Simon Shaps

Shonda Rhimes: A defining American voice

In these giddy years of peak TV nothing is cooler, more feverishly consumed, than US television drama series that seem, unaccountably, to be taking the medium in new and exciting directions. 

The widespread praise heaped on often dark and complex series, from The Wire to Breaking Bad, is, no doubt, due to sheer surprise: how did television – in particular, American TV –suddenly get so smart, so original, so good? 

Simon Shaps’s TV diary

Simon Shaps

There is something borderline voyeuristic about being in New York for the annual Upfronts, the week-long jamboree when the US networks present their shiny new schedules to advertisers.

I am not here to attend the Upfronts but – like the NYU graduation ceremony I watch in Yankee Stadium (my daughter is there somewhere among the 16,000 members of the Class of 2016) – it is obvious that Americans do these big events better than anyone else.

This week's top TV: 25 April - 1 May

Olivia Colman



Channel 4


From writer/director Will Sharpe and starring Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) and Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh), the eccentric Flowers family are undergoing something of a meltdown. 

Maurice (Barratt) is a children's author, while his wife Deborah (Colman) is a trombone teacher. Both are dealing with their own demons, and are quietly helpless as their marriage falls apart.