Cate Blanchett leads a great cast in Mrs America, Yvonne Strahovski stars in Stateless, there's a cracking documentary about Jesse James - and there’s another chance to see Silicon Valley . . .

Pick of the Day

Mrs America, 9.00pm, BBC Two

As is par for the course these days, this new drama from FX looks great. Fingers crossed that it delivers.

It’s a miniseries about the political movement to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the US, and boasts a tremendous cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Sarah Paulson and the always amazing Margo Martindale.

In the opening episode, Phyllis Schlafly (Blanchett) - a conservative advocate for Barry Goldwater and perennial candidate for Congress - refrains from running again amid a slew of harassment by her male colleagues and lack of support by her husband Fred.

Instead, she sets her sights on a new campaign - fighting the bipartisan support of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Episode two follows at 9.45pm: as Phyllis is shown the need to mobilise grassroots opposition to the ERA in her home state of Illinois, Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne) is launching the feminist magazine MS in New York.

She's also attempting to fend off the well-meaning attempts of Bella Abzug (Margo Martindale)  to promote her as a spokeswoman for the advocates of the ERA as a direct challenge to the forceful but less politically astute Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman).

Don't Miss

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, 9.00pm, Sky Atlantic & NOW TV

Episode two is usually where viewers start determining whether a show has any legs, so here we go with this Penny Dreadful spin-off.

Raul Vega lies on the brink of death as his brother Mateo meets the charismatic Pachuco Fly Rico. Tiago and Lewis’s investigation leads them to the temple of the radio evangelist, Sister Molly Finnister and her formidable mother, Miss Adelaide.

Councilman Townsend and his cunning assistant Alex capitalize on the discord in the city to further their political goals., while Peter Craft has a chance encounter with Elsa at the beach.

There’s an awful lot going on here.

Silicon Valley, 9.00pm, Sky Comedy

Here’s an opportunity to se this hugely enjoyable comedy - co-created by Mike Judge, starring Thomas Middleditch and TJ Miller - from the start.

Thematically it falls in between The Big Bang Theory and Entourage, but it's better than either of those shows.

Introverted and socially awkward computer programmer Richard Hendricks (Middleditch) lives with his friends and fellow tech-geeks under the watch of Erlich Bachman (Miller), an eccentric dotcom millionaire who lets them stay in his house in exchange for a 10% stake in all their projects.

Richard’s career is going nowhere fast until it becomes clear that a revolutionary data-compression algorithm he created could be worth huge sums of money and he finds himself caught in the middle of a bidding war.

The best character in season one is Peter Gregory, the socially awkward billionaire played by a superb Christopher Evan Welch, who unfortunately died shortly after filming wrapped.

New or Returning Shows

The Trade, 9.00pm, Sky Documentaries

Here’s a series promising to lift the lid on America's heroin crisis. In Mexico, competition threatens the local poppy fields, while addiction almost ruins a family in Atlanta.

In episode two at 10.05pm, Drug-related violence in Mexico escalates. In Columbus, Detective Edwards hunts for the person who gave a young mother a deadly dose of heroin.

Storyville: the Underdog v the State - the Battle for Kenya, 9.00pm, BBC Four

This documentary looks at the tough reality of running for politics in a country riven by corruption and tribal factionalism, through the story of Boniface `Softie' Mwangi.

Jesse James' Hidden Treasure, 9.00pm, Sky History

Jesse Woodson James, The Wild West's most notorious outlaw, robbed his way to over half-a-billion dollars. Not bad going that.

This documentary questions whether James, who died in 1882, was really stealing for himself, or actually taking such large sums in order to finance one of the most clandestine secret societies in American history.

Africa’s Hidden Kingdoms, 9.00pm, Sky Nature & NOW TV

Exploring the wonders of the most primitive plant and wildlife biomes found in Africa, this nature series takes you from the flower carpets of Namaqualand to the coast of the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

The latter is where southern right whales congregate to breed, and is among many other locations that showcase the beautiful, ancient and bizarre world of South Africa’s wildlife kingdoms.

The journey begins at the Drakensberg mountain range, where baboons and eland are some of the creatures who cope with the hostile environment featuring cliffs that rise sharply from the landscape.

New to Download

Stateless, Netflix

Yvonne Strahovski, whose TV CV includes Chuck, Dexter and The Handmaid’s Tale, stars in this drama co-created by Cate Blanchett.

She plays Sofie, a troubled air hostess who escapes from a cult led by a character played by Dominic West.

She ends up at an Australian immigration detention centre, where four strangers - Sofie, an anguished refugee, a bureaucrat and a struggling dad - cross paths.

Was It Love? Netflix

In this Korean drama, when four very different men appear in her life, a single mother who hasn't dated in years begins to rediscover love - and herself.

Ending Tonight

Live at the Apollo: Christmas Special, 10.20pm, RTÉ2

What better time to have a Christmas special than in the middle of a pandemic summer?

Sara Pascoe introduces a special festive edition of the comedy show recorded before a packed house at London's Hammersmith Apollo, warming up the audience and then introducing routines by Chris McCausland and musical comedy double act Flo & Joan.

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