The Janes were a “monstrous endeavor by many bright women” who helped perform an estimated 11,000 safe, affordable, and illegal abortions over five years, most of the time under the radar of both the Chicago Police Department and the city’s mob.
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The Janes (9:30 p.m., Sunday, July 24, Prime)
Free-to-air debut for this timely new documentary about the “egregious endeavor of many bright women” that helped bring about between 1968 and 1973 (when the US Supreme Court ruling on Roe v Wade declared anti-abortion laws to be ” unconstitutional”), most of the time under the radar of both the Chicago Police Department and the city mob.
Through archived and contemporary interviews with key members of “The Janes” (the name given to potential clients who needed the group’s services – “because it was easy, nice, and nobody was called that anymore”), we hear the harrowing accounts of what desperate young Illinois women would do before their founding – and the sometimes tragic consequences.
While it’s leavened by lighter memories and the cadre of erudite, charming radicals, the overall tone is rather sobering, all the more so given recent events.
The Janes is available to stream now on Neon and will make its free-to-air debut on Prime on July 24th.
* Sherwood: TVNZ+ debuts the best British crime drama since Broadchurch
* Is Toi Time on TVNZ really New Zealand’s answer to The Wiggles?
* Life After Life: Thomasin McKenzie illuminates TVNZ’s dark, haunting BBC drama
* My Cat From Hell: ThreeNow’s incredibly addictive Supernanny for angry moggies
* Former contestants looking to right Reno wrongs on The Block NZ: Redemption
* TVNZ’s ‘Life After Life’, Apple’s ‘Black Bird’, Netflix’s ‘Uncoupled’ are among the must-watch TV programs in July
The Rising (8:30 p.m., Wednesdays from July 20, SoHo)
Danish actress Clara Rugaard stars in this eight-part crime thriller about a young woman who finds out she has been murdered. While initially scared and confused, she soon becomes angry and determined to find her killer and seek justice.
Based on the 2016 Belgian series Hotel Beau Sejour.
Top Gear (8:30 p.m., Thursdays from July 21, Duke)
The original car show returns for its 32nd season, with Petrolhead hosts Chris Harris, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness ready to push their cars – and themselves – to the limit once again.
Kick off the season with a trip to Florida to drive buggies in alligator-infested swamps, test drive classic cop cars from old-school TV shows, donk race American muscle cars, and do the trio bobsledding in a Sinclair C5.
Demolition Man (9:30 p.m., Saturday, July 23, Duke)
As we get closer to the setting of 2032, this 1993 action comedy becomes more hilariously prescient.
A seemingly unlikely pairing of Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone shines in this tale about a cryogenically frozen ’90s cop who is thawed when his nemesis (Wesley Snipes) sets out to wreak havoc in a more peaceful future. It’s a supposed utopia where people get fined for swearing, no physical contact, and Taco Bell is the only fast-food franchise left.
The Masked Singer (7 p.m., Sundays from July 24, three)
Anika Moa replaces Rhys Darby on the panel of judges for the second season of this celebrity singing competition. She joins returnees James Roque and Sharyn Casey, as well as guests including Tami Neilson, Jono Pryor, Paul Ego, Tofiga Fepulea’i and Kings, as she attempts to identify the disguised performances.
The ubiquitous Clint Randell is back as host.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (8.40pm, Sunday 24 July, Whakaata Māori)
2019 French 18th-century romantic drama about the relationship that develops between a painter and the young woman whose wedding portrait she had to create.
“Until the final heart-rending, all-a-flutter sequence plays out to the strains of Vivaldi, it’s been a remarkable sensory journey,” wrote Irish Times’ Tara Brady.
Baby Done (9pm, Sunday July 24, TVNZ 2)
This 2020 Kiwi comedy about a wannabe adventurer who unexpectedly becomes pregnant by her longtime boyfriend may be a great star for our Edinburgh Festival Award-winning comedian Rose Matafeo, but many viewers might not be expecting a laugh . It’s actually far more memorable than a flat, disposable rom-com. Think Knocked-Up or Juno rather than Nine Months or What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
That’s largely thanks to the married couple of director Curtis Vowell and screenwriter Sophie Henderson (who created the rather brilliant Fantail in 2013), who manage to strike a difficult balance of pathos, poignancy and mostly physical humor with aplomb, building their fast-paced story on a hit with audiences that, while predictable, at least puts a nice twist on traditional genre tropes.