What's on TV: Tuesday, May 8

Elektra (2005)

Eleven, 8.30pm

The Outback Truckers get the show on the road with hair-raising tales of driving their rigs in remote Australia.

Frank Miller is as famous as any American comic book writer and inker can get. That ought to be enough but, no, Miller has also branched into filmmaking – seamlessly. His Sin City comic gave birth to two fine films (which he co-directed), while Daredevil: Born Again morphed into Daredevil and tonight's spin-off, Elektra. The last two had no significant Miller input, apart from his originals, and I think they are the lesser for it. They are more Hollywood than Miller. Still, the first 30 minutes are very good, atmospheric and tense. Then the computer-generated special effects arrive with a thud and strangle the narrative of how Elektra (Jennifer Garner) is back from the dead and now an assassin for hire. Sent to an idyllic island, she meets a handsome single father and his 13-year-old daughter. Unfortunately, the Goth villains she must defeat have supernatural powers that fail miserably. They are as terrifying as plastic giveaways in a box of cereal. SM

Outback Truckers

7Mate, 8.30pm

Dinky do or die, the semi-trailer drivers in this on-the-road documentary series provide an Australian perspective to an internationally popular concept that's previously produced Ice Road Truckers, MegaTruckers, and World's Toughest Trucker. The genre requires difficult and/or dangerous journeys – each repeatedly recapped– the most interesting of which in this episode is a dash through the north of Western Australia by married couple Nick and Jo to deliver a generator to a family before the wet season blocks roads for several months. As reality show talent goes, these veteran drivers are genial hosts, particularly the loquacious Yogi, even if most of his drama stems from earlier enforcement incidents he recounts because they weren't filmed. Nearly wiping out is a staple of the series, although there's no discussion of the economics behind these small businesses and how the biggest risk to independent driver/owners like these is often financial. CM

My 600lb Life

Tuesday, TLC, 8.30pm

An affecting feature-length instalment of the series in which Americans dying of obesity get a last chance at life through the intervention of Texas surgeon Jonathan Nowzaradan. Tonight's patients are Missouri couple Rena and Lee, who weigh 249 kilograms and 324 kilograms respectively. It's shocking to see the pain and near-immobility in which they live – Rena is on oxygen constantly and out of breath by the time she finishes washing Lee in the shower – and to see the horrendously unhealthy food on which they gorge. But people don't just get like this for no reason, and Rena and Lee are soon revealing the terrible childhood traumas that took them down this path. We soon see that their own unhealthy relationship dynamic makes things even tougher. My 600lb Life does look exploitative, but it shows that there's hope for even the fattest people, and that makes it a thing of great value. BN

Rupert Everett's 50 Shades of Gay

Viceland, 10.20pm

Changing a society merely starts with amending the laws, as Rupert Everett discovers in this cheery but thoughtful British documentary which was produced to mark the 50th anniversary of gay sex being decriminalised in England and Wales. The actor, who has previously said that acknowledging his own sexuality in the 1990s hurt his career in Hollywood, meets confident young LGBT people, dons a hard-hat to visit a gay builder, and revisits the underground gay scene of his own youth in London. The reach is kaleidoscopic, but it reveals an often painful push for equality, even if Everett the guide often plays the part of an impeccable devil's advocate who ponders whether bringing a subculture into the mainstream robbed it of creative energy. There are areas where change has been slow – the Jamaican community and the City of London – but Everett emphasises the optimistic. CM

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