episode of the season’s first half, it’s important in the way it sets various things in motion for the second half.” Time thought it “a good time to reflect on what’s going right and wrong in Boardwalk Empire overall”. Conclusion? “It lacks one thing that defines most great TV dramas: the clear sense that it is about an idea, or ideas, beyond its literal subject.” ✭✭✭✭

Hellcats (TV2, 5.30) After a compromising picture of Alice is sent around school, she vows revenge. Meanwhile, Julian discovers Marti and Morgan are investigating behind his back. ✭✭✭

Raising Hope (TV3, 7.00, 5.1) Jimmy’s cousin, Mike, returns from a six-month spiritual journey with a new wife and a trio of brother-husbands. Mary Lynn Rajskub and JK Simmons guest star in an episode highly recommended for its “epic” mattress fight and “the best use of Maw Maw so far“. ✭✭✭✭

The Middle (TV2, 7.30, F) Season finale: Frankie and Mike deal with Brick’s fear of crossing bridges, and the end of the school year brings on a feeling of panic in Frankie. ✭✭

Movie: Four Holidays (TV2, 8.30) This comedy is for everyone who’s ever had more than a turkey bone to pick with their family at Christmas. If only the movie itself wasn’t such a turkey. About a married couple who’s forced to share Christmas Day festivities with separated parents four times over, it was best summed up by Variety: “Oddly misanthropic, occasionally amusing but thoroughly cheerless”. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn star. (2008)

Movie: Little Miss Sunshine (TV3, 8.30, 5.1, R) The funniest, most therapeutic road trip romp since Sideways stars Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslin as an extended, dysfunctional family on the verge of a mental and mechanical breakdown while in a Kombi van en route to a child beauty contest. It’s inevitably contrived but, thanks to dynamite writing, directing and acting, steers clear of any wrong turns — even if the audacious showstopper of a climax does risk the wheels coming off. The result is a minor comic masterpiece that’s as hilarious as it is heartfelt (and which won Oscars for Arkin and screenwriter Michael Arndt). (2006) ✭✭✭✭✭

Birdland (TV One, 1.00, R) ✭✭✭

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