Even a company with the reach and resources of Netflix probably wouldn’t have chosen to put a series up against a big-budget Hollywood star vehicle directed by Ron Howard . That was the challenge for the six-part Thai Cave Rescue – yet it holds its own in relating the tale of the 12 young footballers and their coach stranded in the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cavern , in Chiang Rai province, in 2018. It’s also less than ideal to be telling a story whose climax is already widely known, requiring an inventive approach to sustain viewers’ interest. This is achieved by making the chief point of view not that of the international rescue-diving teams, but of the 13 “prisoners”, the youngest aged 11, hungry, cold and trapped in the dark, with water (and panic) periodically rising, for 18 days. Rightly acknowledged is the leadership of the football club’s assistant coach, Ekkapol Chantawong (played by the late Papangkorn Lerkchaleampote), then only 25 and dealing with his own problems, having been raised an orphan in a monastery – as shown in flashbacks as he tries to reassure his terrified charges. And as with assorted (near-) disasters, we see how arrogant, backsliding authority figures ignore juniors smart enough to detect danger, in this case meteorological office intern Noon Kitwanichsakul (played by Darina Boonchu). Because why listen to a nagging woman who interrupts the football on television? Space cadets When it comes to catastrophe planning, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and other space-travel pioneers could do worse than book a berth under the command of “Craptain Lying”, pilot of no future Hugh Laurie and the leading man in astro-comedy Avenue 5 (HBO and HBO Go). For tips on how not to do it, that is. Laurie is Captain Ryan Clark, a man of the shallowest platitudes, deepest technical incompetence and broadest disdain for even his most senior subordinates, who ridicule and patronise him. And why not, when he’s into his second series of presiding over the drifting, propulsion-shy galactic leviathan Avenue 5, a cosmic cruise ship from 40 years hence meandering for a long time somewhere near a galaxy far, far away? (And you thought taking a cruise around the South China Sea was bad.) Thrust off course in series one, eight years from home, with no engine power and on a collision course with the sun, Avenue 5 must also confront the dual crises of a food shortage and a lack of towels. As for its looming, fiery demise, that doesn’t seem to bother its owner, vacuous young billionaire “bro” and space-tourism mogul Herman Judd (Josh Gad), who whines: “I just want to outlive the sun. That isn’t too much to ask.” Meanwhile, back on Earth, the ship’s misadventures are now the stuff of a soap opera (starring Daisy May Cooper), which is itself discussed in appropriate depth by the ever-adaptable Lucy Punch, who shows up here as a television chat-show host with a bad case of social-media dependency. Having escaped Avenue 5 on a space shuttle in the first season, Japanese-American comedienne Suzy Nakamura returns as Judd’s dour PA Iris Kimura, now a sidelined corporate spare part. HBO’s The White Lotus Season 2 a hilarious take on ‘hard truths’ of holidays No one escapes series creator Armando Iannucci’s satirical gaze, particularly the increasingly frazzled Captain Clark, who comes to regard existence under the ship’s inescapable bright lights as “like being inside a Korean slot machine”. But perhaps the 6,000 holiday-making passengers – variously self-obsessed, self-serving and fatuous – are skewered even more gleefully; maybe Iannucci once sailed on a deeply disturbing cruise himself. One guest, vacantly oblivious to danger, must be reminded that the sun is “notoriously hot at this time of year”. Set phasers to “Stupid”.