Screen grabs: Our pick of what's showing on the small screen

Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector in <i>The Fall</i>.
Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson and Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector in The Fall.
The alternate-future spoof <i>Fallout 4</i>.

The alternate-future spoof Fallout 4.

<i>Premium Rush</i>, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Premium Rush, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

1930 silent melodrama <i>City Girl</i>.

1930 silent melodrama City Girl.

Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark in Halt and Catch Fire.

Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark in Halt and Catch Fire.


FALLOUT 4, PS4, XBox One

So the big news this week was the release (finally, after all the hype) of the game widely expected to be the year's must-buy – the alternate-future spoof Fallout 4. The verdict (so far): it's terrific value (we paid $59 on pre-order) for such a sophisticated, thought-out experience, but how much you enjoy it will depend on how detail-focused you like your games, and whether you have the patience to explore yet another vast open world. (After the painstakingly-rendered expanses of Metal Gear Solid, The Witcher and Far Cry 4 we turned with relief to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for some mindless, on-rails splatter). Fallout 4 sees you as an isolated survivor of a Cold War nuclear apocalypse, forced to collect, build, loot and kill to exist in the (stunning) remains of a nuked Boston. It's far more than a shooter: there are puzzles, quasi-sexual relationships with other characters, "crafting" roleplay elements and only a loose narrative: you are free to, for example, spend your time re-building wrecked houses and forming new communities. And, so far, we're finding it compelling. To be continued... AH


HALT  AND CATCH FIREeOne, Season one

The boldest bragging state in the United States is not famous for its modesty, or sense of humour, or creative nous – except perhaps for Austin. So this new series is an interesting insight into the burgeoning personal computer industry in Lone Star country. The three leading actors are outstanding: Lee Pace as marketing hustler and innovator Joe MacMillan; Scoot McNairy​ as computer geek Gordon Clark, born ahead of his time; and Mackenzie Davis as super geek Cameron Howe. Set in the 1980s, this fictional series follows the development of companies such as  Compaq, Dell and Texas Instruments in Texas. Created by Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers, the show's title refers to computer machine code instruction HCF, the execution of which makes the computer's central processing unit stop working. Halt & Catch Fire is irreverent, clever, funny and fast. Unethical? Yes. Realistic? Yes. Good fun. JK


PREMIUM RUSH, Universal/Sony M

David Koepp​ is one of the most highly-regarded screenwriters in Hollywood, having collaborated with everyone from Steven Spielberg to David Fincher. The films he directs himself tend to get less attention – but this fanciful, brightly-coloured 2012 action-comedy is an irresistible exercise in pure cinema. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Wilee​, a young Manhattan bike courier too cool for brakes or gears, threading his way around vehicles and pedestrians at high speed while trying to avoid getting bumped off by a corrupt cop played by Michael Shannon (who, as always, looks hilariously ready to boil over). For a film about almost nothing, it's an intricate piece of clockwork: Koepp has picked up a good deal from his former collaborators, with Spielberg's influence especially evident in his way of gliding between the perspectives of various characters while keeping the overall logic of the action clear. Still, one thing is hard to fathom: why is our hero named after the coyote in the old Warner Brothers cartoons, when his greatest gift is his ability to slip out of danger like the Road Runner? JW



If you haven't already binge-watched the second series of this creepy-as-hell serial killer drama on Netflix, now's your chance. This controversial crime drama attracted plaudits for challenging the conventions of a crime drama, with Gillian Anderson's portrayal as the ice-cold detective Stella Gibson lauded as a feminist role model, while it was also widely criticised for glamorising violence against women. The second series sees Gibson taking even greater risks in her search for psycho-sexual killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), but the killer is now delighting in taunting her, trespassing into her private life. Tonight Gibson is trying to jog the memory of Spector's surviving victim, while Spector is busy tying up loose ends. Despite not having actually met yet, the "chemistry" between Gibson and  Spector is quite something as the cat-and-mouse game steps up a notch. KN


CITY GIRL, Eureka Unrated

The last of three films made by the great German director F.W. Murnau​ in Hollywood, this 1930 silent melodrama is a companion piece to his better-known 1927 masterpiece Sunrise, but less lavishly stylised and more psychologically realistic. Charles Farrell plays the farmboy hero Lem, a rumpled hunk who's dreamy to the point of being absent-minded; on a trip to the city he meets the wised-up waitress Kate (Mary Duncan) and impulsively marries her, to the horror of his father (David Torrence​), a lean, forbidding figure who dominates his son. Despite Kate's hopes, the country proves to be no more "innocent" than the city, not surprisingly given that Murnau's universe is one where everything is in flux: trains and crowds flow across the screen like ribbons of smoke, grain is harvested to be turned into bread, and opposites fade into each other as surely as day becomes night. Murnau's clashes with the studio got him fired just before the film was finished, but while some accounts suggest he wanted a different ending, it's hard to believe he wasn't responsible for the haunting final shot. JW

This story Screen grabs: Our pick of what's showing on the small screen first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.