Watch, listen and be inspired by Calum Henderson's definitive list of what's hot right now and from the vault.
Vigil (TVNZ 1, 9:30pm tonight; full series on TVNZ OnDemand from Monday)
"How are you with confined spaces?"
Good question, and one somebody probably should have asked Chief Inspector Amy Silva (Doctor Foster's Suranne Jones) before she got winched down from a helicopter on to HMS Vigil, one of the British navy's nuclear-deterrent submarines, to spend three days investigating a death on board.
Claustrophobic is unsurprisingly the main word that comes to mind to describe the latest BBC police procedural, which is basically like Line of Duty: Underwater. It begins, horrifyingly, with a fishing trawler and its crew being dragged underwater. Chief petty officer Craig Burke (Martin Compston, the dapper waistcoat-wearing Steve from Line of Duty) picks it up on the sonars and wants to go up and check it out. But captain Commander Neil Newsome (Paterson Joseph, alpha office manager Johnson from Peep Show) says no, and a subaquatic stoush breaks out.
Hours later, Burke is found dead in his coffin-like bunk of an alleged heroin overdose. Enter detective Silva, who has three days to investigate what she strongly suspects to be a murder case. That's not a view shared by the boat's captain or anybody else on board, all of whom take their jobs extremely seriously and don't need a silly detective getting in their way.
"At any given moment one of these boats is out on active patrol ready to fire within 15 minutes," the captain sternly explains. "It's been that way for more than 50 years, we're not going to abandon it over one man's mistake and some bureaucratic bulls**t."
On the mainland, meanwhile, the plot thickens as Silva's right-hand woman, Detective Sergeant Kirsten Longacre (Downton's Rose Leslie), begins digging around the navy barracks for some background on Burke. The first episode's heart-racing opening scene is bookended by an equally intense cliffhanger, by which time you'll most likely be hooked in a way a TV drama hasn't made you feel since Line of Duty.
Midnight Mass (Netflix)
The Haunting of Hill House frightmaster Mike Flanagan continues to turn into the Stephen King of the Netflix age, with another new horror series hot on the heels of last year's The Haunting of Bly Manor (and another new series already in the schedule for 2022). Midnight Mass offers more of the same dark and spooky old-building vibes that made Hill House so effective, only this time it's the arrival of a mysterious priest to a small island community that really seems to rark up the supernatural spirits and gets the townsfolk reaching for their crosses.
You vs Wild: Out Cold (Netflix)
Bear Grylls is back with another interactive choose-your-own-adventure special. This time the intrepid telesurvivalist has woken up with amnesia following a light plane crash in some remote and icy terrain, and it's up to us on the couch to tell the poor bloke what to do. Soldier on in the face of a white-out blizzard! Seek shelter in a cave and come face-to-face with a benevolent yeti just like Tintin in Tibet! The ultimate goal, after you learn it's impossible to ever actually kill Bear Grylls in these things, is to help him find and rescue the pilot.
The Chestnut Man (Netflix, from Wednesday)
This particular chestnut man is not nearly as cute as he sounds. The next big thing in nordic noir, from the creator of The Killing, is a psychological thriller which starts with the discovery of a dead body in the Copenhagen suburbs. It's a woman, she's missing one of her hands, and next to her is a now deeply sinister-seeming figure of a man made out of chestnuts. The chestnut man, on closer forensic inspection, also contains the first shred of evidence needed to catch the killer, so off go detectives Thulin and Hess on a journey we've been on many times before, and of which we've still yet to get enough.
Movie of the Week: Rams (Neon)
Sam Neill has never looked more like Sam Neill than he does in this Australian farming comedy, based on an Icelandic film of the same name. He stars alongside his transtasman counterpart Michael Caton (The Castle, Packed to the Rafters), who it's also quite possible supplied all his own wardrobe, as a pair of Western Australia sheep-farming brothers at war with each other despite working side-by-side every day. When the authorities come for their sheep they're equally defiant in different ways but, to save their herds … you know what they have to do.
From the Vault: Fresh Meat (2011) (Amazon Prime Video)
If you're familiar with The Inbetweeners, it's easy to imagine Fresh Meat is part of the same cinematic universe, a spin-off in which Simon has gone off to uni to share a squalid flat with a classically Scarfies-esque combination of characters. There's a horse girl, a psychopath, a weird Scottish bloke, a Welsh one who's like Stacey from Gavin and Stacey, and Jack Whitehall pops up as his usual posh lad character. It's up there with Netflix's Lovesick and Please Like Me in the extremely bingeable hidden comedy gems department.
Podcast of the Week: 9/12
It will come as no surprise that there is no shortage of podcasts about what happened on September 11, 2001. But what about September 12? That's the point of difference in Dan Taberski's new series 9/12, a surprisingly fun collection of stories about the aftermath of 9/11.
Taberski first rose to podcasting prominence with the cult hit Finding Richard Simmons, but this series has more in common with his excellent follow-up Surviving Y2K. Both series are anthologies that explore a common theme and evoke a specific space and time through a variety of different lenses.
The freely available episodes of 9/12 so far include the story of a crew filming a reality TV series aboard a replica of Captain Cook's Endeavour, who had to wait months to see the ubiquitous footage they'd only been able to imagine. The writers of satirical newspaper The Onion, who faced probably the trickiest day of their joke headline writing careers on September 12. Then there's the guy who made the original 9/11 conspiracy documentary, and the whole movement he unwittingly spawned.
Together, these fascinating personal stories begin to form an effective time capsule of the days, weeks and months following 9/11, and the effect it has had in the two decades since.