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The Week in UAE TV: September 6-12

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As its September, there are lots of “episode 1″s kicking around this week, including a couple of better-than-average sitcoms to keep you entertained. Yes, one is about a group of friends in New York….

Series: Fear The Walking Dead (episode 1)
When: Monday 7, 22:00
If you missed the first showing – that was on at 5.30am when most people were like zombies themselves – you can see the pilot 90-minute episode of the much-awaited prequel to AMC’s hit The Walking Dead at a reasonable hour. Set in Los Angeles just as the virus is starting to spread, it centres on a dysfunctional family who deal with the outbreak. The big-city setting (rather than rural Georgia) gives it a disaster-film feel but it’s the same excellent tension and gore that made the original zombie series so compelling.
Channel: AMC

Series: Manhattan Love Story (Episode 1)
When: Monday 7, 19:00
Romcom series set in New York are commonplace and often no more than middling, but this tries a little harder with use of internal monologues from the central characters. It can be a little cutesy and saccharine at times – especially is you’re used to the cynicism of something like Peep Show that employs a similar device – but for the eleven episode that were made, it’s a funny enough little series about dating.
Channel: OSN Comedy

Series: Benched (Episode 1)
When: Monday 7, 19:30
Fish-out-of-water, single-camera comedy about a high-powered attorney who has a meltdown and ends up having to take work in public defenders office. While the legal setting is overdone on TV, the two leads (Eliza Coupe and the excellent Jay Harrington from Better Off Ted) are sparky enough and the writing is sharp. Just watch this first episode for the awesome workplace meltdown, if nothing else – the trying-to-leave-in-the-lift scene is one of the best bits of awkward comedy you’ll see.
Channel: OSN Comedy

Modern Film: Fury
When: Thursday 10, 21:00
TV premiere of the 2014 film about a WWII tank commander (Brad Pitt) and his crew becoming outnumbered behind enemy lines. Far from being a standard, sanitised action film, this is gritty, violent and at times bleak portal of the European advance, but if you can stand the realism of war then it’s well worth watching. Visually brilliant and more like something Sam Peckinpah would have made in the Seventies than you expect to see in modern films.
Channel: OSN Movies HD

Classic Film: Saturday Night Fever
When: Wednesday 9, 23:30
The parodies and homages to this film – including Seventies nights with afro wigs and flares – have done it a great disservice, because back in 1977 when it was released, it really was something special. John Travolta is spot on in his breakthrough role as the frustrated working-class youth and the escape offered by the lights and glamour of disco. The final dance competition sold disco to the world, but the first hour is a fine film about much more than flares and “the boogie”.
Channel: OSN Movies Festival

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