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Friday, April 25


The Dark Ages: The Age of Light, SBS One 8.35pm

Waldemar Januszczak is on a mission to dispel the myth that the Dark Ages were a time of human regression and failure. The art critic has been arguing rather well for the past two weeks that they were in fact an era of enlightenment, although possibly not as good at their own PR as those self-promoting Romans. This week he takes a look at the art of Islam and their architecture, including the mosque.

Hawaii Five-0, Ten, 8.30pm

This episode is titled Ho'onani Makuakane, which translates from the Hawaiian as ''rather shonky re-enactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbour in which many people fall over and pretend to be dead''. The opening salvo of odd, random explosions and unfeasibly effective machinegun fire raises the curtain on the modern-day investigation for the Hawaii-Five-0 team, in which an elderly Japanese man tries to kill a Pearl Harbour veteran on the attack's anniversary. He claims to be seeking revenge for the death of his father in an Oahu internment camp during World War II. This provides the sole line of inquiry this week, now that various team members are no longer being pursued by the Triads. The show certainly isn't scared of a little jingoism (this instalment is ''dedicated to all those who fight for freedom'') but it's good to see them shine a light on one of the less flattering episodes in US history.

Other People's Breast Milk, ABC2, 8.30pm

As it says, people: Other People's Breast Milk is about other people's breast milk, specifically giving the aforementioned breast milk to another person's child. Nature, nurture, or nutter? A social taboo is explored by UK TV presenter Kate Garraway, who sets herself up as the squeamish, slightly horrified everywoman on her journey of lactation, from cross-feeders and wet nurses to women feeding their five-year-olds, gay dads keeping a fridge full of the good stuff and a cancer patient buying it over the internet for its (very supposed) therapeutic properties. Any adolescent boy tempted to watch from the title alone should be warned it is an incredibly unsexy production. Breast pumps: need I say more? Breast might be best, but even better is watching Garraway trying to convince a bunch of London art district hipsters to taste a delicious range of breast milk hors d'oeuvres.




Banged Up Abroad, Nat Geo People, 5.30pm

A typically riveting episode in which American military contractor Roy Hallums tells of how he endured nearly a year in captivity after being kidnapped by insurgents in Iraq in 2004. At one stage his captors concreted over the door of the basement in which he was being held, leaving him buried alive as they fled from American troops.

Bad Ink, A&E, 9.30pm

Even if you're a cleanskin, some of the tattoo-related shows going around at the moment make for fascinating viewing. Tattoo Rescue (Sunday, TLC, 8.30pm) has been surprisingly affecting as tattoo guru Joey Tattoo tries to turn around struggling shops with the aid of legendary American tattoo artists. Bad Ink is a more light-hearted affair. Tattoo artist Dirk Vermin and his pal Rob Ruckus trade wisecracks as they cruise around Las Vegas (''the mistake capital of the world'') getting people to show them their tattoos. Some of the tatts are great, some are awful, and some of the worst get taken to Vermin's shop for cover-up work. Tonight's first customer is a young woman who made the unwise decision to get a big neck tattoo in the bathroom at a drunken party. The tatt - an unsightly blob of a rose complete with misspelled text - disappears beneath Vermin's striking new portrait of a zombie pin-up model.



Murder at 1600 (1992), Nine, 10.15pm

Long before the endless B movies and three years in a US federal prison after a tax-related conviction, Wesley Snipes was one of the most promising and versatile actors the American cinema had to call on. Snipes could do charismatic gangsters for the pulp crowd (New Jack City) and then walk straight into a Spike Lee joint (most notably Jungle Fever) or an indie drama (The Waterdance). His professional troubles can be traced to 1997, the year he made four uneven films: Blade, U.S. Marshals, One Night Stand, and Murder at 1600, a by-the-book police thriller. The latter gives us Snipes as the dutiful actor, offering force and watchfulness to create a character when there's little on the page for him to work with. The supporting cast - including Diane Lane and Alan Alda - are good enough to cushion a cheap paperback plot, where a Washington homicide detective (Snipes) finds himself investigating a murder in the White House that naturally leads to the uncovering of a national security conspiracy.

Tiny Furniture (2010), Masterpiece Movies (pay TV), 10.45pm

Lena Dunham's Girls, one of the great television series of the last few years, essentially began with this low-budget feature, which not only attracted the boosters who would give her distinct voice wide exposure, but also clearly defined her themes and writing style. The then 23-year-old writer-director plays Aura, an aspiring artist who returns to her family's Manhattan loft with a university degree and aspirations and tries to fit in around her artist mother (played by Dunham's mother, artist Laurie Simmons) and younger sister (played by Dunham's younger sister, Grace). Aura and her friend Charlotte (Girls' Jemima Kirke) are part of a world where people are making their mark even as they make mistakes, and Dunham uses studied compositions and dialogue that gets at something different to the conversation's nominal subject to show the difficulties they face, as well as depicting a maternal bond notable for its lack of easy sentiment.