Beth’s sister, single-mother Annie (Mae Whitman, Parenthood), works on the checkout in a local grocery store under the creepy eye of manager “Boomer” (David Hornsby). She’s preparing to fight her wealthy ex (Zach Gilford) for custody of their teenage daughter, a legal battle that she can’t afford. The sisters’ long-time friend, Ruby (Retta, Parks and Recreation), works as a waitress at a diner and is happily married to Stan (Reno Wilson), but their daughter has kidney disease and urgently needs medicine that they can’t afford.

So the women, in dire financial straits and with two of them employed in dead-end, minimum-wage jobs, decide that their only way out is to rob the store where Annie works. They see it as a one-time crime, a gamble that could save them from their pressing money problems. And they regard themselves as decent people – good girls – citizens who work hard and pay their taxes, mums who dutifully bring oranges to their kids’ sporting events.

Christina Hendricks, from left, as Beth Boland, Retta as Ruby Hill, Mae Whitman as Annie Marks in Good Girls.

Christina Hendricks, from left, as Beth Boland, Retta as Ruby Hill, Mae Whitman as Annie Marks in Good Girls.

But they soon discover that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew and careened into something much bigger than they’d anticipated. They also discover how resourceful and resilient they can be. Gradually, through two suspenseful, playful seasons, events spiral out of their control. They confront an unanticipated foe who becomes a dangerous associate (Manny Montana). They evade detection and deal with a troublesome threat (the wonderful Allison Tolman, the policewoman in the first season of TV’s Fargo). They get into more trouble, conspire to get out of it and then find themselves in deeper.

Set in suburban Michigan, the series’ pace is lively as the plot continually thickens. It also ponders the idea of what happens when people cross a line, when good girls do something bad, and it keeps moving that line: would they do this? Well then, what about this?

A third season is due in the US in February, so this is an ideal time to catch up on the story so far.

Untouchable

iwonder

The rise and fall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been given a lot of coverage, but this thoughtful, probing and revealing feature-length documentary directed by Ursula Macfarlane adds a constructive perspective to the allegations about him.

Untouchable documentary delves deep into the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Untouchable documentary delves deep into the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

It captures the excitement of the early days of Miramax, the company founded by Weinstein and his brother, Bob, the heady feeling that they, and the people lucky enough to be working for them, were at the sparkling centre of the Hollywood universe.

But over decades, Harvey Weinstein had also been a sexual predator whose company paid off the victims who complained and then silenced them with non-disclosure agreements.

The film presents interviews with a number of women, some talking publicly about their ordeals for the first time, their descriptions of events strikingly similar, their anguish still raw.

It also features interviews with a range of journalists, including Ronan Farrow, Rebecca Traister and Ken Auletta, who discuss the extent of Weinstein’s power, the complicity of many around him, and just how difficult it was to research and report a story that would expose his behaviour.

The Commons

Stan*

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The heat is relentless, the water has run out, fires rage, dead bats fall from the sky. Many people try to relocate to regions where life is bearable as border guards battle to regulate their movement. Welcome to a bleak but regrettably believable vision of Australia created by Shelley Birse (The Code). Neuro-psychologist Eadie (Joanne Froggatt), who is conducting experiments with memory, is desperate to have a baby. Her affluent brother, Dom (Rupert Penry-Jones), lives in a plush, gated glass-tower. An intriguing and disturbing dystopian vision.

Atypical

Netflix

Into its third season, Robia Rashid’s portrait of the Gardner family continues on its heartfelt, funny and happily surprising way. Autistic son Sam (Keir Gilchrist) is negotiating college as his older sister, athlete Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine), wrestles with an unexpected attraction. Meanwhile their parents (Michael Rapaport and Jennifer Jason Leigh) struggle to redefine a marriage damaged by infidelity. A beautifully rendered domestic comedy shot through with disarming poignancy, Atypical manages to provide an insight into living with autism as it develops a continually engaging portrait of family life.

Shock and Awe

Foxtel On Demand

Fuelled by a sense of outrage about the US government fabricating a case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Rob Reiner’s sometimes-clunky drama also attacks the media that supported the campaign. And it spotlights the tenacity of Knight Ridder reporters Jonathan Landay (Woody Harrelson) and Warren Strobel (James Marsden) who doggedly worked to excavate the truth about the claims of “weapons of mass destruction”. Director Reiner plays the editor who urges his journalists not to follow the pack and become “stenographers for the Bush administration”.

The L Word: Generation Q

Stan*

The run of revivals continues with the return after 10 years of this drama series focused on the lives, and especially the loves, of a community of California lesbians. The new series is glossy, sexy and soapie. Some of the original characters – ambitious gallery owner Bette (Jennifer Beals), TV-show host Alice (Leisha Hailey), celebrity hairdresser Shane (Kate Moennig) – are back and a batch of younger characters is introduced. Bette is campaigning to become mayor of Los Angeles and faces a confronting challenge in the opener.

*Stan is owned by this masthead.

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