Five things to watch this weekend
Revel in undercover agents, scam empires, a weed documentary, witches and vampires, and the American circus
Undercover — Netflix
This Belgian series is inspired by real events — detailing the operation by a mismatched pair of undercover agents who must overcome their personal dislike of each other to bring down a drug kingpin. Agents Bob (Tom Waes) and Kim (Anna Drijver) pose as a couple on holiday at a country campsite tasked with infiltrating the drug operation of kingpin Ferry Bouman (Frank Lammers). Its title may not seem to promise much but the series offers enough wry black humour and unexpected twists to keep you watching as the agents get closer and the work gets far more dangerous than they could ever have imagined.
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley — Showmax
In 2003, biotech company Theranos was hailed as the next big thing in the supercompetitive world of Silicon Valley. It was run by ambitious, smart 19-year-old Elizabeth Holmes, who had managed to raise $700m from venture capitalists and private investors on new technology that Theranos claimed would revolutionise blood testing. But 15 years later, Holmes and the company’s co-founders find themselves on the wrong end of the law, charged with fraud and lying about their tech in order to overinflate the value of their firm, which went into liquidation. Documentary director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Self Belief) examines the spectacular rise and fall of Holmes from teenage wunderkind to the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire to fraud-accused and head of a company worth nothing.
Grass is Greener — Netflix
Street artist and hip-hop legend Fab 5 Freddy directs and narrates Netflix’s “weed doc”, focusing on cannabis, its influence on the history of music and the US government’s hysterical reactions to it. Featuring interviews with jazz legends, Snoop Dogg and other marijuana advocating hip-hop pioneers, it’s more than just a celebration of the green herb and provides a compelling case for the failure of the war on drugs policy and the benefits of legalisation.
A Discovery of Witches Season 1 — Showmax
Ahead of its second season, Showmax brings the eight episodes of the first season of this dark fantasy show, based on the bestselling All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness to the streaming service. Starring Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode, it’s an adult fantasy, seductively executed and featuring a good dose of erotic tension that makes it more than just another magic show for diehard fantasy fans.
The Circus — Netflix
Sharon Grimberg directs this epic two-part PBS American Experience documentary on the appeal, history and place of the circus as entertainment over the course of US history. Filled with rich archival material and testimonies from performers, fans and cultural observers, it’s a fascinating exploration of a fading entertainment form’s long and complicated history that reminds us of how it came to be and why it took such a hold on the popular imagination for so many years.