New season ★★★★
Wednesday (July 29), 9.30pm, SBS
Idris Elba’s dashing and damaged super-sleuth, DCI John Luther, storms back onto the beat after the fourth season’s devastating finish, swinging his sense of righteous, rough justice like a streetfighter’s weapon. Whether he’s seeing to a serial killer who targets children or swallowing the bitter pill of his failing marriage, Luther’s heart is on his sleeve, making detachment from the gory stuff difficult for the viewer. Here, he acquires a new adversary in the form of a femme fatale who promises a prolonged and dirty fight.
Tuesday (July 28), 8.30pm, SBS
Regular host Jenny Brockie steps aside for this forum on “growing up mixed race”. The Feed’s Alice Matthews (pictured) will instead facilitate the discussion between panellists and the studio audience, which should resonate with those with first-hand experience and illuminate those without about how growing up mixed race in Australia shapes identity and an understanding of the world. By all accounts, this looks set to be just the sort of sharing session needed in the ongoing war on casual racism.
THE SINGAPORE GRIP
New series ★★★½
Sunday (26 July), 8.30pm, BBC First
Based on the satirical novel by Irishman J.G. Farrell, The Singapore Grip uses the Japanese invasion of Singapore during World War II to deliver a tragicomic and sometimes brutal essay on British colonialism. Adapted by Oscar winner Christopher Hampton, this often feels broad (as did the novel). But nuanced characterisation and a deep understanding of the complexities of the culture of the region give it real weight and heft. Looks fabulous, too. MH
Bridget McManus is a television writer and critic for Green Guide. She was deputy editor of Green Guide from 2006 to 2010 and now also writes features and interviews for Life & Style in The Saturday Age and M magazine in The Sunday Age.