Autumn means many things. Cosy knitwear, cosy jackets (cosy anything), brilliant true crime podcasts, new lipsticks (those dreamy berry shades) and the satisfying crunch of leaves underfoot. It also means we can hibernate for a few months, completely guilt-free, and indulge in what is one of the best things about this time of year: binge-worthy TV shows. Julia Roberts impresses in her first big role on the small screen, the creator of Mad Men returns with a new series and an adaptation of a John le Carré’s novel makes for a gripping BBC drama – here’s a roundup of the new TV shows that will have everyone talking.
Matthew Weiner follows the dizzying, almost impossible success of Mad Men with an eight-part anthology drama, focusing on those who have claimed to be descendants of the Russian imperial family slaughtered after the 1917 revolution. It feels timely given our almost crazed interest in the British royals and the plot sounds promising; all conspiracy theories and US-Russian relations with some trademark eye-catching visuals (the behind the scenes team consists largely of Mad Men creatives).
The Romanoffs has just begun to air over on Amazon Prime so you can start watching now.
Based on the popular podcast of the same name, Homecoming is a twisted, mind-bending psychological thriller starring Julia Roberts in her big small screen debut. Heidi Bergman (Roberts) plays a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, a Geist Group facility helping soldiers transition back to civilian life. Four years later Heidi has started a new life, when she begins to get questions about why she left the Homecoming facility. She soon realises that there’s a whole other story behind the story she’s been telling herself. The series has been directed by Sam Esmail, the acclaimed creator of MR. ROBOT so you know it’s going to be good. Roberts gives an appropriately understated performance and adds star power to a solid cast who know how to do creepy in the best way.
Homecoming starts on November 2nd on Amazon Prime.
The Little Drummer Girl
From the production companies that brought you the seductively brilliant, The Night Manager comes a new six-part series on the BBC that already has critics talking. Based on le Carre’s 1983 novel of the same name, The Little Drummer Girl stars rising star Florence Pugh Charlie Ross, as a young woman scraping a living in London as an actress in the 1970s. Offstage, Charlie is a left-wing idealist and soon after a string of attacks against high-profile Jewish figures across Europe, she’s identified by senior Israeli intelligence agent Martin Kurtz as the perfect person to go undercover to track down the Palestinian kingpin believed to be behind it all. It sounds like a stretch but like it’s predecessor, it really works once you get into it. The first two episodes are slow burners, but get past them and you’ll be hooked.
The Little Drummer Girl is on BBC One on Sunday 28th October at 9pm
House of Cards creator abandoned the series at just the right moment – and let’s be honest, the series went downhill well before all the Spacey drama – and now Beau Willimon is back with a brand new series. The First follows humanity’s first visit to Mars. Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone are the two big-name leads who take the helm. The plot details the crew, under the direction of visionary aerospace magnate Laz Ingram, who have to contend with dangerous situations and personal sacrifice as they undertake the greatest pioneering feat in human history. This one doesn’t heat up until later in the season but it’s already been a hit with critics who insist the show gets under your skin and stays there in a way you couldn’t have anticipated.
The First airs on November 1st at 9pm on Channel 4
Lena Dunham’s American remake of the 2016 British series Camping already has people talking thanks to a role departure for Jennifer Garner that reviews said she was rather too nice to play. Kathryn (Garner) has planned a four-day camping trip to celebrate the birthday of her husband, Walt. But things don’t go to plan when her sister Carleen brings along her teenage stepdaughter. And when Walt’s recently divorced friend Miguel brings his new girlfriend, Jandice, all hell brakes loose in what makes up the worst Birthday weekend in the world. Whispers of “unlikeable” characters have already been uttered but as with all work by Dunham, this will be worth watching, if only because so many will have something to say about it.
Camping is due to air on Sky Atlantic at the end of October
Desiree Akhavan, who landed awards for her film detailing gay conversion-therapy The Miseducation of Cameron Post has followed it by writing and starring in this comedy series about the challenges of dating both men and women. Maxine Peake plays Akhavan’s ex and notably, Brian Gleeson (yes, brother of Domhnall) is the tortured novelist who becomes her new wingman as she negotiates single life. “(The series) has a lot to do with female desire. I made it after moving (to London). It’s about five characters who live and operate in Hackney, and their relationships. My character moves in with a straight white guy, and they become each other’s wingmen,” Akhavan explained of the show. Yours truly can attest that the series is fantastic.
The Bisexual airs on Channel 4 on Wednesdays at 9pm.