Put it out, take it back

“The Hour”
Wednesday 10pm, BBC America
Likely encouraged by the critical and ratings success of AMC’s “Mad Men,” the period drama has seen a major re-emergence in the past couple of years. You’ve got “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO, “Pan Am” and “The Playboy Club” set to debut this fall, and this new British spy thriller set in the 1950s. Ben Whishaw (Layer Cake) plays an ambitious young television journalist who stumbles upon a murder conspiracy involving the elite class that he can only cover by getting a spot on a new TV news magazine. Of course things are never that simple, as he has to contend with censorship from the BBC, class issues, and—because this is television—a love triangle involving his fellow reporter and lifelong friend (Romola Garai, Atonement) and the show’s cad of an anchorman (Dominic West, “The Wire”).
 
“Do Something Awards”
Thursday 9pm, VH1
There are so many useless awards shows celebrating actors, musicians and fashionistas—people who are already getting plenty of attention and accolades for their work. A friend of mine recently opined that we should have a nationally televised awards show for teachers, doctors and other do-gooders whose work actually has a profound impact on society. The “Do Something Awards” may be the closest we get to that, as it fetes young people with a commitment to social change. All five of this year’s nominees for the main award have already been given $10,000 community grants for their projects, but the grand-prize winner will get $100,000 for his or her cause. One created an organization that collects unwanted food from moving families and donates it to food banks; one is trying to bring access to healthy food options to inner-city kids; one created a resource group for military widows from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
“Bear Swamp Recovery”
Monday 10pm, truTV
It sounds like a gay fetish porno, but this new reality series follows a family of repo men in New Jersey as they snatch back luxury items people can’t afford. It’s an interesting statement on our economic climate that repo men are now seen as heroic. Expect class warfare to inform the editing here, as the scale-crushing men throw their weight around, literally and figuratively, while they repossess everything from yachts to construction equipment to a fleet of racecars.

 

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