The cast of <i>Ben and Kate</i>.

The cast of Ben and Kate.

Ben and Kate, Channel Ten, 8pm

WE CAN'T blame Judd Apatow entirely for the rise of the man-child. But Nat Faxon's goofy hipster Ben Fox reads as if conceived by studio executives who'd seen the box office for Knocked Up. In a cross-promotion from hell, he'd hook up with Zooey Deschanel's Jess from New Girl and spawn charming, feckless children. They would have to be raised by Ben's sensible sister Kate, played with bubbly officiousness by Dakota Johnson. Three episodes in, Ben invokes the classic competition trope that reached its apotheosis 20 years ago with Seinfeld's ''The Contest''. This one is not that great. Ben decides to let Kate win the Fox family's scavenger hunt - until he realises that the loser will have to do all the housework. So far, this series is a helium balloon - polished, lightweight and unwilling to land anywhere substantial.

Fake or Fortune, ABC1, 9.30pm

MEET Philip Mould, sleuthing art expert with a sideline in raised eyebrows. Meet the BBC's Fiona Bruce, who tells us ''as a journalist, I'm used to hunting down facts''. Like all detective duos, this pair always wears the same outfits (hers is a fetching red leather jacket) as they zip around Europe hunting for clues that will prove a shabby little ballet painting really is by Degas. Connoisseurs have their doubts: the provenance is uncertain, the signature is wonky and it's not that well painted. This art-detective series is fact, not fiction, but it couldn't be cheesier if you served it with quince paste and a glass of port. The boffins who analyse paint with laser guns are fun, so, too, the descendant of a mysterious German art dealer. But it's all so stagey, save for the repressed Englishmen who own the painting.

This Is England '88, SBS One, 9.30pm

A BRACING antidote to replays of Love Actually, Shane Meadows' three-part mini-series shows no sign of allowing seasonal cheer to relieve creeping horror or embarrassment. The third instalment in Meadows' study of Sheffield skinheads (after a film set in '83 and a series set in '86), the muted '80s references come from the winter of Thatcher's reign, relieved only by the glorious gothic outfits of Shaun's jilted girlfriend Smell. There is a certain comedy, bleak as Sheffield in December, in Shaun's gormless drama-school affair, and in Woody's (Joseph Gilgun) banter with his boss on a hellish ''two-for-one voucher'' dinner date. This week belongs to Vicky McClure as Woody's grim former girlfriend, Lol. Now a single mother, she drops her guard in one powerful scene.

The New Normal, Channel Ten, 9pm

LOOK, Ryan Murphy knows better than anybody how to bring glorious, dizzy soap to sitcom but he's also the biggest booster in TV for Very Special Episodes. It's alarming to see his gay family sitcom The New Normal go all West Wing civics class in what is only its fourth outing. Gay couple Bryan and David discuss the presidential election (pending in the episode) with their surrogate Goldie, her earnest leftie teen daughter Shania and her mean old Republican nanna, played by Ellen Barkin. How will our Obama-loving couple cope if their surrogate votes Republican? The take-away is that we need diversity in everything - food, friends, even voting preferences. It's silly but just not silly enough.