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Image / Living / Culture

8 gripping new shows to fill the ‘Love Island’-shaped hole in your TV schedule


by Jennifer McShane
24th Aug 2021
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With 'Love Island' over for another year, it's time to turn our attention to some of the other new TV picks – including a must-watch series starring Nicole Kidman.

The White Lotus

Jennifer Coolidge has long been a favourite of ours. From Hilary Duff’s cruel stepmother in A Cinderella Story, to her role as Paulette Bonafonté in Legally Blonde or her hilarious cameo as Amanda Buffamonteezi in Friends – whatever the character, she always delivers… and the same can be said of her in new series The White Lotus. 

A social satire set at an exclusive Hawaiian resort, it follows the exploits of both staff and guests over the span of “one highly transformative week”. Only six episodes long, darker dynamics begin to emerge as the show goes on which, according to HBO, “gradually reveals the complex truths of the seemingly picture-perfect travellers, cheerful hotel employees, and idyllic locale itself”. 

Available to watch on Sky Atlantic

The Chair

Only on Netflix as of just last Friday, The Chair stars Sandra Oh as Dr Ji-Yoon Kim as she navigates her new role as chair of the English department at Pembroke University. 

The first woman of colour to ever get the job, the department is “in dire crisis” as she puts it and it’s clear that she has a long road to success ahead of her. “I feel like someone handed me a ticking time bomb because they wanted to make sure a woman was holding it when it explodes,” Oh’s character can be heard saying in the trailer. 

Hailed by critics as the platform’s “best drama series in years”, it details her attempts to meet the “dizzying demands and high expectations” that modern academia entails. 

Catch it over on Netflix now

Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes

One for true crime fans, The Nilsen Tapes is a new Netflix documentary that delves further into the life and backstory of Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen – all narrated by the man himself via a series of chilling audiotapes he recorded from his jail cell. 

Known for targeting young, vulnerable men and boys, Nilsen confessed to killing 15 people over a five year period between the 70s and 80s. Brought to us by the makers of Don’t F**k with Cats, the almost 90-minute documentary details how he went from former policeman to cold-blooded murderer, with interviews from other officers, journalists, survivors and bereaved family members also included.  

Stream it on Netflix now 

Vigil 

A six-part BBC series that premiered earlier this summer, Vigil was created by the same team behind Line of Duty. Featuring quite an impressive cast, Suranne Jones leads the line-up as DCI Amy Silva who boards the titular submarine to investigate the suspicious death of someone on board. 

Also tasked with looking into the mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler, she stumbles upon a dark conspiracy theory at the heart of Britain’s national security in the process… and safe to say, plenty of high-charged drama ensues. 

Watch it on BBC One when it premieres this Sunday at 9pm

Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer is an unconventional series that takes place over three summers in the 90s when a beautiful and popular teen goes missing, and a seemingly unrelated girl transforms from a sweet and awkward outlier to the most popular girl in town, eventually becoming the most despised person in America. Much like The Affair, each episode is told from alternating POVs and makes for an intriguing watch. The 10-part Amazon Original series is from executive producers Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple of  The Sinner so you know you’re in good hands.

Available to watch on Amazon Prime now

Modern Love S2

In this season, love breaks all the rules. An old flame reignited. A test of friends vs. lovers. A night girl and her day boy. A romance with an ex’s ex. A one-night–stand. An impossible promise. A ghost of a lost lover. An exploration of sexuality. The eight-part second season of the popular series Modern Love brings to life a collection of stories about relationships, connections, betrayals, and revelations. Each episode showcases love in all of its complicated, beautiful forms, all inspired by true events from the beloved New York Times column of the same name.

The second season features a star-studded cast of actors including Gbenga Akinnagbe, Lucy Boynton, Tom Burke, Zoë Chao, Minnie Driver, Grace Edwards, Dominique Fishback, Kit Harington, Anna Paquin, Isaac Powell, Marquis Rodriguez, and more.

Available on Amazon Prime now

Nine Perfect Strangers

Based on The New York Times bestselling book from Australian author Liane Moriarty, Nine Perfect Strangers is produced by the teams behind Big Little Lies and stars Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy.

Filmed on location in Australia, the drama is set at a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promises healing and transformation, nine stressed city dwellers try to get on a path to a better way of living. Watching over them during this ten-day retreat is the resort’s director Masha (Kidman), a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies. However, these nine strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.

Stream Nine Perfect Strangers on Amazon Prime

Kevin Can F**K Himself

Starring Emmy Award-winning actress Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek), the dark comedy series follows the story of Allison McRoberts as the prototypical Sitcom Wife. She’s beautiful and can take a joke even if it is directed at her, and she’s married to a guy who must have won a marriage lottery.

We follow her as she finally wakes up and revolts against the injustices in her life. This one is a little different; it blends multi-camera comedy with single-camera realism to make us ask, who and what have we been laughing at all of these years?

Available on Amazon Prime August 27th

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