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Paris: the Luminous Years

Fri Feb 8, 7.50-9pm, PBS

Episode one
If you want a reminder of how relatively well the visual arts are served by TV in this country, then this documentary series made by the Public Broadcasting Service in the States could be it. It’s not that it’s bad; a solid primer on the creative upheaval in the French capital at the turn of the twentieth century, it has plenty of the business we culture vultures know and love: archive interviews, evocative period portraits, jerky contemporary newsreel of men with cigarettes nearly getting hit by cabs and lots of artworks and academics. It just fails to spark somehow, and you realise that the lack of a Graham-Dixon, Januszczak or Sooke – however intrusive and prancing they can be – can make for really quite dull telly. Part two airs at 8pm on Sunday.